If You Believe In Angels, Believe In Demons.
The Old and New Testaments contain many references to demons and to Satan. If you believe in God, believe in Satan. If you believe in Angels, believe in demons. If you believe in Heaven, believe in Hell. This is all relevant to Christian theology. However, Satan, demons, and Hell are treated like stories meant only for children and the weak-minded. I hope to throw the light of scripture on the subject of demons. I don’t want to scare you or give a greater place to these beings than God does in his word. My purpose is to show the sovereignty of God over evil as well as good and to show the power and authority of our Lord and Savior.
What are demons? Most of us would think of how they are portrayed in the movies. The best-known demon was the one in the movie “The Exorcist”. This movie has had a lasting impression on me. I left the movie with a sick feeling and had nightmares for days afterward. However, there may be some truth in how demon possession was depicted by the actress and through special effects.
Demons are spirit beings. They are unclean and immoral by their very nature and in their activities. Scripture does not give any significant attention to how they were created or to their organizational structure. Instead, throughout the Bible, God chooses to focus on His work in Christ rather than on the demonic attempts to demean that work.
In the Old Testament, demons are not independent beings but they operate under God’s control.
During the life of Christ, demonic activity was rampant. The Son of God got Satan’s attention and demons ravaged men as never before or anytime since.
In the New Testament, the writers describe the physical, social and spiritual symptoms of demon possession. Those physical symptoms described include a mute tongue, blindness, self-inflicted wounds, crying, convulsions, falling to the ground, rolling around on the ground, foaming at the mouth, grinding of the teeth, rigidity and inhuman strength. The social conditions were living in unclean places and going naked. The spiritual symptoms were the supernatural recognition of the person of Christ and the ability to tell the future.
Can demon possession be ascribed to the great evils of the twentieth century; Hitler, Stalin, Asama Ben Ladan, and Sadam Husein? Do serial killers commit their heinous murders at the direction of demon forces? I will not attempt to answer these types of questions, because I can’t. Human nature is capable of any atrocity unless a person can call Christ his savior. What need is there of demons to turn men’s bent toward evil acts? That is the natural condition of mankind and when left alone men will always follow their natural instincts.
Satan, unlike God, is not omnipresent. In other words, he can’t be in more than one place at a time. That’s why he uses demons to prosecute the destruction of mankind. He hates us and would destroy everyone if he could. And he would destroy us if it were not for the power of God, who is sovereign over all, even Satan and his demons.
This book will use only the Bible, the Holy word of God, to unwrap the layers of mystery surrounding demons. The focus will be on what scripture has to say and we will be wiser because Jesus had much to say about Satan and demons and He defeated Satan every time they came against each other. Satan’s goal was to keep Christ from the cross and to that end, the last great battle took place in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The last chapter has been written and the title is Revelations. God has revealed to us how evil will be destroyed and cast into the Lake of Fire. Satan and his demons are destined to spend eternity in the place that God has prepared for them. Hell is also the terrible end that awaits all unbelievers. You can be “saved” from this fate only by receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior. Through Him, you have access to Heaven. In Jesus, we are free to experience the love of God and protection against the Ruler of Darkness and his helpers.
DEMONS IN THE BIBLE
God’s Use of Demons
Saul’s attendants said to him, “See an evil spirit from God is tempting you.” (1 Samual 16:15)
Anytime someone was sick or there was a catastrophe, they would say “God put this on you. What have you done?” That is how people felt in Saul’s day and even until after the time of Christ. Even today, some believe that all sickness and misfortune is from God.
When Israel demanded a king their choice was Saul. He was not God’s choice. David would be His choice, but God blessed Saul. He was successful in war and in governing Israel. He became rich and powerful and as with most men, that are successful, he forgot God and believed that he was the one that was wise and won the wars.
Saul gave a smaller place to God and greater recognition to himself. God’s response was to withdraw His spirit and so he lost the assistance of the good spirit that directed, animated, and encouraged him in his government and wars. When the spirit of God departs from us all good goes from the man. There is one that is eager to fill the void. The Devil, by divine permission, troubled and terrified Saul. He became discontent and suspicious. He became unfit to conduct the business of government and he was a burden to all that were about him.
God can turn any situation around or He will use the circumstance to accomplish His divine purpose. That is what He does here. Only the music of David can calm Saul when the Devil troubles him. David is brought into the court and God prepares him to fulfill the roll of king. David was able to observe how government operates. He made friends, like Jonathan, Saul’s son. He learned how to make war and to be victorious.
When the time came, David would be ready to be king. God allowed a demon to inflict Saul and that gave David a position in the court, right where God wanted him.
God will never be associated with any form of evil, however, He does permit evil to exist in the world, and as He did in the life of Saul, will use the evil spirit to accomplish his purpose. The life of Joseph is where we can see another example of how He uses the evil intentions of men for good. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, sure that he would die in Egypt or that they would never see him again. However, in the end, Joseph was able to say, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.” God saved the nation of Israel, by the hand of Joseph.
Protected by Blessing
But God said to Balaam, “Do not go with them. You must not put a curse on those people, because they are blessed.” (Numbers 22:12)
The Moabites were the enemies of God and God’s people, Israel. Later they would be defeated and for as long as they were a people they would be slaves for the Israelites. However, at this point in time, they are a people facing conquest by Israel.
Their king is Balak and he is seeking an edge in the form of a curse to be placed on Israel. Balaam, the son of Beor, would pronounce the curse. He would be paid for the service. The benefit of the curse may only lie in the mind of the recipient. But God was dealing personally with His people and would not permit a curse on them from any source. God came to Balaam and told him not to curse Israel. He reminded him that He had made them a promise, “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee.”
Balaam told the princes of Moab that he would not curse Israel, even if they gave him a palace filled with silver and gold.
The promise of blessing to Israel was fulfilled many times throughout history and is still being fulfilled today. Every nation that has sought to be a curse to Israel, by way of war and conquest, has fallen and suffered great poverty and tragedy. God has blessed the friends of Israel, such as the United States.
We know also that the scriptures tell us that believers are the true Israel of today. Those that suffer for their faith are the blessed of God and Christianity thrives where persecution abounds. A man is first blessed when God chooses him. The Christian is protected by blessing, just as Israel was. The Holy Spirit seals us against harm by demons and Satan. Jesus is our shield and our fortress.
I know a preacher that is fond of saying, “Your arms are too short to box with God.” The statement is humorous but true. Why does “little man” try so hard to deny God His place? Why does Satan continue to rally his demon forces against God? Perhaps, as Solomon said, “A fool says in his heart, there is no God”, and in Satan’s case, “All is vanity.”
Today, we need to see God as He really is. He is sovereign, powerful and holy. He is our protector and blesser. Those that ignore Him will die in their sin and
those that call Him “Buddy” and “the man upstairs” will not do so when they stand in his presence. If only we could see ourselves as God sees us. The best man or woman that ever lived was needy, lost, and hopeless and their righteousness was like filthy rags. We can only boast of Him and cry out for mercy; never justice. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
He called His twelve disciples to Him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. (Mathew 10:1)
Jesus asked the disciples to pray that God would send preachers to the multitudes of the lost souls that He saw every day. There were only twelve disciples and Jesus. But the disciples had only been called; they had not yet been sent. At this time there were many demons active because of the impiety of the Jews, and the prevalence of magic arts among them. By divine permission, demons had taken possession of a great many of them.
Jesus told the disciples that He would make them “fishers of men”. They sat at His feet and He taught them the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. They were to be Christ’s messengers, but first, they must be proved. 1 Timothy 3:10 says, “They must first be tested, and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons”. Paul said, “God was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I could preach Him among the Gentiles.” (Galatians 1:16) The deacon must not be a novice, because he could do damage to Christ’s church. He must be called by God, trained as a shepherd and fully equipped to preach the “Good News”.
Christ sent them forth with his power and under His authority. He personally qualified them and authorized them. They were to depend entirely upon him. They were destitute according to worldly standards: not having money or possessions.
Their testimony was to be to Israel only, but because Israel was under the yoke of Gentiles, since the time of Nebucanezer, their testimony would reach all the way to the Rulers. This testimony would excite an opposition that would break family ties and awaken hatred. If opposition to their testimony took the form of
persecution, they were not to resist but should flee and preach the Gospel elsewhere.
Those that were subject to the Gospel were obliged to make a decision. Their acceptance or rejection of the message, and the messenger determined their fate. Jesus sent them forth as sheep in the midst of wolves. However, they were not to be afraid and they were not to be concerned about the words that they were to speak. They would receive power and guidance so that the words that they spoke would not be their own, but His who inspired them. In this fashion, Paul in defending his life before Felix preached and almost convinced Felix to become a Christian.
THROUGH HIS MESSENGERS, CHRIST HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE MORE PROOF OF HIS DIETY. THE MESSIAH, THE SEED OF THE WOMAN THAT WILL BRUISE THE HEAD OF THE SERPENT, DID THAT WHEN HIS DISCIPLES EJECTED THE DEMONS.
In John 6:70-71, Jesus said, “Have I not chosen you twelve and one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, for he is the one that would betray him and he was one of the twelve. This man is a great mystery. Jesus says that he has a demon, which probably means that he was demon-possessed, yet Jesus chose him and he was one of the twelve. When did the demon infiltrate Judas? I believe that it was sometime after the twelve were given power over demons as described in Mathew 10:1.
Thousands Were Healed
And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy: and He healed them. (Matthew 4:24)
I would like to know how many people that Jesus healed and the number of demons that were removed. For sure, it was not a few that were healed, but multitudes. I believe that thousands of people were healed of disease and demon-possession. For that reason, the people followed Him in great numbers and the Pharisees that wanted to take Him and kill Him did not act, because they feared the people.
No one ever denied the miracles, because of the thousands that were evidence of his supernatural power over disease and demons. The people and the Religious Rulers witnessed the instantaneous cures, and the Pharisees knew that this kind of power could only come from God. They hated Jesus because He pointed out their hypocrisy and held them up as what religion should not be. They could not deny the miracles so they needed another way to discredit Him and bring Him to trial. They did not have the power, under Roman law, to kill Him; therefore they accused Him of breaking the Sabbath laws. When they brought Him to Pilate, they accused Him of stirring up the people to commit insurrection against Roman authority. One day, they tried to debate with Jesus, accusing Him of driving out demons by the power of Satan. In reply to the charge, He completely destroyed their reasoning.
I believe that the faith healers that we have today are frauds. They benefit from many people who have physical symptoms caused by emotional, mental and spiritual problems. There is a difference between what the faith healers do and how Jesus worked.
Jesus went to people that were sick; they did not always have to come to Him. Today, I would ask faith healers, why not go to the hospitals, to the children’s wards and heal the sick babies and children? Can you only heal in services that promote your ministry and bring in a lot of money? Many times, Jesus asked those that were healed, not to tell anyone who had healed him or her. Often, the person that was healed did not ask or expect healing and there is no indication that they had faith in Jesus. They were healed because Jesus had compassion on them, to glorify God or to get peoples attention.
Removing demons and healing were signs for the Apostles. Today, we have the Bible, an advocate in Jesus Christ and a loving and sovereign God.
In Jesus day, women were treated similar to how they are treated today in some Moslem countries. They were uneducated and could not work, being completely dependent on the husband, family or friends. Jesus was one of the first to value women and make them equal to men. The compassion that He had for them was evident when He raised from the dead the only son of the Widow of Nain and gave him back to her.
Mary Magdalene’s Seven Demons
And also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven devils had come out. (Luke 8:2)
We know a great deal about the disciples because they were the special group of friends that He would entrust His church to. They would even do greater miracles; not greater in magnitude, but in number. But there were others that followed Him. There were the seventy that He sent out and there were the women. They shared an association, even though they were usually on the fringe of the group. Unlike the disciples, they did not have the benefit of His constant presence and His teaching. But they did have a good place in His ministry, and they were with Him until it was finished, attending the cross and the tomb. The Bible does not tell us much about them. But they were very special to Him and He had a double claim on them because He brought healing to their bodies and new life to their souls. In opposition to the customs of Palestine, they followed in His footsteps. Society and religion made them second-class citizens, but Jesus gave them a respected place among His followers.
Mary Magdalene is the most prominent among the women that followed Jesus. However, there are other Marys mentioned in scripture; Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary the sister of Lazarus.
Mary Magdalene was a widow. The name indicates that she was a native of Magdala, a small town along the west coast of Galilee. The town was noted for whoredom, and that was her sin. That she was rescued from seven demons indicates that she was especially maligned. There were other instances where the victim was possessed by more than one demon; for example, the Demoniac of Gedera had a legion of demons within him. Seven demons are also mentioned in Luke 11:26. Here, Jesus tells a parable about a demon that was cast out but returns with seven demons worse than he was.
Mary Magdalene is mentioned many times in scripture and in all four Gospels:
(Luke 7:37) Here, she is said to be a sinful woman. She went into a Pharisee’s house, where Jesus was eating. She washed His feet with her tears, wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured expensive perfume on them. She was unashamed in her act of repentance, gratitude, and worship. Those that have been forgiven much, love Him much.
(Matthew 27:56,61) She was at the foot of the cross, and at the tomb, she helped to prepare His body for burial. She cared for Him, even after He was dead.
(Matthew 28:1) She returned to the tomb, after the Sabbath. There she talked to Him and He gave her a message for the disciples.
(John 20:18) She told the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!”
The women took care of Jesus’ needs, from the few possessions that they had. In 1 Corinthians 9:11, Paul states, “If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest among you?” Their ministry to Him showed the depths of His poverty. His acceptance showed His great humility and how much He needed their kindness. “Though rich, He became poor for our sakes.”
MARY MAGDALENE EXPERIENCED A GREAT CHANGE OF SERVICE, FROM DEMONIC BONDAGE TO THE FREEDOM OF CHRIST.
When you look at the life of Jacob, there is very little to say that he was a good man, until he became an old man. When he was young, he used deception to obtain his brother's birthright and his fathers' blessing. He was a mama’s boy and a coward. He ran from his brother and went to live with his uncle Laban, and he worked for him. He was a poor father, but he knew God and God chose him to be the father of twelve sons, who would become the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. I would not call him a good man and I would not have wanted him for a neighbor, but I only see the outside of any man. God saw his heart and he blessed Jacob so that he became rich while working for Laban. But Laban did not know God, and when Jacob told him that he was going home, Laban turned to Sorcerers for guidance.
Informed By Demons
But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, please stay. I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” (Genesis 30:27)
After the birth of Joseph, Jacob wants to return to his homeland and take his wives and children with him. He has served Laban for the greater portion of his life. He has come to his uncle after running away from his brother, Esau. His desire to return home and see his father before he dies is now more than his fear of Esau.
Laban and Jacob are rich men. Jacob’s flocks had increased, and Laban had benefited from his association with him. Laban said to Jacob, “I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” It was clear to Laban that God blessed Jacob. That blessing included wealth in the form of huge flocks of sheep and goats. Laban thought that he might lose his fortune if Jacob left. There were those who made their living through magic and foretelling the future and that is where Laban claims to have turned for help. His experience should have told him all he needed to know.
He would do anything to keep Jacob there, but God’s plan calls for him to leave Laban and return home. Laban would assemble a force to stop him, but God intervenes.
THE SAFETY OF GOOD MEN HAS VERY MUCH TO DO WITH THE HOLD THAT GOD HAS ON THE CONSCIENCES OF BAD MEN AND THE ACCESS HE HAS TO THEM.
God’s people should avoid Divination, Wee Gee Boards, Astrology, Fortune Telling, etc. because demons use these methods to turn men’s minds from the truth of God’s word. The Word of God should be where we go for instruction for both the present and future.
The sovereign power of God was on display when Jesus was born; otherwise, Satan would have killed Him. After all, He was never more helpless than when He was a baby, yet Satan was silent until he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. There were thirty years of silence as Jesus grew, worked, matured and experienced life as a man. Only one event is recorded during this time, His visit to the temple in Jerusalem when He was twelve years old. Why didn’t Satan and his demons attack Him during this time? Did God prevent them? Did angels surround Him to protect Him? God did not choose to give us any information about Him until He began his ministry at about thirty years of age. I don’t like to speculate, but I believe that there are places that we can go in scripture to help us draw some good conclusions concerning this question.
In the book of Job, it is clear that God set limits on the extent of damage that Satan could do to Job. Elijah had a contest against four hundred prophets of Baal or more correctly it was Elijah plus God versus four hundred prophets of Baal plus Satan plus his demons. God plus anyone is a winner, so guess who won. Jesus told Peter that Satan wanted to “sift” him, but he didn’t, because Peter belonged to Jesus. Satan was powerless against Jesus because He was God the Son. God the Father never left Him until He turned His back on Him as He hung on the cross. There was never a time when Jesus feared Satan. God’s power was never more on display than when Jesus rebuked the demons and they obeyed Him.
When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, He rebuked the evil spirit, He said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” (Mark 9:25)
The transfiguration of Jesus had taken place the night before. Now, Jesus along with Peter, James and John were returning to where they had left the other nine disciples.
(V. 14) When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law were arguing with them.
Jesus saw a large crowd with the disciples. They were very animated and the Scribes were hurling accusations at them.
(v. 15) As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet Him.
Some of the effects of the transfiguration remained on Jesus. Though they would soon fade away, they were visible to the crowd. Perhaps His face was still radiant. When Moses received the Ten Commandments, his encounter with God made his face so radiant that he needed a veil to hide it from the Israelites. (see Exodus 34: 29,30) Jesus appearance was so overwhelming and so unusual that the people were made to wonder about what they saw. They ran to Him filled with excitement and in awe of Him.
(v. 16) “What are you arguing with them about?” He asked.
He asked the crowd, “Why are you so upset with my disciples?” They were only partially trained and were afraid, and meek before the crowd.
(v. 17) A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of his speech.”
The father stepped out of the crowd to answer Jesus. He said that he had brought his son to Jesus because he was possessed. The evil spirit would not even allow him to speak.
(v. 18) “Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
The father continued to tell Jesus all the terrible things that the demon did to his son. In one of the other gospels, he is called a “lunatic”. The demons had total control of the boy and they enjoyed inflicting pain and seeing the family and others agonize over him.
He proclaims to Jesus and before the crowd, that His disciples were not able to drive out the spirit. This not only created doubts about the disciple’s abilities, but some doubted Jesus’ healing powers, also.
(v. 19) “O, unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring me the boy.”
Jesus did not speak to the crowd or to the father, but to the disciples. He chastised them in front of the people, because of their unbelief. They should have had greater faith, by this time. He did not rebuke the crowd, because they were ignorant of His teachings and did not have the privilege of His constant presence among them.
He asked the disciples to bring the boy to him.
(v. 20) So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
The demon recognized Jesus, as was always the case. When the demoniac recognized Jesus, he ran to Jesus and dropped to his knees before Him. This demon wanted to kill the boy, as his final act, before Jesus drove him out.
(v. 21) Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered.
Who would know more about the boy’s condition than his father?
The following conversation takes place, while the boy is having something similar to an epileptic attack.
(v. 22) “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him, but if you can do anything, take pity on us, and help us.”
The father asks help for “us”, because the boy’s condition had affected the whole family. His family loved the boy and they shared his pain. However, after years of suffering, they had come to Jesus. Their situation was hopeless, so now they stand in front of him and ask for pity and help.
Let’s pause for a minute and relate this story to how we come to faith in Christ.
First: He bids us come to Him even while we are enemies. We don’t want to have anything to do with Him, because we love our sin. But He says to the Holy Spirit, “Bring the boy to me.”
Second: Jesus gives us saving faith, drives out our sin and places His robe of righteousness around us.
Third: We are changed. We are no longer enemies but are His children. We now have “right” minds. We are delivered from darkness and into His light. Satan cannot hurt us anymore.
The father says, “If you can do anything.” He has faith, but not enough. He must be lead, by Jesus to take another step of faith.
(v. 23) “If you can,” said Jesus, “everything is possible for him who believes.”
Jesus said, “It is possible.” “I can remove the evil spirit, all you have to do is believe that I can.”
(If you have faith as small as a grain of mustard seed, you can say to that mountain, go through yourself into the sea, and it will.) Our faith does not need to be great, because the one that we have faith in is great, and He can move mountains. And He will drive out the demons.
(v. 24) Immediately, the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.”
This is a great statement by the father. He feels that he lacks faith. And he knows who to ask for the faith that he needs. He is talking to the one that can look into his heart and see his lack of faith. Jesus can see the need and feel the pain. He will supply the faith that the father lacks.
(v. 25) When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, He rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” He said, “I command you, come out of him and do not enter him again.”
Jesus commanded the spirit to leave the boy’s body.
If You Believe In Angels, Believe In Demons - Page 5
(v. 26) The spirit shrieked, convulsing him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He is dead.”
The spirit did not give up easily. It screamed at Jesus and tried one more time to kill the boy. However, it could not resist Jesus. It came out of the boy and the change in him was so great that the boy lay quietly and appeared to be dead.
(v. 27) But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
Jesus showed everyone that he was not dead. He helped him to his feet and gave him back to his father. The crowd was amazed, and some would believe in Him, because of the miracle.
(v. 28) After Jesus had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?’
The disciples wanted to know why they were not able to evict the spirit, so at the first opportunity, they asked Him.
(v. 29) He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
There are some tasks that require unusual preparation. Sometimes we must pray and ask for God’s help. We will fail unless He places His hand on us and guides us.
Jesus’ disciples were unprepared for the evil spirit that was inside the boy and they failed to cast him out. That hurt their standing with the people.
WE WILL NEVER HAVE ENOUGH FAITH, BUT WE KNOW THE ONE IN WHOM WE HAVE BELIEVED AND ARE CONVINCED THAT HE IS ABLE TO KEEP US SAFE UNTIL THAT GREAT DAY WHEN WE ENTER INTO HIS KINGDOM.
Jesus was born in the fullness of time. It was the right time and the exact time for him to appear. Many things had to come together at this time. The Romans conquered the world and established world government, along with law and peace. The Greek language was the prominent language and the Pharisee had emerged to confront Jesus and to stand for everything that religion should not be. John the Baptist walked out on the stage of history to prepare the way for Jesus. The demons and Satan also had to be there. Jesus would become known and build His reputation through supernatural healing and by executing His power over demons. By the act of expelling demons from their suffering hosts, He would get the attention of men.
I love the song, “He Could Have Called Ten Thousand Angels”, because my wife sang it in church on several occasions. The theme of the song is that Christ could have called ten thousand angels to protect Him, but instead, He chose to
die for you and me. I am glad that He was willing to die for me. No one else could and no one else would, not even an angel. There is no other name by which we are saved, only the name of Jesus. I know the name of my savior, it is Jesus. I know the name of my enemy, it is Satan.
Name the Demon
For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit.” Then He asked him, “What is your name?” “My name is Legion”, he replied, “For we are many.” (Mark 5:8,9)
He had attacked men before, running violently at them. It was different this time because Jesus had reached out to him, even as he approached. He slowed down, and at Jesus’ feet, he dropped to his knees. Then Jesus spoke to the demon, inside the man, “Come out of this man, you evil spirit.” He had used His power to free men from demons before. This was deliverance for the possessed. To those that watched, it was a demonstration of the awful power of God. To Satan, it was another defeat and one more time the promise of Genesis 3:15 was true…”He will crush your head and you will bruise His heel.” No one ever had this type of power, before Jesus, and people were amazed by it. Mark 1:27 says, “The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching and with authority. He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey Him.”
Jesus asked the demon’s name and he answered, “My name is Legion.” How many was that? Some say that a Roman Legion was 6,000 men, and others say, 12,500 men. But there were many. There were enough, that later they would enter a great herd of pigs. Their final act would be to hurt men, by destroying their possessions.
Their name is significant because it reveals some things about them:
They were a military power. They are at war against God and His glory, against Christ and his Gospel and against men and their holiness and happiness. Ephesians 6:12 tells us, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Jesus taught that we should not be as concerned about those that can only kill our bodies, but that we should be more concerned about those that can kill both body and soul. Satan is our great enemy and Jesus fought him every time He came across him or his demons.
There were many demons, and they were unified. They spoke as one, “What do we have to do with you.” They did not want to have anything to do with Jesus, because He would destroy them. They did not want His pity, His mercy or His forgiveness. Their only purpose was to hurt man as much as possible and to war against God and His Son. What can we do against a legion of demons? We cannot stand up to them and resist them with our feeble strength. We need help from God. The elect can resist Satan because we can put on the full armor of God, which is Christ in us and us in Christ. How can those that don’t know Christ resist? Where does their help come from? They are helpless and hopeless.
There is order in the army of demons. There are principalities and powers and rulers of the darkness of this world. That means that they have rank. There are commanders and there are warriors and the supreme commander is the Devil. They are loyal to him and obey him.
The elect of God will not fall to Satan or to the forces of evil. We are protected by His power and by His angels.
JESUS USED HIS POWER TO DEFEAT SATAN BY REMOVING DEMONS FROM MEN. THIS POWER WAS IRRESISTIBLE. TODAY, HE USES HIS POWER TO CALL THE ELECT AND TO BRING THEM TO REPENTANCE. IT IS STILL AN IRRESISTIBLE FORCE.
They don’t have bodies of their own, but they possess the bodies of men and animals. Demons gave evil and violent actions to those that they possessed. At times, they would remove the control so that the man would appear normal, but they would return to hurt their victim and anyone else they could reach. They must have a body to control and use.
Demon Use of Bodies
When He arrived at the other side of the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. “What do you want with us, Son of God”, they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us, before the appointed time?” Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.” He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed man. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region. (Matthew 8:28-33)
They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet Him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with chains. For he had often been chained, hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the iron on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones. (Mark 5:1-5)
There had been a storm the night before. The small boat that carried Jesus and the disciples to the shore had almost capsized in the storm. They were glad to stand on firm ground. They had come to a gentile region, although there were still many Jews living in the area. They stood at the edge of a graveyard that was formed from the surrounding mountains. Tombs had been dug into the rock to house the dead bodies.
Almost immediately, two demon-possessed men accosted them. The men were completely deranged. The torment was so complete that the men cried continually and cut themselves with sharp rocks. The people that lived close by knew their violence, and they avoided the tombs for fear of them. The meeting was a surprise to the disciples and to the demons. If they had known that Jesus was coming, they would have left the area.
The demons knew that they could not resist Jesus. They knew who He was. From their question, “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”, the indication is that they knew of the day of judgment and of their fate.
There were pigs being raised close by, therefore they were the property of Gentiles or Jews that were disregarding the Law owned them. The demons begged to be sent into the pigs and Jesus sent them. The demons needed a body of flesh to torment. If they couldn’t have a human body, they would settle for an animal. In the end, they destroyed the animals, either to harm the people who owned them or to bring the anger of their owners to bear on Jesus.
Those that watched the pigs reported all that happened to the owners and the town’s people. The reaction of these people was to ask Jesus to leave. They thought more of their pigs than of the two men delivered from Satan, and now setting calmly with good minds.
ALL MEN LIVE IN THE TOMBS AND ARE CONTROLLED BY SATAN UNLESS GOD CHOOSES TO DELIVER THEM.
Satan Versus Satan
Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered so that He and His disciples were not even able to eat. When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.” And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebub! By the prince of demons, He is driving out demons.” So Jesus called them and spoke to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand, his end has come.” (Mark 3 20-26)
(v. 20) “…..a crowd gathered so that He and His disciples were not able to eat.”
The curious filled the house; they blocked the doorways and filled the street. They wanted to hear Him preach or to have Him heal their sick. He had become so popular that it was hard for Him to find time to eat. In spite of the hunger and fatigue, He would not shut the door, but He left his meal and welcomed them; the sick and the curious.
Those who have a zeal for the work of God must expect hindrances, both from the hatred of enemies and from the mistaken affection of friends.
(v. 21) “When His family heard about this, they went to take charge of Him, for they said, He is out of His mind.”
His mother and brothers had come to Capernaum. They wanted to take him someplace where He could rest and eat properly. Perhaps, they would even take Him back to Nazareth, with them. Their concern for Him was an act of kindness that came from a family’s love. However, if they could, they would confine Him as a madman. To understand their feelings, you will need to see their lack of faith. John 7:5 states, “For even His own brothers did not believe in Him.” They thought that He was carried away with religious enthusiasm and felt that He acted recklessly, without regard for His personal safety and health. Mary, his mother, knows more about him than the others, but she went along with them out of concern for His health.
(v. 22) “And the teachers of the law…..said…..by the prince of demons, He is driving out demons.”
Scribes and Pharisees had come down from Jerusalem. They had great influence with the local people and with the local religious leaders. They had heard a lot about Him and wanted to observe Him and find some way to discredit Him. They could not deny that He had cast out demons, because they had seen it with their own eyes and the people had also been witnesses of this and had seen Him heal the sick. Being unable to deny the miracles, they showed cunning, claiming that His power to dispose of the demons came from Satan. Jesus gave their accusations a thorough reply.
(v. 23) “So Jesus called them…..How can Satan cast out Satan?”
He singled out His accusers. He directed His reply to them by using a parable. Jesus argued not that Satan could not cast out demons, but that he would not. For this would rob him of his greatest achievement, his triumph over the souls and bodies of men. Satan is no fool and he will not act against his own interests.
(v. 24) “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”
A divided kingdom cannot stand, because internal strife will topple it. The Jews should have remembered what happened back in their own history. Israel was split into a northern and a southern kingdom. The split weakened them and both suffered from bad leadership and a turning from God. Eventually, both kingdoms fell to foreign armies. The nation of Israel did not exist from the time of Nebuchadnezzar until the United Nations awarded the Jews a homeland, after World War II.
(v. 25) “If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”
Any family where you find contention and discord will be brought down from a comfortable and flourishing situation to a very distressed one. The New Testament speaks to this when it advises that a believer should not marry an unbeliever. Also, parents learn that they must stand together when dispensing discipline to their children. Otherwise, children learn to play one parent against the other.
(v. 26) “And if Satan opposes himself…..he cannot stand.”
It is Satan’s servants or his followers that Jesus is talking about. If one demon opposes another, his kingdom will not stand. His power and ability will be destroyed both over his own species and over man.
THE GREATEST COMFORT TO THE BELIEVER IS THE KNOWLEDGE THAT WE WILL NEVER STAND ALONE WHEN FACING SATAN OR ONE OF HIS DEMONS. WE CANNOT BE DIVIDED FROM THE ONE THAT DWELLS WITHIN US.
Jesus Accused of Demonism
The Jews accused Him, “Aren’t we right in saying that you are a Samaritan and demon-possessed?”
“I am not possessed by a demon, “ said Jesus, “but I honor my Father and you dishonor me. I am not seeking glory for myself, but there is one who seeks it, and He is the judge. I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death.”
At this time the Jews exclaimed, “Now we know that you are demon-possessed! Abraham died and so did the prophets, yet you say if anyone keeps your word, he will never taste death. Are you greater than our father Abraham? He died, and so did the prophets. Who do you think you are?”
Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My father, who you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know Him, I know Him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know Him and keep His word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.”
“You are not yet fifty years old, “ the Jews said to Him, “and you have seen Abraham!”
“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am.” At this, they picked up stones to stone Him. But Jesus hid Himself, slipping away from the temple grounds. (John 8:48-58)
The Jews accused Jesus of being a Samaritan and of being demon-possessed. His accusers were not the common people but were the Pharisees and Scribes. They had already determined to kill him because He had become extremely popular with the people. They could not accept Jesus as the Messiah. They were too focused on the insignificant matters of the Law to receive His words and miracles for fulfilled prophecy. However, they saw the miracles and the people saw the miracles, so they could not deny them or explain them away. Most of the people did not believe that He was the Messiah, but they believed that He came from God. The Pharisees were helpless to deny the miracles, so they sought to discredit Him before the people and to seize Him and put Him to death.
First, they called Him a Samaritan. This was not true and Jesus didn’t even give a response to the accusation. It was a cruel name that they applied to Him, since the Jews, who even refused to talk to them or to travel through their country, hated Samaritans. (However, today we know Jesus to be the Good Samaritan of the New Testament proverb.)
Jesus does have a reply to the charge that He is possessed by a demon. “I am not possessed by a demon,” He said. The charge has no merit and they have no proof to offer. They resorted to name-calling, hoping that Jesus, who always stood alone before those that would slander Him, would be rattled and make a fatal mistake. Jesus says, ”You dishonor Me.” He does only what the Father tells Him to do. He came to do the will of the Father and this was determined before the foundation of the world. He honors the Father by being obedient and by giving Him glory. Jesus stood with God before the world was created and they shared glory. Yet He gave up that glory to redeem mankind, for the promise of future glory that would be His.
Then Jesus said, “If anyone will keep my word, he will never die.” They did not know that Jesus was talking about the second death that is eternal. Because of Jesus, all men for all time can be freed from sin and have eternal life. They must keep His word. Only Jesus has the words of life.
The Pharisees thought that they had Him now. Abraham was the father of their nation. Abraham and all of the great prophets had died. They had never heard Jesus speak. Can Jesus say that these great, holy men are not in Heaven? The Pharisees claimed to be true to the word of God and to study the scriptures more than anyone, but they did not know the truth about Abraham’s faith. Abraham knew something about Jesus. He had received three promises from God. One was for land, one was that he would be the father of a nation and one was for the Messiah. All of these promises were to be realized by his ancestors, at a future time. These were precious promises to Abraham, but most precious to him was that the Messiah would come from his line. That is why he laughed when told that he would have a son, Isaac. He laughed for joy, not like Sarah, who laughed at the impossibility of her giving birth. Abraham had met Melchizedek and worshiped him as a type of Christ. He was preparing to offer Isaac as a sacrifice when God supplied a ram. Here was a double type of Christ; the offering and the substitution. Abraham’s faith was in the Christ to come and he had an understanding of the nature and purpose of the Messiah.
Jesus told them again that He did not want any recognition for what He said and did. All glory was for the father. Any man that praises himself is a fool and men will not believe him. “It is God, my Father, That glorifies me,” Jesus said. God spoke of Jesus when He said, on two occasions, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus knew God, but the Pharisees did not. They knew only religion, ritual, and the Law. They did not know God or they would have received Jesus as the Messiah. They would have accepted His miracles as the fulfillment of prophecy. If Abraham had been there, he would have rejoiced to see Jesus.
They said, “You are not yet fifty years old, how can you claim to have seen Abraham?” Actually, Jesus was thirty-two or thirty-three, but His hard life and suffering may have shown in his face. He probably had spoken to Abraham, but we have no way of knowing that. But Jesus once again identified Himself with God, when He referred to Himself as, “I am.” God is “I am” in the Old Testament. Jesus and the Holy Spirit were with God before the foundation of the world and they shared His glory.
The Pharisees, Scribes and some of the crowd picked up stones, fully intending to kill Him, but Jesus escaped. Perhaps He hid in the crowd, surrounded by those who did not want Him harmed. Maybe He hid behind the pillars. He could have caused their eyes not to see him or prevented them from raising their hands. There was no fear here. His time had not yet come.
JESUS IS HATED BY MEN BECAUSE THEY DO NOT WANT TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH HIM OR WITH GOD OR WITH GOD’S MERCY, LOVE, AND FORGIVENESS. ONLY GOD CAN CAUSE A MAN TO TURN TO JESUS.
Identified By Demons
Then He went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at His teaching because His message had authority. In the synagogue, there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, “Ha!, What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!” “Be quiet”, Jesus said sternly. “Come out of him!” Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, “What is this teaching? With authority and power, He gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!” And this news about Him spread throughout the surrounding area. (Luke 4:31-36)
The city of Capernaum had been His home, since He had left Nazareth, due to their unbelief. (In Matthew 11:57, Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own town and his own house.) Nazareth was high up in the hills, but Capernaum was located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.
It was His custom to go to the synagogue on the Sabbath, so there He was, explaining the scriptures and instructing them in doctrine. Today, they were astonished at His doctrine and at the way that He preached. He taught differently than the Scribes and Pharisees. Their words were cold and indifferent, but He spoke with great fervency, majesty, and authority. He was uneducated, but spoke without fear and was not intimidated by them, unlike the Scribes and Pharisees, who looked to others for approval. His words reached to their hearts that had been made ready by the Holy Spirit. He confirmed His words by miraculous works; by casting out demons and by curing disease.
His miracles showed Him to be the conqueror of Satan and revealed some interesting things about Satan and demons:
Satan is an unclean spirit, the exact opposite of the Holy God.
This unclean spirit works in the bodies of men to contaminate them and to ultimately destroy them.
It is possible that some in the synagogue may have been under the influence of Satan.
Even demons believe that Jesus is the Holy One of God, sent by God.
They believe and tremble. They cry out with a loud voice, because they fear judgment and that Christ has come to destroy them.
They don’t want to have anything to do with Jesus. They do not want His mercy and forgiveness. They would never repent. If possible, they will avoid Him.
Christ has him in check. He forced him to be silent, against his will.
The demon showed the crowd, what he would have done when he threw the man to the ground with great force and fury. He would have dashed the man to pieces if Jesus had not intervened. Christ showed His power by forcing the demon to leave without doing great damage to the man. Those who Satan cannot destroy, he will do all that he can to hurt, but this is our comfort, he can harm them no further than Christ permits.
Christ’s power over demons was universally acknowledged and no one doubted His miracles. Even Satan is His servant and trembles before Him.
His power over demons, as much as anything, gained Christ a reputation and spread His fame.
There was one man in the synagogue that had a demon. The demon reacted to Jesus’ presence…..(v. 34) “Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked the demon, not the demon-possessed. The demon caused convulsions and great pain, but did not wound the man in any part of his body or take away the use of any of his limbs; much less hurt his soul. He intended to do all of these things, but Jesus prevented him.
Those that were first amazed at His doctrine, were now amazed at the miracle. They said, “What word is this?”, referring to the doctrine that is combined with power and miracles-commanding unclean spirits and they come out.
(v. 41) Moreover, demons came out of many people shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But He rebuked them and would not allow them to speak. Because they knew He was the Christ.
They did not come out willingly but by the word and command of Christ. He rebuked them and told them not to speak because He did not need their testimony and He did not want to be made known by the mouths of demons. His time had not yet come for such a demonstration to be made, and they were not the types of persons to make it. If the demons were to declare him Messiah, the Scribes and Pharisees could say that He was united with them and that He cast out demons by the power of the Prince of Demons.
They said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of God.” But they said it crying out with rage and indignation. It was like the cry of a man being tortured.
NO MAN WILL CONFESS THAT CHRIST IS THE SON OF GOD UNLESS GOD REVEALS IT TO HIM. DEMONS WILL DECLARE THIS WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING, BEFORE HE DESTROYS THEM.
Whenever the evil spirits saw Him, they fell down before Him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”
The Jews believed that when a person died, his spirit stayed around for some time. Some of these spirits were thought to be troublesome. They believed that the spirits of evil people invaded the bodies of men and women. These spirits were believed to be under the control of Satan, the ultimate evil.
Jesus personalized the evil spirits by calling to them. They had names. Sometimes, more than one evil spirit inhabited a man, as was the situation with the demon-possessed man of Ganeserat. There a Legion of demons was released into a herd of pigs.
Disease and demons were handled differently by Jesus. Disease was often cured by His touch or by someone touching Him. However, demons were commanded to leave the person that they tortured.
Demons knew Jesus. They knew that He was the Son of God and they knew why He had come. They trembled in His presence. They cried out, begging for mercy, but there was no mercy for them that were beyond mercy.
“They fell down before Him.” They were aware of His power and authority. They could not resist Him when He told them to leave. Genesis 3:15 says that He will bruise the head of the serpent. He bruised Satan’s head by expelling his demons.
DEMONS RECOGNIZE AND FEAR CHRIST, BUT MAN WILL NEVER KNOW CHRIST UNLESS GOD BIDS HIM TO COME TO FAITH IN CHRIST.
Authority over Evil
Now in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)
The love of God has saved us, justified us, sanctified us and sealed us for all eternity. Paul declares in these verses that the chosen of God, the elect, cannot be separated from God by anything.
(v. 37) “Now, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
“All these things” is the list of things that follow in verses 38 and 39. There are many things that try to separate us from the love of God. Some may separate us from communion with Him, but not from His love. The “Him who loved us” is God the Father and God the Son. They loved us while we were still enemies; they loved us from the foundation of the world. The love of God is passed through the Son, who sits at the right hand of God, and forever makes intercession for us. In His love for the elect, he did not even spare His own son, who died for our sins. He made such a great sacrifice to bring us to Him; can we have any doubt that He will give us all things that are good for us? All other gifts are insignificant compared to the one that He has already given. Can we have any doubt that He will protect us from evil and from the evil powers that are all around us? We are more than conquerors because He has already conquered. We are victors because He has given us what is important. He has given us eternal life, He has justified us to God, He sanctifies us through the Holy Spirit and He intercedes for us with God. We are more than conquerors because we count it all joy when there are trials and persecutions in our life. We are not of this world and do not count it a loss when worldly pleasures are taken away. Even death loses its sting. We are more than conquerors because Christ was sent by God to die on the cross for our sins. He paid our debt. He was buried, He was raised from the dead and He ascended into Heaven to be with His Father. He is a conqueror and in Him, we are more than conquerors.
(v. 34) “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers”
This is not hope. It is a conviction of the believer, that nothing can separate him from God’s love.
“Neither death nor life” Death only separates body and soul. The soul is carried up to God by His angels. There is rejoicing in Heaven when a believer’s soul is received. The things of this life, such as power, fame and wealth stay here. Jesus said that we are to store up our treasures in Heaven and that we are to do good works to others.
“Neither angels nor demons” Even if angels were to come preaching a false doctrine, that could not separate us. Demons, as angels of Satan, cannot separate us from God. They may inflict us only for a moment, with divine permission.
“Neither the present nor the future” There is nothing presently in existence that can separate us from God. Also, there is nothing being developed for that purpose. God is sovereign and knows all things, even the future.
“Nor powers” There are heavenly powers, worldly powers and Satanic powers. None of these can separate us from the love of God; not angels (good or bad), not governors, not kings, not presidents, not even Satan and his army of demons.
(v. 39) Neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Neither height nor depth” There is nothing in Heaven above or in the earth below that can separate us.
“In all creation” There is no created creature that can separate us. We can’t even separate ourselves from God. We can only hurt our fellowship with Him by neglect or disobedience.
“The love of God in Christ Jesus our lord” God’s love for us had expression in Christ Jesus. We have proof of His love because for our sakes He made Him to be sin for us. He did not spare His only begotten Son. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Who can change the eternal purpose of God, who called us and predestined us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son?
“He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all-how will He not also, along with Him give us all things.” (Romans 8:32)
“Who will bring any charge against those who God has chosen? It is God who justifies.” (Romans 8:33)
How can we who are the children of God think that He will do anything but good for us? (Remember that the good father will correct his children.) We expect good from our earthly fathers, how much more can we expect good from our Heavenly Father. He will not forget us who are engraved in the palms of His hands.
FOR GOD’S ELECT THERE IS NO MORE GLORIOUS EXPECTATION THAN WE ARE HIS ETERNALLY AND THAT NOTHING CAN SEPARATE US FROM HIS LOVE.
A Spirit of Infirmity
And behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could no wise lift herself up.
And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said to her, “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.”
And He laid His hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. (Luke 13:11-13)
There is a disease called Osteoporosis that will cause the backs of women to be bent, but this woman is described as “bowed together”. She was stared at and drew comments from everyone that saw her. She had lived like this for eighteen years. She was probably an old woman but appeared even older than her age. We don’t know much about her. I assume that she had sought help. Had she spent all that she had on doctors? Did she have a husband or children? Was there ever a time that she was without pain? What caused her condition? Jesus tells us in verse 16, “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan had bowed, lo, eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?”
Satan had inflicted this woman. Satan placed the “spirit of infirmity” in her. This could have been a demon or disease. I believe that a demon bent her together and kept her that way for all those years. Demons hurt those that they inhabit and would destroy them if they could. Often the symptoms that the demon-possessed show is the same as the disease, but today Jesus is not calling people to Him for healing. He cannot lay His hands on the sick as He did this woman. So what are we to do?
We are told to pray for those that are sick. It doesn’t matter if disease or demons are the cause. The cure is the same regardless of the cause. Where do you draw the line between those cured by modern medicine and those that experience divine healing? The best doctors say, “I have done all I can, the rest is up to God.”
We are saved because God is merciful and we are healed from disease and delivered from demonic control if that is His will.
Notice that this woman praised God for her miraculous healing. We should praise Him because He is Holy God and we should bring to Him every care, situation, and concern. He may choose to deliver us from sickness or demon power.
Philip Drives out Demons
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ to them,
And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did,
For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. (Acts 8:5-7)
Philip was not one of the Apostles, but he was appointed a deacon along with Steven and five others. Steven and Philip are the only ones, of this group, that we know anything about. Steven became the first Christian Martyr and preached one of the greatest sermons recorded in the Bible. God used Philip to take the Gospel to an Ethiopian, who after he was saved, established the first great Christian church. Philip and Steven were average men. The requirement for the office of deacon given in Acts 6:3, was that they must be honest men, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.
For Philip, the ability to drive out demons was given to him for a sign. He was accepted as a Christian leader, because of the miracles. It was his badge of authority.
The demons came out of their victims crying in torment when Philip gave the command. The gifts of healing and power over demons were for the Apostles and their first-century deacons. It was the sign of their authority, so men would listen to them. These abilities died with them. After that, the authority became the Word of God, the Bible. Today, we recognize the man of God by his ability to preach the truth, as given in scripture.
Simon the Sorcerer
Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great,
And all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, this man is the divine power known as the Great Power.”
They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. (Acts 8:9-11)
He set himself up as a great one. We find the same sort of thing today. If someone claims to be a Faith Healer, he sets himself apart from other people as being more spiritual and preferred by God. They may make an attempt at being humble, but there is no humility in a service where a preacher is supposedly healing people and implying that he is the only person in the building who can. That is “boasting that he is someone great” as Simon the Sorcerer did.
Those people believed that Simon the Sorcerer was a god. Just like these people in Samaria, there are a great many people today, which are bewitched. Faith Healers, Cult Leaders, and certain Christian preachers set themselves up to be the focus of their ministry. Their gifts are what is important and the Gospel is given little attention. Men do not ask for salvation but come for physical healing. Satan and his demons promote this type of ministry because it stops people from knowing Jesus as Savior or in the case of believers, Jesus is not Lord, only the dispenser of miracles.
Do not be bewitched by any man today, even if he claims to be preaching the word of God. Look at his life and his message to see if they measure up to the word of God. When we get our eyes on man, we take them off the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what the people in Samaria did.
Beaten by Demons
Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”
Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish Chief Priest, were doing thus,
One day, the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”
Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. (Acts 19:13-16)
These Jews had witnessed what Paul could do. He was healing people of disease and driving out demons in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. What was more amazing, was that healing was accomplished through handkerchiefs that had been touched by Paul, and people were laid in the streets and healed when Paul’s shadow passed over them. This was exciting and miraculous and drew thousands to hear Paul preach and see the miracles.
Here there were some priests that tried to duplicate what Paul was doing. They commanded demons to come out in the name of Jesus. They had some success, but one day an evil spirit spoke back to them, “Jesus I know, and I know Paul, but who are you?” This does not imply knowledge by faith. It simply means that the evil spirit knew who Jesus was.
The plan of the seven sons of Sceva backfired on them. The demon-possessed man jumped on them and gave them a terrible beating. They ran away naked and bleeding. This must have been embarrassing and certainly damaged their reputation.
Today, there are many Faith Healers. Has their ministry benefited their community or the nation? What good is their ministry to those that are lost? Does their ministry glorify God and present the Gospel? Does it fulfill the Great Commission, given by Christ, just prior to His ascension into Heaven?
A Christian should be known by his fruits and a ministry must also bear fruit; that is the fruit of saved souls. When you inspect the fruit of the Faith Healer’s ministry, look for the preaching of the Gospel, and a focus on loving God and serving Him. Are these present, or do the preacher and his special gifts take center stage?
Even Demons are subject to Your Name
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” (Luke 10:17)
He appointed seventy-two men to go ahead of Him, to every place that He would be going in the future. Their assignment was to move quickly, from house to house and town to town, and to prepare the residents for Jesus to come to them. They had the power to heal the sick and this would be a sign for the people.
When they returned to Jesus, they could report, “that even the demons submit to us in your name.” They were inspired and energized by what they were able to do. This service made them feel proud of themselves and they had a joyful celebration. There were a lot of stories to tell and I believe all of them had a turn at relating the great things that they had done, but Jesus had some words that brought them back to earth. He said, “However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in Heaven.” (Luke 10:20) What is important to you? Rejoice, if your name is recorded in Heaven. That thought should signal joy for every child of God. I believe that the book He referred to is a real book, the Lamb’s Book of Life, spoken of in the book of Revelations. If your name is written in that book, you belong to Jesus and are His for eternity, sealed against attack by Satan and his demons. Our joy should come from the knowledge that we are loved by Almighty God, out Father, because we have been reconciled to Him through Christ’s death on the cross.
Those who deny that there are beings that are called demons have to disregard a lot of scripture, but they must also ignore the testimony of Jesus. We must, therefore, accept that spirit beings, demons, serve the Devil. The Bible has so much to say about them, that God must want us to understand what they are and to take comfort in His power over them. I believe that they are most active where Christianity is not firmly planted and that great cruelty, sickness, violence, poverty, and fear mark their presence. They cause severe hardship and harm to people.
I don’t believe that I have ever felt the presence of a demon. I was saved when I was nine and Jesus has protected me from this evil.
God has prepared a place for Satan and his angels to spend eternity. It is called “The Lake of Fire”. The time is set for their end, but only God knows when it will be. Until that time Paul tells us to “Put on the full armor of God” and also to “Resist the Devil and he will flee from you”. These words are for the Child of God, therefor make sure of your salvation. Pray and ask God to forgive your sins. He said He would, if you ask and believe in His Son; believe that Jesus died for your sins, was buried and was restored to life. It is so simple. You bring nothing but your sins and God does the rest. We need to know our enemy, but even more, we need to know the Savior. I hope that this brief discourse on demons will lead some to Jesus and help others to know the enemy.
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