By Kenneth V. Reeves
We do not read that there is more than one devil until we come to the New Testament. There we find many devils, even a legion of devils in the case of the maniac of Gadara. To John, the Lord revealed that Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. These fallen angels are the devils that are manifested throughout the New Testament. These devils are said to be able to encompass, as well as dwell inside a human being. This means that they would have the ability to compress themselves into a small area, such as that number called legion crawling into one human being. If the chief devil is a fallen angel, then the other devils must be fallen angels. In that case, we know there must be a large number of these angelic demons.
The question arises about their fall and the time of their fall. The Bible tells us in John 8:44 when Lucifer became the devil. From what we gather from other scriptures, it was after this that the other angels were led by the chief of devils to follow his false course of action. John 8:44 reads: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
He was a murderer from the beginning. Now when you talk about the beginning, that could have conceivably have been after Genesis 1:1 and before Genesis 1:3, because as you may know, archeologists have found bones, skeletons, and other evidences of creatures that may have lived many millions of years ago, encrusted in the earth! It has been my theory that in the beginning, or right at the dawn of creation (Genesis 1:1), and before Genesis 1:3 where God said “Let there be light”, there may have been millions and minions of years. It has been my opinion that Satan was in charge of angelic beings, and together they ruled over the earth during that time unrecorded in scripture. But his heart was lifted up with pride. By the seduction of these angels with him, they made an attack upon the very heavens to claim a throne like the Most High God. But God wrought great judgment upon them when He stirrer” the water and earth together in the judgment. There was a wrapping of ancient creatures with the vegetation inside, as if mixing things with flour and water in a bowl. The skeletons with the hydrocarbons we find in the earth as oil or coal may be the results of that judgment.
There apparently was a great battle that took place that reduced Satan and his angels to the defeat he sustained. For at the time God put man and woman in the Garden of Eden, the Serpent was already in the earth and was an enemy of God and man. When Lucifer became the devil is said by Jesus to have been from the beginning, whenever that period was. It had to have happened before man was made.
In Genesis, chapter three, only one devil is identified and called the Serpent. The over fifty million demons that exist were not made known to us in Genesis, chapter three. This is one third of the total angels of God. Revelation, chapter five, reveals that there are ten thousand times ten thousand plus thousands of thousands of God’s angels. This means the fallen angels, numbering one out of three, would add up to over one hundred fifty million original angels of God. How many more than this we do not know, for the angels are actually innumerable, as Hebrews 12:22 states.
So there are many, many of these demons who followed this chief devil, who was a murderer from the beginning. What is the reason this chief devil fell? It is found in chapter three of I Timothy. Please get this right or you may misconstrue it later. When the Bible speaks of a bishop or a pastor who is to rule the house of God, it states that he must not to be a novice or inexperienced person, lest he be lifted up with pride and fall into the condemnation of the devil. It must have been pride that caused the devil to fall in the beginning. It may be well to consider the mistake that can be made when saints and ministers brag too much on young ministers, who may have a tremendous desire and drive to succeed. They may be pushed too far, too fast and believe in their ability and destiny too much, to the extent that their head grows larger than their hearts. You may unwisely help to destroy them by blowing them up too much. Too much authority and too much praise can sometimes do more harm than if nothing at all is said to them. Honorable appreciation spoken temperately can be of great help. Encouragement must be given with due regard to the person, time, and occasion as led by the Spirit of God. Rather than pushing people too far, too fast and perhaps helping to destroy a good prospect, we are wise to help without exalting. While it could discourage a person to say nothing to help them, it could be worse to intemperately exaggerate our appraisal and create the star complex, thus setting them up for a fail. Pride is as dangerous as lust.
Isaiah 14:12 states: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou host said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Pride was his downfall.
Ezekiel, chapter twenty-eight and verses 3-5, pictures a man, but alludes to Lucifer. “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: By thy great wisdom and by thy traffic hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches:” While a man is referred to, Ezekiel is really talking about the chief of` devils. Later in the same chapter, he continues: “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee…Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.” This is talking about a king who is devil inspired, having the nature of the devil. It is a double message: to the man, but, also of the devil who is inspiring him.
We simply do not know the time that stretched from the beginning to the creation of Adam and Eve. We do not know how long God allowed the devil to rampage around, but we know that in Genesis, chapter three, he was called that old Serpent after man and woman were created. He is called that Dragon in Revelation, chapter twelve, which is a far more dramatic picture of this arch enemy of God and man. Other names he is called are: Satan, Beelzebub, and Appollyon. He is a liar and the father of it.
In the subject of demonology, we are inclined to think of casting devils out. But, there is much more to the subject of demons than just casting them out. There is a need to know what kind of a nature they have, the work they carry on, and how they lead people to be liars, to tell lies, and to act lies; for he is a liar. Nov, a liar can do a lot of damage, and Christians should take heed to the scripture which tells us not to lie one to another. Sometimes in the name of courtesy, in being sociable, a person may act a lie if not careful.
Satan is also called a murderer. He has a murderous nature. He is called that wicked one. He has no interest in the welfare of any human being. He will take a person who may not be at all what one would call badly, and drag him down to a sordid life of sin and crime. He would make a killer out of a person as he did Cain, if one would follow his devices. The devil is called fierce, as one can see from what he did to the maniac of Gadara. He is very proud, very ambitious, and very powerful. This is not to scare you, but you must know that this chief of devils goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. He is a tough customer, in some respects. You are not dealing with someone who cannot put up a rugged fight.
However, strength is not his only characteristic. Another is deceitfulness. II Corinthians 11:13-14 tells us a little about the d of deceitful character that he has. The Apostle Paul got very well acquainted with him, and said that there were agents of the devil who were “…false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And, no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” It is hard to depend upon a clever, deceitful person, who never really levels with you. When they talk with you, you know that they are withholding things from you that are a part of the whole story. But do such people ever really level? Satan uses men as agents to deceive, and he also transforms himself as an angel of light.
A devil ascended from the bottomless pit to tell a woman that she was healed of a cancer. When that did not come to pass, she felt that God had misled her. She was so anxious to be healed that she ignored the direction from which the angel came, and tried to believe what proved to be a lie. She was a fine woman, but was too anxious for healing to prove her source. If the angel had been from God, she would have been healed, and the angel would not have come out of the pit.
The devil can also be cowardly. He may be tough, but when he meets a Christian who submits himself to God, and resists him, he will flee like a coward. Deceit is his best weapon, and if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect. So do not underestimate his power. But, better than that, do not underestimate the power of God, which is available to all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
In deceiving, Satan may misconstrue or flat-footedly deny the scriptures. To Eve, he misphrased and denied the truth of what God had said about the forbidden fruit. Whatever angle will work is the angle he will use to deceive or otherwise overcome a person. By deception, he lets the individual act on his own to fall from God; but, by power, he may defeat by demoniac force, the person who has become too weak to resist or unwilling to resist. Why should he use force if he can get a person to destroy himself by disobedience to God’s Word? In most all events, he will seek to deceive those whom he wishes to control.
Paul said in II Corinthians 4:3-4, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” He simply blinds the minds of them who believe not. What does he blind them to? He blinds them to the light of the gospel, of course. He blinds them to the truth. Do you know that a church can be the surest way to go to hell? A church can guarantee that you will make it to hell. All you have to do is misinterpret the scriptures, misconstrue them, and be led to believe lies instead of truth. Was it not God’s Word that the devil misled Eve to disobey? Of course, it was. He blinded her mind because she really had not retained each and every word that God had spoken to Adam, but added some of her own words with God’s Word.
Unbelief is at the foundation of deception. Disobedience seems to flow from unbelief, and the devil works in the children of disobedience. (Ephesians 2:2) People sometimes come to church and plunge out the door in opposition to truth the minister has preached, perhaps considering that they have been persecuted instead of preached to. You can be sure that rushing out of the door in some anger or resentment will not end the matter. If the message was true, that person will face that message somewhere, sometime, and not under the most pleasant circumstances or conditions. The devil will then seek to wedge further into that life until the person becomes entirely alienated from any and all efforts to later save them.
All who will fall into this category do not plunge out the door in anger, but conceal their disobedience under other masks. In any event, the saints who accept the truth should not use sympathy with such people, but instead should be empathetic or compassionate. Yet they should not condone nor justify them. Do not give them aid and comfort in their rebellion, but be willing to help such people in a right way. A wrong solution can be as harmful as treating cancer with aspirin. When they work on your sympathy to get you to encourage them, you may rain them forever. In spite of the fact that they may seem grateful for your false help, you are not doing them good, but only helping them to become more entrenched in their error. As long as they operate in a disobedient manner, the devil will work in them. Always remember that Satan seeks to deceive those he expects to control.
The Apostle Paul warned Timothy concerning the end time. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”(I Timothy 4:1) Seduction has to do with leading astray, especially from duty. Doctrines of devils has to do with teachings of devils that are not in harmony with the true meaning of the scriptures. Seduction reduces a person from what they once were when they were on a higher level of living and doing. A false teacher will speak lies in hypocrisy and will have a seared conscience. It will lead anyone who follows them to the same condition and the same practices. Demons water down the gospel.
Demons work in darkness, Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us. They are the forces of darkness with whom we wage a warfare. Those who do not love the truth are the ones that these demons can do so many things with and by. Many people are religious, but cover up or avoid truth by the use of religious activities, ceremonies, rituals, and services that seem so devout. They may even appear dedicated. This religious streak in people may look good to the onlooker, but really serves to hide the truth. We are warned of wolves in sheep’s clothing that conceals the nature of the person. II Thessalonians 2:10-13 tells how Satan will come in: “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
You may say that you are not denominational minded. I realize that denominations become symbols of certain beliefs, so that many are opposed to these groups. I agree that denominationalism can be harmful, but truth is neither created by denominations nor otherwise. Truth is truth anywhere and everywhere as an eternal principle, whether held and known by one or by many. Love of truth must be in the individual heart. As far as scripture, truth is what God has ordained to be preached and published by whomsoever. You can belong to a church and still not love truth. Truth is loved by individual people and is not loved because of denominations. There are many local churches that have members who love the truth. It is ultimately the individual who must believe and rely upon the truth to be saved. But, God will send a strong delusion to that person who refuses to receive the love of the truth, that they may all be damned. In fact, God will send them a strong delusion that they should believe a lie if they refuse to love the truth.
But, what should we do’ with those who refuse to love the truth and are caught up in delusions and lies? Should they be persecuted? Of course not. The idea is not to denounce them or to smear them. The idea is to warn every person not to be deluded, and not to go that way, because damnation is the result of that course of action.
If a person has not gone too far and become irretrievably lost in delusion, Paul counsels Timothy what to do and not to do in II Timothy 2:24-26. “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
My friends, deception is the devil’s chief weapon. In putting one in a wrong position, he will then take possession of him and ruin his life through that deception. He is a clever, clever foe. But he also works other ways, as he did in Job’s situation. He may put people through emotional loyalty tests. Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31, “Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” Another translation replaces the phrase “desired to have you” with “has asked for you”.
In II Corinthians 11:1-3, Paul wrote, “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” Paul realized that the devil could deceive people either directly or by false teachers. Many religious broadcasts are deceptive, confusing by multiplied twists and turns of scripture. This leads listeners into contrary and contradicting notions about God and the Bible. The same also is true when we consider the multiplied number of competing books that are sold all over the world, purporting to explain God.
Another angle that these demons may use is to play upon people’s needs to be healed of bodily diseases and sicknesses. Much money is wasted on religious efforts with so little to show for all the noise made about it. However, I believe that God still heals and works miracles along with other supernatural operations. But so much is a hook to catch unwary people who are desperate for help. This is an opinion of mine, and is not meant to discourage true ministers and true believers from looking to God for spiritual help of all kinds offered in scripture for those who will exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Of course, not everyone broadcasting on the various forms of electronic media is false or working a con. But surely there must be a cutting-off place somewhere with all of these voices calling for supporters, when their message of salvation is not adequate whatsoever.
The watch word to true believers is found in James 4:7: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. “He must be resisted steadfastly in the faith. (I Peter 5:9) The wicked one can be overcome. (I John 2:13) The saints will overcome him “…by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” (Revelation 12:11)
Now there are certain fundamentals of devil control that are pointed out in the scriptures, and I think only those who trust Christ’s victory can win over the devil. It is not bulldog determination that wins the victory. If you will study Genesis 3:14 where it is said by God that the seed of the woman would bruise the serpent’s head; and Hebrews 2:14 where Satan was nullified as to his power over those who lived in fear of death; you will see that it is the victory of Jesus over him that gives us the victory.
Jesus said to the returning servants who had told Him that devils had been subject to them, through His Name, “Rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20) But he also said in Luke 12:29 that to take a man’s house from him, you would first have to overcome and bind the strong man. This simply means that to overcome the devil will take power to overcome him first. One must be able to force the devil to submit against his will and strength. If we would cast out devils, we must do it by the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God, and not attempt any such thing in the flesh. Even Michael the Archangel, was careful to say, “The Lord rebuke thee” when he contended with the devil concerning the body of Moses. (Jude 9) Victory by treading on serpents was to be done in His Name, in His will, in His power, and by His Spirit.
No one who has really wrestled with devils will take this question lightly. It takes a powerful Christian to meet these foes, and then it must be in the will and power of God. Oh God, may we do what we do in the Name of Jesus. Be sure that you are completely armored with the breastplate of righteousness, and have on the belt of truth, and be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, with the helmet of salvation, the hope of salvation, the shield of faith, and the sword of the Spirit. (Ephesians 6:13-17) Many demons are tremendously powerful creatures who should be approached with care in God’s Name.
Young ministers, in their zeal, may get inspired and rush in to take authority rashly and find themselves getting involved far beyond their wisdom and ability. All ministers are wise to wait upon God and act only as God authorizes, to compel demons to obey. Just as a policeman has authority to carry out his duties in upholding the law, so must we be authorized by the Lord? We cannot merely read the Bible and arbitrarily assume that it means us, as we act upon demons. We must be authorized clearly by the Lord to do these things on a personal basis, or we will get in trouble. After all, demons have centuries of experience behind them, and we must have no less than the help of God and also His angels in order to cope with evil spirits. They are clever and we are not always wise. However, no demon will dare to cross over the Blood of Jesus Christ.
The above article, “Origin, History, and Nature of Devils” was written by Kenneth V. Reeves, LL.B. J.D. The article was excerpted from chapter two in Reeves’s book The Angels, Demons, and People vol. 1.
The material is copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.