"How you have fallen from heaven, O 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 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? I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit" (Isa. 14:12-15).
The Bible provides a wealth of helpful advice to apply to our spiritual lives. Much of this instruction comes from the trials and failures of others. Paul made reference to the teaching power of the biblical examples, saying, "Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Corinthians 10:11-12). The one thing that makes the Bible unique from all other religious texts is that God chose not to whitewash accounts of people who turned their back on Him.
Lucifer’s downfall is the greatest example of failure. Judas is another relevant example. Judas is infamous for betraying Jesus for money. We are told that he was a devil from the beginning (John 6:70), so he never was a true follower of Christ. Lucifer was created perfect, and he served God directly in His holy temple. Despite that perfect environment, he chose rebellion.
The Bible gives no time frame for when Lucifer fell and became Satan. I've never understood why so many Christian leaders seem to assume that the creation and downfall of Lucifer was within a few years of man's creation. God exists forever. To say that at some point He had a falling-out with His lead angel leaves open the possibility that this event could have occurred a very long time ago.
The judgment against Satan is at least 6,000 years ago. With the last days drawing near, Satan must realize that the vast majority of his time of being free to do his devilish work has now run out. The fact that he may only have a few more years left must constantly gnaw at his mind.
Downfall I - Satan Gets Fired
Pride caused Satan's downfall. God created him with such splendor that Lucifer looked in the mirror one day and said, "I should be running things around here." He conspired with a third of the angelic host to launch a coup against the Lord of hosts.
The Bible gives a wonderful illustration of the hopeless nature of Satan's insurrection. When he made his move, God cast him out of heaven so fast, his ejection resembled a bolt of lightning streaking across the sky. Jesus said, "I was watching Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18).
Even though God cast Satan out of heaven, He did not forever ban him from re-entering the heavenly realm. The account of Job tells us that the devil is still able to enter the gates of paradise.
“One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, 'Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it’" (Job 1:6-7).
What really happened is that Satan got fired. He lost his rank, beauty, power, and--most importantly--his relationship with God. The bitterness from his dismissal is likely what has transformed him into a being of pure evil.
Satan’s removal from office also came with a promise of future punishment. God, at some point, created hell and a lake of fire. The latter had the Devil’s name written on it.
Downfall II - His Fate Is Sealed at Calvary
Having lost his position in heaven, Satan took up residence on earth. Several passages describe him as the god of this world. He and the legion of fellow angels that fell with him are the driving force behind many world empires.
Satan received a temporary boost when he caused Adam and Eve to fall from grace. By polluting the world with sin, the devil thought that he had bought himself some time.
Jesus came into this world to defeat Satan, but it wasn’t clear how He would accomplish this goal. Satan knew that the arrival of the Messiah spelled trouble for him. When Christ was still a child, the devil tried to kill him. Jesus latter validated Satan’s reason for fear when He said, "now shall the prince of this world be cast out" (John 12:31).
The demons who encountered the Lord were scared out of their minds. They thought Jesus was coming to set up His kingdom and imprison them in hell. They were very direct, saying, "Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God" (Luke 4:34). Other demons begged that he would not "torment' them (Mark 5:7).
Satan and his demonic underlings didn't know that the cross was God’s chosen method of redemption. One of the reasons Satan hates the cross is that he played an active role in sealing his own fate. When Jesus rose from the grave, the bondage of sin was broken and the countdown to Satan’s doom resumed.
"Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (Cor. 2:8).
Downfall III - Kicked Out of Heaven
Satan will be forcefully removed from heaven at some point during the tribulation. God will decide that the devil is no longer welcome in His presence, and He will order Michael and His angels to show him the door.
Satan’s permanent banishment from heaven does not occur until the latter part of the seven-year tribulation. It is possible that the raptured Christians will witness this eviction battle first hand. Because Satan spends most of his time accusing saints before God, it will be a joyous relief to have such an evil pest removed from heaven.
Satan will not take his eviction from heaven very well. He will go into a fit of rage and focus all his energy on causing as much death and destruction on earth as possible. Satan will know that his time is short, and that will fuel his wrath.
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Rev. 12:7-12).
Downfall IV - Locked Up for 1000 Years
At the end of the tribulation, Satan will be captured by an unnamed angel and locked in the bottomless pit for 1000 years. For the first time ever, he will be subjected to personal punishment. If the bottomless pit is the same one described in Revelation 9, Satan will face a millennium of hellish conditions.
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season" (Rev. 20:1-3).
Satan's mind during his 1000 years of imprisonment will be consumed with plans for what he will do to deceive the mortal nations living during the millennial reign of Christ.
Downfall V - Eternal Torment
Satan will be released from the bottomless pit at the end of the 1000-year reign of Christ. He will immediately make his final attempt to attack God. Having already failed four times, and with Bible prophecy predicting he will fall short a fifth time, a sane person would think that Satan would give up. The devil keeps trying because he is totally depraved in his thinking.
"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom [is] as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them" (Rev. 20:7-9).
Satan will be pitched into the lake of fire once the final rebellion is vanquished. The greatest murderer of all time will be tormented and humiliated for all eternity. The devil, after the Great White Throne Judgment, will be joined by billions of people who followed him in the millennial rebellion. Satan’s final insult will come when he is stripped of all of his glory, and will be left a mere shell of his former self. The difference will be so striking, all those who see Satan will marvel that he is the one who once had the power to rule over kingdoms.
"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev. 20:10).
"Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms?" (Isa. 14:15-6).
Avoiding Satan's Doom
The vast majority of people have a negative view of Satan. What they don't realize is that they are doomed to share his fate unless they turn to Christ. Sin has made us all contaminated with the same corruption that afflicts the evil one.
The blood of Christ is the only cure that will break that bond and make us children of the Living God. Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6).
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Unlike Satan, whose fate is forever sealed, we have the option of choosing Jesus as our Savior. One accomplishes this by repenting and making Christ Lord of his or her life.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).