THE FALL OF LUCIFER
Dr. W. A. Criswell
10-16-83 8:15 a.m.
And God wonderfully bless you who are sharing this hour with us on radio. This is the First Baptist Church in Dallas, and this is the pastor bringing the second message on angels; this one is entitled Lucifer – The Fall of Lucifer. There is a text in Luke chapter 10, verse 18: "And Jesus said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven."
I rarely, if ever, do this; we are going to look at the outline of the whole message, then we will present it. The Fall of Lucifer: first, a survey, a summary survey of his life – one, in heaven; two, in earth; and three, in his final judgment – then we are going to pick two things about him: one, as an angel of light; and two, in the fury of his fall. Now let us begin.
A summary survey of the life of Lucifer. Before time, before creation, sometime in the unknown infinitude of the beginning past, God created the heavenly host. Whenever you read in the Bible of the host, the host of the Lord, God’s host; that always refers to the angelic hosts: not to the armies of Israel, the hosts of God in heaven. They are innumerable. They are beyond computation; millions upon millions, the Greek calls it "myriads and myriads." The creation of the angelic host; they were created before the material universe. In the thirty-eighth chapter of the Book of Job, "The sons of God, the sons of the morning, the angels of God looked in amazement and wonder upon the creation of the world" [Job 38:7].
In that heavenly host, God created a superlative angel to be the leader of the angelic, innumerable glorious convocation in heaven, and to him He entrusted the creation of this material world. His name is Lucifer, and in the twenty-eighth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, he is described like this:
Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty.
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.
Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created,
No creature – they’re not self-existent, they are created – no creature God ever made like the beauty and the glory of Lucifer.
He fell from that lofty estate; Ezekiel 28:15: "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, until" – and the crisis point of the universe is in that "until" – "until iniquity was found in thee,Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." And the fourteenth chapter of the Book of Isaiah describes the sin, the defection, and the fall of Lucifer. "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cast down to the ground,For thou hast said in thine heart" – and here are five "I wills" – "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the angels of God: I will sit upon the mount of the congregation,I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High God Himself. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit" [Isaiah 14:12-15]. Lucifer: the word means "light bearer," described here as "the son of the morning," described in Ezekiel as "the cherub anointed" – that’s the word for "messiah" – "that covereth," that guards the throne and the creation of God. Lucifer was beautiful beyond anything God had ever created, and alluring, and attractive: one third of the heavenly host of the angels of God followed Lucifer in his choice, in his fall, in his defection [Revelation 12:4; 2 Peter 2:4]. Like Absalom stole the hearts of Israel from David, Lucifer stole the hearts of one third of all of the angelic host. And he became in that defection Satan; that is, adversary, or diabolos, devil, the accuser and slanderer.
And in the defection and fall of Satan in heaven, all God’s creation fell into chaos and ruin and disrepair. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" [Genesis 1:1], beautiful and perfect in every stanza and verse and facet; then Satan fell, sin was found in the beautiful cherub that God, to whom God had entrusted all the creation, and in the second verse of the first chapter of Genesis, "And the earth, and the creation became void and dark." This is the summary of Satan in heaven.
The summary of Satan in earth: out of all of God’s fallen, chaotic world into which sin had entered and ruined the perfect work of the masterful, omnipotent hand of the Creator, in all of God’s creation, He chose the planet earth to recreate it, to regenerate it, to establish it back again into its primeval beauty and glory. And in the recreation of this planet earth, He gave it to a man named Adam, and said to him, "Have dominion over it [Genesis 1:26-28]; the title deed is yours." And God created for Adam a help meet [Genesis 2:18, 21-23], and said for them to replenish the earth, to possess it. It was theirs. The deed was in his and her name.
Outside of the garden gate, there is this fallen tempter [Genesis 3:1]. He is vindictive. The earth and the creation are his; God made it so. And when that tempter outside of the gate of Eden looked at what God had done in the garden, he said within his heart, "If I can get the woman, I will get the man." That has been true from the beginning. It is true today. Don’t try to get the man; get the woman. If you get the man, you will lose him if you don’t have her. Satan said in his heart, "If I can get the woman, I’ll get the man." And in his beauty – we now look upon the serpent as he is judged and condemned and damned; but he was beautiful – and he could talk, and he said to the woman, "You will be as a god [Genesis 3:5], you will be like God Himself." Where’d that come from? That’s what he said in his own heart: "I will be like the Most High God Himself" [Isaiah 14:14].
"You will be like God if you will eat of this forbidden tree" [Genesis 3:1-5]. And in that defection and violation of the plan and purpose of God, Satan usurped the authority, and the dominion, and the deed of the earth from Adam and repossessed it himself. And the new creation in this planet also became cursed and dark and void; and deserts, and storms, and hurricanes, and thistles, and thorns, and disease, and age, and death cursed God’s recreation.
Then it was that Satan set himself to persecute and to destroy the promised Seed. He heard God say, "The Seed of the woman shall deliver this fallen race of Adam and this creation of planet earth" [Genesis 3:15]. From that moment on, the whole Bible story is one of Satan’s attempt to destroy the promised Seed. He thought he had done it when Cain slew Abel [Genesis 4:8]. Then the apostasy of the antediluvians, and the whole world was destroyed; but Noah found grace in God’s sight [Genesis 6:8]. Then the world was filled with idolatry, and God chose Abraham [Genesis 12:1]. Sarah was barren, but God miraculously gave her a son [Genesis 21:1-3]. The nation fell into apostasy, and under Elijah a great revival [1 Kings 17]. Under Athaliah, the hated and despised and wicked daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, the entire holy family was destroyed; but Jehosheba stole Joash, a little baby of the royal throne, and hid him in the temple for seven years [2 Kings 11:2-3].
In the New Testament – Satan seeking to destroy the Seed of the woman – in Bethlehem, all of the babies were killed except this little Child that escaped by the hand of God to Egypt [Matthew 2:13-16]. Then, when He became of age, Satan sought to destroy the incarnation by the tempting to sin [Matthew 4:1-10]. Then, when He came to Nazareth, He stirred up His own people to throw Him headlong down [Luke 4:29]. Then, the Pharisees sought to stone Him to death [John 10:31-32]. And finally, Satan encompassed the crucifixion of the Seed of the woman, the Son of God, and how he must have laughed and rejoiced in glee to see Israel slay her own Son!
But a secret God kept in His heart that introduced this age of grace that the prophets never saw, and Satan never dreamed for: that in the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and in the preaching of the gospel, and the building of the church, we should have remission of sins and entrance into the glorious heaven that is yet to come. And from that day until the end time, he persecutes the people of God; "And the dragon was wroth, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" [Revelation 12:17].
Now his final fall: he is cast out of heaven in a great confrontation with Michael then follows the tribulation when he’s thrown down into this earth [Revelation 12:7-9]. Then the tribulation ends with the battle of Armageddon. And at the end of the battle of Armageddon, the old dragon is sealed in a pit by a mighty angel for a thousand years [Revelation 20:1-2]. He’s loosed for a season and brings to pass the last uprising against God, at which time he is sentenced to everlasting hell and damnation, prepared for the devil and his angels [Revelation 20:7-10]. Then we enter the new heaven and the new earth, the final recreation of God [Revelation 21, 22]. That is the summary: in heaven, in earth, and at the end of the age.
If we had hours, we’d say many things. We have time, I pray, for at least two, two things about Lucifer. Number one: in 2 Corinthians 11:14 he is described as "the angel of light"; the angel of light, enticing, alluring, attractive, beautiful, Lucifer, "light bearer." It is a caricature out of the medieval age that makes him foolish and ridiculous and grotesque, presented in imagery of horns, and tails, and hooves, and a red suit, and stoking the fires of hell. Nobody is in hell until the end of the age. It pleases Satan that thus he can be hidden behind such foolish, ridiculous, grotesque imagery. He is the angel of light, and as such his person and his presence are indescribably glorious. He is able to confront the very mightiness and omnipotence of Almighty God Himself; Lucifer does. He challenges God to His face.
And second: his ambition was not to become a fiend, his ambition was to be like God Himself. So he is described as an angel of light. He is brilliant. He is alluring. He is attractive. He is reasonable. He is persuasive. Satan is on the side of excellence, and achievement, and conquest, and victory; only leave God out of it! Satan is in sympathy with moral good and social improvement; only leave God out of it! Satan is the patron of art, and culture, and science, and mass media; only leave God out of it!
He’s Lucifer, the angel of light. He presides over the academic world. It delights Satan to see the advancement of knowledge, and science, and understanding. He teaches in our universities. He lectures in brilliance; only leave God out of it! His lessons are humanism, self-salvation, the sufficiency of man. And I can listen to Satan as he lectures in the classroom on evolution. There never was so impossible, far-fetched, far out, unprovable, unbelievable hypothesis in all of creation as that: out of nothing something comes, evolution. He lectures brilliantly, just leave God out of it! And he loves social amelioration, political economics. Let us help these poor, downtrodden, and oppressed people; and he raises up Marx, and Engels, and Lenin, and Stalin, and he throws the whole world into confusion, seeking social amelioration.
I listened to Dr. Black, the president of Robert College, a Presbyterian university in Istanbul, Turkey. He had married a Bulgarian, lived in Bulgaria, and said to me, "I cannot describe communism except as a kingdom of darkness." It is unthinkable: children will witness against their parents when they know it means the death of father and mother. Satan presiding over this great social movement, lifting up the masses of the people, as he spoke through Lenin, "You have nothing to lose but your chains." That’s Satan! Let’s have a kingdom and a government and a political life; leave God out of it!
And above all, he presides over the religions of the world. Lucifer, the son of the morning, an angel of light, he loves religion. He likes it. "I will be like the Most High God Himself" [Isaiah 14:14]. Millions of idols, there are three hundred thirty-five million different idols in India alone. And the whole story of the ancient world is one of idolatry. He likes that; just leave the true God out of it. And false religions, there are millions and millions of animists; there are other millions and millions of Buddhists and Shintoists; there are other millions and millions of Muslims; just leave God out of it!
And he, being a creature, cannot create; only God can create, so Satan counterfeits. And he counterfeits the church. How much in the Bible will you read of the counterfeit church? "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" [2 Timothy 3:5]. A synagogue of Satan, with the deep things of Satan, as Revelation 2:  describes it, instead of the deep things of God; just leave God out of it: a religion without a Redeemer, a litany without life, a homily without the blessed hope, and a preacher without passion. He loves a great sermon; just don’t make an appeal, don’t strive for the lost.
He is an angel of light, and as such he hides away, hides away, hides out of sight the end result of his brilliant work. He points to the great university: "Look at it. Look at this magnificent academic community. Look at this marvelous institution of learning." He hides away the fact the school was built for the evangelization of the world, for the training of preachers that the people might be saved. He hides it away. He looks with great, great, great complimentary self-congratulation upon these great social movements like communism! Judge Goulani in India, arguing with me about Russia said, "You Americans forget that we are greatly impressed with what communism has done in raising, to heights of glory and power, Russia." But Satan hides the slavery, and the despair, and the loss of freedom, and the destruction of the human spirit. He hides that away. Satan presents the man of distinction: "Look at him, look at him with a glass in his hand and every executive privilege lying before him," and he hides away the drunk in his vomit and in his gutter. He doesn’t want you to see that. An angel of light, and he glories in the glitter, and the glamour, and the gaiety of a Hollywood and a Broadway and a Las Vegas; but he hides away the syphilis, and the gonorrhea, and the herpes, and the AIDS, and the tears, and the sorrows of the broken home and the orphan child. He’s an angel of light.
Our time is gone. The fury of his fall: one of the most astonishing things that I read in the Bible is this: in the fourth chapter of 1 Thessalonians, [verse] 16: "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God"; the voice of the archangel. There is one archangel, and that’s Michael. And Michael is the forever enemy of Lucifer; Michael the archangel!
And when Michael the archangel descends from heaven with a shout and with his trumpet, the dead in Christ are raised, and the saints that are still alive are raptured up to meet the Lord who is descending in the air [1 Thessalonians 4:13-17]. And Satan’s fury and wrath knows no end and no bounds. You see, he says to God and he says to Michael, "These dead are mine! I am the god and the lord of death! And these dead are mine. In corruption they lie in the dust of the ground, and Michael has stolen them away." And he says, "These saints that are in the earth, they are mine to afflict, and to slay with disease and age and death; and you’ve stolen them away. And this air: you have announced the coming of the Lord Christ in the air – like the parable says, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh’ [Matthew 25:6] – the air is mine! I am the prince of the air." His fury knows no bounds and no end. And that’s why you read in the Book, "And there was war, there was war in heaven." Michael the great archangel and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought, and his angels. And the great dragon was cast out [Revelation 12:7-9].
He has access to heaven and earth now. Up there in heaven, he accused Job; he’s cast out. I think one of the most dynamic couplets in human verse is from Milton’s Paradise Lost: "Him the almighty hurled headlong, flaming from the ethereal sky." Then it says, "Woe unto the inhabitants of the earth; for Satan has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that his time is short" [Revelation 12:12]. That’s the great tribulation. He incarnates himself – as God has in Christ – he incarnates himself in the man of sin, described in 2 Thessalonians 2, and in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, called the beast. He incarnates himself, and the world falls into affliction and blood as it has never known from the beginning of the world.
Then how are we saved? Because in the seventh chapter of the Revelation, God seals these that are His. And how are we saved today in the presence of such awesome ableness and beauty and allurement and enticement? Because in the first chapter of the Book of Ephesians, God seals us against the day of redemption [Ephesians 1:13]. It is God who keeps us.
There is but to read this hymn to feel the conflict and the conquest of the people of God in it. In 1527, Luther’s wonderful friend Leonhardt Kaiser was burned at the stake. And out of the infinite sorrow of that loss, Luther took Psalm 46 and wrote his great hymn: "Ein’ feste Burg." Johann Sebastian Bach made it the melody of his "Eightieth Cantata," Felix Mendelssohn made it the theme of his final movement of his fifth symphony, called "The Reformation Symphony," and Wagner used it in his "Kaiser March." Feel it, sense it, just as I read the words:
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.
The angel of light.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth –
That’s the Lord of hosts –
His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
You can’t read that, that you don’t feel the great surge of the power of God when He seals His people. An angel of light delivered into the fires of judgment forever, and we who found refuge in our Lord triumphant and victorious; God bless and be praised for His abounding grace to us.
We’re going to sing our hymn of appeal. And on the first note of the first stanza, you to whom the Spirit has made appeal, come. Do it now, while we stand and while we sing.
14:12-15, Luke 10:18
I. A summary of his life
A. In heaven
1. Creation of
angelic hosts (Job 38:4-9)
2. Lucifer, son
of the morning (Ezekiel 28:12-15)
3. His fall and
defection (Isaiah 14:12-15, Revelation 12)
4. Fall of
perfect created universe (Genesis 1:1-2)
B. In earth
deed to earth from Adam to Satan (Luke 4:6, John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, 2
destruction of the "seed" of the woman
C. At the consummation
of the age (Revelation 12, 20:10)
II. These things about him
A. An angel of light (2
1. The medieval
2. His actual
3. His deception
4. His ambition
B. The fury of his wrath
1. Voice of the archangel
(1 Thessalonians 4:16)
2. His fury knows
no end (Revelation 12:7-9)
3. His expulsion
from heaven (Ephesians 1:13-14, Revelation 12:11)