Demons and dealing with them

By COGwriter

Are there demons? What does the Bible teach about them? Is there a devil? Can demons be cast out by believers?

The Bible Teaches There Are Demons

The following verse is first time the term demon or demons is found in English in the NKJV translation of the Bible:

7 They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations. (Leviticus 17:7, NKJV throughout unless otherwise noted)

Basically, the above verse is saying that those involved in sacrifices that were not to God were actually sacrificing to demons (this is also discussed in Deuteronomy 32-15-17). In modern times, while animal sacrifices are rarely done, many engage in pagan practices that were inspired by or encouraged by demons.

The Apostle Paul refers to offering sacrifices to demons and then connects that with those that do not properly observe the New Testament Passover:

14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we, though many, are one bread and one body; for we all partake of that one bread.

18 Observe Israel after the flesh: Are not those who eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What am I saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 20 Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the Lord's table and of the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:14-21)

(See also Marcus, the Marcosians, & Mithraism: Developers of the Eucharist?)

The Bible sometimes reports about both healings and demons being cast out by Jesus (Matthew 9:32-33, 12:22; Mark 1:34, 9:17-29; Luke 13:32) and His followers (Mark 3:14-15, 6:13, 16:16-18) in the same passages (Luke 8:1-3).  Obviously, there are connections, then, at times, between health issues and demonic ones.

Demons Deceive and Can Utilize Signs and Lying Wonders

Demons can deceive and have their own doctrines:

1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1)

False prophecies are sometime demon-influenced some of them appear to be part of Satan's plan to deceive (see Satan's Plan).

The ruler of the demons is called Satan (cf. Matthew 12:24-27; Mark 3:26; Luke 11:14-19).

The Devil Was a Liar from the Beginning

The first reference to the devil is in the book of Genesis, but it does not use that term:

1 Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?"

2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'"

4 Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5)

The serpent deceived the woman. That serpent of old is called the devil and Satan and he is a deceiver:

9 So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9)

2 He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. (Revelation 20:2-3)

It is deception and lies that Satan fosters. The whole world has been deceived by him, and that explains why many do not agree with the Bible and many of its standards of morality.

Jesus referred to Satan as a murder from the beginning and the father of lies:

44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. (John 8:44-45)

Sadly, the world's religions are based on lies and influence from Satan.

Satan tries to turn people away for the Church of God message:

14 The sower sows the word. 15 And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. (Mark 4:14-15)

Thus, this is part of why the world prefers to believe the truth. And that, sadly, has been the case since the Garden of Eden.

This may be part of why Jesus warned His followers:

10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

While Eve should have listened to God instead of Satan (2 Corinthians 11:3), and Adam to God as opposed to doing wrong (cf. Romans 5:14), the New Testament shows one way that people who hear the Church of God message (Acts 20:28) should respond--they should be like the Bereans who "searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).

Satan and His Demons Were Prior to the Garden of Eden

Jesus Cast Out Demons

The New Testament is clear that Jesus can and did cast out demons. Here are a few examples:

28 When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. 29 And suddenly they cried out, saying, "What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" 30 Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. 31 So the demons begged Him, saying, "If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine." 32 And He said to them, "Go." So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water. 33 Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. 34 And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region. (Matthew 8:28-34)

32 As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a man, mute and demon-possessed. 33 And when the demon was cast out, the mute spoke. And the multitudes marveled, saying, "It was never seen like this in Israel!" 34 But the Pharisees said, "He casts out demons by the ruler of the demons." (Matthew 9:32-34)

22 Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" 24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, "This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." (Matthew 12:22-24)

32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city was gathered together at the door. 34 Then He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him. (Mark 1:32-34)

38 But He said to them, "Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth." 39 And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons. (Mark 1:38-39)

31 On that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, "Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You."

32 And He said to them, "Go, tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.' (Luke 13:31-32)

Of course, not all were pleased when demons were cast out.

Who Can Cast Out Demons?

Who can cast out demons in Jesus' name? Here is Jesus' answer:

17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:17-18)

The above shows that believers can cast our demons in Jesus' name. Thus, while this includes the ministry, it also includes Christians who have only been baptized and received God's Holy Spirit.

We also know that Jesus' followers cast our demons, before receiving the Holy Spirit:

13 And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. 14 Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach, 15 and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: (Mark 3:13-15)

12 So they went out and preached that people should repent. 13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them. (Mark 6:12-13)

17 Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."

18 And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven." (Luke 10:17-20)

Notice that being considered as true Christians ("names written in heaven" above) is more important than being able to call on Jesus' name to cast out demons.

We also know that one who profess Christ but was not a close disciple also was able to cast out demons:

49 Now John answered and said, "Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us."

50 But Jesus said to him, "Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side." (Luke 9:49-50)

Can people who profess Christ, but are not true Christians cast out demons? Jesus taught that there are those who believed that they cast out demons, but that Jesus did not know them:

22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matthew 7:22-23)

It is not totally clear if those Jesus did not know actually cast out demons or if perhaps Satan allowed them to. But Jesus said He had no part with them. Because of that, I have not referred to (nor intentionally reviewed for that matter), non-Church of God writings related to casting out (or exorcising) demons.

The Apostle Paul cast out a prophetic demon:

16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation." 18 And this she did for many days.

But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. (Acts 16:16-19)

The Bible shows that the Apostle Paul also was able to cast out demons with anointed cloths:

11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. (Acts 19:11-12)

So, this is a way that Paul assisted the demon-possessed from a distance.

Christians Are to Pray and Resist the Devil

What should Christians do related to their own lives and the devil?

They should pray and resist.

Notice something that Jesus wrote:

13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:13)

Notice something two apostles wrote:

7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:7-10)

8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-10)

Pray and resist. Do not give into temptation of the devil's snares.

This at least as true for those that once had demons. Notice the following:

24 "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' 25 And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. 26 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first." (Luke 11:24-26)

Notice something about one who did not seem to have a demon, but was healed:

5 Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, "Do you want to be made well?"

7 The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me."

8 Jesus said to him, "Rise, take up your bed and walk." 9 And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.

And that day was the Sabbath. 10 The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, "It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed."

11 He answered them, "He who made me well said to me, 'Take up your bed and walk.'"

12 Then they asked him, "Who is the Man who said to you, 'Take up your bed and walk'?" 13 But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. 14 Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, "See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you."

15 The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well. (John 5:5-15)

All need to strive to sin no more. All need to get their spiritual lives in order and resist deception of sin, as well as that of Satan and his demons.

Herbert W. Armstrong Reported Casting Out Demons

The late Herbert W. Armstrong related the following about him casting out demons:

I remember one one time that I was called into see, a woman possessed with many demons. It was just about my first experience in meeting demons. And this woman would start out saying something, jabbering away, and then in the middle of a sentence and without stopping at all, her voice would go on but entirely different words talking about something else altogether. And then she would interrupt herself in the middle of a sentence and start talking about something else altogether, actually the demons in her...

Demons are beings who have knowledge and who are invisible to human eyes and demons can actually get inside of people and a great many people in insane asylums are merely human beings that have let a demon get possession of them and these demons possess their minds. That may sound whacky to a lot of people that just don't know about these things but there are a good many things, my friends, that are hidden from men that they don't know...

Two days later after I saw this woman... No, as a matter of fact, it was the very next day, after I saw this woman, she was perfectly normal. I think it was the very next morning after I saw her and was called in to cast out that demon she was taken to the insane asylum at Salem, Oregon.

When she arrived up there, they examined her and they said, "What'd you bring this woman up here for?" They said, "She's not insane, she's in her right mind, she's perfectly rational and normal." There was nothing wrong with her. They sent her back home.

The day before, she was a raving maniac. She picked up a flat iron she had concealed in her bed and raised it, tried to throw it at my head. I quickly pointed a finger at her and commanded her to hold it and her hand stayed rigid, she couldn't move it. And when I cast the demons out, well anyway, the next morning, when they got her to the insane asylum at Salem, Oregon, she was a normal woman, once again and she had not been normal for a great many years. (Armstrong HW. Sign of Jonah and Christ's Messiahship. World Tomorrow Telecast, telecast date May 31, 1979. viewed 020114).

The first time I was asked to come to a house to cast out a demon, I first fasted and prayed. The demon had possessed a woman, kept in bed. While I was talking with others in the living room, this insane woman yelled out: "I hear you out there. I know who you are — I hear you on the radio!"
   I walked into the bedroom. The crazed woman took out from under the covers a flatiron, raised her hand as if to throw it at me.
   I took an instant step toward her, pointing a finger directly at her, commanding, "In the name of Jesus Christ, put down that iron." She (the demon in her) saw I was unafraid and spoke with a voice of authority. She put down the iron. I talked with the demon a couple moments, in the same manner Jesus talked to the demon-possessed.
   Then I said, with authority, "You foul demon, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of this woman!"
   The woman grinned. "YOU come out!" she said saucily.
   I commanded her again, saying to the demon it HAD to come out, for I spoke by the authority of Jesus Christ.
   "I WON'T come out," answered the demon with the woman's voice. "I've been paying taxes on this place since 1929. I've got a right to stay here."
   "You have NO RIGHT! Jesus Christ commands you to come out!" I replied, keeping a stern commanding voice.
   The woman sank into a sleep. The next morning they took her to the state hospital for the insane, as they had planned.
   Examining her, officials said: "Why did you bring this woman here? She's not insane. She's as sane as any of us."
   I checked up. They had lived in that house much longer than since 1929. That was the year she went insane. This event occurred, as near as I remember, in 1934.
   I have had other such experiences, but must not take space here to recount them. (Armstrong HW. The Time Has Come for Fasting and Prayer! Good News magazine, January 1980)

I have cast out demons through the name of Christ and power of the Holy Spirit. Some demons are silly, like spoiled children. Some are crafty, sharp, shrewd, subtle. Some are belligerent, some are sassy, some are sullen and morose. But all are perverted, warped, twisted. (Armstrong HW. Mystery of the Ages, Chapter 2; same quote in his The Incredible Human Potential, Chapter 5).

So, casting out demons has been part of recent Church of God history, as well as early history (and likely points in-between).

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