Dealing with DEMONS! #5
DOCTRINES OF DEVILS
Another realm of demonic activity involves religion. At
first this seems strange to some, even those who may recognize
demonic activity in such things as insanity or affliction. Others
might suppose that the religious activities of demons are limited
to Satanist cults or those who worship idols. But demonic
activity goes even deeper than this - the Bible clearly shows
that demons seek to infiltrate and do their work of seduction
within the realm of Christianity also! Often the greatest
deception is something that appears true, but which is really a
counterfeit of the truth. "Satan himself is transformed into an
angel of light" (2 Cor.11:14).
Originally the early church, founded upon Jesus Christ, was
ablaze with spiritual power and truth. But the apostles realized
that in time there would come a "falling away" (2 Thess. 2:3;
Acts 20:29,30), an apostasy within Christianity. Furthermore,
this apostasy would not be mere carnality or a lack of interest
it would be seduction by demons!
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter [later]
times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy;
having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to
marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath
created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe
and know the truth" (1 Tim. 4:1-3).
Even before the first century drew to a close, apostasy was
beginning to find a place. John warned: "Beloved, believe not
every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God" (1
John 4:1). And when Jude wrote, it was needful for him to exhort
people to "earnestly contend for the faith that was once
delivered unto the saints," for the waters of truth were being
muddied by apostasy (Jude 1:3,4).
Christians believe Christ was born of a woman; that he lived
a sinless life among men; that he died for our sins; that he was
buried; that he rose again the third day; that he ascended into
heaven, according to the scriptures. But it has long been
recognized that prior to the coming of Christ into the world,
there were numerous "mystery religions" which also had saviors -
some who claimed a supernatural birth, died as a sacrifice, and
became ascended masters.
When church fathers were confronted with these similarities,
they said that demons had set up confusing counterfeits. As time
went on, however, elements of the pagan mysteries were mixed into
Christianity, including the worship of the Great Mother. Thus
were Paul's words fulfilled that people would depart from the
faith, believing counterfeit doctrines of demons and giving heed
to seducing spirits.
Religious spirits can take many forms. If Satan cannot lure
people into the bondage of immorality or gross sin, he baits the
hook with something else: some religious extreme that also brings
them into bondage. Deluded, some try to be so holy they torture
their bodies and lock themselves away in seclusion. Others,
though claiming to be Christians, may be driven by a sectarian
spirit to believe they are the only ones right, all others are
wrong, no one understands the Bible but them! It is a fanatical
I met a man some years ago who had been in and out of
institutions. On one occasion he had gone into a hotel lobby,
took off his clothes, telling everyone: "I love Jesus"! What kind
of spirits might these have been? Lying spirits? Spirits of
perversion? Yes, and religious!
Many years ago a couple preachers went into a town to work
for the Lord. A young woman followed them around and openly
identified them as servants of the most high God. Some preachers
might have supposed this woman had a revelation from God! It was
religious information, but it was another spirit. These men -
Paul and Silas by name -- discerned an evil spirit in her, a
spirit of divination.
"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: the same followed Paul and us,
and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high
God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this she did
many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the
spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of
her. And he came out the same hour" (Acts 16:16-18).
In the place where this passage mentions a spirit "of
divination," the margin gives the actual Greek: "of Python." The
word is derived from the name of a town, Pytho, the older name
for Delphi. Here, in mythology, people and flocks were prey to a
monster serpent who was later killed by Apollo. The priestess of
Apollo was called a pythoness.
A spirit named Python certainly zeroes in on its demonic
character. We are reminded of John's words about "that old
serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole
A reporter for our local newspaper once did a story on
fortune tellers. At the time there were several in the area, the
type that have a sign out in front of their house or shop. He
made the rounds to each of them asking, basically, the same
questions, including one about his wife. It was evident the
information he received was only speculation, for it was not
uniform. And the answers about his wife were all wrong: he was
not married! The newspaper article demonstrated these "fortune
tellers" were only making guesses - for money!
It is evident that a lot of so-called fortune telling is
fakery. Nevertheless, by a demon of divination, the girl at
Philippi recognized Paul and Silas as men of God. The demonic
powers were strong enough that she "brought her masters much
gain." After the demon was cast out by Paul, her fortune telling
abilities were gone.
Only God himself knows all things. "Known unto God are all
his works from the beginning of the world" (Acts 15:18). No demon
knows the future as God does (Isaiah 48:5). However, having been
around for a long time, certainly demons know much about the past
and present. If anyone knew the past and present about any one
person or thing, certainly some things about the future could be
To what extent demons might predict a certain disaster or
accident in a person's life and then cause it to happen, we
cannot say. Fine details about all these things are not impor-
tant anyhow. A Christian with just a minimal knowledge of the
gospel should easily see that all such things are not of God and
should be shunned.
CONSULTING FAMILIAR SPIRITS
People who suppose they have contacted their dead loved ones
through a medium, when fakery is not involved, have communed with
a spirit that impersonates the dead loved one. The Bible calls
this consulting a "familiar spirit." Such a spirit, if familiar
with the one who died, could certainly mimic the dead person and
reveal certain things the dead person might say. But such is
"And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have
familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter:
should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the
dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not
according to this word, it is because there is no light in them"
From ancient times, people who have practiced the black
arts, such as sorcery, have used drugs to conjure up evil
spirits. Interestingly, a word translated sorcery in the Bible
(Rev.9:21), is "pharmakeia," from which we get the word "phar-
There are countries where people will not kill a cow or
small insects - lest one of their loved ones may have been
reincarnated into the animal! I once had a woman tell me she
could remember when she was the Queen of Sheba - centuries ago!
Do some people have a spirit within them that recalls a
former life? If it is true that demons are in people today who
were in other people in past centuries, certainly that spirit
could feed information to the mind about names, places, and
events which occurred long ago.
The Old Testament repeatedly condemned demonic practices.
"There shall not be found among you anyone ... that useth
divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or
a witch, or a charmer, or a necromancer" (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).
"You shall not allow a witch to live" (Exodus 22:18). "A man also
or woman that hath a familiar spirit or that is a wizard, shall
surely be put to death" (Lev. 20:27).
Having obeyed these laws, king Saul destroyed many witches
in Israel. But, ironically, in his desperate closing days, he
disguised himself and went to a woman who had a familiar spirit
for advice. The whole incident was bad news for him and death
soon followed. We read that "Saul died for his transgression
which he committed against the Lord" - because he kept not the
word of the Lord - "and also for asking counsel of one that had a
familiar spirit, to inquire of it" (1 Chron.10:13). This was a
fulfillment of Leviticus 20:6: "And the soul that turneth after
such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go whoring
after them, I will ... cut him off from among his people."
Most of us would quickly discount the idea of a witch flying
on a broom as blatant superstition, a mere tale told at
Halloween. But in countries and among tribes where demons are
actually worshipped, strange things do happen. A respected
missionary - whose integrity and honesty I would not question -
tells of seeing a witch come flying over him one evening. She
fell in the road just ahead and, with demonic screams, said:
"Don't touch me; stay away from me!" Apparently the demons knew
him to be a man of God!
Would you think me a rank fanatic if I tell you some houses
may actually be haunted?
Over the centuries and from all parts of the world, stories
have been compiled about haunted houses - strange noises, the
sound of closing doors, windows rattling, chandeliers swinging,
etc. The type of papers sold at checkout counters often
sensationalize such stories. In many cases there is a plausible,
natural explanation if all the facts are known. Some have been
pranks, hoaxes, or imaginary. But what about those cases for
which there is no explanation, and there are indeed supernatural
powers at work? The very nature of such things fits well with the
working of deceptive demonic spirits.
I met a couple once who purchased a large old two-story
home. At night they would hear strange knockings on the wall, the
sound of running footsteps down the hall, and even an occasional
scream. Every time they would investigate, there was no one
there. They later learned that the house had been used for
spiritualist meetings. Once they realized this, they went through
all the rooms of the house and in the name of Jesus commanded
every one of those demons to leave! They had no more trouble.
For many years stories have circulated that the White House
is haunted. Harry Truman said that more than once he had been
awakened at night by someone - or something - knocking on his
bedroom door. When he opened it, nobody was there. In his diary
he wrote that the maids and butlers swear Abraham Lincoln had
appeared on several occasions, and that even Mrs.Coolidge saw
him. During Franklin Roosevelt's time, a maid was frightened out
of her wits, claiming she had seen Abraham Lincoln sitting on his
bed putting on his shoes. Mrs.Roosevelt, whose sitting room had
been Lincoln's bedroom, admitted that working at her desk late
some nights, she would have the feeling that "someone" was there
in the room behind her, so that she would turn around and look.
It is said that when Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was the
guest of the Roosevelts, she was awakened by a knock at her door.
Opening it, she saw the spirit of Lincoln standing there - and
Old abandoned towns are sometimes called ghost towns,
"ghost" being but another word for spirit. The common
superstition is that these are spirits of people who have
died--especially those who were murdered and who vengefully haunt
the area. But according to the Bible, if there are indeed spirits
haunting an area, it is not the spirits of dead people. It is
Isaiah predicted that among the ruins of ancient Babylon,
"their houses shall be full of doleful creatures ... and satyrs
[demons] shall dance there" (Isaiah 13:21). A "satyr" in ancient
mythology was a woodland god resembling a goat. And though the
Hebrew word translated "satyrs" is translated "goat" - an
ordinary goat - it is also translated "devils" (Lev.17:7; 2
Chron.11:15). In the Isaiah reference it hardly seems an ordinary
goat is intended, and so, there is justification for the
translators using the word satyrs - goat-like demons. This point
is further confirmed in the Book of Revelation which describes
the ruins of Babylon in these words: "Babylon ... is become the
habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit" (Rev.
AMONG THE TOMBS
The insane man at Gadara, driven by demons, had his dwelling
among the tombs (Matt.8:28). Isaiah described people who
practiced abominable rites as those "which remain among the
graves, and lodge in the monuments" (Isaiah 65:4). Concerning a
desolate waste land, a burial place of many slain, Isaiah said:
"...demons haunt the spot" (Isaiah 34:12, Moffatt translation).
A woman once told me that before her conversion, she was
afraid to walk past a cemetery, that she would see spirits among
the tombstones. We are reminded of the words of the woman at
Endor to Saul: "I saw gods [spirits] ascending out of the earth"
(1 Sam.28:13). With these references before us, it is now
understandable why those who decorate for Halloween, or build
spook houses for parties at this time, often feature things that
pertain to death, skeletons, or tombstones.
Late one night, two policemen stopped by a cafe for coffee.
Off to herself in a corner was a girl who had just spilled the
strawberry soda she was drinking on her white dress. It was
nearing closing time, and because of the lateness of the hour,
the officers asked if they could drive her home. She accepted and
gave them a house address.
On the way there, as they pulled up to a stop sign near a
cemetery, the girl fled from the car and disappeared into the
darkness of the cemetery. Puzzled by this irregular behavior,
they drove on to the address and explained to her parents what
had happened. The parents showed them a photo of their daughter
which the officers easily identified. But they were shocked when
the parents explained their daughter had been murdered a year
before and was buried in the very cemetery where they stopped!
The whole thing was so bizarre, an investigation was conducted
and the grave opened. The body of the dead girl was indeed in the
casket, clothed in a white dress, and on the dress, the stain of
I don't vouch for this story. There are multiplied thousands
of such stories - about eerie encounters, ghostly apparitions,
mysterious and unexplained phenomena. Not all of these stories
are true - of course. But should we assume the other extreme:
that all are untrue? Which incidents actually happened, or which
did not, is not the point here. Nor is it necessary or fruitful
to dwell on these things any further, except to state our basic
premise: these are often areas of demonic activity and demonic
deception. To the discerning Christian, this should be apparent.
WHAT DO DEMONS LOOK LIKE?
The reader will notice that the basic points in this book
are backed up with scripture. But as Paul - not always having a
direct quotation from Jesus on a particular point - gave his
opinion (1 Cor.7:6,12,25), so we acknowledge that the following
descriptions of demons are not based on direct scriptural
evidence. This information has been gleaned, rather, from
experiences of saved and unsaved people, from missionaries
(especially those in countries given over to witchcraft), from
tribal people who worship spirits, and from people who have been
involved in the occult.
Apparently demons are of various sizes - from very small to
very large. Their dispositions range from the subdued and silly,
to the ferocious and violent. Appearing in a grotesque human
shape, a demon may have a square chin, a pointed chin, or no chin
at all. Eyes may be bulging, squint eyes, cat-like eyes, or eyes
like a serpent. Ears may be as long as the head or stand out from
Demons may have a stub nose, large pug nose, or very crooked
nose. They may appear to have animal teeth or large protruding
teeth, a beast-like mouth, and whiskers on the chin. Their bodies
are just as ugly and out of shape as their faces. Where no hair
appears, their bodies are scaly. It has been said that the worst
looking man on earth is better looking than the best looking
demon in its actual degraded form. Yet demons have been known to
temporarily appear as a beautiful woman, a little boy or girl, or
as an angel of light.
Some claim they have seen demons in animal form, or part
animal and part human form, some having tails and horns! Others
have seen dog-like devils, large cat-like devils, and bat-like
devils. In the book of Revelation, frog-like demons are mentioned
(Rev.16:13). An Old Testament word translated devils (Lev.17:7; 2
Chron.11:15), has the meaning of "hairy ones," or "satyrs"
(Isaiah 13:21; 34:14) - demonic creatures appearing as part
animal and part human.
Years ago a man who was my pastor told about being part of a
group who prayed over a demon possessed woman. As the demonic
spirit came out her mouth, it resembled a jelly fish and swiftly
left the church through a back door. Weird? I agree. But I have
no reason to doubt his integrity in relating this incident.
The idea that demons, being spirits, can be seen on
occasions seems strange to some. Nevertheless, angels, which are
also described as "spirits," have been seen (Heb.1:14; 13:2). The
medium at Endor claimed to see spirits or gods (1 Sam.28:13).
John saw demon spirits (Rev.16:13). Eliphaz saw a spirit and was
terrified: "A spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh
stood up" (Job 4:15).
In the demonic delusion that exists among idolatrous tribes,
a demon may appear in a certain form as a god. An image of this
demon is then carved or made. This idol of wood or stone is not a
demon, of course, but becomes a representative of that spirit, a
worship link. Thus the many Biblical verses against idols and
idolatry are not merely against statues: idol worship is actually
demon worship! As Paul taught: "I say, the things which the
Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and
I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils" (1 Cor.
10:19,20). Other scriptures make this same linkage with idolatry:
"They served their idols ... they sacrificed their sons and their
daughters unto devils ... unto the idols of Canaan" (Psalm
106:35-38). "...sacrifices unto devils" (Lev.17:7; Deut.32:17).
In such idol worship, meat may be placed before an idol,
and, it is claimed, spirits are sometimes seen coming to eat the
meat, though no disappearance of the food is apparent. Strangely,
some who have eaten such food later claim it had little or no
taste left! Paul devoted an entire chapter to a discussion about
food offered to idols (1 Cor.8).
Most people today would find it silly and superstitious -
the very idea of setting up an idol for worship or good luck. Yet
people dabble in astrology - as though the stars in space had any
bearing on their lives. Some are fearful if they break a mirror -
especially on Friday the 13th. They will not walk under a ladder,
and cringe if a black cat crosses their path! Others may suppose
a rabbit's foot will bring good luck. But why? It didn't save the
The non-Christian Greeks believed that demons were gods who
influenced the affairs of men. Some of their philosophers,
misunderstanding Paul's message, said: "He seemeth to be a setter
forth of strange gods [demons]" (Acts 17:18). The Greek word that
is here translated "gods" is "daimonion," a word commonly
translated devils (Mk.6:13; Lk.4:41; etc.).
According to the Bible, this Greek idea about demon gods was
not entirely incorrect. Though in this "enlightened age," we
often fix the blame of war and political turmoil on individuals
and groups, the fact is that behind the scenes there are demonic
powers at work. That demons, working through political leaders,
can stir up all kinds of unrest and war, is clearly spelled out
in Revelation: "Unclean spirits ... spirits of devils ... go
forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to
gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty"
Each nation, large or small, is under the influence of a
strong demonic prince. One of these demonic princes was strong
enough to even delay an angel sent to Daniel. "Fear not, Daniel,"
the angel said, "for from the first day that thou didst set thine
heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy
words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of
the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but, lo,
Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I
remained there with the kings of Persia" (Daniel 10:12,13). And,
on his return trip, the angel said: "Now will I return to fight
with the prince of Persia" (verse 20).
At this period Daniel was receiving special divine insight
regarding the fall of the Persian kingdom (which was then in
power). Perhaps it was for this reason that this prince of Persia
was especially interested in hindering messages getting through
That there was an actual, human prince of Persia is evident.
But it hardly seems that a flesh and blood prince could delay an
angelic message. It is generally agreed by Biblical scholars that
we are here seeing into that realm of demonic activity between
heaven and earth. Paul, mentioning various ranks of demons,
included "principalities" (Eph.6:12); that is, princes - those
who have jurisdiction over a territory or people. In the Daniel
passage, the demonic spirit assigned to Persia was called the
"prince of Persia."
To be continued