I never really understood the difference between demons, evil spirits, and fallen angels. I thought they were all one and the same, just different terminology, but through my studies this past year, I have come to understand that there is a definite difference between them, so let’s dive into my studies today to see what the difference is.
Demons are also called unclean spirits or evil spirits. The terminology for these are the same. Demons are disembodied spirits that are looking to reside in hosts. They do not have a body, per say, as they seek to find a willing host. They can inhabit animals, and can be assigned to objects of worship, idols (such as Buddahs), but most of the time, they are seeking to enter the bodies of humans who have opened up the door for them to enter. They cannot enter without permission and they cannot enter a body which already has the Holy Spirit residing within it (good news there!). Once they enter a body, they have the power to control the body physically as well as control it mentally and cause the body to do sinful, harmful actions. If they want to depart from the body, they can also convince the mind of the host body to kill itself so that they, too, can depart from the body to move onto a new host. More than one demon can inhabit the body of a person.
“43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”” Matthew 12:43-45
“[Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.” Mark 16:9
Where did demons come from? Demons are not created specifically by God, that is, they were not a part of God’s original creation. Demons were created later during the days before the Flood, during Noah’s time. Demons were created spirits when the fallen angels (see below for more explanation) mated with women on earth. Their offspring, called Nephilim, were a cross-breed between humans and fallen angels. They had the appearance of being a human, but more of a super human, with greater size and strength, as well as some with 6 fingers and toes (2 Sam 21:20 for one example: “There was war at Gath again, where there was a man of great stature who had six fingers on each hand and six toes on each foot, twenty-four in number; and he also had been born to the giant.”). (See a previous post for more info on the Nephilim.)
“For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” Matthew 22:30 – Angels were not created for procreation
“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God [fallen angels] came in to the daughters of men [human women], and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” Genesis 6:4
Since they were abominations to God, and not part of His creation, it doesn’t appear that they received a soul from God, but rather in their creation, they developed within them an unclean spirit instead of a God-created soul. When a Nephilim died, like the human soul, the unclean spirit would leave the body, unable to attain heaven, but rather, it would be trapped on the earth to wander until it found a new host. Once it found a new host, it would be able to stay there until either the host body died or it came across Jesus or a follower of His and was cast out.
“30 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. 31 The demons began to entreat Him, saying, “If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32 And He said to them, “Go!” And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters.” Matthew 8:30-32
Demons, once inside a person, were able to inflict physical, emotional, and mental harm to the host. We see this many times in the New Testament when Jesus walked the earth.
- They could be very violent and are very strong: “When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.” Matthew 8:28
- “2 When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. ” Mark 5:2-5
- They could silence a man’s voice and not allow him to talk: “As they were going out, a mute, demon-possessed man was brought to Him. After the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed, and were saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.” But the Pharisees were saying, “He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”” Matthew 9:32-34
- They could inflict self harm on a person and they also had their own voice to speak: “But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm.” Luke 4:35
- “While he was still approaching, the demon slammed him to the ground and threw him into a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the boy and gave him back to his father.” Luke 9:42
- They are capable to teaching false doctrine through the host, so they are aware of Scripture. “”But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,” 1 Timothy 4:1″
- They have wisdom of the sinful ways of the earth and not of heaven: “”This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic.” James 3:5″
- They are able to perform seemingly miraculous signs through their hosts: “13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole [a]world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. ” Revelation 16:13-14
- They can make a person appear out-of-their mind and can cause a person to fall sick: “14 When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, 15 “[f]Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a [g]lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.” Matthew 17:14-15
Throughout history, man has sacrificed and worshiped ‘other gods’ which could have been demons possessing various people, or still within their Nephilim host. Having super strength would have caused some to believe that these were gods and caused them to worship them and / or sacrifice to them out of fear. We can see this depicted within Greek Mythology, for example (however, we will also see below that they could have also been fallen angels).
- ““They sacrificed to demons who were not God, To gods whom they have not known, New gods who came lately, Whom your fathers did not dread.” Deuteronomy 32:17
- “They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons,” Psalm 106:37
- “”19 What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:19-21
How many demons are there roaming the earth or within people? It’s unclear, but they started when the 200 fallen angels mated with the women. We find numerous colonies of Nephilim in the Bible, so there were obviously thousands of them. The unclean spirits were carried forward when Nephilim continued to procreate with each other. We see the presence of Nephilim even after the Flood. Why? The fallen angels were, at this point, chained in darkness and unable to mate with women again; however, the corrupted Nephilim genes were passed down through the generations. It is obvious that at least one, if not two of Noah’s son’s wives were corrupted with the genes / unclean spirits as both of their lineages contain colonies of Nephilim after the Flood. Only the line of Shem, Jesus’ lineage, was free from this corruption.
Demons not only know Jesus, but they also recognize His authority over them. They must obey everything Jesus states and believers can cause them to obey using the name of Jesus, in His will.
- “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” James 2:19
- “Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ.” Luke 4:41
- ” The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.”” Luke 10:17
Demons were cast out of their host by Jesus, and can also be cast out by a follower of Jesus Christ, under His authority.
- “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.” Matthew 8:16
- “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8
- “And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”” Matthew 15:22
- “Also the people from the cities in the vicinity of Jerusalem were coming together, bringing people who were sick or afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all being healed.” Acts 5:16
- “14 When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, 15 “[f]Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a [g]lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” 17 And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured [h]at once.” Matthew 17:14-18
- “And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was.” Mark 1:34
Demons are incapable of doing any good as they are only full of darkness and evil. Witches, for example, make agreements with demons to do certain things for them, but in exchange, the demons also require pay. I just watched a local news station who was interviewing a ‘good witch’ who was casting a spell on President Trump from a far stating that it was good because her and her witch friends just wanted Trump to be more accepting and loving of all people. Of course, this is a disguise, because there are no good witches because there are no good demons.
“Others were saying, “These are not the sayings of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?”” John 10:21
In the end, Jesus will clean the earth from the unclean spirits as their fate will be within the lake of fire prepared for Satan & his fallen angels and for those who worshiped Satan.
““It will come about in that day,” declares the Lord of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land.” Zechariah 13:2
So, in conclusion, demons cannot operate on their own, but need a host in order to cause any damage by manipulating the host. They have no bodies themselves. They are subject to Jesus and so, as Christians, they are not to be feared, but rather verbally cast out when we come in contact with them. They appear to be able to speak in thoughts though, and so could have influence over a Christian by being present near them and speaking thoughts to them. The Christian would need to allow the thought in and accept it to become a reality. Demons cannot be present within the body of a Christian as the Holy Spirit is already residing within the body. Demons are allowed to enter those without the Holy Spirit when the person opens up the door for it to enter, either by participating or being a spectator in evil entertainment, becoming intoxicated via alcohol or a drug which opens up the mind to the spiritual, participating in destructive sins of the body, or all out inviting in the spirits through things such as through psychics, palm reading, yoga, witch craft, etc.. All in all, don’t fear them if you are a Christian. Greater is He that is within you, then he that is within the world.
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Angels are created beings and were created by God sometime prior to the creation of man. They are referenced 283 times in Scripture (The first reference is in Genesis 16 when an angel came to Hagar to tell her to return to Sarah.) It’s unclear as to whether they were created during the 6 days of creation, or whether they were created prior as it is not specifically spelled out in Scripture. All angels were created to serve God. There are various types of angels, some of which are messenger angels (who deliver messages to people on earth for specific purposes), warring angels who fight in God’s army and will also protect God’s children on earth, and angels of worship. Angels are masculine in nature and so do not have feminine characteristics, although, it would seem that an angel could reveal himself in a woman form, as Satan might be doing this at times in order to entice and lead away men, though I can not prove this in Scripture.
“11 whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. ” 2 Peter 2:11
Some tasks of angels seen in Scripture
- Give a command from God to a person: “Then the angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her authority.”” Genesis 16:19
- Deliver a message from God about the future: “The angel of the Lord said to her further, “Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction.” Genesis 16:11
- Give a warning about an upcoming judgement: 15 When morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away in the [n]punishment of the city.”” Genesis 19:15
- Execute judgement upon the earth: “21 [The angel] said to him, “Behold, I grant you this [u]request also, not to overthrow the town of which you have spoken. 22 Hurry, escape there, for I cannot do anything until you arrive there.”” Genesis 19:21-22
- Execute judgement: “When the angel stretched out his hand toward Jerusalem to destroy it, the Lord relented from the calamity and said to the angel who destroyed the people, “It is enough! Now relax your hand!” And the angel of the Lord was by the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite. Then David spoke to the Lord when he saw the angel who was striking down the people, and said, “Behold, it is I who have sinned, and it is I who have done wrong; but these sheep, what have they done? Please let Your hand be against me and against my father’s house.”” 2 Samuel 24:16-17
- Give comfort to someone from God: God heard the lad crying; and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is.” Genesis 21:17
- To clear the path: “7 The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your [a]descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there. ” Genesis 24:7
- To give favor and success “He said to me, ‘The Lord, before whom I have walked, will send His angel with you to make your journey successful, ” Genesis 24:40
- To give direction: “The angel of God, who had been going before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them.” Exodus 14:19
- To give protection ““Behold, I am going to send an angel before you to guard you along the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared.” Exodus 23:20
- To give protection, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, And rescues them.” Psalm 34:7
- To give protection, “For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11
- To give protection, “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.”” Daniel 6:22
- To lead successful warfare: “I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.” Exodus 33:2
- To kill those whom the Lord directed, the evil: “Then it happened that night that the angel of the Lord went out and struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians; and when men rose early in the morning, behold, all of them were dead.” 2 Kings19:35
- To stop someone doing something against God’s will: “But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way as an adversary against him.” Numbers 22:22
- To bring food: “He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, there was an angel touching him, and he said to him, “Arise, eat.””1 Kings 19:5
- To segregate the wicked from the righteous: “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous,” Matthew 13:49
- Can cause an earthquake due to their strength: “And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.” Matthew 28:2
- To rescue: “But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said,” Acts 5:9
- To discipline: “And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.” Acts 12:23
Angels already have eternal bodies and so cannot be killed. They were created with free will; however, most angels would never dream to go against God’s wishes; however, there were some angels who chose to rebel against their Creator, even prior to the creation of man. These angels are called, “fallen angels,” or are sometimes called “sons of God” in the Bible. Angels cannot be forgiven of their rebellion as they were already within the presence of God in eternal bodies, so for those who rebelled, there will be no second chances for them. Their end is in the lake of fire after the Judgement.
“…And against His angels He charges error.” Job 4:18
Angels can hide themselves from the natural eye, or they can reveal themselves to the natural eye to be seen by humans. They can also take the form of a human when needed.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2
They appear to also be able to fly either with or without wings. They are more powerful and larger than humans. When humans have seen them in the Bible, they are always fearful. Angels also possess superior intelligence as they have been privy to many of God’s scientific and mathematical knowledge, Scriptural knowledge, as well as the fact that they have been in existence for 1,000’s of years without the ability to die. I’m sure they have been great students.
“…But my lord is wise, like the wisdom of the angel of God, to know all that is in the earth.”” 2 Samuel 14:20
Whether a good angel, or fallen angel, they all have the ability to access both earth and heaven at this time. The fallen angels will lose their heavenly access at the start of the Tribulation (see previous post for more inf0) as they will be banned to the earth to suffer through the Judgement. Angels cannot inhabit a person like a demon can. Fallen angels can still inflict harm and can influence from the outside of a host. They can physically affect someone and they can also affect various aspects of the earth’s weather, like earthquakes and the wind.
The leader of the fallen angels is the angel, Lucifer, who has also been given the name of Satan, or called the dragon or serpent. Satan convinced the fallen angels to ban with him in rebellion against God. In the end, Satan is deceived into thinking that he and his fallen angels will overthrow God from His throne and Satan will then take over what he believes is his rightful place. Even though Satan understands Scripture extremely well and understands human nature, he has deceived himself into thinking that the written Word’s prophecies will not be fulfilled.
Both the fallen angels and demons fall under the leadership of Satan. Satan is one being and cannot be in more than one place at one time, so is limited in his dealings with man and his angels. He can only wander to find someone to influence. So, when we use the term “Get out of here, Satan” or “Satan convinced him to do…” we are more than likely not actually dealing with Satan, himself, as Satan will be positioned in the place of most influence & for most of us, we are not in that type of influential authority (probably, he’s more likely to be within the walls of world leadership, entertainment, and accusing Christians in front of God’s throne). Instead, when we use the term “Satan,” we are using it in more of a generic term to include the fallen angels and demons under the authority of Satan. If we wanted to be more accurate, we would call them for what they are, “Get out of here, demon” or “the demon convinced him to do…” Our influences will not be Satan, himself, but rather his fallen angels, or most likely, the lowest on the totem pole, the demons. Demons are the most ‘mild’ of the evil. Fallen angels, and especially those held for the Judgement at the end, are more evil than we’ve yet to see on this earth. If you think it’s bad now, just wait for them to be released. Now those will be scary times! Thank God that He has promised that He will rescue us before these evil of the evil are released through the catching away of the saints to the air to meet Jesus in the clouds…. the rapture.
“No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14
In conclusion, angels are created beings that have a body and cannot inhabit a human. They are powerful, strong, and smart and can influence by might, intimidation, or in intelligence. They can take the form of a human to affect others in this way as well. And, they are able to make themselves visible to man when desired, but fallen angels are limited by God at this time and so cannot often manifest themselves physically; however, as the latter times excel, angels will be seen with greater frequency and have more influence as God will begin to release their authority. Satan, will be given ultimate authority during the first half of the Tribulation and all on the earth who do not worship him will suffer his wrath.