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Sermon No: 75371-M3-CH14 - Demons



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SERMON TOPIC: M3-CH14 - Demons

Speaker: Gavin Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 21 August 2020

Topic Groups: COLLEGE, DEMONS, SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Sermon synopsis: The Bible is silent on the origin of demons. There are a few theories on their origins.
- Demons are the spirits of deceased wicked men.
- Demons are the spirits of evil men who died in a pre-Adamic world.
- Demons are fallen angels who rebelled with Satan.
- Demons are the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim who died in the Flood.

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SPIRITUAL BEINGS

DEMONS

Demons are intelligent powerful spirit beings.

The NT uses “demon” and “unclean spirit” as equivalents (Mark 5:13-15). “Devils,” as found in some versions is a misleading rendition. There is only one devil, but many demons.

The Greek word for devil is diabolos and the Septuagint used it to translate the Hebrew “Satan.”

The terms, daimonizomai (found 13 times), daimon (once), daimoniodes (once), and daimonion (63 times), are rendered as “demon(s)” (or some equivalent) in modern versions.

ORIGIN OF DEMONS

The Bible is silent on the origin of demons. There are a few theories on their origins.

- Demons are the spirits of deceased wicked men.

- Demons are the spirits of evil men who died in a pre-Adamic world.

- Demons are fallen angels who rebelled with Satan.

- Demons are the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim who died in the Flood.

SPIRITS OF WICKED MEN?

Demons are not the spirits of deceased wicked men.

The unsaved dead are in Hades and not roaming the earth

Luke 16:22-23 (ESV) The rich man also died and was buried, and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.

SPIRITS OF PRE-ADAMIC MEN?

Demons are not the spirits of evil men who died in a pre-Adamic world (suggested by the “Gap Theory”).

The Gap Theory tries to harmonise the Bible with the long geologic ages taught by evolutionists.

There is no credible evidence (Biblical or otherwise) that there ever was a historical gap between the first 2 verses of Genesis.

This view is rejected by Young Earth Creationists because it requires death before the Fall (Rom 5:12).

There were no people before Adam. He was the “first man” (1 Cor 15:45) and came directly from God (Luke 3:38).

FALLEN ANGELS?

Demons are not fallen angels as is commonly held.

Demons are different to angels. Angels have spiritual bodies and can assume human form.

Heb 13:2 (NIV) Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

When angels appear they are often described as men, e.g. Daniel 10:5.

DEMONS ARE NOT FALLEN ANGELS

In contrast, demons do not assume human form but instead desire to possess human bodies. The human is used as a host and the person is said to be possessed.

Matt 17:18 (ESV) And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him…

In fact, sometimes one person can be possessed by multiple demons. E.g. Mary Magdalene had 7 demons (Mark 16:9) and Legion was so called because “many demons had entered him” (Luke 8:30).

Angels can materialise a human body

Demons possess other people’s bodies, sometimes more than one demon in a single body

PRE-EDENIC ANGELIC REBELLION?

Was there a single angelic rebellion before the creation of the world and Eden?

The only account of a past mass rebellion by angels occurs in Genesis 6, an event where Satan is not mentioned as being involved.

The only account of Satan and his angels being expelled from heaven is in Revelation 12, which Premillennialists believe is an event which happens in the future Tribulation.

At the creation of the world “all the sons of God [angels] shouted for joy” (Job 38:4-7). So there was no fall before the creation of the world.

On the sixth day “God saw everything that he had made”, which would include the angelic host “and behold, it was very good” (Gen 1:31).

Satan was not already fallen in Eden; he was perfect in Eden.

“You were the signet (or possibly “serpent”) of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God” (Ezek 28:12-13).

Satan is then told, “You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you” (28:15).

Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 appear to parallel what happened in Eden – so it seems more likely that Satan’s fall occurred in Eden.

THE FALL OF SATAN

Ezekiel 28 initially addresses the king of Tyre but later switches to the spiritual force behind the king, namely Satan. Likewise Isaiah 14 initially addresses the king of Babylon but later addresses the same spiritual force – Satan. While these passages allude to Satan’s rebellion and fall, like Genesis 3 they do not mention any other angels falling with him.

Isa 14:12 (ESV) 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!

GUARDIAN CHERUB

Satan was a “guardian cherub” or “cherub who covers” (Ezek 28:14). The exact same Hebrew word is used regarding the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant (Ex 25:20). As the earthly tabernacle was patterned after the heavenly one (Heb 9:24), it’s possible that Satan was originally one of the two cherubim whose wings covered God’s mercy seat in heaven.

MUSIC LEADER?

Satan desires worship (Matt 4:8-9) and music is part of worship. But the claim that he was in charge of music in heaven is based on one verse (Ezek 28:13) from the KJV/NKJV rendering.

(NKJV) … Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created.

“Timbrels and pipes” doesn’t fit the context (precious stones).

The Hebrew word “toph”, rendered “timbrels” is often listed with musical instruments. But “neqeb”, rendered “pipes” appears only once in the OT - meaning we cannot cross reference its usage elsewhere. Strong’s concordance defines it as “perhaps sockets (technical term of jeweller’s work)”. Most Hebraists believe that in this passage it refers to a groove or hole made by a jeweller in a piece of jewellery, which makes sense given the list of precious stones in that verse. Thus it is more likely a reference to the precious stones in his makeup.

PRECIOUS STONES

The idea of it being a music reference is foreign to those in Biblical times. The English translation of the Greek Septuagint (the latter used by the apostles of Jesus) renders it:

Ezek 28:13 (Brenton Septuagint) … thou hast filled thy treasures and thy stores in thee with gold.

The Jewish Publication Society of America produced the first translation of the Tanakh (OT) into English by a committee of Jews. It reads:

Ezek 28:13 (JPS Tanakh 1917) the workmanship of thy settings and of thy sockets was in thee…

In summary, the verse contains one musical term (timbrel / tambourine) surrounded in a context otherwise laden with references to precious stones. The passage is introduced by saying “every precious stone was your covering” and then “toph” is embedded in the qualifying list of precious metals / stones.

So Ezekiel may be using the image of tambourines to describe Satan’s former extravagance - he was so laden with precious stones that he was like a tambourine, fixed not with common metal pieces but with jewels.

SATAN’S SIN WAS PRIDE

Satan fell due to his pride. His pride was a result of being puffed up because of his beauty and splendour.

Ezek 28:17 (NIV) Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour.

One of the requirements for an overseer is that “he must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil” (1 Tim 3:6, NIV).

SATAN’S SIN WAS PRIDE

Note how five times Satan uses the phrase “I will”.

Isa 14:13-14 (NASB) But you said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars [angels] of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

He wanted to be like God and to usurp Yahweh’s role in “the mount of assembly” (the Divine Council).

THE FALL OF SATAN

So Satan is driven from the presence of God:

Ezek 28:16 (NIV) … So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.

He does not reside in hell. Even in this present age he and his angels still have access to heaven (Rev 12).

The kingdoms of this world belong to Satan making him the leader of the 70 rebellious ruler angels in the Divine Council. He is also the “prince of demons” (Matt 12:24-26).

SATAN DRIVEN FROM HEAVEN

HIS NAMES

These are some of his alternate names.

- In Scripture: Satan, Devil, Belial, Beelzebub

- In non-canonical Jewish literature: Samael, Mastema

Names incorrectly attributed to him:

- In Revelation, Apollyon (Abaddon) is “the angel of the Abyss” so those who identify him with Satan are mistaken – as Satan currently is at liberty and roams the earth (1 Pet 5:8).

- Azazel: A Watcher leader

- Antichrist: A future man who receives authority from Satan

- Lucifer: not a proper name but a description “morning star.”

SATAN

The original Hebrew word “satan” is a noun meaning “accuser” or “adversary” (i.e. one's opponent in a contest, conflict, or dispute)

When it is used without the definite article (simply satan), the word can refer to any accuser, but when it is used with the definite article (ha-satan), it usually refers specifically to the heavenly accuser: the satan. *

In the NT “Satan” was used by Jesus and others as a proper name. In line with its meaning, Satan still “accuses” believers “before our God day and night” (Rev 12:10).

DEVIL

The devil is one of the most common names used of Satan. In the Septuagint the Hebrew “ha-Satan” in Job and Zechariah is translated by the Greek word diabolos (meaning slanderer), the same word in the Greek NT from which the English word devil is derived. *

“Satan” occurs more than 30 times in passages alongside diabolos, referring to the same person. E.g.

Rev 12:9-10 (NIV) The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan…

BELIAL

“Belial” is a Hebrew term meaning “worthless” which became personified as Satan in Jewish and Christian texts.

2 Cor 6:15 (NIV) What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? …

Some reject this etymology saying that the term is applied in the OT to anyone opposing the established authority – with the Talmud regarding it as a compound word (“beli” and “ol” - without a yoke). The Septuagint, in translating it “lawlessness” follows this rabbinical tradition – the one who has thrown off the yoke of heaven. *

BEELZEBUB

While Baalzabul (the Philistine god) means “lord of the manor,” Beelzebub appears to be a play on the name and means “lord of flies.” Thus it is the contemptuous name given by the Hebrews to the pagan god.

Beelzebub was considered to be the “prince of demons (Luke 11:15). Jesus seemingly equates him with Satan.

When the Pharisees accuse Jesus of driving out demons by the power of “Beelzebub, the prince of demons,” he said, “If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself…” (Matt 12:24-26)

SAMAEL

In Judaism “while Satan describes his function as an accuser, Samael is considered to be his proper name”. * One Targum identifies Samael (“Venom of God”) as both the Angel of Death and the serpent from Eden.

And the woman beheld Samael, the angel of death, and was afraid; yet she knew that the tree was good to eat... And she took of its fruit, and did eat... **

Interestingly, Hebrews 2:14 (ESV) links Satan with death:

… that through death he [Jesus] might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil.

LUCIFER?

Most agree that Isaiah 14:12 refers to the fall of Satan, but the KJV and NKJV use the title “Lucifer” in this passage:

Isaiah 14:12 (KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [Heb: helel], son of the morning! …

The Hebrew word translated as “Lucifer” is “helel” and literally means “shining one”.

The Latin word “lucifer” means “the morning star, the planet Venus”, or, as an adjective, “light-bringing”. *

Strong's Concordance defines “helel” as “a shining one.”

Thus other English translations render it:

(Young’s Literal Translation) How hast thou fallen from the heavens, O shining one, son of the dawn!...

(NASB) How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning [helel], son of the dawn [ben shachar]…

Some KJV-Only supporters make the ridiculous claim that by using “morning star” in Isaiah 14:12 other English versions are suggesting that Jesus and Satan are one and the same (and thus Satan is responsible for inspiring these translations). This is because Jesus calls himself the “morning star” in Rev 22:16.

Firstly “morning star” is not a title used exclusively of Jesus – even in the KJV. It is also used of angels.

Job 38:7 (KJV) When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Secondly the original 1611 edition of the KJV has a marginal note for the words “O Lucifer” which reads “Or, O daystarre” (The marginal note in the 1672 edition of the KJV says “for the morning star that goeth before the sun is called Lucifer”.)

Thirdly, it was the Vulgate that was indirectly responsible for the widespread use of the word Lucifer as a name. The Latin Vulgate was produced by Jerome (c. 347-420) and was the Bible used by the Catholic Church for 1000 years.

In Isaiah 14:12 Jerome correctly translated the Hebrew word “helel” as “lucifer”, the Latin word meaning “light bearer”. (Note that “lucifer” is lower case.)

Isaiah 14:12 (Vulgate) quomodo cecidisti de caelo lucifer qui mane oriebaris corruisti in terram qui vulnerabas gentes

In Latin, the use of “lucifer” is ancient. It was the term used of the planet Venus when it appeared in the morning. As many felt the passage in Isaiah 14 referred to Satan’s fall, over time the word “lucifer” became used as a proper name for Satan before his fall. But the English term “Lucifer” comes from the Latin (Catholic) Bible, not from the Hebrew “helel.”

The English translation of the OT by a Jewish committee reads.

Isa 14:12 (JPS Tanakh 1917) How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning!

The term “lucifer” in Isaiah 14:12 was not meant as a proper name. Jerome didn’t only use the word to refer to Satan but used it often in the Vulgate. Here is just one example where it is used in a positive context – in fact referring to Jesus:

2 Pet 1:19 (Vulgate) … loco donec dies inlucescat et lucifer oriatur in cordibus vestris

2 Pet 1:19 (KJV) … until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts

FORMER ANGELIC REBELLION

There are at least 3 cases of former angelic rebellion. The origin of demons is linked to the 2nd not the 1st.

Fall of Satan (alone) in Eden (Gen 3, Ezek 28, Isa 14) and his banishment to earth.

Fall of Watchers without Satan (Gen 6, Jude 6, 2 Pet 2:4) with their offspring Nephilim becoming the demons.

The sons of God (archons, principalities) have the nations assigned to them (Deut 32:8-9). Later these angels are judged by God for bad governance (Ps 82). The nations ultimately worship these beings as gods (Jer 19:13).

1. EDEN (Gen 3)

Satan rebels and is cast to earth

2. FLOOD (Gen 6)

Watchers rebel and are bound in Abyss

Disembodied demons follow Satan

3. BABEL (Gen 11)

Nations assigned to Divine Council

Divine Council rebel and follow Satan

4. TRIBULATION (Rev 12)

Watchers released from Abyss

Satan and his angels evicted from heaven

Satan bound in the Abyss

5. MILLENNIUM (Rev 20)

Satan released from Abyss

Satan leads the nations astray

Satan cast into the Lake of Fire

THE SPIRITS OF THE NEPHILIM

Demons are the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim who died in the Flood. They were fathered by the fallen angels Sons of God (aka Watchers) in Genesis 6.

This was the prevalent view in the writings of the intertestamental period many of which are found in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

This was the common view held in Jesus’ day.

It was believed by all the earliest Church Fathers.

While it is not clearly articulated in Scripture, the Bible is aligned with this view.

THE SONS OF GOD IN GENESIS 6

The angels who fell before the Flood were called Sons of God (bene ha’elohim). Their offspring were called Nephilim.

Gen 6:1-4 (NASB) When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose … The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.

SONS OF GOD ARE NOT HUMANS

The later idea of equating “the sons of God” with Seth’s line and “the daughters of woman” with Cain’s line has multiple problems.

It does not explain why Seth would only have sons and Cain would only have daughters involved in this activity.

It fails to explain why their offspring were giants if the parents were humans.

It forces the association of Jude and Peter’s fallen angels (who are chained and awaiting judgement) with an earlier fall of Satan, which simply does not fit the description.

It is a later view, unknown by the early Jews or earliest Church Fathers and is inconsistent with other OT passages (e.g. Job 1-2) about the “sons of God,” where the term clearly refers to heavenly beings.

Bene Elohim are not humans and were already present at the creation of the world (and hence before Adam).

Job 38:4-7 Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? … When the morning stars [angels] sang together and all the sons of God (Bene Elohim) shouted for joy?

THE TITANS (GIANTS)

Greek mythology also contains numerous accounts of the “gods” marrying women and producing super-human offspring. Such was the case with the mighty Heracles (Hercules) who was reputed to be the offspring of a mortal woman Alcmene and the “god” Zeus. All these beliefs resulted not as mere inventions of fertile human imagination, but as a corruption of antediluvian truths which were distorted as their origins were forgotten over time.

The 1st century Jewish historian, Josephus identifies the Nephilim with the Grecian Titans (i.e. giants) saying that “the tradition is, that these men did what resembled the acts of those whom the Grecians call giants”. *

Now in Greek mythology, the Titans were often considered to be the second generation of divine beings. They were a family of giant gods who were the offspring of Uranus (heaven) and Gaea (earth). The most famous of the Titans was Cronus who led the Titans in their losing war against Zeus and the Olympian gods.

TARTARUS

After their defeat, the Titans were imprisoned in Tartarus the deepest section of the underworld. Peter uses this same Greek word (Tartarus) to explain the fate of some of the fallen angels. He places the event just before the Flood:

2 Pet 2:4-5 (WEB) For if God didn't spare angels when they sinned, but cast them down to Tartarus, and committed them to pits of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and didn't spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah … when he brought a flood on the world…

THE GENESIS 6 FALLEN ANGELS

Jude identifies the sin of these angels as being sexual immorality, whereas the sin of Satan was pride.

Jude 6-7 (NASB) And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day, just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh …

The story of these fallen angels is related in Genesis 6 which refers to a sexual sin.

THE GENESIS 6 FALLEN ANGELS

Though some argue that these passages refer to an original fall of the angels who followed Satan, that leaves unanswered questions:

If these verses refer to Satan’s fall, why were some angels punished by being confined and others free to roam the earth (cf. Eph 6:11–12)?

Relatedly, why was Satan (as the leader) himself not among those confined (cf. Job 1–2)?

Why does Jude refer to sexual sin?

Why does Peter place it in the context of the Flood and use the word “Tartarus” (the abode of the Titans)?

BOUND IN THE ABYSS

It is better, therefore, to take these passages as referring to some event other than the fall of Satan, which leaves Genesis 6 as the prime candidate to account for the background behind the statements of Peter and Jude. There is no other OT event involving angels that might fit with what they describe.

The Jewish writings from Qumran relate that these fallen Watchers of Genesis 6 were led by an angel called Samyaza and were bound in Abyss.

As Apollyon is revealed in Revelation 9 as the leader of the angels presently bound in the Abyss, he is most properly identified as Samyaza, an angel who led the Watcher rebellion of Genesis 6.

THE DEMON OFFSPRING

The Watchers were imprisoned until the time of the end judgment. Demons, on the other hand, roam the earth seeking to possess and torment humans.

The Qumran writings relate that when the Nephilim (giants) were destroyed in the Flood their disembodied spirits became the demons. Unlike angels, demons do not assume human form but instead desire to possess human bodies. Jesus speaks of an ousted demon gathering seven other wicked spirits, then returning to the human host “and they enter and dwell there” (Luke 11:26, ESV).

WHY DO THEY DESIRE BODIES?

They used to have human bodies – as the Nephilim – and are uncomfortable without a body (Luke 11:24-26, Matt 8:31).

It allows them to interact more effectively with the material world in which they once lived.

They derive pleasure from tormenting the host.

It allows them to practice deception more effectively – those they interact with often do not realise that they are dealing with a lying spirit (e.g. Ahab when listening to his false prophets).

ARMOUR OF GOD

Satan, his angels and demons are real beings set on our destruction. We are warned to:

Put on the full armour 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. (Eph 6:11-12).

SYMPTOMS

We should not attribute trivial ailments to possession.

In the Bible most of the symptoms expressed by possessed people are severe – fits, foaming at the mouth, extreme violence, self-mutilation, repeated attempts at suicide, psychic powers etc.

What are some of the symptoms of demon-possession?

SYMPTOMS: SICKNESS

Demons can cause sickness: e.g.

In Matthew 9:32-33 “a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus.”

Mark 9:14–29 relates that a boy is brought to Jesus who has a “deaf and mute spirit”.

In Matthew 12:22 “they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute.”

IS ALL SICKNESS DEMONIC?

Not all sickness is necessarily demonic. The Bible constantly differentiates between the two (cf. Matt 10:8, Mark 1:32, 6:13, Luke 6:21, 9:1, 8:1-2, 13:32, Acts 19:11).

Mark 6:13 (NIV) They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

If medicine alleviates the problem, it is not demon possession – demons aren’t allergic to aspirin!

SYMPTOMS: MENTAL TORMENT

Demons torment their host (Acts 5:16, 1 Sam 16:14).

Deep depression (1 Sam 16:15-16)

Paranoia (John 7:19-20)

Suicidal (Mark 9:22)

Self-destructive behaviour and self-mutilation (Mark 5:5, Luke 9:39)

An obsession with death and murder, or a fascination with paraphernalia or places associated with death. E.g. Legion (Mark 5:3)

SYMPTOMS: BAD BEHAVIOUR

Other destructive behaviour like a compulsion to abuse your body with drugs, alcohol - or a refusal to eat. (Matt 10:18).

Anti-social behaviour – avoiding people (Mark 5:5, Luke 8:27-29, Matt 8:28). Demon-possessed people may have poor hygiene skills and dress carelessly (Luke 8:27,35).

Self-abasement and indecent exposure (1 Sam 19:24).

Lying and deception (1 Chron 18:18-21, John 8:46).

SYMPTOMS: VIOLENCE

Possessed people may be extremely violent (Matt 8:28) and even kill others (1 Sam 18:10-11, Rev 16:14-16).

They might abuse animals or people.

There is often the manifestation of superhuman strength. Legion broke his chains (Luke 8:29); a demon-possessed man beat the 7 sons of Sceva (Acts 19:16).

They may go for long periods of time without blinking their eyes or appear catatonic (in an immobile or unresponsive stupor).

SYMPTOMS: PERSONALITY

They may exhibit a unique secondary or alternate personality - that of the indwelling evil spirit. In psychological terms this would be called Dissociative Identity Disorder (Note: this is not schizophrenia).

Sometimes one person can be possessed with multiple demons (Mark 16:9, Luke 8:30, Luke 11:26). Multiple possession is seen by many conservative Christians as a cause of MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) – by some as the main or only cause.

As the demon takes hold and relinquishes control of the body there may be wild mood swings – what is termed Bipolar Disorder in modern terminology.

SYMPTOMS: PERSONALITY

Erased memories, odd behaviour - doing activities that they would normally never do. E.g. Maybe they start smoking when they never normally do. Or they might begin cursing a lot when that is out of character for them.

New Abilities: they may suddenly have new skills and abilities they never had before, such as being skilful at music or art.

SYMPTOMS: INSANITY

Insanity, making irrational statements (John 10:19-21, Luke 8:35) or raving ( (1 Sam 18:10, ESV & NASB).

Schizophrenia: a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. It may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behaviour that impairs daily functioning.

Shrieking, probably in agony or fear (Luke 9:39, Mark 5:5, Mark 1:26, Acts 8:7).

SYMPTOMS - PHYSICAL

The demon will sometimes speak through that individual’s vocal chords, with drastic changes in vocal intonation or in a language unknown to the person. Their voice may suddenly go from high to low to guttural.

Changes in facial structure e.g. eye colour may change.

Some experience bodily contortions, convulsions and fainting as if they were dying. They may become completely rigid and cannot be moved, even by multiple people (Mark 1:26, the boy in Matt 17/Mark 9/Luke 9).

SYMPTOMS: SEXUAL PERVERSION

The person may be sexually preoccupied: indulging in sexual perversion, immorality, or exposing themselves to others.

Reporting sexual assaults from a spirit being (What is reported as alien abductions may also be demonic visitations or possession).

Horrifying dreams and night terrors (episodes of screaming, intense fear and flailing while still asleep). They might also wake in the middle of the night and start behaving strangely.

SYMPTOMS: SPIRITUAL

Knowledge that they couldn’t possibly know or didn’t learn through natural processes. They may know something about a person they have not met. They may speak languages they have never learned.

They may have psychic powers (clairvoyance) like the slave-girl in Acts 16:16.

The person may have counterfeit reincarnation experiences and have an accurate “recollection” of previous lives.

Agitation to the gospel: Demon-possessed people may be uncomfortable when God’s presence is evident (1 Sam 16:21–23, Mark 9:20).

They could have an aversion to Bibles, crosses and holy symbols (Acts 19:11-12).

They might be disruptive in a church meeting (Luke 4:33-34).

Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!

SYMPTOMS: SPIRITUAL DECEPTION

They may dabble in witchcraft (magic). They may collect occultic books and paraphernalia.

They may see ghosts or spirits.

They may be in contact with a spirit guide or what the Bible calls “a familiar spirit”. Those attempting to contact the dead (necromancers) usually have some sort of spirit guide who communicates with them. (The familiar spirit or spirit guide is a demon often posing as a benevolent spirit.

They may engage in false religion and be devoted to pagan deities. In paganism, demons are worshipped as gods e.g. Baalzebub (Beelzebub, Beelzebul) was a deity worshipped by the Philistines (2 Kings 1:2-3) but the Hebrews called him the Prince of Demons (Matt 12:24: Luke 11:15).

Scripture indicates that demons are the spiritual entities behind the idols that pagans worship. We are told that “the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons (Grk: daimoniois), not to God” (1 Cor 10:20, cf. Rev 9:20).

Demons are not ignorant - they know the truth. They believe in God (James 2:19) , they knew who Jesus was (Mark 1:24), understood their ultimate fate (Matt 8:29) and acknowledged the mission and authority of the apostles (Acts 16:17). Yet they are evil and deceptive, teaching falsehoods that cause Christians to apostatize.

Paul says that “in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Tim 4:1). We are warned about false apostles (2 Cor 11:13-15 ) and false prophets (1 John 4:1).

DISCERNMENT

As many of the symptoms are not necessarily exclusive to demon-possession the gift of discerning of spirits is necessary in distinguishing true demonic possession from other issues. There are two extremes which Christians have in regard to demon possession:

The one extreme is to deny the existence of demons and attribute everything to natural causes or mental illness.

The other extreme is to see demons everywhere and attribute all illness, attitude problems and any sinful behaviour to demons.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

AUTHOR: Gavin Paynter

Illustrations from:

http:// www.freebibleimages.org

Jim Padgett, courtesy of https:// commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/ Bible_Illustrations_contributed_by_Sweet_Publishing

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Other Scripture quotations taken from:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

The New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.




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