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What You Should Know About Demons

Recently our church has been confronted with some unbiblical teaching about the nature of demons and their relation to Christians. When some strange teaching starts to blow through the pews it can be dangerous and often the temptation of a church leader is just to tell them to “STOP IT!”

pablo (2)While this may be necessary at times, it’s much more vital that church leadership clearly present the Biblical teaching so that the entire church can evaluate the veracity of the false teaching by comparing it with God’s Word. This is why I decided that the most helpful thing would be to write a bit more detailed doctrine of demonic world for our church.

As you read through the statements below you’ll see that this document certainly doesn’t touch on all points of Biblical demonology. I specifically focused on some of the problem areas and left out a few areas that seem to have general agreement.

The spiritual world

There exists created spiritual beings which include angels who serve and worship God (Ps 148:1-5, Heb 1:14), they also include Satan and his demons who at one time served God but then in pride fell and became enemies of God. (Eze 28:13-15, Isa 14:12-17)

A great unseen battle is going on in this spiritual world (Dan 10:12-13). However, Jesus has power and authority over all spiritual beings (Eph 1:21) and ultimately God, who is all-powerful and creator of all, will one day have ultimate victory over spiritual forces of darkness. (Rev 20:10)

Satan’s power

Satan is more than simply a personification of evil, he is a real spiritual being who is full of lies and desires death and murder (Joh 8:44). Satan’s power and authority are limited by his abilities and by what God allows him to do (Job 1:6-12). Because he is a created being (Eze 28:15) Satan is not all-knowing, he is not all-powerful, and he is not eternal.

Satan and his demons thus have limited control over earthly events. At times they tempt man to sin (Gen 3:1-6). They can at times use elements of nature to cause destruction, (Job 1:16,19). They can orchestrate destruction through groups of evil people, (Job 1:15,17). They can be the powers behind world leaders and wars (Dan 10:12-13), They can cause sickness (Job 2:7)

Demonization

At times demon/s can enter the body of an unbeliever, usurping the individuals will and controlling his body. The New Testament refers to this most often as “demonized” (Greek daimonizomai) and secondly as “having” or being “with” an unclean spirit or demon. Only twice are demonized individuals referred to as “moonstruck.” (Mat 4:24, Mat 17:15)

Signs of Demonization

Demonized individuals in the New Testament exhibited a limited number of clear signs of demonic activity.

There are 7 different physical manifestations, these did not all appear in every case of demonization but every demonized person exhibited at least one or more of these signs, they include:

  1. Blindness (Mat 12:22)
  2. Deafness (Mat 12:22)
  3. Dumbness (Mar 9:32)
  4. Convulsions (Mar 1:26)
  5. Unusual strength (Mark 5:3-4)
  6. Screaming (Mar 5:5)
  7. Self-harm (Mark 5:5)

In addition to these physical manifestations demonized individuals prophesied (Acts 16:16) and occasionally recognized Jesus and the apostles. (Mar 1:34, Act 19:15)

Demonization of believers

True believers in Jesus Christ can not be demonized. There are no recorded cases of believers in the New Testament being demonized. Believers are the temple of God and light and darkness can not dwell together (1 Cor 6:14-17). Believers have been delivered from the powers of darkness (Col 1:15). Believers are indwelled by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19). Finally, we know that the evil one is not able to touch the Christian. (1 John 5:18)

Exorcism of demons

There are no special formulas, rituals, or holy objects that can free a person who is demonized. God alone can have victory over demons in a person’s life (Col 1:15).

Nevertheless God can work through believers in this process. Believers are called to pray for the demonized person (Mar 9:29). Believers must also communicate the truth of the gospel and call the demonized to repentance. Without true repentance and belief in Jesus Christ no one will be ultimately freed from the power of the Evil one (Mat 12:43-45)

Spiritual warfare

The Christian should not fear Satan and his demons because the power of the Holy Spirit who indwells him is much greater (1 Joh 4:4).  Nevertheless we know that Satan would like nothing more than to destroy the lives of believers (1 Pet 5:8). Thus, the Christian should be engaged in active spiritual battle on a daily bases in order to have continued victory in everyday Christian life.

God gave us clear instructions about how to fight spiritual warfare in Eph 6:10-18. We are called to “STAND” against the devil and to “PUT ON” the armor of God.

The armor of God consists of the following: Righteousness, Truth, Salvation, Faith, Word of God, and prayer. These are all instruments of battle that God has given to every believer and through which regular spiritual growth happens.

For the Christian the spiritual battle is fought and won primarily through righteous living, powerful praying and the preaching of the gospel.

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I am a pastor, missionary, and preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Ukraine since 2007. God blessed me with a wonderful wife and 5 amazing children!

My greatest passion is to teach, encourage, and exhort others to turn to Jesus, who is Savior, Lord, and God!

  • Well that’s a ton of information based on God’s word. Praying for you, your family, and the church. As well as the folks being displaced.

  • Chance Gruwell

    Thanks Caleb for sharing your experiences. I’ve often considered blogging about my experience serving in home churches for the last 20 years and reading your blog only confirms the need to share with one another. I’d like to share this with my fellowship (of course I’d thoroughly cite my sources).

    For several years I was in fellowship with a ministry that practiced deliverance of believers before I realized the many errors of this practice. Through this experience I found the every time I counseled with a tormented believer the torment was through their own imaginations. They had all abdicated their position in Christ through practiced habitual sin (Rom 6:8-23, esp. 19) not being firmly rooted (Col 2:6, 7, 10) or prepared (Eph 6:11-18) and submitted themselves to imaginations (2 Cor 10:3-6) and allowing the lies of the enemy to overpower and persuade their thoughts.

    These unruly, fainthearted and weak believers (1 Thes 5:14) really need help to heal the rebellion, shame and brokenness in their hearts (Luke 4:18; Heb 12:9-17) that has left them open to continue in sin (Rom 6:1) where they make excuses for sin and hide out in darkness (1 John 1:5 – 2:2). Leaders who are spiritual are called to gently and humbly restore one who is overtaken in a fault and bear another’s burdens (Gal 6:2) to help them to walk in freedom and healing that comes through abiding in our position in Christ as a new creature (Gal 5:1). Old habits (strongholds) and imaginations need to be torn down and every thought brought into obedience. For some this is a difficult task, especially when these strongholds are the defensive position of our hearts as a result of pain, pride and fear. (1 John 4:8)

    Broken humility is essential in starting the process of healing. I found it is good afterward to counsel with believers by firmly establishing our position in Christ. (Heb 10:22; Col 3, Rom 8:1-17)

    I too was once one of those unruly, fainthearted and weak. I’m thankful for the men in my life who set my joints in place when they were dislocated, though it was not a pleasant process.

    • Chance, thanks so much for sharing this. I really would appreciate your prayers for me and for our church. We have a number of people that have really fallen for the whole “bondage breaking” teaching. The way I see it is that the teaching that demons can be in believers is actually what puts Christians into bondage. They began fearing that they may have a demon and looking for unbiblical solutions outside of Christ in order to “free” them from their bondage.

      I appreciate your thoughts on this. I agree, that often it can simply be the imaginations of the a person. Sometimes there may also be cases where a person is not a true believer and there is demonic activity. Either way the truth of Gospel of Jesus Christ is the answer. Repentance, and true faith are what are needed. It takes wisdom, patience, love, and the power of the truth of God’s Word to heal those who are weak in the faith.