Dr. Jack L. Arnold
WHY I BELIEVE
Demons Are Real
A. The idea of demons has been mocked at by most people in the so-called sophisticated enlightened western world. They have felt that belief in demons was sheer ignorance based on superstition.
B. However, within the last ten years there has been a rise of interest in demons among people. Witchcraft is again flourishing in America. There are also Satan churches springing up across our land. NOTE: As the true Christian influence diminishes in America, we can expect more and more demonic activity.
II. WHY DEMONS EXIST
A. Teachings of the Old Testament: The Hebrew word shedhim is translated by the Greek word daimonia (devil, demon) in the LXX or Greek Septuagint (Deut. 32:17; Psa. 106:36-37). The word searim is also translated demons (Lev. 17:7; II Chron. 11:15). The Old Testament confirms the existence of demons (Psa. 96:5; Isa. 65:11).
B. Teachings of Christ: Christ believed in, taught about and cast out demons (Matt. 10:1; 12:29; 15:22, 28; Mark 5:8). To deny demons is to deny Christ’s teaching and authority.
C. Teachings of the Apostles: Every Apostle who wrote the New Testament believed in demons (James 2:19; I Tim. 4:1; Rev. 16:14; Matt. 25:41; Luke 8:31).
D. Experience: There are many documented cases of people who have been possessed of demons and through faith in Christ have been delivered. Demonic activity is running rampant in our own country and it is closely associated with the illegitimate use of drugs.
III. WHERE DEMONS ORIGINATED
A. We cannot be absolutely dogmatic but the inference of scripture is that they are fallen angels who took part in Satan’s rebellion against God.
B. We are told that some angels “kept not their first estate” and are “under darkness unto the judgment of the great day” (Jude 6). Satan is an angel and he is called “prince of devils” (Matt. 12:24). Satan has well organized ranks of angels and it is logical to believe that these are demons (Eph. 6:12).
IV. WHAT DEMONS ARE LIKE
A. They are spirits (Luke 10:20; Mark 9:25 cf. Matt. 17:18).
B. They can talk (Mark 5:7).
C. They are evil (Mark 9:25 – “unclean spirit”).
D. They have doctrines that are heretical and produce immorality (I Tim. 4:1-2; II Pet. 2:1).
E. They have intellect but it is perverted like Satan’s. They know who Christ is (Mark 1:24); they know the plan of salvation for the universe (James 2:19); they know the day of their doom (Matt. 8:29).
F. They are created beings (Eph. 6:12 cf. Col. 1:16): since they are created, they can only operate in the permissive will of God. Demons can do nothing but what God permits or allows, for God is more powerful than demons.
G. They are great in number (Mark 5:9, 13; Rev. 9:2-3). Satan can only be in one place at a time but he has the demons work on men when he is not around personally to do his dirty work. They are so great in number that their presence and influence can effectively be considered to be in every place on earth at all times.
V. WHERE DO DEMONS ABIDE?
A. There are free demons that abide in the air (Eph. 2:2; 6:11-12).
B. There are some imprisoned demons in the abyss (Rev. 9:1-11).
VI. WHAT DEMONS DO
A. To God: They oppose God and strive to defeat His will (Matt. 12:26; Dan. 10:10-14; Rev. 16:13-16). NOTE: Sometimes demons are used by God to accomplish His purposes (1) by punishing the ungodly (Psa. 48:49) and (2) by disciplining the godly (I Sam. 16:14; I Cor. 12:7).
B. To the Unsaved:
1. They oppress men and seek to hinder their welfare. Demons inflict physical disease (Matt. 9:33; Luke 13:11, 16) and cause mental disorder (Matt. 17:15; Mark 5:4-5). NOTE: Not all physical and mental sickness is the result of demonic activity. The New Testament makes it clear as to what is demonic activity and what is ordinary disease: “They brought to (Jesus) all who were ill, taken with various diseases and pains, demonics, epileptics, paralytics” (Matt 4:24 NAS).
2. They seek to lead men into moral impurity (Matt. 10:1). An attack by demons often manifests itself in hideous immorality.
3. The actually possess some people (Mark 5:2, 8, 12-13; Matt. 4:24). Demon possession is a reality and may be able to be detected by spiritual Christians.
a. Most of the Biblical occurrences of demon possession took place in the time of our Lord’s ministry on earth, which may indicate a special attack on mankind by Satan during this time. We also believe that during the Tribulation of the last days there will be a great invasion of demons on men.
b. Only unbelievers can be demon possessed. During our Lord’s ministry, the great majority of demon possessed people were irreligious, non-Israelites.
“Demon possession means a demon residing in a person, exerting direct control and influence over that person, with certain derangement of mind and/or body. Demon possession is to be distinguished from demon influence or demon activity in relation to a person. The work of the demon in the latter is from the outside; in demon possession it is from within. By this definition a Christian cannot be possessed by a demon since he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. However, a believer can be the target of demonic activity to such an extent that he may give the appearance of demon possession” (Ryrie, Bible Doctrine Charts).
“Demon possession is the state of inhabitation and control by one or more demons by residing in them, and thus deranging both mind and body; it includes the deprivation of reason or the power of choice and produces the consciousness of a two fold will in the victim” (Unger, Demonology).
“A demon-possessed person invariably acts in ways that are not natural and normal to him. He often speaks in a voice entirely different from his normal one, and sometimes displays superhuman strength. He may also have powers of telepathy and clairvoyance” (Little, Know What You Believe).
c. Demons seem to seek embodiment in that they try to possess animals as well as men (Mark 5:13).
d. It is possible for one to open himself to demons. Dabbling in the occult, trifling with witchcraft or toying with the spiritual world are dangerous practices and Christians should completely avoid them.
C. To the Saved:
1. Demons oppose the spiritual progress of true believers (Eph. 6:12).
2. Demons seek to deceive Christians in spiritual things. Satan and the demons have their own churches (Rev. 2:9), their own pastors (II Cor. 11:14-15), their own evil doctrine (I Tim. 4:1) and their own communion table (I Cor. 10:20-21). NOTE: Christians can be influenced by demons and come under demonic attack. These attacks could affect the body and/or mind. Sometimes deep depression is demonic activity. We must become aware of Satan’s devices and know that our struggle is primarily with the forces of hell (Eph. 6:12).
VII. WHERE DEMONS WILL END UP
A. All demons will apparently be confined to the abyss during the Millennium (Rev. 20:1-3).
B. The final destiny of demons is hell (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10).
BIBLIOGRAPHY (For Angels, Demons and Satan)
Richard H. Bube, To Every Man an Answer
Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. II
Duane Lindsey, An Outline of Angelology
Paul Little, Know What You Believe
C. C. Ryrie, Bible Doctrine Charts
Merrill F. Unger, Biblical Demonology