What Are Demons?

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Part Five - The Identity of Demons

I. THE IDENTITY OF DEMONS

1a The identity of demons introduced

1b Demons or devils (KJV) are spoken of 67 times in the NT and 3 times in the OT and mentioned most often in the Gospels (40 times) in conjunction with the ministry of Christ

2b Many theories have been suggested as to who these beings might be and so a look at the Scriptures is a must if we desire to correctly identify them

2a The identity of demons – non angelic suggestions

1b The spirits of the evil dead

1c Stated: the spirits of the very wicked who die who seek to enter into the bodies to continue on in their wickedness – or in other words, Ghosts

2c Problem

1d Our Lord tells us that the spirits of the unbelievers are confined to hell until the day of judgment (Luke 16:19-31; Rev. 20:13, 14)

2d Why mankind wants to believe in “ghosts” is a mystery – possible the desire to believe in an after life or to explain the mysterious – it must have been a common belief at the time of Jesus (Deut. 18:11; 1 Sam. 28:11-15; Matt. 14:26; Mk. 6:49)

2b The spirits of a pre-Adamic race

1c Stated 

1d Based on the belief that there is a gap between Gen. 1:1 and 1:2

2d The original world had a human race that perished when God destroyed the world in a global judgment leaving the world "without form and void”

3d When these people died, their spirits had no place to go and so they seek another body to make them complete again – hell is not the abode for them

2c Problems

1d No mention of a pre-Adamic race: if it had not been for the attacks on Christianity made by evolutionists such a theory would never have been introduced

2d Adam was the “first man” (1 Cor. 15:45; Rom. 5:12)

3d Creation was started and completed in six 24 hour periods (Gen. 1, Ex. 20:11)

4d There was no death prior to Adam (1 Cor 15:21-22)

5d Hell is the temporary abode of all other wicked spiritual beings – one would think it would be satisfactory for a “pre-Adamic” race

3c Evaluation

1d This demonstrates the danger of trying to make the Scriptures “relevant” to present thought

2d This demonstrates the danger of the appeal of myths and fables to believers (2 Tim. 1:4; 4:7; 2 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:14; 2 Pet. 1:16)

3b The spirits of the Nephilim (Gen 6:1-4)

1c Stated:

1d The super-human children born from an ungodly union between fallen angels and women

2d These half-breeds have wandered the earth since the flood looking for habitable bodies in which to take up residence even if only temporarily

2c Problems

1d No separate judgment for a third class of beings

2d The Scriptures speak of only two creatures bear God’s image: angels and men

3d Nephilim are called men (Gen. 6:4)

3a The identity of demons – angelic suggestion

1b Stated: demons are fallen angels

1c Since the names Satan, Devil, etc are reference to a particular angel and his work it only makes sense a separate name would be used to the fallen angels and their work

1d In the KJV “devils” diamonioon should be kept separate from “devil” diabolos

2d The corrected translation of diamonioon is demon – a term used often of the gods of other nations thus tying the work of these demons with false religion

2c When used this terms focus the activity of these angel versus the over all activity of Satan – possession, idolatry, false doctrine

3c Some would see these fallen angels as a particularly wicked group of fallen angels who mavericks a group that though under Satan’s authority only work with him loosely

2b Supported

1c Satan is “Beelzebub” the prince of Demons - the term addresses more than just authority, it speaks also of kind - (Matt. 12:24, 27; Mk. 3:22; Lk. 11:15-19)

2c Demons and Satan are equated: if casting out demons by Satan, then one has “Satan casting out Satan” (Matt.12:25-26) – such was the view of the Pharisees of Jesus day

3c God's Judgment falls onto only Two Groups

1d Unsaved man (Rev. 20:11-15)

2d Fallen Angels (Matt. 25:41)

4c Demons have the same powers and activities of fallen angels (possess human beings - Satan and demons Lk. 8: 27; 22:3; Jn. 13:27)

5c Both Angels and Demons are called Spirits (Heb. 1:14 w. Matt. 8:16; Lk. 8:27-31)

6c Both Angels and Demons receive the same temporary punishment for direct violation of God’s decrees (Rev. 20:2; Lk. 8:31)

3b Questioned: Does not Acts 23:8-9 make a distinction between fallen angels and spirits?

1c Remember earlier we indicated that the belief in Jesus day was that spirits could wander on the face of the earth (Matt. 14:26; Mk. 6:49)

1d The Jews were forbidden to go to individuals who bring people back (Deut. 18:11)

2d The Jews had the record of Saul having Samuel returned (1 Sam. 28:11)

3d The Jews believed in Sheol but never really defined it

2c Our Lord Himself was the one who seemed to give a more detailed picture of all that was involved in hell (Luke 16:19-31; Matt.5:22-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mk. 9:43-47; Luke 12:5) 

3c Paul is dealing with the theological differences between the Pharisees and Sadducees and not teaching doctrine

4b Applied

1c Even if these angels are mavericks or more wicked than the average fallen angel yet they are still under the control of God (Luke 8)

2c We need not fear them for God has given us some wonderful promises to hold on too.

1d 1 John 4:4, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

2d Rom 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”