DEMONS AND DEVILS
THE TRUTH ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE
BY: ALAN MC SAVAGE
For many years as a young minister in the Lord I was caught up in the Deliverance Ministry. We would hold Deliverance Services at our Church house.
We saw many people coming to get their Jollies, watching us perform our ritual of “Naming and Claiming” “Blabbing and Grabbing” and shouting “Come out in the name of Jesus” to the supposed demons and devils in the physically, emotionally and mentally challenged people seeking relief from their problems.
I must admit many people were healed of their afflictions during this period but many more would come back, week after week, to get their share of emotional relief.
Now, after many years have past, I no longer believe that those that were healed of their afflictions had any demons or devils, but I believe that God Supernaturally used us to bring healing and understanding to them and the truth set them free.
New Testament – Casting Out Of Demons
In the New Testament we read of:
1. demons being cast out,
2. and demons being responsible for illness.
In fact, the New Testament is written as if the common idea of demons is correct. Bearing in mind conclusions one and two above, it is evident that the answer to this problem lies in understanding of the way the Spirit uses language in the Bible.
The evidence given above is proof enough that demons do not exist. If the New Testament speaks as if they do exist, and the Bible does not contradict itself, it follows the answer must lie in a careful investigation of the way in which God expresses Himself through His word.
One thing we must get clear, the Bible cannot contradict itself; it is the Word of Almighty God.
We are clearly told that God allows us to go through problems (some of which he sets up as testing grounds to cause us to rely totally upon Him and Him alone) and that He is the source of all power, then the Bible cannot tell us that demons – little gods in opposition to God – bring these things upon us.
WE only find the word “demons’ four times in the Old Testament and always describing idol worship.
But it occurs many times in the Gospel records.
It seems to me that this is because, at the time the Gospels were written, it was the language of the day to say that any disease that could not be understood was the fault of demons.
If they really do exist and are responsible for our illnesses and problems, then we would read more about them in the Old Testament. But we do not read about them at all in this context there.
To say that demons were cast out of someone is to say that they were cured of a mental illness, or an illness which was not understood at the time.
People living in the first century (and even in some circle’s today) tend/tended to blame everything they couldn’t understand on imaginary being’s called “demons.”
Mental illness, being hard to understand with their level of medical knowledge, was commonly attributed to as “demon possession.” Or the person as “demon possessed.”
In Old Testament times, an evil or unclean spirit referred to someone in a troubled mental state (Judges 9:23. 1 Samuel 16:14; 18:10) and in every Old Testament reference to evil spirits, they were sent by God, not a so called “devil.”
In New Testament times, the language of evil spirit/demon possession had come to refer to those suffering mental illness. The association between demons and sickness is shown by the following: Matt. 8:16-17 “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.” This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: ‘HE HIMSELF TOOK OUR INFIRMITIES AND CARRIED AWAY (BORE) OUR DISEASES.’ So human infirmities and sicknesses are described as being possessed by ‘demons’ and evil spirits. People thought that Jesus was mad and said this must be because He had a demon – “He has a demon, and is mad.“ (John 10:20; 7:19-20; 8:52).
Healing the Sick
When they were healed, people “possessed with demons” are said to return to their “right mind” (Mark 5:15; Luke 8:35). This implies that being “possessed with demons” was another way of saying someone was mentally unwell – i.e., not in their right mind.
Those “possessed with demons” are said to be “healed” or “cured” (Matt. 4:24; 12:22; 17:18), implying that demon possession is another way of describing illness.
In Luke 10 9 Jesus told His 70 apostles to go out and “heal the sick”, which they did. They returned and said, verse 17, “even the demons are subject unto us through Your name” – again, demons and illness are compared. Sometimes the apostles cured people in the name of Jesus and here we have an example of this (see also Acts 3:6; 9:34). Christ not only rebuked unclean spirits, but also wind and waves (Matt. 8:26) and fever (Luke 4:39) – all impersonal things.
In the ordinary English Bible we read of the devil and we read about devils. In the original languages in which the Bible was written, these two words – the devil and devils – are not in any way related. In the New Testament the word devils is the translation of the Greek word DAIMONION and it would have been better if this word had been translated as ‘‘demons.” In this Article, when we refer to devils, we are speaking about demons.
Many people live in constant fear of demons. They consider them to be invisible, wicked spirit beings. They are held to be responsible for doing untold harm to people and nations. Wars, civil unrest and the progress of evil political ideologies are all considered to be the result of demon activity. Demons are held to be capable of entering the body or mind of a person, where the demon can destroy faith, induce bodily sickness or make the person mad. Some believe that demons attach themselves to objects such as books, furniture or jewelry, and when misfortune strikes they will dispose hastily of the object suspected of harboring the demon.
Do demons Exist?
A careful examination of the Bible teaching about demons (or devils), shows that there are no such beings as demons. There is no need to fear them! They do not exist!
This is what we find in the Bible:
They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.
They sacrificed unto devils, [lasheediym (OT:7700), lords, = bª`aaliym (OT:1168) (Gesenius); Septuagint, daimoniois]. The Hebrews regarded idols as lords who constrained men to worship them (cf. Psa. 106:37 with 1 Cor. 8:5; 10:20: see also the note at Lev 17:7, where “devils,” in the King James Version, is the translation of a different Hebrew word from that in the present context.
Gods whom they knew not – implying that the true God had made Himself known by a long series of miraculous interpositions, and with promises of continued favor to them and their posterity, on condition of their steadfast allegiance.
New gods, [chadaashiym (OT:2319)] – i.e., whom they had not previously worshipped.
That came newly up, [miqaarob (OT:7138)] – from near; i.e., from Moab, Ammon, and Canaan
(1) In the Old Testament, demons are only mentioned on a very few occasions. In every reference there is a connection with false religion. For example, concerning the unfaithful nation of Israel we read: “They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.” (Deut. 32:17). Of Israel it was commanded: “They shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons with whom they play the harlot. This shall be a permanent statute to them throughout their generations.” (Deut. 17:7). Speaking of the unfaithfulness of one of Israel‘s kings we read: “He set up priests of his own for the high places, for the satyrs (8117) (and for the devils) and calves which he made.” (2 Chron. 11:15). So we find that Old Testament Devils (or Demons) are the objects of Pagan worship – Pagan gods! Pagan Idols!
(2) We find exactly the same teaching in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian believers and warns them to keep away from the idol worship which was part of the Corinthian way of life: 1 Cor. 10:14, 20-21 “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”
1 Cor. 10:21 Cup of devils or demons – in contrast to the cup of the Lord. At idol feasts libations were made from the cup to the idol first, then the guests drank; so they had fellowship with the idol. Bread and a cup were used in initiating into the mysteries of Mithras (Justin Martyr).
So we find that in the New Testament too, Demons (Devils) are Pagan gods.
(3) But, according to the Bible, pagan gods have no real existence. So the God of the Bible – “the only true God” – declares, Salvation of the whole world through Jesus Christ Isa. 45:21-22 “Declare and set forth your case; Indeed, let them consult together. Who has announced this from of old? Who has long since declared it? Is it not I, the LORD? And there is no other God besides Me, A righteous God and a Savior; There is none except Me. Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other.” Since demons are pagan gods, and since pagan gods have no real existence, it follows that demons do not exist!!
(4) But does not the Bible speak of people being possessed by demons? – Yes, but only in a very restricted way:
Demon possession is not mentioned in the whole of the Old Testament. Demon possession is not mentioned in most of the New Testament. Demon possession occurs only in the Gospels and occasionally in the book of Acts.
Careful examination shows that demon possession in the Gospels and Acts, was a way of speaking about certain types of illnesses – particularly epilepsy (e.g., Matt. 17:15) and psychiatric illness (e.g., Mark 5:1 –15, and note especially, “in his right mind” in verse 15). The fact that Jesus cured people with so called ‘‘demon possession”, does not mean that he believed that demons had real existence. We, today, do not believe that people are really affected by the moon when we refer to them (perhaps unkindly), as LUNAtics; neither do we commit ourselves to believing in demons when we refer to a state of confusion as panDEMONium.
There was a reason why demon possession, as an explanation of certain diseases, was so popular in the time of Jesus. There was a very good reason why Jesus went along with the idea of demon possession. For those who will take the trouble to find out the facts there are interesting and exciting discoveries to be made.
Our personal salvation does not depend only on knowing the ‘truth about Demons’ but on also knowing the Bible’s full story of Salvation of the whole world through Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul assures you and me that… “the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord…” (Romans 6:23). “Through Christ”… is the only way!
Final Word Matt: 8:28-9:1 NASVU
“When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way. 29] And they cried out, saying, ‘What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’ 30] Now there was a herd of many swine feeding at a distance from them. 31] The demons began to entreat Him, saying, ‘If You are going to cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.’ 32] And He said to them, ‘Go!’ And they came out and went into the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the waters. 33] The herdsmen ran away, and went to the city and reported everything, including what had happened to the demoniacs. 34] And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw Him, they implored Him to leave their region.
Matt. 8:28-34 KJV
“And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.”
I LOVE THIS TRANSLATION FROM THE ANCIENT EASTERN LANGUAGES.
Matthew 8:28-34 – George Lamsa
“And when Jesus came to the port on the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, he was met by two lunatics, who were just coming out of the cemetery. They were exceedingly vicious so that no man would dare travel the road. And they cried aloud saying, What business have we together, Jesus, son of God? Have you come to torment us before the time? Now there was near by them a large herd of swine feeding. And the lunatics kept asking him saying, If you are going to heal us, permit us to attack the herd of swine. Jesus said to them, Go. And immediately they left and attacked the swine, and the whole herd went straight over the cliff and fell into the sea and were drowned in the water. And they who fed them ran away and went to the city and reported everything that happened, and told about the lunatics. So all the city went to meet Jesus and when they saw him, they urged him to depart from their borders.”
It was not Demons but Two Men with a severe mental Illness that the Lord Healed, of their mental condition.
DO YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE.
Thank God for the TRUTH.
DEMONS and DEVILS – The Truth According to the Bible [Alan McSavage] 1