The Church of Jesus Christ is emerging in the earth today with passion, power and persistence to become all that He intended her to be. It’s not fully here today, and it’s not completely restored to what God intended, but there is a growing hunger for the Church to return to what some call New Testament Christianity. Within this resurgence of passion for Jesus, there has also been a heightened sense of the supernatural. In the past 30 years, the Church has said much about angels, demons and Satan but not all of it has been biblical or even helpful for that matter.
In this session we are going to discuss the doctrine of angels, demons and the devil. It’s my goal not to give a complete understanding of these subjects (as I don’t have one), but rather an overview (what I do have). Along the way I will point out a few things that are helpful when talking about these various subjects. In my opinion, they are not the main and plain of the Bible but, just like all the other Bible truths we have been covering, they have their rightful place in God’s kingdom and it’s through that lens that we will discuss them.
What Is The Doctrine Of Angels?
When it comes to nearly any Bible topic, the Church tends to climb into one ditch or the other, instead of staying in the middle of the road. When talking about angels, demons, and Satan these two ditches are very present. The first is the ditch that says they aren’t real and the other ditch says they are the only thing. A more Biblical approach is to stand in the middle of the road and state that angels, demons and Satan are real, but they aren’t to be worshipped, or ever to replace our passion for Jesus Christ. We understand that God uses all these things for His sovereign purpose and, it’s from that understanding that we seek to see them in their rightful place.
In the earth there are two kingdoms; the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. The same thing is true when it comes to angles. There are good angels and bad angels. The good angels are out to help humanity and the bad angels are out to destroy humanity and separate us from Christ. The good angels are broken into several different categories. Angels have a nature or different qualities that make up who they are;
1) They are creatures. This means that angels aren’t uncreated, but created by God. As we mentioned in the Doctrine of the Trinity, there are only 3 things that are uncreated and it’s the Godhead or the Trinity, everything outside the Trinity is created.
2) Angels are spirits. This means that they aren’t humans or, like us, a part of God’s higher creation. They appear, disappear and travel quickly. Though they take on the form of humans from time to time they are not like humans, they are spirits.
3) Angels are immortal just like humans. Because we are made in the image of God we will live forever. This same thing is true about angels. They are going to live forever either with Jesus in heaven, or in hell with Satan.
4) We also know that angels are numerous. This means that they are without number in the Bible. There are too many to count or keep track of.
Angles also have different classifications;
1) The Bible speaks of an Angel of the Lord. When the Bible speaks about this certain angel, it’s speaking about Christ coming to the earth prior to His incarnation. The Theological term for this is christophany. This simply means, an appearance, or non-physical manifestation, of Christ.
2) It also speaks about archangels. Michael and Gabriel are spoken of as the two archangels of the Bible with Michael being among the chief angels. Some would say that there should be equality, but this doesn’t take away from the rank that God has set in motion.
3) There are also elect angels, cherubim, angels of nations and the seraphim. Each of these angels has different tasks and roles they play within the Kingdom of God.
We also know, from studying the Word of God, that angels are God’s agents. The word angel actually means messenger. Angels are those that carry out the works of God when He is doing things outside of human activity. We would be very shocked to see the angelic activity that is being released on behalf of our prayers. We know from the bible that we don’t wrestle against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities and spirits and the rulers of the darkness of this age.
John’s encounter with the angel in Revelation 22:8-9 gives us much information about how to respond and react to angels visiting our world. The passage says;
“Now I John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, see that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
I love what this angel says to John. Worship God! As Christians we don’t have time to be sidetracked by anything other than the main and plain of the Bible. If angels come to us preaching another Jesus, we don’t listen to them. And our encounters with angels should do for us just what it did for John the beloved; it caused him to worship God. We aren’t ignorant of angels, and we don’t want to be overly zealous for them in a way that we chase them.
What Is The Doctrine Of The Devil and Demons?
Recently when preaching this the second session I was talking about the Trinity and how God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit is the only true and living God, I had a young man stand up and storm out. I know this young man personally and he struggles with the understanding that God in heaven is the only true and living God and that all other so called gods are demons or the devil, himself. Now, this young man isn’t the only person that claims the name of Christ and still believes that there are God’s other than the Trinity.
This is a great error that is going to cost many their eternity with Christ, assuming that they can get into heaven through any other door than Christ. When it comes to the two kingdoms, this same truth applies. That being said, the Bible is clear that there are only two kingdoms on the earth; there’s the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of darkness. That’s it. Nothing more and nothing less. This is clearly contrasted when we look at both kingdoms side by side;
- A kingdom of darkness
- A kingdom of light
- A kingdom of sin and evil
- A Kingdom of holiness and righteousness
- A Kingdom of sickness and disease
- A Kingdom of health
- A Kingdom of deception
- A Kingdom of truth
- A Kingdom of sorrow and death
- A Kingdom of joy and life
Just as the Kingdom of light or the Kingdom of God is real so also is the kingdom of darkness. Look at how closely the devil’s kingdom mirrors the Kingdom of light;
- Satan has a throne (Rev.2:13)
- Satan has great depths of Doctrine (Rev. 2:24)
- Satan has a synagogue (Rev. 2:9)
- Satan has a communion table (1st Cor. 10:21)
- Satan has people that sacrifice at his alter (Deut. 32:17)
- Satan gives doctrines to men to teach (1st Tim. 4:1)
- Satan himself is an angel of light (2nd Cor. 11:14)
- Satan has a kingdom (Matt. 12:26)
- Satan has a city, mystery Babylon (Rev. 17:5)
- Satan has a church, a fake bride (Rev. 17:5).
Foolish men throughout world history have worked to reject and deny evil but it has been to no avail. It’s clear to see the heart of humanity even in the life of young children. Without being taught, without understanding anything, they are rebellious, stubborn, selfish, and angry and even downright mean. Now this doesn’t mean that young children are bad, terrible or even worthless. On the contrary, the Bible says our children are a blessing from God, but as parents our role is to break that sin nature over time through discipline, affection, correction, love and mercy. Overtime, with partnership between parents and Jesus our young people can grow up to become all that God intended for them to be. But that heart of sin, that sin nature is alive and well, right from the womb.
There isn’t a lot of information concerning the devil’s origin, other than what a few scriptures give us. Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:19 give us the most information about the history and origin of the devil. We know that he was originally named Lucifer which actually means “light bearer” and he was considered the most glorious of all angels. We also know that he was alive before humans because he was there in the garden when Adam and Eve came in contact with him. The passages above tell us that he was a worship leader in heaven prior to the fall from his position before God.
The sin of the Devil is the sin of pride because he exalted himself to a place that only God is ordained to have. His sin was longing to be like God. It wasn’t that he longed for God like qualities in his life, but that he literally wanted to be worshiped like God. This is what he used to trick Adam and Eve also when they sinned. He told them that they too could be like God, knowing good and evil. This is the sin that continues today in the great rebellion against God. Humanity thinks they know as much as God and can live as their own gods. It cost Satan his life and it will cost the life of all those that continue in the way of Adam without repenting.
We can best get an understanding of who Satan is by the many names that he is given throughout the Bible. For those of us who have an image of the devil being a little short stumpy guy in a red suit with a long pointy tail and two horns, we have been greatly deceived. Satan literally means “adversary”. He is also known by devil (slanderer), destroyer (his passion for the destruction of humans and God), serpent (his deceptive nature), tempter (this is the counterfeit testing of humans so that they fall, unlike God who tests us to prove us), prince of this world (this is the devils influence over the societies of the earth), belial (worthless, perverse, lawless), wicked one, anti-christ (one like Christ in a negative way), murderer (killer), roaring lion, wolf and the fowler (one who entraps or ensnares).
It’s important that we look over those names of the devil to get an understanding of our adversary. Many of us have encountered the devil in all of these ways. He works to tempt us so that we fall, pervert our minds so that we sin, destroy us so that we die, get us to chase riches and worthless things and to take us from Jesus Christ to himself. The devil is an equal opportunity employer. He doesn’t care how he enslaves you, just as long as you’re enslaved. It could be through wealth or poverty. It could be through drugs or professional sports. It could be in Church as a silent, lazy Christian or it could be as a Mega-Church pastor. He really doesn’t care, just as long as He wins.
The devil works to hinder the purposes of God in the earth and though he is strong, he is not God. It’s crucial that we remember the devil is created not uncreated. He does not possess all power, all knowledge and all wisdom. He is created and subject to God Himself and God’s power. Remember, just like your victory in Christ has already been won, the devil’s defeat has already taken place. The reason he is working so hard is because he has read Revelation 21 and he knows that his time is short. Hang onto James 4 and fight the good fight of faith. It’s a fight, but it’s a fight worth fighting.
When it comes to the doctrine of demons and fallen angles, they too are placed into two groups. Bad angles aren’t just bad angels, they are either fallen angels or demons. The word for fallen angels is the same word for good angels “messenger”. The only problem is that they are carrying a bad message not a good one. All the angels were created much like the humans, with a free will and those that chose to leave with the devil, left and those that chose to stay, stayed. Fallen angels will never be redeemed, only judged and sentenced.
If a demon ever comes to you, or you see one, don’t talk to it and try to convert it. He is too far gone and none, not one that we could ever come in contact with will repent. They sealed their fate when they left with Satan during the great heavenly rebellion (John 8:44; 2nd Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Through a brief look at the Bible it seems best to say that the difference between fallen angels and demons is that demons are looking for a body to inhabit, and fallen angels are not. Demons are looking for a body to fill, they want to possess where fallen angels on the other hand aren’t looking to rest in a body, but rather fight against Jesus and the prayers of the saints. We know that Jesus cast out tons of demons and unclean spirits, but He did this because He said that this is why He had come, to destroy the works of the evil one. Just like Jesus, this also is our high calling. We are in a battle to overcome those things that come against us and come to us. We must take our stand before the God of the universe and fight for the Kingdom of God is within us.
What Is the Conclusion?
Colossians 2:15 says;
“Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing The over them”.
The conclusion is this; we aren’t able to overcome the powers of darkness on our own, just through sheer will power, but through the Person of the Holy Spirit, the blood of Jesus Christ and the approval of our Father. I have to remind myself that though spiritual warfare is real, and though demons are real, God created all of them and gave us a place before Him to talk about those things that would try to hinder the Gospel from being shared. We don’t have to shrink back from the powers of demons and the demonic. It’s a powerful time together as we pray for the clouds of darkness to be driven back from our city and the light of God’s countenance to shine upon us.
Even through this passage and some many other ones has given us the victory and just like Moses with His rod in His hand, the Lord God would say to you, I have already given you the tool I’m going to use to defeat the enemy. It’s in your hand, just use it. The devil is a liar and he’s defeated so there’s no reason to shrink back from the battle. Sign up, press in and be counted among the army of God. He is not turning anyone down from service right now. Jesus is enlisting all that will say yes to Him. You don’t have to chase demons and angels, and turn over every rock to see if you can see one. When they want to appear they will show up. The key is to be ready. Be ready for the good angels and be ready for the bad angels. Worship God, sharpen your sword and take up the whole armor!