Come, follow Jesus!
(the real Jesus)

ONLINE EDITION
The Gospel
in simple terms
for nonbelievers
and new believers

view/save as PDF
also available as a
paperback book

Come Follow Jesus - the real Jesus
Buy printed book from publisher
Buy from Amazon.com

Home
Jesus said, "Come, follow me."
How can you follow Jesus?
"But I'm a sinful person, not fit to be a follower of Jesus!"
Your new life as a follower of Jesus
Find fellowship with other followers of Jesus
Your prayer life
Know your Bible
Your service to God
"Jezebel" in the churches
"If we deliberately keep on sinning . . ."
Why believe the Bible?
Who is Jesus?
What did Jesus teach?
What is life really all about
Angels and demons
Gray areas, mysteries and religious authorities
What Jesus revealed about life after death
'But my relatives won't like it if I follow Jesus!'
Watching for Christ's return
How I came to follow Jesus: the testimony of David A. Reed
Why this book?
Dedication, copyright, ISBN & Scripture references
Contact

Come, follow Jesus! (the real Jesus)
online edition of the book by David A. Reed
The Gospel in simple terms for nonbelievers and new believers.
How to become a follower of Jesus Christ, and live as Jesus commanded

Home  |   Jesus said, "Come, follow me."  |   How can you follow Jesus?  |   "But I'm a sinful person, not fit to be a follower of Jesus!"  |   Your new life as a follower of Jesus  |   Find fellowship with other followers of Jesus  |   Your prayer life  |   Know your Bible  |   Your service to God  |   "Jezebel" in the churches  |   "If we deliberately keep on sinning . . ."  |   Why believe the Bible?  |   Who is Jesus?  |   What did Jesus teach?  |   What is life really all about  |   Angels and demons  |   Gray areas, mysteries and religious authorities  |   What Jesus revealed about life after death  |   'But my relatives won't like it if I follow Jesus!'  |   Watching for Christ's return  |   How I came to follow Jesus: the testimony of David A. Reed  |   Why this book?  |   Dedication, copyright, ISBN & Scripture references

<   PREVIOUS         NEXT   >

Angels and demons

 


Besides the physical world that we can all see and that scientists can measure and investigate, there is also a hidden world that we can learn about only through divine revelation—or when beings from that world interact openly with this world.  That hidden world is populated with spirit sons of God.


The Bible says relatively little about these spirit sons of God, although it includes mention of them from Genesis through Revelation, and what it does reveal is of critical importance to our understanding of the world we live in.


We know that angels existed before the creation of the earth, because “all the sons of God shouted for joy” when God “laid the foundations of the earth.”  (Job 38:4-7)  God then created man “a little lower than the angels.”  (Heb. 2:7)  A vision of God’s throne in heaven shows that there are vast numbers of angels:  angels around the throne . . . the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands.” (Rev. 5:11)


The Bible speaks of different types or categories of angels:  holy angels including cherubs and seraphs—and fallen angels or demons.  Holy angels serve God in the invisible realm and visit humans on rare occasions as messengers from God or to execute his judgments.  For example, when the first humans sinned and were expelled from the garden of Eden, angels were posted to keep them from returning there. (Gen. 3:24)  And Jesus’ birth was announced to shepherds near Bethlehem by an angel.  (Luke 2:8-14) 


Only two holy angels are actually mentioned by name in the Bible:  Gabriel who is named by Daniel and Luke, and Michael who is named in the books of Daniel, Jude and Revelation.


When they do visit humans, holy angels make it clear that they are humble messengers doing God’s bidding, not their own, and they do not accept worship or otherwise interact inappropriately with humans.  For example, when the Apostle John was shown visions by an angel, he said

“I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me.  But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!’” —Revelation 22:8-9 NIV


Fallen angels, on the other hand, seek or demand worship.  When Satan the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he wanted Jesus to worship him:

Again, the devil took him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory.  He said to him, ‘I will give you all of these things, if you will fall down and worship me.’  —Matthew 4:8-9


And the Apostle Paul indicated that the worship of pagan idolaters is directed toward demons rather than toward God:

What am I saying then?  That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything?  But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons, and not to God, and I don’t desire that you would have fellowship with demons.       —1 Corinthians 10:19-20


Just as “God made people good, but they have found all kinds of ways to be bad” (Eccl. 7:29 NCV), the fallen angels too appear to have exercised their free will to rebel against God.  The first one to do so evidently became their chief or leader—like an organized crime boss in the visible world.  Scripture calls him the devil (from a Greek word meaning slanderer) or Satan (from a Hebrew word meaning adversary).  A parable directed at the king of Tyre seems to indicate that he was the cherub assigned to care for things on earth when the first humans were placed in the garden of Eden:

“You were in Eden, the garden of God . . .  You were the anointed cherub who covers . . .  You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you. . . .  you have sinned: therefore I have cast you as profane out of the mountain of God; and I have destroyed you, covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.  Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness . . .” —Ezekiel 28:13-17


A comparison of Genesis and Revelation also indicates that Satan the devil was the one who spoke through the serpent that deceived the first woman Eve:

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any animal of the field which Yahweh God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Has God really said, “You shall not eat of any tree of the garden?”’

“The woman said to the serpent, ‘Of the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat, but of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, “You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”’

“The serpent said to the woman, ‘You won’t surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” —Genesis 3:1-5


According to the Revelation recorded by the Apostle John, the serpent that deceived Eve was actually Satan the devil:

the old serpent, he who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world”         —Revelation 12:9


By lying to the woman and leading Adam and Eve to sin, punishable by death, Satan showed himself to be a liar and a murderer.  Jesus said,

“. . . the devil . . . He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” —John 8:44 NIV


We cannot speak with certainty about matters that the Bible only hints at with vague references, but there are enough clues in Scripture to conclude that the cherub who was left in charge of matters on earth, and who abused his privileges, still retains control—somewhat like a human president who has been impeached for misconduct and abuse of power but has not yet been removed from office.  When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he offered him worldly political power:

“The devil, leading him up on a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  The devil said to him, ‘I will give you all this authority, and their glory, for it has been delivered to me; and I give it to whomever I want.  If you therefore will worship before me, it will all be yours.’”         —Luke 4:5-7


Jesus did not dispute Satan’s claim to world rulership with the ability to give political power to others, but instead answered

“‘It is written: “Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.”’”       —Luke 4:8 NIV


Later, Jesus referred to the devil as “the prince of this world” (John 14:30) or “the ruler of this world.” (John 14:30 RSV, NKJV, NASB)  And elsewhere Jesus said, “Now is the time for the world to be judged; now the ruler of this world will be thrown down.”  (John 12:31 NCV)


God’s judgment may seem to us humans to be a long time in coming, but that is just because we are looking at things from a human perspective.  From God’s eternal perspective, and from the perspective of angels who were alive when the earth was created, the legal case against Satan is moving right along:

“But don’t forget this one thing, beloved, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.  The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night . . .”                                   —2 Peter 3:8-10


These disobedient angels face a time of judgment from God, according to the Apostle Peter who wrote that

“. . . God didn’t spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved for judgment”                       —2 Peter 2:4


But, in the meantime, they continue to deceive and tempt humans, evidently trying to justify themselves by pointing out the sins of others.  Note the case of Job, where the curtain was pulled back so that we could see what went on in heaven before tragedy struck the family of this godly man:

“One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them.

“The LORD said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’

“Satan answered the LORD, ‘From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.’

“Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.’

“‘Does Job fear God for nothing?’ Satan replied, ‘Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.’

“The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.’

“Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.’” —Job 1:6-12 NIV


Satan went off from that meeting and sent fire, enemy raiders and a wind storm against Job’s property and his family, destroying his possessions and killing all of his children.  In spite of all this, Job kept his integrity.  So, Satan took the matter further:

“Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.’

“‘Skin for skin!’ Satan replied. ‘A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.’

“The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.’

“So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.

“His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’

“He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’

“In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.”               —Job 2:3-10 NIV


Was Job’s case unique?  Or, is the devil still involved in making similar challenges regarding Christians today?  Evidently the latter is the case, because the book of Revelation calls him

the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. . . .  ‘. . . the accuser of our brothers . . . who accuses them before our God day and night.’”                   —Revelation 12:9-10


The Apostle Paul encouraged Christians in the ancient city of Ephesus to trust in Christ’s strength and rely upon God because we have a struggle against powerful invisible enemies—the devil and his demons:

Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world’s rulers of the darkness of this age, and against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” —Ephesians 6:10-12


What does “the whole armor of God” consist of?  Paul elaborates by listing these elements of our Christian walk as followers of Jesus:  truth, righteousness, the Good News or Gospel message, faith, salvation, the Scriptures and prayer:

“Therefore put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having the utility belt of truth buckled around your waist, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having fitted your feet with the preparation of the Good News of peace; above all, taking up the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;  with all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints . . .”                                 —Ephesians 6:13-18


So, even though the devil and his demons are powerful invisible enemies, we can successfully stand firm against them if we put on “the whole armor of God” as Paul outlines here.


The Apostle Peter likewise encourages us to take our stand against the devil, trusting that God will bring us through our present sufferings in this world:

“Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Withstand him steadfast in your faith, knowing that your brothers who are in the world are undergoing the same sufferings.  But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” —1 Peter 5:8-10


While some of Satan’s attacks against Christians are head-on violent confrontations, as in the case of Job, we must also be watchful for his more subtle attacks.  Satan pretends to be a good angel, and humans who work for him similarly may appear on the outside to be good people.  These more subtle attacks often occur inside Christian churches where false teachers employed by the devil do his bidding and attempt to lead church members and newcomers away from following Jesus:

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as Christ’s apostles.  And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.  It is no great thing therefore if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.”           —2 Corinthians 11:13-15


Such subtle attacks within Christian churches by “Christian” leaders who actually work for the devil are discussed in greater detail elsewhere in this book, particularly in the chapters that deal with Jezebel in the churches, and religious authorities, and those who deliberately keep on sinning.


God is temporarily tolerating the rebellion by Satan and his hordes of fallen angels, just as he is temporarily tolerating human rebellion and the wicked society men have built in the visible world around us.  But the legal and moral issues raised by those who challenge God have been settled.  The mountain of evidence that has piled up over the course of history proves that God is fully justified in executing judgment against rebellious angels and humans.  Jesus indicated that their end will be in

the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels—Matthew 25:41


Meanwhile, Satan’s biggest ‘success’ has involved convincing the modern world that he does not exist.  Not only does this allow him more easily to deceive and mislead people, but it also allows him to call into question the Bible’s truthfulness, since it speaks of the devil from beginning to end.  Those who call themselves Christians but do not believe the devil exists end up following a different Jesus—not the Jesus of the Bible who was tempted by the devil, who warned his followers against the devil, and whose purpose in coming was “to destroy the devil’s work” as Jesus’ beloved Apostle John points out here:

“Dear children, do not let anyone lead you the wrong way.  Christ is righteous.  So to be like Christ a person must do what is right.  The devil has been sinning since the beginning, so anyone who continues to sin belongs to the devil.  The Son of God came for this purpose: to destroy the devil’s work.

“Those who are God’s children do not continue sinning, because the new life from God remains in them.  They are not able to go on sinning, because they have become children of God.  So we can see who God’s children are and who the devil’s children are:  Those who do not do what is right are not God’s children, and those who do not love their brothers and sisters are not God’s children.” —1 John 3:7-10 NCV


Jesus destroyed the devil’s work through his sacrificial death on the cross:

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”                           — Hebrews 2:14-15 NIV


The devil brought death to humankind, and enslaved us to sin through our fear of death.  But Jesus lived a sinless life and died on the cross to set us free from both sin and death—setting us free from the power of the devil.


<   PREVIOUS         NEXT   >