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. 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." 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)." 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." Matthew Henry, who wrote a commentary on the Bible, noted, "The devils, once angels in the best sense, are reserved." 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." 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."
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." 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)." 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)."
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 the American Heritage Dictionary, demon is defined as "a Devil or evil being, an unclean spirit that possesses and afflicts a person." 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."
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).
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 BLB Lexicon.
 Ryken et al., eds., Dictionary of Biblical Imagery, 202. Print.
 Graham, Billy. The Classic Writings of Billy Graham, 39, 57. Print.
 Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, 2461. Print.
 MacArthur. The MacArthur Bible Commentary, 2015. Print.
 Richards, Encyclopedia of Biblical Worlds, 219.
 Sumrall, Lester. 101 Questions and Answers on Demon Powers, 14. Print.
 Ibid, . 218.
 Youngblood, ed., Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, 346. Print.
 Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, s.v. "daimonon."
 Vine. Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words, 166.
 The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, s.v. "demon." Print.
 Wiese, Bill. Hell: Separate Truth from Fiction And Get Your Toughest Questions Answered. 1st ed. Lake Mary, Florida: Charisma House, 2008. 212-213. Print.