The Bible does not have a chapter that provides a checklist of the abilities of demons. We have to piece this together the various accounts of their activities throughout Scripture. So, that is what I will do now. Here is a partial list of things demons can do, with scripture references attached to them:
- Demons think of people as houses, or dwelling places. (Luke 11:24-26)
- Demons do not like to be outside of or detached from a human host. They cannot find rest when they are not on or in a person. They have a strong desire to be in a “house.” (Luke 11:24-26)
- If a demon cannot be in or attached to a human, then he (the demon) would rather be in an animal than to be simply driven out (Mark 5:8-13)
- Demons sometimes operate as teams or gangs (Luke 11:24-26, Mark 5:8-13)
- Demons can think, they have a will, and they make plans and take deliberate actions. (Luke 11:24-26)
- Demons can talk by using the vocal abilities of the person they have influence over. (Mark 1:23-25, Mark 5:8-13)
- Demons can cause physical problems in a person, such as back problems (Luke 13:11-16), seizures (Matthew 17:14-18), muteness (Luke 11:14), mental health issues (Mark 5:1-13), etc
- Demons can attempt to spread false doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1-4)
- Demons work to hinder the spread of the gospel message (1 Thessalonians 2:18, 2 Cor 11:3, Corinthians 11:24-12:8 – Paul’s thorn)
- Demons try to prevent people from believing the gospel and getting saved (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)
- Demons can attempt to deceive people by pretending to know the future (Acts 16:16)
- Demons can attempt to deceive people that visit mediums by impersonating their deceased loved ones. This is called a “familiar spirit” (Leviticus 20:27)
- Demons can try to put fear on people (2 Timothy 1:7, Romans 8:15)
It we want to group all of this into a few sentences, we could say something like this: If left unchecked or unopposed, demons can attempt to intimidate, deceive, harass, defile, afflict, tempt, entice, and control.
But before I end this article, I want to make sure that the reader does not go away fearful. Christians NEVER need to be afraid of demons.
The Bible tells us that Christians have overwhelming power and authority to resist, oppose, defeat, rebuke, and expel every demon. We (the believers) have been given power and authority by Jesus to destroy the works of the devil. We get to operate in the authority provided by Jesus. He has all authority (Matthew 28:18) and He has commissioned us to represent Him in His authority.
James 4:7 – Resist the devil and he will flee from YOU
Mark 16:16 – These signs shall follow THOSE THAT BELIEVE, in my name THEY shall cast out demons
Luke 10:19 – Behold, I give YOU authority to trample on snakes and scorpions, and over ALL the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt YOU
In my next post in this series, I plan to examine in more detail what the Bible has to say about the authority of the believer.