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DEMONS AND HALLOWEEN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, October 28, 2001

"And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8:29).

Halloween has become a huge money-maker for the entertainment industry. And they make the most money at Halloween from young people like you - between the ages of 18 and 24. Listen to this report from the Los Angeles Times:

Halloween is no longer just a children's holiday - far from it. The big spenders are not children or their parents, but 18- to 24-year-olds, who plan to shell out an average of $68 each for Halloween fun, according to the retail federation. In the world of Hollywood, especially, Halloween costume parties have become huge draws. This year? The messages are mixed.

( Los Angeles Times, October 23, 2001, p. A1).

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, many people are saying, "We don't need Halloween at all." And I think they're right! The Los Angeles Times story goes on to say:

At Mr. Balloon, just behind the Beverly Center in Los Angeles, Halloween spirits are less than lofty.

Many hosts of large parties in Beverly Hills have either canceled or decided that balloons are not appropriate, owner Jon Dorsey said. Cancellations, Dorsey said, have streamed in since Sept. 11.

"They were all confirmed, and then they called me back to say, no, everything has changed, we're laying people off and it's not a good time for parties," Dorsey said.

( Los Angeles Times, ibid. p. A26).

Mr. Dorsey said, "It's not a good time for [Halloween] parties." I agree with him! Come and be with us - here at church - next Wednesday night! You'll have more fun here than you could ever have at some boring old Halloween party!

But there's something demonic about Halloween - and people know it. Young people are flocking to see two movies about "haunted" houses, which have been released in theaters across the country. "Thirteen Ghosts" and "The Others" have caused these young people to think seriously about "ghosts" and demons. Castle Park Amusement Center in Riverside had planned to have a haunted house. The newspaper described it this way:

A fire is raging out of control at a crematory. Firefighters greet people at the door, supposedly to lead them to safety. But along the way, a descent into horror: The firefighters turn into demons and the visitors learn they're being led into hell. ( Los Angeles Times, ibid).

What a description of demons, given right in the newspaper! "The firefighters turn into demons and the visitors learn they're being led into hell."

The Bible teaches that demons are very real! And their purpose is to lead you into Hell!

The English word "demon" is a translation of the Greek word "daimon." It is mistranslated as "devils" in the King James Bible. It should always be translated as "demons." The Greek word in the New Testament comes from the root "da," which means "to know." So, the word "demon" means "a knowing one." The classical philosopher Plato said the word meant "knowing" or "intelligent" (in George P. Pardington, Ph.D., Outline Studies in Christian Doctrine, Christian Publications, 1926, p. 122).

Demons are called "the knowing ones" because they do know a great deal.After all, they have been roaming the earth for six thousand years. If you had been travelling around the world for six thousand years, you would know a great deal also! Yes, the demons are very intelligent, and very informed, and very cunning, sly and crafty. You'll never be able to outsmart them, because they are too tricky. They'll outsmart you every time. That's why you need Jesus Christ, and the Bible, and the local church. You'll never be able to outsmart the demons by yourself. They will get you, and drag you down to Hell!

Now the Bible answers our questions about demons. Here are three important questions about these evil spirits that are answered by the Scriptures.

I. First, where did they come from?

The Bible teaches that Satan was once a great archangel in Heaven named Lucifer. But Lucifer rebelled against God. He said, "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:14). Lucifer was cast out of Heaven into the atmosphere of the earth. After he was cast out of Heaven, Lucifer became known as Satan, or the Devil.

Now when Satan rebelled against God, before he was cast out of Heaven, a great many of the angels followed him. There was a "church split" up in Heaven. And Lucifer and his angels rebelled against God and His angels. And when He threw Satan out of Heaven, God also threw the rebellious angels out with him. And that's exactly what needs to happen in many Baptist churches. They need a "back door revival"! Those that are causing division need to leave. Then the church will be like Heaven!

The Bible says:

"God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment" (II Peter 2:4).

Again, the Scripture says:

"The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6).

So, many of the "fallen angels" were consigned directly to Hell.

Yet other angels who were cast out of Heaven remained in the atmosphere, in the air around the earth. Here are my convictions on this subject.

Some of the demons possessed people in the days of Noah. I believe that the "sons of God" in Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7 were fallen angels. These "sons of God" "came in unto the daughters of men" in Noah's day (Genesis 6:4). Then the demons were cast into Hell. That's why the demons who were confronted by Jesus "besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep" (Luke 8:31) because they too had possessed a human being.

So, the angels which rebelled were cast out onto the earth. Those that sinned even farther by possessing human beings, were cast "into the deep" (cf. Luke 8:31).

But many of these demons remain on the earth today. And the Bible teaches that the leader of these demons is still Satan (cf. Matthew 12:26-27; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:9). That's where the demons come from.

II. The second question is this - what do they do?

Dr. Henry C. Thiessen was the late Chairman of the Faculty of the Graduate School at Wheaton College. Dr. Thiessen gave a list of things that demons do:

  1. They inflict disease (not all disease, but certain diseases), Job 1:5-10; Matthew 9:33; 12:22; Luke 9:37-42; 13:11,16.

  2. They cause mental disorders (not all, but many), Mark 5:4,5; Luke 8:35.

  3. They lead many into moral impurity, Matthew 10:1; 12:43; Mark 1:23-27; 3:11; 5:2-13; Luke 4:33,36; 6:18; 8:29; Acts 5:16; 8:7; Revelation 16:13.

  4. They disseminate (spread) false doctrine, I Kings 22:21-23; II Thessalonians 2:2; I Timothy 4:1.

  5. They oppose God's children, Ephesians 6:12.

  6. They sometimes possess human beings and even animals, Matthew 4:24; Mark 5:8-14; Luke 8:2; Acts 8:7; 16:16.

  7. They are sometimes used by God in the carrying out of His purposes and designs, Judges 9:23; I Samuel 16:14; Psalm 78:49. It appears that He will especially so use them during the Tribulation period, Revelation 9:1-12; 16:13-16. They will apparently be invested with miraculous powers for the time being, II Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 16:14.

    (Henry C. Thiessen, Ph.D., Lectures in Systematic Theology, Eerdmans, 1963, pp. 208-209).

Dr. Thiessen added to his list of demonic activities:

  1. Fortune telling and astrology, Isaiah 47:13; Acts 16:16. When the destiny of a person is shown ahead of time, it is the work of demons.

  2. Spiritualism (or spiritism) - the belief that the living can communicate with the dead. It is also called necromancy. A necromancer is often referred to in the Bible as someone who has "a familiar spirit," Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 18:11; I Samuel 28:3,7,8,9; II Kings 21:6; 23:24; etc.

    (cf. Thiessen, ibid.)

The Bible warns Christians not to be ignorant of Satan's devices (II Corinthians 2:11).

Dr. John Nevius, in his classical book Demon Possession and Allied Themes (Revell, 1894, pp. 321-322), gives the following list of demonic phenomena:

  1. The use of a medium for the purpose of holding communication with spirits.

  2. Necromancy, or professed communication with the dead by the intervention of a medium.

  3. The invoking or summoning of spirits by means of hymns or prayer.

  4. Receiving communications from spirits by writing, through methods more or less direct and immediate.

  5. Gradual "development" or training by which the medium or subject, and the spirits, are brought [in contact], so that the medium becomes ready and responsive in performing his new functions.

  6. Obtaining prescriptions and healing diseases by spirits, through the intervention of a medium.

  7. Carrying on communications with spirits through a medium by the use of spoken language, or by raps, or other arrangements or devices.

  8. The mysterious appearance and disappearance of…lights and flames.

  9. Levitation, suspension in the air, and transference from one place to the other of crockery, household utensils, and other objects, including also men…

  10. Haunted houses, mysterious opening and shutting of doors, and other similar phenomena.

  11. The moving of furniture and other objects without physical contact.

  12. Rappings, clattering of dishes, and unusual noises and disturbances, without any physical cause which can be found.

  13. Impressions by unseen hands, sometimes gentle, sometimes violent, producing physical pain and injuries.

  14. The nervous and muscular symptoms peculiar to a demoniac, and often to the medium during possession, or its initial stage.

    (Nevius, ibid., pp. 321-322).

Dr. Nevius continued by saying, "The Bible teaches us that to have intercourse with a 'familiar' spirit is a voluntary act of disloyalty to, and rebellion against God. It is forsaking God, and holding intercourse with, and becoming the agent of his avowed enemy, the devil" (Nevius, ibid., p. 323).

III. The third question is this - why do you need to know about demons?

I am sure that someone who hears (or reads) this sermon will think, "Why do we need to hear about demons? Why not speak on something uplifting and positive?" My answer is this: there wouldn't be so much in the Bible about demons and Satan unless God wanted us to know about this subject.

Baptist theologian August H. Strong was wrong about some things, but he was correct in giving us four main "uses of the doctrine of evil angels" (Augustus H. Strong, D.D., Systematic Theology, Judson Press, 1985, p. 463). He says that there are four main reasons we should know about demons:

  1. "(Demonology) illustrates the real nature of sin, and the depth of the ruin to which it may bring the soul, to (think about) the present moral condition and eternal wretchedness to which these spirits…have brought themselves by their rebellion against God."

    The demons have indeed ruined themselves and cursed themselves by rebelling against God. You should think deeply about that. If you go on missing church and rejecting Jesus Christ, you too will be eternally cut off from God and damned to Hell.

  2. "(Demonology) inspires a (healthy, safe) fear and hatred of the…subtle approaches of evil from within and without, to remember that these may be the…advances of a personal and malignant being, who seeks to overcome (us), and involve us in his own apostasy and destruction."

    By thinking about what Satan and demons do, you will be reminded that they are out to destroy you. This knowledge will help you overcome temptation and sin. If you realize that demonic activity is present, you will want to read the Bible, be in church, and pray.

  3. "(Demonology) shuts us up to Christ, as the only being who is able to deliver us or others from the enemy of all good."

    Many people do not see why they need Christ because they do not realize that He is the only one who can save them from being damned to Hell through the temptations and sin that Satan and the demons bring to them. Biblical thinking concerning demons turns a person fully to the only Saviour, Jesus Christ.

  4. "(Demonology) teaches us that our salvation is wholly of grace, since for such multitudes of rebellious spirits no atonement and no renewal were provided…with no mercy to interpose or save."

    Christ did not die on the Cross as a payment for the sins of demons. But He did die on the Cross to pay for your sins. This means that you have an opportunity to be saved. You have an opportunity that no demon has. They are bound to go to Hell. But you could be saved by turning fully to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

The man we read about in our text was tormented by demons. The demons cried out, "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?" (Matthew 8:29). They knew that He was the Saviour. The Bible says:

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, Who gave himself a ransom for all…"

(I Timothy 2:5-6).

Jesus died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sins - if you will trust Him with all your heart and life. Christ will bring you to God. He will break down the barrier of sin between you and God. Christ has risen from the dead, physically. He is alive, up in Heaven, at the right hand of God, praying for you now.

Leave Halloween behind! Leave your sinful life behind! Come to Jesus Christ! Come back to this church next Sunday! Be washed from your sins by His Blood! Christ will give you everlasting life in Heaven!

(END OF SERMON)
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or you may write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015.
Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

You may email Dr. Hymers at rlhymersjr@sbcglobal.net, (Click Here)
or you may write to him at P.O. Box 15308, Los Angeles, CA 90015.
Or phone him at (818)352-0452.

Scripture Read Before Sermon: Luke 8:26-33.
Solo by Benjamin Kincaid Griffith: "Then Jesus Came"

by Oswald J. Smith (1889-1986)
and Homer Rodeheaver (1880-1955).

THE OUTLINE OF

DEMONS AND HALLOWEEN

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

"And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8:29).

I.   Where did the demons come from? Isaiah 14:14; II Peter 2:4;
Jude 6; Job 1:6; Job 2:1; Job 38:7; Genesis 6:4; Luke 8:31;
Matthew 12:26-27; Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:9.

II.  What do the demons do? II Corinthians 2:11.

III. Why do you need to know about demons? I Timothy 2:5-6.