What does the Bible say about demons?
Demons are frequent characters in horror stories and films. Many people claim to have seen them or evidence of demonic possession.
Pagans do rituals to safeguard themselves and their homes from demons entering in. However, what is true? What does Scripture say about demons? These verses include KJV, ESV, NIV and more translations
Christian quotes about demons
“When the powers of darkness are arrayed against you, and aim to destroy your joy forever, nothing is more precious than to have the Word of God ready for the battle. The fight for joy is not for the unarmed.” John Piper
“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” I’m not afraid of the devil. The devil can handle me – he’s got judo I never heard of. But he can’t handle the One to whom I’m joined; he can’t handle the One to whom I’m united; he can’t handle the One whose nature dwells in my nature.” A.W. Tozer
“It is written.” Stand upon it, and if the devil were fifty devils in one, he could not overcome you. On the other hand, if you leave “It is written,” Satan knows more about reasoning than you do. He is far older, has studied mankind very thoroughly, and knows all our weak points. Therefore, the contest will be an unequal one. Do not argue with him but wave in his face the banner of God’s Word. Satan cannot endure the infallible truth, for it is death to the falsehood of which he is the father.”
“Spiritual warfare is not about naming territorial spirits, claiming the ground, or binding demons. It is all about the gospel. It is to live a gospel life, to preserve gospel unity and to proclaim gospel truth. It is to do this in the face of a hostile world, a deceptive enemy and our sinful natures. And it is to pray to a sovereign God for gospel opportunities. Advance comes through godliness, unity, proclamation and prayer.”
“You can’t defeat the demons you enjoy playing with.”
“Fear of the devil is nonsense. Fear of demons is foolish. The Spirit of God anointing the Christian heart makes the soul impregnable to the powers of darkness.”
“When Jesus came to earth, demons recognized him, the sick flocked to him, and sinners doused his feet and head with perfume. Meanwhile he offended pious Jews with their strict preconceptions of what God should be like. Their rejection makes me wonder, could religious types be doing just the reverse now? Could we be perpetuating an image of Jesus that fits our pious expectations but does not match the person portrayed so vividly in the Gospels?”
“Deliverance ministries assume that demons are behind the inability to stop certain sins and addictions, and they tend to look for the quick fix. But sin is not so easily dispatched. Being rid of these sins requires yielding oneself completely to God, and it can take time… What Christians need is not deliverance from demons (from which they have already been delivered) but immersion and submersion in the Holy Spirit.” David Garland
“The world of demons, fallen Angels, is very real – a fact we need to know. We have to face up to this terrible reality, so that we do not fall unsuspectingly into their hands and come under their tyranny.” Basilea Schlink
“Nowhere in the New Testament are believers ever depicted as living in servile fear of demons, that is precisely the state from which they have been delivered by the gospel.” Melvin Tinker
“The potency of prayer hath subdued the strength of fire; it hath bridled the rage of lions, hushed anarchy to rest, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, expanded the gates of heaven, assuaged diseases, repelled frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt.” John Chrysostom
“The church is the most important organization in the world. It is the target of every demonic, hostile attack in the universe. Jesus personally guaranteed that the gates of hell will never prevail against the church. He made no guarantee that the gates of hell would not be unleashed against it, however.” R.C. Sproul
What are demons according to the Bible?
Demons are angels that have rebelled against God. They decided to follow after Lucifer, the archangel who decided he wanted some of the glory that was going to God.
Just like angels, they are spiritual beings that may take on physical form. But also just like angels, they cannot act without God’s permission.
1. Revelation 16:14-15 “They are demonic spirits who work miracles and go out to all the rulers of the world to gather them for battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty. 15 Look, I will come as unexpectedly as a thief! Blessed are all who are watching for me, who keep their clothing ready so they will not have to walk around naked and ashamed.”
2. Deuteronomy 32:17 “They sacrificed to demons, not to God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear.”
3. Psalm 106:37-39 “They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons. 38 They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters. By sacrificing them to the idols of Canaan, they polluted the land with murder. 39 They defiled themselves by their evil deeds, and their love of idols was adultery in the LORD’s sight.”
4. Revelation 12:7-9 “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
What can demons do to you?
Demons tempt believers to sin, and they can cause disease. They can cause physical pain, emotional torment, and erratic movement. They can cause tremendous pain and distress. But none of this is outside of what God has allowed.
The elaborate demonstrations of demonic possession that we see in movies is not so common here, but it is more prevalent in third world countries. Here possession looks more like vile hatred for Christ and Scripture, public mocking, defiling anything that is of Christ.
5. Matthew 8:28 “When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.”
6. Matthew 12:22-23 “Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and unable to speak was brought to him. He healed him, so that the man could both speak and see. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?”
7. Matthew 17:14-18 “And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly.”
8. Mark 5:2-5 “When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones.”
9. Mark 1:34 “So he healed many who were sick with various diseases and drove out many demons. But he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.” 35 Then Jesus got up early in the morning when it was still very dark, departed, and went out to a deserted place, and there he spent time in prayer.”
10. 1 Samuel 16:14-15 “Now the Spirit of the Lord had departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him. 15 Saul’s attendants said to him, “See, an evil spirit from God is tormenting you.”
What do demons look like in the Bible?
Demons do not look like little red devils with horns and a pitchfork. They are not like what you would see in a movie. They are angels – spiritual beings with a spiritual body. They can take on the guise of physical form, just like angels can. And they can deceptively appear to be beautiful and holy, as if they are an angel of light.
11. 1 John 3:8 “Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”
12. Genesis 6:4 “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”
13. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”
Defense against demons and evil spirits
We as Christians must guard ourselves from spiritual attack by taking on the armor of God – by dwelling in the Word, and fleeing from sin. Prayer and fasting, and dwelling in the Word is how we defend ourselves from demonic attack. We must resist the devil and flee from him, not giving him a foothold in our life.
14. Mark 9:38-39 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me.”
15. 1 Kings 22:21-23 “Then a spirit came forward and stood before the Lord, saying, ‘I will entice him.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’ Now therefore behold, the Lord has put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these your prophets; the Lord has declared disaster for you.”
16. Ephesians 6:11-12 “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. 12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.”
17. Acts 19:13-16 “But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you? And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
18. Luke 8:2 “and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out.”
19. Matthew 17:19-20 “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”
20. James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”
21. Mark 9:29 “And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
22. Luke 11:14-22 “And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute; when the demon had gone out, the mute man spoke; and the crowds were amazed. 15 But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.” 16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven. 17 But He knew their thoughts and said to them, “Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and a house divided against itself falls. 18 If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? So they will be your judges. 20 But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. 21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own house, his possessions are undisturbed. 22 But when someone stronger than he attacks him and overpowers him, he takes away from him all his armor on which he had relied and distributes his plunder.”
Names of demons in the Bible
There are a few names of demons, or fallen angels mentioned in the Bible. Satan or Lucifer being the archangel who fell and who led others to fall.
He now is the leader of the demons. Legion is another name mentioned as is Beelzebub/Beelzebul. Apollyon/Abaddon is also mentioned.
23. Luke 8:30-35 “And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion”; for many demons had entered him. 31 They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.” 32 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. 33 And the demons came out of the man and entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned. 34 When the herdsmen saw what had happened, they ran away and reported it in the city and out in the country. 35 The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened.”
24. Matthew 4:10-11 “Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” 11 Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to minister to Him.”
25. Mark 1:13 “And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.”
26. Luke 22:3-6 “Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, 4 and he went to the leading priests and captains of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. 5 They were delighted, and they promised to give him money. 6 So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around.”
27. Romans 16:20 “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.”
28. 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 Yet I am not surprised! Satan can change himself into an angel of light, 15 so it is no wonder his servants can do it too, and seem like godly ministers. In the end they will get every bit of punishment their wicked deeds deserve.”
29. Revelation 12:9 “And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.”
30. 2 Kings 1:2 “And Ahaziah fell through the lattice in his upper chamber which was in Samaria, and became ill. So he sent messengers and said to them, “Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I will recover from this sickness.”
31. 2 Kings 1:16 “Then he said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron—is it because there is no God in Israel to inquire of His word?—therefore you shall not come down from the bed where you have gone up, but shall surely die.'”
32. Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!”
33. Matthew 12:24 “But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.”
34. Mark 3:22 “The scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons.”
35. Luke 11:15 “But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons.”
36. Revelation 9:11-13 “They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer). 12 The first woe is past; two other woes are yet to come. 13 The sixth angel sounded his trumpet, and I heard a voice coming from the four horns of the golden altar that is before God.”
Jesus cast out demons
Jesus cast out demons in His ministry here on earth. The demons knew that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. They feared Him and obeyed Him. The demons and the devil are not equal to Christ. They are merely created beings.
37. Matthew 8:31 “So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.”
38. Mark 5:12 “The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.”
39. Luke 10:17 “The seventy came back triumphant. “Master, even the demons danced to your tune!”
40.Mark 3:11-12 “Evil spirits, when they recognized him, fell down and cried out, “You are the Son of God!” But Jesus would have none of it. He shut them up, forbidding them to identify him in public.”
What is demonic oppression/possession? Is it Biblical?
There is no mention in Scripture of a true follower of Christ being possessed by demons, but there are instances where we are told that Christians can be oppressed by them. Oppression looks like severe mental and spiritual weight, illness, physical pain, immense struggling.
Christians do not need a priest to perform an exorcism. We do not need to chant certain words or verses in order to cast them out – that is no different than a pagan casting a spell. Repeatedly in Scripture we see that those who are demonically possessed were free from their possession when they came to a saving faith in Christ.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. It is by speaking the biblical truth into their lives that they will be able to hear the truth and then believe and be set free.
41. Matthew 12:44-45 “Then it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept, and in order. 45 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before. That will be the experience of this evil generation.”
Why does God allow demons to attack us?
God does not allow anything to happen that is outside of His control. Everything, even the hard things in life are allowed for our sanctification and His glory. Even demonic attack. God can use it to help us grow.
God even allows those who are not His to be possessed for His own purposes. We cannot know the mind of God, but we cant trust Him because He loves us and cares for us.
42. 1 Timothy 4:1 “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.”
What else do we know about demons according to the Bible?
Demons know that God is a triune God and that Jesus is God the Son. The demons are aware of their fate. Demons have been worshipped and sacrificed since early in the Old Testament with the idol Molech, as they are being worshipped today with abortion.
We are told that the evil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom to devour – we must stand vigilant. There is never a time for the Christian to rest and not to be watchful over his soul.
43. James 2:19 “You believe that God is one You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.”
44. Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
What else do we know about demons according to the Bible?
The ultimate fate of demons is eternity in Hell. They will be bound and cast into the lake of fire. They know this. Some of them are already chained. Some are still on the earth to torment us and to lure us away from the truth. We need not fear, because they cannot win. The battle has already won.
45. Matthew 8:29 “And they cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?”
46. 2 Peter 2:4 “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment;”
47. Revelation 20:9-12 “They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10 And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”
Just as some people are tempted to be too preoccupied with angels, other people tend to be too preoccupied with demons. We shouldn’t be. That is just a distraction from the Gospel.
The Gospel is everything that matters. Christ has overcome the power of the demons and the hold they have. We need not look into their world or listen to their lies. For all they know to do is to lie and deceive. But even the demons are subject to Christ.
48. 1 Corinthians 10:21 “No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”
49. 1 John 4:4 “Little children, you belong to God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
50. Leviticus 19:31 “Don’t dabble in the occult or traffic with mediums; you’ll pollute your souls. I am God, your God.”