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THEOLOGY > Sin > Reality of Satan > Demons > Demonic Religion 


All manifestations of religion, in contrast to the true religion of Christ, are essentially demonic. This statement is justified by enlarging upon statements made in the Old and New Testaments regarding the false religions of Canaan.

So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statue forever for them throughout their generations (Lev. 17:7);

They stirred Him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded (Deut. 32:16-17; “strange gods” are equated with “demons”; see: II Chron. 11:15, where “goat idols” in the ESV is translated “the demons” in the NKJV);

They did not destroy the peoples, as the Lord commanded them, but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did. They served their idols, which became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was polluted with blood (Ps. 106:36-38);

No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons (I Cor. 10:20);

The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons . . . (Rev. 9:20).

From these passages it is obvious that demons are worshiped, and in their worship even the sacrifice of children is offered to them. Such sacrifices are called the pouring out of innocent blood, and the land is said to be polluted with blood because of this despicable act. The impression is received that some of the worship of demons is deceptive; that is, those who are worshiping the demons do not perceive that demons are the real objects of their unsuspecting worship—they worship demons in ignorance.

In Psalm 106 the “idols of Canaan” are equated with “demons”; therefore, it does not seem improper to identify all “idols” with “demons.” Surely, these is not something unique about the idols of Canaan, for what is true of them is true generally of all idols. Paul in Corinthians reveals the true state of the sacrifices: when people sacrifice, they are sacrificing to demons, regardless of the nature and content of the sacrifice (I Cor. 10:20). And all such worship is opposed to true worship which can only be the worship of the God of the Bible.

Part of the rationale for God’s instruction to Israel that they destroy all the inhabitants of the land resided in the worship of demons by the occupants of Canaan. Because of their demonic religion they were to be eliminated. Failure to do so would allow their continued influence on God’s people and increase the possibility of demonic worship on the part of the nation of Israel. Is it possible for believers to be involved in such worship? Evidently, Paul thought so, for he wrote: “I do not want you to be participants with demons” (I Cor. 10:20). Demonic religion can be so deceptive that the worshippers do not know it’s true nature.

It would seem appropriate from the above discussion
to infer that all false worship is at heart demonic;
behind every false religion is the work of demons who, on the one hand,
deceive individuals as to the true worship,
and, on the other hand,
seek to satisfy the spiritual need of man with variations of false worship;
demons are always opposed to the Truth.

Supernatural evil is seen in the sacrifices that people make to demons, sacrifices that often include human sacrifices (see: Supernatural Evil). To most parents, the sacrifice of a son or daughter to an idol seems incomprehensible and repulsive; but some parents do it willingly and enthusiastically. How can there be such thinking, and how can such acts be perpetrated? Behind such thoughts and deeds are found the direct and indirect work of demons whose business it is to deceive and to lead into error, gross error. What exactly is it that demons do that results in such depraved perversion?

They teach. Paul speaks of the “teachings of demons” (I Tim. 4:1). Demons are not without intellectual ability; they have knowledge and can communicate their knowledge. Of course, this is realized through false teachers that the demons influence to articulate and spread their depraved error.

Exactly how their influence on individuals is accomplished, we have no knowledge. But we do know that their teaching is via “the insincerity of liars” (v. 2), and in the epistle some of their false teaching has to do with marriage and abstinence from certain foods (v. 3). However, this is not the full extent of their counterfeit teaching; across the broad spectrum of Truth, they attack, substituting that which is error for that which is true.

They deceive. Satan himself is called “the deceiver of the whole world” (Rev. 12:9; see: II Cor. 11:14); and if Satan deceives the whole world, then surely the angels who follow him must do the same. In his epistle to Timothy Paul warned of “deceitful spirits” (I Tim. 4:1; “deceiving spirits” in NKJV). Thus, their teaching cannot be trusted, for in their teaching there is deception; and through the deception of their teaching they entice gullible individuals to accept and practice demonic teaching. To facilitate their deception, the demons even perform miracles: “For they are demonic spirits, performing signs . . . (Rev. 16:14).

They affect the mind. Through their teaching and deception they compromise the mind and set it on a downward spiral that can exhibit devastating consequences. It is only when one is free of demonic control that the individual can be said to be “in his right mind” (Lu. 8:35).

They foster a false wisdom. In contrast to the wisdom from God, there is a wisdom that is from beneath and comes from demons: “This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (Jas. 3:15). This wisdom results in “disorder and every vile practice” (v. 16), for it is “earthly” and “unspiritual.”

From this very brief discussion, it is obvious that demons influence people, even controlling them at times; and people cooperate with the demons, most of the time without comprehending the source and essential nature of their practice, which they may deem to be the epitome of piety and do not perceive that it is actually demonic.

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