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CHAPTER 10 The Truth About the Angels
1. Why learn about the angels?
JEHOVAH wants us to know about his family. The angels are part of God’s family. In the Bible they are called “sons of God.” (Job 38:7) What do the angels do? How have they helped people in the past? And can they help us now?—See Endnote 8.
2. Where did angels come from? How many angels were created?
2 We need to know where the angels came from. Colossians 1:16 tells us that after Jehovah created Jesus, “all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth.” That includes the angels. How many of them were created? The Bible says that there are hundreds of millions of angels.—Psalm 103:20; Revelation 5:11.
3 The Bible also teaches us that Jehovah created the angels before he created the earth. How did they feel when they saw the earth? The book of Job tells us that they were joyful. They were a close family serving Jehovah together.—Job 38:4-7.
ANGELS HELP GOD’S PEOPLE
4. How do we know that angels are interested in humans?
4 Angels have always been interested in humans and in Jehovah’s purpose for the earth and humans. (Proverbs 8:30, 31; 1 Peter 1:11, 12) It must have made them very sad when Adam and Eve rebelled. They must be even sadder now to see that most humans have disobeyed Jehovah. But when someone repents and returns to God, the angels are joyful. (Luke 15:10) The angels are very interested in those who serve God. Jehovah uses angels to help and protect his servants on earth. (Hebrews 1:7, 14) Let us look at some examples of this.
5. How have angels helped God’s servants in the past?
5 Jehovah sent two angels to help Lot and his family escape the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. (Genesis 19:15, 16) Hundreds of years later, the prophet Daniel was thrown into a lions’ pit, but he was not harmed, because “God sent his angel and shut the mouth of the lions.” (Daniel 6:22) Later, when the apostle Peter was in prison, Jehovah sent an angel to set him free. (Acts 12:6-11) Angels also helped Jesus when he was on earth. For example, after he was baptized, “angels were ministering to him.” (Mark 1:13) Just before Jesus was executed, an angel “strengthened him.”—Luke 22:43.
6. (a) How do we know that angels help God’s people today? (b) What questions will we now answer?
6 Today, angels no longer appear to humans. But God still uses angels to help his servants. The Bible says: “The angel of Jehovah camps all around those fearing Him, and he rescues them.” (Psalm 34:7) Why do we need protection? Because we have powerful enemies who want to harm us. Who are they? Where do they come from? How are they trying to harm us? To answer those questions, let’s see what happened shortly after Adam and Eve were created.
OUR INVISIBLE ENEMIES
7. What have people done because of Satan’s tricks?
7 We learned in Chapter 3 that an angel rebelled against God and wanted to rule over others. The Bible calls him Satan the Devil. (Revelation 12:9) Satan also wanted others to rebel against God. He was able to trick Eve, and since then he has tricked most humans. However, some, such as Abel, Enoch, and Noah, remained faithful to Jehovah.—Hebrews 11:4, 5, 7.
8. (a) How did some angels become demons? (b) What did the demons do to survive the Flood?
8 In Noah’s time, some angels rebelled and left their home in heaven to live as humans on earth. Why? The Bible tells us that they wanted to have wives. (Read Genesis 6:2.) But it was wrong for angels to do that. (Jude 6) Like those wicked angels, most humans at that time became corrupt and violent. Jehovah then decided to destroy wicked humans by flooding the whole earth. But he saved his faithful servants. (Genesis 7:17, 23) To survive, the wicked angels returned to heaven. The Bible calls those wicked angels demons. They chose to join Satan’s rebellion, and the Devil became their ruler.—Matthew 9:34.
9. (a) What happened to the demons when they returned to heaven? (b) What will we learn about next?
9 Because they were rebels, Jehovah did not accept the demons back into his family. (2 Peter 2:4) Demons cannot change into humans anymore, but they are still “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” (Revelation 12:9; 1 John 5:19) Let us learn how they are able to trick, or mislead, so many.—Read 2 Corinthians 2:11.
HOW DEMONS TRICK PEOPLE
10. How do the demons trick people?
10 The demons trick people in many ways. When people contact the demons they do it either directly or through someone else, such as a witch doctor or a psychic. Contact with the demons is called demonism or spiritism. But the Bible commands us to stay far away from anything that has to do with the demons. (Galatians 5:19-21) Why? Just as a hunter uses a trap to catch animals, the demons use tricks to trap and control people.—See Endnote 26.
11. What is divination, and why should we avoid it?
11 One of their tricks is called divination. That is the use of supernatural powers to try to find out about the future or the unknown. Someone might try to do this by looking at the stars, searching for omens, reading tarot cards, using a crystal ball, or reading the palm of a person’s hand. Many people think that these practices are harmless, but they are not. They are very dangerous. For example, the Bible shows that demons and fortune-tellers work together. At Acts 16:16-18, we read about “a demon of divination” who helped a girl to do “fortune-telling.” After the apostle Paul sent the demon away, the girl lost her ability to foretell the future.
12. (a) Why is it dangerous to try to communicate with the dead? (b) Why do God’s servants never get involved in demonic customs?
12 The demons use another trick to trap people. They try to make us believe that it’s possible to talk to the dead and that those who have died are actually still alive somewhere and can communicate with us or hurt us. For example, someone whose friend or relative has died may go to a person, such as a spirit medium, who says he or she can talk to the dead. The medium may tell the person something interesting about the dead friend or relative and even imitate the dead person’s voice. (1 Samuel 28:3-19) Many funeral customs are also based on the belief that the dead are still alive somewhere. These may include funeral celebrations, funeral anniversaries, sacrifices for the dead, widowhood rites, or some wake rituals. When Christians refuse to take part in these customs, their families or village communities may criticize them, insult them, or refuse to have anything to do with them. But Christians know that the dead are not alive somewhere else. It’s impossible to communicate with them, and they cannot harm us. (Psalm 115:17) Be very careful. Never try to communicate with the dead or the demons and never get involved in demonic customs.—Read Deuteronomy 18:10, 11; Isaiah 8:19.
13. What have many people who once lived in fear of the demons been able to do?
13 The demons not only trick people but also frighten them. Today, Satan and his demons know that they have only “a short period of time” before God removes them from the earth, so they are more violent and aggressive than ever. (Revelation 12:12, 17) However, thousands of people who once lived in fear of the demons don’t fear them anymore. How did they break free from their fear of the demons?
RESIST AND BREAK FREE FROM THE DEMONS
14. Like Christians in the first century, how can we break free from the demons?
14 The Bible tells us how to resist the demons and how to break free from them. For example, some in the city of Ephesus were communicating with the demons before they learned the truth. How did they break free? The Bible says: “Quite a number of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them up before everybody.” (Acts 19:19) Because they wanted to be Christians, they destroyed all their books about magic. Similar action is necessary today. Everyone who wants to serve Jehovah needs to get rid of things that have anything to do with the demons. This includes books, magazines, horoscopes, movies, music, games, and even posters that make magic, demons, or the supernatural seem harmless or exciting. It also includes things that people wear to protect themselves from evil.—1 Corinthians 10:21.
15. What else do we need to do to resist Satan and the demons?
15 Some years after those in Ephesus destroyed their books about magic, the apostle Paul wrote that they still had to “struggle” and fight “against the wicked spirit forces.” (Ephesians 6:12) Yes, even though they had already burned their books, the demons were still trying to harm them. So, what else did they need to do? Paul told them: “Take up the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish [or, stop] all the wicked one’s burning arrows.” (Ephesians 6:16) Just as a shield protects a soldier in battle, our faith can protect us. If we have absolute confidence that Jehovah can protect us, we will be able to resist Satan and the demons.—Matthew 17:20.
16. How can we make our faith in Jehovah stronger?
16 How can we make our faith in Jehovah stronger? We need to read the Bible every day and learn to rely on him to protect us. If we have strong confidence in Jehovah, Satan and the demons will not be able to harm us.—1 John 5:5.
17. What else will protect us from the demons?
17 What else did the Christians in Ephesus need to do? They lived in a city full of demonism. So Paul told them: “Carry on prayer on every occasion.” (Ephesians 6:18) They needed to ask Jehovah for his protection at all times. What about us? We also live in a world that is full of demonism. So we too need to ask Jehovah for his protection, and we need to use his name when we pray. (Read Proverbs 18:10.) If we keep on asking Jehovah to deliver us from Satan, Jehovah will answer our prayers.—Psalm 145:19; Matthew 6:13.
18, 19. (a) How can we win our fight against Satan and the demons? (b) What question will be answered in the next chapter?
18 If we get rid of everything in our life that has to do with demonism and rely on Jehovah to protect us, we can resist Satan and the demons. We do not need to be afraid of them. (Read James 4:7, 8.) Jehovah is far more powerful than the demons. He punished them in Noah’s day, and in the future he will destroy them. (Jude 6) Remember, we are not alone in our fight. Jehovah is using his angels to protect us. (2 Kings 6:15-17) We can be confident that with Jehovah’s help, we can win our fight against Satan and the demons.—1 Peter 5:6, 7; 2 Peter 2:9.
19 But if Satan and the demons are causing so much suffering, why hasn’t God destroyed them yet? This question will be answered in the next chapter.
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