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Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Difference between Fallen Angels and Demons

I sometimes throw around the terms “fallen angel” and “demon” without actually defining what the difference is between them. Some people believe there is no difference between the two terms and thus use the terms interchangeably. I believe fallen angels and demons are different spiritual entities and I’ll show you why I feel this way in this blog post.


Fallen Angel
I define a fallen angel as a spiritual being created by God which fell out of Heaven into a sinful/corrupted state. Revelation 12 records the first batch of fallen angels who fell from Heaven.

  • Rev 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
  • Rev 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

Fallen angels In the Bible are often referred to as the “sons of God” and as Satan’s ministers. The following is a short list of the capabilities of fallen angels:

Physical Visibility: Although fallen angels are spiritual beings, they appear to have the ability to physically appear to people (like their un-fallen counterparts in Genesis 19:1). Genesis 6 records the activities of the first batch of fallen angels that fell from Heaven. The sons of God (fallen angels) were able to marry human women (which strongly suggests the women were able to see them) and produced children (which further suggests that fallen angels were able to appear physically to women).

  • Gen 6:1 And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
  • Gen 6:2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.

  • Gen 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
Extraterrestrial Travel: Fallen Angels apparently can travel out of this world. For instance, Satan and his fallen angels one day came to present themselves in front of God in Heaven.

  • Job 1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
Physical Transformation and the Ability to Deceive: 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 informs us that Satan’s ministers/fallen angels have the ability to transform themselves so that they can pose as ministers of righteousness.


  • 2Co 11:13 For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.
  • 2Co 11:14 And did not Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light?
  • 2Co 11:15 It is not a great thing, then, if also his ministers transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

As I’ve stated before, the Greek word for “transform” is metaschēmatizō, which means to “transform the figure of”. Therefore, fallen angels have the ability to deceive people by transforming themselves to resemble religious figures that many people believe in if they choose to do that (which they sometimes actually do).

Demon/Devil
I define a demon as an unclean spirit that seeks to possess, manipulate, and to deceive people. In the King James Version of the Bible demons are referred to as “devils”. Here are the abilities of demons...

The Ability to Control the Entity they Possess: A well-known event where Christ casted out demons from a man to a herd of swine suggest demons can control the entity they possess. The demons controlled the man’s actions and then the actions of the herd of swine.

  • Mat 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
  • Mat 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
  • Mat 8:30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.
  • Mat 8:31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
  • Mat 8:32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
  • Mar 5:11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.
  • Mar 5:12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.
  • Mar 5:13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.


Ability to Inflict Harm on their Victim(s): Matthew 4:23-25 and Luke 4:40-41 suggest that demons have the power to inflict mental illness and physical diseases on their victims.

  • Mat 4:23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
  • Mat 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
  • Mat 4:25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.
  • Luk 4:40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
  • Luk 4:41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.

Unusual Physical Strength: The episode when Christ casted out demons into swine also suggests that demons can give an individual they possess unusual strength:

  • Mar 5:1 And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes.
  • Mar 5:2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,
  • Mar 5:3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
  • Mar 5:4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.
  • Mar 5:5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.

Limited Physical Movement: The Book of Revelation gives us a clue about the limitations that demons have. Revelation 9:20 tells us that people “of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk” even after being punished by plagues.

  • Rev 9:18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths.
  • Rev 9:19 For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt.
  • Rev 9:20 And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
  • Rev 9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

The question that some people wonder is: “Why would men be worshiping devils if they are supposed to worship Antichrist, his image, and his idols?” The theory which I think best addresses this issue is that the demons/devils actually will inhabit the images and idols of Antichrist. After all, Revelation 13:15 suggest that there is some form of “life” in the image of the beast.

  • Rev 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
  • Rev 13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

By worshiping an image or idol of the Antichrist, people will also be worshiping the demon inhabiting the object.

The demon inside the image (or idol of the beast) will be greatly limited by the entity they will inhabit. They will only be able to communicate. They will be unable to see, hear, or walk. Nevertheless, the images will have the ability to kill those do not worship the image of the beast.

  • I suspect the demon in each image or idol will help the forces of evil track the whereabouts of people with the Mark of the Beast and people without the Mark of the Beast. A demon will not have the physical capacity to kill a non-Mark wearer themselves since they will be confined to the item they inhabit. However, the demon entrapped in an idol or image can facilitate a person’s death with their ability to alert someone who does have that capacity. Perhaps the demon will have the ability to sense who and who does not have the Mark...
The Ability to Deceive: Revelation 16 and 1 Timothy chapter 4 suggest that demons have the ability to deceive people with false beliefs.

  • Rev 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
  • Rev 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

(it’s unclear how the demons will resemble frogs so it’s unclear if they will actually appear in physical form as frogs to the kings of the earth).

  • 1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
  • 1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
  • 1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
  • 1Ti 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:

(it is possible that the teachings of devils could be provided to people by religious/spiritual teachers who were possessed by devils)

An Alternative Explanation
Some people cite the unbiblical Book of Enoch to understand who demons are. The idea suggested in Enoch is that demons are the disembodied spirit of the Nephilim (giants) that perished in the great flood of Genesis.

  • Enoch 15:8 And now, the giants, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon
  • Enoch 15:9 the earth, and on the earth shall be their dwelling. Evil spirits have proceeded from their bodies; because they are born from men and from the holy Watchers is their beginning and primal origin;
  • Enoch 15:10 they shall be evil spirits on earth, and evil spirits shall they be called. [As for the spirits of heaven, in heaven shall be their dwelling, but as for the spirits of the earth which were born upon the earth, on the earth shall be their dwelling.]
  • Enoch 15:11 And the spirits of the giants afflict, oppress, destroy, attack, do battle, and work destruction on the earth, and cause trouble: they take no food, but nevertheless
  • Enoch 15:12 hunger and thirst, and cause offences. And these spirits shall rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them.

It’s possible that demons could be the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim, but without biblical evidence it’s impossible and unwise to treat this idea as a fact.

My Overall View on Fallen Angels vs. Demons
Overall, fallen angels and demons have some similarities. Both are evil entities that work to deceive people. I acknowledge that it’s quite possible that fallen angels and demons have even more similarities than what I recognize here. The main difference I see is that fallen angels appear to have more freedom of movement than demons do. Fallen angels do not seem reliant on having to possess something to get a task done. A fallen angel can physically transform and make themselves visible if they want to deceive a person. Meanwhile, a demon seems to have the need to possess a physical body in order to achieve a task.

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Kathryn Kulhman