what are the 'doctrines of demons' Paul was taking about?
in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons . . . 1 Timothy 4:1
To begin, our study must go back to the days of the prophet Isaiah, who saw and understood Satan's heart: "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.'" - Isaiah 14:12-14
Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." - Genesis 3:4,5
The father of the lie used the tactic of simple deceit to pull a fast one on the naive woman who had never been exposed to a lie before. Deceit would become Satan's most effective tool in his effort to undo the Lord's work and subjugate vast numbers of people under his paradigm of reorganization and leadership among the Lord's people. It's easy when they don't believe the spirit of evil exists.
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. - Revelation 12:7-9
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time." - Rev 12:10-12
Satan wants the world of mankind and covets a throne like that of God desiring to be worshipped as God. This passage uses a proverbial metaphor of Lucifer's fall from heaven to describe the king of Babylon's descent into Sheol where he suffers the indignities of physical corruption in death.
What are the references to Demons in the Bible? Demons in the Bible can refer to the forces of evil in the world as well as the devil himself. We are continually warned throughout scripture to be wary of demonic forces attempting to corrupt and influence. While many of the demons we must look out for are external, the Bible also reminds us we may have demons living within our own psyche that need to be recognized and expelled. According to the Bible, demons are involved in multiple activities.
They are organized under Satan in hierarchical levels known as rulers, authorities, powers, and spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:10-12).
Demons have the ability to “demonize” people. This is what the Bible identifies as demon possessed although the exact phrase, “demonic possession,” is never actually used in Scripture. People can be demonized which is another term for demonic possession (Luke 8:30).
Many believe that about one-third of the angels joined in rebellion with Satan against God Almighty. These fallen angels are what the Bible refers to as demons. The Bible never says that the number was actually one-third. However, that number has been speculated by many for a variety of reasons (Isaiah 14:12-15; and 2 Peter 2:4-10).
Demons are able to take shape, form and be visible to humans (Job 4:15).
Demons may be exorcized, or driven out, from a possessed person. However, this may be dangerous if not followed by stringent cleaning and discipleship. Without proper spiritual care, the person might then be open for a seven-fold infestation (Matthew 12:45).
Demons confuse the truth by utilizing demonic lies and half-truths (1 John 4:4).
Those who worship idols and pagan gods are really worshipping and sacrificing to demons. Demons live to deceive people into worshipping themselves (1 Corinthians 10:20-21).
The Bible teaches that demons can inhabit animals (Matthew 8:31).
During the time of the great tribulation, demons, who since the fall, have been imprisoned in the lowest level of hell, are released to wreak incredible pain and torture upon those who are not Christians (2 Peter 2:4-5, Revelation 9:1-7).
Demons will eventually be chained along with Satan in the lowest level of hell, often called the “Abyss”, where they will be tortured for eternity (Revelation 20:10).
God has given us every means necessary to stand against Satan and win. The best weapon we have to consistently defeat Satan is effective and constant discipleship.
the above segment presented under the 'fair use rule', from 'Do Demons Still Exist Today' by Dr. Roger Barrier
In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an impure spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet!” Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. - Luke 4:33-35
And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, "What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!" For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. Jesus asked him, saying, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion," because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. - Luke 8:27-35
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches." Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?" Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. - Acts 19:13-16
Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. And all the multitudes were amazed and said, "Could this be the Son of David?" Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, "This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. - Matthew 12:22-28
Fear came upon me, and trembling, Which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair on my body stood up. It stood still, But I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; There was silence; Then I heard a voice saying: 'Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? If He puts no trust in His servants, If He charges His angels with error, How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust, Who are crushed before a moth? They are broken in pieces from morning till evening; They perish forever, with no one regarding. Does not their own excellence go away? They die, even without wisdom.' - Job 4:14-21
For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)-- then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, - 2 peter 2:4-9
DID THE DOCTRINES OF DEMONS BECOME DOCTRINES OF THE CHURCH?
This would be the greatest act of deceit conceivable, and right in the face of the Lord Himself. If Satan could pull it off, it would show his utter contempt for the sacrifice of Yeshua and turn the Lord's fledgling church back-to-front and upside-down. The very idea shows the degree of ambition Satan has for his insurrection against the heavenly order of God. It would require some very tricky slight-of-hand, but he would be ably assisted by regiments of self-aggrandizing, puffed-up clergymen and circles of philosophical intelligentsia.
These would be the deceitful doctrines that demons have imparted by inspiration to church leaders to deceive the faithful and lead them down the wrong track. It's been a very successful tactic and has been going on for a very long time. It began in the early years of the church and is continuing into our contemporary times (consider LGBTQ).
What doctrines might we identify as originating with Satan's legions of demonic angels? To begin with, we would suggest any doctrine that contradicts the Torah, prophets and writings. These would include, but would not be limited to:
the trinity doctrine, transubstantiation in the eucharist, supersessionism, also known as replacement theology, replacement of the Sabbath, praying the rosary, clerical ranks and hierarchy, the acceptance of icons and graven images, just to name a few.
Yet Christianity's overthrow of the Torah and Gospel seemed to happen almost effortlessly and in such short order. To the untrained eye, it may even have seemed to happen organically as the early church fathers established themselves as a class of 'chosen elect' whose judgements in theological matters was beyond appeal or debate (how can one challenge the claim of a 'calling'). Then all that was required was the corrupting influence of evil demonic guidance using tricky revelations of inspiration that ran contrary to scripture.
Consider the doctrine of papal supremacy as an example. Without getting too deep in the weeds, let us simply look at the origin, where the church claims Jesus singled out the apostle Peter as the chief of the apostles, and the first of an unbroken line of popes (bishops of Rome, or Vicars of Christ).
Who Is Head of The Church? When we look at Acts 21:15-18 and Gal. 1:19 and 2:12, we discover that the head of the Jerusalem church was not Peter but James, an apostle (Gal. 1:19) and one of Jesus’ brothers. Acts 21:15-18 singles out James as a leader in the Jerusalem church and Galatians 2:9 states that James, Peter, and John were “reputed to be pillars” of the church. Why was Peter excluded in Acts 21:18? Galatians 2:12 indicates that “certain men” were sent by James.” Why didn’t Peter send them? If Peter was the lead apostle, wouldn’t Paul have indicated that in some way? Why group James, Peter, and John together as equals if Peter had the ecclesiastical authority?
Why did Peter sin if he was the Vicar of Christ? Why was James the head of the church in Jerusalem and not Peter if Peter was the Vicar of Christ? Why did Paul write most of the New Testament and not Peter? Shouldn’t the “Holy See” have done that? Through the Apostle Paul, the claim is made that the Holy Spirit established the doctrine of the church as outlined in Acts, 1 Timothy, and Titus. Paul even defined the order of church government and the qualifications and responsibilities of church leaders (Acts 6:1-6; Acts 20:1-32; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9). The New Testament tells us that Paul, not Peter, selected and established the early churches and their spiritual leadership (Acts 14:23; Acts 15:2; Titus 1:5). The apostle Paul is considered the 'father' of Christianity, as author of most of the New Testament, not Peter.
Peter was not the Vicar of Christ, he was not the lead apostle, and he was not the bishop of Rome. He was one of the Apostles to the Jews and Paul was one of the Apostles to the Gentiles. The keys of heaven were not just given to Peter, but to all of the apostles. Christ is the chief cornerstone, and the prophets and apostles make up the foundation of the Heavenly Jerusalem.
Thankfully, we know how this long enduring story ends. Through the gifts of prophecy God provides a hope ahead for His people.
The following are a few Gospel examples of Yeshua encountering demon-possessed individuals during His ministry. He was able to expel them easily because they recognized who He was and made no attempt to defy Him.
HOW DO WE KNOW THE DOCTRINES OF DEMONS HAVE BEEN ENDORSED BY THE CHURCHES?
For one thing, prophecy predicted it and warned us about it. It's on full display when a priest kneels before a graven image of Mary, or when God's Sabbath is transgressed and violated, or where the trinitarian doctrine is taught and promoted. To dismiss the teachings of Torah and Gospel is in itself a conspicuous act of rebellion against God's word among the institutionalized, pecuniary churches, and this rebellion takes many forms. Remember what Yeshua said:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' - Matthew 7:21-23
The will of the Father is found in the Torah teachings. To practice lawlessness is to dismiss the Torah as somehow unprofitable for a Christian's spiritual development. An absurd assertion, given that the Torah is the root foundation of Christianity, and the Gospel cannot be properly understood without a solid understanding of Torah teachings.
The Doctrines of Demons have been inserted deeply into the teachings of the institutional churches and have found a place where they are so dug in, they have cleverly usurped the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Grace of God that there can be a release of the bondage of captivity by which people are held in the grip of false doctrines and false teachings of the institutional religious structures. It will take another exodus. A spiritual exodus to free them.
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. - Matthew 7:13-16
The praying to graven images rises to the highest ranks of church hierarchy. This man was elevated to the status of sainthood.
A.W. Tozer said, "The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still."
THE SNAKE IS CLEVER AND HAS ALL THE TIME HE NEEDS
Your Greek may be as rusty as ours, but let's look a little deeper into the texts from which they draw the original erroneous misstep. The Gospels accounts were, of course, originally written in Greek, and reveal that Peter’s name comes from the Greek word Petros. Petros means "rock, a piece of rock, or a stone" and it is in the masculine form. It's a personal name. But the word translated as “rock” is translated from the Greek word petra. It is in the feminine form and means "bedrock or rock." The two words have important distinctions of connotation. Jesus was simply stating that His church would be built upon a solid foundation, the testimony that Peter stated in verse 16 and not on Peter himself. Otherwise, Jesus would have said, "I will build My church upon you, Peter." But He didn't say that. The reference of “bedrock” was a reference to Jesus Himself. Jesus is the foundation stone, the bedrock, or the chief corner stone as Acts 4:11 and other passages clearly point out. It is founded on the words of the Divine Shepherd to St. Peter: "Feed my lambs. . . Feed my sheep" (John 21:16-17)
It's the Greek, and the transliteration of Peter's name that seems to be tripping translators up, unless of course, the scholars are letting it slide for ulterior motives. The transliteration of his name into other languages such as Latin, English or German is an invitation to confusion.
This may well have something to do with why the Greek Eastern church did not follow along with the Western Latin church when they claimed that Peter had been designated the "rock," and the Roman bishops were the supreme heads of the church in a continuous unbroken line. The Greek church, with a better understanding of the original texts, chose a different path, appointing a council of five elders to lead the church, rather than a single individual, nor did they recognize a special appointment of Peter.
The Roman Catholic Vulgate Bible only perpetuated the myth. It wasn't until the time of Erasmus of Rotterdam (see - Erasmus of Rotterdam), who began translating scripture using original texts of Greek and Hebrew, and from there, other Protestant translators followed suit, that finally the errors began to be exposed to the Western church.
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