Demons and Angels. Tom Hanks made this title famous by acting out Dan Brown’s fictitious novel by the same name. But even before Hollywood existed, the subject of angels and demons has fascinated people’s imagination, across cultures, continents and even the ages. In our day and age it’s no surprise to observe how movies have influenced and shaped many Christian’s strange ideas and views on demons, angels and the gospel.
Sadly we live in a time where there is more attention and focus on “Deliverance” ministries than the Gospel Ministry, so much so you can even go to a “bible” college and earn a diploma in ‘Casting out Demons”.
In the first Century New Testament Church, it seems there was this familiar, unhealthy, excessive and inappropriate preoccupation with angels and their involvement in human life. The Apostle Paul warned the Colossian Church; “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels” Colossians 2:18. The word beguile means to “defraud”. There were false teachers that were trying to defraud or “cheat” the believers of their reward. These spiritual snobs were suggesting that the Christians at Colossae had failed to meet the standards of true discipleship and were therefore spiritually disqualified. They would teach that in order to be spiritual you had to add works, your own efforts, and your own experiences, your visions, worship of angels plus Christ. These false teachers were basically teaching that Christ was not enough.
This heresy has plagued the church for centuries. This teaching became known as Gnosticism. The heresy teaches that to become a Christian you have to have a greater, higher knowledge and a deeper experience with God that comes through a knowledge of various means. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? This heresy is alive and well in so many supposedly “evangelical” churches today. The only way Satan can counterfeit grace is with works, and that is why heretics teach Christ plus works righteousness. Paul says in Galatians 5, if you have Christ plus anything, you lose Christ.
Dangers of the “Deliverance Ministry”.
What a better way to distract people from the ministry of the gospel than with a “deliverance ministry”. Nowhere in the bible are we commanded to caste out demons (we are however commanded to make disciples!). In the gospels we see Jesus and his disciples casting out demons, but that was a unique time never to be repeated again. These gifts the apostles had were for a limited time to validate their ministry and their authority (cf. Mark 16:17-18; Acts 2:43; 5:12, 15; 14:3; 15:12; 19:11; 2 Cor 12:12).What most Pentecostals fail to understand is that when the apostles died their special supernatural gifts died with them. With the completion of the canon of Scripture these miraculous gifts ceased.
I suspect, especially in India, people are intimidated by these mystics and think that in order to know and enjoy God, they need to have their own fantastical visions and supernatural experiences that most charismatics claim to have had. I have been told on a number of occasions that a “true” Christian has to experience speaking in tongues as proof that he is really saved. That is nothing more than spiritual intimidation. Even though it may sound biblical, it is not. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:22 that “tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers”.
Biblical Christianity has always taught that true Christians have nothing whatsoever to fear from the Devil or his demons except deception and temptation. Too many well intentioned believers are deceived by the devil through this mystical gnostic heresy. This is why Christians are commanded to be equipped (Ephesians 4:12) with the word of God so that we will “build up the body of Christ” rather than breaking it down by all these strange mystical doctrines. The devil’s tactics have not changed much. These mystical false teachers were (and still are) agents of the devil trying to intimidate people into believing lies. They cunningly prey on immature Christians who are easily tossed to and fro by these supernatural doctrines. Don’t be deceived, the spread of these false doctrines are a deliberate attempt to destroy the Church of God.
Satan, an instrument in God’s sovereign omnipotent hand.
But what about all these stories of exorcism and accounts of deliverances and healings that we hear about? Are they all fake, are we to ignore all of them? In my opinion it is proof of the power of lies and deceit. We are warned that even apparent angelic appearances can be false, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14.
God says in Deuteronomy 13v1-3 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” God states clearly that false prophets are allowed by Him, to test us to see if we are loyal to His word, to see if we really love Him or if we are willing to be swept away by every wind of doctrine.
Is it not interesting that these false prophets indeed have powers? Their signs and wonders were coming to pass. But their intentions are to lead people away from God, not towards Him. Don’t believe everything you see just because it’s on Christian television or radio. Just because it’s in a book on a shelf doesn’t make it true. Just because you find it on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s biblical! Paul warned us about listening to ‘another gospel’ or worshipping ‘another Jesus.’ Satan is all about counterfeiting!
The thing that really matters is to get over your fear of demons and stop being intimidated by these false teachers. Charismania preaches a world where the Devil reigns and a weak, useless God stands on the side-lines hoping we will help Him out a bit. The reality is different, the Devil is a tool in God’s hands, and the Bible is clear he can do nothing without His permission. Martin Luther called Satan “God’s Ape.” Compared to the all-powerful God who protects us demons are nothing, and not worthy of a fraction of the un-due attention we give them.
True believers are more than conquerors through Christ. We have a power source greater than Satan and his angels. I John 4:4 “Greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world…” We can stand against Satan clothed in the armour of God. [Eph. 6]
Does God determine the outcome of world history or is the outcome determined by humans, angels and demons?
How you answer that question reveals more about you than you probably understand. If you said God needs humans, angels and demons then you have not grasped the sovereignty of God and the sufficiency of Christ. God does not depend on our spiritual warfare techniques and our knowledge of the supernatural in order to conquer. God has already conquered through the gospel of Jesus Christ, by sending His only beloved Son, who would deliver us from the power of Satan by giving His life as a ransom for our sins, and resurrecting on the third day to prove His victory over death, once and for all.
The key issue is not our knowledge about angels and the forces of evil but our knowledge of God through the gospel. Those who believe are “saved to the utmost” (Hebrews 7:25) and need not fear the spiritual forces of darkness. God uses the gospel to deliver people from the darkness of this world. The gospel effectively accomplishes all God intended to do from all eternity to save sinners. The means of grace provided in the Bible are sufficient to give us freedom and growth in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.
Don’t be beguiled by the worship of angels. The very gospel is at stake. The basic truth of Christianity is Christ. Christ is sufficient. Christ is all. We don’t need to be delivered from demons, we need to be delivered from sin. Christ has come to save us from our sins! Have you been delivered?