Five More Studies on Satan and Demons (Part 2)
The Archangel Michael Defeating Satan
6. Demons in Heaven and on Earth
In lesson number 5 of my previous article, I discussed that God imprisoned the spirits (angelic beings) who rebelled against Him AND took human wives for themselves. It appears, however, that there were other spirits who rebelled against God and who were not imprisoned, but who were allowed to continue to play a role in the spiritual realm.
- In Judges 9:23, God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the sons of Shechem.
- In 1 Samuel 16:14, we read that an evil spirit from God troubled Saul.
- In 1 Kings 22:21-23, God allowed a lying spirit to deceive the prophets and Ahab.
- In Job 1:6 and 2:1, Satan himself presented hiself before God, and God allowed him to try Job.
In Ephesians 6:12, the Bible tells us that there are wicked principalities, powers, and rulers behind all the darkness in the world. Even Satan himself is active in the world 1 Corinthians 11:14.
Thus, God did not imprison all spirits who rebelled against Him, but only some: mainly, those who took wives for themselves. The rest of these spirits, including Satan, were allowed to remain active in the spiritual realm and on Earth to carry out God's puposes. Morever, even though they are antagonistic toward God, Christ has triumphed over them and shamed them (Colossians 2:15).
We see, then, that demons (and Satan himself) are supernatural beings who influence the spiritual realm and human affairs (human lives!) in various ways (by asking permission to try people, by deceiveig people, by causing enmities, etc.). Nevertheless, they are under God's control, and they have been defeated by Christ. They can only go as far as God allows them to.
7. Satanic and Demonic Deception
The Lord warned that Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). He deceived Eve in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:4), and he disguises himself as an angel of light to deceive the Lord's followers (2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 14). Satan's human followers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness to deceive Christ's followers (2 Corinthians 11:15).
Nevertheless, although Satan is antagonistic toward God and Christ, he remains a servant of God (surely, an unwilling servant): for Satan blinds the lost to prevent them from believing the gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4), and this seems to be a form of divine judgment over those who reject "the truth of God" (Romans 1:21-23).
Moreover, God allowed Pharaoh's sorcerers to perform miracles after Pharaoh rejected God's truth (Exodus 7:11-13); and in the future, God will allow Satan to work signs and miracles through the false prophet to deceive the world ( 2 Thessalonians 2:7-11, Revelation 13:11-13). God did this to bring great plagues and judgment over Pharaoh and Egypt (Exodus 9:16), and God will do this to bring even greater plagues and judgment over those who reject Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:12).
Thus, we believers need to beware of false Christs, false spirits, and false gospels. We need to try the spirits to see whether they are indeed the Spirit of God or the spirit of the antichrist (1 John 4:1-3)
Recently, I watched a very interesting video on YouTube. In this video, the speaker discusses the positive effects of ayahuasca, not only of the ayahuasca brew, but also of Mother Ayahuasca, a goddess or "intelligent entity" in which he seems to believe. From a biblical standpoint, this is a Satanic and demonic experience: for the Bible warns us that the idols worshipped by pagans are devils (1 Corinthians 10:20, Leviticus 17:7, Deuteronomy 32:17, Psalm 106:37). Not that the idols are accurate representations of the devils, but that by worshipping idols, people are actually worshipping devils, for they have been lied to by devils.
8. Satan, Demons, and Diseases
The Bible attributes some diseases to Satan and to demons. In Luke, a woman's inability to stand straight is attributed to a spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11); and in the same passage, the Lord attributes the infirmity to Satan (Luke 13:16). The Bible also tells that it was Satan who smote Job with boils from head to toe (Job 2:7), although Satan first had to receive permission from God to do this (Job 2:5-6). Even the Apostle Paul was afflicted by a disease he believed was caused by the messenger of Satan (2 Corinthians 12:7)... nevertheless, Paul recognized that God was supreme over both Satan and Satan's messenger.
Nevertheless, not all diseases are attributed to Satan and demons: some diseseases are attributed to God's angels (Acts 12:23, Exodus 12:23).
Thus, these passages appear to hint that there is a link between physical diseases and the spiritual realm, but what is that link?
It can be difficult for us, who live in a scientific age, to accept that such a link can exist: after all, diseases do not magically appear in our bodies, but have physical explanations. Doctors effectively diagonose and treat diseases by relying solely on natural expanations and by ignoring the spiritual reasons for a disease.
But this fact may give us some insight into how demons might cause diseases in humans. They could, for example, manipulate circumstances so that specific individuals come in touch with certain bacteria or viruses. They might also affect circumstances to influence human genes, just as dog breeders try to bring out desirable qualities in breeds. It is even possible that their power is such that they can simply reposition substances, bacteria, viruses, and genes. In fact, there is some biblical content that suggests demons are even able to create animals from preexisting matter (Exodus 7:12). So it may all come down to what God allows them to do.
Thus, a scientific explanation for a disease would not necessarily rule out demonic influence.
9. Demonic Oppression
There are biblical passages that suggest demons can exert mental and emotional pressure on individuals, even on God's children. I call this demonic activity demonic oppression (because people who speak of "demonic oppression" often talk about the emotional effect the spiritual environment they perceive has on them).
The Bible tells us that after the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, an evil spirit from the LORD (in other words, a demon) tormented him (1 Samuel 16:14). This tormenting by the evil spirit appeared to have an emotional effect on Saul: Saul felt refreshed when David played the harp (1 Samuel 16:23), Saul raved when the evil spirit came on him (1 Samuel 18: 10), and Saul thought and tried to pin David to the wall (1 Samuel 18:11).
It is interesting that music produced by David, along with David's overall demeanor, had a soothing effect on Saul, even though his emotional torment was caused by spiritual entities (1 Samuel 16:18).
We see, then, that even though Saul had received a new heart, become a new man, and received the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 10:6, 9-10), he was tormented (though not possessed) by an evil spirit.
Interestingly enough, the other person who appears to have been emotionally impacted by a demonic oppression is the Apostle Paul (whose original name also happens to be Saul). Not only was Paul afflicted by a physical defeat, but he also felt harassed by Satan's messenger. Thus, Paul suffered of both a physical disease and demonic oppression.
The implications should be clear to all of us: anyone can be emotionally and mentall oppressed by a demon.
10. Demonic Possession
According to the Bible, demons can inhabit people as people inhabit houses (Luke 11:24-26). A person can be inhabited by one or many demons.
The presence of a demon can have negative effects in a person:
- Vexaction (Matthew 15:22)
- Muteness, deafness, blindness (Mark 9:17, 25; Matthew 9:32, 12:22)
- Seizures (Matthew 17:15)
- Unnatural strength (Luke 8:29)
- Seclusion and aggression (Matthew 8:28)
- Foaming by the mouth, gnashing teeth, becoming rigid (Mark 9:18)
- Alter ego (Luke 8:30, Mark 5:9)
- Knowledge of future and other information the person wouldn't know (Acts 16:16, 19:15)
- Crying out against Jesus (Luke 8:28)
Some of these demonic possessions sound like diseases, but the Bible does make a distinction between demonic possessions and diseases (Luke 4:38-41). Therefore, all diseases cannot be explained as caused by demons.
Moreover, as I have mentioned in lesson 8 on demons and diseases, the fact that a physical causes can be discerned for a disease does not automatically rule out demonic involvement.
How then would one differentiate between a disease (say, dissociative identity disorder) and a demonic posession if the symptoms can be the same and they can have physical, scientific explanations? Perhaps one has to wait for the demon to manifest itself (Luke 4:33-34, 8:27-28), unless one receives revelation through the gift of discerning of spirits (1 Corinthians 12:10).
Can a Christian Be Demon Possessed?
© 2020 Marcelo Carcach