Devil, Satan and Demons

The Bible is very clear that there is no supernatural evil force that opposes God. Taking each of these topics in turn, this is a brief explanation of what the Bible teaches. More information is available in leaflets which you can request by email.

Devil

The word for Devil is not found at all in the Old Testament. The original word means false accuser or slanderer. Judas is described as a devil because he betrayed his Lord.

Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.”

 

John 6:70

In two letters that Paul wrote (1 Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:3) he exhorted believers not to be devils and all he was saying was – don’t be a false accuser or a slanderer.

There are two passages below which teach us that our human nature, our sinfulness, is referred to as the devil. The Bible tells us that we die because of sin and yet there is a hope of salvation because Jesus died as a sacrifice for sin. In his sacrifice the power of sin was destroyed. Referring to Jesus, Hebrews records

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he (Jesus) himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,

Hebrews 2:14

We find the same theme in John’s epistle.

He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:8

Satan

The original word simply means an adversary or an opponent. The friend and close apostle of Jesus, Simon Peter was described as a Satan when he rebuked Jesus for saying that he was going to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Jesus knew that this would happen to him.

And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.

Matthew 16:22-23

In the Old Testament a good angel was described as a Satan when he stood in the way of Balaam when he travelled against God’s wishes.

But God’s anger was kindled because he went, and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him.

Numbers 22:22

Demons

There are two uses of this term. Firstly we find that references to demons and pagan gods are interchangeable. An example in the Old Testament is Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 106:37. An example in the New Testament is 1 Corinthians 10:14, 20 and 21.

The main use of the term demons is to describe an illness of the mind including an epileptic fit. Jesus healed various people with such problems and one example is recorded in Matthew 17.

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.

Matthew 17:14-18

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