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In the ordinary English Bible we read of the devil and we read about devils. In the original languages in which the Bible was written, these two words—the devil and devils—are not in any way related. In the New Testament the word devils is the translation of the Greek word DAIMONION and it would have been better if this word had been translated as ‘demons'. In this BULLETIN, when we refer to devils, we are speaking about demons.
Many people live in constant fear of demons. They consider them to be invisible, wicked spirit beings. They are held to be responsible for doing untold harm to people and nations. Wars, civil unrest and the progress of evil political ideologies are all considered to be the result of demon activity. Demons are held to be capable of entering the body or mind of a person. where the demon can destroy faith, induce bodily sickness or make the person mad. Some believe that demons attach themselves to objects such as books, furniture or jewellery, and when misfortune strikes they will dispose hastily of the object suspected of harbouring the demon.
DO DEMONS EXIST?
A careful examination of the Bible teaching about demons (or devils), shows that there are no such beings as demons. There is no need to fear them! They do not exist!
This is what we find in the Bible:
(1) In the Old Testament, demons are only mentioned on a very few occasions. In every reference there is a connection with false religion. For example, concerning the unfaithful nation of Israel we read: "They sacrificed to devils not to God to gods whom they knew not." (Deut. 32:17). Of Israel it was commanded: "They shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils " (Lev. 17:7). Speaking of the unfaithfulness of one of Israel’s kings we read: "He ordained him priests for the high places, and for the devils, and for the calves which he had made" (2 Chron. 11:15).
THUS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT DEVILS (OR DEMONS) ARE THE OBJECTS OF PAGAN WORSHIP—PAGAN GODS! PAGAN IDOLS!
(2) We find exactly the same teaching in the New Testament. The Apostle Paul writes to the Corinthian believers and warns them to keep away from the idol worship which was part of the Corinthian way of life: "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry¼ the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table and the table of devils" (1 Cor. 10:14,20,21).
THUS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, TOO, DEMONS (DEVILS) ARE PAGAN DEITIES.
(3) But, according to the Bible, pagan gods have no real existence. So the God of the Bible—"the only true God"—declares, "There is no God else beside me; a just God and a saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else" (Isa. 45:21,22).
Since demons are pagan gods, and since pagan gods have no real existence, it follows that demons do not exist!!
(4) But does not the Bible speak of people being possessed by demons?—Yes, but only in a very restricted way:
¨ Demon possession is not mentioned in the whole of the Old Testament.
¨ Demon possession is not mentioned in most of the New Testament.
¨ Demon possession occurs only in the Gospels and occasionally in the book of Acts.
Careful examination shows that demon possession in the Gospels and Acts, was a way of speaking about certain types of illnesses—particularly epilepsy (e.g. Matt. 17:15) and psychiatric illness (e.g. Mark 5:1–15, and note especially, "in his right mind" in verse 15). The fact that Jesus cured people with so called ‘demon possession’, does not mean that he believed that demons had real existence. We, today, do not believe that people are really affected by the moon when we refer to them (perhaps unkindly), as LUNAtics; neither do we commit ourselves to believing in demons when we refer to a state of confusion as panDEMONium.
There was a reason why demon possession, as an explanation of certain diseases, was so popular in the time of Jesus. There was a very good reason why Jesus went along with the idea of demon possession. For those who will take the trouble to find out the facts there are interesting and exciting discoveries to be made—discoveries which could affect your salvation!
Our personal salvation does not depend only on knowing the 'truth about Demons' but on also knowing the Bible's full story of salvation from eternal death. Such salvation is offered to those who are prepared to learn about God's word, believe God's promises and be baptised 'into Christ', thus 'putting on Christ'. The Apostle Paul assures you and me that... "the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord...." (Romans 6:23). "Through Jesus".....is the only way!
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