The Gospels show us that Jesus cast out demons everywhere He went. For the people of Israel, this was astounding – no one had ever done this in such a manner. Luke 4:36 reports:
“And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!”
Just as Yahweh needed to get the attention of the Israelites when He re-introduced Himself to them in the time of Moses, in the same manner He had to re-acquaint His children with their Father. This was one of the purposes that Jesus had in His earthly incarnation. After all, just as the Israelites had been in captivity in Egypt for 400 years with no direct knowledge of Yahweh, so it was when Jesus appeared. God had been silent 400 years; they had heard of Him, but they didn’t know Him.
However, consider the demonic spirits that Jesus cast out of so many with the power and authority of God. At a Word from Jesus, they had no means to resist. Luke 4:41 tells us:
And demons also came out of many, crying, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.
The people in Israel didn’t know He was the Christ; to them He might have been a prophet, but beyond that His identity was a mystery. It wasn’t until Peter identified Him in Matthew 16:16 as the Christ that anyone had any clue to this fact. But, the demons knew.
Why and how?
The first thing we must do is identify the demons. What were they? Where did they come from? God certainly didn’t make them.
The only logical answer goes back all the way to Genesis 6:1-4, when the sons of God (bene Elohim) trespassed their heavenly boundary and came to earth. The text reveals that they married, i.e. had sexual relations and procreated with, human women. And in that day Nephilim were on the earth. The presumption is that from the union of the rebellious, spiritual sons of God that took human form, the Nephilim were birthed. The account also reveals that violence was the order of the day. These mighty hybrid beings had an innate violent nature. Half divine and half human, they were an abomination in the eyes of God. His disobedient sons wanted to be gods and supplant their Father. Just as Satan whispered to Adam and Eve: “You will be like God” (Genesis 3:5), so did these spiritual entities have the same desire. They wanted to create offspring and to have their children populate the earth in place of Yahweh’s children.
God couldn’t let that happen. When He saw the wickedness that had corrupted the entire earth, He was grieved and had to act. The reason for the flood was to eradicate the depravity that consumed the planet (Genesis 6:11-12).
In the course of the flood, God cast His rebellious sons into the lowest pit of hell known as Tartarus (Jude 6). Except for Noah, his family, and the animals he saved, all other creatures in the world died. But the Nephilim are an interesting case, because they were hybrid beings. Their human bodies died, but their angelic spirits survived. In the birthing of the Nephilim, they retained this divine aspect. When they died and lost their physical bodies, the spiritual nature remained. It is from this separation that demonic spirits were released. They are bodiless and restless. They know they are supposed to reside in a body, but do not. This is why they roam the earth seeking for a body to inhabit (Matthew 12:43).
These demonic spirits know who God is because He is the One who caused them to wander without a resting place. When the 2nd Person of the Trinity walked the earth, these beings knew all too well who He was. It’s why Luke 4:41 describes their interaction with Jesus as it does: they knew that he was the Christ.
As the son of God – as God Himself – Jesus demonstrated that He was Emmanuel – God with us. His power and authority are absolute. Satan and his demons continue to do everything they can to thwart the will and purposes of God. During the upcoming Tribulation, they will have a field day, thinking their reign of terror will persist despite God’s Word to the contrary.
But, just as God destroyed the earth in a flood to eliminate the depravity that consumed it, so will He cause all disobedient flesh in our time to die. More than that, He will cast all rebellious spirits into the place created for them: the Lake of Fire. They can pretend to be like gods now, but their fantasy will not endure. Jesus Christ is the victor. He has the final Word.