"There is one reasonable certainty, however. There is nothing supernatural about ritual abuse. There are no "spirits" or "demons" or "forces" other than those created by the human mind and projected or perceived as real, which are responsible for what humans are doing to other humans. The devil isn't making them do it." - Craig Lockwood
There are horrific things being done to people in the name of religion, and even in the name of Christ. The term is `ritual abuse', and a group does not have to outwardly worship Satan to be ritually or spiritually abusive. Ritual/spiritual abuse is real and it is becoming more common in our country as schools have rejected God and the Bible and have embraced multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is the acceptance of any practice endemic to any culture because there are no right or wrong practices in the religion of secular humanism. People who are not controlled within by God's Spirit, and monitored without by a source of absolute authority (the Bible), are more easily controlled by evil. The standard of righteousness which was a "hedge of protection" from gross perversions and brutality in many communities, now has many gaping holes.
We expect safety within the church, but find the Bible is either not absolute authority, or it is neglected in favor of following individuals void of God's Spirit who use the Bible as a tool to enlarge their own kingdoms and power. There are those who believe complex personal problems can be quickly resolved by rebuking satan or casting out demons during a `deliverance session'. There are also those who quickly accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being demon possessed. I've been involved in such actions as both the victim and the abuser (for which I have repented and have sought restoration for the damage I have done). I hope this thorough study will help all Christians expose and correct "doctrines of demons" so that real healing, instead of further damage, may ensue.
Satan, the devil, is not represented as all-present in any scripture; he can only be in one place at a time. The way some people talk and pray, one would think Satan regularly visited hundreds of churches simultaneously. Satan is not all-powerful, though he can perform deceptive signs and cause sickness. Satan only counterfeits or destroys what is already created. Satan also held the keys of Hades and had the power of death, but Jesus took both from him by His death and resurrection. Satan is not all-knowing. Scripture refers to Jesus "knowing their thoughts", but this ability is never ascribed to Satan. Satan can not foretell the future, though he and the demons are aware of their impending doom. (See Matthew 8:29 and 25:41.)
The following verses [except those within brackets] contain the word satanus in Greek; meaning Satan:
[John 10:10 "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and
to kill and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they
might have it more abundantly."]
Thief is kleptes in Greek; meaning a thief who steals secretly, or a robber who plunders openly, by violence.
Steal is klepto in Greek; meaning to steal.
Kill is thuo in Greek; meaning to rush (breathe hard, blow smoke), i.e. to sacrifice by fire, to immolate, or to slaughter.
Destroy is apollumii in Greek; meaning to destroy fully, lose, mar, or perish.
Childhood abuse certainly has "marred" many. Satan will do whatever he can to keep us from God, but Jesus came that no one should perish ("be eternally separated form God"). Satan wants to sacrifice our lives for his pleasure, whereas Jesus became the sacrifice for our lives for His pleasure [Heb. 12:2].
1 Corinthians 5:5 "To deliver such an one unto Satan for
the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of
the Lord Jesus."
Destruction is olethros in Greek; meaning to destroy, to ruin, or to punish.
(Also see 1 Timothy 1:20.) When an unrepentant church member is excommunicated from the brethren, he will experience punishment in hopes he will repent and return to fellowship, as did this man (2 Cor. 2:5-11).
[Job 2:3b "And still he holds fast to his integrity, although
you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause."]
Destroy is bala in Hebrew; meaning swallow up, engulf, confound, ruin, or consume.
"Without cause" seems to infer there are causes
which incite God to allow Satan to "destroy" us.
I believe one of those causes is the denial of sin in our lives.
I think the purpose of Matthew 18:15-18 is to try to break the denial of a person in sin, and that excommunication is a way of removing the "hedge of protection" around that person so that they will face their sin and repent and be restored to fellowship.
In the first two chapters of Job, we see God is in control of the kinds of destructive acts Satan uses against Job, in order to test, prove, purify, and mature Job's faith. This does not mean that all destructive acts in our lives have been pre-arranged between God and Satan. The last chapter of Job portrays a humbler man who has seen the glory of God; the experience gave him a far richer life than the one he had before. Living in the affluent and relatively secure United States of America, it's easy to forget that God cares more for the salvation of our spirits, than whether or not we have a comfortable physical existence on earth.
Luke 13:16 "And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?"
[Matthew 12:29 "Or else how can one enter into a strong man's
house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then
he will spoil his house." ]
Bind is deo in Greek; meaning bind, knit, tie, or be in bonds.
Bond is desmon in Greek; meaning shackle, impediment, or disability. Jesus has bound Satan in the same way Satan used to bind others.
1 Thessalonians 2:18 "Wherefore we would have come unto you,
even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us."
Hindered is egkopto in Greek; meaning to cut into, to impede, to detain, or to be tedious unto.
Paul had certainly been detained and rerouted by circumstances numerous times, but this particular time was clearly orchestrated by Satan.
2 Corinthians 2:10-11 "To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive
also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes
forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage
of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
Advantage is pleonekteo in Greek, meaning, to make a gain, to be covetous, to over-reach, or to defraud.
Forgiveness is a great power which God has given His people which we neglect to use to our own destruction.
Acts 5:3 "But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled
thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price
of the land?"
Filled is pleroo in Greek; meaning cover, fill, imbue, or influence.
Heart is kardia in Greek; meaning heart, thoughts or feelings.
Satan can speak to Christians, and influence their thoughts and feelings, but the Christians choose to sin or not. Peter didn't cast out Satan, he confronted Ananias and Saphira with their sin of lying to the Holy Spirit. [Also see 1 Tim. 4:1.]
1 Corinthians 7:5 "Defraud ye not one the other, except it
be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and
prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency."
Incontinency is akrasia in Greek; meaning lack of self-restraint.
Read 1 Cor. 7:1-4 for context of not withholding sex from your spouse beyond a mutually agreed time period. This is specially important for couples working through sexual abuse issues. The desire to resolve the past need not destroy your marriage.
Acts 26:18 "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness
to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness
of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that
is in me." [Also see Eph. 2:1-3 and Col. 1:13.]
Power is exousia in Greek; meaning authority, influence, jurisdiction, strength or control.
Those who live a continual sinful lifestyle are walking in darkness that continually erodes their fellowship with God, but those who readily confess their sins are cleansed and walk in fellowship with the Light [1 John 1:5-10]. Remember that not everything that appears to be light is light.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 "For such are false apostles, deceitful
workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel;
for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is
no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of
righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
Transformed is metaschematizo in Greek; meaning transfer of modes, disguise, or transfigure.
A bright angel helped both Mohammed and Joseph Smith translate their holy books. Beware of angels and "Christians" who preach a different gospel. For more scriptures on Satan as the deceiver see Revelation 12:9; [13:14; 19:20]; and 20:3-10.
Remember the disciples were not "Christians" until they received the Holy Spirit when Christ breathed on them after His resurrection. The Holy Spirit could only "come upon" them until then (John, the baptizer, being an exception).
Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, probably performed miracles like the rest of the apostles after Jesus commissioned and empowered them [Mat. 10]. Yet he stole from the money box [John 12:6] and contemplated the thought of betraying Jesus, which Satan planted [John 13:2]. Jesus already knew who would betray him [John 6:70-71; 13:11]. He did not cast Satan out of Judas when he entered him (John 13:27) so that Scripture would be fulfilled at the expense of His life [John 13:18,31].
[Luke 10:1 "After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go."]
Luke 10:17-20 "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying,
Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said
unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give
unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power
of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding
in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather
rejoice, because your names are written in heaven." Devils
is daimonion in Greek; meaning demonic beings.
Subject is hupotasso in Greek, meaning to rank under, to subordinate, or to obey.
(Your) Power is exousia in Greek, meaning privilege, capacity, authority, or strength (with an inference it comes from the inside, out).
Serpents is ophis in Greek (the root optomai implies sharp vision and watching from afar), meaning a snake; or a person who is sly, cunning and malicious.
Scorpions is scorpios in Greek (the root skerpo means to pierce, and is possibly related to skepticism), meaning scorpion, or possibly piercing skeptics.
Maybe Paul derived "fiery darts" from here.
(Enemy's) power is dunamis in Greek, meaning miraculous power, strength, or violence.
Hurt is adikeo in Greek, meaning to injure, to offend, to wrong, or to be unjust.
Rejoice is chairo in Greek, meaning to be cheerful or calmly happy.
Spirits is pneuma in Greek, meaning breath, soul, mind, angel or demon.
At the outset Jesus warns His disciples not to 'power-trip' over commanding demons, but to rejoice in their relationship to the One in heaven. It is the relationship with God which gives us the authority and power over the enemy's forces. When we set anything ahead of our relationship with Jesus, it becomes an idol. The purpose of miracles, spiritual gifts, and service is to draw ourselves and others closer to Jesus. The power of God should never be separated from relationship with God
[Matthew 16:16-17 "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven."]
Jesus affirms that Peter is listening to God and not man. But a few verses later . . .
Matthew 16:21-24 "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan : thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." Away from is hupago in Greek; meaning, withdraw, go away, get beneath, get behind, or get to an inferior position.
Jesus basically tells Peter, "Get out of My way, you are being a hindrance because you are no longer viewing things from God's perspective, but from men's. Anyone who wants to follow Me must give up men's perspective and logic, and submit Himself to God's ways." Jesus did not cast a devil out of Peter. Jesus made a clear statement that to think and to listen to God and His way is blessedness, but to think and to listen to men and their way is to side with Satan in opposition to God. [Also see Romans 8:6-8.]
Luke 22:31-32 "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan
hath desired to have you (plural), that he may sift you as wheat: But I
have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted,
strengthen thy brethren."
Desired to have is exaiteomai in Greek; meaning to demand (for trial), and to desire. This is the only time this word appears in Scripture.
Sift is siniazo in Greek; meaning to shake in a sieve; figuratively by inward agitation to try one's faith to the verge of overthrow. This is the only time this word appears in Scripture.
Converted is epistrepho in Greek; meaning to turn to, to cause to return, or to bring back. The same word is used in Matthew 13:15 and Mark 4:12 by Jesus linking His forgiveness and healing to being converted.
Satan will attempt to pull apart all the disciples from Jesus and one another. Jesus does not stop Satan from putting Peter through the coming trial, and He even describes the coming trial in great detail; but He does not instruct Peter to avoid the trial or to pray against Satan. Even though Peter will turn his back on Him, Jesus assures Peter that He has prayed for his faith to overcome. Jesus further encourages him to strengthen the brethren once he has decided to acknowledge their relationship again.
As the story unfolds, Satan positions human accusers (diabolos) to intimidate Peter with the fact of his relationship with Jesus. Satan can accuse with facts as well as lies. Peter denies knowing Jesus three times; Jesus looks at him, and then Peter weeps bitterly. Peter returns to fishing (for fish instead of men), and is possibly upset that he is not doing a very good job of that either. Jesus returns to reinstate him in his ministry after asking three times about their relationship. Jesus asks Peter the first two times if he loves Him, but Peter responds with friendly affection only; so Jesus restores relationship at Peter's level, asking if he truly has friendly affection for Him.
This is a great comfort to those of us who have denied our Lord in word or deed. If we continue in that denial, Jesus will deny us [2 Timothy 2:12-13], but if we repent and turn back to Him (are converted), He forgives us and draws us to Himself [James 5:19-20]. Satan may shake our faith, but only that which does not rest upon the solid foundation of Jesus Christ will be lost, because Jesus our Lord makes intercession for us as well.
Paul, formerly Saul, consented and was well pleased at Stephen's death; and persecuted the church, violently committing Christians to prison. Ananias did not cast out spirits of murder or violence or legalism or anything else when God told him to go to Saul.
[Acts 15:36-41 " And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches."]
The brethren in Antioch did not cast out demons of division, or accuse Paul of slandering John Mark or not "acting in love"; instead they gave them over to the grace of God, and both ministries prospered. Paul did not accuse John Mark of having a demon of desertion or traitor, but stated the fact he chose not continue with them in the previous work, but left them. Neither did Paul accuse him of causing the contention. Paul considered John Mark's poor past performance made him unsuitable for the ministry God had called him to do. Barnabbas had a ministry of encouraging those with poor past performance into maturity in Christ. There is much to consider when forming a ministry team.
Jesus was well prepared through baptism in water and of the Spirit, and He was assured of His Sonship and pleasure to the Father [Mat. 3:16-17]. John, as the last earthly high priest, proclaims Jesus as the "Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" [John 1:29].
v1 Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted. John confessed the world's sins onto the scapegoat, and the Holy Spirit is the one who releases Him into the desert [see Lev. 16:6-10 and 20-28].
v2 Jesus prepares himself for ministry as Moses did -- fasting 40 days and nights before God.
v3 "The tempter came to him and said . . ." Jesus was not seeking to confront the devil; Satan initiates the encounter. Satan's first two temptations begin with, "If you are the Son of God . . ." The devil attacks Jesus identity, using Scripture and the lusts of the flesh [see 1 John 2:16]. Jesus replies in His humanity with the Word of God, and the resolve to do His Father's will only. One of Satan's tactics is to get us to doubt and to question our identity in, and relationship to, God, the Father. "Tell these stones to become bread" -- Satan wants Jesus to prove His identity by performing a miracle to provide for His own needs. Jesus is at the point of starving to death, and must eat soon.
v4 Jesus replies all three times with "It is written . . ." Jesus replies from Duet. 8:1-5, in which the Lord reminds the Israelites of the forty years of manna in the desert when He disciplined them as a Father.
v5 Interestingly, Satan takes Jesus to the top of the temple, the dwelling place of the Most High, instead of to the tallest mountain.
v6 Then Satan quotes Ps. 91:11-12, but Ps. 91:9-10 contain the real question: "If you make the Most High your dwelling . . . then no harm will befall you . . ." -- Do you dwell with God?
v7 Jesus answers the real question by quoting Deut. 6:16 which refers to Massah. Its story is in Ex. 17:1-7: "And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, `Is the Lord among us or not?'(verse 7)"
v8 On the mountaintop all the splendor, but not the heartache, of the world is displayed before Jesus.
v9 What was already promised Jesus in Isaiah 9:7 is now offered to Him if He will worship Satan -- a costly price for easy success. -- Does the end justify the means?
v10 Jesus answers `NO' from Deut. 6:13 (v12 precedes with not forgetting God when He brings you into the promised land); thus Jesus lets Satan know He believes in God's promises to Him. "Away from Me" is hupago in Greek; meaning, withdraw, go away, get beneath, get behind, or get to an inferior position. Jesus uses the same word with Peter later.
v11 "Then the devil left him". Jesus was never devil-possessed; Satan just left the area. ". . . and angels attended Him." As with Daniel, when evil powers resist a servant of God who is fasting and praying, angels prevail and minister to the believer.
The following verses [except those within brackets] contain the Greek word diabolos; meaning slanderer, false accuser, or devil:
1 John 3:8 "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the
devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested,
that he might destroy the works of the devil." [See Col. 2:15]
Destroy is luo in Greek; meaning loosen, break up, dissolve, put off, or undo.
Hebrews 2:14 "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers
of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that
through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is,
Destroy is katargeo in Greek; meaning to render inoperative, abolish, or to make of no effect.
[Romans 16:20 "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under
your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen."]
Bruise is suntribo in Greek; meaning to crush completely and to shatter.
Acts 10:38 "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy
Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were
oppressed of the devil (whom the devil exercised power over); for God was
Healing is iaomai in Greek; meaning cure, heal, or make whole.
Jesus breaks off and destroys the works of the devil in our lives, dissolving them and making them of no effect; and then He makes us whole again. More teaching emphasis needs to be placed upon Jesus defeat of the devil's past and present work in our lives, and our responsibility to mortify our sin natures.
The word diabolos is rightly not translated devils in the following four scriptures, because these people are just acting like devils when they slander and falsely accuse; they do not become devils. The women were especially exhorted towards positive pursuits in Christ; lest they lapse into idleness and gossip and slander, and shipwreck their faith.
1 Timothy 3:11 "Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things."
[1 Timothy 5:14-15 "I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan."]
It's better translated - "to give no occasion to the adversary on account of slander. For some are already turned back after Satan."
Titus 2:3 "The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;"
2 Timothy 3:3 "In the last days men will be . . . Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,"
Both men and women can be false accusers like the devil. Since Jesus has already destroyed the devil's work in our lives, we can rest in His defense of us.
Ephesians 4:25-27 " Wherefore putting away lying, speak every
man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye
angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give
place to the devil."
Place is topos in Greek, meaning space, location, condition, license, or opportunity.
In context (see verse 31) a better translation would be "neither provide opportunity to the false accuser or slanderer." Do not provide them the time, space, or a listening ear. Ideally, before each day is over, we should forgive those who have aroused us to anger. For adult victims of childhood abuse, that opportunity has passed. Instead of plotting vengeful actions before you fall asleep, ask God to deal with the abusers in your life according to His will. If they repent, God will forgive them; but if they do not repent, we can be assured God will avenge us.
James 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
1 Peter 5:8-9 "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary
[the] devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are
accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
Resist is anthistemi in Greek; meaning to stand against, to oppose, to withstand. First we must submit ourselves to God before we can stand against the devil and watch him run away.
1 Timothy 3:6-7 "Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil."
2 Timothy 2:24 "And the servant of the Lord must not strive;
but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing
those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance
to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves
(and escape) out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him
at his will."
Recover themselves is ananepho in Greek, meaning to become sober again or to regain one's senses.
If you read this verse in context with 2 Timothy 2:14-19, you will see these opponents called themselves Christians but taught un-Biblical things. Those who "oppose themselves . . . taken captive" is a good description of believers trapped in cults or sins and fighting with themselves to repent and acknowledge the truth. Repentance and acknowledging the truth is true recovery.
1 John 3:7 "Little children, let no man deceive you: he that
doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous."
Deceive is planao in Greek; meaning to cause to wander, to mislead or to misguide.
Children of the devil will try to divert your trust in Jesus and His Word, usually, to themselves and their 'special' teaching or group.
1 John 3:8-9 "He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." Committeth and Commit are poieo in Greek; meaning make or do, practice, exercise, work, continue, purpose, perform, cause, or fulfill.
Children of the devil have a sinful lifestyle, yet might perform 'good' deeds; whereas children of the King live a righteous lifestyle, yet might sin [1 John 1:9-10]. Christians now have God's Spirit indwelling them, leading them toward Christ and away from sin.
1 John 3:10-11 "In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another."
What sets Christians apart from the world is their love for Jesus and one another. So we recognize children of the devil by the deceit, sin, and hatred in their lives. [See John 13:35 and 1 John 5:1.]
Read John 8:37-59. Jesus rightly calls these Jews "children of the devil" because they refuse to listen to the truth (their deceit), they want to murder Him (their sin), and they refuse to love Him (their hatred). These Jews respond as typical false religious leaders; they accuse the One who has exposed their true affiliation with the devil as "having a devil" Himself.
Acts 13:6-12 "And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full of all subtlety and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord."
Notice Elymas has the ear of a high official, and tried to keep him from becoming a Christian. Elymas tried to pervert the right ways of the Lord through subtlety, mischief, and anti-righteousness. The Holy Spirit gives Paul discernment and boldness. Paul calls Elymas a "child of the devil," but does not cast out a devil; instead he speaks directly to Elymas. Paul exposes him in front of everyone there, and pronounces the Lord's hand, and blindness for a season, upon him. This might possibly be in hopes that Elymas, like Paul, might "see the light" of the Lord Jesus after persecuting and withstanding His people.
It's interesting how the deputy believes, being astonished at the "doctrine of the Lord", not necessarily the miraculous power. Elymas, the sorcerer, had probably performed many wonders in his presence, but this God of Paul's weighs the hearts of men, and deals with them accordingly. In the end, some will wonder why all the wonders they had performed did not get them into heaven, and the Lord will tell them it's because they never had a relationship with Him.
The Greek word pneuma means breath, and it is translated as Spirit 239 times, and as spirits 32 times. When translated as "spirit", the context needs to be examined to see if it means the spirit in relation to body and soul; attitude or ability; or discernment between good and evil spirits. I have grouped them accordingly. Although there are several meanings for "spirits", it appears that "evil or unclean spirits" and "demons" are synonymous and are used interchangeably (Matthew 8:16).
For the Old Testament verses, spirit is ruwach in Hebrew; meaning wind, breath, mind; air or gas; vain, empty thing; or spirit (as that which breathes quickly in agitation); vivacity, vigor, courage, temper, anger; disposition (as troubled, bitter, or discontented); uncontrollable impulse; prophetic spirit; God's spirit; disembodied being; spirit (as seat of emotion or moral character); or spirit (as energy of life).
The following New Testament verses [with exceptions in brackets] contain the word pneuma or ruwach:
See Romans 1:9 and 8:10; 1 Cor. 2:11-12; 5:3-5; 14:15 and 16:18;
and 2 Cor. 7:1; Gal. 6:18; Hebrews 4:12 and 12:9; and James 2:26.
See 1 Cor. 4:21 and 2 Cor. 12:18; Phil. 1:27 and 2:2; and 2 Thess. 2:2;
and 1 Peter 3:4, and Judges 9:23.
See Ephesians 1:17; and 2 Timothy 1:7; and Revelation 19:10.
Hebrews 1:14 refers to angels as ministering spirits originating from God; whereas evil spirits are associated with the world and its prince (Eph. 2:2). Romans 8:15-16 and 1 John 4:1-6 explain the differences between the two. In 2 Cor. 11:4, Paul warns them not to receive a different spirit or gospel than the one they have already received. [James 3:13-15] describes the difference between godly and demonic wisdom.
* given the words to answer questions of authorities (Matthew 10:18-20 and Acts 7)
* controllable super-human strength that's violent (Judges 14 and 15)
* eye infirmity [Galatians 4:12-14]
* sickness [Phil. 2:25-30 and 2 Tim. 4:20]
* healing [James 5:16]
* brings anxious thoughts to God, thinks about praiseworthy things, and receives God's peace(Philippians 4:6-9)
* good deeds [Matthew 5:15 and Acts 9:36-39]
* discreetly giving to those in need [Matthew 6:1-4]
* speaks truly, is irreproachable, and cares for widows and orphans (James 1:26-27)
* love for enemies [Matthew 5:43-48]
* acknowledgment of the deity and incarnation of Jesus (John 1:1, 14; 1 John 4:2)
* oneness with God exhibited by loving God and the brethren, and by obeying God (John 14:20-24; 15:17)
* mortifies personal sins and exhibits Christ-like nature (Rom. 8:9-14, Gal. 5:19-25, and 1 John 2:6)
* speech in unknown tongues and/or controllable prophetic utterances (1 Cor. 14)
Acts 19:12 "So that from his body were brought unto the sick
handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil
spirits went out of them."
Departed is apallasso in Greek; meaning 'off selves', to change away, to remove, and to release.
Went out is exerchomai in Greek; meaning come out and depart from.
If this is similar to the woman who touched Jesus' hem and was healed, Jesus made it clear that it was her faith that healed her and not His clothes. So it seems both diseases and evil spirits can be removed by a person's faith in Jesus, the Deliverer.
1 Samuel 16:14-16 "But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. And Saul's servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well."
1 Samuel 16:23 "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit
from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand:
so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from
Troubled is ba'ath in Hebrew; meaning to terrify, startle, fall upon, dismay, be overtaken by sudden terror, or overwhelm.
Well is towb in Hebrew; meaning to be good, be pleasing, be joyful, be beneficial, be pleasant, be favorable, be happy, be right; or to do well, do good, or act right.
Departed is cuwr in Hebrew; meaning to turn aside, turn in unto, avoid, to be removed, to come to an end, take away, put away, depose, retract, reject, abolish, or be removed.
1 Samuel 19:9-10 "And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night." (This also happened before in 1 Samuel 18:10.)
Sought is baqash in Hebrew; meaning to seek, require,
desire, exact, request or demand.
Smite is nakah in Hebrew; meaning to strike, hit, beat, slay, kill, scourge, clap, give a thrust, slay, attack, destroy, conquer, subjugate, or ravage.
1 Samuel 19:20 "And Saul sent messengers to take David: and when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, and Samuel standing as appointed over them, the Spirit of God was upon the messengers of Saul, and they also prophesied."
1 Samuel 19:23-24 "And he went thither to Naioth in Ramah: and the Spirit of God was upon him also, and he went on, and prophesied, until he came to Naioth in Ramah. And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets?"
First an evil spirit was upon Saul and he hurled a javelin at David; then the evil spirit departed. Next, the Spirit of God comes upon Saul, and he prophesies for a day and a night prostrate and naked with the other prophets. (Remember, the Holy Spirit did not indwell people until Christ came.) God graciously gives King Saul the experiences of being controlled by evil spirits and than the Holy Spirit. Later we find Saul has chosen to be controlled by his own evil nature, and whatever evil spirits come his way. Instead of surrendering himself to God's control, Saul hurls a javelin at his own son, Jonathan, without the recorded influence of an evil spirit (1 Samuel 20:33).
Lying is sheqer in Hebrew; meaning deception, disappointment,
falsehood; that which deceives, disappoints, or betrays one; fraud, wrong;
falsehood, false oath, swear falsely; or false, self-deceived prophets.
The story of a lying spirit answering God's request to lure Ahab into attacking
Ramoth Gilead is recorded in 1 Kings 22 and
2 Chronicles 18.
Familiar is 'owb in Hebrew; meaning skin-bottle; ghost, spirit of a dead one; or necromancer, one who evokes the dead (evidently by ventriloquism - see Isaiah 29:4) or practice of necromancy (apparently through the idea of prattling a father's name, which is `ab in Hebrew).
As is the case today, some mediums learned to "throw their voice" to convince their clients that deceased friends were talking to them, while others actually called up the spirits of those dead to communicate with the living. Regardless of whether they were faking or not, those who professed having familiar spirits (mediums, witches or wizards) were to be stoned to death by the community (Lev. 20:27), and those who defiled themselves by seeking after them were to be cut off from the community (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6). There is no mention in the Law about what to do with those who unwillingly become victims of evil spirits.
Deuteronomy 18:9-13, Leviticus 20:1-6, 2 Kings 21:6 and 2 Chronicles 33:6, list consulting with familiar spirits alongside witchcraft and sacrificing children. Kings of Israel who desired to follow the Lord, first had to rid the land of those that had familiar spirits (1 Samuel 28:3 and 2 Kings 23:24). Saul's consultation of the witch at Endor (for which he is later killed, 1 Chronicles 10:13) is recorded in 1 Samuel 28. She does succeed in calling up Samuel's spirit, but he just confirms Saul's disobedience to the Lord and his demise. Believers in the living God have no business consulting with the dead (Isaiah 8:19).
In Matthew 17:14-21 "This kind (genos in Greek; meaning family, offspring or class) goeth not out but by prayer and fasting," could arguably refer to how to cast out a generational demon or one that relates the history of past `hosts' to its present host. It might have just been a more difficult class of demon to cast out. My opinion is the boy had a "familiar spirit" brought on by the practice of witchcraft (his own or his mother's maybe). I learned witchcraft in my youth [Isaiah 47:12], and see that it is still fostered among our youth today through spiritual `games', books, and all other media. Building a doctrine of demons on any of these views based upon this one verse would be foolish. As for "generational sins", God describes in Ezekiel 18 how each man is responsible for his own sins (or righteousness) regardless of what sins (or righteousness acts) his father has committed.
Acts 16:16-19 "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer,
a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought
her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and
cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show
unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being
grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus
Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. And when her
masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and
Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,"
Divination is Python in Greek; it was the name of a region in Delphi where the seat of an oracle was located. It was a serpent slain by Apollo in mythology.
Soothsaying is manteuomai in Greek (the root mantis means seer; mainomai means to rave as a maniac or to be mad); meaning to rave through inspiration, to divine, to utter spells as in fortune-telling. This is the only time it appears.
Cried is krazo in Greek; meaning to cry or cry out, or speak with a loud voice.
Grieved is diaponeo in Greek; meaning to toil through, to be worried, or annoyed.
Possessed is echo in the Greek; meaning to have, to hold, to be in such a condition, to hold one's self to a thing, to lay hold of a thing, to be closely joined to a person or a thing.
I believe the spirit of "mad seer" is the same as the "familiar spirit" of the Old Testament. The woman's ceaseless repetition of the same phrase reminds me of 'mantras' and automatic handwriting. Why Paul waits "many days" before he deals with the spirit is not mentioned. Maybe he needed time to fast and pray. Maybe he knew it would cause an uproar in the city which might cost him the opportunity of sharing the gospel or bring him bodily harm. It might have even sounded religiously acceptable at first, but the raving repetition and the glorification of men eventually annoyed Paul. He could not allow evil spirits to falsely ally themselves with the gospel. He speaks to the spirit, not the girl, and commands it to leave her. Paul later gives commands for true prophets in the church to demonstrate self-control and to take turns prophesying, and then to have the others judge what was said [1 Cor. 14: 29-33].
The Jews accuse Jesus of casting out demons by Satan's power and then demand another sign to prove His Lordship; thus rejecting Him as their Messiah, and creating a vacuum in the nation's soul that would soon be filled with worse wickedness. (Also in Luke 11:24-26)
Matthew 12:43-45 "When the unclean spirit is gone out of
a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then
he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when
he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and
taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they
enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than
the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation."
Walketh is dierchomai in Greek; meaning traverse, pass, or travel.
Empty is scholazo in Greek; meaning to be at leisure, or on a holiday from school, vacant, or no longer devoted to study.
Garnished is kosmeo in Greek; meaning to put in order, or to arrange.
More wicked is poneroteros in Greek; the root means evil, hurtful, vicious, diseased, malicious, mischievous, derelict or degenerate.
Since Jesus bases His parables on true and reasonable events, we can derive the following:
1. Demons can come into and go from "empty" people -- the unsaved, unschooled in theology, and void of God's Spirit.
2. Demons can travel outside of bodies as spirit-beings, but prefer
to be in a body.
3. Demons have varying degrees of wickedness.
4. Demons can find other demons to join it in a body (see Luke 8:2).
5. Demons can dwell in religious people (see 1 Samuel 15 and Luke 4:33-35).
From other scriptures we may ascertain the following:
* Some territorial demons have fought and resisted angels. [See Daniel 10]
* Some demons and children of the devil have been sent by the Lord.
[See 1 Samuel 19:9 and 2 Corinthians 12:7]
* A medium, one who interacts with demons, called up the dead to speak with the living. [See 1 Samuel 28]
* Demons recognize the authority of Jesus and His followers. (See Acts 19:13-17)
* crying out (Luke 4:33 and 41)
* able to answer questions (Mark 5:1-20 and Acts 19:13-17)
* mute [Matthew 9:32-33] (Mark 9:17)
* mute and blind [Matthew 12:22]
* seizures (Mark 9:18-20)
* unrestrainable super-human strength that's violent (Mark 5:3-4; 19:16)
[1 Samuel 19:9]
* sudden terror (1 Samuel 16:14)
* wore no clothes, living in isolation, and often bound (Luke 8:27-29)
* stripped the men (Acts 19:16)
* present in the synagogue (Luke 4:33-34)
* recognition of the authority of Jesus (Mark 1:23)
* uncontrollable prophetic utterances (Acts 16:16-19; see 1 Cor. 14:29-33)
* "And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him." (Mark 9:22a)
* cutting oneself (Mark 5:5)
* brought death to herd of pigs (Mark 5:13)
These affects were not occasional occurrences, but consistent torture.
The name or presence of Jesus seems to provoke manifestations, so Christians
should be aware of whom they represent, and learn to discern whether the
manifestations are demonic or not. Seeking personal power outside of a
submissive relationship to God (through spiritism, idol worship, witchcraft,
seances, etc.) might allow entrance to the demons. Sin is generally
not attributed to the acts of the demonized, with the exception of
provoked physical violence. Nakedness, not for lack of clothing, can be
considered sexual or shaming; since no sexual activity is associated with
I believe it is shaming. The demonized are human beings with a sin nature who are being tormented and disabled by evil spirits that will depart in Jesus' Name. They must still surrender their sin nature to the cross of Christ to be saved like anyone else.
The word translated mad in the New Testament is mainomai (root mao means to long for, through the idea of insensate craving); meaning be mad or to be mad, or be beside one's self; or to rave. It is used as a false accusation against Jesus [John 10:20], Rhoda [Acts 12:15], and Paul [Acts 26:24-25] because of the unbelievably good news they proclaimed. It is also used in 1 Corinthians 14:23 regarding how unbelievers will view the whole church speaking in tongues. It is interesting that our praise and worship of God in the Spirit would be so closely associated with being mad and being drunk (Ephesians 5:17-20 and Acts 2:14-21) -- it brings insight into being "fools for Christ".
In the Old Testament, the Jews did not use the term devil or demon, but evil spirit. In the New Testament they sometimes combined mad or lunatic with devil or demon-possession when speaking. The term lunatic is seleniazomai in Greek which means `moon-struck', and is only used in two places: Matthew 4:24 and 17:15-18. In the former, it appears in a list of those healed, including those with devils. In the latter, Jesus casts out a devil from the lunatic boy.
There are three Hebrew words which are translated mad in the Old Testament:
Lahahh (meaning to languish or faint; to amaze or startle; or madman) is found in Proverbs 26:18-19 describing mad as extremely violent.
Halal (meaning to shine; to praise, glory, be boastful; be commended, to make a fool of, mad, or to act madly) is found in Ecclesiastes in reference to mocking or hollow laughter (2:2) and to the corruption of wise men through extortion (7:7); in Jeremiah it's in reference to idol worship (50:38) and drinking the cup of God's wrath (25:15-16; 51:7); and in Isaiah 44:25 it refers to God's overthrow of diviners.
Shaga' (meaning to be mad, to be maddened, or to show madness) is used in Hosea 9:7 to describe how sinful Israel now viewed it's spiritual men; in 2 Kings 9:11 it refers to Elisha and the types of things he says; and it's used in the following passage describing David's sham.
1 Samuel 21:13-15 "And he changed his behaviour before them,
and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the
gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard. Then said Achish unto
his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought
him to me? Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to
play the mad man in my presence? shall this fellow come into my house?"
Changed is shanah in Hebrew; meaning to repeat, change, alter, or to disguise oneself.
Behavior is ta'am in Hebrew; meaning taste or judgment; or decision or decree.
Before is 'ayin in Hebrew; meaning eye; of physical eye; of mental and spiritual faculties; or spring or fountain. It's also used in Genesis 3:5.
David disguised his mental judgment.
Daniel 4:33-34 "The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon
Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen,
and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown
like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws. And at the end
of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine
understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised
and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting
dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation."
Understanding is manda' in Aramaic; meaning knowledge or power of knowing.
The NIV translates it as "sanity". God gave Nebuchadnezzar the mind of an animal [Daniel 4:16] because of his pride, yet his "animal behaviour" was not violent but pastoral. The cure for his madness was to acknowledge the Sovereign God [Daniel 4:32], and then his sanity and his kingdom were restored to him. (It's a miracle no one usurped his kingdom during his madness, or challenged his return to power afterwards.)
* mocking or hollow laughter (Eccl. 2:2)
* speaking unbelievable things (2 Kings 9:11 and 1 Corinthians 14:23)
* changed behavior, possible change in eyes, and drooling (1 Samuel 21:13-15)
* eats grass [Daniel 4:33]
* violent (Proverbs 26:18-19)
* nonsensical writing and impaired judgment (1 Samuel 21:13-15)
* loss of reason [Daniel 4:33-34]
* unkempt and outcast [Daniel 4:33]
* corruption of morals (Eccl. 7:7)
* idol worship (Jer. 50:38)
* glorification of self instead of God [Daniel 4:28-37]
The attributes of madness and demon-possession are very similar, but madness lacks the self-destructive and self-disabling attributes. The demons recognize and submit to the authority of God, but those who are mad do not. The demonized are cured when the demon is cast out of them, and they surrender to God (lest more demons come to inhabit them). The mad are cured when they recognize and submit to the authority of God. The cure for both is a humble relationship with Jesus.
Notice the absence of emotions or `mood-swings' in either demon-possession or madness. Being emotional or moody is not synonymous with being mad, regardless of what self-proclaimed psychological or spiritual experts determine to classify as insane. Emotional highs and lows are part of being human and created in God's Image. God, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, expresses His great joys and deep sorrows, and His compassion and anger. As such a created people we need to allow our fellow human beings to express their emotions while being supportive and understanding. Because believers refuse to give up their fatalistic view of God's will, they often turn away those who demonstrate the spiritual characteristic of long-suffering. Instead they could provide a safe place of comfort and encouragement, and bear with them through their pain. Long-suffering is makrothumia in Greek; meaning `far heat', patience, endurance, constancy, steadfastness, perseverance, forbearance, slowness in avenging wrongs.
Acts 19:13-17 "Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists,
took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the
Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there
were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did
so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know;
but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them,
and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of
that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks
also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the
Lord Jesus was magnified."
Exorcists is exorkistes in Greek; meaning one who binds by an oath or spell, or a conjurer. They attempted to use Jesus' Name as a magic incantation.
"Vagabond" reminds me of 'Lone-Ranger' Christians who "take upon themselves" the call to enter any gathering of believers and let fly a few exhortations of woe and leave.
"Seven sons of the chief priest" reminds me of preachers' kids who imitate their parents without any knowledge of what they are doing.
Here are several abilities of an evil spirit: it could communicate; it knew Jesus and was acquainted with Paul; it could not ascertain any authority in Sceva's sons; and it used the man's body to beat up and strip the men.
Jesus and His disciples drove out demons with a word, but never call themselves exorcists (See Mat. 8:16 and 10:8; Luke 9:1 and 13:32; and Mark 3:15; 6:13 and 16:17). When John told Jesus that people who did not follow them were casting out demons in His name, He basically told him not to worry because true miracle workers were on His side (Mark 9:38-41). The kingdom of God has only one King, and just because someone else does not belong to your group does not mean they do not serve the King.
The following verses [except those in brackets] either contain the word daimonion, meaning evil spirit or demon; or the word daimonizomai, meaning demonized or to be possessed by a demon:
"'Demon'. In the scriptures, the Greek daimon is rendered 'devil'; but most improperly, as 'devil' and 'demon' were considered to be different beings. I have followed the commentators on the New Testament, in substituting 'demon' in all cases where the Greek is daimon. I cannot think a translator justified in such a departure from the original, as to render the word by 'devil'. The original word for 'devil' is never plural, there being but one devil mentioned in the scriptures." (Noah Webster, in foreword to his 1833 Bible).
1 Corinthians 10:19-22 "What say I then? that the idol is
any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?
But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice
to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship
with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils:
ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils.
Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?"
Fellowship is koinonos in the Greek; meaning partaker,
partner, associate, comrade, or companion.
Partakers is metecho in the Greek; meaning to be or become partaker; to partake or to use. You can't serve two masters.
Matthew 7:21-23 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord,
Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will
of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord,
Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out
devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess
unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Iniquity is anomia in Greek; meaning wickedness, or violation of law.
It's easy to fake prophecy, to cast out devils out of Christians who have none, and to do some sleight of hand or good works out of selfish ambition. What is difficult is to consistently demonstrate your love of God and others. Even Satan tries to deceive the elect through signs and wonders, so be careful to look at a person's character. Is the person an ambassador of reconciliation of mankind to the kingdom of God, or are they trying to gain converts to their own personal kingdom? Also note Jesus tells these people He never knew them. They show themselves to be religious, and call Him Lord as if they know Him, but they have never been real with God. They have not humbly opened their true selves to God in faith He would receive them [see Galatians 4:9].
It is a blessing when the gifts of the Spirit are functioning properly in a healthy church. Discerning of spirits can keep lies from permeating the church through early detection of false leaders and false teaching. It is also a vital gift for distinguishing the manifestation of demons from the manifestation of the sin nature. True prophecy and words of knowledge and wisdom can expose the many sources of pain and infirmity. Where these gifts are non-operational, people sometimes turn to professional counseling. I would have greatly preferred miraculous healing, or a word of knowledge concerning incest coupled with wise direction on how to express my anger, forgive my family, and relate to Father God again.
Matthew 4:24 "And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them."
Matthew 8:16 "When the even was come, they brought unto him
many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with
his word, and healed all that were sick:"
Brought is prosphero in Greek; meaning to bear towards, or to lead to.
Sick is kakos in Greek; meaning evil, diseased, or miserably sick or sore.
Diseases is nosos in Greek; meaning infirmity, sickness, malady, or disability,
Torments is basanos in Greek; meaning torture (through the notion of being at the bottom). It sounds like classic depression or grief to me.
Lunatic is seleniazomai in Greek; meaning to be moon-struck or crazy.
Palsy is paralutikos in Greek meaning paralyzed, enfeebled, or as if dissolved.
Healed is therapeuo in Greek (the root thero means to heat); meaning to attend to (as a servant), or to relieve of disease, or to cure.
This is a beautiful picture of Jesus as our Therapist. Even though we know there are thousands of others in need of His care, He is able to attend to our hurts with the warmth of His love. (People sometimes experience physical heat or warmth in the healing process.) We discuss our problems, and He gives us comfort and hope.
Read the account of the legion of demons in Luke 8:26-39. The demons recognize Jesus as God and Judge. Jesus does not debate with the devils, or shout and curse at them. He takes the time to discern the magnitude of possession. He commands them all to leave at once, and allows them to enter the swine (which Jews were not supposed to eat anyway). They probably thought they would lose all their herds and flocks if Jesus cast out all the devils from people in the city. Economics prevailed over the needs of the insane and possessed. In verse 35, right mind is sophroneo in Greek; meaning sane, sober, self-controlled, or of a safe or sound mind.
In verse 36, healed is sozo in Greek; meaning to save, deliver or protect, to heal, preserve, to do well, or to make whole. Matthew 15:21-28 and Mark 7:24-30 tell the story of the Canaanite woman who pleads for Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter. Jesus tells her she has great faith. "And her daughter was made whole from that very hour." Made whole is iaomai in Greek; meaning to cure, to heal, or to make whole. All three Greek words for healing in the New Testament are used concerning the demonized. Only in healing the paralyzed man does Jesus also forgive the person's sins (Matthew 9:2-7). Scripture does not attribute sin to the demon-possessed; it's treated more as an evil spiritual infestation only exterminated by the authority of Jesus. The demonized received healing through handkerchiefs in (possibly someone else's) faith, or by encountering the name or presence of Jesus. They often needed someone else to choose to cast the demon out for them.
Read Luke 4:33-41 and 8:24. Jesus uses the same word to rebuke the fever and the storm, as well as to silence devils. Rebuke is epitimao in Greek; meaning to set a weight upon, to tax upon, to forbid, to censure, or to chide. It is the same word Jesus uses to cast out the "genos-demon", which the disciples could not cast out of the boy because of their unbelief (Matthew 17:14-21). From Matthew 13:58 it is clear that unbelief blocks miracles of any kind. I am afraid that the United States is similar to Jesus' home town, in that we are familiar with Jesus, but we do not honor Him as Lord; and therefore we see few true miracles. The devils recognize Jesus' Lordship (Mark 1:34; Luke 4:41 and James 2:19), but we often do not.
The following verses do not contain any specific words.
Read Mark 3:20-35. Jesus' family hears that the crowds won't even let him eat, so they claim Jesus is insane and needs them to take charge over Him. The Hebrew scholars add he is also demon-possessed, possibly hoping to place Him in their charge. After Jesus destroys the lawyers' arguments, he negates any authority his natural family has over Him by declaring His spiritual family relationships, with those who do the Father's will, have supremacy.
Mark 3:28-30 "Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven
unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness,
but is in danger of eternal damnation: Because they said, He hath an unclean
Blaspheme is blasphemeo in Greek, meaning to vilify, to speak impiously; defame, rail on, revile, or speak evil.
Forgiveness is aphesis in Greek, meaning freedom, pardon, deliverance, liberty, or remission.
In danger of is enochos in Greek, meaning liable to, subject to, or guilty of.
Unclean is akathartos in Greek, meaning impure, foul, or demonic.
The Holy Spirit abides in Jesus, and to call the Holy Spirit within Him a demon is unpardonable blasphemy.
Read Matthew 12:22-37. After healing a demon-possessed person, Jesus is accused by the Pharisees of casting out demons by the power of Satan. Jesus defeats their lies logically, and tells them their children will be their judges. Jesus explains how they are opposing the kingdom of God. Here the unpardonable "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost" is to falsely attribute miracles of God unto Satan in order to glorify self. In the case of Herod (Acts 12:21-23), it is to allow others to attribute divinity to a mortal without giving God His rightful praise. Jesus exposes the Pharisees' evil hearts because of the evil words and works they produce, and reminds them He will hold them accountable on the judgment day.
In John 7:14-24 Jesus is accused again by the Jews of having a devil because He exposes their motives to kill him just because He heals on the Sabbath. He tells them to use righteous judgment.
In John 8:44-56 Jesus tells the Jews they are of their father the Devil, and they reciprocate. Jesus responds, "I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth." The real issue is to honor the Father and to be honored by Him, instead of seeking honor of men. God will judge all who seek their own glory.
In John 10:19-21 the Jews accuse Jesus of having a devil and being insane because of His statements about the resurrection and being the Good Shepherd. Some of them admit that devils do not heal the blind.
Other scriptures referring to Christians being accused of devil-possession or insanity are as follows: Matthew 11:18; Acts 17:18 and 26:23; and 1 Corinthians 14:23.
Peter and I have observed first-hand the development and devastating effects of "doctrines of demons" (1 Tim. 4:1-3) within churches that, for the sake of greater control, end up as cults. 1. The leaders use sloppy terminology because of lack of Biblical knowledge and/or the desire to control. The following words are used interchangeably: demon, spirit, attitude, and sin; and has, possessed and oppressed. There is no biblical distinction between the word possessed and oppressed. A way these deceivers make their doctrine more palatable is to use alternative terms. Think hard about what their terms mean: If it is a spirit, and not an angel, then they mean demon.
2. People are shamed by others when they confess sin, so they begin to seek exorcism rather than repentance when they are in sin. People have been blaming it on the devil since Eve blamed the snake. It is easy to become caught up in a habit of 'quick fixes' that do not work. It takes prayer and honest searching of your heart to get at the root of sin (Ps. 139:23-24), not just an evening of 'spiritual warfare'. Confession of sin also requires trusting, honest relationships with other believers who will forgive graciously.
3. Demon accusation destroys and perverts relationships. If a person is falsely accused of being demonized, he has two choices: A) Rebuke and reject the accuser's authority as Jesus did, and leave them in the hands of a God who will judge. "If he thinks that I'm possessed, he's not going to listen to anything I say because he'll think that it's a demon talking through me. If he's wrong about something like this, I can't trust him." Or B) Total submission to the accuser's authority: "If I'm possessed and I didn't know it, how can I possibly know God's will for my life?"
4. Demon accusation devalues human beings. A technique of control throughout the ages is to make your victim somehow non-human: Nazis used the term sub-human, abortionists use the concept of pre-human. If someone is considered being controlled by a demon, they can be easily rejected. Other terms spiritual abusers use, so they can disregard you and anything you say, are `rebellious', `insubordinate', and `prideful'. The only way towards restoration necessitates submitting to them. It can feel as if the spiritual abuser has `cured' you, if you submit and return to the comfort of denying sin.
5. Demon accusation requires special knowledge. Often, these `experts' develop non-biblical rituals, `signs' or concepts: "You MUST find the name of the spirit to cast it out", "The sign of spiritual authority is in the thumb", "The right hand sends a blessing, the left hand takes a blessing." Beware of these and other non-biblical sayings.
A doctrine common to many Christian cults is that of the `Jezebel spirit'. This doctrine is non-biblical. The term `spirit of Jezebel' is not in the Bible. The woman named Jezebel in the Old Testament is found in the following passages: 1 Kings 16:31; 18:4,13,19; 19:1-2; 21:all; and 2 Kings 9:all. King Ahab committed great evil in marrying her, and she seduced him and much of the nation into worshipping Baal, killing the prophets of God and anyone else who stood in her way (Naboth). Whoredom and witchcraft are associated with her. She sows a wicked life and reaps a horrible death.
The woman named Jezebel in the New Testament is found in Revelation 2:20-25. Again, whoredom and witchcraft are associated with her, along with "misleading the leaders" into practicing two clear violations sent from the church in Antioch (sexual immorality and eating of food sacrificed to idols; Acts 15:29). God does not tell the elders of Thyratira to cast evil spirits out of her, but God states His grace toward Jezebel by giving her and her lovers time to repent of her ways. Since she is unwilling, God makes her ill and slays her children (as with the O.T. Jezebel) as a sign to others of His judgment against sin.
Though the main motive for demon accusation is control, leaders have accused beautiful women of being Jezebels as a way to assuage their own lustful guilt or as a way to get rid of female `troublemakers' (those who hold leaders accountable to the Bible). Some declare "anyone who challenges authority is demonized," while in scripture demoniacs recognized the authority of Jesus and His followers, and feared destruction. It is the lack of authority to give orders (to be obeyed without question) that these women are challenging. Since the O.T. Jezebel seduced a king and most of the country into idolatry, any wife who is strong in spiritual matters can be accused of controlling, misleading or manipulating her husband or other leaders. The women I have seen accused of having the `spirit of Jezebel' have also been incest victims (some unknowingly at the time of accusation). Maybe abusive men sense an incest survivor's resistance to being abused again through the more common `pastoral' manipulations, and so they resort to unacceptable forms of control.
After a married woman has been accused of having the `spirit of Jezebel', she can either choose to doubt her own relationship with God and entrust herself to the leader (idolatry and submission to a man other than her husband - 1 Peter 3:1); or she can challenge the leader's accusation and possibly lose her husband and her church. If the husband agrees that his wife has `Jezebel' and that he can be manipulated by it, then it will still destroy his trust in her and cause him to question his own ability to hear God's voice. If the husband challenges the leader's accusation, but the wife does not, they will be ostracized from the church. The wife might be counseled by the leader to leave her husband. If she stays with her husband, she could either become bitter toward him or seek healing.
Upon being accused of demon-possession, I laughed and left, but spent years studying the issue to assure myself. Now, I feel honored (Matthew 5:11-12) to be accused by spiritual leaders of my day in an attempt to nullify my testimony, as Jesus was in His day. For those who have been accused, there is a promise and a prayer for the people of God in Isaiah 54:17 and Psalm 31.
The Bible does not clearly address the question. My definition of "demon-possessed" is a person (not inanimate objects) controlled by one or more demons, or a person whom a demon regularly torments (as in the case of Saul). Others might define it as any sort of demonic activity that affects a person in any way. Others speak of demons exacerbating personal weaknesses to particular sins, but those who were demon-possessed in the Bible seemed to be disabled to enjoy a normal life, not enabled to greater sin.
Bible Link's definition of daimonizomai is . . . "To be under the power of a demon. In the New Testament, these are persons, afflicted with especially severe diseases, either bodily or mentally, (such as paralysis, blindness, deafness, loss of speech, epilepsy, melancholy, insanity, etc.) whose bodies in the opinion of the Jews demons had entered, and so held possession of them as not only to afflict them with ills, but also to dethrone the reason and take its place themselves; accordingly the possessed were wont to express the mind and consciousness of the demons dwelling in them; and their cure was thought to require the expulsion of the demon."
The Old Testament gives us the example of King Saul. He became prideful and he rejected and disobeyed God's word to him, and he did not have a personal relationship with God though he observed religious rites (1 Samuel 15:17-19, 24-31; notice "your God" in verse 30). Though Saul confesses his sin, he still prefers the honor of men to a relationship with God; and God sends the evil spirit to trouble him. Confession of sin did not protect Saul from being demonized; he needed to love God with his whole being, but he refused. Others were possessed by "familiar spirits" through practicing witchcraft and necromancy. Others became mad through pride (King Nebuchadnezzar idolizing himself) or idol worship. There seems to be a pattern of those who refuse relationship with God in preference to relationships with people or devils.
The Bible does not give a simple answer to the question. People have differing definitions of "Christian" and "demon-possessed". My definition of a "Christian" is one who has been justified by Christ through repentance and forgiveness of his/her sins; who loves God and takes steps of obedience to Him by the power of His indwelling Spirit; and who has, or soon will be, baptized in water. Others might say one who has said a "sinner's prayer" is a Christian, regardless of how that person lives afterwards. Some use 1 John 4:4 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 as proof texts that Christ and demons can not inhabit the same body. Although Jews had demons cast out of them by Jesus, there is no case of a Christian having a demon cast out of them by His apostles, but an argument from silence is a weak one.
Some of my experiences, and those of others, might tempt me to explain them away as encounters with demonized Christians; but once people grant greater credibility to their experiences above what Scripture clearly states, they are setting themselves up to be deceived. Just because an experience is spiritually dramatic, does not necessarily mean it is demonic.
Yes, but it's to be expected. We should keep our focus on Jesus and stand in the power of his might by encouraging one another in our faith through the word of God and praying for one another. If you encounter a fiery dart (a lie), recognize that it's a lie that came from the enemy, not from your own mind, and counter it with truth. It's not a sin you need to confess. I am often hit with feelings of guilt, and so I keep Romans 8:1-2 handy.
No! According to James 1:13-17, we sin when we choose to be enticed by our own evil desires. God will not play games with us and present us with something that appears to be good, but is actually evil.
No! If anyone had a right to, it was Eve; and she was still held personally responsible for her disobedience to God. Christ has rendered Satan powerless against us. "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
No! According to Romans 7 and 8, when a Christian sins it is a product of a choice to live according to the flesh or sin nature, instead of according to the Spirit. Satan and demons might influence the flesh, but it's the person's choice whether or not to sin.
Since "deliverance ministry" is not mentioned in the Bible, I have difficulty respecting people who claim to have such; specially if they are primarily casting devils out of Christians. I believe God has been gracious during some Christian "deliverance" sessions when a "spirit of _____" has been called out, in which the Christian actually confessed the 'sin, hurt, and unforgiveness about "_____" and was released -- sometimes with significant physical effects. It was not having a demon cast out , but the individual was actually "cutting off" a part of his/her sin nature.
A common tactic of the enemy is to get a Christian to exchange his/her identity in Christ with identity to a particular sin. After initial surrender to Jesus as Lord, we are no longer sinners saved by grace; we are now saints who need to confess an occasional sin. A Christian who gets drunk, needs to confess the sin of drunkenness, not identify himself or herself as an alcoholic. A Christian who commits homosexual sins needs to confess those sins, not declare himself or herself a homosexual. Before you became a Christian you used to serve sin and identify yourself with it, but you have been cleansed and empowered to serve Christ. A person who continues to boldly serve sin and identify with sin will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
My husband uses this analogy of a Christian's sins based upon Mark 9:42-45 and Romans 7:14-25. He says it is like making an imaginary dotted line around your hand and telling it, it is no longer part of your body and you will no longer nourish it; and you watch it waste away to nothing. For myself, I had to cut off homosexual sin. It was not my identity, and I refused to think of myself as a homosexual. By the Spirit I put to death the misdeeds of my body (Rom. 8:13), even though the Spirit did not reveal the roots of the tendency toward that sin until years later. Most of us want to understand before we obey God's word, but often the understanding comes as we obey God's word. For more great analogies of Christians separating from sin, I suggest C.S. Lewis' Great Divorce.
All mankind still experiences the effects of Adam and Eve's sin. Our lives were shortened and our world no longer has the protective upper layer of water in the atmosphere due to the sins of those during Noah's lifetime. We all deal with communication problems because of the sins of those who built the Tower of Babel.
As for generational sins (read Ex. 20:5-6), I believe God sees ("visits") the effects of one mans sins upon his great grandchildren, but Ezekiel 18:20 clearly states "The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him."
God's Holy Spirit can tell you so. There is a spiritual gift in the church called "discerning of spirits". Sometimes the demon-possessed are continuously physically impaired (like being blind, deaf or mute) or super-strengthened by the demon. Lots of people can fit this description by being in need of medical attention, or by being on drugs. Deliberate hallucinatory drugs can also be an invitation to demon possession. The non-continuous, fitful demonic manifestation of seizures or shouting out occurs in the presence of Jesus and His followers and in the presence of the exorcist sons of Sceva. Jesus was often told of the demon-possession by the ones who brought the demoniacs to Him, or by the demoniacs themselves; though I am certain He could discern it. Personally, I find demoniacs try to interrupt the works of God by drawing attention to themselves, but I have not encountered any since I stopped leading worship on the streets and stopped attending a cult.
Scripture shows that even being visited by an angel is a little scary at first. First, remember you are in Christ above all authority and power. Then, if you have the faith (see Matthew 17:14-21), command the demon to go away (you do not need to know its name). If you do not have the faith, ask God to give it to you. If you still do not have the faith, either get somebody who does, or pray God will direct somebody with the faith to cast it out in the near future. It is not a sin to lack faith. You are not responsible to help everyone with whom you come in contact, but to obey God's calling in your life (see Matthew 15:21-28).
Christ modeled words with which to cast out demons. "I command you to come out of him and never enter him again" (Mark 9:25) avoids the last state of the man being worse than the first (see Matthew 12:43-45). It is imperative that the former demoniac receives Jesus after having the demon cast out. Demoniacs have physically tried to hit me and to outdo the volume in attempts to stop the worship, but I kept singing and let other capable saints handle them. I only stopped once to deal with a man who was drawing attention to himself (as if the praise was for him), reminding him of the worms that ate Herod when he usurped God's praise (Acts 12:21-23). He was on top of a structure unseen by those with me, and he exited quickly.
It is not commanded nor modeled in Scripture. The Lord's Prayer models to pray that God would not lead us toward temptation; and Jesus already delivered us from the evil one. Satan was defeated, all evil powers and authorities were disarmed, and the law against us was canceled by Christ's death and resurrection (Col. 3:13-15). Jude 8-10 states even archangels say, "the Lord rebuke you" to Satan, and that those who slander celestial beings do not know about what they are talking (2 Peter 2:10-12).
It is warring between spirits; angels and demons. Chapter ten of Daniel gives us the best description. Daniel was given a revelation of a great war, and he mourned and fasted for three weeks in hopes of understanding it. Daniel had a vision of a man whose appearance is similar to that of John's vision of Jesus in Revelation 1:12-18. The vision sapped his strength, and he fell to the ground in a deep sleep. Then an angel wakened him.
Daniel 10:10 -11:1 " . . . from the first day that thou didst
set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy
words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom
of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the
chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of
Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people
in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. . . . Then said
he, knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight
with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of
Grecia shall come. But I will show thee that which is noted in the scripture
of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael
your prince. Also I in the first year of Darius the Mede, even I, stood
to confirm and to strengthen him."
Chasten is anah in Hebrew; meaning to be bowed down, afflicted, humbled or violated.
Prince is sar in Hebrew; meaning ruler, leader, chief, official, captain, commander overseer, elders, heads, merchant-princes, patron-angel, or warden.
Kingdom is malkuwth in Hebrew; meaning royalty, reign, sovereign power, dominion, or realm.
Withstood is amad in Hebrew; meaning to take one's stand, stand, appointed, opposed, remained, stationed, or stopped.
Help is azar in Hebrew; meaning to help or succor.
Fight is lacham in Hebrew; meaning to fight, do battle, or make war.
Holdeth is chazaq in Hebrew; meaning to be strong, carried out, hardened, prevailed, strengthened, or supported.
Daniel was diligently seeking the truth. He was heard and sent a response the first day. I do not believe Daniel began, stopped, or had any idea about the spiritual warfare until he was told about it. There is no biblical command to pray for angels to fight against demons over a certain local, but there is a command to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6). Satan (Rev. 2:13) and demons seem to have jurisdictions. God deals with cities and countries as a whole quite often in scripture, meting out blessing or wrath according to its actions (but not punishing the righteous with the wicked, as in Sodom).
Christians can take a stand against the local depravity and demonic jurisdictions by holding firmly to the truth and unashamedly presenting the gospel. Though we are confronted by human accusers, our struggle is against the evil forces at work in them. The church is to take an active stand against the accusations of the wicked in the world which are being prompted by demon-princes established by Satan over various regions of the earth. As Christians boldly proclaim Jesus Christ's forgiveness to all who repent of their sins, and proclaim His ability to exchange one's identity with sin to identity with His righteousness; the community will be changed one life at a time.
First, note that this is a directive to the whole body, not to individuals.
v10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power
of his might.
Finally is loipon in Greek; meaning rest, remaining, or henceforth.
Strong is endunamoo in Greek; meaning empowered (miraculously).
Power is kratos in Greek; meaning vigor, dominion, or strength.
Might is ischus in Greek; meaning forcefulness.
v11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand
against the wiles of the devil. Stand is histemi
in Greek; meaning (active, not passive) abide, covenant, establish, or
Wiles is methodeia in Greek; meaning literally traveling amid or over, or trickery.
Devil is diabolos in Greek; meaning false accuser or slanderer.
V12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities,
against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against
spiritual wickedness in high places. Wrestle is pale
in Greek; meaning to vibrate, to throw, or to wrestle.
Principalities is arche in Greek; meaning chiefs or powers.
Powers is exousia in Greek; meaning delegated influence; authority, jurisdiction, or strength.
Rulers is kosmokrator in Greek; meaning world-rulers.
Wickedness is poneria in Greek; meaning depravity, malice, or iniquity.
High places is epouranios in Greek; meaning heavenly, celestial, or high.
The people of God should have no King but God, but He allowed them to refuse His reign over them. [See Deut. 17:14-20 and 1 Samuel 8.] Satan has control of all the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-6). This does not mean God can not intervene in the affairs of kings [Ex. 6:1 and Pr. 21:1], or that the righteous can not reign for a season [Pr. 29], but that there will be a constant struggle between good and evil. It is displayed today in our country as the conflict between church and state.
Since the church in the United States has enjoyed relative freedom to obey God, we have not consider this verse may mean the spiritual wickedness in high places of government. We are not fighting individual accusers, but demonically influenced anti-God ideologies of humanism and atheism. Let's put on the armor to stand firm against the onslaught of anti-Christian legislation and accusation in our present evil day, and to pray for the establishment of righteous laws which will allow Christians to obey God peacefully.
v13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may
be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Withstand is anthistemi in Greek; meaning stand against or oppose.
Evil is poneros in Greek; meaning hurtful, calamitous, ill, culpable, derelict, or vicious.
Done is katergazomai in Greek; meaning work fully, or accomplish.
v14 To overcome these powers of evil the church first has to stand for truth and righteousness, without compromise.
v15 We must mobilize a gospel of peace -- real good news of God's forgiveness and power to make us whole, coupled with the truth of Christ's coming reign of righteousness and punishment of the wicked.
v16 The church must shield itself and its new converts from the lies and the trickery of the wicked by restoring faith and hope to them through the preaching of the Word ("faith comes by hearing").
v17 We must fill our minds with the process of salvation by teaching the Word, so that as "one man" we can thrust the light of the gospel out into the darkness of the depraved community; thus securing the city for the Lord.
v18 Everything done in and through the church needs to be birthed, nurtured, and completed in positive prayers led by the Spirit of God, not the selfish motives of men. These are to be prayers for the saints, not against wicked people or against demonic forces.
v19-20 We must be prepared for possible arrest for proclaiming the gospel. Paul was later beheaded during Nero's first persecution against Christians. Churches could lose their non-profit status by investing more than 15% of their money and effort towards the legislative battle, but if we lose the right to be Christian in our society, we'll need to prepare to lose a lot more than money (read Peter's epistles).
2 Cor. 10:1-7 "Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness
and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being
absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when
I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against
some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though
we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of
our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down
of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that
exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity
every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to
revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do you look
on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that
he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that as he is Christ's,
even so are we Christ's."
War is strateuomai in Greek; meaning (from a root meaning military camp or base) military service or apostolic duty, soldier or warfare.
Pulling down is kathairesis in Greek; meaning demolish, destruction, or take down. Kathairo means to cleanse or to purge.
Stronghold is ochuroma in Greek; meaning fortify, castle, hold safely, or argument.
Bringing in to captivity is aichmalotizo (aichme is spear) in Greek; meaning to lead away captive.
Revenge is ekdikeo in Greek; meaning to vindicate, to retaliate, or to punish.
Disobedience is parakoe in Greek; meaning inattention.
Obedience is hupakoe in Greek; meaning attentive hearkening, compliance. or submission.
Paul is defending his ministry and the gospel, and he will use his divine right as an apostle to destroy every idea that is anti-gospel. The pulling down of spiritual strongholds and anti-God thoughts is accomplished by exposing (and punishing by excommunication, if necessary) all anti-gospel teachings and teachers within the church. Then to safeguard ourselves against such lies penetrating the church again, believers are to take an active stance against Satan by praying for the saints. Paul restates this point again to the Ephesians in their relationship to the secular world.
For an individual believer to take a lie (anti-God thought) captive to Christ, one must first recognize it as the enemy. All lies have their origin in the "father of lies" whom Christ has already fought and subdued, but his roaring lies still reach our ears through accusers. We do not need to attack Satan or demons or their human agents in prayer (though we may need to rebuke and/or forgive the person who lied to us), but through prayer we recognize the lie and reject it by applying God's truth that counteracts its poisonous effects. There is a daily spiritual conflict (war) in our minds between the law of sin and the law of the Spirit (Romans 7), which Jesus Christ enables us to win when we choose life.
Christians can pray individually and corporately (Eph. 6:10-20 uses plural pronouns) in a positive manner about who they are and what they have in Christ. You can use Eph. 1 and 3:14-21 as a guide. Pray FOR the SAINTS unto the Father of lights who has the power to act upon your requests instead of rebuking Satan, who is powerless against you. The church can stand strong in God's full armor against the accuser's schemes by praying positively in the Spirit for one another. I believe Jesus has already set the captives free, both Christian and non-Christian (see 1 John 1:5-10). People are only imprisoned in darkness as long as they believe Satan's lies and deceptions. As soon as they step into the Light to have their sins exposed (repentance), they will awaken to new life and Christ will shine on them (Eph. 5:8-14).
 Craig Lockwood, Other Altars: Roots and Realities of Cultic and Satanic Ritual Abuse and Multiple Personality Disorder. Minneapolis, Minnesota: CompCare Pub., 1993, p. 254.
© 1997 L. Eve Engelbrite