Just as in all the other posts at this blog, I have been stressing the need to return to what God has said in His word. We have all been subjected to much error of the teachings of men from the pulpits of the churches, and we are discovering that many of those teachings do not agree with God’s word. They are therefore false spirits, and spirits of error (1 John 4:1-3).
So, as I began this series, I have found other false ideas that I had not yet explored, and I reasoned that in the same way I have to return to what the OT taught, what the definitions in the original Hebrew scriptures meant in order to understand the words used as “demons” in the NT. Everything in the NT is from the OT; as the OT is the NT concealed, and the NT is the OT revealed, then we must go back to the original usage in the OT.
“They sacrifice to demons — no god! Gods they have not known — New ones — from the vicinity they came; Not feared them have your fathers!” (Deu. 32:17, YLT)
The word translated as “demon” in Deu 32:17 is Strong’s Heb. 7700 “shed,” pronounced “shade” and comes from the Assyrian ”sedu”, a protecting spirit especially of the bull-colosus. (Source: https://biblehub.com/hebrew/7700.htm ) It is defined as “probably demon.” It is translated as “devils” in the GNV, and KJV.
In Deu. 32:17 God clearly said that demons were “no gods,” and as they were sacrificing to these “no gods” then they were sacrificing to idols. In the OT demons equaled idols.
The context of Deu. 32 is of their turning away from God, turning from the one true God (vs. 9-12) after becoming wealthy and content to “strangers” (vs. 15-16) and they forgot the God who led them (vs. 18).
“They have made Me zealous by `no-god,’ They made Me angry by their vanities; And I make them zealous by `no-people,’ By a foolish nation I make them angry.” (Deu. 32:20, YLT)
A demon, or devil was a “no-god”, a pagan idol, nothing. It can’t hear. It can’t speak. It is nothing.
The word “demon” is used again Psa. 106:37.
“36 They served their idols, which became a snare to them. 37They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons; 38they 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. 39Thus they became unclean by their acts, and played the whore in their deeds.” (Psa. 106:36-39, ESV)
Here we have equivalent words: idols = demons; unclean = whore. By sacrificing to the “no-gods” they became unclean and whores, because they turned from God and their husband / wife relationship, becoming adulterers. Again, the KJV, GNV, JUB translate Strong’s Heb. 7700 as “devil.” The NIV translates it as “false gods,” and the YLT as “destroyers.”
Another word translated as “demon” or “devil” in the OT is Strong’s Heb. 8163, “sayir” devil – hairy; a he-goat. (Source: https://biblehub.com/hebrew/8163.htm )
“And they shall no more offer their sacrifices unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring. This shall be a statute for ever unto them throughout their generations.” (Lev. 17:7, KJV)
In the YLT it is translated:
“and they sacrifice not any more their sacrifices to goats after which they are going a-whoring; a statute age-during is this to them, to their generations.”
Speaking of the evil that Jeroboam had done in replacing the high priests of the northern 10 tribes –
“14For the Levites left their suburbs and their possessions and came to Judah and Jerusalem, for Jeroboam and his sons had cast them off from executing the priest’s office unto the LORD. 15And he ordained himself priests for the high places and for the demons and for the calves which he had made.” (2 Chron. 11:14-15, JUB)
“15 and he establisheth to him priests for high places, and for goats, and for calves, that he made –” (2 Chron. 11:15, YLT)
Here “demon” was the same as the idols made to look like goats and calves.
So, In the OT scriptures the words “demon” and “devil” were used for the idols who were “no-gods”, not God; the things made of their own hands. And, that is what Paul says in 1 Cor. 8.
“18See Israel according to the flesh! are not those eating the sacrifices in the fellowship of the altar? 19 what then do I say? that an idol is anything? or that a sacrifice offered to an idol is anything? – 20 [no,] but that the things that the nations sacrifice — they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not wish you to come into the fellowship of the demons.” (1 Cor. 10:18-20, YLT)
Paul equated idols with demons. A demon was a false idol, a false god, a no-god, nothing. That brings us back to 1 John 4 where he contrasts the Spirit of Truth, God’s word with the spirit of error of the false prophets and false teachers. A spirit of error is of men, false teachers, false prophets.
But, Paul goes on in vs. 23-33 to explain why another man’s belief that eating meat sacrificed to idols is an offense or sin against God causes Paul to change his actions. He states that though all things are lawful for him (vs. 23), not all things are profitable for others. To build others up, to be able to bring them to salvation, Paul will not cause them to stumble in their walk toward Jesus, which is his conclusion in 1 Cor. 8:13.
Therefore, it is the weaker brother’s belief system, the ideas of their minds, their spirits that are weak, and prevents Paul from causing offense. Therefore, the weak spirits of men come down to false teaching, or spirits of error, or demons. These are the ideas and words of men.
“Concerning the eating then of the things sacrificed to idols, we have known that an idol [is] nothing in the world, and that there is no other God except one;” (1 Cor. 8:4, YLT)
Excerpt from Angels & Demons 30: Demons as False Entities by Stan Lindsey:
“If there is no God but one, and idols do not therefore exist, and offering to idols is the same as offering to demons, we may conclude that “DEMONS DO NOT EXIST.” THEY ARE FALSE ENTITIES. If Paul had thought that there really were true entities called demons, who were at war with God, could he ever have concluded that eating meat he claims is “offered” to them might be called innocent? Could he ever have suggested, “Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, without asking questions,” if he thought the meat had been associated with an existing entity at war with God? The entire basis of his reasoning that allows the conclusion that it is not sinful to eat meat sacrificed to idols is that idols are nothing. They are like demons—they do not exist.” (Source: http://www.stanlindsay.com/2011/01/angels-demons-30-demons-as-false.html)
Paul said that idols are nothing, they do not exist. As Paul also equated idols with demons, therefore demons are also nothing and do not exist. They are the false ideas, the false creations of man’s imaginations. And, where does the Bible say that evil comes from ? – the heart of man (Gen. 6:5; 8:21; Psa. 14:1-3; Prov. 19:3; Jer. 7:24; Ezek 14:3-4; Matt. 12:35; Matt. 15:18; Mark 7:20-23).
“Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;” (Deu. 29:18, KJV)
And we are coming to what may be some startling conclusions. To be continued in Part VI (b).