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 âdevilishlyâ handsome man in a red suit, with horns and a pitchfork. He has even been portrayed as the âepitome of all evil,â or the cause of everything bad that people do. Most are probably familiar with the expression âthe devil made me do it.â While these ideas are common, they are all wrong! They terribly misrepresent this powerful spirit!
Many professing Christians speak long, loud messages about âthat bad old devil.â The more emotional groups conduct tent meetings, campaigns, rallies and crusades where people are told, âWeâre gonna lay that devil down tonight.â 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 oftenâand are more odd, bizarre, macabre and frightening than ever before!
Consider the âHarry Potterâ phenomenon. Some authors write almost exclusively about the spirit world, often mixing a false understanding of prophecy into the plot lineâand 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 sellsâand people are buying as never before!
The apostle Paul wrote, âGod is not the author of confusion, but of peaceâ (I Cor. 14:33). While widespread confusion surrounds the devilâs identity, you need not be confused!
The Bible is the foundation of all knowledge. You will often hear us say, âBlow the dust off your Bible! Examine it carefully and see the real truth that has always been on its pages. Donât believe something just because we say it, but rather only if you see Bible proof.â
Godâs Word contains the answers to all of lifeâs biggest questions! The plain truth of its instruction is not taught in this worldâs churches. From as early as âSunday school,â most are taught to believe what everyone assumes is in Godâs 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, âPROVE all things; hold fast that which is goodâ (I Thes. 5:21), and âPROVE what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of Godâ (Rom. 12:2).
We will examine the verses that explain Satanâs origin and who he is. To do this, we must abandon menâs ideas and only accept what can be proven!
Where Did Satan Come From?
The devil is alive and real. The Bible calls him the âgod of this worldâ (II Cor. 4:4). Revelation 12:9 states that he âdeceives the whole world.â 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 devilâs 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, âIn the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.â 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: âWhere 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?âŚWhen the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?â (38:4-5, 7).
These âstarsâ were angels (Rev. 12:4), also described as âsons of God.â (Of course, literal stars do not sing.) Notice that it says âallâ of them âshoutedâ and âsang together.â 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, âThe earth was without form, and void.â Three key Hebrew words are all mistranslated here, thus obscuring, and actually hiding, the true meaning.
The word translated âwasâ is hayah. In Genesis 2:7, this word is correctly translated âbecame,â and in Genesis 9:15, âbecome.â
The words for âwithout form, and voidâ are tohu and bohu. Correctly translated, they mean âchaotic, in confusion, waste and empty.â In short, a perfectly created Earth (vs. 1), âbecame chaotic and confusedâ (vs. 2). Tohu and bohu are translated identically in Jeremiah 4:23. Isaiah 34:11, among other places, translates this phrase as âconfusion and emptiness.â
Notice Isaiah 45:18, which clarifies how God did not create the Earth: âFor 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.â It is clear that the Earth became chaotic after God had created itâbetween 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 ârenews the face of the earth.â 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 âkingâ who leads a demonic army at the time of Revelation. He is called âthe angel of the bottomless pit.â (Later you will see this association with the âbottomless pitâ makes clear the being described is the devil.) Continuing in verse 11, his âname in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon [meaning âa destroying angelâ], but in the Greek tongue has his name Apollyon [âa destroyer (that is, Satan)â].â 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: âHow 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 âgraveââverses 9 and 11], to the sides of the pit.â
The one called âLuciferâ could not possibly be a man. The things he did are impossible for any human being to do. Only the devil âweakens the nationsâ and could have said he would âascend into heaven.â Certainly no man could be âcut down to the groundâ in the way described here. Finally, no man has a throne that could be put above the âstars of heaven.â
God lives in the north part of the heavens or the âsides of the north.â Job sheds light on Luciferâs attempt to overthrow God there: âHe [God] stretched out the north over the empty place, and hangs the earth upon nothingâ (26:7). The âempty placeâ in the ânorthâ 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 Godâs 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 âking of Tyrus.â Careful reading shows this is impossibleâand ridiculous.
Verse 12 speaks of one who âseals up the sum, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty,â who had also âbeen in Eden the Garden of Godâ (vs. 13). No human has ever been perfect, and it was the devilâthe serpentâwho beguiled Eve in the Garden. Verse 13 continues, âyou were created,â and Satan is a created being. Verse 14 calls him âthe cherub that covers.â (Exodus 25:17-20 describes the remaining two faithful âcherubs that cover[ed]â Godâs throne in the Old Testament tabernacle. Their wings cover the âmercy seat.â) No earthly king fits this description.
The latter part of Ezekiel 28:14 says this âkingâ was âin the mountain of Godâ and âwalkedâŚin the midst of the stones of fire.â This is the area around Godâs throne. Verse 15 declares, âiniquity [or lawlessness] was found in youâ and verse 16 refers to it as âsin.â
Verse 16 also describes this cherub as having been âcastâŚout ofâ heaven. Verse 17 reveals that his âheart was lifted up because of [his] beautyâ and that his wisdom was âcorruptedâŚby reason of [his] brightness.â The verse ends with God âcasting him down to the ground,â where the kings of the Earth would âbehold him.â
Lucifer was a brilliant beingâan âangel of light,â as are âhis ministersâ (II Cor. 11:13-15). The name Lucifer means âthe light bringer.â This once perfect being originally brought brilliant light to all who were around him. But he rebelled and sinnedâthus becoming the âprince of darkness.â 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 Johnâs first and clearest reference to this manâs arrival in the last time: âYou have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichristsâ (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 Christâs âcomingââand connected it to the Antichristâs arrival. In II Thessalonians 1:7 he described the time âwhen the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,â but then carefully clarified that the Antichristâs rise comes first. Chapter 2 opens with, âLet no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the Day of Christâs Return] shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that Man of Sin be revealed, the son of perditionâ (vs. 3). This âfalling awayâ has already occurredâthe subject of other material we produce. Paul continues, âWho 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 Godâ (vs. 4). Many passages reveal that true Christians constitute the âtemple of Godâ (read I Cor. 3:16 and I Pet. 2:5). The Antichristâs lawlessness and power is so great he claims to be Godâand vast millions will believe him who today assert this could never happen!
The Antichristâs power exceeds anything the world has ever seen. His coming is âafter the working [meaning efficiency or energy] of Satan with ALL power and signs and lying wondersâ (II Thes. 2:9). Think of Satan himself, in a human vessel, bringing the full extent of his miracles, âwiles,â âdevicesâ and âdepthsâ 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 Aaronâs rod becoming a snake) or turning water to blood, afflicting Godâs servants (like Job), destruction, temptation, intimidating accusations, loud noises to engender fear, lies and subtle deceptions of all kindsâplus various tricks only the devil himself could think of.
This is the powerful reality of âALL power, signs and lying wonders.â
Will you be deceived when these events soon come to pass?
Ephesians 2:2 references the devilâs power and influence upon the world. Notice: âWherein 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.â
Grasp this! Satan has the power to use the air to broadcastâthrough his spiritâan attitude of disobedience! His spirit sends moods, feelings and attitudes of hostility into peopleâs minds. These âworkâ 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 worldâs god permits him to do: âThe 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 themâ (II Cor. 4:4).
Satan blinds and deceives on a staggering scale. The result is a world filled with disobedienceâfilled with lawlessness!
We can now better understand the âchildren of disobedience.â Like Holy-Spirit-led Christians, these people are also inspired and guided by the spirit of this worldâs god. Satan broadcasts a spirit of rebellion againstâand disobedience toâGodâs 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 Satanâs station. The worldâand youâdo not decide to tune into the devilâs broadcast. No one sets out to be deceived. But every person on Earth is automatically tuned to Satanâs wavelength! His hostility, evil, rebellion, deceit and selfishness are continually âon the air.â
Therefore, it is really Satanâs nature being labeled as human nature. In fact, once it is injected into people, Satanâs nature becomes natural to them. It becomes their natureâagain, 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 mankindâit 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: âYou are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will doâŚâ (John 8:44). On one occasion, Paul labeled a man: âYou child of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?â (Acts 13:10).
This says children of the devil are enemies of righteousness and right ways. This is sobering, but it is what being Satanâs children means!
What is righteousness?: âAll [Godâs] commandments are righteousnessâ (Psa. 119:172). Satanâs children hate, and are enemies of Godâs lawsâHis Commandments! Remember, they are âchildren of disobedience.â
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: âBrethren, 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 âwicked spiritsâ] in high placesâ (Eph. 6:10-12).
Of course the ultimate âwicked spiritâ is the devil himself. II Thessalonians also reveals Christ destroys the Man of Sin with the âbrightness of His comingâ (2:8). But this manâs death does not end the devilâs rule. Other prophecies that are not our subject here show another evil king will rise shortly after himâthe âdiverseâ king of Daniel 7:24, who is also called the âKing of the North.â This man is joined by another powerful figure called the âprince of tyreâ (Ezek. 28:2)âa human servant of the previously described âKing of TyreââSatan 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 Godâs Way. It is only at the time of Revelationâwhen God punishes Earthâs inhabitants who turn from His way of lifeâthat the devilâs influence returns.
Revelation 12:13 tells of Satan and his demons being âcast [back] to this earth.â Verses 7-9 describe, in more detail, when Satan and his demons are again cast to the Earthâwith 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 Christâs Millennial reign? Will he remain the âgod of this worldâ forever? What is his fate?
Revelation 20 describes Christ setting up His Millennial rule and another chapter in Satanâs story. Chapter 20 opens with a mighty angel binding him âa thousand yearsâ by âcasting him into the bottomless pit,â where he is âshut upâ (vs. 1-3). This angel then âsets 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 seasonâ (vs. 3).
But what of the devilâs ultimate fate? Does he live in misery for eternityâor does a merciful God put this being to deathâforever ending his ability to destroy and corrupt? Matthew 25:41 reveals there is an âeverlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.â
Now back to the King of Tyre in Ezekiel 28. Remember the profile of this âkingâ shows he cannot be a human. This supernatural being who was present in the Garden of Edenâobviously Satanâwill be executed. Speaking of him, it says, âYou 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 youâŚand never shall you be any moreâ (vs. 18-19).
Letâs understand! The devil is thrown into a lake of fireâand fire consumes him from the inside outâcoming âfrom the midstâ of him. He turns to ashes, no longer existing. This is total destruction!
Hebrews 2:14 is just as plain. It says God will âdestroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.â This requires no interpretation.
But remember: Fire is prepared for the devil and his angelsâdemons. No wonder Mark and Luke record demons asking Jesus, âAre You come to destroy us?â (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34).
Your Great Potential
Hebrews 2:5 describes the Earth under the âsubjection of [true] angelsâ now, but makes clear that these angels will not continue to rule âthe world to come.â
Additional verses in this chapter explain what will happen after the fallen angels governing this world are replaced: âWhat is man, that You are mindful of him?âŚYou made him a little lower than [margin: inferior to] the angels; You crown him with glory and honorâŚYou 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 himâ (vs. 6-8).
Speaking of Christ, verses 9-10 continue, âBut 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 HimâŚin bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.â
Did you catchâgraspâwhat was said? These verses contain the promise of a staggering potential available to you and me. Christians are called to inherit âall thingsâ and be âcrowned with glory and honor,â offered to them by the calling of God and sacrifice of Christââthe captain of their salvation.â
There is no mistaking what âall thingsâ means. Ultimately, ânothingâ (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 Godâs true saints.)
In Matthew 4:9, Satan offered Christ rulership over âall thingsâ if He would âfall down and worship him.â Christians are promised rulership over the same âall thingsââbut 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 Satanâs origin, history and roleâand his ultimate fate within Godâs Master Purpose for mankind.
The Devil Revealed
Herbert W. Armstrong concluded his booklet Did God Create a Devil? with:
âGod placed the great cherub, Lucifer, to carry out His government on the earth, but Lucifer refused to carry out Godâs will, Godâs commands, Godâs government. He wanted to substitute his own. So he disqualified himself.
âAdam 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.
âJesus Christ came 4,000 years later and He entered the great contestâthe contest of the temptation on the Mount. He refused to obey the devil. He quoted scripture correctly. He obeyed God.
âFinally, He turned to the devil, and He gave Satan a command. He said, âGet away from me,â and the devil obeyed!
âFrom 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, Godâs Laws will be restored. Order and peace will come at last!
âSo God did not create a devil. He created a cherub, Luciferâperfect in his ways, but with the power of free choiceâand Lucifer transformed himself into a devil by rebellion against the Government of God!â