Summary: Doctrine of angels and demons.
READ: Ephesians 6:10-13
In the world today there is an unprecedented appetite for the supernatural. This interest in things supernatural or paranormal is increasing. This is testified to by the success of the now multi-billion dollar HORROR film industry; the burgeoning popularity of occult practices (including fortune-tellers, seances, ouija boards, horoscopes, etc., etc.); one of the most popular programs on T.V. right at the moment is the “X-Files” - it has almost a cult following. All of these things are feeding this appetite for the supernatural that is abroad in the earth.
Let me take this opportunity to issue a warning today: Christians need to be aware of the dangers of any involvement with the world’s fascination for these things. THIS MAY SOUND NARROW TO SOME PEOPLE - but I don’t mind being labelled “narrow” on this. I have a very strong conviction about it - I don’t believe Christians have any business watching horror movies! (Just the ads for those things disturb my spirit.) And I certainly wouldn’t be reading horoscopes or playing around with fortune-telling. The Bible calls all of that junk the sin of divination; it’s strictly forbidden by God, and ACTS 16:16 tells us that there are evil spirits behind it.
There is an appetite in the world today for things supernatural.
What IS the Church’s position on supernatural phenomena? What do we believe?
We surely believe in the supernatural - GOD IS A SUPERNATURAL GOD! And the Bible reveals that there is a spiritual realm in which God has created beings of a supernatural order. WE BELIEVE IN A SPIRITUAL REALM (that’s the title of my message this morning). We must be careful, however, that we don’t get into an extreme in our understanding - that we maintain balance and sound judgement. The two extremes we Christians are prone to is either to have our head “in the clouds” or to have our head “in the sand”. We either got so over-interested (or obsessed) with this realm that we see demons everywhere and everything’s the devil’s fault, or else we go to the opposite extreme and refuse to even acknowledge there IS a spiritual battle raging. Some Christians even deny the existence of a personal devil and a real enemy. BOTH of these positions are extremes and will not do. C.S. LEWIS wrote (in his introduction to “The Screwtape Letters”), the devil “receives a sceptic and a mystic with equal delight”.
A Biblical and balanced Christian position is a simple, healthy respect for spiritual beings (both good and evil). We don’t ignore them - but we don’t bow down to them either! A couple of Scriptures that highlight the right attitude to adopt:
Jude vv8 - 10
Judges 7:3, 10 (cf.)
OK, that’s the perspective I’m coming from, today. We’re going to have a look through the Bible to see what is revealed to us about spiritual beings - both good and evil. Angels AND demons. And it will lead us back to learn more about the greatness of God Himself; and the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
OK, the first thing we need to note about spiritual beings is:
1. THEIR ORIGINATIONS.
Where did they come from?
Psalm 148 gives us the answer. [READ: vv1-5.] Clearly, then, the angels (and the “hosts”) were created by God. They are not eternal - they have not always been - they are created beings.
At some time (prior to Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden), God created vast numbers of these angelic beings. In Revelation 5:11 we are told that surrounding God’s Heavenly throne there are “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands”. So the company is VAST. And the Bible describes them as having great variety - they’re not all the same - like clones off a factory conveyor belt. No, there are different kinds of angels.
And one particular angel the Bible mentions - who was created very gloriously - was an angel by the name of Lucifer. He was created a holy angel. He was of the cherubim - whenever these angels are spoken of it is in relation to God’s closest presence, glory, holiness. They were created to minister right at His throne. (Isaiah 6 reveals the ministry of these Cherubim.)
And amongst these Cherubim, Lucifer held a position of particular importance. He was specially anointed. Let me read to you some of the things the Bibles says about this high angel. EZEKIEL 28:11-19. This is called a “Lamentation for the King of Tyre” - but the great majority of evangelical scholars see it as a reference to the fall of Lucifer. [READ.] Turn over to another description in ISAIAH 14:12-15.
This angel, Lucifer, then became proud and said, “I will be like the Most High”. And he led a rebellion in Heaven, so God banished him and his cohorts (possibly a third of the angels of heaven - that may be indicated by REVELATION 12:4).