We’re still talking demons.
Last time we talked about the Sons of God and Nephilim from Gen. 6. It’s a necessary topic because we tried to show how the Sons of God were fallen angels, and therefore, demons.
Today we finish the topic.
We’ve talked about their existence in the bible.
We talked about the terms that the Bible uses to speak about demons.
We also talked about the various theories on the identity of demons.
Today, we’ll talk about demon activity, expulsion, and their final destiny.
Activities of Demons:
Generally, they extend Satan’s power. (Eph. 6:11-12)
“Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Specifically, they may:
-- Promote idolatry (1Cor. 10:14, 19-21).
Illustrations of this would be:
Their probable association with the occult.
-- In the OT: 2 Kings 23:24, 2Chron. 33:5-7 (Evil king Mannassah did divination, omen reading, and sorcery).
-- In the NT: The slave-girl who was bringing her master much profit via fotuntelling (Acts 16:16). She is said to have a “spirit of divination.”
In 1 Tim. 4:1:
Paul warns that some will fall away from the faith, “Paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.”
Obviously, false worship is a way in which idolatry takes place, but the means of that idolatry is the false teaching that has resulted from the work of demons.
In Rev. 9:20:
It reveals that part of mankind will be given over to the worship of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood (i.e., material stuff).
But it also talks about how many will be given over to the worship of demons.
-- Cause mental disorders (Mk. 5:15; Lk. 9:39).
Great care needs to be taken here to not assume that all mental problems are demonically caused.
It may be the case, but in any event, there’s no objective way to know. So there’s not much value in trying to discern.
-- Cause physical infirmities (Matt. 9:32-33 (mute), 17:14-18; Lk. 13:11-16).
-- Circulate false doctrine (1Kings 22:19-23; 1Tim. 4:1).
-- Work signs and miracles (Rev. 16:14).
-- Impart superhuman strength (Mk. 5:2-4).
-- Exercise influence in human governments (Dan. 10; Eph. 6:12).
*Note: It’s important to understand there is no actual biblical word for “possession.”
-- Daimonizomai, “dimonized” (Matt. 4:24; Mk. 1:32; Lk. 8:36; Jn. 10:21).
The combination of echo and daimonion, “to have, possess a demon” (Matt. 11:18; Lk. 4:33; Jn. 7:20).
-- Ochleomai and enochleomai, “to trouble, annoy, disturb” (Lk. 6:18; Acts 5:16).
-- Eiserchomai, “to enter into” (Lk. 8:30).
-- The preposition en plus pneumati akatharto, “with and unclean spirit” (Mk. 1:23).
-- Katadunasteuo, “to oppress, exploit, dominate” (Acts 10:23).
-- Pneuma plus lambano (plus a victim), “a spirit seizes him” (Lk. 9:39).
Definition, problems, and considerations:
Control or temporary domination --
Most theologians distinguish between influence and possession.
The Bible never actually says that a person can be “possessed” by a demon. Rather, the emphasis is upon the control and influence of a demon.
It is best to see the issue as not whether a demon is “inside” or “outside” a person, but as the demon having “access” to a person.
Can a believer be “possessed?”
This is a thought that is growing in popularity with the current ‘Spiritual Warfare’ movement that is occuring in the Church today.
If what is meant by this is that the demon has so controlled the Christain that he is unable to exercise his will or obey God, the answer must be ‘no.’ No where does the Bible ever give that power to a demon with regard to a believer.
Can a demon have influence upon a Christian? Certainly, which is why there are warnings given in the Bible to avoid doctrines of demons (1Tim. 4:1), demonic wisdom (James 3:15).
Characteristics of possession.
Since the demon is the one controlling, there may be at times demonic activity present-- but it’s not like the movies!
There is a close psychological identification between the demon and the demoniac (i.e., Mk. 1:23-26; 6:6-12).
*Note that he speaks in the plural, yet the text states there’s “an unclean spirit” (singular). This may indicate demonic activity is certain cases of schizophrenia (or dual personality).
Luke 4:22-25 “And there was a man in the synagogue possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 'Ha! What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are-- the Holy One of God!' And Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be quiet and come out of him!' And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him without doing him any harm.”
** A helpful book on this is “Psycho-Babble” by Richard Ganz.
More than one demon may be involved at times with a victim (Matt. 12:45; Mk. 5:9; Lk. 8:2).
When it comes to demonic possession (or heighten, outward forms of demonic activity), it’s important to remember this is mostly seen during the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry.
There is not one case in the OT.
There is not much until you get into some parts of Revelation.
But outward forms of demonic activity, are typically a panicked form of demonic activity.
As we’ve been seeing, they mostly work in the realm of truth, deception, and manipulation.
They don’t like their presence to be made known, because their greatest devastation comes when their presence is not known.
Again, think about the mass amount of false teaching, and false doctrine that exists.
They can create much more destruction through systems of false religion, then if they’re simply seeking to influence people one-by-one.
Demon Identification and Expulsion:
There are many so-called ‘exorcists’ today who claim that there is demon possession in anyone who will not confess Christ.
This is due to a misapplication of 1 John 4:1-4, using it as a litmus test… “and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist…”
But they ignore that the biblical data simply does not support that application (Matt. 8:29; Mk. 1:24; Lk. 4:34; James 2:19).
We need to be very, very careful before we assume that there is demonic activity. Consider the following as an example of seeing demonic activity too easily:
The Bible never tells us how to tell when (or if) a person is demonized. Therefore, avoid two extremes: Do not be dogmatic that this person (or that) is demon-possessed.
Yet also do not deny the possibility that a person is demon-possessed.
Terminology associated with demon expulsion:
-- Ekballow, “drive out, expel, cast out” either demons or spirits (Matt. 7:22; Mk. 1:34; Lk. 9:40).
-- Exerchomai, “come out, go out” (Matt. 8:32; Mk. 1:25-26; Lk. 4:35-36).
-- Ekporeuomai, “go out” (Matt. 17:21; Acts 19:12).
-- Epitimao, rebuke, reprove, censure” (Matt. 17:18; Mk. 1:25; Lk. 4:35).
-- Hupotasso, “be subjected, subordinated, obey” (Lk. 10:17, 20).
The central issue of Divine authority in the casting out of demons.
Demons may be expelled by one especially authorized by Christ (Matt. 10:1-8) …
“He gave them [the disciples] authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out…”
The point is to understand this was something given uniquely to the 12 at this point.
This gets into the important issue of how to interpret the Gospel… (a subject for a different time).
Do you read the narrative of the Gospels (which are historical documents) as primarily descriptive, or prescriptive. We argue “descriptive.” But again, this is a topic for a different time.
In the NT, such authority is not a right of all believers.
Therefore, the priority for believers today is to pray, which the greatest power we possess (e.g., Mk. 9:29). “And He said to them, ‘This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.’”
Since we can’t infallibly identify who is demonically possessed through any objective criteria, it is wise to deal with the sin that is before us and preach Christ.
Be presumptuous and major in demonism.
Tamper with the occult. This is forbidden in Scripture many times.
Where do demons go after expulsion?
They may wander... (and, at times, seek other victims?) [Matt. 12:43].
They may return to previous victims (Matt. 12:44-45).
They may be confined to the abyss (Lk. 8:31).
The Destiny of Demons:
Some remain loose.
Some are confined (2 Pet. 2:4).
Some are now confined, but will be released during the Tribulation (Rev. 9:1-11).
Apparently, all will be bound with Satan during the Millennium (Rev. 20:1-3).
Perhaps, some will be released after the Millennium (Rev. 20:7-8).
Final destiny -- the eternal lake of fire (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
So that’s demons-- and with that, the end of STI.
We hope this has been of some help.
We’d love to hear how this has been helpful for you (and what you think about the Spiritual realm).
We’d also love to hear what you think about anything related to STI... so please feel free to drop us a message on social media (FB, Instagram, or even through our website).
Next time (Lord-willing) we’ll begin STII.