Demons are fallen angels under the command of Satan, those who are still free after the Genesis 6 affair. Satan is called the prince, or ruler, of all demons in Matthew 9:34; 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15. Demons are also called the ministers or ambassadors of Satan, Luke 4:35; 9:1, 42; John 10:21. Satan is brilliant, an administrative genius. He has an excellent organization, mentioned in Eph. 6:10-12 (Please read) The Bible also makes a distinction between demon possession and demon influence.
Demon possession occurs when an actual fallen angel, a demon, enters and occupies the body of an unbeliever. Demons cannot enter the bodies of Christian believers because the Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Inviting demons can be accomplished in a number of ways.
Through idolatry of Satan’s communion table, 1 Cor. 10:19-21.
Through drug addiction, called in Greek, (farmakeia), the use of drugs, potions, or spells; poisoning, witchcraft, sorcery. Gal. 5:20 “witch-craft, sorcery”, cf. also Rev. 9:21; 18:23.
Through religious backsliding, religious sensitivity activities such as dabbling in the occult, consulting mediums and necromancy. cf. Isa. 8:19.
Demon influence is the residence of evil in the soul; which can be an unbeliever (Rom. 1:23) or a believer. This is the method that Satan uses to trap and neutralize the believer, by introducing, if allowed, the doctrine of evil inside the soul of the born again believer. Demon influence in the believer comes about in the later stages of negativity or backsliding.
The first stage of backsliding is some kind of reaction to life whether discouragement, disillusion, disenchantment, boredom, self pity, loneliness, frustration, instability, pride complex and various sins of arrogance, revenge tactics, reaction to contemporary events or social pressures, etc. Whatever causes it, the reaction stage makes one very vulnerable to the attacks of Satan. This is not the entrance into demon influence, at this point, but merely vulnerability to it.
The second stage of backsliding is the frantic search for happiness following the trends of the sin nature towards asceticism or lasciviousness. This also increases vulnerability, especially as one moves away from the protection of doctrine and grace provision.
The third stage intensifies the reaction stage, but still has only the potentiality, not the actuality, of demon influence. It is at the fourth stage of backsliding, in which the soul is in revolt emotionally, where the possibility of demon influence enters. Doctrinal content is located in the mentality of the soul including standards, conscience, frame of reference, memory center, vocabulary, doctrinal storage under edification, and the area of applied doctrine resulting in production of divine good. It is the lack of doctrinal content which is the primary factor in vulnerability to demon influence.
The soul also has its area of response to outside influences, centered in the emotions of the soul. Emotion has no doctrinal content, no character of its own, no spiritual content, no ability to think or rationalize, or even to use common sense. It is designed to respond; it is not designed to lead or initiate anything. The tongues movement is an illustration of the soul’s emotions being led about by falsehood. Sometimes believers in the tongues movement are under demon influence. Sometimes unbelievers are actually demon possessed.
The thing that opens the door for demon influence in the life of the believer is negative volition toward the word of God. The believer says no to doctrine and opens up a vacuum in his soul. Whatever evil is in the neighborhood will be picked up as false teaching, TV, newspaper, etc.
Regardless of what causes the negative attitude, the effect is the same. It may be antagonism or a negative attitude or personality conflict with the pastor, or with other members of the congregation. It may be apathy or indifference to teaching. It may be failure to use a grace provision, faith rest, or inability to handle prosperity, slavery to the details of life. Whatever it is, negative volition opens up the emptiness of the soul.
As a result of evil in the soul, there is demon influence. There is the infiltration of the doctrines of Satan into the soul of the backslidden person (believer or unbeliever). Here, the believer is worshipping and serving the creature rather than the creator.
There are two systems for demon possession of the unbeliever. The first is the unlawful isolation of dormant facilities. The body is brought under the control of the soul and the soul has been given to Satan. It is like a conversion in reverse. Séances, or the ceremony called the Satanic mass, are means by which this is accomplished. This person becomes a disembodied spirit. All activities of supernaturalism may be attributed to this; mental telepathy, spiritism and out of body experiences.
The second system is passive submission to demons. This can be accomplished through idolatry, through drugs or other means. In the ancient world, the various oracles used this means in attempting to predict the outcome of events. The mephitic vapors of the oracle of Delphi, which was some form of narcotic gas. Another example is the Hindu soma mysteries and the various sutras of Indian religions. There are also various systems of mesmerism or hypnotism, whether induced by one’s self or another person, such as whirling dervishes, or unbelievers involved in the tongues movement.
Demonism is directly related to idolatry and thus to human sacrifice. Sacrifices to demons were prohibited by law in Lev. 17:7, “And they shall no longer sacrifice to the goat demon or satyr with which they shall play the harlot. This will be a permanent law in every generation.” Or in Deut. 32:17, “They sacrifice to demons, not gods, new things which came lately which your ancestors did not fear.” Heathen nations worship demons, according to Ps. 96:5, “For all the gods of the peoples are idols … (daimonia in LXX).” It was thoroughly understood that idolatry meant demons. Capital punishment by stoning was the penalty for witchcraft, demonism, etc.
The judgment against Egypt concerning the death of the first born was also a judgment against the demons in Egypt. Ex. 12:12, “For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the demons of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am Jehovah.” Num. 33:4, “While the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn whom the Lord had struck down among them, the Lord had also executed judgment against their demons.”
Demons are powerless to change the course of history. Isa. 19:3, “Then the spirit of the Egyptians will become demoralized within them; also, I will frustrate their strategy, so that they will resort to idle demons and to the ghosts of the dead and to mediums and to spiritists.” Demonism is always subject to the justice of God and is always judged in its various forms.
The reason why the Canaanites were removed from the land is that they practiced demonism. Deut. 18:9-12 (Read). In the reign of King Manasseh, evil is associated with demonism, 2 Kings 21:2–16. Demonism brings the discipline of total destruction to a nation, Isa. 47; Jer. 27:6-10; Isa. 29:4.
Satan and demons are often used by God in the administration of the sin unto death to backslidden believers. One example is Hymenaeus and Alexander, I Tim. 1:19, 20. The believer committing incest in 1 Cor. 5:5 was turned over to Satan, but it was so painful that he repented.
Satan’s power of death is mentioned in four categories. He has the power of death, Heb. 2:14, 15; 1 John 3:8. He killed Job’s children, Job 1:12, 18, 19. He motivated Cain to murder Abel, 1 John 3:12.
Satan is a source of disease. Satan produced the illness in Job, Job 2:6, 7. Satan uses demons to produce disease in human beings. There is therefore the principle of demon induced illness, Matt. 12:22; Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38. Certain mental diseases, and illness which are related to abnormal behavior, may be demon induced. Dumbness and deafness, Mark 9:17; Luke 11:14. Certain forms of epilepsy, Mark 1:26; 9:20; Luke 4:35. Satan is the source of at least ten different types of abnormal behavior which are mentioned in the Bible.
Convulsions, Mark 1:26
Violence, Matt. 8:28
Abnormal strength, Mark 5:4
Raving and self mutilation, Mark 5:5
Foaming at the mouth, Mark 9:20
Public nakedness, Luke 8:27
Living among corpses, Mark 5:3
A type of grinding of the teeth, Mark 9:18
Falling into fires and throwing oneself into dangerous things, Matt. 17:15
Satan also heals. He heals by the withdrawal of demons and establishes the credentials for some of his evangelists. In Acts 19:11, 12 legitimate healing by God was used to establish apostolic authority. On the other hand, healing was used by Satan in a similar way, 2 Thess. 2:9; Rev. 16:14.
Satan wanted to punish Peter by using demons. Luke 22:31, 32 (Read). Peter had denied Christ, and Satan had the audacity to suggest how the justice of God should function toward Peter. Of course the Lord refused this.
I Tim. 3:6, 7 (Read)– Satan is used as a warning for discipline.
The verses in Psalm 109 talk about David asking for God’s judgment on one of his enemies who David strongly curses. This wording should be deleted.