Luke 10:18
And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
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(18) I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.—The tense of the first Greek verb implies continuous action: I was beholding Satan as he fell . . . While they were working their Master had been following them in spirit, gazing, as it were, on each stage of their victorious conflict. Their triumph over the demons was the beginning and the earnest of a final conquest over Satan as “the prince of the demons.” There may, possibly, be a reference to the belief then beginning to be current among the Jews as to the fall of Satan after his creation; but the primary meaning of our Lord’s words is that he was now dethroned from his usurped dominion in the “high places” (comp. Ephesians 6:12), which symbolised the spiritual region of the soul and mind of man. The imagery reappears in a developed form in Revelation 12:9.

10:17-24 All our victories over Satan, are obtained by power derived from Jesus Christ, and he must have all the praise. But let us beware of spiritual pride, which has been the destruction of many. Our Lord rejoiced at the prospect of the salvation of many souls. It was fit that particular notice should be taken of that hour of joy; there were few such, for He was a man of sorrows: in that hour in which he saw Satan fall, and heard of the good success of his ministers, in that hour he rejoiced. He has ever resisted the proud, and given grace to the humble. The more simply dependent we are on the teaching, help, and blessing of the Son of God, the more we shall know both of the Father and of the Son; the more blessed we shall be in seeing the glory, and hearing the words of the Divine Saviour; and the more useful we shall be made in promoting his cause.I beheld Satan ... - "Satan" here denotes evidently the prince of the devils who had been cast out by the seventy disciples, for the discourse was respecting their power over evil spirits. "Lightning" is an image of "rapidity" or "quickness." I saw Satan fall "quickly" or rapidly - as quick as lightning. The phrase "from heaven" is to be referred to the lightning, and does not mean that he saw "Satan" fall "from heaven," but that he fell as quick as lightning from heaven or from the clouds. The whole expression then may mean, "I saw at your command devils immediately depart, as quick as the flash of lightning. I gave you this power - I saw it put forth - and I give also now, in addition to this, the power to tread on serpents," etc. 18. I beheld—As much of the force of this glorious statement depends on the nice shade of sense indicated by the imperfect tense in the original, it should be brought out in the translation: "I was beholding Satan as lightning falling from heaven"; that is, "I followed you on your mission, and watched its triumphs; while you were wondering at the subjection to you of devils in My name, a grander spectacle was opening to My view; sudden as the darting of lightning from heaven to earth, lo! Satan was beheld falling from heaven!" How remarkable is this, that by that law of association which connects a part with the whole, those feeble triumphs of the Seventy seem to have not only brought vividly before the Redeemer the whole ultimate result of His mission, but compressed it into a moment and quickened it into the rapidity of lightning! Note.—The word rendered "devils," is always used for those spiritual agents employed in demoniacal possessions—never for the ordinary agency of Satan in rational men. When therefore the Seventy say, "the devils [demons] are subject to us," and Jesus replies, "Mine eye was beholding Satan falling," it is plain that He meant to raise their minds not only from the particular to the general, but from a very temporary form of satanic operation to the entire kingdom of evil. (See Joh 12:31; and compare Isa 14:12). Lightning comes suddenly, and with thunder. The thunder of the gospel brought down the devil as lightning: and indeed this is observable, the devil is so busy in no places where the gospel prevails, as in places where that joyful sound is not come, whether we consider his power with reference to men’s bodies or souls. This is one general advantage of gospel preaching, the devil will not endure the sound of it, so as to impose upon mankind, at that rate which he doth upon ignorant persons, that are heathens, or only differing from them in that they are baptized, and call themselves Christians. Christ saw this, as God, for the devil is not visible to human senses, as neither are any spirits; which showed the impudence of that popish impostor in Germany, who selling indulgences, (by which he pretended souls were delivered from purgatory), called to the people to look up and see them fly away. But Christ could see it as God, for he certainly knew that it would be, and that it already was, the blessed effect of the gospel. And he said unto them,.... In order to abate their surprise, and reduce their transport of mind:

I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven; meaning, that this was no news to him, nor any surprising event, that devils should be cast out of men, and be in a state of subjection; for as he existed as the eternal Son of God before his incarnation, he was present, and saw him and his angels fall from heaven, from their first estate, their habitation of bliss and glory, down to hell, upon their sin and rebellion, as violently, swiftly, and suddenly, as the lightning falls from heaven to earth; and when he sent out these his disciples, as soon as they began their work, and all along in it, he, by his divine omniscience, saw the powers of darkness falling before their ministry and miracles; and he also foresaw how Satan hereafter, in a more conspicuous manner, would fall before the preaching of his Gospel by his apostles, not only in Judea, but especially among the Gentiles, where he, the prince of this world, would be cast down from his throne, and out of his kingdom; so that what they related, as it was what he knew before, it was but little in comparison of what he himself had seen long ago, and of what he foresaw would be; and even he would give them power to do other miraculous works besides these.

And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning {f} fall from heaven.

(f) Paul writes that the location of the devil and his angels is in the air, as is found in Eph 6:12, and he is said to be cast down from there by force, when his power is abolished by the voice of the Gospel.

Luke 10:18. ἐθεώρουν: their report was no news to Jesus. While they were working He saw Satan falling. There has been much discussion as to what is meant by this fall, and why it is referred to. It has been identified with the fall of the angels at the beginning of the world, with the Incarnation, with the temptation of Jesus, in both of which Satan sustained defeat. The Fathers adopted the first of these alternatives, and found the motive of the reference in a desire to warn the disciples. The devil fell through pride; take care you fall not from the same cause (Luke 10:20).—ὡς ἀστραπὴν, like lightning; the precise point of the comparison has been variously conceived: momentary brightness, quick, sudden movement, inevitableness of the descent—down it must come to the earth, etc.—πεσόντα, aorist after the imperfect (ἐθεώρουν), fallen, a fact accomplished. Pricaeus refers to Acts 19:20 as a historical exemplification of the fall—Satan’s kingdom destroyed by the rapid spread of Christianity.18. I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven] Rather, I was observing Satan as lightning fallen from heaven, Isaiah 14:9-15. We find similar thoughts in John 16:11; John 12:31, “now shall the prince of this world be cast out;” 1 John 3:8; Hebrews 2:14.Luke 10:18. Ἐθεώρουν, I was beholding) viz. in spirit: at the time when ye went forth, or when ye acted.[94]—Ὡς ἈΣΤΡΑΠῊΝ, as lightning) with the utmost rapidity.—ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, from heaven) in which Satan seems to have been accusing the little ones, i.e. the disciples.—πέσοντα) falling headlong (or rushing): and this, either, he had been banished by force out of heaven (certainly Satan at that time received many strokes, even through the instrumentality of those little ones; in which view the ἐθεώρουν, I was beholding, signifies, that the disciples themselves in some measure had acted against Satan, the Lord beholding them all the time, and rejoicing that He is conquering Satan through them as His instruments): or else, because he (Satan) had obtained permission to resist the disciples, by whom Satan was to be overcome; and he had hastened to come to the succour of the demons which obey him, and to support (prop up) his bad cause. Comp. Luke 10:19. At all events πεσεῖν, with which comp. Acts 27:26, LXX. ΣΥΜΠΊΠΤΕΙΝ, פאט, 1 Chronicles 14:9; 1 Chronicles 14:13, is not always the same as ΒΛΗΘῆΝΑΙ; Revelation 12:9.[95] Action in heaven includes action on earth, not vice versa.[96] The image, as lightning, is in consonance: and it is not until afterwards that Satan is said to be about to be cast out: John 12:31.

[94] When ye were actually preaching and performing the miracles which I enabled you to perform.—ED. and TRANSL.

[95] Where ἐβλήθη ὁ δράκων refers to the forcible ejection of the dragon, which was to be long subsequent.—ED. and TRANSL.

[96] Therefore it does not follow that because demons were cast out on earth, therefore Satan was cast out from heaven.—ED. and TRANSL.Verse 18. - And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. The Lord's words here were prophetic rather than descriptive of what had taken, or was then taking place. The seventy were telling him their feelings of joy at finding that his Name in their months enabled them to cast out evil spirits from the possessed. Their Master replied in an exalted and exultant strain - strange and rare sounds on the lips of the Man of sorrows - telling them how he had been looking - not on a few spirits of evil driven out of unhappy men, but on the king and chief of all evil falling from his sad eminence and throne of power like a flash of lightning. Jesus Christ saw, in the first success of these poor servants of his, an earnest of that wonderful and mighty victory which his followers, simply armed with the power of his Name, would shortly win over paganism. He saw, too, in the dim far future, many a contest with and victory over evil in its many forms. He looked on, we may well believe, to the final defeat which at length his servants, when they should have learned the true use and the resistless power of that glorious Name of his, should win over the restless enemy of the souls of men. I beheld (ἐθεώρουν)

The verb denotes calm, intent, continuous contemplation of an object which remains before the spectator. So John 1:14, we beheld, implying that Jesus' stay upon earth, though brief, was such that his followers could calmly and leisurely contemplate his glory. Compare John 2:23 :" they beheld his miracles," thoughtfully and attentively. Here it denotes the rapt contemplation of a vision. The imperfect, was beholding, refers either to the time when the seventy were sent forth, or to the time of the triumphs which they are here relating. "While you were expelling the sub-ordinates, I was beholding the Master fall" (Godet). The Revisers do not seem to have had any settled principle in their rendering of this word throughout the New Testament. See my article on the Revised New Testament, Presbyterian Review, October, 1881, p. 646 sq.


A transcription of the Hebrew word, derived from a verb to lie in wait or oppose. Hence an adversary. In this sense, of David, 1 Samuel 29:4, and of the angel who met Balaam, Numbers 22:22. Compare Zechariah 3:1, Zechariah 3:2; Job 1, Job 2:1-13. Διάβλος, devil, is the more common term in the New Testament. In Revelation 12:9, both terms are applied to him.

As lightning

Describing vividly a dazzling brilliance suddenly quenched.

Fall (πεσόντα)

Lit., having fallen. The aorist marks the instantaneous fall, like lightning.

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