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We believe that God created an innumerable company of sinless, spiritual beings, known as angels; that one, “Lucifer, son of the morning”—the highest in rank—sinned through pride, thereby becoming Satan; that a great company of the angels followed him in his moral fall, some of whom became demons and are active as his agents and associates in the prosecution of his unholy purposes, while others who fell are “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” ~Dallas Theological Seminary
There is more to this world than we can see with our eyes, view through telescopes, or explain through science and math.
We are living in a profoundly spiritual universe—something most of the world takes for granted, but the Western world has often forgotten.
It is as if a veil separates the material realm we can access through our five senses from a spiritual realm we can only discover through Scripture. Unless God reveals these things to us, we have no way of knowing about them.
While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18)
The spiritual realm is alive with realities to stagger the imagination. God and the devil, angels and demons, heaven and hell, truth and deception—these things are as real as the ground on which we walk.
There is a great deal of superstition around the spiritual realm. Folklore, visions, prophetic utterances, seers, and seances must never be used to learn about this realm. These sources are deceptive. They create confusion and fear. God’s Word is all we need, and God’s Word is all we should seek.
The spiritual realm is greater than the material realm. The eternal truths of heaven undergird everything in our temporal experience. It is God who makes all things real. From God’s nature and character flow the laws that govern everything in space and time—everything science, philosophy, and math might ever discover comes from him.
And [Jesus Christ] is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:17)
One of the more startling revelations of Scripture is the existence of angels and demons. These are powerful spiritual beings, possessing intelligence and will.
God’s Word tells us the struggles of our everyday lives involves them.
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 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 6:10-12)
The principalities and powers refer to fallen spiritual beings. Let’s think through who these beings are and how this matters for our lives today.
God created angels. As we learned in Knowing God (Grace Pathway 3.1), God is omnipotent—infinite in power. Neither angels, nor demons, nor the devil are omnipotent. Their power doesn’t come close to God’s. Nor are they omniscient like He is.
Angels are spiritual beings, meaning they do not occupy bodies made of matter, like ours. Because they are spiritual, they are normally invisible to us. However, the Bible records many times when they appeared to people in visible, and sometimes human, form.2
Though they are not omnipotent, they are still very powerful. Peter says “they are greater in power and might” than humans (2 Peter 2:11). It only took one angel to destroy an army of 185,000 Assyrians, only one angel to effect the judgment of God on Egypt, and only one angel to shut the mouths of hungry lions in Daniel’s day (Isaiah 37:36, Numbers 20:16, Daniel 6:22).
The Bible outlines various ranks of angels, but does not go into detail. It is important that where the Bible is clear, we dig in and study. But where the Bible is silent, we are wise enough not to speculate. And we should certainly never turn to other sources to fill in the gaps the Bible intentionally leaves unfilled.
To describe the ranks of angels (fallen and unfallen), the Bible uses terms like archangels, authorities, powers, principalities, rulers, cherubim, and seraphim. Other than studying the Greek and Hebrew terms underlying these words, we have very little detail in Scripture as to how these different ranks operate.
The word for angels simply means messengers. Angels are God’s messengers and God’s servants. There are angels flying around the throne of God, perpetually praising his infinite holiness (Isaiah 6:3).
Angels and humans are very different kinds of beings. Humans do not become angels when they die, no matter how good they may have been. Humans remain humans, and angels remain angels (fallen or unfallen), forever.
Lucifer Became Satan
After God created the angels, he set one angel over them all. That angel was called Lucifer, which means shining light. The Bible describes this mighty angel’s beauty in striking metaphor:
You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. (Ezekiel 28:13-15)
The iniquity that was found in Lucifer was pride.
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.” Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15)
With astonishing arrogance, Lucifer deluded himself into thinking he could be “like the Most High,” making himself equal with God.
This is not only supreme hubris, it is also supreme foolishness and immeasurable irrationality.
1 From the Full Doctrinal Statement of Dallas Theological Seminary. The statement adds the following Scripture references: (Isa. 14:12–17; Ezek. 28:11–19; 1 Tim. 3:6; 2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). From https://www.dts.edu/about/doctrinal-statement/ retrieved August 23, 2019.
2 Gen.19; Judges 2:1; 6:11-22; Matt.1:20; Luke 1:26; John 20:12.
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