Demons “Ex Machina:” What Are Demons?

This is a follow-up to the “Angels Unawares article from The Crux, Thursday, August 29, 2019 and will be followed by articles on Nephilim and giants. These articles will be succinct versions of otherwise very detailed elucidations from several books I have written.1

The concept of “ex machina refers to something that “appears as if out of nowhere, in a mechanical manner.”2 Such is how demons appear in the text of the Bible since it is not an everything-you-always-wanted-to-know-about-demons text; hence, they are only touched upon.

The question at hand is: “What are demons?” The two basic answers are: 1) Demons are fallen Angels; 2) Demons are not fallen Angels. Why think they are not fallen Angels? Because demons and Angels exhibit different characteristics. If they are not, then what are they? Those who deny they are fallen Angels either un-specifically claim that they are wholly other or appeal to one of the apocryphal books of Enoch, namely 1 Enoch aka Ethiopic Enoch (dating to circa 200 BC3, who are produced from the spirits and flesh, shall be called evil spirits upon 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; [they shall be evil spirits on earth, and] evil spirits shall they be called.4

This is an interesting speculation, and it is no more than that. That which follows is my own speculation, which actually walks a fine line between the two options: I seek to elucidate how it is that demons are fallen Angels; and yet, how they also exhibit different characteristics.

The Proposed Mechanism:

The Bible relates a onetime fall of Angels: only one group of Angels fell once. One challenge in seeking to identify demons as fallen Angels is that as per Jude and Peter, fallen Angels are incarcerated, “Angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude v.6, NASB); and “God did not spare Angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell [Tartarus] and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment (2 Peter 2:4, NASB). Both are very clear that it was “Angels who did not keep their own domain … Angels when they sinned,” and it is not only some of those who did so, but all.

What their sin was and when they sinned are not within our context to consider. (For those issues, you can see my book on Angelology.) Also, a key fact, that is biblical but, as I pointed out in the previous article, goes against common knowledge, or what is commonly believed, is that ontologically─in their nature and essence─Angels look like human males [no wings, no halos. Cherubim and Seraphim are different categories of beings and are not Angels by definition; and if you are wondering about why Satan is not incarcerated, you just found an answer: he is not an Angel, he is a Cherub (Ezekiel 28:14)]. Angels are not spirits, but they are as physical as Jesus is post-Resurrection. They are able to be touched, to eat, and to seemingly just appear and disappear in locked rooms and guarded spaces.5 As I mentioned last time, it may more likely be a change in the ability of the onlooker to see than a change in the physicality of the Angel.

My theory, really a mechanism, will require a circumlocution. The claim that demons are fallen Angels is commonly held (common knowledge, hereafter), and yet, that seems to be mostly based on the rhetorical question, “Well, what else could they be?”

Revelation 9:1-3 will be considered within the context of seeking to identify and define demons:

… I [John] saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth … He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth … (NASB)

The deeply symbolic description of this event begins by describing those that exit the bottomless pit as “locusts.” Note that the “bottomless pit” is the Abyss in which the fallen Angels were incarcerated (where demons dread to be sent—2 Peter 2:4 refers to this locale as Tartarus).

The symbolism relates that “the scorpions of the earth have power…in their tails is their power to hurt,” (Rev. 9:10) they are “like horses prepared for battle,” having “crowns like gold” with “faces…like the faces of men” (9:7) and “hair like the hair of women” plus “teeth…like the teeth of lions” (9:8) wearing “breastplates like breastplates of iron” and “the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots(9:9).” The Bible interprets itself, and so we can track these descriptions to other biblical texts that denote what is meant by these symbols. (I chase all of them down in my book.)

But what are the symbols describing? The main point is that out of the “bottomless pit” there arise many destructive beings aligning with the power of the enemy, Satan. In one way or another; these beings are on Satan’s side.

We are told that upon being released, they wreak havoc on Earth “to torment for five months (Rev. 9:5) to hurt men for five months… (9:10)” and nothing more is said of them other than their king is “Abaddon”/”Apollyon” (9:10)—but is there nothing more? I contend that these are the very same fallen Angels who are then referenced in Revelation 12 as engaging in a “war in heaven” (12:7) (which, as per that chapter’s chronology, has not yet occurred).

There are virtually no references to demons by any other name within Revelation besides somewhat generic ones:

9:20 “… worship demons [daimonion], and the idols …” and so this is not necessarily a reference to beings, but rather, it is a reference to those who would worship them in correlation to idolatrous images.

16:13 reveals John stating, “I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits [akathartos pneuma] like frogs,” which means these are either not demons at all or are non-typical, demon-like beings.

16:14 specifies that the frog-like “unclean spirits” “… are the spirits of demons [pneuma of daimon]…”.

18:2 states that “… Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons [daimon] and a prison of every unclean spirit [akathartos pneuma]…”.

In fact, not only are there virtually no references to demons within Revelation, but also there are no references at all to demons, by any other name before Genesis 6.

Demons recognize Jesus’ person and authority and are terrified of being tormented and/or “destroyed” (a term symbolic of condemnation) “before the time” (cf. Matthew 8:29, and the time of their judgment to which Jude and Peter refer). The fallen Angels in the bottomless-Abyss-pit are awaiting judgment which, in their case, will lead to torment, since they are condemned.

The conclusion of this mechanism is that it may be possible to correlate humans and fallen Angels as follows. There is a theory known as soul sleep, which claims that at death our souls do just that: sleep─as in hibernate─until the Resurrection. This seems to be the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches which is at death our souls go to heaven, while our bodies sleep until the Resurrection.

Human souls are separated (death simply means separation) from their deceased physical human bodies, and they will return to them when their body is raised, as it were: glorified, resurrected, etc.

Perhaps, when the fallen Angels were incarcerated in the Abyss, it was a simile of human death so that their spirits were left to wander the Earth until such a time as they are due to be released from the Abyss at which time they will re-inhabit their bodies.

This may explain their fear of being condemned “before the time,” since they would re-inhabit their original bodies and would do nothing but be incarcerated for centuries or millennia. This may also explain the lack of demons in Revelation—which, one would imagine, would be the most fertile time for demons—and why they are not referenced pre-flood (even though Satan, as the “serpent”, is and Cherubim are).

Demons have inspired idolatry, in part, due to their general modus operandi, which is to turn everything and anything which God does inside out, upside down, and backward. “God is spirit” (John 4:24), and so no image could be made of a spirit.

Demons are spirit as well (in the sense of not having flesh and bones while disembodied; Luke 24:39); but if this theory is accurate, then they once inhabited bodies and sought to represent this through idols.

Idols denote that an image of a spirit can be made or, that the idol reflects an unseen being or, a being’s presumed form or, that the form represents a being’s characteristics. Especially relevant is the speculative concept that the spirit of the being can inhabit the idolatrous image which, in this context, mirrors the demon’s desire to inhabit a form.

What do I mean then? That a thing sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-21, NASB).

Beyond that which proceeded, additional support from this may come from the fact that, as Angels, they would know exactly who Jesus is; thus, they recognize His person and authority.

They also do not want to be tormented, and they want to be left to do that which they do. And what is that? Having been previously embodied, they seek embodiment and, thus, seek to possess human bodies.

Thus, demons may be the disembodied fallen Angels who will play a role in the eschaton─when the pit is opened, the demon/spirits re-inhabit their bodies, fight and lose a heavenly war, and end up judged and condemned.

Concluding Review:

I can only reiterate that this is all very speculative regardless of which direction one takes it. However, it does put together various biblical puzzle pieces, which I will now bullet point:

  • At the very least, Angels consist of body and spirit.
  • One group of Angels fell once.
  • These were all bodily incarcerated.
  • Their spirits were left to roam about as disembodied demons.
  • Thus, demons seek to inhabit human bodies (possession) and to be worshiped as idols.
  • They fear being sent to where their bodies are.
  • They will re-inhabit their bodies, fight and loose against Michael and other loyal Angels, and will be condemned forever.Ω

Ken AmmiKen Ammi is a long-time researcher and lecturer on issues pertaining to Christian apologetics. He has a background in Eastern Mysticism and the New Age. He is Jewish and has accepted Jesus as Messiah. You can find him online at: True free Thinker

© 2019, Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc All rights reserved. Excerpts and links may be used if full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.

  1. What Does the Bible say about Angels? A Styled Angelology, What Does the Bible say about Demons? A Styled Demonology, What Does the Bible say about Giants and Nephilim? A Styled Giantology and Nephilology, with other books within the series being What Does the Bible say about the Devil Satan? A Styled Satanology, What Does the Bible say about Various Paranormal Entities? A Styled Paranormology, and What Does the Bible say about Heaven and Hell? A Styled Superumology and Infernology. Moreover, see The Paranormal in Early Jewish and Christian Commentaries: Over a Millennia’s Worth of Comments on Angels, Cherubim, Seraphim, Satan, the Devil, Demons, the Serpent and the Dragon all by Ken Ammi and available at True Free Thinker No End Books
  2. Technically, the term came from ancient Greek plays wherein a protagonist would find themselves in an unsolvable situation and a Greek god would suddenly appear and save the day: hence, the term “deus ex machina.”
  3. See my book In Consideration of the Book(s) of Enoch))) which states (15:8-9):

    …the giants [Genesis 6’s Nephilim

  4. R.H. Charles, trans., The Book of Enoch (1917): second and third brackets in original
  5. I dealt with the claim that Angels are spirits in my previous article.

Comments

Demons “Ex Machina:” What Are Demons? — 2 Comments

  1. A very interesting perspective. I have never heard that one before. Thanks!!
    Not a salvation issue, but always important to better understand the Word of God.

    • Appreciate the comment. Considering the three main opinions about the identify of demons, I wondered about the “how” of it all and came up with this mechanism which, indeed, has helped me to “better understand the Word of God.”

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