The following is a question we received in connection with our After Life series.

Are fallen angels demons? And if so, are they roaming the Earth? 2 Peter 2:4 says the angels were cast in to hell and kept until the judgment. 2 Peter was written approximately 67AD and Revelation was written as things to come so I was confused.

I. Are Fallen Angels Demons?

Scripture indicates that in Satan’s rebellion he took 1/3 of the host of angels into his scheme and, as a result, they were expelled from Heaven.

Revelation 12:3-4And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth.

While Revelation does indeed speak to future events it does not only speak to future events. The book regularly draws on images and scenes from the Old Testament and history. In fact, there are a number of believers today and throughout history that believe the images of Revelation are repeated throughout human history. It seems likely that this is the case later in the same chapter where John explains the symbols of vs. 3-4: Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:7-9)

Jesus also refers to the devil and his angels in Matthew 25:41.

II. Are Demons Roaming the Earth?

Based on the testimony of Scripture we conclude that yes, demons are active on the Earth.

The Gospels and Acts are thick with activity of demons – they possess, cause some sicknesses, and generally oppose the work of Christ. However, their activity isn’t found only in the Gospels. Sean McDowell has summarized 1 what the New Testament says about the activity of demons on Earth this way:

Demons work to cause harm in the following ways:

Cause disease (Matthew 9:33; Luke 13:11, 16)

Possess unbelievers and animals (Matthew 4:24; Mark 5:13)

Work against the spiritual growth of Christians (Ephesians 6:12)

Spread lies about God, His work, and God’s people (1 Timothy 4:1)

III. How Can Demons Be Both Locked Away and Roaming the Earth?

A. Some Demons Are Currently Bound in God’s Judgment

2 Peter 2:4-5For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment…

Jude 6And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day…

B. Apparently Some Demons Are Free but Fear Being Locked Away in Judgment

In Luke 8:26-33 Jesus exorcises a man containing a Legion of demons. When these demons first encounter Jesus they plead with Him: …they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss (vs. 31).

It appears that the demons who are free to work on Earth are aware of their compatriots held in chains and are terrified at the thought of being made to join them. That also seems to raise the possibility that Christ consigns demons to those chains from time to time.

C. It Is Possible These Demons Will Be Released for a Time in the Future

Revelation 9:1-11 records a judgment where a bottomless pit is opened and locusts which wound like scorpions are released to torment the people of earth. The text never identifies these creatures as demons but their tormenting work is consistent in kind with the work of demons and their being held in a bottomless pit may be a reference to the holding place of fallen angels. This, however, is speculative; it is unclear from the text if we should understand this passage in this way.

Notes:

  1. http://www.seanmcdowell.org/index.php/theology/what-does-the-bible-say-about-demons/

There is a ready supply of help in print and online about how to mourn for a believer.  For this we are thankful.  However, there is a dearth of information on the subject of mourning for those who appear to have died outside the saving grace of God in Christ.

We are posting this excerpt from the second sermon in our After Life series in the hope of filling this vacuum and bringing help to those mourning. 

How do I mourn for someone who I believe died lost?

A. You shouldn’t attempt to deny the emotions that arise during your mourning; rather you should take them honestly and immediately to God.

I often recommend the Psalms to those who are mourning. I do so because the Psalms are, among other things, nakedly human. The writers rejoice, sorrow, and get mad – often mad at God! This tells me that God desires to engage with us in the full range of the emotional spectrum He has given us. Don’t let your grief, frustration, sorrow, and anger take you away from God – let it carry you to him.

B. Rejoice and enjoy the good that was a part of the loved one you are mourning.

While mankind is totally depraved that does not mean that any human is as wicked as they might possibly be. In fact, the image of God that mankind carries mean men and women are capable of great and delightful good and loveliness, even if they are lost.

As a result we should be quick to enjoy the pleasant memories of those that are lost to us through death and be thankful for the time we had with them.

King David, after his enemy Saul died, is a good example of this in 2 Sam. 1:19–25 1:

Your glory, O Israel, is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen!… Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely!… You daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, who clothed you luxuriously in scarlet, who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.

C. While being honest about the reality that those outside of Christ perish eternally in Hell do not give up hope in grace which is invisible to human eyes.

Wayne Grudem 2: “…it also must be said that we often do not have absolute certainty that a person has persisted in refusal to trust in Christ all the way to the point of death. The knowledge of one’s impending death often will bring about genuine heart searching on the part of the dying person, and sometimes words of Scripture or words of Christian testimony that have been heard long ago will be recalled and the person may come to genuine repentance and faith. Certainly, we do not have any assurance that this has happened unless there is explicit evidence for it, but it is also good to realize that in many cases we have only probable but not absolute knowledge that those whom we have known as unbelievers have persisted in their unbelief until the point of death.”

God is consistently, scandalously, surprisingly gracious. Who knows, as it pertains to your loved one, what gifts of grace the Lord has kept up His sleeve? The story of the thief on the cross illustrates that the grace of Christ can show up in the most surprising of places and at the latest of hours.

D. Let this experience drive you to make sure, as far as it depends on you, to not experience this kind of grieving with anyone else you love.

Share the gospel, not only to protect your heart in the event you outlive another loved one but so that you might enjoy their company as you enjoy Christ for eternity!

E. Trust that God Himself will comfort you.

It might not be perceivable at a given hour but trust that the Holy Spirit really is a comforter and that Christ really has called you friend. Chose to believe that Romans 8:28 is true – that for those who love God all things work together for good.

This is true in this life and in to eternity. Scripture says that will wipe away every tear from [the] eyes [of His children], and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.

We don’t know all the specifics of how He is doing that wonderful work but we do know that He is! And, however He accomplishes this, it is immeasurably good!

Notes:

  1. I am thankful to Wayne Grudem via his Systematic Theology for this example.
  2. Systematic Theology, Chapter 41 – Death and the Intermediate State

This material was originally planned as part of yesterday’s sermon on Death and the Intermediate State (part 1 of our After Life series) but had to be cut for the sake of time.

It is too good to leave unpublished though.  Read and, if you are a believer, rejoice!  If, on the other hand, you are not a believer isn’t this good reason to place your trust in Christ today?

While death in itself remains a real natural evil for the children of God, something unnatural, which is dreaded by them as such, it is made subservient in the economy of grace to their spiritual advancement and to the best interests of the Kingdom of God. The very thought of death, bereavements through death, the feeling that sicknesses and sufferings are harbingers of death, and the consciousness of the approach of death, — all have a very beneficial effect on the people of God. They serve to humble the proud, to mortify carnality, to check worldliness and to foster spiritual-mindedness. In the mystical union with their Lord believers are made to share the experiences of Christ. Just as He entered upon His glory by the pathway of sufferings and death, they too can enter upon their eternal reward only through sanctification. Death is often the supreme test of the strength of the faith that is in them, and frequently calls forth striking manifestations of the consciousness of victory in the very hour of seeming defeat, I Pet. 4:12,13. It completes the sanctification of the souls of believers, so that they become at once “the spirits of just men made perfect,” Heb. 12:23; Rev. 21:27. Death is not the end for believers, but the beginning of a perfect life. They enter death with the assurance that its sting has been removed, I Cor. 15:55, and that it is for them the gateway of heaven. They fall asleep in Jesus, II Thess. 1:7, and know that even their bodies will at last be snatched out of the power of death, to be forever with the Lord, Rom. 8:11; I Thess. 4:16,17. Jesus said, “He that believeth on me, though he die, yet shall he live.” And Paul had the blessed consciousness that for him to live was Christ, and to die was gain. Hence he could also speak in jubilant notes at the end of his career: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved His appearing,” II Tim. 4:7,8. – Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology

So we made some changes to the text on the church sign for the first time in a few years…

ChurchSignS

This isn’t going to freak anyone out, right?  We can all just agree to

KCACO

Right?

😀