The study of angels is a fascinating study. A few considerations are necessary as we take up this study: angels are NOT to be worshipped; they are NOT mediators between God and man. The information we are given in the Scripture about angels reveals that they have an important part in the overall program of God.
Reality of their existence
Angels do exist. The Scripture relates this fact simply as a truth to be received. Both the Old and New Testaments establish the fact.
Peter 3:22; Revelation 5:11
At the time that angels were created it seems evident that they were created holy. This can be determined by the nature of God the Creator, and the quality of His creation. It also seems evident, however, that being created rational beings they had the ability to be either obedient of to choose to disobey when the option presented itself. Being holy in nature some became holy in character through obedience, while others became sinful in character through disobedience. The occasion to make that choice seems to have come at the time Lucifer rebelled against God because iniquity was found in him. The term used to describe that choice indicates a continuance and confirmation in the choice that was made. Thus for the fallen angels there is no provision made of redemption. The Scripture indicates that saints will judge angels. 1 Corinthians 6:3.
Matthew 25:31; Revelation 12:7-9
The word angel carries the meaning of "one sent" or a "messenger". The holy angels are thus God's messengers doing His will in many ways. Their ministry is not totally devoted to the region of God's dwelling, or heaven, but they are also the servants of God on earth.
-engage in direct worship of God: Psalm 148:1-2
-they rejoice in God's work: Job 38:7; Luke 15:10
-perform God's will: Psalm 103:20
-guide, guard, and minister to believers: Psalm 91:11; Hebrews 1:14
-defend and deliver God's servants: 2 Kings 6:17; Acts 5:19,20; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8
-have some responsibility regarding the righteous dead: Luke 16:22; Jude 9
Evil angels are those who took sides with Satan against God. They thus have become evil and are servants of satan. They will eventually share the fate that is spelled out for satan. The time when Christ was on the earth saw a great increase in their activity, being identified as demons. They seem to be extremely anxious to inhabit a body and thus take charge of that person. Their evil is a vengeful hatred against God and anything or anyone that is linked with God.
-oppose God's purposes: Zechariah 3:1; Daniel 10:10-14
-they afflict God's people: 2 Corinthians 12:7; Luke 13:16
-take possession of unwary souls: Mark 5:1-13; Luke 4:33-36
-execute Satan's purposes: Matthew 25:41; Matthew 12:26,27
-hinder the saints of God: Ephesians 6:11,12; 1 Thessalonians 2:18
Satan is also known by other terms in the Scripture - the word satan means "adversary": the devil, the old serpent, the great dragon, the god of this age, prince of the power of the air, the father of lies, deceiver, accuser of the brethren, murderer from the beginning, and others. Satan would like to keep the reality of his existence hidden if at all possible. There are many who have fallen for that deception and thereby have become key targets for Satan's tactics. In the Old Testament satan is referred to by all the writers and is found mentioned in 19 books. Satan does exist, he is a real person, a spirit being, pernicious and totally evil and capable of extremely deceitful ways.
The original state of satan was not what we know about him now. The Scripture, we believe, teaches that satan was created perfect in his ways, of great beauty and brightness, intelligent, and exalted in position and honor.
That such an exalted, created being should become degraded and evil may be hard to understand, but the Scripture relates his fall and the resulting condition of his being. Because of his great beauty and superiority of position, he became proud and sought to direct worship away from God to himself. The lifting up of his own heart with pride, and pursuing false ambition, constituted the beginning of sin. His sin of pride brought about a rebellion against God resulting in expulsion, degrading of his person, position and power, and becoming the avowed enemy of God.
Satan's nature has become completely evil. His wisdom and beauty have deteriorated but still retain the subtlety and cunning with which he now goes about to deceive.
The sphere of his activity is immense, and the nature of his work is intense in avowed opposition to God. He and his host inhabit the heavenlies and from these parts they direct their evil activities upon the earth. He also seems to have access to God's presence since all spirit beings are subject to God's sovereign control. We are not told all the reasons, but we know that God limits the extent of his activities, and we know that satan accuses the failing believer before God, demanding just retribution. That's one reason why Christ took His place at God's right hand as our advocate.
Ephesians 6:11-12; 1 Peter 5
- introducing sin into the human race - Genesis 3:1-13; 2 Corinthians 11:3
- causes suffering - acts 10:38
- causes death - Hebrews 2:14
- allures to evil - 1 Thessalonians 3:5; 1 Corinthians 7:5
- ensnares men - 1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26
- inspires wicked thoughts and purposes - John 13:2; Acts 5:3
- takes possession of men - John 13:27
- blinds the minds of men - 2 Corinthians 4:4
- snatches away truth - Mark 4:14
- accuses believers - Revelation 12:9-10
- will energize the antichrist - 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
The Word of God gives a clear picture of what the outcome will be and what the final destiny will be concerning satan.
- a perpetual curse is upon him - Genesis 3:14-15
- he is to be treated as a conquered enemy - Colossians 2:15; 1 John 3:8
- he is to be cast out of the heavenlies - Revelation 12:9
- he will be confined to the abyss for a thousand years - Revelation 20:1-3
- he is to be loosed for a short time after the millennium - Revelation 20:3, 7-9
- he is to be cast into the lake of fire - Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10
Since satan is the enemy of God and of the believer, what is to be our reaction to him? How can he be defeated in his evil purposes? God has not only shared with us the tactics which satan uses, but He has also shown us how satan can be overcome.
Ephesians 4:24; 1 John 4:4
2 Corinthians 2:14