Yesterday our Elder, Jonathan, shared about engaging in regional spiritual warfare. You can hear his message here. Today, I’d like to reflect on some of the terms that are used in the Bible in reference to spiritual beings. There isn’t much description beyond passing mentions in the Bible itself. Yet Christians throughout history have added to the descriptions and definitions over time. Today, I’d like to simply list a few of the terms and some common descriptors.
These are described as heavenly (spiritual) beings in charge of certain regions either of earth or in the spiritual realm (sometimes in reference to a place known as “the second heaven”). They have a level of spiritual power over a region and likely have lesser heavenly beings under their command.
These are similar to the principalities above. Though whether they outrank principalities, no one knows. They also exert a level of spiritual authority over an area. They likely have lesser heavenlies under them.
This group of heavenly beings are often referred to as “Fallen Angels.” It is commonly believed that they were once good angels that sided with Lucifer when he decided to rebel against God. Legion is named in the Gospels. It was a group of demons that possessed the Gadarene Demoniac.
The non-canonical source, 1 Enoch, speaks of the origins of demons in one of two ways.
1. They are the “Sons of God” in Genesis who mated with the daughters of women. However, these angelic beings are said to be bound in containment until judgment day. They cannot currently plague humanity. The Epistle of Jude references these angels being “bound in chains,”
2. Our current collection of demons is the spiritual offspring between the “Sons of God” and the “Daughters of Men.” According to this category, when the illicit affairs happened, both physical and spiritual beings were produced. The physical beings died in the flood. The spiritual beings lived on as the demons we now know.
Aside from Rev. 12, there really isn’t much definitive mention of the origin of demons. We have a few snippets mentioned by Jesus and Luke, but not much else.
Angelos in Greek literally means “messenger.” There are a few accounts of angels in the Torah (1st 5 books of OT). There are Cherubim who guard Eden’s Garden. Two angels destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Jacob encounters angels in Bethel (formerly Luz). The Angel of Death in Exodus passes over Israelite homes. An angel of the Lord appears to Joshua. There are a few others mentioned before a resurgence in the Prophetic books.
These are considered ruling angels. Somehow they have greater authority than regular angels. A few are named in the Bible. Michael and Gabriel are the two most common. Michael is the one who contended with the “Prince of Persia” in Daniel. He is also the one who heads up the host of heaven against the dragon in Revelation.
Gabriel has a minor appearance when he announces to Joseph and Mary about Jesus. I don’t quite remember him being designated an archangel in Scripture, but tradition has regarded him so.
Prince of Persia
This entity is normally considered one of those regional rulers. We are left to conclude this is the case because of the account in Daniel. When the prophet converses with Michael, the angel apologizes for being late. He was help up for three weeks contending with the “Prince of Persia.” Some Evangelicals have denounced the supernatural nature of the Prince of Persia, asserting he was rather a human ruler (maybe a satrap). Other than that, we don’t have much to go on with the Prince of Persia.
The devil has been the focal point of many things. Today, many believe him to be almost as powerful as God. But far from it. The devil, a.k.a. Satan is merely another creature. His sole focus is to defy God at every turn. In Scripture, he is called Satan, Accuser of the Brethren, Serpent and Dragon. His aim is to “steal, kill, and destroy.” He is called the “Father of Lies” and “Beelzebul.” Of the spiritual beings in the Bible, we have more about Satan than any other.
We know that Hell was originally prepared for him and his angels. He is a Christian’s greatest enemy, yet is still the craftiest of creatures.
So those are the terms for beings frequently used when discussing spiritual warfare. A strict reading of the Bible leaves us with a small bit of information. The rest is filled in by tradition and/or personal experience. At the end of the day, we are victorious in spiritual warfare when we are in tune with God’s heart and word. When we are dedicated to living in truth in every area of our lives, no demonic power can get a stronghold. My opinion on the allure to gobble up as much about spiritual warfare as possible is not to. If the Bible gives us at max, 30 minutes worth of reading on the subject, we shouldn’t be spending vast amounts of time researching it. We do well to spend a bit of time on it. Whatever the Bible spends the most time addressing, we should be putting the brunt of our energies there.
Thanks for reading the TGP Pastor’s blog. I pray this week you are able to experience our Lord’s
Presence. Love. Power
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