From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [1]

Spirit being who is unclean and immoral in nature and activities. When demons were created, how they came to be demonic, and their organizational structure are not given significant attention in Scripture because the focus throughout the Bible is on God and his work in Christ rather than on the demonic attempts to demean that work.

The Old Testament . References to demons in the Old Testament are relatively scarce. Their existence is never proven; it is simply assumed. The Old Testament focus is not on demons and their schemes but on God and his sovereignty. Demons are not depicted as free, independent agents, but operate under God's direct control. Though they are not revealed as the malicious beings seen in the New Testament, there are still definitive commands for God's people to avoid them. The Old Testament word for demons ( sed [   Deuteronomy 32:17 ), and Israel is condemned by God for sacrificing to them ( Psalm 106:37 ). They are also called evil spirits sent from God. After Abimelech treacherously killed Gideon's sons, God sent an evil spirit that divided him from the citizens of Shechem ( Judges 9:23-24 ). God also sent an evil spirit to torment Saul. David's attempts to calm Saul by playing the harp ( 1 Samuel 16:15-16 ) are unsuccessful, as Saul, provoked by the spirit, tries to kill David ( 1 Samuel 16:14-23;  18:10-11;  19:9-10 ). A spirit from God's counsel volunteers to be a lying spirit in the mouths of Ahab's prophets ( 1 Kings 22:19-23;  2 Chronicles 18:18-22 ). The medium from Endor sees "gods" or "spirits" coming up from the ground ( 1 Samuel 28:13 ). An angel is delayed twenty-one days in bringing an answer to Daniel's prayer by a prince of Persia, giving an indication of some organizational structure or ranking among demons ( Daniel 10:13 ). This also gives us one of the few glimpses behind the curtains of history into engagements between demons and angels. Other possible Old Testament references to demons include goat idols ( Leviticus 17:7;  2 Chronicles 11:15;  Isaiah 13:21;  34:14 ), night creatures ( Isaiah 34:14 ), and idols (LXX of  Psalm 96:5 ).

Demons during the Life of Christ . There is more recorded demonic activity during Jesus' life than any other time in biblical history. Though demonic confrontations are mentioned throughout the Gospels, we find only eight case studies of actual encounters. These include Jesus' temptation ( Matthew 4:1-11;  Mark 1:12-13;  Luke 4:1-13 ); the blind man ( Matthew 9:32-33 ); the blind and mute man ( Matthew 12:22-23;  Luke 11:14 ); the Canaanite woman's daughter ( Matthew 15:22-28;  Mark 7:24-30 ); the man in the synagogue ( Mark 1:23-27;  Luke 4:31-37 ); the Gerasene demoniac ( Matthew 8:28-34;  Mark 5:1-20;  Luke 8:26-37 ); the boy with seizures ( Matthew 17:14-20;  Mark 9:14-29;  Luke 9:37-43 ); and the silencing of demons ( Matthew 8:16;  Mark 1:32-35;  Luke 4:40-41 ). Other possible examples include the seven demons expelled from Mary Magdalene ( Luke 8:1-2 ), Jesus' rebuke of Satan's suggestion through Peter ( Matthew 16:23;  Mark 8:33 ), and his command to Judas after Satan had entered him ( John 13:27 ). Additionally, we are told that the disciples ( Luke 10:17-20 ) and even someone they did not know ( Mark 9:38-40 ) saw demons submit to them, but we are not given any other details. There are three main terms for demons in the New Testament: daimonion [   Mark 8:31 ).

Throughout Jesus' life we see his work against the devastating work of demons in the lives of people. The vocabulary of demonic activities against human beings is rich and varied, though it all shows movement toward the ultimate destruction of people. Demons troubled or annoyed people ( Luke 6:18 ). They robbed a young boy of his speech ( Mark 9:17,25 ), rendered a man mute ( Matthew 9:33;  Luke 11:14 ), and froze the back of an elderly woman ( Luke 13:11,16 ). They seized the Gerasene demoniac ( Luke 8:29 ) and a young boy ( Luke 9:39 ) in order to destructively overcome him.

Throughout the Gospel accounts, spirits evidenced control over human hosts. Several terms are used to describe this. Jesus warned in a parable of the possibility of multiple demons living in or indwelling a person ( Matthew 12:43-45;  Luke 11:24-26 ). Evil spirits were in the demoniac in the synagogue (  Mark 1:23 ); the Gerasene demoniac was a person who was with a spirit (  Mark 5:2; " [in the power] of an unclean spirit, " Amplified ) that drove or impelled him ( Luke 8:29 ). Many were described as having ( echo [   Matthew 11:18;  Mark 3:30;  7:25;  9:17;  Luke 4:33;  7:33;  8:27;  John 7:20;  8:48,52;  10:20 ). Such a spirit entered the young boy ( Mark 9:25;  Luke 8:30 ) and then mauled and convulsed him.

People who have demons are demonized ( daimonizomai [   Matthew 4:24;  8:16,28 ,  33;  12:22;  15:22;  Mark 1:32;  5:15,16 ,  18;  Luke 8:36;  John 10:21 ). This term is generally translated as demon-possessed. However, daimonizomai [   Luke 13:16 ).

The New Testament describes physical, social, and spiritual symptoms of demonic control, though no exhaustive list is given. The physical symptoms include muteness ( Matthew 9:32-33;  Mark 9:17;  Luke 11:14 ), blindness ( Matthew 12:22 ), self-inflicted wounds ( Mark 5:5;  9:22 ), crying ( Mark 5:4 ), or screaming ( Mark 1:26;  5:7;  9:26 ), convulsions ( Mark 1:26 ), seizures ( Matthew 17:15 ), falling to the ground, rolling around, foaming at the mouth, grinding of the teeth, and rigidity ( Mark 9:18,20 ), inhuman strength ( Mark 5:3-4 ), and staying active day and night ( Mark 5:5 ). The social symptoms include dwelling in unclean places ( Mark 5:3;  Luke 8:27 ) and going around naked ( Luke 8:27 ). The spiritual symptoms include supernatural abilities such as recognition of the person of Christ and reaction against him ( Mark 1:23-24;  5:7;  Luke 4:40-41 ) and the ability to tell the future (divination  Acts 16:16 ). None of these symptoms by itself should be seen as proof of demonization. Rather, they are examples of the types of manifestations that come with demonic infestation.

Jesus came to set Satan's captives free ( Matthew 12:22-29;  Luke 4:18-21 ), and in all of his dealing with the demonized he demonstrated compassion for the people and authority over the spirits. He commanded the spirit in the Gerasene demoniac to come out ( Luke 8:29 ) and ordered the demon out of the man in the synagogue ( Mark 1:27 ) and the young boy ( Mark 9:25 ). He did not have to be physically present to effect release, seen in the healing of the Canaanite woman's cruelly demonized daughter from a distance ( Matthew 15:22-28 ). The people were amazed that he simply commanded the demons and they obeyed ( Luke 4:36 ), as they were used to seeing elaborate exorcism rituals that were not always successful. The demons in the Gerasene demoniac needed Jesus' permission to enter the pigs ( Mark 5:13;  Luke 8:32 ) and he denied permission for demons to speak ( Mark 1:34;  Luke 4:41 ). He rebuked the demon in the young boy ( Matthew 17:18;  Mark 9:25;  Luke 9:42 ) and the man in the synagogue ( Mark 1:25;  Luke 4:35 ).

The term most commonly used of the expulsion of demons in the New Testament is cast out ( ekballo [   John 9:34-35; see also  Mark 1:12 ). Demons were cast out by the spirit of God ( Matthew 12:28; cf.  Luke 11:20 ,; "by the finger of God" ), and this was done by verbal command rather than the elaborate rituals of the exorcists. Jesus' authority to cast out demons was given to the Twelve ( Matthew 10:1,8 ) and others, who cast them out in Jesus' name ( Mark 9:38-41; see also  Acts 16:18 ). The disciples were successful in casting out demons, but needed a reminder to keep their priorities straight ( Luke 10:17-20 ). With the young boy, however, they were unsuccessful because of lack of prayer ( Mark 9:28-29 ).

There are several primary words employed in the Gospels to describe Jesus' healing ministry among the demonized. He released ( luo [   Luke 13:16 ). He saved ( sozo [   Luke 8:36 ). He healed ( therapeuo [   Matthew 4:24;  10:22;  17:16;  Luke 6:18;  7:21;  8:2;  13:14 ), a word used of healing the sick (lame, blind, mute, maimed, deaf) as well as the demonized and even of satanic healing. Its use implied that the restoration of demoniacs was on the same level of ministry as other types of healing, all of which showed Christ's mastery over Satan and sin. Jesus also healed ( iaomai [   Luke 6:19; under the power of Satan ), including the Canaanite woman's daughter ( Matthew 15:28 ) and the young boy ( Luke 9:42 ).

Demons in Acts and the Epistles . In comparison with the Gospels, demonic encounters are relatively rare. Spirits are mentioned in only five instances in Acts. Those tormented by evil spirits were brought before the apostles in Jerusalem and healed (5:15-16). Philip, not an apostle, exercised Christ's authority over demons in Samaria (8:6-7). Paul released a slave girl who had a fortune-telling spirit by simply commanding the spirit to leave (16:16-18). God performed extraordinary miracles through Paul in Ephesus, including the expulsion of demons (19:11-12). The final instance was between Jewish exorcists and a demoniac in which the exorcists were soundly beaten (19:13-17). When the church heard what happened, those who had not fully come out of their magical practices repented and publicly burned their expensive scrolls (19:17-20). The failure of the non-Christian exorcists shows that in power encounters authority is the underlying issue. Interestingly, the term "exorcism" is not used of Jesus' ministry. An exorcism implies a particular ritual, and Jesus, as well as the early church, relied on authority rather than ritual. It is not surprising, then, that nowhere in the New Testament is a Christian ritual for exorcism seen.

The relative paucity of overt examples of demonic confrontation is one indication of a shift from a form of direct power encounter with demons to a focus on knowing and correctly applying the truth to thwart demonic influence. This is also seen in the emphasis on deception as a tool of Satan and his demons. They pretend to be friendly spirits to deceive people ( 2 Corinthians 11:15 ) and blind the minds of believers ( 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 ). They lead people astray from truth ( 2 Timothy 3:13;  1 John 2:26;  3:7 ). They also lead people astray through the pursuit of pleasure or sensual gratification ( Ephesians 5:6;  Colossians 2:8;  2 Thessalonians 2:3 ).

The emphasis on truth in the Epistles does not mean that power encounters are unimportant or no longer viable today. Rather, the implication is that our day-to-day struggle with demonic forces will focus on truth issues without overlooking power issues. Appropriate truth encounter metaphors for spiritual conflict in the Epistles include walking in the light ( 1 John 1:5-7 ), the stripping off of the old and joyful putting on the new ( Ephesians 4:22-29 ), our participation in a kingdom transfer ( Colossians 1:13 ), which involves a transformation of our nature as people ( 2 Corinthians 5:17 ), and our growth into the full measure of the stature of Christ ( Ephesians 4:14-16 ).

Believers are not immune from demonic attack. Demons seek to influence Christians through false doctrines and teachings ( 1 Timothy 4:1;  1 John 4:1-4 ) as well as false miracles and wonders ( 2 Thessalonians 2:7-11;  Revelation 16:14 ). Paul was buffeted (2Col 12:7; see  Matthew 26:67; 1Col 4:11;  1 Peter 2:20; for the physical aspect ). Though there can be no certainty as to how this buffeting was manifested, we do know that an "angel of Satan" caused it and that Paul could not remove it through prayer. In the West evangelicals have been preoccupied with the question of whether a true Christian can be demon-possessed. Such a conclusion, however, can only be an inappropriate translation of daimonizomai [   John 12:31;  Colossians 2:14-15;  Hebrews 2:14-15 ), God's presence in ( 2 Corinthians 6:16 ) and protection of the believer ( 1 John 5:18 ), and our status as being seated with Christ ( Ephesians 2:6 ). Evidence in favor of the demonization of believers includes the statements of our need to know Satan's schemes ( 2 Corinthians 2:11 ) so that he will not gain a foothold on us ( Ephesians 4:26-27 ), the reality of demonic attack against believers (2Col 11:3; 12:7;  Ephesians 6:10-12 ), and the commands to resist him ( James 4:7;  1 Peter 5:8-9 ). No one should doubt that Satan and his demons are able to influence Christians; the question is whether that influence can result in demonization. Further evidence in favor of the possibility of believers being demonized are the instances of Saul's torment from an evil spirit ( 1 Samuel 16:14-23 ), the daughter of Abraham being bound by Satan for eighteen years ( Luke 13:10-17 ), and Ananias and Sapphira having their hearts "filled by Satan" ( Acts 5:3 ). None of these has been without dispute, but Scripture indicates that all were of the house of faith and all faced demonic attack. This parallels the experience of many people today. While experience is not the final arbiter of doctrinal formulation, our experience should be in accord with our doctrine. Thus, it is reasonable to conclude that Christians may be demonized and that the warnings to stand against Satan are not just to stop his attacks against the church or his control over those who do not believe.

Whatever our conclusion on demonization of believers, Christians clearly have the identity (being in Christ), the authority (being seated with Christ), and the mandate to resist Satan and his demons. We do so not on the basis of our own goodness, but on the basis of Christ's finished work on the cross. Because the One who is in us is greater than the one who is in the world ( 1 John 4:4 ), we can successfully stand against demonic schemes. Our weapons in this ongoing struggle include our authority as seated with Christ at the right hand of God, far above every power ( Ephesians 1:15-2:6 ), the name of Jesus ( Philippians 2:10 ), our spiritual armor ( Ephesians 6:18 ), prayer (a must in some cases,  Mark 9:29 ), simple resistance ( James 4:7 ), forgiveness ( Ephesians 4:26-27 ), and exhibiting the fruit of the Spirit ( Galatians 5:22-23;  Ephesians 4:22-29;  6:10-18 ).

Conclusion . The testimony of the Scriptures regarding demons is clear and cohesive. They are angelic entities who oppose God's sovereign control. They seek to work out their unholy rebellion through influencing people to live in a way contrary to God's expressed intentions. At the same time, they remain under his sovereignty and can be used of him to effect the divine plan. As Christians we are to submit ourselves to God and resist the attacks of Satan and his hosts. To do so, we must be aware of the basic truths presented in Scripture concerning not just the ontology of demons but their methods as they attempt to influence our lives. Once aware, we are to take our stand in Christ and oppose the working of demons, whether personally, corporately, or in the structures and systems of society.

A. Scott Moreau

Bibliography.: C. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: W. Carr, Angels and Principalities (1981); C. F. Dickason, Angels: Elect and Evil: idem , Demon Possession and the Christian  ; J. W. Montgomery, ed: Demon Possession  ; H. Schier, Principalities and Powers in the New Testament (1961); M. Unger, Biblical Demonology  ; idem, What Demons Can Do to Saints  ; M. Wink, Naming the Powers  ; idem , Unmasking the Powers  ; idem, Engaging the Powers .

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

1. Nomenclature. -The word δαιμόνιον (or δαίμων, which, however, occurs only once in the NT in the best Manuscripts, viz. in  Matthew 8:31, though some Manuscriptshave it in  Mark 5:12,  Luke 8:29, and some inferior ones in  Revelation 16:14;  Revelation 18:2) is almost always rendered ‘devil’ in English Version, though Revised Version margin usually gives ‘demon.’ In the Revised Versionof the OT ‘demon’ is found in  Deuteronomy 32:17,  Psalms 106:37,  Baruch 4:7 (Heb. שֵׁד, Septuagintδαιμόνιον). Originally δαίμων had a somewhat more personal connotation than δαιμόνιον, which is formed from the adjective ( i.e. ‘a Divine thing’); and both had a neutral sense: a spirit inferior to the supreme gods, superior to man, but not necessarily evil. Some trace of this neutral sense is found in the apostolic writings. Thus δεισιδαίμων, δεισιδαιμονία have probably not the bad sense of ‘superstitious,’ ‘superstition’ in  Acts 17:22;  Acts 25:19 -which at any rate would hardly suit the former passage, where St. Paul is not likely to have gone out of his way to insult the Athenians-but the neutral sense of ‘religious,’ ‘religion.’ This view is borne out by the papyri, where, Deissmann says ( Light from Ancient East , 1910, p. 283), the context of these words always implies commendation. And similarly St. Luke’s phrase ( Luke 4:33) ‘a spirit of an unclean demon’ would imply the existence of a pure demon, just as ‘unclean spirits’ imply the existence of pure spirits. The neutral sense is also found in the saying attributed to our Lord by Ignatius ( Smyrn . 3; see Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers 2, pt. ii. vol. ii. [1889] p. 296): ‘Lay hold and handle me, and see that I am not a bodiless demon’ (δαιμόνιον ἀσώματον), a saying clearly founded on or parallel to  Luke 24:39, perhaps due to an independent oral tradition. But ordinarily in the NT δαιμόνιον has a bad sense, and signifies ‘an evil spirit.’ The expression ‘to have a demon’ (or ‘demons’), which occurs several times in the Gospels (ἔχειν δαιμόνιον [δαιμόνια], equivalent to δαιμονίζεσθαι, which is also frequent there), is the same as the paraphrases found elsewhere in the NT which avoid the word ‘demon’ ( Acts 8:7 ‘had unclean spirits,’  Acts 19:12 ‘had evil spirits,’  Acts 10:38, etc.). In Christian writings the word ‘demon’ always means an evil being, though it is curious that, in the NT and (as far as the present writer has observed) in the Fathers, Satan himself is never called δαίμων or δαιμόνιον (‘demon’). Conversely his angels are never in the NT called ‘devils’ (διάβολοι), though in  John 6:70 Judas is called διάβολος. The Fathers emphatically assert that all demons are evil: see e.g. Tertull. Apol . 22, Orig. c. Cels . v. 5, viii. 39 (the Son of God not a demon), Cypr. Quod idola dii non sint , 6f. By the time of Augustine even the heathen used the word ‘demon’ only in a bad sense ( de Civ. Dei , ix. 19).

2. Conceptions about demons in apostolic writings .-Demons are regarded as the ministers of Satan-a host of evil angels over whom he has command. They are the ‘angels which kept not their own principality (ἀρχήν) but left their proper habitation’ ( Judges 1:6), who ‘when they sinned’ were ‘cast down to Tartarus’ ( 2 Peter 2:4). They are described as the Dragon’s angels, forming his army ( Revelation 12:7;  Revelation 12:9; cf.  Matthew 25:41). That these angels are the same as the demons appears from the fact that Satan is the prince of the demons ( Mark 3:22), and that demoniacs are said to be ‘oppressed of the devil’ (τοῦ διαβόλου, i.e. Satan [see Devil],  Acts 10:38; cf.  Luke 13:16). Thus there are good spirits and evil spirits which must be distinguished and proved: the spirit of the Antichrist must be distinguished from the Spirit of God ( 1 John 4:1).

St. Paul, in not dissimilar language, speaks of discernings of spirits ( 1 Corinthians 12:10; cf.  2 Corinthians 11:4) and of evil angels as being ‘principalities’ (ἀρχαί), ‘powers,’ ‘world-rulers (κοσμοκράτορες) of this darkness,’ ‘spiritual beings (πνευματικά) of wickedness in the heavenly [places]’ ( Ephesians 6:12; the last phrase may be roughly rendered ‘in the sphere of spiritual activities’; cf. Robinson’s note on  Ephesians 1:3 and see articleAir); perhaps also as being ‘the rulers of this age which are coming to nought … the spirit of the world’ ( 1 Corinthians 2:6;  1 Corinthians 2:12); or collectively as ‘all rule and all authority and power’ which are to be abolished ( 1 Corinthians 15:24;  1 Corinthians 15:26,  Ephesians 1:21 f.). That these are Satan’s hosts appears from the context of the last passage ( Ephesians 2:2), which speaks of the Prince of the power of the air (see Air).

It would seem that St. Paul regarded the heathen gods as demons, having a real existence, though they were not gods. On the one hand, ‘no idol is anything in the world, and there is no God but one’ ( 1 Corinthians 8:4); on the other hand, the sacrifices of the heathen are offered to demons, not to God, and therefore Christians must not attend heathen temples lest they have communion with demons ( 1 Corinthians 10:20 f.; note the idea that sacrifice involves communion between the worshipper and the worshipped). So in the Septuagint Psalms 96:5 affirms that all the gods of the heathen are demons (Heb. אֱלִילִים, i.e. ‘vanities’; Vulgate daemonia ); and  Deuteronomy 32:17 (see above) both in the Heb. text and in the Septuagintclearly identifies the heathen gods with demons. And similarly in  Revelation 9:20 the worship of demons is joined to that of idols.

The activity of demons towards man is great. Though, after a fashion, they believe-not with the Christian’s faith, which is born of love, but with faith compelled by fear ( James 2:19 : they ‘shudder’)-yet with the ingenuity which is peculiarly their own ( James 3:15 σοφία … δαιμονιώδης), they try to draw man away from his belief: they are ‘seducing spirits,’ whose teaching is called the ‘doctrine of demons’ ( 1 Timothy 4:1 f., so most commentators); their captain is called the ‘spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience’ ( Ephesians 2:2, where, however, ‘spirit’ is in apposition to ‘power,’ not to ‘prince,’ perhaps by grammatical assimilation; see Robinson’s note ad loc .). The demons accordingly instigate evil men against the good; they are ‘unclean spirits, as it were frogs’ coming ‘out of the mouth of the dragon … for they are spirits of demons,’ instigating the ‘kings of the whole world’ to the ‘war of the great day of God’ ( Revelation 16:13 f.). If we identify them with the ‘rulers of this age’ of  1 Corinthians 2:6 (see above), they instigated our Lord’s crucifixion ( 1 Corinthians 2:8). See also Devil.

Demons are able to work miracles or signs (σημεῖα,  Revelation 16:14), as Antichrist can ( 2 Thessalonians 2:9); they attract worship from men ( Revelation 9:20; cf.  Deuteronomy 32:17 above), and have their temples and tables (see above). Rome, the corrupt capital of the heathen world, designated ‘Babylon,’ is the habitation of demons, the prison of every unclean spirit, the prison of every unclean and hateful bird ( Revelation 18:2).

Just as the fruits of the working of the Holy Ghost in man are called the spirit ‘of power and love and discipline’ ( 2 Timothy 1:7) and ‘of truth’ ( 1 John 4:6), so those of the demons are ‘the spirit of bondage’ ( Romans 8:15), and ‘stupor’ (κατανύξεως,  Romans 11:8), and ‘fearfulness’ ( 2 Timothy 1:7), and ‘error’ ( 1 John 4:6).

3. Demoniacal possession .-This subject is much less spoken of in the writings which are here dealt with than in the Gospels. The evangelistic records depict a much stronger activity of evil in Palestine during the earthly life of our Lord than that which, as the rest of NT would lead us to suppose, existed elsewhere and at a later time. Yet in four passages of Acts we read of possession by unclean or evil spirits: at Jerusalem ( Acts 5:16); in Samaria, where they were expelled at the preaching of Philip ( Acts 8:7); at Philippi, where the ventriloquist maiden is said to have a spirit, a Python ( Acts 16:16 : πνεῦμα πύθωνα is the best reading); and at Ephesus, where by St. Paul’s miracles the evil spirits were expelled ( Acts 19:12). In this last passage we read of the evil spirit speaking out of the possessed man’s month, and of the man’s actions being those of the evil spirit ( Acts 19:15); also of Jewish exorcists who endeavoured to expel him (the seven of  Acts 19:14 become in all the best Manuscriptstwo at  Acts 19:16; probably there were seven brothers, but only two took part in this incident). The word ‘exorcist’ does not occur elsewhere in the NT. The passage about the Python ( Acts 16:16) is very remarkable. The name is derived from Pytho, a district near Delphi where the dragon (called Python) was slain by Apollo. The title was thus given to a diviner: both Apollo and the Delphic priestess were called ‘the Pythian’ (ὁ Πύθιος, ἡ Πυθία). Ventriloquists were regarded as being under the influence of demons, and as being able to divine; they were, as Plutarch tells us ( Moralia , ed. Xylander, ii. 414 E, quoted by Wetstein on  Acts 16:16), called πύθωνες, πυθώνισσαι. Here, then, we have the conception of something other than ordinary madness being a possession by evil spirits; and this incident may be considered as a stepping-stone to the conception found in some NT writers of physical disease as being, at least in some cases, also a possession. This is the case especially in the writings of Luke the physician. Thus the woman who was ‘bowed together’ is said to have had ‘a spirit of infirmity’ (πνεῦμα ἀσθενείας,  Luke 13:11) and to have been bound by Satan ( Luke 13:16); our Lord ‘rebuked’ (ἐπετίμησε) the fever of Simon’s wife’s mother ( Luke 4:39), as if it were an unclean spirit; a deaf-mute is said to have a ‘dumb spirit’ or ‘a dumb and deaf spirit’ ( Mark 9:17;  Mark 9:25).

There is nothing which leads us to suppose that the conception of demoniacal possession which we find well established in the four Gospels, especially in the Synoptics, was not shared by the other NT writers; but it is noteworthy that, as the subject is only glanced at in the Fourth Gospel (with reference to the charge against our Lord,  John 7:20;  John 8:48 ff;  John 10:20 f.), so it is not dealt with at all by St. Paul, though we could perhaps hardly expect that it should be spoken of in epistolary writings. We may, however, remark that the language of the famous passage  Romans 7:14-25, in which the Apostle speaks of the power of sin in the Christian-for we can hardly think that he is speaking of himself only before his conversion-bears a close likeness to that used to describe demoniacal possession.

Literature.-This article has dealt only with the period from the Ascension to the end of the 1st cent.; for this reference may be made to H. St. J. Thackeray, The Relation of St. Paul to Contemporary Jewish Thought , London, 1900, ch. vi. For demoniacal possession see R. C. Trench, Notes on the Miracles of our Lord 9, London, 1870, § 5 (‘The Demoniacs in the Country of the Gadarenes’). On the subject in general see H. B. Swete, The Holy Spirit in the New Testament , London, 1909, Appendix C; A. Harnack, The Mission and Expansion of Christianity , Eng. translation2, 1908. i. 125ff.; O. C. Whitehouse in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) , article‘Demon, Devil’; W. O. E. Oesterley in Dict. of Christ and the Gospels , article‘Demon, Demoniacs’; R. W. Moss in Hastings’ Single-vol. Dictionary of the Bible , articles ‘Devil,’ ‘Possession.’ For post-apostolic conceptions at demonology see H.L. Pass in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics , article‘Demons and Spirits (Christian)’; for those of other nations see the various articles under the same title in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics .

A. J. Maclean.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [3]

δαιμόνιον, δαίμων. It is to be regretted that the translators of the A.V. did not use the word 'demon' where these words occur instead of 'devil,' for which there is another Greek word, διάβολος, signifying 'accuser.' This latter word is used only in the singular, referring to the devil — Satan; but there are many demons. Philosophers spoke of demons quite differently from the way they are represented in scripture. Thus Plato says, "Every demon is a middle being between God and the mortal. God is not approached immediately by man, but all the commerce and intercourse between gods and men is performed by the mediation of demons." This was a device of Satan, that God could be worshipped through the agency of demons or demi-gods. In a similarway the Roman Catholics pray to the Virgin and the saints to intercede for them. Scripture makes it plain that the demons were evil spirits: cf.  Revelation 16:13,14 .

Scripture also shows that idolatry was essentially demon-worship, the idol itself being nothing. "They sacrificed unto demons ( shed ) not unto God,"  Deuteronomy 32:17;  1 Corinthians 10:19,20; "they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto demons ( sair )."  Leviticus 17:7;  Revelation 9:20 . Jeroboam had fallen so low as to have ordained priests for the demons ( sair ) and for the calves which he had made,  2 Chronicles 11:15; and some had "sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto demons ( shed )."*  Psalm 106:37 . The things worshipped may have been unseen objects, or they may have had some mystical representation, or may have been mere idols; but behind all these were real beings, evil, unclean spirits; so that it was morally impossible to have fellowship with the Lord Jesus and with these demons.  1 Corinthians 10:19-21 .

* The Hebrew word shed, though traced from the word 'lord,' properly signifies "a destroyer, extirpator, a violent one; hence metaphorically a mischievous demon." — Fürst. It occurs only in the above two passages. Sair signifies 'rough, hairy,' and specially a he-goat: hence "a goat-shaped deity, which was idolatrously worshipped . . . . It was believed that such hostile beings inhabited the deserts and woods ( Isaiah 13:21;  Isaiah 34:14 ), and that they must be appeased by divine worship'. — Fürst.

The evil spirits that possessed so many persons when the Lord was on earth were demons, and from the instances given we learn much respecting them. The Pharisees said that the Lord cast out demons by Beelzebub the prince of demons. The Lord interpreted this to mean 'Satan casting out Satan;' by which we learn that the demons were the agents of Satan; and that Satan as a strong man had to be bound before his kingdom could be assailed.  Matthew 12:24-29 . The demons also were strong ones, by the way they handled those they possessed, and by one overcoming seven men and making them flee out of the house naked and wounded.  Acts 19:16 . We know also that they were intelligent beings; for they knew the Lord Jesus and bowed at once to His authority. They also knew that punishment awaited them: for some asked if the Lord had come to torment them before the time.  Matthew 8:29 .

It must not be supposed that demon-agency has ceased: the exhortation is, "Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world."  1 John 4:1 . With this agrees the declaration that "in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons."  1 Timothy 4:1 . Spiritualists and Theosophists carry on intercourse with such, and are taught by them. In a future day also, when God will be pouring out His judgements on the earth, men will not repent, but will worship demons and all sorts of idols.  Revelation 9:20 . The spirits of demons also, by working miracles, will gather the kings of the earth together to the battle of that great day of Almighty God.  Revelation 16:14 . And mystical Babylon will become "the habitation of demons, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird."  Revelation 18:2 . The world and the professing church are evidently ripening for these things; and some, under the plea of investigating phenomena, are unconsciously having to do with the wicked spirits themselves!

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

DEMON . The word does not occur in AV [Note: Authorized Version.] . In RV [Note: Revised Version.] it is substituted for ‘devil’ in the margin of many passages, and the American Committee was in favour of its adoption in the text. Twice it stands in the text (  Deuteronomy 32:17 ,   Psalms 106:37 ), representing a root found in both Assyr. [Note: Assyrian.] and Arab. [Note: Arabic.] , and denoting a species of genli or demi-gods, who were conceived as invested with power for good or evil, and to whom even human sacrifices were offered. So in Bar 4:7; and in the same sense probably ‘devils’ is used in   1 Corinthians 10:20 and   Revelation 9:20 . For the conception of demon as an influence or spirit, exclusively evil, see Devil; and for the phenomena, see Possession and Exorcism.

R. W. Moss.

Webster's Dictionary [5]

(1): ( n.) A spirit, or immaterial being, holding a middle place between men and deities in pagan mythology.

(2): ( n.) One's genius; a tutelary spirit or internal voice; as, the demon of Socrates.

(3): ( n.) An evil spirit; a devil.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [6]

Demon. See Demons .

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [7]

This word is used by heathen writers with great latitude, being applied by them, 1. to every order of beings superior to man, including even the Highest; 2. it is applied to any particular divinity; 3. to the inferior divinities; 4. to a class of beings between gods and men. Of these latter some were habitually benevolent, and others malignant. To the former class belong the tutelary genii of cities, and the guardian spirits of individuals, as the demon of Socrates. 5. By an easy metonymy it is used to denote fortune, chance, and fate. Since no distinct ideas of the ancient Jewish doctrines concerning demons can be obtained from the Septuagint, we next have recourse to the heathens, and from their writings, owing to the universal prevalence of belief in demons, ample information may be obtained. The following is offered as a summary of their opinions.

1. Demons, in the theology of the Gentiles, are middle beings, between gods and mortals. This is the judgment of Plato, which will be considered decisive: 'Every demon is a middle being between God and mortal.'

2. Demons were of two kinds; the one were the souls of good men, which upon their departure from the body were called heroes, were afterwards raised to the dignity of demons, and subsequently to that of gods. It was also believed that the souls of bad men became evil demons. The other kind of demons were of more noble origin than the human race, having never inhabited human bodies.

3. Those demons who have once been souls of men were the objects of immediate worship among the heathens (;; ), and it is in contradistinction to these that Jehovah is so frequently called 'the living God' (, etc.).

4. The heathens held that some demons were malignant by nature, and not merely so when provoked and offended. Plutarch says, 'It is a very ancient opinion that there are certain wicked and malignant demons, who envy good men, and endeavor to hinder them in the pursuit of virtue, lest they should be partakers of greater happiness than they enjoy.' Pythagoras held that certain demons sent diseases to men and cattle.

In later times Josephus uses the word demon always in a bad sense, as do the writers of the New Testament, when using it as from themselves, and in their own sense of it. 'Demons are no other than the spirits of the wicked, that enter into men and kill them, unless they can obtain some help against them.'

It is frequently supposed that the demons of the New Testament are fallen angels; on the contrary it is maintained by Farmer, that the word is never applied to the Devil and his angels, and that there is no sufficient reason for restricting the term to spirits of a higher order than mankind. They who uphold the former opinion urge that our Lord, when accused of casting out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, replies, How can Satan cast out Satan (, etc.)? It is further urged, that it is but fair and natural to suppose that the writers of the New Testament use the word demons in the same sense in which it was understood by their contemporaries, which, as it appears from Josephus and other authorities, was, that of the spirits of the wicked; and that if these writers had meant anything else they would have given notice of so wide a deviation from popular usage.

The Nuttall Encyclopedia [8]


name which Socrates gave to an inner divine instinct which corresponds to one's destiny, and guides him in the way he should go to fulfil it, and is more or less potent in a man according to his purity of soul.