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What is a…
demon

Greek:
δαίμων —transliteration: daimón —meaning: a demon. This Greek word appears once in Scripture.
δαιμόνιον —transliteration: daimonion —meaning: a demon, an evil spirit. This Greek word appears 60+ times.

Hebrew:
שָׂעִיר —transliteration: sa'iyr —meaning: devil
שֵׁד —transliteration: shed —meaning: demon

also known as: daemon, evil-spirit, unclean spirit, devil, fallen angel

Introduction

This word is the Greek form, translated “devil” in the King James Version of the New Testament.

Demons are spoken of as spiritual beings (Matthew 8:16; 10:1; 12:43-45) at enmity with God, and as having a certain power over man (James 2:19; Rev. 16:14).

They recognize our Lord as the Son of God (Matthew 8:20; Luke 4:41). They belong to the number of those angels that “kept not their first estate,” “unclean spirits,” “fallen angels,” the angels of the devil (Matthew 25:41; Rev. 12:7-9). They are the “principalities and powers” against which we must “wrestle” (Ephesians 6:12).

The word demon(s) does not appear in the King James Bible, which uses the word “devils” instead. The New King James Bible uses the word “demon(s)” in 72 verses.

Their fear of God

Do all demons (devils) fear the one true God? Yes (James 2:19). The Holy Spirit of God is far more powerful than Satan or any demon, and He is the protector of all God’s children (true repentant sinners who believe and follow Christ).

“…because He who is in you [the Holy Spirit] is GREATER than he who is in the world [Satan]” (1 John 4:4b—NKJV).

What is the fear of the Lord? Answer

When the time is right, in God’s perfect plan, He will cast Satan and all his devils in an abyss from which there is no escape (Revelation 9:1-12).

Physical form

Although good angels are known to sometimes mimic human form in service to God, we know of no occasion in Scripture where a fallen angel (demon/devil) was allowed to appear in physical form. These corrupt spiritual beings are limited by God in what they can do on Earth, less their interference become as overwhelmingly great as they wish.

During the 3½ year period immediately before Christ’s Second Coming, we are warned that some demons will be loosed by God in various ways as a judgment on evil. It appears some may have a physical form.

At the end of this Great Tribulation period, Satan and all his devils will be cast into a spiritual abyss (the “bottomless pit”) from which they cannot escape.

Worship of demons

For millennia, wicked people have made sacrifices to demons and worshipped them.

They sacrificed to demons, not to God… —Deuteronomy 32:17 NASB

…offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot… —Leviticus 17:7 NASB

They even sacrificed their sons
And their daughters to demons —Psalm 106:37 NASB

Possession of humans

Demons may take possession of some sinners outside the protection of God. During the time of Christ’s life on Judea, there were a great many examples of this. Sometimes, multiple demons inhabit a person. Mary Magdalene had 7 demons (Luke 8:2).

On one occasion, a legion of devils was allowed by Christ to enter a herd of about 2,000 swine, which promptly drowned (Mark 5:9–13).

Exorcists

The only exorcist mentioned in the Old Testament is David (1 Samuel 16:23). In the New Testament, Jesus Christ, his Apostles and the seventy the Lord sent throughout Israel for a time (Luke 10) cast out demons through the power of the Holy Spirit. The deliverance of great numbers of people so afflicted was a clear proof of Jesus’ identity—as the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God.

“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors… —C.S. Lewis

Also see

Article Version: June 27, 2019