The title of this post isn’t a reference to Dan Brown’s novel, or the movie based on it. It’s a reference to real demons and real angels.
Even though I’ve never personally seen a demon or an angel, and would be perfectly happy if I never did, I take it for granted (precisely because the Bible does) that both exist, and that neither are to be trifled with.
Angels are not cute, chubby little creatures who fly around shooting benevolent arrows at people, causing them to fall madly in love. They’re not people who’ve died and float around on clouds, or come back to earth to comfort someone who’s troubled. In fact, they’re not people at all, and never were. They are an entirely distinct order of created beings, and there’s nothing cute and cuddly about them; they are fearsome and awe-inspiring. Much of the contemporary view of and fascination with angels is simply sentimental nonsense.
It’s interesting that people can be intrigued by “spirituality,” and angels strike them as “safer” than God. Yet in Scripture angels begin by saying, “Do not be afraid.” Why? Because of their awesomeness and holiness, the natural response is fear. [Randy Alcorn, here]
And likewise, demons are not the product of an overactive imagination. They are real, and sometimes so beautifully disguised that they’re not even recognizable as demons (2 Corinthians 11:14). At other times, it’s unmistakably clear what they are (Matthew 8:28-34).
At 3:34 AM, My eyes opened when Emily said, “Go away!”
I asked her what was happening, and she told me that she woke up to see me being picked up from the bed. Scared out of our wits, I offered up a fumbling prayer, “Is this in our head or is it real? If it’s real, can you let us know?”
Things got worse.
Emily and I were paralyzed. She was crying. It felt like someone was pressing their knees into my chest. And I kept hearing something mocking me, telling me that I belonged to them.
But something else started coming to mind. Imagery from the gospels: Jesus’ authority over demons, His knowledge of who belongs to Him, His bearing my sin on the cross… And in a moment, I cried out, asking Jesus to save me. [Aaron Armstrong, here]
On one hand, I don’t remotely believe everything I read about personal encounters with supernatural beings. On the other hand, I know that angels and demons are real and not to be taken lightly. The stories (outside the Bible) that I take most seriously are the ones (like Aaron’s) that have a certain gravity about them, and glorify Jesus. All other accounts I usually regard as sensational and/or potentially misleading (or worse).
Are demons real? Yes, but every last one of them bow and grovel at the name of Jesus. Are angels real? Yes, but Christ commands them all.
Ultimately, a preoccupation with demons or angels or other supernatural beings and occurrences will almost inevitably lead to error, because it takes something that’s peripheral in Scripture and makes it central. If you’re interested in the supernatural, fix your attention on what is central (and incredibly supernatural) in the Bible—that Jesus Christ himself, although He was sinless, died for our sins, physically rose from the dead, and is alive this moment with the power to save anyone who trusts Him. That’s the best news you’ll ever hear.