Are Angels Demons?

Where Do Demons Come From?

by Michael S. Heiser

Everyone familiar with the Bible knows it talks about angels and demons. But most would be surprised to learn that there’s no verse in the Bible that explains where demons came from. Christians typically assume that demons are fallen angels, cast from heaven with Satan (the Devil) right before the temptation of Adam and Eve. But guess what? There’s no such story in the Bible. The only description of anything like that is in Revelation 12:9—but the occasion for that whole episode was the birth of the messiah (Rev 12:4-6), an event long after Adam and Eve. The idea of a primeval fall of angels actually comes from church tradition and the great English poet John Milton in his epic Paradise Lost.

So if the Bible doesn’t record an ancient expulsion from heaven by hordes of angels who then became known as demons, where do demons come from?

There’s actually a straightforward answer to that question, but it’s likely one you’ve never heard of: In ancient Jewish texts like the Dead Sea Scrolls, demons are the disembodied spirits of dead Nephilim giants who perished at the time of the great flood.


Michael S. Heiser, "Where Do Demons Come From?"  [emphasis added by webmaster]

This Explains Why Demons Desire to Occupy a Body

If demons are the disembodied spirits of dead Nephilim giants, the offspring of fallen angels and the daughters of men (Gen 6:4), then is makes sense that they would prefer to occupy a body just like they did when they occupied their original mortal Nephilim bodies.

Matthew 12:43-44 (ESV)
When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order.

Matthew 8:16 (ESV)
That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick.

Matthew 8:31 (ESV)
And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs [an animal is the next best choice for a body if not a person].”

Matthew 17:18 (ESV)
And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.

Mark 1:26 (ESV)
And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice [did not want to leave], came out of him.

Deuteronomy 32:15-17 (ESV)
But Jeshurun [Israel] grew fat, and kicked;
you grew fat, stout, and sleek;
then he forsook God [the only one true God] who made him
and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods [principality angels, sons of God];
with abominations they provoked him to anger.
They sacrificed to demons that were no gods [NOT principality angels, NOT sons of God],
to gods [principality angels, sons of God] they had never known,
to new gods [principality angels, sons of God] that had come recently,
whom your fathers had never dreaded.

Note: "sons of God" in the Old Testament often refers to God's angels which includes the fallen angels. (Gen 6:2-4, Job 1:6)

1 Timothy 4:1 (ESV)
Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits [both fallen angels and demons?] and teachings of demons [NOT fallen angels]

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Why would we even want to know? Well, it helps us to understand that it truly is possible for each person's unrepented of sin or sins to cause that person to become a slave to their sin through the power of a particular demon associated with that sin. (John 8:34, Rom 6:16)

So, how many demons? The answer is: Probably a great multitude. Please resist the temptation by the enemy to give in to fear over this. God is still on the throne and demons are on earth with the permission of God and also with clear boundaries regarding their activities - especially with Christians.

Here is the reason I can say "probably a great multitude", just do the math...

In a more realistic computation, generations may have been longer than now, given the average pre-flood lifespan in Genesis 5 of 905 years.3 We will take a pre-Flood "generation" to be 100 years.4 Thus the generations between the creation and flood would be 1656/100 = 16.56; the generations in the average pre-flood life span of 905 years - 905/100 = 9.05. The average number of children per family we will conservatively estimate as 5. The resulting global population P is

Pre-flood Population Equation 200x80.jpg
where n = generations between creation and flood = 16.56; x = generations in average life span = 9.05; and c = average children per family = 5.5 Using these conservative estimates, the pre-flood population would have been 190 billion by the year of the flood - or of the order of 100 billion.
Dr. Jonathan Henry, "Global Population Past and Present",

So, if there was a potential conservative pre-flood population of 100 billion then even if the Nephilim made up only 1 percent of the population then we would have 1 billion unclean spirits (demons) on the earth today. If just 7 percent of the pre-flood population on earth were Nephilim then there would be 7 billion demons on earth today - about one for every person on the earth today.  I suspect that the number is probably higher since God was preparing to destroy all mankind, except for Noah and family, due to the fact that " the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Gen 6:5).  I would attribute this pervasive wickedness to having a very large proportion of the population being wicked fallen angel-human hybrids - the Nephilim.  When the Nephilim died in the flood their spirits remained trapped on the earth whereas a Christian believer's soul-spirit either falls asleep in the protection of God (1 Thes 4:13-15) or goes to be with the Lord in the third heaven (2 Cor 12:2).

1 When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God [fallen angels] saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in [or will not contend with] man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim [or giants] were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God [fallen angels] came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. (Gen 6:1-4 ESV)

For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; (2 Pet 2:4-5 ESV)

14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 14-15 ESV) [Jude is quoting from the Book of Enoch which gives validity to Enoch's testimony in the Book of Enoch which is not a book in the Holy Bible]

In those days, when the children of man had multiplied, it happened that there were born unto them handsome and beautiful daughters. 2 And the [fallen] angels, the children of heaven, saw them and desired them; and they said to one another, ‘Come, let us choose wives for ourselves from among the daughters of man and beget us children.’ . . . And they took wives unto themselves, and everyone (respectively) chose one woman for himself, and they began to go unto them. . . .

Then Michael, Surafel, and Gabriel observed carefully from the sky and they saw much blood being shed upon the earth, and all the oppression being wrought upon the earth. . . . As for the women, they gave birth to giants to the degree that the whole earth was filled with blood and oppression. And now behold, the Holy One will cry, and those who have died will bring their suit up to the gate of heaven. Their groaning has ascended (into heaven), but they could not get out from before the face of the oppression that is being wrought on earth. . . . And to Gabriel the Lord said, ‘Proceed against the bastards and the reprobates and against the children of adultery; and destroy the children of adultery and expel the children [the giants] of the Watchers [original fallen angels who transgressed with women] from among the people. And send them against one another (so that) they may be destroyed in the fight, for length of days have they not. . . .’

And when they and all their children have battled with each other, and when they have seen the destruction of their beloved ones, bind them for 70 generations underneath the rocks of the ground until the day of their judgment and of their consummation, until the eternal judgment is concluded. . . . But now the giants who are born from the (union of) the spirits [fallen angels] and the flesh [pre-flood women] shall be called evil spirits [demons] upon the earth, because their dwelling shall be upon the earth and inside the earth. 9 Evil spirits [demons] have come out of their [giants] bodies. Because from the day that they were created from the holy ones they became the Watchers [demons - offspring of the original fallen angel Watchers]; their first origin is the spiritual foundation. They will become evil upon the earth and shall be called evil spirits [demons].

1 Enoch 6:1-2; 7:1; 9:1, 9-10; 10:9; 15:8-9; translation from J. H. Charlesworth, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1

Question 74. What is the origin of demons?  [Chapter 15]

Demons are the disembodied spirits of dead Nephilim-Rephaim.a [4] They are therefore by nature disembodied, which is why they seek to inhabit other things.b

a Nm 13:33. And there we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim.

Dt 2:11. Like the Anakim they are also counted as Rephaim, but the Moabites call them Emim.

Dt 3:13. The rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, that is, all the region of Argob, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh. (All that portion of Bashan is called the land of Rephaim.

Is 14:9. Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades (rephaim) to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations.

Is 26:14. They are dead, they will not live; they are shades (rephaim), they will not arise; to that end you have visited them with destruction and wiped out all remembrance of them.


b Mt 8:28. And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs.
Mt 12:28, 43-44. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. . . . “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself.
Mk 5:10-13. And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

Lk 11:26. It goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there.


[4] See Q. 61. Intertestamental Jewish literature (e.g., 1 Enoch) that the New Testament writers Peter (2 Pet 2:4-5) and Jude (Jude 6-7) draw upon for their understanding of the events of Gn 6:1-4 has much to say about this point of origin (see 1 Enoch 15). The idea is suggested in the verses referenced above.

Michael Heiser, Question 74. What is the origin of demons? [Chapter 15],

This chapter also discussed the stoicheia (“elemental spirits”). [Chapter 37]

In a footnote commenting on Galatians 4 I made the comment that Paul’s denial that the stoicheia are gods (they are “not by nature gods”) must not be taken to mean Paul denied the existence of other gods. Here’s what I wrote:

Gal 4:8 transitions to pagans, since the Jews would have known about the true God. The reference to “times and seasons and years” (4:10) would therefore point to astrological beliefs, not the Jewish calendar. Paul is therefore denying the idea that the celestial objects (sun, moon, stars) are deities. His Gentile readers should not be enslaved by the idea that these objects controlled their destiny. As a related issue, Paul’s wording here cannot therefore be taken as a denial of the existence of other gods (the ones put over the nations – which are not called stoicheia). Paul does not deny their existence in 1 Cor 8:4–6, which must be interpreted against the context of 1 Cor 10:20–21, as it relates to the same subject matter. Paul is just denying that celestial bodies are gods that control one’s fate. This approach is also useful with respect to Col 2:8, 20, where the contexts seem to be pagan angel worship (i.e., worship of divine beings thought to have power over basic elements of the material world) and pagan asceticism.

In case the point was not clear, in Gal. 4:8-9, when Paul denies that the stoicheia are gods he is denying that celestial objects are gods. But the stoicheia are not the sons of God / gods put over the nations. Those lesser gods are affirmed to exist by Paul in 1 Cor. 10:20-21 (he calls them demons, following the language of Deut 32:17). Hence the denial of one idea doesn’t constitute the denial of another.

The Bible uses the language of celestial objects for divine beings — because the heavens were not a human domain. It is therefore not “doing science” in this regard (i.e., making a scientific assertion).

Michael Heiser, This chapter also discussed the stoicheia (“elemental spirits”). [Chapter 37],

New DNA Testing on 2,000-Year-Old Elongated Paracas Skulls Changes Known History

The elongated skulls of Paracas in Peru caused a stir in 2014 when a geneticist that carried out preliminary DNA testing reported that they have mitochondrial DNA “with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far”. Now a second round of DNA testing has been completed and the results are just as controversial – the skulls tested, which date back as far as 2,000 years, were shown to have European and Middle Eastern Origin. These surprising results change the known history about how the Americas were populated.

April Holloway, "New DNA Testing on 2,000-Year-Old Elongated Paracas Skulls Changes Known History", Ancient Origins, July 23, 2016,

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