Angel FAQs: The Fall of Satan

The Bible reveals very little about Satan's exodus from heaven, but some passages may tell more than we think.

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(v. 12a) How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn.

Instead of "morning star" some translations have "Lucifer," even though Lucifer is not a Hebrew name that would have been written in a Hebrew manuscript. How, then, did a Latin name get substituted for the words "morning star"? Since the time of Jesus the early church developed a new understanding of the war between good and evil that differed from Old Testament Jewish concepts. For the church, Satan (or the devil) was understood to be a fallen angel and the personification of evil. When Jerome translated the Bible into Latin he used the term "Lucifer," which meant Venus, to translate "morning star." Jerome’s translation made "morning star" a proper name and the name of Satan. The translators of the King James Bible used Jerome’s translation, and Lucifer became a part of the English language.


Satan’s name, then, became Helel in Hebrew, Lucifer in Latin, and Morning Star in English. This verse is the only place in the Bible where the word "Lucifer" has been substituted for Satan as a name. Many English translations have stopped using "Lucifer" in this verse in favor of literally translating the Hebrew as "morning star."

(v. 12b)You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
(v. 13) You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.'
(v. 14) I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.
(v. 15) But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.

Is the prophet Isaiah only saying that the King of Babylon was evil like the devil? Or are we to interpret these verses as recording the fall of Satan? If the latter is true, then the five "I will" declarations depict the sin of Satan and show his rebellion and desire to be like God.

The following verses from Ezekiel 28 may also have a double meaning:

(v.11) The word of the Lord came to me:
(v. 12) Son of man, take up a lament concerning the King of Tyre and say to him, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty'. (v. 13) You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
(v. 14) 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.
(v. 15) You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.

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William D. Webber
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