Many Christians believe that the “devils” and “fallen angels” are the same beings. They all follow Satan and seem to have a desire to harass humans in a number of ways. However, is there any evidence that suggest that these creatures are the same? I have not found any. So, I thought it might be fun to explore this topic a little more.
What do we know about angels?
The Bible tells us that angels have many roles, including messengers (Luke 1:11-13, Matthew 1:20-21), soldiers (2 Kings 6:17, 19:35), and worshiping God (Revelation 7:11). However, about one-third of the angels “kept not their first estate” (Jude 1:6) and were cast to the earth with Satan (Rev. 12:9).
We know that angels are “greater in power and might” than human beings (2 Peter 2:11). We know that fallen angels “sinned” and brought about the judgment of the entire earth by the flood save for Noah and his family (2 Peter 2:4). How did they sin? By corrupting humanity through sexual congress and producing offspring that tainted the human race detailed in Genesis 6.
Angels are often sent by God for a variety of missions, and the fallen angels are capable of sinning. Angels, both Godly and fallen, are capable of looking and acting like humans (Genesis 6:1-4, 18:1-8; Hebrews 13:2). I cannot explain how angels come about the ability to obtain flesh, but how else could we “entertain angels unaware”? (Heb 13:2).
What do we know about devils?
According to Scripture, people offered sacrifices to them as if they were gods (Leviticus 17:7, Deuteronomy 32:17, Psalms 106:37, 1 Corinthians 10:20). In the New Testament, devils are able to possess humans (Matt. 4:24, Matt. 8:26, Mark 1:22), sometimes in very large numbers (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:30). They seem to be attracted to dead things (Luke 8:27) and water (Luke 8:33). Devils also have incredible power (Luke 8:29) and can perform miracles (Rev. 16:14). Furthermore, Judas Iscariot aka. The “son of perdition” (John 17:12) whom I believe to be the Antichrist (also called “son of perdition” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3) was called “a devil” in John 6:70.
Devils are also called “unclean spirits” (Luke 9:42, Matt. 10:1, Acts 8:7) and seem to be related to “familiar spirits” that are connected to “wizards” in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:31, 2 Kings 21:6, Isaiah 8:19). These beings have supernatural abilities to perform miracles/”magic” and dozens, if not hundreds, can pack themselves into one human body.
They also seem to do the bidding of THE Devil – Satan.
Are they the same?
I do not believe so, because their characteristics are vastly different. Sure, they are both more powerful than the average human being, but where angels can look like humans, devils seem to be able to possess people. Fallen angels seem to be able to produce offspring (Genesis 6), while there is no reference to devils doing the same.
If anything, one could make the argument that devils might be the offspring of fallen angels. If Judas Iscariot is the Antichrist, then “a devil” would be the “seed of Satan” mentioned in Genesis 3:15. It would also make sense why these beings were worshiped as gods and used as “familiar spirits” to give power to wizards. The sorcerers and magicians of Pharaoh were able to duplicate the power of God, though on a much lesser scale, in Exodus 7:10-12. These “magicians” had actual power to perform miracles, much like the devils in Rev. 16:14. They could have very well either been devils or been given power by devils.
Regardless, it seems as though fallen angels and devils have different sets of abilities, though both work in unison to disrupt God’s desire for all humanity to love and worship him.
Citing Strong’s Concordance, the original languages provide further clarification. “Devils” in Hebrew” translate as “saiyer” (a goat-like creature we probably know as a satyr) and “shed” (demon – the word used in conjunction with devil worship). The Greek uses daimonion (demons who are “cast out” or “worshiped”) and daimon (demons who possess).
Contrast that with “angels” in the Hebrew mal’ak (angels) and ‘elohyim (like gods). The Greek is aggelos (angels). In Genesis 6, the phrase “sons of God” transliterates to ben’elohyim in Hebrew.
Notice the vast difference is phrasing for these beings in the original languages. It seems pretty clear that devils and angels are not the same beings according to the Hebrew and Greek, as well as English. The fact that devils seem to be related to beast-like creatures like the satyr also puts a wrench in the idea that these beings are the same, and even seems to indicate some sort of inbreeding of devils and animals!
I allow that fallen angels and devils MIGHT BE the same beings. I remain unconvinced based on their traits described in the Bible. I am unconvinced based on the descriptions of their abilities in the Book. I am unconvinced based on the differences in the original languages.
I do not believe that they are the same, and I hope you at least begin to question an idea taught in many good churches by good pastors. It is a matter worth investigating, but I would warn the reader not to obsess over the subject. Demonology can allow even the staunchest believer to open themselves up to demonic attack if they forget that Jesus Christ is our savior and should be the primary focus of our spiritual investigation.
Remember that whatever these beings are, they fear Christ. They know they are destined to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, though they still try to resist. Like the unsaved, they are full of rebellion and rejection of the Savior. In the end, they lose. Fallen angels, devils, Satan, Antichrist – all will bow the knee to the God of all creation.
In the end, we win.