Satan (Lucifer, the Devil) wasn’t the only angel who once rebelled against God. Revelation 12:3-4 uses symbolic imagery to tell us that one-third of all the angels aligned themselves with Satan during that rebellion. Those verses depict Satan as a great, fiery red dragon whose tail swept up a third of the stars of heaven. According to the symbolism, those stars were other angels.
The good news is that one-third is a minority. This means that no matter how much damage Satan and his fellow fallen angels do, they will always be outnumbered by God’s unfallen angels. But this raises the question: If God’s angels have Satan’s angels outnumbered, why is the world so messed up spiritually and morally? The answer is: Even though God’s angels outnumber Satan’s angels, Satan’s children outnumber God’s children by a wide margin.
Yes, the Bible really does describe lost unbelievers as being Satan’s children (Matthew 13:38; John 8:44; Acts 13:10; 1 John 3:10). The notion that “we are all God’s children” might be a heartwarming one, but it is flatly contradictory to scripture. Actually, in light of what Jesus said about few people finding the narrow gate that leads to heaven (Matthew 7:13-14), it’s a marvel that the world isn’t even more of a moral wasteland. That must surely be a testament to just how much salt and light us Christians really are (Matthew 5:13-16).
Of course, we could be even more salt and light if a great many of us weren’t backslidden, rebellious, immature, and undiscerning. Sadly, such Christians oftentimes do more of Satan’s bidding than God’s bidding. Imagine two armies, Satan’s army and God’s army, engaged in warfare. Satan’s army is vastly superior in sheer numbers to God’s army, but the situation is made even worse by the fact that a sizable percentage of God’s army helps carry out the battleplans of Satan’s army. Welcome to our modern world.
Getting back to God’s unfallen angels, even they don’t get to do their work unencumbered by Satan’s fallen angels. One of the Bible’s proof passages on this is Daniel chapter 10. There, we read how for 21 days a powerful fallen angel called “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” withstood one of God’s angels and kept that angel from delivering a message to Daniel. Only when Michael, God’s archangel, joined the angelic fight was God’s angel able to get the message through to Daniel.
So now let’s put all this information into the blender. First, one-third of all the angels now align themselves with Satan and do his bidding. Second, that minority group of angels aren’t about to let God’s majority group of angels do God’s work without resistance. Third, the number of lost people (children of Satan) worldwide is disproportionately high to the number of saved people (children of God). Fourth, even a sizable percentage of the saved children of God aren’t submitted enough, obedient enough, mature enough, and discerning enough to really do God’s work rather than Satan’s work. You see, by blending these four pieces of information together, we concoct the lethal cocktail that has created the global status quo. And while I realize that none of this is very comforting, it at least provides us with an explanation for why the world is like it is.