Where in the Bible can I find the story of Lucifer and the fallen angels? I’ve looked, but without success. Is there some other book that contains this story?
Many of us learned that because Lucifer led an unsuccessful revolt in heaven, he and his followers were cast out. In Revelation 12:7-9, we read: “Then war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels battled against the dragon. The dragon and its angels fought back, but they did not prevail and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The huge dragon, the ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it.”
In his Dictionary of the Bible, Father John L. McKenzie, SJ, explains that the Hebrew word satan (accuser) became an individual’s name only late in the Hebrew Scriptures. The term’s basic meaning (diabolos in Greek) is an accuser in a court of law (for example, Ps 109:6); it can also mean a military or political adversary (1 Sm 29:4, 2 Sm 19:23, 1 Kgs 5:18). Satan accuses Job of loving God only because Job has been richly blessed by God (1:6ff). Satan loses his wager with God about the depth of Job’s piety. In 1 Chr 21:1, the generic term satan becomes an individual’s name.
Jewish apocryphal writings present Satan as the leader of a revolt in heaven and his banishment to the underworld (Sheol). Although the serpent who tempted Eve (Gn 3:1-6) is not called satan, many Jews and Christians have read that text as equating the two. Lucifer is a non-biblical name for Satan.
The synoptic Gospels call Jesus’ tempter “the devil” or “Satan” (Mt 4:1, Mk 1:13, and Lk 4:2). Peter is called “Satan” when he refuses to judge by God’s standards (Mt 16:23). Eternal fire is prepared for the devil and the fallen angels (Mt 25:41).
Ironically, the Latin term lucifer (light-bearer) was first applied to Jesus in the Vulgate Bible’s translation of the Hebrew term for “morning star.” Because Jesus says, “I have observed Satan fall like lightning from the sky” (Lk 10:18), some Fathers of the Church began applying the title from Isaiah 14:12 to Satan. That link has stuck.
The New Testament has many references to the devil—but always in the context of a God who is more powerful, who created whatever exists—including angels and people who sometimes use their freedom destructively.