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What the Bible teaches about demons


Robert A. Penney

In view of the many Satanic agencies and activities abroad today, it seems necessary and imperative to bring to light what the bible teaches on this subject. Demonology is no myth but a reality. At the outset it is essential to point out that in many instances, people are not possessed but oppressed by demons. The present writer does not believe that Christians can be possessed by demons but that all unbelievers are open to demon possession. However some Christians get troubled in mind when they hear about demons, thinking, mistakenly, that they may have one. Oppression is a power coming upon the person from without. Christians can be tormented for a season with periodical attacks from without but such Christians must not imagine that they are possessed by demons. Such experiences are attacks by the enemy of our souls but not possession.

The intelligence of demons

  1. They can speak: And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? (Acts 19:15).

  2. They can discern: (Acts 19:15).

  3. They can divine: And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying... (Acts 16:16).

  4. They have knowledge: Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. (Mark 1:24).

The activities of demons

Their activities manifest themselves in a three-fold manner:

  1. By obtaining possession of the bodies of men (Luke 8:30, 36).

  2. They can vacate the bodies of men (Matt. 12:43).

  3. They can re-possess the bodies of men (Matt. 12:45).

The energies of demons

Not only are demons active, but they are continuously energetic and always destructively so. This may be proven by the means they employ.

  1. They threw the man down (Luke 4:35).

  2. They threw the boy down and tore him (Luke 9:42).

  3. They exhibited supernatural strength (Mark 5:3, 4).

The preferences of demons

These spirits abhor disembodiment and they manifest a strong preference for human bodies. Hence ten times we read in the New Testament of persons being demon possessed. Yet when dispossessed by the power of God, they prefer the carcasses of swine to complete disembodiment (Luke 8:32).

The characteristics of demons

These demons differ as much in character as they do in energy and action. The following are some of them:

  1. Some are deaf: When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him. (Mark 9:25)

  2. Some are dumb: And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit. (Mark 9:17)

  3. Some are seducing: Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Tim. 4:1)

  4. Some are lying: And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit&ldots; (1 Kings 22:22)

  5. Some are unclean: And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice. (Luke 4:33)

  6. Some are foul: &ldots;he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him&ldots; (Mark 9:25)

  7. Some are wicked: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph. 6:12)

How can these demons or wicked spirits be dealt with?

Demons should be dealt with in the power of the Holy Spirit and not in the strength of the natural man. There is one outstanding instance in the New Testament (Acts 19:13–16) where some tried to cast demons out and got into trouble themselves The Lord has given into our hands certain spiritual weapons to deal with these powers. Above all is the name of Jesus: In My Name shall they cast out demons (Mark 16:17). And they can be subdued by prayer, especially by prayer arid fasting. Satan and his demon hosts are overcome, too, by the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 12:11).

© Robert A. Penney 2005 <>


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