Saturday, October 29

Demons and Fallen Angels

Are demons the same as fallen angels? It is a valid question, and one which, we contend, can be concluded from Scripture. There are certainly objections to this concept, some of which we will attempt to answer in this article. Is there a difference between fallen angels and demons, or are they the same beings? The Hebrew word for "angel" in the Old Testament is mal'ak, a masculine noun used in Biblical terms as a "messenger, representative, angel," or ambassador.[1] In the New Testament, the word in Greek is aggelos, also a masculine noun, is used. It is defined as "a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God."[2] The word demon, or daemon (also daimon) comes from the Greek δαιμόνιον (daimonion), which is translated as "devil" in the King James Version of the New Testament. The New King James version uses the word "demon(s)" in seventy two verses. But is there a difference between a demon and a fallen angel? (Photo attribution: Gustave Doré's illustration for Paradise Lost, Book III, lines 739-742, c.1886)

Arguments vary, from claims that fallen angels possess a physical body of their own, whereas demons have to possess a man or women, not having a physical body of their own. However, we are unaware of any Scripture references which may indicate this belief. Satan, who is in all probability a fallen angel, can possess a person, as he did with Judas (Luke 22:3, John 13:27). When angels (referring to heavenly messengers) appear, they generally appear in the appearance of men. When the two angels were in Sodom and Gomorrah, the text indicates that they had the physical appearance of men, as is shown by the desire for the men of Sodom toward the angels (Genesis 19:5). Concerning angels, the author of Hebrews wrote, "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing so some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it" (Hebrews 13:2). With this in mind, what do major commentaries, encyclopedias, and others say about the demon-fallen angel connection?

"The language and imagery of angels and demons exhibit many parallels. Angels come in 'legions' (Matt. 26:53) and so do demons (Mark 5:9). Angels have 'rulers' or 'princes' (Dan. 12:1) as do demons (Eph. 2:2). The 'host of heaven' may be angels (Luke 2:13) or demonic idols of the zodiac (Acts 7:42). Angels or other heavenly beings were pictured with wings (Is. 6:2), so were demons (An [evil, idolatrous] spirit oppresses you with its wings, Hos. 4:19)."[3] According to Billy Graham, famous as an American evangelist, "Some scholars estimate that as many as one-third of the angels cast their lot with Satan when he mysteriously rebelled against his Creator... ones who are now desperate demons... Lucifer and his angels, who turned into demons."[4] Matthew Henry, who wrote a commentary on the Bible, noted, "The devils, once angels in the best sense, are reserved."[5] As conveyed in the MacArthur Bible Commentary, "Satan's original rebellion resulted in one-third of the angelic host joining his insurrection and becoming demons."[6] The Encyclopedia of Biblical Words notes, "It seems most likely that the demons and evil spirits of the N.T. are the angels that fell with Satan."[7]

Others, such as Lester Sumrall, now deceased, once said that "The devil is prince of demons (Matt. 12:24). Demons, as described in the Bible, are the angelic host who decided to follow Lucifer, the archangel, in his insurrection against God, Luke 10:18."[8] It ought to be noted, however, that only Michael is given the title "archangel" in Scripture (see Jude 9), although it is also used in 1st Thessalonians 4:16, probably referring to Michael, as it describes the archangel descending with Jesus at His Coming. Also, "So the Gospels do picture demons as living beings with malignant powers. Demons are personal beings, not impersonal influences (Matt. 8:31)."[9] Finally, Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary reports, "'Demons - another name for fallen angels.' A symbolic view of this initial fall appears in Revelation 12:3-4 where the dragon (a symbol for Satan) 'drew a third part of the stars of heaven' (a symbol for angels) and 'threw them to the earth.' Thus, Satan has his own angels, presumably these demons (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:9)."[10]

Demons recognized Jesus as the "Son of God" (Matthew 8:20; Luke 4:41). They are among those angels who "kept not their first estate," the "unclean spirits," or "fallen angels." These are the  angels of the devil (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7-9), and are the "principalities and powers" against which we must "wrestle" (Ephesians 6:12). When Satan rebelled against God, he took some of the angelic host with him. In his anger, Satan either disguised himself as or entered into and spoke through a "serpent" in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3; Revelation 12:9, 20:2), and through choice, tempted Eve to sin, who in turn tempted Adam, and all of creation was then corrupted. Luke 10:17-18 declares, "The seventy-two returned with joy and said, 'Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.' He replied, 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.'" Once the seventy two disciples said to Jesus that the demons (or "devils") were subject to them, Jesus replied that He had seen Satan fall from heaven, immediately after they had said this. This appears to be an identification of Satan with the demons.

One of Gustave Doré's illustrations for Paradise Lost
In Matthew 12:24-26, we read "But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, 'It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.' Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?'" Here, Jesus again draws the parallel of "devils," or demon, with "Satan." Now, as aforementioned, Satan is a fallen angel (Ezekiel 28:14, 16; Luke 10:18; Revelation 12:4-8), and though he has fallen from his former state, can still disguise himself as an angel or being of light (2nd Corinthians 11:14). Revelation 12:9 and John 6:70-71 also call Satan a "devil," implying that he is both fallen angel and demon. Could it be that they are one and the same? In Mark 1:13, Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness. In Dr. Luke's record, speaking of the same occurrence, it says that Jesus was tempted by the "devil" (Luke 4:2). Luke 4:5 says, "And the devil, taking him up into a high mountain..." This particular verse uses the word diabolos for devil. The word is "a noun, the devil, Satan...",[11] and "Devil... is one of the names of Satan."[12]

In the American Heritage Dictionary, demon is defined as "a Devil or evil being, an unclean spirit that possesses and afflicts a person."[13] Interestingly, "Matthew 8:28, 31 says 'There met him two possessed with devils... So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine' (KJV). These were the demons that were in the demoniac man running through the tombs. The phrase 'possessed with devils' is the Greek word daimonizomai, a verb, and means 'to be demon possessed - possessed with devils.' That word devils in Matthew 8:31 is the Greek word daimon, a noun. The meaning of that word in the Greek is 'demon, evil spirit - devils.' The two times the word devils is used are two different words, with two similar meanings, both meaning 'devils.' So we see that demons do enter and possess people, the same as devils do. Satan himself can possess someone, as he did with Judas."[14]

However, some people reject the notion that demons and fallen angels are one and the same on this basis: Jude 6 conveys that the angels who sinned are "bound with everlasting chains" (TNIV), and therefore, fallen angels cannot be demons as the angels are bound in chains. It must then be taken into account, then, that according to 1st Peter 5:8, "...the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." Along with this, we find that Satan and his angels likely entered the Throne Room of God in Job 1-2. Job 1:6-7 says, "One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, 'Where have you come from?' Satan answered the LORD, 'From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.'" Also, Satan came to tempt Jesus for forty days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:1-13), and clearly Satan appeared in some way to Eve in Eden (Genesis 3). This demonstrates that Satan, the "prince of demons" (Matthew 9:34) can roam. Why would God allow the prince of demons and leader of the fallen angels to roam free but not the others? Evidently, the angels mentioned in Jude 6 rebelled in an additional way, much like the "sons of God" did in Genesis 6.

Though some have attempted alternate explanations, the passages examined appear to indicate that demons and fallen angels are the same beings. They will be judged in the future (Matthew 8:29), and their deceptions continue to this day. Whether it is through "ghostly encounters" the alien and UFO phenomenon, or a myriad of other things, the kingdom of darkness clearly still has influence over mankind. Just as Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" (Ephesians 6:12-13). While utilized in a different context, Paul says, "Hold on to what is good, reject whatever is harmful" (1st Thessalonians 5:21b-22).

The Truth Ministries would like to thank you for taking the time to read this article of "The Truth." Feel free to email us at vexx801@yahoo.com or thetruth.ministryweb@gmail.com, visit our facebook page, or visit our ministry website.  It is the mission of this ministry to "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ" (2nd Corinthians 10:5). We understand that many will disagree with our position, our claims and our ministry, and we recognize the individual's right to believe what he or she wills, and that some will disagree on our position regarding this particular topic. However, understand that we stand firm upon the Bible as God's Word, which we believe to be historically accurate and reliable, and hold to our conviction that this conclusion was arrived at based on what His Word tells us, and through a Biblical worldview, and hope that if you have not already, will come to faith in Jesus. Take care, and God bless you reader. Troy Hillman, Christian Apologist

Sources:
[1] BLB Lexicon.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ryken et al., eds., Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, 202. Print.
[4] Graham, Billy. The Classic Writings of Billy Graham, 39, 57. Print.
[5] Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, 2461. Print.
[6] MacArthur. The MacArthur Bible Commentary, 2015. Print.
[7] Richards, Encyclopedia of Biblical Worlds, 219.
[8] Sumrall, Lester. 101 Questions and Answers on Demon Powers, 14. Print.
[9] Ibid, [7]. 218.
[10] Youngblood, ed., Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 346. Print.
[11] Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, s.v. "daimonon."
[12] Vine. Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, 166.
[13] The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, s.v. "demon." Print.
[14] Wiese, Bill. Hell: Separate Truth from Fiction And Get Your Toughest Questions Answered. 1st ed. Lake Mary, Florida: Charisma House, 2008. 212-213. Print.

9 comments:

  1. hello, having read angels and demons one thing sticks out though, fallen angels are given a great history in the word as to where they came from, and where they ended up. Then the word gives us many instances where demons are involved but it in no way that I can see or find, does it tell of their beginning or origin. Then it would only do so if there was a distinct difference between the two. I think if they are one and the same then there is no reason for a separate history. If the angels were cast down and put in chains then who is running around up here bothering us. This is good subject to think about. If I never get the answer here, "I will there".It will never occupy the top of my list. You see I have the only answer I will ever need from HIM "Jesus died for my sins". It's good that it keeps us in the word. I liked the question are you a good person, MT19:17,MK10:18 & LK18:19 answers that for every one,then JESUS says in JN10:11"go look it up".

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  2. Anonymous,
    Thank you for taking the time to comment. You mentioned the "eternal chains," yet this issue is addressed within the article: "some people reject the notion that demons and fallen angels are one and the same on this basis: Jude 6 conveys that the angels who sinned are 'bound with everlasting chains' (TNIV), and therefore, fallen angels cannot be demons as the angels are bound in chains. It must then be taken into account, then, that according to 1st Peter 5:8, '...the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.' Along with this, we find that Satan and his angels likely entered the Throne Room of God in Job 1-2. Job 1:6-7 says, 'One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, 'Where have you come from?' Satan answered the LORD, 'From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.'' Also, Satan came to tempt Jesus for forty days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:13; Luke 4:1-13), and clearly Satan appeared in some way to Eve in Eden (Genesis 3). This demonstrates that Satan, the 'prince of demons' (Matthew 9:34) can roam. Why would God allow the prince of demons and leader of the fallen angels to roam free but not the others? Evidently, the angels mentioned in Jude 6 rebelled in an additional way, much like the "sons of God" did in Genesis 6."

    Note that I do not claim to be an expert on Demonology or Angelology, but from what the text says, this is the conclusion I have reached. However, if demons and angels are the same beings, it does not need to speak of their origins or beginnings, because the origin of angels is already clear. Colossians 1:16 says that "all things" were created by God, which, logically, would include Satan and the angels. Genesis 1:31-2:1 speaks of "everything that God made," which would include demons. Indeed, Satan is a created being (Ezekiel 28:13, 15), and as he is also called "devil," we can then make inferences.

    Satan is clearly bound by time (Luke 4:13; Revelation 12:12), unlike God, who declared the beginning from the end (Isaiah 46:10) and is eternal. Satan and his angels are not eternal, however. If one was to argue that angels and demons are separate beings, we would have to then explain away passages such as Mark 3:22, in which the teachers of the law say, "He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons, he is driving out demons." If they understood Satan to be something other than an angel, why would they have used him as an example? To say that he is possessed by Satan, an angel, and through him demons are cast out, defeats their reasoning. Their reasoning was that Jesus was possessed by Satan, a fallen angel, which they evidently understood to be a demon, and because of this, said that by a demon, Jesus was driving out demons. This is why Jesus said, "How can Satan drive out Satan?" and about a kingdom divided against itself. If demons and angels are not the same, this passage makes less sense.

    Again, I do not claim to be an expert on such matters, and certainly it is a matter which God has left rather hidden, and surely the debate among people will continue, but it appears that they are the same thing. You noted, "If the angels were cast down and put in chains then who is running around up here bothering us," but this does not account for passages such as Job 1-2, Matthew 4, Zechariah 3, and others. Nevertheless, it is still a topic to consider, of course, and further research ought to be done. We thank you for your comment.

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  3. I have been looking for a clear answer for this question. Thank you guys for setting it straight. I never had a doubt in my mind that demons are fallen angels but I keep hearing it from christians and by many websites on the internet. I was looking for some information like this so that I can know how to explain why demons are fallen angels and not disembodied spirits like people claim. Praise God!

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    1. You are quite welcome. Glad to have been able to give a clear answer! Thank you for taking the time to comment, and may God bless you!

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    2. The word demon does not appear in the King James Bible. They are either a devil or evil spirit.

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    3. Granted. However, as pointed out in the article, the word demon or daemon (also daimon) comes from the Greek δαιμόνιον (daimonion), which is translated as "devil" in the King James Version of the New Testament - which you noted. The New King James version uses the word "demon(s)" in seventy two verses, and the word "demon" is used in many contemporary translations. Given that the original KJV was published in AD 1611, this is certainly understandable.

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  4. Analyzing fiction in detail is sooooooo pointless. IT IS FICTION. Get a clue.

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    1. Indeed? The very definition of fiction is something that is an invention or fabrication as opposed to fact. As you evidently consider the Bible to be fictional, there are several points to be made. First of all, even if something is fiction, it is not pointless. In your opinion it may be, but I am inclined to say that the majority of textual critics, poets, writers and readers would disagree. Take Orwell's Animal Farm, for example.

      Animal is essentially a social commentary directed at communism. It can be taken as a work of literature about talking creatures, but it can also be analyzed on much deeper levels. Psychologists and sociologists also do this on occasion. So the very idea of analyzing fiction is not "pointless," as you say. A great deal can be gleaned from analyzing forms of fiction. Historians and scholars would also likely note that it can tell you a thing or two about its historical setting, perhaps provide historical insights that we otherwise would not have.

      Also, for you to claim "IT IS FICTION. Get a clue" is to ignore evidence - or a fallacy. Essentially, you are making a claim (i.e. that the Bible is fiction) without backing up that claim with evidence. If you claim that the Bible is fiction, the burden of proof therefore lies with you. It is not necessary, for my part, to indulge you in the myriad of historical, archaeological, textual and scientific discoveries to lend further credence to Scripture as there are nearly 300 articles on this website that attempt to do so. It would be relevant, however to say that the Bible is not fiction, and any good historian (secular or not) would agree with that. Even if the Bible was false, critical scholars recognize that each book has a basic historicity, and with over 25,000 archaeological findings to further to reliability of Scripture, it is a fallacious claim to say that the Bible is fiction.

      Granted, it is either true or not true. But it is essentially either entirely true (which this ministry contends) or rather, it contains elements of historical facts, which it is readily seen to have. Again, the official position of this ministry is that the sixty six canonical books of Scripture are true, which historical data, archaeological findings and other means continues to lend itself to. Thank you for taking the time to comment, and may a different view arise not just on fictional literature, but also on truth - Scripture. God bless you.

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    2. Very good article, thank you for your research. I've also heard that demons may be the evil spirit's from the flood. Did Noah's generation go to hell, or did this fallan race that perhished in the flood, their spirit's become the demon's? Thanks for your response. Mike

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