Focus on Jesus Series
Demons and the Gospels
by Ed Vasicek
Throughout the Gospels we are frequently exposed to incidents involving demons. Yet, according to pollster/analyst George Barna, 60% of our nations believes that, "Satan is not a living being but is just a symbol of evil." Among this 60% are many who claim to be "born-again Christians."
Of course many Americans reject the concept of Satan (and his demons) because they reject the supernatural, and therefore reject the Bible. But many Christians are so poorly read in the Scripture that they do not understand that the Bible clearly and frequently mentions these malevolent spirit beings throughout both Testaments.
Satan was originally created as a holy angel, a cherub named, "Lucifer," (Star of the Morning). According to Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28, Luke 10:18, and an implication from Revelation 12:4, it seems that a third of the angels followed Lucifer in rebellion against God. Lucifer became Satan (the Adversary), and the fallen angels became demons.
These fallen angels follow Satan as their Commander-in-chief. Unlike God, Satan can only be present in one location at a time. But through his network of perhaps millions (or billions?) of demons, he has representatives who carry out his schemes. Throughout Scripture, Satan is presented as the adversary of God, the nation of Israel, and genuine followers of Jesus Christ.
In the ministry of Christ, Jesus encountered many who were demon-possessed. Modern skeptics claim that these demons were just superstition, and that Jesus was merely accommodating the ignorance of His era (or that He was among the ignorant). Yet the Bible clearly displays a difference between illness and demonization. Matthew 4:24 reads, "....and 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." Note that the Bible makes a distinction between those having seizures (some versions render this term, "epileptics") and demonization. It was during the ignorance and superstition of the Middle Ages that such distinctions were blurred.
Since demons were created as angels, they have personality (intellect, emotions, will, creativity). Some people were demonized by great numbers of demons, others by a single demon. Demons also have names or titles.
Perhaps it was to hinder the work of Christ that so many Jews were demon-possessed in the first century. Or perhaps many Jews were dabbling in the occult, the chief means for becoming demonized. In modern times, demonization flourishes most where people are into the occult: voodoo, idol worship, animism, etc.. With the rise of the New Age, Satanism, and fortune telling in the U.S., it is very likely that demonization is on the rise in Uncle Sam's domain.
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