Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Fallen Angels

Originally God created all angels as benevolent celestial beings. Nevertheless they, like humans, were endowed with a free will and could chose either to obey or oppose God, to opt between good and evil. Some of the angels, headed by Lucifer, one of the closest to God, misused that freedom and rebelled against God. They were expelled from heaven and established their own kingdom — hell. Lucifer, which means bearer of light, was later renamed Satan, which means antagonist. He is also called the devil (which means slanderer), the serpent, and the dragon. The words of the Savior, "I saw Satan, fallen from heaven as a bolt of lightning," refer to this prehistoric event, the rebellion by Lucifer and other angels against God. This is described in the book of Revelation with the following details: "There occurred a war in the heavens. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought against them. However they did not prevail, and there was no room for them in heaven. The great dragon was cast down, that ancient snake, known as devil and satan … and his angels were also cast down with him" (Revelation 12:7-9). From the initial words of chapter 12 of the book of Revelation, where it is said that the dragon drew after him one third of the stars in heaven (Revelation 12:4), some conclude that at that time Lucifer seduced one third of the angels. These fallen angels are called demons.

Having become malevolent, the fallen angels try to push men to the path of sin and thus to their damnation. Oddly, the fallen angels themselves fear the kingdom they have created — hell or the abyss. Indeed, when the Savior, healing a person possessed by demons, wanted to send them back to their abyss, they begged Him to allow them instead to enter swine (Luke 8:31). The Savior calls the devil "murderer from the beginning and the father of lies," having in mind that moment in which, taking the form of a snake, he deceived our forbears Adam and Eve to break the commandment of God and by doing so deprived them of everlasting life (Genesis 3:1-6; John 8:44).From that moment on, having the opportunity to influence the thoughts, feelings and acts of man, the devil and his demons endeavor to pitch him deeper and deeper into the mire of sin, into which they themselves have sunk: "He who sins is from the devil, because the devil himself sinned first … Anyone who commits sin is a slave of sin" (1 John 3:8; John 8:34). The presence of evil spirits among us presents a constant danger. That is why the Apostle Peter extols us: "Be sober and watchful, for your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). The Apostle Paul expresses the same thoughts on discretion, saying, "Put on the armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities and the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness on high" (Ephesians 6:11-12).

From these warnings of the Holy Scriptures, we should remind ourselves that our life is pervaded by a persistent battle for the salvation of our souls. Whether one wants it or not, every human being, from early childhood, is drawn into the battle of choosing between good and evil, between the will of God and the will of demons. The battle between good and evil began even before the creation of the world and will continue until the day of the final Judgment. Actually the battle in heaven is finished, with the complete defeat of evil. Now the site of the battle has been transferred into the world, more precisely into our minds and hearts. As we shall see, the good angels, and in particular our Guardian Angels, actively help us in our battle against evil.
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