The terms fallen angels and demons are often used interchangeably, but could there be a difference between the two?
Angels were created by God with spiritual bodies that look similar to ours, but are probably more akin to Jesus’ resurrected body.
Way back, long before God created mankind, there was a rebellion in heaven headed by the Archangel Lucifer. A third of the angels chose to follow him rather than God, so God threw the lot of them out of heaven.
Okay—so what exactly are demons? Did God create them, too?
That brings us to the very controversial (and just plain weird) Genesis 6 passage:
“…And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on
the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they
were fair; and they took them wives of all which they
chose” (Genesis 6:1-2).
The word daughters clearly means female children of human parents. The daughters of men were simply women, in other words.
The sons of God refer to an entirely different group from either the men or the daughters of men. The term sons of God occurs elsewhere in the Bible and clearly means angels (see Job 1:6).
The term sons of God in Hebrew is B’nai Ha Elohim—Sons of Elohim, a term consistently meaning angels throughout the Old Testament. Ancient rabbinical texts and early New Testament translators agreed the term refers to angels. Up until the fifth century A.D., there was no question that the text meant: Fallen angels procreating with human women.
Why the controversy? Angels + women = hybrids, a thoroughly perverted, depraved, and shameful situation. For this reason Augustine embraced an interpretation that Genesis 6 simply meant: Believers marrying unbelievers producing ungodly children. Short and sweet, but wrong and misleading.
This interpretation, though widely accepted, does nothing to explain what follows in Genesis 6:4:
“There were giants on the earth in those days, and also
afterward, when the sons of God came into the daughters
of men and they bore children to them.”
Believers marrying unbelievers may produce a mixed-up kid, but certainly not a giant!
Back in Noah’s day, the human race was corrupted by fallen angels. They co-habited with humans and created one heck of a gene-pool problem. This was such a monumental breach of God’s order that it provoked a divine judgment.
The entire world was destroyed with the Flood. Everyone, every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth was wiped out. Except Noah and his family.
Extreme? Not when you understand the fact that only Noah and his family were still fully human. All the others, known as the Nephilim, had tainted genes. They were corrupted, in other words. God had no choice but to start over, using Noah and his family to re-populate the earth.
Unfortunately, though the Nephilim were destroyed in the Flood, their spirits remained. Mankind would now have to contend with something new: Demonic entities.
So, why didn't God destroy their spirits, too, if they were such an affront? We don’t know. Maybe the consequences of this particular sin meant having to contend with disembodied evil spirits until the final judgment.
We do know this: The human spirit is eternal. It cannot be destroyed and will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Those who choose to repent of their sin and be redeemed by the death of Christ will spend eternity in heaven. But those who choose to ignore God’s offer of salvation will spend eternity in hell.
The Nephilim were conceived in direct opposition to God and were neither human nor angel. They cannot be redeemed. When a Nephilim dies, its spirit cannot enter heaven, it is left homeless, looking for a host body, hence the Biblical references to demonic possession (Luke 4:33, 11:19; Acts 16:16).
And yes, Satan did enter Judas in John 13:23 which proves fallen angels can possess humans (and serpents, for that matter), but they don't need to. They have spiritual bodies that can manifest as solid if they want. Demons do not.
So, are fallen angels and demons the same? Study Genesis 6:1-4; 2 Peter 2:4; and Jude 5-11 and come to your own conclusions.
A wise man once said: “Our real battle is not with human cultists, false religionists, atheists, agnostics, and pseudo-Christians, but with the demonic beings working through them.” – Earl D. Radmacher, Th.D.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12-13)
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