Demon Activity In The Last Times – By Arthur Zepp

Chapter 3

Special Periods Of Demon Activity

Demons have never been inactive since Satan usurped the lordship of this world but there have been, and will be, special periods when Satanic activity is more prominent. One of these periods was when God placed a holy pair in Eden. When Satan is seemingly idle in the affairs of men he is but working in a changed form as an angel of light to cover up his workings.

Another period of demon activity, the gospel of Mark shows us, was when Jesus came on the scene of earth’s activities. The presence of Jesus stirred the demons. Herod’s inhuman slaughter of the innocents, hoping to cut off the Christ child, was demon-inspired and executed. Demons not only resented Christ’s coming into the world, but His staying. He had conflict with demons all through His life and ministry. His first sermon stirred demon-controlled men so that they tried to kill Him by throwing Him over the steep cliff. According to Mark, the first act of Christ after receiving the Holy Ghost was to go into a synagogue, “And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, (i. e., the unclean spirit using the voice of the man he possessed), saying, “Let us alone; what have we to do with Thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God.”

And when the unclean spirit had torn him and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits and they do obey Him.” Mark 1:23-26.

Casting out demons (devils R. V.) or evil spirits was as much a part of Jesus’ work as preaching the Gospel or healing the sick.

“And at even when the sun did set they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.” (Mark 1:32).

“And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak because they knew Him.” (Mark 1:34).

Mark gives nearly eighty direct references to demons, used mostly by the Son of God himself, besides indirect references to Jesus and His disciples casting out many devils. Christ did not argue to prove demon possession; He accepted it as a fact and constantly delivered men, women and children who were possessed by them.

The last chapter of Mark, says, “These signs shall follow them that believe (the promise is limited to that class only), in my name shall they cast out devils.” It is of little use to object that the last verses of Mark are excluded from the best manuscripts as the facts of the subsequent Acts of the Apostles and the history of the Church of Jesus from time to time, including the present day, disprove that He ever recalled from the church this gift of power to cast out demons in His name. P. W. Wilson says: “When Christ ascended into heaven, He entrusted His cause to certain followers. These men were to be filled with the Holy Ghost, by whose power Christ Himself had lived and worked and suffered. To the disciples, therefore, our Lord promised that they also should cast out devils, speak with tongues, live unhurt if they drink any deadly thing, and recover the sick by laying on hands. This pledge is recorded in the final verses of St. Mark’s Gospel, which, we are told by scholars, were written as a later addition in the Book. If this be so, we have a noteworthy corroboration of those events which are narrated in the Acts.” — (The Church We Forget, page 78.)

Casting out demons not only occupied a prominent part of Christ’s ministry, but it was to be a part of the work of the normal New Testament ministry. His original commission to His disciples, never revoked, altered, or recalled,. included (1) power to preach the Gospel, (2) power to heal the sick, and (3) power to cast out demons. The order is several times stated as, first, power or authority over all devils or demons, over all the power of the enemy, and then power to preach and heal; as though, unless they took the authority of faith in His name over the hindering demons,. they could not successfully preach and heal. They were first to bind the strong men, and then to spoil his goods. By prayer and fasting, and faith in the power of Jesus’ name over evil spirits, and His gift of definite power to them — “He gave them power against unclean spirits to cast them out” — they were to bind Satan, the strong man, break his power over lives, purify the atmosphere about them of demon power, so they can make a normal decision for God. This seems to be the order of doing God’s work. Prayer is a wrestling match with Satan and evil spirits, according to Ephesians 6:10-12.

There are few, if any, definite references (though there are equivalents) in Mark to pardon or regeneration or conversion or being born again, though there are many references to casting out demons.

Casting out of demons by Jesus was possibly accompanied by the conversion of the soul and not by the baptism of the Holy Ghost as those from whom demons were exorcised, or cast out, (as Mary Magdalene), afterwards tarried with the disciples for the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

When Jesus cured the sick He forgave their sins. He said to the palsied man, “Thy sins are forgiven thee. Rise up and walk.” To the man at the pool, “Jesus Christ makes thee whole,” forgiving sins at the same time he healed. James says of healing the sick, “And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven.”

So, in casting out demons, Jesus forthwith forgave the sin, or sins, which gave the demons ground to enter.

It is not said Mary Magdalene, whom He forgave, or whom He converted, or whom He pardoned, or regenerated, but “out of whom He cast seven devils.” But Christ doubtless pardoned, saved and renewed her at the same time, as the devotion of her life showed.

The statement of Jesus, “When the Son of Man comes shall He find faith on the earth?” indicates a great, concerted, Satanic onslaught, with his countless hordes of demons, prior to Christ’s coming for his church, so that little true faith may be found then. Satan intuitively knows his time is short, has great wrath against the remnant who keep the Commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ and makes war on them with the purpose of their utter extermination.

There is a very clear passage in First Timothy 4:1, concerning latter day demon activity, which shows the method Satan uses in destroying faith in Christ: “Now the Spirit speaks expressly (with special emphasis or force) that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” I Tim. 4:1. R. V.

Some depart from the faith? The pure faith for which it is necessary to earnestly contend?

As to the manner of apostatizing, Paul says it is by (1) giving heed (Satan must have the consent of the human will to enter) to seducing spirits, and (2) to doctrines of demons-not doctrines merely of false teachers and preachers, but subtly injected into the human mind by demons, and thus seducing from the way of faith. The onslaught here as described in A. V. and R. V. is particularly against God’s children who are in the faith, for Paul says by demon influence they depart from it which they evidently must first have before they can leave or depart from it. This language has no reference to sinners. Sinners are not in the Faith. Satan is a great economist, wasting no time on those whom he already dominates. In other words, it is a companion prophecy of Jesus’ words that in the latter days because iniquity or lawlessness would abound, the love of many would grow cold, which logically was hot. The language points to the fearful apostasy from the pure faith through the influence of seducing demon spirits, of the Church in the last times, prior to Jesus’ second coming. [3]

In Revelation 16:13-15 Christ is represented as coming secretly as a thief, while the nations of the earth are at war. “And I saw three unclean spirits-for they are the spirits of the devils, working miracles, which go forth unto kings of the earth, and of the whole world to gather them to the battle of the great day of God Almighty.” After this Christ says, “Behold, I come as a thief.”

Weymouth, Mark 13:8, says in the last days not nation shall rise against nation, as though of their own accord, but nation shall be raised by demoniacal power against nation. This fixes the world conflict, in its inception, as demoniacally inspired.

A court preacher a hundred years ago said almost every sign necessary to Christ’s coming had been fulfilled. Now there is no sign unfulfilled standing between us and the first or thief-like phase of His second coming. In the words of a great preacher, “There is not the thickness of the morning mist between us and His secret, thief-like coming for His Church. Demons were intuitively stirred into great activity at the first coming of Jesus. The demoniac origin of Herod’s interest in the Christ-child is shown in his slaughter of the innocents.

After Christ received the Holy Spirit He met the Prince of this world in the wilderness conflict. Before Christ went to the cross there was such Satanic activity and pressure, that He prayed in agony (some think) for God to save him from death under it, so that He could go to the cross.

Now as Christ’s second coming draws nigh, demons, headed by the prince of darkness, assume great activity. The great world crisis was not the time described by John in Revelation — “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come unto you having great wrath because he knoweth he hath but a short time,” — but it was easily typical of the hour of universal sorrow and trouble during the great tribulation. Great demon activity in the earth prior to Christ’s second coming is logical. Satan, prior to Christ’s coming. seeks to banish every vestige of pure faith in Christ so that when He comes, “shall He find faith?” An eminent scholar says this question requires a negative answer. Christ said prior to His coming the days of Noah and Sodom would be repeated when exceedingly few were righteous.