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Kinds of Demons

I.        Why Learn About Demons?

We have been given authority and power over demons, so it is important to know what the Old Testament and the New Testament have to say about it.

There are often two extremes when it comes to thoughts on demons. Some churches go overboard with demons blaming every negative circumstance on demons. I remember someone sneezing in church one time. Someone else wanted to cast that sneezing devil out of the person. I thank God for healthy sneezes. If something tries to attach itself to my body, my body reacts and sneezes it right out. That’s not a sneezing demon; sneezing came from God!

Although we know sickness came from Satan, not every sickness is a devil. The Bible says that Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil by proclaiming God’s Word. Notice, Jesus healed and cast out devils. Not every sickness comes from demons.

The other extreme are those people that want to ignore demons, denying their existence or believing all the demons are on the other side of the world. The truth is demonic activity is increasing in the United States. There are demons in the atmosphere around us and we need to be aware of their activity.

2 Corinthians 2:11:

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

This passage tells us why it is necessary for us to study about demons—we are not to be ignorant of their devices! My preference would be to study about Jesus, but Jesus talked about the devil quite often and told us that we are to learn about him. If we are not ignorant of Satan’s devices, he cannot take advantage of us.

Ephesians 6:11 instructs us to put on the whole armor of God so we will be able to stand against the wiles or the strategies of the devil. We need to know about Satan’s strategies and know what the Word of God has to say about them, but we also need to know we have victory over demons and over Satan himself.

In Psalm 109, David is reflecting on the goodness of God and the evilness of his enemies. He opens up this particular Psalm by saying that his enemies are conspiring against him. David rightfully goes to the Lord on behalf of his cause. It’s not up to us to come against our enemies in our own wisdom and strength. David went to the Lord in prayer.

Psalms 109:1-6:

Hold not thy peace, O God of my praise;

For the mouth of the wicked and the mouth of the deceitful are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue.

They compassed me about also with words of hatred; and fought against me without a cause.

For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer.

And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.

Set thou a wicked man over him: and let Satan stand at his right hand.

Apparently, this was a nation David was speaking of and he said, “Lord, let the wicked man ruling this nation continue for a time in power, but let Satan stand beside him.” David had been praying for this king and this nation, but there finally came a point where David finally said, ”Lord, remove all restraints from him and let Satan stand at his right hand.”

The word Satan in the Hebrew is the word Satan, but the word means the accuser. David is saying “Let the accuser stand beside this evil king.” David is suddenly telling us something that we have seen throughout history — Satan and his demons rule the people. Satan doesn’t sit on the throne somewhere in Russia or somewhere in Iraq; people sit there. But it’s Satan influence sitting at the right hand of that person, and Satan stands there through the authority of demons.

Ephesians 6:12 says there are hierarchies of demons, all the way up to principalities and powers that rule in heavenly places. Satan stood beside whoever this evil, wicked king was. David stopped praying for a restraint around him. It is now obvious this man wants to do evil. David wanted God to remove all restraints, so Satan, who was standing beside him, was free to unleash his fiery works. Satan works through people, especially through leaders over nations.

We are told in Ezekiel 28:12-13 that demons rule through principalities or through those who lead nations. Ezekiel 28 refers to a natural king sitting on a throne, but that natural king, the king of Tyre, is allowing Satan to rule through him. Suddenly, Ezekiel is no longer talking about a physical man on the throne. In verses 13 and 14, he switches over and talks about Satan, the one that has been in Eden, the garden of God. We see again that it’s not flesh and blood that we come against, but the powers and principalities behind those people.

We don’t necessarily pray against the people of a nation; we pray against those rulers that are behind them. Some leaders are not willing to be used by God. They love deceitfulness, Satan, and Satan’s kingdom. Much like the man caught in adultery in 1 Corinthians 5:5, Paul said, “Release him. Quit praying for him that he may die the sin unto death that Satan may destroy his flesh.”

Paul prayed the same prayer in 2 Timothy toward those that had come against him. He said, “I have turned them over to Satan.” In essence, this is what David is doing with this wicked king that is coming against him.

Psalm 109:7:

When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.

Literally, let him be found guilty and let his prayers become sin. David has simply turned him completely over to Satan. Satan blinds people from being born again. Notice he says that when he is judged he will be found guilty. This king was definitely an unbeliever, and one day he will stand before God and be found guilty. Notice in verse six the accuser is standing at his right hand and this king has given himself over to Satan.

Satan cannot take advantage of you unless you allow him to take advantage of you. David is saying that this wicked king is under the control of Satan and “when he shall be judged, let him be found guilty and let his prayer become sin.” God does not hear the prayers of sinners unless they are praying to be born again. This king may give lip service to a god, but the God will not hear him. His prayers become sin.

Psalm 109:8:

Let his days be few; let another take his office.

His office refers to a place of leadership. David says, “Lord, I release him to simply do what Satan wants him to do, but Lord, I ask one other thing: Let his days be few and then let someone else take his place of leadership.”

David was praying for someone righteous to take the wicked king’s place. I don’t believe America is going under. We have some great things happening in this country and I believe we’re poised for even greater greatness in the days to come. Don’t get weary of praying for our nation’s leaders.

Psalm 109:9:

Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.

Satan has the power of death and David is asking God to allow Satan to kill him quickly. Satan always leaves sorrow and destruction in his wake.

Psalm 109:10:

Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek also out of their desolate places.

David wants this king’s children to continually be vagabonds, wandering beggars who beg, and let them seek out their bread while they have been driven out of their desolate places. This is their ruined homes. Apparently, the children were in league with the sin of their fathers, and he’s simply saying this curse will go right on into the next generation.

Do you know how a curse is broken? By accepting the Lord. He’s wanting this to go on into the next generation, but he’ll never stop praying for that generation to accept the Lord. David wants the king’s children to beg, to seek their bread as they have been driven out of their ruined homes.

When a person gives themselves completely over to Satan, what looks like prosperity eventually runs through their hands like water because Satan will rob them all of their good fortune.

Psalm 109:11:

Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour.

The wicked can prosper, but only for a moment. However, prosperity for the righteous can go on for generations and generations. We often try to figure out the apparent prosperity of the unrighteous and why it happens. The Bible says that there is pleasure in sin for a season. There’s some prosperity for the wicked, but it only lasts for a while. However, if we’ll continue to follow after the Lord, God wants us to know that when prosperity comes our way it will increase in our life and will go into our children’s life and increase again. That’s why he says to Iet the creditors seize all that he has and let the strangers plunder the fruits of his labor.

Psalm 109:12:

Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children.

Basically, let no one show pity to his fatherless children. Satan turns people against you. David is turning the wicked king over to Satan. Satan will see to it that people will turn against you. Satan does this from one generation to another. Unbelievers can have friends, but they don’t often stay friends very long. The prodigal found this out when he took his portion of his inheritance and left home. While he had money, he had friends, but when the money was gone, so were his “friends.”

The world today is no different. If you have some prosperity and people know about it, they will gather around you, but these are not the type of friends you want. You need friends who love God and will stick with you through thick and thin—friends who will pray with you, encourage you, and remain loyal.

Psalm 109:13:

Let his posterity be cut off; in the generation following let their name be blotted out.

Satan is a killer and it is Satan’s desire that your children never receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Although we are studying demons, I start here with this verse talking about Satan, the accuser, because as you find out what Satan is doing, you also discover what demons are doing. It’s the same with God. If you find out what God does, you’ll find out what angels do. If you find out what Jesus does, you’ll find out what Christians should do.

Demons have the same attributes as Satan. Demons are accusers. Demons are killers. Demons take wealth from the righteous. Demons want to separate you from your children, separate you from friends, have people turn against you, and isolate you.

II.       Hebrew Names for Demons

Leviticus 17:7

And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.

Demons are very much alive. We’re going to learn about their titles, how demons operate, and what their purpose is. The first word we have for demons is the Hebrew word sair, which means hairy, rough. It’s also used for a he-goat.The Hebrew word saiter comes from this and it is also the word saiter found in Greek mythology. It’s interesting that goats are the emblems used for satanic worship, witchcraft, and for Satan himself. The goat was used only once a year in Israel’s history as the scapegoat. Goats were never used during the rest of the year, but when they were, they sacrificed as a sin offering. The priests laid hands on one goat and then it was slain. The second goat was sent into the wilderness to die. The two goats represent the physical and the spiritual death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The goat that was killed represents the physical death of Jesus Christ. The goat that was banished to the wilderness represents the spiritual death of Jesus, banished from the presence of God into the wilderness.

Leviticus 17:7 was written to Israelites who wanted to offer sacrifices to demons as the Canaanites were doing. This verse warns them not to do so. False religions think they are offering sacrifices to God, but they’re really offering sacrifices to demons. People around the world think they’re worshipping God when they are worshipping demons, but if you don’t serve the true and living God, you are serving demons! Demons act like God and imitate God, because that is what Satan did from the very beginning. He wanted to be as God, and is the great imitator of God.

Deuteronomy 32:17:

They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

The next word for demons is the word shed. This Hebrew word means destroyer. These demons manifest themselves around idols. When people worship idols, the demons involved are called shed.

Idolatry was rampant in the Promised Land and the manifestations of demons prevalent. When we hear about people in India or Africa who fall down in front of an idol and worship, we think they are falling down in front of a piece of carved wood, but they’re not. They’re falling down to the god behind that piece of wood. They’re bowing down to the god behind that piece of metal. They’ll tell you very quickly, “That’s just a piece of wood. That’s just a piece of metal.” But they’ll tell you there’s a god that’s released when they fall down in front of that piece of metal and they believe their god isthe God. But the Bible says this is demonic. Demons manifest themselves around idolatry.

Idolatry needs an object to focus on. Christians have many reminders of what Jesus accomplished on the cross to set their attention on. Thank God for communion. Thank God for anointing with oil. Thank God for water baptism. We have elements we focus on, but even if we only had one scripture, we could still trust God without ever seeing anything with our eyes or ever hearing anything with our ears. Our trust is in what God has told us in His Word. We don’t need something physical in front of us, yet Christians often get wrapped up in idolatry. They bow down to a piece of metal called a car, or a piece of wood called a house, or to a certain place called their job, or in front of a television every night and that becomes a place of worship. Wood and metal are useful to us unless we start to worship them. Televisions are fine and jobs are important. Cars are convenient and homes provide protection from the elements, but when we begin to carve them into an idol and bow down before them, we have replaced God with an idol.

Leviticus is talking about the unbelieving element within Israel, but later even the believers within Israel began to bow down to devils. The same thing is true in our own life today. The very first commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3)was written to the believers of the nation of Israel because it’s possible for a believer to put something before God.

III.      Greek Names for Demons

Revelation 16:14:

For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

The first Greek word for demon is daimon. It’s where we get the English word demon. This word is talking about classifications and is a reference to demons in general. It is much like using the wordangels to refer to all angels, but within the ranks we have higher level angels, such as seraphim and cherubs.

Armies and nations from around the world will gather for the Battle of Armageddon because demons will be unleashed into this earth for the purpose of bringing people together on that great day.

The next word used for demon is the word daimonion and it is used when it’s specifically attached to a particular problem. In other words, if it’s a spirit of sickness or if it’s a spirit of poverty, then this word changes from the word daimon to daimonion. Again, it is attached to a specific problem.

Matthew 9:33:

And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.

This demon was attached to a specific condition—the man’s inability to speak. His problem wasn’t physical, because there was nothing physically wrong with this man. He simply could not speak. Something had grabbed his vocal cords and would not allow him to speak. Instead of the word daimon, which is a reference to all demons, this is a demon specifically attached to this individual man causing a particular condition.

Matthew 9:32:

As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.

The next one is daimonizomai, which means demonized. This phrase possessed with a devil, is all one word, daimonizomai. It means they brought unto him a dumb man. Matthew 15:22 says vexed with the devil, but it is the same word. When a demon was attached to someone, whether it was physical, mental, or spiritual, they were demonized.

Acts 19:12:

So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

This verse uses the word pneuma, which means spirit, but by context you have to determine whether it’s the Holy Spirit, your human spirit, or an attitude. Often the word pneuma is translated spirit and means attitude, such as, be renewed in the spirit of your mind. That does not mean that your mind has a spirit.

IV.     Characteristics of Demons

There are many titles given to demons, but the titles not only tell us what they do, they also give us some insight into the characteristics of demons. In Acts 19:12 and Ephesians 6:12, we have the word evil spirits. The Greek word for “evil” is the word poneros and it means a malignant evil. In other words, there is demon oppression and demon possession that acts like a malignancy. It gets worse. If Satan gets hold of you, his influence can only worsen. But if God gets hold of you, His influence can only increase.

We must understand from the Word of God that demons are our enemies, but God has given us power over them. No matter what demon we study about, Jesus has already conquered it through the Cross. I can tell you what their future will be—eternity in the lake of fire. Their future is destruction because they will one day be banished forever!

In the meantime, God has taken the victory of Jesus and given that victory to us. Jesus didn’t take the victory to heaven and say, “No one can have it but Me.” Jesus didn’t say, “I can’t trust you with My victory.” No, he gave it to us. When Jesus arose from the dead, he said, “All authority is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18).

Think of it this way — all authority has been returned unto Jesus in heaven and in earth. Now He gives it back to its rightful owner. You and me! Now go ye into all the world. Preach the gospel. Evangelize and teach all nations. Cast out devils. Lay hands on the sick and see them recover. If it had been me, I would have risen from the dead, grabbed hold of that authority and said, “You can’t have it because I gave it to you once and you blew it. Remember the garden? Boy, it took me some four thousand years to get it back, and now that I’ve got it back, do you think I’m going to give it to you again?”

The good news is Jesus conquered Satan before He gave authority back to us. What Adam should have done, Jesus did. God gave Adam the right to subdue the earth, to take authority over it. The moment Satan came into the garden, Adam had every right to tell him, “Leave this place! Jesus has given me all authority in this earth and over everything that creeps on the earth, and you certainly are creeping on the earth. Get out of here!”

He could have banished Satan from the garden. He could have banished Satan from the earth and gotten rid of him and it would have been finished at that time. But where the first Adam failed, the second Adam came along. The last Adam, Jesus, conquered Satan before he gave us the authority. Adam had that authority and should have used it against Satan.

After He gave us the authority, He said, “I’m going to heaven, but you can take this authority and can keep using it over the one I have defeated.” We are taking up where Jesus left off.

The second word for demons is found many times in the Word of God, and it is foul or unclean spirits. This word is akathartosKathartos means clean but the “a” at the beginning of it is a negative meaning. This is unclean or impure. A foul or unclean spirit has to do with sexual impurities including pornography, homosexuality, lesbianism, and bestiality. These are immense perversions mentioned in the Word of God that result from foul or unclean spirits. The most common word used for demons is unclean spirits. Jesus dealt them in his day; we deal with them in our day.

The third word for demons is the Greek word astheneiais. This word is translated as spirits of infirmity, and it means a weakness or a sickness. It is used when Jesus took our sicknesses to the cross. It’s used also for the word weaknesses where Paul says in Romans 8:26, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought.

In Luke 13:11-12, the woman was bowed over for eighteen years because she had a spirit of infirmity. Jesus recognized the demon and cast that devil out of her. Not all infirmities come from demons, but some do. Not all sicknesses come from demons, but some do.

Some say, “Well, if some sicknesses come from demons, then I’m going to cast the devil out every time I pray for a sick person.” This is not necessary. When I pray, I come against the sickness and pray for a revelation of the Holy Spirit to reveal if a demon is involved. Why do you think God gave us the gifts of the Spirit? One of the gifts is a discerning of spirits so God can reveal to us whether a demon is causing the sickness or infirmity. Come against sickness in the name of Jesus and if a demon is involved, God will reveal it. At those times, simply use the name of Jesus and speak to the demon. When it’s sickness, speak to the sickness; when it’s a demon, speak to the demon. Thank God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit and power in the name of Jesus!

The next demon mentioned in the Bible is found in Acts 16:16 and this is called a spirit of divination. The Greek word for divination is puthos. It’s where we get the English word python, and it is a demon of the occult or witchcraft. Witchcraft doesn’t begin as demonic; it begins as the work of the flesh Galatians 5:19-20 says the works of the flesh are manifest which are these…and one of the works listed is witchcraft. When a person starts to dabble in witchcraft, it is their flesh desiring to look into it.

Witchcraft is always seen in the Old Testament as something abhorrent to God, against the things of God, and people who dabbled in this were immediately put to death. The reason is because by dabbling in witchcraft they could open up great doors for demonic activity to come into the nation.

The last one type of demon mentioned is called a seducing spirit. The Greek word, planos, means a deceiver or imposter. First Timothy 1:4 says in these last days people will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. Demons are seducing spirits. This particular type of demon induces, deceives, or seduces people into all types of sin. Notice, this demon must seduce you. A demon cannot force you. A demon seduces and causes us to go toward the things of the world, and if we remain in those things, demons can eventually take over.

Demons are an extension of the nature of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-20). Any problem of the flesh has a corresponding demon—sexual lust, power, lust, love of money, jealousy, anger, murder, vindictiveness. All these different manifestations of the flesh have a corresponding demon. When you yield to the flesh long enough, you’ll eventually yield yourself to a demon. Demons cannot overtake you apart from your will. Demons can entice and can seduce, but you don’t have to have a demon to seduce and entice because you have the flesh. The flesh nature entices and seduces you to sin stay in that sin long enough for a demon to come into your life and control you. James 1:14 says every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.

Anything which can weaken your will is forbidden by the Word of God. This includes drunkenness, drugs, idolatry, witchcraft, and Satanism. The Bible says you shouldn’t get drunk because drunkenness can lead to demon possession or demon control. Yielding to the flesh opens the door to many other things. The Bible teaches against drugs because they numb your will and open you to Satan’s influence. Satan is looking for a way to override your will.

Many wonder about hypnosis because the Bible doesn’t seem to come out and say anything directly against it. If it overrides your will, don’t dabble in it. Paul spoke of it in Galatians when he said, “Who has bewitched you?” (Galatians 3:1) The word means to hypnotize. Who has hypnotized you that you should not obey the truth? It is used in the negative form, refers to controlling the will, and any negative influence over your will is forbidden by the Word of God.

What happens when you yield to the flesh? Does a demon suddenly jump on you? No, but if you’ve been dabbling in the things of the flesh for very long, you’re actually closer to a demon than you might realize.

What should you do? Quickly ask for forgiveness. Shut the door in Satan’s face. Grab 1 John 1:9 and say, “Father, forgive me for dabbling in this stuff. Forgive me for indulging my flesh, for being enticed into something ungodly.” Again, ask for forgiveness quickly, because unrepentance weakens the will. When your will becomes weakened toward God, Satan comes in to take hold. Demons cannot control you where you are strong, only where you are weak.

V.      Demonic Possession or Demonic Oppression?

Many people are under the control of Satan, but they are not necessarily demon possessed. Demon possession can only happen to an unbeliever because a believer is possessed by the Holy Spirit. The Bible declares you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:19) Your body is the outward physical temple of the Holy Spirit who lives within you. But your spirit is inside your body and the Holy Spirit indwells your spirit. How can the Holy Spirit and an evil spirit dwell in the same place? If a demon spirit tried to get in there, he wouldn’t last very long next to the Holy Spirit. But that doesn’t mean Satan can’t somehow get a hold of you. He may not be able to possess you, but remember that there are still two more parts of you. You’re not just a spirit. You have a body and a mind and those are open ripe fields for Satan in the life of a believer. That’s why God wants you to take your will and turn it toward Him, turn it toward the Word, take areas of your life that are weak and shore up those areas with His Word. If there are areas of your life where you’re weak, such as lust, taking offence, or laziness, you should target and strengthen those areas through study and meditating on God’s Word so that Satan and his demons cannot take hold of you in those particular areas. Search God’s Word to find scriptures that apply to those areas of weakness in your life. Confess them. Meditate on them. Pray over them.

In the Old Testament, the temple was the place where the presence of the Shekinah glory of God dwelt, but today your body is the temple of the presence of God’s Shekinah glory. You don’t need to travel around the world to Jerusalem to find God’s Shekinah glory; it’s in you!

Christians can be controlled or oppressed by demons. Demons can indwell your body and cause mental and physical sickness and disease. There are ministers who operate in the discerning of spirits and casting out of devils. Some Christians get upset when they see someone who is a believer standing in line for prayer. When the minister commands Satan to turn loose of that believer, their first reaction is, “But she’s a Christian! How can she possibly have a demon?” The answer is, “They are a Christian and they had a demon.” It didn’t possess their spirit, but it possessed their body in the form of a sickness or a disease.

I remember one time when I was just beginning to enter into the move of God. Kenneth Copeland came to town so I attended the meeting. At one point in the service he called for anyone who felt called to the ministry to come up to be prayed for. I remember raising my hands and as he walked in front of me, he hit me in the chest and said, “Satan, turn him loose.” It was like a weight lifted off me. Where I couldn’t see clearly before, I could suddenly see. I felt like blinders were removed. I wasn’t demon possessed; I was a believer. I was truly seeking after the Spirit of God, wanting to know what to do, but Satan was hindering me. Satan had formed a cloud over me because I had doubted God long enough that he was able to capitalize on the confusion that resulted from my doubt. I couldn’t see what was going on, but God used a man of God who operated in discerning of spirits and was able to pray against that spirit! When a minister stands before a believer and tells Satan to turn loose or when they cast demons out of someone, they’re not casting the demons out of the believer’s spirit; they’re commanding them, in the authority of Jesus, to depart from the body or mind of that individual.

Jesus said to Peter, “Satan has desired to have you and sift you like wheat.” (Luke 22:31)Peter was a believer, and because you are a believer, Satan desires to do the same with your life. But the good news is Satan cannot have you unless you allow him access. Follow after God. Stand strong in His Word.

When I was in college my psychology class took a trip to a mental institution. In describing the residents of the institution, the man giving us a tour made an interesting statement. He said, “You know what is amazing? Almost half of these people came from church backgrounds and they all think they have committed the unpardonable sin. That’s why they are here.” Satan had gotten control of their minds. The sad thing was so many of them knew Jesus, were born again, but had come out of some kind of background where they feared they had gone too far outside the will of God and could never get back. This fear drove them out of their mind. That’s what Satan desires to do, but Satan is a deceiver, and the only thing that will set you free from deception is the truth of the Word of God.“You will know the truth and the truth will make you free!” (John 8:32)

We are more aware than ever before of Satan and his devices. Thank God for His revelation to us of His victory and over Satan. Because of His victory, we are victorious! Declare to Satan you are a victor over him. God has already placed him under your feet!