Saturday, April 21, 2012

What is a Demon? Part 3: Essence and Character

So far in this series, we have been skirting the issue of sorts. I wanted to bring a solid historical and etymological look at what the meaning and background of what a “demon” is. I left out many things we usually associate with the topic on purpose.

In our society, everyone knows essentially what a demon is. It is a malicious supernatural being. Some believe they are fallen angels, others believe they are pure negative energy that manifests themselves in our physical world.

So, what is a demon essentially?
As with anything you can somewhat describe a being by its actions.
A demonic entity is the enemy of mankind.
It wants to destroy you any way it can.

It hates you. It wants you dead, and if it can’t make you dead it wants you miserable.
1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.


The traditional explanation of the origin of demons is that many demonic spirits are either fallen angels or perhaps their offspring.
Scripture does not say it directly, but traditional interpretation of Isaiah 14 and Luke 10:18 tell us that Lucifer or Satan the angelic leader rebelled and was cast out of heaven. He was cast out because of pride and rebellion (Ezekiel 28), and now has dominion over the earth (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 6:12, etc.)  Referencing this with Revelation 12:3-9 and you have 1/3 of the angels falling with him. Satan hates man because God made them in His image and has a special plan and purpose for humanity. Satan in his diabolical struggle with God wants to destroy humanity, and annihilate that which God loves by any means at his disposal.

A belief not really mentioned in Scripture but which has been in church tradition since the Apostolic age is that some demonic entities are the disembodied spirits of the offspring of man and angel, the Nephilim. Genesis 6:4 tells us “There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown.” The word translated giant is the Hebrew word Nephilim, which has as its root the word ‘fallen’ so Nephilim could be translated “The fallen ones”. Who were the fallen ones of Scripture? Of course the fallen angels. Another clue is the term “Sons of God” used in this verse. This term is most notably used in the book of Job, talking about angels as well “Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them…Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord.” (Job 1:6 and 2:1) These verses show the heavenly court, and the angels are called “sons of God” the literal word used for Satan is literally translated “The Adversary”. So the Nephilim in Gensis 6:4 are the abominable offspring of angels (perhaps fallen angels) and humans. Ancient church tradition has it that after the flood, these monstrous offspring died and their eternal souls have since wandered the earth looking for a human body to possess. And that which they cannot possess …they harass.

Logically if demonic entities are fallen angels, there is a possibility that they still might have some of the supernatural abilities which angels possess according to Holy Scripture.

So what are the supernatural abilities of angels according to the Bible?
• Angels are spirits (Hebrews 1:14) who can physically manifest themselves as human-like beings.
            Genesis 18-19 God and two angels appear to Abraham as three traveling men. Later the two angels go to Sodom and appear as humans.
            Daniel 10 An angel appears before the prophet Daniel looking like a man and gives Daniel prophecies.
            Hebrews 13:2 tells us, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.”

• Sometimes angels manifest themselves through unnatural phenomenon
Exodus 3:1-3 An angel from God appears to Moses as flames burning a bush without consuming it.
Genesis 14:19-20 As the angel of the God moves, a pillar of cloud moved with it.

So can demonic entities manifest themselves physically? Yes.
Can they possibly be able to masquerade as humans? It would seem to be within the realm of possibilites.
That in itself is quite chilling, no?

This is especially nefarious since one of the key characteristics of the devil is...
Read the rest on my Examiner site.


Haunted Souls said...

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Nice One!!

The Mythical and Paranormal Blog said...

Interesting to know that in some traditions demons are believed to be the spirits of Nephilim. I'd never heard of that before.