Luke 10:18

ESV And he said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
NIV He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
NASB And He said to them, 'I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning.
CSB He said to them, "I watched Satan fall from heaven like lightning.
NLT Yes,' he told them, 'I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!
KJV And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
NKJV And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

What does Luke 10:18 mean?

Jesus sent out seventy-two of His larger group of disciples to prepare towns for His coming. Their arrival was a test of the city's openness to the gospel: would the townspeople welcome emissaries from a poor rabbi who ate with sinners and associated with disreputable women? If so, the messengers were to declare that God's kingdom was near. As a sign, they provided restoration with healing and exorcisms (Luke 10:1–12).

The exorcisms are what surprise the disciples the most. When they return, they exclaim, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!" (Luke 10:17). This suggests the disciples don't quite understand that using Jesus' authority to cast out demons means using the power of God. And God has ensured that Satan is already defeated. The act of casting out demons is testament to this. Healing, casting out demons, and encouraging others to repent are all attacks against Satan's power and steps toward restoration.

The circumstances of Satan falling from heaven are vague. We know Satan had access to heaven at the time of Job (Job 1:6). Isaiah recounts the fall of the king of Babylon which many think also refers to Satan (Isaiah 14:12). Satan's fall is described in Revelation 12:7–12, but the dating is unclear. Early in the week leading to His execution, Jesus speaks of His crucifixion as the point of Satan's fall (John 12:31).

In the context of Luke 10:1–24, Jesus is continuing the motif of judgment against those who refuse the coming kingdom of God. The people of towns like Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, who have personally witnessed God's power and yet reject His message, will be judged severely (Luke 10:12–15). Satan will face an even greater judgment since he has seen God's majesty first-hand.

Jesus continues the thematic wrap-up by reminding the disciples why they are safe. It is because God has made them so (Luke 10:3–4, 19). He then transitions to the real blessing: not safety from spiritual forces or healing from physical maladies but a place in God's coming kingdom (Luke 10:20–24).
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