God is just as able now to work His mighty works of deliverance in soul, spirit and body as though demons never existed. But He does this work through faith in His truth.
When services are bound by an oppressive atmosphere, a simple, united pleading of the power of Jesus’ name is enough to purify the atmosphere of demon presence and influence.
Our attitude toward Satan and demons should be an aggressive, fearless one. We should never retreat before him. We might as well expect to conquer Germany by Revolutionary methods and equipment as to expect to cope with Satan’s tactics now by the use of some of our former methods. We need cantonments for Christians where they can be trained in the art of modern warfare on the new depths of Satanic wiles now prevalent in demon activity.
There is but one thing a bully fears, and that is superior force. Satan is the bully of the universe. The only being whom he really fears and dreads is Jesus. Demons always cried out when they saw Jesus and confessed His power over them. Carnal war ends when one side marshals an overwhelming force of arms and men. So in spiritual war on Satan. Until we realize that the overpowering spiritual force to defeat Satan is in Christ and not in us or any of our movements, or churches inherently, the sooner will we turn the bully over to Christ, who will defeat him for us.
Satan and demons, the hinderers, may be exorcised out of communities, churches, revivals, families and individuals as the spiritual of the church come to see the power of the name of Jesus, in the conflict against the prince of the power of the air. But Christ alone can, and will at His coming, exorcise Satan and his minions from earth and air and sky and sea, and purify all so that no trace shall be left.
“The devil is not now in hell.” How we wish he were there! How much better off we would be from temptation’s standpoint if the accuser were locked in the bottomless pit! Satan is not even in the earth as to position now, but in the upper atmosphere shooting his fiery darts at God’s children, venting his spite on them because of their relation to God.
No great degree of power is needed to exorcise demons. Jesus cast them out with a word and “by the finger of God.” The disciples had power even before Pentecost to cast out demons. The seventy returned with joy and reported that even the demons were subject to them in His name.
“You may talk against deviltry as you like. You will not get rid of it unless you can tell human beings whence comes that sense of a tyranny over their own very selves, which they express in a thousand forms of speech, which excites them to the greatest, often the most profitless and senseless indignation, against the arrangements of this world which tempt them to people it with objects of terror and despair,” and which draws them into a rage over the most trivial affairs — insignificant, worthless trifles. “Then Satan taketh him and driveth him oft times into fire and temper and anger unreasonable, or moods devilish or dispositions ugly.” If men could be led to see in addition to the natural perversities that driving demons, entering through habitual yieldedness to temptation, are responsible for many of their unholy moods, they would turn on them with rage and refuse them place any longer.
A mother writes of a boy, “He does not want to be bad. He is bad in spite of himself.” If she had said he was demon-possessed and driven, she would have been nearer the facts.
Demon agency is seen in Mormonism, Mohammedanism, in the Crusades, in the persecution and execution of innocent victims at Salem as a result of false demon-possessed witnesses, who in after years remorsefully confessed the demon inspiration of their false accusations. Or demon agency may assume a more optimistic, instead of diabolical or hurtful form, as Spiritism, Russelism, Christian Scienceism.
Blumhardt gives the following confession of a demon after prayer had continued longer than usual: “All is now lost. Our plans are destroyed. You have shattered our bond, and put everything into confusion. You, with your everlasting prayers, scatter us entirely. We are 1,067 in number; but there are still multitudes of living men, and you should warn them lest they be like us, forever lost and cursed of God.” The demons attributed their misfortune to Blumhardt’s prayers, and in the same breath cursed him and bemoaned their own vicious lives, all the time ejaculating,
“Oh, if there were only no God in heaven.” May the present Church learn the power of prayer in His name to scatter and shatter demon power as did Blumhardt.
That Christ recognized demons as the peculiar peril of his followers is seen from the prayer he taught them to pray: “Deliver us from the evil one” (R. V.) and not merely from abstract evil, as the A. V. reads. For manifestly if we are delivered from the evil one, the source of all evil, we are delivered from evil.
The facial appearances of the demon possessed are, expressionless, drawn, pinched, uneasy, anxious, hunted look in eyes, pallid, corpse-like complexion, the sense of pressure within registered without.
“As to the outward appearance of persons when possessed, of course, they are the same as to outward form; but the color of the countenance may change, the demon may cause the subject to assume a threatening air, and a fierce, violent manner, our counterfeit ecstasy.
Whenever demons speak through the organs of articulation, the countenance of the possessed immediately and strikingly changes, and each time presents a truly demoniacal expression. A woman said her daughter cursed her, and she could see the demon gleam from her eye. A brother betrayed into unbecoming feeling toward another, and to language of undue severity in his reproof, “looked perfectly dreadful.”
“And behold a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son; for he is mine only child. And lo, a spirit taketh him and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him, hardly departeth from him. And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.” (How said!) And Jesus answering said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? Bring thy son hither. And as he was yet coming, the devil threw him down and tore him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, (he did not rebuke the child), and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God.” Luke 9:38-43.
The alienation of affections and the lustings toward the opposite sex, sometimes confessed by married persons, have the familiar demoniacal stamp on them. Then they drive them from home to seek and find the affinity of the unaccountable attraction and similar experiences. Soon there follows divorce and remarriage, which is a sinful union before God and man.
Demons drive to the tombs; they drive to self-laceration; they endow with superhuman strength; they drive to lunacy, insanity and maniacy; to crying and cutting with stones; to fierceness; to immodesty and indecency in dress; and to the shameful, sinful exposure of the person. The Gadarene wore no clothes. Hordes of unclean, lustful demons are now loosed in the world, gaining possession of the evil men and seducers who wax worse and worse. They say there are millions of mothers out of wedlock in war torn countries, and increasingly large numbers of seductions in our own and other lands. It is said that the nude heathen, as soon as they find Jesus, repudiate the demoniac origin of nudity and forthwith dress up. Modern styles are rapidly coming to par with heathen styles which are demoniacally created.
Demons drive to lust; to evil concupiscence; to incontinence and excess in legitimate spheres; to lasciviousness or over desire and the lack of self control.
They drove the boy ofttimes, causing him to fall into the water and into the fire; they tore him and threw him and caused him to wallow and foam; they bruised arid rent him; they grievously tormented.
Demons drive to violent rage about trifles; to fierceness, to undue vehemence, even in preaching if they be given ground, to paroxysms of anger; to foulness and uncleanness; to evil; to narcotics and drugs, booze, and to injurious indulgence in stimulants; to over eating or gluttony; to dissipation; to harlotry; to dare-devil recklessness; to a frenzied nervous, restless, fussy way of doing things.
Demons drive to hard-hearted selfishness which leads to the oppression of the poor in starvation wages. They oppress and bind. Jesus recognized their agency in the binding of the woman who had been bound, “lo, these eighteen years.” He was especially anointed to heal all that were oppressed by the devil. Back of the oppression, Jesus recognized the oppressor, Satan, and rebuked him as the cause of the oppression.
Satan first entered Judas and then Christ’s betrayal followed. In a sense, as God must do His spiritual work by making the Word flesh, and having men behold Him, and thus through God-possessed men advance His kingdom, so Satan seeks incarnation in men to advance, through the devil-possessed, his interests,
Satan betrayed Peter to resist Christ’s cross after his remarkable confession and testimony through direct revelation from the Father, of the divinity of Jesus. Jesus recognized Satan’s agency in Peter’s act and rebuked Satan in Peter. “Get thee behind me, Satan,” he said to Peter. None are exempt from Satan’s wiles.
Later Peter recognized the same agency at work in Ananias and Sapphira, “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?”
Satan hindered Paul. “We would have come once again unto you but Satan hindered us,” thus illustrating one of his names, Blockader, Hinderer. Thus Daniel’s prayer is hindered twenty-one days by the Prince of Persia, the demon-prince, appointed over that district. Each country and community and family and individual in the world doubtless has its demon prince and demon underlings appointed by Satan to resist them,
Demons hinder God’s work; we must take an aggressive, fearless attitude toward them. Paul’s injunction, “Neither give place ( lower the guard) to the devil,” is vital. He shoots his fiery darts at God’s children eventuating in possession if they are ignorant of his devices. But He who is faithful and true, who can not deny Himself, will eventually deliver every demon harassed soul who for love to His has great conflict with the evil principalities.
Demons can not live in mankind without man’s consent. Satan himself recognizes man’s freedom of choice and that he must secure man’s consent before possession. He said to Jesus, “If thou wilt fall down (deliberately) and worship me.” Thank God all the combined power of hell is not sufficient to force us if we will not choose to fall down and worship Satan!
Positive refusal to Satan and demons of any place in body, mind, soul, spirit, nerves, faculties, passions, appetites, is a sure way to victory over all the power of the enemy. Christian parents should take an attitude of opposition toward demons entering the home or the members of the family. Jesus did not rebuke the demon-possessed child, nor the father for bringing him for deliverance. He rebuked the demons!
When the agency of evil spirits in oppressing and driving man is recognized, how our compassion is increased and how earnestly we pray God to make us channels of deliverance.
The unbelief of His disciples hindered the deliverance of the boy-demoniac and grieved Jesus: “Oh, faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?”
Jesus had no more devoted followers than those out of whom he cast the devils. The poor Gadarene demoniac, though the community prayed Jesus to depart from their coast, came running to Him and prayed that he might be with Him; but Jesus sent him home to tell how great things God had done for him, and had compassion on him. He so published, in Decapolis, how great things Jesus had done for him that all men did marvel. Mary, out of whom he cast the seven devils, showed her devotion to Jesus at the cross and tomb.
Demon Agency In Revivals
It is evident Satan will aid, abet, assist, foster, promote and help any type of revival work which will lead men to rest their faith on the wisdom and power of men rather than in the power of God. Jesus spoke of false apostles transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness built in human merit and works rather than on the blood of the Son of God.
Demon agency in revival work makes the human leader the center of attraction. Divine power in revivals exalts Christ as supreme. No one who is full of the Holy Spirit will constantly exalt the singular number, egotistical, perpendicular, first personal pronoun, I. If men blindly would sacrifice to him, like Paul, he would rend his garment, saying: “See thou do it not” The surface appeal, seeking to please and be popular with men more than to be faithful to God, the compromising note, the sinful respect of persons, the hypocritical partiality for the rich and gaily clad, the fawning upon those of place and power, the snubbing of the lowly, reveal the cowardly soul yet under demon service.
Mob-psychology, mesmerism hypnotism, sex or personal magnetism, the stronger will dominating the weaker, suggestion, emotionalism, appeal to self-interest, or any other un-Christian advantage over our fellows will not be employed by the servant of God. He will preach the Gospel as the only power of God unto salvation to every one that believes it; he will not seek to bolster it up by any sensational modern clap-trappery. God’s presence solemnly impressing men with the gravity of sin leaves little room for cheers.
God wants permanent decisions. Demons influence to surface decisions which leave the awful fortress of evil, the will, untouched; and the victim is soon back to the old ways.
To hypnotize may help the evangelist’s reputation and offering, but when he is gone, who will sustain the hypnotic spell? God does not want hypnotized, duped followers, but intelligent choice and deliberate decision. Men who are building for eternity will not accept the proffered aid of demons to aid in duping and deceiving and hypnotizing and mob-mesmerizing the crowd; nor will they make merchandise of the souls of men by feigned words, having men’s persons in admiration for the sake of gain.
It is a startling fact that just as men, by abandoning themselves to God in faith, may be filled with His Holy Spirit and be channels of His supernatural (divine) power to illuminate, bless and deliver men held captive by sin and Satan, so may men and women surrender to Satan and be possessed by his spirit and preternatural (Satanic) power and be channels of all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish because they love not the truth.