Angels are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14) which were created by God (Genesis 2:1 and Colossians 1:16). Exactly when they were created is not clear, but they pre-date the creation of the material universe because the Scriptures say that they witnessed the creation and rejoiced over it (Job 38:4-7).
One of the greatest myths concerning angels pertains to their origin. Many people are convinced that when a saved person goes to Heaven, he or she becomes an angel. There is no biblical basis for this belief. Angels and humans are two separate entities. The Bible says that Man is slightly lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:5-7), but the Bible also teaches that through redemption Man becomes superior to angels and that the saved will one day judge the angels — most likely the fallen angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).
Jesus spoke of two kinds of angels — the “angels in Heaven” (Matthew 22:30) and “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). The latter seem to have originated from Satan’s rebellion against God.
Satan was originally one of God’s most glorious angels, “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (Ezekiel 28:12). But his heart became lifted up because of his beauty (Ezekiel 28:17), and his pride motivated him to try to take the throne of God (Isaiah 14:12-14). Due to his rebellion, he was cast out of Heaven, down to earth, and one third of the angels were cast out with him because they joined his rebellion (Revelation 12:4).
The Bible does not tell us when this revolt took place, but it was most likely after the end of the creation week because at the end of that week God pronounced all of His creation to be “good” (Genesis 1:31).
I believe these fallen angels are the demons that are referred to in both the Old and New Testaments. Satan, in fact, is called the “ruler of the demons” (Matthew 9:34).
Three places in the Hebrew Scriptures we are told that people sacrificed to demons (Leviticus 17:7, Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 106:37). With the opening of the New Testament, there is an explosion of demonic activity, undoubtedly in response to the First Coming of the Messiah. Jesus was often confronted by demons who recognized who He was (Mark 3:11), and much of His healing ministry was directed at casting demons out of people (Matthew 8:16).
The Bible teaches that some of these fallen angels did not keep to their properly assigned domain (Jude 6), and they were thus bound in a place called Tartarus, probably a compartment in Hades, possibly even the abyss or chasm that exists in Hades (Luke 16:26). What is meant by “not keeping to their own domain” is not clear. Some believe this is a reference to Genesis 6 where we are told that “the sons of God” had sexual relations with “the daughters of men” and that their union produced a race of giants known as the Nephilim (Genesis 6:1-4).
What is the nature of angels? What forms do they take? How many are there? Just how powerful are they? Find out in the next segment of this series on the ministry of angels!