Angels: Their Nature and Ministry



Properly speaking, there is but one devil, though some translations of the Scriptures would make it appear that there are many. This name is from the Greek, Diabolos. The LXX., the translators of the Old Testament into Greek, uniformly used Diabolos for the Hebrew name, Satan. It signifies adversary. Of Diabolus, Liddell and Scott give the definition, “the slanderer, the devil.” Schrevelius defines it, “a slanderer, the devil, Satan.” In Revelation 12:9, 10, “That old serpent, called the devil, and Satan,” is also called the “accuser of our brethren.” Satan was the adversary and accuser, or slanderer, of Job. See Job 1. And as the serpent he falsely accused God of withholding benefits from Adam and Eve to which they were justly entitled, whereby he deceived them to their ruin. Genesis 3:1-6. Well did the Saviour say of the devil: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” John 8:44. ATNM 60.3

It has been shown that Satan, also called Lucifer, was once a very exalted being in heaven, one of the cherubim, whose place was at the very throne of the Most High. When he rebelled and fell, he did not go alone. He led others with him in his rebellion, and with him they were cast out of heaven. Thus Peter says: “If God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment,” etc. 2 Peter 2:4. And Jude says: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” Jude 6. Of the judgment of these fallen ones Paul speaks thus: “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” 1 Corinthians 6:3. The saints shall judge the world-the wicked world-and the fallen angels, the demons or evil spirits who have been the instigators of sin in the world, shall be judged at the same time and by the same judges. ATNM 61.1

But Satan was the chief, the leader of the rebellious ones. He originated the war against the government of God. He was higher in rank and mightier in power than they, and it was by his superior wisdom and influence that he led so many away from their allegiance to the Most High. And, therefore, names and titles are given to him which are never given to them. While they are uniformly called demons (in the New Testament), he is called the devil, Satan, Apollyon, Diabolus, etc. Because he is their leader and they have given themselves to follow him in his works of inquiry, our Saviour speaks of them together, as the devil and his angels. Matthew 25:41. The same is found in Revelation 12:7-9: “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels.” “He was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” This identifies the dragon as Satan. In Matthew 9:34 he is called the “prince of the demons;” in Ephesians 2:2, “the prince of the power of the air;” and in 2 Corinthians 4:4, “The god of this world.” Jesus also refers to him as “the prince of this world.” ATNM 62.1

A certain writer has well said: “Daimon, in the New Testament, always means an evil spirit, who is under Satan’s control, a demon. The word Satan means an adversary, an opposer; it is never found in the plural number, so that the sacred writers acknowledge but one being of that name.” But the demons are many, even legions. See Luke 8:26-30. These are Satan’s servants, his emissaries to carry on his work in all parts of the world. Against all these Paul warns us, as follows: “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:11, 12. Not against the rulers of this world, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world. ATNM 63.1

We are accustomed to place too low an estimate on the majesty and power of Satan and his angels, making them like unto ourselves, or even lower. This is wrong. We naturally stand in awe of the mighty men of earth, such as a great king or a mighty warrior, but what are they compared with the devil and his angels. These are the enemies with whom we have to contend; so we ought to be acquainted with their character, and thus be better prepared to resist them. ATNM 63.2

But, mighty as they are, the angels who remained faithful to God have all the power of heaven on their side. The Psalmist says that these “angels excel in strength.” Psalm 103:20. They are our helpers, our defenders against the powers of darkness. If we trust in God, and are faithful to the trust he has committed to us, we need not fear. For says Paul: “I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:38, 39. ATNM 64.1