ANGELS – Part 7

By Tommy Thornhill

 

In Lk.10:18, Jesus says, “I saw Satan fall like lightening from heaven. While there is a strong possibility that the Devil is a fallen angel, the context of this verse is not talking of the origin of Satan. It is a victory verse, where Jesus Christ is declaring that He will bind Satan and overcome his power Heb.2:14; Matt.12:29; Jn.12:31.

In reality, any conclusion we draw about the origin of the Devil has to be speculation, not revelation. If God had wanted us to know for certain He would have revealed it. God has told us of the Devil’s nature and work in the world, but He chose not to reveal his origin. Since God didn’t reveal it, any conclusion we draw must be based on opinion, not fact. When all things are considered, I believe the most logical conclusion to draw about the origin of Satan the Devil, is that he is a fallen angel. But, (and it is big but), while I think it to be a reasonable explanation of Satan’s origin it will be an opinion and it will not solve all the difficulties.

Is the Devil a fallen angel? Both 2.Pet.2:4 and Jude 6 tell us of angels who chose to sin by rebelling against God. These fallen angels “did not keep their proper domain but left their own habitation” (they despised their position and work God had assigned them). After they chose to rebel and sin against Him, God “cast them down to hell and delivered them into everlasting chains of darkness, to be reserved for the judgment of that great day.” Was the Devil at one time one of these fallen angels? If so, why was he allowed to have more freedom and power than the other fallen angels? In article no.3 on angels, 2-6-22, I discussed the fact that angels have rank. That would also include the rebellious angels of the forces of darkness (sin) if you read Eph.6:12. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against host of wickedness in the heavenly places.” The same definitions I gave for the different ranks of good angels (principalities, powers, rulers (dominions) would also apply to that of the rebellious angels.

To sum up what I have written about the origin of Satan aka the Devil, when all things are considered, the Bible does not tell us. We can only opine. Even with hints in the Bible that point toward him being a fallen angel, what I think is still only an opinion. I hope what I have written will cause you to think, search and study the subject for yourself 1.Thes.5:21. While I cannot know for certain the origin of Satan, I can confidently accept the fact that God allows him to exist, that he is evil, and his mission is to keep as many people as possible from serving God. He is still very active today trying to destroy man’s relationship with God 1.Pet.5:8. But he can be resisted if man has the will to do so Jas.4:7. One day he will be destroyed, and those who follow him will end up with him in the Devil’s hell Matt.25:41.

While this concludes my study of God’s good angels, I don’t believe the study would be complete without some thoughts about demons, the devil’s angels.

Even though “demons” are sometimes spoken of as “devils” (KJV) the correct translation is “demons.” There is a distinction in the words. The Greek word for the Devil is diabolos aka Satan, the slanderer, false accuser and he is only one being. The Greek word for demon is daimon or daimonion (appearing 79 times in the NT) and means evil or unclean spirits Lk.8:2; 10:17, 20; Mk.5:12-13, and there are multitudes of them Mk.9:5 (legion). Even though not directly stated, the actions of demons strongly imply they are the devil’s angels Matt.25:41. When Jesus cast demons out of a man, the Pharisees accused Him of doing so by “Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons” Matt.12:24.

One might ask, where and when did demons originate? Just as with the origin of Satan, the Bible is unclear as to their origin, so men have speculated. One implausible theory is they are the disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamic race of beings that existed in the so-called “gap” period between Gen.1:1-.2. This can easily be dismissed since there is no gap of eons of time in Gen.1:1-2, and the Bible clearly states that Adam was the first man created by God. Another ridiculous theory bandied about is that demons are the offspring of angels cohabitating with women before the flood. This is based on a misunderstanding of Gen.6:1-4 (answered in an earlier article). Angels are sexless, thus the idea of a sexual union is very implausible Matt.22:30. A third idea is that demons are the spirits of dead wicked men who have been permitted to leave Hades to inhabit men, as suggested by Josephus in his work, but there is no scripture to support this view.

The most plausible explanation is that demons are the spirits of “fallen angels” who were bound by chains in everlasting darkness 2.Pet.2:4; Jude 6. The chains are figurative, limiting their ability, and their abode of darkness is also figurative 1.Jn.1:6; Eph.5:11, describing the sinful kingdom of Satan. These bound (limited in power) rebellious angels came with the devil when he was cast to the earth, to deceive the world after the battle portrayed in Rev.12:7ff; Eph.6:12. These demons (evil spirits) were active during Jesus’ ministry and knew a future judgment awaited them Matt.8:29; Lk.8:31. They knew that Jesus had the power to destroy them. They knew He was the Son of God, so they were not atheists who denied the existence of God Matt.8:29; Mk.1:24; 3:11, nor were they like the modernists who speak of Jesus as a mere man. They believed that “torment” (hell) awaited them, and they trembled at the prospect Matt.8:29; Jas.2:19

We find no record in the OT of demons actually possessing anyone, even though demons were associated with pagan and false religions Lev.17:7; Deut.32:17; 2.Chron.11:15; Ps. 106:37. (This series will be concluded with the next issue).