THE UNSEEN WORLD... DEMONS
Biblical Research Monthly, May 1943
By Dr. David L. Cooper
IN THE PRECEDING ARTICLE of this series, we studied the subject SATAN, who, as we learned, was the highest created being whom God called into existence, who rebelled against God, whose transgression has brought all the misery that exists into the world, and whose doom and final incarceration in hell will be accomplished at the proper time. In the present article we are, to study the subject of DEMONS. This is such a big theme that it will be impossible for us to enter into an adequate discussion of any phase of it, but we can note the highlights.
As stated above, Satan was the highest creature whom God called into existence. He was "the anointed cherub that covereth" and, as we learned in a former article, was, after the creation of the universe, in Eden, the garden of God (Ezek. 28). A careful study of this chapter shows that Satan at that time was in control of this earth. He caused all the traffic and trade to gravitate toward himself. From various hints here and there in the Scriptures, it becomes apparent that when unrighteousness entered his heart, Satan accomplished a rebellion against God. This was caused, of course, among the angels, who were created free moral agents. That there was such a revolution against the government of God is quite evident from an allusion to it in Job 25. There the statement is made, "He maketh peace in his high places" (Job 25:2). He could only make peace by putting down rebellion and insurrection. But the whole chapter is dealing with that subject. We see another allusion to it in Revelation 12. In this passage the serpent is the one who drags one third of the stars of heaven down. Since this serpent is none other than the dragon, the devil, the adversary of God, it is quite evident that the stars mentioned there are not literal bodies but are used as symbols of intelligent beings whom Satan dragged down from their high estate.
This rebellion against the government of God on the part of Satan occurred before the creation of Adam. It is quite possible, though we may not be dogmatic on this point, that it occurred at the time of the disaster mentioned in Genesis 1:2. Originally God created the heavens and earth perfect (Isa. 45:18). Later the earth was reduced to a state of desolation and waste--it was made void and without form. But the literal translation is: "The earth became a desolation and a waste." The mighty struggle that took place at that time between Christ, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, and Satan (Isa. 51:9) could account for such universal wreckage.
There seems to have been another falling away of the angels during the days of Noah prior to the Flood. This is seen in such passages as Genesis 6:1-7. There we are told that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair. They came and formed unions with these women. From these marriages there sprang a race of giants--men of renown. Both Peter and Jude speak of these who at that time sinned by leaving their holy estate, by going after strange flesh, and by committing fornication (Jude 5-7; II Pet. 2:4-12). These who rebelled in the days of Noah have been incarcerated in the underworld and have been kept bound with everlasting chains.
Those angels who first fell in Satan's original rebellion are the powers in the air--the host of wickedness in the heavenly places--which are hovering around this earth, being under the strict leadership and control of Satan himself.
These demons, or evil spirits, inhabiting the air, have been especially active during great crises in the past and will continue so in the future. It seems, from a the study of the biblical account, that they are permitted to invade the human realm, especially at times when God steps forward in His unfolding of His plan of the ages. Someone has expressed the thought that when God breaks through into the human realm, He allows Satan to do the same. This doubtless is due to the fact that God does not want to force upon man evidence which will be overwhelming. The Lord wants to allow a margin for the exercise of faith on the part of man, because without it no man can please God. These considerations lead to the conclusion that the demons, as well as Satan, are under the control of God and that they cannot act unless the Lord permits them in His wisdom to do so.
The Lord moved forward in His plan of the ages at the time when He brought Israel out of Egyptian bondage. At that time He, figuratively speaking, burst forth into the human realm and wrought many miracles. He worked especially through Moses and Aaron. An account of their activities in the name of God is found principally in the Books of Exodus and Numbers. When Moses performed a miracle such as turning his rod into a serpent, the magicians of Egypt who opposed him duplicated this wonder. Moses wrought his miracles by the power of God; the magicians performed theirs by the power of Satan and demons. When Moses turned the waters of Egypt into blood, the magicians did likewise. When, however, Moses brought the plague of lice throughout Egypt, the magicians were unable to duplicate this miracle. Then they confessed, "This is the finger of God." "And Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as Jehovah had spoken" (Ex. 8:19). From this we see that the magicians by the power of Satan and demons were able to duplicate the miracles performed by Moses up to this point. Beyond this one they could not go. When one takes all the facts into consideration, he comes to the conclusion that the Lord permitted Satan and the demons to duplicate His miracles up to a given point in order that the Israelites might not be forced by overwhelming evidence to believe, but that they might have a margin for the exercise of their faith.
Another time in the history of Israel when Satan was permitted to be especially active was during the personal ministry of our Lord. Of course, when one scans the period intervening between the days of Moses and those of our Lord, he sees that at various times Satan and demons did figure prominently in the history of Israel. A glance at the Gentile world, however, shows that demon activity has been prominent among pagan worshipers, but in Israel during the Lord's ministry Satan was especially active. This is to be seen in the Gospel records. A glance at the Acts of the Apostles also shows that demon activity was in great evidence, even during the Apostolic Period.
According to Paul's prediction in I Timothy 4:1-5 demons will be especially active in the last days of this dispensation. A glance at conditions throughout the world shows that spiritism and other forms of demon activity are becoming more prevalent as the days pass. All cults and many off-color religious groups are the work of demons under the leadership of Satan.
A perusal of the Book of Revelation shows that demon activity will be in great evidence during the Tribulation Period; especially under the blowing of the fifth and sixth trumpets will this be true. In Revelation 9 we see the infernal regions being opened up and those demons which fell in the days of Noah coming forth to plague the peoples upon the earth. Again in Revelation 16:12f we observe three evil spirits that are like frogs and that go forth throughout the whole world to bring the kings of the world for a conference at the place that in Hebrew is called Har-Mageddon. Satan with all of his hosts will be in battle array against God and the tribulation saints and will do everything that they can to wreck the work of God in the final war but will be defeated.
At the end of the Tribulation Period, according to Isaiah 24:21,22, all of the hosts of the high ones on high, the demons, together with Satan, will be incarcerated in the pit of the abyss where they will be held for "many days"-- during the Millennial Age. At the expiration of this Kingdom Era, Satan will be unloosed and will be permitted to come back and to deceive the nations of the earth again. It is quite likely that the demons will also be unloosed and will return to assist Satan in his machinations and evil designs.
Finally, Satan, and we may believe demons also, will be cast into the lake of fire where they shall be tormented forever and ever--without any cessation or letup.
Dear Christian friend, let me insist that you study all you can in the Word of God about the activities of Satan and the demons. Have nothing to do with anything whatsoever that has any connection with demonism. Satan and his hosts will transform themselves into angels of light in order to deceive, if possible, the very elect, but we are not in darkness but in the light. Let us therefore walk as children of light, redeeming the time.
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