What Does the Bible Say About Demons and Satan? - Radical

What Does the Bible Say About Demons and Satan?

As believers, we must always be on guard against the evil in this world. Yet, we also must be careful to avoid giving them too much credit and power against the God of the Universe. What, then, does the Bible say about demons? In this message, Pastor David Platt clearly defines demons, as well as the limited power they have in this world.

  1. What Are Demons?
  2. How Do Demons Relate to God

Watch Full Message Of “Secret Church 7: Angels, Demons, and Spiritual Warfare

Okay, what are demons? Demons are evil angels who sinned against God and now continually work out evil in the world. Evil angels, they were created good by Genesis 1:31, get to the end of creation. God saw all that he had made and it was very good. But, then they had become evil by Genesis 3:1, when the serpent comes into the garden and tempts.

So, something happened between Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 3:1, when a number of angels, and the devil, rebelled against God. Scripture leaves a gap here, talks a little bit about it in a couple passages in the Old Testament, which we’ll look at in a minute, and in the New Testament, 2 Peter 2:4, and Jude 6, both passages we’ve read talk about how these angels sin with their moral capacity and were thrust down.

What Are Demons?

So, demons are evil angels who sinned against God and who now continually work out evil in the world. Now, who is Satan? Satan, and we’re going to unpack this definition. An angel created by God who served as a cherub until he rebelled against God, and now opposes God in every way. Let me be clear. He is not a guy dressed in a red suit with a pitchfork. He’s absolutely not that.

Get that image out of your mind. Satan is an angel. Matthew 25:41, the devil and his angels. So, the qualities that we mentioned earlier, he is spiritual, not a physical body like Oz, personal, moral, intellectual, emotional capacities, powerful, limited though, in space and in knowledge, single, immortal, versatile, all of these things that we talked about with angels applying here. He’s an angel, just like the holy angel, Satan was created by God.

Colossians 1, By him all things were created. He served as a cherub. Most scholars think Ezekiel 28 is a reference to Satan. You’re anointed as a guardian cherub for so I ordained you. You here on the holy mount of God. You walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence and you sinned. So, I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God and expelled you, oh guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Served as the cherub of until he rebelled against God. The other major Old Testament passages, Isaiah, excuse me, Isaiah chapter 14, verse 12 through 15. This is talking about God’s judgment on the king of Babylon and earthly human king here, in Isaiah 14. But Isaiah, through the word of God uses language that seems to refer to the heavenly rebellion of Satan.

Satan’s Rebellion Against God

How you have fallen from heaven, a morning star, son of the dawn. You’ve been cast down to the earth, you once laid low the nations. You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven. I’ll raise my throne above the stars of God, I will sit and throne in the Mount of Assembly on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds. I will make myself like the most high. But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. Now listen, the occasion of Satan’s sin was power, and the nature of his sin was pride. I want you to notice in that passage 5, I will statements, you might even underline them. I will ascend to heaven. He wanted equal recognition with the creator. I will raise my throne above the stars of God.

He wanted the greatest allegiance in all of creation. I will sit and throne on the Mount of Assembly. He wanted the highest position of authority. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. He wanted the glory that is only due to God. I will make myself like the most high. Satan’s ultimate goal was to replace God, and in his desire to become glorious like God, Satan became the epitome of that which is ungodly.

Let me say that one more time, because I don’t want you to miss this. In his desire to become glorious like God, Satan became the epitome of that which is ungodly, and the reason I want to emphasize that is because this is where Satan tempts you and me. He is familiar with pride, and so the core of sin is pride. And what was the temptation in Genesis 3? You will not die if you eat this fruit, Satan said, for God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be open and you’ll be like God. We, it’s the core of sin. We aspire to be the God of our own lives, Satan tempts us in this, and when we play that out, we give ourselves to that which is most ungodly.

Jeffrey Brogan said, it is a strange paradox that nothing makes a being less like God than the urge to be his equal. Satan rebelled against God and now opposes God in every way. Zechariah 3, one example of that. Now, Satan’s names reveal his tactics. The devil’s names reveal his tactics. He is Satan, the adversary. That’s what this word means, this title means, the personal name of the head of the demons mentioned in Job 1. In the Hebrew, this literally means adversary. It’s carried over into the New Testament, there in first Thessalonians too.

Satan Is Deceptive

He’s the adversary who opposes God’s agenda, works against God’s plan, violates God’s character, assaults God’s people. He is the adversary. He’s the devil, which means the slanderer. That’s the picture of him prowling around there in First Peter, chapter 5, he’s a slanderer. He’s Lucifer, son of the morning. Isaiah chapter 14. Oh, Morningstar, son of the dawn. This means Satan is not going to come to you ugly and scary, but he will come to you beautiful and enticing, winsome.

You’ll be attracted to his agenda, because he will dress it up and seduce you with it. That’s why we’ve got to get this pitchfork picture out of our mind. He’s Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies, Beelzebub was a pagan idol. He was supposed to protect you from a swarm of flies and Jews understood Beelzebub as the God of filth, which is an apt description for Satan. He’s Belial, a false God, directing the worship of God toward idols. He’s the evil one. 1 John 5 said, this is the word for absolute corruption. He will influence anything he can to make it corrupt. He is the tempter.

Satan takes perfectly good, God-given desires in us, and entices us to fulfill them with artificial means. That’s what temptation is. Think about all the good gifts God gives, food and rest and sex and ambition and work, all the good gifts and good desires that God puts in us, and the tempter comes, and entices us to fulfill those desires through artificial means, that go against God.

Temptation From Satan

This is the picture of tempting, in 1 Thessalonians 3:5. He’s the prince of this world. The prince of this world will be driven out, john 12 says. He is a master of false systems. He crafts entire schools of thought that can suck us in and destroy us. You know he’s working hard in our day to convince teenage girls that if they do not look like the cover of a Seventeen or Cosmopolitan magazine, that they are not worth anything. He’s convincing teenage guys, they need to put forth a certain persona in order to be accepted. He is convincing college students, men and women across this room that if we do not have the right clothes or the right car or live in the nice house or have the beach or vacation lake house to go to, then we are not successful, and we are buying into it all.

He’s a master of false systems. The prince of this world, who rules the ways of this world. He is the accuser. Revelation 12, the accuser of our brothers. Satan delights in condemnation. He will accuse you, condemn you, point out your sins, that have been confessed and covered by the blood of Christ. He will constantly accuse you with them. He’s represented as a serpent in Genesis 3, a dragon in Revelation chapter 12. The great dragon was hurled down, an angel of light in 2 Corinthians 11.

How Do Demons Relate To God?

Now, how does Satan and demons relate to God? I want us to make sure we’re clear on some contrast here. God is the creator. Satan is the destroyer. God is the creator. Genesis 1, Satan is the destroyer. That is his name. Revelation 9, destroyer. Satan delights in destroying everything God has made. He’s the destroyer, but don’t miss this.

This is the good news. God is the almighty. Satan is limited by God. Genesis 17, I am God Almighty. Job 1, very well then everything he has, talking about Job, is in your hands, but on himself, do not lay a finger. Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. Satan is limited by God because he is less than God. We have to be very careful not to attribute the characteristics of God to Satan, to the devil. Satan is not omnipotent.

He’s not omniscient. He does not know everything. He does not know our evil thoughts, or all of our thoughts. He’s not omnipresent. Satan is not everywhere at once. He’s limited by God, and he only works under the permission of God. Satan is on a leash. God’s almighty. Satan is not almighty. We’ll come back to that later. God is true. Satan is the father of lies.

God is love. Satan is hatred and a murderer, John 8:44 says, he was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth. For there’s no truth in him. God is righteousness. Satan is evil. God is our advocate. If anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense, Jesus Christ, the righteous one. Praise God. Satan is our accuser. Satan’s standing at the right side of Joshua, the high priest in Zechariah 3, to accuse him. God is our protection in temptation. Satan is the tempter. God is our ultimate judge. Satan is ultimately judged by God. God’s our judge, not Satan. Satan is judged by God.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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