The devil has been a subject of intense interest for thousands of years. He has been pictured as a ghost, a bogeyman, or as a “devilishly” handsome man in a red suit, with horns and a pitchfork. He has even been portrayed as the “epitome of all evil,” or the cause of everything bad that people do. Most are probably familiar with the expression “the devil made me do it.” While these ideas are common, they are all wrong! They terribly misrepresent this powerful spirit!
Many professing Christians speak long, loud messages about “that bad old devil.” The more emotional groups conduct tent meetings, campaigns, rallies and crusades where people are told, “We’re gonna lay that devil down tonight.” Large numbers leave these meetings completely convinced that they have done this. Tragically, the devil leaves these meetings more satisfied, knowing his role in what just happened.
Few know the truth about who and what the devil is. This booklet will strip away the mystery, confusion, ignorance, myth, superstition and misconceptions shrouding the truth about his identity and origin.
Growing Fascination with the Devil
One can scarcely turn around without hearing and seeing references to the devil or demons. Pause for a moment and think about how often this happens.
Turn on the television. Go to the movies. Visit a bookstore. How often is the subject of the devil, demons, angels or the spirit world in general spoken or written about? Whole television series are dedicated to these subjects, with more appearing all the time. Movies and books have focused on the devil for many years. But now they come more often—and are more odd, bizarre, macabre and frightening than ever before!
Consider the “Harry Potter” phenomenon. Some authors write almost exclusively about the spirit world, often mixing a false understanding of prophecy into the plot line—and legions of fans purchase their every book.
Satanism and witchcraft are practiced more openly now than ever before!
Millions spend vast sums annually on psychic hotlines, palm readers, astrologers, crystal ball gazers, witches, wizards, channelers and a host of other mediums, to find out what the future has in store for them.
The devil sells—and people are buying as never before!
The apostle Paul wrote, “God is not the author of confusion, but of peace” (I Cor. 14:33). While widespread confusion surrounds the devil’s identity, you need not be confused!
The Bible is the foundation of all knowledge. You will often hear us say, “Blow the dust off your Bible! Examine it carefully and see the real truth that has always been on its pages. Don’t believe something just because we say it, but rather only if you see Bible proof.”
God’s Word contains the answers to all of life’s biggest questions! The plain truth of its instruction is not taught in this world’s churches. From as early as “Sunday school,” most are taught to believe what everyone assumes is in God’s Word. What it says about the origin of Satan will surprise you. We must let the Bible reveal him for what he is.
Paul also wrote, “PROVE all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thes. 5:21), and “PROVE what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Rom. 12:2).
We will examine the verses that explain Satan’s origin and who he is. To do this, we must abandon men’s ideas and only accept what can be proven!
Where Did Satan Come From?
The devil is alive and real. The Bible calls him the “god of this world” (II Cor. 4:4). Revelation 12:9 states that he “deceives the whole world.” This includes the truth about his identity. But has he always been the devil? Has he always been the evil, murderous, lying, destructive prince of darkness? Was he created this way?
He was not!
But these questions require explanation. Careful study brings the whole picture. The Bible describes Satan in many scriptures. This booklet primarily examines the verses explaining the devil’s origin. (Our longer booklet, A World in Captivity, discusses the many scriptures describing his role, strategy and devices. Read this companion booklet to understand the overall nature of how the devil works.)
God originally created three archangels: Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer (who became Satan). These three were placed in charge of hundreds of millions of angels (Rev. 5:11). Lucifer ruled the pre-Adamic world with his angels. He, along with a third of all angels, rebelled against the government of God, and today he leads these now fallen angels, or demons, as the god of this world.
Genesis 1:1 states, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” This scripture sets the stage for our study.
The book of Job describes when God created the Earth, billions of years ago. God asked Job a series of questions: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding. Who has laid the measures thereof, if you know? Or who has stretched the line upon it?…When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” (38:4-5, 7).
These “stars” were angels (Rev. 12:4), also described as “sons of God.” (Of course, literal stars do not sing.) Notice that it says “all” of them “shouted” and “sang together.” This proves there were not yet demons at the time of creation in Genesis 1:1.
This scripture shows that the Earth was created in a wonderful and beautiful condition. There was great joy and singing. Now read Genesis 1:2.
This verse is mistranslated and does not reflect the meaning of the original Hebrew. The King James Version of the Bible says, “The earth was without form, and void.” Three key Hebrew words are all mistranslated here, thus obscuring, and actually hiding, the true meaning.
The word translated “was” is hayah. In Genesis 2:7, this word is correctly translated “became,” and in Genesis 9:15, “become.”
The words for “without form, and void” are tohu and bohu. Correctly translated, they mean “chaotic, in confusion, waste and empty.” In short, a perfectly created Earth (vs. 1), “became chaotic and confused” (vs. 2). Tohu and bohu are translated identically in Jeremiah 4:23. Isaiah 34:11, among other places, translates this phrase as “confusion and emptiness.”
Notice Isaiah 45:18, which clarifies how God did not create the Earth: “For thus says the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself that formed the earth and made it; He has established it, He created it not in vain [tohu meaning chaotic or waste], He formed it to be inhabited.” It is clear that the Earth became chaotic after God had created it—between the events described in Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. The latter verse describes the RE-creation of the Earth 6,000 years ago, and verse 1 describes the original creation of the entire universe that, according to scientists, occurred as many as 17 billion years ago.
Psalm 104:30 says that God “renews the face of the earth.” The seven days of the creation week are when God renewed a damaged, injured Earth, then completely covered with water (Gen. 1:2). We will see that this was caused by the devil.
So we know what happened. But how did it happen? How did the Earth go from beautiful and perfect at Creation to chaotic, confused, waste and empty? Since God is not the author of confusion (I Cor. 14:33), we know that He did not destroy the earth. Then who or what did?
The Bible reveals many important facts about a subject if one reads all of the scriptures that pertain to it. Revelation 9:11 describes a “king” who leads a demonic army at the time of Revelation. He is called “the angel of the bottomless pit.” (Later you will see this association with the “bottomless pit” makes clear the being described is the devil.) Continuing in verse 11, his “name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon [meaning “a destroying angel”], but in the Greek tongue has his name Apollyon [“a destroyer (that is, Satan)”].” Satan and the great mass of angels he turned to his way are the only candidates powerful enough to have brought destruction on this scale.
Isaiah 14:12-15 tells a remarkable story. Read carefully, noticing the emphasized key phrases: “How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the Most High. Yet you shall be brought down to hell [the “grave”—verses 9 and 11], to the sides of the pit.”
The one called “Lucifer” could not possibly be a man. The things he did are impossible for any human being to do. Only the devil “weakens the nations” and could have said he would “ascend into heaven.” Certainly no man could be “cut down to the ground” in the way described here. Finally, no man has a throne that could be put above the “stars of heaven.”
God lives in the north part of the heavens or the “sides of the north.” Job sheds light on Lucifer’s attempt to overthrow God there: “He [God] stretched out the north over the empty place, and hangs the earth upon nothing” (26:7). The “empty place” in the “north” coincides with what astronomers have noticed is a strange lack of stars. No doubt, Satan attacked God in that direction when he sought to ascend from his throne to take over God’s throne between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Just let the Bible reveal the story!
Ezekiel 28:12-17 parallels Isaiah 14, and is equally important for study. This account describes one who some scholars claim was a human “king of Tyrus.” Careful reading shows this is impossible—and ridiculous.
Verse 12 speaks of one who “seals up the sum, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty,” who had also “been in Eden the Garden of God” (vs. 13). No human has ever been perfect, and it was the devil—the serpent—who beguiled Eve in the Garden. Verse 13 continues, “you were created,” and Satan is a created being. Verse 14 calls him “the cherub that covers.” (Exodus 25:17-20 describes the remaining two faithful “cherubs that cover[ed]” God’s throne in the Old Testament tabernacle. Their wings cover the “mercy seat.”) No earthly king fits this description.
The latter part of Ezekiel 28:14 says this “king” was “in the mountain of God” and “walked…in the midst of the stones of fire.” This is the area around God’s throne. Verse 15 declares, “iniquity [or lawlessness] was found in you” and verse 16 refers to it as “sin.”
Verse 16 also describes this cherub as having been “cast…out of” heaven. Verse 17 reveals that his “heart was lifted up because of [his] beauty” and that his wisdom was “corrupted…by reason of [his] brightness.” The verse ends with God “casting him down to the ground,” where the kings of the Earth would “behold him.”
Lucifer was a brilliant being—an “angel of light,” as are “his ministers” (II Cor. 11:13-15). The name Lucifer means “the light bringer.” This once perfect being originally brought brilliant light to all who were around him. But he rebelled and sinned—thus becoming the “prince of darkness.” His revolt turned him into a twisted, perverted being. While of great intelligence, he has literally become an insane fallen angel, no longer knowing right from wrong!
Some additional understanding concerning certain vital prophecies is necessary before continuing.
The Bible plainly teaches that an immensely powerful Antichrist will arise to actually rule the world for a brief period just before Christ returns. You must know what is coming. Here is John’s first and clearest reference to this man’s arrival in the last time: “You have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists” (I John 2:18). While John spoke of multiple antichrists during his time, a single antichrist is the main focus.
The apostle Paul also spoke of Christ’s “coming”—and connected it to the Antichrist’s arrival. In II Thessalonians 1:7 he described the time “when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,” but then carefully clarified that the Antichrist’s rise comes first. Chapter 2 opens with, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the Day of Christ’s Return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (vs. 3). This “falling away” has already occurred—the subject of other material we produce. Paul continues, “Who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sits in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (vs. 4). Many passages reveal that true Christians constitute the “temple of God” (read I Cor. 3:16 and I Pet. 2:5). The Antichrist’s lawlessness and power is so great he claims to be God—and vast millions will believe him who today assert this could never happen!
The Antichrist’s power exceeds anything the world has ever seen. His coming is “after the working [meaning efficiency or energy] of Satan with ALL power and signs and lying wonders” (II Thes. 2:9). Think of Satan himself, in a human vessel, bringing the full extent of his miracles, “wiles,” “devices” and “depths” to bear.
What kinds of false miracles might this man do? I have cast out many demons and know their power. Here is a partial list of what demons can do: visions, voices, foretelling events, possessing followers, calling down fire, storms, levitation, turning inanimate objects into living creatures (similar to Egyptian magicians copying Aaron’s rod becoming a snake) or turning water to blood, afflicting God’s servants (like Job), destruction, temptation, intimidating accusations, loud noises to engender fear, lies and subtle deceptions of all kinds—plus various tricks only the devil himself could think of.
This is the powerful reality of “ALL power, signs and lying wonders.”
Will you be deceived when these events soon come to pass?
Ephesians 2:2 references the devil’s power and influence upon the world. Notice: “Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.”
Grasp this! Satan has the power to use the air to broadcast—through his spirit—an attitude of disobedience! His spirit sends moods, feelings and attitudes of hostility into people’s minds. These “work” to bring disobedience. This air power gives Satan tremendous influence, allowing him to send thoughts of deceit, anger, pride, hatred, vanity, jealousy, lust, greed, envy and confusion directly into people!
His cunning has been so seductive he has even been able to convince most that he does not exist!
The devil is immensely more powerful than most realize. Look at what his position as the world’s god permits him to do: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ...should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4).
Satan blinds and deceives on a staggering scale. The result is a world filled with disobedience—filled with lawlessness!
We can now better understand the “children of disobedience.” Like Holy-Spirit-led Christians, these people are also inspired and guided by the spirit of this world’s god. Satan broadcasts a spirit of rebellion against—and disobedience to—God’s Law. A deceived world knows nothing of these things!
If you listen to the radio, you choose a station playing what you want to hear. People also search television stations, and of course the Internet today. Eventually something interests them, and they stop and listen by choice. They have control over what they hear or watch.
It is not the same with Satan’s station. The world—and you—do not decide to tune into the devil’s broadcast. No one sets out to be deceived. But every person on Earth is automatically tuned to Satan’s wavelength! His hostility, evil, rebellion, deceit and selfishness are continually “on the air.”
Therefore, it is really Satan’s nature being labeled as human nature. In fact, once it is injected into people, Satan’s nature becomes natural to them. It becomes their nature—again, human nature.
It is critical to see how this spirit works. It is the single most important key to understanding how Satan can deceive and manipulate over seven billion people. Of course, Satan injects his attitudes into an unsuspecting mankind—it has no idea what he is doing. The devil does not announce his intentions audibly.
Just as God the Father has children, Satan is also a father with his own children! In one of the most profound verses in the entire Bible, Jesus told His listeners: “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do…” (John 8:44). On one occasion, Paul labeled a man: “You child of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10).
This says children of the devil are enemies of righteousness and right ways. This is sobering, but it is what being Satan’s children means!
What is righteousness?: “All [God’s] commandments are righteousness” (Psa. 119:172). Satan’s children hate, and are enemies of God’s laws—His Commandments! Remember, they are “children of disobedience.”
The Christian resists Satan, who is active at every turn. But it is not through human strength or effort that this can be done. Notice: “Brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [more accurately in the Greek “wicked spirits”] in high places” (Eph. 6:10-12).
Of course the ultimate “wicked spirit” is the devil himself. II Thessalonians also reveals Christ destroys the Man of Sin with the “brightness of His coming” (2:8). But this man’s death does not end the devil’s rule. Other prophecies that are not our subject here show another evil king will rise shortly after him—the “diverse” king of Daniel 7:24, who is also called the “King of the North.” This man is joined by another powerful figure called the “prince of tyre” (Ezek. 28:2)—a human servant of the previously described “King of Tyre”—Satan himself. After this unholy alliance is defeated, Satan and his demons will be expelled from Earth (read Lev. 16 and Zech. 12).
For many generations, mankind will learn God’s Way. It is only at the time of Revelation—when God punishes Earth’s inhabitants who turn from His way of life—that the devil’s influence returns.
Revelation 12:13 tells of Satan and his demons being “cast [back] to this earth.” Verses 7-9 describe, in more detail, when Satan and his demons are again cast to the Earth—with no further access to heaven. Verses 12-14 show his response is great wrath.
But what happens to the devil after the events of Revelation leading to the establishment of Christ’s Millennial reign? Will he remain the “god of this world” forever? What is his fate?
Revelation 20 describes Christ setting up His Millennial rule and another chapter in Satan’s story. Chapter 20 opens with a mighty angel binding him “a thousand years” by “casting him into the bottomless pit,” where he is “shut up” (vs. 1-3). This angel then “sets a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season” (vs. 3).
But what of the devil’s ultimate fate? Does he live in misery for eternity—or does a merciful God put this being to death—forever ending his ability to destroy and corrupt? Matthew 25:41 reveals there is an “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Now back to the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28. Remember the profile of this “king” shows he cannot be a human. This supernatural being who was present in the Garden of Eden—obviously Satan—will be executed. Speaking of him, it says, “You have defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities, by the iniquity of your traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of you, it shall devour you, and I will bring you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold you. All they that know you among the people shall be astonished at you…and never shall you be any more” (vs. 18-19).
Let’s understand! The devil is thrown into a lake of fire—and fire consumes him from the inside out—coming “from the midst” of him. He turns to ashes, no longer existing. This is total destruction!
Hebrews 2:14 is just as plain. It says God will “destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” This requires no interpretation.
But remember: Fire is prepared for the devil and his angels—demons. No wonder Mark and Luke record demons asking Jesus, “Are You come to destroy us?” (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34).
Your Great Potential
Hebrews 2:5 describes the Earth under the “subjection of [true] angels” now, but makes clear that these angels will not continue to rule “the world to come.”
Additional verses in this chapter explain what will happen after the fallen angels governing this world are replaced: “What is man, that You are mindful of him?…You made him a little lower than [margin: inferior to] the angels; You crown him with glory and honor…You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him” (vs. 6-8).
Speaking of Christ, verses 9-10 continue, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him…in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”
Did you catch—grasp—what was said? These verses contain the promise of a staggering potential available to you and me. Christians are called to inherit “all things” and be “crowned with glory and honor,” offered to them by the calling of God and sacrifice of Christ—“the captain of their salvation.”
There is no mistaking what “all things” means. Ultimately, “nothing” (vs. 8) will be excluded from this inheritance. (Read our free booklets What Is Your Reward in the Next Life?, What Is the Kingdom of God? and Just What Is Salvation?, among others, to learn more about the marvelous potential that awaits all of God’s true saints.)
In Matthew 4:9, Satan offered Christ rulership over “all things” if He would “fall down and worship him.” Christians are promised rulership over the same “all things”—but only on the condition that they worship the true God! This includes knowing and practicing all of His laws and truths. It also includes understanding all the important aspects of Satan’s origin, history and role—and his ultimate fate within God’s Master Purpose for mankind.
The Devil Revealed
Herbert W. Armstrong concluded his booklet Did God Create a Devil? with:
“God placed the great cherub, Lucifer, to carry out His government on the earth, but Lucifer refused to carry out God’s will, God’s commands, God’s government. He wanted to substitute his own. So he disqualified himself.
“Adam had the chance to supplant him. In the contest to see if Adam would conquer, if he would obey God, he failed. He obeyed the devil instead, and man became the property of the devil, and the whole human race has been sold down the river to the devil ever since.
“Jesus Christ came 4,000 years later and He entered the great contest—the contest of the temptation on the Mount. He refused to obey the devil. He quoted scripture correctly. He obeyed God.
“Finally, He turned to the devil, and He gave Satan a command. He said, ‘Get away from me,’ and the devil obeyed!
“From that time on, the successor of Satan has been qualified to take over the rule of the earth. But Jesus went to heaven for 1900 years. He is soon coming again, and when He does, the devil will be displaced. Christ will rule the earth, God’s Laws will be restored. Order and peace will come at last!
“So God did not create a devil. He created a cherub, Lucifer—perfect in his ways, but with the power of free choice—and Lucifer transformed himself into a devil by rebellion against the Government of God!”