The Free Demons
Dr. Joe Temple


Open your Bibles, please, to Luke, chapter 8, verse 26:

Luke 8:

26And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
27And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.
28When 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 spirit 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 into the wilderness.)
30And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
31And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
32And 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.
33Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
34When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.
35Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
36They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.

For some time we have been studying the Devil, his destiny, and his works. In our study, we have discovered that the Devil is the head of a well-organized kingdom of demons.

Very often, you will find in your Bibles the word devils (plural). But if you were to read your Bibles in the original language, you would find an entirely different word used for the word devils —different from that used for the word Devil , when Satan is being spoken about. We would remind you of that which we have learned—that there is one Devil, but there are many demons. The demons constitute the kingdom of the Devil. These demons were the angels who were cast out of Heaven when the Devil was cast out. You remember that when we studied the record of that event, we learned that one-third of all the angels in Heaven were cast out when the Devil was cast out, and one-third of the numberless number of angels who had been in Heaven constituted the kingdom of the Devil and his demons.

You will remember also that we learned that the demons who are under the subject of the Devil are of three classes. There are those who are chained with chains of darkness awaiting the judgment of that great day when God will judge them for their sin. The suggestion is that these angels sinned in such a terrible fashion that God found it necessary to incarcerate them in the prisonhouse of darkness until the day of judgment.

The second class of demons are like ferocious beasts who are chained because of their very dangerous nature, and are to be let loose during the Tribulation that is yet to come upon the earth.

The third class of demons are those who are free—those who are free to do the bidding of the Devil in whatever way he sees fit.

You may be wondering why we are not giving you the Scripture for these statements. We would remind you that we have already discussed the Scriptures for these statements.

We would now like to spend a little time thinking about this free class of demons—these demons who are yet free. We learned some things about them, and we remind you that this free class of demons is made up of several different categories.

Free Demons

Among the free demons, there are those who are known as principalities . The principalities have the responsibility of directing all the activity of the demons. The activity of demons is not a hit or miss proposition. It is a very well-planned and well-ordered thing under the direction of principalities.

We also find this free class of demons divided up not only into principalities, but also into authorities. We learned that the demons who belong to the class catalogued authorities have certain sections of the earth given to their jurisdiction, and it is their business to develop evil in that particular part of the world. For example, we learned of two of them mentioned particularly—the Prince of Persia and the Prince of Greece.

We are prone to think about wicked people, but we need to be reminded that wicked people are inspired by wicked demons. And these authorities have certain parts of the world given over to their jurisdiction.

Then we noticed the third class in this group of free demons, referred to as wicked spirits in the heavenlies . This third class of demons are given the task of inspiring the leaders, the authorities, the rulers of the darkness of this world. It is their principal task to sit at the conference tables of the world and whisper into the ears of the leaders of the world suggestions that bring evil into this world in even greater intensity than we know.

We might need to be reminded that the rulers of this world are not necessarily evil in themselves, but quite often they are inspired by the rulers of the darkness of this world.

The fourth class that makes up this group of free demons are just ordinary demons—ordinary, commonplace demons whose task is to possess and to influence common, ordinary mortals. You may have the idea that you are exceedingly important, and if the Devil thinks so, he might send around one of these authorities. If he thinks you are important enough, he might come around himself. But we may as well let the air out a little bit and face the fact that hardly any of us are so important that the Devil is going to waste his time with us. It is not the Devil that has been bothering you. It is some of his demons that are out to carry out the orders of the Devil in respect to you.

You will notice that I used two terms in connection with the activity of these demons. I said that the activity of these commonplace demons was to influence and possess ordinary mortals. I might say to influence OR to possess ordinary mortals. When I use two terms such as that, it is necessary that we recognize the difference between the relationship of demons to saved people, and the relationship of demons to unsaved people. You will notice that I am making a distinction. I say that there are two classes of people in this world today. One class is a saved class, and that class is made up of everyone who has made a definite commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ—every individual who is born again, every individual who definitely knows that he is trusting the Lord Jesus Christ as his Savior.

May I remind you that it is one thing to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It is quite another thing to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. It is one thing to talk about knowing that Jesus Christ is able to save. It is quite another thing to let the Lord Jesus Christ save YOU as an individual. You will remember that the gospel of John was written in order that people might come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and as Lord. In the 20th chapter of the gospel of John, verse 31, John said:

John 20:

31But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

You will notice in those words that there are two believers mentioned, or the word believe mentioned twice. They refer to two entirely different things. John said, “I have written the gospel of John in order that you might believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” and that is one sentence. You cannot read the gospel of John without being firmly convinced that Jesus Christ is God's Son. But you will notice he goes on to say, “And that believing ye might have life through His name.” It is a sad thing we have to face that a great many people do the first believing that never do the second.

I want to encourage you to look at your own heart and see exactly where you stand before the Lord. Have you gone on to the second believing? Have you actually received the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior? Have you actually committed yourself to Him? If you have, then you are saved. You are a saved individual. If you have never done that, then you are an unsaved individual. Since there are two classes of people in the world today, it is important for us to understand the relationship of demons to these two classes of people.

Demons Can Possess Unbelievers

The first thing I would like to talk with you about is the relationship of demons to unsaved people—the relationship of demons to people who have never been born again.

I read in your hearing just a few moments ago these verses of Scripture from the 8th chapter of the gospel according to Luke. The story is told of a man who was possessed, not with one demon, but with so many demons that when the Lord Jesus Christ asked, “What is your name?”, the demons spoke through the lips of this man and said, “Our name is Legion, for we are many.” He was a man possessed not with just one demon, but with so many demons that when these demons besought the Lord Jesus Christ to enter into the bodies of 5,000 pigs, those 5,000 pigs could not contain those demons and live. They ran over the precipice into the sea and were drowned.

The expression of these demons described in this passage of Scripture indicates for us one of the greatest common desires of demons. And that is that they do not like to be left without a body. They have an insatiable desire to occupy a body. They do not like to be disembodied. You will notice in the 8th chapter of the gospel of Luke, verse 30:

Luke 8:

30And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
31And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.

The word deep is a word that describes the Pit of the Abyss, the place where demons are imprisoned. These demons were free. And they said, “Don't let us go into the Abyss. Don't sentence us to prison yet.” Well, if they were not to go to the Abyss, they had to go somewhere, and they looked around and found this herd of swine feeding on the mountain. And they said, “Jesus, Thou Son of God,” because there are no atheists among demons. All demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God. They saw this herd of swine feeding, and they said, “Jesus, Thou Son of God, let us go into the bodies of those swine.” So intent were they on occupying a body that, if they cannot occupy the body of a human being, they would rather occupy the body of a pig than be left disembodied.

They have, I repeat, an insatiable desire to occupy bodies, and that is the reason we can talk to you about demon possession. Demons are constantly looking around for bodies of unsaved people which they can occupy, and which they will occupy at will.

Turn with me to the 11th chapter of the gospel according to Luke. Will you notice these words in verse 23:

Luke 11:

23He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.
24When 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.
25And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.
26Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

This passage of Scripture tells us that demons enter into the bodies of unsaved people when they want to, and they leave them when they want to. If they decide to come back and bring more demons with them, they will, they can, and they do. The greatest danger that unsaved people have today is the danger of being possessed with a demon. I believe it is time for us to be emphasizing that fact because I believe that before I am through with this message, we will see that that is the only logical explanation for a great many things that are occurring today.

I do not know your heart. I do not know your relationship to God. But I want to say on the authority of God's Word that if you are unsaved—if the Lord Jesus Christ is not living in your heart—you are susceptible to demon possession. I did not say you are demon possessed. I said you are susceptible to demon possession if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your own Savior.

Demons Can Influence Believers

Some of you are probably thinking, “Well, you evidently do not believe, than, that saved people, born-again people, can be possessed with demons.” I must say to you on the authority of God's Word that I do not believe that born-again people can be possessed with demons. I believe that born-again people can be, and a great many times are, influenced by demons.

If I tell you that I do not believe that born-again people can be possessed with demons, I should have a reason for it. So I am going to ask you to turn with me to the 12th chapter of the gospel according to Matthew. Will you notice the paragraph which begins with verse 22:

Matthew 12:

22Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
23And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
25And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
26And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?
27And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
28But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Now notice this verse carefully:

Matthew 12:

29Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
30He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

In speaking of the casting out of demons by the power of God or by the power of the Devil, the Lord Jesus Christ gave an illustration that cannot be ignored. He said in the 29th verse that if a man wants to enter a powerful man's house and destroy his goods, he cannot do it until he first binds the strong man. Before he can enter into the strong man's house and spoil his goods, he has got to tie up the strong man, or else he cannot do it.

Cannot Possess Believers

It is a well-known fact that every born again believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. “What,” says the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians, “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” If you are a born-again believer, the Holy Spirit is living in you. I say to you that your body is the house of the Holy Spirit.

If the Devil wants to come into the house of the Holy Spirit and spoil the goods by letting demons loose in the house, then he must first bind the strong man in the house. He must first defeat the Holy Spirit.

Can he do it? Turn with me in your Bibles, please, to the first epistle of John, chapter 4, and notice in verse 1 these words:

I John 4:

1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
3And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

Let's pause for a moment. Surely we can believe from reading this passage of Scripture that we are talking about the same subject that we have been talking about for the last several minutes. We have been talking about evil spirits in contrast to the Holy Spirit. That is the subject of this passage of Scripture.

Now, look at verse 4:

I John 4:

4Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Overcome whom? Overcome these evil spirits. Who is in the world? The Devil and his demons. Who is in you? The Holy Spirit of God. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. If demons possess the bodies of born-again believers, then demons must first bind the strong man, the Holy Spirit. And I would beg to suggest to you that that is an utter impossibility.

To sum up what we have been saying: If you are unsaved, if you have never trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are susceptible to demon possession. If you have trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior, then you are susceptible to demon influence—not demon possession.

Perhaps we can distinguish between these two terms if we distinguish between the kinds of demons in relation to their activity in connection with mankind.

Signs Of Demon Possession

The first thing I would like to suggest to you is that you turn to the gospel of Mark, chapter 1. As we look at this chapter, we are going to be introduced to one kind of demon that is so vitally connected with demon possession. We asked you to turn to this passage of Scripture, not because it is the only passage that discusses the subject, but because it is a sample of what you will find if you take the trouble to go through the Word of God. Will you notice in the 21st verse:

Mark 1:

21And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
22And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
23And there was in their synagogue [notice[ a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
24Saying, 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.
25And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.
26And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
27And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.
28And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

Did you notice twice mentioned in this paragraph the phrase, unclean spirit ? Unclean spirit is a designation used consistently in the New Testament to describe those demons who possess unsaved people. If we had the time to trace their history, not only through the Word of God but through actual historical writing, we would find that these unclean spirits cause dumbness, blindness, insanity, suicidal tendencies, murderous inclinations, and sexual uncleanness.

I am not going to say to you that everybody who is born without the ability to speak is possessed with a demon. The Bible does not say that. The Bible makes the definite distinction between sickness and demon possession. But the Bible does say, as I have suggested to you, that demons are capable of causing all those things in the people whom they possess. If you take the time to verify what I have said by the examination of the Word of God, you will find that it is true. Much that you read in your newspapers today, concerning sexual immorality and perverted acts of sex maniacs that cannot be explained, could be explained if people would take the time to find out whether or not the people are demon-possessed.

Many unexplained suicides that nobody can find a legitimate, sensible reason for are due to demon possession.

Many murderous attacks on individuals that apparently have no reason or rhyme are explained by demon possession.

Increased Demon Activity Prophesied

Instead of wondering what is the reason for so many things that are happening in our day, we might be reminded that it is but a fulfillment of the Word of God. The Word of God says that there will come in the end of time an upsurge in the activity of demons that will cause many, many people to do many, many things that no one ever thought could be done.

Turn with me in your Bibles, please, to I Timothy, chapter 4, which contains the prophecies to which I have just referred, but to which I ask you to turn for another reason. We are not going to dwell any longer on the effects of demon possession. We are going to move over to the matter of demon influence. We will find, as we look at this chapter, that those demons who have committed to them the responsibility of influencing Christians are much more civilized, much nicer, much more refined than the demons who possess the unsaved.

I Timothy 4:

1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
3Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

Notice in the first verse the phrase, seducing spirits . Seduction is an art of finesse. Rape is one thing. It is blunt and cruel and has no finesse about it. Seduction is an entirely different thing. When it comes to the influencing of Christians to depart from the faith, unclean spirits are not used. Seductive spirits are used. And oh, how seductive they are! How very clever! How very nice! How well disguised are they!

Turn in your Bibles with me, please, to II Corinthians, chapter 11, verse 13, and notice how the Apostle Paul warns against this very thing that I am talking about—the influence of demons in the lives of believers:

II Corinthians 11:

13For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers [that is, his servants, the demons] also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

When it comes to influencing Christians, the Devil does not send out a smelly, uncouth, dirty, unclean demon. He sends out a demon dressed in his Sunday best, who seduces the Christian and leads him into things that are absolutely foreign to the will of God, but which that Christian thinks are coming from God Himself.

Work Of Seducing Spirits

In the fourth chapter of I Timothy, one of the things mentioned that these seducing spirits cause Christians to do is to depart from the faith. The modernism, the so-called liberalism, of our day is the work of seductive spirits. They seduce Christians to believe these false doctrines and to depart from the faith.

You will notice in this same passage of Scripture that these same seducing spirits encourage people to adopt the idea of forbidding marriage. Now that phrase, if you examine it in the original, is not a reference to celibacy such as the Roman Catholic Church practices. It is a reference to the idea that you do not need to marry; that this is the day when you need to experiment with love; that this is the day when the marriage vows are not sacred, and you can do as you please in relation to them.

The Devil does not come openly with some terrible, awful kind of immorality to bring about this truth. He comes with angels of light to convince individuals that what they ought to do is to follow the bidding of the Devil and his demons, rather than to follow the will of God.

Demons will influence Christians to hate. Read the 16th chapter of I Samuel when you have time. Demons will influence Christians to worry—to be so upset with worry and concern that they cannot believe even the promises of God.

Demons will influence Christians to make the wrong decisions so that they will get out of the will of God permanently and have God's chastening hand upon them. Read in I Chronicles and I Kings the story of David and the number of times demons influenced David to take the wrong step, and the number of times demons influenced good King Jehoshaphat to take the wrong step.

Christians, let us be aware of the fact that demons, though they cannot possess us as the children of God, certainly can influence us. We need to be on our guard.

Defense Against Demons

If you have followed me, you are aware of the fact that this information has not been too pleasant to deliver, and it might be a rather discouraging message to leave with you. For example, the Christian may say, “If demons can influence me as a child of God, what is my remedy? What is the thing I can hold up against the influence of demons?”

One thing that you can do is to be sure at all times that you are in fellowship with God. The demon can never influence a child of God who is in fellowship. Demons influence children of God who are out of fellowship.

I referred a moment ago to the story of Saul in chapter 16 of I Samuel. If you read that story carefully, you will find that Saul got out of the will of God, and the Spirit of God left him. As soon as that happened, an evil spirit came and spoke to the heart of Saul and influenced him to worry and to hate.

Danger Of Broken Fellowship

If you stay in the will of God, demons cannot influence you. I have said this repeatedly, and I re-emphasize it. I believe that a child of God who is out of the will of God is in a far more dangerous position than an unsaved person. Anything can happen to a child of God who is out of God's will. Occasionally, you will hear of one of God's children who has departed—who has left fellowship, who is having his own way—and you pray for him. You ask God to bring him back into fellowship. You ask God to deal with him. Instead of its happening, it looks as if he is going farther and farther and farther away and doing even worse things, and you cannot understand the reason for it. Beloved, one of the reasons for it is right here. He is susceptible to demon influence. Any child of God who is out of the will of God can be influenced by the demons to do anything.

Don't sit around as though you know everything there is to know and say, “I don't believe a Christian would do thus and so.” You don't know. A Christian can do anything that a demon can influence him to do when that Christian is out of the will of God.

The other remedy for those of us who are Christians, and who are concerned about the influence of demons, was presented earlier in our discussion, when we asked you to turn to chapter 4 of the I John. The Holy Spirit of God said that there are many demons about in the world. Put these demons to the test. If you have an idea, if you have a suggestion, and you do not know whether it is the Holy Spirit or an evil spirit that is giving you the suggestion, put the spirit to the test. What kind of test? Stop right where you are, and say to the evil spirit who might be influencing you, “What do you believe about the deity of Christ? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God?” And the very moment you ask that question, the evil spirit will be stirred to anger, and to hate, and to destruction.

You do not have to be at the unlimited mercy of demons, even though demons can influence you as a child of God. Maybe you are saying, “I am not a child of God. I have never been born again. I am unsaved. What is my protection against demon possession? How can I be sure that I will not be demon-possessed?” You cannot be sure! There is only one way in the world that you can be sure, and that is to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior.

Christ The Answer

Earlier in our discussion of chapter 8 of the gospel of Luke, we read you the story of a house that was swept and garnished and clean. There were some demons roaming around looking for a place to go, and these demons came and knocked on the door. Nobody answered. They opened the door and said, “My, this house is nice and fresh and clean. Let's go in.” And they occupied the house. Had the Lord Jesus Christ been in that house when they knocked at the door, the Lord Jesus Christ would have gone to the door, and the demons would have fled, because “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

If, as I said to you a moment or two ago, the end of the age will see a marked increase in the activity of the demons, I would implore you, as the children of God, to stay in the will of God. And I would implore you, if you are without the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, that you receive Him now, before demons decide to take up their abode in you. I am not being frightening. I am being practical.

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