Home| About Us | News & Views| Articles & Studies | Meditations  | E-periodicalAudio | Links | Contact Us|

Devil & Demons

By Nelson Thomas Mumbai

Summary: - A Christian is in a spiritual warfare. Just as in any fight, we need to know the enemy and his tactics well to be victorious. We do not need to live a defeated life. In the Lord Jesus Christ we can experience victory over evil forces. Nevertheless we need to understand these truths from the Bible and appropriate by faith.

Why should we study about devil and demons? Not just out of curiosity.
- He is our enemy - ‘adversary' –seeks to devour. . 1Peter.5:8. Not only of our enemy, of the Lord Jesus Christ too. Matthew.13:25, 28, 39.
A Christian is in a battlefield, against devil and demons. Ephsian.6:11, 12. Ignorance about the opponent is foolishness. “Half the battle is won if you know the enemy”. Need to know our foe and the tactics to fight a good fight.
Caution: - Not to be over sensitive to devil and demons! Excessive thoughts on the evil forces are not a healthy spiritual state. Some try to see devil and demons in every aspect of their life even in the corners of their home and cracks on their wall! Some rebuke devil for all the unpleasant situations in life. Jude.v.9.
We will consider only two things:-
a. The names and titles of devil. (total 17)
b. Eight important facts about devil. (Including his tactics)

A. The names and titles of devil. (Around 17)
The names and titles given to devil speak of his position and character. Notice each title carefully and find out who he is and how he works.

1. Satan. Revelation 12:9. This is the title most often used in the Bible — around 52 times – means adversary/ accuser.

2. Devil. Revelation.12:9. Used around 35 times — means ‘traitor', ‘slanderer'.

3. Serpent. Revelation.12:9. Refers to first deceptive act — enticing Eve.

4. Dragon. Revelation.12:9. Refers to the terrifying figure of devil. (‘It's a huge, fire-breathing monster with terrifying wings and claws are a mark of Satan’!)

5 Deceiver. Revelation.12:9. Refers to the nature of his work. Cf.2Timothy.3:13

6. Liar. John.8:44 - always that is his nature…speaks and generate utter lie..

7. Murderer. John.8:44 ….. Loves to kill….Began with Abel…..slaughtered millions including the prophets….even today…cf. V.40

8. Destroyer. Apollyon(Gk). Revelation.9:11. (Abaddon (heb)….he likes to destroy…still no change…behind all destructive activities......Satan’s hand!

9. Lucifer. Isaiah.14:12 – His original title…. Meaning ‘Star of the morning' or ' son of the dawn'— reminds of Satan’s beginning….pride of his position destroyed him. Today, he is not the ‘morning star’. Cf. Revelation 22:16

10. Angel of light. 2Corinthians.2:13—15 - He is not actually the ‘angel of light’ – he only takes the form of heavenly angels. It speaks of his deceptive works.

11. Roaring lion. 1Peter.5:8 - refers to his activity….to devour God’s people.

12. Prince of the air. Colossians.1:13 ---one who controls the atmosphere…God has permitted it now.

13. Power of darkness. Colossians.1:13 ---he works in darkness…ignorance…keeps people there.

14. Prince of the world. 2Corinthians.4:4 ….he controls the world system. Behind all the evil system or life style of the world satan can be seen.

15. god of the world. 2corinthians.4:4 --- The ungodly men of this world likes the life of satan and hence took him as their god!

16. King of the bottomless pit. Revelation.911 – as the leader of the evil angels he is the king!

17. The wicked one. 1John.2:13 – this title shows his basic wicked nature.

B. Eight important facts about devil. (Including his tactics)

1. He is a created, fallen angel. Notice three things here:-.
a. Angelic being.
Not just an influence but a person with all the features of personality-individuality. Cp. Job.1:6—12; Matthew.4:1—11. Accusing, talking. The Lord Jesus referred him as father in John 8:44. He must be a person to be a father. At the same time he has no body, not even a tale or a horn as some think.
b. Created being. Ezekiel.28:15; Colossians.1:16. We don't know the exact time; yet true. So devil is not sovereign. He is not an evil god!
c. Fallen angel. Ezekiel.28:13—19. (v.13, 14); Isaiah.14:12—14. He was created so beautiful—as the chief — occupied special place of prominence in guarding the throne of God. But pride caused his fall. Luke.10:18. Pre-incarnated Christ saw it!

Along with devil the demons that joined him in the rebellion also were cast out of their position. Some of those angels are chained and kept in hell. 2Peter.2:4; Jud.v.6 – reserved for judgment. Some are free, yet under the authority of God. Job.1:6, 7; 2:1, 2. These fallen angels are called demons or evil /unclean spirits. Mark.1:23. Today his abode is mainly in the air. Ephesians.2:2

2. He is a powerful being. 2Thessalonians.2:9
Not omnipotent as God yet more powerful than man. Not omniscient as God yet knows much more than man. Do not underestimate the potential of satan. He has the ability to perform miracles to deceive man. When Moses performed miracle, devil too did, there was a difference; Moses' snake swallowed magician’s snake!

Consider the works of Devil throughout the centuries. How easily he could accomplish his purposes. In spite of all the miracles, words and warnings, devil could carry away the people of Israel away from the Lord. In spite of all the messianic predictions in the Old Testament Jews rejected the Messiah as a nation. Devil could successfully blind the eyes of many they could not see the truth. Even today, notice the mounting evil, rebellion, murder, wickedness, and even the growing satan worship.

He knows much. When Christ quoted the scripture he also quoted it. But not accurately — omitted a phrase which was not suited to his purpose! Matthew.4:6; Psalm. 91:11, 12.

I think he even reads what we write and listens to what we say! But he can never know our thoughts or the secrets of man. So beware, carefully utter your ideas - lest he hear!

During the end time devil will get more power, especially after the rapture of the Church of Christ –when the restrainer is gone. 1Timothy.4:1; 2Thessalonians. 2:7

3. He is an opponent of God. Zechariah. 3:1
Ever since his fall his main work is to oppose God, His purposes and His people. He will oppose you and me, and anything that will bring glory to the name of God our Father through Lord Jesus Christ. So, as a Christian you can never be a friend of satan! Then, can we adopt his style and fashions!

4. He is characterized by evil / wickedness. 1 John.2:13. Eph.6:12
We have already noticed his names / titles. He is wicked, liar, murderer, deceiver etc. No good in him. He prompts us to do evil. He discovers and propagates evil. Devil energizes man to indulge in all kinds of immorality. Ephesians.2:2. As the days go by we see an absence of shame in the society. That which was considered as wrong or immoral is a common thing today.

Satan is using the entire media for his evil intentions. More and more violence and immorality is being promoted through various platforms. Often most of us do not understand the evil hand of satan behind certain social medias which we consider as harmless. Many do not have proper answer for the increasing crime and lawlessness in the society. Devil works from behind the scene.
God's people will discern the work of devil and keep themselves away from his agents and followers!

5. He is very subtle one. Genesis. 3:1 - He is a cunning / crafty enemy - very tactful one.

a. He works from behind. Seldom attacks directly. In the Garden of Eden worked as a serpent — no self introduction! No credit claimed. Even he makes people to think that satan doesn't exists!

b. He works through people, (dear ones & little children) circumstances, government policy etc. Matthew.16:23. (He tried to use Peter to stop Christ from going to cross.)

c. Wears many masks. Takes the form of many innocent creatures:-

Snake - to tempt to compromise. Genesis. 3:1
Bird – to take away the seed. Matt.13:4, 19.
Angel of light – to duplicate / counterfeit. 2Corinthians.11:14
Lion --to oppose. 1 Peter.5:8 d. Uses many strategies. 2Cor.2:11. “Wiles” Eph.6:11—‘scheming'; Gk-‘ methodia '—‘schemes'- the term here refers to the way a wild animal who cunningly peruse an animal and then unexpectedly pounce on its pray.

Such tricks devil also uses to trap us. He has many tactics in number as well and variety. It seems he uses the most appropriate one for the target / occasion. The most dangerous tactics could be used on a later stage. When one trick fails he makes use of the more serious one.
So it is good to consider some of his tactics. We can observe his tactics from three viewpoints:-

i. Listed in the scripture. Explicitly mentioned in the Bible.
ii. Lessons from his earlier works.
iii. Present day experiences - modern strategies that we can notice as devil uses.

Let us see few of the schemes of satan, without much explanation:-

i. Takes away the seed. Mark.4:15.
He may allow us to read or hear the word of God, but quickly makes sure that we forget!

ii. Blinds the eyes. 2Corinthians.4:4.
He will close the heart and mind of people to the truth of the Bible.

iii. Energizes men to disobey. Ephesains.2:2.
Grants strength to disobey God!

iv. Sows wild seed (tares). Matthew.13:38, 39.
He is the cause for all the confusion and false teachings found among Christians.

v. Promotes false believers / preachers. 2 Corinthians.11:14; 2Thessalonians.2:9
How many ‘sincere’ Christians have become champions of wrong teachings.

vi. Twists the word. Psalm.91:11, 12 cf. Matthew.4:6.
He quotes the word for his own purposes – subtracts or adds according to the occasion.

vii. Tempting the godly. Lukr.4:13; 1 Thessalonians.3:5.
If he tried to tempt the Lord Jesus Christ in whom no sin existed – who could not have sinned; will he ever leave us alone!

vii. Producing bad or evil thoughts. John.13:2; 2Corinthians.10:5.
He fights with the minds of simple and sincere believers.

viii. Accusing the brethren. Revelation.12:10; Zecheriah.3:1.
Sometimes devil will use God's own people to harm the name of Christ by making false allegations and rumors against the brethren!

ix. Persecution. Luke.22:31, 32.
If none of the above tricks works, he will come in the open to terrorize the saints. 1Peter.5:8

x. Hindering. 1 Thessalonians.2:18; Daniel.10:12, 13.
He brings stumbling blocks in a believer's path to stop his progress.

xi. Dividing the saints. 2 Corinthians. 2:11cp.1Corinthians.1:10.
He knows well unity is the strength of the Church of Christ. So divides Christians to destroy the life and testimony of the Church.

xii. Snaring the saints. 1 Timothy.3:6, 7
Traps believers with attractive and apparently safe things, like: position, love of money, fame, entertainment, pleasure, T.V, cricket, even internet etc.

Alban Douglas wrote many years ago, that devil is changing his tactics now with, laziness, sleeplessness, pressure of duties, nervous breakdown, luxury life, fashion craze, day dreaming, criticism, discouragement, indifference etc. He is changing tactics every day….sad…we don’t realize!

All the above 12 things very clearly mentioned in the word of God are the ways which satan is working. It is our responsibility to know his tactics and be away. Let us not be cheated with these at the same not to assist him in his diabolic intentions.

6. He has an organized force. Ephesians.6:12
Notice the four designations Paul mentions here in Ephesians 6. “Against” is added to each and that shows they are four distinct regiments – demonic hierarchy.

a. Principalities
b. Powers
c. Rulers of the darkness
d. Spiritual hosts of wickedness.

These four refer to different regiments or ranking of the evil forces under satan. He has thousands of demons — evil angels -- at his disposal. He has organized them may be like Navy or Army. Why is it necessary? We can assume like this:-

Since Satan is not omnipresent or omniscient, he needs a net-work to gather information and execute his evil designs. From Revelation.2:13 we understand that devil keeps a temporary head quarter at certain places. Possibly he has changed it many times — where would it be today!?
Let us consider the 4 ranks of demons -- the demonic hierarchy.

A. ‘Principalities':- — demons who have the oversight of nations—high order / rank of demons.

B. ‘Powers’:- demons who will possess human beings. Mark.5:10 Notice the power of the demons manifested in the death of the herd of swine’s. One pig could not stand straight even with just 3 demons, and then consider the condition of the man who was possessed with 6000 (legion) demons! Of course no born-again Christian believer can be possessed by a demon. 1John.4:4

C. ‘Rulers of the darkness':- Demons who are in charge of Satan's worldly business. Dr. John Macarthur suggests, ‘perhaps this rank refers to demons who have infiltrated various political system of the world — hard to identify, but sure behind many schemes of Christ-less human efforts – both in obviously evil and good — satanic forces are actively working!'

D. ‘Spiritual wickedness':- Demons who have charge over religion or involved in the most wretched and vile immoralities.
Thus they are highly organized. Different legions / regiments for different tasks, groups, people! Well planned, sophisticated, intelligence net-work: Special taskforce for special target. Beware!

7. He is a shameless being. Luke. 4:13
Even if failed to tempt or trap you once, no retreat. Continue the effort, no shame, no boring. He returns with a renewed scheme or a new group of demons. Luke.11:24. That's why we need to be on our guard always. Till we leave this world, any time attack of the evil one can take place. 1Corinthians.10:12.
8. He is a defeated foe. Colossians.2:14, 15; Hebrews.2:14, 15; 1 John.3:8c.

The Lord Jesus Christ defeated devil through His life as well as His death. Devil was happy to see that human beings are under the bondage of sin and subsequent punishment. He thought God' plan for man has been failed and man will be with devil in Hell for ever. Matthew.25:41.

But the Lord defeated devil's design by His own death on the cross. Paid the penalty fully and made it possible for God to forgive, cleanse and justify man. Even to glorify him and to bear the image of the Son of God. Romans.8:30, 31.

Thus the hold of Satan is gone and is utterly defeated. And further, Devil knows well that the judgment of God is going to fall on Him shortly. Revelation.20:1—3, 10.

However strong and tactful he might be, Christian believer does not need to fear devil. He is a defeated foe. He may roar but no teeth he has. Someone has beautifully commented:-

“The devil is strong, but Christians are stronger through the Lord (Eph. 6:11). They have the protection needed to withstand his assaults. The devil tempts, but God provides a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13); the devil tries to take advantage of people (2 Cor. 2:11), but he will flee if fought (James 4:7). The devil should not be feared, for Jesus is more powerful than this deceiving prince of the demons (1 John 4:4)”.

Conclusion: -
So what should be our attitude to Devil and demons?

• Be aware of his tactics. 2Corinthians.2:11
• Resist Satan by staying close to Christ. James.4:7
• Give no place for him. Ephesians.4:27
• Claim victory in Christ. Revelation 12:11

Let us loudly and confidently declare victory over satan and his forces in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Praise be to His great name. Halleluiajah.

Related topics: Studies on    Spiritual Warfare    /   Features of Our Warfare   /   How to Win

Revised: August 20, 2016


More:- An index for all studies

Prepared by Nelson Thomas as part of his teaching ministry. You can reproduce this study in any form / medium,
provided it is unedited, and retain the original author / copyright information and reference to this website.
Please feel free to write to the author for details. Or contact    gracepeaceu AT gmail.com
Devil and Demons