SS-1 - A Study of Demons
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"You believe there is one God, you do well even the demons believe and tremble,"
Welcome to our study of demons, in this series of lessons entitled a Special
Study Series. We're going to be looking at a host of different subjects that are, maybe,
rather unique ones that we don't hear as much about. We will look at subjects some
may be curious about. What does the Bible say on this very unique subject?
Today we think about a very unique topic: demons. What you know about
demons? We read about them in both the Old and the New Testament. Do they exist
today? Do I need to live in fear of, of demon possession today or, or some demons
taking control of my body? Were they real in the Bible? Are they real now? What is the
exact nature and purpose of demons in the Scripture?
Demons have become very popular in Hollywood and in publishing houses
today. There's a host of movies that have been written about demons and demon
possession. In the movie Poltergeist, the little girl is standing in front of the TV with her
hands on it, and something's going to come out of the TV and possess her. In movies
like The Exorcist, the idea is, someone casting out demons out of people. Maybe you've
seen movies like Insidious or The Conjuring that are all based on the idea of demon
possession. It is indeed a very popular subject and topic for Christians to think about
In fact, in the Christian world and the religious world, this idea of demon
possession and exorcism has also become extremely popular. Multiplicities of books
have been written about this subject. For example some have written books with titles
like How Christians Cast Out Demons Today, Demon Proofing Your Prayers, How to
Cast Out Demons, or even Exorcism for Dummy's.
What does the Bible really teach about demons? This has become popular
because of Catholic ideas that priests or certain people can exorcise demons. There are
even documentaries about that. Please don't focus on what books say, what movies
say, or what some religious group may think. Turn your attention to the Word of God.
What does the Bible actually say about demons in Scripture? There are four mentions
of demons in the Old Testament. The Scripture says, "They shall no more offer their
sacrifices to demons, after whom they've played the harlot. This should be a statute
forever for them throughout their generations," Leviticus 17:7. What did God say about
demons in the Old Testament? God said no longer are my people going to offer
sacrifices, give their children to, or worship demons. God had seen that happen and
didn't like it. Another passage, in the Old Testament says, "They sacrificed to demons,
not to God, to gods they did not know, to new gods, new arrivals that your fathers did
not fear," Deuteronomy 32:17. There are two other references to demons in the Old
Testament they're mentioned in 2 Chronicles 11:15 and Psalm 106:37.
In the Old Testament not much is said about demons, but there's a stark contrast
when you come to the New Testament. The New Testament has a lot to say about
demons and demon possession. In fact, compared to the four references in the Old
Testament demons are mentioned at least sixty-five times in the New Testament.
Fifty-five out of those sixty-five references are in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. What
then do I learn from that fact? Demons were directly linked to the ministry and life of
Jesus Christ. Why did demons exist? What was their purpose? Well we know they're of
Satan, we know that they know who God and Jesus are. God allowed that to happen so
that he could show the power of His Son, Jesus Christ over Satan and the evil world.
Jesus went around and cast out demons with just a word, did not that show His power
over Satan and his workers in the first century?
If demons did exist, where did they come from? What's their origin? How did they
come to exist? There have been various ideas throughout history on the origin of
demons. For example, in the writings of Enoch, an apocryphal writing after the first
century, he believed that demons were fallen angels, 2 Peter 2:4. Jude 1:6 teaches that
some angels left the proper domain and have been reserved in chains of darkness for
the judgment day. That was Enoch's belief, although we don't necessarily find that in
Scripture. Josephus and many Greeks living believed they were spirits of evil men. In
fact, Justin Martyr would go as far as to say they were the offspring of angels and men.
That's all man's idea, but in truth all we know is that they are created beings. Demons
were under the control and power of God. They're not eternal like God, they are workers
of Satan. They are definitely under the authority, power, and control of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. That would be the limit of knowledge has about demons and their
origin in the Scripture. Anything more than that is simply conjecture on the subject.
What do I know about demons and their nature and how that related to people in
the New Testament time? I know that demons possess the power of speech. In Mark 5
and cases like Luke 4:33-37. Jesus came to the man who had the legion of demons in
him, He said to him, "What is your name?" And the demon responds and says, "We are
Legion, is our name, for we are many," Mark 5:9. So demons had some ability to speak
through human hosts.
Demons had some type of cognitive ability, an ability to think and recognize who
Jesus was. The Scripture records, "When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before
Him with a loud voice, and said, 'What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most
High God? I beg you do not torment me!" Luke 8:28. Multiple times, we will see that the
demons recognized Jesus they, they know His power and they are fearful of who He is
the very Son of God. They have some type of cognitive ability, to think and rationalize
and realize who the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is.
Demons had a faith, but it was a damning and destructive faith, not a saving
faith. James says, "You believe there is one God. You do well. Even the demons
believe and tremble," James 2:19. Demons had a faith, not a saving faith, not a biblical
faith that's approved by God, but they had a demonic faith. A faith that just recognized
the fact. A faith that was belief alone and a faith that never acted out the way God
wanted it to. They could believe, but belief alone didn't save them. We're talking about
demons, there's a point here. A lot of people say all you have to do to be saved is
believe in Jesus. If that is the case, the according to James 2:19, all the demons in hell
ought to be saved. What will faith alone get you? It would get you a front row seat in the
halls of hell, right next all the demons. That's all it will get you, if all I do is believe and I
never live, follow, obey the teaching of Christ all I have is a demonic type of faith.
Demons had the ability, in the New Testament to possess people. For example,
the Bible says, "At evening, when the sun had set, they brought, to Jesus or, to Him all
who were sick and those who were demon-possessed," Mark 1:32. Again, we learn
from Mark 5, the example of Legion, he had a host of demons possessing him. God
gave demons the power to possess. Demon possession existed for the purpose of
Jesus showing his power over demons and showing that through Christ men and
women can be free from Satan.
There are certain doctrines that are labeled as demonic. 1 Timothy 4:1 says,
"The Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, teaching
deceiving doctrines and doctrines of demons having deceiving spirits and doctrines of
demons." The Bible likens some doctrines to a demonic nature. They are wholly of
Satan, they are evil, they're ungodly, they don't access the truth at all, and they will only
result in people being lost. Doctrines and teachings that do not bring Christ and His
teaching to the front are only doctrines of Satan and his cohorts.
In the Bible that demons were very aggressive, actively trying to seek out people
to possess. Demons weren't nonchalant or relaxed. Demons in the Bible were very
aggressive and active in trying to possess someone. For example, the Bible says,
"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest,
and finds none. Then he says, 'I'll return to my house from which I came.' When he
comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him
seven other spirits more wicked than himself, they enter and dwell there; and the last
state of that man is worse than the first. So it shall be with this wicked generation,"
Matthew 12:43-45. Jesus is describing the aggressive nature of evil, sin, and
wickedness; and he uses demons in this illustration. If they're cast out they go looking
and searching. In the New Testament demons were very aggressive in trying to find
someone or something to possess.
Demon possession was defined in the Bible as torment. "He came down with
them stood on level place with a crowd of His disciples," verse 17, "a great multitude of
people came from all Judea and Jerusalem, from the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who
came to hear him and be healed of their diseases, as well as those who were tormented
with unclean spirits. And they were all healed," Luke 6:17-18. The Bible defines this type
of torment; again we use the man known as Legion, the demoniac. What was his state
when he was possessed by all those demon? You can't imagine more torment than this.
He lived in the graves, the tombs, and the mountains. He ran around naked according
to Luke 8. He often cut himself with sharp rocks and cried out, but no one could bind
him with chains or shackles. Every time they tried he would break the chains and
shackles. Alone living in the graveyard, harming himself, and could not be contained.
Can you imagine more torment than that type of lifestyle?
Another example of demons and their aggressive, torment is found in the book of
Acts. Acts 19:13, there are some Jews, who they believe are exorcists, and these men
try to cast out a demon. They tried to do so using the Jesus or Paul or some other of the
apostles. They implore them by that to come out, and the demon actually attacks them.
They leave that, they cast their clothes off, and they're naked and harms them. Demons
even had the power to attack certain people in the first century.
When someone was demon possessed in the New Testament he was completely
possessed. The Bible says, "Now in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of
an unclean demon. And he cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Let us alone! What have
we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did you come to destroy us? I know who You
are-the Holy One of God!" Luke 4:33-34. This man is in the synagogue, the demon is
overpowering him, and he addresses Jesus. You have the complete possession of the
individual at times by demons.
In the Bible sickness is also associated with demon possession. For example,
the man who was described as a maniac in Matthew 8:28 was demon possessed. The
one who had epilepsy, the demons would cast him into the fire, he would have seizures.
Matthew 17:15 is something like unto epilepsy. The man who was mute in Matthew 9:32
that was related in some ways to the demon possession that was in his body.
A person can actually be possessed by more than one demon at once. Legion,
we don't know the exact number, but the word Legion is a Roman military group of
anywhere from 2000 to 3000 people. They were cast out into 2000 or a multitude of
pigs. There's an example of more than one. Mary Magdalene had seven demons at one
time, Luke 8:2, seven worse came back after the house was cleaned, and that one left
in Luke 11:26.
Why did the demons exist? Realize that Jesus was the master of all demons, and
that His power was exhibited in a marvelous way, over Satan and all the workers of evil
as he cast out certain demons. Jesus indeed was the master exorcist he cast out
demons in various occasions, in a multitude of various ways. For example, Jesus cast
out demons with only a word, Matthew 8:16. In Matthew 12:28, Jesus cast them out by
prayer. Jesus even at one time cast them in the swine, and those swine ran violently
down the hill into the ocean and there drowned in Mark 5. When we think about Biblical
exorcism, one of the things we realize is this was an event that occurred in the first
century, but not everybody could do it. Some couldn't cast out demons, the seven sons
of Sceva, Acts 19:13, they tried it and they were left hurt and naked in that situation.
Jesus gave that power to his followers in the New Testament, in Matthew 10:8, when he
sent out his workers, he gave certain ones the power, as well to cast out demons. Even
though they had that power, Jesus spoke to them in Matthew 17:21, when they
wondered why they couldn't cast out one Jesus taught them, some demons were
indeed harder to get out.
Do demons exist today? Do I need to and do you need to live in fear of demon
possession? Do I need to sit home at night worry that some demon is going to come
and possess my body? The good news is that the Bible clearly teaches demon
possession has ended. Demons are no longer a threat to you. You can be sure that that
is not going to occur to you. How can we be sure? Because the Bible explicitly teaches
that was a first century phenomenon. "In that day a fountain shall be opened for the
house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanliness,"
Zechariah 13:1. This is a prophetic statement about the New Testament age, about that
that fountain being opened for sin and uncleanness, John 19:34, when they pierced the
side of Jesus forth with came blood and water. What is this time period? It's the time
period of the sacrifice, death, and offering of Jesus for sin.
So we're talking about the first century. Now, let's follow with that context, "'It
shall be in that day says the Lord of hosts, 'that I will cut off the names of idols from the
land, they show no longer be remembered. I will also cause the prophets, and the
unclean spirit to depart from the land,'" Zechariah 13:2. During the time of Christ, during
the time of the first century, here's what's going to happen, there was going to be that
fountain opened. In Acts 2, Peter stands up with the eleven; they proclaim the sacrifice,
death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Men and women respond to that and for the
very first time they are told repent and be baptized, for the forgiveness of sins. That
fountain was opened. What else was going to happen during that timeframe? Idols were
cut off from the land. History records that after the Babylonian exile, after the exiles
Jews no longer worshiped idols. Prophets were going to be cut off, 1 Corinthians
13:8-10. Prophecy, miraculous knowledge, and the miracles were going to cease.
Notice this, "and the unclean spirits will depart from the land."
What do we know about demon possession? In Zechariah 13 we learn demon
possession was only a first century phenomenon, to show the power of Christ. It was to
show who he was, what he could do, and that he was greater than Satan and all the
demons. The Bible says during the first century, unclean spirits or demons were going
depart from the land. The Bible showed Christ's power through demons, and the Bible
prophesied that demons and demon possession would come to an end.
These are the conclusions that we can draw today; this was simply a New
Testament event. The demons existed to show Christ's power over Satan and his
greatest workers. Jesus himself was the master exorcist and had power over all
demons. Demon possession has ended today. We don't have to sit at home and worry
and wonder if some demon is going to possess me. I don't attribute things that might
happen today to demons, simply because the Bible says they were going to depart
during the first century. We hope that this study has been encouraging and helpful in
gaining both knowledge and confidence in Christ. Here's the main lesson we take away,
Satan's greatest workers did much harm in the New Testament, but Jesus triumphed
over every one of them. Jesus is greater than Satan, and the Bible says, "He who is in
You, Christ, is greater than he who is in the world." Let's put our trust in the Bible, let's
put our trust in Jesus, and let's know that ultimately if I'm faithful to Christ on that last
day, we will have the victory.
Study Questions for: “Special Studies: A Study of Demons”
1. According to James 2:19, do demons believe in God?
2. Did the demon have the ability to speak in Mark 5:9?
3. In Luke 8:28, did the demons recognize Jesus?
4. According to Mark 1:32, could demons possess people in the First
5. How does the Bible define demon possession in Luke 6:17-18?
6. What were some of the ways the demon was tormented in Luke 8?
7. According to Luke 8:2, how many demons did Mary Magdalene have?
8. How did Jesus cast out the demons in Matthew 8:16? In Matthew 12:28?
9. In Matthew 10:8, what power did Jesus give his followers?
10. What does the Bible say about what time period demon possession
took place in Zechariah 13?