Fallen Angels and Demons

Appendix 1: Fallen Angels and Demons 

Unclean and evil spirits, demons and fallen angels are in reality all the same kind of being. The term “fallen angel” does not exist in the Bible; it’s a term that we use to make a distinction between God’s holy and good angels and those rebellious angels that serve Satan.ccliv Angel just means “messenger”. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament explains the meaning of “demon”: 

daímōn as a term for gods and divine powers. Various senses may be noted in this field: a. “god,” b. “lesser deity,” c. “unknown superhuman factor,” d. “what overtakes us,” e.g., death, or good or evil fortune, e. “protective deity.”cclv 

We have accounts of good angels, and we also see references to bad angels as evidenced in Revelation: “Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought” (Rev 12:7). We refer to Satan’s angels as fallen angels.  

Throughout the Bible and ancient literature, we see that fallen angels are demons who masqueraded as gods in order to communicate with and control humans. When Paul interacted with “certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers … some said … ‘He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods [δαιμονιων daimonion],’ because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17:18). The philosophers thought Paul was speaking to them about other gods similar to Zeus or Apollo, yet the Greek word here for “gods” is daimonion—demons. 

Moses used very similar language in his farewell address:  

They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know (Deut 32:17). They served their idols, Which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons And their daughters to demons [lasheddim לַשֵּֽׁדִים – tois daimonios τοις δαιμονιοις] (Ps 106:36–37). 

BDAG explains how demon (δαιμον) “refers in general to powerful entities … After Homer’s time, the adjective, δαιμόνιος means anything ‘sent from heaven’ or ‘that which is divine’.”cclvi Based on the literature, demons could be good or bad. Philo in his writings On the Giants says: 

And when the angels of God saw the daughters of men that they were beautiful, they took unto themselves wives of all of them whom they chose. Those beings, whom other philosophers call demons, Moses usually calls angels (Emphasis mine).cclvii 

According to Philo, demons and angels are really one and the same. When we talk about angels, demons and the so-called gods, we are talking about the same kind of entities. The Bridgeway Dictionary confirms “rebellious, or fallen angels are variously known as demons, evil spirits, spiritual hosts of wickedness, principalities, powers, rulers, authorities, evil spiritual forces, cosmic powers of evil, and angels of the devil.”cclviii These are all part of the general class of messenger (angels) that God spoke into existence, according to Psalm 148:2, 5.  

The etymology of the word demon “likely stems from the root δαιω,’to divide (destinies)’. Thus, the word could designate one’s ‘fate’ or ‘destiny’, or the spirit controlling one’s fate.” cclix This completely concurs with Enlil who was said to be “the one that decides the fate,”cclx and was the holder of the Tablet of Destinies. In Psalm 95:5, the Septuagint interprets elilim (idols, and related to Enlil) as demons:  

The national deities of other peoples, said to be idols ‘elilim’ in Hebrew, become “demons” (“All the gods of the nations are demons”); in LXX Deut 32: 17, the foreign divinities whom Israel worshipped, properly described in the Hebrew text as šedim (tutelary spirit) are again called “demons” (”They sacrificed to demons and not to God”; cf. LXX Ps 105:37; Bar. 4:7).cclxi 

We recall that elilim is related to the Akkadian word, Illil, and Sumerian Enlil, Lord Wind. Thus, Scripture is telling us that idols are plural “Enlils”, and we know Enlil is Satan, who is a fallen angel. The Theological Workbook of the Old Testament explains that the “Hebrew shēd is to be connected with the Babylonian word shêdu, a demon either good or evil. In pagan religions the line between gods and demons is not a constant one.”cclxii This now explains why we see demons referred to in the New Testament as “unclean spirits” to distinguish between the angels who “kept their first estate” and those who rebelled.  

We see the use of sheddim as gods where God told Elijah to chastise the king of Samaria when he sought out the aid of “Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron” (2 Kgs 1:3) who, incidentally, was known as a Rephaim. “Baal Zebub … 2 Kgs 1 is the healing deity … “Prince, lord of the underworld” in Ugaritic texts (zbl b‘l arș) refers to Baal as a chthonic healer godcclxiii This same (false) god Beelzebub is specifically called “the ruler of the demons” (Matt 12:24). Jesus identifies him as none other than Satan (Matt 12:26).  

In LXX Isa 65: II daimon renders the Hebrew name of the pagan god of Fortune (- Gad), where the Israelites are said to have been “preparing a table for the demon”. This conception of table fellowship with pagan gods who are in reality demons carries over into the New Testament: Paul warns the Corinthian Church that they may not eat sacrificial meals in pagan temples, for “that which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons”, meaning, for Corinth, the Greek gods Asclepios, Sarapis, and especially Demeter. cclxiv 

There is, therefore, no distinction between fallen angels, demons and unclean spirits. They are simply different titles which describe the same general class of being. We of course acknowledge that there are subclasses of beings within this general category, such as cherubim.  

Furthermore, any supposed distinction between fallen angels and demons, such as the claim that they are the spirits of the deceased Nephilim, is not supported by the biblical, linguistic and ancient textual evidence. If an entire race of beings had been born utterly wicked, through no fault or choice of their own, then they would necessarily be consigned to eternal damnation simply for being born.cclxv However, God has created all of his sentient beings with free-will and self-determination (See Appendix 2 Angels Freewill).