Q: #436. When did Satan fall?
A: The Bible does not clearly tell us when Satan fell, however, a number of verses can be put together to make an educated guess. This being said though, these “educated guesses” range anywhere from the time of creation, to the time of Jesus’ ministry on Earth, to the end times. Having studied the various views, I believe that Satan fell shortly after the 6th day of creation. Therefore, this is the view I am going to lay out below.
First, while perhaps obvious, it is important to understand that Satan, and all the angels were indeed created by God (Neh 9:6)(Ps 148:1-5)(Col 1:16). When were they created? Nearly all scholars agree they were created either slightly before, or during the time that God created ALL things in Genesis chapters 1-2. One group of verses in (Job 38:4-7) seem to point to the possibility that they were created before the 6 days of creation mentioned in Genesis 1-2: “the morning stars sang together” when the “foundations of the earth were being laid.” Satan’s original name was “Lucifer,” which means “morning star.” Angels are compared to “stars” (host) in places too (Rev 1:20)(Rev 12:4)(Lk 2:13)(Josh 5:14-15).
In other words, if the “morning stars” are angels, and were “singing” as God was creating, they would have to have been created before the 6 days.
***Note: It is also interesting to note that Jesus is called the “morning star” (Rev 22:16)(Rev 2:28). Could it be that Jesus was singing with the angels (the morning STARS) at the creation of the world? Just a passing thought 🙂 .
On the other hand, (Ex 20:11) seems to indicate that ALL things that were created were created during the 6 days of creation. Obviously, this would include angels. However, the “exact” time is not necessary for this topic. It is enough to know that Satan and the angels were created slightly before, or during the 6 days.
After he was created, Satan’s home was in Heaven with all of the other angels. However, shortly after his creation, Satan rebelled against God. This “rebellion” is described in two sections of Scripture (Isa 14:12-14)(Ezek 28:12-18). (Isa 14:12-14) says this of Satan (Lucifer): “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! (13) For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Ezek 28:17) adds this, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty” (Also see: 1 Tim 3:6). In other words, Satan was cast out of Heaven for wanting to become like God, and for pride.
In addition to this, we see in (Rev 12:3-4) that one-third of the created angels followed Satan, and were cast out as well.
I also see two other verses pointing to this fall of Satan, and the angels that followed him:
(Jude 6) And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
(2 Pet 2:4) For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
For “first estate” (NASB = “own domain”), Strong’s uses the Greek word “arche,” which it defines as “a commencement, or (concr.) chief (in various applications of order, time, place, or rank) (6x) = first estate, magistrate, power, principle, rule.” In other words, it sounds like the angels of (Jude 6) gave up their “place” or “rank” in their “habitation.” Most agree this “habitation” was Heaven. The sinful angels were forcibly removed by God from their “habitation” (Heaven) due to their voluntary sinful rebellion, and ended up in another place. That place is referred to as “everlasting chains under darkness.” (2 Pet 2:4) uses “chains of darkness,” and links this to “hell.”
The question might then be asked, if (Jude 6) and (2 Pet 2:4) ARE referring to the fall, how is it that these fallen angels are roaming about when these verses say they are “in chains?” A number of historic scholars (i.e. Gill, Benson) believe that “in chains” need not mean “literal” chains which are chaining them down. For example, perhaps “chains” is God keeping them in a place from which they cannot escape (which is apart from Heaven), or perhaps “chains” means being unable to “free themselves” from their final “punishment and destruction” (the “lake of fire – Rev 19:20, Rev 20:10, Mt 25:41). (I speak much more on this, and show quotations from scholars here.)
NOW, to the question of when this fall happened. If we put together what we have said above, it certainly seems clear that the fall had not happened before, or at the beginning of creation since Satan (Lucifer) and the angels appear to have been singing/rejoicing as God “laid the foundations of the earth.” In addition, when we look at (Gen 1:31), we see God saying on the sixth day, at the end of creating all things, that everything was “good.” If Satan had fallen prior to this, it seems unlikely that God would have said this. This being the case, it points to Satan’s fall sometime after the 6th day.
However, since Satan tempted Eve in chapter 3, it seems likely that Satan fell before this time. We do not know how long the time period is between the end of the 6th day and Eve’s temptation (putting several verses together, a case can be made that this would have been within a year of their creation). (Jude 6) and (2 Pet 2:4) would also fit into this, showing that Satan and the fallen angels were removed from their “first estate” (Heaven) because of their sinful rebellion, and were now roaming about the Earth seeking to destroy mankind, just as they still do today (1 Pet 5:8).
For these reasons, it only makes sense to me from a Biblical, and logical point of view to say that Satan fell around the time of creation. If he didn’t, then it must be said that Satan’s home is still in Heaven with God, or was until the time of Jesus, and he leaves (or left) his home with God to try and destroy God, and His creation, and then returns. Or, saying it another way, Satan left his home in Heaven with God to tempt Eve, and then returned back home to God in Heaven. This makes NO sense to me. It also contradicts (Jude 6)(2 Pet 2:4).
***Note: There are places that show Satan can appear before God in Heaven (i.e. Job 1:6-11)(Job 2:1-5), but Heaven is no longer his “habitation” or “first estate.”
In addition, the change of Lucifer’s name to Satan (meaning “adversary”) in the Old Testament seems to point to an early fall.
Satan is now called the “god of this world” (2 Cor 4:4), “prince of this world” (Jn 12:31)(Jn 14:30)(Jn 16:11), and “prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2).