Bible Topics In The Christian Library

INTRODUCTION: There is a great deal of interest in demons and demon possession today. Much of this is due to the many movies that have been made over the past 20 plus years. Beginning with The Exorcist, there have been a steady number of movies of the subject of demon possession. Also the reality of demons and their working today is believed by millions of Pentecostal and Charismatics. 

I think that all of us have at least some interest in this subject. The Bible gives us a lot of details, but leaves many other details unrevealed. There is much that we do not know, and will not know, until eternity. Our study will focus on what we do know. 


A. Evidence fr om the Scriptures points to them as being fallen angels.
2 Peter 2:4 - "For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment;"

Jude 6 - "And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;"

Revelation 12:7-9 "And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, {8} but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. {9} So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."

There are some other views that have existed to explain their existence.

Justin Martyr (c. 150 a.d.) believed that they were the offspring of angels and men, based on Genesis 6:2-4.

The Greeks thought that they were the spirits of evil men.

B. Demons are real. They are not just illnesses, etc.
Demons have the power of speech - Luke 4:33-37

They recognized Jesus - Luke 8:28

The can have a type of faith - James 2:19

Illnesses and demon possession are clearly differentiated in the New Testament

Matthew 4:24 - "Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them."

Matthew 10:8 - ""Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."

Mark 1:32- "At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.

Leviticus 17:7 - ""They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations."'"

Deuteronomy 32:17 - "They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear."

Psalms 106:37 - "They even sacrificed their sons And their daughters to demons,"

There is also references made to 1 Samuel 16:14 and 18:10. There is some disagreement over these passages. Some, being troubled by the statements that they are "from God" try to make them figurative. There is no need for that. It seems that God allowed an evil (demon) to enter into Saul after he departed from God and God withdrew His Spirit from Saul.

A. Demons Inspire Idol Worship.
1 Corinthians 10:19-20 "What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? {20} Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons."

See also: Deuteronomy 32: 17; Psalm 106:37.

This could take place in the direct worship of demons (which takes place today) or the worship of idols. The Scriptures do not say how this is done. Any theory would be speculation and have no scriptural authority.

B. Demons Inspire false doctrine and seduce people into believing them.
1 Timothy 4:1-3 "Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, {2} speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, {3} forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth."

Again, the Scriptures do not tell us how this is done. It can simply be indirectly through false teachers.

C. Demon possession
This is such a difficult subject that we will devote an entire section to it. It is obvious that the New Testament discusses it. The question that must be answered is, "do demon possess people in the same way today as they did in the first century?"
A. Primarily a New Testament phenomenah.
Only one example found in the Old Testament, that if King Saul in 1 Samuel 16. No others mentioned.
B. The nature of demon possession.
The personality of those possessed was completely controlled (at least in some cases). See Luke 4:33-34

The possessed showed symptoms of various diseases. See Matthew 12:22; Matthew 17:14-20; Luke 8:26-38. There is always a clear distinction made between natural sicknesses and those that stemmed from possession.

There is not even a hint to suggest that demon possesssion was voluntary. On the contrary it seems to point to the fact that those possessed had no free will in the matter. See Luke 8:36.


Copyright 1999 by Grady Scott may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost to others.

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