Are avenging angels devils?


#1

Scripture indicates there are avenging angels or ones who do harm to humans.
Job 33:23: "If a thousand death-dealing angels should be (against him) not one of them shall wound him"
Ps.35 [5] Let them be like chaff before the wind,with the angel of the LORD driving them on![6] Let their way be dark and slippery,with the angel of the LORD pursuing them!
Ps 78:49 He let loose on them his fierce anger,wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels.
The Catholic Encyclopedia article on angels says, "In some of these passages, it is true, the angels may be regarded as avengers of God's justice without therefore being evil spirits."

However, Gregory the Great said, that angels are agents of God’s mercy, while the devils are agents of His justice.
It does not make sense to me that angels do harm to humans, yet are good. They would have to be evil spirits or devils.
Which one is correct?


#2

[quote="bettyg51, post:1, topic:311097"]
Scripture indicates there are avenging angels or ones who do harm to humans.
Job 33:23: "If a thousand death-dealing angels should be (against him) not one of them shall wound him"
Ps.35 [5] Let them be like chaff before the wind,with the angel of the LORD driving them on![6] Let their way be dark and slippery,with the angel of the LORD pursuing them!
Ps 78:49 He let loose on them his fierce anger,wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels.
The Catholic Encyclopedia article on angels says, "In some of these passages, it is true, the angels may be regarded as avengers of God's justice without therefore being evil spirits."

However, Gregory the Great said, that angels are agents of God’s mercy, while the devils are agents of His justice.
It does not make sense to me that angels do harm to humans, yet are good. They would have to be evil spirits or devils.
Which one is correct?

[/quote]

Angels are God's agents, and He often acts through them. In the case of the first Passover and Exodus, the Angel of Death came and slew all the firstborn of Egypt. God commanded this.

Demons do not do God's will intentionally, for His purposes. He can force them, but when He intends something to be done, one of His own angels does it.


#3

[quote="bettyg51, post:1, topic:311097"]
Scripture indicates there are avenging angels or ones who do harm to humans.
Job 33:23: "If a thousand death-dealing angels should be (against him) not one of them shall wound him"
Ps.35 [5] Let them be like chaff before the wind,with the angel of the LORD driving them on![6] Let their way be dark and slippery,with the angel of the LORD pursuing them!
Ps 78:49 He let loose on them his fierce anger,wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels.
The Catholic Encyclopedia article on angels says, "In some of these passages, it is true, the angels may be regarded as avengers of God's justice without therefore being evil spirits."

However, Gregory the Great said, that angels are agents of God’s mercy, while the devils are agents of His justice.
It does not make sense to me that angels do harm to humans, yet are good. They would have to be evil spirits or devils.
Which one is correct?

[/quote]

God Himself chastises His creatures. Therefore, the angels which God uses to chastise Satan and his minions are not demons, but Servants of God.

Whereas, the Devil and his angels have their own agenda. Although God permits them to test human beings, as in the trials of Job, they are not angels of glory but enemies of God and of man.

Which one is correct?

Both.

Sincerely,

De Maria


#4

There are good and evil angels. “My Way of Life” by the Confraternity of the Precious Blood is a great book (~$8) and has a lot on angels. Some excerpts can be found here:

net-abbey.org/angelexcerpts.htm

“There is love and hate in the world of the angels, love and hate that separates angels into the world of heaven and the world of hell, bringing home to us the humbling lesson that even the greatest of God’s creatures can fail, it is only God who cannot. There is among the angels an evil love which was the undoing of the very best, the most perfect of them, a love that was hatred of self by its very refusal to look beyond the staggering beauty that was God’s gift to the angels. That hating self-love gave birth to unremitting hatred of God, the Giver of the gifts that so blinded the vision of these evil angels; a hatred of their fellow angels who saw beyond the gift to the splendor of the Giver; and a hatred of men and of all things God had made. There is in the world of the angels a glorious love, an utterly unselfish love that ushered angels into the family of God and the life of heaven for all eternity, the love that fulfilled even angelic desires and completed their imagining of the magnificence of the Godhead.”

“The evil angels, in that first instant of their abuse of liberty, rejected God. Caught in a deliberate fascination of their own beauty, they refused to look to that beauty’s source, refused to seek for happiness outside their own beauty, refused to seek for happiness outside their own satisfying self; and so attempted to find in themselves what can be found only in God - the answer to the will’s divinely given desire for goodness without limit. These devils can now sin all they like, and know themselves less free with every sin; the abuse of liberty mounts with each sin, the chains grow more galling, the self-imposed slavery more bitter, and the hatred more consumingly intense. Their choice was freely made, abusing liberty; and it is eternally confirmed to make up hell’s most despairing torment.”

God Bless,
WmHere


#5

The Acts of the Apostles by St. Luke mentions that an angel of God struck Herod in order to punish him (Acts 12:23):

And forthwith an angel of the Lord struck him, because he had not given the honour to God: and, being eaten up by worms, he gave up the ghost.

St. Thomas Aquinas teaches in the Summa Theologica that evil angels can be sent by God to punish men (S. th. I:114:1) :

But sometimes their assault is a punishment to man: and thus they are sent by God; as the lying spirit was sent to punish Achab, King of Israel, as is related in 1 Kings 22:20. For punishment is referred to God as its first author. Nevertheless the demons who are sent to punish, do so with an intention other than that for which they are sent; for they punish from hatred or envy; whereas they are sent by God on account of His justice.

Further St. Thomas Aquinas has made a commentary on the 35th Psalm where he says that God may use good angels to punish sinners, and that people suffer tribulations from both good or evil angels.

Thus, the angels are called the weapons of God, whom he uses to fight against the wicked - Wisdom 5: The universe will fight with him against the foolhardy

The third is from the impetus of an impelling wind. Thus he says, And let the angel of the Lord confine them, to this end, namely, that they be totally scattered. For just as some are made prosperous in greater virtue through the help of angels, so too it happens that they suffer tribulations in a higher degree from good or bad angels. For sometimes God also punishes sinners by means of good angels - Isaiah 37: The angel of the Lord went out and slew a hundred and eighty five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians.

The angel of the Lord pursuing them - an evil spirit leading them to sin, or a good angel permitting them to fall, so that having been humiliated they may rise again stronger.


#6

'THERE once lived a hermit, who in a remote cave passed day and night in God’s service. Not far from his cell there was a flock kept by a shepherd, who one day fell into a deep sleep, when a robber, seeing him careless, carried off his sheep. When the keeper awoke, he began to swear in good set terms that he had lost his sheep; and where they were gone to he knew not. But the lord of the flock bade him be put to death. This gave to the hermit great offence. “O heaven,” said he to himself, “seest thou this deed? The innocent suffers for the guilty: Why permittest thou such things? If thus injustice triumph, why do I remain here? I will again enter the world, and do as other men do.”

And so he left his hermitage, and went again into the world; but God willed not that he should be lost: an angel in the form of a man was sent to join him. And so, crossing the hermit’s path, he said to him, “Whither bound, my friend ?’’ “I go,” said he, “to yonder city.” “I will go with you,” replied the angel; “I am a messenger from heaven, come to be your companion on the way.”

So they walked on together to the city. When they had entered, they begged for the love of God harbourage during the night, at the house of a certain soldier, who re*ceived them cheerfully and entertained them nobly. The soldier had an only and most dear son lying in the cradle. After supper, their bed-chamber was sumptuously adorned for them; and the angel and the hermit went to rest. But about the middle of the night the angel rose, and strangled the sleeping infant. The hermit, horror-struck at what he witnessed, said within himself, “Never can this be an angel of God. The good soldier gave us everything that was necessary; he had but this poor innocent, and he is strangled.” Yet he was afraid to reprove him.

In the morning both arose and went forward to another city, in which they were honourably entertained at the house of one of the inhabitants. This person had a rich gold cup, which he highly valued; and of which, during the night, the angel robbed him. But still the hermit held his peace, for great was his fear.

On the morrow they went forward; and as they walked they came to a certain river, over which was a bridge. They went on the bridge, and about midway a poor pilgrim met them. “My friend,” said the angel to him, “show us the way to yonder city.” The pilgrim turned, and pointed with his finger to the road they were to take; but as he turned the angel seized him by the shoulders, and hurled him into the Stream below. At this the terror of the hermit became greater. “It is the devil,” he said to himself; “it is the devil, and no good angel! What evil had the poor man done that he should be drowned?”

He would now have gladly gone alone; but was afraid to speak his mind. About the hour of vespers they came to a city, in which they again sought shelter for the night; but the master of the house where they applied sharply refused it. “For the love of heaven,” said the angel, “give us shelter, lest we fall prey to the wolves.” The man pointed to a sty. “That,” said he, “has pigs in it; if it please you to lie there you may, but to no other place will I admit you.” “If we can do no better,” said the angel, “we must accept your ungracious offer.” They did so; and next morning the angel calling their host, said, “My friend, I give you this cup;” and he gave him the gold cup he had stolen. The hermit, more and more amazed at what he saw, said to himself, “Now I am sure this is the devil. The good man who received us with all kindness he despoiled, and now he gives the plunder to this fellow who refused us a lodging.”

Turning therefore to the angel, he cried, “I will travel with you no more. I commend you to God.” “Dear friend,” the angel said, “first hear me, and then go thy way.”

“When thou wert in thy hermitage, the owner of the flock unjustly put to death his servant. True it is he died innocently, and therefore was in a fit state to enter another world. God permitted him to be slain, foreseeing, that if he lived he would commit a sin, and die before repentance followed. But the guilty man who stole the sheep will suffer eternally; while the owner of the flock will repair, by alms and good works, that which he ignorantly committed. As for the son of the hospitable soldier whom I strangled in the cradle, know, that before the boy was born he performed numerous works of charity and mercy; but afterwards grew parsimonious and covetous in order to enrich the child, of which he was inordinately fond. This was the cause of its death; and now its distressed parent is again become a devout Christian. Then for the cup which I purloined from him who received us so kindly, know, that before the cup was made, there was not a more abstemious person in the world; but afterwards he took such pleasure in it, and drank from it so often, that he was intoxicated twice or thrice during the day… I took away the cup, and he has returned to his former sobriety. Again I cast the pilgrim into the river; and know that he whom I drowned was a good Christian, but had he proceeded much further, he would have fallen into a mortal sin. Now he is saved, and reigns in celestial glory. Then, that I bestowed the cup upon the inhospitable citizen, know nothing is done with*out reason. He suffered us to occupy the swine-house and I gave him a valuable consideration. But he will hereafter reign in hell. Put a guard, therefore, on thy lips, and detract not from the Almighty. For He knoweth all things.”

The hermit, hearing this, fell at the feet of the angel and entreated pardon. He returned to his hermitage, and became a good and pious Christian.’

  • from the tales of the monks

#7

Thanks to all of you. Your posts were very helpful, I was not aware of the sources you cited.
It is sometimes hard to think of suffering as being something willed by God and yet to think of Him as a loving God. Yet when I care for my children, I have to punish them some times. God disciplines those He loves.
When God allows angels, they can try to knock some sense into us and punish evil doers.


#8

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.