Angels have played an important role in God’s great eternal plan. In our last study we saw that angels were present when God created the earth. God created angels prior to that for the purpose of serving Him. However, not every angel did and that plays an important part in God’s eternal plan revealed in time and space.

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:8-10

What forces would be necessary for Jesus to have to suffer and die for us? It’s all part of God’s eternal purpose determined before time began.

Angels

We know of many types of angels (e.g. archangels, seraphim, cherubim) and at least three names of leaders of the angelic host: Michael, Gabriel and Satan. We have already looked at the roles of angels who have remained faithful to God and now turn to those who didn’t.

In our last study we met an angel named Satan –

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” Job 1:6-7

Satan is also known as the ‘devil’ –

“So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:9

Notice that Satan has a group of angels (“his angels”) that follows him. We’ll learn more about them in minute.

Jesus told the Pharisees that Satan has his own “kingdom” (Matthew 12:26) and called Satan “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31).

Satan is called “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “prince of the power of the air,” and “the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2).

Those are interesting terms for just one angel among the hundreds of millions of angels God created. How did Satan get those titles and what part does he play in the eternal plan of God? Why would God allow a mere angel to have a “kingdom,” be a “ruler of this world,” and the “prince of the power of the air”?

Remember the eternal plan? God the Father sends God the Son to suffer and die and rise from the dead. God the Son sends God the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and of judgment – “of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16:8-11) 

Notice that – “because the ruler of this world is judged.” That means God is going to judge Satan! We see that judgment at the end of the Book of Revelation –

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while … The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:1-3, 10

Sinning Angels

“For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.” 2 Peter 2:4

You may remember from our last study that angels sang together and shouted for joy when God created the earth. So, when did the angels “sin”? When did God “cast them down to hell” and deliver them “into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment”? Are all of the “sinning angels” in hell now or are some of them still active in our world today?

From what the Apostle Paul wrote about Satan and his spiritual empire, some of the sinning angels are still active today –

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. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13

Jesus encountered demons many times during His ministry –

“Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.” Matthew 4:24

Demons are spirit beings who know they will suffer torment because of their sinning against God –

When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!’ For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man … Jesus asked him, saying, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Legion,’ because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.” Luke 8:28-31

Notice that many demons (legion) took up residence in one man. They responded to Jesus by name, knew that He was “Son of the Most High God,” knew that Jesus had the power and authority to torment them and sent them into the “abyss.” 

We first learn about demons in the Old Testament –

“They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.” Leviticus 17:7

They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear.” Deuteronomy 32:17

Demons were connected to the worship of false gods.

Jews in the 1st century AD were well aware of demons and their connection to Satan –

“And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beelzebub,’ and, ‘By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.” Mark 3:22

[Beelzebub is another name for Satan (e.g. Luke 11:18)]

Demons are mentioned four times in the Old Testament and almost 80 times in the New Testament. They are connected to sickness, suffering and evil (aka “evil spirits”) –

As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, “It was never seen like this in Israel!” Matthew 9:32-33

“Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.” Matthew 12:22

“And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.” Matthew 17:18

“… and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, out of whom had come seven demons.” Luke 8:2

“And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.” Luke 7:21

Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” Acts 19:11-12

Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” Acts 19:14-16

The apostles warned Christians not to be involved in any way to worship of demons –

“Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord’s table and of the table of demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:20-21

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” James 3:13-16

When we use the terms “sinning angels” we mean all of the spiritual beings who disobeyed God.

Jesus said He saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven (Luke 10:18). When did Satan fall like lightning from Heaven? We read earlier in Revelation 12 that Satan and his angels will be cast from Heaven to earth after losing a great battle with other angels –

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” Revelation 12:7-9

That speaks of a future event, so when did Jesus see Satan fall like lightning from heaven? Was Jesus looking into the future and seeing the battle of Revelation 12? or was Jesus looking back and seeing Satan’s fall in the past?

The words in Job 38 about the angels singing together and shouting for joy when God created the earth could be a clue that Satan may have been obedient to God on that day and that his fall happened later. However, it may also be that Satan fell prior to the creation of the earth. Whether before Creation or after, we will see that Satan had already sinned against God and was in place to become the adversary (e.g. 1 Peter 5:8) of the first humans.

Why God Created Hell

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 24:41

The disciples approached Jesus privately as He sat on the Mount of Olives and asked Him two questions: “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) Jesus gave them a lengthy answer that covered many important aspects of God’s eternal plan. One of His points concerned the origin of hell (“the everlasting fire”).

The Apostle Peter mentioned that God cast the angels who sinned into hell –

“For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.” 2 Peter 2:4

“And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.” Jude 1:6

We’re not sure when God created hell, but it existed when the angels sinned and God threw them into it. Hell was part of God’s eternal plan.

Next Time

As we will see in more detail in future studies, Satan and his angels and demons are responsible for evil and suffering. God does not tempt people to do evil or cause suffering. People are tempted by evil when they are drawn away by their own desires and enticed. “Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).

However, God created Satan and his angels. If they are responsible for evil and suffering and God knew what they would do, why did God create Satan and his angels? Good question! It is an important question we will address as our series continues.

In the next part of our study we will look at the moment when God created time and space and began the Great Reveal.

[Read the first seven chapters of The Great Reveal in this free Ebook]

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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