Demons, the Hounds of Hell
November 7th, 1976 @ 7:30 PM
DEMONS, THE HOUNDS OF HELL
Dr. W. A. Criswell
11-7-76 7:30 p.m.
There have not been any sermons that I have ever prepared that I have more meticulously and carefully studied for than I have this series of these four which will be preached on these Sunday nights in November. The last Sunday night, November twenty-eighth, will be Death, Terrible or Triumphant. The twenty-first, the next to the last Sunday night, will be Our Final Reward: In Hell or in Heaven. Next Sunday night will be Angels, God’s Guardians. And tonight, the beginning one is on Demons, The Hounds of Hell.
If you are listening on KRLD or KCBI, an FM and AM radio station, turn in your Bible to Ephesians, chapter 6. Ephesians, chapter 6, and we shall read together verses 10 through 18. Ephesians, chapter 6, verses 10 through 18. We would be so encouraged if you would read it out loud with us wherever you are if you have a Bible. Now to read it out loud together, could we stand, reading Ephesians 6, verses 10 through 18, all of us out loud, Ephesians 6, verses 10 through 18:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Now may we be seated. And I repeat the twelfth verse which is our text, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places," which is as we shall see when we expound the Word of the Lord, a word against the evil darkness of demons.
There is something other in this world. There is something over and beside what we see in matter and substance and materiality. There are other forces in this world besides these things of weight and measure. We see an invisible force in the universe, in the great hand or power or grip that guides this vast planetary universe.
Our own world is in the grip of that hand. It swings 93 million miles around the sun that way. Why doesn’t it just continue on its vast swing? There is an invisible force that seizes it and pulls it back. Then why doesn’t it swing beyond 93 million that way? Because there’s an invisible hand, there’s something else in this universe that pulls it back.
I see it in every area of life. I hold in my hand a little glass case. I drop it. Why doesn’t it go that way? Why doesn’t it fall that way? Why doesn’t it fall that way? What is that invisible hand that grips it and pulls it down that way? Nobody knows. Nobody can explain. Nobody understands. It’s a mystery of something over and beyond what we can see in this material world.
I also see that other and beyond in the life of a man. Here he is, completely anatomically put together. Then I see him die and he’s a corpse. He’s a cadaver. What has happened to him? Nobody knows and nobody understands. There is no physician, there’s no professor in this world that can tell you what death is. There is something that happened to that man and he’s there complete in every part of his anatomy, but something is gone. He is changed. He’s something else. He’s a decaying corpse, whereas at one time he was a living creature.
I see it in the life of a people and in the life of a nation. They can be seized. They can be obsessed by – and then you can name it – a thousand different things have we witnessed.
One of the most horrible I think on the pages of history is to be found in the seizure of the German people under Hitlerite Nazism. They were obsessed. The whole nation was plunged into an horrible abyss. How do you explain it? It is inexplicable, except that there is something else and other in this world than plain materiality and matter. There is a world of spirit over and beyond us.
When I pick up the Bible, I find that it is a book of spirit world. The Scriptures are a spirit world, a Spirit-filled revelation. It is that and it is almost that alone. When I open the Bible to Genesis 1:1, it begins with, "In the beginning God." And God is spirit [John 4:24], and no man hath seen God at any time [John 1:18]. When I come to the next verse, "And the Spirit of God brooded over the face of the deep" [Genesis 1:2], there is a spirit world beyond what I see in materiality. And the whole story of the Scripture is that, a spirit world.
Jacob, with a stone, slept in the night and dreamed of the ladder from earth to heaven. And when he awoke out of his sleep, he said, "Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not." Then he said, "This is a terrible place. This is an awesome place" [Genesis 28:16, 17]. And he called the name of the place Bethel, the house of God [Genesis 28:19] – that something other.
You see it again in the life of Moses on the back side of the desert watching a bush burn unconsumed [Exodus 3:2]. There was a voice, out of the burning bush that said to Moses, "I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob" [Exodus 3:6]; that something other.
You see it again in the life of Elisha when he was surrounded by the Syrian army, unperturbed and unafraid. And his disciple, his servant said, "Master, look." And Elisha replied, "They that are with us are more than they that are with them." And Elisha prayed, "Lord, open the eyes of the young man." And the Lord opened the eyes of Gehazi. And behold, the mountains were filled with chariots of fire round about Elisha [2 Kings 6:15-17].
The whole story – and we could continue by the hour – and the hour is that. There is another world beyond the world that we see and feel in matter. There is a spirit world. Now again, there is conflict and confrontation in that spirit world.
When we begin the story of the garden of Eden outside the gate of the garden, there is a sinister and subtle and evil being [Genesis 3:1]. Sin did not begin in the garden of Eden. It was merely the beginning of sin in our bloodstream. But sin began in some other place, in a spirit world. And outside of that gate there is that subtle and sinister beast. Who is he, and where did he come from?
In the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah [Isaiah 14:12] and in the twenty-eighth chapter of the Book of Ezekiel [Ezekiel 28:14], he is introduced to us as Lucifer, the son of the morning, the cherub that covereth, the one to whom God had given the administration of the creation of His hand, all of the universe. And in pride, sin entered his heart when he said, "I will be God" [Isaiah 14:14, Ezekiel 28:9], and he fell. And when he fell, the whole universe collapsed with him, because sin brings death and destruction and judgment.
Satan, though, is not a material being. He is a spiritual being, and evil is spirit. And when Satan fell, according to the twelfth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, one-third of the angelic hosts fell with him [Revelation 12:3-4]. And those fallen angels are what we know in the Bible as demons. And the revelation of that divisiveness, that confrontation, that civil war in the spirit world is throughout the Book.
In the tenth chapter of the Book of Daniel, for example, the angel says to the holy statesman, "I could not come with the answer to your prayer because I was hindered by the demon that rules over Persia. And I would not yet have been able to come had it not been for Michael, who helped me" [Daniel 10:12, 13]. In the Book of Jude, for example, Michael the archangel dared not rebuke Satan, but said, "The Lord rebuke thee," when they were contending over the body of Moses [Jude 1:9].
And in the twelfth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, I quote, "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not," and Satan finally and forever with his angels is cast out of heaven [Revelation 12:7-9].
There is war. There is confrontation in the spirit world. And I see that in human life. There is a civil war in almost every heart. There is tension and confrontation in all of our lives. We don’t escape it. We are a part of it. And however material our human bodies may be, there is something else on the inside of us and it wars, good and evil.
Now, the astute people in Hollywood and Broadway are very sensitive to this other world, to this spirit world, to the conflict that they see in it. This last week there was this article in the Wall Street Journal, and I’m going to read just a few sentences from it.
It isn’t hard to figure out why movie companies are going to hell for their material. The Omen, Fox’s hit movie about the Antichrist appearing on earth, cost only 2 million to make.
But so far, Fox expects the movie to gross more than 1 million.
Warner Communications’ The Exorcist, the all-time, best-selling movie about the devil, is expected to gross about 121 million.
Why is the devil so popular? Moviemakers say devil films are getting their due. The fact is that young people are intensely interested in mysticism, the supernatural, and the psychic.
There is no mass market for truly religious movies because the major movie-making audience of young people isn’t really religious.
Hollywood is very astute. Its barometers still show the violent and the bizarre to be drifting about in the atmosphere. It’s a spirit. It’s something intangible, and it is as real as anything material. And Hollywood knows it and Broadway knows it and taking advantage of it, not for religious reasons, but because there’s something on the inside of us that is sensitive always to that other world. So they prostitute it, and they make it into those unthinkable and unspeakable movies, all of which is but an affirmation that everyone who lives in this world is sensitive to the conflict that is in it. Not just the wind that blows, not just a flood that beats, not just an earthquake that shakes, but there is another world that is violent in its spirit, and it wars against what is good and what is of God.
Now, that is my text, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood" – against materiality – "but against principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" [Ephesians 6:12]. When I read that to you in English, nine-tenths of its meaning is not in this English text. "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against," and then he names orders of evil spirits.
And because there is not English language or Greek language or any other nomenclature able to bear the awesomeness of the revelation, why, he calls them archas, translated here, "principalities," exousias, translated here, "powers," kosmokratoras, translated here, "rulers of the darkness of this world." Kosmo is the world, kratoras, power: the rulers of this world. "Against spiritual wickedness," ta pneumatika, against spiritualities, spiritual beings, "in high places," en tois epouraniois, in the heavenly – all through this Book of Ephesians, and it is mentioned many times.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessing, en tois epouraniois, in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" [Ephesians 1:3]. I haven’t time to follow through. It’s the same word here, except everywhere else it is translated "in the heavenlies." Here it’s translated "in high places." Well, let’s just keep the translation en tois epouraniois, "in the heavenlies," all around us, ta pneumatika, the spiritual beings, en tois epouraniois, in the heavenlies all around us [Ephesians 6:12].
Now, the Bible says that this evil world drives against us and it drives hard. You have it in the story of Job. He was afflicted by the press of the demons, by Satan [Job 1:12, 2:6-7]. You have the story in Joshua the high priest. In Zechariah 3 there stands Joshua the high priest, and Satan at his right hand to oppose him [Zechariah 3:1].
There’s not a preacher in this world who names the name of Christ who does not have a demon or a multitude of demons or Satan himself standing to oppose him, to take the Word and to crush I, or to discard it, or that it fall on hard hearts and stony ground. There’s confrontation in the evil world against the good, and it is always there.
In the ninth chapter of the Book of the Revelation, he sees the pouring out of the abyss like locusts [Revelation 9:2, 3]. And in the sixteenth chapter of the Revelation there are three evil spirits that come out of the beast, and out of the dragon, and out of the false prophet, and they go into all the world, and they deceive the nations of the world, and they bring them together into the place and the day of the battle of the Lord God Almighty, which is called Armageddon [Revelation 16:13-16]. How in the world do all those nations get there? Because they are deceived and seduced by evil spirits.
Now, how do they affect us, and how are we subject to the attack of this invisible and unseen and evil world? In two ways: we can be influenced by evil spirit, unclean spirit, and we can be possessed by them.
And I make a distinction there as I study and read the Word of God, the difference between being possessed by an unclean and evil spirit, and being influenced by it. And the distinction is this: I do not think that a child of God, someone who is born again, someone who has given his life to Jesus, who has accepted the Lord into his heart, I do not think he can be possessed by an evil spirit. But I do say this, as the best I can understand and the best I can study, a child of God can be hurt, and his influence and his life can be destroyed by an evil spirit.
"Now, what makes you think that, pastor?" Because in reading the Word of God, I come across things like this. When Saul, whom God sent Samuel to anoint to be king over Israel, giant Saul, who stood head and shoulders above all the men of Israel, Saul, who was God’s choice for the first king of Israel; as long as Saul obeyed the Lord, followed the Lord, the Lord blessed him. But there came a time when Saul turned aside from the service, and the discipleship, and obedience in the Lord, and he followed after his own bent.
Then it says, and I quote from the sixteenth chapter of 1 Samuel, "And the Spirit of the Lord left Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him" [1 Samuel 16:14]. Was Saul saved? Yes, because in the twenty-eighth chapter of 1 Samuel, Samuel says to him, "Tomorrow you and your sons will be with me" [1 Samuel 28:19]. Now Samuel was God’s great prophet, and he was in heaven, and Jonathan was one of the sons of Saul. And I know that Jonathan, one of the flowers of Israel manhood, I know that Jonathan went to heaven where Samuel was. Where Jonathan went, Saul also went. I know by that that Saul was a saved man.
But when he turned aside from the will of the Lord, the Spirit of the Lord left him, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. And the rest of the life of Saul was given to misery. For one thing, he was eaten up and he was slain by the evil spirit of jealousy against David. He sought his life. The whole outlay of his army and of the force of Israel did he spend trying to run down and capture and seize and destroy David. What the demon, the evil spirit of jealousy can do in a man’s life and in a man’s heart!
Now let me follow it through. Out of the sadness of my own experience – and I would think that Dr. Freeman could stand here and tell you even more intimately than I, because for over a quarter of a century, he worked with pastors and preachers. Even in my experience – and a thousand times more, I would say, in his – even in my experience have I seen the ministry of noble and gifted pastors, and wonderful and unusually able preachers, have I seen them destroyed by evil spirits, a spirit of lust, a spirit of greed.
Some of the finest young ministers I know have left the ministry. You know why? For money; money. The spirit of greed has seized them, and they turn aside from their God calling in Christ and have given themselves to a lesser work.
Or a thousand things can come into a man’s life, into a man’s heart that are evil and vile and hurtful and destroy him – not his salvation. When he dies, he’ll go to heaven, because it’s the blood of the Lamb that saves us. But his life is ruined. His home is ruined. His children are ruined. His wife is ruined. Sometimes the church is ruined. His people are ruined. They’re destroyed. It is the vile attack of the evil one. And any one of us can be hurt. And finally, any one of us can be destroyed by the evil one, the unclean spirit.
Now let me say a word about possession. It is possible for the man who’s not with God to be possessed by evil spirits. The Bible many times calls them unclean spirits, like the Gadarene demoniac who is driven by an unclean spirit. And he had so many he said, "My name is Legion" [Mark 5:9]. Driven, driven, driven and you wonder as he’s driven by unclean spirits.
I do not know anything sadder in the Word of the Lord than the first chapter of the Book of Romans. In this chapter of the Book of Romans, God says that He gives them up – gives them up. Romans, chapter 1, look at verse 24, "Wherefore God gave them up to uncleanness, to the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves." Look again in verse 26, "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature" – lesbians. "And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly" – gays, homosexuals – "and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error, which was meet. And as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them up to a reprobate mind, to do those things, which are not convenient" [Romans 1:26-28] – mē kathēkonta, the things which are not fitting, the things which are not becoming.
Do you see that refrain in that chapter? "Wherefore" – verse 24 – "God gave them up"; verse 26, "For this cause, God gave them up"; and verse 28, "As they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them up." It is an awesome thing, a man can be possessed by evil spirits.
Then as I look over the world, there’s not a commoner thing that I see than that a man can be possessed by a rejection of Christ. He can say no and he can say no and he can say no, until finally he becomes a negation. You don’t have to ask him. It’s known. He is consumed in that rejection, "No, no!" And in a thousand other ways have I seen men and women possessed; evil spirits, unclean spirits dwelling in their lives, possessing them and, of course, finally, to a disintegration and to a destruction.
I don’t know of anything commoner than to see suicidal tendencies and suicidal acts and suicidal stories about people who are the most gifted and the richest and the most affluent. I was speaking this afternoon to someone about a fine and marvelous doctor. I had no idea, he died by his own hand. He died a suicide.
If I were looking for suicides, I would look in Hollywood. I would look on Broadway. I would look in those beautiful mansions. They have given themselves not to God, but to the things of the world. And they finally turned into horror, into dread, into nightmare; into a loss, into a failure. There is no reward in the world that is lasting or that is ultimately good. All good things come from God [James 1:17]. And when we live, to listen to the call, siren though it may be of evil and lustful and secular spirits, it finally works for our disintegration and our destruction. "Wherefore God gave them up" – they’re possessed.
I must hasten. Our time’s already gone. How quickly it runs away. How do I face a world that is filled with evil? "We wrestle not against flesh and blood" [Ephesians 6:12]. If you could take a sword or a gun or a club and go to war, you might have some feeling that "My, my! I know I can do this." But our wrestling is not against flesh and blood. The enemy is not one that we can shoot with a gun, or slay with a sword, or pound with a club. But it’s against the archas, and the exousias, and the kosmokratoras. It’s against the spiritual enemies all around us.
How do I fight against it? All right. There are several ways. Number one: some people do it and the generations past have multiplied doing it with mediums and spiritualistic oracles. When I was in Africa, I could not tell you the number of fetishes that I saw. All kinds of things: amulets sometimes, worn on the arm or the leg or around the neck or in the lobe of an ear and all kinds of things in those huts. And I would ask, "What in the world is that for and what is that for and what’s that for?" And the answer always is, "That is to keep the evil spirits away. That is to keep the evil spirits away"; fetishes everywhere.
Here in America, the Lord only knows how many witches there are and how many mediums there are. Once in a while I’ll read an article about how many, and they’re by the thousands, and people patronize them by the millions. There are literally millions of people who will go to a medium, a spiritualist, and ask questions, a necromancer, and ask questions. And seek all kinds of advice from mediums and witches and spiritualists. The Bible inveighs against that as much as against anything that is found in human life. In Exodus, in Deuteronomy, in Kings and Isaiah, all through the Word of God, the Mosaic Law says that a medium is to be slain. She’s to be put to death. A witch is not to live [Exodus 22:18].
All of that, of course, back yonder in the Mosaic legislation, was to seek to deliver the people from the awesomeness of heathen superstition and worship around them. Under no conditions, according to the Scriptures, are we ever to seek anything from a medium, or a witch, or anyone who is an agent of a dark and evil world.
All right another thing, how do we do in this world of evil? We can try reformation. "I’m going to cast out that unclean spirit in my life, and I’m going to live a reformed life. I’m going to do better." So I read this in the Book. And you listen to it:
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest and findeth none.
Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he has come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter there and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worst than the first.
Here is a man who is afflicted with a demon of rum or liquor or drunkenness. Here is a man who is afflicted with the unclean spirit of dope and pot. Here is a man who’s afflicted with the unclean spirit of lust and promiscuity. Here is a man who’s afflicted with the unclean spirit of – and then just name it, a thousand, thousand of them.
So he says, "I’m going to reform. I’m going to quit this. I’m going to do better." So he stands up and he casts out of his heart that unclean spirit. For a while he just does great. He just does fine. Then that unclean spirit looks in that man’s heart, and he finds it empty, empty, swept and garnished, but empty. And he goes and gets six other spirits and a seventh, worse than himself and they come back, and they get in that man’s heart, and they get in that man’s life, and he’s worse than he ever was. What was the matter? It is a very simple thing according to the Word of the Lord. When a man reforms, when he said, "I’m going to do better," when he cast the evil spirit out of his heart, he didn’t have any Holy Spirit of God to come into his heart, and his heart was empty, though it was swept and garnished, and that evil spirit came back; only bringing seven others that were more vile than the first.
Then what is my deliverance from the evil in this world, that I daily see, that makes appeal to my own soul, that knocks at my heart, that woos and tempts and draws? What is my hope? It is a very beautiful and precious one. If I have the Holy Spirit in my heart, if I have Jesus in my heart, if God dwells in my heart, there’s no room in it then for an unclean spirit. He can’t get in, for my heart is already inhabited. Jesus lives there! The Spirit of the Lord is in my heart! And these that would seek to take my life, to get into my life and lead me to disintegration and destruction; they can’t get in, for I’ve got Jesus.
And if I could just open my heart more and more and more and let the Spirit of the Lord have me, these things never get in. And when they try, they can’t last. And when they try to enter, they’re prohibited, for the Lord lives in my heart. There is no man, who has given himself to the holiness of Jesus, who will have an unclean spirit living in his heart, for Jesus lives there. And when Jesus is in our hearts, everything is beautiful and precious. I wish I had time to illustrate that; a thousand things come to my heart, when the man has Jesus in his heart.
One of my boys, elected now, chairman of the Junior Board, when he was presented, his house had just burned down, and the boy said, "It was the Lord’s house, and if the Lord wanted to burn it down, it’s His house." Not crushed! I’m thinking of one of my sheep that I went to see last week, facing a tragic illness, "My life is the Lord’s, if He wants me to live, bless His name. If it is to die, it is just to be with Him." Oh, the glory of a man’s life when Jesus lives in his heart! And all of these things so dark, they never get in, they can’t, for the Holy Spirit has filled your heart.
Tonight as we sing our song of appeal, to give your heart to the Lord, to open your soul heavenward and God-ward and Christ-ward, would you come? To join yourself with the people of the Lord, to be numbered with us, to walk in and out with us, would you come? A family, a couple, just you, make the decision now. "I want my life filled with the glory of God, and here I am. I want Jesus in my heart." Then when you stand up, having made that decision, walk down that stairway or walk down that aisle, "Here I am, pastor, I’ve made that decision for God. Look at me; I’m standing here before you, to be baptized, to accept Jesus as Savior, to come into the fellowship of the church." As God shall press the appeal to your heart, make it now! Do it now! Come now! While we stand and while we sing.
DEMONS, THE HOUNDS OF HELL
Dr. W. A. Criswell
I. There is a spirit world
A. There is something more than matter in the universe
1. Invisible laws that grip, hold, direct the planets
2. Death – what makes a corpse, cadaver?
B. The Scripture world is a spirit world
1. God’s Holy Spirit brooding(Genesis 1:1)
2. Story continues in same way(Genesis 28:16-17, Exodus 3:2, 2 Kings 6:17)
C. There is conflict in the spirit world
1. Outside the gate of Eden, a sinister being
a. Who is he, and where did he come from?(Isaiah 14, Ezekiel 28)
b. Satan is a spiritual being(Revelation 12, Daniel 10:11-13, Jude 9)
2. Seen in our own lives
a. Hollywood shrewd enough to see it
II. The drive and attack against us by spirits of evil
A. We war against orders of evil spirits (Ephesians 6:12)
1. There are no words to describe them
2. En toisepouraniois – "in the heavenlies"(Ephesians 1:3, 20, 2:2, 6, 3:10)
B. Evil world drives against us hard(Job, Zechariah 3:1-7, Revelation 9:1-11, 16:14)
III. Demonic effect upon human life
A. Evil demonic influence upon the Christian
1. Cannot be possessed, but hurt, troubled, witness destroyed
a. Saul (1 Samuel 16:14, 28:19)
b. Any one of us can be ruined
B. Possession of the man without God
1. Gadarene demoniac (Mark 5:1, Matthew 8:28)
2. "God gives them up"(Romans 1:24, 26, 32)
IV. How to overcome
A. Some resort to mediums, witches, oracles, spiritualists
1. Bible inveighs against it (Exodus 22:18, Deuteronomy 18:9-14, 2 Kings 23:24, Isaiah 8:19-20, Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, 27)
B. Some try personal reformation – in our strength(Matthew 12:43-45)
C. In God’s strength(Ephesians 6:10-11, Revelation 12:11)