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I've been wondering about the question: Can Satan hear our thoughts? I know most people's first response is: "No. He's not omniscient like God." This I understand. But, it doesn't say anywhere in the bible that he can or can't.
I have been taught that he can't, but I have read books from well-known authors telling about going to heaven and walking with angels. In those books, the angels knew what they were thinking before they said anything. Well, Satan is a fallen angel, why wouldn't he have the same ability?
Then we see in 2 Corinthians 10:5 "...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
We are taught that when we are listening for God, we may also hear our own thoughts or thoughts from Satan. We are taught that Satan can influence our thoughts or plant thoughts in us. If he is capable of "planting" thoughts, why couldn't he or any of his demons have the ability to hear our thoughts?- Puzzled
I think that is a very interesting question, and you are not the first person to ask me about it. This is a controversial area, because the bible is silent on it. There is not a verse in the bible that says the devil can (or can not) hear our thoughts. The bible does not give us a definitive answer on this.
Since we don't have a Bible precedent, we have to use on other criteria to answer this question, and different people use different criteria. Some use their reason, or logic. Some base the answer on their personal theology on other issues, and others base their answer on practical experience. But no matter which answer you go with, it is still all opinion, as the bible does not give us a definitive answer. We won't know the answer for sure until we are in Heaven and can ask God.
Let's look briefly at all three approaches to answer this question.
People have used logic reason their answer to both sides of this. The ones who say "No" argue that only God is all-knowing, and that only an all-knowing being could know our thoughts. They say that since the devil is not God, he is not all-knowing, and therefore he cannot hear our thoughts.
The ones who say "Yes" argue that since the demons (as well as angels) are spirit beings, and they don't have physical ears. Proponents of this theory suggest that it would require physical ears to catch physical sound waves, in order to "hear" in the sense that we are used to hearing. Since demons don't have physical ears, they can't hear us speak. The only way that they can hear us is by reading our thoughts.
That means that when we take authority over demons, such as in a deliverance session, they don't hear our spoken commands, they hear the thoughts behind what we speak. That makes it easy for them to tell who is just "saying the words" and who really understands that they have been granted authority over them by Jesus. Demons will usually eventually respond to the ones who speak without being convinced they truly carry Christ's authority, but they respond much quicker to those who truly know they carry it. Perhaps they read our thoughts to determine who really "knows" they have been granted authority over demons.
Both of these theories can sound persuasive, but we know that the human mind is carnal cannot comprehend the things of God, so logic may not be the best approach to understanding spiritual questions.
Some people base their answer on their personal theology. Some have what I call a "big devil, little God" theology. They see the devil as very powerful and someone to be feared. A lot of their "practical theology" is based on the idea that we don't want to upset the devil or get his attention focused on us, because if we do, then we are powerless before him and in big trouble. Those same people would find it very alarming if the devil were able to have power to hear our thoughts, because we would not be able to keep our plans secret from him. I believe that this is where the popular belief that "the devil can't hear our thoughts" comes from.
The truth is that it doesn't matter if the devil can hear our thoughts or not--thought I personally believe that he can. The truth is that the devil is the defeated foe. All of us who belong to Jesus have been given authority over him. We don't need to be afraid of him--rather he afraid of those who know (and use) their authority in Christ. We are very dangerous to Him because we see what our Father is doing, and then we do it in His power and authority.
Yes, the devil will oppose us because he is desperate to try and keep this territory--when we build God's kingdom, we are tearing down the devil's kingdom, and he looses ground. That is why he is so afraid of us. It doesn't matter whether or not he "knows" what we are planning to do in terms of obeying God and advancing His kingdom--the devil is pretty much powerless to stop us because we are going forth in God's authority. The One in us is greater than the one in this world.
There is a third approach to consider: practical experience. Many people have had experiences with the demonic that lead the to believe that demons can indeed hear our thoughts.
My opinion is that demons [as well as angels] can indeed hear our thoughts, and that comes from my direct experiences with them. I have been in positions at times where demons were acting up, but it was not appropriate for me to rebuke them verbally. So I silently took authority over them, and they obeyed me.
If demons could not hear our thoughts, they would not have known that I was rebuking them, and they would have not been obligated to obey me. I am pretty sure the demon would have rather done its own thing (which was very disruptive) than to submit to Christ's authority and go silent. The demon did not obey me because it wanted to--it obeyed me because it is obligated to submit to Christ's authority, and I was silently using His authority to rebuke the demon.
For instance, one time my husband was trying to pick a fight with me. My normal human response is to fight back, and things can get ugly. One day when we were driving a long distance in the car, he was trying pretty hard to pick a fight on some ridiculous issue. I was about to raise to the bait when a verse ran through my thoughts. It was Ephesians 6:12, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
I was instantly reminded that my husband was not the enemy (though he felt like it at that moment). The real enemy was the demonic, who were trying to stir contention between husband and wife. So I began silently rebuking the demons who I believed were influencing my husband's behavior at that moment. He was saying very hurtful things to me and degrading me. But instead of responding to him, I commanded the demons to be silent and to stop influencing his thinking. My husband literally stopped mid-sentence and changed subject to talk about the local hockey team. The rest of the drive ended up being very pleasant, and I suspect my husband had no idea of how the demons had been influencing him. It was a night/day transformation and it happened the instant I silently commanded the demons to stop influencing his thinking.
I have had many of those type of experiences, not just with my husband, but in intercession settings. More than once I was the intercessor for a meeting and a demonized person started acting up in the meeting. I physically moved to be closer to the person who was acting up, and began silently rebuking the demon. In all cases, the person calmed down and became non-disruptive almost immediately.
I have also had experiences with the angelic. They can hear my thoughts as though I had spoken them out loud. At first it really surprised me. I would be in a vision and see something I did not understand. I would start to puzzle over it silently, and an angel would come and answer my unspoken question. That happened to me a lot. It seems to be natural and easy for them to hear our thoughts. Perhaps that is why demons can hear them. It might be part of the nature/character of being an angel that was not corrupted/destroyed by the fall.
I am pretty convinced that both demons and angels can hear our thoughts. That is based on my direct experiences with them. I don't really care if others agree with me on this topic or not. It falls under the area of minor theology and is not that important. We will eventually all find out the answer when we are all standing before God's throne in our glorified bodies.