THE REASON FOR LUCIFER’S FALL. “You were perfect in all your ways until iniquity was found in you.”Ezek.28:15. This makes it sound like a sudden happening, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Hebrew word translated “iniquity” should really have been rendered “declension” or “a turning away”. It indicates a gradual process of decline, the which is so often observed in human behaviour. That which starts with small beginnings seems to give licence to the soul, gradually to increase the effect until it explodes into downright rebellion. Hence the decline is not in itself immediately the cause of divine judgment, but leads up to it.
ARROGANCE. “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty.” (Verse 17) Here is a more definitive statement. A “lifted up” heart speaks of arrogance, a haughty attitude, one that attaches the utmost value to SELF and holds others in varying degrees of contempt. How easy it is for us, as human beings, to recognise this trait of character. It happens all the time in our fallen state. But maybe we find it difficult to appreciate how it might arise in Lucifer, as yet unfallen. But God gave His upper creation the same precious gift of freewill. And Satan abused it, becoming arrogant.
PERVERSION. “You corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour.” (Verse 17) The word “corrupted” could equally be translated “spoiled, perverted, or defiled”. The same happened to Solomon in his later years. The gift of wisdom was used to everyone’s advantage initially, but gradually gave way to a more subtle usage. Herein lies the problem. Those who possess great knowledge and wisdom, are also capable of appreciating how to operate in subtle, devious ways to their own advantage. When the Lord commended us to become “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” He recognised this tendency, commending the “wisdom” as long as it was coupled with the “harmlessness” of action towards all others. Jesus was Himself “Holy, HARMLESS, and undefiled”. (Heb.7:26) Many are the examples of how He used wisdom when answering the tricky questions of the Pharisees. Lucifer began well. He used his wisdom on all those occasions where it would benefit others. But gradually, over the years, the subtlety began to grow, coupled with the arrogance already mentioned. His outlook became more self-orientated, and less interested in the good of others. This was yet another aspect of declension that led to his final act of rebellion.
PROFANATION. “You have profaned your Sanctuaries.” (Verse 18) What exactly does this mean? To “profane” means to “desecrate” or “defile”, to introduce elements of worship which are unacceptable to God. Solomon did this by allowing his foreign wives to bring their own forms of idolatrous worship into Jerusalem. Lucifer did something similar, in that his self-elevation was the seat of desecration. The worship that should truly have been rendered to God and God alone, was being subtly filtered off to his own benefit. The heavenly host was beginning to look more to Lucifer, and less to God. He himself became the idol that defiled his own Sanctuaries. This type of thing doesn’t come about in one day.
MIDDLE-MAN TRADING. “By the multitude of your trade they have filled the midst of you with violence.” (Verse 16) At first reading this statement seems somewhat incomprehensible. But one must understand the nature of this prophecy concerning the King of Tyre. Tyre was then an island fortress, where the people bought in goods by sea from far-flung places, and sold them for a handsome profit. As such they were the world’s most successful “middle-men”, who became rich without performing any service to another living soul. They were like the men who spend all their time today “playing the market” of the world’s Stock Exchanges, reaping rich rewards by playing games with money to no one’s advantage but their own. Lucifer was thus categorised by the Lord in this prophecy. He had set himself up in the Sanctuary to be admired,thereby filtering off the worship that rightly belonged to the Lord. In such a manner he was a spiritual “middle-man”. But what do the other words signify? “They filled the midst of you with violence”? Here is an unfortunate translation. When we speak of violence today we think in terms of terrorists, bombs, bullets, and physical violence. But this was not intended in Verse 16. There was no “violence” as such in the Island of Tyre. They were all living in the utmost luxury and security. Neither was there “violence” in Lucifer’s Sanctuaries.
Instead of “violence” we should think in terms of “violation”. Satan had begun to VIOLATE the purpose to which God had assigned him. The adulation he was receiving from the heavenly hosts was filling him with ill-gotten gains, thereby violating the covenant he had with God. Think again about Tyre. The people on that Island could have sold their goods for a modest profit, sufficient to supply their own daily needs, and to live in reasonable comfort. But they re-sold at enormous profit, which amounted to THEFT. People arriving in the caravan trains to purchase goods would be VIOLATED by the high prices. But they would be powerless to do anything about it. The Tyrians possessed the MONOPOLY of trade. Life was therefore rendered more difficult because of the high prices that had to be paid for merchandise. This in turn produced hardship for many, whilst the Tyrians sat in luxury at their expense. Now see this as a parallel with what Lucifer was doing. The Lord was quite ready for Lucifer to have his modest share from the Sanctuary work that he performed. In real terms this meant that the hosts would be ready to thank him for all his services, and look kindly upon him. That was allowable. But the worship that was being filtered off for his own benefit caused him progressively to violate the covenant, and grow in self-aggrandizement. He was not the only one responsible for this. “They” were “filling the midst of him with violations.” Many others in the heavenly realm were party to his downfall.
SELF-EXALTATION. The outcome of this long process, which occurred at such a slow rate that it was not even appreciated at the time, was that the soil was ripe for rebellion. The outcome of the gradual development of self-esteem, and self-worship was the dethronement of God. It was inevitable. Since then it has happened many times throughout human history, when an individual rises in self-importance until he has to overthrow whatever government then exists. His belief in himself is paramount. He has to take the reins of government. Hence a coup d’etat occurs. With Lucifer the thought processes were working in that direction.
THE RESULT OF SELF-EXALTATION. Lucifer was “the Anointed One, the Cherub who covered” the glory of God. Because of his self-exaltation he began to despise the nature of God, His lack of showmanship, His desire to remain hidden, the need for humility by all who were in the highest places. Instead he began to enjoy the adulation he was receiving, and was living off it. He soon formulated a new concept, whereby showmanship was the order of the day, where competition was the stuff of life, where prizes could be awarded for the best displays, where self-elevation was expected of all, indeed, where self became the most important commodity of all.
THE NEW LAW. Lucifer formulated a new law, which could be summed up in a pithy saying – “MY claim to MY right to MYSELF.” He was saying, “I am my own person, and I have a right to my own views. I have strength, knowledge, wisdom, and great ability. These attributes are my own. What I do with my own thinking is purely mine. No longer do I need to refer everything back to God. I’ll work my own passage. I don’t any longer believe that God’s way is the best way. Why doesn’t He show Himself? Why doesn’t He appear in all His Kingly regalia, and enjoy the pomp and circumstance? What’s the purpose in all this hiding? I think it’s madness. My way is best, and I’ll promote it throughout the heavenly realm.”
Mind you, this wasn’t vocalised until right near the end. THE ACT OF REBELLION “You have been in Eden, the Garden of God.” Many times did Lucifer visit Adam and Eve. And as time advanced, so the Heavenly Cherub would display more traits of his growing independence and arrogance towards God. Nothing would have been detected as “out of order” at that stage, because it was a malaise in its first beginnings, when the symptoms were not easily diagnosed. But this was the build-up to the final act of rebellion.
HATH GOD SAID? Herein is the beginning of the end, so to speak. That which had been forming in Lucifer’s mind is about to break out in open rebellion. “Hath God said?” or maybe “Could it really be true that God spoke thus?” It was not exactly a question, nor yet was it a statement of fact. It was more in the nature of a possibility that needed debating. Yes, that’s it. Debate. Satan has always been a good debater and because of the wisdom he possessed, he loved the mental exercise of chewing things over, and discussing philosophical questions. He came to discuss and debate the issue with Adam and Eve. For some reason which is now impossible to understand, Adam decided that he didn’t want to join in the discussion, but just to sit by and listen, whilst the magnificent being addressed his wife.
THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE. “Now what on earth is all the fuss about? Why shouldn’t you eat from this tree? It’s as good as any other tree in the Garden. But let me tell you a sacred secret. There are two ways, two avenues, and God has kept the knowledge of one of them from you. By eating the fruit from this tree you will be able to assess the relative merits of BOTH ways. After all, how can you arrive at a proper conclusion to any matter that needs debating, if you are not in possession of ALL the facts?” In putting all these words into the mouth of Lucifer, which are not recorded, it may seem to be taking a liberty. But when you come to think about it, having already spent time assessing what is known of Lucifer, it does require an approach of this sort. Genesis is very economical with its words. Often we can obtain an underlying feeling, and need to fill in the gaps to obtain a better understanding of the record.
GOOD AND EVIL. The Tree was known as “The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.” But what information would that have conveyed to Adam and Eve? They had no knowledge of “Evil”. Or come to that, what was “Good”? Surely in their state of “sinlessness” and “innocence” these terms would have been meaningless, unless the Lord had explained them. But clearly He hadn’t, according to the text of Genesis 3. As we explained in a recent P.T. (66) the root meaning of the Hebrew word translated “Evil” is a “Loud noise” or “Breaking”. This is found in Gesenius’s Hebrew Lexicon. Although the word became connected with what we have since come to term “Evil”, yet in the beginning it defined one of two distinct “ways”. Good and Evil were the ways of Quietness and Humility, contrasted with Loudness, Showmanship, and Display. We can only assume that God wanted Adam and Eve to grow in the knowledge of Quietness and Humility without fully appreciating that it was “Good”, before He communicated the existence of another way. In doing this, the experiences of life would engender a true appreciation of what God’s character was, and enable the first human pair to shun the “Loud” way. But Lucifer entered the scene and short-circuited that process. “God knows that as soon as you eat the fruit of that tree you will know and understand these two ways, the way of TOV (Good) and RA (Evil). Then you will be in a position to enter the debate with me as to which you think is the better of the two.” Whilst Eve was thinking this over, and Adam was sitting on the grass listening, Lucifer injected his last damaging statement. “Once you have eaten the fruit you will become like God Himself. He has this knowledge of TOV and RA. You will become wise like Him.” That did it. The trick was very clever. How could they discuss this very important issue without having the knowledge of what the two ways were? Why had God asked them not to eat it? Why was He witholding this knowledge from them? Surely the fruit looks good, and if it enables one to be wise, it’s beneficial in every way.
THE MOMENT OF REBELLION. It was at this very point that SIN entered the world. Not just in the Garden of Eden, but in the whole Cosmos. The gradual growth of Self in Lucifer had now reached the Zenith, and even though he had been cautioned several times by the Lord, yet his strong urge for Independence got the better of him and he took that final step of disobedience which occasioned his own fall, and that of Adam and Eve with him. The Hebrew (and Greek) word for Sin means “fallenness“, “Missing the Mark.” Even though thoughts of independence had arisen in Satan’s mind for quite a while, they were not debited to his account as Sin until he finally put it into action. A parallel situation arose with Cain and Abel. Cain’s sacrifice was not accepted. Cain was angry, but God asked him why his face had fallen. “If you do that which is right, that which I have explained to you before, then all will be well. But watch out, because Sin is crouching at your door like a wild beast seeking to devour you. Overcome it, and you will be accepted.” But he didn’t. Neither did Satan.