What can the devil do?
Signs and Wonders

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Jesus, while he was on the earth, performed many signs and wonders (see our article on miracles in the New Testament) in order to confirm what he spoke, to show he was sent by God and for other reasons (Mark 16:20, John 4:48, 20:30, Acts 2:22, etc.).

. . . Jesus the Nazarene, a man sent forth to you by God, as demonstrated by works of power and wonders and signs, which God performed by Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know . . . (Acts 2:22, HBFV throughout)

The devil and his demons can also perform signs and wonders, albeit a counterfeit of what the Eternal can do, and make what seems miraculous to occur. For example, Pharaoh's magicians (sorcerers), in an attempt to show the miracles by Moses and Aaron were not special, were able to duplicate some of them by the power of demons.

. . . And Aaron threw down his rod in front of Pharaoh and in front of his servants, and it became a snake. 11. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers. And they, the priests of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts (Exodus 7:10 - 11)

Not only were the Egyptian magicians able to turn their walking staffs into serpents, they were able to reproduce the "wonders" of changing water such that it appeared red, smelled and was undrinkable (Exodus 7:22), plus use enchantments to produce frogs throughout the land (Exodus 8:7).

Is the END of the world near?
Old Testament Miracles
What are the signs of a CULT?

Satan was allowed to use his authority over the weather to cause an unusually powerful wind to blow down a house that resulted in the death of ALL of Job's sons and daughters (Job 1:18 - 19). He also used this power to produce "fire from heaven" in order kill all of Job's sheep and the servants that were tending to them (verses 16). Some commentaries believe this "fire" was actually lightning.

Supernatural abilities

Demons can give a human supernatural abilities and knowledge, as well the power to do wonders and miraculous signs they would otherwise not be able to do.

King Saul, in disguise, visited a witch in Endor in order to inquire about a battle he will soon fight (1Samuel 28:7 - 8). The witch did not know he was the king (verse 9) until she conjures up a lying demonic spirit pretending to be Samuel (verses 11 - 12). This spirit gave her insight to know exactly who was requesting her forbidden services!

Jesus, during his ministry, encountered a man who had thousands of evil spirits in him (Mark 5:9). The person had the super-human ability to be able to constantly live outside (in the mountains, wilderness, among graves, etc.) while completely NAKED (Mark 5:3, 5, Luke 8:27, 29). This same person could break into pieces ANY chain, fetter or restraint used on him (Mark 5:3 - 4, Luke 8:29). Scripture also states that NO human could overcome him (Matthew 8:28, Mark 5:3 - 4)!

One day a group of men, near Ephesus, attempted to cast a powerful spirit out of a man. The spirit, who knew the sons were charlatans and did not have ANY spiritual authority to command him to leave, empowered the person he possessed to attack all SEVEN brothers! The brothers ended up running away bruised, wounded and naked (Acts 19:14 - 15)!

The Bible records, during Christ's ministry, several instances where it was not the Father who directly imparted knowledge that he was the Messiah but rather the demon inside them (Mark 3:11, 5:7, Matthew 8:29, Luke 4:41). In fact, it is interesting to note that long before the disciples understood who Jesus was (see Matthew 16:13 - 21) the demons not only knew but also attempted to tell as many as they could!

Just after the birth of the New Testament church, a man named Simon (Simon Magus) was able to work awesome wonders that amazed the people of Samaria. His demonically-inspired black magic (sorcery) was so spectacular and convincing that people stood in awe of the man and listened to whatever he had to say (Acts 8:9 - 11).

Gathering of Manna sent from heaven by Agnolo Bronzino
Gathering of Manna sent from heaven
Agnolo Bronzino (c. 1543)

End Time Signs and Wonders

Both Jesus and the Apostle Paul warned that demonically inspired miracles would be used by many, especially in the end time, in order to lead people into deception.

22. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and they shall give signs and wonders, in order to deceive . . . (Mark 13:22)

8. And then the lawless one will be revealed (whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth, and will destroy with the brightness of His coming); 9. Even the one whose coming is according to the inner working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders (2Thessalonians 2:8 - 9)

The False Prophet will produce "great wonders" in order to deceive the world into worshipping the Beast (a person possessed of the devil) and accepting his "mark" (Revelation 13:11 - 14). In fact, the plethora of lying signs in the last days will be so convincing that the vast majority of the world will have no problem worshipping the devil disguised as the savior of the world (2Corinthians 11:13 - 14).

Near the very end of the Great Tribulation period, evil spirits will work wonders and miracles in order to lead people to their DEATHS in the battle of Armageddon!

14. For they are spirits of demons working miracles, going forth to the kings of the earth, even of the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of that great day of the Almighty God (Revelation 16:14).

Additional Study Materials
What is the MARK of the Beast?
Who are the TEN KINGS of Revelation?
What are the signs of a mature Christian?

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


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