The Nature of Demons

After Jesus cast out a demon that rendered a man dumb, His detractors accused Him of casting out demons by the power of “Beelzebul, the prince of demons” (Luke 11:15). The following discussion about demons reveal their nature and personality is deduced from Luke 11:24-26:

1.      Demons can exist outside or inside of humans. Demons have no physical means of expressing themselves accept through human or animal agents. They seem to find a measure of rest in organic beings, preferring swine to nothingness (Mark 5:12). Evil spirits may take territorial rights and associate with certain geographical locations.

2.      They are able to travel at will. Being spiritual entities, demons are not subject to the physical barriers of the natural world. The walls of church buildings do not provide a sanctuary nor does our skin serve as a spiritual barrier. That is why we put on the armor of God and find our sanctuary is in our position in Christ.

3.      They are able to communicate with each other. They can speak to humans through a human subject such as the Gadarene demoniac (Matthew 8:28-34). We can also pay attention to deceiving spirits directly in our minds (1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Corinthians 11:3).

4.      Every evil spirit has a separate identity. Notice the use of personal pronouns. “I will return to the house I left” (vs. 24). They are thinking personalities, not impersonal forces. Demons are like cockroaches. They operate under the cloak of darkness and when the light is turned on they scurry for the shadows. They don’t like to be detected, preferring to remain uncover.

5.      They are able to remember and make plans. They can leave a person, come back, remember their former state, evaluate their present state, and plan reentry with others. They obviously have the ability to think strategically.

6.      They are able to evaluate and make decisions. The demons found “the house swept clean and put in order” (vs. 25). They can evaluate the condition of an intended victim and take advantage of their vulnerability.

7.      They are able to combine forces. Notice that the one spirit joined with a group of seven other spirits making the last state of the victim worse than before. In the case of the Gadarene demoniac, the number united together comprised a “legion” (Mark 5:9).

8.      They vary in degrees of wickedness. The first demon brought back seven others “more wicked than itself.” Jesus indicated degrees of wickedness and power when he said, “This kind can come out only by prayer” (Mark 9:29). These variations in power and wickedness fit the hierarchy described in Ephesians 6:12.

Dr. Neil

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