The Greatest Crash
“PRIDE is before a crash,” says an ancient Bible proverb. (Prov. 16:18) Not even angels have been exempt from the outworking of this truth. Yes, spirit creatures who once enjoyed a position of trust and favor in God’s presence are today base and vicious personages. Among intelligent creatures who have experienced debasement, their crash has indeed been great.
That pride was involved in the fall of the chief one of this demonic horde is evident from the Scriptural reason barring novices from appointment as overseers in the Christian congregation. That reason is: “For fear that he [the newly converted man] might get puffed up with pride and fall into the judgment passed upon the Devil.” (1 Tim. 3:6) Satan, of course, was no novice. How much greater, then, is the danger of feeding the pride of a newly converted man by entrusting him with weighty responsibility!
Before his fall, the spirit person who made himself a resister (Satan) and a slanderer (Devil) of God had the privilege of being in the very presence of his Life-Giver. He had the opportunity to come to know his Creator in a most intimate way and to develop ever greater love for him. There was good reason for him to do so, for everything he enjoyed he received from his loving Maker.
But Satan permitted pride to become a dominant force in his life. He acted much like the “king of Tyre.” That “king” or Tyrian dynasty was once on the best of terms with the kingdom of Israel, in the days of David and his son Solomon. But later the rulers of Tyre turned traitor. A dirge recorded in the book of Ezekiel describes this as follows: “You are sealing up a pattern, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. . . . You were faultless in your ways from the day of your being created until unrighteousness was found in you. . . . Your heart became haughty because of your beauty.”—Ezek. 28:12-17.
As in the case of the traitorous “king of Tyre,” Satan began to think too much of himself. He apparently envisioned himself as master over the first humans and eventually over the entire human race. To achieve his ends, he sacrificed his standing as a clean, perfect son of God and became a liar and a slanderer.
The adversary concealed his selfish ambitions to gain control over the human race by presenting himself as a benefactor to Eve. By means of a serpent, he portrayed disobedience to God as the course of gain. Instead of humbly consulting with her husband on this matter, Eve proudly asserted her independence and violated God’s law. She thereafter persuaded Adam to join her in rebelling against Jehovah God. (Gen. 3:1-6) As a result, both Adam and Eve came under the sentence of death and so death spread to all their descendants. Having forfeited perfect human life, Adam could not pass it on to his offspring.—Rom. 5:12.
Being the one who set this calamitous chain of events in motion, Satan also became a murderer. Jesus Christ, who had witnessed these developments in his prehuman existence, could therefore say of the Devil: “That one was a manslayer when he began.”—John 8:44.
Although a terrible calamity resulted for Adam and Eve, and, hence, for the entire human family, Satan did not abandon his corrupt scheming. Driven by insane pride, he used his influence also among God’s angelic sons. Like Satan, some of them yielded to unnatural desire and to pride, deliberately stepping out of the proper boundaries that the Creator had established for them. They left their position in the heavens, materialized fleshly bodies and entered into marriage relationships with women on earth. The flood of Noah’s day brought a violent end to those relationships, forcing the disobedient angels to dematerialize.—Gen. 6:1-7.
The Christian disciple Jude describes what happened thereafter: “The angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place [God] has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.” (Jude 6) Along with Satan the Devil, they were expelled from God’s family of faithful sons and lost their positions of trust in the heavens. As outcasts, they are in a state of debasement and darkness, cut off from all divine enlightenment. They are awaiting the certain execution of God’s judgment against them and they “shudder” at the prospect of their coming annihilation.—Jas. 2:19.
The apostle Peter referred to these disobedient angels as “spirits in prison,” indicating that they came under some form of restraint. (1 Pet. 3:19) There being no record, Scriptural or otherwise, of their again living as men on earth, evidently the restraint under which they came made it impossible for them ever again to take on flesh and live as husbands with women.
In their debased condition, the demons have not become less vicious. Rather, they have continued to degrade themselves by perpetrating acts of cruelty against humans.
This is well illustrated in the case of demon-possessed persons in the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. For example, there was the man whom the demons had driven insane. In his haunt among the tombs, he would walk about naked, crying out day and night and slashing himself with stones. This demon-possessed man and his companion were so fierce that people were afraid to pass the area where they had their dwelling. Efforts to bind him with chains and fetters proved useless. The demons evidently reveled in seeing this man undergoing such suffering.—Matt. 8:28; Mark 5:2-5; Luke 8:27.
Then, when Jesus commanded the demons to release their hold on these two men, the demons asked for permission to take possession of a herd of swine, perhaps intending to derive some unnatural sadistic pleasure therefrom. The demons seized control of the herd of some 2,000 pigs, driving them to their death in the Sea of Galilee.—Matt. 8:30-32; Mark 5:11-13.
Truly the case of Satan and the demons forcefully shows that yielding to pride leads to a terrible crash. It is hard to believe that these vicious, lying spirit creatures were once numbered among the perfect sons of God. This should impress upon us imperfect humans the need to combat pride so as not to experience a mighty fall ourselves, to our everlasting ruin.