Angelology 020 (Demonology 2)Acts 19:15 • Dr. Andy Woods • December 1, 2019 • Angelology
December 1, 2019
Dr. Andy Woods
“Father, we’re grateful for today and grateful for this morning. We’re grateful for Thanksgiving, which we just celebrated. We’re looking forward to celebrating the advent of Your Son, Jesus Christ, into our world 2000 years ago.
We’re grateful, also, for the chance to look into the Book of Revelation in the main service that follows. We’re looking at Christ’s Second Advent. So we’re grateful for all of these things that You’ve given us.
I pray You’ll be with us during Sunday school, the main service that follows, the Lord’s Table, the fellowship meal, and everything. I pray that Your Spirit would be at work guiding, directing, illuminating, healing, and convicting. I ask these things in Jesus’ name.” God’s people said, “Amen.”
Good morning everybody! Happy December! It’s a fun time of the year after Thanksgiving but before Christmas. If you’ve got kids or grandkids, don’t feed them too much sugar this time of year or they’ll be bouncing all over the place.
Let’s take our Bibles and open them to Acts 19:15. We switched gears last week in our study of angelology. Prior to that we looked at the good angels—or the unfallen angels—and then Satan, the ultimate fallen angel.
Now we’re in part three, where we’re looking at his minions, groups or entities called demons. So now we’re moving into what is called demonology. Here’s our outline of demonology. Last week we looked at the existence of demons and saw very clearly that they are very real entities—Old Testament and New Testament.
From there we looked at the origin of demons. I gave you my best guess at that. I think the demons that we see described, primarily in the pages of the New Testament, are really those one third of the angels who rebelled with Lucifer against God and lost their positions in heaven.
We’ve seen that there are two classes of demons; some are free, and some are confined. As we progress into this material—not so much today but down the road—I’ll be trying to make the case that the only real explanation you have for those two groups has to do with the issue that took place in Genesis 6:1-4 (the sons of God and the daughters of men).
We also saw last time that the reason Satan and the demons are so united in their hatred for the human race is the plan of salvation is not open to them. So, at the name of Jesus they tremble! They don’t rejoice at the name of Jesus because they know that Jesus is their executioner, so to speak. He’s the one that’s going to sentence them to the Lake of Fire one day.
We come here to number three. We’ve done this for Satan and the good angels, and it’s a subject called personhood. Just trying to communicate the point here that demons—just like Satan, and just like the good angels—are not just impersonal. These are entities that have actual personalities. Just like each of us in this room, as members of the human race, have different personalities and are actually people. Somehow, someway, that works its way out amongst these spiritual entities called demons, because demons have the attributes of personhood.
Generally, when you look at the attributes of personhood, you look at three things: intellect, emotions, and will. What we see is that demons have all three of those attributes. The first thing they have is an actual intellect or capacity for thought. There are many ways to demonstrate this, but one way is through the story of the seven sons of Sceva.
There was an issue that went on in Ephesus where seven sons of Sceva—they look like they’re Jewish; they look like they’re unbelievers—had seen the apostles cast out demons. And they thought that looked like fun, so they cornered a fellow in a house—one against seven—and they tried to do an exorcism.
The demon—or demons—through the demon possessed man in Ephesus started to speak to the seven sons of Sceva. This is what the demon said in Acts 19:15, “And the evil spirit answered and said to them, ‘I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’ ” Then it talks about how this possessed man rose up—one against seven—and gave the sons of Sceva such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bloody, as Acts 19 says.
It’s a very interesting story, and you can use it to demonstrate a lot of different things, but one of the things that’s fascinating to me is the spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus.” So, they knew about Jesus, and they knew about the ministry of the Apostle Paul, but they didn’t recognize who these seven sons of Sceva were.
When he says, “I know about Paul,” this demon is obviously demonstrating intellectual capacity—or capacity for thought. So, demons have intellectual abilities. You’ll notice that they’re not omniscient because they said, “Who are you guys?” But they recognized Jesus and they recognized Paul.
Not only do demons have an intellect, but they also have emotions. Notice Luke 8:28, “Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice [this is the demon possessed person], ‘What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.’ ”
You can see the emotion of fear coming over this demon at the presence of Jesus Christ. James 2:19 says the same thing. It says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.” That’s clearly an emotion of fear. And demons apparently have that—just like Satan has it—just like the good angels have it.
When we were talking about the good angels, I showed you the passage where the angels in heaven do what at the salvation of a sinner? They rejoice! That’s in Luke 15:10—that’s an emotion!
Demons apparently have a will. We saw the emotion of fear, but they also have a will. In other words, they have a desire to do something. They’re basically what you would call “free moral agents,” where they can make decisions. “Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission.” (Luke 8:32) Notice their volution, or will, “We want to go into these swine.”
They’re asking permission. Kind of like a child asking permission of their father for the keys to the car—or something like that—demonstrating that the child has a very clear will. The demons are demonstrating that as they’re asking Jesus to send them into the swine.
Put these Scriptures together, and they clearly have intellect, they clearly have emotions, they clearly have a will! And one of the things that’s very interesting is the personal pronoun “he” or “him” is used to describe demons. Mark 1:24-25 says, “saying, ‘What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? [this is the demons again, speaking to Jesus] Have You come to destroy us? I know [you could use that one to prove intellect] who You are—the Holy One of God!’ ”
Notice what it says in verse 25, “And Jesus rebuked him…” It doesn’t say Jesus rebuked “it,” an impersonal pronoun, or Jesus rebuked “that.” It says, “And Jesus rebuked him…” That’s the same personal pronoun that’s used to describe any other person in the Bible, whether it’s Peter, the disciples, Judas, Paul, or whoever.
You’ll notice that personal pronouns are also used to describe demons. “And Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’ ” Notice the repetition of “him.” The second “him” is the person that the demons were inside of—a real person. It’s interesting that Jesus rebuked “him,” the demon inside the person, and said, “Come out of him,” the person that the demons are inside of.
So, what can we conclude from that? The demons are just as much personages—or entities—as is a human being. I’m not saying that demons are human beings, obviously; they’re a different class altogether. But it’s interesting how the Bible uses these personal pronouns to describe demons.
When you think of demons, you can’t just think of them as the dark side of the force—this kind of impersonal source of negative energy—that’s not who they are at all! They’re actual personalities, possessing intellect just as real as yours. Emotions, just as real as your emotions. A will, which is just as real as your will. Being reflected in personal pronouns, just as the Bible talks about individual people in terms of personal pronouns.
Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of demons. What are some of their characteristics? They’re clearly called “spirits.” If you look at Matthew 8:16, they’re designated as “spirits.” It says, “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill.”
So, they’re actually spirit beings. That’s one of the reasons I think they’re fallen angels, because angels are called—Hebrews 1:14—“ministering spirits.”
Ephesians 6:12 is a really key passage on this whole subject of demonology. It says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” We’re fighting these entities, and it’s not the same thing as fighting people.
Fighting people, there’s actual physical combat in the natural world that you can see; not so with these demons. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” You’ll notice that they’re described there as spiritual forces of wickedness; so they are basically spirit beings.
And the fallen ones are described with some of the most ugly terminology I can think of. They’re called “unclean” in Matthew 10:1. This is Jesus sending out the 12 to Israel to preach the offer of the Kingdom. And in the process, He gave them authority over the spirits. It says, “Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.”
It doesn’t just say “spirits”; it says, “over unclean spirits.” So, they’re given that designation “unclean.”
They’re also given the designation “evil.” They’re put into that category; there’s nothing redemptive in them. Luke 7:21 says, “At that very time He cured many people of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits…” Notice that they’re called “evil.” We’ve already seen Ephesians 6:12, where they are called rulers of darkness in spiritual wickedness—rulers of darkness.
And I think I showed you this passage last time—Matthew 12:45. It’s always been very interesting to me, because apparently there are degrees of wickedness in the demonic realm. It’s like being in a gang. Everybody in the gang is bad ,but some are the baddest of the bad. You see that sort of thing being described here in Matthew 12:45. Jesus is speaking of what happens when a demon is exercised out of a person and that person doesn’t get saved.
It talks about how that demon wanders around in arid places, and he gets seven buddies and says, “Let’s go back into the body that we were evicted from!” It says in Matthew 12:45, “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself…”
That’s always been very fascinating to me! So, all of them are wicked, but some are apparently more wicked than others. “…more wicked than itself [degrees of wickedness amongst the demonic realm], and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
He uses that as an example for describing what’s going to happen to the nation of Israel that has gone through moral reformation, if you will, under the preaching of John the Baptist. And yet, at the same time, the nation of Israel never enthroned Christ as their King. It’s going to be like a person who has a demon exercised. The last state of the man is worse than the first, because now he’s occupied by seven more who are more wicked than itself.
The Bible has a lot of information for us concerning their character, particularly their corruption: unclean, evil, rulers of darkness in spiritual wickedness. And there are degrees of wickedness in the demonic realm.
In terms of their manifestation, I would say this, most of the time to us they seem invisible. In other words, we can’t see them. It’s like the good angels; we can’t see them either. Remember Elisha. The servant was panicked in 2 Kings 6. The servant went to Elisha and said, “The enemy is closing in around us!” And Elisha said to the servant, “ ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ ”
Of course, the servant is perplexed, and Elisha prays that the servant’s eyes would be opened. God granted the request, and the servant could see into the angelic realm—just for a moment. He could see the armies, and the chariots, and the horsemen protecting the camp of God.
Unless that supernatural enabling of someone’s eyes had taken place, everything that was happening there in the angelic realm could not be seen by the servant of God. That’s true with good angels—and it’s also true with the evil angels—you can’t see them.
That’s what it says in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood…” If my enemy was people, at least I can see people coming at me, right? Most of the time! But it makes it tricky because we have an enemy that’s invisible to us, who we can’t see, because they’re in a different “dimension” or domain. They’re in the angelic realm—and we are not.
We’ve studied this, as we’re going through the Book of Revelation verse by verse. Sometimes the Book of Revelation gives us descriptions of demons in the context of prophetic events. So, when the Book of Revelation does this, these demons appear as ugly, hideous beasts.
They’re called locusts in Revelation 9:7-10. They’re analogized to frogs in Revelation 16:13-16. So, if God were to somehow allow us to see the realm of the demonic, I would think that’s how they would appear to us—as some of the most disgusting, hideous beasts that we have on planet Earth. We would parallel with those beasts as we look at demons; they would look like swarms of locusts, or perhaps frogs. But these are interesting verses that help us to understand their basic characteristics.
Now let’s talk about their powers for a minute. How powerful are demons? Well, demons have a tremendous amount of strength. How do I know that? There were demons—several thousand of them—inside a man at a place called Gadara. And what was that man doing as he was demon possessed?
Look at Mark 5:3-4. This is talking about what this demon possessed man, at a place called Gadara, was doing. Weird stuff! “and he had his dwelling among the tombs.” That’s kind of weird, isn’t it?
And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him.” So, we can conclude from that that demons have a level of strength that’s far greater than mere human strength.
We already saw the sons of Sceva, right? How a man was possessed by the demons that the seven sons of Sceva in Ephesus were trying to cast out. “Jesus I know, Paul I know, but who are you guys? I don’t know who you are!”
It describes here the strength that this man had who was possessed by these demons in Ephesus. Because back in Acts 19:16 it says, “And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.” This looks to me like just one evil spirit in this particular individual. This is one against seven.
So, one demon possessed man could easily defeat seven human beings. You put some Scriptures like this together, and very clearly demons have a level of strength that’s far greater than our own. But they don’t have the omnis!
What are the omnis? I’m not talking about a hotel! Omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence. Because those belong only to Whom? God! Those are attributes that belong only to God. There have to be attributes that belong only to God, or else He wouldn’t be what? He wouldn’t be God.
Demons are creatures, and so they lack the omnis. One of the omnis that they lack is omnipotence. You’ll recall from our studies in the Book of Daniel that an angel was dispatched from Heaven to answer Daniel’s prayer request. And yet that angel was resisted by a fallen angel. First he’s called the prince over Persia.
And then there’s a later one that’s described as the prince over Greece. And the good angel and the fallen angel… I would think the prince over Persia would be a demon—some say even Satan himself. I don’t know if we know that for sure, but at the very least a demon.
And this angel dispatched from heaven—who I think is Gabriel—fought the prince of Persia for three weeks—or 21 days. Now, if a demon is omnipotent, there wouldn’t be any three-week battle, would there? But this melee went on for three weeks—or 21 days.
Although a demon has tremendous amount of strength, he doesn’t have as much strength as God, and he’s not omnipotent. So, in terms of strength, demons are far greater than human beings, but you shouldn’t confuse that with omnipotence. Although, to us, it might seem like omnipotence.
Something else about demons is they exercise what I would call superhuman intelligence—an intelligence that’s far greater than our own. You can see this in different passages like 2 Samuel 14:20. This isn’t speaking of a demon here. It’s speaking of a good angel. It’s speaks of the wisdom of an angel.
Obviously, demons know an awful lot. If I were grading their exams, I’d have to give them an A on theology. They know all about Jesus. Because in Luke 8:28 it says, “Seeing Jesus, he cried out and fell before Him, and said in a loud voice, ‘What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me.’ ”
They get an A on that; they get a check mark there for a good grade. They have a high Christology. They have a high eschatology. They know about their future torment. They know about Jesus Christ. So, they obviously know a lot of things in terms of intelligence.
“do, obviously, since they’re liars and deceivers and, as we saw earlier, unclean, evil, rulers in spiritual darkness, degrees of wickedness. Why would you ever want to converse with such an entity?
This is, of course, the problem with the New Age movement! Shirley McClain was doing all of this stuff back in the 1980’s. She was talking about these spirit beings that she was in contact with. She was talking about how wise they are, how smart they are, and she is making the mistake of thinking that the entity that she’s in contact with is benevolent. When in reality, biblically, the being that she’s in contact with is malevolent—or a deceiver.
It was interesting to listen to the testimony of Shirley McClain, because she would talk about how wise, how smart, what a tremendous grasp of history, etc., that these spirit beings had. And there’s actually an explanation for that. Do you remember Luke 20:35-36, concerning angels, demons being fallen angels?
It says, “ ‘but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage…’ ” Look at this. There’s a little parenthetical comment in Luke 20:36, “ ‘for they cannot even die anymore, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.”
So, in the process of describing all this, Jesus makes the comment that angels can’t die. Now that would include demons—I would think—as fallen angels.
So, you get into a conversation with a demon, and you’re blown away by how intelligent they are? Well, obviously, they’re going to appear very intelligent compared to us. They’ve been around—if you date human history beginning 6000 years ago—for 6000 years.
I’m 53 years old—I’ve only been on the planet for 53 years. Talking to someone like that would obviously communicate to me their massive intelligence, because they’ve had 6000 years to accumulate knowledge that I don’t have.
I look at my relationship with my own daughter who’s 13. I’m 53; she’s 13. I am light years ahead of her in terms of math, spelling, driver’s ed, career, and relationships. Now, is that because I’m all that much smarter than her? No! I just have been around longer. So to her, my knowledge seems godlike.
Think of that with a demon that’s been around for 6000 years, who basically knew your parents, your grandparents, your great-grandparents. I mean, people go on the internet today, and they want to explore their family tree. Well, demons know all about your family tree.
So, you get into a conversation with someone like that, and their knowledge would seem godlike wouldn’t it? Because they’ve been around thousands and thousands of years—much longer than you—and they’ve had a chance to accumulate all of this knowledge and data.
So, I think that’s the reason why these entities—whether you’re talking about the New Age movement, or whether you’re talking about statements that demons make in the bible—come across as so smart. But they’re not God, are they?
So, they lack one of the omnis, and one of the omnis is what? Omniscience. Demons are not omniscient. You see that again with the seven Sons of Sceva in Acts 19:15, “And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
“I know about Jesus, I know about Paul, but I don’t know about you guys.” So, that statement demonstrates:
- superhuman intelligence
- b) it shouldn’t be confused with omniscience.
Concerning the angels, we saw that the angels, Matthew 24:36, don’t even know when Jesus is coming back. We have date setters today who apparently think they know, but the angels don’t know. And even Jesus in His Incarnation—Jesus having two natures—in His human side didn’t even know when He was coming back.
That’s why 1 Peter 1:12 indicates that angels stoop down to study intently. They’re studying us all of the time. Now, if you’re omniscient, there’s no reason to study, right?
I used to go to bed at night with my biology book under my pillow, because I had a test the next day, and I was hoping that the data would jump into my head the night before the exam. I have to study; I have to learn. And that’s not the most efficient way to learn, by the way!
Demons and angels, and Satan, have to learn as well. So, they’re not omniscient! You shouldn’t confuse it with omniscience. But if you were ever to converse with one, they would seem like they were omniscient. Their knowledge would be godlike because they’ve accumulated all this information—that you weren’t around to accumulate—for thousands of years.
Something else about demons is that they are not confined to physical or space barriers. Back to the man at Gadara, the demon possessed man. We actually traveled to Gadara on a recent Israel trip. I was really looking forward to it! I wanted to see some screaming and shrieking and pigs jumping off a cliff and all that cool stuff you read about in the Bible.
It’s sort of disappointing when you get there, because they’ve got the whole place chained off. All you can really see is a chain-link fence.
In Mark 5, we learn that these demons are not confined by normal space barriers. Notice what it says in Mark 5:9, this demon possessed man at Gadara is speaking. “And He was asking him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said to Him, ‘My name is Legion; for we are many.’ ” So, he identifies himself as “Legion.”
And there’s a debate on this. It’s not something to be dogmatic on, but when he says, “My name is Legion,” he could have been referring to a normal Roman army or battalion. Part of that army consisting of a legion.
I have my trusted Ryrie Study Bible here. I looked at the note, and this is how Ryrie explains legion. He says, “A legion is the largest unit of a Roman army, of 3000 to 6000 strong, indicating that many demons possessed the man.”
If I’m understanding this right, there could have been as many as 3000 to 6000—that’s what a legion was—inside one person. That’s why, when the demons are exercised, they want to go into the pigs—not a single pig, but a herd of pigs. And you know the rest of the story. The pigs panicked—which seems normal—and they all followed each other off a cliff.
If there indeed were 3000 to 6000 demons inside one person, then that shows us that demons are not confined by normal physical or space barriers. In other words, you can fit them all into a very small place because they are spiritual beings. We couldn’t even get 3000 to 6000 people in this building, let alone 3000 to 6000 spiritual beings in one person.
So, they’re not confined by the normal physical barriers that we’re confined by, but that shouldn’t be confused with one of the omnis—omnipresence. They’re not everywhere at the same time. And you can see that in Mark 5:12 where it says, “The demons implored Him, saying, ‘Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.’ ”
So, this legion had to travel from the man in Gadara a short distance to the swine. If they were omnipresent, they would automatically be in the swine. See that? So, they have to travel, apparently.
It’s like God speaking to Satan, “The Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ Then Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.’ ” (Job 1:7) Meaning, he moves fast. But at the same time, he has to move, and he has to travel because he’s not omnipresent.
Compared to us, demons have tremendous strength. Their intelligence is far greater than ours, and their mobility is far greater than ours. But that’s not to be confused—any of these categories—with omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. This helps us to understand who we’re up against and why we need the full armor of God.
Here’s a chart I’ve used many times before in the main service and in Sunday school. It’s a chart showing every single miracle in the Bible that takes place that God has nothing to do with. Is God a God of miracles? Of course He is! The Bible is filled with miracles. But the mistake people make is they think every miracle that happens must be of God.
You’ll notice I’ve been expanding this chart, because last time around a couple of you at different times said, “You need to add this, and you need to add that.” So I did that, which shows you that I’m good on my listening tour.
But when you start to look at this list, you see very clearly that there is a reservoir of miracle working powers within the realm of the satanic and the demonic. That’s why it’s troubling to have a whole branch of Christendom—Christianity—where their whole movement, to a large extent, revolves around the next miracle or the next sign or wonder.
They think that every time a sign or wonder takes place, it must be of God. I’m here to tell you that’s not what the Bible teaches! The Bible never says all signs and wonders come from God, because Satan and the demons perform signs and wonders as well. Obviously, Satan and the demons can’t perform miracles to the same degree God can, but they certainly can perform signs and wonders!
That’s why we’re told in 1 John 4:1, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” So the test for determining truth is not an experience! And that’s a mistake people are making.
I know a little bit about this because I tried to do this as a very young Christian. I got involved with the charismatic movement, and the emphasis was on signs and wonders. There’s this constant thirst, there’s this constant seeking, for the next miracle, the next prophecy, the next sign or wonder, not understanding biblical epistemology.
Epistemology is your doctrine of knowledge. Epistemology is the area where you’re trying to figure out, “How do we know what we know? How do you authenticate something as true?” The Pentecostal charismatic movement—not all, but to a very large extent—think something is true because of an experience.
I’m here to tell you that that’s not very good epistemology. You determine something is true not by an experience. Because Satan and the demons give experiences—clearly, as you look at this chart. You determine something is true not based on an experience alone, but does the doctrine that’s being taught line up with what? The Scripture!
Because God wrote this Book, didn’t He? We’ve got 66 books here. And if there’s a conflict between the two, which do you think you ought to throw out? You throw out the teaching that you just heard—even though it came to you through a dream, a vision, a sign and wonder, a healing, etc. That’s proper epistemology!
That’s why the Bereans are commended in Acts 17:11 for taking the teachings of the Apostle Paul—I can’t think of a higher authority than Paul other than Christ himself—and they examined the Scriptures how frequently? Daily, to see if these things were so.
It’s interesting. The Bereans weren’t what I would call “fighting fundies.” There are a lot of people like that out there who just want to fight against any new teaching. They weren’t cantankerous. Because Acts 17:11 says that they received Paul’s teaching with all eagerness—they weren’t close minded.
But at the same time, they needed to figure out if these things were so. They had the Old Testament—Hebrew Bible—and kept screening everything Paul said through Hebrew Bible. So, they are called more noble than others.
They’re called more noble than the Thessalonians, who didn’t follow that practice. But the Bereans followed it. So that’s proper biblical epistemology, because it’s impossible for God to lie! He can’t say something on Monday and something totally different on Tuesday.
I’m just wondering. If Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, had had proper biblical epistemology, we might not have Mormonism today. Because the doctrines of Mormonism were given to him, allegedly, from an angel named Moroni. Obviously, the doctrines of Mormonism have no confluence or concurrence whatsoever with what you read in your Bible.
And if a young man named Mohammed had done the same thing—I don’t think he would’ve because he wasn’t a Christian in any sense—we may not even have Islam today. Because the teachings of Islam allegedly came to Mohammed through an angel. You have to listen to Muslims who pronounce this really fast; they call him Jibril. What they’re really saying there is “Gabriel.”
You say, “My goodness, don’t we have an angel named Gabriel in our Bible?” We even have a youth Pastor named Gabriel. My goodness! So, how spiritual is that? Well, it’s a demon—or Satan—masquerading as an angel of light.
We’re living in this culture today where everybody’s excited about an experience. Everybody wants an experience! That’s what’s making this world a sitting duck for the Antichrist, because the Antichrist is going to give people experiences. We’ve studied all of it in the Book of Revelation—fire coming down from heaven.
I even heard a Pastor recently. I don’t have the quote directly in front of me so I won’t give you his name, but you could probably do a little bit of research and figure out who I’m talking about. He is an evangelical basically saying that the virgin birth isn’t that big a deal. “Who really cares about the virgin birth?” (Marginalizing the virgin birth.) “What’s really important is the resurrection of Jesus.”
I don’t go out hunting for these things, believe it or not; people send me these things. I’m listening to this, and I’m saying, “That guy is preparing the world for the Antichrist!” Because the Antichrist himself is going to stage a resurrection. I happen to think it’s a true resurrection.
Jesus is not just authenticated through His resurrection. Obviously, the resurrection is a big deal! But there are a lot of other things He’s authenticated by: His sinless life, His virgin conception, etc.
Marching through this chart very fast, you know Exodus 7-8, that’s where Pharaoh’s magicians replicated or duplicated many of the miracles brought by Moses and Aaron under God’s power. It’s interesting that they were able to do that—up to a point.
They don’t have as much power as God has. and When the gnats miracle occurred, Pharaoh’s magicians finally said, “The miracles of Moses and Aaron are from the hand of God.” But it’s interesting that they were able to duplicate Moses and Aaron’s miracles up to a certain point.
Deuteronomy 13:1-3. Let’s just look at that for a second, if we could. This is the instructions that Moses gave to the nation of Israel as they were about to go into the land of Canaan and conquer it. Moses writes this, “ ‘If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, “Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,” you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.’ ”
It’s interesting that Moses specifically says, “You’re going to go into the land of Israel,” speaking to the second generation that came out of Egypt. Moses, as you know, did not enter with that group. He died there on Mount Nebo, only seeing Canaan from a distance.
He specifically says, “You’re going to go in there, and you’re actually going to find, in that land, people who are going to do signs and wonders.” They’re going to announce prophecies that are going to happen, but they’re going to simultaneously say, “Let’s follow other gods.”
Obviously, the moment they say, “Let’s follow other gods,” you know they’re a false teacher! It doesn’t matter the magnitude or gravity of the sign or wonder because they’re contradicting what God already said!
The first two commandments of the Decalogue are what? No other gods before me, and no graven images. So the moment they say, under the influence of the sign or wonder, “Let’s follow other gods,” you’re to test that like a Berean! And you’re to reject it! Therefore, you’re not to be impressed by the miracle!
I’m afraid Christianity today—a lot of it—would be so impressed by the miracle they would just totally discard the teaching, and they wouldn’t be screening it through the lens of God’s Word. I can’t tell you how many people I know will watch somebody on Christian television that is a proven heretic!
When you question them on that, “Why are you giving your time to someone that’s teaching false doctrine?” This is the answer I get, “That person makes me feel a certain way! Or that person makes me feel good. That person makes me feel significant. That person gives me the strength I need to make it through Monday.” And they just mentally check out.
They don’t really care about false doctrine A, false doctrine B, false doctrine C. That’s a very bad biblical epistemology! That sets you up for deception when you go down that road.
Job 1:12-19 and Job 2:7-8. You know that story. That’s Satan doing miracles in the sense that he smote Job with a skin condition and destroyed Job’s family and livelihood. That’s Satan doing that when God gave him permission to do that.
1 Samuel 28. I’ve got a question mark by it because there’s a debate amongst the commentators. It has to do with Saul and the witch of Endor. Samuel, who had died, was called back from the grave, and Saul had a conversation with Samuel.
This was one of the reasons that Saul’s kingdom came to an end; these are the things he was trafficking in. I have a question mark by it because, “Is that a demon there impersonating Samuel?” Other people say it was the real Samuel whom God allowed to come back for a special occasion. 1 Samuel 28 may be one of those cases, if the former is true.
When you go over to Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus—in the sermon on the Mount—talked about miracle working false teachers. “ ‘Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” ’ ”
Here’s a bunch of people that never knew Jesus, never had any relationship with Jesus and yet what are they doing here? They’re prophesying in Christ’s name—they’re performing miracles in Christ’s name! How do they get the power to do that if they don’t have any relationship to Jesus at all?
The point is: there’s another reservoir of miracle working powers in the Bible. Matthew 24:24, Olivet Discourse, “ ‘For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.’ ”
So, how can people who are false prophets perform signs and wonders? Obviously, Satan is giving them that power! In Acts 8:9, there’s a man there named Simon the Sorcerer, who was not a believer yet. In fact, he did not believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ until later in that chapter. I want to say it’s around Acts 8:13 that Simon the Sorcerer finally believed on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But what was he doing before he believed on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ? He was wowing—literally wowing—a whole area called Samaria with his sorcery and signs and wonders. Now, how can a man do that who’s never trusted in Christ? How could he have that power when he has no relationship with Jesus? Quite obviously, Satan gave him that power!
In Acts 16:16 there’s a slave girl that keeps following Paul and Silas around. This, by the way, is what got Paul and Silas thrown in jail. And she kept saying, “These men are the servants of God teaching you the way of salvation.”
She kept speaking this. And Paul got tired of it, and so he cast out the demon that was residing in this slave girl. That didn’t make the owners very happy because Acts 16:16 says this young girl with this demon inside of her was basically doing something called fortune-telling, where she was predicting the future.
Apparently, she was so effective at this that she was bringing in beaucoup bucks—lots of money—for her owner. So when Paul cast the demon out of her, the money disappeared! So that’s what got Paul and Silas thrown in jail there in Philippi.
You ask yourself, “How was this little girl able to make so much money for her owners predicting the future?” Obviously, the demon inside of her was giving her that power!
I like Galatians 1:6-9. Here’s a loose paraphrase, “If an angel should appear tonight at your bedside and preach unto you a gospel that you do not know (in other words, contradict what the apostles have taught)… I mean, a very real angelic manifestation. “But if they say something different than what you find in these 66 books, then that angel is under an anathema, or curse of God.”
You’ll notice, again, that the Bible never promotes an angelic appearance as some kind of way to authenticate truth, because Satan can give angelic appearances. After all, Satan masquerades as an angel of what? An angel of light.
2 Thessalonians 2:9. I think I’ve shown this to you—how the Antichrist is going to come on the scene. It says, “that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.”
Powers: DUNAMIS. Signs: SEMEION. Wonders: TERAS. When you study those three Greek words, you’ll find them in the ministry of Christ. Those are how Christ’s miracles are described—real miracles! And, apparently, the Antichrist is going to come on the scene and do those exact same three categories.
Revelation 13:3 talks about his head wound and his coming back from the dead. Revelation 13:13 talks about his assistant, the false prophet, bringing fire down from heaven in the full view of men, like Elijah did.
Revelation 13:15 talks about the Antichrist setting up a statue of some kind in the rebuilt Jewish temple, and that statue has the ability to speak. It’s some sort of miraculous power.
Revelation 16:13-14 says, “And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits [notice how these demons are called these types of categories—evil or unclean] like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty.”
Notice that demons have this ability to perform signs and wonders; they have this ability to perform miracles. They’re probably others that you can think of in the Bible that I need to add to the list; I may have to make a second slide if you do that to me. But you look at this slide, and it’s very clear: God is giving us an epistemology! You never authenticate something as true based on an experience, because Satan is in the experience business!
You authenticate something is true by doing what the Bereans did: search the Scriptures daily to see if these things are so! I bring all of this up because we’re talking about the powers of demons, and apparently one of their powers is the ability to perform miracles on a very high level. Not as much power as God has, but miracle working power is there.
The next time we’re together we’ll take a look at the works of demons. We’ll get a little bit into things to stay away from: divination, spiritism, magic, and PHARMAKEIA. I’m going to go out on a limb on this—and I’ll probably empty the church out when I do this—including all the video games and books that your children and grandchildren are reading. Because without even realizing it, they’re bringing demons right in your household.
Those are fighting words when you start talking like that. “Don’t mess with Harry Potter!” Even though J.K. Rowling claims that she wrote the Harry Potter series within 24 hours or something like that. She said the book just wrote itself. Well, isn’t that interesting?
I’m a writer. If I can write 10 pages in one day, that’s a really big day for me! Because it’s hard for me to write! How do you explain someone who writes a runaway bestseller within a 24-hour cycle, claiming that the book just wrote itself? How do you explain that?
I think something was talking to her, that she thought was some kind of ascended master. So the realm of the demonic is coming right into the living room. It’s coming right into your coffee table at home. So we’re going to talk about that.
I’m finished talking! Let’s pray!
“Father, we’re grateful for the revelation of Your truth and Word and how it speaks very clearly about issues that kind of frighten us, but this is part of Your Word. So, make us good stewards of these things, and help us to have good wisdom in these last days.
We’ll be careful give You all the praise and glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name.”
God’s people said, “Amen.”