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Section 12A... The Occult/

 

003white Index To Section 12A The Occult         >        Evidence For The Devil

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Evidence for the Devil

by Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon

Please Note: Each coloured link within the article will lead you to a related topic on a different page of this site. However while the text is part of the original article, the links are not. The author of this article may or may not agree with the views expressed on those pages.

SEE  The Message of the Bible   and  The Warnng of The Bible

Part One

    What appears to me incredible is not the Devil, not the Angels, but rather the candor and the credulity of the skeptic, and the unpardonable sophism of which they show themselves to be the victims: "The Devil is a gent with red horns and a long tail; now I can’t believe in a gent with red horns and a long tail; therefore I don’t believe in the Devil." And so the Devil has them precisely where he wants them. Those who stick to old wives’ tales are those who refuse to believe in the Devil because of the image they form of him, which is drawn from old wives’ tales. (Denis de Rougemont, The Devil’s Share, An Essay on the Diabolic in Modern Society)

The spirits have come out in the open today: Through possessed "channels" they have spoken in public seminars, via books, cassettes, and videos, and even on national television. They have initiated an assault in ways that a generation ago would have seemed unthinkable. Polls such as those conducted by Gallup, Roper, and the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Council reveal that literally tens of millions of Americans claim to have had some kind of contact with spiritism. Thus, the occult can no longer be conveniently put to one side as belonging exclusively to Eastern/Oriental countries. 1 It is now out in the open, part of the recognized culture of the West. And it is our contention that all this is the devil’s business.

Unfortunately, many people ridicule even the idea of a literal devil or demons as primitive superstition. They believe that in our modern scientific age we can finally do away with such medieval nonsense and its corresponding "witch-hunts."

But is this attitude realistic? Is it unscientific to believe in a personal devil, or is there a preponderance of evidence that suggests his existence? The famed evangelist Billy Graham once remarked, "Why do I believe in the devil? For three reasons. 1. Because the Bible plainly says he exists. 2. Because I see his work everywhere. 3. Because great scholars have recognized his existence." 2

It is a more logical assumption that Satan really does exist than that he does not. As Dr. J. I. Packer, professor of historical and systematic theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, argues:

    The natural response to denials of Satan’s existence is to ask, who then runs his business?— for temptations which look and feel like expressions of cunning destructive malice remain facts of daily life. So does hell in the sense defined by the novelist John Updike—"a profound and desolating absence" (of God, and good, and community and communication); and "the realisation that life is flawed" (Updike goes on) "admits the possibility of a Fall, of a cause behind the Fall, of Satan." Belief in Satan is not illogical, for it fits the facts. Inept to the point of idiocy, however, is disbelief in Satan, in a world like ours; which makes Satan’s success in producing such disbelief all the more impressive, as well as all the sadder. 3

It is also quite logical that evil would seek to camouflage itself for strategic purposes, just as the Mafia launders its money in legitimate businesses. Camouflage has been a key ingredient of military tacticians for millennia—it would hardly be surprising to find it in the spirit world. Such camouflage could assume any number of guises from promoting itself as myth to the opposite extreme of promoting itself as ultimate reality or God. Indeed, the majority of people in our culture do believe either that Satan does not exist or that the realm of the psychic world is indeed divine. Of course, the only way out of this situation is to unmask the real myth: the lies the devil spreads about himself. As Brooks Alexander well argues:

    The nature of illusion is the ruse of misdirection. It is the misplacement of our attention through the manipulation of false images, both personal and collective. The devil’s disappearance provides a clear example of collective misdirection—a form of social deception. Once that image is accepted, whatever response we make to it will be as false as the image that provokes it, and therefore play into the devil’s hands. Its direction will be amiss by definition....

It is not the existence of Satan that should alarm us, but the fact that our contemporaries are so ill equipped to deal with reality on any level, let alone to recognize the fundamental danger. De Rougemont’s articulation of this point is elegant and concise:

    "One of the reasons why confusion is spreading in the world is that we are afraid to face its real causes. We believe in a thousand evils, fear a thousand dangers, but have ceased to believe in Evil and to fear the true Dangers. To show the reality of the Devil in this world is... to cure ourselves. We are never in greater danger than in moments when we deceive ourselves as to the real nature of a threat, and when we summon our energies for defense against the void while the enemy approaches from behind."

It would be irresponsible for us to exclude [the devil] from consideration simply because we dislike the connotations we have given him. Even if we acknowledge the concept without comprehending it, at least it puts us on notice that "spiritual" things may be more subtle and complex than they appear. Healthy caution is an antidote for fear, not its cause. 4


Eight Arguments for the Devil
Thus, we can suggest eight lines of reasoning to infer the possibility of a real devil and/or the reality of spiritual evil.

     the consensus of history and religion

     the testimony of practicing occultists

     the testimony of former spiritists

     the phenomenon of spirit possession

     the authority of the Bible

     the testimony of Jesus Christ

     the hostility to historic biblical Christianity displayed in virtually all spiritistic literature

     the destructive power of the occult and the testimony of brilliant thinkers

We examine these in turn.


The Consensus of History and Religion
Belief in Satan and/or a world of evil spirits has been with man throughout his history. It has been an accepted truth for a majority of people in most times and cultures, ancient and modern (e.g., Assyrian, Babylonian, Celtic, Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, Indian, African, Muslim, Roman, Tibetan, Persian, Chinese, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Jain, Japanese, Slavic, etc.). 5 In light of this vast testimony within the canons of history, culture, and religion, the relatively recent assertion of the devil’s lack of existence is less tenable. Modern scientific rationalism has actually explained very little of the height and depth of the universe.


The Testimony of Practicing Occultists
Magicians, psychics, gurus, mediums, and Satanists are well aware of the reality of spiritual evil, however they choose to define it. Many of these practitioners do believe in literal evil spirits and have had personal encounters with them. Such encounters leave little doubt as to their malevolent nature. 6 Occult magician Conway warns, "Their appetite for destruction and discord appears to be insatiable" and "We shall call them evil for the good reason that given the chance they would do us immeasurable harm." 7

    Spiritist Sri Chinmoy also discusses the deceptive nature of spirits, that even allegedly "good" spirits will turn on a person and then "they try to cut your throat" if the individual attempts to declare independence from them. 8 He further observes, "The hostile forces [can] take the form of a particular spiritual Master and ask the disciples to commit suicide. ‘If you commit suicide, I will be able to give you liberation sooner’ it would say.... These hostile forces are very clever." 9
     

Evidence for the Devil --- Part Two

The Testimony of Former Spiritists
The testimony of many former spiritists and occultists is that the spirits they once completely trusted were really demons who were seeking to deceive them. Their once-friendly spirit guides turned on them and/or attempted to destroy them. These frightening accounts are reported by Raphael Gasson in The Challenging Counterfeit, Victor Ernest in I Talked With Spirits, and Ben Alexander in Out From Darkness, all of whom are former long-standing spiritistic mediums.

Douglas James Mahr was the author of Ramtha: Voyage to the New World. Mahr had a significant personal history with "Ramtha." Yet today he is convinced that Ramtha’s true identity is not that of a venerable "mystical embodiment of 35,000 years of life experience," but rather that of a lying, demonic spirit. 10 [Also See Channeling]

Doreen Irvine was a leading European witch who relates her horrifying story in Freed From Witchcraft. Johanna Michaelsen was a former psychic and assistant to a noted Mexican psychic surgeon. Michaelsen discusses her experiences in The Beautiful Side of Evil.

All of these people agree that the spirit guides they once considered divine or enlightened entities were actually demons.


The Phenomenon of Spirit Possession
This malevolent phenomenon has occurred in nearly every culture and religion, ancient or modern. Former witch Doreen Irvine declares, "Demon possession is real, very real and is increasing at an alarming rate in this present day and age." 11 Indeed, the very act of a spirit invading and controlling a person implies, even demands, hostility and malevolence (see Mark 5:2-7). In People of the Lie, well-known psychiatrist M. Scott Peck observes: "It seems clear from the literature on possession that a majority of cases have had involvement with the occult—a frequency far greater than might be expected in the general population." 12

Dr. Peck also records an incident he witnessed personally at an exorcism: 

    When the demonic finally spoke clearly in one case, an expression appeared on the patient’s face that could be described only as Satanic. It was an incredibly contemptuous grin of utter hostile malevolence. I have spent many hours before a mirror trying to imitate it without the slightest success. I have seen that expression only one other time in my life—for a few fleeting seconds on the face of the other [mentioned] patient, late in the evaluation period. Yet when the demonic finally revealed itself in the exorcism of this other patient, it was with a still more ghastly expression. The patient suddenly resembled a writhing snake of great strength, viciously attempting to bite the team members. More frightening than the writhing body, however, was the face. The eyes were hooded with lazy reptilian torpor—except when the reptile darted out in attack, at which moment the eyes would open wide with blazing hatred. Despite these frequent darting moments, what upset me the most was the extraordinary sense of a fifty-million-year-old heaviness I received from this serpentine being. It caused me to despair of the success of the exorcism. Almost all the team members at both exorcisms were convinced they were at these times in the presence of something absolutely alien and inhuman. The end of each exorcism proper was signaled by the departure of this Presence from the patient and the room. 13

The phenomenon of possession is well documented in both Christian and non-Christian literature. 14 Dr. John Warwick Montgomery asserts: 

    The problem involved in determining whether demon possession occurs and whether witchcraft works is absurdly simple. The documentation is overwhelming. Even if ninety-nine percent of all witchcraft cases are thrown out (and that would be very difficult to do) the remainder would easily establish the reality of the phenomenon. 15

In a major text on altered states of consciousness, Religion, Altered States of Consciousness and Social Change, Dr. Erika Bourguignon (ed.) observes that of 488 societies surveyed, fully 74 percent believed in possession by spirits: "It will be noted that such beliefs occur in 74% of our sample societies, with a maximum of 88% in the Insular Pacific and a minimum of 52% in North America. The beliefs are thus characteristic of the great majority of our societies." 16

In The Devil’s Bride: Exorcism Past and Present, psychic researcher Martin Ebon observes, "The uniform character of possession, through various cultures and at various times, is striking." 17

Therefore, we must ask ourselves where, in fact, such a dominant belief came from if not from the fact of spirit possession itself? Are rationalistic explanations credible? We don’t think so. Rather, we think its very uniformity suggests (in Ebon’s words) the "universal presence of devils, demons or possessing spirits." 18

Note the following illustration from John S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy. Here we see not only the universal fact of spirit possession in Africa but also the resulting bondage to the alleged spirits of the dead:

    Spirit possession occurs in one form or another in practically every African society. Yet, spirit possession is not always to be feared, and there are times when it is not only desirable but people induce it through special dancing and drumming until the person concerned experiences spirit possession during which he may even collapse. When the person is thus possessed, the spirit may speak through him, so that he now plays the role of a medium, and the messages he relays are received with expectation by those to whom they are addressed. But on the whole, spirit possessions, especially unsolicited ones, result in bad effects. They may cause severe torment on the possessed person; the spirit may drive him away from his home so that he lives in the forests; it may cause him to jump into the fire and get himself burnt, to torture his body with sharp instruments, or even to do harm to other people. During the height of spirit possession, the individual in effect loses his own personality and acts in the context of the "personality" of the spirit possessing him. The possessed person becomes restless, may fail to sleep properly, and if the possession lasts a long period it results in damage to health. Women are more prone to spirit possession than men. 19

If belief in spirit possession is a dominant belief of the vast majority of cultures throughout human history, is it not a bit presumptuous to deny the fact, especially if such a denial is based on personal preference or presupposition, not real evidence?


Evidence for the Devil : Secular Sources

Hostility to Historic Biblical Christianity
The fact that all spiritistically inspired literature opposes biblical teaching confirms the biblical view of spiritual warfare. Otherwise, why should godly spirits oppose biblical teachings at all? Their own teachings prove that what the Bible says of them is true (i.e., that they are not who they claim). 20

In our book Cult Watch we stated in brief that the evidence demonstrates that these "loving" spirits with their endless disguises—from "angels" to "aliens" to "nature spirits"—fit the category of the demonic. It can be shown that these spirits—despite their frequent use of religious words and claims to spirituality—promote sin and immorality, and endorse occultism. Some even promote criminal activity and such perverse rituals as necrophilia (sex with corpses). They also pervert and distort biblical truth, reject Christ and hate the God of the Bible, and purposely deceive those who listen—sometimes with sadistic intent. If the above can be demonstrated (as it can), what other conclusions may we arrive at other than that these creatures are deceiving spirits? Why should we listen to them?

Consider the teachings of the spirit entity "Emmanuel" as found in the text by Pat Rodegast entitled Emmanuel’s Book. Morally, Emmanuel teaches the permissibility and desirability of divorce ("incompatible" marriages); the possibility of "open marriage" (adultery); the permissibility of abortion ("a useful act" when done "with willingness to learn" for "nothing in your human world is absolutely wrong"); and homosexuality and bisexuality as normal behavior. 21

Emmanuel also demeans political leaders as ignorant and sick and teaches that the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust really chose to be murdered in order to grow spiritually. Thus, Emmanuel says that Hitler and Stalin should not be condemned too severely for they also are part of God. 22

One book by a psychologist/channeler having wide experience with channeling says that a common theme of almost all modern channeling is that because men are literally creators of their own experience, "There are no victims." All personal experiences with evil are simply things we choose to create to "learn certain experiential lessons." 23 But are these teachings logical? Are they the kinds of moral codes man should live by? Are they good, ethical teachings in any sense? Can they be considered socially constructive? Are these ideas what we would expect from morally pure, divine, or highly evolved spiritual beings?

Or, on the other hand, are they what we would expect from evil spiritual beings? The fact is that such teachings are not the exception; they are merely representative of hundreds of other spirits’ teachings as reflected in occult literature today. 24


The Destructive Power of the Occult and the Testimony of Brilliant Thinkers
The personal damage to people’s lives revealed throughout the history of the occult is powerful evidence that occult practice links one to a world of evil spirits. This may explain why some of the most energetic minds of the modern era have accepted the reality of demons: They do leave evidence of both their existence and their nature.

The astute Cambridge professor C. S. Lewis said in regard to the existence of demons: "It seems to me to explain a good many facts. It agrees with the plain sense of Scripture, the tradition of Christendom, and the beliefs of most men at most times. And it conflicts with nothing that any of the sciences has shown to be true." 25

Trial lawyer, philosopher, and theologian Dr. John W. Montgomery holds eight earned degrees, including two doctorates, and is the author of over a hundred books and articles. He owns one of the largest personal occult libraries in the country and is convinced "there is overwhelming extra-biblical data and empirical confirmation" documenting scriptural claims for the existence of a personal devil and demons. 26

If even veteran psychic researchers admit the following concerning our ignorance of the psychic realm, certainly there is no reason to reject the idea of demons outright: "In truth, even the most knowledgeable among us must admit that when dealing with psychic aspects, we command no more than varying degrees of ignorance." 27

Is the skeptics’ position really tenable? Dr. Montgomery argues that, in controversial areas especially, special care must be taken to objectively assess the facts of the matter, whether or not it is personally comforting: "We must ‘suspend disbelief,’ check out the evidence with the care demanded for events in general, attempt to formulate explanatory constructs that best ‘fit the facts’ and at the same time be willing always to accept facts even if our best attempts to explain them prove inadequate." 28

Let’s offer a final illustration of why we feel we cannot ignore the possibility of a real devil and demons. It is a fact that all men everywhere believe that at any given moment, an invisible world of living creatures hovers about us (such as viruses and insects); indeed they even play an important role in the outcome of affairs on our planet, such as crop harvests and disease levels. Nevertheless, we rarely see them.

There are literally billions of creatures about us that we never see—in the air, water, and soil. Yet we know they exist, either by careful observation or the evidence of their visits.

It is a little strange that in a world where billions of creatures are not seen and yet believed in, that men refuse to accept the existence of God, angels, and demons merely because they have not yet seen them—when, in fact, their "tracks" are virtually everywhere. Perhaps some people cannot see them because they rule out their existence to begin with; hence, their "tracks" are explained by recourse to other theories. But for those persons who observe both nature and religion carefully, the "tracks" of the invisibles are only too obvious.

    Dave Hunt uses the analogy of the subatomic particle called the neutrino as an illustration of the closed-mindedness the skeptic has toward the spiritual world. 29 The neutrino is a particle that has no physical properties (no mass), no electrical charge, and is unaffected by gravitational or electromagnetic fields. A neutrino traveling toward the earth would pass right through it as if it simply did not exist. In fact, only one in ten billion neutrinos passing through matter the equivalent of the earth’s diameter would react with a neutron or proton!

    Now, let us assume there are intelligent "neutrino" beings. They would, of course, not be able to detect our universe; to them it would simply not exist. A neutrino entity could, at the very most, suspect our existence from certain secondary effects. But he would undoubtedly be ridiculed by his fellow colleagues and could never prove his suspicions since his neutrino instruments would simply be incapable of detecting our universe.

    If such beings existed, we who live upon the earth might find it unendingly amusing that these entities would refuse to admit our existence merely because they could neither see us or detect us directly. Their philosophical and logical "proofs" of our nonexistence would make good party fare. And if it were possible that we could in some manner interact with their world (while they could not affect ours), no doubt humans would have a very merry time with any curious neutrino beings willing to investigate our effects or "prove" our existence. To those neutrinos willing to dedicate their lives to our research, it would undoubtedly be most profound, with many disturbing implications.

The parallels here to the materialist’s unwillingness to believe in a spirit world and the parapsychologist’s eagerness to try and prove one exists is obvious. Both are caught, as it were, in a "neutrino trap": The former’s closed-mindedness prevents his realization of another dimension; the latter’s curiosity and credulity permits unending manipulation. And note carefully how little a neutrino being could ever really discover about our world. All his time would be spent with the enticing and fascinating secondary effects that, at best, would constitute the tip of the iceberg. After all his painstaking investigation, after all the theoretical constructs he could muster, he would remain infinitely ignorant about the real makeup of our world. He would know nothing of our physical constitution or abilities, our morality or civilization, our social structure and laws, our penchant for cruelty or wars.

The psychic’s dilemma is also obvious: He is the equivalent of a neutrino being poking and prodding a foreign environment, with absolutely no genuine knowledge of its inhabitant’s makeup and morality, or its world’s laws or dangers. A neutrino being was never meant to exist on an earth world, and neither is an earth being capable of exploring a neutrino world without courting whatever unknown hazards might be present. But to say evil spirits cannot exist, or that there is no evidence for them, is simply untenable by the canons of biblical, cultural, and empirical data.

In conclusion, a person would be hard-pressed to maintain that demons simply do not exist after considering not only the divine authority of the Bible and the testimony of Christ (who, as God, is an infallible authority), but also the consensus of history and religion, the testimony of active and former occultists, the phenomenon of spirit possession, the hostility to biblical revelation displayed in spiritistic literature, and the personal wreckage in the history of occultism.

In the end, one either trusts the spirits and ignores the facts, or trusts the facts and ignores the spirits.
 

Evidence for the Devil : Testimony from the Bible

The Authority of the Bible
Biblical authority is predicated upon its claim to be the Word of God. If the Bible is the Word of God, what it says about the existence of a personal devil must be true; therefore, in light of the overabundance of data supporting its divine inspiration, 30 we may assume the Bible’s statements about Satan are authoritative. As Denis De Rougemont observes in his The Devil’s Share: An Essay on the Diabolic in Modern Society, "If one believes in the truth of the Bible, it is impossible to doubt the reality of the Devil for a single moment." 31 [Also See Section A Remarkable Book]

The Bible does teach that the spirits who operate in the world of the occult are not what they claim to be (enlightened spirits sent from God) but demonic spirits bent on the deception and destruction of human beings. [See Section The Modern Church’s Adoption of Literal Doctrines of Demons]

What are some of the Scriptures relating to spiritism and the occult that warn men against occult involvement? The following illustrations prove that God considers occult involvement a serious matter, and that it is better avoided wherever it is found.

God warned ancient Israel not to adopt the occult practices of the pagan nation surrounding it: 

    When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [human sacrifice], one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you (Deuteronomy 18:9-12). [Also See The Occult.. An Overview]

God also judged the ancient kings of Israel when they disobeyed Him and practiced occultism. The reference below is to King Manasseh of Judah: 

    And he did evil in the sight of the Lord according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel. For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down; he also erected altars for the Baals [evil gods of human sacrifice] and made Asherim, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them [astrology]. ... And he made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom [human sacrifice]; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery, and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger (2 Chronicles 33:2,3,6).

As this passage suggests, in ancient Israel occult practices were associated with idolatry (worship of false gods and spirits) and inevitably led to human sacrifice—as is increasingly occurring in the Western world today. This gruesome practice is discussed in such books as Nigel Davies’ Human Sacrifice in History and Today (1981). Thus, the Israelites  

    mingled with the nations, and learned their practices, and served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; and the land was polluted with the blood. Thus they became unclean in their practices, and played the harlot in their deeds. Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against His people, and He abhorred His inheritance (Psalm 106:35-40).

The Bible further identifies the spiritistic powers behind idolatry as demonic: 

    They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. They sacrificed to demons, which are not God—gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your fathers did not fear. You deserted the Rock, who fathered you; you forgot the God who gave you birth (Deuteronomy 32:16-18).

    But the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons (1 Corinthians 10:20).

At the time of Isaiah, the people had become practitioners of various sorceries which God condemned: 

    They [judgments] will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells. You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, "No one sees me." Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, "I am, and there is none besides me." Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away (Isaiah 47:9-11).

In the New Testament, the practitioners of the occult are seen as those who lead people astray from the faith: 

    There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, "You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?" (Acts 13:6-10). (Cf. Acts 19:18-20)

The New Testament also reveals that when the spirit is cast out from someone with occult powers, the powers are lost, revealing that psychic powers are not human (i.e., natural and innate) but given by demons. The apostle Luke reports on one spiritist who was apparently seeking to validate her own practices by linking them with the apostle Paul’s ministry. 

    Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God who are telling you the way [hodon; lit. "a way"] to be saved." She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her. When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities (Acts 16:16-19).

Finally, we present below a selected list of additional Scriptures relating to the existence of spiritual warfare. 

    The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons (1 Timothy 4:1).

    Finally, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12).

    I [Jesus] am sending you [Paul] to them [to the Gentiles] to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins (Acts 26:17,18).

    The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4).

    The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:9,10).

    For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

    But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that bums with fire and brimstone, which is the second death (Revelation 21:8).


The Testimony of Jesus Christ
No one else in human history can speak with more authority than Jesus Christ. No one else in all history ever directly claimed to be God (John 5:18; 10:30; 14:9) and proved the truth of His claim by literally rising from the dead (Matthew 20:18,19; John 20:24-28; Acts 1:3).3 But if He rose from the dead, something unique in all human history, then He is both Lord and God, and what He says is true, including His statements about the devil, demons, and spiritual warfare. [See Section on Jesus]

The New Testament is replete with references to the reality of a personal devil as an apostate angel who fell from heaven. 4 Most of these references are spoken by Christ Himself (John 8:44; Luke 10:18; Jude 6). The devil is called the tempter (1 Thessalonians 3:5), wicked and evil (Matthew 6:13; 13:19), the prince of devils (Matthew 12:24), the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4), the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), dragon and serpent (Revelation 12:9; 20:2) and a liar and murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).

He has a kingdom (Matthew 12:26) which is hostile to Christ’s kingdom (Matthew 16:18,19; Acts 26:18), and he rules a realm of demons (Matthew 9:34). His key abilities are power and cunning. He is called a "strong man" (Matthew 12:29) and has great power (2 Thessalonians 2:9). His subtlety (Genesis 3:1) is seen in his treacherous snares (2 Timothy 2:26), wiles (Ephesians 6:11), devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), and transforming ability (2 Corinthians 11:14). He is so powerful that he deceives the "whole world," which is said to be "under the control of the evil one" (1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:9; 13:14). He thus works in the children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2), worked among the apostles (Matthew 16:23; Luke 22:31; John 13:2), opposes the people of God (1 Chronicles 21:1; Zechariah 3:1,2; Acts 5:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Corinthians 2:11) and even tried to gain the actual worship of God Himself in the person of Christ—an act suggestive of his extreme mental imbalance (Mark 1:13; Matthew 4:1-10).

Satan unendingly sows seeds of error and doubt in the church (Matthew 13:38,39), blinds the minds of unbelievers (Mark 4:15; Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:4), is capable of possessing men (John 13:27), has the power of death (Hebrews 2:14), and prowls about like a roaring lion seeking those he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).

Christ appeared to destroy the work of the devil (1 John 3:8) who will soon be defeated (Romans 16:20) to spend eternity in hell (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20).

In conclusion, the biblical testimony concerning the existence of Satan is beyond doubt.

     

Notes

1 These polls are widely reported and may be secured from the respective organization.

2 In This Week magazine, Mar. 2, 1958.

3 J. I. Packer, God’s Words (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1985), pp. 83-84.

4 Brooks Alexander, "The Disappearance of the Devil," Spiritual Counterfeits Project Newsletter, Vol. 10, No. 4, Jul./Aug. 1984, pp. 6-7.

5 See the discussion in James Hastings’ Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (New York: Schribner’s n.d.), Vol. 4, pp. 565-636.

6 Sri Chinmoy, Astrology, the Supernatural and the Beyond (Jamaica, NY: Agni Press, 1973), pp. 70-72; David Conway, Magic: An Occult Primer (New York: Bantam, 1973), pp. 196-199.

7 Conway, Magic: An Occult Primer, pp. 196, 198.

8 Sri Chinmoy, Conversations With the Master (Jamaica, NY: Agni Press, 1977), p. 19.

9 Chinmoy, Astrology, p. 94.

10 Cf., Douglas Mahr, letter, in SCP Newsletter, Vol. 16, No. 3, Dec. 1991, p. 3.

11 Doreen Irvine, Freed From Witchcraft (Nashville, TN: Nelson, 1973), p. 138.

12 M. Scott Peck, People of the Lie (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983), p. 190.

13 Ibid., p. 196.

14 Cf., John Ankerberg, John Weldon, The Coming Darkness (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1993), p. 325, note 14.

15 John W. Montgomery, Principalities and Powers (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany, 1975), p. 146.

16 Erika Bourguignon, ed., Religion, Altered States of Consciousness and Social Change (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1973), pp. 16-17, Table 2.

17 Martin Ebon, The Devil’s Bride: Exorcism Past and Present (Harper & Row, 1974), p. 11.

18 Ibid., p. 14.

19 John Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy (New York: Doubleday/Anchor, 1970), pp. 106-107.

20 See the companion article: "The Teachings of the Spirits."

21 Pat Rodegast, Emanuel’s Book (Weston, CT: Friends Press, 1986), pp. 132, 198-201, 227, 232, 205, 161.

22 Ibid., pp. xx, 145, 88, 151, 208, 223, 228.

23 Kathryn Ridall, Channeling (New York: Bantam, 1988), p. 58.

24 See the companion article: "The Teachings of the Spirits."

25 C. S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan, 1971), p. vii.

26 John Warwick Montgomery, "Commentary on Hysteria and Demons, Depression and Oppression, Good and Evil" in John Warwick Montgomery, ed., Demon Possession: A Medical Historical Anthropological and Theological Symposium (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany, 1976), p. 232.

27 Martin Ebon, "Psychic Roulette," Psychic Magazine, Dec, 1975, p. 58.

28 John Warwick Montgomery, Principalities and Powers (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany, 1975), p. 146.

29 Dave Hunt, The Cult Explosion (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1980), pp. 15-16.

30 Rene Pache, The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1966); Norman L. Giesler, ed, Inerrancy (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979); L. Gaussen, The Divine Inspiration of the Bible (grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, rpt. 1971).

31 Denis DeRougemont, The Devil’s Share: An Essay on the Diabolic in Modern Society (New York: Meridian, 1956), p. 18.

32 Our book Do the Resurrection Accounts Conflict? And What Proof Is There That Jesus Rose From the Dead? (available from the Ankerberg Theological Research Institute, P. O. Box 8977, Chattanooga, Tennessee 37414), details the persuasive, logical, historical, and legal evidence for the fact of Christ rising from the dead.

33 Taken mostly from The New Schaff Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1977), Vol. 3, pp. 414-415.

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