Luke 10:18 “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven”
In Chapter 10, we find Christ sending out seventy more disciples at one time to continue working miracles and to preach (Luke 10:1-3).
The mission of the Seventy is clearly distinguished from and contrasted with that of the Twelve by the word ‘others’ in verse 1, which points back to Luke 9:1, yet both were sent to prepare the way for Christ’s personal ministry.
Luke 9:1-2 (KJV) “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. 2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.”
I beheld Satan … Although various interpretations of this scripture exist, I find myself in agreement with several commentators who take note that Jesus had transferred (or given) power to these 70 followers. “Satan” here evidently denotes the prince of the devils and it was through this transfer of power that demons were driven out and Satan was suffering defeat. We know this from the dialogue; the dialogue was regarding their power over evil spirits. “Lightning” is an image of “speediness” 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 quickly as lightning from heaven or from the clouds. The whole expression means this,
“I saw at your command devils immediately depart, as quick as a flash of lightning. I gave you this power – I saw it put forth – and I now give, in addition to this, the power to tread on serpents,” etc.
Behold, I give you the power to tread on serpents and scorpions. The power to tread upon serpents is repeated in Mark 16:18 and exemplified in Paul’s case in Malta (Acts 28:3-5). Certainly, Jesus does not mean this promise to create presumption or foolhardiness for he repelled the enemy’s suggestion on the pinnacle of the temple. But protection from physical harm is not the main point in this struggle with Satan “the enemy” (1Peter 5:8). The devil, his powers, and all of his emissaries, who, for their craft and cunning, and for their poisonous and hurtful nature and influence, may be compared to serpents and scorpions:
Some argue that by serpents and scorpions, our Lord could have been referring to the scribes and Pharisees, whom he calls serpents and a brood of vipers Matthew 23:33. Through the subtlety and venom of the old serpent, the devil, they opposed him and his doctrine; and, by trampling on these they should get a complete victory over such. It seems, however, best, in the case of this peculiar promise, to interpret the Lord’s words as referring to spiritual powers of evil, taking the serpent and scorpion as symbols of these. It should be remembered that the subject of conversation between the Master and his servants was the conflict with and victory ever these awful powers hostile to the human race (see Psalms 91:13).
Names are written in heaven – The names of citizens of a city or state were accustomed to be written in a book or register, from which they were blotted out when they became unworthy or forfeited the favor of their country. Compare Psa 69:28; Exo 32:32; Deut 9:14; Rev 3:5. That their “names were written in heaven,” means that they were “citizens” of heaven; that they were friends of God and “approved” by him, and would be permitted to dwell with him. This was of far more value than all “earthly” honor, power, or wealth, and “in” this people should rejoice more than in eminent endowments of influence, learning, talents, or possessions.