Category: (09) What is Christian Demonology?

Demonology is the study of demons. Christian demonology is the study of what the  Bible teaches about demons. Closely related to angelology, Christian demonology  teaches us about the demons, what they are and how they attack us. Satan and his  demons are fallen angels, real personal beings who wage war against God, the  holy angels, and humanity. Christian demonology helps us to be aware of Satan,  his minions, and their evil schemes. Here are some important issues in Christian  demonology:

What does the Bible say about  demons? The Bible indicates that the demons are fallen angels – angels who  along with Satan rebelled against God. Satan and his demons now desire to  deceive and destroy all those who follow and worship God.

How,  why, and when did Satan fall from heaven? Satan fell from heaven because of  the sin of pride, which led to his rebellion against God. The actual time of his  fall is not recorded in Scripture. It may have occurred outside time as we know  it, that is, before the creation of time and space.

Why  did God allow some of the angels to sin? The angels who fell and became  demons had a free-will choice to make – God did not force or encourage any of  the angels to sin. They sinned of their own free will and therefore are worthy  of God’s eternal wrath.

Can  Christians be demon possessed? We strongly hold to the belief that a  Christian cannot be possessed by a demon. We believe there is a difference  between being possessed by a demon, and being oppressed or influenced by a  demon.

Is there activity of demonic  spirits in the world today? Considering the fact that Satan “walks about  like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8)  and knowing that he is not omnipresent, it is logical to assume that he would  send his demons to do his work in this world.

Who or what were the Nephilim? The Nephilim (“fallen  ones, giants”) were the offspring of sexual relationships between the sons of  God and daughters of men in Genesis  6:1-4. There is much debate over the identity of the “sons of God.”.

Many people believe Satan and his demons are only personifications of evil.  Christian demonology helps us to understand the nature of our spiritual enemy.  It teaches us how to resist and overcome the devil and his temptations. Praise  God for the victory over darkness through our Lord Jesus Christ! While the  Christian should not be obsessed with demonology, a clear understanding of  demonology will help calm our fears, keep us watchful, and remind us to stay  close to our Lord Jesus Christ. We have Holy Spirit living in our hearts, and  “greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

A key  Scripture related to Christian demonology is 2  Corinthians 11:14-15, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an  angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as  servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions  deserve.”

The Nephilim (“fallen ones, giants”) were the offspring of sexual relationships  between the sons of God and daughters of men in Genesis  6:1-4. There is much debate as to the identity of the “sons of God.” It is  our contention that the “sons of God” were fallen angels (demons) who mated with  human females and/or possessed human males and then mated with human females.  These unions resulted in offspring, the Nephilim, that were “heroes of old, men  of renown” (Genesis  6:4).

Why would the demons do such a thing? The Bible does not  specifically give us the answer. The demons are evil, twisted beings—so nothing  they do should surprise us. As to a distinct motivation, the best speculation is  that the demons were attempting to pollute the human blood line in order to  prevent the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. God had promised that a Messiah  would come from the line of Eve (Genesis  3:15) who would crush the head of the serpent, Satan. So, the demons were  possibly attempting to prevent this by polluting the human bloodline, making it  impossible for a sinless Messiah to one day be born. Again, this is not a  specifically biblical answer, but it is plausible and not in contradiction to  anything the Bible teaches.

What were the Nephilim? According to Hebraic  and other legends (the Book of Enoch and other non-biblical writings), they were  a race of giants and super-heroes who did acts of great evil. Their great size  and power likely came from the mixture of demonic “DNA” with human genetics. All  that the Bible directly says about them is that they were “heroes of old, men of  renown” (Genesis  6:4). The Nephilim were not aliens, they were literal, physical beings  produced from the union of the sons of God and daughters of men (Genesis 6:1-4).

What happened to the Nephilim? The Nephilim were one of the primary reasons for  the great flood in Noah’s time. Immediately after the Nephilim are mentioned,  God’s Word tells us this: “The LORD saw how great man’s wickedness on the earth  had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only  evil all the time. The LORD was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and  his heart was filled with pain. So the LORD said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I  have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that  move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made  them’” (Genesis  6:5-7). So, God proceeded to flood the entire earth, killing everyone and  everything (including the Nephilim) other than Noah and his family and the  animals on the ark (Genesis  6:11-22).

Were there Nephilim after the flood? Genesis 6:4 tells us, “The Nephilim were on the earth in  those days — and also afterward.” It seems that the demons repeated their sin  sometime after the flood as well. However, it likely took place to a much lesser  extent than it did prior to the flood. When the Israelites spied out the land of  Canaan, they reported back to Moses: “We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants  of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes,  and we looked the same to them” (Numbers  13:33). Now, this passage does not specifically say that the Nephilim were  genuinely there, only that the spies thought they saw the Nephilim. It is more  likely that the spies witnessed very large people in Canaan and mistakenly  believed them to be the Nephilim. Or, it is possible that after the flood the  demons again mated with human females, producing more Nephilim. Whatever the  case, these “giants” were destroyed by the Israelites during their invasion of  Canaan (Joshua  11:21-22) and later in their history (Deuteronomy  3:11; 1 Samuel 17).

What prevents the demons from producing more  Nephilim today? It seems that God put an end to demons mating with humans by  placing all the demons who committed such an act in the Abyss. Jude verse 6  tells us, “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but  abandoned their own home—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting  chains for judgment on the great Day.” Obviously, not all of the demons are in  “prison” today, so there must have been a group of demons who committed further  grievous sin beyond the original fall. Presumably, the demons who mated with  human females are the ones who are “bound with everlasting chains.” This would  prevent any more demons from attempting such an act.

While the Bible does not explicitly state whether a Christian can be possessed  by a demon, related biblical truths make it abundantly clear that Christians  cannot be demon possessed. There is a distinct difference between being  possessed by a demon and being oppressed or influenced by a demon. Demon  possession involves a demon having direct/complete control over the thoughts  and/or actions of a person (Matthew  17:14-18; Luke  4:33-35; 8:27-33).  Demon oppression or influence involves a demon or demons attacking a person  spiritually and/or encouraging him/her into sinful behavior. Notice that in all  the New Testament passages dealing with spiritual warfare, there are no  instructions to cast a demon out of a believer (Ephesians  6:10-18). Believers are told to resist the devil (James 4:7; 1 Peter  5:8-9), not to cast him out.

Christians are indwelt by the Holy  Spirit (Romans  8:9-11; 1  Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). Surely the Holy Spirit would not allow a demon to  possess the same person He is indwelling. It is unthinkable that God would allow  one of His children, whom He purchased with the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19) and  made into a new creation (2  Corinthians 5:17), to be possessed and controlled by a demon. Yes, as  believers, we wage war with Satan and his demons, but not from within ourselves.  The apostle John declares, “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).  Who is the One in us? The Holy Spirit. Who is the one in the world? Satan and  his demons. Therefore, the believer has overcome the world of demons, and the  case for demon possession of a believer cannot be made scripturally.

With the strong biblical evidence that a Christian cannot be demon possessed in  view, some Bible teachers use the term “demonization” to refer to a demon having  control over a Christian. Some argue that while a Christian cannot be demon  possessed, a Christian can be demonized. Typically, the description of  demonization is virtually identical to the description of demon possession. So,  the same issue results. Changing the terminology does not change the fact that a  demon cannot inhabit or take full control of a Christian. Demonic influence and  oppression are realities for Christians, no doubt, but it is simply not biblical  to say that a Christian can be possessed by a demon or demonized.

Much  of the reasoning behind the demonization concept is the personal experience of  seeing someone who was “definitely” a Christian exhibiting evidence of being  controlled by a demon. It is crucially important, though, that we do not allow  personal experience to influence our interpretation of Scripture. Rather, we  must filter our personal experiences through the truth of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  Seeing someone whom we thought to be a Christian exhibiting the behavior of  being demonized should cause us to question the genuineness of his/her faith. It  should not cause us alter our viewpoint on whether a Christian can be demon  possessed / demonized. Perhaps the person truly is a Christian but is severely  demon oppressed and/or suffering from severe psychological problems. But again,  our experiences must meet the test of Scripture, not the other way around.

With both the angels and humanity, God chose to present a choice. While the  Bible does not give many details regarding the rebellion of Satan and the fallen  angels, it seems that Satan—probably the greatest of all the angels (Ezekiel 28:12-18)—in  pride chose to rebel against God in order to seek to become his own god. Satan  (Lucifer) did not want to worship or obey God; he wanted to be God (Isaiah 14:12-14). Revelation 12:4 is  understood to be a figurative description of one third of the angels choosing to  follow Satan in his rebellion, becoming the fallen angels—demons.

Unlike  humanity, however, the choice the angels had to follow Satan or remain faithful  to God was an eternal choice. The Bible presents no opportunity for the fallen  angels to repent and be forgiven. Nor does the Bible indicate that it is  possible for more of the angels to sin. The angels who remain faithful to God  are described as the “elect angels” (1 Timothy  5:21). Satan and the fallen angels knew God in all His glory. For them to  rebel, despite what they knew about God, was the utmost of evil. As a result,  God does not give Satan and the other fallen angels the opportunity to repent.  Further, the Bible gives us no reason to believe they would repent even if God  gave them the chance (1 Peter  5:8). God gave Satan and the angels the same choice He gave Adam and Eve, to  obey Him or not. The angels had a free-will choice to make; God did not force or  encourage any of the angels to sin. Satan and the fallen angels sinned of their  own free will and therefore are worthy of God’s eternal wrath in the lake of  fire.

Why did God give the angels this choice, when He knew what the  results would be? God knew that one-third of the angels would rebel and  therefore be cursed to the eternal fire. God also knew that Satan would further  his rebellion by tempting humanity into sin. So, why did God allow it? The Bible  does not explicitly give the answer to this question. The same can be asked of  almost any evil action. Why does God allow it? Ultimately, it comes back to  God’s sovereignty over His creation. The Psalmist tells us, “As for God, His way  is perfect” (Psalm  18:30). If God’s ways are “perfect,” then we can trust that whatever He  does—and whatever He allows—is also perfect. So the perfect plan from our  perfect God was to allow sin. Our minds are not God’s mind, nor are our ways His  ways, as He reminds us in Isaiah  55:8-9.

 Ghosts, hauntings, séances, tarot cards, Ouija boards,  crystal balls—what do they have in common? They are fascinating to many people  because they seem to offer insight into an unknown world that lies beyond the  limits of our physical existence. And, to many, such things seem innocent and  harmless.

Many who approach these subjects from non-biblical  perspectives believe that ghosts are the spirits of dead people who, for  whatever reason, have not gone on to the “next stage.” According to those who  believe in ghosts, there are three different kinds of hauntings: (1) residual  hauntings (likened to video playbacks with no actual interaction with any  spirits). (2) Hauntings by human spirits, whose natures are a combination of  good and bad (but not evil). Such spirits may simply want to get a person’s  attention; others may be pranksters, but, in either case, they do not truly harm  people. (3) Interaction with non-human spirits or demons. These entities can  masquerade as human spirits, but they are harmful and dangerous.

When  reading about ghosts and hauntings from non-biblical sources, remember that,  just because an author may refer to the Bible or to Bible characters (such as  Michael the archangel), it does not mean he approaches the subject from a  biblical perspective. When no authority is given for an author’s information,  the reader has to ask himself, “How does he/she know this to be so? What is  his/her authority?” For example, how does an author know that demons masquerade  as human spirits? Ultimately, those who address such subjects from non-biblical  sources must base their understanding on their own thoughts, the thoughts of  others, and/or the experiences of the past. However, based on their own  admission that demons are deceiving and can imitate benevolent human spirits,  experiences can be deceiving! If one is to have a right understanding on this  subject, he must go to a source that has shown itself to be accurate 100 percent  of the time—God’s Word, the Bible. Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to  say about such things.

1. The Bible never speaks of hauntings. Rather,  it teaches that when a person dies, the spirit of that person goes to one of two  places. If the person is a believer in Jesus Christ, his spirit is ushered into  the presence of the Lord in heaven (Philippians 1:21-23; 2  Corinthians 5:8). Later, he will be reunited with his body at the  resurrection (1  Thessalonians 4:13-18). If the person is not a believer in Christ, his  spirit is put in a place of torment called hell (Luke  16:23-24).

Whether a person is a believer or an unbeliever, there  is no returning to our world to communicate or interact with people, even for  the purpose of warning people to flee from the judgment to come (Luke 16:27-31). There are  only two recorded incidents in which a dead person interacted with the living.  The first is when King Saul of Israel tried contacting the deceased prophet  Samuel through a medium. God allowed Samuel to be disturbed long enough to  pronounce judgment upon Saul for his repeated disobedience (1 Samuel 28:6-19). The  second incident is when Moses and Elijah interacted with Jesus when he was  transfigured in Matthew  17:1-8. There was nothing “ghostly” about the appearance of Moses and  Elijah, however.

2. Scripture speaks repeatedly of angels moving about  unseen (Daniel  10:1-21). Sometimes, these angels have interaction with living people. Evil  spirits, or demons, can actually possess people, dwelling within them and  controlling them (see Mark 5:1-20,  for example). The four Gospels and the Book of Acts record several instances of  demon possession and of good angels appearing to and aiding believers. Angels,  both good and bad, can cause supernatural phenomena to occur (Job 1–2; Revelation 7:1; 8:5; 15:1;16).

3.  Scripture shows that demons know things of which people are unaware (Acts 16:16-18; Luke 4:41). Because these evil angels have been around a  long time, they would naturally know things that those living limited life spans  would not. Because Satan currently has access to God’s presence (Job 1–2),  demons might also be allowed to know some specifics about the future, but this  is speculation.

4. Scripture says Satan is the father of lies and a  deceiver (John 8:44; 2  Thessalonians 2:9) and that he disguises himself as an “angel of light.”  Those who follow him, human or otherwise, practice the same deceit (2 Corinthians  11:13-15).

5. Satan and demons have great power (compared to  humans). Even Michael the archangel trusts only God’s power when dealing with  Satan (Jude 1:9). But  Satan’s power is nothing compared to God’s (Acts  19:11-12; Mark  5:1-20), and God is able to use Satan’s evil intent to bring about His good  purposes (1  Corinthians 5:5; 2  Corinthians 12:7).

6. God commands us to have nothing to do with the  occult, devil worship, or the unclean spirit world. This would include the use  of mediums, séances, Ouija boards, horoscopes, tarot cards, channeling, etc. God  considers these practices an abomination (Deuteronomy 18:9-12; Isaiah  8:19-20; Galatians  5:20; Revelation  21:8), and those who involve themselves in such things invite disaster (Acts 19:13-16).

7.  The Ephesian believers set an example in dealing with occult items (books,  music, jewelry, games, etc.). They confessed their involvement with such as sin  and burned the items publicly (Acts  19:17-19).

8. Release from Satan’s power is achieved through God’s  salvation. Salvation comes through believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 19:18; 26:16-18). Attempts to  disentangle oneself from demonic involvement without salvation are futile.   Jesus warned of a heart devoid of the Holy Spirit’s presence: such a heart is  merely an empty dwelling place ready for even worse demons to inhabit (Luke 11:24-26). But when a  person comes to Christ for the forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit comes to  abide until the day of redemption (Ephesians  4:30).

Some paranormal activity can be attributed to the work of  charlatans. It would seem best to understand other reports of ghosts and  hauntings as the work of demons. Sometimes these demons may make no attempt to  conceal their nature, and at other times they may use deception, appearing as  disembodied human spirits. Such deception leads to more lies and  confusion.

God states it is foolish to consult the dead on behalf of the  living. Rather, He says, “To the law and to the testimony!” (Isaiah 8:19-20). The Word  of God is our source of wisdom. Believers in Jesus Christ should not be involved  in the occult. The spirit world is real, but Christians do not need to fear it  (1 John  4:4).

 Revelation  12:9 is the clearest scripture on the identity of demons, “The great dragon  was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the  whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”  Satan’s fall from heaven is symbolically described in Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel  28:12-15. Revelation  12:4 seems to indicate that Satan took one-third of the angels with him when  he sinned. Jude 6 mentions  angels who sinned. The Bible indicates that the demons are fallen angels who,  along with Satan, rebelled against God.

Satan and his demons now look to  destroy and deceive all those who follow and worship God (1 Peter 5:8; 2 Corinthians  11:14-15). The demons are described as evil spirits (Matthew 10:1), unclean  spirits (Mark 1:27),  and angels of Satan (Revelation  12:9). Satan and his demons deceive the world (2  Corinthians 4:4), attack Christians (2  Corinthians 12:7; 1 Peter  5:8), and combat the holy angels (Revelation  12:4-9). Demons are spiritual beings, but they can appear in physical forms  (2  Corinthians 11:14-15). The demons/fallen angels are enemies of God, but they  are defeated enemies. Greater is He who is in us, than those who are in the  world (1 John  4:4).

Cherubim/cherubs are angelic beings involved in the worship and praise of God.  The cherubim are first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis  3:24, “After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden  of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to  the tree of life.” Prior to his rebellion, Satan was a cherub (Ezekiel 28:12-15). The  tabernacle and temple along with their articles contained many representations  of cherubim (Exodus  25:17-22; 26:1, 31; 36:8; 1 Kings  6:23-35; 7:29-368:6-7; 1  Chronicles 28:18; 2  Chronicles 3:7-14; 2  Chronicles 3:10-13; 5:7-8; Hebrews  9:5).

Chapters 1 and 10 of the book of Ezekiel describe the “four  living creatures” (Ezekiel 1:5)  as the same beings as the cherubim (Ezekiel 10). Each had four faces—that of a  man, a lion, an ox, and an eagle (Ezekiel  1:10; also 10:14)—and each had four wings. In their appearance, the cherubim  “had the likeness of a man” (Ezekiel  1:5). These cherubim used two of their wings for flying and the other two  for covering their bodies (Ezekiel 1:611, 23). Under their wings the  cherubim appeared to have the form, or likeness, of a man’s hand (Ezekiel 1:8; 10:7-821).

The imagery of Revelation  4:6-9 also seems to be describing cherubim. The cherubim serve the purpose  of magnifying the holiness and power of God. This is one of their main  responsibilities throughout the Bible. In addition to singing God’s praises,  they also serve as a visible reminder of the majesty and glory of God and His  abiding presence with His people.

Satan’s fall from heaven is symbolically described in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel  28:12-18. While these two passages are referring specifically to the kings  of Babylon and Tyre, they also reference the spiritual power behind those kings,  namely, Satan. These passages describe why Satan fell, but they do not  specifically say when the fall occurred. What we do know is this: the angels  were created before the earth (Job 38:4-7).  Satan fell before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:1-14). Satan’s  fall, therefore, must have occurred somewhere after the time the angels were  created and before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Whether  Satan’s fall occurred a few minutes, hours, or days before he tempted Adam and  Eve in the Garden, Scripture does not specifically say.

The book of Job  tells us that, for a time at least, Satan still had access to heaven and to the  throne of God. “One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD,  and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, ’Where have you come  from?’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back  and forth in it’” (Job 1:6-7).  Apparently at that time, Satan was still moving freely between heaven and earth,  speaking to God directly and answering for his activities. At what point God  discontinued this access is unknown.

Why did Satan fall from heaven?  Satan fell because of pride. He desired to be God, not to be a servant of God.  Notice the many “I will…” statements in Isaiah  14:12-15. Ezekiel  28:12-15 describes Satan as an exceedingly beautiful angel. Satan was likely  the highest of all angels, the most beautiful of all of God’s creations, but he  was not content in his position. Instead, Satan desired to be God, to  essentially “kick God off His throne” and take over the rule of the universe.  Satan wanted to be God, and interestingly enough, that is what Satan tempted  Adam and Eve with in the Garden of Eden (Genesis  3:1-5). How did Satan fall from heaven? Actually, a fall is not an accurate  description. It would be far more accurate to say God cast Satan out of heaven  (Isaiah  14:15; Ezekiel  28:16-17). Satan did not fall from heaven; rather, Satan was pushed out of heaven.