Are Angels and Demons Active Today?
October 30, 2018

Yes! Given what the Bible teaches about the nature of spiritual beings, we have good reasons to believe that angels and demons are active in creation today. In the first place, angels continue their work of ministry both to God and to people. In the second place, demons continue to tempt human beings and spread false gospels.

Angels Are Ministering Spirits

The Bible teaches that angels are “ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation” (Heb. 1:14 NIV). Because God’s plan of salvation has not come to completion, we have every reason to think that angels continue in this role.

But how exactly do angels minister to people? We don’t know all the ways, but the Bible does indicate that angels have a keen interest in God’s activity among humankind. For example, Peter notes that the revelations that were given to the prophets were of interest to the angels (1 Peter 1:12). Furthermore, Jesus tells his disciples that the angels of God rejoice over a sinner’s repentance (Luke 15:10).

The Devil Seeks Whom He May Devour

The Bible also teaches that the Enemy is intent on disrupting God’s purposes in salvation. Peter cautions his readers to be vigilant because “your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). Likewise, Paul exhorts us to “put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” (Eph. 6:11).

We have also the regular reports of demonic activity from faithful Christian missionaries. Many of these descriptions are congruent with the patterns that emerge in the Scriptures. Dismissing all such accounts out of hand seems unwise, especially given the number and consistency of the reports.

Type of Activity

Even though angels and demons are active today, there is reason to expect less of the activity among angels and demons that we see in the gospel accounts. In the first place, the period surrounding the life of Jesus was a heightened time of spiritual activity, judging from the density of spiritual activity in the Gospels compared to other narratives in Scripture.

The intensity of spiritual activity also wanes as the narrative of the New Testament develops. By the end of Acts, the apostles have become the messengers of the good news, such that the angels (literally “messengers”) are no longer needful for that purpose. As the author of Hebrews declares, the Father has spoken finally through his Son, whose gospel he has entrusted to the church (1:1–2).

Furthermore, the activity of angels is not always showy or obvious, even in the Bible. As the author of Hebrews notes, “some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it” (13:2 NIV).

Demonic activity also wanes in intensity and appearance. In the gospel accounts, the presence of the demon-“possessed” is a regular and assumed feature of the narrative. By the time Paul is writing his epistles, however, he makes no mention of casting out demons. Instead, he describes the assaults of demons in terms of their lies, false doctrines, and temptations to do evil and turn away from Christ.

What we are to make of this transition is difficult to say, but it seems that any expectation of rampant “possession” is focused on the wrong sort of threats. Instead, Christians are charged to guard their thought life and affections in a world of false teachers and beliefs deriving from the Devil.


Angels and demons are active in the world today, but that does not mean that we should constantly expect to see them or encounter traces of them in the world. Scripture indicates that we could interact with angels without even knowing it, but it does not encourage us to seek them out or expect to hear from them. We need to be cautious about reports of spiritual activity, even though we need not dismiss them out of hand.

40 Questions About Angels, Demons, and Spiritual WarfareJohn R. Gilhooly 

In 40 Questions About Angels, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare, John Gilhooly provides a biblical and balanced perspective on the many issues surrounding the spiritual realm. Using a question-and-answer format, he explains spiritual warfare, angels and demons, the role of Satan, models and practices for spiritual warfare, and topics related to the occult.