Posts Tagged 'Demons'

Panic Podcast – Angelology, Part 1

Angels. What do we know about these supernatural beings?  Where do the come from?  How many are there? Are demons angels?  Today, we begin a study of these very curious creature from the Biblical perspective.

 

Panic Podcast: The Unseen World, Part 1

That picture is Clarence Larkin’s view of the unseen spirit world.  This will be our subject of study over the coming days, and today I want to look at some of the inhabitants of this unseen spirit world: Angels, fallen angels, and demons.  You’ll need your Bibles because we’ll be looking a lot of passages of Scripture.  God bless you as we study what the Word has to say about this strange world that exists alongside our world, a world we can’t see yet it influences us.

 

SATAN, DEMONS, AND FALLEN ANGELS

index

Satan, Demons and Fallen Angels

Some people don’t believe in a personal devil. Yet, when we look around at the evil in the world today, it’s hard to believe that man’s imagination is able to conceive of it all without help.

There is evil and wickedness in the world. Admittedly, much of it comes from “man’s inhumanity to man.” But a lot of it has its origins in the spirit world. The Bible makes it plain that not only is there a personal devil, but also demons and fallen angels. Where did these spirit beings come from? Where are they now? What are they doing?

1. Satan, the Devil

There are two man passages of Scripture that tell us most of what we know concerning Satan’s origin: Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-19. The idea that Satan is a hideous-looking, horned and cloven hoofed creature is not Biblical. His name at his creation was Lucifer, meaning “the light-bearer,” suggesting that he was, in the beginning, the most beautiful and glorious angel ever created.

His fall from grace is given in the context of history (especially in the Ezekiel passage). Two historical kings from two historical kingdoms had blasphemed against God and forced their people to worship them as gods. God, speaking through His prophets, gives a series of warnings to His people and the people of these two historical kingdoms. The essence of these warnings is simple and direct: if God punished the arrogance and prideful blasphemies of His highest angel, Lucifer, no mere human king will escape that same punishment for those same sins.

Satan has been described as a “superhuman being” because in some ways he appears to be far more powerful than any mortal. But as we study this very real personal devil, we must remember what the New Testament teaches:

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

His character

The devil’s character is made known by his names.

  • Satan means “adversary.” Throughout the Bible, we see Satan as God’s adversary and also man’s. He stands opposed to the will of God and he continually seeks to hinder God’s purposes. Not only that, Satan actively seeks to destroy the Church of Jesus Christ through false teaching from within and persecution from without.

  • Devil means “slanderer.” What an apt name for one who lies about God (Genesis 3:2-5) and man (Job 1:9; Zechariah 3:1, 2; Luke 22:31).

  • Apollyon and Abaddon are Greek and Hebrew (respectively) words meaning “destroyer.” They are applied to Satan in Revelation 9:11. He seeks to destroy the works of God and God’s people.

  • Serpent. In both Genesis and Revelation, Satan is referred to as a serpent.

  • Tempter (Matthew 4:3). The Devil tempts God’s people to commit sin and acts of rebellion. God, on the other hand, tests our faith for our good.

  • The prince and god of this world. This is how he is referred to in John 12:31 and 2 Corinthians 4:4. This is a good name because it describes the Devil’s sphere of influence: our world.

His activities

Satan’s names best describe what he does. This list also applies to demons and fallen angels.

  • Nature. Satan constantly does these things:

    • Opposes the work of God, 1 Thessalonians 2:18

    • Hinders the Gospel, Matthew 13:19

    • Possesses, blinds, deceives and ensnares the unsaved, Luke 22:3; 2 Corinthians 4:4

    • Afflicts people, Job 1:12

  • Tempts Christians, 1 Thessalonians 3:5

  • Sphere. Satan’s sphere of activity is the world, but he is not only to be found among the wicked and unsaved. He is known as an “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) so it makes sense that he, for example, attends church services and gatherings of believers. In fact, his agents, demons, have been referred to as “ministers of righteousness” in 2 Corinthians 11:15.

  • His driving force. We can understand why Satan hates God so much. But why man? He hates man because God loves man so much. Even the vilest of sinners still bears the stamp of God. Satan especially detests Christians because more than sinners, we remind him of Jesus Christ and we are everything he is no longer and can never be again.

  • His limitation. Satan is not like God. In fact, he is more like man than like God. All of his powers are limited. Satan is definitely strong and powerful, but he is already a defeated foe and he is only strong to those who do not resist him, James 4:7. His power is limited by God Himself. For example, he cannot tempt (Matthew 4:1), afflict (Job 1:16), kill (Job 2:6; Hebrews 2:14), nor touch a Christian without God’s permission.

His Destiny

From very early in the history of the world, Satan’s destiny has been revealed:

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)

Since the Garden of Eden, Satan’s career has been on the downhill skids. He is as aware of this as we are. Here is a being, kicked out of Heaven, living and functioning in a world only temporarily his, knowing his days are limited. During the Tribulation he will cast down (not out) of the heavenly realms to the earth (Revelation 12:9) and during the Millennium he will be locked away in the bottomless pit, and finally, after the thousand-year reign of Christ, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10). Knowing all this makes Satan the most miserable and pathetic of all God’s creation.

2. Fallen angels

Some people believe fallen angels are demons. This may or may not be true; the Bible is silent as to the origin of demons. For the purposes of this brief study, we consider fallen angels and demons to be separate and distinct from each other. Understand, however, that other Bible teachers may or may not agree with this view. However, while Bible scholars may be divided as the origin of demons, all agree that they are real.

As we know, God created angels at some point in the dateless past, possibly during His work in Genesis 1. Like man, it seems that angels were give the power of free choice, just as man. Under the influence of Lucifer, a large number of them, swollen with pride and flush with rebellion, sinned and were cast out of Heaven, John 8:44; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6.

At this present time, fallen angels are to be found in various places. Some are in Hell (2 Peter 2:4), and some are in the world (John 12:31; 14:30; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 12:4, 7-9).

Exactly what evil angels are doing is not specifically addressed but rather inferred in Scripture.

He unleashed against them his hot anger, his wrath, indignation and hostility—a band of destroying angels. (Psalm 78:49)

It is implied that these “destroying angels” were sent to torment wicked people. They also try to separate believers from Christ.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers… (Romans 8:38)

Fallen angels oppose the work of angels:

Then he continued, “Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. [13] But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia. (Daniel 10:12-13)

It may very well be that the reason some of our prayers today seem slow in being answered is because of spiritual interference.

Fallen angels work with Satan in carrying out his plans in this world.

“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.'” (Matthew 25:41)

There is no hope for the redemption of these fallen angels; their fate is sealed: Hell has been specifically prepared for their eternal punishment.

3. Demons

The Bible does not tell us where demons came from. As was stated earlier, some think that fallen angels became demons, other believe demons are their own created class. This study takes the latter position. Demons, unclean spirits, and evil spirits are one and the same and are not fallen angels.

While we don’t know why, where, or when they were created, the Bible does tell us much about what they do in our world.

  • They inflict disease. Job 1:5-10; Matthew 9:33; 12:22; Luke 9:37-42; 13:11, 16. Thanks to the prologue in Job, we know that when God permitted Satan to inflict disease upon Job, He set definite limits beyond which Satan could not pass. It is unwarranted to suggest that Satan and demonic spirits cause all disease, for the Bible clearly teaches they do not. However, they do cause, through influence, human beings to desire things that may hurt them and cause damage to their bodies. Demonic oppression causes man to think incorrectly, speak in error, and act out of ignorance.

  • They cause mental disorders. Mark 5:4, 5; Luke 8:35. It should be stressed, though, that NOT all mental problems are caused by Satan and demonic activity.

  • They lead people into perversions. Matthew 10:1; 12:43; Mark 1:23-27; 3:11; 5:2-13; Luke 4:33; etc. Satan and demons lead people into all kinds of moral and ethical impurities. In Leviticus 18:6-30, we read a long list of sexual sins and declares that because of these sins, God would punish the Canaanites by kicking them of their land. In Deuteronomy 18:9-14, we learn that it was because of their spiritism and idolatry that they were cast out.

  • They spread false doctrine. 1 Kings 22:21-23; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Timothy 4:1. Satan and demons lead people astray through false and misleading theology. They twist the words of Scripture and cause preachers to preach and teach out of ignorance, if not outright intentional deception.

  • They try to stunt spiritual growth among Christians. Ephesians 6:12.

  • They possess human beings and even animals. Matthew 4:24; Mark 5:8-14; Luke 8:2; Acts 8:7; 16:16.

  • They are sometimes used by God in carrying out His purposes. Judges 9:23; 1 Samuel 16:14; Psalm 78:49.

4. The destiny of all spirit beings

In bringing this study of angels, demons, and Satan to a close, we need to discuss their future. Just like man has an eternal destiny, so also do all spirit beings.

Angels

It seems as though “good angels” will continue to serve God throughout all eternity. In the New Jerusalem, for example, John saw angels at the 12 gates of the city (Revelation 21:12).

Fallen Angels

Evil or fallen angels won’t fair so well in the future. The Bible teaches clearly they will end up in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41). Meanwhile, many are kept in chains and in darkness until their day of judgment (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). At the coming of Christ, believers will have a part in condemning fallen angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).

Satan and Demons

We have already discussed the future of Satan, and it seems that the future of his minions is linked to his; his punishment will be theirs. Their destiny involves torment for all of eternity.

Martin Luther famously said:

The devil is the ape of God.

Satan, in other words, is the enemy of God who is always trying to copy or counterfeit God’s works. Demon possession, for example, is a terrible counterfeit of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; demon-inspired utterances are a copy of the gifts of the Spirit. Those who are indwelled by demonic spirits have great strength, counterfeiting the power of the Holy Spirit. Satan himself tries to appear very appealing to man; he comes as a friend, but the only thing he is interested in is stealing your soul and making you miserable. The Lord Jesus Christ came into the world to deliver man from the power of Satan and his evil agents and to put them under the care and control of God’s Holy Spirit.

Studies in Mark’s Gospel, Continued

Of Demons, Disease, and Death

Chapter 5

There is a close connection between the events of chapter 5 and the last story of chapter 4 (4:35—41). From a vivid description of a wild sea, Mark moves on to a vivid description of a wild man. From our perspective, both were untamable, but Jesus is seen bring both under His control.

How innocuous are the opening words of this chapter seem—

They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.

How much had the disciples grown in their faith as a result of their chastening in 4:40b—

Do you still have no faith?

Hebrews 12:11 had yet to be written, but the disciples would surely have appreciated this verse—

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Jesus and His disciples have finished crossing the lake and entered a forbidding and foreboding land inhabited mainly by Gentiles, as evidenced by the presence of a large herd of pigs, which were considered unclean Jews.

Different translations name the place where this miracle took place differently, but the NIV seems to give the correct name, “the region of the Gerasenes.”

1. Terrifying picture of sin, 5:3—5

The description of this pitiful demon possessed man is a description of the wretchedness of sin and the toll it extracts on those living in it. As Mark describes this man, we see that he is truly the victim of unspeakable demonic evil coupled with human indifference and impotence (Hendriksen).

This poor man once had a normal life but now, demon-possessed, he is reduced to living in “the tombs.” Mark is probably not describing a graveyard but the natural caves or tombs often cut by the Palestinian people into the sides of the mountains. While these shallow caves would provide shelter, the main reason this man lived there was more than likely due to a local superstition that said these caves or tombs were the dwelling places of evil spirits. So this man was probably driven to this desolate area by the locals; it seems like they had once tried to control him but all efforts to do so were unsuccessful. There was no one strong enough to tame this wild man.

2. Confrontation with evil, 5:6—13

Here is yet another example of how other worldly beings—demons—knew exactly who Jesus was. Contrast the certainty of the words of the demoniac with those of the disciples—

“Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (4:41b)

The demon-possessed man fell prostrate at Christ’s feet, though not in worship as the KJV suggests. Since the demons knew who Jesus was, they knew why He was there—

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. (1 John 3:8)

Though sometimes when people are faced with tragedy or pain they cry out to God for help, this is not what this demoniac was doing. The demons, making use of the possessed man’s voice, were pleading with Jesus not to destroy them. The tormenting demons were begging not to be tormented. In response, Jesus simply said,

You foul spirit, come out of this man. (verse 8, literal)

In fact, this man was infested with many demons. The name Legion, if we relate it with a legion of Roman soldiers, means literally 6,000. Was this man really inhabited by 6,000 demons?

The demons were sent by Jesus into a herd of nearby pigs, and not being able to destroy the man they inhabited, they managed to destroy some 2,000 pigs.

Some people are bothered that Jesus allowed the destruction of personal property. Perhaps one reason why allowed the pigs to stampede to their deaths was that he wanted to give tangible proof to the man and to the townspeople that the demons had, in fact, left his body and that their purpose was to destroy him even as they destroyed somebody’s pigs. Barclay makes this observation—

How could the fate of the pigs possibly be compared with the fate of a man’s immortal soul? There is a cheap sentimentalism which will languish in grief over the pain of an animal and will never turn a hair at the wretched state of millions of God’s men and women. In God’s scale of proportions, there is nothing so important as a human soul.

3. Simultaneous wonders, 5:21—43

In this section (verses 21—43), we have two amazing miracles. And they are presented in a unique fashion in that one interrupts the progress of the other without stopping it. The first miracle represents those who look for help, the second those who must receive help from God through the help of others. One shows Christ’s authority over disease, the other His power of death.

(a) A father’s plea, verses 21—24. Again Jesus is on the move. Mark’s custom is to show Jesus passing quickly from event to event, often in very rapid succession. He and His friends went back across the lake, landing probably in the vicinity of Capernaum.

Jesus was probably in the middle of teaching when He was interrupted by a leader of the Synagogue, no less. Jairus was his name, and apparently he had heard about this wonder-working teacher and saw in Jesus the last chance for his daughter to live. What this Jewish administrator said was truly a statement of faith:

Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live. (verse 23)

He knew that if only Jesus could touch his littler girl, she would recover. There is nothing like a desperate, hopeless situation to activate one’s faith! Jesus did not say a word; He acted, and went with the man to see his daughter.

The second half of verse 24 serves to set the scene for the miracle that interrupts another one.

A large crowd followed and pressed around him.

(b)  A desperate woman.  At this point in Jesus’ ministry, this was not unusual. We get the impression that this crowd was sizable and unruly; literally pressing into Jesus. This made walking to Jairus’ home difficult if not impossible. In the faceless crowd was a woman with a problem. Undoubtedly, there were many in that crowd that had problems—sicknesses, diseases, and so on—but this woman stood out from the crowd. She had been hemorrhaging for an astonishing 12 years. The duration of her illness, oddly enough, was the same as the age of Jairus’ young daughter. We know the story well—

[S]he came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering. (verses 27—27)

In the case of Jairus’ all he wanted was for Jesus to touch his ailing daughter. Here, all this poor woman wanted was to touch Jesus. Her faith was not perfect, for she believed she had to physically come into contact with Jesus. But Jesus honored her imperfect faith, and rewarded her by restoring her to perfect health. Notice what Jesus said to her:

“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

The theological implications of that statement are profound. The word Jesus used for “healed” is sesoken, which literally means “saved.” Here, Mark has chosen his words carefully. This woman was physically healed and spiritually saved in a moment. Jesus then tells her to “Go in peace,” which was a very common Jewish benediction, but here the word for “peace” means “wholeness and completeness of life.” When a person if freed from distress—physical and/or spiritual, they are truly made whole.

(c)   Expert multitasking.  At the moment this formerly ill woman got good news, Jairus got the worse news a father could get: his daughter had died. We wonder what went through the minds of Jairus and the disciples. Had Jesus not been held up helping this bleeding woman, maybe He could have reached the young girl in time to save her life. This is at least implied in this statement:

“Why bother the teacher any more?” (verse 35b)

Though Jesus heard the words of the messengers, He would have nothing to do their faithless negativity. He maintains His cool, and wants Jairus to do the same:

Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” (verse 36)

So we now know that Jairus was afraid, and what father wouldn’t be afraid? There is no emotion more powerful than fear, and the only thing that will drive out fear is something good:

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:21)

Jesus wanted this man to think about Him; He wanted Jairus to keep on believing despite the circumstances. And the circumstances were grim at Jairus’ house; another crowd had gathered to mourn the dead child. This boggles the mind of Jesus:

“Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. (verses 39—40)

Why did Jesus say that? From Luke’s account, we know for certain the girl was dead. The reaction of the crowd at what Jesus said belied the shallowness of so-called concern; their tears turned immediately to laughter. This time, Jesus would perform His miracle away from the crowd, their superficiality and lack of sensitivity disqualified them from witnessing such a stupendous miracle. There were only 5 witness to this astonishing miracle, and with two Aramaic words, Jesus brought the girl back to life.

Those 5 witnesses were utterly astonished, and their reaction was perfectly normal. Here was cold, lifeless corpse now up and walking around. Barclay makes a wonderful observation—

The great fact of the Christian life is that that which looks completely impossible with men is possible with God.

What Jesus told them is interesting and bears brief comment.

At this they were completely astonished. He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this. (verse 42b—43a)

Why did He tell the crowd who saw the girl walking around not to say anything to anybody about what they had just seen? What did this crowd see? They certainly did not see the miracle, only 5 saw Jesus actually bring the dead girl back to life. They could be entrusted with testifying to the healing of Jesus, but the unruly crowd, whose tears turned to laughter in a moment, could not be trusted with telling the Good News.

The last thing Jesus says in humorous but revealing:

[G]ive her something to eat. (verse 43b)

How did He know she was hungry? And why did He make a point of making sure got something to eat? Here we see Jesus, the Man with authority over demons, disease, and death, taking the time to be concerned about a young girl’s need for a snack.  Jesus, Man of Power and Man of Authority. was concerned that this little girl might be hungry.  He provided the miracle, the witnesses now had a responsibility to perform.

(c)  2009 WitzEnd


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