Search Our Site
Warfare Part 1a:
A Study of Demonic Activity
Warfare Part 1a: A Study of Demonic Activity
Warfare Part 1b: A Study of Demonic Activity
Warfare Part 2a: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Warfare Part 2b: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Warfare Part 2c: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Warfare Part 2d: The Spiritual Warfare of the Believer
Warfare P. 3a: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Warfare P. 3b: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Warfare P. 3c: Biblical/Historic View of Angels & Demons
Warfare Study Conclusions
Warfare Additional Quotes and Definitions
and Types of Spiritual Warfare
Today's church has a developed and varied understanding of
the spiritual warfare of the believer. That is not to say
that this understanding is Biblically valid, on the contrary
while many persons may hold this area of the Christian walk
to be of the utmost importance, their understanding of spiritual
warfare may not be Biblically founded.
The purpose of this series of articles will be to take a look
at what the Bible has to say about spiritual warfare as well
as some related issues that have become intertwined with this
area of Christianity. This study can largely be characterized
as a clarification on the popular misconceptions that constitute
the modern Christian understanding of spiritual warfare. We
will divide our examination into three areas of discussion.
After properly identifying spiritual warfare from a Biblical
perspective we will first delve into a scriptural study of
demonic activity and demon possession. This will be followed
by a Biblical analysis of the New Testament presentation and
concept of the spiritual warfare of the believer. Thirdly,
we will take some time to address the proper distinction between
angels and demons from a Biblical and historical point of
Before we get into these three areas let us first properly
identify what we mean, or rather, what the Bible means, by
the term spiritual warfare.
There are two Biblically supportable definitions of spiritual
warfare. The first type could be called angelic warfare, or
warfare that involves angels actually engaging in combat.
Examples of the first kind of this warfare would be 2 Kings
19:35 or Isaiah 37:36, Revelation 12:7-9, and Revelation 19:11-16.
2 Kings 19:35…the angel of the Lord went out and smote
in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five
Isaiah 37:36 reflects this same statement from 2 Kings 19.
Both passages describe events in which the angel of the Lord
enters the camp of the Assyrian army and kills 185,000 of
them. Here we have an angel engaging men in battle and defeating
them in accordance with God's will.
Revelation 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael
and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought
and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their
place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was
cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which
deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth,
and his angels were cast out with him.
In Revelation 12:7-9 we are told of a battle that occurs between
the angelic forces of Michael and the Devil (the dragon).
This type of spiritual warfare involving angels is similar
to Daniel 10:13 and 20 where the angel informs Daniel of a
struggle he has with the angelic prince of Persia who prevented
him from delivering the answer to Daniel's prayers. In this
case, as in Revelation 12, the angel Michael is shown engaging
the adversarial angelic forces.
The final example of this first category of spiritual warfare
involving angels engaged in combat is the Day of the Lord
or the battle of Armageddon.
Revelation 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold
a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful
and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were
many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew,
but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped
in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the
armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses,
clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his
mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the
nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and
he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty
God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name
written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Revelation 19:11-16 provides for us a description of this
battle, which will involve the armies of heaven (including
both angels and glorified men) engaging the armies of the
nations of the earth, which have gathered together against
the Lamb of God. But again, this is a specific historical
(yet still future) event.
Events, which constitute this first type of spiritual warfare
(warfare involving angels engaged in combat) are recorded
for us in the scripture. Likewise, our understanding of when
they have occurred (or will occur) is limited to the descriptions
recorded in the Bible of those specific historic instances.
Beyond the specific Biblically described events we DO NOT
have any Biblical support for suggesting angelic involvement
in combat, especially combat, which includes engaging men
To be clear about what we mean we will repeat that last statement.
Besides those specific historic (past and future) instances
where the Bible describes angels engaged in battle we have
NO Biblical information that angels are involved in combat
or engage men in combat. Spiritual warfare, involving combat
with angels, is limited to the specific Biblically identified
instances that are recorded for us in the scripture. We have
not presented all of the examples of this type of spiritual
or angelic warfare that the Bible does record, but we have
mentioned a few prominent examples to make our point.
(NOTE: By historic we do not mean exclusively past history,
we simply mean actual events, which have or will take place
in the course of history. This includes events, which lie
in our past and our future. By historic we mean to contrast
the types of events described above in the Biblical record
to those events, which some might suppose purely by speculation
and which we have no objective or scriptural means of verification.)
The second type of spiritual warfare, is the kind that most
Christians today associate with this term. The remainder of
this study will be devoted to clearing up some misconceptions
about this type of spiritual warfare, by rejecting concepts,
which are unfounded from a Biblical or grammatical historical
point of view. We will present a more detailed description
of this type of spiritual warfare momentarily before we proceed
into our study.
The Grammatical-Historical Method and the Prominent Modern
Before we move on to the study itself let us first take a
few moments to further context this topic. We will first briefly
cover the grammatical historical approach for those who are
not familiar with it. And second we will briefly describe
the modern conception of spiritual warfare, which this study
will be dismissing.
The Grammatical Historical Method is a name for the manner
of Biblical interpretation, which was first championed (in
recent history) by the Reformation. It is chiefly concerned
with abandoning the allegorical method of interpretation that
was the chosen method of Roman Catholicism. Put simply it
requires that in order to accurately understand what the Bible
means we must interpret scripture in accordance with the sound
grammatical rules of the text and in accord with the historic
understanding of the original audience and intent of the speaker
of the passage. Additional points of this system of interpretation
emphasize that the authority of the scripture lies in the
text itself and not in the interpreter so that what the text
intends to state is of crucial importance over what the text
means to us as individuals.
There is much more that can be learned about this system of
Biblical interpretation (hermeneutics). For the purposes of
this study, the most important aspect of the Grammatical Historical
Method is that which is concerned with the historic Christian
understanding of the text. That is, we must interpret the
text in accordance with the understanding that was known at
the time the text was written, both by the author and by the
audience to whom the author was writing.
Therefore, an interpretation of the text will only be accurate
if it takes into account the historic understanding of the
time. If our modern interpretation of a text or a topic fails
to take into account this historic understanding it will tend
to deviate from the intended meaning of the scripture. If
our modern understanding conflicts or contradicts this historic
understanding then we have strayed from the intentions of
As we said at the beginning of this series of articles the
modern Christian view of Spiritual Warfare is well developed.
The question that this study will investigate is whether or
not this modern understanding is Biblical and historical.
Before we investigate these questions it is first helpful
to be precise concerning the modern claims about spiritual
warfare, so that as we examine the scripture we will know
when a view is substantiated or disqualified.
The specific areas of spiritual warfare that this study
will examine are:
1. How does the Bible describe demonic activity? What does
it entail? What are its results, etc.?
2. How does the Bible portray spiritual warfare? What does
it entail? How do Christians engage in it, etc.?
3. What is the correct Biblical understanding of angels and
demons? How do they relate? What distinguishes them from one
The specific modern views of spiritual warfare that we
will refute are:
1. Demons are responsible for ungodly human behavior, including
attitudes, habits, etc.
2. Christians can be affected by demonic presence or activity.
3. Demonic presence and activity is not always readily apparent.
4. Spiritual warfare is the prayer life of a believer, which
involves our engaging in combat, binding and loosing, and
casting out fallen angels and demons in heavenly realms.
5. Demons are another name or term to describe fallen, wicked,
or evil angels.
What we will demonstrate instead are that:
1. Demons are Biblically portrayed as responsible for either
a) chronic or prolonged physical sickness (or disability)
OR b) replacing the human spirit as the operator of the body,
in actions and in speech.
2. All record of demonic activity in the scripture is limited
to persons who are at the time of the demonic activity NOT
in a saving relationship with Christ.
3. All record of demonic activity in the scripture demonstrates
that demonic presence is always externally apparent and readily
4. Spiritual warfare is a personal and worldwide struggle
between the truth of God and the deceit of the Devil and those
under him. This struggle is largely concerned with our minds
and understanding, and while it involves prayer, it not exclusively
the prayer life of the believer.
5. Demons are NOT another term for fallen angels, but are
a distinct type of spiritual being, the spirits of the Nephilim
- the offspring of angels who sinned by having children with
Now that we have clearly laid out the issues we will begin
our examination of this topic in the scripture, beginning
with the issue of demonic activity.
Demonic Activity in the Bible
The first thing we need to note from the scripture regarding
demonic activity is the terminology. Namely, there are several
Greek words that are used in the New Testament to describe
demons and their activity. We will now show what these Greek
words are, how they are translated, and where they overlap.
There are two Greek words for demon in the New Testament,
and one Greek word for demonic possession. The Greek words
for demon are daimonion (Strong's No. 1140) and daimon (Strong's
No. 1142). The Greek word for demon possession is daimonizomai
(Strong's No. 1139). In the King James these words are translated
into the English word devil or devils. But in most modern
translations they are translated into the English word demon
or demons. There are two reasons for this.
First, the Greek nouns daimonion and daimon are used distinctly
in the NT from the Greek word for devil, which is diabolos
(Strong's No. 1228). (We will cover this distinction more
near the end of this study.) Second, as is somewhat obvious
from the spelling of the Greek words the English word demon
originates from these two Greek words used in the New Testament
in the same way that the English word devil comes from the
Greek word diabolos. For reference here is the definition
and etymology for demon from Webster's Dictionary, tenth edition.
Demon or daemon /de'mon/ n [ME demon, fr. LL
& L daemon evil spirit, fr. L, divinity, spirit, fr. Gk
daimon, prob. fr. daiesthai to distribute - more at TIDE]
)13c) 1a: an evil spirit b: a source or agent of evil,
harm, distress, or ruin 2 usu daemon: an attendant power or
spirit: GENUS 3 usu daemon: a supernatural being of Greek
mythology intermediate between gods and men 4: one that has
exceptional enthusiasm, drive, or effectiveness )a ~ for work)
- demonian /di mo'ne-en/ adj. demonization /de me'ne'za-shen/
n. - demonize /de-me-niz/ vt.
So, in the remainder of this study we will use the English
word demon as a translation of the Greek words daimonion and
daimon. To avoid later confusion and to remain in the modern
vernacular that is reflected in modern translations, we will
NOT use the English word devil as the translation of these
two Greek words as the King James does.
The second thing we will want to note from the scripture regarding
demonic activity is that the New Testament uses the term demon
and unclean or evil spirit interchangeably to refer to the
same thing. The following passages all illustrate this point.
(We are using the KJV here so keep in mind that the words
translated as devils are the Greek words for demons as is
indicated by the Strong's No. 's.)
Matthew 8:16 When the even was come, they brought
unto him many that were possessed with devils (1139): and
he cast out the spirits (4151) with his word, and healed
all that were sick:
Mark 6:7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began
to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power
over unclean (169) spirits (4151);…13 and they [the twelve
apostles] cast out (1544) many devils (1140)
Mark 7:25 For a certain woman, whose young daughter
had an unclean (169) spirit (4151), heard of him, and
came and fell at his feet: 26 The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician
by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth
the devil (1140) out of her daughter. 27 But Jesus said
unto her, Let the children first be filled: for it is not
meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the
dogs. 28 And she answered and said unto him, Yes, Lord: yet
the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs. 29
And he said unto her, For this saying go thy way; the devil
(1140) is gone out of thy daughter. 30 And when she was
come to her house, she found the devil (1140) gone
out, and her daughter laid upon the bed.
Luke 4:33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which
had a spirit (4151) of an unclean (169) devil (1140),
and cried out with a loud voice, 34 Saying, Let us alone;
what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art
thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy
One of God. 35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace,
and come out of him. And when the devil (1140) had
thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him
not. 36 And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves,
saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power
he commandeth the unclean (169) spirits (4151), and they come
out. 37 And the fame of him went out into every place
of the country round about.
Luke 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met
him out of the city a certain man, which had devils (1140)
long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house,
but in the tombs. 28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and
fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have
I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech
thee, torment me not. 29 (For he had commanded the unclean
(169) spirit (4151) to come out of the man. For oftentimes
it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in
fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the
devil (1142) into the wilderness.) 30 And Jesus asked
him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because
many devils (1140) were entered into him. 31 And they
besought him that he would not command them to go out into
the deep. 32 And there was there an herd of many swine feeding
on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer
them to enter into them. And he suffered them. 33 Then
went the devils (1140) out of the man, and entered into the
swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into
the lake, and were choked. 34 When they that fed them saw
what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city
and in the country. 35 Then they went out to see what was
done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the
devils (1140) were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus,
clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. 36 They
also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed
of the devils (1139) was healed. 37 Then the whole multitude
of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to
depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and
he went up into the ship, and returned back again. 38 Now
the man out of whom the devils (1140) were departed
besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him
Luke 9:42 And as he was yet a coming, the devil
(1140) threw him down, and tare him. And Jesus rebuked
the unclean (169) spirit (4151), and healed the child,
and delivered him again to his father.
Revelation 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong
voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and
is become the habitation of devils (1142), and the hold of
every foul (169) spirit (4151), and a cage of every unclean
and hateful bird.
(For additional examples, see Matthew 10:1, 8, Mark 5:2-13,
Luke 8:2, and 1 Timothy 4:1)
Note that these passages also demonstrate the overlapping
use of the Greek words daimonion (1140), daimon (1142), and
daimonizomai (1139) to refer to demons or unclean (169) spirits
(4151). From these examples we can clearly see that daimonion
and daimon are synonymous for evil or unclean spirits.
Now that we have covered the Biblical terminology that is
used to refer to demons and their activity we can take a look
at some additional terminology that is used to describe this
Demonic activity regarding their interaction with humans entails
the demon dwelling inside the human body. The following various
phrases (with their Strong's No. 's) are all used to describe
demonic activity and present this same idea that the demon
dwells within the human body. (Some of these phrases can be
seen in the passages quoted above).
1. Cast out (1544), from the Greek word ekballo, the idea
of being drawn or cast out of something else (compare examples:
Matthew 7:4-5, Matthew 7:22).
2. Come (1831) out (575), from the Greek words exerchomai
and apo, meaning to come forth or be separated out of a place,
from the body (compare examples: Matthew 8:32, Matthew 10:11,
3. Possessed of a demon(s) (1139), from the Greek daimonizomai,
meaning to be under the power of a demon (compare examples:
Matthew 4:42, Matthew 8:16, Mark 1:32, Luke 8:36, John 10:21).
4. Had (2192), from the Greek word echo, meaning to have,
to hold, to own, to possess (examples: Matthew 12:11, Matthew
19:22, Mark 7:25).
5. Vexed (3791), from the Greek word, ochleo, meaning to trouble,
molest, disturb (Luke 6:18, Acts 5:16).
6. Entered (1525) into (1519), from the Greek words, eiserchomai
eis, meaning to come into as of men or animal, as into a house
or a city (compare examples: Matthew 24:38, Mark 1:21, Mark
7:7, Mark 5:13, Luke 8:30, 33).
The scriptural presentation of demonic possession as being
the state when a demon is dwelling within a person is best
exemplified in the following passages, which utilize some
of the above phrases.
Matthew 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out
of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest,
and findeth none. 44 Then he saith, I will return into
my house from whence I came out; and when he is come,
he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then goeth
he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked
than himself, and they enter in (1525) and dwell (2730) there:
and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
Luke 11:24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of
a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and
finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence
I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept
and garnished. 26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven
other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter (1525)
in, and dwell (2730) there: and the last state of that man
is worse than the first.
The word "dwell" that is used in both of these passages is
the Greek word katoikeo, which actually means to inhabit.
It is the same word that is used in Matthew 2:23 to indicate
that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus dwelled or lived in Nazareth.
So we can see that the Biblical presentation of demonic interaction
with humans is quite accurately understood as possession.
Possession being a state when a demon (or demons) dwell within
or inhabit the human body. We do not have any scriptural evidence
that demons simply follow humans around sitting on their shoulder
so to speak without actually entering into their body in the
manner described above.
Before we move on to the next topic (the results of demon
possession) we can now dismiss one of the modern Christian
understandings of demonic activity from our list above, the
notion that Christians can be affected by demonic presence
Since, the Biblical portrayal of demonic interaction with
humans is limited to the demon spirit dwelling within the
human body, we can rule out the idea that a Christian can
be affected by demonic activity for two reasons. First, the
New Testament is clear that Christians have the Holy Spirit
dwelling inside of them and NOT any other spirit (John 7:39,
2 Corinthians 11:4, 1 John 4:1, 2 Timothy 1:7, and 1 Corinthians
10:20-21). This reality of the Holy Spirit living within the
believer is directly contrasted with the state of a demon-possessed
person as it is described elsewhere in the New Testament.
Second, all of cases of demonic activity that are described
in the Bible, which describe a person in a demon-possessed
state involve persons who are not saved at the time of possession.
There is more that could be said on this matter, but for the
purposes of this study we will end our discussion of this
particular area and move on to the Biblical presentation of
the results of demon possession with the conclusion that demonic
activity in the Bible is limited to possession of unsaved