Reading 10. Kingdom Power Over Demons. Learning About Demons

➡ Average Reading Time: 7 minutes
Observing the Text!

Jesus Was Kingdom Centered: An Assault on the Kingdom of Satan

In his book The Real Satan, Dr. James Kallas says, “A war is going on! Cosmic war! Jesus is the divine invader sent by God to shatter the strengths of Satan. In that light, the whole ministry of Jesus unrolls. Jesus has one purpose-to defeat Satan. He takes seriously the strength of the enemy” (Kallas. 1975, 60). In that war, there is an indispensable relationship between the words of Jesus and the works of Jesus. His preaching and teaching ministry and his miracles are in essence the same thing expressed differently. Some have suggested that the miracles of Jesus were no more than a form of great advertising. The heightened interest in the message/words of Jesus, often startling men and women into paying attention to what he had to say. Others have suggested that the miracles are rewards for having faith. When a person has gained enough faith, then a miracle can occur. This idea promotes human effort as a starting point to persuade God to do what the human has faith in. The words of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, “Go your way, your faith has made you whole,” could validate this kind of meaning (Luke 17.19). However, there are other places where miracles occurred in which an individual did not have a personal faith response. Certainly, the widow’s son who was resuscitated would certainly fit this category (Luke 7.11-17). It would be hard to press a meaning that the dead man’s faith brought him back to life.

Yet another reason offered for the miracles of Jesus is that he had compassion for people in need. Certainly, we are shown his compassion in the Gospels (the widow’s son, (Mark 7.11-17); the feeding of the five thousand, (Mark 6.30-42). However, it must be pointed out that Jesus did not heal everyone that he passed. In the stories we have in the Gospels, he left many sick and hungry, actually more people than we are told that he healed and fed.

If miracles were rewards for people’s faith, then it follows that one left unhealed who has genuine faith might deduct that his or her faith is insufficient.

If miracles were rewards for people’s faith, then it follows that one left unhealed who has genuine faith might deduct that his or her faith is insufficient. If miracles are evidence of the compassion of Jesus, the unhealed person might come to believe that in his or her case Jesus has no compassion. We must look elsewhere to discover the purpose of the works of Jesus.

Remember, the words and works of Jesus are identical in their meaning. There is no difference between them. The works have the exact same meaning as the words. The words of Jesus announced that the kingdom of God is at hand. The works of Jesus demonstrate what the kingdom of God is like. His preaching, teaching, parable-telling, healing ministry were announcements of the fact that the kingdom had arrived and the rule of God would destroy the rule of Satan.the words and works of Jesus are identical in their meaning. There is no difference between them. Click To Tweet

It seems certain, then, that the miracles of Jesus should be understood in the context of warfare with Satan. John understood this concept when he wrote, The whole world is in the power of the evil one…(1 John 5.19). Paul tells the Corinthians that Satan is the god of this world (2 Cor. 4.4). In his circular letter to the churches around Ephesus he told the congregations that the church does not fight against flesh and blood, the real enemy is Satan. He described the frightening dimensions of satanic power and insisted that his readers stand against their cosmic foe, the principalities and powers, the world rulers of this present darkness. Paul is convinced that this present evil age is entangled in the snares of Satan and estranged from God and under the rule of fallen powers and principalities (Gal. 1.4).

The Second (New) Testament believes that while Satan is not in control of the world, he does have limited power and authority. The ills and woes of humankind originate with him. Suffering, tragedy, and pain are not punishments of an angry God. They are the result of living in a fallen world and are sometimes a direct attack from the kingdom of Satan.

The miracles of Jesus are attacks on Satan and his demonic forces and reverse the stronghold of Satan and demonstrate the kingdom of God. Jesus both announced the kingdom with his words and carved out an arena in which the kingdom invaded the rule of Satan with his works.

The miracles of Jesus can be viewed within four different areas: expelling demons, curing diseases, dealing with nature, and overcoming death.

Interpreting the Text!


The Greeks thought of demons as spirits of the dead who were endowed with supernatural power.

The Greeks thought of demons as spirits of the dead who were endowed with supernatural power. The Jews thought of angels and spirits rather than demons. Angels were understood to be messengers of God who, when they appeared on earth, appeared in human form (Dan. 10.18). In the First (Old) Testament, Satan was simply one of these angels, who by divine permission could tempt Job (Job 1-2). Even spirits designated as evil spirits were merely emissaries of God when looked at through First Testament eyes (Judges 9.23; 1 Sam. 16.14-15).

In Second Temple Judaism, which used to be called the Intertestamental Period (404 B.C.-A.D. 4), angelology (belief about angels) and pneumatology (belief about spirits) of the Jews flourished. Angels were conceived of as an army that will take part in the final war against the wicked, as seen in the Testament of Levi 3.3. Opposed to the good angels and spirits are the hostile (fallen) angels or evil spirits (1 Enoch 15.8-12; 1 Enoch 16.1-4; Jubilees 12.20), under the leadership of one variously called Satan, Mastema, or Beliar (Jubilees 1.20, 10.11, 107.8; 1 Enoch 54.6). Although these passages cited above are not to be understood as Scripture, they do give us a window to see how the people of that time frame thought and possibly believed.

What Can Demons Do?
They can harm us spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally (look at demon stories in Mark), and by deluding us doctrinally.

Where Are Demons?
Some are chained until judgment (1 Pet. 3.18-22; 2 Pet. 2.4; Jude 6). Others are held until the end of time (Luke 8.31; Rev. 20.1). While yet others are loose and free to do all the damage they can (Eph. 6.10-13).

What Are Demons?
They are intelligent (Acts 16.16-18), spirits (Luke 10.17-20), wicked (Matt. 12.43-45), know their own end (Matt. 8.29; James 2.19), have supernatural strength (Luke 8.29; Acts 19.11-17), but must bow to Jesus’ name (Mark 5.7; Luke 8.26-29).

What Are Demons? Click To Tweet

The Works of Jesus over Demons

When Jesus expelled a demon from a person, it was a direct attack on Satan.

When Jesus expelled a demon from a person, it was a direct attack on Satan. At the beginning of the ministry of Jesus (Mark 1.15), Jesus withstood the attacks of the enemy in the wilderness and demonstrated that one area of nature in the presence of Jesus had been restored. Mark records, “The wild beasts were with him but did not harm him” (Mark 1.13). When Jesus left the wilderness, he came to preach that the rule of God was present in the synagogue of Capernaum. No sooner than he had opened his mouth, the demonic forces attacked. One can only surmise that he may have been teaching about the kingdom. A demon recognized Jesus (I know who you are-the Holy One of God: Mark 1.24) and the demon knew that Jesus had come to destroy him.

Jesus rebuked the demon and told him to be silent (Mark 1.25). The two Greek words are very strong. Rebuke can be defined as to scold, denounce, censure in order to bring an action to an end. Be silent can be defined as to muzzle, strangle, or tie shut. Jesus lashed out at the demon, denounced him, and choked him off and set the man who was demonized free. It is not only Satan, the strong man of Mark 3.27, who alone is to be bound. It is his co-workers who would also be attacked, strangled, choked, and destroyed.

When Jesus delivered the young boy with a dumb spirit (Matt. 17.18; Mark 9.25; Luke 9.42) the same word rebuke is used by these authors. Driving out demons and smashing the ruling grip of Satan on the stolen world was proof and fulfillment that the kingdom which Jesus had announced had arrived. The arrival of the kingdom is simultaneous with, dependent on, and manifested in the throwing out of demons from people’s lives in the present. The kingdom will arrive in its fullness on a worldwide basis at the Second Coming of Jesus at which time this activity will cease.

Until that future moment, the battles go on, even though the decisive battle has been won by Jesus on the cross. The call of the army of God is to rout out Satan and his demonic friends.

Living into the Text!

It is always important to live into what you have learned. Pause at this point and ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to meditate on and put into practice some or all of the following.

  • How do you understand Jesus’ use of the miraculous? What led you to those beliefs?
  • Have you ever had the experience of casting out a demon?
  • What do you think your responsibility is in this area of warfare?

The articles below come from various Bible Dictionaries and other sources. The posting of these brief articles are to introduce some readers to the vast amount of information that is provided to enhance your reading of the text of the Bible with a hope that it will lead to a better understanding of the text and will lead the reader to an improved praxis in his or her community of faith and personal life. You might read the articles offline in a number of different Bible Dictionaries. If you do not own a Bible Dictionary, I would recommend New Bible Dictionary 3rd Edition. If you like lots of color pictures, try Revell Bible Dictionary. Revell Bible Dictionary is no longer in print but is available from Amazon. One of these should suit your personal needs.

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Read Me First


Throughout these sessions, I have used the word ecclesia (singular) for the usual word church and ecclesiae (plural) to indicate a church in a particular geographic place, i.e., the ecclesiae at Corinth, meaning the whole of the many smaller ecclesia that met in homes in Corinth. This is to distinguish between the Institutional Church model (IC) and ecclesia that meet in cities and towns around the world. The ecclesiae written about by the authors of the Second Testament were not the same as what the “church” has become over the years of its existence. Usually, but not always, folks think of a church as a place where they go to a building and set in rows of pews and listen to music and sometimes sing and listen to sermons by a pastor or senior pastor. The ecclesiae of the Second Testament time did not invoke this model.


I have discovered over the years that if you want to try and change minds about something special, you have to venture out and reword it in order to grasp a foothold for a new refreshed understanding of the idea presented by the word. Such is the case between "church" and "ecclesia."


Happy Reading!

Read Me Second


Referenced verses in the text of this study are not used to prove some point of view. They are merely markers where the subject matter is referenced by other books and authors. To gain a larger view of each quote, a serious student of the Holy Writ would take the time to view the reference and see what the background is. The background provides tracks on which the meaning of a text rides. So knowing the context of a referenced passage would help the reader to gain a more thorough understanding of an author than just the words quoted and marked by a verse number that was not a part of the original author's text, which as you might remember was performed on the text in a random fashion many years later.


Happy Reading!

Read Me Third


The verses that are referenced in these sessions are not meant to prove a point. They are simply pointers to where the idea being written about may have a correlation. In order to see if they accomplish the thesis presented by the original author, a student should read, at a minimum, the chapter in which the verse is found as well as trying to ascertain what the original author may have meant to say to the original audience.


Of course, this is a lot of work but it is beneficial work. If one does not understand what the author meant when it was written and the audience could not have understood by what was written, then the words on the page can mean anything that a present reader may assign as a meaning, thus distorting what God was inspiring for the original writer to write to the original audience to hear.

A great and recent book by N.T. Wright and Michael F. Bird entitled The New Testament in Its World would be a wonderful addition to your reading helps.


Happy Reading!



Guide Yourself into a Kingdom of God Mindset in 13 Readings, which covers a matrix through which you can view the writings of the New Testament about the subject matter of the kingdom of God. You can enjoy this material completely in just 13 readings. Of course, you can take all the time you want, say 13 Days or 13 Weeks. It's up to you. To get the most from your reading, it is important that you read the biblical text along with it. The New International Version (NIV: Electronic Version 2011) is the text on which the studies are built.

The first section of each reading is called Observing the Text, which is an introduction to the section that is being read. Next, you will encounter Interpreting the Text, which suggests an interpretation of the section your are reading. Then, there is Living into the Text, which suggests questions, which may help you live into the text. This final section BibleInfoResources!, provides you with some articles that may interest you. After all, the text of Scripture was originally written for a community of Yahweh or Jesus followers to help them in their pursuit of God. The text was never meant to be for the accumulation of personal knowledge. Of course, the Holy Spirit is the final word for living your life and for the life of a community of Jesus followers. Listen to what he may be saying to your community of faith and personally about what you are reading. But, on a personal level, don’t get a personal application for you mixed up with the meaning of the text in Scripture. Remember this easy rule of thumb: one meaning, many applications. NOTE: Throughout the text, you will see words that have a thin dashed underline. When you place your cursor over the word(s) a small tooltip box will appear with more information about the word(s).

Each reading may include some of the following icons and sections:

Observing the Text! What does the text say? Provides you with a quick overview of the passage.
Interpreting the Text! What does the text mean? Helps you gain an understanding of the meaning of the text as those who first heard or read it may have understood it.
Living into the Text! What does the text mean to my community of faith and to me? Some reflections to help assist your community of faith and you to live into the Story of God.
WordTreasures: Defining the Text! Definitions of key words and phrases.
Behind the Scenes: Historical Background of the Text! A look at the historical background of the text
BibleInfoResources! Helpful resources for further readings. The Resource Information appears at the end of each of the studies. Reading this material in the noted reference popup will enrich your comprehension of the material under consideration.





Angel is a word signifying, both in the Hebrew and Greek, a "messenger," and hence employed to denote any agent God sends forth to execute his purposes. It is used of an ordinary messenger (Job 1:14: 1 Sam. 11:3; Luke 7:24; 9:52), of prophets (Isa. 42:19; Hag. 1:13), of priests (Mal. 2:7), and ministers of the New Testament (Rev. 1:20).

It is also applied to such impersonal agents as the pestilence (2 Sam. 24:16, 17; 2 Kings 19:35), the wind (Ps. 104:4).

But its distinctive application is to certain heavenly intelligences whom God employs in carrying on his government of the world. The name does not denote their nature but their office as messengers. The appearances to Abraham at Mamre (Gen. 18:2, 22. Comp. 19:1), to Jacob at Peniel (Gen. 32:24, 30), to Joshua at Gilgal (Josh. 5:13, 15), of the Angel of the Lord, were doubtless manifestations of the Divine presence, "foreshadowings of the incarnation," revelations before the "fulness of the time" of the Son of God.

(1) The existence and orders of angelic beings can only be discovered from the Scriptures. Although the Bible does not treat of this subject specially, yet there are numerous incidental details that furnish us with ample information. Their personal existence is plainly implied in such passages as Gen. 16:7, 10, 11; Judg. 13:1-21; Matt. 28:2-5; Heb. 1:4, etc.

These superior beings are very numerous. "Thousand thousands," etc. (Dan. 7:10; Matt. 26:53; Luke 2:13; Heb. 12:22, 23). They are also spoken of as of different ranks in dignity and power (Zech. 1:9, 11; Dan. 10:13; 12:1; 1 Thess. 4:16; Jude 1:9; Eph. 1:21; Col. 1:16).

(2) As to their nature, they are spirits (Heb. 1:14), like the soul of man, but not incorporeal. Such expressions as "like the angels" (Luke 20:36), and the fact that whenever angels appeared to man it was always in a human form (Gen. 18:2; 19:1, 10; Luke 24:4; Acts 1:10), and the titles that are applied to them ("sons of God," Job 1:6; 38:7; Dan. 3:25; comp. 28) and to men (Luke 3:38), seem all to indicate some resemblance between them and the human race. Imperfection is ascribed to them as creatures (Job 4:18; Matt. 24:36; 1 Pet. 1:12). As finite creatures they may fall under temptation; and accordingly we read of "fallen angels." Of the cause and manner of their "fall" we are wholly ignorant. We know only that "they left their first estate" (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 12:7,9), and that they are "reserved unto judgement" (2 Pet. 2:4). When the manna is called "angels' food," this is merely to denote its excellence (Ps. 78:25). Angels never die (Luke 20:36). They are possessed of superhuman intelligence and power (Mark 13:32; 2 Thess. 1:7; Ps. 103:20). They are called "holy" (Luke 9:26), "elect" (1 Tim. 5:21). The redeemed in glory are "like unto the angels" (Luke 20:36). They are not to be worshipped (Col. 2:18; Rev. 19:10).

(3) Their functions are manifold. (a) In the widest sense they are agents of God's providence (Ex. 12:23; Ps. 104:4; Heb. 11:28; 1 Cor. 10:10; 2 Sam. 24:16; 1 Chr. 21:16; 2 Kings 19:35; Acts 12:23). (b) They are specially God's agents in carrying on his great work of redemption. There is no notice of angelic appearances to man till after the call of Abraham. From that time onward there are frequent references to their ministry on earth (Gen. 18; 19; 24:7, 40; 28:12; 32:1). They appear to rebuke idolatry (Judg. 2:1-4), to call Gideon (Judg. 6:11, 12), and to consecrate Samson (13:3). In the days of the prophets, from Samuel downward, the angels appear only in their behalf (1 Kings 19:5; 2 Kings 6:17; Zech. 1-6; Dan. 4:13, 23; 10:10, 13, 20, 21).

The Incarnation introduces a new era in the ministrations of angels. They come with their Lord to earth to do him service while here. They predict his advent (Matt. 1:20; Luke 1:26-38), minister to him after his temptation and agony (Matt. 4:11; Luke 22:43), and declare his resurrection and ascension (Matt. 28:2-8; John 20:12, 13; Acts 1:10, 11). They are now ministering spirits to the people of God (Heb. 1:14; Ps. 34:7; 91:11; Matt. 18:10; Acts 5:19; 8:26; 10:3; 12:7; 27:23). They rejoice over a penitent sinner (Luke 15:10). They bear the souls of the redeemed to paradise (Luke 16:22); and they will be the ministers of judgement hereafter on the great day (Matt. 13:39, 41, 49; 16:27; 24:31). The passages (Ps. 34:7, Matt. 18:10) usually referred to in support of the idea that every individual has a particular guardian angel have no such meaning. They merely indicate that God employs the ministry of angels to deliver his people from affliction and danger, and that the angels do not think it below their dignity to minister even to children and to the least among Christ's disciples.

The "angel of his presence" (Isa. 63:9. Comp. Ex. 23:20, 21; 32:34; 33:2; Num. 20:16) is probably rightly interpreted of the Messiah as the guide of his people. Others have supposed the expression to refer to Gabriel (Luke 1:19).

Easton's Bible Dictionary: Angel




God's EPIC Adventure: Synoptic Gospels

The first three Gospels are called Synoptic Gospels. The word synoptic means to see together. These three Gospels are similar in order, subject, and language. The Gospels were created with an interchange of materials between their authors. About ninety percent of Mark appears in Matthew and fifty-one percent in Luke. New Testament specialists suggest that Mark was the first of the Gospels written and that Matthew and Luke used Mark as an outline for the writing of their Gospels. There are three reasons for this conclusion:

  1. When the order of the material varies, Luke agrees with Mark, if Matthew and Mark differ. Matthew agrees with Mark when Luke and Mark differ.
  2. Matthew and Luke never depart from the outline of Mark's presentation.
  3. From the 661 verses in Mark, 606 appear in Matthew and 380 appear in Luke without change. There are only thirty-one verses that are found in Mark, which do not appear in Matthew or Luke.

Materials that are common in Matthew and Luke, but not found in Mark, are believed to originate from a document called "Q" (from the German word Quelle, which means source). The "Q" document has never been discovered in a manuscript. It is a convenient way of indicating a common source for this information and there is disagreement among New Testament specialists about its existence.

There is a third kind of material found in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark. The material in Matthew does not appear in Luke nor does the Luke material appear in Matthew. This set of material is unique to each author and book. Matthew and Luke selected this material to tell their stories for their specific audiences.70 The Synoptic Gospels show the redemptive history of God. They have sometimes been called lopsided biographies, spending most of their time telling the story of the last week of the life of Jesus. Each has a different purpose. Matthew tells his audience of new believers that Jesus is the New Moses for the New Israel, the church. Mark demonstrates how the power of Jesus is stronger than the power of Satan in an evangelistic tract form. Luke portrays the universal appeal of Jesus, a man for all times and places. With the propensity of the Enlightenment to reductionism, the Gospels have found their way into harmonies where they are combined as one written piece. The real difficulty with this approach is that it takes away from the author's intent to write his story to a specific audience for a specific reason, for telling a combined story of the life of Jesus. I often wonder why God didn't think of presenting us with a harmony in the canon of Scripture instead of three Synoptic Gospels plus the Gospel of John and their different stories about Jesus.

Winn Griffin. God's EPIC Adventure. The Reader's Edition. 2007-2014. 298-299


Intertestamental Period

This is the time period between the end of the Restoration Period in Israel's history (404 B.C.) and the beginning of the life of Jesus (A.D. 6-4 ). During this period of time great changes occurred in the nation of Israel. They were governed by several different world powers. When they returned from Babylon, the Hebrews enjoyed religious freedom for a while. In 332 B.C. Alexander the Great conquered Palestine and begin the process of Hellenization. His goal was to unite his empire by spreading the language and culture of Greece to every country that he had conquered. When he died in 323 B.C. his empire was divided among his four generals. Two of these generals had control of Palestine: The Ptolemies of Egypt followed by the Seleucids of Syria.

Under the reign of the Ptolemies, the Hebrews were allowed to continue their practice of their religion which continued for a short time after the Seleucids took control in 198 B.C. Then Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.) canceled their religious freedom. His reign was failing and he decided to force the Hellenization of the Hebrews. In order to do so, he forbade the Hebrews to circumcise their children. He destroyed many copies of the Old Testaments scrolls that eh could find. He erected a statue of Zeus in the temple in Jerusalem and began sacrificed a pig on the altar.

This did not set will the Hebrews. One of its families, called the Maccabees, rose up and opposed Antiochus by killing an official of Antiochus and destroying the Greek altar in their community. This was the beginning of the Maccabean Revolt, which lasted twenty-four years (166-142 B.C.). By 142 B.C. the Hebrews had regained their independence. This lasted until 63 B.C. when Rome intervened and Pompey conquered Jerusalem.



Testament of Levi

The Testament of Levi is an apocalyptic section of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. It is one of the longest of the Testaments, and is predominantly concerned with arrogance. Taking the theme of the Levite priesthood, the Testament explains how Levi's descendants corrupted the office by their arrogant disregard for the proper regulations.

Chapter 2-8 involves Levi being taken to heaven and promised the priesthood forever, and then seven angels physically give him the insignia of the priesthood (as described in Exodus). This part parallels the beginning and end of a vision in the Aramaic Levi Document, whence the body of the vision is now lost; and is thought to preserve that part of the text.

In chapters 14-18 Levi cites a "book of Enoch", describing the sins of his descendants, with the promise that at the end there will be a glorious priest who will restore the righteousness of his office. The tropes of Levi's "Book" match those of the "Apocalypse of Weeks" in 1 Enoch.

The Testament has an account of the raid on Shechem. Its take is that Jacob proposed a marriage between Shechem and Dinah, sincerely offering Shechem the option of circumcision. Levi opposed the circumcision from the start. Unlike Jubilees and, if Kugel is right, the Testament of Simeon: to the Testament of Levi, intermarriage is lawful in principle between Israelites and converts. Shechem was excluded for its other crimes.



Jesus Followers


There are many synonyms to use for the word believer, which is the most common word for a person who has "converted" to follow Jesus. I have chosen "Jesus follower(s) or follower(s) of Jesus instead of the word believer in these presentations to allow the reader an opportunity to move away from the idea of believer which conjures up the possible thought of "ascent" to a set of doctrines that have been assembled by different groups over the centuries and show up in this day and age as a set of statements posted on web sites and other written material. These sets of beliefs are suggested by many as the ones that one should ascent to so that upon death the one who assents can go to heaven, i.e., just believe and you are good to go. Jesus followers/followers of Jesus suggest an action that one should take. Remember, Jesus told his disciples to follow him. Yes, belief is important, but one must move beyond belief to action.


(See "Discipleship" Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. 182-188.)