Saturday, October 4, 2008

Who are the Demons?

Most people are taught that the demons Jesus and His apostles cast out are fallen angels. But there is no passage that actually says that [to my knowledge.]

This came to me today as I was thinking about Jude 6 And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day

2nd Peter 2:4 is similar.

The issue here is that Satan and his Angels are cast out of heaven immediately after Christ's resurrection [Revelation 12:9]. If Jude and Peter claim that these angels were put into Hell, then they could not have been around tormenting people during Acts, and Paul would not be too concerned about their teaching people in 1st Timothy 4:1.

The issue here is that if demons are not fallen angels, then what are they, and where do they come from? Some might find this just an odd question of no real relevance but some would find it very relevant because many teach that God cannot create anything evil. [The Bible itself says no such thing, but people think it would go against God's goodness. This is the same reason people claim Satan had to be an angel at some point. Actually, it seems the above verses would suggest that Satan is not, in fact, a fallen angel, as he is not confined in hell at the moment.]

Perhaps demons are evil souls of Nephlim who died.


Anyone else have some ideas?


Slim said...

Demons are the spirits of those who chose to follow Lucifer in the original War in Heaven. Satan / Lucifer was the leader and proponent of this falling away. His plan of force and domination being in opposition to the will of God placed him and all those who followed him in a nonredeemable state. These entities are at this time on the earth and are in a condition that allows them to influence mortal men but remain for the most part invisible. Considering that the Bible states Lucifer and 1/3 of the hosts of heaven were cast out there must be an enormous number of them on earth. Furthermore, because of the infinite amount of time they spent among those who are now mortal they would have a unique knowledge of the weaknesses and strengths of each mortal in a personal and individual sense.
In the Bible this situation is described in Revelation 12 & 13, Isaiah 14:12-20, Luke 10:18. The woman it describes represents the Church or Gospel of Christ. The woman is bringing forth the Gospel to the World. The dragon is the Deceiver. The end of the 3rd chapter of the Book of Abraham mentions the fall and the 4th chapter of the Book of Moses describes how Satan becomes the devil and is cast down. Other sources are Doctrine & Covenants 29:36-39.

David Rudel said...

Thanks Slim,
You are essentially claiming that the Demons are what most people term "Evil Angels," or "Fallen Angels," or "Satan's Angels."

[If I'm wrong in that, please correct particular, if these are not the angels in Revelation 12:7-9, 2nd Peter 2:4, Jude 6, then what differentiates them?]

So, if the beings you refer to are what those verses call "angels," (which is just a Greek word for "messenger), how are they still on the earth if Jude and 2nd Peter both indicate they are in bondage?

Slim said...

Sorry I am responding so late. I believe bondage in this sense (2nd Peter) refers to an individual state of being, not necessarily physical bondage. These beings are the servants (messengers) of the adversary and do the bidding of Evil. In this sense they are in bondage as they have no free will to choose as men do. They forfeited their will to choose in the War in Heaven. These beings of energy or spirit, which is all they will ever have now, are in spiritual bondage. It will not be until the Last Battle, following the millenium, that satan and all that are his followers will be bound and cast out forever.

David Rudel said...

But 2nd Peter doesn't refer to Bondage. It just says the demons were cast (already) into Hell.

CAB Arizona said...

If we consider the state of the devil and his angels it would seem that they were condemned from the moment they were cast "down" to earth. Revelation 12 does refer back and forth to the “third of the stars”, the dragon and that their place was no longer in heaven.

Their fate was sealed when they chose to rebel in the presence of God, not keeping their "first estate" or "own domain". Their ultimate destination is hell, bondage or symbolically chains with a stop here on earth to make it a temporary hell for any that heed them or allow them to enter.

They are in a state of hell since they will never possess a physical body or be resurrected. For that reason they will try to possess a person or even swine as it was. Their powers are limited and they will suffer a just and final punishment at their judgment day. All devils and demons are from the same grouping that rebelled in the beginning. For that matter so are the good angels. Heb 1. We were all there in the beginning.

A few thoughts on the war in heaven and the pre-earth existence and what took place there when Jesus was fore-ordained to be the Savior is necessary to cover the subject.

The eternal nature of good and evil is not fully expounded in the Bible. What is there only lets us know something about it. They are the two great eternal opposites that essentially make it possible for the existence of free will or agency. We have it now and we had it before we were born.

The laws by which good and evil are determined are eternal. There is a framework of eternal truth within which the biblical witness was revealed that is necessary to fully understand it. (You mention in the original post that people teach but don't explain the origin of demons) This is an example.

There is a part of our individual eternal uncreated intelligence that became an actual personality or spiritual creature begotten of the Father where Christ was the firstbegotten as it mentions in Hebrews 1 and Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:15. God does not create good and evil he governs over them. His dominion and powers allow him to stop or place in bondage or (damn) evil powers but he did not create their evil nature. This same dominion and power allows those sons and daughters obedient to his will to progress.

Our spirits were created in this premortal time frame. Before we come to earth to fulfill a mortal existence we can be assigned as angels to minister to those on earth. Likewise beings after death can be messengers as well. As Slim mentioned the war in heaven took place over how our salvation would be carried out in the future mortal probation or this current life. This is the "second estate" that comes after the first estate mentioned in Jude to those that were not cast down. (KJV)

Even though John mentions the casting out in what seems to be a revelation after the resurrection of Jesus it had happened before man inhabited the earth and he would be giving perspective to his message. Reasoning--Satan was in the Garden of Eden. Unless one assumes the position that the devil can travel back and forth from earth to heaven. This is believed and taught by some to make sense of the passages that refer to the casting down both in OT and NT and the apparent uncertainty of when it happened.

The spirit children of God develop according to their choices. Those that chose to not follow Christ followed Lucifer and the war that started in heaven has never ceased and won't until the end. In the beginning it was spirit beings against spirit beings and now it is human mortal beings endowed with spiritual power against the evil beings still in their spirit existence but on the earth with limited power to tempt and try. Eph 6:12.

The same people, angels or spiritual sons and daughters that prevailed with Michael and Christ against Satan are now as mortals continuing the battle which will again be won by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.

Just as a side observation the orthodox teachers and preachers of salvation want us to think our goal is to get to heaven. We are really in the process of returning to the presence of the Father by following the Son and his gospel through a mortal testing period. This discussion is moot to the vast majority of orthodox Christianity because their doctrine teaches that we were created at our birth out of nothing.

David Rudel said...

You appear to believe Satan and company were cast out and imprisoned before Christ's resurrection, but that is hardly possible because in John the reason given is that Christ died and was resurrected.

For example, in Revelation 12:10, the Greek says "The right of his Messiah to rule has come" this occurs because Jesus was obedient to death, He was given authority over heaven and earth after He died because He did so.

Similarly, we are told the angels overcame the dragon by "the blood of the lamb" [revelation 12:11], which could hardly be the case had Jesus not died.

Thirdly, Satan is called "the one who accuses them day and night before our God" [Revelation 12:10]. If Satan had been thrown out before Eden, he could hardly be accusing people before God as there would be no people to accuse.

In addition to the above, you seem to take the idea that Satan had freedom to go back and forth from heaven to earth in the Old Testament as a dubious one...but isn't that more or less exactly what Job 1:6-7 says?

CAB Arizona said...

Job 1:6,7 Indicates that Satan was going to and fro in the earth. The Son's of God came to "present themselves before the Lord" or to have a meeting. It does not say that they returned to heaven.

The other instances of "presenting before the Lord" that might cause you to think of going before God do not indicate a location other than earth. Others refer to presenting a supplication. There are many other instances of 'falling before the Lord' as well such as one might do in prayer.

They tend to read like this.

Lev. 14: 11 And the priest that maketh him clean shall "present the man" that is to be made clean, and those things, "before the Lord", at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation:

It would be more indicative to me that they were gathering for some purpose and Satan came to disrupt the process.

From what I understand as well scholars aren't sure as to the intent or the origin of the book Job. It was obviously written to try and explain suffering in world created by a perfect God and why apparent injustices occur.

As to "accusing day and night before our God", the same logic applies. Satan continues to do his thing day and night here on earth since the first humans were placed on it. Is there even day and night in heaven?

After being cast out Satan's role was defined. He was cursed in the garden of Eden.(Gen 3:4) he would have to "eat dust all the days of his life." It hardly seems he could be in heaven accusing people, since dust is of the earth. But he and his angels would be those attempting to possess the bodies of the seed of Eve or the woman should they not exercise their right to "bruise" his head.

Gen. 3: 15
15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

This conversation took place on earth and so did the one between the devil and Christ during his fast in the wilderness.

To emphasize one of my previous points. John refers to the past to make a point in the following verse. It also happens to mention a dwelling place on earth of Satan.

Rev 2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

It seems that John uses a past event to explain his revelation. So it was also with John's mention of the war in heaven and the casting out of Satan. He was giving perspective to the conflict of good and evil that would finally come to an end when Christ came again to reign on the earth.

Even though the actual event was carried out in the meridian of time, Christ's right of Messiah was won and declared in the pre-earth existence where we was foreordained to become the Savior.

Satan and his host were the casualties of disobedience and rebellion. They chose their fate.

Hell is their spiritual condition now. As they seek to destroy the work of God they inflict many casualties as the war wages on in the earth.

David Rudel said...

Trying to put the location of Job 1:6,7 as outside Heaven is awfully hard. The Sons of God come to the Lord, not the other way around. Satan's answer makes much more sense if he had come from earth to meet the Lord. When someone says "Where do you come from" and you say "From roaming around on the earth," it does not do much to suggest you are still on the earth.

The priest can "present the man" before the Lord in Leviticus because the Temple was considered the dwelling place of God. Satan was clearly not in the temple.

It is even harder to say Satan is not in heaven Revelation. Satan is "before God" and he is "Cast down from"

When you say "the ancient serpent, the one called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world -- was thrown down to the earth." it is awfully hard to suggest he was already on the earth or in hell.

Saying that Satan has a seat on earth does not preclude his being in heaven accusing the sons of Israel [A role that makes total sense in Jewish theology...that is, after all, where the term Satan comes from: The Accuser.]

Furthermore, it would be odd for John to say there is joy in heaven and woe on earth [Revelation 12:12] if Satan had not come from heaven and been cast down to earth...and John explicitly states the reason for this occurring was that Satan was overthrown by the blood of the lamb.

Note this occurs "When the ruling authority of Christ has come" [Revelation 12:10]. Jesus was the Christ all along, but it was not until after He fulfilled His work that He was given his position as Lord of Heaven and Earth.

Another reason we cannot commute this vignette from the place John has clearly placed it is that Satan could not accuse "our brothers" before the fall before creation because there were no "brothers" to accuse.

CAB Arizona said...

You don't need to post this comment unless you normally post all of them. Just a quick thanks for the discussion and viewpoint.

I have been reading the chapter you made available of your book and enjoy reading the points you make. So I look to possible future opportunities to comment and observe the heterodox theological views that you discuss.

David Rudel said...

Thanks, CAB. I post pretty much anything that isn't fact I can only think of one comment I rejected, and it looked like the post-er just submitted the same comment twice by accident.

I'm really glad that people are getting something out of the articles...the whole book should be available by Feb. 15th.

CAB Arizona said...

Back to the discussion with a couple of questions. So you don't see or believe in a doctrine of a pre-mortal period for all children of God? Do you believe or propose that we were created at our birth as "a breath of Life" meaning that our spirit is some part of God's spirit? Please explain your views.


Charlie B

David Rudel said...

Hey CAB,

To be honest, I have not thought too much about this question. Origen spent a lot of time thinking and discussing this type of thing, but it has not really caught my mind as particularly important.

I'm not saying it isn't important...I'm just saying I haven't seen much in the Bible I can really use to hook into this question.

A similar statement holds for our existence after death before the end-times. The Bible really does not say much about this.

Daniel said...

Satan/adversary/serpent in garden of eden = your carnal mind.

The dead sea scrolls prove the book of Enoch dates to the B.C. era, therefore the book of Jude could actually be quoting Enoch. Some people regard that as good evidence for the uncanonicity of Jude. 2 Peter is very similar to Jude, so those same people declare 2 Peter to be uncanonical as well.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Rudel I read your post on demons and fallen angels. I really enjoyed the post I was just wondering if you could explain these verse on demons. Luke 11:14-23, Luke 22:3, Mark 3:22-30, Matthew 12:24-30, John 13:2, Acts 23:9, Rev 9:20, and could tell me who azazel is Lev 16:8-10 hcsb translation and explain Jude 9 please thank yo very much.

David Rudel said...

Hi anonymous,
I wish I could cast more light on these verses, but the truth is we just don't know much about these things.

People often just assume that Satan was an angel who rebelled and that the demons are the fallen angels.

The reason this is prevalent in modern Christianity is that it allows everyone to "start out good." There is a theory that God cannot create anything intrinsically evil, so everything has to start out good and turn away from God.

Maybe. Maybe not. I don't like telling people what God can and cannot do.

However, the other half is that Christians like to categorize things. We know angels exist, and we know God exists, and we tend to force everything into those categories. This is one reason Satan is thought to be an angel, because it is tidier than creating a special category. It is also a reason to support the Trinity, because the idea that Jesus could be some special separate figure is also untidy.

But according to Jude, the "angels who rebelled" were cast down "to tartarus" [odd that he uses a Greek Mythological word to describe where they are now] to await Judgment. It seems the Demons need to be something else entirely if they were able to bedevil people after Christ's death.

Anonymous said...

Mr.Rudel would know anything else whatsoever on azazel.

Anonymous said...

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- Kris