Demonic Possession – Who are the Demons? (Part 1)
Jesus encountered demons during His ministry on Earth. On one occasion, Jesus approached two men and the demons within them trembled saying, “ ‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ they shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’ Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, ‘If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.’ He said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.” (Matthew 8:29-32)
This text demonstrates several facts about demons. First, demons exist and are intelligent. Not only did they recognize Jesus as the “Son of God” (even though the Jews would not), they also spoke knowledgeably about their fate. They knew the appointed time for their destruction had not yet come! Second, demons can and do take control of people. Third, the demons drowned the pigs because they did not want to remain within them. Demons are powerful, intelligent beings and they are not to be trifled with. Consider this short story:
“Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.’ Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.” (Acts 19:13-18)
Demons Are Fallen Angels
The Bible does not provide much information about the angels before sin occurred in Heaven, but it does give us details from which we can draw some conclusions. For example, by aligning certain Bible texts and God’s changeless patterns, we can reasonably conclude that if the Father loved mankind (a lower order of creation) enough to redeem us (John 3:16), He must have also loved the angels (a higher order of creation) enough to redeem them if it had been possible. Therefore, the reason the Father could not redeem the fallen angels must have been that they became rebellious and defiant and committed the unpardonable sin. The Bible states that there is no grace for human beings who become rebellious and defiant and commit the unpardonable sin. (Matthew 12:31,32; Hebrews 10:26) If mankind can commit the unpardonable sin and if committing the unpardonable sin will be possible “in the age to come” (Matthew 12:32), it is reasonable to say that God kicked rebellious angels out of Heaven only after they passed the point of no return.
If God gave mankind free will, because He is changeless, it is reasonable to conclude that He gave the angels free will. The rise of sin in Heaven proves that the angels had free will. The Bible indicates some angels put their faith in God and some did not, which suggests they had the power of choice. Because the Bible offers certain details about God and the angels, a little conjecture can be helpful to understand angels before sin began.
After Jesus created the universe, He created several billion angels. Jesus gave them free will, amazing talents and intelligence, residence in God’s house, and a powerful predisposition for righteousness. Angels were the first and highest order of created beings. Angels served God as ambassadors and managers of His universe. After they were trained and prepared, they were to oversee all the new worlds (in the same way seven angels were made overseers of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3) which Jesus would create.
For a time the angels lived in perfect harmony with no rebellion within them. There was no bullying, politics, arguing, coveting, cheating, lying, or stealing. If you can imagine this, no one thought or spoke evil about his neighbor! The angels loved the Father and Jesus and they appreciated the ministry of the Holy Spirit during worship services. Unfortunately, one day a tiny change occurred in one angel. The other angels did not notice this change for a period of time because it was carefully hidden. The Bible does not indicate the length of time the angels lived in Heaven before sin began. Given that Adam and many others – who lived before Noah’s flood – lived over nine centuries, and God has given mankind 6,000 years of probationary time, it is reasonable to understand that God was patient with the angels before He expelled them from Heaven. Please consider these thoughts:
- It must have taken some time after the angels were created before Lucifer, who had a strong propensity for righteousness to become self-centered, jealous, and evil-minded.
- When Lucifer’s disaffection began, God must have given him and the other angels plenty of time to thoughtfully consider the arguments and charges against God. After the angels understood Lucifer’s motives, the Father also gave the angels time to repent of their rebellion.
- It must have taken a significant amount of time for one third of the holy angels to become angry enough with God to blaspheme the Holy Spirit (commit the unpardonable sin). Because the Holy Spirit is gentle and patient, reaching a state of defiance takes time (even within human beings).
The Lucifer and Jesus Conflict
When Jesus created Lucifer, Jesus gave him every gift that God could give a created being:
“. . . .You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.” (Ezekiel 28:12-15)
This is how I understand Lucifer’s fall. After Lucifer enjoyed a wonderful, purpose-filled life with Jesus and the Father for many years, the most elevated and beautiful angel in Heaven became discontented. Lucifer was one of the two guardian cherubs and he wanted to be respected and worshiped in the same way that the other guardian cherub was. When He discussed the matter with the Father, the Father told him that his desire could not be granted. Because Lucifer coveted the worship and honor given to the other guardian cherub he felt diminished, disrespected, and angry.
Meanwhile, the angels had no idea that Lucifer was unhappy. They loved and adored him. They were awed at his talents. His personal majesty was greater than any other angel in Heaven. His ability to sing, lead the choir, create and arrange the most amazing music, produced endless praise from the angels, but this was not enough. Although Lucifer wanted to be treated like the other guardian cherub, he did not know who the other guardian cherub actually was. The Father had designed this mystery for a reason.
Faith in the Creator Tested
There are several similarities that can be identified between Adam and the angels before sin appeared. Angels did not see Jesus create the universe and Adam did not see Jesus create the world. In fact, the angels did not see Jesus create anything and Adam did not see Jesus create anything, including Eve. The angels, as well as Adam and Eve, were told that Jesus was the Creator of everything. They had to accept this declaration by faith because they did not see Jesus create anything.
The situation in Heaven was even more puzzling because Jesus lived in the form of a humble looking angel. He was not beautiful. In fact, the Creator made all of the angels “nicer looking” than Himself. Jesus did not wear the dazzling ornamentation He gave Lucifer. Jesus wore nothing that elevated Himself above the lowliest angel. Nothing about Jesus’ physical appearance caused the angels to worship Him; in the same way, nothing about His appearance as a man caused human beings to worship Him. Notice Isaiah’s words concerning Jesus:
“. . . He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.” (Isaiah 53:2,3)
Even though Jesus looked like an angel, He was a member of deity living as an angel. The Father had determined that Jesus must live among created beings as one of them in the same way that He would later live among men. Because Jesus is deity and the Creator of the universe (Colossians 1:15-17), the Father decreed before anything was created that Jesus would be given the same respect, honor and worship that belongs to the Father. (John 5:22,23) The decree to worship the Creator is an eternal gospel with no beginning or end; it exists outside of time. The eternal gospel is restated in Revelation 14:6,7: “Worship Him who made the Heavens, the Earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Jesus gave Lucifer everything that a created being could have. Jesus, the other guardian cherub, looked like a common angel, yet the angels were required to worship Jesus and not Lucifer. The Father deliberately set this strange situation up. Before the Father filled the universe with people on various planets, He wanted to test the faith of the angels in the same way that Adam and Eve would be tested. Because the angels had not seen Jesus create anything and there was nothing in His appearance that would suggest majesty or deity, the Father was testing the submission and faith of the angels. For many years, the angels were delighted to do the Father’s will because there was no sin or rebellion within them. However, one fateful day Lucifer compared himself to Jesus. Lucifer noticed a striking difference and he struggled with his propensity for righteousness. He wanted to accept the Father’s will, but Lucifer also wanted to be worshiped as Jesus was worshiped.
The Devil’s Sneaky Smoke Screen
When Lucifer was denied equality with Jesus, he stopped loving God. Then, Lucifer lost faith in God because he did not want to believe that God was fair. Rather than submit to God’s will, Lucifer set out to get what he wanted and what he thought he deserved. Because he does not have foreknowledge, he did not anticipate the dreadful consequences that would follow. Lucifer was extremely intelligent, so he began with a sneaky smoke screen among his closest friends who suspected nothing was out of the ordinary. They would not be suspicious of “a guardian cherub” who stood next to the Father. Of course, the devil could not reveal his motive because his friends had a powerful propensity for righteousness and they would have quickly detected his disaffection with God.
Lucifer came up with many sophisticated questions about the Father, which were unanswerable, to gain the attention of his friends. This approach, Lucifer thought, would sow seeds of doubt about the Father. The Father had not yet explained many things to the angels, so Lucifer’s questions and innuendos gained traction. The devil’s sneaky campaign was effective. Many angels began to think as Lucifer thought and create new questions that had no answers. Later, Lucifer moved into phase two. He produced clever lies about the Father. (John 8:44) The angels had never heard a lie and they had no reason to question Lucifer’s integrity, so they believed him and in him. Lucifer calculated that once enough angels sided with him as “their leader,” he could legitimately apply pressure on the Father to allow Lucifer to receive the same worship and respect given to the other guardian cherub and the conflict would end. After all, the two guardian cherubs were equals, were they not?
The Godhead observed Lucifer’s thoughts, motives, ambitions, and actions each day because nothing is hidden from God’s sight. Jesus and the Father did everything possible to resolve Lucifer’s jealousy and disaffection. They met with him many times. The Holy Spirit did everything possible – short of violating the will of Lucifer and his followers. Finally, a day came when the angels were summoned together and the Father declared this fact: He told the angels that even though Jesus looked like an angel and served as a guardian cherub like Lucifer, there was an infinite difference between them. Jesus had created Lucifer. Jesus was not a created being; instead, He was a coeternal member of the Godhead. Because Jesus was Creator, all angels were required to worship Him even though they had not seen Jesus create anything. Human beings will receive this same test during the Great Tribulation.
This revelation forced the angels to make a decision. As a guardian cherub, Lucifer was not about to be embarrassed and lose face so he rallied his followers against the truth. They demanded change. Because the Father had declared that Jesus was a member of deity, Lucifer focused his attacks on Jesus. He hated Jesus; he wanted to kill him. Lucifer became anti-Christ because he wanted what Jesus had. The Father patiently waited and deliberately allowed Lucifer’s arguments, lies, and campaign to roil Heaven so that the love and faith of each angel in Heaven was tested. Once the Holy Spirit reported each angel had made a decision, the Father called the angels together and commanded them, on the spot, to immediately bow down and worship Jesus as the Creator. Lucifer and his followers defied the Father. There was a great commotion like an earthquake and suddenly, a third of the angels disappeared.
“Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the Earth.” (Ezekiel 28:16,17)
Even though it became much more peaceful after the Father cast Lucifer and his followers out of Heaven, the remaining holy angels had many unanswered questions. Faith in God means living with unanswered questions. However, faith in God, when viewed in reverse, always makes sense. So, faithful angels had to wait for the Father to supply the answers to many questions. They did not know it then, but God would answer their questions during a drama that would unfold after they witnessed Jesus create a planet called “Earth.”
Why Are the Demons Allowed to Live?
Demons are angels who once lived in Heaven until the Father cast Lucifer and one-third of the angels out for committing the unpardonable sin. Even though the Father has an eternal law which demands a sinner must be executed on the day that he sins (Genesis 2:17), the Father temporarily stayed this law to benefit the universe. He permitted the fallen angels, as well as Adam and Eve and their offspring, to live for two reasons. First, He wants the universe to observe the curse of sin. It takes time to observe the nature and far reaching consequences of sin. Second, He wants the knowledge of good and evil to mature so that throughout eternity, His expanding universe will better understand His character, ways, and government. Understanding how an infinite God of love deals with finite beings having free will is difficult to comprehend.
The Father has given the curse of sin plenty of time to develop because He will not permit sin’s curse to appear a third time. Sin first began in Heaven when certain angels became convinced that God was unfair. Next, sin appeared on Earth when Lucifer, an intelligent predator, presented himself to Eve in the form of a lovely serpent and deceived her. Before Eve sinned, serpents were among the most beautiful creatures in Eden. Then Adam, knowing the penalty for eating fruit from the forbidden tree, loved Eve so much that he ate the fruit anyway planning to die with her. So, the Father has set up a process so the effect of sin’s curse cannot occur again.
The Father wants everyone – existing worlds and new worlds to come – to understand an amazing truth: He is not righteous because He has the authority and power to define righteousness or even because He claims to be righteous. He is righteous because He always obeys His two laws of love. (Matthew 22:33-39) When sin’s drama is finished, the Father wants the universe to know what Lucifer and a third of the angels could not know when they rebelled. If Lucifer and his followers had been patient and maintained their faith and love for God, trusting in God’s infinite wisdom and unfailing love, they would not have sinned. Unfortunately, Lucifer became impatient and would not wait upon God’s perfect timing. Lucifer wanted what he wanted and he wanted it now – instant gratification is hard to resist! When the Father denied Lucifer’s desire, he became angry, hated God, and lost faith in Him.
The Father foreknew Lucifer’s actions, Eve’s deception, and Adam’s fall. So, the Father wisely stayed immediate execution for sin until the drama with sin ends. After the 1,000 years of the millennium are over, God will burn up the wicked angels and wicked people, and Jesus will create a new Heaven and new Earth. After this period of sin has ended, God will implement immediate death for sin and no one will blame God for executing willful and defiant sinners. The only way to stop the curse of sin from spreading is to annihilate the sinner.
A Big “Oh, No!”
After the Father expelled Lucifer and the defiant angels, Jesus created Earth and other worlds filled with inhabitants. The angels who maintained faith in the Father and worshiped Jesus had their faith in Jesus, as the Creator, affirmed when they saw Him create the worlds with their own eyes! Faith in God, when seen in reverse, always makes sense! From the beginning, the Father had required the angels to have faith. For example, He told them to worship Jesus as the Creator even though they had not seen Him create anything. Similarly, the Father required Adam and Eve to have faith when Jesus told them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Unlike Lucifer and his followers who committed the unpardonable sin, Adam and Eve did not sin defiantly so the Father implemented a plan of salvation to save them and their offspring. Not surprisingly, the plan of salvation is based on faith! All who enjoy the benefits of eternal life may only do so if they will continue to live by faith in God. Faith in God and love for God is the only way that finite beings can happily live with an infinite Godhead whose actions today may take ten thousand years to properly understand.
The Bible hints that other planets were created to be inhabited, but it does not indicate when they were created or inhabited. See Job 2:1,2; Isaiah 40:26; 45:18; 1 Corinthians 4:9; Hebrews 11:3 NIV and Hebrews 1:2 KJV. God established the eternal gospel before the angels existed and this gospel requires all created beings to worship Jesus as the Creator. (Revelation 14:6,7) The Father required the angels to have faith in the eternal gospel, so I believe Jesus created many inhabited worlds after the faith of the angels had been tested. The Father tested the angels to see who would choose to live by faith because faith in God is always required. The fact that sin and rebellion has existed in Heaven and on Earth proves that all of God’s children have free will and do not have to love, trust, and obey God. Therefore, I understand that after God tested the angels’ faith and separated them, like the sheep and goats, then Jesus proceeded to create inhabited worlds, including Earth.
When Adam and Eve sinned, I believe Jesus suspended His creative work to focus on saving sinners. After the 1,000 years of the millennium (Revelation 20) and when Jesus purifies the Earth by fire, He will resume His work of creating new worlds filled with inhabitants. His first creative work will be a new Heaven and Earth. In case sin occurred on Earth, the Father designed a test of faith for humans similar to the earlier test the angels experienced. During the last days of Earth, everyone will have a “test of faith.” (Revelation 3:10) The Father wants to identify who will worship Jesus as the Creator even though no human has seen Jesus create anything. After the people of Earth are separated (the sheep from the goats), all who chose to put their faith in Christ will be saved and they will see Him create a new Heaven and Earth!
Furious Fallen Angels
When the fallen angels saw Jesus create many inhabited planets, they were outraged. The evidence forced them to recognize the stupidity and foolishness of their rebellion against God. They were just like the antediluvians in Noah’s day who only recognized their stupidity and foolishness when the rain began to fall. The fallen angels were not sorry for doing wrong and they remained defiant. Of course, the demons want to escape the death penalty that awaits them, but they cannot bring about any heartfelt sorrow for their sin. No being can produce a desire to repent or feel sorrow or remorse for his sins once the Holy Spirit abandons him. When a person grieves away the Holy Spirit, he enters a godless state that will exist until he dies. Repentance and sorrow for doing wrong is impossible in this state. I have seen this condition in hardened criminals and Esau had the same experience: “When he [Esau] wanted to inherit this blessing [the blessing that rightfully belonged to him as the first born, which he had sold for a meal], he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.” (Hebrews 12:17, insertion mine)
God has set a date to destroy the demons with fire and they know it. Meanwhile, they have no happiness, peace of mind, or joy as they once did because the Holy Spirit, which produces the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23), is not within them. For over six thousand years, the fallen angels have been filled with bitterness and hatred for Jesus and the Father! The demons do not love one another and are miserable. They now know that each of them will suffer intensely in hell for predatory behavior. (Matthew 8:29; Luke 12:5) God will punish each demon for his contribution to the delinquency of each sinner. This is similar to adults being punished for leading minors into corruption or crime.
Given their expulsion from God’s glorious and brilliant presence, their dismal surroundings when compared to the beauty of Heaven they once enjoyed, their endless jealousy and hostility that occurs each day, their internal agitation (there is no peace or rest for wicked beings – Isaiah 57:20), and their hate for the Father and Jesus, their lives are extremely miserable and very narrowly focused. They can only do one thing that brings any hint of satisfaction. They are determined to take as many people into hell as possible, but they have to follow rules which the Father has imposed on them.
Watch for next month’s Wake Up Report! to learn how demons take control of human beings!