How Satan Communicates

How Satan Communicates to Human Beings

By Ron Jones D.D., ©

Scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

How does Satan actually communicate to human beings to influence them to do his will? How does he influence humans to do his will? Does Satan put thoughts directly into the minds of people to do what he wants?

The Bible clearly indicates that Satan can influence human beings externally (affecting the physical body), but does not indicate that he can do it internally (affecting the soul/mind or the spirit). That is, in the Scriptures, we see Satan using external means to influence human beings and accomplish his schemes, but not any internal means.

Satan or his demons can possess or take control of the body of a human being who is an unbeliever and can use that body to speak or act as Satan or the demon desires. See article entitled,

  • Can unbelievers be demon-possessed? Can Christians cast out demons today?
  • There is no evidence in all the demon possessions in the Scriptures that Satan or a demon possesses the mind of a human being although it appears that Satan or a demon can cause the physical human brain to be temporarily shut off from the mind so he can speak physically through it. Human beings are made up of body, soul and spirit. It appears that demons can only inhabit the human body and affect directly the physical part of humans. Affecting the physical part of humans can possibly have an indirect effect on the soul (mind and emotions) just as feeling weak from illness can make us depressed at times.

    This external influence of Satan can be seen in the way the Bible reveals that Satan tempted people during Bible times. He always did it externally.

    Genesis 3:1

    Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"

    When Satan tempted Eve, he did not implant a thought into her mind. He spoke to her through an external source, the body of an animal, a serpent. We know that this is Satan from Revelation 12:9 where Satan is called "the serpent of old." Satan does not communicate with Eve telepathically or implant thoughts in Eve's mind.

    Matthew 4:3

    And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."

    When Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness, he speaks directly and audibly to him. He most likely appeared to him in spirit form and spoke to him audibly. He does not communicate telepathically or implant thoughts in Jesus' mind. Satan speaks to him audibly.

    Job 1 & 2

    1:13-15 Satan brings upon Job's cattle and servants crime and war through unbelievers

    1:16 Satan brings lightning upon Job's sheep and servants.

    1:17 Satan again brings crime and war upon his camels and servants.

    1:18-19 Satan brings a mighty wind upon the house of Job's children and kills them all.

    2:6-8 Satan brings "boils" (physical illness) upon Job's body.

    When Satan tempts Job, all the temptations were external. If he can implant thoughts in our minds, why didn't he just implant thoughts into Job's mind? That would be far more effective. Even when Job's wife turned from the Lord (Job 2:9-10), the text does not say Satan was involved in tempting her internally to turn away from God. So, in the only two cases that Satan is shown directly communicating a temptation (to Eve and to Jesus), it is always externally done. When we see Satan afflict Job, it is all external. That's my point.

    In Ephesians 6:11, Paul calls the believer to stand firm against the "schemes of the devil." The word "schemes" refers "deceit, craftiness, trickery in a planned way. Satan's primary method of attack is deceit. It is well-planned out deceit, strategic lies.

    In John 8:44 Jesus called the devil (which means slanderer) a liar and the father of lies. Satan is by nature a liar and his primary method with which he attacks human beings is through lies to deceive them into believing something false about God or God's plan in order to get them to rebel against God. He lies about who God is, what God is like, what we are like, what God desires for us to do, how to be saved, etc., etc., etc.

    This is how he primarily attacks human being, through lies. For more information on how Satan attacks believers see articles under "Spiritual Warfare" on this website. So, if the Scriptures are searched, we can see three ways that Satan is shown to speak lies audibly to human beings.

    Three ways:

    1. He can take control of an unbeliever through demon possession and speak his lies to others around them.

    We see two kinds of demon possession in the NT, the obvious usually violent kind and the subtle non-violent kind.

    Luke 4:33-34 displays the obvious usually violent kind. It says, "And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, 34 'Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.'"

    When the demons speak from a demon-possessed person, they speak audibly from the mouth of the demon-possessed person, not necessarily through the mind of that person. Notice, the demon is speaking through the man's body by using the vocal chords of the possessed man, but not necessarily using the man's mind. The demon has his own mind and the ability to speak if possessing a human body. The demon speaks directly to Jesus through the mouth of the human being.

    Most likely, the demon takes possession of that part of the physical brain that controls the vocal chords and speaks or takes possession of the vocal chords (God does not explain this), and the human being's mind is disengaged in some way.

    This idea of a demon using a human body without infiltrating the mind is further demonstrated by Satan use of the serpent to speak to Eve. He obviously used the animal body without infiltrating the animal's mind. He does the same with human bodies.

    Most of the demon-possession that we see in the NT, the demon is this type of obvious usually violent kind where everyone recognizes the person's possession. However, that is not always the case.

    In Acts 16:16-19, we see the subtle non-violent kind of demon possession.

    It says,

    16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.

    Based on what we know today about fortune tellers, there were two ways they could share demonic knowledge of the future.First, they could hear it from the demon that was possessing them or the demon could speak using the mouth of the fortune teller (channeling). If someone asked a question of the fortune teller, the demon could easily whisper the answer into her ear and she could tell her clients the answer. She could also "channel" the demon (releasing control to it) and the demon could speak to the clients.

    Fortune tellers can also be fake and have no demonic interaction, but the one in Acts 16 was not fake. This subtle demonic possession could apply to anyone who is involved in occultic activity. The possible difference between these two individuals is that the Philippian woman was allowing the demon to work through her and the man in the synagogue probably was not.

    2. He can appear as himself in angelic spirit form and speak his lies.

    Satan is an angel. Angels have appeared throughout history in a supernatural angelic form as Gabriel did to Mary in Luke 1 and spoke to her audibly as Gabriel did to Mary.

    In Matthew 4:1-3, Satan appears to Jesus most likely in angelic spirit form as himself and speaks to him.

    1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."

    So demons can appear in angelic spirit form as themselves.

    Can demons alter their Spirit form to appear as a dead human being?

    There is no Biblical evidence that they can, but we know that the spirits of dead human beings do not roam around. They are in Hades (Hebrews 9:27; Luke 16:19-31), so by the process of elimination, if that happens, it has to be demons.

    3. He can appear as an angel of light in angelic spirit form and speak his lies.

    As an angel, Satan can also appear as an "angel of light."

    2 Corinthians 11:14

    And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

    Garland in his commentary on this passages writes, "Paul uses a Hebraic idiom, 'an angel of light,' to refer to Satan as a 'shining angel.'" (Garland, D. E. (1999). 2 Corinthians (Vol. 29, p. 485). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers)

    So, demons can appear as angels shrouded in light in angelic spirit form.

    4. He can appear as a man and speak his lies.

    In the Scriptures this is true of good angels and therefore it is true of evil angels. In Genesis 18, God appears in human form with two angels who subsequently go off to Sodom to destroy it in Genesis 19. However, it is possible that the evil angels were originally allowed to do this before the flood of Genesis 6 and then were no longer allowed to do this after the flood.

    Genesis 6:1-2 seems to indicate that some of the evil angels took on human bodies and cohabited with females during this time and that is why wickedness increased to such terrible proportions that moved God's hand in total destruction of all mankind.

    The text does not say if they took on human bodies or possessed the bodies of actual humans. The text does indicate that they produced human babies. It does not seem likely that they possessed humans in Genesis 6 and just birthed normal human babies. It seems to indicate that the human women cooperated with the demons in human form and had sexual intercourse with them (probably as a part of idol worship) and produced offspring which God had to destroy along with all the human who had fallen for this evil religion and practice.

    Peter seems to indicate this in 1 Peter 3:18-20 and 2 Peter 2:4-5. In both passages, the context is Noah and the flood. In the former passage he says that certain spirits are in prison and in the latter passage he says that he cast certain angels into hell.

    1 Peter 3:18-20

    18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.

    2 Peter 2:4-5

    4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven others, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly.

    It is possible that after God through these demons into the abyss, demons were no longer allowed to take on human form. They certainly were not allowed to cohabit with women. So again, evil angels may be able to do something, but not allowed by God to do it so we don't see it done in Scripture after Noah's flood. Genesis 18 indicates that angels can appear as men so they can't be distinguished from other men. In that form they can speak and communicate to human beings.

    5. He does not appear so he can be seen, but just speaks softly in a whisper into the ear of a person and spread his lies.

    He can influence a person through (speaking) whispering so softly that he thinks he is "hearing voices" even inside his own head when in reality it is outside his head. We know that angels can appear in spirit form and speak in spirit form. They also can be "invisible" in spirit form which is their natural state. If they can speak audibly in spirit form, they can speak audibly when they are visible or invisible. Again, this is external. If they can do that, they can easily lower their voices and whisper to someone very quietly so they perceive that they are "hearing voices."

    I think it is possible that it can be done so quietly that a person can think he or she is hearing them from inside their head when they are hearing them on the outside especially if it is late at night just before sleep, in the middle of the night, or just as they are waking up.

    Let me give some possible examples of how Satan could communicate to unbelievers and incite them to attack Christians in the ways discussed in the article,

  • How do Satan and His Demons Attack Christians?
  • 1. Satan attempts to incite our fleshly desires within us through the unbelieving world around us.

    Using any of these means, how difficult would it be for Satan to work through key individuals to set up all the fleshly activities we see today?It only takes one individual to create something to turn the world toward sin and unbelievers will quicklyfollow. It only takes one person to create sexual stimulating apparel, one person to develop and distribute drugs, one person to film and distribute pornography and all the other businesses that promote fleshly activities will follow as man's flesh is incited and man develops more of these.

    2. Satan attempts to deceive us with lies through the beliefs and values of the unbelieving world around us.

    Key individuals have started philosophical movements around the world throughout history. People like Epicurus, Plato, Aristotle, Karl Marx, and Charles Darwin. These individuals would not have to be demon-possessed or demon-influenced or be a demon in human appearance, but they could have someone in their lives who was and who deeply influenced them.

    3. Satan attempts to deceive us with a false Jesus and a false gospel through false Christians in the unbelieving world around us.

    Both Mohammed and Joseph Smith claimed to have seen an angel and started religions based on them and Paul says demons can appear as angels of light.

    4. Satan attempts to afflict us with crimes, wars, and persecution through the unbelieving world around us.

    4.1 Satan tempts us by inflicting upon us crime or war, natural disasters, or physical illness.

    Antiochus Epiphanies, Adolf Hitler, Attila the Hun, Joseph Stalin so many world leaders who have been instrumental in killing millions of people which would also include believers may not have been demon-possessed or demon-influenced or be a demon in human appearance, but they could have someone in their lives who was and who deeply influenced them.

    4.2 Satan tempts us through persecution.

    It only would take one or two individuals at the trial of Christ before Pilate to get the crowd going by yelling "Crucify him. Crucify him." Again, those who have lead the persecutions against Christians may not have been demon-possessed or be communicated with by a demon or be a demon in human appearance, but they could have someone in their lives who was and who deeply influenced them.

    Satan's strategy is to remain invisible, behind the scenes in world history. We wouldn't be able to tell he was behind it if God had not told us he was. To influence the whole world all Satan has to do is spread his lies to unbelievers who are the movers and shakers of society and then let them use every form of human communication to spread it to everyone else. Satan appeals to the fleshly desires of humans so it is easy for him to influence them. Unbelievers also can come up with many sinful practices and lies on their own as well because of their flesh and their fleshly imaginations.

    For more information on how Satan works look at the articles under

  • Spiritual Warfare.