The Spirit World of Evil
March 14th, 1974
School Of The Prophets
THE SPIRIT WORLD OF EVIL
Dr. W. A. Criswell
This evening, I thought we would change gears somewhat, because the subject to which this message is addressed is so current. It is actually nothing but a religious fad. But there is a great background of it in the Bible. So tonight we are going to look at The Spirit World of Evil. You could call it demonology or just anything that you would like to include in a designation that referred to Satan and his angels.
To start off with, what we see with our eyes—had there been no revelation of God in a sacred Book, what we see with our eyes, there are two things in this world that are most apparent. One is matter: matter of which I am an integral part. This, this, this matter, I am made of it and when I am dissolved I will go back to it.
You can take a chemists tube and analyze me, absolutely put me in categorical chemical formulae; and to a chemist it would be very easy to do. There is so much magnesium in me, so much potassium in me, so much iron and copper in me, so many of these other elements in me, matter. But no one would deny that there is more to me than that. There is something else and something other. You see that poignantly, sometimes traumatically, but certainly and really when you see a man die. He is absolutely there before you, the whole man of him. Every organ is still there and in place. The whole bit of him is complete before your eyes. And yet a moment before he is talking to me, and a moment later he is dead.
There is no scientist in the world that can tell you what death is. They do not know. It is impossible for them to discover. They cannot find it out. They never will. What has happened to that man that you call death? They don’t know—what has happened to him, the mystery of the separation of his material body and his spirit, which if a spirit has a body, you call it a soul. So there are two things in this world, two undeniable things; matter and spirit. Tonight, we are going to look at the evil side of that spirit world.
There is a king over the kingdom of spiritual darkness. His name is diabolos; which is Slanderer, Accuser. It is an exact word used in the Old Testament; Satan. Satan, that’s the exact way it is in Hebrew, “Satan” is from the verb shatan, which means “to lie in wait as an adversary.”
Diabolos is that word exactly, except in Greek. Diaballō means “to slander, to accuse,” just an ordinary Greek word. So diabolos is Satan, a slanderer and accuser. The word diabolos is used only in the New Testament and always in the singular. It is used thirty-five times. There is one Satan. There is one diabolos, the king of the world of spiritual darkness.
Now the word “demon,” daimōnian plural diamōnioi, there are many demons. They are legion in number. The word sometimes is used in the singular, “a demon” sometimes, and most of the times, it is used in the plural. The word is used in the New Testament sixty-one times. Where do they come from? What is the origin of demons? They are fallen angels. Demons are fallen angels [Revelation 12:4].
Now may I pause to make a parenthesis here? Some say that they are the disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamic race. They say that between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 there was a great catastrophe that overwhelmed God’s beautiful creation. I believe that. I think when sin was found in Satan the whole universe fell.
I have a good substantiating illustration of that; when sin was found in Adam and Eve the ground was cursed for his sake [Genesis 3:17-19]. Sin plows up and destroys wherever it is found. It was so in the days of Adam. The whole beautiful garden and God’s re-creation was wrecked and ruined. The original creation was destroyed; fell into chaos, into darkness, when sin was found in Satan.
Now, I think the supposition that there was a pre-Adamic race, created in Genesis 1:1, when God made the heavens and the earth, I think that it is nothing but that: an unprovable supposition, a theory, a hypothesis. So, we are not going to say that evil spirits are the disembodied souls of a pre-Adamic race. You don’t know that, nor can it ever be found or proved or substantiated.
Well, what are fallen angels? I mean, what are demons? They are fallen angels because, number one, God did not create them as evil. God never created anything evil. In Isaiah 45:7 when it says “God created evil,” what the verse means is that God creates the divine corrective punishment of sin. When you see a judgment fall upon wrong and iniquity, that is God. God welded that chain together. God forged that link together, that “the wages of sin is death” [Romans 6:23].
And a judgment of God is referred to in Isaiah 45:7 as “evil.” God does it. But God does not create moral evil, nor did He create an evil being. The demons are fallen. God did not create them except good, and they fell from their first estate [Jude 6]. Now a substantiation of that is found in the nature of evil itself. Evil is always and ever nothing but a perversion and a prostitution of that which is good. You name anything bad, name anything evil and it is something good that has been debased. A judge can be corrupted. A policeman can be bought off. Sex can be perverted. Money can be misused. And alcohol can become a curse. And name anything, but the things themselves are good.
Alcohol is the finest medium for the carrying of medicines. It is a marvelous dissolving, carrying liquid. And I don’t think that medicine would be possible without alcohol. It is a good thing. But anything bad is nothing but something good that is debased. And that is what demons are. Created good, they are fallen angels [Revelation 12:9]. They belong to the kingdom of Satan, whose power it is, the mission of Christ, whose kingdom Christ came to destroy [1 John 3:8]. The Lord Jesus came to destroy Satan and his kingdom, and that includes Satan and his angels. The Bible will refer to “the devil and his angels” [Matthew 25:41]. And Satan uses them as agents of hurt and oppression. They are powerful enough to challenge heaven itself. In Revelation 12:4, one-third of the angels of heaven chose to follow Satan, and they fell, demons they became.
When I first said that to our church, preaching here in the pulpit, some of them said to me, “That is almost unthinkable, that angels would choose Lucifer over God. How could such a thing happen?” Well, I said, “Just look around you, maybe in your own life. Have there been times in your life when you chose the blandishments and the empty rewards of evil over light, and righteousness, and goodness, and Christ, and God? Is that strange to you in your life? Have you done it?” Look around you. Are there people that walk up and down every street, who choose evil and the empty blandishments and rewards of iniquity over the purity and holiness and righteousness of God. Do you see it?
Are there not Esau’s among us who sell their birthright for a mess of pottage? Why, that is the commonest experience that I see in the human race, and it is the commonest experience that I know in human life, and that is the experience that happened in heaven. One-third of the angels of God chose to follow the blandishments and the enticements and the rewards of Lucifer, Satan, Diabolos, over the holiness and the purity of the worship and service of God. And one-third of that myriad host of angels in heaven fell and became demons.
The universe is divided by an awesome conflict and confrontation. It is everywhere. It is in your heart. It is in your town. It is in your church. It is in the nation. It is in the world. There is war at the heart of the universe. And in Revelation 12:7, it says, “There was war in heaven.” So
powerful is evil and so mighty is the devil and his angels, that he challenges God Himself! And that conflict, that war, rages in every part of the universe; in you, in yours, in all that you see and all around us. At the heart of God’s creation is conflict and war.
Now, demons, fallen angels, are of two classes. Some of them are in prison, in the abyss. In 2 Peter 2:4, in Jude 6, some of them are imprisoned in chains of darkness, awaiting the great judgment day of Almighty God. I have read many theological suppositions as to why these angels are chained. I think they are all sheer, unadulterated suppositions. We don’t know.
But there are myriads of them who are not chained in the abyss. They are free, and the Scriptures say the earth and the air is their abode. Satan is their prince. In Ephesians 2:2, he’s called “the prince of the power of the air.” And in Ephesians 6:12, orders of those demons are named. They have orders. They have a hierarchy, just as there are orders of angels in glory; there are cherubim, seraphim, archangels, arche, exousia [Ephesians 6:12]. They are orders. Paul names orders of angels in heaven. He also names like orders of a hierarchy among the world of evil spirits [Ephesians 6:12].
Now what is their work? By the way, in Ephesians 6:12, there is a listing of the hierarchy of evil spirits. What is their work? What do they do? One: they create false religions. First Corinthians 10:20-21, Paul says that all of the worship of the ancient world, they were offering sacrifices to demons. They create false religion.
The ancient wild orgies and the licentious worship found in paganism of Venus, which is worshipped by prostitutes; by Baal, which was worshipped by sexual intercourse with animals; the Aztec and the worship of Molech, human sacrifice offered to them, Aztecs, by taking out a beating heart of a warrior or a maiden, it had to be a young man or a young woman who in the height of beauty and strength was offered a living sacrifice.
Those great pyramids that you see in the Aztecs, old Mexico, on top of those pyramids were altars. And I have seen Aztec pictures down there, where the priest is taking out of the living body the pulsating heart of a young warrior. That’s the way he was worshipped. Molech, of course, was worshipped, a great god, build a fire under him, and his burning arms, they put their children in the burning arms of Molech. Paul says the worship of these gods is demonic. And when they bowed before them, they were bowing before demons.
They corrupt the doctrine of Christ. Now I want to go back and make a generalization of all of that. All false religion is demonically inspired. Back of Mohammedanism is demonic energy! Back of Hinduism is demonic energy! Back of all of the false religions of the world is demonic energy. Now let’s go on.
They corrupt the doctrine of Christ. In 1Timothy 4:1-2, Paul says, “In the latter times the people will give heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” I could speak of that world without end. I think back of Christian Science is an aberration that is demonic. I think back of Mormon religion is a spirit of demonic energy. I think all of the aberrations of the Christian faith are demonically inspired.
And I think liberalism is demonically inspired. When the professor, and when the preacher, and when the denominational leader seeks to turn aside from the truth of God, back of that is the thrust of a demon.
I listened to Preacher Hallock, which is one of the most inspiring testimonies I ever listened to in my life. He was the illustrious pastor of the First Baptist Church of Norman, Oklahoma, the seat of Oklahoma University. He was the illustrious pastor there for about forty-eight years. And he was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Pittsburg, Kansas. And he came down the aisle at his own church, in his own congregation, and stood before his people and said, “I have been a modernist,” that’s what you called the liberal in his day, “I have been a modernist. I have not believed in the Bible. I have not believed in the virgin birth. I have not believed in the deity of Christ [John 10:30, 20:28]. I have not believed in conversion, being born again. I haven’t believed in a bodily resurrection. I haven’t believed in the coming of our Lord. I have been a modernist, and I have been lost! I want my congregation to know that I have been saved. God has come into my heart and showed to me the truth that is in Christ Jesus. And I want to confess my lostness, being a modernist. And I want to stand here as a believer in Christ today, and a believer in the Word of God. And on that confession of faith, I want to be baptized.”
And Dr. Hallock was baptized in his own baptistery, and then was called to the First Church at Norman, and stayed there in that University City for forty-eight years. Dr. Hallock is still alive. He’s one of the greatest men of God I have ever known in my life.
In my first pastorate, my county and his county at that time were in the same association, the Chickasaw Association. And I being a county seat pastor in one, and he being the county seat pastor in the other, I grew to know him intimately as a young minister out of the seminary. And I loved him and admired him.
And the influence of a man like that on my life has been greater I suspect than I would realize. But the great consecration and dedication of that man to the truth of God was a marvelous thing to behold. He was in the aberration of demons until the day that he came and stood before the congregation. And God cast them out of his mind, and out of his heart, and out of his soul, and he became a true exponent of the glorious gospel of the grace of the Son of God. That is demonic when the great doctrine of Christ is corrupted.
They are also the instruments of divination. In Acts :16-18, the young woman, the medium, was under the influence of demons. And there’s not anything that the Old Testament so forcefully denounces as witchcraft, seeking out mediums. You’ll read that in Leviticus 20, verses 6 and 27; in Deuteronomy 18:10, 11, 12, 14 and in Isaiah 8:19. In 1 Chronicles 10:13, the book says Saul the king was slain because he sought not God, but sought a witch, sought a medium. Isn’t that an astonishing thing?
And that thing also is found in 1 Samuel 28, verses 6 to 25. Don’t you ever persuade yourself that that witch of Endor pulled [Samuel] out of the netherworld. She was a fake, a fraud, like all of them are. And when God allowed Samuel to come up to speak to Saul, it scared her to death! Why? because she’d never seen anything like that before. No wonder she was frightened. A thing like that was impossible, except as God did it, under God’s aegis, for God’s purpose, which was to speak a word of judgment to King Saul.
They oppress humanity. The New Testament makes a great difference, and is careful to distinguish, between demon possession and disease. You’ll find that, and I won’t take time to read all these passages here, but the human mind, and the human body, and the human life, and the human thought can be oppressed by demons. And they obliterate moral sensitivity.
A classic example of the obliteration of moral sensitivity and bringing it back in the power of Christ is seen in the story of the Gadarene demoniac in Luke 8:26-36. In verse 27 he has no clothes on. He is naked. He’s a wild man, living in the tombs, and he is naked. In verse 35 he is clothed, and in his right mind, and seated at the feet of Jesus.
Where do you think this modern “unclothing,” nude, naked, streaking comes from? It would be very apparent. He obliterates moral distinctions. Any time anyone is morally sensitive, he will feel a wanting to keep his body sacred and secret. He just will. Adam and Eve covered themselves with fig leaves [Genesis 3:7]. Why? because they became morally sensitive between right and wrong, and it is demoniac activity that obliterates that sensitivity.
Moral turpitude is evidenced by the epithet “unclean.” They are unclean spirits, and they figure in the moral collapse of a people who yield to gross carnality. They finally will destroy a nation.
Now I want to show you something. I placed in my notebook, in this lecture, something that I received a few days ago through the mail. They are inviting me; this is a minister by the name of Al G. Manning, A.D.
Let me show you the secrets of white witchcraft, secrets that have helped others bring money and prosperity, gain power over others, attract and hold a lover, ward off the hex and stop the evil eye, win at gambling, get rid of demons. A nearly hysterical voice on my telephone said, ‘Al, in my meditations I keep hearing the word “vampire.” There was entity in my hall making wild noises last night, and I’m afraid that if it gets into my bedroom I’m a goner.’ And after using the magic spells for protection, which I gave in my book, Helping Yourself With White Witchcraft, the lady called back in a happy, relaxed voice, and she’s free again and able to go about her life without fear. My name is Al G. Manning. I run the ESP, the exorcism laboratory in California. And whether or not you believe in witchcraft, I have seen some things I still must tell you about. One, a chef in a big restaurant who sprinkles a salt and herb mixture around the building whenever business goes down in minutes the place is full of people; it always works. Two, a girl whose boyfriend has been avoiding marriage, who feeds him a witch’s brew, and he suddenly proposes. Three, a married woman who accidentally burned some love attracting incense in the presence of her very old stud cat, she was amazed at the effect it had on him, and later on the husband as well! Another woman, who planning a trip to the races uses bread crumbs, prosperity oil incense, and a special money chant, and wins $150 at the track. This is white witchcraft, real witchcraft. And it works. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t. I use witchcraft myself, and I can tell you it works. But I’m not here to convince you of anything, I simply must tell you of the facts of my six years of research at the ESP laboratory. And the plain fact is witchcraft is here, witchcraft is real, and the powerful spells of witchcraft really work, bringing love, prosperity, personal power, security, protections, and more for all who use them. Believe me, it’s a sobering experience to discover how many ordinary people, all walks of life, are using witchcraft!
And it goes on and on and on. Can you believe that you live in a world like this? And there are people by the increasing numbers and thousands who are turning to that every day. There are thousands of practicing witches in America, and no small number of them are in the city of Dallas. That is a manifestation of demonic energy.
Again, in high councils of government, they lead to destruction. I want you to notice, if you would, in remembrance, because most of us here are old enough to remember it, I want you to notice Hitlerite Germany. Hitlerite Germany was impossible to make a little mistake. Whenever they made out a campaign, they did it to the most minutiae in detail. There wasn’t anything they didn’t think through. They never made a little mistake. Every campaign on which they launched a colossal, thundering, slamming attack, they did it to the nth degree. But the big mistakes they made were colossal! That’s because demonic energy led them into all of these areas of planning and programming, scheduling, getting ready, slamming into the attack. But the purpose of the demon is the destruction of the nation and the destruction of the people.
That’s why in high councils of government we need the divine guidance of God, without which we are an ultimately destroyed nation! And there’s no exception to that in human history! If God does not save us, and if God does not spare us, and if God does not keep us, we are ultimately lost. Satan consumes us, and the demons take over the energies, and the programming, and the ultimate consummation, outward reach, the denouement, the end of our government.
For example, I used to wonder how it is that the nations are drawn together in Palestine. I mentioned a little of this the other night. How in the earth is it that we’re pulled over there? All the world is going to be there. The east and the west, the north and the south, the isles of the sea, all of us are going to be at that great battle of the day of Almighty God. Then when I preach through the Revelation, I came to Revelation 16:13-16, and there I learned the answer. The nations are enticed there by the unclean spirits, by the demons that by that time have seized so much of the power and governments of the world. And in Revelation 18:2, there is that passage, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, and is become a habitation of demons.”
What is Babylon? Well, when I preached through the Revelation and studied the best I knew how, it could refer to a rebuilt great city in the Mesopotamian Valley. It could be a real Babylon. Or it could refer to a world city such as New York City or Paris or Tokyo. But I think that it refers to the spirit of the world city that we find in every country and every land. And when a city gives itself to moral evil and transgressions, the demons take over the whole corrupt festering mass.
I had not been in New York City for several years. I do not know why. I was there many, many times. Then there was a period of years, several years, oh, at least five, that I was not there. Then recently I have been in New York City several times. Have you been in Times Square recently? The last time, not including these five, six years ago, the last time before these recent trips, I was in Times Square, and it was alive! It was alive. The great Broadway, the white lights, the white way, the big signs, and the theaters there, the playhouses, and at two o’clock in the morning the crowds would throng those streets at 42nd Street and Broadway, Times Square. It was alive with people.
You go to Times Square now, and you won’t recognize it. It looks like the end of a sewer. It looks like decadence and decay itself. It is empty of people and the houses of theater entertainment, of plays, the Broadway plays, they’re gone. Why? because the people are afraid to go there. It is now a place of muggers, and murderers, and pimps, and whoremongers, and pickpockets, and thieves, and robbers, and of the violent. And people don’t dare go there anymore.
This is the showcase of America, our great city. It has become, is becoming, a habitation of demons. You can hardly believe such a thing, but it happened before our very eyes.
What is our hope against them? In Matthew 12:43-45, there is a story that the Lord tells; Matthew 12:43-45. He says that there is an evil spirit in a man. And the evil spirit is cast out, the man reforms, “I’m not going to get angry anymore. Not going to be jealous anymore. I’m not going to get drunk anymore. I’m not going to lie anymore, and I’m not going to live like a whoremonger anymore. I’m not going to embezzle anymore. I’m not going to be acid in my attitude and super hypercritical and sardonic in my spirit. I’m going to cast out these demons. I’m going to reform.”
Just whatever it is that he’s been doing, he’s going to quit it. He’s going to quit it, cast it out. So for a while he just lives magnificently. He is reformed. He is a new man. But that evil spirit that he cast out of him goes around, goes around, and so he comes back and looks on the inside of that man’s heart. And it is empty, and swept, and garnished. He’s really on a water wagon. He’s really telling the truth. He’s really reformed. He is a new man. Man, he’s just a model citizen. But that evil spirit looks on the inside of the man’s heart, and it is empty, as well as swept and garnished. So that evil spirit goes and gets seven other spirits more vile than himself, and he comes and dwells in the heart of that man; and the last estate of that man is worse than the first [Matthew 12:45]. What’s the matter?
The matter is very plain. He reformed but that was all. He didn’t have in his heart a new spirit living. He didn’t have the Holy Spirit in his heart. He didn’t have God in his heart. And when that evil spirit came back and saw his heart empty, he got other spirits, came back, and the man was worse than he ever was.
What that means is just simply this. That reformation, repentance, a man’s self change is not enough. A man must be born again. A man must have the Spirit of God to come into his heart [1 Corinthians 3:16]. There has to be something on the inside of a man that wars against the evil spirit that would have it in him, that would destroy [Ephesians 6:17]. And if you don’t have that Spirit of God in you, you are lost [Romans 8:9]. We’re no match for Satan and the wiles of the devil [Ephesians 6:11].
Well, that’s one-third of my lecture. The rest of it we’ll sit down in glory. You know what I say? I tell them here in this church, always that clock goes around to twelve, and I feel obligated to quit because I’m off the radio and off the television by that time. When I preach at night, the clock will go around to eight-thirty, and I feel obligated to quit, and let the people go home, and give us time for invitation and all. So I say to them, the idea is a caricature of a man who has gone to heaven, and he’s got wings, you know, and a halo, and he’s sitting on a cloud doing nothing. There is no such idea as that in the Word of God. When the Lord put Adam in the garden of Eden, He gave him a job. He was to dress the garden and to keep it [Genesis 2:15].
Some of these that are gifted are going to be ruler over ten cities, says God. Some are going to ruler over five cities, says God [Luke 19:16-19]. There is a whole universe to administer, says the Lord God. And I think this whole universe is going to be rejuvenated, is going to be recreated. There are no more burned out suns, and no more blackened stars, this whole planet, no more deserts, and no more vile, cold places, the whole thing is going to be remade. And I think in that new world and new heaven that is yet to come, we can go from planet to planet, just as fast as I can in my mind go there now. In my mind I’m in Tokyo. Now I’m in Lagos, Nigeria. Now I’m in Paris. Now I’m in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Now I’m in Anchorage, Alaska. I can go just like that. And I think that’s the way it’s going to be up there in glory.
And when we get our assignments, I am going to ask God to give me one of these planets somewhere, and I am going to put my roots down and get me a pulpit desk, and I’m going to invite the whole universe, those thousands of sermons that I preached I never did get through, I want you to come and listen to the ends of them! That’s what I’m going to do! That’s what I’m going to do. And then when that day comes, and you get that invitation, you take off about a thousand years or so, and we’ll sit down together in heavenly places and talk about the wonderful things of God. Amen.