Beth Elohim Messianic Synagogue
I was told by Rabbi Phil Davis that the last subject he studied in the curriculum was demonology. When I attended Liberty seminary, it was not even in the curriculum. For Rabbi Phil he was told that this course was last because the faculty thought it a subject only for the spiritually mature. As for me I believe the sooner a believer becomes familiar with the subject of demons the better he/she is prepared to resist their influence.
The Scriptures provide abundant proof of the existence of a vast order of spirit beings that are under the control of HaSatan and do his bidding. Their number may be seen from the fact that a legion indwelt one man or two men of Gadara. The fact of their existence is seen from the personal contact that Yahshua had with them in casting them out of possessed persons. He dealt with them as with personal responsible creatures who could understand His commands, could obey them, possessing knowledge saying to Yahshua, “We know thee who Thou art” (Lk. 4:35). They worshipped the Messiah (Mk. 5:6). They can believe (Jas. 2:19) anticipation to judgment or have a foreknowledge of impending doom (Mt. 8:29).
The authorized version of the Scriptures has mistranslated the Greek words daimonion and daimon, from which our English word demon is derived, by the oft repeated word Devil or devils when it should be demon or demons. The word Devil is always reserved for the original devil or HaSatan, except in three cases where the word Diabolos or “accuser” or “slanderer” is used of men (I Tim. 3:1,11; 3:3; Tit. 2:3). Used more than 30 times of HaSatan, but the words daimonion and daimon in both the singular and plural is never used interchangeably with diabolos.
Demons have come in for their share of disbelief and denial of existence. The modern Sadducees who neither believe in the resurrection, the miraculous, or angels, deny the existence of demons along with the Devil, and angels. Their explanations vary with the various schools of skepticism to which they belong, which varies from a downright accusation of ignorance to the Son of G-d, to some kind of trickery on His part. They say Yahshua knew better but either did not want to or decided it was no use to try to enlighten the ignorance of the disciples.
In other words, they assert, “Yahshua knew better than to believe in demons, but didn’t trouble to enlighten His disciples.” When you read the Gospel accounts, you cannot get that impres¬sion. Yahshua dealt with them as personal agents of a very unclean nature.
Demons are spirit beings and from the following passages the fact can be seen of their existence as spirit beings. The words “demon” and “spirit” are interchangeable. Mat. 8:16; Lk. 10:17,20; 8:2,3.
Their origins are shrouded in the mystery of the prehistoric past.
Nevertheless, we can deduce that from their New Testament or B’rit Chadashah activity of seeking embodiment, it would seem to indicate that they are disembodied spirits. Angels never had a body, and therefore would not seek embodi¬ment. However, wherever demons seek to be active in the B’rit Chadashah (New Testa¬ment) it is for embodiment, or possession of human beings. They seem to have man’s own temperament or soulish nature (but not man’s spirit), which must have a body to express itself and be happy. Sha’ul (Paul) speaks of a groaning not to be disembodied but clothed upon with a glorified body. We could never be complete or happy in eternity without a body. Our soulish natures need a body for complete expression. It would seem that demons must have this same compulsion, for we read in the story of the demons of Gadarea, that they sought to be embodied in the swine rather than be cast out altogether.
From this deduction, it would seem that demons are not angels, but a prehistoric race of personal moral agents who lived here on earth before Adam in the first Paradise of G-d in which HaSatan as Lucifer lived and ruled. They might have been his subjects then. He had a kingdom here on earth, as G-d of this age, Prince (Ruler) of this world, and still holds that sway.
While it is a matter for conjecture only, still it gives a plausible explanation of the many mysterious workings of demons. There is one other intimation in the Scriptures. In Gen. 1:28 G-d gives the same command to Adam that he later gave to Noah in Gen. 9: l——”Be fruitful and multiply and re¬plenish the earth.” That which has not been plenished before cannot be replenished.
Their employment is under the command of HaSatan for his every foul purpose and work, such as the possession and embodiment of humans (Mk. 5:8—13), bringing bodily affliction (Mt. 21:22) such as blindness (Mt. 13:22), dumbness (Mt. 9:32,33), other Lk. 13:11—17). They teach HaSatan’s religions (I Tim. 4:1) and head his religions as objects of worship and sacrifice (I Cor. 10:20). They lead nations in HaSatan’s plans (Rev. 16:13,14).
They shall implement the wrath of HaSatan in the last days of this age as a scourge upon the earth (Rev. 9:1—11). We believe these to be literal spirit beings out of the abyss, with HaSatan as their king.
Now I’d like to speak to you on the Psychology of Temptation.
Sha’ul (Paul) in I Cor. 10:13 said: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to all men; but G-d is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” He did not say He will not suffer you to be tempted, but not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able to bear. He did not say He will always keep you from great temptation, but is faithful to provide a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
There are two errors into which believers fall concerning temptation. HaSatan uses both to trap the unwary.
(1) The one is a state of overconfidence toward temptation or sin itself to believe either that one is above all temptation or free from it, so that they will not again be tempted. This is the guile idea that sanctification, which by the way means a work in progress, not completed forever, delivers from temptation, as though haSatan would let a person go that easy, or that as long as we are in this state of probation there is no more need of trying of faith or testing of character. G-d has never promised such a state. If Yahshua the Son of G-d must be tempted and tested and to learn obedience through the things which he suffered, we should not expect such freedom from temptation. The danger of this false sense of security is, it allows haSatan an advantage of surprise over us. The unexpected testing or temptation carries an added element of risk in that some believers blind his/her eyes to the potentials of their own heart to the wiles of haSatan. Too many of us ignorantly believe we are above temptation. The other side of over confidence concerning temptation is to do what Sha’ul (Paul) says he never did, “Put confi¬dence in the flesh,” to think that “I can never be so tempted, others may fall, but not me”. To think we have some special grace, which makes us im¬mune to all attractions of temptation. How many times has such a state led one to the very same sin, we despised in others, or a worse one. Sha’ul (Pau)l says, “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (I Cor. 10:12). So also in Gal. 6:1, “Brethren if a man be overtaken in a fault ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, con¬sidering (“watching”) thyself lest thou also be tempted.” Harboring pride that you are free from that particular kind of tempta¬tion is the first step of falling into like condemnation.
You must not think for one moment that deeper grace within your life guarantees freedom from temptation. The opposite is true. When a tzadek (saint) enters into the deeper interior life of consecra¬tion, haSatan contests every step we make for G-d. Sometimes the strength and number of the temptations are good attestations that we have grown in spiritual maturity. G-d did not lead the children of Israel immediately from Egypt by the Philis¬tine country, “Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war and they return to Egypt.”
No, only after 40 years of wilderness preparation and dealings with them did G-d lead them into Canaan with its high walled cities, giants, 31 in number, and seven mightier nations than they. The presence of temptation is taken by many as a sign that they are not sanctified, or consecrated, or they are gripped in carnality. It is often the opposite.
No, as long as we are in this present state, we will still have the old nature residue for haSatan to work on, even when sanctified (set-apart). Herein, is our temptation different than Yahshua’s; He said, “When the Prince of this world cometh he findeth nothing in me,” but haSatan does find something in us to take hold of. But even of Yahshua it is said after His temptation in the wil¬derness, “ He (haHaSatan) departed from Him for a season”. (Lk. 4:13). He came back again!
(2) The second common error used by haSatan to trap unwary saints is to believe that temptation itself is sin. haSatan has kept many believers in fearful bondage believing that evil suggestions and suggestions to evil within their minds are sin, and they blame themselves for it. This in turn brings self-condemnation, discouragement, and many times leads to the actual sin, which at first was but a temptation. It seems as though no one would fall for that trick of haSatan, but unfortunately many do. So many times the filthy suggestions of haSatan carry with them to our consciences a feeling of pol¬lution. The tempted one thinks, “I must be very bad to even get such thoughts.”
Just remember——temptation is not sin or else Yahshua would have sinned, for haSatan suggested very evil thoughts to Him. “To bow down and worship haSatan.” The old saying is applicable here, “You can’t keep a bird from landing on your head, but you can keep it from building a nest.” You cannot keep haSatan from suggesting evil, planting G-d—dishonoring thoughts, but you can keep from entertaining them and making them yours. For as soon as you harbor them, accept them, make them yours, they become sin. The temptation itself is not sin. It is a learning opportunity to further develop your spiritual state.
Temptation could not be sin and have G-d say, “Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptation.” Nor could G-d suffer us to be tempted at all if it was sin in itself. It is temptation re¬sisted and overcome which contributes to the saint’s growth in grace and wins a crown of life. (Jas. 1:12).
The question arises, “Just how does haSatan tempt? And how does he allure to sin? What part of my nature does he have access to? What part of my nature does he use?
HaSatan cannot force one to sin. He is not omnipotent. G-d could force men to do His bidding, but it is only because G-d so wills that men can will contrary to G-d. We have the capacity through free will to do as haSatan wills in rebelling against G-d. But haSatan doesn’t have that power over man. He cannot make us sin. His whole ability lies more in the psychological realm. Hence, He relies upon cunning sub¬tlety, as Sha’ul (Paul) speaks of it, “The snare of the devil” (A baited trap).
If he came openly declaring himself and his intentions, he would but drive the believer closer to YHVH/Yahshua. Proverbs says, “He that layeth a snare in the sight of a bird doeth it in vain”. Herein lies the danger of the temptations of haSatan, the guise in which they come. Too often, they seem like innocent amusement, harm¬less fun, light past time activities, mere human foibles excused by us, painted up by haSatan to hide the death trap.
HaSatan, as a spirit being, has access to our spiritual natures even as the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) does. The Ruach HaKodesh as a Spirit can work on our consciences to convict of wrong doing. The Ruach can work on our memories to remember our sins in their hideous details to convict; can work on our minds also in their reflections, cogitations or reasoning’s to impress upon it the righteous claims of G-d. The Ruach can work on the affections to “draw the soul unto Yahshua”. Within the believer, we see the work of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) giving spiritual instruction in the deep things of G-d. HaSatan and his messengers as spirit beings seem to possess the same ability, only in limited degree to act upon all the powers or sense of soul and body, be¬cause we possess a still fallen nature, which wills against G-d and is based toward evil, haSatan finds something in us where he can communicate with our spiritual natures. We see him using the imagination, often to paint alluring pictures of the desirability of sin, enlarging upon them, painting lying images. We see him approaching the reason to argue the desir¬ability of sin. See him as he uses the affections, the love of wrong things. To some degree, he has the ability to use memory, as of some dirty story we have heard, etc.
As John outlines temptation we see that “The lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life” (I Jn. 2:16) is the avenue by which we are confronted. HaSatan uses every sense of the spiritual nature as well as bodily to attack us. These are the appetites of the flesh, sex, eating, etc. There are spiritual esthetic ap-petites such as acquisition, pride, and ambition. There are lusts of the flesh, and lust of the eye. HaSatan uses the eye to show us what we should not look upon, the ear to pour in his filth, the mind to meditate upon them, and entertain them. So James in 1:14 said, “Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts and enticed.” Then when lusts hath conceived it bringeth forth sin.”
The ability of haSatan as spirit to contact immediately our spirits to present his temptations is illustrated in the case of Annanias in Acts 5:3. “Why hath HaSatan filled thine heart to lie to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit).” V. 4 “Thou hast conceived this thing in your own heart.” The allurement was haSatan’s; the conception of sin his own. Another illustration comes with his suggestions to evil or inordinate fulfillment of desires. There seems to be a receptive attitude on the part of the old natures, a stirring into life and desire by the “enticement,” a promise to it of new life and encouragement. We must resist the Devil, and give no room, but abide in G-d’s Torah and draw from Yahshua the strength and virtue needed for complete renunciation of the temptation.
Rabbi Tamah Davis-Hart