We believe a “demon” is a “fallen angel.” Before we look at a few scriptures that prove this, it is important to note that the word “demon” is not found in the King James Bible. Instead, the translators chose to use the word “devil.” For example, in Mark 5:15 we read, “And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the DEVIL.” But in the New King James Version (and many other translations) we read, “Then they come to Jesus, and saw the one who had been DEMON-POSSESSED.” So, which is it, devil or demon? We firmly believe it should be rendered “demon” for there is only ONE DEVIL, yet earlier in verse 8-10 we learn that the man was possessed with many demons. In verse 9 Jesus asked the unclean spirit, “What is your name?” In verse 10 he answered, “My name is Legion; for we are many.”

As we just stated, there is only one DEVIL. I have often been asked, “Why did God create the devil.” I always respond by saying, “God didn’t create the devil; He created a great angel named Lucifer and he rebelled against God and BECAME THE DEVIL.” We see this act of rebellion and his great fall in Isaiah 14:12-15: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.”

Scripture also teaches us that when Lucifer rebelled, there were other angels that followed him in his rebellion. This is hinted at in Revelation 12:9: “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and HIS ANGELS WERE CAST OUT WITH HIM.” This verse speaks of the Devil and his angels and it is reasonable to assume that they became “his angels” by joining him in his rebellion against God that we saw in Isaiah 14:12-15. In Matthew 12:24 the Devil is referred to as “the ruler of demons,” which suggests that fallen angels willingly crowned him as their new “lord” in place of the Lord God who created them. Earlier in verse 3 the Devil is referred to as “a great, fiery dragon” and in verse 4 we read, “His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.” Some believe that “the stars of heaven” refer to “angels” and thus they conclude that one third of all the angels fell when Lucifer fell. A verse that seems to support the view that angels are called stars is in Daniel 8:10: “And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of THE STARS to the ground, and trampled them.” If this view is correct, it is most solemn to think that so many angels, who were created in perfection and had the great privilege of serving and worshipping God, would be lifted up in pride and then fall from their lofty place in heaven into depths of sin and rebellion against their Creator.

Before we close this meditation, we should ask ourselves another question, “Why are fallen angels called demons?” The word “demon” in the New Testament signifies an “EVIL spirit.” In their unfallen condition they were “good spirits” but after their fall they became “evil spirits.” They are not only evil because of their rebellion against God, but because of their actions against mankind. Their goal is to harm the human race and to keep them from accepting the salvation God offers to all men through the sacrificial death of His Son on the cross. Besides the example we saw in Mark 5, I would encourage you to read Matthew 8:16-17; Luke 11:14-20; 1st Corinthians 10:18-21; and 1st Timothy 4:1. (255.3) (DO)