The Bible amply confirms the existence of demons. It is part of the experience of all people and an undeniable reality. When Satan fell, he took with him a part of the angelic host, possessing today a highly organized army with the most varied levels of power.
A great part of the ministry of Jesus was devoted to the expulsion of demons (Matthew 12:22-29; 15:22-28; Mark 5:1-16). He gave authority to the disciples to do the same thing (Matthew 10:1) and saw their victory over Satan (Luke 10:17, 18). He spoke in private with the disciples about the power and the reality of demons (Matthew 17:14-20). It is clear that their existence is a fact and we must know how to deal with them.
NAMES OF DEMONS IN THE BIBLE
In the Old Testament
Five Hebrew words are translated into the Greek for Demon (daimonion).
a. Shedhim (Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalms 106:37) a plural form, governor’s day or lord’s day Refers to idols as lords, since the Hebrews considered images as visible symbols of invisible demons.
b. Seirim (Leviticus 17:7; 2 Chronicles 11:15)
c. Elilim (Psalm 96:5) this passage identifies demons as idols.
d. Gad (Isaiah 65:11) the god of fortune, a demon that was worshiped in Babylon. This idol worship was called Baal or Bel worship.
e. Qeter (Psalm 91:6) “death” (qeter) he who attacks at midday, understood as being an evil spirit
In the New Testament
a. Daimon (Matthew 8:31) – the word demon is a derivative of this word.
b. Daimonion – translated as demon 63 times in the New Testament
c. Pneumata – demons are identified as “pneuma” or “pneumata (spirit) 43 times. The context shows that these spirits were demons.
d. Angels (Matthew 12:24; Matthew 25:41)
Demons are subjects of Satan and helpers in his program of opposition to God and His people. Expelled from heaven with Satan, the second heaven is where they abide. Their conflict is against the elect angels in the heavenly regions.
THE ORIGIN OF DEMONS
All of the angels were created perfect just as Lucifer was (Job 38:7; Ezekiel 28:15). In the original rebellion of Satan, he took a great number of angels with him (Ezekiel 28:18; Revelation 12:4). Therefore, we read of the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41).
Two classes of angels followed Satan: free and bound. As far as the bound goes, they are in two confirmed places:
In Tartarus – translated “hell” in 2 Peter 2:4 apparently, they are confined until the day of the final judgment of angels, because of some terrible sin and not only because of their rebellion with Satan.•In the abyss (Luke 8:31; Revelation 9:1-10) some of the demons that Christ expelled were sent there (Mark 9:25).
A DESCRIPTION OF DEMONS
Demons are spiritual beings with personality. They use personal pronouns (Luke 8:27-30), have names (Luke 8:30): speak (Luke 4:33-35; 41; 8:28, 30), are intelligent (Mark 1:23, 24; Luke 4:34; Acts 16:16, 17), they have emotion (Luke 8:28; James 2:19) and a will (Luke 8:32; Mark 1:27; Luke 4:35, 36).
Some characteristics are specific to these beings. We shall look at three characteristics:
Demons and angels are called “spirits” (Matthew 8:16; Luke 10:17; 20: Ephesians 6:12) and will not cease to exist (Luke 20:36).
a. In their personality – they are perverted and operate in moral darkness (Ephesians 6:12) they are called “filthy spirits” (Matthew 10:1; Mark 1:23; Luke 11:24) or “evil spirits” (Luke 7:21), or even “spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12). Some are worse than others (Matthew 12:45).
b. In their doctrine – they promote a system of lies (1 Timothy 4:1-3). They operate in false teachers and their evil character manifests itself (2 Timothy 3:6, 8; 2 Peter 2:2, 3; 10; 13; 18). Filthy spirits promote filthy teaching and perverse teachers.
c. In their conduct – they introduce false disciples and confusion (Matthew 13:37-42) and transform themselves into angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:13 –15).
Invisible but capable of manifestation
Just as angels manifest themselves (Genesis 19:15), demons do also. There are references of Satan manifesting himself (Genesis 3:1; Zechariah 3:1; Matthew 4:9, 10). It is possible therefore, that demons can also appear in human form. The Bible describes their appearances in frightful forms, like animals (Revelation 9:7-10; 17; 16:13-16).
THE POWERS OF DEMONS
They know about Christ (Mark 1:14; 34) and His great power (Mark 5:6, 7). They know the place of their prison and their future judgment (Matthew 8:28, 29; Luke 8:31).
They disguise themselves as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:13-15). They know how to corrupt biblical doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1-3). Evidently they have knowledge of future or hidden things (Acts 16:16).
Demons are creatures of superior nature with a vast experience of thousands of years of gathering information as their source of knowledge. They use all of their intelligence against God and His purposes. However, their knowledge is limited and God frustrates their plans.
- To control man (Acts 19:14-16; Mark 5:1-4; Matthew 17:14-20).
- To afflict man (Revelation 9:1-19)
- To practice supernatural works (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13; 50) they try to imitate the miracles of God but there are limits as in the case of the Egyptian magicians (Exodus 8:5-7, 19).
Just as angels move through space rapidly, demons also can do so. (Daniel 9:21–23; 10:10–14). Since there are many demons this satanic influence can be felt in many places at the same time.