Demons*This is written from a conservative Christian perspective*

Demons have been portrayed in various ways in human culture and media, but the biblical understanding of a demon is a supernatural being who is subservient to Satan. They, like Satan, were once angels who participated in the rebellion and were cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:9). When mentioned in Scripture, the primary focus is on demon possession of humans.

Most of these demonic possessions take place in the New Testament. These accounts reveal characteristics of demons. Often, they are afflicted with some kind of physical or mental ailment, such as blindness, or self-torture (Mark 5:5). They often recognized Christ as the Lord, feared him, and were subject to His authority (Luke 4:33-36). In addition, demons had superior strength or knowledge (Luke 7:27-29), and had the ability to foretell the future (Acts 16:16-18).

The level of activity in the New Testament was unique. Jesus had come as a savior to mankind, and spiritual warfare was in full throttle. The demonic activity was a great defense of Satan and this world against a Redeemer who came to conquer sin and death. As such, Satan didn’t hold back. After the Resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Satan’s power and that of his demons was severely restricted.

St. Anthony and demons

St. Anthony plagued by demons, engraving by Martin Schongauer in the 1480s.

Still, Satan and his demons are capable of corrupting mankind. It cannot be said for sure, but the radical groups that wage war in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world could be an example. These groups claim to be Muslim but attack and kill other Muslims. They believe in the same God as Christianity and Judaism: the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, but would eagerly kill Christians or Jews and consider it worship.

If Satan and his demons are at work in this world, it would be through groups like Daesh, Al-Qaeda, and Boko Haram. This corruption is not isolated to Islam, either. It has taken many forms throughout history.

Christians who take the Bible seriously should also take the demonic world seriously. Without a corresponding demonology, the theology of the bible would be incomplete. However, though demons are real and have power, a Christian has no reason to fear being possessed. They can be harassed, tempted, or accused by demons, but never controlled by them. A true Christian has the light of the Holy Spirit in their heart. This light can never be overcome by any demonic force, for it is the very Spirit of God.



  1. Diane Baum says:

    “A true Christian…” yes, can never be overcome by demonic spirits. However, there was a period of time when this very ardent Catholic went through a horrible marriage that lasted 25 years. It was a marriage full of abuse. I was lucky to make it out alive.

    Enter a two year period of self abandonment. I was finally free of my marriage…and also felt that I could do as I pleased, including giving up on the traditions that I once held dear in the Church. I met a man who I was immediately attracted to. His long hair and tattoos were so tantalizing. Yet there was also something else about him that I could not put a finger on. He wore a cross on a chain around his neck, he had a crucifix hanging in his kitchen, yet on his bookshelf were the books of Satan. When I saw those, I felt a cold chill run down my spine. I distinctly heard a voice yell, “get out, NOW!” yet I ignored that voice…guardian angel, perhaps? and continued in the relationship.

    It wasn’t long before his true colors came to light. He claimed he had a “black heart.” He told me that it was his goal to read those books of Satan. Some of his tattoos were of the underworld realm. In the end, he made good on his words that he would bring me down and ruin my professional writing reputation. This was only two months after he said that he was interested in me and not just in the books that I had previously written. I knew then….I had met up with a “something” that scared me greatly and that I should indeed, get out of that relationship.

    A true Christian MUST listen to the gut instinct/voice of reason within. Yes, just because we ARE Christian does NOT mean that we won’t have our temptations. I believe that it is many of us with the firmest faith who are tempted and tested. Some break, many do not. It is also at the lowest points in our lives when those tempters come to us…and it is NOT in a violent way, but rather, in a seductive way. Why would the devil want to scare us, right? Look at how Eve was tempted….not from a huge, roaring lion but a lowly serpent.

    Be aware, be on guard and always, always pray. Because when we become too recalcitrant to care about God…that is the ONLY “in” the devil needs to make his move.

    1. Paul Robinson says:

      I could not agree more with saying to follow your inner voice when it tells you to leave when something is wrong. It could be God, Jesus, your guardian, or even your self concious, in the end they are for the most part all the same. Such voices saying get out are there to say that there is danger and you should not be there.

      Just as in the Lords Prayer, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. It is the temptation to do harm to yourself, not just of the physical nature but of the spiritual nature, or you could say soul that is the real issue. However still it is harming yourself to let things (or people) seduce you away from your true path, and it does not matter who or what those things are.

      Far too many times we as human allow ourselves to be lead the wrong way, and I have had that happen to me in the past. It is the trusting of others without question such as with our own parents, they many times think that they know what it right for us but many times they do not. Even more so when someone is a free spirit and holding that free spirit from doing what it needs to do does destroy it. Other things along those lines is letting yourself get caught up in Usury as this is always bad and even more so when it comes to student loans, my mistake was believing others when told what I should earn when I graduate. When the best choice looking back would have been no loans and just finish with an AA then top it off with certifications in the fields that would help me to earn more. Many highly educated people have today (me being one of them) have advanced degrees and are not able to use them or earn enough to pay on the student loans and have heath coverage, car insurance and a roof over our head. Loans are always a bad idea if you are the one borrowing, as you are on the short end of the stick so to say.

      Basically this is a me me world that most of us are living in, however the me that is actually supported most of the time is for the most part not us, but the ones in this world with the money (or in demon terms Mammon, and this is one that can easily lead to our destruction).

  2. J. Paul Lanier says:

    “Christians who take the Bible seriously must also take the demonic world seriously.”

    I would not agree with this. Theologian Rudolf Bultmann made the point that, if Christianity is to survive, it must reinterpret the New Testament myths. Without doing this, Bultmann concluded the essential message of the New Testament, the ‘keygma,’ would become unintelligible. I agree with that. The message of salvation is essential; belief in a three-storied universe with angels and demons is not. My two cents.

    1. Lewis says:

      I can see how reading too deep into angels and demons could be problematic. But I wouldn’t call them myths.
      If the Bible is the inspired word of God, it cannot contain errors or myths. Jesus talked about angels and demons, and while I agree that believing in angels and demons in not necessary for salvation, if Jesus himself acknowledged them, we should as well. But they should not be our focus.

      1. J. Paul Lanier says:

        Lewis, I would argue that “inspired word of God” does not mean the New Testament ought to contain explanations which would have been incomprehensible 2,000 years ago. Moreover the Bible contains obvious errors, notably the creation account in Genesis. We know from astronomy it cannot be true.

        Bultmann’s concept of myth revolved around the concept of traditional supernaturalism. He believed this must be removed or reinterpreted.

        Bultmann also believed it is not necessary to believe anything about the historical Jesus. I agree with all of this.

        I do not believe there should be any limitation on who is considered a Christian. If a person self-identifies as a Christian, then for me, that person is a Christian.

        1. markkie says:

          ‘We know from Astronomy it cannot be true’ Just where is your head? God created all in 6 days, I doubt the days that we know of were the same when God walked the Earth. Why would God ever need night. Just how long was a day when God walked the Earth… we don’t know. The big bang is now being disputed within the scientist community saying that’s not at all what happened, why would they be doing this if Astronomy says it cannot be true? Who’s to say God didn’t create the big bang if the big bang did happen? How about ‘everything’ is just too perfect, just right for it to be created by a ‘boom’. Only something perfect and divine could ever have the capability of creating perfection.

          1. J. Paul Lanier says:

            markkie, your comment about the length of days represents a non-literal interpretation of Genesis. I agree. Parts of the Bible are not literally true. However, the basic contradiction between Genesis and astronomy is the order of creation. We know light was created before the earth. We know the sun was created before the earth. Both of these facts contradict Gen. 1:1-18.

          2. Matt s. says:

            When God created the universe and everything in it…….it would have physically occurred in an instant, or with a “boom”.
            I agree with scientists in many things. Gods creation….It’s simply beyond their grasp. I believe God made everything as stated in the bible. Our concept of time is what deceives us.
            Gods will be done.

        2. Harry says:

          “We know from astronomy [the creation account in Genesis] cannot be true.”
          What of astronomy tells us that the Genesis creation account is not true? The creation of the cosmos is presented as a miracle, an event that did not happen by the ordinary operations of the natural world.

    2. Paul Robinson says:

      Reinterpreting the texts of the New Testament I really can’t see as helping the Faith to survive. It dilutes it, but on the other hand there are other documents that have been left out and the Coptic documents as well that allow for explaining in greater detail of the same texts that we are familiar with. That is without diluting the original text, but adding another layer of understanding from another point of view. Or in educational sense well rounded.

      If one goes too far in reinterpreting the texts, one can’t see the difference between our Sun being Christ and the Universe being God, or the Osiris, Isis, and Jesus relating to Horus. After all in each they sleep for three days and are born on December 25th, as this is the winter equinox.

      Also reading too much into things make the faith too complicated for most people, and the majority of people in this world come to Christianity, and Islam as they are not too complicated to understand on the simplest levels. Those who are more interested can study more and understand more and become not just the faithful, but the Clergy. They see the faith as their new family that they have been born into that will support them just as their parents did when they were a child.

      Now days there are things that are driving people away such as the fighting, the child abuse (even if just allegations), the greed on the part of a few, just to name a few of the things that most people see.

      Just to make a point I have had to explain a number of times simple things that we would assume that the faithful would know such as the meaning of born again, the meek will inherit the earth, and so forth, just because these things are taught to children at a very young age does not mean that the faithful understand them.

      Also the main thing that kills any religion is the falling away of the faithful, as without them we can’t have churches. Doing things that draw in more people to the faith IMO is the only way that the faith will survive. Making it more complicated and confusing to those on the outside of Clergy only will drive them away (as what happens to people watching TV shows when the commercial breaks are too long).

      These things that take another look at the Holy Scripture, and offer different perspectives are fine for those that desire to seek it out such as with the Coptic texts and so forth, but such things should not be taught to the general masses, but only shown brief glimpses so that those who would be interested will seek them out and explore further.

      1. J. Paul Lanier says:

        Thanks for your input, Paul. You’ve raised many points. I respond to the ones I feel are most in need of a response.

        “Reinterpreting the texts of the New Testament I really can’t see as helping the Faith to survive.”

        You raise basically this same issue a few times. I would say simply that if what really happened is complicated, or drives people away, then that is what needs to be done. The church can afford to lose some donations and some buildings, anyway.

        With one exception, the Coptic writings, aka the Nag Hammadi library, are late and date from the second century at the earliest. This casts serious doubt on their authenticity. The notable exception is Gospel of Thomas, which contains many shortened (and thus probably earlier) versions of many sayings of Jesus. One scholar proposes it predates Mark, the first written gospel. Parts of it may have been written as early as 50 CE.

        “If one goes too far in reinterpreting the texts, one can’t see the difference between our Sun being Christ and the Universe being God, or the Osiris, Isis, and Jesus relating to Horus. After all in each they sleep for three days and are born on December 25th, as this is the winter equinox.”

        In my opinion this constitutes a Slippery Slope Fallacy. There is no evidence that this would happen. A great many liberal NT scholars conclude the Bible is not literal. They follow standard historical methods of reconstructing what really happened (as far as that can be determined objectively). When confronted with a contradiction between the Bible and scientific evidence, they choose scientific evidence. Yet among them there is no exodus to the extremes you mention.

        Thanks again, Paul

        1. Harry says:

          Bringing up “scientific evidence”
          Science, the quest for knowledge, which like any questions is carried out by method. In the quest for knowledge, we call the method the “scientific method.” Though there are variations, the fundamental method of seeking knowledge is observation and experimental repeatability.
          The origins of the cosmos and of life neither were observed by humans nor (so far) can they be repeated experimentally or at all.

  3. maria muldoon. says:

    Without evil good would not exist as man would have no where to set his barrier to differentiate. Also one mans evil may be another mans salvation. Everyone has different perceptions of right and wrong depending upon your structure and upbringing I’m a firm believer in live your life as you wish and see your salvation meet your end.
    Live is evil spelt backwards who is to say we don’t create our own hell on earth and only are at peace in death.?

    1. markkie says:

      It’s called Free will. You either choose God or you choose evil. That’s it, nothing more to it. Those who have different perceptions of right and wrong are amoral since they don’t know the difference. Read the Ten Commandments.

    2. David says:

      But Who no we call when we get sick or someone close is dying, we call aupon God for help. Think about it?

  4. D Barron says:

    The Bible is not a cafeteria line. Believe it, or don’t. All of it stands, or all of it falls.
    Because a person is called a Theologian doesn’t mean that person has any semblance of a correct comprehension or understanding of the Bible or it’s related documents. Many such people have been “educated” to a capacity far in excess of their intelligence. Sorry if that is offensive. The truth often is. See as reference, 2 Timothy 4:3.Be blessed, and Shalom!

    1. Imani says:

      @D Barron…. You are on point. Thank you!!!

    2. sue says:

      I don’t think the bible has the whole story as since the council choose what would be in it.I believe what is there is God inspired but not all of the story.That is why prayer and meditation is important.The spitual world is real but man has a way of not putting the whole truth out their regardless of the religion or political thoughts.

  5. David Henderson says:

    Walter Wink has written several excellent books in which he explores spiritual forces, good and evil. I highly recommend them. He comes at it from a Christian background but a Universal outlook.

  6. ben says:

    god is love&happneiss.the devil is hate& fear

  7. mgrb says:

    Belief in demons lessens the power we should be using to fight and minister to real problems. Blaming third party boogeymen who will always be around, instead of working on the flawed human elements and institutions that can actually be changed, helps no one, and causes harm.

    1. markkie says:

      Free will given to us all by God. Evil is where the flawed human elements and institutions come from.

    2. Diane Baum says:

      Hmmm…mgrb, your comments are skewed in that if you look at the problems that we do have, many are caused by greed, pride, envy, and the others that we know as the seven deadly sins. They are sins in that they distract us from what IS important: knowing God and being of service to His people. If you keep God within your heart and serve others as you would serve Him…there wouldn’t be those seven sins to deal with. But because we have a fallen angel who wanted to distract humankind from the omnipotence of God in the first place, those problems will always be with us…in part, because of the free will we have been given. To give no credence whatsoever to those fallen angels means that you have just reserved a place for them somewhere within your mind, leaving room for error.

  8. Brother Tim says:

    If you truly want to find God, get away from all religious texts. They are not the words of God, the bible/religious texts are the works of man who fasted and had visions of a type of God. This is a world of duelist. Good/Evil, right / wrong, yes / no, white / black. I’ve dealt with the dark side of people, they have the choice to be good or evil as we all do its your choice and no text or Bible will make things better. You as a person have to decide if you are going to be bad or good on a second by second basis. The amount of LOVE in YOUR heart and soul decide’s weather or not God resides within you. Not some text or book. Granted you may need some advice from time to time, but religious authority’s just muddle things up when they come the stander ed texts and Bible’s yes Bibles because there are so many of them. If God had a Bible there would only be one and no man, woman or child could change it. AND it would say GOD’S version.

    1. Brother Tim says:

      Sorry what was meant was that religious authority’s just muddle thing up when they use the texts and bibles we have today.

      1. Harry says:

        My grandmother assured me that the Bible was written by James. King James. See? There’s even an epistle named after him. And if you don’t like it, sit on your fist and lean back against your thumb.
        I don’t know quite what that meant but I don’t think it was kind.

  9. anon says:

    I pity those who live in, as Carl Sagen called it, “the demon haunted world”.

    1. Dennis Horvitz says:


    2. Harry says:

      Dr. Sagan had demons of his own.

  10. LWilson says:

    Indeed, there are demons and they seek to bring us all to our own personal and everlasting hell destroying everything we love and believe in. You will not recognize them until God send’s you an epiphany in the form of a spiritual awareness or a person to help you. They serve Satan to create turmoil for humans because they hate humans and all the beauty of the earth. Do not doubt for you open yourself to their evil.

    1. Diane Baum says:

      so true. When a situation opens in which you become less receptive to God…they move in and make things seem so tempting that you just gravitate towards it–and them.

  11. Mrs. Amber Castleman says:

    I am a Catholic and deal with Satan and the Santanic Worships and Sacrifices daily two in particular one being the “BLOOD DEMON” true to its form and existence the other true to form and existaence is “HELL HOUND” I help many with their possessions Demons do exist I know this because three of my extended moms family I know to be angels of god one born without sin I protect her more my father is a Satan Worshipper I know this for a fact because he was so high on drugs and liquor so much he was so abusive and violet enough to try to kill me at the age of four months old just for crying he even gave me liquor at age 2 weeks old says he never wants daughters in his cult only sons common we all know we cant have sons or daughters without the opposite sex so Demons are true to existence Im even looking to be exercised from them myself.

    1. Paul Robinson says:

      From what I have read on Satanism, the kind of person that you are referring to is what is referred to as a devil worshipper. That is according to modern Satanism, and Traditional Satanism. This is from the texts of Church of Satan, Religious tolerance, Temple of Set, Sacred Texts, and others. Also straight from the mouth of members and members of the Priesthood.

      The key factor is that in Satanism, they do not worship any God other than themselves. Also along with this most find it morally wrong to harm children, or animals. Then the part about excessive drinking and getting stoned that again goes against that faith because they are allowing a substance to take control of them, they want to be in control and drink, smoke, and enjoy life for the pleasure of it. Compassion vs compulsion, where a compulsion is bad it shows weakness.

      If he had anything from the demon at the beginning, he would have been no threat to you or anyone else, as Buer from the Goetia is about tolerance, not indulgence, he is about healing not harming. That is unless looking at the mirror of his characteristics.

      In the old ways demons were referred to as teachers, and should not be feared. Also someone such as that is a danger to all, that is themselves and those that are around them. Best thing is for people that are around such people to get yourself and as many loved ones as possible away from them as quickly as possible, and also get law enforcement involved, if local will not help then try the state police and the FBI. The FBI is from what I have seen and heard the best when it comes to protecting children.

      One of the most evil kinds of people is one that uses God, a demon, the devil or some other entity as an excuse to do harm to others, and not just do harm to others but to do harm to themselves. Read about Lucifer, who could imagine that he would do things to harm himself? He is pride, indulgence, and so forth. This is what Satanists see as their archetype, just as Christians use Christ as their archetype.

      Also it was Zoroaster that many years before Jesus came up with the idea of duality to simplify the very complicated Persian mythology so that the common person could make sense of it. This is why we have the idea of good/evil. Along with that one can’t exist in those terms without the other. However even with that idea removed as in the Pre-Christian faiths and in Modern Satanism, there still is the idea of not harming innocents, in Wicca harm none, or in Satanism harm those who have harmed you (as the opposite of turn the other cheek of the bible, neglecting the fact that it is better to appear to submit so that you can overcome your adversary).

      In all we will have to agree that it is very very complicated, and there is no way that anyone can in a few words describe all of the religious faiths and their meanings that have existed for over 35,000 years in one post (when most of the information has been lost or destroyed regarding the ancient past).

      1. Harry says:

        A friend was intentionally conceived, or the intercourse that resulted in her conception, was on “Black Sabbath” to be raised to be a High Priestess in her parents’ coven.
        She escaped after she was of age and became a Christian.
        Her parents conceived other children to be sacrificed to their coven’s demon. The method of sacrifice was by abortion, the aborted child then being burned on the coven’s altar.
        Abortion is the, or perhaps a, chief sacrament of witchcraft and devil worship. The mother may not be aware that her baby that she is having aborted is to be sacrificed but the abortionist knows, as do some of his (some her) assistants.

  12. charles garcia says:

    We should also understand that the concept of demons is not just a Judeo/Christian conceit. It pre dates Christianity and Judaism by nearly 2 thousand plus years. By throwing out the concept of demons we run the risk of leaving ourselves open to attacks. Thankfully on a few people are deeply influenced by demons, but once they cross your paths they are never forgotten. The hurt, both physical and emotional, they cause can leave a person spiritually battered. Despite this, with courage and love, they can be defeated. Just don’t think it’s easy.

  13. Carl W says:

    Demons all around us. Well if you listen to the bible, No. If you listen to the Big C churches, Yes. And if you have eye’s you can see them, but they are called MAN. humans as a whole are a beautiful and creative group. But the ones that seek only money and power , ie.. politicians, corporate ceo’s, and the people who spread fear or news broadcasters. Then there are also the people who ram their beliefs down others throats. And the people who just cause harm for the fun of it, lucky most of them are in jail.
    I do not believe in demons as a unseen entity, poltergeist, or evil spirit. I think we have demons that walk among us but are in fact just evil mean cruel human beings. We need to teach our children to love and that includes tough love. Like when they do things that are against the rule a swat to a butt cheek. Or when you tell them don’t touch that is hot, do it a few times and if they keep trying, let them figure out. They only have to burn their hand once to not do it again and figure you make rules for a good reason.
    Evil is only done to people by people. Using the excuse it is a creature from hell is a placing blame on others for what you do. It was also a device to make more people come to church and pay a tithe. just like saying and then changing the bible to say homosexuality is a sin. Sodom and Gomorrah was a teaching tale about turning your back on God. It was not meant to be a statement against homosexuality. And when the roman catholic church was trying to take over Rome. They had to find a way to get the army on their side, so they made it a sin to have sex with the same sex. Which until then in the army woman were for breeding and children, men were for fun.

    Demons are human. Like the night stalker and his ilk.

    1. Harry says:

      The “Sodom and Gomorrah” story is cited as being a condemnation of homosexuality, whether in fantasy or in fact (carrying out homosexual acts).
      What is not given any emphasis by the major news media in reports of Roman Catholic priests sexually molesting children is that almost all are molestations of boys, not girls. This is homosexual child molesting, not heterosexual.
      One research figure is that homosexuals are 35 times as prone to molesting children as men generally. How this figure was obtained I don’t know. But of the few men I have known who I knew were homosexuals all were “chicken hawks,” men who were sexually attracted to prepubertal children. As far as I know none actually sexually assaulted children, being fearful of prison and what happens to homosexuals and child molesters in prison.

  14. rev, paul collins says:

    coming from a non religious family i still always felt a calling .iv seen what people can do to each other i grew up with extreme violence ,cruelty . i allways felt people who commit evil acts in all forms ,could be influenced by negative spiritual forces such as demonic influence.

  15. PAL says:

    “we war not against flesh and blood but against Powers, Principalities and Rulers in high places” the enemy is in the air….demons are everywhere…Folks you are either filled with the spirit of God or filled with the spirit who rules the world…therefore you are either “possessed by the Holy spirit or possessed by the spirit of the world” ignore the spirit realm is to ignore and deny God and His spirit…!!! We learn all about the Father, Jesus, the Holy Spirit but few mention the old devil and his deceiving spirits who have free rein here and who’s purpose it is to keep folks dumb about them. I myself as a firm believer in the Holy one of Israel have had my share of attacks from the enemy….I know he is as real as my God is real…!!! A day is coming when they the enemy, the evil demon horde will reveal themselves wholly to all… if hearts and minds are not prepared for that time ..”mens hearts will fail them from fear” we are to be the wise virgins with plenty of OIL (preparedness) in our hearts and minds to be able to stand firm in those times….!!! Acquire wisdom and knowledge while you can. Believers need to know all that the enemy is up to or as much as they can to be prepared mentally, emotionally and spiritually for that day of battle…when we will be handed over and warred against. God says His people perish for lack of knowledge….let not the enemy blind your mind to their presence….!!!

  16. James says:

    Look up the actual definition of the Greek work daemon which is where the word comes from…i think you’ll have a very different outlook.

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