Angels, Satan, & Demons

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ANGELS

I believe that angels are spiritual, heavenly beings created by God before he created earth and all that inhabits earth (Job 38:4-7, Col. 1:16). Angels were created higher than man (Ps. 8:4-6, Heb. 2:5-9) but will one day be subject to judgment by man (1 Cor. 6:3). As with man, angels were all created as good (Gen. 1:31); as with man—though before man—some angels sinned and were subjected to judgment (2 Pet. 2:4). These fallen angels are called demons and are led by Satan, the prince of demons (Matt. 12:24ff).

PERSONALITY AND NAMES. Angels are personal beings (Heb. 1:5-7) with unique personalities, characteristics, and roles. They have minds (Eph. 3:10), emotions (Luke 2:13 & 15:10), and wills (Dan. 4:17, 1 Pet. 1:12). They communicate with God (Job 1-2), man (Num. 22:32, Matt. 1:20, Heb. 2:2), and each other (Isa. 6:3, 1 Cor. 13:1). They are holy (Mark 8:38, Acts 10:22, Rev. 14:10). Two angels are named: Michael (Jude 9) and Gabriel (Dan. 8:16 & 9:21; Luke 1:19 & 26).

KINDS AND CLASSIFICATIONS. Three kinds or ranks of angels are explicitly identified: archangels, cherubim, and seraphim. Michael is called “the archangel” (Jude 9), but is not the only one of that rank (1 Thess. 4:16). The cherubim—most often associated with God’s presence and glory (Ezek. 9:3, 10:4ff, 11:22)—take many forms, having differing numbers of wings and numbers and types of faces (Exod. 25:20 & 37:7-9; Ezek. 10:14 & 41:18). The LORD is said to ride on a cherub (2 Sam. 22:11, Ps. 18:10). The seraphim—mentioned only in Isa. 6:2 & 6—are associated there with the throne room of God, where they constantly praise and worship him and seem to participate with him as ministers (though not agents) of atonement (Isa. 6:7). Their name means “burning ones.” The angels are called sons of God (Gen. 6:2; Deut. 32:8; Job 1:6, 2:1, & 38:7), watchers (Dan. 4:13 & 17), and princes (Dan. 10:13).

MINISTRY. Angels are ministering spirits (Heb. 1:14) who guard, comfort, counsel, and direct men (2 Ki. 6:17, Dan. 10:2-9, Mark 1:13, Luke 22:43, Ac. 12). They carry messages from God (Gen. 16:9-11, 1 Ki. 13:18, Matt. 1:20 & 2:13; Luke 1:11 & 26; Ac. 8:26) and at times compel obedience or enforce or carry out God’s will (Gen. 3:24, Num. 22:2ff, 2 Sam. 24:16). They aid in believers’ prayers (Rev. 8:2-4) and in answering those prayers (Ac. 12:5-7). Angels praise and worship God (Ps 103:20-21, Isa. 6:2-3). While most often unseen (2 Ki. 6:17), angels appear at times in superhuman form (Matt. 28:2-3, Luke 2:8ff) and at other times in human form (Gen. 18:2, 16, & 22; Num. 22:31, Luke 24:4). Whenever gender is ascribed to angels, whether grammatically or in physical description, it is always masculine. Though neither omniscient nor omnipotent, angels are described as having superhuman knowledge and power (2 Sam. 14:20, Matt. 24:36; 2 Pet 2:11, 2 Chr. 32:21). Nonetheless, they learn from humans (Eph. 3:10).

SATAN AND DEMONS

I believe that Satan and demons are angels that fell from their exalted position in creation because of pride (Ezek. 28) and were cast into eternal judgment (John 16:11, 2 Pet. 2:4). Satan is a cherub (Ezek. 28:14ff), though fallen; he is the prince of demons (Matt. 9:34) and ruler of the world (John 14:30). His name means “adversary;” with his demons, Satan’s primary purpose is to oppose God, his work, and his people. He is a liar (John 8:44) and deceiver (Gen. 3:13, Rev. 12:19).

Though judged already and subject to future, eternal judgment, Satan and the demons have power and authority to work in creation (Luke 4:5-6, 1 John 2:16); yet this power is limited by God’s sovereignty (Job 1:12, 2:6; 2 Thess. 2:6) and God accomplishes his own purposes through Satan’s evil schemes (Gen. 45:5, 8; 50:20; Est. 4:14). Satan and demons resist believers and the angels sent to aid them (Dan. 10:13). Their knowledge, power, and presence are limited; some demons are more powerful than others (Mark 9:28-29). As spiritual beings they influence and lead unbelievers (2 Cor. 4:4, Eph. 2:1-3) through lies and deception. They can and must be resisted by wearing the armor of God and wielding Word of God (Jas. 4:7; Luke 4:2ff; Eph. 6:11; 1 Pet. 5:8-9).

Ultimately, Satan and his angels will be cast into eternal torment (Matt. 25:41, Rev. 20:10) with no hope of redemption or salvation.

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