I believe we now understand that indeed we are in a spiritual battle. We are faced with it every day. It is important therefore to answer these questions like, “Who is our enemy? What power does our enemy have?
There are different views on where Satan came from and how he got the power he has. Isaiah 14:12 says, “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!”
Ezekiel 28:14 says, “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.”
These scriptures tell us that God created a beautiful angel Lucifer who had wonderful features, rich stones, decorations, etc. We are told that he was perfect in all his ways according to Ezekiel 28:15, “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” However, he then became proud and rebelled against God.
A doctrine has been formed around Revelation 12:4, where it is recorded, “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to be delivered, to devour her child as soon as it was born.” The doctrine is about the devil convincing one-third of God’s angels to join him and confront God in a fight. It also asserts that in the fight God defeated him and cast him down to the earth. However, the rest of the entire Bible does not make mention of such.
Some theories say that Satan ruled the earth before Adam was put in the Garden of Eden. This means he fell before Adam came to being. Cataclysm believes that something happened between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. This theory believes there was judgment that took place thus resulting on the earth becoming waste i.e. without form and void. What this theory means is that there was a recreation. This therefore implies that God created Adam and Eve, and then placed them where there was this beast called Satan and his demons with their evil and corruption so that man would have a choice between good and evil. This portrays God in a different light if He would put His innocent people where there was this wild beast just to tempt them. Would you leave your small child where you knew there was a dangerous wild beast just to tempt him? This would be abuse. God is too loving and caring to do such a thing.
How did the devil fall?
The belief I follow is that God sent Lucifer who was God’s top angel to come down to the earth to minister to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. By this time he was not Satan. Hebrews 1:14 says, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall inherit salvation?” We learn from this portion of scripture that all angels are sent to minister to us. The divine mission or assignment for Lucifer on earth was to serve not tempt Adam. He however, transgressed when he was there. We get information on what happened in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. We are told how Lucifer became Satan. God, through the prophet addressed a physical person; that is the King of Babylon in Isaiah 14:4 and King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:12. What was addressed in these scriptures was a demonic power that was behind the physical person.
Force behind a physical person
In Matthew 16:23 we hear Jesus speaking these words, “But he turned, and said to Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan; thou art an offense to me: for thou savorest not the things that are of God, but those that are of men.” What was happening here? Jesus was speaking to Peter but addressing a demonic power that was operating through Peter. So the same thing was happening in Ezekiel 28:11-12:
Eze 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
Eze 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
Eze 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
The scripture gives us a description of Lucifer who was placed in the Garden of Eden and how he was created. Lucifer’s transgression against God came about in the Garden of Eden. This is described in Genesis 3 when he entered into a snake. He used the serpent to speak and tempt Eve. The serpent was successful in convincing Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is the time Lucifer rebelled against God.
Revelation 12:3-4 is not a strong basis for saying Satan took one-third of God’s angels and led a rebellion against God. How could Satan win against his Creator who had two-thirds of angels on His side? How could he even win if he had all the angels of God on his side? We are talking about the Creator of the whole universe here. How could he directly confront Him?
Absolute Authority to rule
God had given absolute authority i.e. unconditional authority to Adam and Eve to rule and dominate the earth and all that was in it. It is supposed that angels including Lucifer had been given delegated authority i.e. conditional authority. This is the kind of authority that could be taken away the moment one violates the conditions that accompany the given authority.
We learn that Adam and Eve were given unconditional authority. That means there were no restrictions and qualifications to the power and authority given by God over the earth. This is found in Genesis 1:26-28:
Gen 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping animal that creepeth upon the earth.
Gen 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Gen 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living animal that moveth upon the earth.
God spoke and gave authority, power, and dominion when He created man. Looking carefully to these scripture, you realize that there was no condition or qualification on what God gave to mankind.
The Integrity of God
God is always faithful to His Word. What He speaks gets established as a law. He does not turn His back on His Word. Look at what Psalms 89:34, Hebrews 6:18 and Numbers 23:19 say:
Psa 89:34 My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that hath gone out of my lips.
Heb 6:18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us.
Num 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoke, and shall he not make it good?
All the above scriptures reveal God as a true and very reliable Creator. He can be fully trusted on what He says in His Word. That is what keeps the universe in place. He holds everything by His Word and integrity. Look at what Hebrews 1:3 says.
Heb 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
God never violates what He says. After having given Adam and Eve absolute authority, He could not take it back after they had handed it to Satan. God gave away absolute dominion of the earth.
God bound Himself by His Word
It was not God’s purpose for man to hand over power and authority to Satan. Man willingly yielded dominion over to the devil. The integrity of God did not allow Him to stop or reverse what had happened. He could not take back the authority. God is not like men who often reverse what they had said or given to others once there is a violation of expectation. So God bound Himself by His Word. The reason is that God magnified His Word above all His names.
“I will worship towards thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving-kindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” (Psalms 138:2)
The name of Jesus is the only name given under heaven by which we must be saved. The Bible tells us that every knee shall bow before the name of Jesus and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord according to Philippians 2:9-11. The name of the Lord is a strong tower according to Proverbs 18:10.
Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth;
Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Pro 18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
Having all the above, we note that God has magnified His Word even above the name of Jesus.
Lucifer knew the integrity of God. So when he heard that God was giving absolute authority to Adam and Eve, he wanted to exploit the opportunity. With the supposition that he had conditional authority to function, he knew such could be taken away from him instantly once the conditions his authority were violated. This shows us that he could not directly confront God with delegated authority. Once taken, he would just have absolutely no power at all.
It is acknowledged that some things are not clearly stated in scripture. So they may be beyond human knowledge according to Deuteronomy 29:29, which says, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong to us, and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.”
With the understanding of God, His nature, His character, and His Word, this is the direction to which Biblical evidence points. There is no evidence that proves angels have unconditional power and authority like that which was given to Adam and Eve. However, we learn that angels have freewill according to 2 Peter 2:4, which says, “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 to judgment.” (2 Peter 2:4).
It may be concluded therefore with all that has been indicated here that Satan could not directly charge against God with one- third of the angels. Lucifer just took advantage of getting absolute authority to dominate and rule the earth, which originally belonged to mankind.