Q & A
November 20, 2010
Satan and Demons
This outline is the work of Wayne Grudem and is used in this talk as the framework and order to present the information to TRCC. Various applications and thoughts are the work of Mitch Jolly as a result of the outline produced by Wayne Grudem. I have not fully noted every piece that is the work of Grudem in footnotes because I’m using his outline, so specific phrases that are his work are parenthetically cited.
Definition of Demons: Demons are evil angels who sinned against God and who now continually work evil in the world (Grudem)
1. The Origin of Demons
A. Genesis 1:31 says that when God created the world he saw everything he made and said it
By the time one gets to Genesis 3, Satan, in the form of a serpent, was tempting Eve to Sin (Genesis 3:1-5).
Consequently, sometime between the events of Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 3:1 there must have been a rebellion in the angelic world with many angles turning against God and becoming evil.
B. 2 Peter 2:4
“For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;”
C. Jude 6
“And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day—“
D. Isaiah 14:12-15
“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart,‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.”
This is a possible reference to Satan. As Isaiah is describing the judgment of God on the king of Babylon, he then comes to a section where he begins to use language that seems too strong to refer to any merely human king.
It is not uncommon for Hebrew prophetic speech to pass from descriptions of human events to descriptions of heavenly events that are parallel to them and that the earthly events picture in a limited way.
An example would be Psalm 45 which moves from a description of an earthly king to a description of the divine Messiah.
2. Satan is “Head of the Demons”
The name “Satan” is a Hebrew word (satan) that means “adversary” (BDB p. 966)
Satan’s name is mentioned in (Job 1:6) where he appears as the enemy of the LORD and brings severe temptations against Job.
Near the end of David’s life, Satan comes against Israel and incites David to number the people of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1).
In (Zechariah 3:1), Zechariah sees a vision of Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.”
The New Testament uses the name Satan as well as the Old Testament, and Jesus, in his temptation in the wilderness tells Satan to leave him and Satan has to obey.
Jesus also said in (Luke 10:18) that he saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
The Bible uses other names for Satan. He is called “the devil” only in the New Testament (Matt 4:1; 13:39; 25:41; Rev 12:9; 20:2), “the serpent” (Gen 3:1, 14; 2 Cor 11:3; Rev 12:9; 20:2), “Beelzebul” (Matt 10:25; 12:24, 27; Luke 11:15), “the ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2), or “the evil one” (Matt 13:19; 1 John 2:13).
When Jesus tells Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me; for you are not on the side of God, but of men” (Matt 16:23), he recognizes in Peter’s opposition to Jesus going to the cross that ultimately it is Satan himself that is opposing him and Peter is the means Satan is using to thwart the plan.
3. What is The Activity of Satan and Demons?
A. Satan was the originator of sin
Satan sinned before any human beings did so, as is evident from the fact that he tempted Eve (Genesis 3:6; 2 Cor 11:3)
The New Testament also affirms that Satan was a “murderer from the beginning” and is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44) and that “the devil has sinned from the beginning” (1 John 3:8).
The phrase “from the beginning” indicates that from the beginning parts of history the devil’s characteristic trait has been to originate sin and tempt others to sin.
B. Demons oppose and try to destroy every work of God
Satan tempted Eve to sin (Gen 3:1-6)
Satan tried to get Jesus to sin (Matt 4:1-11)
Satan and demons use lies (John 8:44)
Satan and demons use deception (Rev 12:9)
Satan and demons use murder (Ps 106:37; John 8:44)
Satan and demons try to blind people to the Gospel (2 Cor 4:4)
Satan and demons try to keep people in bondage to things that keep them from coming to God (Gal 4:8)
Satan and demons will use temptation, doubt, fear, confusion, sickness, envy, pride, slander and any possible means to thwart a Christian’s witness and usefulness.
C. Demons are limited by God’s control and have limited power
Job makes it clear that Satan could only do what God gave him permission to do and absolutely nothing more.
Demons are kept in “eternal chains” (Jude 6)
Christians can successfully resist demons through the authority that Jesus gives them (James 4:7)
4. There have been various stages of demonic activity in salvation history
A. Old Testament
“They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger. They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded.”
“They did not destroy the peoples, as the LORD commanded them, but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. They served their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood. Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.”
The fact is that the worship of false “gods” is actually the worship of demons indicates that demonic activity in the Old Testament was quite high.
1 Corinthians 10:20 is an affirmation by Paul, based on these texts, that what is happening when other religions worship their “god” they are involved in demonic worship.
“No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?”
Pagan worship, characteristic of the demonic purposes, often carried destructive practices such as the sacrifice of children (Ps 106:35-37), inflicting harm on oneself (1 Kings 18:28; Deuteronomy 14:1), cult prostitution (Deut 23:17, 1 Kings 14:24; Hos 4:14).
There is not much mention at all of being able to successfully thwart demonic work.
B. Ministry of Jesus
Acts 19:13 mentions some “itinerant Jewish exorcists” who tried to used Jesus’ name to cast out demons and could not.
Josephus mentions an effective work against demons on an occasion done by a Jew named Eleazar using an incantation from Solomon (Antiquities 8:45-48).
So it seems that there was inability to have effective triumph over the demonic until Jesus comes along.
“And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”
“But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house.”
C. New Covenant Age
“The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
1 Peter 5:8-9
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.”
During the Millennium, the thousand-year reign of Jesus on the earth that is taught in Revelation 20, the work of Satan and demons is further restricted.
“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.”
E. Final Judgment
“…and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
5. What is Man’s relationship to demons?
A. Demons are active in the world today
The worldview of “modernity” that is epitomized in a naturalistic worldview cannot fathom that there is anything beyond the natural world.
This worldview, tragically, crept into the discipline of theology and men like Rudolph Bultmann denied the existence of angels and demons. He would argue that these are myths and that the New Testament age needed to be “demythologized”.
However, if the Scripture is true without any mixture of error, then we must take seriously its portrayal of intense demonic activity in society.
B. Not all evil is from Satan and Demons, though some is
Although the New Testament clearly recognizes the work of demons, and the fact that demons would teach doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1), the Scripture’s primary focus is on preaching the Gospel and the growth of Christians toward maturity in learning to make better choices in their behavior (Gal 5:116-26; Eph 4:1-6:9; Col 3:1-4:6).
When opposition is encountered, it seems to be when the Gospel is being preached or there is Gospel teaching. Acts 16:16-18 tells of the little girl telling fortunes by a demon at Philippi. She is annoying Paul while they are preaching the Gospel.
There is never a biblical teaching regarding people doing ministry 1) summoning a territorial spirit 2) demanding information about demons about local hierarchy 3) relaying information derived from demons or 4) teach that demonic “strongholds” over a city have to be broken before the Gospel could be preached.
C. Can Christians be possessed?
The use of this word is not best. The word is never used in the Greek New Testament at all. The Scriptures use the word “daimonizomai” which means to be suffering from demonic influence.
1. A Christian can come under differing degrees of demonic attack
(Luke 4:2; 2 Cor 12:7; Eph 6:12; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8)
D. How does one recognize demonic influence?
This is a hard question to answer. Frankly, our worldview is behind the curve far enough that we have trouble discerning truth from error here.
“And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.”
Here, there is a distinction between some who Jesus heals as having demons and some who have sheer physical symptoms: “those oppressed by demons and epileptics”.
I note this distinction because the Scripture does and because there are times when people brought to Jesus are displaying bizarre physical behavior that appears to be a mere physical condition, but it is actually demonic.
1. Don’t automatically assume all things are physical first. They may be, but
explore, with pastoral help, if this problem may be demonic. If you see a
counselor, make sure they are solidly Christian and default to Gospel first.
2. Watch out for strange teachings that fixate on the demonic
3. Listen for intense hatred and bias against Christianity in particular
4. Watch out for teachings that do not come quickly back to the Gospel
5. Watch out for thoughts that are second person and accusatory in nature (Rev 12:10)
6. 1 Cor 12:10 tells us that some are gifted at distinguishing between spirits, and these
gifted people often can make excellent counselors that can truly help.
E. All believers have authority over demons and Satan
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
2 Cor 10:3-6
For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
F. How do Christians minister to others in light of the spiritual reality of demons and their work?
1. It is important not to frighten people by talking glibly about an area that may be
familiar to us but quite unfamiliar and frightening to others (Grudem)
This does not have to be dramatic, in dealing with the demonic. In the instances where
I have helped some of you, we have not had any weirdness.
a. Holy Spirit is peaceful and gentle (1 Cor 14:33) and we can rebuke the demon
without any sensationalism.
2. We focus on the person needing ministry and serve them rather than being drawn
into a long battle or conversation with some demonic entity. Speak the truth of the
Scriptures to the person (Eph 6:17) (Grudem)
3. Make sure repentance is actively being pursued (Eph 6:14). Righteousness is a piece
of our armor, and if we neglect pursuing holiness, we can be an easy target.
4. Do not become overly curious about the area of demonic conflict (Grudem).
We are to be “babes in evil” (1 Cor 14:20).
5. Effectiveness in some cases may be related to our own spiritual condition
(Matt 17:18-20) (Grudem). Jesus said they were unable to cast the demon out
because of their lack of faith.
G. We can expect the Gospel to powerfully triumph over the works of Satan and Demons
1 John 3:8
“Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”