2003-06-22 - The Doctrine of Angels
The Doctrine of Angels Part 7 ~ Demons
Satan often succeeds in his purposes because people either do not believe
in his existence or believe him to be more powerful than he really is. Hollywood
has contributed to both approaches by some of their films, either by portraying
him as a comic figure or as a being who has equal power to God. Folklore
has done the same with demons, Satan's followers. Folktales have taken truths
of scripture and turned them into fodder for fanciful tales. Even those who
should be grounded in scripture have strange ideas about demons. Consider
the following Yiddish folktale.
"Neither Eat Nor Drink What A Demon Offers It once happened that a number
of Hasidim driving in a carriage came to a town and asked the local moyel,
the ritual circumciser, to accompany them to a village for a few hours. The
unsuspecting moyel went with them. They drove on and on, on and on. The trip
seemed endless. At last they drove into a dense and very dark forest. In
its midst stood a fine house into which they led the moyel. As he was examining
the child to be circumcised, the newly delivered mother said, in a whisper:
'Whatever you do, don't eat or drink anything here or you'll be lost. These
people are demons, and everything you see here is meant to deceive you. Long
ago I was traveling, when they handed me a drink of water, and from that
time on, they had such power over me I could not escape.'Well, he circumcised
the child, after which he was led into a grand hall royally furnished and
decorated, with a table full of good things to eat. But when the moyel refused
to eat or drink anything, the house suddenly disappeared. It was weeks until,
footsore and weary, he found his way back to his home
My primary source continues to be Through the Bible in One Year. Other books
you might want to refer to include Harold Lindsell's The World, The
Flesh, & The Devil, and Donald Grey Barnhouse's, The Invisible
Biblically there are two classes of angels. Stringfellow calls them "holy"
angels and fallen angels. The "leader" of the fallen angels is Satan. We
have looked at the first group and at Satan. Now we will consider the fallen
angels. We have already seen much regarding their creation, as well as their
limitations (see the study on Satan) in the previous two studies. Because
Satan is limited in areas of omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence, his
work is carried out by the fallen angels, better known as demons. Just as
angels are involved in our lives as God's ministers, demons can be involved
in our lives as Satan's ministers of destruction.
In his introduction to this study, Stringfellow notes:
"this lesson shall deal with all of us where we are, what we have felt in
the past, what we face each day because Satan is always trying to entrap
us. The person who knows Christ, has sufficient strength to overcome Satan
because 'greater is He that is in you, that he that is in the world'
(1 John 4:4). This does not eliminate the temptation which is ever
present, appealing to the carnal nature. The person who does not know Christ
as Lord and Savior is constantly seeking the things of this world.
"All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the
lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of
the world" (1 John 2:16). They are open to the power of
Satan and his emissaries." 3
The Fall of Angels
Interestingly enough there are two groups of fallen angels identified in
scripture. These are the fallen and the chained angels.
This group was not only cast out of heaven, but they were cast into "Tartarus,"
that is the pit of darkness. We read of this group in 2 Peter 2:4.
"For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast
them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved
unto judgment" (KJV).
"And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority
but abandoned their own home these he has kept in darkness, bound with
everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day" (Jude 1:6).
"Tartarus is only the temporary prison; their final end will be the 'lake
of fire' (Matt 25:41), the eternal abode of Satan, demons, and unsaved
human beings." 4
"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me,
you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his
angels'" (Matthew 25:41).
We do not know what these angels did that was so uniquely vile, that God
chained them after they fell. Some speculate these were the "Sons of God"
in Genesis 6:4, and that they slept with the "daughters of men." This position,
while popular among some, is simply wild speculation, with no scriptural
foundation for it. There is no explanation as to why these angels have been
Dr. McGee states:
"Apparently, the fallen angels are divided into two groups. The group whose
rebellion was so great is evidently locked up, incarcerated, and has no freedom
of movement any longer." 5
Referring back to Genesis 6, Stringfellow presents what I believe is the
most reasonable understanding of the passage. "The reference in Genesis
6:2-6 has to do with the breakdown of the separation of the godly line of
Seth, by intermarriage with the godless line of Cain." 6
Stringfellow points out something I hadn't noticed before. In scripture,
the only time we see an angel taking on human form is when it is a "holy"
angel sent by God. 7 While this doesn't preclude demons taking
on human form, there is no biblical support for this occurring.
This second group of fallen angels are defined as free, in contrast to the
chained. These are the beings we call demons. They are Satan's minions and
carry out the work of the Satanic kingdom.Keep in mind then, when we talk
about Satan doing this and Satan doing that, we are frequently talking about
his kingdom and therefore demons. It is simply easier to use his name for
all things done by his realm.
The Power of Fallen Angels
Here I will turn to The NIV Dictionary for a definition of demons.
Then we will look at them in detail. " As purely spiritual beings or
personalities, demons operate above the laws of the natural realm and are
invisible and incorporeal. As spirit personalities, demons have an
intellectual nature through which they possess superhuman knowledge.
Scripture features the shrewdness of demons. In their moral nature all demons
(as fallen angels) are evil and depraved, in distinction to the good spirits
(the unfallen angels), who are sinless." 7
Their Names Describe Their Job Functions
The word demon itself means "knowing" or "to know" and refers to their "wisdom."
In this context, Stringfellow points out that the word is erroneously translated
devils by the King James Version. "Devil" is always simply another name of
Satan. Following are some of the name given to demons.
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek
after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God." And the soul
that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go
a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will
cut him off from among his people" (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6 KJV).
" And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean
spirit; and he cried out, Saying, 'Let us alone; what have we to do with
thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who
thou art, the Holy One of God.' And Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Hold thy
peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and
cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch
that they questioned among themselves, saying, 'What thing is this? What
new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits,
and they do obey him'" (Mark 1:23-27).
Weinreich, Beatrice Silverman, ed., Yiddish Folktales, "Neither Eat
Nor Drink What A Demon Offers," Pantheon Books, New York, NY, 1988,
Stringfellow, Alan B., ed., Through the Bible in One Year, Vol.
3, Great Truths of the Bible, © 1981 by Virgil W. Hensley, Inc.,
Publisher, Tulsa, OK, p. 73-91.
Ibid., p. 87.
Douglas, J. D. and Merrill C. Tenney, editors, NIV Bible
Dictionary, Zondervan Interactive Publishing House, Grand Rapids,
McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol.
5, "1 Corinthians - Revelation," Thomas Nelson Inc., Nashville, TN 1982,
For more information about the author, podcasts and additional studies
CFD | June 2003
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