FALLEN ANGELS AND DEMONS

There is a great deal of misunderstanding regarding the fallen angels and the demons. Many people believe these designations are simply different names for the same beings. However, this assumption is inaccurate. In this article, we will examine the origin and activities of both these evil entities, and look at what the Scriptures and other reliable sources say about them.

The Scriptures don't explicitly tell us when the angelic realm was created. However, the available information implies that the angels were formed after God created the heavens but before he fashioned the earth. Passages from Job and Nehemiah seem to bolster this view:

JOB 38:4 "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding, 5 Who set its measurements? Since you know. Or who stretched the line on it? 6 On what were its bases sunk? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? (NASU)
NEHEMIAH 9:6 You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You. (NKJV)

The expressions "morning stars" and "sons of God" used in Job 38:7 refer to the angels, as does the phrase "host of heaven" used in Nehemiah 9:6. These passages indicate that the angelic domain was created after the heavens, but before the earth was given final form.

Very soon after the creation, Satan (a powerful and high-ranking cherub) sinned by tempting Eve in the Garden of Eden (Eze. 28:12-15). For more information about the fallen angel Satan, refer to my article "Satan, the Adversary of Mankind."

Satan's fall from grace is the first instance documented in the Bible of angels disobeying God, but it is not the only one. There is another incident recorded in Genesis 6 which occurred soon after Satan's rebellion:

GENESIS 6:1 When men began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. . . . 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days – and also afterward – when the sons of God went to the daughters of men and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown. (NIV)

Just as it did in Job 38:7, the term "sons of God" in Genesis 6:2, 4 refers to the angels. For detailed proof that these "sons of God" were angels and not men, see my article "Genesis 6 - Who Were the Sons of God?"

The ancient books of 1 Enoch and Jubilees also record the angelic rebellion of the "sons of God" in detail. As Hershel Shanks reveals in his book on the Dead Sea Scrolls, these books were held in high esteem at the time the New Testament was written:

Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls the apocryphal book of Enoch (more precisely, I Enoch) was known only in an Ethiopic translation. Now as many as twenty fragmentary copies of the Aramaic original have been found at Qumran, which suggests that Enoch and perhaps other books now considered apocryphal were regarded as authoritative Scripture at least by some groups. Allusions to Enoch occur at least fourteen times in the New Testament; the New Testament Letter of Jude quotes from Enoch as having the authority of inspired Scripture (Jude 14-15). In some copies of the Ethiopic Bible Enoch is included in the canon.

Jubilees, the so-called Rewritten Bible, was apparently considered authoritative at Qumran: At least fifteen copies of this book have been identified, an immediate indication of the importance the Qumran sectarians attached to it. To this day, it is considered canonical by the Abyssinian Church in Ethiopia. (pp. 160-161, The Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls)

From 1 Enoch, we learn more about the sin of the Watchers (Dan. 4:17), angels charged with watching over mankind:

ENOCH 6:1 And it came to pass when the children of men had multiplied that in those days were born unto 2 them beautiful and comely daughters. And the angels, the children of the heaven, saw and lusted after them, and said to one another: 'Come, let us choose us wives from among the children of men 3 and beget us children.' (The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, R.H. Charles)

Jubilees also elaborates on the sin of these angels:

JUBILEES 5:1 And it came to pass when the children of men began to multiply on the face of the earth and daughters were born unto them, that the angels of God saw them on a certain year of this jubilee, that they were beautiful to look upon; and they took themselves wives of all whom they 2 chose, and they bare unto them sons and they were giants. . . . (The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, R.H. Charles)

After the angels sinned by marrying human women, they bore them gigantic hybrid children. The Bible calls these offspring nephilim, the "mighty men of old, warriors of renown" (Gen. 6:4). When they appear again later in the Scriptures, they are called by a variety of names, including Rephaim, Zumim, Emim and Horites (Gen. 14:5), Anakim (Deu. 2:11), Zamzummim (Deu. 2:20), and Avim (Deu. 2:23).

1 Enoch and Jubilees both speak of these crossbred beings:

ENOCH 7:1 And all the others together with them took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them . . . And they 3 became pregnant, and they bare great giants, whose height was three thousand ells: Who consumed 4 all the acquisitions of men. And when men could no longer sustain them, the giants turned against 5 them and devoured mankind. And they began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and 6 fish, and to devour one another's flesh, and drink the blood. Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones. (The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, R.H. Charles)
JUBILEES 5:2 . . . And lawlessness increased on the earth and all flesh corrupted its way, alike men and cattle and beasts and birds and everything that walks on the earth - all of them corrupted their ways and their orders, and they began to devour each other, and lawlessness increased on the earth and every imagination of the thoughts of all men 3 (was) thus evil continually. . . . (The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, R.H. Charles)

Both these ancient books, recorded long before the New Testament, speak of two primary identifying signs of the pre-Flood age: (1) the illicit marriage of the angels with humans, and (2) the voracious eating and drinking by their hybrid offspring, the nephilim. It's very interesting that these two signs mirror those spoken of by Yeshua when he described the situation which would exist on the earth before his second coming:

MATTHEW 24:37 "But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (NKJV)

God was very angry at the rebellion of the Watchers, and decreed that these wayward angels would be locked up underneath the earth in a prison for spirits until the day of judgment. Jubilees and 1 Enoch both speak of this punishment:

JUBILEES 5:6 And against the angels whom He had sent upon the earth, He was exceedingly wroth, and He gave commandment to root them out of all their dominion, and He bade us to bind them in the depths of the earth, and 7 behold they are bound in the midst of them, and are (kept) separate. (The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, R.H. Charles)
ENOCH 10:11 . . . And the Lord said unto Michael: 'Go, bind Semjaza and his associates who have united themselves with women so as to have defiled themselves 12 with them in all their uncleanness. And when their sons have slain one another, and they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them fast for seventy generations in the valleys of the earth, till the day of their judgement and of their consummation, till the judgement that is 13 for ever and ever is consummated. In those days they shall be led off to the abyss of fire: and 14 to the torment and the prison in which they shall be confined for ever. . . .' (The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, R.H. Charles)

1 Enoch and Jubilees agree with the Scriptures which show that a portion of the fallen angels are currently restrained in a spiritual prison called "the Abyss" (Luke 8:31):

JUDE 6 And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great Day. (NRSV)
II PETER 2:4 For indeed God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down in chains of darkness into the low regions and delivered them to be kept for the judgment of torment. (Magiera NT Peshitta translation)
I PETER 3:19 . . . He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. (NKJV)

While there are clearly some fallen angels who can move around freely, the Bible teaches that the Watchers who lusted after human women are currently locked up in "chains of darkness."

Mankind was originally given dominion and rulership over the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). However, the fall of man set the stage for Satan and the angels to assume control. Several biblical passages allude to the fact that both good and evil angels currently have different levels of authority over the peoples of the earth:

DEUTERONOMY 32:8 When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the nations according to the number of the angels of God. 9 And his people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, Israel was the line of his inheritance. (Brenton's LXX)

The passage shown above is from the 3rd-century BCE Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures known as the Septuagint. When God divided mankind into 70 nations at the tower of Babel, He apportioned rulership of the world among the angels, reserving only Abraham (father of the future nation of Israel) for Himself. God gave the angels varying levels of authority over the resulting nations of mankind.

In the official Jewish version of the Old Testament, the Masoretic Text, Deuteronomy 32:8 reads "sons of Israel" (Heb. beney Yisrael) instead of "angels of God." However, an Aramaic copy of the book of Deuteronomy found among the Dead Sea Scrolls has "sons of God" (Heb. beney 'elohim) instead of "sons of Israel" in verse 8. The Septuagint translators understood that the "sons of God" spoken of in Deuteronomy 32:8 and elsewhere were the angels, and rendered it that way several times (Deu 32:8; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). The ancient text found at Qumran verifies the Septuagint rendering of this verse, indicating that the official Jewish version was altered at a later date for some reason.

Psalm 82 speaks of the angelic council which was given rulership over the 70 nations of the earth:

PSALM 82:1 {A Psalm of Asaph.} God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: 2 "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah 3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. 4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." 5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 I say, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; 7 nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall like any prince." 8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for to thee belong all the nations! (RSV)

In this psalm, God chastises the angelic rulers ("the gods") for their injustice and iniquity in carrying out the responsibilities that He has assigned to them. God tells them that their fate for disobedience will be to "die like men." Asaph ends the psalm by exhorting God to judge the earth and its angelic rulers, because all the nations actually belong to Him. For more information on these ruling spirit beings, see my article "The Heavenly Divine Council."

The book of Daniel gives us some further verification of this angelic authority over humanity.

DANIEL 10:5 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a certain man clothed in linen, whose waist was girded with gold of Uphaz! 6 His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude. . . . 12 Then he said to me, "Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard; and I have come because of your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. (NKJV)

The passage above gives us a fascinating inside glimpse into the order and activities of the spiritual realm. The angel that visited Daniel was sent to give him an understanding of what would happen to his people (the Jews) in "the latter days." However, this angel was delayed for 21 days because "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" stood against him. Here we see a three-week spiritual battle described by one of the participants, a holy angel! Indeed, if Michael, who is described in Dan. 12:1 as "the great prince who has charge of your people," had not helped in this fight, Daniel's messenger might not have been able to deliver his information.

DANIEL 10:20 Then he said, "Do you know why I have come to you? Now I must return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I am through with him, the prince of Greece will come. 21 But I am to tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth. There is no one with me who contends against these princes except Michael, your prince." (NRSV)

After conveying his message to Daniel, the angel states that he must return once again to do battle with "the prince of Persia." But he says that he will also eventually have to combat "the prince of Greece" after he has finished with "the Prince of Persia." The picture derived from this brief account is one of continual spiritual warfare between the holy angels and the numerous spirit beings who have been given dominion over the nations of this world. For additional information on Michael, the spiritual prince over Israel, refer to my article "Christ in the Old Testament."

The apostle Paul takes this idea one step further by showing that mortal Christians are also involved in this spiritual warfare:

EPHESIANS 6:12 For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (RSV)

The phrase "world rulers" in Ephesians 6:12 comes from the Greek word kosmokratoras. Friberg's Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament defines this word as "one holding power over the world; plural in the NT for devilish forces, spirit-beings who control parts of the world system, world rulers (EP 6.12)." Paul here clearly states that the fallen angels hold sway over the world! Paul goes on to describe the "whole armor of God" that is needed to defeat these wicked angels in the heavens and spiritual world rulers (Eph. 6:13-18).

In Hebrews 2:5, the author indirectly establishes the current rulership of our world by angels:

HEBREWS 2:5 For He did not subject the age that is to come, about which we speak, to angels. (Magiera NT Peshitta translation)

By saying that God has not appointed angels to rule the coming world, the author implies that the current world is being ruled by angels. Indeed, the Bible clearly teaches that Satan is the supreme ruler and "god" (II Cor. 4:4) of this present world.

The Bible shows that God uses fallen angels and evil spirits to accomplish certain tasks which fulfill His plan:

I KINGS 22:19 Then Micaiah said, "Therefore hear the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by, on His right hand and on His left. 20 And the LORD said, 'Who will persuade Ahab to go up, that he may fall at Ramoth Gilead?' So one [angel] spoke in this manner, and another [angel] spoke in that manner. 21 Then a spirit came forward and stood before the LORD, and said, 'I will persuade him.' 22 The LORD said to him, 'In what way?' So he said, 'I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And the LORD said, 'You shall persuade him, and also prevail. Go out and do so.' 23 Therefore look! The LORD has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these prophets of yours, and the LORD has declared disaster against you." (NKJV)

The story of Saul recorded in I Samuel reveals another instance where God used an evil spirit to do His will:

I SAMUEL 16:14 Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD tormented him. 15 And Saul's servants said to him, "Behold now, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord now command your servants, who are before you, to seek out a man who is skilful in playing the lyre; and when the evil spirit from God is upon you, he will play it, and you will be well. . . ." 23 And whenever the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand; so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. (RSV)
I SAMUEL 18:10 And on the morrow an evil spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand; 11 and Saul cast the spear, for he thought, "I will pin David to the wall." But David evaded him twice. 12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with him but had departed from Saul. (RSV)
I SAMUEL 19:9 Then an evil spirit from the LORD came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand; and David was playing the lyre. 10 And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear; but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled, and escaped. (RSV)

In the first instance, the "lying spirit" that persuaded Ahab was one of the "host of heaven," or an angel. But was the "evil spirit" that God sent upon Saul an angel, or was it a demon? To understand the difference between the two, we have to understand the fate of the nephilim that were killed in the Flood. To do that, let's go back to the book of 1 Enoch.

We've already seen from the Bible, 1 Enoch, and Jubilees that the Watchers were locked in the Abyss for their sins. However, as additional punishment, God decreed that the nephilim, the children of the angels, would be destroyed from the face of the earth:

ENOCH 12:4 . . . Enoch, thou scribe of righteousness, go, declare to the Watchers of the heaven who have left the high heaven, the holy eternal place, and have defiled themselves with women, and have done as the children of earth do, and have taken unto themselves 5 wives: "Ye have wrought great destruction on the earth: And ye shall have no peace nor forgiveness 6 of sin: and inasmuch as they delight themselves in their children, the murder of their beloved ones shall they see, and over the destruction of their children shall they lament, and shall make supplication unto eternity, but mercy and peace shall ye not attain." (The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, R.H. Charles)

The Bible teaches that a human being is made up of body, spirit, and soul (I The. 5:23; Heb. 4:12). The body is the physical part of a man, the spirit is the non-physical part, and the soul (Gr. psuche, Eng. "psyche") is the character or personality. When a person dies physically, their spirit (which has no consciousness apart from the body) returns to God who gave it (Ecc. 12:7).

However, since the hybrid nephilim had both physical and spiritual natures, they were able to survive (in a fashion) the deaths of their physical bodies. These hybrid spirits, which were not part of God's creation, had nowhere to go when their physical existence ceased. 1 Enoch tells us what became of the departed spirits of these crossbreeds:

ENOCH 15:8 And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon 9 the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin; 10 they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.] And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless 12 hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them. (The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, R.H. Charles)

The departed spirits of the nephilim became what we know as "demons." These entities are mentioned in the Old Testament (for example, see Lev. 17:7; Deu. 32:17; II Chr. 11:15; Psa. 106:37), and numerous times in the New Testament, where they are called "demons," "unclean spirits," and "evil spirits."

One of the activities of evil spirits mentioned in the Bible is that of "familiar" or "divining" spirits. These demons appear to have the ability to rouse the spirits of the dead from their ordained sleep. They also seem to be able to foretell the future, to some extent. The first mention we see of these spirits in the Scriptures is a warning from God to avoid consorting with them or the mediums that contact them.

LEVITICUS 19:31 "Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God." (NKJV)
LEVITICUS 20: 6 "And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people." (NKJV)
LEVITICUS 20:27 "A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them." (NKJV)
DEUTERONOMY 18:10 There shall not be found in thee one who purges his son or his daughter with fire, one who uses divination, who deals with omens, and augury, 11 a sorcerer employing incantation, one who has in him a divining spirit, an observer of signs, questioning the dead. (Brenton's LXX)
I SAMUEL 28:7 Then Saul said to his servants, Seek for me a woman who has in her a divining spirit, and I will go to her, and enquire of her: and his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman who has in her a divining spirit at Aendor. 8 And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he goes, and two men with him, and they come to the woman by night; and he said to her, Divine to me, I pray thee, by the divining spirit within thee, and bring up to me him whom I shall name to thee. 9 And the woman said to him, Behold now, thou knowest what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who had in them divining spirits, and the wizards from the land, and why dost thou spread a snare for my life to destroy it? (Brenton's LXX)
ACTS 16:16 It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, "These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation." 18 She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" And it came out at that very moment. (NASU)

The New Testament clearly records many instances where these evil spirits afflicted people by taking up residence within them. Below are a few of the examples available from the Scriptures.

MARK 7:25 But after hearing of Him, a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately came and fell at His feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile, of the Syrophoenician race. And she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27 And He was saying to her, "Let the children be satisfied first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." 28 But she answered and said to Him, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs under the table feed on the children's crumbs." 29 And He said to her, "Because of this answer go; the demon has gone out of your daughter." 30 And going back to her home, she found the child lying on the bed, the demon having left. (NASU)
LUKE 9:38 Suddenly a man from the multitude cried out, saying, "Teacher, I implore You, look on my son, for he is my only child. 39 "And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out; it convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and it departs from him with great difficulty, bruising him. 40 So I implored Your disciples to cast it out, but they could not." 41 Then Jesus answered and said, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here." 42 And as he was still coming, the demon threw him down and convulsed him. Then Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his father. (NKJV)
ACTS 19:11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches." 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?" 16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. (NKJV)

During his ministry, Yeshua gave his disciples dominion and supremacy over these unclean spirits:

LUKE 9:1 Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. (NKJV)

We can conclude from this grant of authority that demons and fallen angels are indeed separate entities. Otherwise, Yeshua's grant of power to the twelve disciples over all demons would have included Satan and the other angelic rulers of the divine council. Clearly this was not the case.

In his Gospel, Luke records an incident between Christ and some demons who had possessed a man which gives us additional insight:

LUKE 8:26 Then they sailed to the country of the Gadarenes, which is opposite Galilee. 27 And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!" 29 For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. 30 Jesus asked him, saying, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion," because many demons had entered him. 31 And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the Abyss. 32 Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. 33 Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. (NKJV)

As the Scripture above shows, the demons who inhabited this man were terrified of being banished by Yeshua into the Abyss. This is the same place where the fallen angels were chained. Apparently, those fallen angels and demons who get too far out of line here on earth are restrained in the Abyss until the day of judgment.

In the end-time prophecy recorded by John in the book of Revelation, the Abyss plays a large part in the events leading up to the return of the Messiah. During the period of the "seven trumpets," when God's wrath is poured out on an unrepentant mankind, the Abyss is opened at the sounding of the fifth trumpet:

REVELATION 9:1 The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. 2 When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. 3 And out of the smoke locusts came down upon the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. 4 They were told not to harm the grass of the earth or any plant or tree, but only those people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 They were not given power to kill them, but only to torture them for five months. And the agony they suffered was like that of the sting of a scorpion when it strikes a man. 6 During those days men will seek death, but will not find it; they will long to die, but death will elude them. 7 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. 8 Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. 9 They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. 10 They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. (NIV)

The unlocking of the Abyss releases a horde of fallen angels and depraved demons upon mankind. God uses them as an instrument of His wrath for five months; they are allowed to torment those on the earth who don't have God's seal on their foreheads (Rev. 7:2-8).

In his commentary on Revelation 9:1, 3, Daniel H. Stern writes:

1 The star is not Satan (despite Isaiah 14:12, Lk 10:17), but an angel, who still has the key at 20:1. The Abyss is not Sh'ol (as at Ro 10:7), but a place where demonic beings are imprisoned (vv. 2-11, 11:7, 17:8, 20:2-3). In the Apocrypha, God is called, "You who close and seal the Abyss with your fearful and glorious name" (Prayer of Manasseh 3). . . .

3 Demonic monsters are released which fly like locusts (Exodus 10:12-20; Joel 1:4, 2:4-14) and sting like scorpions (Ezekiel 2:6, Lk 11:12). (pp. 815, 816, Jewish New Testament Commentary)

In Revelation 9:11, a mysterious character is introduced into the story. He is released from the Abyss along with the multitude of angels and demons, and is identified as their king or ruler:

REVELATION 9:11 They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon. (NIV)

Abaddon/Apollyon (literally "Destroyer" in Hebrew/Greek ) is the angelic ruler of the Abyss. He is the highest ranking evil angel now confined in the Abyss. Although not specifically mentioned by these names anywhere else in the Bible, Abaddon plays a major role in the events at the end of this current age. For additional information on the identity of this powerful fallen angel and his activities in the end-time, see my articles "Who Is The 'Destroyer'?" and "The Goat For Azazel."

After the release of the angels and demons from the Abyss, another group of evil spirits is released onto the earth:

REVELATION 9:13 Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, "Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." 15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 16 Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 17 And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. 18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed – by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. 19 For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm. 20 But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons . . . (NKJV)

In this passage of Scripture, we see that to further punish those who will not obey Him, God authorizes the release of four powerful angels who have been held for just this occasion. Their mission is the destruction of 1/3 of mankind. To accomplish this feat, they are given an army of 200 million evil spirits. Just as Christ and his angelic army later ride white horses (Rev. 19:11, 14), these demons also ride "horses." Fire, smoke, and brimstone issue from the mouths of their horses, and with these plagues possibly a billion and a half people are killed.

Both Abaddon, the imprisoned spirit currently ruling over the Abyss, and the four angels now "bound at the great river Euphrates" appear to be high-ranking and powerful angels. They will be freed to fulfill their part of God's plan at the end of the age.

Yeshua tells us the fate of Satan and the fallen angels is to go into the age-lasting fire which has been prepared for them:

MATTHEW 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: (NKJV)

Only Satan and his angels are mentioned here by Yeshua as going into fire. The demons have a different fate awaiting them. During the millennial reign of Yeshua, these unclean spirits will be restricted to the destroyed and uninhabited land of Babylon (Isa. 13:19-22; Jer. 51:37; Rev. 18:2). The Scriptures teach that the spirits of these hybrid giants will not be resurrected:

ISAIAH 26:14 Let not the dead live, let not the giants [repha'im] rise again: therefore hast Thou visited and destroyed them, and hast destroyed all their memory. (DRA)

At some point, God will destroy the demonic spirits of the nephilim and put them out of their misery. They are not part of His creation, and they have no future in His plan.

CONCLUSION

The earth is currently ruled over by angelic principalities and powers. Spiritual conflict is unseen but ongoing, with the holy angels often battling the fallen angels to fulfill God's will. Demons, the evil spirits of the departed nephilim, roam the earth tormenting and afflicting mankind.

The fallen angels and the demons will be fully unleashed on the earth during the end of this age, when God's wrath is vented on a sinning and unrepentant humanity. In the end, however, Christ will return and subjugate all who won't submit to God's authority, including Satan and the fallen host. Their punishment will be age-lasting destruction and refinement within the lake of fire. The disembodied spirits of the giants will eventually be destroyed forever.

Bryan T. Huie
July 5, 1997

Revised: October 5, 2010

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