Satan, Demons, and Angels

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Satan, Demons, and Angels

QUESTION  46

What do Adventists believe regarding angels and demons? Do you consider them to be the departed spirits of the dead? And what about the devil—is he a personality, or simply an evil influence; a reality, or a myth?

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Seventh-day Adventists uniformly believe that angels are created beings of an order higher than man (Heb. 2:7). They were created before man, and by the Son of God (Col. 1:16). They are greater in power and might than man (2 Peter 2:11). They are glorious beings (Matt. 28:2, 3), and heaven is their abode (Matt. 18:10).

We understand that they form part of the “whole family” of God “in heaven and earth” (Eph. 3:14, 15). Different orders of angels are named, such as cherubim and seraphim (Eze. 10:19, 20; Isa. 6:2, 6). And the apostle Paul refers to principalities, powers, rulers of this world, and spiritual hosts of wickedness (Eph. 6: 12; compare Col. 2:15). Some of the angels were led into rebellion, and as a result were cast out of heaven (2 Peter 2:4). These fallen angels are called demons, “devils,” or “unclean spirits” (Matt. 8:16, 28-32; Mark 5:13; 1 Cor. 10:20, 21).

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As to Satan, or the devil, we hold the uniform teaching of the Word to be that he is definitely a personal being—the supreme adversary of God and man. Christ called him the “wicked one” (Matt. 13:19). He was, however, once an angel of light, the highest of the angels. He was named “Lucifer, son of the morning” (Isa. 14:12-14). But he fell from his high estate (Eze. 28: 13-18; Luke 10:18; John 8:44), and drew down with him a host of angels, first into disaffection and then into open rebellion against God and His government (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). He is now the prince of devils (Matt. 12:24), and heads an opposing kingdom, with legions of evil angels, in deadly conflict with the kingdom of God and Christ (Rev. 12:7-10).

Thus we believe Satan to be but a created being, though of the highest rank. He was once called the “anointed cherub that covereth” (Eze. 28:14). He was described as “full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty” (verse 12). He was the embodiment of created perfection, and apparently led the worship of the universe. He was in the “mountain of God,” where God manifests His glory, and was “perfect” in his ways until “iniquity” developed in him (verses 14, 15). His heart became lifted up because of his beauty, and his wisdom was corrupted because of his brightness (verse 17). Unholy ambition and jealousy ruined him, and he led a host of angels in rebellion against God and Christ (Rev. 12: 7-9). As a result he was “cast” out of the mountain of God (Eze. 28:16), and down to the “ground,” or earth (verse 17; Isa. 14:12). He is now leader of the realm of demons (Luke 11:14-18, A.R.V.).

This celestial being, who “abode not in the truth” (John 8:44), appeared in “Eden the garden of God”

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(Eze. 28:13), and accomplished the fall of Adam and Eve by insinuating doubt as to God’s word and His goodness (Gen. 3:1-5). Adam fell and death came as a consequence of his sin and disobedience (Rom. 5: 12). Satan, as the arch tempter, goes “to and fro in the earth” (Job 1:7; compare 1 Peter 5:8), which is now the field of his special activity. He is the cause of sin with its fruitage of sickness and death (Eze. 28:15; Luke 13:16; John 8:44; Acts 10:38; Heb. 2:14).

In contrast to Christ, the “Holy One” (Acts 2:27; 13:35), Satan is called the “wicked one” (Matt. 13:19). He is the embodiment of consummate wickedness. He was the original sinner, and is the father of lies (John 8:44). He is called the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), the “prince of this world” (John 12: 31; 14:30; 16:11), the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4: 4; or “age,” A.R.V.). He is mighty, but not almighty. But without divine power man cannot successfully overcome him. He is to be resisted by surrendering to God (Rom. 6:17-21; James 4:7), by putting our confidence in the strength of God’s might, and by putting on the whole armor of God (Eph. 6:10-17).

The unsaved are in the “power of Satan” (Acts 26: 18), and the wicked world lies in his evil embrace (1 John 5:19, R.S.V.). He has many subtle “devices” (2 Cor. 2:11), even transforming himself into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). He blinds the eyes of men so the light of the gospel of God is not perceived (2 Cor. 4:4, A.R.V.). And he snatches the Word of God out of hearts where it has been sown (Luke 8:12).

Satan lays snares for men (1 Tim. 3:7; 2 Tim. 2:26), putting wicked purposes into their hearts (John 13:2;

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Acts 5:3), and even entering into men (Luke 22:3). He sows tares in God’s field (Matt. 13:25, 39), and works with signs and lying wonders in order to insinuate false views (2 Thess. 2:9, 10). Satan has “ministers” to do his bidding (2 Cor. 11:14, 15), and churches to carry on his work (Rev. 3:9). And he accuses and slanders the “brethren” before God day and night (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6; Rev. 12:9, 10).

But Satan has been under a perpetual curse ever since he seduced man in Eden (Gen. 3:15). His destiny is fixed. Everlasting fire has been prepared for him and his angels (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10). Christ came to earth and took our nature in order to destroy the devil and his works (Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8). Satan sought to overwhelm Christ when He came to reclaim man (Mark 1:12, 13), and has since persecuted the church (Rev. 12:12, 17). But his power and dominion received a death blow at Calvary, and he is a conquered foe (John 12:31; 16:11; 1 John 3:8). He will soon be bruised under the feet of the saints (Rom. 16:20).

Just before the end of the age his sinister “spirits of demons” influence the nations, gathering them together for the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 16: 14, A.R.V.). At the second advent he will be bound for a thousand years (Rev. 20:1-3). Loosed for a brief season at its close, he will then be cast into the lake of fire, where his destruction is final (verse 10). He, with his evil angels, will be brought to “ashes,” and will not “be any more” (Eze. 28:18, 19; Matt. 25:41). That, we understand, is the biography of Satan as portrayed in the Book of God.

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