What Are Demons Origin?

Previously, I wrote an article on Demonic and Evil Spirits Possessions and what can cause possessions. I also shared some past experiences I had with exorcisms I participated in with people who came to my conferences and some experiences by psychologists dealing with spirit possessions, not demon possessions, and Pastor Blumhardt's year-long exorcism on one woman that led to the healing of the whole village.

Here I am focusing on the origins of demons. The Bible does not state where demons come from. The Old Testament writers understood the connection of unclean spirits and evil angels who indirectly served Satan and to who the pagans made sacrifices to. Moses brought God's warning to the Israelites about sacrificing to the false gods and their demons. He wrote in Lev. 17:7: “They shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons, with which they play the harlot...” And in Deut. 32:16-17: “They made him jealous with their foreign gods and angered him with their detestable idols. They sacrificed to demons, which are not God — gods they had not known, gods that recently appeared, gods your fathers did not fear.” 

The Psalmist wrote about human sacrifice in Psalms 106:36-38: “They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood...”. In the Old Testament demons were sometimes referred to as “evil spirits” (8 times) or “unclean spirits”.

While the New Testament also does not reveal where demons come from most Jews of the Second Temple period were very familiar with the Book of Enoch and Jubilees and the story of the angels coming to earth and mating with women and the connection of demons with their offspring the Nephilim. Christians who believe that demons are real generally believe they are the spirits of fallen angels. For most ancient Jews and Christians before the second and third centuries, angels and demons were two distinct species. The Christian belief of fallen angels as demons comes from one verse in Revelation 12:9 "And the great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."

The Book of Revelation is apocalyptic literature. The rule for interpretation of apocalyptic writing is that all statements are to be interpreted symbolically unless the context demands otherwise. Obviously,  the red dragon with seven heads and ten horns is symbolic, and so are the stars.  It is about a great spiritual battle in heaven between evil in the form of the beast and the woman. Since this verse is inserted right after the story of the dragon waiting to devour the male child of the woman (Rev 12:3-5) it is highly unlikely this dragon's demise to earth is connected with a pre-Edenic fall of Satan.

The "woman" is Israel and their primary dwelling place was Jerusalem. Jerusalem was considered to be the "wife" or "bride" of God (Jeremiah 2:2). The child is the Christ that will be born through her lineage. The falling of stars represents monumental upheaval. In the context of Daniel 8, the starry host refers to Antiochus’s attacks on the Jewish people. If John was referring back to Daniel 8 then the "sweeping of the stars from heaven to earth" is another reference to the war of the beast against God’s people (Rev 11:7; Rev 13:7). And also fits in with this war against God’s people as the main theme of the second half of Revelation, culminating in the ultimate battle at Armageddon. The "poetic fancies" mentioned in Charles Ellicott's commentary below (Christian theologian, 1819-1905), may be a reference that the idea comes from Milton’s Paradise Lost, not the Bible.

Ellicott's commentary explains this connection with the birth of Christ very well.

This is one of those passages which has ever been regarded as more or less perplexing. It has afforded material for many poetic fancies, and has been the occasion of much speculative interpretation. We shall fail to catch the spirit of its meaning if we insist upon detaching the passage from its context; and the more so that the structure of the chapter seems to give an express warning against doing so.

The narrative of the woman's flight into the wilderness is suspended that this passage may be inserted. Could we have a clearer indication of the anxiety of the sacred writer to connect this war in heaven with the birth and rapture of the man child? The man child is born; born a conqueror. The dragon is His foe, and the powers of the foe are not confined to the material and historical world: he is a power in the world spiritual; but the man child is to be entirely a conqueror. His rapture into heaven is the announcement that there, in the very highest, He is acknowledged victor; and His victory is won over the power of the dragon, the old serpent, whose head is now bruised. "The prince of this world cometh," said Jesus Christ, "and hath nothing in Me." "Now is the judgment of this world; now is the prince of this world cast out. And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto Me." Do we need more?

There is mystery--unexplained mystery, perhaps--about this war in heaven, but there need be none about the general occasion referred to; it is the overthrow of the evil one by Christ: the death-blow given by the Lord of Life to him who had the power of death; it is the victory of Bethlehem, Calvary, and Olivet which is commemorated, and the effects of which are seen to transcend the sphere of the things seen.

In Christianity, the idea that angels fell with the Dragon/Satan and they were the demons slowly came about as tradition after the fourth century. Since there is no lack of Christians that believe fallen angels are demons we need to see if there are any other hints as to why this might be in error. There is a noticeable difference between our understanding of angels and demons when we look a little further.

  • Creation
    Fallen angels were created by God as angels. We learn from Revelation 12:9 that they were cast out of heaven for joining the Dragon/Satan in his rebellion against God. The origin of demons, on the other hand, is unknown as the Bible does not tell us. They simply appear in the text as being spirits without a body. And they seem different from what is said about fallen angels.
  • Connection to Satan
    Satan’s downfall began the moment he challenged God and tried to redirect heaven’s worship to himself (Isaiah 14:13-14). The angels that sided with him were banned to hell with him. They became a part of his army with the main goal to win over souls by getting man to sin. Devils side with Satan in doing evil and harming man through possessing them and getting them to harm themselves and others and lose control of their actions rather than spending time corrupting their souls.
  • Outer Appearance
    Angels are created in the image of God as mankind are. They appear in human form in Scripture and can eat, touch and correspond with humans without humans knowing they are angels. Demons have no body and are represented in pictures as having a human-like form but with horns, a tail and somewhat looking like a goat. Fallen angels seem to have more freedom of movement than demons.
  • Goal
    The goal of fallen angels is to tempt man to sin and to increase the numbers of Satan's army. Demons, on the other hand, do not try and convince their object of possession to join any following, especially Satan's. They seek to cause harm to the one they possess with the drive to have them kill themselves.

Thus, fallen angels do not need to rely on possessing a person to get a task done, they can transform themselves into a visible form. A demon seems to need to possess a physical body to achieve a task. (Luke 11:24) They would prefer the body of an animal to being without a body, hence their reason for asking Jesus to enter the swine (Matt. 8:31).

The New Testament mentions demons over 80 times, calling them either “demons” (daimónion) or “evil spirits”. While the origin of demons is not explicitly addressed there are three main ideas of where they might have originated.

  • They are spirits of deceased wicked humans. However, this doesn't fit with Scripture which says that the unsaved dead are in Hades, not roaming the earth (Psalm 9:17; Revelation 20:13).
  • Another possibility is that they are spirits of a pre-Adamic race. But there is no zero Biblical support for this view. The Bible declares that Adam was the first man (1 Corinthians 15:45).
  • The third view I mentioned above that carried much weight for the Jews and early Christians and is gaining popularity with scholars is that they are the spirits of the dead Nephilim. The Second Temple Jews were very familiar with the noncanonical book 1 Enoch (Book of Enoch) where it is told that angels came to earth and married human women. The product of this unnatural union between sons of God (angels) and women are called Nephilim (giants). According to numerous ancient rabbinic and Early Church texts, demons are presented as the disembodied spirits of the dead Nephilim giants who perished at the time of the great flood. 

“Now the giants [Nephilim], who have been born of spirit and of flesh, shall be called upon earth evil spirits, and on earth shall be their habitation. Evil spirits shall proceed from their flesh, because they were created from above from the holy Watchers was their beginning and primary foundation. Evil spirits shall they be upon earth and the spirits of the wicked shall they be called. The habitation of the spirits of heaven shall be in heaven, but upon earth shall be the habitation of terrestrial spirits, who were born on earth. The spirits of the giants [Nephilim], shall be like clouds, which oppress, corrupt, fall, contend and bruise those upon earth.” (1 Enoch, Chapter 15)

Since no other creature on earth was of this type when the human part died (as all humans do) these Nephilim were no longer alive, yet the spirit of the angel part continued to live because angels do not die. Demons are likely the departed spirits of dead Nephilim killed before and during the flood. The spirit part of them roams the earth looking for bodies to possess and thereby harasses humans as they seek re-embodiment. (For a more on the Nephilim connection see footnote1.)

Can Demons Possess Christians?
I have read many times and in many places from Christians that "demons cannot possess Christians". Their reasoning is that Christians have indwelling the Holy Spirit and thus cannot have the spirit of a demon at the same time. I believe this is one of the tricks of the devil so that believers can more easily be led astray. Sin separates us from God at the moment we entertain it. We battle these temptations all the time. Will we respond in love to those who harm us and forgive them or entertain anger, resentment and even a subtle form of revenge? At the moment we sin we create an opening that a demon can enter and sometimes an explanation cannot even be found for how the demon gained access.

Not all Christians practice their religious beliefs the same. In other words, not all Christians are true to Christ although they might believe they are while living independently of God's will. If they entertain occult practices side by side with their Christian beliefs they can open the door to demonic forces.

There is a difference between being oppressed by demons and being possessed. When one is oppressed they are being influenced and controlled by the demon outside of their physical body. When one is possessed they are being controlled by the demon within them. Oppressions can lead to possessions if the activity that brought the demon to them is not stopped. Prayer and fasting are necessary as well as a good, hard look at what activity is opening the person up to demons.

Personally, I have experienced energy from negative spirits sit on me. Since it was a physical attack I would say it was possibly demon oppression. The first time I identified this phenomenon was when I was writing an article on different religions. I felt nothing unusual until I started writing about Islam. I noticed after hours of working that I felt tired and ill like the flu was coming on. At first, I did not connect my studies and work with the symptoms until I started up work again after a break. Since I am a naturopath by nature (born with the desire to heal myself naturally) I started contemplating why I suddenly felt ill. Thankfully, through the Holy Spirit, I received the thoughts that there was something evil on me and it was somehow connected to Islam. So I prayed and ended my article quickly.

The symptoms I noticed was an aching back, especially around the neck area. The whole body felt out of sorts, like a feeling of illness coming on where your body becomes very tired and achy. All those symptoms abated after my prayers. From this experience I intuited that there was some connection of evil coming through Islam and I was sensitive to those energies. Just reading an article on Islam would not cause these symptoms but delving deeply into understanding the roots of Islam was the probable cause of the attachment.

Spirit Attachments
Over the years I have felt those particular symptoms upon me several more times but quickly connected this was not my body reacting to illness but some form of darkness that was upon me once again. Every time I used prayer, and subsequently became free of the negative feelings. In the Ascended Master teachings we were taught that these were "entities" which attached themselves to your "forcefield" the energy field around your body. There were supposedly dozens of kinds of entities that attach themselves to humans, one for every kind of negative substance in the environment and negative habits and thoughts of humans. The Bible uses the term "evil spirits" not entities.

Yet there seems to be much evidence that spirits of dead people who get trapped in the earth plane (earthbound) can and do attach themselves to humans. One book that was an eye-opener for me was Ordered to Return by George Ritchie (1923 - 2007) detailing his near-death experience and encounter with Jesus. Jesus comes to George while he is sitting in spirit next to his deceased body and takes him to different realms connected with the earth and then gives him a glimpse of heaven. I recommend the book highly, although I don't agree with a few ideas and conclusions George formed over his life connected to his death experience the majority of the book registers the truth.

One of the places Jesus takes him to is a bar where George witnesses "spirits" of dead people, who had addictions to alcohol or cigarettes while on earth and carried those habits with them in their death. George sees them trying to drink from glasses they could not grasp in the attempt to get their alcohol fix. But of course they could not connect with physical objects. Yet, when a person would pass out from drinking too much, George witnessed an electronic light field around their bodies break open from the crown on their heads and instantaneously a spirit would enter the opening and disappear. What happened later George did not witness. Did those spirits that entered an unconscious person continue to remain attached to the person and cause them to want their addictive substances all the more? This was the idea of the "entities" that the Summit taught. What is clear is these spirits that attach to people whose forcefield is compromised are not demons. They are not malevolent but definitely confused and unable to go to the light and move on thus they seek fulfillment through humans who had habits and thoughts close to their own.

Another book I previously mentioned in the link above on spirit possession is The Unquiet Dead by Dr. Edith Fiore. She claims to have helped over 20,000 clients. According to her work, spirits (aka discarnates) stay connected to earth for emotional reasons like having attachments to living persons or places that they feel they cannot give up. They have confusion or fears, and in the physical had some addiction to drugs/alcohol/smoking/food or sex which they feel they will not be forgiven for. Many of these spirits don’t realize that they have died believe it or not. George describes in his book it took him a long while (in spirit time, not earth time) to figure out that he must be dead. In these cases after dying, the spirit doesn’t understand why they are being ignored when they try to communicate with others or their loved ones.

Fiore takes pains to say that spirits are only a working hypothesis which she uses because it has proven therapeutically effective and that she is not sure spirits actually exist, although she spends much time in the book explaining the ways these spirits can attach to us and what are the vulnerabilities leading to that attachment. She also believes there is a difference between demonic possession and spirit possession.

Personally, I don't believe I have ever experienced a spirit attachment nor do I know of anyone who had or acted strangely that could be related to discarnates. If this is true that spirits of the dead can attach themselves to someone it is not as common as Fiore makes it out to be. She claimed that 70% of her clients had spirit attachments. Her solution is to keep yourself and your home surrounded by a white light, stay away from alcohol and drugs and maintain a positive attitude. She does acknowledge that you can call to Jesus to protect you.

Her list of symptoms that may clue someone they have a spirit attachment are:

  • a persistent low energy level
  • mood swings
  • inner voices
  • abuse of drugs and alcohol
  • impulsive behavior
  • memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • sudden onset of anxiety or depression
  • sudden physical problems with no obvious cause

One or more symptoms is not indicating you have an attachment but having many of these symptoms suddenly occurring or having been a problem consistently for years would be indicative of something not right and could be connected to spirits.

In conclusion, whatever we believe about where demons originated or not, the fact of the matter is that they are real. I originally wanted to write more on demons because I keep coming across comments on blogs and articles where even Christians discount that demons exist. It is understandable that atheists and certain other religions deny their existence but Christians would have to deny Jesus's work and words to deny demon's existence. Some of these Christians say the Bible is made up of stories that aren't real or just because people in Jesus' time believed in demons doesn't make it true today, and there is no evidence from the Bible they exist.

Demonic possession is not recognized as a medical condition by the American Psychiatric Association or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. Some claim that in a more primitive age, people believed that demons caused disease but now we know that’s just nonsense. It comes down to a personal choice in what we believe about God, healing, and spirit or demon possessions. One thing is clear, that is a lot of mental illness in the world today and in America we see people walking around homeless and obviously mentally unstable, talking to themselves or causing a ruckus. Just last week I was visiting friends in the city and I awoke several times to someone shouting. They told me the next day that the nightly noise has been going on for weeks and was most likely caused by the homeless person who is sleeping on the doorstep of a building nearby.

These people can't pray for themselves, but we can pray for them, our family, and ourselves that those who need healing will have a conversion to Christ and receive His loving intercession and true healing.

Update: The day after I posted this article to this website, the online "Spirit Daily" website posted an article and link on the subject I referenced above, where exorcists have encountered spirit oppressions by spirits that are not demons. This was the first time I have read that exorcists have uncovered these possessions outside of reading the books I mentioned above. I discuss this connection here and a follow-up article on synchronicity coming soon.


1For more about the Nephilim and the demon connection see Pator Ray Hermond's article "What are demons and the Nephilim".