The subject question(s), are still asked today and by a range of different people. Many people who have dreams and other psychological aberrations are convinced that demons do still exist.
Our efforts here will be to show what the Bible teaches concerning them.
The term “demon(s)” is not found in the King James Version of the Bible but rather, the term “devil(s)” is used. On the other hand, the majority of the later translations have “demon” for those usages in the New Testament and continue to use “devil” for instances in the Old Testament. This divergence is because the Old Testament usage is that of identifying false gods. Their inanimate objects which had no semblance of life or action. There are no instances of the demons, as described in the New Testament, found in the Old.
The first instance to which demons are being referred, is found in Matthew 4:24:
“Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.” (NKJV)
The word ‘demon’ is found 30 times in the New King James New Testament. The plural ‘demons’ is found 38 times. In all cases they refer to a type of spirit-being which could enter into humans or other living creatures and cause drastic damages to the mind or even the physical part of their host.
Understanding the above as to when these things existed and when they did not, is the paramount question. And, what part they played in the purpose of God and Christ.
In order to be able to understand it more readily, let us spend a few minutes in the second chapter of Acts. The student will recall that Jesus foretold of the coming of the Holy Spirit after his death which would enter into them and bring to their remembrance all the things which he had spoken to them, and guide them into all truth. (John 14:26) (John 16:13)
They were also given the gift to work miracles, to understand and speak in foreign languages, and other miraculous things, and one was that they could lay their hands on a new convert and instill at least one of those gifts in him/her. The apostles and a number of those others were given the ability to cast out demons.
Now, the promise Jesus made to them concerning the Holy Spirit was fulfilled on the first Pentecost after Jesus’ death burial and resurrection, and is recorded in Acts chapter 22.
And after Peter had preached to them and convinced many that they had crucified the Son of God, here is what happened.
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 2:37-38KJV)
Notice that I have underlined the last sentence to indicate it is hre that Peter promised that they would receive a gift of the Holy Spirit. The did not receive total indwelling of the Spirit as the apostles did. But each obedient baptized individual, after the apostles laid their hands on them, a particular miraculous gift was instilled in them.
Now, a passage which contains much information and must be read carefully and understood as to what is said.
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.” (Mark 16:17-20 KJV)
Notice that the last sentence in the above quote tells precisely what those miracles were for. “Confirming the word”. Had there been on miracles, there would have been no reason for the masses to accept the teachings of the apostles and those who succeeded them. There have always been false teachers and there would have been nothing to show a difference between them and that which the apostles taught.
Notice what the signs were: cast out devils, speak in tongues, take up serpents, Drink poison, Heal the sick. All of these things were to confirm the word, in other words, show that Jesus had power over and above that of ordinary men. Once it was confirmed and finished…even though not available in book form for man years to come, it had all been written before the end of the first century and copies of the writings were available. There was no further need for those “signs”. Today, we have the thoroughly confirmed word of God and have no need for more.
So, how do we know the word has been confirmed today? Here is the explanation, notice particularly the part underlined which I placed there for emphasis.
“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” (Hebrews 2:1-4 KJV)
And also, the inspired apostle Paul explains it well as follows:
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13 KJV)
Some try and say “that which is perfect is come” refers to the return of Jesus Christ, but no, it has reference to the perfect law of liberty. (James 1:25) The complete revealed word of God. With the confirmed word available to all, the miraculous signs were no longer needed and are no longer granted. And with out the signs, no demons were needed to be removed by the power of God.
There can be no doubt that the demons were loosed to furnish the occasions for Jesus and the
others to prove the power of God and thereby confirm the words of the New Testament. They, along with miracles by humans were removed when the word was completed.