Of Devils, Demons, and Fallen Angels

Quick Announcement… For anyone living near Tucker… I am going to be at the DCPL Local Author Expo today Saturday, March 30, 10am-4pm at the Tucker-Reid H. Cofer Library – 5234 LaVista Road – Tucker, GA 30084.  Stop by if you can!

Jesus said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning” (Luke 10:18).

Scripture mentions several different types of supernatural beings – angels, fallen angels, demons, unclean spirits, Satan, the devil – to name a few. Some scholars believe that all of these supernatural beings refer to the same kind of entity. However, to the discerning eye, they seem to be different entities.

For instance, demons and unclean spirits don’t so much cause people to sin, but cause disease and mental illness in those they possess. Demons and unclean spirits can be cast out and the person can return to normal. People can be inhabited by more than one demon. Demons don’t seem to be able to lie, but they do sometimes talk. They were everywhere in the first century and Jesus often cast them out – sometimes into animals. But nowhere are they mentioned in the Old Testament. By the way, not everyone in the New Testament who had a disease or mental illness was possessed or tormented by a demon or unclean spirit.

Then there are angels and fallen-angels mentioned in both Old and New Testaments. Regular angels are God’s messengers, fallen-angels fight with God’s messengers and have a whole militaristic hierarchy of their own with Satan as their leader (Daniel 10:13).

When Satan, who is likely a fallen-angel himself, fell from heaven, his angels fell with him. Satan has the ability to possess animals (remember the snake in the garden?) and humans (he entered Judas before Judas betrayed Jesus). He likes to masquerade as a good angel (2 Cor 11:14) and plans all kinds of schemes to hurt humans (Eph 6:11). He is a liar (John 8:44) and puts temptation in front of us hoping we will bite (remember the fruit in the garden?). The reason Jesus appeared on earth was to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), who wants nothing more than to devour us (2 Cor 4:4).  Satan, Lucifer (more of a description than a name), and the Devil are the same entity (Rev 12:7-9).

Interestingly, though the followers of Christ are able to cast out demons, it has never been an instruction from God for us to try and destroy evil entities themselves. Instead we are told to resist their evil.

All that said, the information we have about these supernatural beings is scattered throughout scripture and hard to resolve into something that makes complete sense. Many scholars believe they are not real – just humanity’s way of trying to explain evil.  Yet, the warning from Pope Francis is this:

“We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea . . . This mistake would leave us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable.” Taking advantage of that vulnerability, he added, the devil “does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy and vice.” In the fight against the devil, Pope Francis added, “cultivating good, progressing in the spiritual life and growing in love are the best ways to counter evil.” – April 9, 2018, Catholic Herald.

April’s Books


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