What Are Demons?

The Bible is very clear that demons exist. They are mentioned one hundred and eleven times in the Gospels, as well as throughout various other Books of the Bible (Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Second Chronicles, Psalms, Acts, First Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, First Timothy, James, Revelation).

So that, of course, raises the question: what are they?

In this article, we will examine three different suggestions regarding the identification of demons.

The Spirits Of The Nephilim

In the Book of Genesis, we are told about the intermingling of angelic and human beings. Their offspring were known as the Nephilim. We read:

Genesis 6:1-4-Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose. And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.” There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.

The word translated as “giants” is the Hebrew word Nephilim. These beings enslaved humanity and were ultimately destroyed in the Flood.

Many people reject the supernatural interpretation of Genesis 6:1-4, even though the phrase “sons of God” used here (bene Elohim) has specific reference in that day and age to angels (Job 1:6; 2:1-2; 38:4-7). Why then do they resist these truths? It is sometimes rejected on the grounds that they cannot envision “how” an angel (who is primarily a spiritual being-see Hebrews 1:7, 14) could reproduce physically. However, Scripture is clear that angels can take physical form so that they can eat (Genesis 18:1-8, 16 With 19:1-3), wash their feet (Genesis 19:2), and punch someone (Acts 12:7). Clearly, they are able to take physical form!

Furthermore, it was clearly the belief of Peter and Jude that the sin of the angels in Genesis 6 was sexual in nature. They write:

2 Peter 2:4-6-For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly;

Jude 6-7-And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

The famous linguist, Kenneth Wuest, shows that the sin of the angels was similar in nature to the sins of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah:

“From the apostasy of Israel, Jude turns to the sin of the angels. He describes them as those who “kept not their first estate.” The word “estate” is the A.V. translation of archē. The word means first of all, “beginning.” Thus does the A.V. understand it. The angels left their first or original status as angels, their original position, to violate the laws of God which kept them separate from the human race, members of which latter race occupy a different category among the created intelligences than that of angels….The second meaning of archē is derived from the first, namely, “sovereignty, dominion, magistracy,” the beginning or first place of power. The word is translated “principalities” in Eph 6:12, and refers to demons there. Thus, this meaning of archē teaches that these angels left their original dignity and high positions. Archē is used, in the Book of Enoch (12:4) of the Watchers (Angels) who have abandoned the high heaven and the holy eternal place and defiled themselves with women (Mayor). This original state of high dignity which these angels possessed, Jude says, they did not keep. The verb is tēreō, “to guard.” The verb expresses the act of watchful care. That is, these angels did not fulfil their obligation of carefully guarding and maintaining their original position in which they were created, but transgressed those limits to invade territory which was foreign to them, namely, the human race. They left their own habitation. “Habitation” is oikētērion, “a dwelling-place,” here, heaven. “Their own” is idion, “one’s own private, personal, unique possession,” indicating here that heaven is the peculiar, private abode of the angels. Heaven was made for the angels, not for man. It is the temporary abode of the departed saints until the new heavens and new earth are brought into being, but man’s eternal dwelling-place will be on the perfect earth (Rev 21:1-3). “Left” is apoleipō. The simple verb leipō means “to leave.” The prefixed preposition apo makes the compound verb mean “to leave behind.” These angels left heaven behind. That is, they had abandoned heaven. They were done with it forever. The verb is aorist in tense which refers to a once-for-all act. This was apostasy with a vengeance. They had, so to speak, burnt their bridges behind them, and had descended to a new sphere, the earth, and into a foreign relationship, that with the human race, foreign, because the latter belongs to a different category of created intelligences than they. These angels are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness. “Reserved” is tēreō, and is in the perfect tense. That is, they have been placed under a complete and careful guard, with the result that they are in a state of being under this complete and careful guard continually. These angels are carefully guarded in everlasting chains. “Chains” is desmos, “a band or bond.” The word does not indicate that the angels are chained, but that they are in custody, detained in a certain place. The custody is everlasting. The Greek word is aidios, “everlasting.” “Darkness” is zophos, “darkness, blackness,” used of the darkness of the nether world…This verse begins with hōs, an adverb of comparison having the meanings of “in the same manner as, after the fashion of, as, just as.” Here it introduces a comparison showing a likeness between the angels of verse 6 and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah of this verse. But the likeness between them lies deep-er than the fact that both were guilty of committing sin. It extends to the fact that both were guilty of the same identical sin. The punctuation of the A.V. is misleading, as an examination of Greek text discloses. The A.V. punctuation gives the reader the impression that Sodom and Gomorrah committed fornication and that the cities about them committed fornication in like manner to the two cities named. The phrase “in like manner” is according to the punctuation construed with the words “the cities about them.” A rule of Greek grammar comes into play here. The word “cities” is in the nominative case. The words “in like manner” are in the accusative case and are classified as an adverbial accusative by Dana and Mantey in their Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament (pp. 91, 93). This latter construction is related syntactically, not with a word in the nominative case but with the verbal form in the sentence. All of which means that the words “in like manner” are related to the verbal forms, “giving themselves over to fornication” and “going after strange flesh.” In addition to all this, the Greek text has toutois, “to these.” Thus, the translation should read, “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, in like manner to these, having given themselves over to fornication and having gone after strange flesh.” The sense of the entire passage (vv. 6, 7) is that the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities about them, in like manner to these (the angels), have given themselves over to fornication and have gone after strange flesh. That means that the sin of the fallen angels was fornication. This sin on the part of the angels is described in the words, “going after strange flesh.” The word “strange” is heteros, “another of a different kind.” That is, these angels transgressed the limits of their own natures to invade a realm of created beings of a different nature. This invasion took the form of fornication, a cohabitation with beings of a different nature from theirs. This takes us back to Gen 6:1-4 where we have the account of the sons of God (here, fallen angels), cohabiting with women of the human race.” (Kenneth Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies In The Greek New Testament, (E-Sword Edition, emphasis added-M.A.T.))

With this in mind, let’s notice several ancient documents that identify the “demons” as the spirits of the nephilim which perished in the Flood.

The Book Of Enoch

This book is not part of the Bible, yet it is often alluded to in Scripture. It was clearly written long before the time of Christ, as is evidenced by the fact that several copies of it were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls. Even though this book is not included in the canon of Scripture, it is referred to several times in the Bible.

First Enoch is divided into five sections:

The Book Of The Watchers (1-36)

The Book Of Parables (37-71)

The Book Of Heavenly Luminaries (72-82)

The Book Of Dream Visions (83-90)

The Book Of The Epistle Of Enoch (91-107)

First Enoch is primarily about God’s message to the fallen angels who had rebelled against Heaven in creating the nephilim, which in turned enslaved humanity. In describing the aftermath of the Flood (which destroyed the nephilim), we read these words:

1 Enoch 15:8-12-My judgment for the giants is that since they are born from flesh they will be called evil spirits and will remain on the earth. 9 Because they were created from above, from the holy Watchers, at death their spirits will come forth from their bodies and dwell on the earth. They will be called evil spirits. 10 The heavenly spirits will dwell in heaven, but the terrestrial spirits who were born on earth will dwell on earth. 11The evil spirits of the giants will be like clouds. They will afflict, corrupt, tempt, battle, work destruction on the earth, and do evil ; they will not eat nor drink, but be invisible . 12 They will rise up against the children of men and against the women, because they have proceeded from them.

The testimony of the book of Enoch is that demons are the spirits of the nephilim which were left behind in the world to afflict humanity.

The Book Of Jubilees

Another ancient Jewish history book, the book of Jubilees, agrees with Enoch in this understanding of the nature of demons. Known among Hebrews and rabbinical scholars as “the Little Genesis,” Jubilees contains historical information and commentary regarding the events covered in the Book of Genesis, down through the Exodus. Notice what it says regarding the origin of demons:

Jubilees 10:1-6 (emphasis added, M.T.) -1. And in the third week of this jubilee the unclean demons began to lead astray the children of the sons of Noah; and to make to err and destroy them. 2. And the sons of Noah came to Noah their father, and they told him concerning the demons which were, leading astray and blinding and slaying his sons’ sons. 3. And he prayed before the Lord his God, and said: God of the spirits of all flesh, who hast shown mercy unto me, And hast saved me and my sons from the waters of the flood, And hast not caused me to perish as Thou didst the sons of perdition; For Thy grace hath been great towards me, And great hath been Thy mercy to my soul; Let Thy grace be lift up upon my sons, And let not wicked spirits rule over them Lest they should destroy them from the earth. 4. But do Thou bless me and my sons, that we may increase and multiply and replenish the earth. 5. And Thou knowest how THY WATCHERS, THE FATHERS OF THESE SPIRITS, acted in my day: and as for these spirits which are living, imprison them and hold them fast in the place of condemnation, and let them not bring destruction on the sons of thy servant, my God; for these are malignant, and created in order to destroy. 6. And let them not rule over the spirits of the living; for Thou alone canst exercise dominion over them. And let them not have power over the sons of the righteous from henceforth and for evermore.”

Testimony Of Michael Heiser

Michael Heiser, renowned scholar of the Hebrew Old Testament and Near Eastern ancient religions, has pointed out some of the evidence from the Old Testament (as well as from ancient Hebrew and non-Jewish religious texts) which corroborate the idea that demons are the spirits of the nephilim.

“While it is true that Canaanite literature (such as the Ugaritic texts) does not describe the Rephaim (rpum in Ugaritic) as giants, the biblical texts certainly do. The Old Testament also has the Rephaim in the underworld/ hell. Unfortunately, English translations typically prevent us from seeing this material. Consider the following passages from the English Standard Version: · Job 26: 5–6: “The dead [rephaim] tremble under the waters and their inhabitants. Sheol is naked before God, and Abaddon has no covering.” · Psalm 88: 10: “Do you work wonders for the dead? Do the departed [rephaim] rise up to praise you?” · Proverbs 21: 6: “One who wanders from the way of good sense will rest in the assembly of the dead [rephaim].” · Isaiah 14: 9–15: “Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades [rephaim] to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations. All of them will answer and say to you: ‘You too have become as weak as we! You have become like us!’ Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers. ‘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! You 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; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” But you are brought down to Sheol, to the far reaches of the pit.’” WHAT DOES ALL THIS GIVE US? IT MAY NOT BE APPARENT, BUT WHAT WE’VE JUST COVERED IS THE BIBLICAL JUSTIFICATION FOR THE TEACHING OF 1 ENOCH THAT DEMONS ARE THE SPIRITS OF DEAD GIANTS. [ 171] To see that’s the case, we need to review some of what we learned in earlier chapters. The connection of the Rephaim giants with the underworld, the realm of the dead, should ring a bell. In our earlier discussion (chapters 2–3) of the Mesopotamian apkallu we noted that, after the events of the Flood, “apkallu” was a term used in Mesopotamian texts for the divine sages sent to the underworld Abyss by Marduk. They were the Mesopotamian equivalent of 1 Enoch’s Watchers, imprisoned in the Abyss for their transgression with human women. Those Watchers were in turn the referent for Peter and Jude’s descriptions of “angels that sinned” who were “in chains in gloomy darkness” (2 Peter 2: 4; Jude 6). But “apkallu” was also the label for giants like Gilgamesh, who were “of human descent.” These hybrid apkallu were the correlates to Enoch’s giants. According to 1 Enoch 15: 8–12, when one such giant was killed, its departed spirit (its “Watcher part”) was where demons came from: 8But now the giants who were begotten by the spirits and flesh—they will call them evil spirits upon the earth, for their dwelling will be upon the earth. 9The spirits that have gone forth from the body of their flesh are evil spirits, for from humans they came into being, and from the holy watchers was the origin of their creation. Evil spirits they will be on the earth, and evil spirits they will be called. 10The spirits of heaven, in heaven is their dwelling; but the spirits begotten in the earth, on earth is their dwelling. 11And the spirits of the giants lead astray, do violence, make desolate, and attack and wrestle and hurl upon the earth and cause illnesses. They eat nothing, but abstain from food and are thirsty and smite. 12These spirits (will) rise up against the sons of men and against the women, for they have come forth from them.” (Dr. Michael S. Heiser, Reversing Hermon: Enoch, The Watchers, & TheForgotten Mission Of Jesus Christ, 1594-1626 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added, M.T.))

Testimony Of Kevin Sullivan

Another fascinating scholar, Kevin Sullivan, has added his testimony to the pre-Christian notion that demons are identifiable as the spirits of the deceased nephilim:

“The spirits of the offspring of the fallen angels who remained on earth (even after the Flood) helped give rise to the New Testament concept of the demons as Satan’s minions, so the very concept of the “fall of the angels” gave rise to the idea of demons as they are envisioned in some late Second Temple writings and especially in the New Testament….AS IS CLEAR FROM THE PASSAGE ABOVE, CONCEPTUALLY, DEMONS START OUT SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO WHAT WE HAVE COME TO UNDERSTAND AS THE ROLE OF ANGELS-MOVING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH AND COMMUNICATING BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH. As H.S. Vernel notes, “Plato’s concept of daimones as beings intermediate between god and men” is “completely new,” but “this notion was adopted by all subsequent demonologies.” [18] Clearly, though, there is a dramatic shift in the conception of demons from the time of Plato to the writings of the New Testament, and much of that shift may have to do with the interplay with Jewish beliefs….Lastly, demons appear in the writings from Qumran. [22] One example will suffice to demonstrate the range with which malevolent spirits were being conceived in the Dead Sea Scrolls. 4Q510 fragment 1, 4-6 says, “And I, the Sage, declare the grandeur of his radiance in order to frighten and terrify all the spirits of the ravaging angels, and the bastard spirits, demons, Liliths, owls and [jackals…] and those who strike unexpectedly to lead astray the spirit of knowledge.” [23] This list appears to be meant to cover the significant range of evil beings that were present in late Second Temple Jewish literature….It seems that according to 1 Enoch 6–16 the Watchers were heavenly beings similar to and probably understood by ancient authors to be angels. Nevertheless, after the “fall” (by this I mean their physical movement down to the earth and then below it; as well as the metaphorical “fall” of humans by giving them knowledge that causes evil in the world) of the Watchers, they can appropriately be called “fallen angels.” Further, their actions both in defiling human women and in bringing secret knowledge to humanity make them outliers from heaven, yet they are clearly not human. We should note, however, that in most instances of the name “Watchers” the title “fallen angels” can be applied. Interestingly, even in Daniel some distinction seems to be made between the Watchers and named archangels. [42] THE WATCHERS AS FALLEN ANGELS THEMSELVES DO COME TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH DEMONS IN LATER LITERATURE, BUT IT IS NOT APPROPRIATE TO REFER TO THE WATCHERS (IN THE BOOK OF THE WATCHERS AND ELSEWHERE) AS DEMONS PER SE. They are best conceived of as a unique subset of angels who, by their transgression of God’s boundaries, made themselves something unique, and also brought about the origins of unique hybrids (the Giants). Many Enochic writings come from a cultural milieu in which speculation about the heavenly realm (as a subset of apocalyptic fervor) was rampant. It seems that in this text, what we are observing is the beginning of a significant change in the cultural understanding of evil. In the wake of the exile and the spread of Hellenism, the reason that Jews suffered needed to be explained, and it needed to be explained through the Scriptures. It also needed to be explained in a way that removed any taint from YHWH. Genesis 6:1-4 provided fertile ground for further development that would explain not just the abstract or philosophical arguments why evil existed, but more importantly, the concrete reason that evil was in the world and people suffered. A subset of angels fell from heaven and by that choice separated themselves from heaven and YHWH. WHILE THE GIANTS WERE WIPED OUT BY THE FLOOD, THE ANGELS THEMSELVES WERE IMMORTAL, AND REMAINED ON EARTH AND BECAME THE “DEMONS” OF LATER JEWISH AND CHRISTIAN SPECULATION. In this way, evil was physically in the world.” (Kevin Sullivan, “The Watchers Traditions In 1 Enoch 6:-16: The Fall Of Angels And The Rise Of Demons,” in Angela Kim Harkins,Kelley Coblentz Bautch, and John C. Endres S.J. (editors), “The Watchers In Jewish And Christian Traditions, 92-102 (Kindle Edition, emphasis added, M.T.); Minneapolis, MN; Fortress Press)

It is also with noticing in this quotation that we see some of the evidence that a few writers in the ancient world referred to demons as the fallen angels. This viewpoint, while very popular today, seems to have some little ancient support.

The Spirits Of The Wicked Dead

The final theory we will investigate here regarding the identification of demons is that they are the spirits of the wicked dead. There is, indeed, some evidence from Scripture which implies that this is the case.

In Numbers 25:1-3, for example, we read of how the Hebrews began to worship the false gods of Peor. In Deuteronomy 32:17, Moses refers to the gods the people worshiped as demons (and contextually, the allusion fits the timeframe of the events of Numbers 25). Finally, in Psalm 106:28, the false gods/demons are identified by the Psalmist as: the dead.

Thus, demons are the spirits of the wicked dead, which masquerade as gods.

Again, we are reminded that in the Old Testament mediums and spiritists are identified as those who conjure “familiar spirits” and “the dead” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). It is fascinating, with this in mind, to consider what God says through the Prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 10:19-And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?

Notice that those spirits which mediums conjure are identified as “the dead.”

It may be objected that all dead humans go to Sheol when they die (cf. Luke 16:19-31). However, at least three things should be considered regarding this objection.

First, it is not clear that all humans go immediately to Sheol at the time of death. Indeed, the traditional understanding of Hebrew antiquity is that the spirit of the deceased remains on earth for at least three days after death. For example:

“Another concern addressed by the Rabbis is the fate of the soul of the deceased in the subsequent days after death. On this theme, we find a number of sources indicating that initially—during the first three days—the soul remains in close proximity to the body, trying to reenter it. However, with the onset of physical decomposition, the soul departs and continues its postmortem wanderings. 32 We find two statements in the Midrash specifically asserting this point of view…Another midrashic text speaks of a seven-day period in which the soul sojourns back and forth from the gravesite where the body is interred to its former home base.” (Simcha Paull Raphael, Jewish Views On The Afterlife, 2915-2925 (Kindle Edition); Lanham, Maryland; Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.)

Second, there is Scriptural testimony that not all all spirits that go to Sheol will remain there indefinitely. In fact, the Apostle John makes it clear that during the Christian Age, some spirits are released from Sheol:

Revelation 9:1-3-Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

Finally, there is evidence that the “demons” (whatever they were) demonstrated fear that Jesus would send them to Sheol:

Luke 8:31-And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss.

Therefore, it seems that this objection against the identification of demons as the spirits of wicked deceased humans is not insurmountable.

With that in mind, it is interesting to notice some of the etymological evidence which shows that the word “demon,” as used in the first century, had the common meaning of “the unsaved dead.”

Testimony Of Alexander Campbell

Alexander Campbell, one of the famous leaders of the American Restoration Movement, and recognized historically as a well-studied Bible scholar, believed that demons were indeed the spirits of the wicked dead.

“We have, from a careful survey of the history of the term demon, concluded that the demons of Paganism, Judaism, and Christianity were the ghosts of dead men. But we build not only upon the definition of the term, nor on its philological history; but upon the following seven pillars: 1. All the Pagan authors of note, whose works have survived the wreck of ages, affirm the opinion that demons were the spirits or ghosts of dead men. From Hesiod down to the more polished Celsus, their historians, poets, and philosophers occasionally express this opinion. 2. The Jewish historians, Josephus and Philo, also avow this conviction. Josephus says, “Demons are the spirits of wicked men, who enter into living men and destroy them, unless they are so happy as to meet with speedy relief. Philo says, “The souls of dead men are called demons.” 3. The Christian Fathers, Justin Martyr, Ireneus, Origen, &c. depose to the same effect. Justin, when arguing for a future state, alleges, “Those who are seized and tormented by the souls of the dead, whom all call demons, and madmen.” Lardner, after examining with the most laborious care the works of these, and all the Fathers of the first two centuries, says, “The notion of demons, or the souls of dead men, having power over living men, was universally prevalent among the heathen of these times, and believed by many Christians. 4. The Evangelists and Apostles of Jesus Christ so understood the matter. As this is a very important, and of itself a sufficient pillar on which to rest our edifice, we shall be at more pains to illustrate and enforce it. We shall first state the philological law or canon of criticism, on the generality and truth of which all our dictionaries, grammars, and translations are formed. Every word not specially explained [463] or defined in a particular sense, by any standard writer of any particular age and country, is to be taken and applied in the current or commonly received signification of that country and age in which the writer lived and wrote. If this canon of translation and of criticism be denied, then we affirm there is no value in dictionaries, nor in the acquisition of ancient languages in which any book may be written; nor is there any confidence in any translation of any ancient work, sacred or profane: for they are all made upon the assumption of the truth of this law.” (Quotation from Alexander Campbell, Lextures On Demonology, http:// http://www.mun.ca/ rels/ restmov/ texts/ acampbell/ mh1841/ DEMON1. HTM)

Testimony Of Peter Bolt

Another scholar, Peter Bolt, who has carefully examined Demonology, has written the following:

“Although it would be a rare reader today who would equate the “demons” exorcised by Jesus with ghosts, i.e., spirits of deceased human beings who still exert an influence upon the living, many ancient readers of the Gospels would have done so automatically… To sum up the discussion thus far: it can be argued that the continued presence of the connection between the daimons and the dead in the philosophical literature, alongside the more elaborate emergent daimoniology, may indicate that ‘even these circles to had to orientate themselves by popular ideas, despite combating, or seek to move beyond them… For my purposes, the dating question is not crucial, since the testimony of the papyri and the curse tables combine to show that the connection between the daimons and the dead was made across the several centuries on either side of the NT period… Many of the spells in the Magical papyri show us that the daimons manipulated by the magicians were patently connected to the spirits of the dead… Several passages in Josephus assume the connection between the daimons and the dead. To provide but one example, Josephus says that, despite its tendency to kill the one attempting to pluck it, the plant rue possesses one highly-prized value…“ for the so-called daimons—in other words, the spirits of wicked men which enter the living and kill them unless aid is forthcoming-are promptly expelled by this root, if merely applied to the patients.” Here the daimons are defined in terms of the ghosts of the wicked, bent on human destruction.” (Peter Bolt, quoted in Anthony N.S. Lane, The Unseen World: Christian Reflections on Angels, Demons, and the Heavenly Realm (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996), 75, 88-89, 95-96.)

Testimony Of Clinton Arnold

Finally, notice the accounts of Clinton Arnold in his fascinating and excellent book on the Powers Of Darkness. Speaking of the ancient meaning of the word demon, he notes:

“In the magical papyri the Greek word daimon did not necessarily signify an evil or harmful spirit. Although in this magical recipe the term is plainly used to refer to the spirits who could inflict harm, by itself the word has no moral connotations. In the classical era before the New Testament age, the word daimon had been used for the gods (such as Apollo, Dionysus and Hermes) and for supernatural beings regarded as somewhat lower than the gods. Increasingly it was used of the supernatural intermediaries (between the gods and humanity) and of the spirits of nature. Many regarded the daimones (plural form) who filled the air to be the disembodied souls of the dead, especially heroes. Influence from the East, especially Persian and Jewish thought, resulted in the Greek word daimon taking on an increasingly evil connotation in its common use. Both daimon and the related word daimonion are consistently used to refer to an evil spirit in the New Testaments.” (Clinton E. Arnold, Powers Of Darkness: Principalities & Powers In Paul’s Letters, 23-24 (Kindle Edition); Downers Grove, Illinois; InterVarsity Press)


There is strong evidence that demons are either the spirits of the nephilim; the spirits of deceased humans who have either not gone to Sheol, or who have gone and been allowed out of that realm (for whatever reason); or fallen angels (arguably the least likely View). In fact, it is quite possible that the word “demon” can encompass all three of these categories.

As important as the identity of demons is, what is most important is realizing their opposition to God, their hatred of humanity, and their defeat by Jesus Christ at Calvary. The pages of the Bible speak continually to these facts. Knowing that their fate is “torment” (Matthew 8:29), these spirits work to torment and destroy humans (Mark 9:22); yet they tremble in their knowledge of God (James 2:19), and they flee at the power of the Christ of Calvary (Colossians 2:15).

Why not turn to Jesus today to be saved from Satan and all of his forces? Why not today be saved from your sin? Jesus Christ, the Son Of God, died on the cross of Calvary to save you from Hell (1 Timothy 2:6). He was buried, and He arose from the dead on the third day after His death (1 Corinthians 15:1-8). Why not today, as a believer, turn to the Lord and be saved?

Acts 2:38-Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

If you are a Christian who has turned away from God, why not turn back to Him today?

1 John 1:9-If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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