II. LIFE OF JESUS
The coming of Jesus Christ was the invasion of the kingdom of Satan by the kingdom of God in the person of the true King. His incarnation was an infiltration, a landing behind enemy lines. The enemy mustered all the opposition it could to stop Him. He came to rescue mankind which had been held captive in sin since the time of Adam and Eve. He provided the only way man could get out of bondage. Jesus came to end Satan’s undisputed rule (Matthew 12:28-29). Darkness fought against the Light, but praise God the light was greater (John 1:5; 3:19; 8:12)!
- BIRTH OF JESUS
- JESUS GOES PUBLIC
- SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN JESUS’ MINISTRY
- JESUS’ FIRST DELIVERANCE (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37)
Spiritual warfare training questions.
- TEST OF TRUE DISCIPLESHIP (Matthew 7:21-23)
- FILLING THE HOUSE (Matthew 12:43-45)
- SNATCHING TRUTH AWAY (Mark 4:3-34; Mat 13:1-15; Luke 8:4-13)
- GADARENES DEMONIAC (Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34; Lk 8:26-37)
Spiritual warfare training questions.
- POWER & AUTHORITY GIVEN (Luke 9:1; 10:1,17-18)
- DEMONIZING OF CHILDREN (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30)
- DELIVERANCE FAILURE (Mat 17:14-19; Luke 9:37-45; Mark 9:14-29)
- THOSE WHO DO IT DIFFERENTLY (Mark 9:38-40; Luke 9:49-50)
Spiritual warfare training questions.
- AUTHORITY TO BIND, LOOSE (Mat 16:13-19; Mk 8:27-29; Lk 9:18-20)
- SATAN ATTACKS THRU OTHERS (Mt 16:21-23; Lk 9:22-27)
- JUDAS IS SATANIZED (John 6:70)
- LAYING ON OF HANDS (Luke 13:10-17)
- JESUS’ FIRST DELIVERANCE (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37)
- SPIRITUAL WARFARE IN JESUS’ FINAL WEEK
400 SILENT YEARS ⇑
For four hundred years, since they were taken into foreign captivity, the Jews languished in defeat and bondage, first to the Greeks, then to the Romans but always to Satan and his forces. The people living in those days were well aware that the world was full of supernatural forces: angels to accomplish good and evil spirits to promote and perpetuate sin. They attributed sin, sickness and even accidents to the work of demons.
According to the Jewish Talmud, the Jews living at the time when Jesus came to earth believed that evil spirits were innumerable. The air was packed tight with them. Many incantations or charms were available to exorcise demons from parts of one’s house, food or person. Blindness, headaches, epilepsy, leprosy, croup, fever, forgetfulness, nightmares, depression, madness, diseases of the brain, and diseases of the inner parts of the body were all thought to be caused by demons. The techniques used by the Jews to cast out spirits included curses, trumpets, fumigations, angelology, herbs (roots), incantations, poems, music, talismans, magical stones, invocations, the laying on of hands with prayer, and adjurations (verbal commands). Justin, an early church leader and writer reported that the Jews were only able to have success in driving out demons when they did it in God’s name, but even then they didn’t have nearly the success the new followers of Jesus had.
JESUS’ BIRTH (Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2) ⇑
Jesus’ birth was truly an infiltration of enemy-occupied territory, a landing behind the lines of a baby who would change everything. While the accounts of Jesus’ birth speak of a quiet, peaceful event, reading between the lines shows there was much conflict involved both in heaven and on earth. The news of Mary’s pregnancy before the consummation of her marriage with Joseph clearly led to community rejection. Strong opposition to Jesus’ coming is seen in the fact that there was no comfortable place to stay in Bethlehem, the religious leaders failed to come see the baby even though they knew when and where He was born (Matthew 2:1-7), and Herod’s attempted to kill Him (Matthew 2:16).
There were others who were very willing to recognize this baby as God Himself come to earth. God affirmed Jesus’ deity through the words of Gabriel to Mary, Joseph and the shepherds. Each of them believed. Simeon and Anna in the temple knew who He was, and the Magi from the east were clear confirmations that God had come to earth in the form of a baby (Matthew 1:18-2:12).
JESUS’ BAPTISM (Matthew 3:1-17) ⇑
To escape being killed by Herod, Joseph took Mary and Joseph to Egypt for several years. Then, in obedience to God’s direction, he took his little family back to Nazareth (Matthew 2:13-23). The only event recorded during Jesus’ childhood was when He went to the temple at the age of 12 (Luke 1:41-52). We have no way of knowing how much Jesus understood of His origins or future while growing up. We can confidently assume He grew up experiencing all the feelings, emotions and temptations any normal human being would go through (Hebrews 4:15; 2:18). He voluntarily chose not to use any part of His deity which would have made His life as a human any easier (Philippians 2:7); He laid aside all knowledge and power, the ability to be present anywhere, anything that would have given him an advantage that other human beings did not have. Clearly, though, He grew up with a deep faith and attained a clear understanding of God’s Word through study and training (Luke 2:52).
It’s hard to know just how aware He was of His deity and purpose in coming, but there is no doubt the angels and demons were quite aware. Jesus didn’t get married when other boys would have (late teens or early twenties) but stayed single, knowing God had something else for Him. When He reached thirty (Luke 3:23), the age when young men would enter the priesthood, He felt God’s Spirit leading Him to leave His family and home and go to where His cousin John the baptizer was preaching (Luke 1:1-60).
While He was there He publically committed Himself to the work He had volunteered for before the world was created – providing redemption for us (Ephesians 1:3-4). This was the only way God could give us a free will yet still have us in heaven with Him. He became our substitute, our sacrifice, the “lamb of God” as John calls Him (John 1:29, 36). When He was baptized God Himself affirmed His approval and sent the Holy Spirit to fill Jesus in a special way and enable Him to do the work of the Messiah/Christ (Luke 3:21-22).
While the people watching Him be baptized by John may not have been aware of the great significance of what was happening, the spiritual forces, both angelic and demonic, were totally aware of what was occurring. The enemy knew what they must do – defeat the Messiah before He defeats them! The battle was on.
LESSON FOR TODAY: When God calls us to come follow Him and serve Him, there is a time we need to make that commitment public. It could be by baptism or some other way of letting others know of our promise to live for Him and follow Him in all we do. This usually brings opposition. Even Jesus was greatly attacked after His baptismal statement of commitment.
JESUS’ TEMPTATION (Matthew 4:1-11) ⇑
Immediately following His baptism Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit, the ‘dove’ who had just descended on Him, into the desert (Matthew 4:1). He needed time to focus on what was about to come, to strengthen His spirit and commitment. He needed time alone with His Father, something that would happen time after time during His earthly life. After 40 days of fasting and praying Jesus was tempted by Satan. Whether He waited because God restrained him or because he wanted to hit Jesus when He was weakest is unknown. Satan, who had been opposing God’s plan of redemption from the beginning (Genesis 3:14-15), now focuses his attacks on Jesus.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Note that Jesus was in the perfect center of God’s will when He was tempted, for God Himself led Him to the desert (Matthew 4:1). Being tempted to sin does not mean we are out of God’s will or not following closely to Him. Often the opposite is true, like with Jesus. It is because we are following God closely that we are attacked the hardest. Be aware so you aren’t take by surprise. Don’t think it is a bad sign that you are tempted. Being attacked is actually a good sign for Satan only attacks those who are doing damage to his kingdom. When you aren’t being attacked is the time to make sure you haven’t drifted from the conflict (Luke 6:26).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Note that Satan attacks immediately, as soon as Jesus commits to doing God’s will by being baptized. For us, too, the attacks come when we move in the direction of following God. When we are not as close to God, Satan and his forces leave us alone, but when our devotion increases so do the enemy’s attacks. We soon discover that when we fade a bit in our walk with the Lord then the pressure decreases, tempting us to follow God, but not quite so closely!
LESSON FOR TODAY: Notice, too, that this battle with Satan was God’s perfect will for Jesus. “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (Matthew 4:1). God does not prevent our battles, no matter how hard we pray for that to happen, but He does help us through them. So it is better to focus on fighting them in His strength than looking for ways to avoid them. They are part of God’s will for us because they strength us and show us that His grace is sufficient, as was true of the Jews fighting for the Promised Land behind Joshua’s leadership.
LESSON FOR TODAY: The place where Jesus was sent by God to fast, pray and battle Satan was the “desert,” considered the abode of demons (Matthew 12:43). Sometimes God leads us into strongholds of Satan’s so we can do battle for Him, knowing we can experience have victory through His power (I John 4:4). We aren’t to run from such encounters but face them with His strength.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Fasting can be a useful tool in spiritual warfare, not because our suffering earns God’s pity so He is more apt to answer our prayers, but because it is a way of denying our flesh and putting spiritual things before personal needs. It clears our mind and helps us focus on the battle at hand. Hunger reminds us of our weakness, our need of His strength and it reminds us to pray. It frees up more time to spend in prayer as well. We must be sure God wants us to fast before we do so, and we must use wisdom in what kind of a fast it is and how long it lasts, but it is a weapon we should make us of. Jesus used it often.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Jesus faced these human temptations as a man just like us. He did not rely on His deity to make it through. He was attacked just as Adam had been, but unlike Adam He did not sin and therefore He won back what Adam lost (Romans 5:12-21). We, too, can have victory through God’s power, just as Jesus did. The same resouce is available to us!
The first temptation was for physical needs – Jesus was hungry after 40 days of not eating. Jesus could turn the stones to bread, but that was not God’s will. This was a legitimate need but not God’s way of meeting it.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Sin is using an illegitimate way to meet a legitimate need. Hunger is a legitimate need, but Jesus must meet it in God’s way, not is his own or Satan’s way. When tempted look for the legitimate need behind it (peace, comfort, companionship, joy, etc.) and seek to have that need met God’s way instead of taking a ‘shortcut’ that is sinful.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Building on what was just said, the fact that we have a legitimate need doesn’t mean it has to be immediately met. The very common “entitlement mentality” today seems to say we should have everything we want as soon as we want it, and that parents, God, the government, or life itself owes it to us! That is a very unbiblical attitude and quite dangerous. In fact, it’s the very lie Satan used with Eve in Eden – “You are entitled to this fruit!”
Jesus had victory over Satan’s temptations by quoting God’s Word each time He was tempted. That is the only way to have victory. Jesus knew the Bible well enough to quote the book of Deuteronomy three times.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Quoting Scripture is our best weapon against Satan’s attacks against us as well. Paul says our only offensive weapon is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17). Psalm 119:9-11 tell us that it’s through God’s Word that we have victory. When thoughts or temptations you don’t want come into your mind, use Scripture to have victory. There is power in God’s Word that is lacking in our own words (Hebrews 4:12). Reminding demons of God’s truth shows them they must submit to it, and helps us put our faith in Him and not give in to the lie behind the temptation. It allows our mind to explain reality to our emotions. Always have some verses that speak to your situation memorized or written down where you can reference them at any time. Use them as soon as you sense opposition coming against your thoughts.
The second temptation Satan used was an appeal to Jesus’ pride. He was due recognition from all so Satan suggested an easy way to get it – by throwing Himself down from the highest part of the temple and letting angels come rescue Him in the sight of the watching crowds. If Satan wanted to defeat Jesus, why would he offer to help Him have everyone come worship Him? While this might have seemed like something that would benefit Jesus, it really was a subtle way to give him recognition without having to go to the cross. This would have been a short-cut to His Kingship – giving Him the throne of Israel without having to go through the agony of crucifixion. But if He had taken this route, then there would be no salvation for us – and that was exactly why Satan tempted Him in this way. He was willing for Jesus to have His temporary throne on earth as long as He didn’t pay for our sins in the process.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Pride is what motivted Satan to sin and rebel against God (Isaiah 14:13-14). It is still one of his best tools against us today (1 Timothy 3:6). There is no short-cut to maturity or spirituality, no easy way to grow. The way up is down. God exalts those who humble themselves (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). He humbles those who exalt themselves (Luke 18:14). Pride is self-centeredness, a focus on ones self. It is pride if we think we are better than others or if we think we are worse than others. Either extreme is pride, an inordinate attention to self. Either extreme is wrong. Satan doesn’t care which direction he gets us to fall as long as we fall!
Satan’s third temptation was a final desperate measure. He put it all on the line, something he didn’t have to do with Adam and probably didn’t want to do with Jesus. But everything was at stake so he offered Jesus ruler ship of the whole world if Jesus would bow down to Satan. Ruler ship of the world was what Jesus had come to win back, and Satan was offering to give it to Jesus for free. But there was one condition – Jesus would have to recognize Satan as His authority instead of God the Father. Again we see that the end does not justify the means.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Satan seems to offer people today everything they want if they turn to this world system. He received ownership from Adam of the world system of values and motives as it operates today (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11). He tries to get us to think that we, too, can have everything we want. Adam and Eve believed this lie, and many today believe it as well. But it is a lie. It is Satan’s bait to trap people into bondage.
When Satan was unable to defeat Jesus after three tries he left, and the angels came to minister to Jesus (Matthew 4:11). Satan wasn’t done, though. Luke 4:13 says he left but would return at an “opportune time.” He is never done, he never stops working against Jesus.
LESSON FOR TODAY: There will be lulls in demonic oppression against us. Often it seems oppression comes in cycles or waves. Some times things are very difficult, then it seems the attacks get milder or even disapear for awhile. But they always return. We will never have ultimate, total victory in this life. If you are going through a difficult time remember that it will one day lessen. If you are not going through a time of challenges and attackes, be prepared for when it returns. Don’t be surprised or discouraged when it returns, either. Use this rest time to refresh and prepare for the battle when it starts again.
While Satan continued to harass Jesus, especially through his demons, no direct overt attack is recorded until Jesus is halfway through His ministry, about a year and a half after Jesus’ baptism and temptation.
JESUS’ FIRST DELIVERANCE (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37) ⇑
Jesus had proclaimed Himself as the Messiah (‘Christ’) for two years. Some responded but most turned away, following the lead of the religious rulers who completely rejected Jesus and His claims. He did miracles to authenticate His authority and to show His power. If He can heal a body then He can certainly heal a soul as well.
One day Jesus went to Capernaum (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37), His new home and the home of several of His disciples. While teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath a demonized man cried out, “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!” (Mark 1:24) Jesus commanded the demon to be quiet and leave the man, which he did after shaking the man and causing a loud shriek to be heard. Naturally, everyone was amazed and word of this soon spread throughout the whole area. With this event the battle between Satan and Jesus moved to a new level.
LESSON FOR TODAY: The Greek word δαιμονίζομαι (“demonizing“) refers to one who is heavily impacted by demons. It is used 15 times in the New Testament. The term “demonizing” does not differentiate between possession (demons within) or influence (demons without). God doesn’t make that clarification or distinction, and we shouldn’t try to make it, either. We don’t need to know the exact extent of demonizing, just that it is taking place. The cause is the same, as are the symptoms and so is the cure In the spiritual realm there are no clear-cut divisions like we try to make (demons ‘within’ or ‘without’, etc.). There are, of course, degrees of demonizing depending on the person, the demons involved, the access, and other factors, but it isn’t always possible or necessary to pinpoint what is ‘without’ and what is ‘within’.
Other words the Bible uses for ‘demonizing’ are “entered in” (as when Satan entered into Judas – John 13:27) and “filled” (Acts 5:5 about Ananias and Saphira, the same word that is used of believers being filled with the Holy Spirit). The common denominator is that the person being demonized usually doesn’t separate his own consciousness from the demonic influence. He assumes that the thoughts and feelings the demon feeds him are his own. A person always has a free will to turn to God for help, but when followed these demonic impulses bring one deeper and deeper into bondage. Perhaps demonizing can be better understood by thinking of it as a kind of spiritual hypnotism from within. Hypnotism of any kind is something for God’s people to avoid (Psalm 54:4-5; Joshua 1:8; Philippians 4:8).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Demons can impact believers as they do unbelievers. Note that the demonized man was not a pagan who worshipped Satan. He was a faithful Jew who regularly attended synagogue, someone familiar to the people there and whom no one previously had suspected of being demonized. Probably he wasn’t aware that the struggles he had in life were caused by demons. This happened at other times as well (Mark 5:39). While we don’t know this man’s exact spiritual state, this still brings up the question of believers being demonized. While there is general agreement that unbelievers can be demonized, some don’t believe that can happen to believers because believers belong to Jesus. That is true, but demonizing doesn’t imply ownership, just influence.
As long as we are in this body we still have a sin nature, a capacity to sin just the same as we did before salvation. Salvation creates a new spiritual nature within us. But the old capacity to sin still remains. It is in this area, this sin nature, this capacity to sin, that demons work. Salvation does not remove our capacity to sin (sin nature) but gives us a new nature so we don’t have to sin but can live in obedience to God. Believers can still sin after salvation as they did before. It is in this area of our ‘flesh’ or sin nature that demons work. Our new nature is greater but doesn’t take away our free will choice to still function in our sin nature. Paul’s struggle as recorded in Romans 7 describes this well.
The Bible makes no distinction between believers and unbelievers as far as demonizing is concerned. In fact, the Bible refers to many believers who were demonized: Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a demon (II Corinthians 12:7), King Saul was a believer (I Samuel 11:6) and was obviously demonized (I Samuel 16:14-23), David was motivated by Satan to take a census of the people (I Chronicles 21:1ff; II Samuel 24:1ff), Ananias and Saphira were believers (Acts 4:32-35) but allowed Satan to “fill” them (Acts 5:3), and Peter was Satan’s spokesman in tempting Jesus to not go to the cross (Matthew 16:23). Paul warns believers to not give Satan a “foothold” in their life (Ephesians 4:26-27), showing such a thing is possible. Jesus Himself called deliverance “the children’s bread” (Matthew 15:22-28), meaning it was for His children. A Christian can receive another spirit (II Corinthians 11:2-4) and there are other examples of believers being demonized (Luke 13:10-16; I Corinthians 5:4-5). Christians are warned to guard against this (I Peter 5:8-9; Ephesians 6:10-18).
A believer belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. Satan cannot own him as he did before salvation (I John 4:4), but he can still influence him, “demonize” him. When the words ‘possessed’ or ‘oppressed’ are used, then the question is asked if a believer can be ‘possessed.’ To answer that then ‘possessed’ must be defined. The Bible simply does not define it, nor does it even talk about ‘possession’ – just ‘demonizing’ which means being influenced by a demon.
A Christian has every right and resource to be free from this demonizing, however. Property which you own can be trespassed on by another person, but you have every right and resource to put him off your property. You just need to learn how to do it. That’s what spiritual warfare is all about.
LESSON FOR TODAY: It is not coincidental that it was Jesus’ presence and teaching that caused the demon to react (see also Mark 5:39). When Jesus is lifted up and His Word communicated, demons who are present will be affected for they can’t stand to hear these things. Correct teaching of God’s Word is essential for a church or individual to grow spiritually. Don’t be surprised when it stirs up opposition against a person, family or church. Satan will do what he can to silence it, to keep the light from shining in his kingdom of darkness.
LESSON FOR TODAY: How many demons were involved in this incident? “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!” Usually there is more than one demon involved when someone is demonized, there is a structured organization. Satan organizes his demons in the same manner God has angels organized – in a military-like structure. These are similar to generals, colonels, majors, lieutenants, sergeants, corporals, privates, etc. (Ephesians 6:12). Usually a “strong man” (or ruler) is assigned to a task, and he has lesser demons under his command to help in the work (Matthew 12:25-29; Daniel 10:2-6, 12-14). The names of these demons usually refer to their work (“Fear,” “Anger,” “Lust,” “Pride,” “Deception,” etc.). In this case the ruling demon is the one speaking (“I”) for the others who are part of the group working against this man (“us”).
LESSON FOR TODAY: While the demon(s) in this man try to bait Jesus into communicating with them, He refuses to do so. Do not converse with demons, either by having them give messages to a person’s mind or to speak verbally through a person’s vocal cords. The object in deliverance is not to get in contact with demons but to remove them. It is not to get them to speak but to cause them to be silent! Communication with them makes you a medium and God’s words forbids that (Deuteronomy 18:9-13).
There are good reasons God forbids communication with them. Neither Jesus (Mark 1:25) nor Paul would (Acts 16:17) encouraged them to speak. They are liars and deceivers (John 8:44) and you can’t believe what they say. God wants you to be in touch with Him only (Deuteronomy 4:24). Through the Holy Spirit we have access to all truth and power (John 8:31-32; I Corinthians 12:7-11). By communicating with demons you give them recognition, allow them to stall and deceive, give them the focus and attention they crave, make things much harder on all people involved, and open yourself up to pride. Communicating with demons can be a temptation to pride and we can find ourselves drawn into working by the power of our own flesh. We don’t need any information they might give us, we walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). The only time Jesus ever talked to a demon was for the purpose of showing those who were watching how many demons were involved and therefore how great His power was (Mark 5:9). Eve got into a dialogue with Satan and was deceived by him (Genesis 3:1-16 – for more about this see THE BATTLE BEGINS Genesis 3:8-15). If there is something you need to know, God will show it. Don’t ever expect a demon to give information that will lead to his own defeat!
LESSON FOR TODAY: When the demons left this man they shook him and caused him to scream loudly. Sometimes demons will try to manifest in ways that are intended to bring fear to a person, but Jesus never allowed demonic manifestations to get out of hand and neither should we. In Jesus’ name bind them, take away their power to resist, and command them to obey immediately and quietly when commanded in Jesus’ name. We do not have to put up with their antics for they are only done to distract and to cause fear in us and recognition of their power. We know God is greater than they are (I John 4:4).
LESSON FOR TODAY: The first ocassion of an act or event in the Bible often sets the prototype for others to come, and that is true of this first deliverance in the Caernaum synagogue. The exact methods used by Jesus to cast out spirits are mentioned in only five specific cases and in only one generalized case (which appears first on the following list):
Matt 8:16: “he cast out the spirits with a word.”
Matt 15:28: “Then Jesus answered her, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.’ And her daughter was healed instantly.”
Mark 1:25: “But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’”
Mark 5:8: “For he had said to him, ‘Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!’”
Mark 9:25: “He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again.’”
Luke 13:12-13: “He called her and said to her, ‘Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.’ And he laid his hands upon her ….”
So generally speaking, it is true to say that Jesus cast out the spirits “with a word.” This refers to a short sentence or phrase according to the five examples given above, and not to some singular word. And what was that “phrase?” According to the above examples it was: “Be it done,” “Come out (3 times)” and “You are freed.” Jesus cast out spirits by a verbal command. In three of these cases, the command was, “Come out” (exerchomai ek), which is an adjuration. In the remaining case[s] it was, “Be it done,” [and “You are freed,”] which are decrees of accomplishment. In two of these cases, He accompanied the verbal command with a verbal “rebuke.” This rebuke was once stated as being, “Be silent.” Hence, the commands used by Jesus contained variety, being tailored to fit the occasion or the subject. He used no rigid formula, no incantations, no rituals, no charms, etc.as did Hebrew exorcists. There are no special prayers, no ‘magic’ words or phrases to use or pray, no set way of “doing deliverance.” Each situation is different, but all include the believer using Jesus’ power and authority to stop the demons’ work and to command them to be gone. Be sensitive to God’s Spirit when dealing with such things and proceed as you feel Him leading you. Don’t expect Him to lead the same as He does others, nor will He always lead you the same way. It’s not our words or actions that bring deliverance, it’s always and only His power. Just tap into it!
SPIRITUAL WARFARE TRAINING. At the end of each major section in this course you will find questions to help you remember and apply what you have learned. You can look back through what you have read for the answers if need be. You need a Bible, a notebook and a pen to do these questions.
If you want to send me your answers I would be glad to read them and offer comments or suggestions that might help you. You can write me at email@example.com. If you have any questions or prayer requests please feel free to write to me.
- What is the significance of Jesus’ baptism? What change took place?
- List three lessons you have learned about spiritual warfare from Jesus’ temptation.
- How did Jesus have victory over Satan when tempted?
- In what ways are you most tempted?
- What have you learned from Jesus’ example about how to resist temptation?
- What does the Greek word ‘demonizing’ mean?
- How would you answer someone who asked if a believer could be demonized? What proof would you use to show them that Christians can be demonized?
- Should you talk to demons? Why or why not?
- How did Jesus cast out demons? What does this show us about how we should have victory over them?
When you have completed this you can move on to the next section.
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
Record your thoughts, questions, what you have learned, what you want to study in the future, prayer suggestions and whatever else you want to remember.
TEST OF TRUE DISCIPLESHIP (Matthew 7:21-23) ⇑
Shortly after Jesus delivered the man in the synagogue from demons (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37) He warned the disciples that even being able to drive out demons in Jesus’ name wasn’t something to use as assurance of salvation. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ “ (Matthew 7:21-23) Even claiming supernatural works by His name doesn’t prove salvation, only faith in Jesus brings salvation and assurance of eternal life with God.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Don’t put emphasis on your skill in spiritual warfare, as if that makes you a more mature believer or someone special in God’s sight. Our relationship with God is all about who we are, not what we do. It is all His doing anyway, never ours. Focusing on it can only lead to pride. No matter how greatly God uses you, you are still just the instrument, the channel for His power. It is never us. It is only and always Him!
We’d all love to have the success Jesus had at spiritual warfare. Certainly, His disciples wanted that as well. But Jesus had to warn them to keep this skill in perspective.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Spiritual warfare is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It is another tool that God gives us to live for Him an serve Him. When building something various tools are needed: hammer, saw, screwdriver, etc. No piece of furniture can be built with only one tool. For the job required, each tool has a specific purpose, but no tool is greater than all the others. Spiritual warfare is a tool God gives us to have victory over Satan and his demons, but we have other tools that are also needed to live the Christian life: prayer, teaching, worship, fellowship, meditation, fasting, listening to God, knowing God’s will, being controlled by the Spirit, walking by the Spirit and others. All are needed. Each has its specific purpose. No one does it all. Don’t get spiritual warfare out of perspective. Don’t see it as some superior way to live and serve. It is great for its purpose, but we need a balanced Christian life. It’s a tool we must master and keep close, but in doing so we must not neglect the other tools God gives us.
FILLING THE HOUSE (Matthew 12:43-45) ⇑
At about this same time Jesus spoke other words about spiritual warfare: “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation” (Matthew 12:43-45).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Where do demons go when cast out of a person? Where should we command them to go? Here Jesus says they go to “arid places” (Matthew 12:43-45; Job 30:3-8). Other times they are said to be “sent away” (Mark 5:12-13), go to “destruction” (Mark 1:24), or go to “torment” (Matthew 8:29). Eventually, they will all be sent to the lake of fire for all eternity (Revelation 20:10 – 21:8). Whatever term you use, God will decree where they are to go. You can command them to “go to the place where Jesus sends you.” It is important to forbid them to return, forbid them to go into any other family members and forbid any new demons to come to take their place. Don’t just send them out, leaving them free to continue their evil work wherever they choose. Command where they are to go, at least commanding them to go where Jesus would send them.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Jesus’ words also show the extreme importance of being filled with God’s Spirit when the demons are sent away. If one does not turn to God’s Word and live a life of holiness to God, the door that was closed will be immediately open again and more and worse demons will enter to work against the person. When praying to have demons removed also pray for God’s Spirit to fill the person and remove all the work of the enemy. Pray for them to be filled with the fruit of the Spirit, mentioning each fruit one by one (Galatians 5:22-25). Ask God to remove all the work and effects of the demons in the person’s life and to heal them from it. Ask God to send angels and/or His Spirit through their life to remove every work of the demons and anything any demon might try to leave behind to continue their work. Ask God to fill each and every part of the person with His light and glory, His Spirit and presence. Then dedicate the person to God as a new creation in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The purpose of deliverance from demonizing is so a person can grow spiritually. Often that comes slowly and by stages because all growth comes that way. It is often more of a process than a one-time event. Each lesson we learn and step of progress we make must become part of us as we fill that part of our lives with His presence and bring it under His control. Freedom from demonizing is not a one-time event where God does everything for us, but a series of steps whereby we grow in faith and become more like Jesus. It is very important to stay close to Jesus and grow spiritually when seeking to be delivered from demonizing. This includes prompt repentance from any and all sin (Ephesians 4:26-27; Genesis 4:7), doing all we do out of a motive of love (1 Corinthians 13:5), living a life of disciplined thoughts and actions (Philippians 4:8), and implementing God’s principles into daily family life (Ephesians 5:22 – 6:4).
SNATCHING TRUTH AWAY (Mark 4:3-34; Mat 13:1-15; Luke 8:4-13) ⇑
Jesus is now about half way through His three year ministry. He has been preaching and doing miracles to proclaim Himself the Messiah, but only a small group has accepted His claims and followed Him. The majority, including the religious rulers, have rejected His offer because their pride kept them from admitting their need of Him. At this point a change takes place in His ministry. His focus shifts from trying to reach the masses, to training those who will follow Him. Teaching replaces miracles, and parables become Jesus’ main way of teaching truth to His followers while hiding it from those who would mock and reject (Matthew 13:10-17).
His first extended use of parables were those about the growth of the kingdom, starting with the parable of the sower and the seed. In this series, Jesus taught His disciples that the rejection He was experiencing was to be expected. His Kingdom was starting small, but would eventually grow and expand. His followers weren’t to be alarmed by the lack of response.
When interpreting the parable of the sower and the seed to His followers, Jesus gives insight into the workings of Satan. “Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown” (Mark 4:15). Evidently, to some extent, Satan and demons can influence our thought processes.
LESSON FOR TODAY: The majority of demonizing consists of demons putting thoughts into a person’s mind or snatching thoughts out of a person’s mind. While they don’t have access to our minds and thoughts to the same extent that God does, the Bible makes it clear there is some access (Mark 4:15). David’s thought to take a census was demonic (I Chronicles 21:1ff; II Samuel 24:1ff). So was Ananias & Saphira’s greed (Acts 5:3) and Saul’s jealousy/anger (I Samuel 16:14-23). When talking about spiritual warfare Paul says we are to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (II Corinthians 10:4-5). Not only can demons put wrong thoughts into our minds, they can snatch right thoughts out (Mark 4:15) so we forget them. Pray specifically for those you are ministering to, claiming their minds and thoughts for God. Watch your own mind, making sure God is in control of every thought (Romans 12:1-2).
GADARENES DEMONIAC (Mark 5:1-20; Matthew 8:28-34; Lk 8:26-37) ⇑
About six months after Jesus’ first recorded deliverance, casting demons out of the man in the synagogue (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37), one of His major confrontations with demons occurred. He was about half way through Histhree-yearr public ministry. Unlike most of the other occasions, when the demonized person came to Jesus, this time He went to them.
Jesus left the crowds He was ministering to in order to take a boat across the Sea of Galilee. He wanted to go help a man who couldn’t come to Him. Satan didn’t want Him to go free that man so he sent a storm to sink the boat. Jesus spoke to the storm and got safely to the other side.
When Jesus got there He was met by a man with an evil spirit, actually many demons afflicted this man. Matthew 8:28 says there were two demonized men present, but Mark and Luke only refer to the one who was the spokesman. By looking at the lives these men were living we can see some of the symptoms of demonizing.
Symptoms of Demonizing
Symptom 1: Darkness and death. These men lived in a graveyard, probably in caves in the limestone cliffs by the lake. Dead bodies were placed in these caves to decay, so it was a very unnatural way to live (Mark 5:3, 5; Luke 8:29). God is light and life, but Satan and his demons are all about death and darkness. They are attracted to death and darkness, and bring death and darkness wherever they go.
Symptom 2: Anger and violence. Demons fuel violence and anger, and that characterized these men (Mark 5:3-4; Luke 8:29; Matthew 8:28). They attacked whomever came nearby. Demons love pain and destruction, and they enjoy using humans to bring suffering and misery to others. This can be physical, mental or emotional abuse of any form.
Symptom 3: Out of control. These men didn’t have control of their actions (Mark 5:5). They would cry out and continually did evil. Demonizing takes control away from a person and motivates them to do what the demons want them to do.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Demons can never take 100% control of a person’s free will, but over time they can build so much influence over a person that the person seems to be unable to resist. No matter what, no matter how strongly a person is controlled by demons, he or she still has a free will to reach out to Jesus. Demons can never take away their free will. That is the key to deliverance, especially for those who are greatly controlled. The demonized person MUST want to be free. If they don’t, no one can force deliverance on them against their will. Pray not that they would be delivered, for God won’t force their free will, but pray they would see the facts clearly and make a decision for God, however small it may seem. Deliverance is not done by the one ministering to the demonized, but by Jesus responding to the free will of the demonized person. Jesus chooses to use us as His vessel to bring this about, but it all depends on the will of the demonized.
Symptom 4: Pain and self-destruction. Another characteristic of demonic activity which is also unnatural is inflicting pain on themselves by cutting themselves (Mark 5:5). The only other time this is seen in the Bible is when the prophets of Baal slashed themselves so they bled in order to have Baal hear their cries and send fire to consume their altar (I Kings 18:28). Both cases are clearly demonic.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Demons are behind self-destructive desires. It is unnatural for a person to want to harm themselves. Everything normal in us pushes for self-protection. When a person inflicts pain on themselves by cutting, tattoos (Leviticus 19:28) or taking their life we can be sure something has caused them to go against what is normal and natural, and usually that is demonic influence (Mark 9:20).
Suicidal thoughts should always be assumed to be motivated by demons (Matthew 17:14-19; Luke 9:37-45; Mark 9:14-29). This is also the case with Judas who was indwelt by Satan (Luke 22:3; John 13:27) and then committed suicide (Acts 1:18-19). If you or someone you know has these thoughts, pray against them. The person with the thoughts must confess them and take back any ground they have given to demons.These kinds of thoughts are like ‘prayers.’ All kinds and types of thoughts are like prayers. The difference in suicidal thoughts is that one dwells deeply in them and that gives themmore power. Thoughts of hate, death, fear, lust, etc., also have power. The greater the thought given it the greater the power. The power is in the thought which empowers demons to help bring this about in a person’s life. It is always with the person’s free will choice never forced on them against their free will.
Symptom 5: Ungodly sensuality and sexual perversion. These men did not wear clothes (Luke 8:27). Their natural inhibitions and modesty were affected by the demons influencing them. Demons are often behind the sexual sins and perversion so common today.
Symptom 6: Thoughts into their mind. These sinful actions start with sinful thoughts. Demons are able to put a thought into a person’s mind, then keep bringing it back again and again. It’s not always a thought that the person wants, and certainly isn’t a thought God would give them. Therefore the only other source must be demonic. The thoughts lead to actions that bring bondage and destruction. They could be thoughts of anger, fear, violence, lust or greed. The thoughts could be sexual, self-destructive, vengeful or blasphemous. They can even be thoughts that cause a person to feel unforgiven or unloved by God, that a person has lost their salvation, or are too evil to ever be in heaven. Thoughts of fear, insecurity, unworthiness, failure, being alone, rejection and revenge are some of the many that demons strive to instill in a person’s mind.
LESSON FOR TODAY: for more information about how demons influence our thoughts today see above: 4. SNATCHING TRUTH AWAY (Mark 4:3-34; Matthew 13:1-15; Luke 8:4-13)
LESSON FOR TODAY: Not all evil thoughts are from demons, so how can we tell if our thoughts are from a demon or from our sin nature? When the source is our sin nature we can have victory by confessing the sin and growing spiritually. It may take time, but there will be progress being made as we become more like Jesus. If the source is demonic then trying harder will have no lasting effect. These men in the graveyard were unable to change their own behavior because they had allowed the demons to have a powerful hold over them. They had given up control which only Jesus’ power could get back for them.
LESSON FOR TODAY: It is also natural to wonder how these men ever got to such a state. Why are some people so greatly demonized and others seemingly unaffected? The Bible doesn’t tell us what allowed this in these men but does give us information as to the most common causes of demonizing. While any sin can open the door to allow demons in, there are some sins that are particularly effective in allowing this. Some of the more common openings to demonizing include:
Opening 1: Sins that allow another power to control us. If we turn to another power other than God, if we open our lives to influences that aren’t from God, if we indulge in sins that allow us to be vulnerable to spiritual influences from demons, then we are opening the door for demons to enter and impact us. Idolatry, for example, opens the worshipper to demonizing because they allow the demon behind the idol to have access to themselves (1 Corinthians 10:20). Drug or alcohol abuse can do the same thing. Involvement in false religions also opens a door. Sexual sin is also a way demons enter a person’s life (1 Corinthians 6:15-16). Pride, anger and fear also make us vulnerable, for they become a prayer for these things to grow in our lives, and only Satan’s forces would answer such a prayer.
Opening 2: Sin in our family line. The sin that opened the door for demons to enter doesn’t have to have been committed by us. It could have been committed by an ancestor of ours. When a demon has access to a person, he also claims right to all that person has, including their children. The Bible says God “punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation” (Exodus 20:4-5; Deuteronomy 5:8-9; Exodus 34:6-7). The Bible says that children are affected by their parents’ sins (Ezekiel 18;2) and this is one of the ways. Children are not accountable for them but are impacted by their consequences. The same is true of positive, godly influences from our parents which also are passed on. This is often called “generational openings” or “ancestral openings” and is one of the most common reasons people are demonized. (For more information see under Old Testament, Moses (Exodus – Deuteronomy.)
Opening 3: Where we live. Some event may have happened on the land or in the home or room where you live. It could be a violent act, an occult activity, a curse, a dedicating of the property to the powers of darkness or similar acts. Sometimes when we go into a certain neighborhood or home there is a ‘sense’ of evil, a discomfort in our spirit. In a store that sells New Age materials, you may ‘feel’ different in your spirit, a discomfort. This is the explanation for supernatural apparitions that happen in ‘haunted’ homes – demonic activity may be present. Some countries and even continents are in extra deep darkness and bondage. Often this can be sensed by mature, sensitive believers. The message we get is from God’s Holy Spirit Who is warning us against the evil around us. Pray against it. Rebuke it. Leave unless you have a reason God wants you there.
If it is your home or church property then cleanse it. Pray, taking back any access the enemy may claim to the property and assert your right as a child of God to claim and use it. Put any other claims under the blood of Jesus and dedicate it to Him for His honor and glory. A sign, picture or cross on the wall can be a good visual reminder to all of the ownership of the property by the Lord Jesus Christ.
If God wants you to do so, you can anoint the house and property while praying. Walk around your’ boundaries praying out loud, claiming your property for God and forbidding any demons to have any access to it. Dedicate it to God and invite His presence throughout all of it. Take back any access any demons may claim to the property and put the access under the blood of Jesus. Break it in Jesus’ name. Ask God to put an angelic hedge of protection around it. Do the same in all the rooms of the house, especially the basement (if you have one). Anoint each room with oil by dipping your finger in oil. Any kind will do, it is not the oil but the symbolism of God’s Spirit being present that matters. With your finger then draw a cross on the door, walls, whatever seems appropriate. Pray as you would when you’re walking around the property.
There is no power in the ritual or symbol, but in your heart attitude as you make a statement about whose side you are on. You are showing them you are ready to battle in God’s strength. The cross announces to the spirit world whose side you are standing on and that you will battle rather than give in. The cross shows you are challenging their claim to that area.
If there is one particular part of the house that seems worse put a night light there so there is always light into the room. You could do that to all the rooms. Demons turn from light because it shows truth and reality, which they don’t want to see. They live in the realm of lies and deceptions. Demons hate light, and they hate hearing Jesus praised, so you can play praise music in various places 24 hours a day. It can be really soft – they will hear it! It’s a constant reminder or Who is your Lord and Savior. It reminds them of the truth which counters their lies. Playing recordings of the Bible being read is even more powerful.
Opening 4: Curses. It may be someone has put a curse on you or your family by asking that something bad happen to you. That is really a prayer that Satan loves to answer! That desire empowers demons to try to carry out the person’s desire. Parents can curse their children by saying they wish they hadn’t had them, they hate them, don’t want them, they are no good and will never amount to anything, and so forth. Finally, we can curse ourselves (Proverbs 6:2) by saying we hope we die, that we aren’t good enough, that we’ll never be happy, we’ll fail in what we try or any of many such things about ourselves(Proverbs 6:2).
The area of curses is a less common but still a strong opening to demonic access. To curse someone is to ask for evil to happen to them. Those requests (really prayers) are heard by Satan and his forces and ‘answered’ when possible. Cursing thoughts are like prayers. The more a person thinks of them and focuses on them, the more power will go to the curse, or the blessing, whichever the case. This includes everything from occult and witchcraft curses to one individual ‘wishing’ harm on another. Balaam was paid to curse Israel, but God wouldn’t allow it (Deuteronomy23:4; Numbers 22 – 24). Curses can also be passed on from generation to generation. The Bible says that speaking evil of someone is the same as cursing them (Romans 12:14). Curses can be thinking or saying things like: “I hope you die…” “Since he/she won’t love me I wish they’d …..” “You’re no good, you’ll never amount to anything…” “I hope she gets some of her own medicine…” “I hope your children ……” You can even curse yourself by what you say (Proverbs 6:2). Our words are powerful and important. They aren’t something to be taken lightly. Using profanity (“curse” words) also falls into this category. When someone “damns” someone to “hell” that is an awful, awful thing to say! Demons love to hear it. They use the power of the hate in the speaker and will latch onto any authority or justification to do their evil!
It’s not the verbal sounds that make the difference but our thoughts and feelings inside as we express them verbally. Rote chanting of words does nothing, but heartfelt desires communicated to God mean a lot. God reads our mind and thoughts even when we pray silently, but demons do not have access to our thoughts so praying or expressing ourselves out loud makes them aware of how we feel and where we stand. If it is inappropriate to pray out loud then do so in thoughts and let God take care of the rest, but when it is possible to express yourself out loud it is best to do so. It’s important to realize that our thoughts are breathing and living and so are our feelings and, therefore, so is prayer.
The Bible says we can curse others (Ps 109:17). Demons use this as an excuse to work against the person, as a ‘prayer’ to gain access. Old Testament men (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc. Gen 27:23, 38) would bless or curse their children (Genesis 48:20). Sometimes they even put a curse on them, as Abraham did with Ishmael and when Isaac cursed Esau. The Levites were used to pronounce blessings (Deuteronomy 10:8; 21:5). When Naomi came back to Israel she said she was to be called ‘mara’ because things had turned ‘bitter’ for her. A father is to bless his children by his words and send them into life with his and God’s blessing. What you have done is the opposite.
If you feel this may have happened to you remember to “Bless them that curse you” (Matthew 5:44). Treat the person with love and kindness, for when you return good for evil the “undeserved curse does not come to rest” (Proverbs 6:2). Break that curse against you in Jesus’ name, claiming Galatians 3:10,13 which says “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.'” Ask God to turn the curse to a blessing (Deuteronomy 23:5).
Good is stronger than bad, so when you speak good into a situation where previously bad was spoken then the good is stronger and purer and it stops the curse. You can throw it back at the person who threw it at you, but turn it into a blessing – bless those who curse you (Luke 6:28). Love the person who hates you and God will use that stronger love to overcome the hate (Luke 6:27).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Curses can and must be broken in Jesus’ name for the truth is that they can’t prosper against God’s people (Isaiah 54:17). 1) Break any and all of them in Jesus’ name (Galatians 3:13) and 2) ask God to surround you and protect you with His presence and angels instead (Job 1:5).
Let’s go back to our account of Jesus with the demonized men in the Gadarenes. When Jesus crossed the Sea of Galilee and landed they immediately came to Him and knelt before Him(Mark 5:1-8). The demons recognized He was God. Perhaps the men did as well, or somehow sensed something different about Him. Despite the terrible control the demons had, they still have free will to choose to come to Jesus or not.
LESSON FOR TODAY: The demons could not prevent these men from coming to Jesus. No matter how many demons or how strong the influence, God always makes sure the person still can make a free will choice to move away from the demons and towards God should they choose to do so. No one is helpless, locked in – not unless they choose for it to be that way. (see Symptom 3. Out of Control. above for more information about a demonized person’s free will).
This is the only time Jesus ever talked to a demon. He asked him his name, which was ‘Legion’ meaning about 5,000 or 6,000 soldiers, signifying the number of demons influencing this man. Jesus wanted everyone to see how great His power was by how many demons He could defeat at one time. The only other thing they said was a request to go into the pigs. Jesus had commanded them to leave and, while they stalled as long as they could, they knew they couldn’t resist His command.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Jesus had to command the demons to come out over and over (Mark 5:8, continual present tense in the Greek, “kept saying over and over”).. They were very resistant to leaving, even when Jesus commanded them. This is the only time that happened for every other time they left immediately (Matthew 8:16). Some demons have such a strong hold on their host that it takes persistent warfare to remove them (Mark 9:29).
As stated, the demons made an unusual request – to indwell the pigs which were nearby since they could no longer indwell the men. Jesus allowed this, again probably to show those watching the power and destruction of the demons He had so easily defeated.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Demons want to indwell something, if they lose their host they will immediately seek another. Often they share several hosts at one time, moving from one person to another. That’s why demonic oppression often seems to go in cycles.
If demons can’t indwell people they will indwell animals. Perhaps this is why sometimes whales, the animals with the greatest intelligence and the closest to humans in many ways, beach themselves. I’ve often wondered if what happened to these pigs doesn’t still happen sometimes today. That could be an explanation of why these great sea creatures some times beach and kill themselves. This shows that demons seek to bring death and destruction, and self-destructive tendencies come from demonic influence. Why else would pigs suddenly commit suicide?
LESSON FOR TODAY: The demons didn’t want to be sent “out of the area” (Mark 5:10). This was the territory they were assigned to and they didn’t want to leave it. It was their ‘home’ area. Demons are assigned to different geographical locations, families, groups, world movements, religious or secular groups, etc. They stay with them for generations and want to continue working in those areas. They become very good at what they do.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Neither did they want to be sent “into the abyss” (Luke 8:31). The Greek word, ‘tartarus,’ is used as a place of confinement for demons who are awaiting their expulsion into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:1-3). They didn’t want to go there because they would then be inactive and not able to cause harm to God’s kingdom.
LESSON FOR TODAY: The demons knew they would one day be tormented, but it was not time for that yet (Matthew 8:29). They fear the coming judgment. We can have courage and confidence that they fear us when we are ministering in Jesus’ power.
The end of the story has a happy ending: “When they came to Jesus they saw the man who had been demonized by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind” (Mark 5:15). Today we talk about chemical imbalances, emotional disorders, and bipolar tendencies. We prescribe various kinds of medicines. When Jesus faced people with these symptoms, He cast out the demons and immediately they were total freed and completely normal and mentally healthy.
LESSON FOR TODAY: When Jesus cast demons out of someone or forgave them He, in some manner or way, told them to not sin any more (John 8:11). It was sin that led to the bondage and demonizing in the first place. The sin must be confessed (admitted to as sin, I John 1:9) in order for the demons to no longer be able to claim it and stay.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Here is a prayer you can use if you sense any demonic activity against yourself. You can change the words and use them for others. It is only an example. There is no one right way to pray or say things. Adapt and use this however you would like:
“Dear Jesus, I thank you for the salvation you give me in Jesus. I know You are greater than Satan and His demons. I know You have power and authority over them. I know You have given us that power & authority in Jesus’ name. In Jesus name, I forbid any demons to work against me or my family or my church. In Jesus name, I close the door to any reason they think they can work against me. If I have committed any sin that they use to work against me I put it under the blood of Jesus. In Jesus’ name, I forbid them to work and command them to be gone. In Jesus’ name, I break any claim that comes down through my family line. I am a new creation in God’s family. I forbid any claim against me through my name or family line. In Jesus’ name, I dedicate the land where my home and church are to God. In Jesus’ name, I break any claim demons may make through those places. I ask for Your presence only to fill and use those places. In Jesus’ name, I break any curses anyone has made against me, my family or my church. Jesus has taken all my curse on the cross. His power has broken any power of the enemy against me. So in Jesus’ name, I forbid any demons to work against me or my family or my church. I commit myself and my family and my church to God only. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Surround me with Your angels. Use me for Your glory. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen”
SPIRITUAL WARFARE TRAINING: Answer the following questions. Send the answers to me if you want and I’ll offer comments and suggestions.
- What happens if someone is delivered of demonic attacks but doesn’t live an obedient life and grow spiritually?
- How can this be prevented?
- To what extent do demons have access to our thoughts? Can they put ideas in our minds? What can we do to prevent this?
- List 4 symptoms of demonizing which are seen in the men in Gadarenes?
- Name some of the most common causes for demonizing, that which opens the door to demons?
- Why did Jesus ask the demon what His name was?
- Should we communicate with demons? Why or why not?
- What are some of the main lessons you have learned from the story of the demonized men in the graveyard?
When you have completed this you can move on to the next section.
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
Record your thoughts, questions, what you have learned, what you want to study in the future, prayer suggestions and whatever else you want to remember.
POWER & AUTHORITY GIVEN (Luke 9:1; 10:1,17-18) ⇑
There must have been much discussion between Jesus and His disciples as they walked the dusty roads, sat and ate in the evenings, and ministered to others who were demonized. Jesus took every opportunity to teach the disciples what they would need to know to continue the battle when He was gone. Only a very small part of all that happened is recorded in the Gospels for us. As John so aptly states, “If everything Jesus did was written down there wouldn’t be enough room in the whole world for all the books!” (John 21:25)
Because of this, what is recorded about spiritual warfare is all the more important. There must be good reasons for choosing that which is recorded for us. It must be information we need. God Himself kept it accurate for us (2 Timothy 3:16). That being said, Jesus’ comments about the power and authority believers have over Satan and demons are all the more significant. These comments were recorded because they are something we must know.
“When Jesus had called the Twelve together, He gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases” (Luke 9:1). “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. … The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’ He replied, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you’” (Luke 10:1,17-19).
“I HAVE given you” Jesus says indicating it happened in the past, it is already done. It’s not something for them to wait for in the future. The Greek tense indicates the action is completed and the results continue on. Jesus had given to them, and therefore to us as well, two things: “power” and “authority.”
Authority, ‘exousia’ in the Greek, is used 108 times in the New Testament and refers to the right to use power. He gave the disciples the authority to enforce His spiritual commands and laws. Policemen have authority, a badge, which allows them to enforce the laws of the government. It’s not their own authority but that which comes from their government. It is delegated authority, like a husband has over a wife and a parent over a child. Everything Jesus did was because God had given Him authority to do it (John 5:19). He had laid aside His own divine authority (Philippians 2:6-8) to live life as any other human being. All He did was by God’s own authority given to Him, as it is to us as well.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Jesus has given us that same authority to use today (John 14:12; Matthew 28:18-20). Satan deceives us into thinking we are powerless victims but that is a lie. As God’s children we have access to the same resources Jesus did when He lived on earth. God has given us His full blessing because we are His children. He planned salvation and chose us to receive it before creating the world (Ephesians 1:4; Jeremiah 1:5). He created us in His own likeness (Genesis 1:26). He paid for our sins before we were ever born (Romans 5:8). He formed and cared for us while we were still in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13-15). He chose us and He calls us His friends (John 15:15-16). We are born into His family, He is our Father (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6) and we are His children(John 1:12; I John 3:-2). He rescued us from slavery (Galatians 4:4-7) and put His Holy Spirit inside us (John 14:17). He gives us an equal inheritance with His Son, Jesus (Romans 8:14-17). When He looks at us He sees us as holy because of what Jesus did for us (Romans 1:7; 2 Corinthians 5:17). We can come into His presence in prayer any time we want, we have eternal life guaranteed, we are free from any condemnation and He has delivered us from the power of Satan. All these things and more He gives us.
Not only did Jesus give His disciples authority, He also gave them power. A policeman needs authority, a badge, but sometimes he needs power to enforce that authority – a club or gun. ‘Power’ is used 118 times in the New Testament and refers to power, might, strength and force. Our word ‘dynamite’ comes from it. God has also given us His power as well as His authority (Acts 1:8; Luke 10:17).
LESSON FOR TODAY: We also have this power available to us (Acts 1:8; John 14:12). It is His power that transforms us into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) as He makes us a new man (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). His power delivers us from temptations and trials when we rely on Him (1 Corinthians 10:13; 2 Corinthians 2:14). He has power to put His divine nature in us (2 Peter 1:4), give us abundant life now & eternal life in heaven (John 3:16; 10:10).
Jesus gave His followers power and authority to drive out ALL demons (Luke 9:1) – none are greater than His power. He did not enable His followers to cure all diseases, though. Some He will remove in response to our prayers, but only with demonizing are we assured that ALL must obey and yield. When Jesus returns all disease will be gone, but we don’t have authority to remove all of it now (for more information on healing see under 13. LAYING ON OF HANDS, Luke 13:10-17).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Always remember the power and authority you have in Jesus. You can pray and preach in His name and power. Use it to encourage people when they need it, give counsel with the wisdom of God’s Spirit, rebuke demons in Jesus’ name, ask God to heal if it is His will, claim protection for your family and yourself, teach His word with authority, witness to others with power, forgive those who hurt you and show unconditional love to all. We don’t have to live in defeat nor do we ever have to fear Satan or his forces. We have everything we need for victory in Jesus, but we must use the power and authority He gives us because on our own we can do nothing (John 15:5).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Another important lesson from this is that Jesus sent the disciples out to minister (Luke 10:1). The way we learn is by doing, not by waiting, by letting someone else do it, or by trying to learn everything there is to know. We will never know it all, never feel competent, never be on top of everything – we must keep depending on God which is how He wants it (2 Corinthians 12:9). All you need to know to begin your own spiritual warfare is that Jesus is greater than Satan (I John 4:4). That is enough to start. God will be with you, honor your attempts and help you learn. God knows when we start this work we will not be experts but will learn as we go. Read worthwhile books, talk with others who do this in a Biblical way and do whatever it takes to learn more about spiritual warfare. Fight wisely, or the demons will not leave, or if they do they will come back even stronger (Matthew 12:44-45; Luke 11:25-26). Do your best with God’s strength and keep growing in wisdom and skill.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Not only did Jesus send them out, but He sent them out by twos. As much as possible have someone with you to pray for you, to help you and encourage you, for extra wisdom, and so you can train them (or learn from them) so that they can then go on their own and train someone else. Especially when getting started, try to have someone else with you when you confront the demons realm.
Jesus’ power over demons was from God, but those who didn’t want to recognize this needed to find a different way to explain His power because clearly, it was superhuman. The only other power source in the universe besides God is Satan, and so they were forced to say that what Jesus did was by demonic powers (John 7:20; 8:48-52; 10:20-25). They said Jesus was an imposter, a deceiver (Matthew 27:63; John 7:12, 47). When Herod heard about Jesus’ miracles he thought it was some kind of supernatural ‘magic’, somehow John came back to life (Matthew 6:14-16).
DEMONIZING OF CHILDREN (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30) ⇑
A few months after Jesus sent the disciples out to do spiritual warfare there was an encounter with a demonized girl that is recorded by both Matthew and Mark. A Gentile woman asked Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter but He resisted, saying He came to bring deliverance for the Jews. Her faith was strong enough to accept that but to also know He was able to help her without taking away from the Jews. Jesus honored her faith by casting out the demon even though the girl was back at home in bed far from Jesus (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Children can be demonized. The Greek word for ‘daughter’ here refers to a very young daughter. When one person opens the door to demons those same demons claim all the person has, including their children. They claim the blood line and/or name as access.
Often adopted children, who have experienced rejection, are demonized by demons who use the open door of rejection to move into the child’s life. Usually there is a history of alcohol, drugs and/or sexual sin in one or both of the birth parents. This makes adopted children all the more vulnerable to demonizing.
If a child is an unwanted pregnancy, even if the parent keeps and raises the child, this can open the door for demons to enter. If someone curses a child that prayer to Satan is something his demons will draw power from and do what they can to bring that about in the child’s life.
Sometimes, too, young children are attacked as a way of getting back at a parent or family who is serving God and living for Him.
LESSON FOR TODAY: This child was delivered without confessing or repenting of any sin, without even being in Jesus’ presence. Often this is the case with children. Parents, who are their authority figure, can represent them and pray for deliverance for their children. Many times they are quite young or don’t understand what is happening, so being present would be more of a distraction than a help. It is usually the parent’s sin (through family line) that has to be dealt with by confession and taking back access.
DELIVERANCE FAILURE (Mat 17:14-19; Luke 9:37-45; Mark 9:14-29) ⇑
Shortly after the event with the Gentile girl, there was a situation with a Jewish boy that is also recorded (Matthew 17:14-19; Luke 9:37-45; Mark 9:14-29). A young boy was demonized to the extent he would have a seizure, foam at the mouth, gnash his teeth and then become rigid. This has been happening since childhood. The demons also caused him to try to kill himself by throwing himself into fire or water. Evidently, the boy was deaf and mute as well – all work of the demons influencing him. We saw previously how demons bring death and destruction, and this is another example of that (see Mark 5:5; I Kings 18:28). Jesus was disappointed that the Jews didn’t have enough faith in God to have victory over these demons. Even his own disciples were unable to drive them out. Jesus said it would have been possible for them to have driven the demons out if they believed. Jesus commanded the demons to leave and never return and they obeyed! They had no choice but to obey Him. When the disciples asked why they weren’t able to drive the demons out Jesus said “this kind can come out only by prayer” (Mark 9:29).
LESSON FOR TODAY: It takes faith in God, that He is greater and able to deliver, to have a successful prayer for deliverance. Satan and his demons use fear as a big weapon to undermine our faith. If we don’t firmly believe that God is greater than they and totally able to defeat them we will never see victory through our prayers. Only prayer brings deliverance, no other rituals, public ceremonies, emotional activities or anything else – only prayer in faith. That is because prayer taps into God’s power and that is what brings victory. It’s not the prayer that does it, but the God to Whom we pray!
LESSON FOR TODAY: Learn from your failures, for you will have them. The disciples had been living and traveling with Jesus all day every day for over a year and had been trained by Him to do this. They had great success in spiritual warfare in the past (Luke 10:1, 17-18) but not now. Jesus uses this to teach them. Don’t fear failure – try your best and learn from any mistakes you may make. Trying and failing is not nearly as bad as not trying at all.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Always forbid the demons to return when you cast them out (Mark 9:25). It’s good to forbid any others to replace the ones driven out. Also, forbid them to enter anyone else but to go where Jesus sends them. All this must be done in Jesus’ name and power. Ask God for wisdom and be sensitive as to how He leads.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Jesus explained their failure to use their authority and power to command the demons to be gone by saying “This kind can come out only by prayer” (Mark 9:29). “This kind” clearly implies there are various kinds of demonic strongholds and some are easier to break than others. The demons who controlled this boy, causing him to be mute and deaf, have seizures and try to kill himself, were strongly entrenched and took ‘prayer’ to remove them. Jesus didn’t elaborate, but evidently, the disciples understood. Perhaps they were trying to have victory in their own strength instead of God’s strength, trying to command the demons on their own instead of through God’s power and authority.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Epilepsy, in fact any kind of seizures, cannot always be proven to be demonic, but that possibility should always be considered when praying for them. When Jesus confronted someone having seizures He always cast out demons and they were healed (Matthew 4:24; 17:15; Luke 9:38; 22:54; Mark 9:18). As we see in this account, demons who work in this way usually have a strong foothold and aren’t easily removed, but with God’s power and authority we can defeat them in Jesus’ name.
LESSON FOR TODAY: What about when deliverance is slow or not at all? Remember sometimes God has a greater purpose than casting out every demon as soon as we pray. Sometimes there is a delay. Even Jesus had times when He had to persevere for a while (Luke 8:31 Greek). Usually, deliverance is a process. It’s like peeling the layers off an onion. As new sin is revealed and removed, more ground is taken back from Satan’s forces. This gradual process allows the person to better fill the ground which has been reclaimed with God’s Holy Spirit and gives him time to grow spiritually (Psalm 59:11; 119:50,67,71) before the next ‘layer’ is removed.
That’s why the Jews under Joshua only conquered the Promised Land bit by bit instead of all at once. If they would have driven out all the Canaanites immediately then lions and other wild animals would have increased and done harm to the people. In addition, there is a learning process involved that can be used to help others (II Corinthians 1:3-4).
Other times complete deliverance never comes. Paul’s thorn in the flesh is an example (II Corinthians 12:7). Paul testifies God then provides the grace needed to withstand. God wants us to learn to depend on Him (Psalm 119:59,92). Of course, if the opening is allowed to continue then the demonizing will continue, too (Psalm 94:12-16; 81:11-14).
THOSE WHO DO IT DIFFERENTLY (Mark 9:38-40; Luke 9:49-50) ⇑
During this busy time of ministry, the disciples happened upon someone driving out demons in Jesus’ name but not doing it the way they did. Jesus said to not stop them because anyone who is not against them is for them (Mark 9:38-40; Luke 9:49-50).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Deliverance is done many different ways today. We are to seek God’s wisdom and will in how we are to approach this ministry, patterning what we do after Jesus and the disciples as revealed in His Word. Yet when confronted with someone who doesn’t share our practices we aren’t to judge or withdraw fellowship from those whose methods differ from ours. We don’t have to agree or support them, but neither are we to criticize or try to oppose them. Make sure they know Jesus as Savior for it is possible to be able to drive out demons in Jesus name without being a believer (Matthew 7:22).
SPIRITUAL WARFARE TRAINING: Answer the following questions. Send the answers to me if you want and I’ll offer comments and suggestions.
- What is the difference between ‘power’ and ‘authority’ from Jesus?
- Why does Jesus give us both of them?
- Give some examples of when you should use His power in your life?
- Give some examples of when you should use His authority in your life?
- What are some reasons young children can be demonized?
- Why is deliverance often a slow, gradual process?
- Why does it sometimes seem that deliverance fails?
When you have completed this you can move on to the next section.
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS
Record your thoughts, questions, what you have learned, what you want to study in the future, prayer suggestions and whatever else you want to remember.
AUTHORITY TO BIND, LOOSE (Mat 16:13-19; Mk 8:27-29; Lk 9:18-20) ⇑
As Jesus’ time on earth wound down and opposition, both human and Satanic, kept getting stronger, Jesus continued to teach and prepare His disciples. During a time of informal discussion, Jesus asked His disciples who they thought He was (Matthew 16:13-19; Mark 8:27-29; Luke 9:18-20). Many and various opinions were circulating and bringing much confusion. Peter stepped to the front and affirmed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God! Jesus was greatly pleased and told them all that on this truth Jesus would build His church, which not even Satan himself would be able to overcome. He also said “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Jesus promises He will build His church. No one else can do so, and nothing can stop it from happening. It is not our church for us to grow, it is His church for Him to grow. There will be opposition, even from the ‘gates of Hades” (Satan and his evil forces) but nothing can defeat God and His people.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Binding and loosing is very similar to rebuking, just a bit more specific. Rebuking means to resist, oppose what an evil spirit is doing. Binding and loosing, which applied to demonizing, refers to stopping (by binding) evil spirits and freeing (loosing) those they have in bondage. This passage (Matthew 16:19) is quite difficult to understand in detail, but clearly some authority over evil is given to God’s people.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Jesus gave Peter, as he spoke the truth about Jesus as revealed to him by God, the keys to the kingdom so that whatever they bound on earth would be bound in heaven and whatever they loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven (Matthew 16:19). This is authority and power to minister in His name, as seen before (Luke 9:1; 10:1, 17-19). Jesus will be gone, and He is giving His disciples the right to represent Him, like a parent would give a grown child were the parent to be leaving for a long time. These keys are hard to understand, but they don’t have to do with salvation. They are not keys TO the kingdom but keys OF the kingdom. Whatever is bound or loosed on earth is first bound or loosed in heaven. When we affirm that someone is forgiven when they confess their sin, or not forgiven when they do not humble themselves and confess their sins, we are applying God’s truth as revealed in His Word. We can represent God and tell others when they have done what God accepts to receive salvation, and also when they don’t.
SATAN ATTACKS THRU OTHERS (Mt 16:21-23; Lk 9:22-27) ⇑
At that point in His earthly ministry Jesus repeatedly told His followers that He must go to Jerusalem, suffer, be crucified but come back to life on the third day (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22-27). Peter rebuked Him and said it would never happen! In response Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:21-23; Mark 8:31; Luke 9:22-27). Satan was subtly attacking Jesus through Peter, making a way for Him to avoid the cross. This was a repeat of the temptation in the wilderness after Jesus was baptized.
LESSON FOR TODAY: Some of Satan’s attacks are overt, clear attempts to overpower us. But the more successful ones are subtle and often go unnoticed. Without being aware of it Peter is being used by Satan to tempt Jesus to avoid the cross. We don’t know if Satan inserted the thought into Peter’s mind or just used what He said to tempted Jesus. Either way Jesus recognized Satan was behind it and using it. Satan will use those closest to us to mislead us if possible. He will use seemingly innocent comments by those closest to us to influence us in the direction he wants us to go. Perhaps this is why Satan allowed Job’s wife to remain when he took everyone else in his family (Job 2:9). He used Eve, who was deceived, to influence Adam, who knew what he was doing was wrong (2 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Timothy 2:13-14).
LESSON FOR TODAY: In order for Satan to use Peter, Peter had to be open and available. There had to be negative thoughts of fear and/or pride in Peter which he fed and allowed to remain. Then Satan was able to work through Peter and use him to tempt Jesus. It is of the utmost importance to keep every thought and feeling captive to Jesus (Romans 12:1-2), to make sure they all line up with the Word of God.
JUDAS IS SATANIZED (John 6:70) ⇑
At about the same time, almost 3 years after being baptized by John, Jesus revealed that one of the twelve He chose was being used by Satan (John 6:70). Judas, in his pride and greed, will allow Satan to indwell him (Luke 22:3-4).
LAYING ON OF HANDS (Luke 13:10-17) ⇑
A few months afterward, 3 full years after Jesus left the carpentry shop in Nazareth and was baptized by John, a final example of Jesus’ power over Satan is recorded (Luke 13:10-17). Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath and a woman who had been crippled by a demon for 18 years was present. When Jesus saw her He called her to Him, put His hands on her, and immediately she was healed. The religious rulers objected to Jesus doing this on the Sabbath and Jesus rebuked them as hypocrites. Talking about the woman, Jesus referred to her being crippled as Satan binding her (Luke 13:16).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Sometimes God may lead you to lay hands on the person you are praying for, and on occasion Jesus Himself did this (Luke 4:29; 13:11-23; Matthew 8:15) as did the early church (I Corinthians 1:14f; 12:4; II Corinthians 1:21f; James 5:13-16). Touch can be a way of bestowing God’s power and presence from you to the person you are praying for. It can help God’s power break down the demons’ defenses. It is a way of identifying with the person and connecting to them. Demons hate being touched, so laying hands on a person helps break their resistance as well. Be sensitive to God’s leading in this area and do whatever it is He leads you to do.
When a person is demonized they experience sound, touch, etc. through the host person. Making the person look at you forces them to be aware of the truth you are speaking and not able to hide from it. Touching the person also gets their attention and focus so they are recipients of the truths you are speaking and they can’t hide behind their lies and deceptions. Physically touching someone who is demonized often brings physical pain to the demon which gets their attention and reminds them of whose power is greater. So have the person sit or stand up straight and look at you when you speak so the demons can’t hide and avoid your commands.
When a person allows someone to lay hands on them they in effect submit themselves to the authority of that person. If that person, the one in the position of authority, is open to something demonic then that can pass onto the person on whom hands are laid.
Make sure there is no sin in your life when you lay hands on someone, for when you stir up demonic opposition their first target will be you. Make sure you are walking closely with the Lord. Make sure that every sin is put under the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:9). To engage in this form of spiritual warfare is similar to taking the Lord’s Supper with sin in your life for you are opening yourself up to demonic activity or God’s discipline (or both).
By the same token, people who have had someone who wasn’t a believer living in obedience to God lay hands on them have had a demon transferred to them by this. A casual touch will not do this, but submitting to the authority of someone else by bowing your head and letting them put hands on you opens you to them and their power, and therefore any demons that may have access to them. If this has happened this must be confessed and any demons who claim that as access to the person commanded to be gone.
LESSON FOR TODAY: There is often a strong relationship between spiritual deliverance and physical healing. Often physical problems are also gone when the demons leave. That is because it was the demons who were causing the physical problems. Examples of these in the Bible include: crippled limbs (Luke 13:11), Paul’s thorn in the flesh (eye disease? – II Corinthians 12:7), muteness (sometimes dumbness, too – Matthew 9:32-33; 12:22; Mark 9:17-18,24-25), blindness (Matthew 12:22), seizures (Mark 1:26; 9:17-18,20,22,25; Matthew 17:15,18; Luke 9:39), deafness (Mark 9:17-18,20,25), sores (skin cancer?) (Job 2:7), boils and other painful afflictions (Psalm 78:49 – the plagues in Egypt were demon-caused), and physical torments of all kinds (Revelation 9:5,10). The Bible states that Satan can cause illness (Job2:7-8), even death (Job 1:19).
Physical healing can be a result of deliverance. If any of the demons who were removed were causing physical problems those problems will be resolved when the demons are removed. Generational spirits can cause the same ailments from generation to generation. Physical problems are usually not God’s main concern, rather He is more concerned for the spiritual condition of the heart. We often pray for the symptom (physical problem) to be removed while God wants us to seek Him and what He is trying to teach us through it. Paul’s thorn in the flesh is a clear example. It wasn’t God’s will for that demon to be removed, but for Paul to be spiritually strengthened through the experience.
If a physical problem is present it is helpful to find out when it first started and what else was going on at that time. Instead of focusing on removing the physical symptom, look for the root cause, be it demonic, spiritual or whatever else it may be.
Jesus often cast out demons and cured illness at the same time. Jesus said he would do this (Luke 13:32). He did this at the start of His ministry (Matthew 4:23-24; 8:16; Mark 1:34; Luke 4:41), around Tyre and Sidon (Mark 3:10-12; Luke 6:18-19), and in the middle of His ministry (Luke 7:21). Many female followers of Jesus were cured of both (Luke 8:2).
Even more precise are the accounts of when Jesus both cast out demons and healed illness in a person at the same time (Mark 6:13; Acts 5:16). Philip did this in Samaria (Acts 8:7) and Paul did it in Ephesus (Acts 19:12).
It must be noted that not all illness is demonic in origin. Jesus healed physical ills that weren’t demonic (Matthew 4:23-24; 8:16-17 fulfilled Isaiah 53:4; Mark 1:34; Acts 10:34; etc.). The Bible clearly talks about illnesses that are not demonic: severe pain (Matthew 4:24), seizures (Matthew 4:24), paralysis (Matthew 4:24; Acts 8:7), leprosy (Matthew 10:8), blindness (Luke 7:21), crippled limbs (Acts 8:7) and many other various diseases (Matthew 4:24). The fact that some physical ailments are on both lists (like seizures) shows that many ailments may have demonic or natural causes. They could be from one source or the other.
Thus it is obvious that some, but not all illness is demonic. There are no certain illness that are exclusively demonic, nor others that aren’t. Any physical ill can be demonic, but it doesn’t seem that any one physical illness is always demonic. In our day and age we err by seeing too few illnesses as being demonic. Thus we often miss the cure. How can we tell if an illness or physical problem is demonic or not? Some clues to look for are: medical doctors aren’t able to bring relief or cure; there is a pattern of it running in the family; it seems strange or doesn’t follow the regular pattern of symptoms (comes and goes for no particular reason, etc.); or you feel in your spirit that it should be prayed about and looked into as possibly being demonic.
Again, our pattern for bringing about this removal of physical ills by deliverance should follow Jesus’ example. He rebuked a fever and it left immediately and strength instantly returned (Luke 4:39). On at least one occasion power came from within Jesus to heal (Luke 6:19). He often laid hands on a person to bring both deliverance and healing (Luke 4:40; 13:13; 4:29; Matthew 8:15; Luke 13:1-13).
As to us doing this today, again it must be done in God’s strength and power. If He chooses to bring healing through deliverance that is His will. We must never demand it or make it dependent on having enough faith. No one today has a gift to heal anyone and everyone. It is right for us to pray for healing when doing deliverance and leave the results to God. It is also necessary to deal with any demons who may be causing the illness (physical or mental). Often demons affect our health in indirect ways, such as working in us so we eat or do things that are unhealthy for us in the long run and undermine our health. All of these, too, must be dealt with in Jesus’ name (Matthew 10:1). Sometimes God may lead you to anoint with oil as a symbol of the Holy Spirit who does the healing (Mark 6:13). Do NOT put any faith in the oil or any ritual in using it, it is simply an audio-visual. For more on healing see under 13. LAYING ON OF HANDS (Luke 13:10-17).
In conclusion, be aware that illness is often demonic, especially when doctors are unable to bring a cure. Even diseases they can cure can still be demonic, especially if there are other signs of demonizing active in the person’s life. Keep this in mind when praying and seeking wisdom. Don’t accept any illness as “incurable.” Always make sure it isn’t demonic (by asking God for wisdom and commanding any demons involved in that ailment to be gone in Jesus’ name). Remember, when dealing with emotional and spiritual ills in your warfare praying, don’t let out physical ills! Never fear, demons can only cause illness with God’s approval (Job 1:6-12).
One word of warning: since demons can cause illness, they can also bring counterfeit ‘healings’ by stopping the physical ills they themselves cause (Matthew 12:24; 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 16:14). This explains miraculous healings that aren’t done in accordance with God’s will and Word.
LESSON FOR TODAY: IS IT GOD’S WILL FOR EVERYONE TO BE HEALED TODAY? There are those today who believe that Jesus not only paid for sin on the cross, but that He also paid for our sickness. They say that each is received by faith, if you have enough faith to receive it. Loss of faith, then, causes the loss of these benefits of faith. They claim some are especially gifted in healing and can heal those who come to them. They say God did miracles in the Bible and he is still a miracle-working God today.
What about this? Is this true? This is not just one peripheral issue, but stands very central in our salvation and Christian life. Is God’s sovereignty or man’s free will the final and ultimate deciding factor? It must be God’s sovereignty. The motive for living for Jesus should not be fear of losing our salvation. The goal of living for Jesus should not be a problem free life. Pain and suffering isn’t to be faced by whipping up enough ‘faith’ so that God removes it (or living with the feelings of failure and guilt if it isn’t removed and we believe that is our fault by not having enough faith). What about these claims of ‘faith healers’? What does the Bible say?
Is the gift of healing for today? While it’s true that Jesus and the Apostles healed, it was done as a sign to authenticate that they were from God (Matthew 12:39). This was God’s way of having people listen to them instead of all the counterfeits around. When they were fully authenticated, there was no longer any reason for the sign. In AD 35 all were healed but by AD 60 some were not (Epaphroditus, Paul’s thorn in the flesh). Then by AD 67 very few were being healed (Trophimus was left at Miletus sick, Timothy’s stomach was unhealed, etc.). Jerusalem, the scene of many early miracles, had not one miracle done in it after Stephen was stoned. The people had the evidence but rejected it. James, the oldest book in the Bible, says that if someone is sick we are to pray for them (James 5:14).
Should we see miracles today like in bible times? Actually if you list all the miracles in the Bible you will find almost all of them fit three time periods. They aren’t evenly spread out throughout history but cluster in the times of Moses/Joshua, Elijah/Elisha and Jesus/apostles. In each of these times a new mess had developed so God sent a new message through a new messenger whom He authenticated by miracles (“signs”). One more time of miracles is coming, called the Tribulation.
Is faith a prerequisite for healing? Jesus didn’t make faith a requirement for healing. Many that He healed didn’t have faith. The impotent man at the pool didn’t even know who He was. The man with the withered hand and the man with dropsy were healed as a sign to religious leaders who were present, they didn’t ask to be healed. The cripple that Peter and Paul healed outside the temple didn’t exercise any faith. Of course the demoniacs who were delivered and those brought back from the dead didn’t exercise faith. Then there are others who had strong faith but weren’t healed: Stephen, Paul, Timothy, Job, David, Elisha, etc.
Is ‘healing’ today the same as in bible times? Today’s ‘healers’ must meet the same characteristics of Jesus and the apostles to claim they are doing what was done then. Jesus and the apostles healed with a word or touch wherever and whenever. There was no special place or time, no chants or music, no gimmicks, nothing. Do today’s faith healers walk down the hall in a hospital and empty every room? That’s how Jesus and Peter did it. Also, Bible miracles were done instantly, not gradually or slowly. There was no healing to ‘claim’ or lose. Healing was then done totally, not partially, and it was never lost. Everyone was healed. There was no screening done. 100% of every one, no matter the need, was healed. Organic diseases were healed: limbs grew back instantly, strong enough to walk on, eyes were open, leprosy instantly gone and healthy flesh gown. Then, too, the dead were raised. Today’s faith healing doesn’t nearly meet these characteristics.
Does God not heal? Yes, a sovereign God can always heal. He is always able to heal, but He is not always willing. Healing isn’t guaranteed. Healing isn’t based on our having enough faith. Miracles by Jesus and the apostles were done as a sign to authenticate the One who could heal an unseen soul. God can and does heal, but He doesn’t gift others to do it, nor does He say that is the recommended norm for His people.
What are we to do when sick? When we are sick its good to first make sure it isn’t for sin or disobedience. If there is sin that God is using the sickness to point out, confess it and God will forgive and then use that illness for good (Romans 8:28). It’s fine to pray, asking God to heal if that is His will. We are to submit to His will, not demand He do what we want. Ask Him to use the pain and suffering for His glory (that we and others can see His greatness through His provision and peace) and our growth(make us trust Him more and become more like Jesus). Use the best available resources: diet, rest, exercise and medical help. Realize that all healing does ultimately come from God. Leave the results to His will, though.
Granted, this whole subject of faith and healing can be a confusing and guilt-producing area. Specific verses can be found to seemingly support most any view. However an overview of the Bible and it’s teaching about these things definitely seems to substantiate the above view of healing. Always remember, our faith must be in Jesus. HE is the object of our faith, never a human person or group. Put faith in Jesus, not faith in your faith! HE is the one we are to look to and glorify. Always keep your eyes on Him. Trust and serve Him no matter what.
JUDAS IS SATAN-INDWELT (Luke 22:3-4) ⇑
“Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus” (Luke 22:3-4). Being demonized is terrible, being ‘Satanized’ is beyond comprehension. The only other person recorded to be indwelt by Satan is the antichrist (Revelation 13:2, 14-15). Satan wants to handle this with Jesus himself and not take a chance by letting even one of his top demons do the job. It is that important. Everything depends on keeping Jesus from dying and rising again. If they fail it will mean hell for them for all eternity!
TWO DECREES AGAINST SATAN (John 12:31; 16:7-11) ⇑
After entering Jerusalem on a donkey and proclaiming Himself Messiah, the Jews continued rejection of Jesus became final. Jesus, knowing crucifixion was certain, told His followers what would happen so they wouldn’t be surprised or discouraged. “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out” (John 12:31). The coming judgment on Satan and this evil world system is so certain Jesus speaks of it as if it is currently happening. “Driven out” is the same Greek word (edballoe) that is used of casting demons out of people.
A few days later, after the Last Supper and while walking to Gethsemane, Jesus affirmed the same truth. “The prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:11). Satan was given authority over this world system from Adam when he sinned and followed Satan’s advice. Now Jesus is winning it back (Romans 5:12-21). Satan will be condemned by Jesus’ victory over sin on the cross. Again, using the present tense shows Jesus’ assurance that it is as good as done!
LESSON FOR TODAY: We must always remember that Satan is a defeated foe. He was cast out of his original position in heaven because of pride (Ezekiel 28:16; Luke 10:18; Isaiah 14:12). His judgment was pronounced in Eden (Genesis 3:14-15). He was defeated by the cross (John 12:31). He will be cast to the earth in the tribulation (Revelation 9:1; 12:7-12), bound during the Millennium (Revelation 20:1-3) and then cast into the lake of burning sulfur forever (Revelation 20:7-10; Isaiah 27:1; 40:23-24; 2 Thessalonians 2:8).
SATAN DEFEATED ON THE CROSS (Hebrews 2:14-15) ⇑
The culmination of the battle between God and Satan which started in Eden ended as God predicted, with Satan painfully wounding Jesus but with Him defeating Satan (Genesis 3:15). But it was a terrible battle, the worst ever. Jesus, as a man, faced all the hate, violence and evil Satan and all his demons could throw at Him. They literally drug Him through hell for those hours, totally separated from God and facing it as a man. Yet He stayed faithful and endured, paying the price for every sin we would ever commit (Hebrews 2:14-15; Colossians 2:15).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Satan and his forces are defeated foes, having given their all to destroy Jesus on the cross, but being beaten by Him instead (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Peter 3:18-22). Now they are free to continue their work because God still honors man’s free will and allows each one to decide whom they want to serve. They have been condemned and sentenced, now they are awaiting that sentence to begin. Knowing their time is short they strive to do all the evil they can against God and His people. When Jesus returns Satan and his demons will be cast into the lake of fire forever (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:1-15).
Jesus defeated death on the cross. He paid for every sin, then said “It is finished (John 19:30).” Only then did He voluntarily leave His body for there was no more any need to suffer in humiliation (John 19:30). Every sin had been paid for, Satan and his forces had been defeated. Technically Jesus didn’t die for our sins, He suffered for them and died because His work was done. Sin did not kill Jesus, nor did Satan. It wasn’t a matter of waiting to see if He’d come back to life. He voluntarily died and so He also voluntarily came back to life.
SATAN DEFEATED BY THE RESURRECTION (Ephesians 4:8) ⇑
Jesus’ resurrection and ascension showed His victory over Satan on the cross. He freed us from sin and gave us eternal life (Ephesians 4:8).
Jesus is our example in how to have victory over Satan and his demons. At the start of His ministry He cast out many demons (Matthew 4:23-24; Mark 1:39,34). In the Gadarenes He cast demons out of two men (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-17; Luke 8:20). He cast demons out of the daughter of a Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21 Mark 7:20), and cured a demonized man (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-36). He healed a boy with seizures and demons (Matthew 17:14-20). He cast seven demons out of Mary Magdalene as well as out of other women followers (Luke 8:2; Mark 16:9).
LESSON FOR TODAY: Jesus is our example in delivering people from demonizing. Before casting them out He rebuked them (took their power away) (Matthew 17:18; Luke 9:42). Then He “drove” them out (Mark 1:39). He did it verbally (Matthew 8:16), not by a certain ritualistic procedure. He didn’t let the demons speak (Mark 1:34; Luke 4:41), except Legion, and that was just to give his name so others would know what was happening (Mark 5:9). He never let them say who He was (Mark 1:25; Luke 4:35; Mark 3:11-12). He told them to “be quiet and come out” (Luke 4:35; Mark 1:25). Other times He told them to “go” (Matthew 8;32). Sometimes He was quite far from the person whom He was delivering (Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30). When He cast them out He forbid them to ever return again (Mark 9:25).
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords invaded the kingdom of Satan, but He did it in the form of a man. His first coming brought out all the opposition the enemy could muster against Him. He came to rescue mankind from the consequences of sin. The darkness opposed Him but He was victorious (John 1:5; 3:19; 8:12).
Satan and his demons are defeated, and Jesus shares that victory with us. However until Jesus comes for the second time and Satan and all demons are removed, the battle continues. Satan can no longer attack Jesus directly, so he takes his fury out on God’s people – Jews (because they are God’s chosen people) and Christians (because we are children of God). However, we can have victory because we fight a defeated foe! But we must learn spiritual warfare to do so. The rest of the books in the New Testament add further detail to how to have victory over our enemy.
REFERENCES TO THE SPIRIT WORLD IN THE GOSPELS ⇑
- MATTHEW 4:1-11, 246:137:228:16,28-349:32-3510:1,2511:1812:22-30,43-4513:19,24,28,37,3915:21-2816:18-2317:14-21
- Why does Satan try to use those who are close to us to influence us in wrong ways?
- Why is laying hands on someone who is demonized while you pray, effective?
- What are some Bible verses that state that Satan has been defeated by Jesus? Write them down, memorize them, and keep them with you so you never forget that we have victory in Jesus.
- What have you learned about spiritual warfare and bringing deliverance to others through this study? Name as many lessons as you can.
QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS ⇑
If you have completed this portion of Spiritual Warfare in the Bible please let me know. I would enjoy knowing what you thought of it, what you learned, and what I can do to improve it. Also let me know if you have any questions or prayer requests. Thanks and may God continue to bless you as you serve Him. Jerry Schmoyer firstname.lastname@example.org