Demons – Fact or Fiction?

October 28, 2018

               It is once again the time of the year when people celebrate all that is dark, spooky, and frightening.  Many people think it is all harmless fun and don’t really believe in the devil and demons.  At the other extreme, there are those who fear everything that goes bump in the night, and even some things that go bump in the daytime.  Will a carved pumpkin ward off evil?  Will dressing as a monster make demons think you are one of them, and therefore leave you alone?  The facts and fictions are often so intermingled, that we are apt to confuse them.  Or else get so disgusted that we label it all fiction, even what the Bible says is fact.         

          There are many current shows and movies that feature demons or other various forms of evil entities such as zombies, vampires, and the like.  I don’t think there is anyone here who hasn’t heard of “The Walking Dead”, now in its ninth season.  In addition, you have shows such as “Supernatural”, and even one called “Lucifer”.  And how many of the younger generation haven’t been captivated by the “Twilight” saga, that turns vampirism into a romantic fantasy?  The Exorcist came out back when I was in my early teens.  My father had the paperback when it was first published and hid it in a drawer in my parent’s bedroom.  I would periodically sneak in there and read it; and when the movie came out in 1973, I snuck into the theater to see it.  Did you know it was the first horror film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture?  So how much of what is in the film is true to what the Bible teaches about demons and demonic possession? 

          Let’s start with our first Scripture reading (Mark 5:2-20), in which Jesus ordered demons out of a man who was possessed by so many that they called themselves “Legion”, and there were enough of them to possess a herd of 2000 pigs.  It is not a parable, it is an actual event recorded in three of the Gospels. So what can we surmise from that?  Demons are real.  They existed then, and they exist now.  They are capable of possessing human beings and driving them to the point of insanity, and even self-harm.  They can also imbue people with incredible strength, although I don’t recommend it as a substitute for working out. And they can possess animals - but before you bring your dog to me for an exorcism, remember the demons possessed the pigs upon Christ’s command, after they begged him to do so, and I highly doubt Jesus wants your dog to be possessed by a demon.  But the most important fact I want to stress about this Scripture is that demons recognize Jesus Christ - and who he is.

          If you ever watched the Exorcist, you would remember Pazuzu, the idol that Father Merrin finds a small carving of in Iraq.  In our third Scripture reading (1 Corinthians 10:18-21) you heard how the sacrifices made to the idols of pagan gods were actually offered to demons.  In the movie, it was the demon behind the idol of Pazuzu that possessed 12-year-old Regan after she played around with a Ouija board and summoned who she thought was Captain Howdy.  Remember, a demon is rarely going to appear as what it truly is, unless of course, you are actually trying to summon a demon.  And a demon can mimic another person, as Pazuzu did Father Karras’ mother in the film.  So if you are ever decide to go to a séance to speak to a dear departed soul, be warned.  While most such séances are purely for show, you might just end up contacting a demon.  Not ghosts of those who have passed?  Again, our Lord does not allow the dead to wander around the countryside, haunt houses, or join us for a séance.  While there is one instance in the Bible where God allowed it, which is in 1 Samuel 28:7-20, when the witch of Endor called up Samuel at Saul’s insistence, the practice of such is strictly prohibited in the Bible for our protection, as a demon will all too gladly respond.

          So why did the two priests in The Exorcist have so much trouble relieving Regan of the demon?  Their faith was not what it should have been.  They believed exorcisms were no longer a necessity because of modern science and our knowledge of mental illness.  They thought demons and demonic possession were best left in the Dark Ages.  And demons are all too happy to allow us to believe that.  They also believed more in the power of ritual than the power of the Holy Spirit within a true believer in Christ.  As a result, Father Merrin died of a heart attack, and Father Karras became possessed by Pazuzu and jumped to his death.  Now I am certainly not saying that all mental illness is caused by demonic possession.  There are many hereditary, biological, and environmental causes for mental illness, and many medical advances have been made towards treating those.  But demonic possession does still exist.  And exorcisms are not all just the power of suggestion as some might argue.  If you believe in the Bible, if you believe in God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, then you must also believe in demons, and that the power of God is greater than that of all of the demons in existence put together, including Satan himself.  For they are all just fallen angels, limited in power.  But God’s power is infinite, as is His love for us, and His desire to free us from the chains of darkness.

          If you are a born-again Christian, you need never fear being possessed by a demon.  God has placed His Holy Spirit within you, and a demon and the Holy Spirit cannot both be within the same person.  However, demons can exert outside influence.  They can tempt, they can challenge, and try to get you to go against God’s Word – just as Satan did to Jesus on the mountain in Luke 4:1-13.  They will do all that they can to stop the spread of the Gospel, to keep people from believing and accepting Christ as their Savior and Lord, to make them question God’s Word (see Genesis 3:1), and to lead people to believe their situation is hopeless, that they are worthless, and that God doesn’t love them.  But God’s Word is truth, and Satan and his host are all liars (see John 8:44).   

               So remember, when you notice all the horror movies coming out for Halloween, Satan and his demonic army will influence writers and the media to do one of three things in their regards:

1.  Make people believe they don’t really exist, by making them either so outlandish or so miserably pathetic that people are convinced that they must be completely fiction, and not based on any fact at all.

2.  Convince people that do believe in them that they are weaker than they actually are, so they will put their guard down.

3.  Convince people they are stronger than they actually are, and fill them with fear, thereby decreasing their faith in the power of God.

          And remember these words from Psalm 91, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.  He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”  Amen.


Opening Video:  Jesus Heals Demoniac (from “JESUS”)

Closing Video:  Dear X – You Don’t Own Me (Disciple)

Children's Message:

Zombies, vampires, ghouls and ghosts 

and all the other ‘undead’ hosts              

of spirits that roam in the night,

fear all those who walk in the light;

Those who have the Spirit within,

trust in Jesus, and cleansed from sin,

need not fear the terror by night,

so don’t let them give you a fright.

There is no monster under the bed,

of those who by our Lord are led.