December 18, 2017

Satan, Demons, and World Chaos (3)

William Ward Ayer

Few people believe in a personal devil. However, they readily accept the horned, spear-tailed, hoofed caricature which Satan has created to deceive mankind. There is in our day a world-wide surge in satanic activity. Aware that his time is short and his ultimate defeat certain, the Prince of this world has mobilized his forces for what may be his final campaign.

This is Part Three • Part One • Part TwoPart Four


What follows is part 3 of 4.

In Part 1, William Ward Ayre introduces the theme and begins presenting Satan as the ruler of this world. We pick up the same theme now.

Part 2 presented teaching concerning the personality and person of Satan as revealed in Scripture. We continue with a look at demons and demonic activity.

We have considered the demonic rule of nations, pointing out that myriads of faith-for-the-familyevil spirits are at work deceiving the nations. But many are puzzled about the origin of demons. Where did they all come from, and what is their nature? We must take them out of fairyland and folklore and, if possible, establish their identity.

Who are the demons? The standard theologians have not shown much clarity in this field.

Dr. A.H. Strong, sturdy theologian of other days, classifies them as evil angels (Systematic Theology — Boston: The Griffith and Rowland Press, 1906). Dr. Merrill F. Unger, a modern Bible scholar, in his volume, Demons in the World Today (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers), declares: “The precise identity of demons cannot be determined, because the Bible is silent on the issue. Because Scripture does not reveal exactly what the demons are, or how they came into being, numerous theories have been advanced to account for their origin” (p. 13). Then Dr. Unger lists some of these theories, which he says are incorrect: effect of diseases; spirits of deceased men; disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamite race of humanity; unnatural offspring of angels and antediluvian women. Then he says: “In view of the Bible’s silence regarding the origin of demons, the best supported deduction from scriptural hints is that demons are fallen angels.”

Most Bible expositors connect demons with Satan’s ejection from Heaven when he drew with him myriads of lower celestial beings (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:4). These rebellious fallen angels are under the Devil, their commander-in-chief. They are not mischievous spiritual nonentities who blow horns and tip tables in darkroom seances. Many are mighty personages who have control over nations. Within a divinely ordained sphere, they have liberty and freedom to roam the heavens and operate in tremendous world events.

In answer to the oft-repeated question, “What are demons like?” Unger, in his scholarly volume, outlines these facts:

  1. While the Bible does not describe their appearance, it does quite clearly describe their nature. They are usually invisible, though in some instances they may assume physical form (Revelation 16:13·14).
  2. They are spiritual beings, possessing no material bodies, though they can act upon a human body and sometimes possess it (Matthew 8:16; 17:18).
  3. They have personalities — individualistic, intelligent, and willful. They think and speak. They may completely dominate human personality (Acts 19:15·16), and may influence many even though they do not “possess” them (1 Timothy 4:1·2).
  4. Some of them apparently have great intelligence (not wisdom) beyond that of ordinary men. Unger writes (p. 26): “Their superhuman intelligence is accompanied by super-physical strength” (Matthew 12:29).
  5. They are hopelessly depraved — spiritually and morally unclean. They are beyond the pale of redemption, and their doom is sealed.

Modern Demon Activity

Demons seem to have power over national and international affairs. It is often said that America is not really governed by its elected officials but that international world powers control the major actions of our own and other nations. There is a “world establishment,” it is claimed, that controls and manipulates the affairs of nations. Demons are said to operate in financial, commercial, military, and even religious affairs. Although we are not ready to give documentation, we are suspicious that this is true. God Himself tells us that there are mighty angelic personalities that control men and nations. This is the mystery of iniquity (lawlessness) of which Paul writes (II Thessalonians 2:7) and which is steering the world toward the rule of Antichrist, the chief hindrance being the powerful operation of the Holy Spirit through the church. We must always be mindful that our struggle is against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness which Bible scholars accept as myriads of demon hordes under the direction of Satan who, according to Scripture, is called both “the god of this age” and “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2).

We must never forget that when our first parents in Eden disobeyed God and obeyed Satan, they brought the human race under Satan’s rule. When Christ met the Devil in the wilderness temptation and was offered the kingdoms of this world and the glory of them, our Lord did not dispute the fact that the world’s kingdoms were Satan’s to give. They are still Satan’s and will continue under his direction until the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ and He shall rule over them. In this present dispensation the Devil and his evil empire are curbed by the Almighty. God is ever on the throne, and He exercises restraining power. Satan can go so far and no further. The story of Job reveals this truth.

If space permitted, much could, be written about the relation of demons to spiritism, to witchcraft, to soothsaying, to healing and even to false religion. Whole volumes of well-documented, Biblically sound material are available today to those who wish an “in depth” study of demonology. For example, spiritism and occultism is rising, and books and pamphlets on the subject flood the land. The Bible warns of “seducing spirits,” (I Timothy 4:1) and as our age hastens on to its consummation, this condition will increase and will climax with a tremendous demonic explosion at the close of the church age. Spiritism and Satan worship are working with what often appears to be supernatural power.

Seeming demon possession, accompanied by sordid and vicious crime is on the increase. Narcotics — demon-instigated — threaten our nation. Miraculous healings that have no roots in Christian faith or in Biblically described divine power are taking place. Thousands of testimonies of this kind are published today. It is possible that some of these are the “lying wonders” of which the Bible speaks.

False prophecy with enough residue of truth to make it attractive is captivating thousands. The most prominent in this field is Jeane Dixon. To explain her is a task I will not attempt, though I have read two books published about her. Seemingly, she is a devout and attractive personality with many Christian ideals; it is difficult to imagine anything evil about her work. But chapter 19 of her biography (A Gift of Prophecy, by Ruth Montgomery), tells of Jeane Dixon’s boasting about her experience with an unusual serpent that visited her bed shortly after midnight July 14, 1952. The Bible student knows that any time the serpent appears — whether it be in Holy Writ or as an object of pagan worship — evil is actual or implied.

In describing her emotions as the serpent comes to her in her bed, “prophetess” Dixon says: “Its powerful little body twisted down the side of my bed raising the corner of the mattress at the foot. Then, though I seemed cloaked in a substance as soft as eiderdown, I could feel its head nudging beneath my ankles, and its body growing larger as it wrapped itself about my legs and hips.”

How strange that she tolerated this! Most women are mortally afraid of serpents. But she said, “I was not frightened … As the snake gradually entwined itself around my chest, I could see its head but not its eyes. They were gazing toward the east, rather than at me. By this time the snake was as big around as a man’s arm. While I watched, it slowly turned its eyes and gazed into mine.” And now, listen to this most unusual statement: “In them,” the prophetess says, “was the all-knowing wisdom of the ages. Although the room had been in almost total darkness, it was now bathed in brilliant light. The snake, vividly colored in yellow and black, had great jowls shaped like miniature pyramids.”

This description reminded me of God’s word in Ezekiel concerning Satan: “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty … every precious stone was thy covering … the sapphire, the emerald … and gold … Thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.”

In Mrs. Dixon’s experience there is much more than meets the eye. Consider the snake’s eyes which the prophetess says were filled with “the all-knowing wisdom of the ages” that bathed the room in brilliant light. Satan is Lucifer, which means light. The eyes of the serpent captivated the lady; and because those eyes were, as she said, “permeated ‘with love, goodness, strength, and knowledge” and it turned its head to the east, she felt that’ the serpent was saying that she too must look to the east for God’s wisdom and guidance.

To be continued…


This article was originally published in Faith for the Family, May/June 1973. Used by permission.

The original Faith for the Family bio:

Dr. William Ward Ayer is a well-known evangelist, broadcaster, and author. For 36 years Dr. Ayer has pastored important Baptist churches in Illinois, Indiana, Ontario (Canada), and New York City. His best-known ministry was a 14-year pastorate at the internationally known Calvary Baptist Church of New York City. During the latter days of his New York pastorate a radio poll voted Dr. Ayer to be one of the city’s most influential citizens, Dr. Ayer carries on an evangelistic and Bible-teaching ministry in many churches in this country as well as abroad.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

Submit other comments here.