So I’ve written on this topic before on here, but I thought it would be helpful to review this again for a greater purpose beyond the actual teaching. As you’ve seen in my previous posts such as “Christians Don’t Go to Heaven When They Die”, “Why Do We Celebrate Easter?” and many others, I’m not shy about challenging traditional beliefs if they seem inconsistent to what Scripture specifically states or doesn’t state. I only care about believing what God wants me to believe according to His Word, and connecting with Him deeper through continually embodying the Word in my thoughts and actions. With that said, let’s see through scripture why the devil was never an angel.
The common story that has been taught is that the devil was once an angel who got too prideful and was eventually banished from heaven by God. Most people will point you to Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 as proof of this teaching, but it’s very important to observe whose being spoken to in these verses. This is going to be a great lesson on reading scripture carefully. In Isaiah 14:4 it states, “that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say, “How the oppressor has ceased, And how fury has ceased!” So the verse indicates that the following words between verse 4 through 21 will be a taunt to the king of Babylon. So then it follows that the verse that people point to in verse 12 about the fallen star is not a reference to the devil, but a statement directed to the King of Babylon. To my humble knowledge of scripture, I know of no verse that the devil was ever referred to as the King of Babylon.
In Ezekiel 28:2, it similarly expresses that the following words in the chapter are being directed to the leader of Tyre. Ezekiel 28:2 states, “Son of man, say to the leader of Tyre, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Because your heart is lifted up And you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods In the heart of the seas’; Yet you are a man and not God, Although you make your heart like the heart of God—“. The statements continue on all the way through verses 11-18, which are not describing the devil as some make the conclusion, but are words being directed to the leader of Tyre. Verse 11 and 12 states, “Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, 12 “Son of man, take up a lamentation over the king of Tyre and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God,“. The devil is never directly mentioned in these verses people reference, and to my humble knowledge of scripture, I know of no verse that ever referenced him as the King of Tyre.
If we go back to Isaiah 14:12 for a moment, in the KJV translation, some have attached the word Lucifer to be referencing the devil. Looking at the Hebrew translation of the word Lucifer, it actually means morning star. Newer translations translate it as such, which was why I stated fallen star when we were discussing Isaiah 14 earlier. There’s no verse I’m aware of that references the devil as a morning star.
From the beginning
To further bring thought on this traditional concept that the devil was once a good angel, let’s consider these following verses. 1 John 3:8 states “the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” John 8:44 states, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Now the first verse we looked at stated the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The second verse stated that he was a murderer from the beginning. Now if he was both a sinner and a murderer from the beginning, it seems to leave no room for this evil being to have ever been good. Based on these verses, it seems difficult not to conclude the devil was always evil.
Assuming the devil was an angel
I have one last scriptural analysis for consideration. What if one were to presume for the sake of argument that it’s true that the devil was in fact once an angel? Let’s consider this verse. 2 Peter 2:4 states, “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment;” Theoretically, based on this verse, if the devil was ever once an angel who sinned against God, he would be in a pit of darkness eternally bound until the day of judgment. But numerous verses seem to show that the devil is an active force in this world throughout Scripture in times past (Job) and times present (1 Peter 5:8). So it would be difficult to conclude that the devil was ever an angel, because if he was, then he wouldn’t be an active evil force in the world right now. It seems doubtful an angel could do much evil if they were committed to a pit of darkness reserved for Judgment by the all-powerful God we serve.
I hope this helps you to think more about how you read Scripture. I encourage us all to continually make sure we’re understanding scripture the way it’s specifically stated, and not by the lens of whatever tradition we were raised in, or teachings we were previously told. I challenge you to think about everything you’ve ever been taught to believe or practice as a part of your faith, and always put it to the test of Scripture. As long as we’re following His Word, God will be pleased with us.
Peace to all those who are in Christ.