Satan started in a prominent heavenly position.
The devil is the personification of evil with many names – Lucifer, Satan, the Father of Lies and the Prince of Demons, among others. He’s been part of scary story legends that most people think he’s a fake character, made up to scare movie audiences and children worldwide.
In reality, the devil’s story predates humanity’s creation, and it may be surprising that his tale had angelic beginnings before his exile from heaven.
Lucifer was a guardian cherub.
The Bible doesn’t give an exact timeline of Satan’s origin. Instead, our knowledge of Satan’s beginnings comes from passages written by Isaiah and Ezekiel, specifically in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28, which Bible scholars believe share the details of the devil’s fall from heaven. Ezekiel and Isaiah tell us that Satan was an angel known as “the morning star” or Lucifer, as detailed in Isaiah 14:12 and Ezekiel 28:14. As an angel, he walked on God’s holy mountain and was called to serve God as one of His guardian cherubim, one of the highest rank of angels second only to the seraphim. Lucifer’s rank as a cherub was no small honor. In heaven, the cherubim hold such a high position of celestial prominence that God sits between them, as explained in Isaiah 37:16.
Lucifer’s pride led to his exile.
As God’s creation, we acknowledge that Lucifer was created for good. The Bible claims that Lucifer started as the blameless model of perfection, perfect in beauty and filled with wisdom, as described in Ezekiel 28:12-15. God’s ordination of Lucifer as a cherub shows that God trusted him enough to give him an influential position among the angels. However, Lucifer wasn’t happy with the gifts and power God gave him and yearned for more.
Isaiah 14:13-14 and Ezekiel 28:15-17 tell us that Lucifer became so consumed with pride over his God-given excellence that he became violent and corrupt and didn’t want to serve under God anymore. His superiority complex led him to use his free will to devise a plan to become more significant than God and build an army of angels to help him carry out his wicked plan. Lucifer’s sin was one of pride due to rebelling against God and trying to take the glory and praise reserved only for the Lord Almighty away from Him.
Proverbs 6:16-17 reminds us that pride is number one on the list of sins God hates. The pride the Bible condemns doesn’t refer to feeling accomplished over doing a good job. Instead, this pride means being so consumed with yourself that your mind turns away from God, and your heart never seeks Him. Fortunately, Satan’s scheme to seize God’s throne failed. God exiled Lucifer from heaven by hurling him and his group of fallen angels to earth, ultimately condemning them to hell as punishment for his disobedience and dishonoring his angelic post.
Jesus confirmed the devil’s fall from grace, comparing it to lighting from heaven in Luke 10:18. In 2 Peter 2:4, the Apostle Peter referred to the devil’s fall when he warned that God didn’t save even angels when they sinned and instead cast them into hell. Once Lucifer was cast out of heaven, he realized he didn’t have the power to take God’s throne from Him directly. Instead, he focused on overpowering God in another way: by tempting God’s children to leave Him. At this point, the “morning star” Lucifer became humankind’s enemy and accuser, Satan.
Lucifer became Satan, who tempts humanity to sin.
Since his fall from grace, Satan has used his will and wisdom to rob humankind of eternal salvation. He ushered in humanity’s first sin by tempting Adam and Eve with the same desire that led him to fall: the sinful desire to be like God, as outlined in Isaiah 14:13-14 and Genesis 3:1-5. Satan’s first temptation of humanity succeeded in straining humankind’s relationship with God and causing the first humans to turn against each other when Adam blamed Eve for making him consume the forbidden fruit in Genesis 3:12.
This example shows how easily sin and temptation can lead to division and conflict, furthering Satan’s goal of creating turmoil among God’s children. Adding to Satan’s power is the fact that he isn’t working alone. The army of angels that he assembled in his revolt against God, one-third of the angels, now serve as demons doing Satan’s dirty work. Evil spirits are no less dangerous than Satan. The Bible describes them as evil spiritual forces who can torment, deceive, and cause believers to do evil themselves.
What can we learn from Satan’s fall from grace?
As believers, we understand that Satan and his demons will ultimately face defeat and be cast into the lake of fire for eternity, as detailed in Matthew 25:41. However, until the end times, Satan remains a powerful spiritual entity whose goal is to deceive us into cutting ties with each other and God. In severing our relationship with our brothers and sisters and God, Satan aims to steal our peace, ultimately destroying our lives. It’s no wonder that in his description of the devil’s attempts to unravel God’s kingdom, the Apostle Peter illustrates Satan as a “roaring lion” that prowls around, seeking someone to devour.
The devil destroys our relationship with one another and God by tricking us into thinking that what’s right and wrong is relative. Satan wants nothing more than for us to act as our own gods, casting stones at each other based on our moral code and denying the commandments and authority of the only God. To avoid falling into Satan’s trap, we should look no further than the cause of Satan’s exile from heaven: pride.
Satan’s pride was the first sin ever committed, and humankind has been on notice ever since. We could argue that all sins are rooted in pride if we consider that pride puts our desires above God’s will. Thus, the faithful can keep from becoming entangled in pride and in all other sins that come from pride by living by God’s word. The Bible tells us to love one another and God, make every effort to live in peace with everyone and pray for our enemies. By doing our part to reflect peace, love and humility in our actions, we can battle Satan and keep pride at bay, submitting only to God’s will.