The phrase "Spiritual forces of evil" (pneumatika tes
ponerias ) is also used only in Eph. 6:12. Paul says
they are "in the heavenly realms" (en tois epouraniois
). The word is used mostly for the spiritual plane --
that which is above, not on earth, in higher places.
These are the powers with whom we struggle. They are our
enemies because they were first God's enemies. They
attack us because they oppose God's plan and purpose.
are God's plan and purpose. "He chose us in Christ
before the foundation of the world to be holy and
blameless in His sight." The powers of evil will use
every scheme, every trick, every lie possible to damage
us, make us ineffective, embarrass us. That is how Satan
tries to beat God -- by beating us. Let us put on the
whole armor of God and fight back and "Stand firm!"
Demons: What are they?
Satan is the Devil. There is only one. However, the King
James Version of the Bible speaks of "devils" in the
plural. Who and what are they?
The Hebrew words translated "devils" are saiyr , and
shed . Saiyr , is a "he-goat" used in the sense of a
"satyr." Shed , is a malignant or a "devil." The Greek
words are daimon , daimonion , daimonizoman , and
daimoniodes . It speaks of a supernatural spirit of a
The New International Version translates shed , and
daimon , as "demon." The NIV translates saiyr , as "goat
idols." "Demons" is a transliteration of daimonion . It
leaves the word "Devil" alone for one Devil, Satan. It
is the sole translation of diabolos .
Sayir , were idols made in the shape of goats. The
ancient Egyptians practiced idol worship and passed the
practice along to the children of Israel during their
40-year captivity in Egypt. God warned Israel to stop
that practice after He freed them from captivity. "They
must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat
idols to whom they prostitute themselves." (Lev. 17:7)
Rehoboam, King of Judah following the death of his
father, Solomon, reinstituted the worship of goat idols.
"And he appointed his own priests for the high places
and for the goat and calf idols he had made." (2 Chron.
11:15) That continued until King Asa destroyed the
At issue with sayir , is not the physical idol but the
evil power associated with it. The idol could be
destroyed, but the power lived on.
One other term we need to know about is akathartos
pneuma . It translates as "evil spirit." As we'll see,
evil spirits act in a way similar, if not identical, to
that of demons.
Where are they from?
There is no question in Scripture that demons are a part
of Satan's Evil Empire. They do not act alone. They do
as they are told. Satan is their master. However, their
origination is a question.
My conclusion about demons is that they are angelic
spirits. They fell from their original position of
serving God to serving Satan. Some were imprisoned until
the day of judgment (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). Some were
left free to serve Satan (Rom. 8:38; Rev. 1:7-9). They
have special abilities and use them to fight against God
and His chosen people. But, as we will see, their battle
is futile; their end is defeat.
Demons in the Old Testament
Demons are mentioned twice in the Old Testament. The
first is Deut. 32:17. Moses is speaking to the whole
assembly of Israel. He reminds them that Israel angered
God with "their detestable idols." In that context Moses
introduces us to demons. "They sacrificed to demons,
which are not God--gods they had not known, gods that
recently appeared, gods your fathers did not fear."
Here we see that demons acted in ways that moved the
worship of God's people away from God and towards the
evil spirits. Demons are related to false gods
throughout Scripture. Another example is Psalm 106:37.
Again the context is Israel's rebellion against God and
their worship of idols." "They worshipped their idols,
which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood,
the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they
sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was
desecrated by their blood. They defiled themselves by
what they did; by their deeds they prostituted
themselves." (Psalm 106:36-39)
It is clear that idol worship is the same thing as demon
worship. People who do it are worshipping Satan and his
Demons in the New Testament
The first mention of demons in the New Testament is
Matt. 4:24. The people of Israel heard about the
incredible power Jesus Christ had to heal. "...people
brought to Him all who were ill with various diseases,
those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those
having seizures, and the paralyzed, and He healed them."
Here we see that demon possession is treated separately
from people with physical maladies. Some critiques of
the belief of demonic powers say that demon-possession
is just a physical or mental illness. But God makes it
clear that demon possession is separate from physical
and mental pain. Demon possession can cause physical and
mental suffering, but it is separate from those maladies
we know from science and medicine. Demon possession is
spiritual. It is part of the dark powers of Satan and
his Evil Empire.
One of the most powerful proofs of the reality of demons
is that Jesus conversed with them, commanded them and
defeated them at every confrontation. Jesus knew them
because He had created them. He created them perfect and
for good purposes. However, they became imperfect
through their own choice and dedicated themselves to
evil. They chose to obey Satan rather than God.
We've already seen in the OT that demons were behind all
idol worship. That's supported in the NT. Paul writes in
1 Cor. 10:20-21 --- "...the sacrifices of pagans are
offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to
be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of
the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a
part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons."
John writes in Rev. 9:20 about the world during God's
judgment on earth. "The rest of mankind that were not
killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work
of their hands; they did not stop worshipping demons,
and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood--idols
that cannot see or hear or walk." Demons continue to
fool people to the very end.
Demons also enter into the bodies and minds of humans.
The Bible calls it "demon possession." This continues to
this day in many forms. The possession is sometimes
evident in the insane behavior of people under the total
control of demons. Other possessions are of a temporary
nature where demons give people special physical and
mental powers. Demons have lived for thousands of years
and can fool people into thinking they were someone else
in past lives. That leads people away from the Truth of
God and the need for forgiveness and salvation in this
life. The "channeling" of spirits is another demonic
influence. (Deut. 18:10-12; Isaiah 8:19ff)
Demons possess human beings for the purpose of doing
evil. They do no one permanent good. They lie to their
victims and make them think they have some special gift
or power. Some have even believed the power came from
God. Biblical examples of demon possession show people
who were violent, unusually powerful, unable to speak,
blind, in great pain, inflicted cuts upon themselves,
were naked, and lived in tombs with the dead. Not a
The major point of the Biblical evidence of demon
possession is that Jesus Christ had power over demons
and gave that power to His disciples. You may never come
into contact with someone who is demon possessed, but if
you do, remember the power that is greater than they.
The Screwtape Letters
by: C.S. Lewis
Follow a freshman demon
through Hell's University. See how Hell operates
and how demons steal Christian souls away from
From article: THE
Satan is a brilliant organizer and strategist. He uses
all his God-given genius to oppose God's plans. He began
by deceiving Eve to discover evil. He has continued
through the ages to oppose every step of God's plan to
redeem mankind from sin. How does Satan do it? Does he
do it alone? No! He does it through his Empire Of Evil.
The Apostle Paul gives us a glimpse into the Evil Empire
in Eph. 6:10-12. "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in
His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that
you can stand against the devil's schemes. For our
struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the
rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of
this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil
in the heavenly realms."
The Christian's Struggle
Paul is telling Christians that our struggle is not
against flesh and blood: in other words, people. That's
usually what we think, but it's not true. Satan controls
people, even Christian people, at times. The word
"struggle" is pale . It means "to wrestle." It comes
from the word pallo --"vibrate, shake." Pale , was a
contest between two people in which each endeavored to
throw the other. Wrestling or Judo is an example of the
word. The winner was decided by which person could hold
the other down after throwing him; usually with hand on
his neck. That was a demonstration of control and
We all have our struggles in life. It may be with our
past. It may be with another person. It may be with
internal fears. It may be with money. It may be with
health. But it is really not with those things. Our
struggle, our conflict, is not with flesh and blood (sarka
, and haima ).
Paul says our conflict is really with "rulers,
authorities, powers of this dark world and spiritual
forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Keep in mind
that one verse earlier (6:11) Paul warns us to take our
stand "against the devil's schemes." "Schemes" is the
Greek word methodeias . It means "craftiness, deceit, a
cunning device, a wile, a trick."
Our struggle in life is primarily with Satan and His
Evil Empire. Ever heard the phrase "he's a tricky little
devil?" There's more truth to that than people realize.
Satan is the master deceiver. He used his skills to
trick Eve. He deceived angels to disobey their Creator.
He uses those same skills and techniques to lead the
whole world astray.
The Structure of Evil
Satan is at the top of the Evil Empire. He is its
supreme leader. He wanted God's throne and couldn't get
it, so he built his own throne. Under him are layers of
other powerful beings who do his bidding. They obey
Satan's commands in the same way the rest of the Spirit
World obeys God's commands.
Here's is the structure of the Evil Empire: the devil (diabolou
) , rulers (archas ) , authorities (exousias ) , powers
of this dark world (kosmokratoras tou skotous toutou ),
and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (pneumatika
tes ponerias on tois epouraniois ).
The word for "rulers" (archas ) is used nine times in
the New Testament. The uses are for people or spiritual
beings who have governing powers. The spiritual rulers
can be good or evil. The word archas , is neutral. We
know that the word is used in an evil context in Eph.
6:12. It is also evil in Rom. 8:38-39 and Col. 2:15. It
could be good, evil or both in Col.1:16 and 2:10 and
Eph. 1:21 and 3:10. Jude 6 is about angels who did not
continue their position of rule under God. Titus 3:1 is
about human rulers in government.
"Authorities (exousias ) , means "power of choice,
liberty of doing as one pleases, the ability or strength
with which one is endued, which he either possesses or
exercises, the power of authority and of right, the
power of rule or government." Like archas , exousias ,
is neutral. The context tells us whether the authority
is good or evil. (Notice that the authorities have the
freedom to do what they do. God has allowed even the
evil authorities the freedom to act within God's limits
as we've already seen.)
The word (exousias ) , is used for Jesus Christ in Matt.
7:29, 9:6 & 8, and 10:1 (where Jesus gave His disciples
authority over demons), Matt. 21:23-27 and 28:18; Mark
1:22 & 27, 2:10, 3:15 and 6:7 (disciples authority over
demons); Mark 11:27-33; Luke 4:32 & 36, 5:24, 9:1, and
10:19 (disciples authority over demons); Luke 20:1-8;
John 2:18, 5:27, 10:18, 17:2; Acts 1:7; 1 Cor. 15:24;
Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16; 1 Peter 3:22; Jude 1:25; Rev.
2:26-27 and 12:10.
The word exousias , is used for Satan in Luke 4:6. He is
tempting Jesus in the desert. "The devil led him [Jesus]
up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the
kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, 'I will give
you all their authority and splendor, for it has been
given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So
if you worship me, it will be yours.'" Notice that Jesus
did not contradict Satan's claim to authority over the
earth. "Jesus answered, 'It is written: "Worship the
Lord your God and serve him only." Satan claims that he
was given all the authority and splendor of the kingdoms
of the world and that he can give it to anyone he wants.
Apparently, that claim is true.
Satan shared his authority with "the beast" in the Book
of Revelation. See Rev. 13:1-8, 11-17 and 17:12-13 for
more about that shared authority. You can find other
examples of evil authorities in 1 Cor. 15:24-25; Eph.
6:12; and Col. 2:15.
Exousias , is also used for human leaders with
authority. Some examples are: Matt. 8:9, 20:25; Acts
9:14, 16:19, 26:10-12; Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:1-2; Titus
3:1; Heb. 13:17; and 1 Peter 2:13-15. The Apostle Paul
also writes about the authority he and other Christian
leaders had in the formative days of the Church (2 Cor.
10:8, 13:10; 1 Thess. 4:1-2; and Titus 2:15).
"Powers of this dark world" (kosmokratoras tou skortous
toutou ) would translate better as "world rulers of this
darkness." In Greek literature, Orphic hymns and
Rabbinic writings, kosmokratoras , signifies a
world-lord, ruler of the whole world. Eph. 6:12 is the
only place the word is used in the New Testament.
Koine Greek, which literally means
"world-ruler" and is applied to Satan in Ephesians 6:12, would,
by this Gnostic interpretation, lead to an indication of the
power of Satan and his identity with the Demiurge. This usage
would according to some vilify the logos
as it was used by Heraclitus, meaning the ruling or guiding
principle of the universe. This would also be a different
understanding of St Paul's passage which was referring to men of
power falling under the influence of evil as in the world-rulers
(since the word Kosmokrators in Ephesians is plural meaning many
rulers not one ruler) of the darkness of the age this then
meaning many evil rulers not just one.
It appears that Gnosticism attributed
falsehood, fallen or evil to the concept of a creator in at
least the Judeo-Christian and Hellenic paganism traditions.
Though sometimes the creator is from a fallen, ignorant or
lesser rather than evil perspective in some Gnosticism
traditions (see Valentinian). The Neoplatonic philosopher
Plotinus addressed within his works what he saw as un-Hellenic
and blasphemous to the demiurge of Plato. An example of
vilifying the Judeo-Christian creator would be to attribute the
term “Kosmokrator” (found in the New Testament) to the Old
Testament creator as the fallen Gnostic demiurge (see Marcion
and the Cathars). Though this would be at one point also to
diverge from Philo and Plato as well as the New Testament. If
one sees the attribute of Creatorship as inherent in the concept
of “God,” then the title “The God of this Age” applied to Satan
becomes a powerful indicator that Satan is indeed the creator.
Other modern-day Cathars see a further indication of
this in the epithet “Kosmokrator” Koine Greek, kosmokratoras, which
literally means cosmos-sovereign, or even cosmos-might, which is
applied to Satan in Ephesians 6:12, as a possible further
indication of the creatorship of Satan and his identity with the
Demiurge. However, “Kosmokrator”—with cosmos ("kratia"), as in demokratik?s, or
"democratic" does not mean to create but to rule, direct or
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