Question & Answer Forum

Where was Satan when he first sinned and fell?

In Luke 10, the disciples rejoiced in their ability to command Satan’s minions (v. 17). The Lord had conferred this ability on them; they acted on His authority (“in Thy name”). He responded, “I saw Satan as lightning fall from heaven” (v. 18). By linking the Lord’s response with Satan’s predicted fall from heaven (Rev 12:8), some have concluded the Lord is referring to a future event. However, the verb, “saw,” suggests a spectator watching an event in the past rather than one prophetically envisioning a future event. Most likely, the Lord affirms to them His preexistence and supremacy. Satan’s subjection to His name should not have surprised them. Satan’s fall, attributable to the Lord Himself, was like lightning: immediate; downward; devastating. “To fall from” sometimes expresses a fall from favor; in this case, it refers to Satan’s sin. In the future, he will be cast from the created heavens (Rev 12:8, 9). In the past, he fell from the uncreated heaven, the dwelling of God.

As great a display of God’s power as that was, it cannot rival the greatness of what God will accomplish by redemption (v. 20).

D. Oliver

What is the meaning of verse 13 in Isaiah 14?

The previous chapter begins Isaiah’s burden against Babylon and blends statements about Babylon’s total devastation (yet future, Isa 13:9-13, 20; Rev 18:21-23) with her overthrow by the Medes in 539 BC (vv 7, 8; 21:2-4; Dan 5:25-31). Chapter 14 continues and extends the thought. God’s judgment on Babylon in 538 BC would assure Israel of God’s millennial blessing on Israel. What was going to happen, when some from Israel returned from Babylon (now past, see Ezra, Nehemiah), foreshadows Israel’s yet-future return from the nations and her ascendancy. Likewise, the proverb (vv. 4-20) that Israel takes up against the king of Babylon may have this same duality – bringing together Babylon’s kings (like Belshazzar in the past) and all kings who attempt what Babylon’s kings hoped to accomplish. That includes the Beast, the future “Man of Sin.” Babylon’s king fell (Dan 5:30). Political, infernal, and internal national results follow (Isa 14:4-11).

Some able commentators apply the next verse to the exalted brilliance of the king this proverb addresses. He became so great and boasted such power. Though proud, he had fallen (“cut down”) like a tree. Masterfully, the following verse portrays the thinking of a Nebuchadnezzar (Dan 4:22, 30, 31), a Belshazzar (5:23), as well as the Beast (7:23, 25; 2Th 2:4; Rev 13:4-6). Each of those Babylonian kings (the first kings during the “Times of the Gentiles,” Luke 21:24; Dan 2:31-44) and the Beast (the last of those kings) was (or will be) opposed to God and His people, lifted up with pride, and judged as was the devil (1Ti 3:6). Each reflects the consummate pride of Satan, who uses each one, particularly the Beast. But, this is a proverb or simile. None of those men were capable of the full extent of pride the devil expressed. None had been exalted so high or would be so shamefully defeated as he.

Therefore, this section of the proverb (vv. 12-15) is about Satan himself, Lucifer. This proverb, combined with Isaiah’s poetic style, uses figurative language (the morning, cut down, stars of God, mount of the congregation, sides of the north, heights of the clouds); it addresses Lucifer for at least two reasons. First, just as Satan, a greater than earth’s greatest kings and lifted up with unmatched pride, could not rival God, so neither could those proud kings prosper in opposing God and His people. Second, this passage exposes Satan as the instigator behind those kings and all else that opposes God’s people.

D. Oliver

Is the Eden of Ezekiel 28:13 the same as the Eden of Genesis 2 and 3?

Yes. As in Isaiah 14, Ezekiel’s prophecy both draws a parallel between Satan and the king of Tyre and also exposes “the hand behind the throne,” Satan. Perhaps people spoke of the perfection, wisdom, and beauty of the king of Tyre (v 12), but God turns those words to describe Satan. Figuratively speaking, he was adorned with rich and rare gems in creation (v 13). He had the highest rank in God’s spirit creation, the winged cherub that singularly defended the throne of God and had unrestrained access to the immediate presence of God (v 14). Though Satan was perfect, iniquity (due to pride, v 17; see also vv 1-10) “was found” in him (v 15). His abundance caused his problem, because he allowed it to fill him with pride; therefore, he was dispelled from God’s presence and cast down to the earth (vv 16, 17). God now speaks to the king, so filled with abundance and likewise so lifted up with pride, yet he would be cast down in shame before other kings (v 17).

However, the statement about Satan’s being in Eden is out of chronological order. Perhaps it precedes the other statements in order to emphasize the greatest affront to God; in Eden Satan acted as a spoiler, attacking what God valued. So, God describes the king of Tyre as a spoiler of what should have been for God (v 18a). This was the immediate reason God razed his kingdom to the astonishment of all (vv 18, 19).

D. Oliver

Was the serpent’s subtlety (Gen 3:1) due to its native ability or Satan’s powers?

Three clues suggest the subtlety was due to the prudence or sense God had given it. First, the comparison of the serpent to “any beast of the field which the Lord God had made” indicates that not just this one serpent, but the entire species of serpents was “more subtle.” Second, the curse on the serpent (v 14) extends to all its kind, not just the serpent Satan used; and God’s judgments are just. Again, addressing the serpent, God moves (v 15) to the instigator behind the scenes and is actually speaking to Satan. That relates to the third clue. Without assigning a human will to the serpent, we note that Satan easily finds allies among those specially enriched with advantages (see previous answers). Satan spoke through the serpent, but in some way took advantage of its native subtlety, so that neither Eve nor Adam expressed surprise that a serpent should approach them as he did.

D. Oliver