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Revelation by Robert Dean
Series:Revelation (2004)
Duration:58 mins 44 secs

Satanic Attacks through Demon Possession

 

We now want to look at the direct assaults of Satan and the demons to the population in general at the time of the incarnation. It is interesting that when we look at the Old Testament there is not a single example of demon possession. Actually, there are very few references to demon possession in the Bible. In the New Testament many think at first glance that there are a number of examples, but that is because when we read the synoptic Gospels they are really talking about many of the same incidences. If we break those down what we discover is that there are no more than approximately eleven instances of demon possession in the Gospels. In the New Testament there are approximately one hundred and nineteen references to demons. That includes a number of different terms that are used to describe demon activity in the New Testament. Eighty-seven per cent of those references are in the Gospels and Acts. The epistles were written to church age believers to teach them how to handle the issues of the spiritual life. They are that portion of the Bible which is directly addressed to the church. So if there is no mention anywhere in the epistles of demon possession, how to protect ourselves from demon possession, or how to deliver ourselves from demon possession, and demon possession is ignored in that entire body of literature, then the silence speaks volumes. If the Scripture is sufficient for all things and there is no mention of this a s a problem, then perhaps it is not a problem. If it were a problem the Word of God would address it.

 

In the Gospel there are about eleven specific references to demon possession as an issue during the time of the incarnation. It is fascinating that there is no mention before the incarnation, no mention of it being a problem in the church age, there are instances of demon possession in the book of Revelation at the time of the Tribulation, but in these other periods it is not really an issue. Why would that be? What we have in the incarnation is the second person of the Trinity coming to earth to perform salvation, to die on the cross, and to offer the kingdom to Israel. It is the time when the Lord Jesus Christ came to offer what God had always promised to the Jews in the Old Testament. So as He appeared on the earth it really stirred the demons and they were doing everything they could to try to stop Jesus fulfilling His promises to bring in the kingdom for Israel. That is part of the background.

References to demons in the New Testament

There are three general statements in the New Testament about casting out demons. These happened when Jesus was with the crowds and many people came with diseases, evil spirits, etc. for healing. Matthew 4:24 NASB "…they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them." Matthew 8:16 NASB "When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill." Mark 1:19-34 NASB "And immediately after they came out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon's mother-in-law was lying sick with a fever; and immediately they spoke to Jesus about her. And He came to her and raised her up, taking her by the hand, and the fever left her, and she waited on them. When evening came, after the sun had set, they {began} bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. And the whole city had gathered at the door. And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was." Luke 4:38-41 NASB "Then He got up and {left} the synagogue, and entered Simon's home. Now Simon's mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Him to help her. And standing over her, He rebuked the fever, and it left her; and she immediately got up and waited on them. While the sun was setting, all those who had any {who were} sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on each one of them, He was healing them. Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, 'You are the Son of God!' But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ." These are parallel passages talking about the same event. The third general passage is in Luke 7:21 NASB "At that very time He cured many {people} of diseases and afflictions and evil spirits; and He gave sight to many {who were} blind." So we know that even though there are only eight specific instances described in Scripture there were others, and these people came to Him and he cast out the demons.

When we look at those eight specific events we have a situation of a man in a synagogue who comes and he has an unclean spirit, i.e. a synonym for a demon. Mark 1:23-28; Luke 4:33-37. Then there is the episode of the Gadarene demoniac. Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-40. Third, the Canaanite woman's daughter mentioned in Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30. Then there is a boy who when possessed falls into a fire. This is an important episode. He is a young boy. Then there is a mute boy who has seizures. So we see that in some cases demon possession causes seizures, deafness or muteness, but these are not necessary signs of demon possession on the one hand, neither should demon possession be the first thing we look for when someone has a disease, is mute or deaf or has seizures. It just may or may not be a symptom of that. There is a blind and mute man mentioned in Matthew 12:22; Luke 11:14. There is a woman who is bound by Satan. It doesn't actually say she was demon possessed. This is mentioned in Luke 13:10-21. There is a mute demon possessed man mention in Matthew 9:32-34. This is it, these eight specific references and we have to figure out everything that we know about demon possession and demonic activity and deliverance from demons from these eight passages.

We live in a world today when people don't want to be specific about doctrine, they want to be very general about doctrine. There has been a movement for at least 30-40 years among biblical scholars to say that certain terms that have been traditionally taken as technical terms are not really technical terms and we are just reading too much into them. But we disagree with that and believe that these terms which are used with various other synonyms are demonstrable as technical terms.

There is another group of passages that references demons and this is instructions and incidents related to the disciples. The first in Matthew 10:1-16 where Jesus is giving instruction to the disciples. This is parallel to Mark 3:13-19; Luke 9:1; Mark 6:7-13. The disciples go out and they cast out demons, it is part of the kingdom announcement ministry that is so important to understand in the first part of Jesus' ministry. He came announcing that he was the Messiah and that the kingdom of God was at hand. That announcement caused the stir of demonic activity in opposition to His particular ministry and to keep that from happening. The whole assault goes back to understanding what was happening in rhe prophecy in Genesis 3:15 concerning the seed of the woman. The Messiah was to gain victory over Satan, so for Him to appear on the planet and to be moving around generated this opposition because they were trying to prevent Him from carrying out this prophecy of gaining a permanent victory over Satan.

The Gadarene demoniac, Mark 5. It is important to note that this was in a Gentile area. Mark 5:1 NASB "They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. [2] When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him." In none of the accounts related to this individual or when there are two of them is Jesus seeking out the demoniac. The demoniac is coming to Him, in fact running to Him expecting something horrible to happen. [3] and he had his dwelling among the tombs…" There seems to be a preoccupation with the dead among those who are involved in demonism but that is not always true. This man comes seeking Jesus but it is so important to understand that he doesn't come seeking deliverance. He is the only demoniac who approaches Jesus in all of the demon possession accounts. They others are brought to Jesus to be delivered. This one doesn't come to be delivered, in fact he comes to implore Jesus to not torment him. "… And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; [4] because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. [5] Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones." There are a lot of negative things that happened but this is not prescriptive written material, this is just what occurred in the instance.

Mark 5:6 NASB "Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him." This is the same Greek word used for worship. The demons have to worship God because God is still God, they know God exists, and they understand who the authority in the universe is. Notice that it is the demon who is in control, this isn't the volition of the individual man. [6] "and shouting with a loud voice, he said, 'What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!'" This is the demon speaking, not the man. The man is under the control of the demon and the demon understands who Jesus is and understands that He is the Son of God. He is not coming for deliverance, he is coming because when Jesus establishes the kingdom, what is going to happen to the demon? If we skip ahead to Revelation 20 we realise that they are taken out of any influence in the world and just like Satan they are bound. He is expecting Jesus to bind him and send him to torments at this time.

Mark 5:8 NASB "For He had been saying to him, 'Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!'" We have to understand that there is a lot of debate about what these terms mean. The key term that is used for demon possession is the present participle daimonizomai [daimonizomai]. It is a passive participle, the subject receives the action, and it literally means to be acted upon by a demon. In all of these passages the word daimonizomai is juxtaposed in synonymous context with the next phrase echodaimonion, which means to have a demon. The terminology that is used when it talks about the demon in him is that he is inhabited by a demon, the demon is in him. Jesus talks about casting the demon out, exerchomai [e)cerxomai]—ek means to come out, to go out, to proceed out. When that preposition is added it always means out of. It is the terminology of in and out, the demon has to come out of the person. Then at the end of this story Jesus is going to send the demons into the swine—eiserchomai [e)iserxomai].

Mark 5:9 NASB "And He was asking him, 'What is your name?' And he said to Him, 'My name is Legion; for we are many'." Jesus is making a point here, illustrating that many more than one demon could possess or internally inhabit an individual. [12] "{The demons} implored Him, saying, 'Send us into the swine so that we may enter them'." Notice the terminology: "into." That tells us that the meaning of this word demon possession is not just being acted upon by a demon. There is such a thing as demon influence but we have been under demon influence from the day we were born.

Can a believer be demon possessed? Consider the sufficiency of God's grace. 2 Peter 1:3, 4 NASB "seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of {the} divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust." The principle here is that He has given to us all things pertaining to our spiritual life, everything that we need. If the epistles never mention demon possession, never mentions it as a problem, our conclusion is that it is not a problem. If demon possession occurs in this age among unbelievers the solution for them is the solution for every other unbeliever, and that is the gospel. The solution is to give that person the gospel and if they are positive they will respond and if they become a believer the demon will be forced to leave. 

Illustrations