Are Demons Active Today?
Howard Coles, Coleford, England
During the public ministry of the Lord Jesus and in the early church era there were many occurrences of unclean spirits entering and possessing people of all ages. Why were they seemingly more active then than now? A good illustration of why this might be is to think of a field of grass in the summer. While it is undisturbed everything appears to be calm and inactive. However, when someone walks through the field the hidden things are stirred up and become active. Often a wave of insects spring into action as the person walks through. The same could be said concerning Christ’s ministry. Just His presence – passing through the land of Israel, caused the activity of the devil and the demonic realm to increase.
Today Satan and his demons are just as active as they were then, but their activities, especially when it comes to demonic possession (in the western world at least) are less obvious.
It is not long after a person is converted that they will encounter the opposition of the devil or more likely one of his emissary demons. No Christian is exempt from his/their efforts to tempt and deceive. The New Testament is full of warnings concerning this enemy of our soul’s welfare, e.g. ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high (heavenly) places.’ Eph. 6. 12; ‘Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour’,1 Pet. 5. 8.
When it comes to demon possession in the so-called civilised world, although there may not be outward sign of frothing at the mouth or seeming madness, as is so vividly portrayed in the New Testament, many people are very much under the control of Satan and his demons in the inner heart and soul.
In the undeveloped countries, there is a lot more ‘obvious’ possession where even today persons can be seen in trances with eyes rolling, speaking gibberish and gyrating uncontrollably.
Demonic possession in the civilised world is less likely to be of this kind and we need to ask why might this be? Someone has suggested that this may be because the Devil and his demons know that the majority do not believe in his/their existence. If he/they were active in this way, people might have to start believing he/they do exist causing them to start believing in the unseen reality of the devil and his demonic beings. To accept their existence is one step away from accepting the possibility of a Creator and this they would not contemplate. So the approach is subtle and undercover. His major tool is the occult, ‘magic’ board games, astrology, séances, the black arts of witchcraft and spiritualistic meetings of great variety.
Satan and his demons are very powerful. Scripture warns us, ‘For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places’, Eph. 6. 12. We are not able to combat him in our own strength or ability. We need the whole armour of God and nothing less will do. Remember though for the Christian Satan is a defeated foe. The apostle John wrote ‘Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them (evil spirits): because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world’, 1 John 4. 4. ‘Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you’, Jas. 4. 7.
One final point – don’t believe that it is possible for a believer to be demon possessed. Could demons possess a believer in Christ who is indwelt with the Holy Spirit from conversion ‘In Him (Christ) you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory’, Eph. 1. 13, 14. Once we belong to the Lord He will never let us go. We are on the most powerful pair of shoulders in the universe. Luke 15. 5. The Great Shepherd is taking us home and no one, not even the devil himself can stop Him!
A useful short study guide for those seeking to help young people to see the error of the Occult called, ‘A Look into the Occult, a Biblical Investigation’ is produced by the ‘Reachout Trust’, 24 Ormond Road, Richmond, Surrey, TW10 6TH. Tel 020 8332 7785 priced £1.75/£2.00. Editor.