Throughout the Bible, there are many references to Satan’s rebellion against God. Known by various names including the devil, Lucifer, and the great dragon, Satan’s rebellious acts led to his expulsion from heaven. And he did not fall alone – he fell with a group of angels who had joined him in his revolt. So, how many fallen angels are there?
The Bible does not explicitly say how many fallen angels there are. Even though Revelation 12:4 insinuates that a third of the angels fell, the exact number is impossible to estimate because we don’t know how many angels were in heaven, to begin with.
What Is the Number of Created Angels?
Before we can attempt to understand the number of fallen angels, it’d help to find out the number of angels that God created. While the Bible gives no specific number, it shows us that a vast number was created. One clue about the possible number of angles who attend to God (and are, therefore, included in the number of created angels) is available in Daniel 7: 10 which says:
A river of fire was flowing, coming out from him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
While Daniel’s vision cannot be assumed to give us a specific number, the idea it conveys is that the number of angels who serve God is immense. Yet, this huge number excludes the angels who were cast away from heaven.
Another indicator of the enormity of the number of angels who serve God is found in Hebrews 12:22
But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly.
Perhaps the best account that shows us how huge the number of angles is Revelation 5:12. The verse says: Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand.
Even without going into the mathematical implications of John’s vision here, it would not be too far-fetched to imagine that the number of angels that John saw could be in the millions, billions, or even more.
The accounts from Daniel, Hebrews, and Revelation all work to confirm one thing – that the number of angels who serve God is indeed vast and almost innumerable.
What Is the Possible Number of Fallen Angels?
To appreciate the possible number of fallen angels, we need to go back to the origin and reasons for Lucifer’s rebellion and his subsequent expulsion from heaven. One of the best records about this fall is found in Isaiah 14. Isaiah 14:12 confirms the expulsion of Lucifer by stating:
How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
Isaiah 14:13 gives us the reason for Satan’s expulsion by stating: You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
Lucifer did not fall alone. He was cast away together with other angels who had joined him in the rebellion. Out of the created angels, how many could have fallen?
Revelation 12:3-4 gives us an indication of the possible number of fallen angels.
3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on it heads.
4 It swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.
As we noted earlier, the number of angels who serve God is vast and innumerable. Revelation 12-4 (above) teaches us that one-third of all the angels (represented by the stars), together with Lucifer, their leader, were chased away from heaven.
Now, from the preceding scriptures, we know that the number of angels who faithfully serve God could amount to millions or billions. Considering that the good angels represent two-thirds of all angels, it’s safe to assume that the number of fallen angels could also be in the millions or billions. However, there is no way to know the answer for sure.
Angels Are Numbered in Legions
In Mark 5: 9, Jesus heals a man possessed of an unclean spirit. When Jesus orders the spirit to come out of the man and asks the spirit its name, it answers: My name is legion: for we are many.
According to Renner, legion was a word used by the Roman army and it stood for a group of at least 6,000 soldiers. This should make us wonder – if a multitude of 6,000 or more demons could possess one man, how many more demons are out there in the world?
The fact that the number of angels, both fallen and good, is great is further exemplified when Jesus is captured just before he’s crucified. In Mathew 26:53, Jesus is being arrested and one of his companions tries to defend him by drawing a sword. Jesus admonishes the would-be defender and after ordering him to put away the sword says:
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
Going by Renner’s statement that a legion has a minimum of 6,000 soldiers, Jesus is hereby telling us that more than 72,000 angels could be put at his service. Even if Jesus is the Son of God, the fact that God can employ so many angels for his defense is further proof that the number of angels doing God’s work is vast.
That there are many legions of good angels gets further confirmation from the teachings of Christ. When teaching about how highly esteemed children are in the eyes of God, Jesus says in Mathew 18:10
See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.
Is it possible then that every child has one or several angels watching over them? Even if there was one angel per child in the world, the number of angels watching over children would be astounding.
According to the World Population Review, the number of children in the world in 2023 is estimated to be two billion. Should one angel guard every child, the number of guardian angels would be around two billion. Since the number of fallen angels is only one-third lower, it’d also put the number of fallen angels above the one billion mark.
In conclusion, it’s impossible to tell the exact number of fallen angels. What various scriptures confirm is that fallen angels, which is a name that includes demons and evil spirits, are innumerable. Despite their great number, however, fallen angels are greatly outnumbered by good angels and this should be comforting for Christians. Since two-thirds of all angels are still working to do God’s bidding and protect His people, the believer has no reason to fear the evil angels. As God says to Moses in part of Exodus 32: 34 “lead the people to the place I spoke of, and my angel will go before you.”