Category Archives: Demons in the Bible

Communion with Demons

Bernini damned soul

Damned Soul sculpture by Bernini, 1619

1 Corinthians 10:19-21

What am I [Paul] saying then? That an idol is anything, or what is offered to idols is anything? 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. 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.

As Christians we need to be cautious about our pursuits.  I used to think fortune telling was silly and harmless.  Now I realize that demons can use stupid things like fortune cookies and  visits to psychics against us.  They take the opportunity to influence us because we go looking for wisdom in the wrong places.  We have no business communing with tarot-card readers or practitioners of crystals, or hanging out with “good” witches.  God hates that.  He knows how dangerous it is.  We can’t be fooled by popular culture into allowing demons into our lives.  In Los Angeles, I encounter “spiritual” stores everywhere I go.  There are psychics on every corner.  Crystals and magnets promise healing.  It’s easy to dismiss these things and laugh at them, but I’m learning to take them seriously and to avoid them at all cost.  Not because they have a power of their own, but because demons will use these tools to get close to people.  I don’t want to commune with demons.  I have to be smarter than that.

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Angels and Demons in the Bible: Bound and Loosed

Philip Galle after Maerten van Heemskerck (Flemish, 1537 - 1612 ), The Apostles Delivered from Prison by an Angel, , engraving

Philip Galle after Maerten van Heemskerck (Flemish, 1537 – 1612 ), The Apostles Delivered from Prison by an Angel, , engraving

I’ve been meditating on some verses in Matthew.  Jesus is setting up Peter as the head of His new church.  It’s a huge moment.  He gives Peter, and by extension the members of His entire church, the keys to the kingdom.

Matthew 16:18-19

‘And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’

Keys represent authority and Jesus made a point of transferring that authority before He left earth.  We’ve already seen the apostles casting out demons in Jesus’ name and by His authority (Acts 8:7).  Now Jesus mentions Hell, and He tells Peter that the demons there cannot win against the church.  So what is being bound and what is being loosed here?  I think that Jesus, in this passage, gave us authority to bind demons and loose angels.

This same phrase comes up again in Matthew 18:18 where Jesus is talking to all the disciples.  He brings it up in the midst of a discussion about forgiveness of fellow Christians. So He is definitely referring to binding sins on earth that have already been bound in heaven and forgiving sins on earth that have already been forgiven in heaven.  But I think we can also apply this verse to binding demons and loosing angels. Demons are often manifestations of sin. And angels are often manifestations of grace.

There are other biblical references to binding that are tied up with sin and demons.

Isaiah 58:6

Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke?

Wickedness (including sin and evil spirits) can bind us and hold us in bondage for years, if not a lifetime.  But Jesus sets us free from that.

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has annointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

In Acts 12:7-11, God sends an angel to free Peter from prison. So angels can be freeing agents while demons can bind us.  But Jesus gave us authority to bind those demons and loose the freeing angels into our lives.  So let’s use it.  The next time you’re feeling angry or oppressed, try calling on Jesus’ authority to bind the demons that are disturbing you.  Bind them and send them to hell.  Then try calling forth God’s grace by asking for angels to be loosed into your presence.  Surround yourself with the manifestations of God’s love and protection.  He gave us the keys to the kingdom.  Let’s use them.

Does God Send Evil Spirits?

chained demon

I came across two verses in the Old Testament which refer to God sending evil spirits upon people.  The first is

Judges 9:23-24

“God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem  dealt treacherously with Abimelech that the crime done to the 70 sons of Jerubbaal [Gideon] might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his own brothers.”

And the second is 1 Samuel 16:14

“But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a distressing spirit from the Lord troubled him.”

Some translations actually say “evil spirit” instead of “distressing spirit.” Does that mean God will send evil spirits into our lives?  No, not necessarily.  But He might allow evil spirits to get to us if we are constantly sinning.  Both Abimelech and Saul had it coming.  They were severely disobedient to God and His laws.  They didn’t run from evil.  They didn’t fear God.

My MacArthur Study Bible notes that God allowed these evil spirits to torment Abimelech and Saul because of their considerable sin. It says, “There are several NT occasions where God turned people over to demons or Satan for judgement (see Acts 5:1-3; 1 Cor 5:1-7; 1 Tim 1:18-20).”

Yikes.  This is pretty heavy motivation to keep on the straight and narrow and to listen to my conscience.  There’s demons out there and I don’t want them getting through my hedge of protection.

For Further Reading:

http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=1278

A Convocation of Angels Plus Satan–Awkward!

Zuccaro drawing

Angels and Putti in the Clouds, chalk and graphite drawing, 1566, by Federico Zuccaro

Don’t you hate it when a miserable guest shows up and ruins a party?  That’s how the angels at the convocation in heaven (described in Job passage, below) must have felt when Satan barged into the meeting.  I’m amazed that God gave the devil an ear, but He did.  I have to figure, if Satan is our adversary, then he appears before God in a heavenly courtroom quite often to accuse us of our sins.  Of course, the ruling is always the same: Jesus died to forgive that sin–case closed!

Job 1:6-7

“Now there was a day when the sons of God (angels) came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it’.” 

Satan Is a Cherub–Really!

Heemskerck drawing

Satan Challenges God To Remove His Protection From Job, 1562, pen and ink on paper, Maerten van Heemskerck

I knew that Satan fell from heaven (or was kicked out ignominiously), but I never knew what kind of an angel he was.  See my post on Orders of Angels for more info on the different kinds of angels and demons out there.  I figured he might have been second in command or something.  Isn’t it always the generals who lead the coups?  Then I came across this passage in Ezekial.  (FYI: Ezekial is a great read, full of supernatural visions and creatures.)  Ostensibly, it’s describing the king of Tyre, but my study bible notes that this passage also applies to Satan.

Ezekial 28:12-17

“You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; . . . You were the annointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, ‘Till iniquity was found in you. By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing, Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones, Your heart was proud because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground.”

Say what?  Satan is a Cherub?  Not the fat-baby-with-wings kind, but the kind of angel with four wings, eyes all over, and wheels for feet.  Wow.  That means he’s outranked by both Seraphim and Archangels.  He was way down the authority ladder, but he still wanted to rule.  Check out the ego on that guy.  I guess that’s why we say that pride goes before the fall.

Supernatural Orders of Angels (and Demons)

Guido Reni painting

Painting of the Archangel Michael stepping on Satan’s head by Guido Reni, 1636. Notice the wings on Satan.

There is a very strict hierarchy in heaven. God is very big on order. I don’t blame Him. The military loves it, too. Order is very efficient. A careful reading of the bible reveals that there is an angelic order. Many scholars who are much smarter than me have come up with official lists of angel ranks and titles. I don’t necessarily agree with all of the lists because I’m contrary like that. And because the bible isn’t totally explicit about angelic order, I can get away with making my own list that will serve the novel I’m writing.

1)  God – God has to be #1. I know He’s not an angel, but He is in charge of all the angels, and He created all the angels. So He gets to be #1. He sends angels to earth to fight, to deliver messages, to be His eyes and ears, and to protect the humans. He is worshipped by angels in the throne room. Once each day he takes a meeting with His Seraphim to hear reports of what’s going on down on earth. (I bet nobody’s texting during those meetings.)

2)  Archangels – These guys are 18 feet tall and very majestic with a bright, glowing appearance. Their voice is like many waters, whatever that means. It sounds like a Native American way to describe Barry White’s voice. Their waists are girded with gold. Their bodies are like beryl. Their arms and feet are like burnished bronze. They are so shiny. Their faces flash like lightning and their eyes are like torches of fire. No wonder people who encounter them fall flat on their faces. Archangels deliver messages from God. They also fight demons and lead the other holy angels. Names of archangels: Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Saraqael, and Remiel.

3)  Seraphim – They are stationed in the throne room. They have six wings and cover their faces before God. They fly to and fro across the earth making sure the Guardian angels are doing okay and calling in extra forces when needed. They have been known to wear a white linen ephod (old-testament way of describing a muumuu) with a golden sash running from shoulder to waist.

4)  Cherubim – These are not fat babies. Sorry to disillusion you. These are angels in the shape of really unusual creatures. They have four wings and wheels within wheels beneath their feet. These wheels may or may not be attached to the Cherubim physically but they propel the angels somehow. They act as God’s chariot. They have eyes all over their bodies: on their backs, wings, and even their wheels. Perhaps that is a symbol of how much they see and perceive. They carry flaming swords. They fight spiritual battles with the demons on behalf of God for the sake of the humans. They are God’s army. In the books of Revelation and Ezekial they are referred to as the four living beings with four-sided faces (eagle, calf, lion, and man). The four different faces may be symbolic of their character traits (swift, servile, powerful, and intelligent). They move like flashes of lightning. Satan is a Cherub which means that he is outranked by Seraphim and Archangels. That’s good news.

5)  Thrones or Ophanim – These angels are assigned to do nothing but worship God constantly. How nice! They probably have wings, but they may not. They are stationed in the throne room of heaven, a nice place to spend eternity. Do I sound jealous? Because I’m a little bit jealous.

6)  Dominions – These angels are the guardians of the humans. We more commonly refer to them as Guardian angels. They look like men and have been known to wear white linen ephods or tunics (the muumuu thing). They have two wings. Their faces glow like topaz. They keep believers’ feet from stumbling, protect them from harm, help them resist the devil and his temptations, and comfort the humans. Sometimes they physically intervene, but not often.

7) Authorities – These are the government-worker angels of heaven, taking care of running the place. I don’t know if they have wings or not. The bible doesn’t explicitly say. For the purpose of my novel, I’m giving all of the angels wings so that they are easily identified by the audience. You’re welcome.

8, 9, & 10) Principalities & Powers & Rulers – These are the fallen angels who work for Satan. I’m not clear on their order. They may be ranked according to their angel status. Since Satan is a Cherub, I have to assume that none of the Seraphim or Archangels rebelled or else we would have a different lead enemy. Some of the demons take the form of dragons. Others look like locusts with women’s heads. Some names of fallen angels have been written in the apocryphal Book of Enoch:  Samyaza (aka Shemyazaz), Araqiel, Râmêêl, Kokabiel, Tamiel, Dânêl, Chazaqiel, Baraqiel, Asael, Armaros, Batariel, Bezaliel, Ananiel, Zaqiel, Shamsiel, Satariel, Turiel, Yomiel, and Sariel. They’re a mouthful, aren’t they? No wonder they never caught on. The name Rameel (aka Azazel) is used to refer to Satan.

For more reading on this subject, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_angelic_hierarchy