May 16th, 1973 @ 7:30 PM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-16-73 7:30 p.m.
As we announced Sunday week ago, the topic for our study tonight is Demonology, the study of demons. Now I have a preliminary word that I would like to say out of my own mind and thinking with regard to demons, demonology. The subject seems so strange and foreign to us, and yet if we think of it, we can see how we can be easily misled by the skeptic into believing that there is no such thing as an unseen world. Now we are going to look for just a second at matter in creation. All of us are cognizant that that is axiomatic: matter, this thing is real, this thing is real, this is real, the ground is real, the stars are real; the creation of matter is very, very apparent to us. But there is something also that is no less apparent, and that is that in the creation, there is something more, there is something that uses matter.
Now, this is most dramatically illustrated in you, in a physical frame. Or let us take it, somebody that you know and love. It would be a rare somebody who has not seen a cadaver, a body. And as a pastor, I have seen people die. In one moment—and I am thinking of a man now—in one moment, this is the man. And in the next moment—he is all there. Everything about him is present; his head is there with a brain inside, his thoracic cavity with the lungs inside, his abdominal torso with the viscera inside. He is just as he was. But in that moment, from there to there, he has turned into nothing but dirt, clay, ground. What has happened? What has happened is the mystery that I am talking about. There is something other in this universe that uses created matter, and you are a good illustration of it.
Just exactly what is “you”? What are “you”? Well, you are this, this, this; but you know, without—you intuitively know that actually you are not this and this and this—you are somebody who lives on this inside of you. You are soul and spirit, and you just inhabit this outward body. Now, I have used that to show to us that if the unbeliever says that the unseen world of spirit is nothing but unadulterated superstition, on the face of it, when you look at it closely, that is not true. As real as matter is, there is no less certainty about the reality of something beyond matter.
Could I illustrate it by the word “metaphysics”? When Aristotle wrote his philosophy, he wrote those books on physics. But when he wrote those words on physics, those books on physics, he came to a world beyond physics, and the word for “over and beyond” in Greek is meta. So when he got through writing those words on physics, then he wrote his books on metaphysics, metaphysics, beyond the physical. And what Aristotle was able to see as a philosopher, we are certainly able to see by just rational thinking, and especially as a Christian. There is another world beyond the physical world; and that world is spiritual.
Now in that spiritual world we are, here in the Word of God, we are introduced to a leader, and his name is diabolos, diaballō. Diaballō is the word “to slander, to accuse.” For example, in Luke 16:1 it says, “The steward was accused”: he was “diaballō.” So, diabolos—you pull the accent back—diabolos, diabolos, diabolos is “slanderer” and “accuser.” The Hebrew word is Satan. And it is the same thing in the Hebrew word: satan is “adversary,” and it comes from the Hebrew word satan, which means “to lie in wait,” that is, as an adversary. So whether it is in the Greek, diabolos, from which comes our word “devil”—whether it is in the Greek, diabolos or whether it is in the Hebrew, Satan, satan, it is the same word: always, it is that slanderer, that adversary.
Now, it is always used in the New Testament in the singular, and it is used thirty-five times. There is a devil; there are many demons, but there is one diabolos. There is one Satan. There is one Lucifer, just as there is one Christ. There is one great leader of the kingdom of darkness [Matthew 4:8-9; Ephesians 6:12]. Now the demon, the daimōnion, is an evil spirit, and the New Testament will use that word sixty-one times; thirty-five times use the word diabolos, devil, but sixty-one times uses the word daimōnion, demon. Now we’re going to look at these demons, and then we’re going to look at Satan.
First of all, where do they come from? Who are demons? Demons are fallen angels. Some say that they are the disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamic race which was lost in the catastrophic tragedy between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2. They substantiate this with the characteristic desire of demons to be embodied, as seen in the story of the destruction of the swine in Luke 8:32. But such a pre-Adamic race is pure supposition. There is not anything actually in the revealed Word of God that would make us believe that there is a pre-Adamic race. Yet there are lots of people, theologians, who believe that there was. But there’s nothing in the Bible to substantiate that; it is supposition, it is deduction. The demons are fallen angels; they are not the disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamic race.
For one thing, God does not create evil beings, or anything evil. In Isaiah 45:7, “evil” there, “God creates evil,” “evil” there is the desire—is the divine corrective punishment for sin. God forged that link, that the wages of sin is death [Romans 6:23]. And that’s what that passage refers to in Isaiah 45:7, where it says, “I, God, create evil.” That is, He creates the corrective punishment for sin; God does that. But God does not create evil things or anything evil. So a demon is not a creation of God; he is a fallen creature. Evil is always but a perversion, a prostitution of the good. God only creates good.
Well, where does evil come from? And where would an evil demon come from? Always evil is a prostitution of that which is good. Now I repeat: God never creates anything evil; He never has. He would be incapable of creating anything evil. But evil is something that God created good that has been debased. A judge can be corrupted, a policeman can be bought off, sex can be perverted, money can be used to destroy, and alcohol can become a curse; yet every one of those things, and everything else that has been prostituted, in itself isn’t evil. Alcohol is a great medium for the dissolving of medicine. Most of the medicines you’ll buy will be dissolved in alcohol. Sex is for the blessing of humankind; it is an intimate enjoyment, and it is the source of our procreation. Money can send out the missionary. A policeman can ward off the criminal. And a judge can be upright, and dispense justice; and on and on and on. Evil is always good that has been debased and prostituted.
Now these demons belong to the kingdom of Satan, whose power it is the mission of Christ to destroy. Several times, such as in Matthew 12:24-26, Matthew 9:34, we are introduced there to the nomenclature, to the language, of the kingdom of Satan. In Acts 10:38, Satan uses these demons as agents of hurt and oppression. And in Matthew 25:41 it refers to “the devil and his angels.” They are powerful enough to challenge heaven. In Revelation 12:4, one-third of the angels of heaven chose to follow Satan rather than to keep their first estate in glory [Jude 1:6]. Now isn’t that an astonishing thing? And yet, you look at the whole world around you. How many people in the world choose God? choose Christ? choose the Christian faith? choose the Christian life? How many in the world do? Well then, if you realize that, it is no astonishment to us to learn that one-third of the angels of heaven chose to follow Satan in his rebellion rather than to keep their first estate, and to be with God [Revelation 12:4; Jude 1:6].
So, to summarize it now: demons are fallen angels. They were created beautiful, perfect; but they fell. And that’s where evil always comes from: from something God created good, and it was debased and prostituted [Ezekiel 28:15].
Now demons, fallen angels, are of two classes: there are those who are imprisoned in the abyss, waiting the great judgment day of Almighty God [1 Peter 3:19]. The abyss is a temporary prison detention. Their ultimate abode is in hell; Hell is created for the devil and his angels [Matthew 25:41]. Now in 2 Peter 2:4 and in Jude 6, you have a reference to this abyss in which these angels are kept. You have a reference to these angels in Luke 8:31, in Revelation 9:1-11, and Revelation 20:1-3. Now I want you to notice: nobody under God’s heaven knows why some of those angels are imprisoned in the abyss. Here again, you have just human speculation. But nobody knows why some of them are imprisoned.
Now the other class of angels are those who are free; and the earth and the air are their abode. In Ephesians 6:12 we learn that there are orders of them. Arche, exousia, kosmokrator, and pneumatika tas ponerias—pneumatikas, spiritual beings, of ponerias, evil. They have orders of them. Just as in the angelic world you have seraphim, and cherubim, and archangels, and angels, there are orders of angels, there are orders of these fallen angels. And here in Ephesians 6:12 you have one, two, three, four, four of the orders named there; and they are presided over by Satan.
Now what is their work? What is the work of these demons? Now we’re going to list some of them. One: they create false religions. They are so named in 1 Corinthians 10:20-21. The wild orgies of licentious, pagan worship, such as the prostitutes in the temples of Venus; the animal sexuality, that is, people having sexual intercourse with animals in the worship of Baal; and if any of you’ve been in Old Mexico, in Central America, in the Aztecs’ pyramids there, on those altars they offered up human sacrifices; and in the stories of Molech they burned their infants in his fiery arms. Where’d all that come from? All of that came from the tragedy of demoniacal leadership. Isn’t that a pitiful thing? Now I’ve just mentioned some here by illustration, that’s all, when I mention these Venus, and Baal, and the Aztecs’ gods, and Molech of the Old Testament. And the gullibility of people today, where does that come from? The whole world, filled with fanatical devotees of false professional religion—where does that come from? How does it ever happen? It happens only because of demon possession. Demons do that. I don’t think a man in his right mind would ever in the earth think of worshiping God like that, but that is the power of demons in the world today.
Why some of these sects that live in the world of religion are unthinkable! You had an illustration of it the last two nights here in this pulpit, with this boy who used to be a high priest in the worship of Satan and was converted. And so tragic is the worship in that satanic religion that he said, “I cannot even describe it to you; it would be offensive to say it in mixed company.”
I went to see the king of I-r-e, Ire, in Nigeria, West Africa. He lives in a big square compound, and all around in those compounds, in that compound, are where his wives stay, and their children, and in the center is his house. There is one entrance to it as you go into the compound, and right in front of the entrance is a shrine, and the shrine is to the devil. So I asked them, “Why do you worship the devil?” And the answer is—now you listen to it—”I don’t have to worry about God; He is good. But I do have to worry about the devil, because he’s bad, so I placate the devil and worship the devil in order that he won’t hurt me. And as for God, I don’t have to worry about God, because He is my Friend, and will be good to me.” Now where does thinking like that come from? That comes from demoniacal interference, persuasion. And you’ve got it—the world is filled with it. All right, we must hasten. They create false religions.
Second: they corrupt the doctrine of Christ. In 1 Timothy 4:1-2, Paul expressly says that. They corrupt the doctrine of Christ. How in the world do these theological professors stand up there in the name of God, and in the name of Christ, and in the name of the church, and teach such things as they teach? I don’t say you’d go a thousand miles away and see that. I’m talking about here in this town you will find theological professors who scoff and laugh and ridicule anybody that would believe the Bible. Where does that come from? That is demoniacal. The demons corrupt the doctrine of Christ.
All right, third: they are instruments of divination. In Acts 16:16-18 you have the story of that young woman who was a medium. What does the Bible say about mediums and about witchcraft? There is not anything that the Bible denounces more forcefully and energetically than spiritism, mediums, witchcraft. Oh! The Bible is fierce in denouncing it. The necromancer, who says he can talk with the dead, all of this astrology business, everything that smacks of that whole system the Bible says is demoniacal, all of it. And if somebody comes along and they have any gifts of divination, of prognostication, of outlining the future, or knowing what is unknowable, all of that, if they have any, it comes from demoniacal persuasion, influence.
Saul was slain according to the word of Samuel [1 Samuel 31:1-6]. Well, what about his going to that witch at Endor? In 1 Samuel 28:6-25 you have that story. Now you look at that thing. That witch, like most of her kind, that witch was terrified and surprised when she saw Samuel rise from the dead [1 Samuel 28:11-12]. And without her as a medium, Samuel talked to Saul, and Saul talked to Samuel [1 Samuel 28:14-20]. In no hint does the Bible tell that story as though Samuel was raised and presented by the medium. She was terrified and surprised at what was happening [1 Samuel 28:12]. She’s a shyster, she’s a chiseler, she’s a charlatan; just like all of them are.
I don’t have time to read these passages in the Bible, but since these things are being taken by tape, to get it into the tape, the Bible forcefully denounces mediums, astrologers, witches, necromancers, sorcerers, the whole gamut of it—in Leviticus 20:6,27; in Deuteronomy 18:10,11,12,14; in Isaiah 8:19; and I’ve already discussed the passage in Samuel. You are a sheer, unadulterated nincompoop to go to mediums and astrologers and witches in order to find answers that God will give you if you will take the matter to the Almighty. Oh, don’t ever do it!
Now they are not only instruments of divination, they oppress humanity. I want to point out to you that the New Testament is very careful to distinguish between demon possession and disease. For example, in Matthew 4:24 the diseased are named, the demon-possessed are named; and so in Matthew 8:16, Matthew 10:8, Mark 6:13, Luke 4:40-44, Luke 9:1, and Acts 19:12. The Bible is very careful to distinguish between disease and demon possession. The human body and mind and soul and thought can be oppressed by demons. That’s in Matthew 9:32-33, Matthew 12:22, Mark 9:17-22, and Luke 13:11-17.
Again, not only do they oppress humanity, they fill us with everything hurtful and vile and evil in the world. They oppress humanity; but they obliterate moral sensitivity. A classic example of that is in Luke 8:26-36. In verse 27, the man has no clothes on [Luke 8:27]. In verse 35, he is clothed and in his right mind and sitting at the feet of Jesus [Luke 8:35]. Where do you think that comes from, this modern day of wanting to go naked? These nudist colonies—where does that come from? And these scenes that you see everywhere in the beaches of the world, and they are clad in little strips—where does that come from? That comes from moral insensitivity.
I have always felt—though I don’t know how to implement it over there at the Y—I have always felt that the Lord made the body in secret, and it is to be disclosed only in that intimate relationship when the man and his wife are together before God. But to be naked in public violates the created purpose of the Lord for our physical frames, and the only way that that sensitivity can be obliterated is through demoniacal influence. They obliterate it. The moral character of all demons, of all fallen angels, is depressed. Their moral turpitude is evidenced by the epithet “unclean spirits,” and they figure in the moral collapse of a people who yield to gross carnality. You see an illustration of that in Revelation 9:20-21. Whenever you see instances of and fall prey to these orgies of modern life, all of that is demoniacal.
All right, number six: how do these demons work? In high councils of government they lead to destruction. In Revelation 16:13-16, how is it that all of those nations are over there in Palestine for the war of Armageddon? They have been deceived by these evil spirits. And you know, when I look at history, and when I look at the nations, and when I look at America today, there’s no other way to account for what you see than the influence of unclean spirits in the high councils of government, that lead the government, and of course following the government, to lead the people to destruction [Revelation 16:13-14].
Let’s just look at some things that have happened in my lifetime. I think of Hitlerite Germany. The only areas in which Hitler made mistakes were in colossal areas. Every little detail was worked out just right; every little thing was worked out, meticulously worked out, but the colossal mistakes were always characteristic of the Hitlerite government that finally led it to destruction. Why didn’t the same ingenuity that made Hitler capable of working out those little infinite details, why isn’t that same ingenuity characteristic of those vital decisions that were made? Because the demoniacal influence in government never leads to victory or triumph, but it always leads to destruction, annihilation and disintegration.
Let’s take the American government today. I am convinced that our president is a righteous man, a good man. I think so. Yet at a time when he was bidding for a place in history as being a good government, a sound government, a conservative government, and one that would make America great, at that very time, all through the government—and this isn’t new, it’s just come to light—all through the government there has been such misuse of power and such pride in political status and appointment that the entire world has become suspicious of everything in our national life.
I went down today and transferred dollars into pounds to send to London, and I said to the man at the international bank, I said to him, “Why, look what you have done. You have charged me an outrageous conversion here of dollars into pounds.” And he said to me, “The world has become so suspicious of America that our dollars are just wavering; down and down and down and down they go.”
Where does all that come from? From God? from the Spirit of Christ? from Jesus? No. All of that comes from the demoniacal influence in the high councils of government. And in Revelation 18:2, in the final Babylon, the final world city, you have again a picture of the influence of these demons.
Well, what is our hope against them? The possibility of demon possession—now let me say first, when I give you this, this is my opinion, and there are many men who would have an absolute opposite opinion. All right, now having said that let me give you my opinion. I think any one of us can be possessed by a demon. The spirit of avarice, of blasphemy, of unbelief, of lust, of power, of egotism, of anger, of bitterness, of hatred, of littleness, they are legion. I think any one of us is capable of being possessed by demons. I can say, “I must cause myself to be patient, and meek, and gentle, and forbearing. I’ll never be angry again. I’ll never be unkind, or severe, or critical, or wrong-spirited. I’m going to be better. I’m going to change.” Bang! Something happens, and I’m just, man alive!
Well, what do you do against demon possession? I think you have your answer in Matthew 12:43-45. Here the Lord tells of a man who cast out the unclean spirit in his heart. And the unclean spirit went around, and he went back and looked at that man’s heart, and it was swept, and clean, and garnished, and e-m-p-t-y, empty. So that unclean spirit went out and got about a seven of them worse than himself, and came back and inhabited the heart of that man; and the last estate of that man was worse than the first. What is the Lord teaching us there? And what is God saying to us there? Simply this: that you can clean your life up forever, and you can reform forever, and you can swear you’re going to be good forever, and you can just, oh, you’re going to be a paragon of holiness and excellence, but if you don’t have the Spirit of Christ in your heart, you are ultimately going to do none of those things. And the chances are, at the end of your fine reformatory mood, you’re going to be worse than you ever were. What a man has to have before God is to have the Spirit of Jesus in his heart, so that when the evil spirit comes and looks in your heart, he finds it not swept, garnished, empty, but he finds your heart filled with the Spirit of Jesus. Then he can’t get in, because your heart is already filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
Now in my sermons on the Holy Spirit, I say we don’t do this today, but I can give you an example of Saul in the Old Testament, 1 Samuel 16:14: “The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit troubled him.” That is, when he didn’t have the Spirit of God in his heart, his heart was empty, so an evil spirit got in him. And in the case of Ahab, in 1 Kings 22:19-23, the evil one sent a lying spirit in the hearts of the prophets, and they lied to Ahab.
What is our hope against the demons? It is a very simple and plain and humble one; and that is open your heart to the blessed Lord Jesus. “Lord, You inhabit my heart. You dwell in my heart. You come and possess me.” Then when all of these evil spirits try to get in, your heart’s already filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and they can’t take it [Matthew 12:43-45]. Isn’t that a wonderful thing? Isn’t that a wonderful thing?
I don’t have to strive and fight and go through reformatory spells; all I have to do is just let Jesus come into my heart, and He does all of the withstanding, and the fighting, and the keeping, and the guarding, and the blessing, and the saving, and all of it. He does it. Just like a man get in an airplane: all he’s got to do is to sit down and relax.
I heard some fellow the other day, and he said, “You know what? There’s just something wrong with me. When I sit down in a plane, I am terrified. I hold onto the chair, I press against the floor, and I just am horrified at the thought of where I am up there in the air.” Isn’t that pitiful? When all he has to do is to listen to the pilot as he said, “We’re going to climb to a height of forty-one thousand feet, and we’re going to serve you dinner as soon as we get to our altitude. And we don’t have any clouds, we don’t have any turbulence, so you just sit back and relax and enjoy your trip.” And all a fellow has to do to enjoy that trip, sleep, read, if it’s a long flight look at a picture show, if you want to plug in those ear phones and listen to the canned music, or talk to a neighbor across the way, or just whatever; all the difference between just relaxing in the thing or sitting there full of terror is just having faith in the pilot and the machine.
And that’s the way it is with us: all that it takes for us to have a life of quiet victory and triumph is just to rest in the Lord. “In returning and in rest, in quietness and confidence be your strength” [Isaiah 30:15]. And these demons that afflict us on every side, if you have Jesus in your heart there is no place for them.
Well, I had hoped tonight to go through our study of Satan. But we’ll pick it up next time, along with the Antichrist.
Now for just a moment, let us turn to our Bibles, to our Bibles. Dear me, can anybody remember? I thought I marked it, but I’m sure the mark I have here is—where were we? Were we in Exodus? You don’t mean to tell me that we’ve been here all these times and we’re still in Exodus? What? Exodus 24:7-11. I tell you. All right, our next one is Exodus 31:18, Exodus 31:18. There it is expressly said that God gave to Moses two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God, written with the finger of God. Now, Exodus 32:15, 16 and 19, 31 and 32. Now let’s take those first ones.
- In Exodus 32:15, he came down with the two tables of testimony in his hand. The tables were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God [Exodus 32:15-16].
- All right, now verse 19, “And when he saw the calf, and the people dancing around them: he cast the tables out of his hand, and brake them beneath the mount” [Exodus 32:19].
- Now let’s turn to 31-32; this is one of the great, great verses in the Bible. And after the story of the golden calf, verse 31, “And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin”—and a long black dash; he doesn’t finish it—”and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written” [Exodus 32:31-32]. That’s one of the great, great scenes in the Bible.
- Now, 33:11, 33:11, “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend” [Exodus 33:11]. Isn’t that a beautiful thing?
- All right, verses 14 and 15, “The Lord said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. And Moses said unto Him, If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence” [Exodus 33:14-15].
- Now, in verses 18 to 23 is a sweet, precious story. Exodus 33:18-23: you ought to put you a line by the side of that. This is the story when God let His glory pass by, and He took Moses and put him in a cleft of the rock, and covered him there with His hand.
Don’t you like that song?
He hideth my soul in a cleft of the rock
That shadows a dry, weary land;
He hideth my soul in the depths of His love,
And covers me there with His hand,
And covers me there with His hand.
[“He Hideth My Soul,” Fanny Crosby]
And that’s the story here. “No man can see My face, and live; but I will pass by in My glory, and I will put thee in a cleft of the rock: then I will take away Mine hand, and thou shalt see,” and it’s translated here, “thou shalt see My back parts: but My face shall not be seen” [Exodus 33:20-23]. That is, “that you can see the twilight of the glory of God, but not the meridian strength or the dawn.” Oh, that’s a beautiful thing!
- Now, verse—I mean chapter 34, verse 29: “Moses came down from the mountain, and Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him,” while he talked with the Lord [Exodus 34:29].
- Now verse 33, “So Moses put a veil on his face when he talked to the people” [Exodus 34:33].
Now, do you remember how Paul uses that story there, of Moses coming down and the face, his face shining, and he put a veil on his face? [2 Corinthians 3:13]. Remember what Paul said about that? That Moses covered his face, lest the people see the glory fade away; which he says is an illustration of the fading away of the old covenant, that the glory of the new covenant might be seen [2 Corinthians 3:13-14].
Where does the time go? If you’re interested, to study the Bible is like sitting at a great banquet table of the Lord. Now, next Sunday, I mean next Wednesday night, we’ll study Satan in this vein of demonology. We’ll study Satan and his incarnation in Antichrist.
As you know, we don’t have a formal benedictory prayer…