Focus On Jerusalem


Angels and Demons
By: Clarence H. Wagner

Focus on Jerusalem is pleased to present this excellent article on Angels and Demons, written by Clarence Wagner. In these Last Days, it is imperative for Christians to be knowledgeable of and about the supernatural warfare that is ongoing around us. The Bible says that perilous times shall come in the Last Days, and that the forces of darkness will gain the ascendancy in this world as the restrainer of evil and deception is gradually withdrawn. (04-21-2005)

I John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

I John 4:1-4 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

Matthew 24:4-5, 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive man
Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon;
and the dragon fought and his angels,

  During the 1960s and 1970s, science and humanism were pop culture kings. One magazine cover shockingly announced, "God is Dead," to drive a wooden stake into the heart of religion. Science tuned in to believe only what could be seen or measured. The idea of supernatural beings was thought to be nonsense, the ravings of the lunatic fringe. Then films like Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist became box office hits, and the secular humanist crowd enthusiastically jumped into a fascination with the occult. By the late 1970s, Walter Cronkite announced a CBS television poll, which revealed that the number of Americans who believed in a personal devil had jumped 12%. That was at a time when scientists, psychologists, sociologists, and even some theologians predicted that there would be a sharp decline in a belief in the supernatural. The reverse was true, and the importance of religion in society has been on the increase during the past thirty years.
  The Pew Global Attitudes Project survey of more than 38,000 people in 44 countries taken from July to October 2002 showed that in the USA, the percentage of the population believing religion is very important was 59%. In the past few years, some of the most popular television shows and movies depict either benevolent angels (Touched by an Angel and City of Angels) or demonic creatures (Death Angel, Buffy the Vampire Killer and Charmed). All are depicted as normal and imply that supernatural beings are all around us and are a part of our multidimensional existence in the universe. In fact, they are all around us, even though they are not here as they are depicted in Hollywood productions.
Studying angels and demons is more than just an esoteric exercise in knowledge. Beings exist who are alive and part of the supernatural world in which we live. For most of us, the only information we have about these beings is from occult-influenced television programs, movies, and novels that are on the market. However, we need God's understanding of these beings He created. Since angels are serving God and those who are in His kingdom, and demons challenge our faith and seek to destroy us, we would be foolish not to seek more accurate information. Understanding God's supernatural world will allow us to call upon Him to send His ministering angels when we are in need, while at the same time, know the telltale
signs of demonic activity, so we can seek God's protective defense.
  I must clarify that this discussion about living supernatural beings is not dabbling in the occult, nor is it walking on the edge of polytheism. These beings are created by God. They are not "other gods"; nor are they worshipped. They are beings who are subject to God's sovereignty and authority, just like men. There is only one God, who is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Lord God of Israel, the God of the Bible. So, just what are angels and demons? Since we know that angels were created by God, and demons are beings who rebelled against God, the most authoritative source for an understanding of these beings that are neither human nor a god is the Bible, where both are defined and described.

Who Are the Angels?

  We need to know the difference between angels and men because there is much confusion in this area, reinforced by television and the movies. If you believe some of the things you see on television, you will think that when you die, you will become an angel. You're not an angel now, and you won't become an angel when you die.
  Angels are supernatural beings created by God (Col. 1:16) to be His messengers (Hebrews 12:22; Psalms 68:17). They are innumerable (Daniel 7:10; Ps. 68:17) and are ministering spirits to serve God and also men on God's behalf (Hebrews 1:14). They were the medium of revelation to the prophets (e.g., II Kings 1:15; Dan 4:13-17, 8:15ff, 9:21ff; Zech 1:8ff). Angels can also protect us from harm (Ps. 91:11; Mt. 2:13). In the Scriptures, we will see numerous occasions where angels announce and forewarn, guide and instruct, guard and defend, minister in need, and are sent forth to perform God's judgment against His enemies. They never draw attention to themselves, but always to God. They do not indwell men, but can take on a human, bodily form, appearing and disappearing when God allows (Gen. 32:1-2; Daniel 10:6; Rev. 10:1). However, even if supernatural, they are not to be worshipped (Col. 2:18, Rev. 19:10). Worship is reserved for God alone (Ex. 20:3).
  Being supernatural, angels never die or get sick. Unlike humans, angels do not marry (Mt. 22:30; Mark 12:25). In fact, these previous passages state that when man, in his resurrected state, goes to heaven, he will not marry, as is the case with angels. These same verses caused some Bible interpreters to assume that if angels do not marry, then they are sexless. However, there is no Scripture in the Bible that says this. On the other hand, we will see in the section below on demons that according to some Jewish and Christian scholars, the Nephilim, or giants, found in Gen. 6:1-4, are probably the offspring of fallen angels and "daughters of men." Man is positioned a little lower than the angels in God's universal kingdom (Hebrews 2:5-7). On the other hand, because angels do not have free will, they do not experience God's grace or faith, salvation, or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God, as men can choose to do. Angels can make a choice, as did those angels who rebelled and fell from heaven, but then they are forever stuck in that choice because there is not salvation for angels, as with men, who have been given free will to choose.
Angels cannot call God Father, as men are able to do. They can assist the Church in her role to preach the Gospel, but they do not preach or share the Gospel because they cannot speak of what they have not experienced. On the other hand, angels worship God continually (Rev. 5:11-12).
  Angels possess knowledge, but unlike God, they are not omniscient (Mk. 13:32). They are more powerful than men (II Thes. 1:7; II Peter 2:11; Ps. 103:20) and can mete out God's judgment (Hebrews 1:7; II Kings 19:35; I Chr. 21:16; Acts 12:22-23). Remember how the Angel of Death passed through Egypt and killed the firstborn of man and beast (Ex. 11) or destroyed 185,000 of Sennacherib's soldiers on the hills surrounding Jerusalem (II Kings 19:34-36).
  Angels consistently appear in human form, with the exception of the seraphim (Isaiah 6:2). Angels never appeared in subhuman form, as animals nor material objects. Though the angel of the Lord spoke out of fire and cloud and even caused a donkey to speak, he never identified himself with either. Moreover, it should be observed that there is no biblical record showing that an angel ever appeared to a wicked person or warned such a one of impending danger. This was reserved for the righteous, who were trying to walk in God's path and needed guidance or protection. Angels were always clothed and appeared as men, never as women or children, despite the artistic representations in history and on television programs.
There is an angelic hierarchical organization, including the archangel, angels, seraphim, cherubim, the Angel of the Lord, and guardian angels. Let us review each one.
The archangel, who is chief of Heaven under God is Michael (Jude 9). Michael is identified with Israel (Daniel 12:1), and he is the prince of God's chosen people (Daniel 10:21). He will lead a future army that will battle Satan (Rev. 12:7-12) and accompanies Jesus in His Second Coming to earth (I Thes. 4:16), when He comes to Jerusalem to protect and save Israel.
  Angels are on the next level. The best-known angel is Gabriel (God's hero), who is a messenger of Adonai (one of the names of God in Hebrew). He has a ministry of mercy and promise, appearing to men to proclaim God's purposes. For example, Gabriel gives a vision of the end times (Dan. 8:16) culminating with Yeshua (Jesus), the "Prince of princes" (Dan. 8:25; 9:21). He gave the message to Zecharias in the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 1:19) and was the messenger of the Annunciation to Mary (Luke 1:26). Other angels also bring messages for God and act to protect men on God's behalf. Not all angels have wings, as is commonly thought; only the seraphim and cherubim have them. Let's look at both.
The third ranking after the angels, described as authorities and powers in I Peter 3:22, are seraphim. In Hebrew, this means "burning ones" or nobles. They are positioned above the throne of God and have six wings. Their ministry is to praise the name and character of God by constantly glorifying God. God uses them to cleanse and purify His servants (Isaiah 6:1-6).
On this level are also the cherubim. They reside beside and below the throne of God (Psalms 80:1). They are very powerful and have wings, feet, and hands (Ezekiel 10). They guarded the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:24) and also "the Most Holy Place," the Holy of Holies, in the Temple of God in Jerusalem. Along with the angels, they give glory to God. Their likeness was found on the mercy seat in the wilderness tabernacle (Ex. 25:18) and also in Solomon's Temple.
In the Scriptures, there are over fifty references to the Angel of the Lord, as distinct from "an angel of the Lord." Many of these definite references are references not of mere angelic beings, but to the Lord Himself. After all, God is God, so why can't He audibly and directly speak to someone or appear when and where He wants to?
  Each visitation of God in the Bible is called a theophany. It is a term that is used of any temporary, visible, or audible manifestation of God. It is to be distinguished from the permanent manifestation of God in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus, the Messiah), which is called the Incarnation. Most examples are in the Hebrew Scriptures. The importance of a theophany always lies in its revelation of God, by what He does and says. An example of a theophany can be seen when "the angel of the Lord" gave aid and encouragement to Hagar (Gen. 16:7ff; 21:17). Another example is found in Genesis 18 where three men (angels) visited Abraham and Sarah and the spokesman was referred to as "the LORD" and acted in a supernatural manner. In Exodus, we see God referring to "My angel" (Ex. 23:20-23; 32:34) and "My Presence" (Ex. 33:14), walking with Moses and the Israelites, giving direct instruction and guidance.
In all cases, these theophanies brought about major events in God's plan and path to bring redemption to the world. They marked a turning point in history or sparked the innovation of some project with long-lasting consequences. Some Christian scholars suggest that these theophanies are pre-incarnate or post-incarnate appearances of Yeshua, noting that "the Angel of the Lord" is only mentioned in Scripture before and after Yeshua was here on earth.
  Guardian angels are real and personal. The Psalmist says, "The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them" (Psalms 34:7). He also promises "He will give His angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways" (Psalms 91:11). There are numerous examples of guardian angels, e.g. an angel guarded Jacob during his twenty years in Haran and brought him safely home to Canaan (Gen. 32:24ff). An angel, accompanied by cloud and fire, defended Israel from Egypt during the Exodus (Ex. 14:19ff). David's thanksgiving psalm says, "Praise the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His Word" (Psalms 103:20). About children, Yeshua warned, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of My Father Who is in heaven" (Mt. 18:10).
Judaism teaches that every nation has a guardian angel or angels on assignment by God to either bless them or chastise them at God's order, depending on their behavior towards God and His will. In the book of Revelation, chapters 1-3, we encounter spiritual guardians or superintendents of the seven churches, who were intimately related to the lives of the churches, directing their attitudes and acts, and held responsible for them. They were not bishops or presbyteries, but angels.

Who Are Satan and the Demons?

  Now let us look at the demons. There are two views on the origin of demons. Some say demons are fallen angels who rebelled against God when they joined the call of Lucifer. Even though they rebelled against God, one day they and all created beings of God will bow before God and call Him Lord (Phil. 2:9-10). Other sources believe that demons are not angels at all, but the earthbound spirits of some pre-Adamic race destroyed by God under some judgment not recorded in detail in the Bible. In either case, they are at the beckon call of Lucifer, the archangel who rebelled against God. They are disembodied spirit beings that have an intense craving to occupy physical bodies, their first choice being human, the second animals. (Luke 8:32-33)
  Genesis 6:1-6 speaks of Nephilim or giants who walked the earth. Where did they come from? Gen. 6:4-5 says, "The Nephilim [giants] were on the earth in those days; and also afterward; when the sons of the rulers [or "of God," bnei Elohim] would consort with the daughters of man, who would bear to them. They were the mighty who, from old, were men of devastation. HaShem [the Lord] saw that the wickedness of man was great upon the earth, and every product of the thoughts of his heart was but evil always" (Mesorah translation from Hebrew). It is interesting that in the same passage where God speaks of sending a flood to destroy man because of his wickedness, He also speaks of these giants who were the offspring of what some Jewish and Christian scholars feel was the result of sexual relations between fallen angels and human women. Whatever the origins, they brought devastation and further wickedness upon the earth.

So who is Lucifer? Lucifer was an archangel with Michael. He was called the Son of the Morning (Isaiah 14:12) and was probably the chief musician leading the worship of God. There is a school of thought that angels were created before Adam and ruled with God. Then, when Adam was created, Adam was made ruler of the earth and called to have dominion and control over it under God's authority (Genesis 1:26-28).
At this point, Lucifer decided to "exalt his throne." He kept not his first estate (Jude 6) and sinned (rebelled), taking other angels with him. All who followed him were judged: "For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment" (II Peter 2:4). When did this occur? It happened after Creation because on the seventh day of creation, God pronounced everything as "good." On the other hand, it must have occurred before the  Temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden because Lucifer was the Serpent who was cursed.
Lucifer is also known in the Bible as Satan and the Devil. He rebelled against God when He wanted to be worshipped as God, instead of leading the worship of God. He coveted what did not belong to him, which is also the way he tempts man. This desire is within all of us, which is why God tells us in the Decalogue (Ten Commandments), "You shall not covet" (Ex. 20:17a). In Isaiah 14:12-14, we hear the five "I wills" of Lucifer's rebellion: "How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'" His arrogance is judged by God when He says to Lucifer, "But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit" (Isaiah 14:15).
  Lucifer/Satan brought down one-third of the angels of heaven (Rev. 12:4), whose sin was their rebellion. Demons are controlled by Lucifer, who is known as the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2). He controls the world forces of darkness (demons) (Ephesians 6:12) who always choose the opposite way to God's way and work to foil God's plans and purposes, including tormenting men. He and his demons especially target the "elect of God," trying to lead them astray. He is the "accuser of the brethren" (Job 1:6-9) and comes around "like a stalking lion seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8).
  Ironically, he was an Angel of Light (Ezekiel 28:12-17) and often tempts man with a twisted version of truth. Paul tells us that we "battle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wickedness in high places" (Eph. 6:12).
  The works of Lucifer/Satan, as he commands his army of demons, is to tempt humans to rebel (sin) against the ways of God, work to prevent them from fulfilling God's calling on their lives, attack those who are standing for God and His will, and even possess men to keep them away from God and corrupt God's ideal world. Satan is not omnipresent, omniscient, or omnipotent. He is a created being. While a Christian may be influenced or oppressed by a demon, it is doubtful that Satan has time or inclination to personally visit you. Nevertheless, some Christians talk about "Satan this" and "Satan that," as though he had a personal vendetta out for them. From time to time, you may be influenced by a demon on assignment, but you should never listen to him. You should cast him out.
  The Bible tells us there will be a final battle in the heavenlies between Lucifer and Michael (Revelation 12:7, 9), as he is dedicated to the destruction of God and His plans. Lucifer/Satan and his demons are reserved for judgment (II Peter 2:4), and Matthew tells us that there is an everlasting fire prepared for the devil and the fallen angels (Matthew 25:41). There is a set time for this in God's plans. Remember in Matthew 8: 29, when Yeshua was going to cast demons out, they shouted, "Have you come to torment us before the appointed time?" They knew there was an appointed time for their torment. In the Mark account, the demon even had the audacity to call upon God to protect him! "What do you want with me, Yeshua, Son of the Most High God? Swear to God that You won't torture me!" (Mark 5:7).
  The Book of Revelation teaches that Jesus will return to earth to rule and reign from Jerusalem. At this time, a one-thousand-year period called the Great Millennium by Bible scholars, Satan and his demonic forces will be neutralized. "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled; and after that he must be loosed a little season" (Rev. 20:1-3). After being loosed from the pit, Satan will again deceive the nations to rise up against God (Rev. 20:7-9). At this point, God will judge Satan and his demons, removing them from the scene forever unto torment: "And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Rev. 20:10).
  Then, God will create a new heaven and a new earth, where He will dwell with those who have chosen by their own free will to follow God's plan of salvation, rejecting Satan's rebellion, to live in the Kingdom of God (Rev. 21:1-7).

A Judaic View of Angels and Demons

  Both angels and demons figure into a Judaic view of the spiritual world. Of course, the references above from the Hebrew Scriptures (the Older Testament) all figure into the Jewish understanding of these beings.
The Hebrew word translated as angel is malakh, which literally means messenger. In the Greek Septuagint, it was translated angelos, from which we get angels. Another Hebrew word translated as "angels" is kedoshim, translated "divine beings," "hosts," or "holy beings" (Ps. 89:8; Job 5:1).
  The Torah is replete with occasions where angels appeared to the Patriarchs and great leaders and prophets of Israel with messages from God or acted on God's behalf. Angels were placed at the gates of Eden so that Adam and Eve could not re-enter (Gen. 3:24). Hagar spoke twice to an angel in the wilderness (Gen. 16:7ff; 21:17ff). Abraham spoke to angels who visited his tent and overheard Sarah's disbelief that she was finally going to have a son (Gen. 18:1-15). And, again Abraham had an encounter with the Angel of the Lord at the offering of Isaac on Mt. Moriah (Gen. 22:1-19). Lot was visited by two angels when they came to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:1-29). Jacob, in his vision in Bethel, saw angels ascending and descending a ladder to and from heaven (Gen. 28:10-22). He also wrestled with an angel of God until He received his blessing (Gen. 32:24-32). The Angel of the Lord appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3:2). The Angel of the Lord protected the Israelites from the pursuit of Pharaoh (Ex. 14:19) and chastised them for disobeying God's instructions to destroy the altars of the inhabitants of Canaan (Jud. 2:1-5). God sent an angel to oppose Balaam, and his donkey is the one who saw the angel and stopped in the road (Num. 22:21-41). Joshua was given a message from God by one calling himself the "commander of the army of the Lord" (Joshua 5:13-15). In the story of Gideon, he speaks to God and also to His angel (Jud. 6:11-22). An angel appeared to the wife of Manoah and told her that she, even though sterile, would conceive and bear a son, who was Samson (Jud. 13). An angel came to destroy Jerusalem because David had disobeyed the Lord, but David took responsibility for his sin and the consequences (II Sam. 24:16-17: I Chr. 21:14-17). An angel of the Lord annihilated 185,000 men in the army of Sennacherib on the hills surrounding Jerusalem (II Kgs. 19:34-36). An angel provided food to Elijah under the juniper tree when he fled to Horeb (I Kings 19:5-11). In the lion's den, an angel protected Daniel (Dan. 6:22). An angel joined
  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and they were spared from injury or death (Dan. 3:25). Finally, Zechariah was given messages from the Lord by an angel in his visions (Zech. 2:3; 3:1-2; 4:1).
  The demonic realm was also active in the Hebrew Scriptures, challenging Israel and God's people. The Hebrew word translated "satyrs" or "he-goats" is also a word used for demons. They inhabited ruins or deserts (Isaiah 13:21; 34:14), inflicted sickness; troubled men's minds (I Samuel 16:15-23), and deceived man (I Kings 22:22-23). They were associated with the occult, sorcery, magic, and an inciter other practices forbidden to the Children of Israel (Lev. 19:26; 18:9-14). They were allowed by God to test men or mete out God's judgment at times.
Other religions were replete with "foreign gods," many with demonic traits and manifestations. The pagan world, then and now, worships their gods out of fear and appeases them to avoid retribution from them. Israel, on the other hand, worshipped the One God, Who created all things and was able to overcome these gods and the demons.
  Israel was warned often not to consider these "foreign gods" for obvious reasons, e.g. "If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, He will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after He has been good to you" (Jos. 24:20). In Judaism, demons were not just ethereal evil forces, but are seen as having specific assignments. Certain ones had names that reflected their particular evil purpose against God and man, e.g. Lilith, a child-stealing demon; Mavet and Mot, death; Pahad, the demon of terror by night; Resheph, the demon of plague; Dever, demon of pestilence; Hez, attacking with spiritual "fiery darts of the bow;" Shabriri, the demon of blindness; Ketev, the demon who strikes one down with an overpowering noon day heat; Azazel, the demon who lives in the wilderness.
  Satan is a punishing angel, head of the forces of darkness and a foe of Michael. By the Second Temple Period, Satan was also known in Judaism as Belial, a spirit of perversion, the angel of darkness, and the angel of destruction. At times, God used him to test the sincerity of the righteous, e.g., Job and Yeshua. In this period, Satan was also known as "Beelzebul, prince of demons" by the Pharisees (Mt. 12:24). Yeshua called him a murderer and a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).
  We all know and love Psalm 91 as a psalm of divine protection. But, did you know that it is also a psalm of spiritual warfare, calling on God's protection from demonic forces! "He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.' Surely He will save you from the fowler's snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you" (Ps. 91:1-7).
  In Midrashic Judaism, this psalm is to be recited because "the whole earth is full of evil spirits and mazzikim" (angels of destruction). Rereading verses 5 and 6 in Hebrew, it would say, "You will not be afraid for the Pahad (terror by night), nor for Hez (the arrow that flies by day), nor for Dever (pestilence that walks in the darkness); nor for Ketev (destruction that wastes at noonday)." Refer to the list of names of specific demons above and you will see that their names are imbedded in the Hebrew Scriptures as real forces of destruction in the spiritual realm. Verse 7 speaks of the thousands and tens of thousands of demonic forces that will fall at your right hand by the power of God, Who will protect you when you call upon Him, and they will not come near you.
  Another example of this personification of a demonic force is Isaiah 28:15-18, where it says in Hebrew, "We have made a covenant with Mavet [Death]" Interestingly, this passage was in the Haftorah reading in the synagogues for the week when Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands on the White House lawn, inaugurating the Oslo Accords, which allowed 50,000 terrorists to enter Israel under the guise of peace. Only now, we see that their goal was the annihilation of Israel, to fight to take all the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea as Muslim Palestine. Jeremiah 9:21 and Job 18:13 speaks also of Mavet, or Death, coming against them.

Angels and Demons in the Newer Testament

  In the Newer Testament, angels and demons are equally as active. While Zechariah went into the Temple to burn the incense on the altar, the angel Gabriel appeared to the right of the altar to tell him that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son and his name was to be John (Luke 1:11-20). Gabriel also visited Mary to tell her she was chosen to be the mother of Yeshua (Luke 1:26-38). An angel appeared to Joseph in a dream to tell him of the conception and birth of Yeshua (Matt. 1:20; 1:13,19). The birth of Yeshua was heralded by a host of angels praising God (Luke 2:9-14). After Yeshua's temptation in the desert, angels came and attended to him (Mt. 4:11). In the Garden of Gethsemane, an angel appeared to Yeshua to support Him (Luke 22:43). At the Tomb, an angel rolled back the stone and spoke to the women telling them that Yeshua had risen (Mt. 28:2-5; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:23; John 20:12). Angels spoke to the disciples about the Ascension of the resurrected Yeshua from the Mt. of Olives to heaven and of His return (Acts 1:10-11 and 12:7-11). Peter and John, and then again Peter were freed from prison by an angel (Acts. 5:19). An angel alerted Philip to go and speak to the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26). An angel told Cornelius that God had heard his prayers and seen his generosity to the poor and that he was to bring Peter from Joppa who would tell him about God (Acts. 10:3-6). Paul was told by an angel not to fear Caesar and he would be safe (Acts 27:23-26). On Patmos, John, when receiving the Revelation, saw and heard from angels on numerous occasions.
  On the demonic front, Satan confronted Yeshua on occasion; demon possession caused sickness, mental illness, blindness, paralysis, perversions of human personality, speech, etc. (e.g., Mt. 8:28-34; Mark 1:23, 26; 9:17-29). Matthew 12:43-45 confirms that the desert is a favorite habitation of demons who seek to possess man and lead him away from God: "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."
  Angels and demons are very real, and we need to know that angels are assigned to work for us. God will defend us from the works of Satan and his demons. "Be self--controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith" (I Peter 5:8-9). James adds, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded" (James 4:7-8). The key to our protection is to walk in righteousness and remain close to God and His Spirit. God does not send His angels to protect and defend sinners, only those walking in righteousness.

What Does This Mean to Us?

  We still live in a supernatural world, despite the effort of science, human logic, and liberal Christianity and Judaism to disparage such a concept. The writers of the Bible assume the existence of angels, and therefore, make no attempt to prove them, but just refer to them as a normal part of the supernatural world in which we live. If you are walking by faith, there are times when you will encounter supernatural beings or their influences in your life; both angels and demons.
  Concerning angels, the writer of Hebrews admonishes us, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it" (Heb 13:2). Concerning demons, Yeshua simply stated, "And these signs will accompany those who believe: In My name they will drive out demons;" (Mark 16:17). We would not be told this if it were not true.
  Christians are taught that the Holy Spirit of God dwells within us (I Cor. 3:16). He is our Comforter, Teacher, Guide, and Protector (John 14:26; 16:13). Angels do not indwell us, but we are told they are here to minister to us (Hebrews 1:14). They can and will act as we have seen before in Scripture. However, realize that appearances of angels, even to the Patriarchs, were not everyday or even annual occurrences. We can't just call for an angel to appear when we want one. That is God's choice.
  The Holy Spirit is our Teacher and Guide, not angels. Never pray to an angel, but only to God, Who may use an angel to minister to and for us. Angels are messengers of God, work in the natural realm, and can move circumstances in our favor. David thanked God for the help of angels: "Praise the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His Word. Praise the Lord, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will" (Psalms 103:20-21).
  Our guardian angel can listen to our prayers and act on our words: "Therefore, the angels take man's word as being man's will" (Prov. 16:1). We can also call upon God to send an angel to act on our behalf. We see in Scripture where Abraham released an angel to perform God's will in his life (Gen. 24:1,4-7). In II Kings 6, Elisha released angels to war against the king of Syria, and they did. Daniel prayed for help and an angel came to him and said, "Your words were heard, and I have come in response to them" (Daniel 10:12).
  Nevertheless, be careful what you say, and be sure what you pray is in accordance with God's Word. We can also cause the angels to work against us: "Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the angels, 'My vow was a mistake.' Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God" (Ecc. 5:6-7).
  Meanwhile, understand that not every spiritual or "angelic" manifestation is of God. Demons are fallen angels and work against God to deceive us. We are told to "test the spirits," as there are lots of voices in the world today. "Satan, himself, masquerades as an angel of light" (II Cor. 11:14). His demons, too, can come with enticing words and messages, but they are not from God. If you are spending all of your time seeking visions, voices, and revelations, you may open yourself to Satan. He and his demons are more than anxious to give you a satanic enlightenment or deception. Some of us have encountered good Christians who have been deceived and fallen into sin, justifying that somehow what they were doing was godly.

How Do We Know the Difference?

  John tells us, "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God" (I John 4:1-2). That which is from the Lord will proclaim Him as Lord, bring peace, be in accordance with the Bible, and lead us into paths of righteousness to bring glory to His name.
  Angels of God do not give their names. We only know the names of four angels in Scripture. They only bring glory to God, not themselves. Paul says, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" (Gal. 1:8). Demons will reveal their name, which is usually their character or behavior, as we have seen in Psalm 91:5-6. They never bring glory to God, but seek to destroy the works of God.
  Some false religions and cults claim to have gotten direction from God for their movement from an angel. Yet, their teachings are contrary to Scripture. It may have been an angel, but it was really a fallen angel, a demon who deceived. The Mormons received their Scripture from the angel Moroni. Mohammad got his messages for the Koran from an angel claiming to be Gabriel. Were they from God? No, the Book of Mormon and the Koran contain teaching that is contrary to the Bible.
  All through time, there has been a war in heaven and on earth between God and His angels and Satan and his fallen angels and demons. In what we call "The Lord's Prayer" or "The Disciple's Prayer" in Matthew 6:9-13, the English translation is not accurate to the Hebrew when it says, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth AS IT IS in heaven." In Hebrew, it says, "on earth AND in heaven," indicating that both heaven and earth are presently influenced by the wiles of the devil and his demons and need to come under God's divine order.
  Currently, Satan is Prince of the Power of the Air (Eph. 2:2). The prayer declares that God will one day judge Lucifer/Satan and his demonic forces and all the sin and rebellion that came into the Universe, which keeps us all out of sync with God's divine, perfect plan and relationship with Him.

Know the Work of Demonic Forces and Our Defense

  While many of the following characteristics can have natural causes and should not be attributed to a demon, when they totally consume your attention and drive you to actions that are ungodly, then demonic activity may be present.
  Demons have three main purposes: to torment and afflict us, to keep us from knowing Yeshua as Savior, and failing that, to keep us from serving Messiah effectively.

Demons do the following:
1) entice us to sin,
2) harass us when we take a stand for the Lord,
3) torture us physically with crippling diseases or emotionally because we harbor resentment, unforgiveness, and bitterness,
4) cause compulsive behavior of eating, drinking, smoking, drugs, talking, lust, etc.,
5) enslave us to a particular sin again and again,
6) cause addictions,
7) defile our mental thoughts, which may result in sinful acts,
8) deceive us to attribute unbiblical acts and beliefs to God,
9) attack our physical bodies with sickness,
10) fixate us on death and dying.

  The pagan world that worships idols is subject to these demonic forces, and their religion is often focused on appeasing these "gods" to keep them at bay. The believer in the God of the Bible can call upon His power to overcome these forces and not be subject to them. Christians face strongholds of demonic power (II Cor. 10:4). Spiritual warfare is a battle against sin (Romans 7:17-18, 22-23), against spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12), against the adversary the devil who seeks to devour and destroy us (I Peter 5:8), against vain imaginations and high things that place themselves above the knowledge of God (II Cor. 10:5), and against demonic forces that seek the corruption of our minds (II Cor. 11:3).
  There are godly weapons with which to fight the battle found in the Bible. We need to be familiar with them. Spend time focusing on God and His righteousness (Mt. 6:33). We are commanded to "put on the whole armor of God" for our protection (Eph. 6:11-18). We must not be consumed by "looking for demons under every bush." Yes, there are demons, and demons do possess and oppress people at times. However, Yeshua did not make a big deal out of them, but simply confronted them and cast them out. The Bible says He cast them out with His Word. When you know the Word of God and understand the power and authority that comes with the name of Yeshua, you can just cast them out.
  In the Disciple's Prayer, we find the phrase, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Mt. 6:13). Here, the word "temptation" is related to man's inclination to sin and to fail the trial without God's help. Sometimes a trial is impossible to avoid, but Yeshua teaches His followers to pray that they may be led away from the temptation, lest they fall into sin. In rabbinic writings, Rabbi Judah wrote, "A man must never bring himself into the grasp of temptation; because when David the King of Israel brought himself to the test, he stumbled." He was referring to the episode with Bathsheba. In the New Testament, James says, "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:13-15). To avoid sin, we must not place ourselves in a position where we will be put to the test. The prayer asks God to keep us from the temptation.
  The phrase "but deliver us from evil" explains the source of the temptation. The concept of "evil" should more correctly be expressed as the "evil one" or Satan. Prayers of late Jewish antiquity display an awareness of the awesome power of evil, which can overcome an individual and control him. The Psalm Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Cave 11 contains this urgent request: "Let not Satan nor an unclean spirit rule over me." The Testament of Levi has a similar plea: "And do not let Satan rule over me to lead me astray."
  Psalms 119:133 stresses, "Let no iniquity get dominion over me." These passages express more than merely asking to overcome a desire to sin. We must defeat a power and concrete evil force that seeks to influence our lives. Nevertheless, Paul understood that God was aware of the problem of temptation and sin. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Cor. 10:13). The Psalmist recognizes our human frailty and asks not to be led into the face of evil that would be more that we could withstand and would dominate us. Paul determines that only God can deliver us from temptation, and He will provide a means of escape.
  A Hebrew prayer, recited by Jews before going to sleep at night, is one we Christians might pray: "May it be pleasing before You, O Lord, my God, to make me lie down in peace, and give me my portion of Your law. Train me to do Your commandments, and do not train me to do transgression. Do not bring me into the grasp of sin, nor into the grasp of iniquity, nor into the grasp of temptation, nor into the grasp of disgrace. May the good inclination rule over me. May the evil inclination not rule over me, and deliver me from contact with evil."
  Angels and demons are real, but they are always subject to God's will. We need not fear demons, nor miss out on the benefits of God's ministering angels. But we need to be aware of what the Bibles tells us about angels and demons.

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