1 Timothy 4:1-3 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.
Satan and his demons, throughout human history, have been at work trying to destroy Gods people. After the creation of the universe, the original sin was committed. We do not know specifically how, or when, Satan rebelled against God. Apparently, he ruled over part of the angels. Some people believe that the Day Star or Lucifer was one of three Archangels. The other two being Gabriel and Michael. If that is true then we can assume that he ruled over one-third of the angels when they were created. Nevertheless, there would be a vast number since the remaining angels number myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands (Revelation 5:11).
The Old Testament does not often use the word “demon” causing many people to believe that demons were not active at that time. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the first “evil angels” were active under the direction of Satan in the Garden of Eden. There…
We first see “the serpent”. Look at Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
There is no question that this “serpent” was no other than the accuser — Satan! We see him continuing his conversation with Eve accusing God of being unfair to the humans he had created. Satan proves himself to be, what he has always been, a liar! He twists God’s words and leaves out important facts. This is a pattern Satan has followed throughout history. He and his demons have trained billions of people in the art of twisting the truth. We see him active in Genesis and we see him being overcome in Revelation.
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
He has gone from being called “the serpent” to being identified as “The Great Dragon ”! The Dragon is the deceiver of the whole world. Let’s not get off on the side track in Revelation. Instead, let’s stay on track with evidence of the working of the serpent. It may be that the term demon is seldom used in the Old Testament but it is very active in that…
Idol worship is demonic. Let’s look at the song of Moses for evidence. Deuteronomy 32:17-18 They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded. 18 You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth.
I hope you’re not too surprised that Moses is talking about the people of Israel! In the wilderness, they did not give up the demon gods of Egypt! They continued to sacrifice to demons! They added new gods to the Egyptian gods as they traveled. When Moses was on the mountain receiving the most perfect law that it ever been conceived to give them spiritual strength and freedom the people of Israel were down in the valley worshiping a golden calf!
Amazing! They did not pay attention to the Rock that had brought them to life. They forgot the God who birthed them! Forgot? Only a few months before they were watching Moses and Aaron raise the rod of God to destroy the Egyptian fake Gods. They had seen the Red Sea parted and they crossed on dry land while the Egyptians were destroyed who attempted to follow them. They saw water come from a rock and quail settle around them in abundance so they could have meat when they cried for it. Then after only a few days without Moses present in the camp, they set up an idol with the intent of going back to Egypt. They were willing to choose bondage over God’s freedom!
Let’s turn aside for a moment to clear up a question.
Angels/demons did not marry women. Look with me at Genesis 6:4. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
Many people have read this — taking it out of context — and taught that it teaches the intermarriage with angels and human women. It’s true that the term “sons of God” seems to be used for angels in other places particularly the book of Job. It cannot be that way here. How do I know this? Because I know Jesus not only knows the truth but he also tells the truth.
Luke 20:34-36 And Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage, 35 but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage, 36 for they cannot die anymore, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.
Jesus is not directly referring to the passage in Genesis 6. He is answering their question. They set the scene by describing a woman who had had seven husbands. And they asked “in the resurrection, therefore, whose wife will the woman be?
Jesus’ answer should have corrected their theology. In the resurrection, they do not marry. Instead, they are equal to angels! Equal to angels? Meaning that angels do not marry because they do not have material bodies.
The term “demon” may not be used much in the Old Testament but…
Without a doubt, there was demonic activity. Genesis 6:11-12 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.
There is no doubt in my mind that this description of the earth before the flood is a description of satanic influence. The earth was filled with violence! All flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. This would fulfill the goals of Satan himself.
Israel, in the wilderness, worshiped demons. For example, Exodus 32:1-4. When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
This is one of the strangest scenes set in the Bible. Aaron, Moses brother, was deeply involved in all the things that God did leading them out of bondage and defeating Egypt. Now, the people who have been delivered from bondage want to return. They had seen how the unseen hand of God and guided them all the way. Now they were ready to make an idol that they knew did not have life and worship it.
Not only that, they wanted to go back to Egypt!
They asked Aaron to make them “gods”. Aaron explained to Moses that he had taken the gold ornaments of the people, he threw them in the fire, then they came out a golden cafe!
Apparently, this was the lifestyle of the people of God. They not only worshiped demons in the desert they also worshiped demons…
Even after they entered the land. Turn with me to Psalm 106:19-20 They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image. 20 They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass.
In the wilderness, they exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox. Then after they entered the land. God conquered it for them! They saw the gods of all the people around them being defeated by the living God. Then… Look a few verses down 35-37 but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. 36 They served their idols, which became a snare to them. 37 They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons.
The story was told in the book of Judges and repeated again and again for hundreds of years. The people of Israel would become very complacent in their lifestyles and sinful in their behavior. Then they would be defeated by their enemies and for a time under foreign control. They would cry out to God, repent of their sins and God would send a deliverer.
After the United Kingdom was established under the influence of the prophet Samuel the nation turned to God. When David became king for several years there was peace and prosperity as well as spiritual growth. Solomon continued the process until he turned away from God in the last years of his reign. Then the kingdom divided and consistently the northern kingdom did what was evil in God’s sight. Judah the southern kingdom had a few kings that led them closer to God. God was patient with them for hundreds of years finally he allowed them to be taken into captivity.
Until a king led them to ultimate evil. 2 Kings 21:14-16 And I will forsake the remnant of my heritage and give them into the hand of their enemies, and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies, 15 because they have done what is evil in my sight and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came out of Egypt, even to this day.” 16 Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.
A king named Manasseh came to the throne of Judah determined to rebel against God. God saw that Manasseh’s lifestyle was worse than the nations God had removed the land. Manasseh set up pagan altars in the temple of the living God. He offered his son to one of the pagan gods as a burnt offering. Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the pagan nations had that. Therefore, it became necessary for God to destroy the kingdom and allow his people to be taken into captivity.
The Bible tells us the story of God’s working with his people and of satanic oposition. We are told about the beginning in the garden followed by a growing rebellion that led to a worldwide flood. The Bible record goes on to tell us about the call of Abraham and his descendants. After 400 years in Egypt the Bible tells us about their deliverance and wanderings in the wilderness. Even there they worshiped demons. The Bible goes on to record the conquest of Canaan and God’s care for his people. The people of Israel achieve their highest level in the United Kingdom under David and Solomon. Then hundreds of years of decline. Finally, the OT ends in a period of silence before the Messiah came. That Messiah is Jesus who took our sins and set free all who will put their trust in him.
All scriptures quotes are from: The Holy Bible: English standard version. 2001. Wheaton, Ill, Standard Bible Society.