The Devil’s Demon Forces
Though Satan is limited in power, he does have a well-organized network of demon powers doing his bidding. Remember, when Satan lost his position in Heaven, he took one-third of the angels with him (Revelation 12:4). Numerous Scripture passages refer to Satan and his minions:
- “Beelzebub, the prince of demons” (Matthew 12:24).
- “The devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
- “The dragon and his angels” (Revelation 12:7, 9).
- “The principalities. . .powers. . .rulers of the darkness of this age” (Ephesians 6:12)
The intent of demons seems to be two-fold:
- They seek to hinder the purposes of God.
- They seek to extend the power of Satan.
The devil and his demons cannot control the Christian.
Satan and his demons can harass the believer—but only with God’s permission. Scripture cites several examples of personal attacks by these dark powers. In one case, Satan kept Paul from going to a certain city (1 Thessalonians 2:18).
Paul described his own personal struggles brought about by demons and allowed by God:
“Lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness'” (2 Corinthians 12:7–9).
Though it is true that we can be oppressed by Satan and his demons, we cannot be controlled by or possessed by them. Every move of the enemy must come by permission through the protective hedge of Jesus. The nonbeliever, on the other hand, is a sitting duck for full-blown demon possession.
A Word of Caution
Some in the church have the mistaken idea that Christians can be possessed by demons, so they arrange deliverance services where these alleged spirits are cast out of people. Yet nowhere in Scripture do we find people dedicating services to the casting out of demons. Peter and John did not have a deliverance ministry—they had a gospel ministry! True, the apostles cast out demons when needed, but that was never their focus. The only exorcists we read of in Scripture failed miserably (Acts 19:13–16).
In reality, what is often called a demon is actually our flesh (our own sinful nature), which we are to die to, not to cast out (see Romans 8:13; 1 Peter 2:24). Jesus is not in a time-share program with Satan.
- “What accord does Christ have with Belial?” (2 Corinthians 6:15).
- “The wicked one does not touch” anyone who is “born of God” (1 John 5:18).
- “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).