When did Satan fall from Heaven?

Stephen_D's picture

For the past several years I've attempted to filter out of my faith any church doctrines that I don't see present in Scripture. And it appears to me that the traditional view of Satan's fall is very unbiblical.

The idea that I am taking issue with goes thusly:
Once upon a time, there was this magnificent angel in Heaven named Lucifer. Lucifer was very prideful and tried to overthrow God, but Michael the archangel defeated him and cast him down to the earth. Then, when God created Man, Lucifer realized that he could hurt God by turning those he loved against him. Lucifer took the form of a serpent, deceived Adam and Eve, and brought sin into the world. Then throughout the rest of history, Lucifer accused people of sinning before got, garnering his new name, Satan.

But in my studies, I have had the hardest time finding support for any of this.
First of all, the name 'Lucifer' is actually a transliteration of the Hebrew for 'Morning Star' and comes from Isaiah 14:12. Is. 14 has nothing to do with Satan, but with the king of Babylon, who's pride led to his downfall. So we can strip that out of the traditional account.
Secondly, I've never seen any Biblical reason to believe that Satan tried to overthrow God. I don't even know where that came from.
Third, the description in Revelation 12 of the war in Heaven, and subsequent casting down of Satan onto earth takes place after the entrance of Christ into the world. So it appears that this is not something that occurred at the beginning of time, but something that happened either concurrent with Christ or will happen later in the end times.

However, 2 Peter 2:4 does say that there have been angels who sinned and were cast into hell (Tartarus), and then he lists several other instances in chronological order of God punishing people throughout history, seemingly implying that the sinning angels were punished before Noah's time.
Also, 1 John 3:8 does describe the Devil as having sinned from the beginning, so that lends weight to the argument for an earlier Fall.

But let's take into account Jesus' words in John 16:11b
". . . because the Prince of this world now stands condemned."
This is especially interesting to me, because it would appear that before the Cross, all of Satan's accusations against humankind are justified. When Satan accused ancient Hebrews before the Father, his accusations were true in that all of them had sinned against Him, and they all deserved punishment. Despite the fact that Satan himself was in a sinful state (recall 1 John 3:8), his accusations themselves were not groundless.

But, when Jesus offered himself on the Cross, to take the punishment for our sins so that we could be made righteousness, Satan would "now stand condemned" for wrongly accusing these (now righteous) humans before the Father. If the extant to which we judge others, we will be judged ourselves, then Satan's highly critical standard of judgement would have been turned on himself, condemning him.

I think this makes tremendous sense with the OT references to Satan. In Job 1, God asks Satan, "where have you come from?" If Satan had already been cast down to earth, then God would be asking a completely pointless question. In fact, a better question might have been, "Didn't I cast you down to earth? What in all My good Creation are you doing back in my presence?"

So my real question here is when do you think Satan fell from heaven, and also, what Biblical support is there for your belief?

The name Satan by Carlmiller85
Good Points by Stephen_D
Story book tales by Composer
partially correct by JStaller (not verified)

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