Ask a Franciscan

Finding Satan’s Story in the Bible

A religious painting

Where in the Bible can I find the story of Lucifer and the fallen angels? I’ve looked, but without success. Is there some other book that contains this story?

Many of us learned that because Lucifer led an unsuccessful revolt in heaven, he and his followers were cast out. In Revelation 12:7-9, we read: “Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.”

In his Dictionary of the Bible, Father John L. McKenzie, SJ, explains that the Hebrew word satan (accuser) became an individual’s name only late in the Hebrew Scriptures. The term’s basic meaning (diabolos in Greek) is an accuser in a court of law (for example, Ps 109:6); it can also mean a military or political adversary (1 Sm 29:4, 2 Sm 19:23, 1 Kgs 5:18). Satan accuses Job of loving God only because Job has been richly blessed by God (1:6ff). Satan loses his wager with God about the depth of Job’s piety. In 1 Chr 21:1, the generic term satan becomes an individual’s name.

Jewish apocryphal writings present Satan as the leader of a revolt in heaven and his banishment to the underworld (Sheol). Although the serpent who tempted Eve (Gn 3:1-6) is not called satan, many Jews and Christians have read that text as equating the two. Lucifer is a non-biblical name for Satan.

The synoptic Gospels call Jesus’ tempter “the devil” or “Satan” (Mt 4:1, Mk 1:13, and Lk 4:2). Peter is called “Satan” when he refuses to judge by God’s standards (Mt 16:23). Eternal fire is prepared for the devil and the fallen angels (Mt 25:41).

Ironically, the Latin term lucifer (light-bearer) was first applied to Jesus in the Vulgate Bible’s translation of the Hebrew term for “morning star.” Because Jesus says, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky” (Lk 10:18), some Fathers of the Church began applying the title from Isaiah 14:12 to Satan. That link has stuck.

The New Testament has many references to the devil—but always in the context of a God who is more powerful, who created whatever exists—including angels and people who sometimes use their freedom destructively.

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3 thoughts on “Finding Satan’s Story in the Bible”

  1. Have done writing with appropriate research in the past— would love to return at some point. I find it interesting without full recall of all read and studied—- I see this as a falling out in part, over the creation of cherubs, and various formerly unknown creatures. Finding beauty, restoration of health, and comfort in unnatural bonding. To be called out in court… perhaps Lucifer saying: this is not right, proper, or wholly fit for the preservation of our beloved kingdom. I will risk being cast down, in order to find solution to issue of ascension through the sale of children and animals— beginning with signals for joy and comfort in times of great sadness— which leads to watching them interact— forced play (or encouraged play some call it), then improper touch by those deemed healer, master, commander. Those who say— this is best, quickest fit to salve the wages of war— restoring peace and blessings with more to follow.

  2. The first thing one must do to cut the signal is to look away—- to turn body as far away from “the beauty” as possible.

    In this depiction—- what can we glean about God’s emotion based response to not only having his creations turn away from the sights they beheld as signs of glory for so long— but as result— were able to resist looking at him as well….

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