Are Angels and Demons Real?

The Bible affirms the existence and ministry of creatures from another world: Angels. They appear some 103 times in the Old Testament, and 175 times in the New Testament, so belief in their existence and interaction with humans is a key tenet of the Jewish and Christian faiths.

Contrary to popular beliefs, angels are not little naked babies with wings. And unlike the mythical gods of the Greeks and Romans, the angels that serve God do not have their own agenda from time to time. Angels are spirit creatures (Hebrews 1:14) who serve God and always direct man's attention and worship to God alone. There is a vast number of them (Hebrews 12:22), but only three are named in Scripture: Michael the archangel, Gabriel, and Lucifer (who later fell and became Satan).

They are in higher in rank than humans (Hebrews 2:7), and they are incredibly powerful, but not all-powerful (Matthew 28:1; Daniel 10:13). They do not marry or reproduce (Matthew 22:30) and they cannot die (Luke 20:35, 36). And humans do not turn into angels when we die. Upon death the believer immediately goes to be with God in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:6-8; Luke 23:43). There is no record anywhere in the Bible of a human being turning into an angel.

Angels serve God. That is their ministry. The Hebrew word for angel is "malak" and simply means "messenger." The Greek word is "angelos" and means the same thing. The Bible tells us that they are similar to a human army in that there is a hierarchy of angels. Some are cherubim (Genesis 3:24), others are seraphim (Isaiah 6:2). Not too much detail is given about the distinction in ministry between these types of angels, although Scripture does note distinctions in appearance. Others are called "thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers" in Colossians 1:16). Only Michael is called an archangel.

Angels worship God in heaven (Revelation 5:12), although they never receive worship or veneration (Revelation 22:9) . They reveal prophecy (Daniel 9:21-27), guide and sometimes protect believers (Genesis 19:16), and announce the birth of the Messiah (Luke 1:28-33). Angels serve believers (Hebrews 1:14; 1 Kings 19:5-7) and they sometimes appear to encourage (Luke 22:43; Acts 27:23-25).  They are used of God to pour out judgment (Revelation 16:1), and observe our worship services (1 Corinthians 11:10).

In a curious passage, 1 Peter 1:12, it says that the gospel message of redemption to sinful mankind is something "angels desire to look into." The Greek implies a curious glance at something. Apparently the angels are curious about our salvation; they simply cannot understand how God in grace would stoop to rescue rebellious fallen mankind. (I don't understand it either, but I sure appreciate it!).

Their counterparts, the fallen angels, are quite active in this world as well. Demons, led by Satan, deceive humanity with a false message (Galatians 1:8,9; 2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15). Through his spiritual agents Satan slanders believers (Revelation 12:10) and schemes to defeat them (Ephesians 6:11).

Though they are not all-poweful, and restricted in their activity by God, they do inflict physical, spiritual, and emotional harm upon believers (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) as well as non-believers (Luke 13:11). It is clear from the New Testament that these malevolent forces seek to influence our minds (2 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Thessalonians 3:5). From all the wars and social ills in the long march of history we can certainly see how Satan has influenced man's thinking and actions.

Although the final doom of Satan and his hosts is assured by the Second Coming of Christ (Revelation 19, 20), we are left today with a fallen world to live in; a world that is filled with decaying cultures and deadly agendas. What is the blueprint for Christians today to deal with this? The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10-19 and 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4 tells us to fight a spiritual warfare.

We know from his writings and from Daniel 10:13-20 that the righteous angels engage in spiritual warfare as well as the fallen angels, and this celestial conflict influences us here on earth. So, how do we wage spiritual warfare and stand against the decay and debauchery of our day?

Next Page: How do we fight this spiritual warfare?