Dealing With Demonic Powers
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; for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38)
For too long the work of demons has been dismissed by many as a curious practice in heathen cultures. It has not been considered as a problem which invades lives, homes, churches, and nations. As you previously learned, demons are an organized force of powers against which believers wrestle (Ephesians 6:12). Demons are the agents through which Satan works to accomplish his purposes in the world. The following chart summarizes what you have learned about demons and their realms of operation:
- Seducing Spirits
- Affect The Spirit
- Unclean Spirits
- Affect The Soul
- Spirits Of Infirmity
- Affect The Body
- These Spirits Can:
- Oppress Possess Obsess
If you are to wage effective warfare, you must learn how to deal with demonic powers that obsess, oppress, or possess the body, soul, and spirit. There are people all about you who are tormented, troubled, and even possessed by the powers of darkness known as demons. This chapter presents guidelines for ministering to those affected by demonic powers.
JESUS AND DEMONS
The teaching and ministry of Jesus demonstrated that demonic spirits are a real force of evil. What Jesus taught about demons and how He dealt with them yields valuable information about the strategies of Satan.
Jesus accepted the fact that Satan is the ruler of a host of demons. He taught of the reality and power of demons. He said that the casting out of demonic powers was one of the signs that the Kingdom of God had come. Read Matthew 12:22-30, Mark 3:22-27, and Luke 11:14-23 for a summary of what Jesus taught concerning demons.
A large portion of the ministry of Jesus involved dealing with demons. It is the example of Jesus and the authority of His name that provides the Scriptural basis for dealing with demonic powers. Jesus ministered to “all” who came with demonic problems. Peter said of Jesus:
… 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. (Acts 10:38)
In the “Tactical Maneuvers” section of this lesson you can study further on specific cases recorded in the Bible where Jesus dealt with demonic powers.
HOW DEMONS OPERATE
As you have learned, demons are used by Satan to oppose God, His plan and purposes, and His people. They also war against unbelievers to keep them from the truth of the Gospel. Demons control specific territories (principalities) such as the prince of Persia mentioned in Daniel 10:12-13. Demons also work through personalities, through men and women, to accomplish Satanic objectives in the world.
Opposition to God’s will is Satan’s main objective. The word “Satan” means “adversary.” Satan is primarily God’s adversary (Job 1:6; Matthew 13:39). He is secondarily, man’s adversary (Zechariah 3:1; I Peter 5:8).
As you learned, demons have different natures. Remember that one demon identified himself in I Kings 22:23 as a “lying spirit.” A “deaf and dumb” spirit is identified in Mark 9:25. Demons of various natures operate as spirits of infirmity, seducing spirits, and unclean spirits. Satan uses them to war against man in body, soul, and spirit:
SPIRITS OF INFIRMITY:
These are spirits that can afflict the bodies of believers as well as unbelievers. Read Luke 13:10- 17. This woman was afflicted with a spirit of infirmity. She was present in the Sabbath services and Jesus called her “a daughter of Abraham.” Both of these facts indicate she probably was a follower of God, yet her body had been afflicted by Satan for eighteen years.
For other examples of demonic powers afflicting the body see Matthew 12:22; 17:15-18; Acts 10:38; II Corinthians 12:7.
These spirits afflict the spirit of man, seducing him to believe doctrinal lies and be condemned to eternal punishment. They are the spirits of false doctrine, cults, false Christs, and false teachers:
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (I Timothy 4:1)
These seducing spirits are deceptive. They actually work miracles which lead some to believe they are of God: For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. (Revelation 16:14)
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all powers and signs and lying wonders.
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (II Thessalonians 2:9-10)
Seducing spirits include the “spirit of divination” mentioned in Acts:
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. (Acts 16:16)
Such spirits of divination or “familiar spirits” operate in fortune tellers, witches, and palm, crystal ball, and tea leaf readers. Through unscriptural methods the spirits of divination foretell the future or discover knowledge which is naturally unknown. Warnings against familiar spirits are given in Leviticus 19:31; 20:6; Deuteronomy 5:9; 18:10; Leviticus 20:27; and I Samuel 28:3.
Seducing spirits sear the conscience, seduce, entice, tempt, allure, interest, fascinate, excite, arouse, attract, and deceive. Seducing spirits are active in causing “spiritual wickedness in high places.” They are present and operative in every cult and wherever doctrinal error exists.
Remember that Satan craves worship and he will take it any way he can get it. Seducing spirits entice men and women to worship idols and even Satan himself. You will learn more about “spiritual wickedness in high places” in Chapter Twenty.
These demonic powers afflict the soulish nature of man. They are responsible for immoral acts, unclean thoughts, temptations and other strategies of Satan used to bind men and women. When Satan controls individuals with unclean spirits, he can also operate in homes, churches, and entire nations as these groups are composed of individuals. This is how Satan works in the various levels of structure in society. For examples of unclean spirits see Matthew 10:1; 12:43; and Mark 1:23-26.
OPPRESSION, OBSESSION, POSSESSION
Evil spirits can oppress people. To oppress means to bear down, come against, or bind from the outside. This oppression is accomplished by evil spirits in various ways. They cause depression, create negative circumstances, and insert wrong thoughts into the mind such as thoughts of suicide, immorality, unbelief, fear, etc. Demons create Satanic circumstances and situations which tempt men to sin:
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; for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38)
Demons can also possess human beings. Demon possession is a condition in which one or more evil spirits (demons) inhabit the body of a human being and take complete control of their victim at will. Some people prefer using the word “demonized” rather than possession, but regardless of the term, the possessed person is host to resident demons. “Possession” does not mean a person is not responsible for his own sin. His responsibility rests with the factors that led to his condition.
Possession can happen willingly. A person may desire to be taken over by spirit powers in order to conduct seances, pronounce curses, become a witch, or secure some other supernatural power.
Possession can also occur unwilling. An individual does not ask to be possessed, but through sinful thoughts, actions, or contact with the occult possession results.
Demonic powers operating in parents and the sins of the parents can affect the next generation. (See Exodus 20:5; 34:7; and Deuteronomy 5:9.) This accounts for demon possession or oppression of children such as recorded in Mark 7:24-30 and 9:17-21.
There is also such a thing as demon obsession. This is a condition where one becomes obsessed by an interest in or preoccupation with demons. It is an unusual interest in the occult, demons, and Satan which controls interests and pursuits in a dictating manner. Such obsession with demon powers can lead to possession by them.
CAN DEMONS AFFECT BELIEVERS?
A true believer cannot be possessed by a demon because the Holy Spirit cannot inhabit the same temple as an evil spirit:
What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (I Corinthians 6:19-20)