Demon Forces

Since Satan is a spiritual being, he seeks humans through which to work.  In order to have a means of expression, as a spirit he must have influence over a body.  We see this many times in the New Testament (Mark 5:1:16). From the very beginning Satan has worked to influence humans in order to oppose God’s plans and purposes. That is his main objective.  This influence upon humans can be at different degrees.  Those who live in darkness are subject to great sway by demons because they follow the course of the world and the prince of the air.

What about Christians?  What kind of influence do demons have against Christians?  First of all it should be noted that since we belong to God and are born of God, the evil one cannot touch us (1 John 5:18). That means Satan has no legal right to us.  However, when sinful patterns are present, you have opened the door to Satan.  Paul gives us some understanding to this aspect of spiritual warfare.

“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

This is true with any willful sin of which we refuse to repent. It gives a foothold to the devil.  Second, even without a “foothold,” the devil will attempt to influence you through lies and deceptions. When Satan attempts to have influence over you in any way, it should be considered an attack.

Satan is not omnipresent. He cannot be in two places at one time, much less be everywhere at once. That is what Paul means when he said we struggle against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. He is speaking of various levels of demonic powers that have been assigned responsibilities from Satan.  The terms he uses speak of demons that have first place, jurisdiction, powers of the dark world, and wicked spirits. That means demons carry out the desires and commands of Satan. Therefore, when the Bible speaks of resisting the devil, it includes the demons that assist him.

Identifying Evil Spirits

It is common for Christians who believe we are in a spiritual battle to identify many behaviors or symptoms of evil as spirits.  For example, if someone is worrying a lot, they might want to cast out a “spirit of worry.”  If someone is in unbelief, they might pray against a “spirit of unbelief.”  And so every adverse behavior becomes the name for a demon.  I would rather follow the scriptures and use the authority of God’s Word to identify spirits.  For instance, there really is a “lying spirit” (1 King 22:21-22). The lying spirit could speak to a person and influence them to worry or be in unbelief.  By understanding that, you will sense a greater degree of faith when praying against such.  It seems more correct to use the biblical names where they are appropriate.  It is not necessary to identify every spirit, but when we talk of spiritual warfare, it helps to know the true characteristics of such demons and how God’s Word identifies them.

Not every time the word “spirit” is used does it refer to a demon.  Sometimes it is used to describe a disposition.[1] A good example in Scripture is what some would call a “spirit of haughtiness.”  In reality it is a proud human spirit.

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)

That is not to say that an “evil” spirit could not tempt someone to pride, but there is no biblical name for such.  Other times the word spirit is used to give a contrast to explain the nature of the Holy Spirit.  An example of this would be when Paul said that we have not been given a “spirit of fear,” but of power and of love and a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7). He is not saying that, “We have not been given a ‘demon of fear,’ but a Holy Spirit of power.”  No, he is explaining that timidity is not a characteristic of the Holy Spirit .[2]

General names given to demons identify their character as being evil spirits, unclean spirits, and perverse spirits.  These are not specific names but would certainly describe demons of all kinds.  However, the Bible does clearly identify at least six evil spirits by name.

Biblical Names of Demons

1)            Spirit of Infirmity (Luke 13:11-16) – Not every sickness is caused by a demon, but we see from these verses that it is real.  The Bible tells us that Jesus went about doing good and healing all that were under the power of the devil (Acts 10:38). This spirit may cause chronic illnesses or lingering disorders of the body.

2)            Spirit of Divination (Acts 16:16-18) – The spirit of divination was able to predict the future, that is, as far as the people were concerned. The truth is that only God knows the future.  However, evil spirits, knowing people’s lives, their talk, and their plans, may communicate to one who has a spirit of divination, thus appearing to tell the future.  This is why God warns us about having anything to do with witchcraft, mediums, sorcerers, contacting the dead, and the like.  The Bible says that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, so rebellion, stubbornness, and control can be a manifestation of this spirit as well.

3)            Deaf and Mute Spirit (Mark 9:25-27) – This spirit had not only kept a boy from hearing and talking, but it also tried to kill him in water and fire.  It apparently threw the boy into convulsions from time to time, including the moment Jesus commanded the spirit to leave.

4)            Spirit of Whoredoms [prostitution] (Hosea 4:12) – A spirit that primarily works in the areas of sexual sin and unfaithfulness.  It is prevalent in all manner of sexual sin and perverseness, including molestation, rape, incest, lust, seduction, exhibitionism, etc.

5)            Lying Spirit (2 Chronicles 18:22; 1 Kings 22:21-22) – Because the nature of Satan is deception and lying, this spirit works in so many areas.  Rejection, fear, oppression, deception, pride, and many other strongholds can often be traced to a lying spirit.

6)            Spirit of the Antichrist (1 John 4:3) – This spirit works to reject Jesus as the Son of God and brings persecution against the saints and the work of the church.  Paul and the other apostles, no doubt, dealt with this spirit regularly.

Identifying these specific names given to evil spirits helps us in our fight against these powers.  Tomorrow we will begin dealing with our struggle and how to participate in this fight.


[1] This is true with the “spirit of heaviness,” (Isa 61:3);  “spirit of stupor,” (Rom 11:8); “spirit of jealousy” (Num 5:14).

[2] This contrast is also used of “spirit of bondage” (Rom 8:15).

About the Author:

Glenn Shaffer is the author of Apostolic Government in the 21st Century, Christianity 101 and Discipleship 201. He has a Masters of Ministry degree in leadership studies from Southwestern Christian University and is working toward a Doctorate in Ministry at ORU in Tulsa.

Glenn and his wife, Ami have been married for 40 years with two sons, Matt and Daniel. Together, they co-see the elder pastoral care of Destiny Life Church, one church in two locations (Owasso and Claremore, Oklahoma) where they have been serving for almost 4 decades. It is a non-denominational church, based on a New Testament Apostolic form of church government. Together, they also serve as the directors of ATI- Apostolic Teams International, an emerging network of churches and ministers.


One thought on “Demon Forces

  1. My beloved countries capital city Amsterdam celebrated gay parade today. I was sad. It reminded me of the stories about Sodom and Gomora. It’s especialy hard to see some people ,representing church,
    participating. I thought what would Jesus do? Will God destroy these beautiful people with a sin they’re blind of? How many chances does God give them to repent? I can only pray and ask for their salvation.

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