The Bible tells us that demons are fallen angels who joined Satan in his rebellion against God and who were defeated and cast out of heaven along with Satan (Revelation 12:7-9). Demons continue to serve the devil in his attempt to lead the world away from God and into sin. Jesus will ultimately banish Satan and his demons into the eternal fire.
What Are Demons and Where Did They Come From?
Demons are fallen angels who were cast out of heaven for helping Satan rebel against God.
To understand what demons are, we must look to the ultimate evil spirit himself, Satan. Revelation tells us that Satan was once an angel in heaven, perhaps even a cherub (Revelation 12:7-9). Because Satan was a heavenly being, we know that Satan—as well as his angelic followers—were created good but, by their own free will, chose to reject God and become evil.
While we have no definitive answer as to whether Satan rebelled against God because of his own pride or some other reason, we do know that a war erupted in heaven in which the archangel Michael and his angels fought against Satan and his angels (Revelation 12:7-9). Satan and the other fallen angels were defeated and, as punishment for their rebellion, were cast out of heaven (Revelation 12:9; Luke 10:18). Satan became the “prince of demons” (Matthew 12:24) and he and the other fallen angels were hurled to the earth (Revelation 12:9) and ultimately condemned to hell (Matthew 25:41).
What Can Demons Do?
Demons continue to serve Satan on earth by luring mankind away from God.
Despite their expulsion from heaven, Satan’s demons continue to serve him in his plot to control the earth by luring people into sin (Revelation 12:9).
The Bible warns of Satan’s grave threat to humanity by referring to him as “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) who “prowls” the earth “looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Demons are no less dangerous, as the Bible describes them as: “impure spirits” (Mark 1:27), “deceiving spirit[s]” (1 Kings 22:23), “the powers of this dark world” and “the spiritual forces of evil” (Ephesians 6:12), and as Satan’s “angels” (Revelation 12:9).
The Bible tells us that Satan and his demons can inflict harm on earth by:
- Possessing people to cause them physical and spiritual harm (Matthew 12:22; Mark 5:1-20);
- Possessing people to make them do evil (Luke 22:3-4);
- Blinding the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4:4);
- Deceiving people by disguising themselves as “servants of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15);
- Promoting false doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1);
- Tormenting believers (2 Corinthians 12:7); and
- Performing signs to deceive humans (Revelation 16:14).
How Can Christians Resist Evil?
Christians can resist Satan and his demons by putting on the full Armor of God.
Some Christians fear becoming possessed by demons since this was a very real concern in Biblical times. In fact, in commissioning his Apostles to spread the Good News, Jesus specifically gave the Apostles (and other disciples) “authority to drive out all demons” (Luke 9:1). While some Christian denominations believe in present-day demon possession, others believe that practicing Christians cannot be possessed because the Holy Spirit abides in them and, thus, demons cannot take hold (2 Corinthians 1:22). Whether demon possession of practicing Christians is possible or not, the Bible gives us a clear way to thwart the efforts of the devil and his demons to lure us into sin. Namely, by living a life steeped in obedience to Scripture. The Bible assures us that if we submit to God and resist evil, the devil and his demons will flee from us (James 4:7; Luke 10:17).
One way we can submit to God and fend off the wicked temptations of Satan and his demons is by putting on the “full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11-18). This “full armor of God” consists of:
- The Belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14). Jesus told us that God’s word is Truth and that we are sanctified by it (John 17:17). Since the devil is the “father of lies” (John 8:44) and demons act in his name, we can combat the lies of these corrupt forces by arming ourselves with the knowledge of God’s Truth.
- The Breastplate of Righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). When we align our actions with Scriptural instructions, we maintain our righteousness. This moral obedience is powerful, guarding our heart against situations that may hurt us in the long run or lead us to hurt others (Proverbs 4:23). When we become lax in upholding our righteous behavior, we open the door for sin to creep in.
- The Gospel of Peace (Ephesians 6:15). When we’re at peace, we’re free from disturbance and conflict. By practicing forgiveness with one another and placing our worries at the foot of the Cross (Philippians 4:6), we are better able to stand firm against any evil that comes our way.
- The Shield of Faith (Ephesians 6:16). When we seek God’s face in our life instead of His hand, we grow in faith and better shield ourselves from the attack of dark forces. The face of God represents His Presence. God assures us that when we continually seek His Presence in our life despite our circumstances, everything we need will be given to us (Matthew 6:31-33).
- The Helmet of Salvation (Ephesians 6:17). A helmet is the last thing soldiers put on before stepping out onto the battlefield. The helmet protects the “command center” that is the mind/head. If that “command center” gets injured, all other armor on the soldier’s body becomes useless. Likewise, demonic forces know that our mind is a battlefield susceptible to sinful suggestions, doubt, and deceit. When we focus our thoughts on the salvation Jesus gave his believers through His Crucifixion and Resurrection, we “demolish arguments…against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
- Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). In ancient battle, a soldier was trained to use a sword both defensively to ward off attacks and offensively to injure the enemy. The “sword” we, as the faithful, must learn how to wield in spiritual battle is the sword of God’s Word (Hebrews 4:12), which is inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17). This sword of the Spirit defends us by sharpening our mind against the enemy’s misrepresentation of Scripture. This sword also works offensively to rebuke and correct the enemy in striking back with our own Scriptural “blows” when attacked (Luke 4:1-13).
What Is the Eternal Fate of Demons?
Demons know that Jesus will ultimately defeat them and Satan.
The Bible tells us that Jesus became man for the very purpose of destroying the devil’s work (1 John 3:8). We see many instances in Scripture of Jesus’ authority to cast out demons who serve the devil (Matthew 9:32-33; Mark 7:26-30; Luke 4:35-36).
In fact, demons themselves know that Jesus is more powerful than them and that their days are numbered. For example, when Jesus confronted the demons in Matthew 8:29, they acknowledged His ultimate authority and their eventual demise by shouting at Jesus: “What do you want with us, Son of God?…Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
The Bible affirms that Jesus will ultimately vanquish Satan and all his demons once and for all (1 John 4:4; Revelation 20:10). These depraved forces are bound to an eternity in hell, described in the Bible as “the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
- Biblestudytools.com, New International Version.
- Christianity.com, How Did Lucifer Fall and Become Satan?, Oct. 22, 2007, Ron Rhodes.
Dolores Smyth is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous faith and parenting publications.