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Particulars of Christianity:
311 Spiritual Warfare


Spiritual Warfare Part 3a
Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons

Spiritual Warfare Part 1a: A Study of Demonic Activity
Spiritual Warfare Part 1b: A Study of Demonic Activity
Spiritual Warfare Part 2a: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare Part 2b: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare Part 2c: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare Part 2d: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Spiritual Warfare P. 3a: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Spiritual Warfare P. 3b: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Spiritual Warfare P. 3c: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Spiritual Warfare Study Conclusions
Spiritual Warfare Additional Quotes and Definitions



Introduction

Now that we have examined the first two questions that we posed at the beginning of this study we will take a look at the third and final question.

3. What is the correct Biblical understanding of angels and demons? How do they relate? What distinguishes them from one another?

In this section we will refute the following modern church view that:

5. Demons are another name or term to describe fallen, wicked, or evil angels.

What we will demonstrate instead is that there are four types or categories of spiritual being described in the Bible. The first is God, the second is angels, the third is man, and the fourth is demons, which was defined in our fifth point at the beginning of this study.

5. Demons are NOT another term for fallen angels, but are a distinct type of spiritual being, the spirits of the Nephilim - the offspring of angels who sinned by having children with women.

(NOTE: we will not spend time discussing God or men in this study, but will focus on the ontological difference between angels and demons. Ontology is the study of being. For the purposes of this study it means that we will be taking a look at the categorical distinction between the spiritual beings known as angels and those known as demons. For more on the ontology of angels and men please see our studies in the Bible Cosmology section of our In Depth Studies.)

In this section the priority of the Grammatical-Historical Method of Bible Interpretation will be of the utmost importance. To understand what the correct Judeo-Christian view of angels and demons should be we must understand what the Bible says in the way that it was understood when it was written. In keeping with that guiding precept of the Grammatical Historical Method we will first look at Genesis 6:1-4 and then we will review orthodox, non-canonical sources from before and after the writing of the New Testament to see how God's people understood the Biblical text on this subject.

Genesis 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, 2 That the sons (1121) of God (430) saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. 3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. 4 There were giants (5303) in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons (1121) of God (430) came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.

Many church scholars today contend that this passage in Genesis is not a record of angels coming down from heaven and having children with women. To understand this passage and what exactly it is describing we must understand the terminology that is employed in it. In doing so we will find that we must reject the position held by some in the modern church and instead conclude that some angels did, in fact, come to earth and have children with women before the flood.

The first thing we need to understand about Bible terminology is that the Hebrew word for angel ("malak," Strong's No. 4397) is not used in the scripture until Genesis 16 where we are told of the angel of the Lord's interaction with Abraham. The first time that this word is used to describe beings other than the angel of the Lord is in Genesis 19:1 where two angels along with the angel of the Lord are involved in the events surrounding the destruction of Sodom.

The second thing we need to note about terminology is that malak is not the only way that angels were referred to in the Old Testament. The term "sons of God" which appears in Genesis 6:2 and 4 is the Hebrew phrase "bnai (1121) Elohim (430)," which means sons of God, just as it is translated here in Genesis. However, this distinct phrase occurs a total of five times in the Old Testament. Besides the two occurrences here in Genesis 6:2 and 4, the other three occurrences are all in the Book of Job.

The Book of Job is very old. Many scholars believe it to be the oldest book in the Bible. However, some believe that the first five books of the Bible, which were penned by Moses are actually older. Either way the Book of Job is very old, originating before or around the time of Moses. In each of the three instances where Job uses the phrase "bnai Elohim" it is clearly referring to angels.

Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons [01121] of God [0430] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan [07854] came also among them.

Job 2:1 Again there was a day when the sons [01121] of God [0430] came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan [07854] came also among [08432] them to present himself before the LORD [03068].

These passages in Job clearly refer to the angels presenting themselves to God. They confirm this fact by telling us that satan, who we know also to be an angel was among them. But Job 38:7 is also compelling.

Job 38:7 When the morning [01242] stars [03556] sang together, and all the sons [01121] of God [0430] shouted for joy?

In God's rebuke of Job, God asks Job a series of questions in order to point out how limited Job's perspective and understanding is in questioning him. Here is the above quote in context with the verses that surround it.

Job 38:4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8 Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 9 When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 10 And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 11 And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?

What is so conclusive about Job 38:7 is that God speaks of the sons of God shouting for joy in the same timeframe as He refers to His creative activity on the third day of creation, recorded in Genesis 1:9-10, 13.

Genesis 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good...13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

Since God is speaking of the existence of the "bnai Elohim" before the creation of man on the sixth day, then the "bnai Elohim" could not be a reference to human beings. Therefore, we must conclude that the use of this phrase in the oldest Biblical writings was, indeed, a reference to angelic beings. (Additional argumentation can be made on this subject to further solidify this conclusion, for more on this topic please see our study on Bible Cosmology in our In Depth Studies.)

So, we must understand that Genesis 6:1-4 is recording that angels came to earth and had children with women. These children of angels and women are referred to in Genesis giants, which is the Hebrew word "Nephilim" (5303). This word "nephilim" is derived from the Hebrew root word "naphal" (5307), which means to fall, to be cast down, or to throw down.

This connects quite well to two passages in the New Testament, which confirm that some angels did, in fact, leave their heavenly abode and come down to earth to have children with women.

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. 5 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. 8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

Notice how the passage from Jude is discussing sexual fornication and that there were angels that left heaven to have children with women just as Genesis 6:1-4 describes. We will continue to prove this conclusion as we proceed with this study. For now we note that 1) the offspring of angels and women (humans) is described in Genesis 6:1-4 and 2) these beings were called Nephilim. Having angels as fathers and human mothers the Nephilim were not humans nor angels, but a hybrid, a distinctly different class of spiritual being.

Admittedly, the Bible has very little to say about these events and does not make direct statements about angels and demons in relation to one another. This is where historical perspective becomes key. All theories about angels and demons, whether they hold them to be the same type of being or different (as we do), draw upon extra-Biblical conceptions. That is, because the Bible itself does not provide explicit detail on this subject we are forced to draw upon non-biblical sources in order to fill in some of the blanks as we develop our understanding of angelology and demonology. As we said earlier, many modern Christians fill in these blanks with popular, contemporary fiction books. What we will do instead is to examine ancient orthodox, non-canonical writing to fill in the blanks about angels and demons.

Before we continue let us lay out the path that we will take as we continue this study. First, we will gain an understanding of the ancient, historic, orthodox Judeo-Christian view of these things. We will accomplish this by first discussing the Book of Enoch. In taking a look at the Book of Enoch we will first establish its reliability and orthodoxy, by showing how it relates to the Bible and then by quoting the early church writers' views of the book. Second, we will then look at how the Book of Enoch and the early church writers understood the ontology of angels and demons. Third, we will take a look at the Biblical usage of terms for angels and demons and compare it to our results from the Book of Enoch and the early church writers to see if the Bible upholds the distinctions made in these ancient, orthodox, non-canonical works.


The Book of Enoch

The first place to start when studying ancient Judeo-Christian understanding on these matters is the Book of Enoch. The Book of Enoch that is available today is not part of the canon of scripture. However, the copies that we have available today were penned sometime in the second century BC (approximately 150 BC). This means that they predate the New Testament writings by around two centuries. And as we will see the book was available, read, and understood by Jews and Christians alike in the first century AD.

The copies we have of the Book of Enoch are from Ethiopia and the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Ethiopian copies were made from a Greek manuscript, which is believed to be a copy of an earlier Semitic, possibly Aramaic version. As a whole, there are two remarkable things about the work. First, is contains astoundingly clear prophecies of the Messiah. And second, the book has a distinctly non-Jewish point of view. The words Israel, Jew, Jewish, and Hebrew(s) DO NOT appear in the book at all. And this is exactly what we would expect if the book was, in fact, written before the flood. While some scholars may debate the authenticity of the work and doubt that it was authored by the Biblical Enoch, who was a seventh generation descendant of Adam, what cannot be questioned, as we shall see is the reliability of the book as an orthodox reflection of ancient Judeo-Christian beliefs.

In terms of its influence on Jewish and early Christian thought there can be little debate. Many examples of this influence could be cited, but we will only mention the main ones here. First and foremost, the Book of Enoch is quoted throughout the canon of scripture and the concepts and terminology it contains are borrowed and understood by those who authored the inspired books of the Bible.

Our first example of the Book of Enoch's usage in the scripture comes by way of the Book of Daniel. Daniel 4:13, 17, and 23 all use the term "watchers" to refer to angels. This term is without precedent in the Bible occurring nowhere else in the scriptures. Yet the Book of Enoch uses the term "watchers" to describe angels at least 14 times. (Since Daniel lived in the sixth century BC this may, in fact, be evidence that the Book of Enoch existed in some form well before the second century BC.)

Second, the Bible speaks in various places of two specific angels by the names, Gabriel and Michael. In the scripture Gabriel is mentioned by name 4 times, and Michael is mentioned by name 5 times. In the Book of Enoch, these two angels are mentioned quite a few more times, with Gabriel being referred to by name 8 times and Michael 18 times.

Third, moving to the New Testament, in verse 14 of his epistle, Jude actually quotes a prophecy from the Book of Enoch and attributes it to the actual person of Enoch, the seventh generation descendant of Adam. Below is Jude's quote followed by the portion of the Book of Enoch that Jude was quoting from.

Jude 1:14 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 15 To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.

Enoch 1:9 And behold! He cometh with ten thousands of His holy ones To execute judgement upon all, And to destroy all the ungodly: And to convict all flesh Of all the works of their ungodliness which they have committed, And of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.

While we cannot necessarily conclude from this that Jude believed the Book of Enoch to be inspired, we do have strong evidence that he believed the book contained portions that were penned by the real Enoch mentioned in Genesis. And that he considered these portions to be inspired in that he refers to them as prophecy. This means that Jude, a first century Jewish Christian and disciple of Jesus, considered the Book of Enoch to be a reliable and orthodox source of information and that he believed some of the book was, in fact, penned by the Biblical Enoch.

Fourth, there are a whole host of places where New Testament teaching echoes teaching found in the Book of Enoch. The quotes below are not exhaustive, in fact Enoch may be quoted over 60 times in the New Testament, however, we have only included the most remarkable examples here. Again, we must remind our readers that the earliest copy of the Book of Enoch that we know of is almost two centuries older than the books of the New Testament.

1) Enoch 5:7 The elect shall possess light, joy, and peace, and they shall inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

2) Enoch 19:1-2 So that they sacrifice to devils as to Gods.
1 Corinthians 10:20 The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God.

3) Enoch 22:8-13 [Raphael, the angel, informs Enoch about the place of the dead] Here their souls are separated ... by a chasm.
Luke 16:26 [Abraham speaks to the rich man in the place of the dead] Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed.

4) Enoch 9:3-6 Then they said to the Lord, the King: Thou art Lord of lords, God of gods, King of kings. The throne of thy glory is for ever and ever, and for ever and ever is thy name sanctified and glorified. Thou art blessed and glorified. Thou hast made all things; thou possessest power over all things: and all things are open and manifest before thee. Thou beholdest all things, and nothing can be concealed from thee.
Revelations 17:14; 19:16 King of kings, and Lord of lords.
Revelations 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honor, and power; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created.
Hebrews 4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

5) Matthew 24:7,21,22,29,30 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved. ... Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven. ... Then shall the tribes of the earth mourn; and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.
Enoch 80:1-7 In the days of sinners the years shall be shortened... heaven shall stand still. The moon shall change its laws, and not be seen at its proper period; ... and all the classes of the stars shall be shut up against sinners.
Enoch 62:4-6 And trouble shall seize them when they shall behold the Son of Man sitting upon the throne of his glory.

6) Enoch 47:3 He sat upon the throne of his glory, while the book of the living was opened in his presence, and while all the powers which were above the heavens stood around and before him.
Revelations 20:11-13,15 I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, ... and I saw the dead, small and great, standing before the throne; and the books were opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged out of those things that were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them. ... And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

7) Enoch 91:16 The former part of heaven shall depart and pass away, a new heaven shall appear.
Revelations 22:1 I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.

8) Enoch 62:2, 4 The word of his mouth shall destroy all sinners, and all the ungodly shall perish at his presence...Trouble shall come upon them, as upon a woman in travail.
1 Thessalonians 5:3 Then sudden destruction cometh upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 That wicked whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth.

From all of this we can see that the Book of Enoch was an important, reliable, and orthodox work to the writers of the Bible. But we don't need to stop there. The early church writers, some of whom were disciples of the apostles and New Testament writers also affirm the reliability and orthodoxy of the Book of Enoch. Some of them even considered the Book to be scripture.

The Epistle of Barnabus, an orthodox work from about 100 AD quotes Enoch several times. The quote below refers to a large section from Enoch chapter 89:56-77.

Barnabus: For the Scripture says, "And it will come to pass in the last days, that the Lord will deliver up the sheep of His pasture, their sheepfold, and their tower to destruction"

Like the Epistle of Barnabus, Tertullian also held the Book of Enoch to be scripture even using Jude's quote of the book as evidence for this claim.

Tertullian: Since in the same scripture, Enoch has preached similarly concerning the Lord, nothing at all must be rejected by us that pertains to us. We read that every Scripture suitable for edification is divinely inspired. So it may now seem to have been rejected by the Jews for that very reason - just like nearly all the other portions that speak of ChristůTo these considerations is added the fact that Enoch possesses a corroboration in the apostle Jude.

Besides these two writers we also know that many other early Christian writers approved and supported the Book of Enoch, including: Barnabus (100), Tatian (110-172); Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (120-202); Clement of Alexandria (150-220); Tertullian (160-230); Origen (186-255); Lactantius (260-330); Methodius of Philippi, Minucius Felix, Commodianus, and Ambrose of Milan also.