Author's Bias | Interpretation: conservative
Inclination: dispensational | Seminary: none

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What Can Satan and His Demons Do?

1. What is Satan’s notable characteristic? Consult Genesis 3:1-6 and John 8:44.

Jesus informs us that Satan "was a murderer from the beginning" and "a liar and the father of lies." Satan was morally evil from the beginning of his existence and sinned before any human being did. Satan originated sin and tempts other personal beings to do so.

2. How do Satan and demons operate against human beings (Deut 32:16-17; 1 Ki 14:24; Deut 23:17; 1 Ki 18:25-28; Deut 14:1; Ps 106: 35-37; 2 Cor 11:14; Gal 1:8; 1 John 4:1; Acts 14:8-13; 1 Thes 2:17-18; 1 Cor 7:5; 1 Thes 3:5; Acts 13:8-11; 2 Thes 2:9-10; 2 Cor 4:3-4; Job 1:13 - 2:8; 2 Cor 12:7; 1 Sam 18:10-11; Matt 17:15-17; Mark 5:2-4; 9:17-22)?

A. They attempt to discourage the worship of God and cause the destruction of God’s prized creation – man.

They do so by deceiving human beings to worship demons as gods (Deut 32:16-17), encourage immoral sexual worship practices (1 Ki 14:24; Deut 23:17), include self flagellation as an acceptable form of worship (1 Ki 18:25-28; Deut 14:1), and promote such abodinable practices such as child sacrifice (Ps 106: 35-37).

While these worship practices are recorded in the Old Testament, some of them still continue to this day. Idol worship has a demonic basis, and is indirectly a worship of demons, which leads to immoral and self destructive practices. Idols can also include objects that are less obvious that people worship such as money, houses, land, fame, pride, and acheivements in the name of the Lord (Eph 5:5).

B. They attempt to discourage the witness and ministry effectiveness of the Christians.

Satan and his demons work through human beings to discredit true teachers of the Gospel, question the authenticity of true teachers, and encourage false teachers (2 Cor 11:14; Gal 1:8; 1 John 4:1).

They deceive human beings to attribute the good work of Christians to other gods (Acts 14:8-13).

They try to impede effective Christians from traveling and spreading the Gospel (1 Thes 2:17-18).

They will tempt Christians to sin and render their witness ineffective (1 Cor 7:5; 1 Thes 3:5).

C. They attempt to blind and deceive non-Christians to the Gospel.

Satan and his demons work to deceive non-believers (Acts 13:8-11; 2 Thes 2:9-10).

They try to blind people to the Gospel (2 Cor 4:3-4).

Satan will be deceptively attractive to garner the trust of mankind (2 Thes 2:9).

They will attack human beings with mental and physical afflictions (Job 1:13 - 2:8; 2 Cor 12:7).

They indwell and cause human beings to afflict others (1 Sam 18:10-11; Matt 17:15-17; Mark 5:2-4; 9:17-22).

3. What are Satan’s methods?

4. What are the intentions of Satan? Study Isaiah 14:13-14, Matthew 13:38-41, Luke 4:5-7, 22:31-32 and 1 John 3:7-10, 12.

Satan intends to oppose God (1 John 3:7-10) by hindering the true faith (Matt 13:38-41) and bringing ruin to Christians (Luke 22:31-32; 1 John 3:12).

Satan intends to establish his own kingdom (Isa 14:13-14 Luke 4:5-7).

Throughout the Bible, there is never a mention that Satan can read the minds nor know the hearts of human beings. However, Satan and his demons are of the invisible world and are certainly capable of observing and listening to whatever one may say audibly or as a whisper. This advantage allows them to anticipate one’s secret desires.


1. Youngblood RF, Bruce FF, and Harrison RK eds., Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers (1995).

2. Elwell WA ed, Topical Analysis of the Bible, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House Company (1991).

Return to Systematic Study: Angelology

What can Demons do or Not do? or Demonization

Related subject:

Topical Index: Angels>Evil (fallen)

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