Satan One Demons Many
Jesus recognized the existence of demons as separate personalities from Satan and dealt with them as hindrances to His kingdom. We are well aware of the delicacy and difficulty of the subject and that we shall overlook vital points, for we have, in fragile earthen vessels at the best, whatever treasure God gives us but we feel constrained by the Spirit to pass on thoughts God has blessed to our own heart, and to others, in their present imperfect form.
As to reconciling demon possession with inbred sin, we can not tell what part of the manifestations are due to the one or the other.  Both are responsible. Men are naturally sinners. This is good ground for demons to enter and work on. Where demon possession is the recognized and admitted trouble, exorcising or casting out is the cure. Some out of whom demons were cast tarried with the disciples for the Holy Spirit. Hence the New Testament teaches exorcising is equal to conversion, but not equal to the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Nevius, of China, at first had convictions that a belief in demons, and communications with spirit beings, belongs exclusively to a barbarous and superstitious age, and can consist only with mental weakness, and want of culture.  But facts have developed in recent years which make belief in the possession of men by evil spirits easy. With Dr. Nevius’ later experience in China, now this subject is so forced upon our attention and observation that it becomes absolutely necessary to investigate it and write as God shall, I trust, aid, from a deep sense of obligation and responsibility to my fellow beings, notwithstanding deep consciousness of unworthiness.
The nations which have claimed the highest culture have been guilty of fearful, wild, awful atrocities such as the so-called heathen countries, to which demon activity is supposed to be limited, by the so-called cultured countries, are strangers, and in their present state of development incapable of.
We have indulged in grievous error. We have not believed in demons working outside of China. But so called heathen countries have not monopolized evil spirits. Satan is not a respecter of race or geographical location. He is the god of the whole world.
He conforms his deceptive workings to the characteristic of each nation and. individual. He is the same Satan working. everywhere but varying his methods. In a diabolical sense, he is all things to all men that he might deceive the more. In Rome he does as the Romans do.
Palestine was a very highly cultured land in Christ’s time. They had Roman culture, Greek culture, Hebrew culture, and yet numerous cases of demon possession with which Christ dealt. Cultured environment exempts not from demon wiles.
“Evil spirits do in many instances possess or control the mind and will (and body) of human beings.”
“Hypnotism, making due allowance for a thousand extravagances which have attended it, does seem to show that one strong and magnetic human will may so control the mind and will of its subject as by a mere silent volition to direct his words and acts. Who shall say then that a disembodied spirit (demon), another personality, may not do the same?”
All right doctrines are subject to perversion, but intelligent people never abandon them because of this fact any more than they would throw away good gold coin, or bank notes, because they are likely to be counterfeited. However much the subject may be abused as the people of God are the special subjects of Satan’s deepest wiles, they should have light on the workings of demons and be forewarned that they might he forearmed for the perilous days of deepening darkness coming on us. The cry comes from children of God everywhere of all grades of intelligence, from the humblest believer to the college professor and president, that it never was so difficult to maintain communion with God and live the devoted life as now; it never was so hard to pray; it never was so hard to find time to be holy; to read the Bible and meditate on holy things. A college president was struck by a simple reference to these facts in a sermon and a professor walked several blocks out of his way to tell us that he had been greatly helped by the suggestion that demons (working under cover of denial of their existence) were the cause, and that resistance definitely of them in Jesus’ name and the authority He gave the disciples and them that believe, over them, would defeat them.
God is all-powerful but His children are coming to these perilous times unequipped with definite light, not knowing the depths of Satan’s wiles in the workings of demons, the executors of Satan’s will. In fact, many of God’s children have never heard a sermon or read a book on the subject of demonology.
A minister friend told the writer that he was passing through the most weird, baffling attack of his life. After closing a successful revival he awoke one night with the sense of awful conflict and terrible Satanic accusation. “He was forsaken of God,” but he had not consciously broken with God. Two other preachers had similar temptations. One was tempted to commit suicide. Another said, “The devil is turned loose around here,” yea around the world, “having great wrath knowing that he hath but a short time.” When these attacks come, a firm refusal to demons of any place in our bodies, minds or souls, and reliance on the power of Jesus’ name over them, is sufficient to thwart the most powerful attack of obsessing demons seeking entrance in us.
We do not abandon the helpful fact of the power of thought, or mind, over the body, because a so-called Christian Science perverts it. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he,” and to think on whatsoever things are lovely, pure, good, virtuous and praiseworthy is very helpful to those who have experienced regenerating and sanctifying grace as a means of retaining the victory given. Trusting these principles to make man his own savior by the power of human will, independent of God, is wrong. Neither should we abandon the truth about demons because it may be perverted. The doctrines of demon possession are perverted by those individually and volitionally responsible for sin and wrong, who when their guilt is forced home by conscience, the Spirit and Word of God, seek to evade responsibility by attributing to demoniacal agency, that for which they are responsible. When people deliberately give place to Satan they are wholly responsible for their subsequent condition, and in their deliverance God will point this place of entrance out to them for confession and forgiveness. The Pharisees who resisted Christ were doubtless energized by demons. But their own responsibility in their state of permanent hardness of heart was brought home to them by Christ in the words, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” The doctrine of demon possession is no excuse for pleading innocence of moral responsibility. Persistence in sin is the occasion for demons to possess men, and for this men are responsible.
“The doctrines of demoniac agency and possession, which form a consistent and integral part of Biblical theology from Genesis to Revelation and which, as there shown, concern every period of human history up to its (fast) approaching consummation, have been grievously distorted and hurtfully mis-applied, alike by devout believers and by wicked men. They have been taken out of their relation to the entire system of which they form a part and, by perverse isolation and mischievous misconstruction, have been made to aggravate the miseries which they were intended to diminish, and against which they were meant to protect mankind. Nevertheless those teachings of the Holy Scripture have not been invalidated or made untrue by their abuse, and now they are reaffirmed and reinforced, by such illustration of their significance, for human life in this latest century as may perhaps convince an honest mind — both of the danger to which the race of man is subject, and of the adequate defense provided for all those who choose to take it.
“And furthermore, when the means of this defense” (which is the truth about demons and their methods of working) “are rightly apprehended, it makes that very danger seem a privilege which compels us to seek in Christ a refuge so sublime.” — Henry W. Rankin
As to how demons can obsess, or attack, and possess, or indwell, the bodies, minds, and souls of men, we may not know any more than we can know all the mysteries of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. One may know the Spirit’s indwelling by indubitable, undeniable evidences given in the word of God and by the Spirit’s fruit in his own life; so likewise there are certain evidences of demon possession, given in the Word of God, confirmed by certain well known symptoms of heart, mind, soul, and body. By the fruit a Christian is known. By his fruit the Holy Spirit’s indwelling is known and by the fruit of the demons’ indwelling are they to be known.
“Jesus may not help to deliverance if we will not trust Him, because He desires sons, not slaves, and because the very purpose of all our proving is to make us understand our dependence on His help. By the Holy Spirit, the Lord Christ cast out the demons. The curse becomes a blessing. His victorious faith makes the believer acquainted with the Captain of his Salvation, introduces to another army set for his defense, shows him that he is not alone in the awful conflict with a hidden foe, interprets the purpose of this conflict in the perfecting of that faith which is necessary to his own complete perfection, brings him to the munitions of rocks and into the secret pavilion and gracious presence of the Lord of Hosts, the King of Glory, whose Angel encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.
“Many are willing to admit that Jesus plainly taught this doctrine (demon possession) so obnoxious to their minds, who do not think that his authority adequately guarantees its truth.
“There are pre-eminent crises of history when the devil seems unusually active and conspicuous. Are we coming upon such a crisis now? Does Satan know that his time is short? (John, the Revelator, says, ‘Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.’ Rev. 12:12.)
“We all freely admit, since there is a devil (and demons), to suppress the fact of his (their) power and existence would go far with the mind of this age towards accomplishing his ends.
“Put any truth in a false setting and it becomes a lie. Ignore a truth that we ought to know and it becomes a peril. Suppress a truth of which we have good evidence, and, like the stone of stumbling and rock of offense, it may fall upon us by and by and grind us to powder.” — (Pages 491-494, Henry W. Rankin, in Demon Possession, by Dr. Nevius, Fleming H. Revell.)
Satan Should Not Be Ignored But Exposed
We would not in any sense honor Satan. Our aim is to give a condensed outline of the New Testament teaching on the subject and expose demoniacal subtleties that the truth about their depths of deception may be known; which is God’s prime agency in the deliverance of His people. The sentiment that we should ignore the devil, in the sense of shedding light on his workings, is from the devil, to conceal his workings. A sensible general would not ignore the strength and resources of his enemy! Nay, he sends spies for all the information possible about his enemy’s resources. Paul did not say, “Ignore the devil.” He said, “We are not ignorant of his methods.” If not ignorant, they were wise and informed concerning his methods and that implied investigation and study about those methods that resulted in knowledge, not ignorance. Adam and Eve were perfectly holy, pure and innocent, but not thereby protected from Satanic deception. It is conceit to think that we are guarded by virtue of our sanctification, alone, and not also by specific truth with it concerning demons.
Satan had a great harvest in the long night of the ignorance of the dark ages.
But truth, light, blazing light, from God’s Word, will burn off the Satanic deceptions under which men grope. Bedevil is to throw everything into utter confusion by demoniacal power, it is the work of many demons, not of one devil, but the truth puts the demons to route.