Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
To some, the idea of demon possession is hilarious—to others, horrific.
It depends upon whether you believe there are such things as demons and if they have any control over humans.
People of the Bible have an advantage. No need to search the internet for answers. Not dependent upon society’s changing views, they can turn to the Source of truth.
And they should.
The holy God reveals there indeed are demons, also called devils. The name of their leader is Satan. They are, in fact, angels. They possess angelic powers.
Scripture explains. “And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).
In the original language, the word dragon means a giant serpent. It is a fitting name for Satan since he took the form of a snake to lead humans into the rebellion that damned them, too.
The centerpiece of human history is the intervention of their Creator to rescue them from this hellish state of affairs. That he was willing to sacrifice his Son to accomplish this stands out as the greatest event since the creation of the universe.
The story of this rescue is the main theme of the Bible. Every one of the inspired books somehow reveals something we need to know about the Lord of life and his plans for us.
More than just interesting reading, the words of Scripture speak to our hearts to warn us and to reassure us. Accordingly, they introduce us to angels—both the holy ones and the demonic.
The first angel we meet in Scripture is an evil one. We are shown the deadly weapon in his arsenal. The Holy Spirit pulls back the camouflage cover of his friendliness and reveals the killing power of temptation.
Though they have the powers of angels, demons cannot force us to turn our backs on the Lord of life. Our souls are not at their mercy. Their threats are empty—unless we give in to them.
Therein lies the problem. Since the Garden of Eden, humans have been born as citizens of the kingdom of darkness. Even after they have been reborn as citizens of the kingdom of light, they remain attracted to evil. Only when they step into their heavenly home will they finally be completely free from it.
Demons aim for the soul. A soul lost to God is their claim of victory.
But there have been times when demons took control of bodies. We call that demon possession. Some of the symptoms are similar to mental illness in that the person is not in control of what is said or done—and is not responsible for these things. It does not mean this soul is definitely lost, just that demons can make a person’s life miserable.
The Bible shows us a number of sad cases of demon possession. But it also shows the superior power of the Messiah.
While he came to save souls, Jesus also came to heal bodies stricken with disease and handicaps—and to drive out demons.
All this showed he certainly was the Promised One from heaven. His power is over all things—including the powers of darkness.
Lest we think demons can pick and choose victims for possession at will, Scripture reminds us that Satan and his followers are defeated. Their Creator rules them. He limits their reach. He watches over his people.
There is a good reason why Jesus taught us to pray, “Deliver us from evil.”
That’s why we end that famous prayer with the words, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.”
No wonder we sing:
“This world’s prince may still
scowl fierce as he will,
He can harm us none,
He’s judged; the deed is done!
One little word can fell him.”
(from Christian Worship 863:3)
That word is Jesus.
Prayer: Gracious and powerful Lord God, we sometimes forget that enemies strive to rob us of salvation by leading us to discard our faith in you. Protect us, body and soul, from the powers of darkness. Deliver us from evil. Amen.
Points to ponder:
- What lies has Satan been telling us lately?
- Does the thought of demons threatening our bodies concern us more than the thought of them fighting for control of our souls? Why or why not?
- What do diseases and demon possession have in common?
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.