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The Reality of Demons
Scripture: Matthew 17:14-20; 25:41; Revelation 12:4...
Track 4 of 7 in the Spiritual Realm series
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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

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The Spiritual Realm

The Reality of Demons

November 27, 2005

By now you should be able to predict what I am going to teach about demons from the lessons we had on angels and Satan. There is so much information about demons in the scriptures that we can know if they exist or not. Just like angels and Satan, if demons are not real, then the scriptures and it's validity crumble because the Bible depends on the existence of demons. Not only does the Bible tell us that demons exist, but there are many cultures that also believed in demons.

It should not be a surprise to us that the heathen nations have plenty to say about demons. Since they are ungodly and don't live a life honorable to God, then their lives and surroundings will be dominated by Satan and his demons that do his bidding. The history of various religions from the earliest times shows belief in Satan and demons to be universal. Spells, incantations, magical texts, exorcisms and various forms of demonic phenomena abound in archaeological discoveries from Sumeria and Babylon. Egyptian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Greek and Roman antiquity are rich in demonic phenomena.

The deities worshipped by these cultures were invisible demons represented by material idols and images. To an amazing degree, the history of religion is an account of demon-controlled religion, especially in its clash with the Hebrew faith and later with Christianity.

What has gone on in resent years and is now happening today that tells us that demons are at work against the believers of God? How serious is the work of Satan against the Church and is the Church ready for what Satan has planned? How serious are you? Evidence for the reality of angels and the reality of demons overlaps; some of the same arguments pertain to both. Last week we went over the existence of Satan and discovered his nature and his intentions in the world. When Satan fell, according to scripture, he took 1/3 of the angelic hosts with him. If Satan exists today, so do his evil spirits who follow after him.

Matthew 25:41 Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

Revelation 12:4a His tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth.

In the Old Testament, we see many times demons attacking mankind. Man is Satan's enemy and he hates man as much as he hates God. It is Satan's intention to inflict as much harm on man as possible and to cause man to fall just as he has fallen. He does this by convincing man that he too can become like God thus causing man to reject God. This rejection of God causes man to be separated from God and powerless against the evil actions of Satan. It is not hard today to look and see the demonic actions of Satan and his demons in the lives of those who are outside of Christ. He brings misery to those who are the fallen.

Consider the misery in the world today. Consider the evil actions of people, governments and nations. Consider the misery people suffer within our own town and sometimes within our own church. How much of it is demonic in nature? What can we, the church, do about it? Anyone who reads the Gospels will soon learn and realize that during the time of Jesus, there was a lot of demonic activity going on in Israel. Everywhere Jesus went, he was confronted by evil, misery, emptiness, demon-controlled people and Satan himself. The Hebrew people were a nation of God and yet they were plagued by so much demonic activity. Their history is full of Satan and his demons attacking them and influencing them to worship other gods and forsake God as the one true God. When Jesus comes on the scene, Satan and his demons were at their best.

Jesus accepted and taught that Satan was the ruler of a host of demons. He taught that Satan and his angels were morally responsible persons destined by God for the lake of fire. A large portion of Jesus ministry involved casting demons out of those who were possessed. He even gave his disciples the power to cast demons out. When demons were cast out Jesus viewed it as victory over Satan. Publicly and in private Jesus taught the existence of demons and never once did he correct someone for believing in their existence.

Matthew 17:14-20 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him." "O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me." Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?"

Description of Demons:

I am not going to spend a lot of time in this because their description is very similar to that of angels. The reason, they are angels; they are just evil and follow after Satan. Again, they have personalities just like angels, they are described using personal pronouns suggesting that they are persons, not its. They can speak, they have intelligence, they do have emotions and are beings of free will. But they are different in some ways to angels. And in most cases, they are opposite:

  • Spirit beings - like angels they are corporeal, without material existence. They are finite and limited. They are limited in time, space and in powers. They do not die and they will not cease to exist.
  • Morally perverted
    They are perverted in their persons (unclean spirits)
    In their doctrine, they promote Satan's lie that man can be God and they are behind the false teachers
    In their conduct, they do what they can to create false disciples and confuse the true disciples of Jesus. They disguise themselves as angels of light and believers with the intent to destroy the believer's lives and the church. They are responsible for idolatry which when fully played out, leads to sexual sins and perverted abuse.
  • Invisible but capable of manifestation - When scripture records their appearance, they assume hideous and fearsome forms like animals.

    Revelation 9:7-10 The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. On their heads they wore something like crowns of gold, and their faces resembled human faces. Their hair was like women's hair, and their teeth were like lions' teeth. They had breastplates like breastplates of iron, and the sound of their wings was like the thundering of many horses and chariots rushing into battle. They had tails and stings like scorpions, and in their tails they had power to torment people for five months. They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon.

From what we see in scripture, demons have tremendous powers. That is why Jesus taught never to play with demons or take demons on alone. We are no match for them using our own power.

  • They posses supernatural intelligence - Not only are they intelligent, they have superior intelligence that they use on their own. They are not robots. They do react to the situations they find themselves in and they do enforce their own will. (2 Samuel 14:20)
    o They also have supernatural insight into the identity of the Christ
    o They also know here they are heading after the judgment
    o They know how to deceive man by withholding necessary information fro salvation
    o They know how to corrupt sound doctrine
    o They know how to distinguish between believers and nonbelievers
    o They have some knowledge of future events and of hidden things

Fortune telling is a demonic activity. Man is commanded not to search for knowledge of the future. Why is fortune telling bad and how do demons use it to harm man? How do demons know the future what do they do with the information they have? The source of their knowledge is found in their superior created nature and in their vast experience. They have lived through thousands of years of observing and collecting information and they can predict how man will act and react. They know how to manipulate man and his weaknesses and they use their spiritual entity to play on mans mind and human will. It is easy for them to influence man's thoughts and will by lying to man about God.

  • They posses supernatural strength - It is scary to realize what they can do and how they target each one of us and try to overpower us to do they things against God and man.
  • They have the power to control man physically.

    Mark 5:1-5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

Demonic power is often manifested in viciousness. Many times the actions of a demon will cause man to harm himself. Today we see the same things. We might not witness a demon controlled person but we do see demonic things people do when they do things to intentionally harm themselves and cause themselves to become sick or hurt. Some actions leads to death. These are not actions of God but actions of demons.

  • They delight in afflicting man.
  • They can do works of supernatural feats - Demons can do deceptive works of miracles.

Do you remember when we discussed the "Case for Faith", how some scholars view miracles as going against science? We discussed miracles and what they were, what are miracles and do they exist? Miracles do not negate the natural laws. When God performs miracles, he has the power to intervene and interrupt natural laws. Demons also have the same kind of power though very limited in comparison to God. But they still have the strength to do them and to fool man into believing their lies. Christians must be alert to this fact and not gullible when witnessing miraculous events. We must discern and test the spirits before accepting the events as Godly.

Read Acts 8:9-13; 8:18-19

  • They Posses a Supernatural Presence - Just as angels, they move swiftly through space. They are not limited by material bodies and they are extremely fast. But they are limited in time and in space. Since there are many demons, Satan does not have to rely on himself to do all the work, he calls on his demons to do his bidding for him. Demons can pass through physical barriers and they can inhabit small amounts of space with many demons a once.

    Luke 8:30-33 Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" "Legion," he replied, because many demons had gone into him. And they begged him repeatedly not to order them to go into the Abyss. A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into them, and he gave them permission. When the demons came out of the man, they went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned.

A legion of soldiers could include from 3,000 to 6,000 soldiers with auxiliary troops. In this man, there were enough demons in him to drive 2,000 pigs into the sea. They are limited in space but not like you and I since we are physical and they are spiritual.

What are the duties of demons?

We must realize that the works of demons is in itself an industry. It is always working and it never ceases to promote satanic deception and wickedness. Like any corporate industry, it has many businesses it works through and all the profits goes to one owner, Satan. He is the CEO and he is the drive and inspiration of all the demons do and try to accomplish. They have a vast array of products to sell and they work hard to get you to buy them.

  • They promote rebellion against God by slandering God and man.
  • They promote idolatry - worshiping anything other than God himself
  • They try to get people to reject grace by blinding their minds and keeping them from seeing God's salvation
  • They promote false religions and cults - Mormons, Jehovah Witness - take Jesus out of the Godhead.
  • They oppress mankind in many deceptive ways, they also like to degrade and destroy man. They do this using nature, they can directly injure man and they can cause death if God allows then to do this. (Job)
  • Demons can disable the human body and cause dumbness, blindness, deformity and forms of epilepsy. They can degrade the mind causing insanity and suicidal mania. They can even drive man to injury or physically destroy himself. They also can dominate individuals through demon possession.
  • They work extra hard against the church by creating divisions, promoting doctrinal divisions, fighting against the Gospel ministry and causing persecution.

But God does overrule demons. There are things that God doesn't allow them to do. There are actions God takes to disable the works of demons:

  • He corrects defection through Church discipline
  • He gives to the believers discernment against the schemes of the devil
  • He cultivates within the church dependence upon God - thorn in the side.
  • The example and power of Jesus to defeat the devil
  • God's righteousness in us - the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit.

God gives to us the weapons we need to fight against Satan and his demons when they come after us, and they will. But we are especially Satan's targets when we are successful in Jesus.

Romans 13:12-14 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Ephesians 6:11-18 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. SLIDE 19: Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.