Revealed Biblical Demonology
Many in the first four centuries of the Church, such as Lactantius and Augustine, wrote of the demons. This doctrine has fallen silent for nearly 1600 years except for a few obscure writers. With Adolph Hitler’s appearance and his known demonic influence the subject has received some attention by theologians. Paul Tillich, the liberal protestant German theologian, wrote of the demonic forces controlling modern history. It is most important to see what the Bible reveals about the demons and demonic forces.
We have seen that sin was originated in Satan (Ezekiel 28: 15). He is a king with a kingdom (Matthew 12:26) and a portion of that kingdom consists of demons (Matthew 12: 24). Scripture does not give us the exact origin of the demons. The New Testament tells of the angels who defected with Satan and “kept not their first estate” and “are reserved unto judgment of the great day” (II Peter 2: 4; Jude 1:6). Most competent conservative Bible teachers view the demons as the fallen angels. Some refer to them as disembodied spirits. This fall happened during Satan’s second domain, the Jeweled Garden of Eden. The Bible is vastly superior in its exposition of demonology compared to the superstitious exaggeration in the general population.
Demons do exist, because the Bible says they do. In the Old Testament they were the power behind the idols prohibited by God for the Israelites to worship. In Hebrew, the demons are called Shedhim (Deut. 32: 17; Psalm 106: 36-37) as well as Seirim (Lev. 17:7; II Chron. 11: 15; Isaiah 13:21; 34: 14).
The New Testament scripture has much to say about the demons:
• They exist (James 2: 19; Revelation 9:20).
• They know who Jesus is (Luke 4: 41).
• They cannot disobey Jesus’ commands (Matt 12:29).
• They are organized under Satan (Matt 12:26; Ephesians 6:12).
• They know their rulers (Luke 8:31; Rev 9”11).
• They are characterized as foul, unclean spirits (Luke 4:33; 6:18; Rev 18:2).
• They are deceitful and perform miracles through unsaved human beings (1 Tim 4:1; Rev 16:14).
• They can possess humans (Mark 1:32).
• They are cast out of humans by Jesus and his disciples (Matt 15:22, 28; Luke 9:1, 42; 10:17).
• They can be rebuked (Mark 5:8).
• They know their final doom (Matt 25:41).
• They are served by the unsaved (1 Corinthians 10:20).
• They cannot be served by those that are in Christ (1 Corinthians 10:21).
The demons have keen and supernatural knowledge. It is not as powerful as God’s holy knowledge or our saving knowledge. They are confirmed in evil, never seek forgiveness and never plead for purity. They know that Jesus is the Lord of the spirit-world but don’t have a trust in Him or submit to Him. They worship Christ but not in adoration or joy in Holy Communion. They bend to His will in resentment and hate. They, like Satan, have limited knowledge and ceaselessly attempt to thwart God’s plans and purposes. They are depraved and completely morally corrupt. These evil beings have a desire to corrupt and are frequently called unclean in the Bible (Matthew 10:1; Mark 1: 27; 3: 11; Luke 4: 36; Acts 8:7; Revelation 16: 13).
Where are the demons today? It is an impetuous conclusion to say that there are no demons active today; much has been written about demonic possession. Many cases of demonic activity up to and including possession (I Peter 5:8) have been validated. Satan walks about like a lion seeking whom he may devour, Peter tells us to be sober and vigilant. Paul tells us that Satan is like an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11: 14). These two revealed characteristics of Satan are important for us to consider and both of these apostles want us to “be aware”. Satan and his demons will masquerade as an angel of light to deceive us into sin so he can devour us. Satan and his demons are adeptly deceptive through out the various ages of human history from the beginning of the Church.
In the primitive societies the Devil can move about openly as a roaring lion.
Missionaries within these societies report much open demonic activity and possession. Only unbelievers can be possessed. In nominally Christian polite society, Satan has to deceive people to turn away from God in order to achieve his goals. The general population of regions of the world have standards of living that are based on Biblical standards. This drives the demons into using tools of deception. Some of the deceptions are:
- Rejecting supernaturalism altogether.
- Rejecting the authority of God’s Word.
- Giving rise to rational thought instead of revealed truth.
- Causing people to be unaware of the origin of their thoughts.
- Causing people to think that no disease has a direct demonic cause.
- Causing people to think that some sins are really “not so bad”.
- Corrupting doctrinal integrity of the Scriptures so some parts of Scripture are thought of as more important that others.
- Causing the belief that magic is harmless (not sleight of hand).
- Causing a belief that paganism is harmless in its three root forms; magic, divination (seeking fortune tellers) and necromancy (seeking communication with the dead).
- Corrupting the Hebrew Mazzeroth (God’s message in the star constellations of Christ and the Gospel) with astrology.
- Causing myth to come into Christianity replacing truth.
- Causing a belief that all religions are equal, whatever the doctrine.
- Causing schisms in Christian fellowship over doctrine.
- Bringing deception in world governments controlled by wicked ruler and dictators to renounce Christianity and provide a channel for the demons to have a great effect on large numbers of people.