CREATION When Satan rebelled and decided to oppose God instead of serving God, about a third of the angels joined him (Revelation 12:4). They, too, were case out of heaven and lost their position and privilege. They are now called “demons.” They, as all angels, have personality (mind, will, emotions) but no body. They are limited to being one place at a time and do not have all knowledge or power.
CHARACTER “Demon” means “destroyer.” They are also called evil or unclean spirits, referring to the fact they don’t have a physical body. They spread their sin and uncleanness any way they can. They are spiritual terrorists, trying to destroy the work of God’s kingdom. As with human terrorists, no one is safe from them, they are deadly serious and have no softness or mercy. They serve Satan, who is their commander, and carry out his orders. They receive the worship given to idols or anything other than God (I Corinthians 10:20).
ORGANIZATIONSatan organizes his demons in the same manner God has angels organized – in a military-like structure. These are similar to generals, colonels, majors, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, privates, etc. (Ephesians 6:12). Usually a “strong man” (or ruler) is assigned to a task, and he has lesser demons under his command to help in the work (Matthew 12:25-29; Daniel 10:2-6, 12-14). The names of these demons usually refer to their work (“Fear,” “Anger,” “Lust,” “Pride,” “Deception,” etc.).
POWER Their power, too, though is limited for they are under Satan and he is under God (Job 1:12). They answer to God, as we see Satan do in the Book of Job. They are powerful but NOT omnipotent like God (John 10:21); they are exceedingly clever but NOT omniscient like God and know their eventual destiny (Matthew 8:29); and they are mobile but NOT omnipresent like God. Like Satan, they can only be one place at a time (Daniel 9:21; 10:12-14,20; Luke 8:33). They share the same fate as Satan. Some are already judged and are in chains awaiting coming judgment (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Revelation 9:14-15). Other demons have already been confined to the Abyss (Luke 8:31; revelation 9:11). All will be sent to the lake of fire with Satan when he is sent there (Matthew 25:41). Satan and his forces are defeated foes, having given their all to destroy Jesus on the cross, but being beaten by Him instead (Heb 2:14-15; I Pt 3:18-22). When Jesus returns Satan and his demons will be cast into the lake of fire forever (Matthew 25:41; Rev 20:1-15).
PERSONALITY Demons are spirit beings (Hebrews 1:14) but can appear visibly as a person (Genesis 18:1-22; 9:1; Hebrews 13:2). They are unclean (Matthew 10:1; 1 Samuel 16:14; Mark 9:25; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; Revelation 16:13-14; 9:17-19), evil (Luke 7:21; Matthew 12:45), immoral (Genesis 6); wicked (Ephesians 6:12) and liars (1 John 4:6; 1 Kings 22:22-23). Their ability comes from Satan, who empowers and orders them to do all he can. They receive their power from Satan (Mark 5:1-18; Revelation 16:13-16).
DUTIES AGAINST ALL Demons carry out Satan’s commands and wishes. After enticing Adam and Eve to sin and getting authority over the world from them, Satan and his forces have continued trying to keep worship from God and getting it for themselves. They blind the minds of unbelievers (II Cor 4:4) and snatch the Word from their hearts (Luke 8:12). They do all they can to oppose God’s work (Rev 2:13). Since they can’t attack God, they take their anger out on those who are God’s — His people (Jews and Christians today). Satan and his forces tempt Christians to lie (Acts 5:3), accuse and slander them before God (Rev 12:10), hinder our work (I Thes. 2:18), do anything possible to defeat us (Eph 6:11-12), tempt to immorality (I Cor 7:5) and incite persecution against us (Rev 2:10). They promote human wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 11:4; 1 John 4:5-6). They influence and control the nations (Daniel 10:13,20; Ephesians 6:12) and mislead them so they can destroy them (Isaiah 9:14). It must always be kept in mind, however, that God is in sovereign control. They can do nothing without God’s permission (Job 1:6-12).
Physically they can give superhuman strength (Mark 5:4); physically torment (Revelation 9:5,10), emotionally torment (1 Samuel 16:14-23); do miracles (Revelation 16:13-14; 13:12-15), inflict disease (Matthew 9:33; Luke 3:11,16), indwell people (Matthew 8:28-34) and indwell animals (Matthew 8:31-32).
Emotionally they torment (1 Samuel 16:14-23), cause fear (1 Samuel 18:12,15; 2 Corinthians 11:4; 2 Timothy 1:7; Romans 8:15; Job 4:14-15), cause anger (1 Samuel 18:10-11), cause jealousy (1 Samuel 18:10-15) and harden consciences (1 Timothy 4:2).
Sexually they cause immorality (Revelation 9:21-22; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 1 Timothy 4:1-3) and cause all kinds of impurity (Zechariah 13:2).
Mentally they cause bondage (2 Corinthians 11:4), influence the mind (Genesis 3:15; Ephesians 6:10-20; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:13), control the mind (1 Corinthians 10:20; 2 Corinthians 4:4), and deceive, mislead and lie to people (1 Timothy 4:1,6; 1 Kings 22:22-23; 2 Chronicles 18:20-23).
Religiously they promote false doctrine (1 John 4:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Kings 22:22; Revelation 16:13), counterfeit the truth (2 Corinthians 10:20-21), promote hypocrisy (1 Timothy 4:2), promote legalism (1 Timothy 4:3), use false prophets and false teachers (1 John 4:1; 1 Kings 22:22-23; 2 Chronicles 18:20-23), use fortunetelling and occult practices (Acts 16:16-18) and promote idolatry while receiving the worship of idols (Leviticus 17:7; Deuteronomy 32:17; Psalm 106:37; Revelation 9:20; Hosea 4:10-12; 5:4; Acts 16:16; 1 Corinthians 10:20).
DUTIES ESPECIALLY AGAINST BELIEVERS They especially work against believers by frustrating and opposing God’s perfect will (Acts 16:16-18), putting obstacles in the path of following God (1 Thessalonians 2:18; Romans 15:22), influencing believers to mislead other believers (Matthew 16:22-23.) and instigating things such as jealousy, pride and disunity (James 3:13-16). They seek to get believers to turn from God and living for Him (1 Timothy 4:1), they can cause physical torment (2 Corinthians 12:7), and they try to get us to operate by our own strength and ability (2 Timothy 3:5). All this work will intensify as the return of Jesus gets closer (1 Timothy 4:1).
Thank God for His great victory over Satan and the demons on the cross where their power was broken and their doom assured. Thank God for providing His angels to protect us and battle Satan’s demons for us. Thank God for the power of His Holy Spirit within so we can be victorious over whatever the enemy tries to do to us!
How does it make you feel to think that there are demons observing you, looking for weak spots, and trying to do anything they can to bring misery and defeat to you? Do not fear them, God is much greater, but respect what they can do to mislead you if you aren’t alert. Staying close to Jesus is the only way for victory. If there is anything in your life that shouldn’t be remove it, confess it as sin, promise to not return to it – demons can cause these things and use them to bring more defeat into your life.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)