Demons—How Can We Resist Them?
“Angels that did not keep their original position but forsook their own proper dwelling place [God] has reserved with eternal bonds under dense darkness for the judgment of the great day.”—JUDE 6.
1, 2. What questions arise about Satan the Devil and the demons?
“KEEP your senses, be watchful,” warns the apostle Peter. “Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” (1 Peter 5:8) Concerning the demons, the apostle Paul says: “I do not want you to become sharers with the demons. You cannot be drinking the cup of Jehovah and the cup of demons; you cannot be partaking of ‘the table of Jehovah’ and the table of demons.”—1 Corinthians 10:20, 21.
2 Who, though, are Satan the Devil and the demons? How and when did they come into existence? Did God create them? How powerful is their influence over humans? What defense, if any, do we have against them?
How Did Satan and the Demons Come to Be?
3. How did an angel of God become Satan the Devil?
3 Early in human history, when mankind had its start in the garden of Eden, an angel of God became rebellious. Why? Because he was not satisfied with his role in Jehovah’s heavenly arrangement. With the creation of Adam and Eve, he saw an opportunity to divert their obedience and worship away from the true God and to himself. By rebelling against God and by inducing the first human pair to pursue a sinful course, this angel made himself Satan the Devil. In time, other angels got involved in his rebellion. How?—Genesis 3:1-6; Romans 5:12; Revelation 12:9.
4. What did some rebellious angels do before the Flood of Noah’s day?
4 The inspired Scriptures tell us that sometime before the great Flood of Noah’s day, certain angels began to take an unusual interest in the women on earth. For a wrong purpose, “the [heavenly] sons of the true God began to notice the daughters of men, that they were good-looking,” states the Bible, “and they went taking wives for themselves, namely, all whom they chose.” These unions were unnatural, and they produced hybrid offspring known as Nephilim. (Genesis 6:2-4) The spirit creatures who thus disobeyed God joined in Satan’s rebellion against Jehovah.
5. How were the rebels affected when Jehovah brought about destruction by means of the great Flood?
5 When Jehovah brought the Flood upon mankind, the Nephilim and their human mothers perished. The rebel angels were forced to dematerialize their human bodies and return to the spirit realm. However, they could not resume “their original position” with God. Rather, they were consigned to “dense [spiritual] darkness,” known as Tartarus.—Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4.
6. How do the demons deceive people?
6 Ever since the wicked angels lost “their original position,” they have been the demon companions of Satan and have served his evil interests. From that time onward, the demons have no longer had the power to materialize human bodies. However, they can entice men and women to engage in various forms of sexual perversion. Demons also actively deceive mankind by means of spiritism, which can involve such things as magic spells, voodoo, and spirit mediums. (Deuteronomy 18:10-13; 2 Chronicles 33:6) The destiny of the wicked angels is the same as that of the Devil—eternal annihilation. (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:10) In the meantime, though, we need to stand firm and resist them. We are wise to consider how powerful Satan is and how we can successfully resist him and his demons.
How Powerful Is Satan?
7. What power does Satan have over the world?
7 Satan has maligned Jehovah throughout history. (Proverbs 27:11) And he has influenced a large part of mankind. “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one,” states 1 John 5:19. That is why the Devil could tempt Jesus by offering him the authority and the glory of “all the kingdoms of the inhabited earth.” (Luke 4:5-7) Concerning Satan, the apostle Paul says: “If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.” (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4) Satan is “a liar and the father of the lie,” but he portrays himself as “an angel of light.” (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:14) He has the power and the methods needed to blind the minds of the world’s rulers and their subjects. With propaganda and religious myths and lies, he has deceived mankind.
8. What does the Bible indicate regarding Satan’s influence?
8 Satan’s power and influence were evident in the time of the prophet Daniel, some five centuries before our Common Era. When Jehovah sent an angel to deliver a message of encouragement to Daniel, the angel encountered resistance from “the [spirit] prince of the royal realm of Persia.” The faithful angel was held up for 21 days until “Michael, one of the foremost princes,” came to help him. The same account also speaks of “the [demon] prince of Greece.” (Daniel 10:12, 13, 20) And at Revelation 13:1, 2, Satan is portrayed as “the dragon” who gives to the political wild beast “its power and its throne and great authority.”
9. Against whom are Christians fighting?
9 No wonder the apostle Paul wrote: “We have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) Even today, demonic forces under the control of Satan the Devil are behind the scenes, exercising influence on human rulers and on mankind in general, prompting them to commit unspeakable acts of genocide, terrorism, and murder. Let us now examine how we can successfully resist these powerful spirit forces.
What Defense Do We Have?
10, 11. How can we resist Satan and his wicked angels?
10 We cannot resist Satan and his wicked angels in our own strength, whether physical or mental. Paul counsels us: “Go on acquiring power in the Lord and in the mightiness of his strength.” We need to turn to God for protection. Paul adds: “Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil . . . Take up the complete suit of armor from God, that you may be able to resist in the wicked day and, after you have done all things thoroughly, to stand firm.”—Ephesians 6:10, 11, 13.
11 Paul twice urges his fellow Christians to put on “the complete suit of armor from God.” The word “complete” implies that no halfhearted approach would be sufficient to resist demonic attacks. So, what are the vital components of the spiritual armor that Christians today urgently require in order to resist the demons?
12. How can Christians gird their loins with truth?
12 Paul explains: “Stand firm, therefore, with your loins girded about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness.” (Ephesians 6:14) The two pieces of armor referred to here are a girdle, or a belt, and a breastplate. A soldier had to keep his belt tight in order to protect his loins (hips, groin, and lower abdomen) and to bear the weight of his sword. Likewise, Bible truth needs to be wrapped around us tightly, as it were, so that we live in harmony with it. Do we have a schedule for reading the Bible daily? Is the whole family involved? Do we have a routine to consider the day’s text as a family? In addition, do we keep up with the explanations in publications provided by “the faithful and discreet slave”? (Matthew 24:45) If so, we are endeavoring to apply Paul’s counsel. We also have videos and DVDs that can provide Scriptural guidance. Keeping a tight hold on the truth can help us make wise decisions and protect us from following a wrong course.
13. How can we protect our figurative heart?
13 The literal breastplate served to protect the soldier’s chest, heart, and other vital organs. The Christian can protect his figurative heart—the person he is on the inside—by cultivating love for God’s righteousness and by adhering to Jehovah’s righteous standards. The figurative breastplate protects us from watering down God’s Word. As we come to “hate what is bad, and love what is good,” we restrain our feet “from every bad path.”—Amos 5:15; Psalm 119:101.
14. What does it mean to have our “feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace”?
14 The feet of Roman soldiers were usually well shod for long marches along the hundreds of miles of Roman highways that crisscrossed the empire. What does the expression “feet shod with the equipment of the good news of peace” mean for Christians? (Ephesians 6:15) It means that we are prepared for action. We are ready to share the good news of God’s Kingdom on every suitable occasion. (Romans 10:13-15) Our being active in the Christian ministry is a protection against Satan’s “machinations,” or “crafty acts.”—Ephesians 6:11; footnote.
15. (a) What shows that the large shield of faith is very important? (b) What “burning missiles” can have a detrimental effect on our faith?
15 “Above all things,” Paul continues, “take up the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles.” (Ephesians 6:16) The advice to take up the large shield of faith is introduced with the expression “above all things,” indicating that this piece of armor is very important. There must be no deficiency in our faith. Like a large protective shield, our faith protects us from Satan’s “burning missiles.” What might these represent today? They could be penetrating insults, lies, and half-truths put out by enemies and apostates trying to weaken our faith. These “missiles” could also be temptations to be materialistic, causing us to become preoccupied with buying many consumer goods and even inducing us to compete with those who have fallen into an ostentatious lifestyle. Perhaps they have invested in bigger and better homes and vehicles or make a show of their expensive jewelry and the latest clothing fashions. Regardless of what others do, we must have faith that is strong enough to turn aside these “burning missiles.” How do we build and retain strong faith?—1 Peter 3:3-5; 1 John 2:15-17.
16. What can help us to build strong faith?
16 We can draw close to God by means of regular personal study of the Bible and by earnest prayers. We can supplicate Jehovah for a strengthened faith and then back up our prayers with the necessary actions. For example, do we carefully prepare for the weekly Watchtower Study with a view to participating? Our faith will be strong if we study the Bible and Bible-based publications.—Hebrews 10:38, 39; 11:6.
17. How may we “accept the helmet of salvation”?
17 Paul concludes his description of the suit of spiritual armor with the counsel: “Accept the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the spirit, that is, God’s word.” (Ephesians 6:17) The helmet protected the soldier’s head and brain, the center of decision making. Likewise, our Christian hope protects our mental powers. (1 Thessalonians 5:8) Rather than filling our minds with worldly goals and materialistic dreams, we should focus our thinking on our God-given hope, even as Jesus did.—Hebrews 12:2.
18. Why should we not neglect our program of regular Bible reading?
18 Our final protection against the influence of Satan and his demons is God’s word, or message, recorded in the Bible. This is yet another reason why we should not neglect our program of regular Bible reading. A thorough knowledge of God’s Word protects us from Satan’s lies and demonic propaganda as well as from the embittered outpourings of apostates.
“Carry On Prayer on Every Occasion”
19, 20. (a) What awaits Satan and his demons? (b) What can fortify us spiritually?
19 The removal of Satan, his demons, and the wicked world is near. Satan knows he has “a short period of time.” He is wrathful and at war with those “who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.” (Revelation 12:12, 17) It is vital that we resist Satan and his demons.
20 How grateful we can be for the admonition to put on the complete suit of armor from God! Paul concludes his discussion of the spiritual armor with this counsel: “With every form of prayer and supplication you carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit. And to that end keep awake with all constancy and with supplication in behalf of all the holy ones.” (Ephesians 6:18) Prayer can fortify us spiritually and help us to stay alert. Let us take Paul’s words to heart and carry on prayer, for this will help us to resist Satan and his demons.
What Did You Learn?
• How did Satan and his demons come into existence?
• How powerful is the Devil?
• What defense do we have against Satan and his demons?
• How can we put on the complete suit of armor from God?
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“The sons of the true God began to notice the daughters of men”
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Can you identify the six components of our suit of spiritual armor?
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How is sharing in these activities a defense against Satan and his demons?