A New Teaching on Authority:

Dealing Simply with Demonic Infiltration

Jackson Snyder

 

 

Epiphany 4: Mark 1:21-27 literal translation below, Deuteronomy 18:9-20

This is Part 1

Go to Part 2 Where Do We Go From Here? Maybe it's time to pull up stakes and go.

Go to Part 3 Open Your Door and They’ll Come

Also see Children, Dogs and Lampreys: Saving Demonized Children 

 

Denial and Disbelief  (optional)

   Some people say they won’t believe something unless they can see it.  These same people have no trouble believing a doctor when he tells them that a virus has infiltrated them.  They can’t see or hear the virus, yet they believe so intently that they gladly endure a painful antibiotic injection that can’t possibly have any affect on a virus anyhow. 

   Other people see things clearly yet won’t believe.  Psychologists call this denial.  Some fact or situation is so evident that it simply can’t be dismissed, yet is denied by someone who refuses to acknowledge the truth.  Such a person may be shivering with the chills of a viral infiltration, yet boldly denying that anything is wrong despite evidence to the contrary.

   Seeing or not seeing, believing or not believing, has a lot to do with one’s perception.  We’ve been endowed with five or six senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, and some people have spiritual discernment.  But our senses are very limited.  Whatever little bit dribbles into the brain is processed through the prejudices of one’s nature and nurture.  In the end, there’s a vast info gap between what is real and what is perceived.  Human beings were designed by the Creator to have very limited senses because our minds are so fragile that too much sensory input could cause insanity.  Although humans may not always be able to directly see evil powers at work, only a fool admits that all is well with the world.  For the evidence of evil is all around us.

   When it comes to supernatural evil, even the most levelheaded go into denial or disbelief.  This is because supernatural things aren’t perceived clearly in five senses.  When supernatural evil is experienced, its ill effects are almost always attributed to some other cause, like a chemical imbalance, stress, ‘nerves,’ mental illness, some syndrome or disease.  Ignorance of supernatural evil is especially troubling in Christians.  Denial of the reality of the supernatural is tantamount to denying the resurrection of Jesus.  Denial and disbelief makes a shipwreck of one’s faith.

 

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Demonology is Controversial

   The Apostle Paul was a very well educated, logical man of means with connections that extended to the very seat of the emperor.  Paul was no superstitious fool.  He summed up the struggle of the world and every believer in the world with just a few poignant words. 

Ephesians 6:12.  We are not contending against humans, but against the principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and armies of wickedness in the spiritual realm.

Jesus gave us believers a mission until he returns; that is, to expose and overcome evil in every form that we encounter.  If we’re engaged in contending against wicked spiritual armies, as Paul claims, then don’t you think these same spiritual armies will likewise contend against us?  Do you think we can kneel at the communion rail and yet be exempt from the attacks of Satan?  No way.  You approach this railing today and your picture is tacked on hell’s post office wall tomorrow.  It’s good to know that,

(John 16:33) “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” 

   Today’s Gospel text deals with the kind of supernatural evil many ministers and believers would rather just let be.  Demonology is extremely controversial, even for experts, because accounting for the existence of evil is complicated.  There are numerous theories of what demons are composed of and where and how they originated, but no one is sure. Yet at the same time, the knowledge found in this text is essential to our lives as Christians if we are to be overcomers. For,

(Revelation 3:5) He who overcomes shall be clothed in white, and I will not blot out his name from the book of life, but I will confess it before my Father and his angels.

Friends, the truth will set you free.  Turn to our text of Mark 1:21 (literal version).

 

Mark 1 21.  And they [Jesus and the disciples] enter into Capernaum; and immediately on the Sabbaths, entering into the synagogue, he taught. 

   Capernaum is Jesus’ headquarters.  A synagogue is nothing more than a church.  Do you see, Jesus is in his home church and he’s the pastor.  He teaches on the Sabbaths, plural, so he’s coming back there, over and over.  Did you realize that Jesus was a church pastor?   We know this is a [prototypical] ‘Christian’ church because Jesus Christ teaches.  And we know that this church met on the Sabbath, on Saturday, to fulfill the Fourth Commandment,

(Exodus 20:8,11) "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy ... [for] Yahweh blessed and made it holy.”

Teaching is more than simply lecturing.  Jesus sets the example; and Jesus is the lesson.

 

22.  And they were astounded on his teaching, for he was teaching them as having authority and not as the scribes.

     I subscribe to a number of Jewish rabbis (i.e. scribes) by email.  They all teach about the same way.  A Bible verse or two is set forth then the rabbi will explain what the verse means, often quoting other rabbis long dead or including little stories.  I’m using this expository (midrashic) method today.  These Capernaum folks were used to this type of benign teaching before Jesus came along. 

   Jesus shows his authority.  To teach with authority is to teach with expertise, as though the teacher were living the Scriptures, or the Scriptures were living in the teacher; and believing the scriptures, even the hard ones, enough to obey them and model them publicly.  Jesus is not some mealy-mouthed Bible mutterer or hobbyist who gets on the podium and talks in circles for an hour.  No.  Jesus has a firm grasp upon his subject matter and is full of passion as he teaches.  He’s not afraid to apply Scriptural principles, especially in confronting the powers of darkness lurking right there in his church.

   What is the subject of his lesson that astounded them?  Verse 27 tells us he’s teaching on the authority of believers over unclean spirits.  They are astounded because they’d never heard this kind of teaching in church before.  And, of course, nobody dared talk about such things.  They were all too scared of the devil to contend with him. 

  

23.  And immediately there was in their synagogue a man in an unclean spirit;

   First: The man is in church.  He’s not a visitor; he’s a regular; he’s a believer.  There was no synagogue-hopping in Capernaum because there was only one, both then and now.  This man is not prone to bizarre behavior.  He fits right in.  He’s a Jesus man.  Otherwise, the Scripture would’ve made his prior condition clear.  He’s just another church member.

   Second: If we look at the text literally, it says that the man was “in a spirit unclean” (en pneumati akaqartw).  What is a spirit unclean?  Well, a spirit is a bodiless soul -- intelligent, cold and hungry.  Unclean bodiless souls are also called demons.  Luke (4:33) calls this one “the spirit of an unclean demon.”  In the Bible, something is called unclean because it originates outside the order of creation; it comes to be in spite of the plan of G-d.  Yahweh didn’t beget or create this unclean spirit or any other demon.  Unclean spirits of demons have a different father and creator. 

   The Bible tells us that they roam through space looking for a body to infiltrate.  They’re on the lookout for open doors into believers such as this churchman.  When they find an opening and infiltrate, they dirty up the place in a hurry.  Demons aren’t tidy housekeepers, but they love company.  They’ll bring as many friends in as they can.  How many angels fit on the head of a pin?  I don’t know.  But I can tell you how many demons fit in an average-sized human being -- at least a legion.

   I know people who are fully possessed by demons.  So do you.  Saddam Houssein is possessed by intelligent, murderous evil.  Possessed people live in every community.  But the man in the synagogue isn’t possessed.  This believer has merely been infiltrated by one demon.  The unclean spirit found a doorway into him and has made a mess of his insides.  The man probably thought he had a disease or nervous condition.  Because of his denial or ignorance, the demon acquired a great amount of power over his behavior, as we shall see.

 

24.  and he cried out saying, “What are we to you, Yahshua Nazarene (Nazarhnέ)? I know who you are, the Holy [One] of El.  Have you come to destroy us?” 

   Let me remind you that church is in session.  This outburst is a major disruption.  Tell me: who cried out, the man or the unclean spirit?  (The unclean spirit.)  The man probably lost control; he’s a victim.  His voice box has been commandeered.  The demon within is extremely nervous at the prospect of Jesus and Jesus is certainly aware of the demon’s presence.  Have you ever felt like someone was staring at you?  Spying on you?  Well, that’s exactly how that demon felt -- paranoid.  The pressure was so great that the devil tipped his hand.  “Have you come to destroy us?”  Actually, this is exactly why Jesus came.  His disciple tells us in

1 John 3:8: The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 

 

25.  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet and come out of him!" 

   Demons did not intimidate Jesus.  They’re everyday phenomena, like flies.  Who’s scared of one fly?  They don’t intimidate me, either.  Even when they infiltrate me, I will not tolerate them once I recognize their presence.  This recognition is the sixth sense I was talking about – discernment – knowing one is there.  If unclean spirits infiltrate or intimidate you (and as a believer they surely have), you should, with the help of the Holy Spirit, be able to recognize them for what they are and cast them out instead of pleading ignorance.  Jesus is teaching us such things.  Shouldn’t we believe him?  Of course we should.

   There’s nothing scary about demons one-by-one.  However, they multiply quickly and thus were ruining the lives of those Jesus loved, and they destroy those we love.  This demon identified Jesus as the Holy One of G-d.  But at Jesus’ word of authority, the demon, like a parasite, must abandon its host.  But the unclean spirit won’t let go without muddying up the church some, as we shall see.

 

26.  And throwing him, the unclean spirit came out of him with a great shouting voice.

   The thing inside convulsed the man horribly and made him cry out pitifully.  But then it was gone.  The infiltrated man was set free instantly.  It doesn’t say anything more about him, but I’m sure he continued his shouting, only this time his cry is, “Free at last!  Free at last!  Thank G-d Almighty, I’m free at last!”

   Many times I’ve heard demons speak through human mouths, and so have you, whether you’ve realized it or not.  Most demons don’t proclaim Jesus as holy – just the opposite.  Their speech is divisive, profane, critical and hurtful.  Demons that have infiltrated believers split churches, put men and women of G-d to flight, persecute truth and hate anything that is holy.  Demons pervert whole nations, creating in our time an “axis of evil” far greater in scope than that of Iran, Iraq and North Korea.  Demons speak to the world boldly. 

   I’ve also heard believers praise the L-rd when demons depart.  For when the demon goes, the disease, bad habit, malicious intent or depression soon follows.  Jesus came to set the captives free.  And when the Son sets us free of evil, then we are free indeed (John 8:36).

 

 27.  And they were all astounded, so much that they debated, saying, “What is this?  A new teaching on authority?  He commands the unclean spirits and they obey him."

   You see, the people witnessed to a clear-cut case of demonic infiltration, yet they had to debate about it.  Oh, that made the demon happy as he departed.  He caused a division.  They considered it a new teaching, and it was.  Demons are only mentioned twice in the Old Testament, so in those days, demonic activity went unchecked.  It wasn’t until Jesus came that people were taught the kind of authority they might have in his name.  “Even unclean spirits obey him!” they marveled.

   To read the Gospel of Mark, you’d think Jesus lived in a demon-filled world.  Read for yourself; it’s only 16 short chapters.  Remember that it was written for teaching believers how to confront the demons that infiltrate their lives and world.  In the last chapter of Mark, Jesus ends with a command. 

Mark 16:15 – 18 excerpts.  “Go into the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.  These signs will accompany believers: they will cast out demons and lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." 

In this passage, Jesus links the recovery of illness to the casting out of demons.  The processes of healing and deliverance go hand in hand.  Doctors can only heal the body; but Jesus can heal the spirit, too.

 

A True Case History

   I’ll end with an extreme case.  I was called to pray for a man in a nursing home; I’ll call him “Stan.”  When I got there, I was surprised to find that both Stan and his wife were in their 30s, yet he was a patient in the home.  Five years before, Stan’s car broke down on the interstate.  When he got out, another car swerved and hit him, breaking him to pieces.  He was comatose for weeks, and awakened as a quadriplegic.  He could no longer talk either, though, in time, he was able to communicate through eye blinking. 

   Despite Stan’s condition, he kept his intelligence, faith and good humor through the years.  Both Stan and Mollie were fervent, Bible-believing Christians, but attended a church that taught that healing had passed away with the Apostles.  She contacted me only on the advice of her youth pastor.  I’d recently prayed with him and, despite his false doctrine, he was instantly healed of a serious infection.  This youth pastor told everybody he knew about his healing.

   Recently, Mollie had become desperate enough to believe because some thing had taken over her husband.  He became wild at times and had to be restrained.  Sometimes his face would contort in an evil grimace.  He would be uncommunicative for long periods of time.  Hearing this, the first thing I considered was that unclean spirits had infiltrated him and were tormenting him.  He was a sitting duck.  Since the youth pastor’s ear was healed, Mollie thought I could heal her husband.

   We, along with several other people, met Stan in his nursing home room.  He was in a good mood, smiling and reaching out to us as we prayed for him.  While someone prayed, I went behind the bed where he couldn’t see me.  There, moving only my lips, I challenged any unclean spirits inside Stan’s body.  There was absolutely no way he could have known what I was saying.  But the demons within him knew.  Immediately, they began to send him into convulsions and his face contorted in hate.  He didn’t even look human.  This happened every time I silently challenged these spirits. 

   I visited again a week later and the exact same scene played out again.  On the third visit, the unclean spirits manifested their evil torments the moment Stan saw me come in.  It was an impossible situation because this was a public place.  When I explained to Mollie that Stan was demonized and that we would have to work with him privately to correct the situation, she said she didn’t believe in such things and neither did her church.  She was insulted.  The whole thing still saddens me, because Stan is a victim that might have been freed if the ignorance of his wife and church hadn’t stood in the way.

   You see, unclean spirits are like rats: they go for garbage.  Where there are diseases or sins, there are demons feeding.  They’re drawn into preexisting diseases, disabilities, stresses or habits.  They feed on these infirmities and make them worse.  They hinder healing.  Have you had a condition that should have healed but didn’t?  There may be reason to suspect an unclean spirit is blocking your body’s effort to heal.  When the spiritual reality is overcome, the body and mind begin to respond to treatment.  We should know these great truths.

 

Obedience

   Many today are using Jesus’ “new teaching on authority” and experiencing incredible results.  Often it only takes a simple prayer of command to make a great difference.  I can’t explain how it works, but it almost always does.  And today I want to offer you an effective prayer to help you expose and expel any unclean spirits that might be trying to infiltrate!  “Brother, are you saying I have demons?”  No, I’m not.  But if you’ll trust Jesus enough to pray with me and test his teaching, you may find that something radically changes for the better for you in the next few days.  Will you trust Jesus and try?

 

The Simplest of  Anti-infiltration (Deliverance) Prayers

    Holy Father Yahweh, I am not a superstitious person, but I believe in you, your Son and your word.  I want to do what is right and be what you want.  I want to be holy, well and confident in my faith.  

   I am sick or ill at ease or depressed or engaged in occult practices or bad habits.  I have evil and critical thoughts that I know are not true and are not mine.  I did not think it possible that an unclean spirit could infiltrate me nor did I want to admit it could be so until now.  But I realize that the door to my soul is open and something may have come in.  I am going to obey You rather than it.

   Father Yahweh, I take up the authority of your son, Jesus of Nazareth, and the power of his blood, which was shed for me.  In that holy authority I now command any of you unclean spirits or demons that have infiltrated me to cease your devilish work immediately and depart, depart, depart.  In the name of Yahshua ben Yahweh, I command you to detach and remove yourselves from my body immediately and go to his feet, never, ever to return to me.  Go! Go! Go now!

   Holy Father Yahweh, I thank you for your power that sets me, and those I love, free!  Protect me from any evil and unclean spirits as I close all the doors to my being.  I promise, with your help, not to again engage in any activities or thoughts that bring on demonic infiltration.  Heal me of any additional damage that infiltration might have caused, that I might dwell in your house forever and ever.  Amen.

 

January 31, 2003