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In this episode we’ll consider what the bible says about angels, demons, and Satan.  My goal here is to be as biblical as possible, not giving in to wild speculations or dismissing an understanding because it offends my modern sensibilities.  The scriptures have a lot to say about the spiritual realm, and we can’t possibly work through it all in one episode, but we can at least overview the various major categories of thought.

—— Notes ——

Angels

“…[A]ngels are spiritual beings separate from God, yet, unless they be fallen, of unquestioned integrity, goodwill and obedience to him.” (New Bible Dictionary, p. 37)

1. Worshipers

  • ever notice God is usually portrayed with others?
  • seraphs, cherubs, living creatures
  • Isaiah 6.1-3
  • Ezekiel 1.1-3, 5, 22, 26-27; 10.15, 20
  • Daniel 7.9-10
  • Revelation 4.1-11; 5.11; 7.11
  • Genesis 1.26; 3.22; 11.7

2. Messengers

  • The angel of Yahweh speaks to Hagar (Gen 16.7-13): this is called the principle of agency
  • another example is Moses at the burning bush (Ex 3.3-7, 2)
  • deceptive messages: Micaiah’s vision shows how God involves the spirits in carrying out his plans
  • also Luke 1 where Gabriel announces the birth of Christ to Mary

3. Warriors

  • angels who destroy Assyrian army (2 Kings 19.35)
  • angels blinded then destroyed Sodom & Gomorrah (Gen 19)
  • angel killed Herod (Acts 12.23)
  • typically they begin by saying “Do not be afraid”
  • Joshua met an angelic warrior (Josh 5.13-15)
  • God is the LORD of hosts (battle name)

4. Helpers

  • fed Elijah when he was severely disappointed (1 Kings 19.5-8)
  • sees a 4th man in fiery furnace (Dan 3.24-25, 28)
  • God sent Daniel an angel to shut the lions’ mouths (Dan 6.22)
  • broke apostles out of jail (Acts 5.19-20)
  • ministering spirits set out to serve (Heb 1.13-14)

5. national vicegerents

  • Deuteronomy 32;
  • Daniel 12: Michael your prince
  • Daniel 10: Gabriel said he was fighting w/ prince of Persia

 

Demons

1. Some spirits “fell” in the time of Noah

  • 1 Peter 3.18-20
  • 2 Peter 2.4-5
  • Jude 6-7
  • Genesis 6.1-5

this also happened later

  • Numbers 13.33; Deut 1.28
  • killed Og of Bashan whose bed was 13.5’ long and 6’ wide (Deut 3.11)
  • Goliath was of the Anakim (1 Sam 17.4)
  • others killed by David’s mighty men (2 Sam 21.16-22)

these events could be what Revelation 12 calls the dragon’s tail pulling down 1/3 of the stars and casting them to earth

2. Demons associated with idols

  • Deut 32.15-17 “they made him jealous with strange gods…they sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known”
  • Ps 106.34-38 Israelites mixed w/ nations and served their idols and sacrificed their kids to demons (see also sacrificing to “goat demons” in Lev 17.7)
  • 1 Cor 10.19-22 pagans offering sacrifices to demons; don’t partake!
  • Rev 9.20 during chaotic end-times people don’t repent of worshiping demons and idols
  • an idol is just a statue, but the demon behind the idol may be real

3. Demons are not things but personal agents

  • James 2.19 they believe God is one and shudder
  • Acts 19.15 the spirit said, “Jesus I know, and Paul…”

4. Usage of “demon”

  1. Luke: 30%
  2. Mat 23%
  3. Mark 21%
  4. John 9%
  5. 1 Cor 6%
  6. Rev 4%
  7. James 2%
  8. 1 Timothy 1%
  9. Leviticus 1%
  10. Deut 1%
  11. Psalms 1%

Most of what we learn about demons is from the gospels

 

usage of “unclean spirit”:

in the gospels demons inhabit people (cause dumbness, epilepsy, bent-over, fortune telling)

  • Luke 4.33-36, 40-41 demons know who Jesus is, but Jesus won’t let them speak
  • Luke 11.14 cause dumbness
  • Mark 9.17 cause epilepsy

New Bible Dictionary: “It is often said in modern times that demon-possession was simply the way people had in the 1st century of referring to conditions that we today would call sickness or madness. The Gospel accounts, however, distinguish between sickness and possession by demons.  For example, in Mt. 4:24 we read of ‘the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics.’  None of these classes appears to be identical with the others.”[2]

  • Mark 5.1-18 naked tormented guy living in tombs
  • Acts 16.16-19 spirit of divination gave girl power to tell fortunes
  • Luke 11.14-22 Jesus called Beelzebul and refutes the claim logically

 

Satan

Rev 12.9: satan = devil = great dragon = ancient serpent = deceiver of the whole world

Satan means adversary and doesn’t always refer to spirit being

  • Gen 3.1-5, 14-15 serpent (notice modus operandi is to poison your trust in God)
  • Job 1.6-7; 2.1-7 “the Satan” הַשָּׂטָ֖ן accuses
  • also see Zech 3.1-2 where Satan accuses Joshua
  • and 1 Chron 21.1 where Satan incites David to number the people, though here it is “Satan” not “the Satan” and may be rendered “an adversary” as in NET (see also NAB)
  • Mat 4.1-11 devil temps Jesus, trying to get him to question his unique God-given role

Satan’s Influence

  • Jesus called him, “the ruler of this world”
    (John 14.30)
  • Paul called him, “the god of this age”
    (2 Corinthians 4.4)
  • John called him, “the deceiver of the whole world” (Revelation 12.9)

Eph 2.1-3
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins  2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–  3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

Satan’s Goals

  • keep people from the gospel (2 Corinthians 4.3-4)
  • take out those who already believe (Matthew 13.19-23)

2 Corinthians 4.3-4
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

he prevents people from getting the gospel by tweaking the culture[3]

Matthew 13.19-23
19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path.  20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy,  21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.  22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.  23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

Deeds of the devil in the NT

  • 1 John 3.8 the devil sinned from the beginning
  • 2 Cor 4.4 blinds minds of unbelieving
  • 2 Cor 11.14 disguises himself as an angel of light
  • 2 Tim 2.26 ensnares people, holding them captive to do his will

Stand against him

  • 1 Peter 5.8-9 devil prowls around like a roaring lion, but resist him
  • James 4.7 resist the devil and he will flee from you
  • Eph 6.11, 13 put on armor of God to stand against schemes of the devil
  • Jesus is superior (Eph 1.20-22)

New Bible Dictionary: “The witness of the NT then is clear.  Satan is a malignant reality, always hostile to God and to God’s people.  But he has already been defeated in Christ’s life and death and resurrection, and this defeat will become obvious and complete in the end of the age.” [4]

Specific Examples To Be On Guard Against

1. temptation

Matthew 16.23
But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

2. failure

dealing with failure; get back up!

Luke 22.31-32
Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”

  • Peter vs. Judas
  • don’t quit: what did Paul do when he was arrested? Was he more deadly to Satan’s kingdom when he was out starting churches, preaching powerfully, and casting out demons or when he was in jail writing epistles?

3. unforgiveness

  • unforgiveness w/in the church as a tool for Satan to outwit us

2 Corinthians 2.10-11
Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.

4. inattention

  • sober-minded & watchful

1 Peter 5.8
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

  • God’s got your back if you stand firm in the faith

5. adultery

  • married people should not deprive one another

1 Corinthians 7.5
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

  • you might think you’re teaching him/her a lesson or getting him/her to do what you want, but what you are really doing is dangling your marriage, your life over the chasm of adultery
  • otherwise Satan will tempt you

6. false teaching

  • Satan’s factions in the church

2 Corinthians 11.3-4 , 13-14
3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough…13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

  • 2 Cor 11.1-15 in Corinth they proclaimed another Jesus, a different spirit, a different gospel
  • 1 John talks about “Christians” who went out from their group but are actually antichrists who proclaim a Jesus who did not come in the flesh and who embrace a lifestyle of sin, all the while claiming to know God
  • someone approaches you to join their anti-leadership division, shut it down
  • if a leader is in sin, we have clear instructions in scripture (Mat 18: talk to the person in private)
  • otherwise, SHUT IT DOWN

7. anger

Ephesians 4.26-27
26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,  27 and give no opportunity to the devil.

We wrestle against spiritual forces

  • direct
  • indirect

Rom 16.17-20 17
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.  18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.  19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.  20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

[2] New Bible Dictionary, p. 278

[3] horror movies, music (especially rap and pop), tv shows are reprogramming your sense of normal, greed, war (the 20th c. began with the Second Boer War, the Philippine Insurrection, and the War of a Thousand Days with a combined estimated death toll of over 150,000.  It ended with the Congo Brazzaville Civil War, the Kosovo Crisis, and Ethiopia’s war with Eritrea, totaling nearly 120,000 dead.  In between these book ends, we find not ten or fifty or even a hundred bloody conflicts, but well over two hundred, totaling more than 76 million battle deaths.   That’s 2.3 wars a year for the entire twentieth century!), humanitarian issues b/c of mismanaged governments, government persecution, don’t sleep enough (diminished will power & health problems), bad parenting (no discipline)

[4] New Bible Dictionary, p. 1075

 

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