Believers of the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) all recognize angels and demons, as well as do some other types of spiritual beliefs.
Today, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between these entities.
Angels: The Basics
Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all share the belief that angels are beings created by God. Angels were created differently from humankind, and are spirit beings by nature – which means they don’t possess physical bodies, at least not in the sense of physical form as we understand it as humans.
Angels are created a little higher than humans in the sense that they currently occupy the same spiritual realm that God does, one that we will join after our current life in the physical realm.
Angels have superior strength, intelligence, and abilities over humans.
What Angels Can Do
Angels largely serve as messengers, and in fact, the Hebrew word often used for Angel is mal’ak, which translates to messenger.
Angels can impart information directly into the minds of humankind. They can even take control of an individual’s mind, influencing them to speak or prophesy.
It is also important to note that like mankind, angels are imperfect beings. In other words, angels can commit sins and will ultimately be judged.
Angels are also known as “ministering spirits.” Additionally, angels are sometimes called a “watcher” (Daniel 4), translated from the Aramaic term.
In many instances’ angels are referred to as a group either as “heavenly host”, simply “host”, or “host of heaven.”
The Bible describes armies of angels. These angels battle demonic fallen angels in the spiritual realm.
Angels also serve as mediators, and are referred to as such in Job 33.
Angels execute God’s divine judgment, impart divine messages, and as mediators, explain God’s divine activity.
Angels have specific functions and duties, and some have the job of doing one thing. For example, there are the “angels of the seven churches” found in Revelation 1-3.
Lastly, angels also serve as guardians to mankind. Descriptions of Guardian Angels are found in Matthew 18:10, Psalm 34:7, Psalms 91:11, and Hebrews 1:14.
In spiritual literature, particularly the Holy Bible, angels are considered part of God’s “heavenly host” (Psalm 89) and are referred to by terms that describe these three things: Their nature, their status (i.e., their hierarchical rank), and their function (what they do).
There are archangels, cherubim, and Seraphim. There are also Nephilim, which we will discuss on the subject of demons.
Two of the most important archangels are Michael and Gabriel, who are referred to as princes.
Angels are also sometimes referred to as “stars” in many places in Scripture.
Psalm 82 and 89 both refer to the idea that there is a divine council of God’s heavenly host, a type of heavenly bureaucracy, of which the Angels are part of.
Another Type of Angel: Demons
Demons are angels that were against serving the will of God and not wanting to perform the duties given them, such as serving mankind, who they viewed as beings lower than themselves and unworthy of their service.
As a result, a war broke out in heaven and these rebellious angels were expelled and cast down to earth. For this reason, they are called “fallen angels.”
Once fallen, they became “demons.” They serve the fallen archangel, their powerful leader who led the rebellion known as Lucifer or Satan, who saw himself as being equal to God.
Equal Qualities with Angels
Demons, being angels, have all the same attributes that God’s angels do. The main difference is that they no longer serve God, they are expelled from heaven and their dominion is the earth.
The agenda of demons is to harass mankind with the goal of causing mankind to sin, so that they are not found worthy of redemption into heaven.
Like angels, they can impart thoughts into the minds of human beings. They use this ability to tempt mankind.
According to exorcists, unlike the movies, someone cannot become instantly demon-possessed. The process of possession is one that takes place over a significant period of time and one in which the person willingly invites the entry.
Entry comes through various ways such as an Ouija board, channeling, astral projection, trying to open the “third eye,” and basically any way the person tries to “open their minds” to allow information to come in.
But for complete possession to occur, the person eventually has to relinquish and turn over their will to the demon, to the point where the thoughts that drive them are all coming from the demon and not their own will.
The Nephilim are described in Genesis 6, which describes angels (assumed to be demons) who embody flesh and came down to earth to procreate with human women to create hybrid angel-human offspring. These offspring are called the Nephilim.
These Nephilim are believed to be the giants that are described in the Bible. The Apocryphon found in the Dead Sea Scrolls describes Nephilim in the same physicality.
Many scholars believe that the Nephilim were one of the main reasons for the biblical flood, to wipe out this infestation of Nephilim DNA among the population.
They point to the Bible’s phrase of “Noah’s offspring were perfect in their generations” as referring to they had no Nephilim DNA, and not as indicating they were simply righteous, as is a common belief.
Islam: The Jinn
The Arabic word equivalent to the Christian concept of demons is Jinn. This is where we derive our modern word for Genie.
A legend surrounding King Solomon is that he possessed a seal or signet ring that allowed him to control 72 high-ranking demons. Legend has it that he forced these demons to build the first Temple.
After the demons had served his purpose, he sealed the 72 Jinn in clay vessels (jars). They can only be unsealed with his ring/seal.
This is where we get the phrase “genie in a bottle.”