info This commentary was written by a volunteer for our Bible translation project. It’s not an official view of our project; we are not a religious denomination and we do not establish doctrine. These commentaries reflect a variety of views and some disagree with each other.
One of the strange results of the common belief that our ‘souls’ or ‘spirits’ leave our bodies when we die, is that it leads people to believe that we are surrounded by spirits of dead people that can haunt and harm us. In fact, there are many TV programs that tell of unnatural occurrences, which they attribute to the spirits of those that died there. Yet, any study of ancient religions shows that such beliefs come from pagan traditions, not from the Bible. For throughout the Bible we read instead of ‘demons’ being the true source of such unearthly things, and these aren’t the spirits of dead humans.
What are demons?
Well, although many people believe in the existence of ‘extra-terrestrials’ (creatures that come from other planets), they don’t choose to believe what the Bible says about the existence of evil ‘spirit’ (breath-like) beings that have lived since the dawn of creation… Other ‘sons of God’ that have chosen a rebellious course of existence, and are called ‘demons.’
Are there really demons?
Yes, for the Bible tells us (at Deuteronomy 32:16, 17):
‘With strange gods, they enraged Me,
And with loathsome things, made Me angry.
For, to unknown demons, they offered sacrifices,
And not to the God [of all] gods.’
‘For the gods of the nations are demons,
But Jehovah created the skies.’
‘They mixed with the nations and learned of their ways,
And served their idols to offend Him.
They offered their sons and daughters to demons…
They poured out innocent blood…
The blood of their own sons and daughters.
To CanaAn’s carvings they sacrificed them,
And polluted the land with murder and blood.’
‘Before Me they stand and [do evil things]…
For they sacrifice in their gardens And burn incense on bricks before demons!
‘But on hearing that, the Pharisees said,
He’s throwing out demons by [the power of] BeElZebub, the ruler of the demons!’
‘Demons also came out of many of them, shouting,
You’re the Son of God!’
‘So Jesus asked him: What is your name?
And he replied,
Legion (because many demons had entered him).’
1 Corinthians 10:20:
‘I’m telling you that the things the nations offer as sacrifices are being offered to the demons, not to God…
And I don’t want you to become sharers with the demons!’
1 Timothy 4:1:
‘However, the Spirit definitely says that some will leave the faith in the future and pay attention to wicked spirits and the teachings of demons.’
So yes, demons are real.
But where did they come from?
Notice what the Scriptures say:
Genesis 6:1, 2:
‘Now, as the population of men grew on the earth and they fathered daughters, the sons of God noticed that the daughters of men were beautiful…
So they took all whom they chose as their women.
(Notice that these were ‘sons of God,’ but the women were ‘daughters of men.’)
2 Peter 2:4, 5:
‘God didn’t spare the messengers (angels) that sinned, but threw them into the dark pits of Tartarus, where they are awaiting His justice… and He didn’t spare the first arrangement. Yet He guarded Noah (who was a preacher of righteousness) along with seven others, when He brought a downpour upon a world of godless people.’
So according to the Bible, demons are in fact ‘extraterrestrial life forms’ that were created by God (making them His sons) who have chosen a rebellious course of life and have been locked away here on the earth, where they desire to continue to do bad things and to be worshiped.
Therefore, it appears as though these ‘sons of God’ came to earth and assumed human bodies in Noah’s day. However, because they couldn’t be destroyed by the downpour (flood) and they had forsaken heaven;
They were apparently put into a prison-like state here on the earth, where they are no longer able to roam.
Understand that demon is a Greek word that seems to be derived from dia-meno, which means fixed in one place. From other Bible accounts about demons, it appears as though this ‘fixing in one place’ means that they must be associated with either living or non-living things, which is referred to as ‘possession.’ These are likely the same ones that are referred to in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, and in the Revelation, as ‘chained demons.’
However, there also appear to be other demons that are not chained or fixed in one place.
These, as well as the ‘chained demons,’ are mentioned at Isaiah 34:12-14.
It is interesting that at Acts 17:18, it is recorded that the Epicureans and Stoic Philosophers of Greece referred to Paul’s teachings as coming from ‘a foreign demon.’ Although most other Bible translations render these words as ‘foreign god,’ they actually said ‘demon’ (gr. daimonion).
And notice Paul’s reply as found at Acts 17:22:
‘Men of Athens;
I see that you have a greater fear of the demons than do others.’
The reason why Paul and others used this term is obvious:
The many pagan idols and Gods of Athens, although made of metal and stone, actually had the backing of demons.
And the people recognized the power that was given to these lifeless objects through ‘possession’ by their gods.
So understand that there are no such things as the spirits of dead humans that haunt the earth.
For the Bible tells us at Ecclesiastes 9:5:
‘The living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all, nor do they have a reward, since the memory of them is forgotten.’