Summary: Are angels, demons and the devil the result of superstition or reality? A myriad mix of superstition, truth and opinion can easily confuse, entice, harm or belittle the truth.
Angels, demons & Satan
In an increasingly secular world, there is still a surprisingly large attention to Angels. Cards, gifts, jewellery, art, ornaments, decorations, clothing and even TV dramas feature angels. Many people even use the term ‘guardian angel’ with sincerity.
Many popular films and television programs also dramatise demons and evil spirits, while some people worship, pray to and fear demons and evil spirits.
Are angels, demons and the devil the result of superstition or reality? A myriad mix of superstition, truth and opinion can easily confuse, entice, harm or belittle the truth.
There may be times when you find it difficult to reconcile God’s truth to your own opinion or worldview, God’s truth is eternal, it does not change, our understanding of the truth does change as we allow God to work in our hearts and minds.
These sessions are not about opinion, they are about learning truth, the truth contained in the Bible, together we are going to focus on how we apply God’s truth, black & white in a grey world. To set godly priorities, grow in Christian character and live according to God’s standards so that we are a living witness to others.
WHO OR WHAT ARE ANGELS?
Angels are mentioned at least 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament (Chafer, Systematic Theology, II, 3). There is ample information available in the Bible to allow us to build a foundation for our knowledge of angelic beings.
The word “angel” actually comes from the Greek word aggelos, which means “messenger.” The matching Hebrew word mal’ak has the same meaning. These words are usually used to usually describe the whole range of spirits whom God has created, including both good and evil angels, and special categories such as cherubim, seraphim, and the archangel.
There are 7 instances where the Bible in the original Hebrew or Greek uses these words to describe human beings:
- priests (Malachi 2:7)
- church leaders (Rev 1:20)
Sometimes, the Bible speaks figuratively of things or events as “messengers”…
- the pillar of cloud (Exodus 14:19)
- pestilence or plagues (2 Samuel 24:16-17)
HOW DID ANGELS ORIGINATE?
The Bible speaks about the creation of angels, therefore, it is clear that they have not existed for all eternity (Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 148:2,5). Colossians 1:16-17 explains: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
The time of their creation is never definitely specified, but it is most probable that it occurred in connection with the creation of the heavens in Genesis 1:1. It may be that God created the angels immediately after He had created the heavens and before He created the earth—for according to Job 38:4-7, “the sons of God shouted for joy” when He laid the foundations of the earth.
HOW DO ANGELS COMPARE TO HUMAN BEINGS?
- They are more noble than man, but not omnipresent (Daniel 9:21-23, 10:10-14).
DO PEOPLE BECOME ANGELS AFTER DEATH?
No, angels are not glorified human beings. Matthew 22:30 explains that they do not marry or reproduce like humans, and Hebrews 12:22-23 says that when we get to the heavenly Jerusalem, we will be met by “myriads of angels” and “the spirits of righteous men made perfect”—two separate groups.
Angels are a company or association, not a race descended from a common ancestor (Luke 20:34-36). We are called “sons of men” but angels are never called “sons of angels.”
DO ANGELS HAVE BODIES?
Since angels are spirits rather than physical beings, they don’t have to be visible at all (Colossians 1:16). Elisha once prayed that his servant would see the armies of angels surrounding the city, and the young man discovered that he had overlooked a lot of invisible beings (2 Kings 6:17)!
Jesus declared that “a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me have” (Luke 24:37-39). The Bible does, however, make it clear that angels can only be in one place at a time. They must have some localised presence.
WHAT DO ANGELS LOOK LIKE?
When angels do appear, they generally appear in the form of men. In Genesis 18, Abraham welcomed three angelic guests who appeared at first to be nothing more than some travellers. In the following chapter, two angels went to Sodom where they were assumed to be simply a pair of human visitors.