What can the devil
DO and NOT DO?

Submit questions  -  New Articles
Have you ever wondered what the devil and his demons CAN and CANNOT do? If so, you are not alone. The study of fallen angels and their activities is one of the most fascinating topics of research in the Bible. At least 65 chapters in the New Testament reference evil spirits, many of which discuss how they interact with mankind.

This series will answer several interesting questions such as can the devil and demons access God's throne TODAY? How many BATTLES will Satan ultimately lead against the forces of good? Do evil spirits have a calculate plan for deceiving humans? Are they able to possess anyone at any time? Can they give people super-human capabilities and help them make money? Can they perform signs and wonders just like God?

Can disobedient angels RESIST doing evil even when it fulfills the will of God? Can the devil access the spirits of dead humans? Why cannot Satan TORTURE humans in Hell for eternity? Why have demons chosen not to fight EACH OTHER?

Scripture clearly states that a spirit world, though unseen, does exist. It is populated not only by God and Jesus Christ but also by an innumerable multitude of righteous angels (Hebrews 12:22). It is also the realm of Lucifer (the devil), who is one of, if not the, most powerful beings every created (Ezekiel 28:12 - 13, 15). Not only did "Lucy" turn against the Being who created him (verses 15 -16, see also Isaiah 14:12 - 14) and become his adversary, he deceived one-third of all the angels (Revelation 12:4) to follow his rebellion.

Before we begin exploring what rebellious spirits can and cannot do, we need to cover a little background information about their leader Satan.

When did Lucifer get thrown out of heaven?
Will angels be JUDGED by humans?
What is man's DESTINY?

How the devil got his start

Lucifer, whose name means "morning star" or "bringer of light" (Strong's Concordance #H1966) was created by God in the distant past. He was created to belong to a class of angels known as cherubim (Ezekiel 28:14). He was not only made with unmatched wisdom, beauty and musical talents (verses 12 - 13) but was also the greatest being God could create by fiat (verse 15). His initial responsibility was as one of the angelic beings that covered the glory of God's throne (verse 14).

Fall of Rebellious Angels by Frans Floris

Lucifer sinned and turned himself into the devil when he deceived himself into thinking he was better than everyone else (vanity), including the Being who made him (Ezekiel 28:11 - 17, Isaiah 14:12 - 15). Because he felt himself superior to God, he rejected his standards of what was right. He replaced them, in his own heart, with a newly created belief system that was diametrically opposite to that of God's. Lucifer wanted to determine what was right and wrong, good and evil, based on his own will rather than accepting the will of his Creator. He then lusted after the power and authority the Eternal had over all things. This led to the devil deceiving as many angels as he could in order to form a spiritual army to storm heaven and attempt to remove the Almighty from his throne (which, of course, failed miserably).

Power and authority

The devil, at the time he rebelled against all that was holy and good, was serving on a throne of rule possibly governing one third of the angelic realm.

12. How you are fallen from the heavens, O shining star, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! 13. For you have said in your heart, 'I will ascend into the heavens, I will exalt MY THRONE above the stars of God . . . (Isaiah 14:12 - 13, HBFV throughout, see also Revelation 12:3 - 4).

Even though he sinned and betrayed the trust he was given, the devil has been allowed (for a time) to retain his rule over the angels he deceived into sinning.

7. And there was war in heaven; Michael and his angels warred against the dragon, and the dragon and HIS ANGELS warred. (Revelation 12:7)

Satan has also been allowed to retain his power and to use in the world.

9. Even the one whose coming is according to the inner working of Satan, with ALL POWER AND SIGNS AND LYING WONDERS . . . (2Thessalonians 2:9)

9. And the great dragon was cast out, the ancient serpent who is called the Devil and Satan, WHO IS DECEIVING THE WHOLE WORLD . . . (Revelation 12:9)

3. But if our gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those who are perishing; 4. In whom THE GOD OF THIS AGE (world) has blinded the minds of those who do not believe . . . (2Corinthians 4:3 - 4)

God has determined, for the time being, to give the devil and his demons a certain amount of freedom to carry out their evil schemes. This series will explore what they allowed to do and not do.

Additional Study Materials
Is the END of the world near?
What are the different names for the devil?
What is the mark of the Beast?

What can the devil and
demons DO and NOT DO?
What can they do?

What can they not do?


Series Primary Sources

Adam Clarke's Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the New Testament
Bible Knowledge Commentary
Complete Book of Bible Secrets and Mysteries
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary
John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Matthew Henry's Commentary
Willmington's Guide to the Bible


Series written by BibleStudy.org with thanks to Al Murrey,
Rosemary Stogner and Clay Willis for their suggestions!


This series
© The Bible Study Site
All rights reserved