Bible Answers: When did Satan Fall from Heaven?
(ver 1.1) This will be a detailed advanced Bible answer to a very difficult question that I received from someone after they read the Revelation 12 series of lessons found on this website. This is an advanced Bible study designed to be only for spiritually mature Christians. Spiritually mature to me is defined as anyone that has been born again and Spirit filled more than 5 years that has studied the Bible continually during this time to allow spiritual growth of the fruits of the Spirit to occur. You may or may not agree with that definition but this is generally how God has taught me to view it. This Bible lesson will go over some very technical concepts even though I will attempt to describe them as simply as I can. This Bible lesson will introduce some new concepts you have never heard before and thus it will be controversial in nature. I ask you to be the judge of your spiritual maturity. If you feel that you do not qualify to meet the criteria for an advanced Bible study I would recommend that you go study a different Bible lesson on my website. I try to warn new Christians of this at the beginning of many of my advanced Bible lessons so that I do not offend anyone with a meat lesson when they are in need of a milk lesson like Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 3:2.
The root of the reader’s question was “When did Satan fall from heaven?” The reader’s question arose from the specific part of the Revelation 12 lesson that taught us everything after chapter 4 of Revelation is future tense and has not yet occurred. This part of the Revelation 12 teaching was established upon a literal interpretation of God’s statement to John from the voice speaking from heaven in Revelation 4:1. This voice told John to come up to heaven so that he could be shown things that would soon happen after being taken up to heaven. The clear conclusion drawn from this statement is that nothing that is recorded by John after Revelation 4:1 has yet occurred or the voice from heaven would have been made a liar. Since the Bible declares that it is impossible for God to lie, I just choose to believe what He said.
Why was this question asked about when Satan fell? There is a potential conflict brewing with two different verses of the New Testament. First, reading in Revelation 12:9 you can see that Satan is cast down to the earth never to have a place found in heaven again. This would indicate that the casting down of Satan from heaven is a future event and has not transpired based upon Revelation 4:1. But my reader was prompt to point out that in Luke 10:18 Jesus claimed to have seen (translated as beheld a past tense English word) Satan fall from heaven like lightning and this would cause a major conflict with what I taught in the Revelation 12 series if they are speaking of the same event fall. The statement that Jesus makes in Luke appears to indicate that Satan has already been cast down from heaven. So which one is it? Did Satan already fall from heaven as stated by Jesus in the KJV or will Satan’s fall occur in the future as indicated by Revelation 12? Or has Satan already fallen once in the past and then in the tribulation he will fall from heaven again for the last time? There are just so many possibilities and difficult questions to answer and learn about.
IS EVERYTHING AFTER REVELATION 4:1 IN THE FUTURE?
This section will be a review of what God said in the previous lessons on the “True Identity of the Woman in Revelation 12”. If you have read that and do not dispute what I taught then you could skip this section of review. However if you would like to learn some new things concerning this and how we resolve this significant Bible conflict please continue to read. A potential scripture conflict is the reason for the rest of this Bible lesson today. It is impossible for the Bible to be in direct opposition to itself when every verse is interpreted correctly. Therefore, if anyone wants to learn when Satan was thrown down from heaven please continue to read otherwise you can go find another Bible lesson on this website concerning a different subject that you are interested in learning. I hope that you understand the problem and want to learn the resolution. Let’s review the verse in Revelation 4:1 to begin our study to resolve another Bible controversy on whether Revelation 12 is future tense or past tense or both:
Rev 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
The Greek word G3326 which was translated as “hereafter” is also many times translated as “after” or “afterward”. If you are observant you will notice that the verse begins with this word. In this usage it indicates a position of time beyond the current/present timeframe using a logical order of expressed or implied events in their proper arranged sequence. I hope that did not sound too technical. I’ll try to explain. For example if event A occurs first, followed by event B next and these are followed finally by event C, then B would come “after” A and C would be “after” both A and B in their collated sequence. Do you understand the concept of ordered arrangement and sequence? These are God created patterns and models and they represent His intelligent design of our world.
Keep in mind that this same Greek word is used several times in this exact manner to state a preceding event followed by another subsequent stated event like in “after (G3326) 6 days Jesus takes them up” (Mat 17:1). Using this definition that I just gave you it is very plain that at the conclusion of a 6 day event a new event of going up with Jesus is the stated to occur. Now take this information back to what was given to us by God in Revelation 4:1. God’s usage of this word in Revelation 4:1 means after the event where John was taken up to heaven he will be shown more events that will come in the future and this is actually a very important concept for the rest of this lesson. This is not rocket science but people still refuse to believe what God just said. Let me give you the sequence of events given to us in Revelation 4:1:
- After things recorded in the first 3 chapters
- John is taken to heaven
- John is shown the future
- The future is given in ordered logical sequence
There were four ordered steps given by God in this verse. I have concluded in step 4 that the future is given to John by God in sequential order because of the establishment of order from the preceding steps. In other words the revealed future events are simply an extension of the previous steps given. Therefore, nothing in the future could be random, unordered or chaotic when shown to John to write down. Knowing these facts, any attempt to interpret any recorded event of Revelation 5 through 22 as a “past tense” historical event renders God as a liar. Was God incapable of understanding the difference between future tense events and past tense events? I personally do think so and just choose to believe what God says, don’t you?
Now let me quickly get into this point about Revelation 4:1. The apostle John was a prophet of God, yes? Wasn’t John just shown the future before it had occurred? Could this have been given to him by a divine spiritual vision from God? I believe firmly that it was a divine vision of the future. After this vision of the future what would John’s description of these events have been to those that he was speaking to in the natural? Do you understand what I am asking you? John talking about the woman in Revelation 12 would have said “I beheld a woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet” and this would have been a past tense statement even though it had not yet occurred. Now do you see it? John the prophet could speak like it had happened even though it was still yet to come. I want you to keep this in mind as we study what Jesus said about seeing Satan fall from heaven like lightning.
The fact that Revelation 4:1 states that the things following are future events causes many Bible teachers great turmoil and confusion simply because they cannot or do not yet understand how some of these recorded events in Revelation can be events that have not already occurred. For example the vast majority of Bible teachers teach that the pregnant woman of Revelation 12 is the historical account of the birth of Jesus. These Bible teachers simply believe that some events like this one in Revelation 12 concerning the pregnant woman were recorded by John “out of sequence” from the stated timeline of reference given to us clearly by God. However, just because someone does not understand how an event can happen in the future does not mean that it will not happen and you need to know that. One natural woman giving birth to a natural male child named Jesus in the Gospels does not mean that this same type of event can not or will not spiritually occur again in the future? I probably just lost a lot of readers making that statement. You see the woman in Revelation 12 is a spiritual woman and not a natural woman as I have already taught you in that lesson series on this chapter. She is symbolic by definition because she is wearing symbolic clothing and standing on a symbolic figure of Satan. This symbolic woman cannot be Mary. This symbolic woman cannot be natural Israel either. I’m not going to teach this again so if you do not understand it go read those lessons and believe what God says.
There are just so many Christian people who are not thinking spiritually in this world. I wish people would quit pretending that they understand the whole Bible because only God knows it all and the rest of us are still learning. Please stop making assumptions in your mind that limit what God is capable of doing. If you did not just comprehend what I said, I will say it again using different words to help everyone realize that I believe firmly that everything after Revelation 4:1 happens in literal chronological order and has not yet occurred because the beginning of the 7 year tribulation period has not yet begun. If you still do not understand what chronological means, it is a word that defines a situation where one event comes after another event and they do not and cannot occur out of the ordered sequence of time.
Here is the problem with many teachers’ interpretation of the book of Revelation. They are viewing things from a narrowed perspective of traditional theological teachings filled with error and not thinking or taking into account the facts provided by God. Also they do not rightly divide between which verses are literal statements and which are symbolic or figurative statements. Further they do not discern correctly between spiritual realities and natural realities. Many Bible teachers must ignore Revelation 4:1 in order to teach an out of sequence series of events. They are very creative in doing this and it often appears legitimate until we read the verse in Revelation 4:1 and actually begin to believe what God literally said. One of the number one rules of correct Bible interpretation will be for us to take the Bible literally when it makes sense to do so. Revelation 4:1 is an example of this type of verse that states a literal truth that needs to be incorporated and balanced with the rest of the book of Revelation.
I will point out that I have heard Bible teachers revert back to the first chapter of Revelation in order to explain how things later in the book occur out of sequence. They use a statement made by Jesus to help justify what they teach about Revelation 12 being out of timed sequence. I will give you this statement by the Lord Jesus to help you better judge this attempt at believing an out of sequence book of Revelation:
Rev 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
It is clear that Jesus tells John to write these things for us to read. Therefore the entire book of Revelation is a revealing of God’s wisdom from the lips of Jesus Christ. You need to understand that “revelation” in the Greek language means “uncovering” or “to take off the cover”. Therefore God has placed information in this book that is very important to understand the rest of the Bible. But, then Jesus divides these written things into three separate categories of timed events or references of time. These three categories were the things that were “past”, the things that are “present” and the things that shall be hereafter in the “future”. However did you just notice that these three timings were listed by God in the chronological order that they occur and they were not given to us out of sequence? That is the first very important thing that needs to be understood. Jesus is giving us an indirect clue to how things are ordered and arranged in the book of Revelation. Jesus confirms with this statement that the entire book is in chronological order. Then notice that the Greek word for the future events (G3326; hereafter) is the same Greek word used by God in Revelation 4:1 for the same future events. In other words God is very consistent in the definition of this Greek word for “hereafter” in the book of Revelation when it is used in this manner.
I have heard at least one Bible teacher try to take this verse attempting to explain how the book of Revelation contains past, present and future events which is a true statement. However they make an error when then they say these events occur in random order in the book. They misapply this verse to explain why certain chapters appear to have information that they think are not chronological. They claim that since Jesus said this book contains every category of timed information that it may legally display these in any random order. However, that would be an erroneous assumption based upon ignorance and it would still contradict with what God said in Revelation 4:1. Which is true? Is Jesus speaking in Revelation 1:19 true or is the voice coming from heaven in Revelation 4:1 true? I will tell you plainly that both statements are correct and are the truth but they both do not apply to the whole rest of the book. The statement of Jesus is true for the first three chapters of Revelation and the statement of God in Genesis 4 is true for the rest of the book being future tense. This is not that complicated people. Please pray and ask God to open your spiritual eyes so that you can learn the truth.
ASKING JESUS WHEN SATAN FELL
The previous part of the lesson was just the introduction for the answer to the real question. The question asked by the reader was based upon the fact that if the later chapters after chapter 4 of Revelation are future tense “how could Jesus’ state in Luke 10:18 that He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” be also true? I think I have already given you the answer to this problem but we will verify that answer using the Bible to confirm the truth. Perhaps it would be wise to give you the exact verse in question that appears to contradict with the statement of Revelation 12 to help us understand the apparent predicament:
Luk 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Here is Jesus making the statement that He personally “beheld” (past tense) Satan falling from heaven. If this is a correct translation then it causes us major problems to determine when this occurred. Since Jesus spoke these words prior to the implementation of the New Covenant it is logical to concluded that this must have occurred somewhere in the Old Testament. I looked and I could not find any verses that said this. But, perhaps you have seen a verse somewhere in the Old Testament that I have not seen. Perhaps you can share it with me so that I might learn if you know of any past recorded Bible event prior to the Gospels where Satan is stated to have fallen from heaven? Do you know of any? I believe that I found O.T. prophecies of this occurring in the future but that is not the same as a historical event. I believe us not finding any verses prior to this statement that Satan has been cast down from heaven makes me think it has not occurred and thus we need to resolve why this verse was translated as past tense like it had already happened.
What my reader was asking was how could Jesus have already seen this event describing that it had previously transpired when Revelation 12 has not yet occurred? This is where we must learn the correct way to study the Bible. God gives us many hidden clues to find truths if we can locate them and use this information to correctly join and fit them together correctly. I’m really not sure if you understand what I just said or not? Everyone wants to see the truth easily without any extended effort and that is not how we find the truth by God’s design. I am going to show you many of the keys to understanding and resolving this conflict. Please, continue reading with an open mind and you will see it also.
Personally I have only found a limited number of scriptures concerning Satan falling from heaven. One prophecy is found in Revelation 12 that points us to this future event occurring during the tribulation. Then you can also find this prophecy of Satan falling in the book of Ezekiel if you read Ezekiel 28:16. I think I will give you this prophecy so that you can review what God says about it:
Eze 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
The covering cherub being referenced in this verse is believed to be Satan. God declares that he will be cast out of the mountain of God. If you do not understand that this is a reference to God’s kingdom in heaven, I’m sorry but I don’t really have the time to try to explain it in depth today. The translators clearly state this to be a future tense statement and I firmly believe this to be very accurate. If you study you will find that the book of Ezekiel was written close to 600 years before Christ’s appearance. Now using Ezekiel’s prophecy we must logically determine that this casting down event has not yet occurred before Ezekiel wrote this book. We are definitely narrowing the scope of time when this event could have possibly occurred. I hope you can agree that Satan could not have fallen or been cast out of heaven prior to the writing of the book of Ezekiel, but still you could have seen something I have not. Let me give you another verse of prophecy concerning Satan’s fall:
Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
Here is another verse that is probably mistranslated. Again the translators changed the Hebrew word H5307 to “fallen” a past tense variation of the word. This Hebrew word is defined as “to fall”. That sounds future tense to me. If you read the context of this statement you will find more information about it happening in the future. For example in verse 15 God says “You shall be brought down to hell, the sides of the pit” and this was translated as future tense. Then in verse 24 God makes a statement that is very profound and important to note about what has just been spoken previously through the Prophet Isaiah:
Isa 14:24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:
God tells us clearly these are His thoughts spoken and that these will come to pass. Therefore I am still a firm believer that Satan has not yet been cast out of heaven but will be as established by the Word of God. We could spend a lot more time going through O.T. prophecies but I think I will move on. Let’s go back to Luke 10:18 and look into this verse in some more detail. We need to ask did Jesus really say this had already occurred in the Greek language? Let’s review the Greek word translated as “beheld” to learn its definition in the Strong’s:
From a derivative of G2300 (perhaps by adverb of G3708); to be a spectator of, that is, discern, (literally, figuratively [experience] or intensively [acknowledge]): – behold, consider, look on, perceive, see. Compare G3700.
If you can read and understand the definition it should become evident that this word is normally a present tense view of something that is currently happening right now. The person performing this verb is stated to be a current observer. This Greek word occurs in around 55 verses of the New Testament. In 40 of these verses it is clearly translated in the present tense version of “see”, “seeing”, “seeth”, “beholding”, “looking on”, “behold”, “beholding” and etc. However I will agree that it can also be legally translated as a past tense observation and either way could potentially be correct. But, this determination is also more complicated than this as we will soon learn. What we need to determine is Jesus seeing the event as He is speaking or has He seen the even at some time in the past? Both are technically possible since Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. But just because Jesus has seen the event does not still necessarily mean that it has transpired just like John saw the future in Revelation. Please understand that God is omniscient and has seen everything even before it occurs. God can show a human the future before it occurs and it is in God’s sovereign control to do so. Uh oh, now you can begin to see where I’m going, can’t you? Let’s review another statement that Jesus declared about this potential event:
Joh 12:31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
I believe that there are at least three events that can be confused as one event within prophecies. These three separate events are 1). the rebellion of Satan, 2). the casting out of Satan from heaven and 3). the casting out of Satan from the earth into hell. This statement here in John could be either of the last two. Confusing or combining multiple prophetic events into the same event is a very common cause of error. We can see this in multiple instances. For example the rapture of the church is often confused with the second advent of Christ but these events must also be viewed as separate or confusion will abound.
Here in John 12:31 Jesus is talking about Satan calling him the prince or ruler of this world that will be cast out. This statement does not appear to be translated as past tense and should be regarded as a future tense prophecy. It is not stated directly when Satan is to be cast out from this verse. It also does not state directly where Satan will be cast out from. It could be taken as the world that is being referenced or it could be heaven or even both. I personally believe that this prophecy could be the same prophecy as we have already observed in Ezekiel or it could also be a reference to the prophecy in Isaiah 14:15 where Satan is cast into hell. This is why studying prophecy is so complicated. Let’s look quickly at another verse that is interesting and many teachers attribute this verse to Satan falling from heaven:
Rev 9:1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.
If you do not understand yet that the symbol of “stars” in much of the Bible normally represents the angels in heaven then this is the first thing you need to learn. We know that stars represent angels by reading in Isaiah 14:13, Revelation 1:20 and Revelation 12:4 to name three witnesses to this fact. This verse is describing an angel coming down from heaven at an implied fast rate of speed. However, this angel cannot be Satan because this angel holds the key to the bottomless pit where Satan will be cast later in Revelation 20:3. It is logical to deduce if Satan is thrown into this pit by force later in Revelation that it cannot be him that holds the keys to it coming down from heaven. As I have stated before, I also firmly believe that Revelation is in chronological time order and if Satan falls from heaven in Revelation 9 then it conflicts with him falling from heaven in Revelation 12. I hope you can agree with this basic logic. Let’s review the verse in Revelation 12:9 that would need to become a past tense out of chronological sequence event to potentially be harmonized with the statement of Jesus in Luke if they are speaking of the same event.
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
My reader made a valid interesting point that Luke 10:18 appear to contradict with what Revelation 4:1 and Revelation 12:9 appear to say. But perhaps we have not considered all of the facts before assuming there is a controversy. You see it is impossible for the Bible to contradict the Bible if both verses are accurately interpreted and accurately translated. Also if Jesus had already seen Satan fall from heaven then it must have happened sometime after the book of Ezekiel and before Jesus was born in the manger. You do understand the existence of verses in the O.T. that state that Satan has access to heaven, don’t you? For example, Satan is clearly seen to be in heaven in the book of Job.
Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
Here is a great example that Satan and his angels come to present themselves before God’s throne in heaven. This is a spiritual location and not a physical or natural one. If God allowed Satan to be present in heaven then the final fall of Satan from heaven has not yet occurred. Can you agree with this? If Satan has access to heaven in the Old Testament can we ask if he still has access in the New Testament? Let’s go and read Revelation 12:8 next to see what is stated by God about Satan:
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Didn’t God just declare that Satan’s place is now no longer found in heaven after this war? That statement literally means that Satan had a place in heaven right up until this war event concluded, doesn’t it? Can we agree that Satan had a right to be in heaven before this statement? Perhaps you don’t see it yet, but that is what God just said. I think we need to read down to verse 10 to help confirm what God just said in this verse 8 statement:
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Please read this verse very carefully and consider what God just said. Notice the phrase “Now is come..”. Then notice that this is being spoken from heaven. This phrase indicates multiple time periods with “past, present and future” implications occurring. God is stating something that use to be that has changed at this stated present time and this will cause something different to occur in the future. Pay particular attention to the last part of the statement. God says “for the accuser of our brethren is cast down which did accuse them before our God day and night”. The accuser of our brethren is Satan. The brethren are those in the church. Now do you see it? This verse said that Satan was in heaven standing before God to accuse Christians, doesn’t it? Uh oh, I thought Jesus said that Satan had been cast down from heaven like lightning? How then could Satan still have access in heaven to accuse Christians before God? A little light bulb should be coming on in your brain right about now. This verse claims that Satan continued to do what he did with Job in the book of Job going before God to accuse God’s righteous ones. If this is true and it is, then it is impossible for the statement of Jesus in Luke 10:18 to be fully interpreted or understood in the way that my reader with the question wanted to understand it. In other words Jesus was telling us of an event that had not occurred even though he had already been given a vision of it occurring. Let me prove to you that Jesus claimed to be a prophet of God:
Mar 6:4 But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.
Here is Jesus speaking about the people of his own hometown where he was raised. Jesus claims to be a prophet of God and he says no prophet is given any honor by those that knew him. If Jesus is a prophet what is that? How do you define what a prophet is and what they do? I will give you the fast definition. A prophet is called a “seer”. A seer is someone who sees and foretells the future before it occurs. This literally means that Jesus’ statements must be judged correctly to whether they are past, present or future references. Jesus is capable of speaking of the past in many verses. Jesus is also capable of speaking of the present time in many verses and finally Jesus can also speak of things that have not occurred in many verses. I am a firm believer that the statement of Jesus in Luke 10:18 is a future account of an event that has not officially transpired. But you can believe what you like if you disagree.
God is a self-existent being with no stated beginning and no stated ending. God lives inside the dimension of eternity outside of the created dimension of time. The Bible very clearly states that God makes known the end from the beginning (Isa 46:10). If God knows what the future holds then God can and will tell us of it before it occurs as proved by the Bible consistently. Reading Luke 4:24 Jesus claimed to be a prophet. A prophet will always tell us of the future before the future occurs. A prophet is also called God’s seer and voice. A prophet will see things in visions before they literally occur in our reality and write them down for us to learn from. This is exactly what Jesus is saying in this verse:
Joh 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
Did you see what Jesus declared? Jesus teaches us that He will tell us of things to come so that when they occur people will believe in Him. All of the evidence that I have found in the Bible about Satan being cast out of heaven points us to an event that has not occurred. This event will take place after the war in heaven between Michael and his angels and Satan and his angels somewhere directly before the Great Tribulation period described in the book of Revelation. Satan will continue to accuse Christians until this occurs. He will dispute our righteousness because we are imperfect people that have been saved by the divine grace and mercy of God. I thank you for taking the time to read this Bible lesson. I hope and pray that you received some new knowledge that you did not know before on this subject. If you have any questions or comments you are free to leave them with me and I will do my best to get to them all. God Bless you until next time.