The Origin of the Devil
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

We are beginning a discussion which is greatly needed for most Christians, I believe. I do not particularly enjoy the discussion because it is one that creates problems. I do not believe I have ever begun a discussion of this subject that has not resulted in problems of many, many kinds. The reason for this is the person who is the subject of the discussion—namely, the Devil. The Devil does not like for us to know about him. He wants to keep people in ignorance about him. When we begin any series of studies related to the Devil, we can expect problems to arise in some fashion so that we may be discouraged and not continue the discussion of this very important person.

Many questions are asked in regard to the Devil, such as: “Where did the Devil come from?”, or “Who created the Devil?”, or “Why do we have to have a Devil?”, or “Why doesn't God kill the Devil?”

Created By God

I think one of the best ways to deal with our subject, the origin of the Devil, is to answer the question, “Did God create the Devil?” We answer that question in the affirmative. Yes, God created the Devil. You have every reason in the world to ask why we say that, so we invite your attention to what is recorded in the Colossian letter, chapter 1, verse 16, where we read:

Colossians 1:

16For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

The person referred to by the pronoun Him is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Here we have a simple, but detailed, statement that everything was created by the Lord Jesus Christ. That reminds us of the words of John: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:1,3). Someone will be apt to say, “Well, it is true enough that He did create everything, but surely He didn't create the Devil.” That is what Paul says in his letter to the Colossians. You will notice in the last part of verse 16:

Colossians 1:

16…whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Principalities and powers? What has that got to do with the Devil? Let's turn to the book of Ephesians, chapter 6, and notice what the apostle has to say about these principalities and powers. Notice verse 10:

Ephesians 6:

10Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The phrase, “spiritual wickedness in high places,” should literally be, “wicked spirits in the heavenlies.” These wicked spirits are but part of the kingdom of darkness which is divided up under the terms, “principalities and powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world.” These two words, principalities and powers refer to the Satanic kingdom. We have every right to believe, then, that the Lord Jesus Christ did create the Devil.

Someone says, “I do not understand why He would do that. Why would He create such an awful, terrible person as the Devil? Why would He create someone who causes as much trouble as the Devil does? Where is the love of God? Where is the mercy of God? Where is His interest in us as individuals, if He would create someone like the Devil?”

The Devil As God Created Him

The answer to that question is found in the fact that God did not create the Devil as he is. God did not create the Devil as the father of lies. He did not create the Devil as a murderer from the beginning, as the Spirit of God describes it in the first epistle of John. Say all the terrible things about the Devil you can say, and then recognize that God did not create the Devil that way. He was far different from that when God created him. So someone says, “How did God create him then, if He didn't create him the way he is?” Our answer is found in the Word of God. I want us to spend some time in this chapter to try to learn what the Devil was like when God first created him. Chapter 28 of the book of Ezekiel discusses the Devil. Notice in verse 1:

Ezekiel 28:

1The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,
2Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God:
3Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee:
4With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures:
5By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:
6Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God;
7Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness.
8They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas.
9Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee.
10Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.
11Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,
12Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the Beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.
17Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.

This passage of Scripture, Ezekiel, chapter 28, verses 1-19, describes the origin of the Devil. If you are thinking with me and observing the Word of God clearly, you probably are thinking, “Why are you saying that? There is nothing about the Devil in this chapter. There is no mention of the Devil. Why do you say it is talking about the Devil?” If you are particularly observant, you may even think, “This particular chapter is talking about the king of Tyrus. Why do you say it is talking about the Devil?” Well, let's examine the chapter and see why we say it.

Law Of Double Reference

May I suggest to you that the first ten verses of this chapter are talking about the king of Tyrus, a human being. But you will notice our translators have made a break after verse 10. The Spirit of God says, “Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,…”, indicating that His message is not complete. He has something else to say. This time He says, “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus…” Then He says things that are not true, and could not possibly be true, of the king of Tyrus. They could not be true of any human being. To make the passage of Scripture clear, we might say, “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the real king of Tyrus, for the real king of Tyrus is not the man who sits upon the throne, visible to human eye. The real king of Tyrus is the creature who is inspiring the king to all of his evil deeds.” And so this creature is addressed as the king of Tyrus.

This is not an unusual procedure at all. The writers speak of something that is related to their particular day or at least closely associated with their particular day, and then they are reminded of something in the future or in the far distant past. They speak of the two events as though they were one and the same. Bible scholars refer to this practice as the law of double reference.

The Lord Jesus Christ used this very procedure in connection with Peter. You will remember that the Lord Jesus Christ had been talking about going to the city of Jerusalem for the purpose of dying, and Peter became disturbed. He said, “Lord, You won't do it. We won't let You go.” And he did everything he could to prevent the Lord from going to the Cross. You remember that the Lord Jesus Christ said, “Get behind Me, Satan, for this thing you are suggesting is of the flesh and not of God.” Haven't you noticed? He was talking to Peter, but He said, “Get behind me, Satan.” Why? Because He knew Satan was the inspiration for Peter's statement. He knew that the culprit was not Peter really. It was the Devil. Peter was but the instrument in the hands of the culprit.

What was true of Peter and Satan was true of the king of Tyrus and Satan. So we want to suggest to you that in the paragraph which begins with verse 11 and concludes with verse 19, we have a description of the Devil as he was—the Devil in his prehistoric existence, the Devil as God created him.

Chief Cherub

Let us see some of the things that were said about the Devil in this paragraph. You will notice that in verse 12, it is recorded that the Devil was the sum of wisdom and the perfection of beauty. What is it? Yes, the Devil was the wisest and the most beautiful of all creatures. Someone says, “Well, what kind of creature was he? Was he a human being? Was he an angel? What was he?” Our answer is found down in verse 16, where we read:

Ezekiel 28:

16By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

Notice the word cherub . It is the singular form of a more familiar word, cherubim . Cherub is the singular; cherubim is the plural. So we find that the Devil was created originally as a cherub. He was created originally as one of the cherubim. Of course, in artists' conceptions of cherubim, the pictures that are painted usually have baby-like creatures with sweet innocence pictured in their features. That is not an accurate description of cherubim as they are found in the Word of God. But you do get the idea from this passage of Scripture that when God created the Devil, He did not create him sinful. When God created the Devil, He did not create him ugly. When God created the Devil, he did not create him unattractive. He created him as the artists suggest—a beautiful creature. You can find the literal description of cherubim in chapter 1 of the book of Ezekiel when you have time to consider it.

So we find that this person we call the Devil today—this person the Bible calls Satan , the adversary—was a cherub in his original state. This cherub, we have already learned, was the wisest of all God's creatures. He was the most beautiful of all of God's creatures. And he was a leader of all of the heavenly beings around the throne of God.

You will notice in the last part of verse 16 that he was the covering cherub from the midst of the stones of fire. This word covering cherub might just as well be translated “chief cherub,” or “the first of all the cherubs,” or “the prime minister of all the cherubs of God.” It does seem from this passage of Scripture that the Devil was associated with God as His lieutenant, so to speak, in the government of His universe, and it was his business to be in the midst of the very throne of God when he cared to. That is suggested by the phrase in the last part of verse 16, “O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”

We are reading from chapter 28 of the book of Ezekiel. Such reading would presuppose a knowledge of the first several chapters of the book of Ezekiel. Time does not permit us to consider those chapters, but we suggest that when you have the time, you do that, and you will find that the reference here to the “stones of fire in the midst of which was the anointed cherub” is a reference to the throne of God.

Dominion Of The Devil

We have learned several things about the Devil already, haven't we? We have learned that he was created a cherub, that he was the wisest and the most beautiful of all of God's creatures, and that he had a particular job with God in the government of the universe. You will notice this last statement amplified in verse 14, where we read:

Ezekiel 28:

14Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

The mountain of God is the place where God's throne is. We will be saying more about that in succeeding lessons, but that is where the Devil was. In verse 13 of this chapter, we learn that part of the dominion of the Devil was the earth—the prehistoric earth, shall we say—the earth before it was as we know it now. The prehistoric earth, we are told, had a Garden of Eden, just as the present earth had a Garden of Eden, and just as God will establish another Garden of Eden on the new earth when He creates it. In this prehistoric Garden of Eden, the Devil took up his dwelling place. That dwelling place is described in Ezekiel 28, verse 13:

Ezekiel 28:

13Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond,…

Bible scholars believe that verse 13 describes a palace in which the Devil lived in the prehistoric Garden of Eden because when we meet the Devil in the historic Garden of Eden (that is, the Garden of Eden in which Adam and Eve were), he is not presented in the manner in which we find him here. Some people think that perhaps these stones describe the covering or the clothing in which the Devil was clothed in his prehistoric position. We are inclined to think that they do describe the palace in which he lived in the prehistoric Garden of Eden, as he was once prime minister in the government of the universe, with special interest in the sphere of the earth itself.

Satan's Pride—His Downfall

As we notice these things, we are interested in how the Devil might have reached the condition in which we hear about him today. The answer, found here in Ezekiel 28, is discussed in more detail in chapter 14 of the book of Isaiah. Satan held an exalted place as prime minister. He was the wisest of all of God's creatures, the most beautiful of all of God's creatures, and the leader of God's angelic choir, as is indicated by comparing the last part of verse 13 with chapter 38 of the book of Job, where it is told that the sons of God sang together. The sons of God shouted for joy.

In that time—in the prehistoric period before the earth was as we know it now, when the angelic choir spent their time in singing and praising God—the Devil exercised his musical ability as described in Ezekiel, chapter 28, verse 13, and led the angelic choirs described in chapter 38 of the book of Job. Yet this individual, with all the wonderful attributes and with all this perfect position, was not satisfied. In verse 15, the Spirit of God says of the Devil:

Ezekiel 28:

15Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

“…perfect…until sin was found in thee.” Yes, the Devil was not created the unlovely creature we know him to be now. He was created the chief cherub, beautiful and wise, occupying an important position in the government of God, until sin came into his life.

What sin? What sin could enter Heaven? What sin could enter the heart of the Devil? A sin, Beloved, that God hates. A sin that is so particularly the sin of the Devil that when the Apostle Paul was speaking about young Christians, he suggested that they should not be promoted too rapidly to places of advantage and places of responsibility lest they fall into the snare of the Devil—the same thing that tripped the Devil up.

In chapter 10 of the gospel of Luke, the story is told of how the Lord Jesus Christ sent men out to preach the gospel. They were seventy in number, and He empowered them to do the job they had to do. Then they came back. They were flushed with their success. They were pleased with their accomplishments, and they said, “Oh, isn't it wonderful that the demons were subject to us? Anything we tried to do, we were able to do!” The Lord Jesus Christ interrupted their discussion with a simple, pointed statement when He said, “I saw Lucifer fall from Heaven. Rejoice not that these demons are subject to you, but rejoice rather that your names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.”

Why did the Lord Jesus Christ bring up that subject in the midst of their boasting and in the midst of their bragging? Why did He say to these people who came back flushed with the success of their labors and talking about everything that they had accomplished, “I saw Lucifer fall from Heaven.”? Why? Because He recognized in their lives the very same sin that made it necessary for God to cast the Devil out of Heaven. Let's look at Ezekiel, chapter 28, again and notice how this statement is verified by the Word of God. We are told that the Devil was perfect in everything until such time as iniquity was found in him, and then we are told in verse 17:

Ezekiel 28:

17Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.
18Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick;…

“Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” When we look at Isaiah, chapter 14, which we will be doing in another lesson in this series, we will find exactly why Satan's pride was his downfall. Suffice it to say that here in Ezekiel, the statement is made that the Devil was cast out of Heaven because of the pride in his heart.

Cast Down To Earth

Where was the Devil cast? To what place was he sent when God could no longer let him be His anointed cherub in the holy mountain of God in the midst of the stones of fire? If you will look again at verse 17, you will notice the statement, “I will cast thee to the ground.” Literally it is, “I will cast thee to the earth.” We believe that is exactly what God did. When God saw the pride in the heart of the Devil, He cast him down to the earth from his place of position and responsibility. We believe that from that time forward, the Devil set out to defeat the plan and the purpose of God. We are inclined to think that the Devil was so angry at being cast out of Heaven that he wrecked the earth, God's perfect earth, and put it into a state that made it necessary for God to reconstruct it, to bring order out of chaos.

For example, in Genesis, chapter 1, verse 1, we are told, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” We know from Isaiah, chapter 45, that God created the earth perfect. And yet we read in verse 2 of Genesis, chapter 1, “The earth was without form and void.” It would be better to translate that verse, “The earth became without form and void.”

Get the picture: In Genesis, chapter 1, verse 1, God created the earth perfect. In Genesis, chapter 1, verse 2, something happened to it. It became without form and void. It was wrecked. It was ruined. And in the remaining portion of Genesis, chapter 1, God brought order out of chaos. The remaining portion of the chapter speaks not of the creation of the earth, but rather of the restoration of the earth. What was it that caused the earth to be ruined? We believe it was the Devil's being cast out of Heaven to the earth and wrecking the earth in his anger and his hate.

What did he begin to do that day? He has tried to continue down to this very day his efforts to wreck the handiwork of God, as it is summed up in the life of man. He spends all of his time in this endeavor.

He was cast out of the heavens in the prehistoric ages, as Jesus said in Luke, chapter 10. Revelation, chapter 12, describes another time when he will be cast out of Heaven for the last time. We are going to see in this series of studies that it would seem from the teaching of the Word of God that, though the Devil was cast out of Heaven, he still has permission to come back to Heaven from time to time for the purpose of accusing the brethren, thus carrying on his work of destruction against God's program as it is summarized in man himself, the highest of all God's creations.

But chapter 12 of the book of Revelation reminds us that even this privilege will be taken away from him one of these days, and he will be cast out of Heaven, never to enter into Heaven again for the purpose of accusing the brethren. And we hear the folk in Heaven rejoicing that the accuser of the brethren is cast down.

Summary

To summarize everything that we have been trying to say in this discussion of the origin of the Devil: Yes, God did create the Devil. Make no mistake about it, but He did not create him as we know him now. He created him as the anointed cherub, one of the most beautiful and the wisest of all of His creatures. But because He created the Devil as a free moral agent, as He has created all of His beings, the Devil, filled with pride, was not content to be God's chief lieutenant. As we are going to see in our next discussion, he wanted to be God Himself. God cast him out of Heaven and placed upon him a curse which makes him the creature he is today.


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