The question arises, “Where did demons come from?” In reading the Bible, there seems to be no origin for these nasty beings; all of a sudden they appear to do Satan’s bidding and torment mankind. The reality is that there is a clear and rational explanation, but it all has to do with interpreting Scripture correctly.
The Gospel of Mark shows events moving swiftly, with one thing happening after another at an almost lightning pace. As Jesus goes from place to place and the narrative evolves, we quickly reach a point where He is healing and casting out demons. After restoring Peter’s mother-in-law from her fever, word of this spreads in the entire village, and many people gather at her door. In Mark 1:34 the author recounts:
And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Here we see two pertinent facts for our discussion today:
- There were many demons
- They knew Jesus
Back to our earlier question: Where did they come from? Let’s also add: How did they know Jesus?
Scripture doesn’t directly provide the answer for either question, but the most logical means of answering goes back to Genesis 6. Nothing else in the Scriptures makes sense. More than that, if we interpret it wrongly, it distorts the entire Biblical narrative.
Genesis 6:1-5 says:
When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
If one goes down the rabbit trail of the sons of Seth explanation for this passage, he’ll never arrive at a correct interpretation. The only sensible account is one that takes the text literally for just what it says. The sons of God, i.e. the bene Elohim, stepped out of their heavenly abode and had sexual relations with human women. That mating produced the hybrid offspring known as Nephilim. This corruption of the human bloodline resulted in further debasement of humanity. The plague of DNA alteration spread quickly and thoroughly until everyone but Noah and his sons were infected. The wickedness that came about was an abomination to God and, if left unchecked, would have thwarted His plans for the redemption of man by the ultimate Seed of the woman, Jesus Christ (Genesis 3:15).
God had to destroy the monstrosity of interbreeding. He literally had no choice. Thus God brought the worldwide flood to annihilate every living creature except for the ones who escaped on the ark. This included the Nephilim population of these half-human, half-spiritual entities.
The flood did its work. Everything perished throughout the planet. The Nephilim died – kind of. Their human aspect – their bodies – drowned, but unlike the souls of humans when they died at that time that went to Sheol, the souls of the Nephilim remained. The divine part of their beings were released – they became bodiless entities. (Is this one reason Satan is called the prince of the power of the air, i.e. because he controls them in that condition of their existence? – Ephesians 2:2) In this state they inhabited dry and arid wastelands; they were tormented and restless. As such, they roamed the earth seeking a body to re-inhabit, i.e. to possess. A human that had rejected God was best because it was an empty vessel devoid of His Spirit, but they would enter animals if necessary (Matthew 8:31).
These are what we know as demons. They are lesser beings at the beck and call of Satan and his more powerful brothers who have likewise rebelled against God.
As to how they knew Jesus: it was from of old. He is the 2nd Person of the Trinity; He is God. It was He who brought the flood and the demise of the Nephilim. Jesus is the One responsible for the tormented existence of these spiritual creatures. Is it any wonder they know, hate, and fear Him?
As the God of all creation, Jesus has complete dominion. He has already defeated every demonic entity, whether a ruler, authority, cosmic power, or spiritual force. It is why 1 John 4:4 gives us this assurance:
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Demons must yield to the Name of Jesus. His Name is above every other name. Every creature great and small will bow and confess Him as Lord. We can rejoice because we who know and love Him have already done so. What a great comfort that is!