Under satan’s control are numerous evil spirit beings. The titles that scripture gives for them suggest different ranks and levels of authority in satan’s kingdom.
- Rulers of darkness
- Wicked spirits
- Demons/devils. (1 Pet 3:22; Eph 6:12; Mark 5:18)
ORIGIN OF DEMONS
Scripture does not explicitly describe the origin of demons, and much discussion has been made concerning the subject. Three primary views exist:
- They are angels who fell with satan, some of which are bound while others are still loose. (Psalm 78:49)
Evidently many angels followed satan in his rebellion and scripture refers to these as ‘fallen angels’. Some believe that one third of the angels fell with satan as implied in Rev 12:4. Some of these angels are already bound in chains (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Others are loose (2 Cor 11:14-15). Like their master, these angels will also be judged and cast into the lake of fire. This theory would say that there are many ranks of angel, the lowest being simple earthbound demons, doing the bidding of their masters in the heavenlies.
This would seem to be the most clear and conservative view regarding the subject, and the view that has the greatest weight of Scriptural proof.
- They are disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamic race of beings , or some similar earthly creation which fell when satan fell.
This theory states that between verses one and two of Genesis is a gap, during which time satan fell. It was his being cast into the earth that rendered it dark,‘formless and void’ (Genesis 1:1-2; Isa 45:18; Ps 104:30). This original creation in a dateless past was inhabited by a race of sinful beings whose spirits now roam the earth displaying those same sinful natures. These beings are under the authority of satan and the angels that fell from heaven.
Such a theory has no real scriptural basis, other than interpretation of certain scriptures which could suggest the possibility of events before the creation week as described in Genesis Chapter 1.
- They are the spirits of the unnatural offspring of angels (the Sons of God) and antediluvian women in the days of Noah (Gen 6:1-6).
This seems an unlikely explanation to account for the multitudes of demon spirits we encounter. The Scriptures describe the offspring of these ungodly couplings as unusual, but no suggestion whatsoever is made that they are the source of disembodied spirit beings. [NB: Some believe that the Sons of God spoken of in this scripture does not refer to angels, but to the godly line of Seth (Sons of God) intermarrying with the ungodly line of Cain (the daughters of men).]
What scripture reveals clearly about demons
1. They are actual personalities.
They have all the accepted marks of personality;
- Will (Matt 12:44)
- Emotion (James 2:19)
- Intellect (Mark 1:24)
- Self-awareness (Mark 5:9)
- Ability to speak (Acts 19:15)
2. They are spirit beings, invisible and without bodies.
They crave occupancy of a flesh and blood body in order to express their evil nature. (Matt 8:31-32; 12:43-45)
3. They serve satan, being slaves to his will (Matt 12:22-30)
4. They are numerous (Mark 5:9)
5. They are symbolized as:
- fowls of the air (Matt 13:4,19)
- unclean and hateful birds (Rev 18:1-3)
- unclean frogs (Rev 16:13-14)
- locusts from the pit (Rev 9:1-10)
- an army of perverse horsemen (Rev 9:16-19)
- serpents and vipers (Luke 3:7)
The nature of demons – some personalities
- Devils—evil spirits, or servants of the Devil
(Deuteronomy 32:17; Mark 1:34, Matthew 15:22)
- Evil Spirits (Judges 9:23; Acts 19:12-13).
- Unclean Spirits—this title is used about twenty-one times to describe their impure nature (Zechariah 13:2; Matthew 10:1; 12:43; Acts 8:7).
- Dumb Spirits (Luke 11:14; Mark 9:17).
- Blind and Dumb Spirits (Matthew 12:22).
- Deaf and Dumb Spirits (Mark 9:25).
- Foul Spirits (Revelation 18:2; Mark 9:25).
- Lying Spirits (I Kings 22:22-23; II Thessalonians 2:9-12).
- Spirit of Infirmity (Luke 13:11).
- Spirit of Divination (Fortunetelling) (Acts 16:16; 8:9).
- Seducing Spirits—Religious spirits which bring false doctrines, doctrines of devils (1 Tim 4:1)
- Lunatic Spirits—Epileptic and suicidal spirits (Matthew 17:15-18; Mark 9:14-29).
- Antichrist Spirits (1 John 4:3).
- Spirit of Whoredom (Hosea 4:12)
- Spirit of the World (1 Corinthians 2:12)
- Spirit of Error (1 John 4:6)
- Spirit of Fear (II Timothy 1:7)
- Perverse Spirit (Isaiah 19:14)
- Familiar Spirit (1 Samuel 28:7-8)
There are many other demon spirits, not specifically named in scripture. These include such things as demons of sickness and disease, rebellion, violence, rejection, perversion, homosexuality, murder, mocking spirits, harassing spirits. The list is almost endless. Whatever the personality trait of the demon, that is the nature that will be revealed through its operation. For example, a lustful spirit will manifest in a man or woman causing them to burn with desire for some object or person.
Every demon spirit seeks to exploit the blindness and lust of men’s sinful heart and nature, and further alienate them from God, driving them to perform destructive and sinful acts.
The activity of demon spirits, as servants of Satan, is best summed up in John 10:10, “The thief comes to steal, to kill and to destroy”. These spirits attack mankind spiritually, morally, mentally, physically and emotionally.
The following is a list of some of the things demons do under Satan’s control, as outlined in Conner’s Foundations of Christian Doctrine:
- They oppose God’s ministers (Matthew 13:19; II Corinthians 4:4; 12:7).
- They pervert the Word of God and seek to hinder the Gospel (I Thessalonians 2:18).
- They hold their captives (II Timothy 2:26; I Timothy 3:1-7).
- They blind the minds of unbelievers (II Corinthians 4:4).
- They sow tares among wheat (Matthew 13:39).
- They seduce people
They are imposters and misleaders. They seek to draw aside from right paths; to lead astray, allure, tempt, corrupt, defraud and entice ( I Timothy 4:1, Mark 13:22; 1 John 2:26). A seducing spirit can cause people to be obsessed with a false idea.
- They trouble people (I Samuel 16:14).
The Hebrew word for “trouble” means “to make afraid, to terrify”. It speaks of agitation of mind. It speaks of a person being perplexed uneasy, molested
- They oppress people (Acts 10:38).
The Greek word “katadunasteuo” means “to exercise dominion against, oppress, and overburden in body or mind”.
- They vex people.
The Greek word “pascho” involves a person experiencing sensations or impressions (usually painful), feelings, passions and sufferings. The word “vex” also means “to mob, to harass, molest” or “to suffer at the hands of another, to suffer or experience pain” (Matthew 15:22; 17:15; Luke 6:18; Acts 5:16).
- They bind people (Luke 13:16).
The Greek word “deo” means “to tie up, confine, fasten (especially by binding cords around)”. The woman in Luke 13 was bound with arthritis and had to be loosed in her physical body.
- They deceive people (Revelation 12:9; Matthew 24:4,5,11,24).
- They possess people.
The Greek word “daimonizomai” means “to be exercised by a demon (to be vexed or possessed with)”. Possession denotes both the occupancy and ownership of a person by an evil spirit. It is indwelling control. Possession is to be under the power and control of a demon that has entered the person and can control their faculties at will. Cases of possession caused lunacy, palsy, dumbness, blindness, and enabled fortune-telling. Demons seek to possess human or animal bodies if possible. They hate to be unclothed or disembodied spirits (Matthew 4:24; 8:16,28-34; Mark 1:32; Luke 4:33-35; Acts 8:7; 16:16). No truly born-again believer can be possessed by demons, because the Holy Spirit dwells within the believer’s spirit. They can however suffer oppression by demonic spirits, and we must therefore “resist (set our selves against, resist, withstand, oppose) the devil” (James 4:7)
- They torment people (Revelation 9:1-11; 16:13-14).
- They buffet people (II Corinthians 12:7).
To buffet means “to hit with blow after blow; to punch, to slap and to fight against”. Daniel 7:25 says that one of satan’s main tactics in our day will be to seek to “wear out the saints”. He does this by constant and unrelenting assault upon our spirit, soul and body. It is essential that we , as God’s people, realise that in the realm of spiritual warfare, satan takes no holidays. We also cannot afford to put down our shield of faith. We must learn the art of “abiding” in Christ (1 John 2:18-27), and dwelling in the strong tower which is His name (Psalm 91; Proverbs 18:10).
- They resist people (Zechariah 3:1 -3).
That is, they oppose, stand up against, and act as an adversary against someone.
The Judgement of demons
“Scripture reveals that the judgement of evil spirits parallels that of Satan. It is progressive, as is his, and culminates at the same time.
Involved in their judgement is their being;
- conquered and spoiled (Colossians 2:15);
- made subject to Christ (I Peter 3:22);
- spared not; cast down to hell;
- delivered into chains of darkness, reserved unto judgement (II Peter 2:4);
- reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgement of the great day (Jude 6);
- cast out into the earth with Satan (Revelation 12:9);
- and cast into everlasting fire (Matthew 25:41).”
“Foundations of Christian Doctrine”, Kevin J Conner