Angelogy, the Study of Angels

by James T. Bartsch

Demonology (Fallen Angels)

And He summoned the twelve and began to send them out in pairs, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits;" (Mark 6:7)

Unclean Spirits

Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the only NT writers to speak of "unclean (akathartos, 169) spirits (pneuma, 4151)". The designation, in Greek word order, is always "spirits unclean" or "spirit unclean": The two words appear together, for example in Matt. 10:1; Mark 1:23; 3:30; 5:2; 7:25; Luke 6:18; 8:29; Acts 5:16; 8:7; Rev. 18:2. For our purposes, demons, unclean spirits, and fallen angels all refer to the same beings. Notice that in Luke 8, the man who was possessed by demons (Luke 8:27, 29-30, 33, 35-36, 38) was also said to have been inhabited by an "unclean spirit" (Luke 8:29). Demons and unclean spirits were originally good angels who were deceived by Satan and revolted against God, following Satan instead.

Observations about the Power of "Unclean Spirits" and the Greater Authority of Jesus, Based on Mark 1:21-28
1. It is possible to be a part of a religious gathering -- a synagogue or even, presumably, a church service and still be possessed by an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-23).

2. Certain people are said to "have an 'unclean' spirit."  That is, they are being personally defiled and dirtied by the presence of this spirit (Mark 1:23).

3. Elsewhere, the term used (in 13 different verses) is literally, "demonized" (daimonidzomai, 1139). (It is usually translated, "demon-possessed.")

4. There is a merging of the unclean spirit and the human.  That is to say, there are apparently situations in which the unclean spirit takes control of the person and his body.  It is difficult to separate what the man is saying on his own and what he is saying because the unclean spirit is controlling him.  The two speak as one voice (Mark 1:23-24).

5. The man is said to have only one spirit -- an unclean spirit.  Yet when the man spoke, he spoke in the plural.  Evidently the voice speaking represented both the man and the unclean spirit (Mark 1:23-24).

6. Possession by an unclean spirit here meant that the unclean spirit spoke entirely for the man, whether the man wanted him to or not.  The man had no control or say in what the unclean spirit said.  The man's wishes in relation to Christ were entirely subordinated to what the demon wanted or did not want.  This is a fearful position to be in -- having lost control over one's faculties and will (Mark 1:23-26)!

7. In this case, what seemed to cause the demon to verbalize was the presence of Jesus, the Son of God, who had begun teaching in the synagogue (Mark 1:21-24).

8. This unclean spirit  / man was terrified of Jesus - he cried out (anakradzo, 349), apparently with a loud voice (Mark 1:23).

9. The unclean spirit indicated clearly he and his host wanted nothing to do with Jesus.  He said, "What is there to do with us and you?" (Mark 1:23-24).

10. This unclean spirit / man had rather precise knowledge of Jesus.  He knew that humanly, Jesus  was from Nazareth; he also knew that Jesus was "the Holy One of God" (Mark 1:24).

11.The unclean spirit suspected Jesus was out to destroy him and the man (Mark 1:24).

12. Since the unclean spirit's main actions to this point had been to speak, Jesus' commands were two-fold:  "Be muzzled."  and "Exit from him!" (Mark 1:25).

13. Having thrown the man into convulsions, and having screamed with a loud voice, the unclean spirit exited from the man (Mark 1:26).  Evidently the unclean spirit gave a parting physical shock and pained audible reaction to and through his human victim; however, he had no choice but to obey Jesus and depart from the man.

14. All the people in the synagogue were astonished, so that, almost as a single voice, each was muttering to himself, "What is this!? A new teaching with authority! Even the unclean spirits he orders around, and they submit to him!!" (Mark 1:27). Clearly the people of the synagogue were totally unaccustomed to any rabbis that they knew having authority to order demons around with impunity!

15. Immediately news exited from the synagogue and spread like wildfire everywhere in the entire surrounding district of Galillee (Mark 1:28)! People had seen something happen that they had never before witnessed in their entire lives. This was big news, and they made the most of spreading it by word of mouth!

See also the Following Articles:

Unclean SpiritsFallen Angels 

Prepared by James T. Bartsch

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Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE , Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (

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Originally Published February 7, 2012

Updated February 8, 2022