How much do you know about demons and what the Bible says about them? As we continue our Spiritual Soldier Series on spiritual warfare we have spent a few battlefield trainings on Satan. Now we turn to talk about demons and their part in the spiritual realm.
The war that happened in heaven between Satan and Michael, one of God’s archangels, split up the angels into two groups. Angels loyal to God remained at two thirds of the whole while two thirds became fallen angels, demons loyal to Satan (Revelation 12:4, 9).
But what else does the Bible tell us about demons? Here are 6 truths about demons that will help you in your battle against evil spiritual forces in the spiritual realm. Let’s dive in!
- Demons masquerade as idols.
You may not realize this, but the idols people worship, the false gods of other religions, are actually demons. Paul implies that idols are demons (1 Corinthians 10:19-22). He may be taking his cue from Deuteronomy 32:17.
Scripture reveals to us that what we think are idols, the gods of the nations and other religions, are really demons or demons take the place of the ideas of these gods. Deuteronomy 32:17 clearly states as Moses reminds the second generation of Israelites about the follies of their fathers in the wilderness that they sacrificed to demons, unknown gods, and new gods.
All of these are idols. Whether they knowingly sacrificed to demons or not, there is clear in France from Moses and Paul that if the people didn’t know they were sacrificing to demons, they were. At the very least, these demons take the place of what people thought were idols.
Throughout the Old and New Testaments many gods were worshiped. These gods were worshiped for fertility, wealth and prosperity, protection from enemies, controlling nature, and whatever else people desired to do.
They looked to false and powerless gods to do what only God can do. Demons may suggest they have authority and ability to do what God does, but anything they do is by His permission. Instead of appealing to evil demons for what we need we must appeal to God Himself. Appealing to lesser beings, God’s enemies, makes us God’s enemies ourselves.
- Demons cannot possess Christians.
Several places in Scripture assure us of God’s protection of His saints against evil spiritual forces of all kinds. Many Christians ask questions about demon possession and whether they are safe. One place we can immediately turn to is 1 John 4:4. It states that the Holy Spirit dwelling in Christians is greater than the devil and his demons in the world.
You cannot have both the Holy Spirit and a demon dwelling in you at the same time. A person cannot bless Jesus and blessed demons at the same time (James 3:10).
Everyone who becomes a Christian is sealed with the Holy Spirit as salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). We become temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Since the Holy Spirit dwells in us no other spirit of any kind can dwell in the same space.
Demons tremble at the very thought of God (James 2:29). When you resist the devil he must flee from you (James 4:7). Demons cannot be around the presence of God. They cannot stand against Him. You belong to Jesus, not to demons or the devil.
If demons were allowed to possess Christians it would place great strain on the peace we have in Christ. Demonic possession could have happened before we met Jesus. But the word used for salvation Jesus gives includes saving the soul, healing the body, and deliverance from demonic spirits (Greek sozo). For example, Mary Magdalene was delivered from seven demons and there is no indication that they returned as she served Christ.
- Demonic possession/oppression is real.
While demons cannot possess Christians they can possess and oppress other people. The New Testament shows throughout the Gospels and Acts that people can be possessed and oppressed by demons. One of the larger parts of Jesus’ ministry was deliverance from evil spirits.
Though demons cannot hurt Christians we must not think they don’t exist or allow them to do what they want. Anytime Jesus and the apostles encountered demons they cast them out. We will talk about exorcism of demons in another battlefield training.
Be prepared to resist demons for the sake of others. You are off-limits but everyone around you who is not a Christian is in danger. It seems that demons need something to possess. After a legion of them are removed from one person they are cast into pigs and rushed on the mountainside into water to drown (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39).
Since demons cannot inhabit Christians we fight for the sake of others. The people around us are part of the darkness in this world and serve their master Satan. They want to hurt others and cause confusion. But we bring the light of Jesus’ Kingdom into this dark world.
- Demons have dangerous spiritual power.
Demons are real and they have real power to hurt people. You must stand on your authority and relationship with Christ. Any power a demon has is less then like you have. Greater is He who is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).
I quote this verse often as we talk about Satan and demons because Jesus has given you authority over demons because He dwells in you. Jesus also gave His disciples authority over spiritual powers when he sent them out in ministry (Luke 10:17). We will also talk about the authority of the believer in spiritual warfare later in our trainings.
Our power over demons comes from Jesus. We must have a vibrant relationship with Him or we can do nothing (John 15:5). The seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:13-16) found this out firsthand. They went around casting out demons, “In the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
But since they didn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus and referred to Paul, the demons responded that they know Jesus and Paul but they don’t know these seven people. The demons sent them out naked and bleeding.
Don’t overestimate the power of demons. You have authority over them. But don’t underestimate their power either. Grow deeper in your relationship with Jesus every day and be prepared to face demons for God’s Kingdom.
- Demons can affect the physical world.
When Jesus came against demons in the Gospels He often encountered physical phenomena the demons were causing in people. This didn’t happen as Jesus cast them out. It was something that demons were causing in those who were captive to them before they met Jesus.
Demons threw people in fires, caused blindness, deafness and muteness, and other infirmities. Not every infirmity is caused by a demon. The Bible clearly points out that demon possession was behind these infirmities. We should not suspect that every infirmity has a demon behind it.
Every time a demon causes physical effects they are to hold captive and abuse people. There are no nice demons that are possessing a person kindly. My experience has been that everyone I have seen demon possessed was not happy to have demon dwelling in them. They wanted Jesus’ deliverance and freedom.
Do not be surprised when you encounter physical phenomena in demon possession. Don’t give it too much attention. Demons love to see you paying attention to the strange things they are doing to people.
Just be aware that it’s possible there is physical phenomena attached to demon possession. You may be performing healing as much as deliverance because Jesus’ power is absolute. He doesn’t just take care of one part of the whole person. He saves, heals, and delivers.
- You must stand against demons with authority.
Demons cannot stand against Jesus. The Holy Spirit sets people free from demonic influence of any kind. When the Holy Spirit dwells in a person no demon can share that same person’s space.
Exorcism is a powerful tool against demons. You carry God’s presence with you and need not be concerned about demon possession. Spiritual warfare gives you the ability to take that route from the enemy in other people.
But remember that Jesus taught that a person who is freed from evil spirits cannot just go free without being open to more spirits coming in (Luke 11:24-26). Exorcising demons is only the first step. Evangelism must follow so that a person remains free from demonic influence.
We advance the Kingdom of God by remaining vigilant against demons. I have mentioned before The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis because I believe it is a powerful example of how demons can influence unbelievers.
While demons cannot possess Christians they still attempt to affect their lives. A Christian can be open to the voices of demons. Your strongest defense against demonic influence is to only listen to God’s voice and stand on your authority in Christ.
We have looked at some truths about demons so you are prepared to face them on the spiritual battlefield. You now know these truths and they cannot lie to you. They cannot stand against you because you are a child of God and a soldier for Christ.
Don’t let the enemy, demons included, have any ground. You don’t have to be defensive about demons. Go on the offense and take the fight to the demons. What are some other truths you find in the Bible about demons that help to fight them in this world?
Next in our battlefield training as Spiritual Soldiers for Jesus we will talk about the evil spiritual forces that are against you. The Bible mentions them and so they are part of the conversation we need to have to be prepared to do spiritual warfare.