Let us now look at the privileged position in which Lucifer began his existence, because understanding his relationship with God and the manner in which he lost it will help us appreciate Jesus Christ and his road to glory. Whereas Jesus began his earthly life in humility and ended it in ignominy, Satan began in glory and will end in ashes. His downfall was his fatally-flawed decision to exalt himself to an even higher position than he was already given—just like God.
The following account in Ezekiel 28 is the most detailed reference in the entire Bible to Satan’s original state, his decision to leave it and his eventual annihilation. Note the use of language in verse 12, making it appear that this passage is addressed only to a particular “king of Tyre.” It is evident, however, that though this king may have had a few faults of his own, they pale in comparison to the criminal antics of the one this passage is really being addressed to—the Cosmic Criminal, Satan, the crafty old “Serpent” we left back in Genesis 3 (we wish he had been left in Genesis 3!). Note also that God says here that He will be the one to destroy Satan, but this is not a contradiction of Genesis 3:15, which said that the promised seed would crush his head. There is a common Hebrew idiom being employed here in which the one whose plan it is can speak of doing the work, although he has actually delegated it to an agent.
(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.
(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.
(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.
(15) You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
(16) Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
(17) Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings [this will happen in the future].
(18) By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching [also future, spoken of as past to emphasize the certainty of the event—”the lake of fire” of Rev. 19:20, et al.].
(19) All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.'”
So we see that the present Adversary of God and His Christ began as “the model of perfection,” beautiful and wise beyond comparison. From this description, he seems to have been the most graciously favored of all God’s created beings. Would it be going to far to assert that God had given him everything he could give a created being without making him just like Himself? We think this is what the above Scriptures are communicating. So it is all the more reprehensible that Lucifer became discontent, actually thinking that he deserved to be even more than he already was. Lucifer’s pathetic example proves that it is always possible to be unthankful, no matter how much we have been given.
At this point let us turn to the description of Lucifer’s fall found in Isaiah. We have bolded his five “I will” statements to accentuate the deliberate choice he made to reject God’s grace (biblically, the number five indicates “grace”). Note that this passage ends with a revealing statement from God’s perspective about who Satan really is, when stripped of all his lies and pretensions. He is very small indeed, apart from what God has given him through His grace and generosity. When he is finally revealed for who he is, and judged in righteousness by the Son of Righteousness, all will marvel at what a pretender he really is, and how unworthy of notice.
(12) How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! [KJV-“Lucifer”] You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
(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.
(14) I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
(15) But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit.
(16) Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble,
(17) the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?”
Remember that in Ezekiel 28 Satan was described as being “full of wisdom,” until that wisdom was “corrupted…because of [his] splendor.” Satan was, therefore, the original embodiment of God’s wisdom in a created being, and it is not too big a stretch to imagine that he was even God’s companion in some aspects of creation. But instead of being blessed to participate with God in His divine functions, Satan desired personal “equality” with God, meaning that he would have the same powers and abilities as his Creator. He was apparently close enough to God to “taste” what it would be like to be Him, and considered such “equality” enough of a possibility that he thought he could get away with grasping for it.
Instead, he lost his relationship with his Creator (because he apparently overlooked the fact that he was created), and to this day uses the awesome ability God originally gave him to hinder God’s purposes, promote lies concerning the integrity of God’s Word and bombard mankind with a plethora of possibilities for errant belief and worship. His demented goal is to make good look evil, and evil good, and the true God and His Christ look bad in any way he can. But like the primitive man who throws mud at the sun to dim its light, so all his centuries-worth of effort to obscure God and Christ from mankind will be to no avail, for one day every tongue shall “…confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:11).
The fall of Lucifer left a big hole in heaven, so to speak, as he vacated his position of authority and power as one of three archangels (along with Gabriel and Michael). He also talked one-third of the angels into leaving with him in his descent to oblivion (he is very persuasive). This caused a radical restructuring of heavenly authority, the faithful angels having to fill the void left in the rebels’ wake. The position Satan left was not easily filled, for God had “broken the mold” when he made Lucifer to be his “right hand man.” God had given the position to Lucifer as his “birthright,” so to speak, since the latter just “woke up” one day as a created being equipped to the max. God instituted a plan for filling this position with another exalted being. But we can surmise that He purposed in His heart that the next time it would be by someone earning the right to it, someone who would not try to grasp at equality with Him. The following passage highlights Christ’s humility in contrast to Satan’s prideful power-grab.
(5) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
(6) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
(7) But made himself nothing [KJV—”of no reputation”], taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
(8) And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross.
(9) Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name,
(10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
(11) and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Clearly, God has exalted His wonderful Son to “the highest place,” a place that is “just like God,” or functionally equal with God. This is the very place that Lucifer wanted to be, but by grabbing for it was cast out of heaven. In contrast, Jesus is not concerned with having personal equality with God as Lucifer was. He is content to serve God in whatever way and in whatever role God gives him. Because of this humility, God has exalted him as high as He can exalt someone—to His own right hand, equal in authority, power and dominion with Himself. As Jesus said in Matthew 28:18, “…All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.” The delegation of this authority occurred right after his resurrection, but was realized when he was seated at the right hand of God after his Ascension.
The authority God has given Christ has placed him in a position of functional equality with God. Let’s look again at 1 Corinthians 15:24–28, paying particular attention to the bolded phrase in the last verse.
1 Corinthians 15:24-28
(24) Then the end will come, when he [Christ] hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he [Christ] has destroyed all dominion, authority and power [by exercising his own].
(25) For he [Christ] must reign until he [Christ] has put all his [Christ’s] enemies under his [Christ’s] feet.
(26) The last enemy to be destroyed is death.
(27) For he [Christ] “has put everything under his [Christ’s] feet.” Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him [Christ], it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.
(28) When he [Christ] has done this, then [in the future, not now] the Son himself will be made subject to him [God] who put everything under him [Christ], so that God may be all in all.
If the Son will be made subject to God in the future at the end of his Millennial reign on the earth, the time to which this is referring, then what does that say about his present relationship with God, his Father? It says that presently Christ is fully authorized as God’s appointed agent of Redemption, not subordinate to God, but in a functionally equal position. He is in a relationship with God like the relationship that Joseph had with Pharaoh, personally distinct from him but reigning with all his authority. As the result of his resurrection and ascension, Jesus Christ has the privilege to share with God in the dominion of all of His creation, not only in this, the Church Age, but in the coming Millennial Age as well.
In reference to his original splendor, Lucifer was called the “morning star,” which actually means “shining star.” But he became too bright for his britches. Jesus Christ is referred to in Revelation 22:16 as the “bright Morning Star,” indicating that he exceeds Lucifer’s original brilliance because of his virtuous character. By never trying to shine in his own light, but being content to reflect the Father’s brilliance, Jesus has now been blessed by God to be a luminary of luminaries in his own right, shining alongside God at His right hand.
God “broke the mold” when he created Lucifer, but Jesus Christ is patterning himself after his Father. What Lucifer sought for and even grabbed at, Jesus never even considered for a moment that it could be his—equality with God. But since Lucifer’s rebellion, God has longed for someone to be His companion and share with Him in His many divine functions. Jesus Christ is now such a glorious Lord, not in any way to compete with the Father, but to be to His glory.