Q&A — If Satan and demons are always active in influencing the world, what are the angels doing?

Since Satan (believed to be a fallen archangel) and his demons (fallen “ordinary” angels) are at work to thwart God’s purpose in the believer and in the world, it makes sense that the basic role of God’s angels is the opposite – to further God’s purpose in the believer and in the world.

The word “angels” literally means “messenger.” So, it’s no surprise that’s the role we see most prominently in the Bible. We see numerous occasions were angels are God’s special messenger including Gabriel (God’s special messenger) delivering his message to Mary and an unnamed angel directing Philipp to speak to the Ethiopian eunuch.

However, the Bible also presents two other important roles for the angels:

Worshipping and Praising God – One of the main responsibilities of the angels is to worship and praise God just like the rest of creation (see Psalm 148). In fact, two of the four types of angels mentioned in the Bible (namely, Archangel, Seraphim, Cherubim, and “Ordinary”), Seraphim and Cherubim have the primary responsibility of worshipping and praising God around God’s throne (see Isaiah 6:1f; Ezekiel 1:1f; Revelation 4:6f). We get a glimpse of what is going on in the angelic realm all the time when the angels appear at the birth of Jesus praising and glorifying God (see Luke 2:8f) and when John sees a vision of heaven with 100 million angels around the throne praising God (see Revelation 5:11).

Fighting Satan and his Demons – Another responsibility of the angels is to oppose Satan and his demons as a means of subjecting them to the sovereignty of God and limiting their influence in support of God’s people who mount their own resistance to the devil. The Bible gives limited insight into this realm, but is clear about three things:

o The angels are God’s mighty warriors who are engaged in a spiritual battle. For example in Daniel’s vision, an angel and Michael (the only Archangel named in the Bible) are said to be battling against the prince and King of Persia on Daniel’s behalf in response to his prayers (see Daniel 10:4f). Again we see a heavenly perspective of the angelic spiritual battle depicted in Revelation 12:7f where Michael appears again leading God’s angels against Satan and his demons.

o The angels – like Satan and his demons – are well organized and assigned specific responsibilities. As we’ve already seen, spiritual beings have different rank, roles, and responsibilities (e.g. Archangels, Seraphim, et al). Apparently, spiritual beings – angels and demons alike – are assigned geographic regions in which to carry out their assigned responsibilities (see passages mentioned above).

o  Though the angels are engaged in spiritual warfare, the Bible makes it clear that God’s people are personally responsible to engage in spiritual warfare by constantly submitting to God and resisting the devil (see James 4:7-8). God’s people are to “stand firm” and “put on the armor of God” (see Ephesians 6:10-f) as they actively engage in battle against temptation, opposition, and oppression. While God’s angels support God’s people in the battle and the victory has already been won through Jesus Christ, God’s people must appropriate Jesus’ authority and experience the victory through their partnership with God and participation in the struggle.

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