The Bible speaks of demons as real, actual beings. However, Scripture’s depiction of demons is very different from the popular concept of them. The Bible describes demons as powerful but limited and ultimately defeated creatures. They are angels who followed Satan in rebellion against God (Revelation 12:3–4).
The Bible doesn’t give many details about demons, but what it provides is enough to dispel typical myths.
When exactly God created angels is open for debate, but what is known for sure is that God created everything good because God, in His holiness, cannot create something sinful. So when Satan, who was once the angel Lucifer, rebelled against God and fell from heaven (Isaiah 14; Ezekiel 28), one third of the angelic host joined his insurrection (Revelation 12:3-4,9). There is no doubt these fallen angels are now known as the demons.
Jesus the Messiah understood exorcism as part of his ministry: Demons are referred to by several alternate names, including “unclean spirits” and “evil spirits.” Some of the false gods that received human sacrifices are described as actual demons. Since demons are fallen angels, they possess the same level of power and influence as angels. However, Scripture seems to indicate that God has limited their abilities. The Bible indicates that not all afflictions are due to demonic influence. The vast majority of demonic influence is spiritual, not physical.
Jesus is in control. Demons obey Him. Jesus has authority over them all. That is good news.
What is rebuke? The Greek word here is ἐπιτιμάω ĕpitimaō, ep-ee-tee-mah´-o. It means to to express strong disapproval of someone—‘to rebuke, to denounce.’ προσλαβόμενος αὐτὸν ὁ Πέτρος ἤρξατο ἐπιτιμᾶν αὐτῷ ‘Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him’ Mt 16:22.
- Matthew 15:22–28 — 22 And a Canaanite woman from that region came out and began to cry out, saying, “Have mercy on me, Master, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.” 23 But He did not answer her a word. And His disciples came and implored Him, saying, “Send her away, because she keeps shouting at us.” 24 But He answered and said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Master, help me!” 26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 But she said, “Yes, Master; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.
- Matthew 17:18 — 18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.
- Mark 1:25 — 25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”
- Luke 4:41 — 41 Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the the Messiah.