by Herbert W. Armstrong
1978 edition

The Bible pictures the whole world under the sway of an invisible
devil. Where did he come from? Did God create a devil to tempt us
and to lead us astray? Here are the answers from God's Word!

IS THERE a devil? Many people talk about the devil and Satan.
Others scoff and say it's just superstition and imagination.
But is there a devil? According to most Christians the Bible
is supposed to teach that the devil is "the god of this world."
Did God create a devil? What does the Bible actually teach?
To find out let's look back to the very beginning. Open your
Bible to Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning God ...." God was before
all. The next word in the King James version is "created." "God
created." He created the heaven and the earth.
But the very next verse says this: "The earth was without
form, and void." The Hebrew words for "without form, and void" are
tohu and bohu. Translated into English they mean chaotic, in
confusion, waste, and empty.
When God created the heaven and the earth, did He create this
earth originally in a state of confusion? Did He create it all
topsy-turvy and chaotic?

World NOT Created in Chaos

We read in I Corinthians 14:33 that "God is NOT the author of
confusion." God is the author of peace. God is the author of order
and of law.
Why would He create the earth in disorder and then have to
straighten it out? That doesn't make sense! One scholar points out
that the Hebrew word for "created," bara, used in Genesis 1:1,
"implies that the creation was a perfect work." That very word
"created" implies a perfect and a beautiful order and system, not
chaos or confusion!
The book of Job shows God talking with Job about the creation.
God is saying to Job, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations
of the earth?" There is the implication here that Job had directed
the building of some very great edifice -- such as the great pyramid
of Giza in Egypt. Job was righteous and somewhat proud of his
accomplishments. God was whittling him down to humility by a
comparison of accomplishments.
God continues, "Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou
knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the
foundations thereof fastened [margin, "sunk"]? or who laid the
corner stone thereof; When the morning stars sang together, and all
the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7.)
It is significant that the great pyramid is a building where
the corner stone is not laid in the foundation, but the final stone
to be laid -- at the pinnacle. The "morning stars" are light-(truth-)
bringing angels and archangels, according to Biblical
interpretation of symbols. As creations of God, they also are
referred to as "all the sons of God." So this, too, implies a
perfect and glorious creation of the earth.
Then how did it become chaotic?
In Genesis 19:26, the same Hebrew word hayah is used which is
translated "was" in Genesis 1:2. (See also Genesis 2:7 and 9:15.)
And there it is translated into the English word "became." In the
first three chapters of the Bible, and many other places where you
find the Hebrew word hayah, in almost every case it denotes a
condition that was different from a former condition. In other
words, the earth "BECAME" chaotic. It had not always been that way.

The Earth BECAME Chaotic

Plainly the word "was" (hayah) here has the meaning of "became."
The Rotherham translation of Genesis 1:2, out of the original
Hebrew language, is this: "Now the earth HAD BECOME waste and
empty." It hadn't always been that way.
In Jeremiah 4:23, Isaiah 34:11, and in other places in the
Bible, you find the same words, tohu and bohu, meaning "chaotic"
and "in confusion." In every case that condition is a result of

No Chaos Originally

Notice Isaiah 45:18. "Thus saith the Eternal that created the
heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath
established it, he created it not is vain." "In vain" is an
inappropriate translation. In your Bible, if you have the marginal
references, you will find in the margin a preferable translation,
The original Hebrew word there is TOHU. This Hebrew word is
the identical word used in Genesis 1:2, meaning "confusion," or
"emptiness," or "waste" -- a result of disorder, a result of
violation of law. In Isaiah 45:18 we have the plain statement that
God created the earth NOT tohu, that is, not in confusion, not in
disorder. But in Genesis 1:2, the earth was (because it had become)
chaotic and in confusion!
Then it became that way after it was created. Now, what could
have caused that confusion -- that disorder? What sin could have
wrecked the earth and brought it into the condition in which it was
found in Genesis 1:2?

Life Before Adam?

Now, what was the sin then that caused this physical destruction to
the earth? It was not a sin caused by humanity, because there had
been no man on the earth until the sixth day of that re-creation or
that remaking. So it was not a sin of man. Adam was the first man.
We find in I Corinthians 15:45 that Adam is called the first man on
this earth. In Genesis, Eve is called the mother of all living
human beings. There was no other race prior to Adam and Eve.
So the sin which brought chaos was not caused by man. And yet
life must have populated the earth because a sin had occurred on
the earth that brought it into a condition of chaos and confusion
by breaking the laws of God.
What kind of life could it have been? It wasn't human life.
Then what kind of life had populated the earth prior to Adam, prior
to the week called "creation week"?
Next, let's turn to II Peter 2:4: "For if God spared not the
angels that sinned ...." Here is the sin of angels mentioned.

Sin of Angels!

Now read the next verse, "And spared not the old world," between
Adam and Noah, "but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of
righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the
ungodly." There it mentions the sins from Adam to Noah, and it
mentions the physical destruction to the earth as a result of the
flood, a chaotic, physical condition brought about on the earth by
the sins of those men.
Was there a chaotic condition brought about on the earth as a
result of the sins of angels? The sin of the angels is mentioned
first, and it occurred first! There was a devil already there in
existence by the time Adam was created. So the sin of the angels
happened before the creation of man.
Now read II Peter 2:6. "Turning the cities of Sodom and
Gomorrha into ashes [God] condemned them with an overthrow, making
them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly."
Universal sin was in those two Canaanite cities. Physical
destruction came to the entire part of the surface of the earth
which those people occupied as a result of that sin. Then didn't
such a destruction come to the earth as a result of the sins of the
angels which occurred before Adam?
Now quickly turn over to Jude. In the sixth verse, you read
this: "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left
their own habitation [they had a place where they lived, a
habitation, an estate, and they left it], he heath reserved in
everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great
day." Notice! It is the sinning angels who are reserved in those
chains under darkness, restrained from light, restrained from truth
until the judgment of the great day.

Angels Possess the Earth!

How plain! They had an estate which they didn't keep. In Hebrews
2:5 we read this: "For unto the angels heath God not put in
subjection the world to come, whereof we speak." In other words the
World Tomorrow, the Kingdom of God, we not be under subjection to
angels. The present one is under subjection of fallen angels. The
demons, and the devil who is their head, rule this present earth
and sway its inhabitants. The Bible everywhere indicates and
affirms that very fact.
How did they obtain their dominion? How did they acquire their
power? How did they maintain their control? Where did the devil get
the power to control and to lead and to rule this world?
The devil is the leader of fallen angels, as you will find in
a number of places (John 12:31; Matt. 12:26; 25:41; Rev. 12:9). In
II Corinthians 4:4 the devil is called "the god of this world." He
is the king or the prince of the evil world that we live in today.
Let's see something about the origin of the devil.
Turn to Isaiah 14, beginning with verse 4, "Thou shalt take up
this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the
oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!"
Here is a king of Babylon.
This account continues to tell how he had disrupted the earth.
He was an invader, a conqueror. He was a warmonger, trying to take
away from others and trying to acquire all he could. He had just
the opposite philosophy from that of God. In other words, he had
the philosophy of the devil.
He represented the devil. The king of Babylon was the devil's
instrument and tool.

Rebellion of Lucifer

This "king of Babylon" is the future ruler over the prophesied
"United States of Europe" -- the coming resurrected "Holy Roman
Empire," described in prophecies of Revelation 17 and 18. It is a
system described in Revelation 13 which was given its power and
seat by Satan.
Then in verse 12, the type -- this human king of Babylon -- lifts
to the arch-antitype, Satan. Satan is to be removed and bound after
the Messiah's coming. Ezekiel's prophecy, to be described later,
reveals that he is the former archangel cherub, Lucifer.
So continue, verse 12.
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the
morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken
the nations! For thou hast said in thine 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" (Isaiah 14:12-14). The 15th verse returns to the human
Notice, this former archangel had been placed as ruler over
the angels that sinned. He had a throne. He said he would exalt his
throne above the stars (angels) of God. It already was exalted
above the angels on earth -- the angels that sinned with him. Now he
was going to exalt it over GOD'S ANGELS in heaven. He was going to
invade God's heaven, knock God off the throne of the universe, and
rule the whole universe!
We learn much more about this cherub who became Satan in
Ezekiel 28. Here, beginning verse 1, the human prince of Tyre is
referred to, wealthy (chapter 27), surrounded by perfect beauty,
saying in his vain heart, "I am a God," -- "I sit in the seat of God"
(verse 2) -- compare with II Thessalonians 2:3-4.
Compare also Ezekiel 27:7 with Revelation 18:16. All these
refer to the same system. However, Ezekiel 26 refers to the ancient
Tyre, as a forerunner or type of the present and yet future system.
Then, as in Isaiah 14, the human type lifts to the satanic antitype
in Ezekiel 28:12:
"Son of man, take up a lamentation [dirge] upon the king of
Tyrus [Tyre] ...." The whole prophecy of chapters 27 and 28 refers,
not to the ruler of the ancient city of Tyre (as does chapter 26),
but to an important personage, in Satan's hand, of our time -- and
immediate future -- just before the coming of the Messiah to remove
Satan and bring in world peace. Therefore the prophecy points to
the END of this great personage ruling spiritually over nations -- as
well as to Satan's removal from swaying mankind on earth. Now,
beginning with verse 12, and on to the middle of verse 17, it
speaks of Satan himself.
So, continue: "... And say unto him, Thus saith the Lord
Eternal; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in
beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious
stone was thy covering ... the workmanship of thy tabrets and of
thy pipes [music] was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast

A Created Being

Notice, this is not speaking of a human, but a crated being. God
would never say of a human that he seals up the sum total of
wisdom, perfection and beauty. Then who was this great created
being, originally?
"Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set
thee so," answers God. In Exodus 25:17-20, you will find the
description of the very throne of God in heaven, from which He
rules the entire vast limitless universe. On this throne are two
cherubim -- super archangels -- whose wings spread out and cover the
throne. This personage, then, is the former Lucifer, who was at the
very throne of the universe, thoroughly experienced in the
Government of God over the universe. Now he is pictured as being on
earth. But he had been, formerly, at the very throne of God, as the
next words plainly say:
"... Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast
walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast
perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till
iniquity [lawlessness] wast found in thee."
Then God attributes to him violence, sin, corruption of
wisdom, perversion, saying he became proud -- his heart lifted up
because of his beauty. Then, in verse 17, the immortal spirit
antitype descends again to the human type, who will be a chief
instrument in Satan's hands in the tremendous world events just
prior to, and leading to the coming of the Messiah to establish the
GOVERNMENT OF GOD over all earth's nations.
This human personage, claiming to be God, sitting in his
sanctuary (verse 18) showing that he is God (II Thess. 2:3-4), is
to be destroyed by FIRE, brought to ashes (verse 18). Compare with
Revelation 19:20. In the latter, two human personages, instruments
of Satan, are pictured -- one a civil ruler over ten kings and their
nations, the other called a great "False Prophet" (Rev. 19:20). The
prophecy of Isaiah 14 pictures the king of Babylon as the civil

Lucifer Becomes the Devil

So now, let's recapitulate thus far. The earth was a perfect
creation. The angels shouted for joy. From creation, it was
populated by angels.
There was a throne, on which sat Lucifer, a super archangel,
a cherub. He had been thoroughly experienced in the administration
of the Government of God, having been at the very throne of God in
heaven. God had placed Lucifer on the throne on earth to administer
THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD over earth's angels.
There was happiness, peace, joy on earth. Of Lucifer, the
Moffatt translation reads: "From the day you were created, you
lived a perfect life, till you were discovered doing wrong" (Ezek.
28:15). GOD DID NOT CREATE A DEVIL, but a beautiful, perfect
superangel. But God did give to His angels free moral agency -- minds
that were free to think and reason -- the right of free choice.
Lucifer had allowed his beauty and perfection to fill him with
vanity -- with SELF-glory, SELF-desire. He became envious of God's
power, resented authority over him. He plotted with his angels to
marshal them into an invading army, to invade the heaven of God, to
knock God off the throne of the Universe.
Lucifer was going to BE God. It is his deceptive sway over the
"Prince of Tyre" that will yet cause this personage to claim that
HE, a man, is God.
So Lucifer was no longer "LIGHT-Bringer" but now an
ADVERSARY -- an aggressor, a competitor, an enemy. The name Satan
means "Adversary." His angels now became DEMONS.

How the Earth Became Chaotic

A third of the angels united with Satan in the rebellion. That is
what caused the chaos of this earth. The sin of angels reached into
the heavens and brought chaos on earth. What the geologists and
astronomers see is not an evolving universe, but the wreckage of a
titanic battle waged by spirits throughout -- a battle fought before
man's creation.
The earth was created perfect. Then it BECAME chaotic as a
result of rebellion. And in six days, God remade the earth,
reshaped, refashioned it, and created human beings upon it (Psalm
He gave Adam a chance to take the place of Satan the devil,
sit on earth's throne, and restore the Government of God on earth.
Adam rejected the tremendous opportunity, yielded to Satan who to
this day remains on earth's throne as the god of this world.
Christ, the second Adam, will soon come to sit on that throne and
restore the Government of God (Acts 3:19-21). Remember, Lucifer had
been placed in rulership.
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
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!