A Question I Was Asked:

When Was Satan's Original Fall?

The Question:

I read your article "When Satan was kicked out of heaven" and it reads very doctrinally sound. The question I have is this: At the top of the article, you mentioned Satan's "initial" rebellion. What was this rebellion and where can I find mention of it in the word?

UK Apologetics Reply:

It seems that Satan originally was a high ranking angel. Isaiah 14:13-14 and Ezekiel 28:13-19 are usually believed to refer to his original fall from grace when vanity took him over. However, they are tricky Scriptures. The Ezekiel chapter refers, for part of the time, to a king of Tyre but certain verses seem to refer to Satan in his original rebellion against God and, in fact, some of these verses can only really refer to Satan. Okay, let us consult these Scriptures:

How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." (Isaiah 14:12-14).

You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. (Ezekiel 28:13-17, NIV throughout).

So, putting these Scriptures together, Satan had been a 'guardian cherub' of high office but apparently became overcome by vanity and even attempted to invade Heaven and dethrone God. This was the original satanic rebellion. This was prior to the creation of the world.

In reference to this, a few might ask, why do we find the name 'Lucifer' in certain translations but not others?

In the Old King James, Isaiah 14:12 is rendered like this:

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!

The main problem here is with that word, 'Lucifer' - this word and/or name only occurs in the KJV and Latin Vulgate Bibles. Lucifer is a Latin name and is the Latin word for 'morning star,' or 'day star.' So (the question might be asked) how did it find its way into a Hebrew manuscript?

In Roman astronomy, Lucifer was the name given to the morning star (the star we now know by another Roman name, Venus). The morning star appears in the heavens just before dawn, heralding the rising sun. The name derives from the Latin term 'lucem ferre,' meaning 'bringer, or bearer, of light.'

We have to understand that the scholars authorized by King James I to translate the Bible into English often did not use the original Hebrew texts, but were heavily influenced by Jerome's Latin Vulgate Bible of the fourth century. Most of these men were far more Latin scholars than they were Hebrew/Greek scholars. In the Latin Vulgate, Jerome had mistranslated the Hebraic metaphor, "Day star, son of the Dawn," as "Lucifer." Eventually this name became applied to Satan (before his fall) by most Christians and this is now the generally accepted approach but originally - in the Hebrew - this was the description of a proud and arrogant king, although he was surely typical of Satan. All Bible commentators know this but they have tended to accept a dualism here between this king and Satan, since Satan is also arrogant and boastful and (as already suggested) certain of these verses can only really apply to Satan.

'Morning Star' is not a true name of Satan but was possibly used sarcastically by Isaiah. In fact, Revelation 22:16 states that 'Morning Star' is one of the titles of Jesus Christ. So Jesus alone holds this title! It is used - somewhat sarcastically - of an arrogant babylonian king and Satan in Isaiah 14:12. Many Christians (not all) now use 'Lucifer' to describe Satan before his fall but the modern translations are correct to have dropped the name 'Lucifer' which is a Latinism and entirely foreign to the original Hebrew text.

Robin A. Brace. August 21st, 2012.