What did Jesus mean when He said, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven'?

In Luke 10, Jesus sent out 72 disciples to evangelize, preparing the way for His arrival in Jerusalem. When these disciples returned, they excitedly told Jesus: "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" Jesus responds to them by saying, in part, the phrase, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:17–18).

In saying this, Jesus was likely referencing Isaiah 14:12, which says: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations!" (NKJV). This fall of Satan happened prior to Adam and Eve's temptation in the garden of Eden, which led to the fall of mankind. Lucifer wanted to exalt his throne so that he would be like the Most High; because of his pride, he was cast out of heaven (Isaiah 14:12–15). Jesus affirms Himself as God in the Luke 10:18 statement, because He mentions His own preexistence and defeat of Satan.

The disciples return to Jesus excited that they had authority over demons in Jesus's name, but Jesus basically lets them know that this should not have been surprising to them. Satan had already fallen from heaven and he has no authority over Jesus, the Son of God. Because Jesus sent the disciples out in His authority, this meant that they also had His authority over the demonic realm. Jesus equipped His disciples with His power and protection: "Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you" (Luke 10:19).

Even better than the authority the disciples have in Christ, Jesus points out, is their salvation. Salvation is the greatest cause that we all have for joy: "Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20).

Until Jesus returns and overthrows the kingdom of darkness once and for all, believers will face an ongoing spiritual battle against the evil forces at work in the world. God has given us the power and authority we need to resist the Devil (Ephesians 6:10–18; James 4:7). First John 4:4 reminds believers that: "he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."

Related Truth:

When was the fall of Satan, and how did it happen?

Who is Satan?

How is it that Satan thought he could defeat God?

God vs. Satan? If He is really all-powerful, why doesn't God just kill Satan?

Is belief in the pre-existence of Jesus biblical?

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