Demons

My daughter was told by a friend that they saw a demon. I have a hard time with believing this. I believe satan and demons are real and are at work in the world, but can they appear or talk to people? Even pastors? I believe there main goals are to distort God’s word, hinder our testimony, and discourage our walk. What are they able to do? How do they work against us?
Thank you.

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Hello kkberg,

I know that there is a lot of information regarding demons out in the world today. So much that its sketchy at times. What I do know from Scripture is that yes, they are real and yes we can encounter one. However, their power is very limited . In reading Scripture we do see instances where demons were encountered by Jesus and we also see how they can exercise that limited power that they do have. Some examples would be inflicting mental torment,causing erratic behavior in people ,harming unbelievers,entering humans and animals. But one important thing is that as believers we cannot be demon possessed. They can work against a believer in different ways making it hard to pin point one specific thing. Just know that the victory is ours through Christ.
I hope this helps a bit :slight_smile:

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@kkberg You have piqued my curiosity. I believe in being just skeptical enough to ask clarifying questions, but not so skeptical that I dismiss another person’s claim out of hand. I am curious to know what your daughter’s friend means by “demon?” What transpired in that meeting? Your daughter probably did not think enough about these things to find out, but asking her these questions might help her to understand how to examine these things for authenticity. The next step is to examine with your daughter how what her friend said matches with scripture. @Smorey has already pointed you in the right direction in that regard.

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Good evening @kkberg - I cannot think of anywhere in the Bible that demons appeared to men on earth.

In Job and other passages, Satan appears in the heavenly throne room, but no people saw him there. In Zechariah 3:1, the prophet sees Satan in a vision - but that’s not really the same as seeing him in person. Some passages in the Revelation may be taken as demonic appearances in an unprecedented time of future judgment.

But I cannot remember demons ever actually appearing to men the way that angels have done.

Typically, demons seek to possess some animate being (a serpent, pigs, people) in order to use a physical body to interact with the physical world. Otherwise, disembodied spirits seem very limited in the mischief they can do. (I believe that @Smorey is right in saying that they cannot possess believers who are sealed with the Holy Spirit.)

They cannot possess inanimate objects - the stone images of demonic gods having eyes could not see, having ears could not hear, their mouths could not speak, etc. - Psalm 115:4-7.

So if someone said they had seen a demon, that would be an extrabiblical claim.

I hope this helps you!

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@kkberg In my own life I generally flip that question around: how can I live my life in order to propagate God’s Kingdom of light? Jesus has already conquered the evil one—all that we need to do is walk with Jesus. I do not concern myself with the kingdom of darkness—I leave that to God. So if I were teaching a kiddo, I would emphasize the following:

  • Jesus conquered evil through His death and resurrection and He is our good Shepherd who defends us from the wolves in this world - we run to Jesus and Jesus handles the powers of evil
  • as Christians, we conquer the darkness in this world by worshiping, trusting, and obeying God - by inviting His Holy Spirit to live in our lives (we should pray each day for His Spirit to guide us)
  • if you are ever feeling scared, you can come to me and we’ll pray Ephesians 6:10-18 together - you can pray that in the morning for God’s protection - and worship - never feel that you are alone in this battle
  • as Christians, we are children of the light - God has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness, so we do not do anything associated with demons - we stay away from immorality and demons and drugs and anything that does not honor our King Jesus

Some of these shorter verses could be good memory verses:

1 John 4:4 - You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Colossians 1:13 - For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves

Romans 16:19 - Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

Ephesians 5:15-20 - Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:31-39 - What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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@kkberg

I’m curious, how old is the friend your daughter is talking about?

Anthony

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Hi @kkberg these are very interesting and important questions being asked about your daughter’s friend’s statement and it’s made me think about what the Bible says and my own experiences.

Like @jlyons, I can’t think of a Biblical example of anyone seeing a demon. I recall this story about Smith Wigglesworth, but it is just that, a story. What we can take from it is encouragement on how to approach attempts from the enemy to cause fear and intimidation. (http://mountaineagle.com/stories/victory-over-your-villains,22339)

Smith Wigglesworth awoke in the middle of the night aware of a demonic presence in his room. He saw Satan in a visible form standing at the foot of his bed. Instead of being alarmed, Smith said, “Oh, it’s just you” and went back to sleep. “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 Jn. 4:4).

Everyone here is right, if we are possessed by the Holy Spirit then we cannot be possessed by the demonic. They can influence and discourage. That’s why Paul tells us to to be so alert and on our guard in Ephesians 6.

I’ve had some pretty oppressive experiences of the demonic in the past, as there were areas of my life open to the enemy’s attack that I hadn’t given over to the Lordship of Christ. I haven’t seen any though and I never think I will.

Absolutely this shouldn’t be our focus. We need to keep our eyes fixed on God. However, it’s good to know how to respond if someone has an experience described like this (my experiences had me frozen in terror through the nights because I didn’t understand the love of God enough - praise God this ended as I came to know God better!). We need to equip one another and build each other up with words of edification. The scriptures shared by other people are excellent and as we see in Jesus’ ministry, he uses scripture to fight against the enemy. The Romans 8 verses shared by @SeanO are worth memorising. Encourage your daughter’s friend to understand what these mean exactly for her life. This makes me ask; does she know Jesus?

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@kkberg, I too think that it is not as important to know all that the demons are capable of as much as what God is capable of. He that is in us as Christians is greater than he that is in the world (1Jn 4:4). However, I think the reason for your question is to establish the credibility of the testimony that your daughter heard.
Scriptures give us information on several things that the evil spirits can do – most commonly demonic possession of living beings manifested through changes in voice and movements (Matt 8:31, Acts 19:13-16, Mk 1:26, Mt 17:14-18), deceptive teaching and false prophecies ( 1Tim 4:1, 1Ki 22), sickness (Mt 4:24, Lk 4:40-41, Lk11:14), torment (1 Sam 16:14), fortune telling (Acts. 16:16), dowsing (Hos 4:12) , appearances (Job 4:15-16, Lk 4: 1-14, 2Cor 11:14) , perform signs (Rev 16:14) and blinding us to gospel (2 Cor 4:4). This isn’t an exhaustive list but covers a lot of ground already! The Bible is about recording the mighty acts of God rather than all that the demons can do.

In my own experience growing up in India, I too have witnessed manifestation of demonic possession at the name of Jesus in people, and have heard testimonies from missionary friends in India of the ability of spirits to manifest objects, cause sickness and appear in a spirit form. Rabi Maharaj, a hindu yogi who came to Christ in his book – ‘Death of a guru’, records several spiritual manifestations such as objects moving, astral projection, supernatural powers etc. I write about the evidence for demonic activity only because many people especially in the west think of demons largely as myths and seem to engage in practices arising from the occult without much consideration to the impact these could have.

My thoughts are that the report you heard has a high probability of being true. However our faith need not rest on these reports but on evidences such as the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the name above every name.

Phil 2: 9 – 11 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

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@kkberg thank you for posting this question. I personally would not doubt somebody if they told me they saw a demon. I have had four experiences when I saw demons and many other experences with demons manifesting in others. Jesus of course had numerous experiences with the demonic, the main one was while he was doing a 40 day fast, when the devil appeared to him. This is recounted in Luke and Matthew 4.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him…

Job 4:15 is another example of a spirit appearing as is the story of The Witch of Endor from 1 Samuel 28.

The best book I have read on this subject is C.S. Lewis’ book, The Screwtape Letters. Lewis has incredible insight into how demons work in this book. I heard it said somewhere that was the most difficult book Lewis wrote, as he had to think like the enemy for so long. Here is the book free on Audible.

The list provided above by @Lakshmismehta is very accurate as to the scope of the power demons have. I do not believe I can add to this as it is very carefully put together from scripture. I also very much appreciate the scripture and old Smith story shared above by @artownsend as this has been my experience also.

Greater is he that is in you, than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)

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Hi @kkberg

I, too, am in agreement with what has been written in these post. The Bible tells us it is not foreign or strange that we encounter demonic activities and the weapons they would attempt to use against us. Having witnessed demonic activity through prayer ministry and with neighbors who have engaged in or grown up with an occultic background, satan is a reality.

And Jesus is even more. He has come to defeat the works of the devil and give victory to His children walking in dependence upon Him. I have witnessed His victory many times in the lives of others, as well as my own, through prayer. He loves to set us free. :slightly_smiling_face:

I am praying that you and/or your daughter have an opportunity to engage her friend regarding this experience and share Christ’s love and promises. May the Lord lead you in truth and liberty.

Thank you for your post!

mary beth

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