TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

II. Satan and Demons

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Chapter 5  Part II

Satan and Demons

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Many people find the existence of Satan (i.e. the devil) and demons disturbing and choose to avoid the subject. But to live the Christian life it is vital to understand our chief opponents. Moreover, the Bible has a lot to say about Satan and demons – much of which is in fact encouraging to believers.

Satan’s Evilness

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Satan is evil – and is opposed to God’s kingdom

Matt 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.v ▤ 

v Or the evil one; some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen

The text note indicates that “evil” can be translated “the evil one” (AMP, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV; cf. GNT, NCV) – referring to Satan.

1Jn 3:8a, 10, 12  Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. ▤ 10By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. ▤ 12We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. ▤ 

Satan’s evil actions are reflected in those who belong to him, who like Cain typically commit evil actions (v. 12). Their evil actions mirror Satan, “the evil one” (v. 12a), in that they: do what is sinful (v. 8a); do not do what is right (v. 10b; Acts 13:10 ); do not love (v. 10b); and even murder (v. 12a; cf. John 8:44a ).

John 8:44a  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. ▤ 

Matt 13:19  When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. ▤ 

Luke 8:11-12  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12The ones along the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. ▤ 

This speaks of Satan removing God’s word with its message about the kingdom (cf. Matt 13:19 ) from those who do not understand it (cf. Matt 13:19 ) and absorb it, so that they will not respond to it.

Matt 13:37-41  He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, … ▤ 

Satan sows his “weeds” – “all causes of sin and all law-breakers” (v. 41) – in opposition to Jesus Christ’s sowing of the sons of the kingdom (vv. 37-38a). At the end of the age Jesus Christ’s angels will weed out of the kingdom all such “weeds” of Satan (v. 41).

Acts 13:10  … and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? ▤ 

This implies that Satan is an enemy of everything that is aligned with righteousness, as reflected by his followers. In particular Satan opposes the paths/ways of the Lord – “plotting against His saving purposes” (AMP).

Satan is opposed to Jesus Christ

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Matt 16:21-23  From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord!w This shall never happen to you.” 23But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrancex to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” ▤ 

w Or “[May God be] merciful to you, Lord!”

x Greek stumbling block

By his use of “Satan” (v. 23) in rebuking Peter, it would appear that Jesus could see an agenda that was of Satan in Peter’s words. For what Peter said was actually opposed to the main aspect of Jesus’ mission, which involved his death (v. 21).

Luke 22:3-4  Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. 4He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. ▤ 

2Cor 4:4  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. ▤ 

The “god of this world” refers to Satan.

Rev 12:1-5  And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. 3And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. 4His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. 5She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, … ▤ 

The woman most likely is either the church, Israel or believing Jews. The “dragon” is Satan and the “male child” whom he sought to devour is the Messiah, Jesus Christ. For comment on v. 4, see the comment on Rev 12:3-4a – under Satan is very powerful.

  • Jesus Christ came to destroy Satan’s work:

1Jn 3:8b  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. ▤ 

Satan is deceitful . . .

See also:

John 8:44  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. ▤ 

Gen 3:1-6, 13  Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘Youy shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,z she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. ▤ 13Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” ▤ 

y In Hebrew you is plural in verses 1-5

z Or to give insight

Here Satan is manifested in the serpent (cf. 2Cor 1:3 ). There is truth in v. 5 – as often the case with clever lies – but it is stated in such a way as to imply God’s motives were not honorable and not in Eve’s best interests.

2Cor 11:3  But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. ▤ 

2Thes 2:9-10  The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. ▤ 

The “man of lawlessness” is quite likely the antichrist, Satan’s great agent of the end time.

Rev 12:9  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. ▤ 

Satan deceives everyone in the world who is not of God.

Rev 20:3, 7-10  … and [an angel] threw him [Satan] into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. ▤ 7And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heavena and consumed them, 10and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. ▤ 

a Some manuscripts from God, out of heaven, or out of heaven from God

. . . Those who follow Satan likewise are deceitful

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Acts 13:10  … and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? ▤ 

The last clause appears to refer to twisting the Lord’s truth/s (cf. GNT, NCV). Doing such things, particularly knowingly, is quintessential deceit.

2Cor 11:13-15  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. ▤ 

Rev 3:9  Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. ▤ 

Synagogues are places of Jewish worship. John coins the term “the synagogue of Satan” to depict supposedly pious Jews, who in fact belonged to Satan (cf. CEV, GNT, NCV, NLT) – and as such were liars.

Rev 19:20  And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presenceb had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur. ▤ 

b Or on its behalf

The false prophet of the end times will perform miraculous signs to delude the followers of the beast, who is generally understood to be Satan’s antichrist (cf. 2Thes 2:9-10 ).

Note: Possible references to Satan’s original state and his fall

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Some commentators consider the following passages to refer or allude to Satan’s original state and fall, while others think that this is not necessarily so, even unlikely.

Ezek 28:12-17  Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord God: “You were the signet of perfection,c full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. 13You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire,d emerald, and carbuncle; and crafted in gold were your settings and your engravings.e On the day that you were created they were prepared. 14You were an anointed guardian cherub. I placed you;f you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. 15You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till unrighteousness was found in you. 16In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence in your midst, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and I destroyed you,g O guardian cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. 17Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. ▤ 

c The meaning of the Hebrew phrase is uncertain

d Or lapis lazuli

e The meaning of the Hebrew phrase is uncertain

f The meaning of the Hebrew phrase is uncertain

g Or banished you

This is either simply “a lamentation over the king of Tyre” (v. 12) containing highly figurative language, or additionally also descriptive of Satan. If it does allude to Satan, it says much of his origin and fall. It portrays him as originally a perfect being, “full of wisdom and perfect in beauty” (v. 12b) and “blameless” (v. 15a) – and even created by God (v. 13b). Additionally Satan is shown to have been highly exalted by God and to have dwelt in close proximity to God (vv. 13-14). But largely through his pride he became wicked and was expelled from God’s presence (vv. 15b-17; cf. Isa 14:12-15 ). Note that if v. 16a is meant to be applicable to Satan, it may be portraying widespread activity or dealings of Satan.

Isa 14:12-15  How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! 13You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;h 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ 15But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit. ▤ 

h Or in the remote parts of Zaphon

The king of Babylon is spoken of here (cf. v. 4), with some commentators understanding the passage to also allude to Satan and his fall.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Satan’s Power

Satan is very powerful

Matt 12:24  But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” ▤ 

“Beelzebub” refers to Satan. The description of him as “the prince of demons” speaks of him as the head of all demons, illustrating his extraordinary power and authority (cf. Rev 12:3-4a ).

Eph 6:16  In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; … ▤ 

Here “the flaming darts” figuratively portray Satan’s potent spiritual weaponry and/or attacks, which have the potential to cause great harm.

Heb 2:14  Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, … ▤ 

This most likely refers to Satan’s power to induce people to sin and so to render them subject to the penalty of death. As such he effectively wields the power of death, an aspect of his very formidable power and influence.

1Pet 5:8  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ▤ 

Rev 12:3-4a  And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. 4His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. ▤ 

The dragon is Satan (cf. Rev 13:2 ). There are different ideas as to what v. 4a portrays. Some think that it is speaking of Satan winning over the fallen angels (cf. Gen 6:1-4). As such, along with illustrating Satan’s own great power, the verse would point to these powerful beings as extensions of Satan’s power and influence.

Satan has great power and authority in the world

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Note that most of the references in the previous subsection to some extent also point to Satan’s great power in the world.

Luke 4:5-6  And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. ▤ 

1Jn 5:19  We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. ▤ 

Here and in Revelation 12:9 below, “the whole world” refers to “the rest of the world” (CEV) apart from the children of God. The term is applicable to world systems as well to the world’s people.

Rev 12:9  And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. ▤ 

John 12:31  Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. ▤ 

Jesus also uses the title “the ruler of this world” for Satan in 14:30 and 16:11. Other titles of Satan indicative of his power in the world are: “The god of this age” (2Cor 4:4 ) and “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph 2:2 ).

Acts 10:38  … how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. ▤ 

1Jn 4:4  Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. ▤ 

Particularly in this context, “he who is in the world” is indicative of Satan’s great authority in the world.

Rev 2:13  ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faithi even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. ▤ 

i Or your faith in me

The clauses “where Satan’s throne is” and “where Satan dwells” most likely refer to the city of Pergamum as a center of pagan worship. This is illustrative of Satan’s power in the world.

Rev 13:2  And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. ▤ 

This speaks of Satan’s dominating power over the world, which he will extend to the beast of the end times.

Matt 12:26  And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? ▤ 

Here Jesus Christ refers to Satan’s worldly kingdom, indicative of the control Satan has in the world, over all people and spiritual beings that do not belong to God.

Satan works in and through unbelievers

Acts 26:17-18  … delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you 18to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. ▤ 

This implies that all non-believers are to some extent at least under the power of Satan. Being under his power involves such things as being influenced by his temptations and open to his control.

2Cor 4:4  In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. ▤ 

Eph 2:2  … in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience ▤ 

Note that the reference to Satan as “the prince of the power of the air” probably alludes to him as the ruler and leader of “the spiritual forces of evil” (NIrV®; cf. NCV).

2Cor 11:13-15  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. ▤ 

The description of false teachers as Satan’s “servants” (v. 15) indicates that they effectively carry out purposes of Satan.

2Tim 2:25-26  … correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. ▤ 

John 8:44  You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. ▤ 

The phrase “do your father’s desires” may mean “carry out what your father desires you to do” or, more likely, “do the things your father desires to do”. These interpretations reflect that Satan is the father of wicked people in that they: are subject to his will; exhibit his characteristics; and follow his example (cf. v. 41), such as being prepared to murder and oppose the truth (cf. v. 40).

John 13:2, 27, 30  During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, ▤ 27Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” ▤ 30So, after receiving the morsel of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night. ▤ 

Verses 27a and 30a indicate that as soon as Judas had taken the bread offered to him, Satan entered into him (v. 27a) and he immediately went out (v. 30a) to betray Jesus. This implies that Satan used Judas.

Rev 20:7-9  And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heavenj and consumed them, … ▤ 

j Some manuscripts from God, out of heaven, or out of heaven from God

This appears to speak of Satan gathering numerous forces to fight against God’s people in the end time.

  • Those who are of the devil:

1Jn 3:8a, 10  Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. ▤ 10By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. ▤ 

Satan is not as powerful as God . . .

See also:

Job 2:1  Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. ▤ 

In saying that Satan came to “present himself before the Lord”, this verse is indicative of God’s superiority and even of Satan’s acknowledgment of this.

Rom 16:20a  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. ▤ 

In view of the preceding verses (vv. 17-19), Paul may be referring to God soon crushing the work of Satan carried out by false teachers. Alternatively Paul may have in view God’s final comprehensive crushing of Satan himself.

Luke 4:5-6  And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. ▤ 

The authority that Satan does have in this world is only his because God has given it to him – for a limited time (cf. Rev 12:12 ).

Rev 12:12  Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short! ▤ 

Satan knows that God in his supreme power has limited the time in which Satan has left before God implements his doom.

Rev 20:1-3  Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pitk and a great chain. 2And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. ▤ 

k Greek the abyss; also verse 3

Here even one of God’s angels exerts power over Satan, binding and imprisoning him – in accordance with God’s will. Revelation 12:7-8 also speaks of angels overpowering Satan. Such power being exercised by God’s forces is indicative of God’s power being superior to Satan’s.

. . . and Satan is not as powerful as Jesus Christ

See also:

Gen 3:15  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspringl and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. ▤ 

l Hebrew seed; so throughout Genesis

Generally this is seen as more than just a description of the enmity that would exist between humans and snakes. The offspring of the woman is thought to represent human beings and God’s people in particular, with the offspring of the serpent symbolizing those controlled by Satan, including demons. The second part of the verse is often understood to be chiefly fulfilled in Jesus Christ’s victory over Satan through his death and resurrection (cf. Heb 2:14 ).

Matt 4:10-11  Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’” 11Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him. ▤ 

This reflects Jesus’ authority over Satan.

Luke 11:14, 21-22  Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. ▤ 21When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are safe; 22but when one stronger than he attacks him and overcomes him, he takes away his armor in which he trusted and divides his spoil. ▤ 

In v. 22 Jesus is referring to his overpowering of Satan in Satan’s worldly domain, stripping him of his defenses and taking what was his – a truth demonstrated by Jesus driving out demons (v. 14) and thus releasing people from Satan’s grip.

Heb 2:14  Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, … ▤ 

The term “destroy” appears to have the sense “break the power of” (NLT), although it may also allude to Jesus Christ’s death being significant in Satan’s ultimate destruction.

1Jn 3:8b  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. ▤ 

1Jn 5:18  We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. ▤ 

  • The Holy Spirit is greater than Satan:

1Jn 4:4  Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. ▤ 

The “he who is in you” is most likely referring to the Holy Spirit, but it could be referring to God or to Jesus Christ.

Note: Satan stands condemned

John 16:11  … concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. ▤ 

Satan is or has been “judged” in that he has been condemned.

Rom 16:20a  The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. ▤ 

Matt 25:41  Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ▤ 

Rev 20:10  … and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. ▤ 

1Tim 3:6  He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. ▤ 

The clause “fall into the condemnation of the devil” most likely means to face the same condemnation as the devil does. However, note that it has also been interpreted as referring to falling from a high position just as the devil did, and even to judgment dealt out by the devil.

Isa 65:25  The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox, and dust shall be the serpent’s food. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain,” says the Lord. ▤ 

The serpent quite possibly alludes to Satan. As such, “dust shall be the serpent’s food” would allude to Satan’s punishment.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Satan’s Work against God’s People

See also:

Satan schemes and fights against God’s people

2Cor 2:10-11  Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, 11so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs. ▤ 

Paul is speaking of forgiving a church member who has “caused pain” (v. 5) – and presumably has since repented. Not forgiving such a person would leave the church members themselves susceptible to Satan’s designs and schemes, allowing him to work through such things as bitterness and animosity.

Eph 6:11, 16  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. ▤ 16In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; … ▤ 

The “flaming darts” (v. 16) depict such things as temptations and trials instigated by Satan against God’s people.

1Tim 3:7  Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. ▤ 

The “a snare of the devil” appears to be a general reference to Satan deceiving one into sin, rather than referring to any particular “snare”. Paul may be implying here that a church leader without a good reputation may well not be deserving of such, and so would be the type of person quite likely to fall into one of Satan’s traps.

1Pet 5:8  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ▤ 

Rev 12:17  Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stoodm on the sand of the sea. ▤ 

m Some manuscripts And I stood, connecting the sentence with 13:1

As noted earlier, the dragon depicts Satan and the woman is usually thought to be symbolically representative of the church – or possibly Israel or believing Jews in particular. So, “the rest of her offspring” appears to refer to Christians.

Gen 3:15  I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspringn and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. ▤ 

n Hebrew seed; so throughout Genesis

See the comment on Gen 3:15 earlier in . . . and Satan is not as powerful as Jesus Christ.

  • Satan hinders God’s people:

1Thes 2:18  … because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan hindered us. ▤ 

Satan tempts God’s people . . .

Gen 3:1-6  Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘Youo shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise,p she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. ▤ 

o In Hebrew you is plural in verses 1-5

p Or to give insight

Matt 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.q ▤ 

q Or the evil one; some manuscripts add For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen

Particularly as James 1:13 says that God does not tempt anyone, “lead us not into temptation” probably has the sense “don’t let us yield to temptation” (NLT; cf. NIrV), notably that of “the evil one” (text note). Alternatively, “temptation” could refer more generally to “hard testing” (GNT; cf. NRSV).

Luke 4:1-13  And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness 2for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing during those days. And when they were ended, he was hungry. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’” 5And the devil took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” 8And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’” 9And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, 10for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you,’ 11and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.’” 12And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” 13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time. ▤ 

Satan’s temptation of Jesus is illustrative of Satan’s work in tempting God’s people. The temptation in vv. 2-3 appears to be for Jesus to invoke his divine power as the Son of God for his own purposes, in a way that would have been inconsistent with God’s purposes for his sacrificial mission, to be lived in dependence on God. Jesus counters Satan by pointing to the priority that God’s word should have in living one’s daily life (v. 4).

1Cor 7:5  Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. ▤ 

1Thes 3:5  For this reason, when I could bear it no longer, I sent to learn about your faith, for fear that somehow the tempter had tempted you and our labor would be in vain. ▤ 

Paul had been concerned that Satan may have been successful in tempting the Thessalonians.

. . . and Satan can lead God’s people astray

See also:

The following verses show that Satan can lead one astray by leading one to: do something wrong (1Chr 21:1; Acts 5:3); compromise one’s faith (2Cor 1:3); or turn away from God to follow Satan (1Tim 5:15). Note that the some of the people concerned may actually never have been genuinely God’s people.

1Chr 21:1  Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. ▤ 

This taking of a census was wrong in that it appears that David did it to see how powerful he was, a sign of reliance on his own power rather than God’s. Joab’s reaction (cf. vv. 3, 6) showed that he certainly recognized it as sinful.

Acts 5:3  But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? ▤ 

Keeping some of the money he had received for the sale of his land was not in itself wrong. But Ananias had deceitfully indicated that he had given all of the money to the church (cf. v. 2).

2Cor 11:3  But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. ▤ 

Paul was concerned that just as Eve was deceived by Satan, the Corinthians may also be led astray by false teachers who were ultimately inspired by Satan.

1Tim 5:15  For some have already strayed after Satan. ▤ 

Presumably such action is primarily instigated by Satan, leading people astray. Note that while those concerned were amongst God’s people, it is debatable as to whether such people ever really have belonged to God.

Satan can afflict God’s people

Job 2:7  So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. ▤ 

Luke 13:16  And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day? ▤ 

The woman had been crippled by an evil spirit (cf. v. 11) and here Jesus identifies Satan as the ultimate source of her affliction.

1Pet 5:9  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. ▤ 

The call to resist Satan implies that he is behind the “suffering”, primarily afflictions associated with persecution, not necessarily physical afflictions.

Rev 2:10  Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. ▤ 

Satan can only tempt and afflict as God permits

God and Jesus Christ may permit Satan to tempt or afflict their people, but only in accordance with their purposes, as 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 below illustrates (cf. God Disciplines His People (I): Reasons).

1Cor 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ▤ 

God has the power to limit temptation, including that which originates directly from Satan – illustrating God’s power to curtail Satan at will.

Job 1:12  And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. ▤ 

Note that the passages immediately preceding this and 2:6 below, are in the following subsection.

Job 2:6  And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” ▤ 

Luke 22:31  Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you,r that he might sift you like wheat, … ▤ 

r The Greek word for you (twice in this verse) is plural; in verse 32, all four instances are singular

Jesus appears to mean that Satan “demanded permission” (NASB) to strongly test Simon Peter. As such, the fact that Satan needed permission to do so, illustrates that he can only act against God’s people as he is permitted.

2Cor 12:7-9  So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations,s a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ▤ 

s Or hears from me, even because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations. So to keep me from becoming conceited

Paul’s affliction apparently came from Satan. But Paul implies that Jesus Christ permitted it, using it to both keep Paul from becoming conceited (v. 7) and make him receptive to Christ’s power working in him.

  • Jesus Christ protects his people from Satan’s harm:

1Jn 5:18  We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. ▤ 

Particularly in light of the above verses, the last clause appears to be speaking primarily of spiritual harm.

Satan accuses God’s people before God

See also:

The Greek word from which “Devil” comes means an accuser, a slanderer. In being used of Satan it points to him carrying out such activity, notably accusing and slandering believers before God. To what extent Satan is still able to accuse believers before God, if at all, depends partly on the meaning of Revelation 12:7-12 in the following subsection.

Zec 3:1-2  Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satant standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brandu plucked from the fire?” ▤ 

t Satan means the accuser

u That is, a burning stick

In this vision Satan makes accusations against Joshua – the high priest at the time of the return of the exiles, here representative of the people. Satan accuses God’s people apparently in the hope that God will condemn them – an objective he obviously fails to achieve here (v. 2).

Job 1:6, 8-11  Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satanv also came among them. ▤ 8And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” 9Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” ▤ 

v Hebrew the Adversary; so throughout chapters 1-2

Job 2:1, 3-5  Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the Lord. ▤ 3And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason.” 4Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. 5But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” ▤ 

Note: Satan hurled down from heaven to the earth

See also:

Rev 12:7-12  Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. 10And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothersw has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. 11And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. 12Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” ▤ 

w Or brothers and sisters

Commentators differ in their understanding as to whether vv. 7-12: refer to a final expulsion of Satan from heaven in the last days, leading to the rise of the two beasts in the subsequent chapter; or are symbolic of Jesus’ victory on the cross and the victory that his followers have as a result. Further to the latter possibility, some consider that this passage may actually connect the timing of Satan’s expulsion from heaven with Jesus’ victory on the cross (cf. John 12:31 ). Much would depend on whether or not v. 10a is referring to the present forms of the things it mentions, which were established through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. If it is connected with Jesus’ victory on the cross, then this may imply that that Satan is now not able to accuse Christians before God – or at least not “in” heaven.

Luke 10:17-18  The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” 18And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. ▤ 

As with John 12:31 below, v. 18 is not necessarily speaking of the event described above in Revelation 12:7-12. Jesus may have instead been speaking metaphorically, implying that the disciples’ success in exercising authority over demons (v. 17) was a sign that Satan’s power had been broken.

John 12:31  Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. ▤ 

Jesus is referring to his imminent death – possibly along with his subsequent resurrection – by which Satan would “be cast out”. By this phrase Jesus may well be simply speaking of the breaking of Satan’s power and hold on humankind through sin and the power of death. However, in conjunction with this truth, Jesus may be more precisely speaking of Satan being “cast out (expelled)” (AMP; cf. NASB, NLT, NKJV) from heaven and “thrown down” (NCV™) to earth.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Demons

Evil spiritual forces are referred to by a number of names, including “demons”, “evil spirits”, “spirits” (cf. comment on Rev 16:14 ) and even “angels”, with a number of verses correlating demons with fallen angels (cf. Demons face eternal punishment). In order to be concise, only “Demons” has been used in this and the following subheadings.

Demons are evil and powerful spiritual beings

Luke 7:21  In that hour he healed many people of diseases and plagues and evil spirits, and on many who were blind he bestowed sight. ▤ 

Eph 6:12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. ▤ 

The terms “rulers”, “authorities” and “powers” are indicative of the great – but limited – power of demons.

1Sam 19:9-10  Then a harmful spirit from the Lord came upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand. And David was playing the lyre. 10And Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he eluded Saul, so that he struck the spear into the wall. And David fled and escaped that night. ▤ 

The presence of the harmful spirit – “an evil spirit” (AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NRSV) – in Saul led to Saul’s evil action, attempting to take David’s life. Note that the fact that this evil spirit was “from the Lord” (v. 9a) illustrates that God can use evil for his own purposes (cf. God Has Control over Evil).

Matt 8:28, 30-32  And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes,x two demon-possessedy men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. ▤ 30Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. 31And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” 32And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. ▤ 

x Some manuscripts Gergesenes; some Gerasenes

y Greek daimonizomai; also verse 33; elsewhere rendered oppressed by demons

The hostility and power of the men was due to demons possessing them. As such, the men’s hostility and power was indicative of the evil and power of demons – as was the effect of the demons on the herd of pigs. Similar comments can be made in regard to some of the following verses.

Mark 5:2-4  And when Jesusz had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. ▤ 

z Greek he; also verse 9

Note that “an unclean spirit” denotes an evil spirit.

Acts 19:15-16  But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered alla of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. ▤ 

a Or both

Rev 16:14  For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. ▤ 

As well as showing great power in violent actions, demons are also powerful in that they can perform miraculous signs.

  • An example of powerful spiritual warfare between demons and God’s angels:

Dan 10:13, 20b-21  [An angel:] The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, ▤ 20… But now I will return to fight against the prince of Persia; and when I go out, behold, the prince of Greece will come. 21But I will tell you what is inscribed in the book of truth: there is none who contends by my side against these except Michael, your prince. ▤ 

The titles “the prince of the kingdom of Persia” (v. 13, cf. v. 20) and “the prince of Greece” (v. 20) appear to refer to demons that exercise great authority in Persia and Greece. They were combatants against the angel speaking and the archangel Michael (cf. Rev 12:7-9 ).

Demons are aligned with Satan

Matt 25:41  Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ▤ 

Luke 11:14-18  Now he was casting out a demon that was mute. When the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke, and the people marveled. 15But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the prince of demons,” 16while others, to test him, kept seeking from him a sign from heaven. 17But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. ▤ 

“Beelzebub” refers to Satan. This passage indicates that demons belong to Satan’s kingdom.

Eph 2:2  … in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— ▤ 

As noted earlier, the reference to Satan as “the prince of the power of the air” probably alludes to him as the ruler and leader of “the spiritual forces of evil” (NIrV®; cf. NCV) – primarily demons or evil angels.

Eph 6:11-12  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. ▤ 

This aligns demonic powers (v. 12) with Satan (v. 11).

Rev 12:7-9  Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, 8but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. 9And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. ▤ 

Demons are deceitful, propagating what is false

1Tim 4:1-2  Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, … ▤ 

The fact that the medium of the teachings of demons is insincere “liars” (v. 2a) emphasizes the deceitfulness and falseness of their teaching (cf. 1Jn 4:1 ).

1Jn 4:1, 6  Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. ▤ 6We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. ▤ 

In v. 1, “spirit” and “spirits” refer to the spirits which inspires teachers – the real source of their teaching – either the Holy Spirit or an evil spirit. The false prophets referred to here are examples of false teachers under the influence of an evil spirit “of error” (v. 6) – “the spirit of deception” (NLT). Demons show that they are deceitful in using such people to propagate false teaching.

  • Demons can be involved in fortune telling:

Acts 16:16  As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. ▤ 

It would appear that demons have some knowledge of the future. Such things as fortune-telling can be used by demons to bring people under their influence. What demons divulge of the future is by no means necessarily true, as their knowledge is not complete and they are deceptive. Note that if no demon is involved with a particular fortuneteller, then presumably what the fortuneteller predicts is simply made up by themself.

Demons can possess people . . .

See also:

Matt 8:28  And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes,b two demon-possessedc men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. ▤ 

b Some manuscripts Gergesenes; some Gerasenes

c Greek daimonizomai; also verse 33; elsewhere rendered oppressed by demons

Matt 9:32  As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him. ▤ 

The term “demon-oppressed” is indicative of a person being demon-possessed (cf. text note on 8:28a above; AMP, CEV, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, NLT).

Mark 7:25  But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. ▤ 

Acts 19:13  Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” ▤ 

1Sam 18:10  The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. Saul had his spear in his hand. ▤ 

Matt 12:43-45  “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.” ▤ 

This indicates that if people who have been freed of demon possession do not turn to God and so receive his Holy Spirit, they are vulnerable to an even worse case of demon possession (v. 45).

. . . Demons can cause people they possess much harm

Matt 12:22  Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. ▤ 

The man’s blindness and muteness were due to the demon that possessed him (cf. Mark 9:17 ).

Matt 15:22  And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” ▤ 

The girl was “suffering terribly” (NIV®).

Mark 5:2, 5  And when Jesusd had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. ▤ 5Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. ▤ 

d Greek he; also verse 9

Mark 9:17-22, 25-27  And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” ▤ 25And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. ▤ 

Luke 9:39  And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. ▤ 

Note that this is from the parallel passage in Luke to the extract from Mark 9 above.

Luke 13:11  And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. ▤ 

  • Demons can torment people:

1Sam 16:14  Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. ▤ 

Note that it would appear that this evil spirit had been sent by God as a form of judgment.

Demons both fear and have to submit to God and Jesus Christ

See also:

James 2:19  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! ▤ 

The demons shudder in fear of God due to his vastly superior power and threat to them, which will culminate in their eventual eternal punishment (cf. Matt 8:29 ; Luke 8:31 ; Demons face eternal punishment).

Matt 8:28-29  And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes,e two demon-possessedf men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. 29And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” ▤ 

e Some manuscripts Gergesenes; some Gerasenes

f Greek daimonizomai; also verse 33; elsewhere rendered oppressed by demons

The questions originate from the demons possessing the two men. The tone of the questions – with them crying out (cf. AMP, GNT, NLT) – and the questions themselves, point to a deep fear of Jesus Christ.

Mark 3:11  And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” ▤ 

That the evil spirits fell down before Jesus indicates their submissiveness to him – and quite probably their fear of him.

Mark 1:25-27  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” 26And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. 27And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” ▤ 

Luke 8:31-32  And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss. 32Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him to let them enter these. So he gave them permission. ▤ 

The Abyss (v. 31) or bottomless pit is understood to be a prison or abode for demons.

  • Demons cannot separate believers from God’s love:

Rom 8:38-39  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ▤ 

The term “rulers” (v. 38) here denotes demons (cf. NIV, NLT).

Demons face eternal punishment

See also:

Matt 25:41  Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. ▤ 

As noted earlier, evil angels are commonly identified with demons.

2Pet 2:4  For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hellg and committed them to chainsh of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; … ▤ 

g Greek Tartarus

h Some manuscripts pits

Jude 1:6  And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day ▤ 

Note that some commentators think that this and the sin of evil angels spoken of above in 2 Peter 2:4 may refer to Genesis 6:1-4. It speaks of the “sons of God” who went to the “daughters of man” and married them – thus sinfully abandoning their positions of authority and their heavenly home.

Isa 24:21-22  On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. 22They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. ▤ 

The term “the host of heaven” here denotes evil spiritual forces or “fallen angels” (NLT).

Pray for persecuted Christians