Angels and Demons

THE FUNCTION OF ANGELS

Angels are “all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14).” Angels “are created beings and they are ministering spirits. They do not have natural human bodies,” although they “sometimes appeared in the form of men and were not recognized immediately as visitors from the angelic realm [Heb. 13:2].”

“Angels’ first task is to minister… in the heavenly court. The heavenly host includes angels and archangels, which indicates a hierarchy, an order of authority within the angelic world.” Some angels (like seraphim) “are created specifically for the purpose of ministering in the immediate presence of God [see Isaiah 6:1-3].”

“Another function of angels is to serve as messengers. In fact, the Greek word angelos means ‘messenger.’ The angel Gabriel was sent to announce the birth of John the Baptist and then to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus. Angels in the field outside Bethlehem announced, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’ (Luke 2:14).

“Additionally, angels ministered to Jesus after He had endured forty days of temptation by Satan in the wilderness [cf. Matt. 4:6-11] …. When Jesus was arrested, He claimed that He had the authority to call upon legions of angels who could come and rescue Him (Matt. 26:53; cf. 2 Kings 6:17).”

“For the most part, angels are invisible, but they can become visible, as they did from time to time during the earthly ministry of Jesus.” Both Christ’s resurrection and ascension into heaven were “heralded by the presence of angels.” And “when Christ returns, He will come with His angels in glory (Mark 8:38).”

SATAN AND DEMONS

“As Adam and Eve were originally created good and holy, so the angels were created good, but a portion of the angelic realm fell with Lucifer,” who “became the supreme archangel of those fallen angels…. Satan is a creature. He does not have the power of God. He cannot do things that only God can do, yet he is more powerful and crafty than human beings.” But since he is far weaker than God, “anyone indwelt by the Holy Spirit does not have a fear of being possessed by a demon [1 John 4:4].”

“We are warned against the crafty power of Satan because we are no different than Peter, who in his arrogance assumed that he could withstand temptation and then went on to deny Jesus [Luke 22:31] …. Peter was no match for Satan. At the same time, the Scriptures tell us that if we resist Satan, he will flee from us (James 4:7).”

Satan “goes about as ‘a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour’ (1 Peter 5:8); … he is the tempter, the deceiver, and the accuser. He delights to entice people to sin,” and in “accusing them of sin. His goal is to drive us to despair rather than to repentance. Satan accuses us of sin but simultaneously hides the remedy. He would have us destroy ourselves, whereas Christ calls us to forgiveness and redemption…. Satan has the ability to appear as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). He will try to deceive us by coming to us not in an ugly state [certainly not in the ridiculous-looking image of a creature with horns, cloven feet, and a tail] but as pious and pure, perhaps even quoting Scripture while causing us to go against the Word of God.”

[Adapted from Everyone’s a Theologian by R.C. Sproul]