Removing Demonic Control and Possession
Because members of the Sovereign Father's earthly family are engaged in a spiritual work and evil spirits are opposed to this work, it is inevitable that, at some point in time, the path of a righteous person will cross the path of an evil spirit in control and possession of another person. Therefore, the authority over or removal of evil spirits from the individuals whom they control or possess is a primary area of concern for those of the Sovereign Father's earthly family of king-priests as we go about performing the work of the church and interacting with the world at large.
The removal of evil spirits from individuals by Jesus Christ and those to whom he has delegated this authority is well documented throughout the New Testament (Matt.17:14-18; Mk.16:17-19; Lk.10:17-18). It is also very clear that, unless a person is authorized to remove evil spirits, they place themselves in great danger if they attempt to do so (Acts.19: 13-16).
Evil spirits clearly understand exactly what authority the Father's earthly children have and do not have over them. Therefore, the first question you should ask yourself before attempting to cast out an evil spirit is whether or not you have the authority and power to do so. Evil spirits also understand that the Sovereign God is a God of law and all things must be done in accordance with his law and within the boundaries of a fixed set of rules. Therefore, you must understand your authority and the rules that determine how to deal with evil spirits.
Although the scriptures do not give detailed instructions about how one of God's children knows he or she has been given authority and power in specific situations (e.g., the authority to end an evil spirit's influence or control of an individual), it is very clear that those who are given this authority and power know they have it.
Authorizations to enable individuals to perform certain functions, responsibilities, and tasks are communicated to individuals through many different means. For example, Moses was told by the Creator God himself (Ex.3:15-22; 4:1-9); Elisha the prophet was told by Elijah the prophet; Christ told his disciples (Mk.3:14-15; Matt.28:19-20: Acts 1:6-8); Christ told Ananias in a vision to tell Paul (Acts 9:10-18); and Paul told Timothy (1.Tim.4:14; 2.Tim.1:6-7).
Regardless of the means of communication, when a person is informed that they have been given a special authorization (e.g., the gift of prophecy, the ability to perform miracles, or the ability to cast out evil spirits), that person will know what authorization or power has been given, what it is to be used for, and how to use it. Otherwise, the authorization and power would not be given.
Spiritual authorizations and powers which a member of the body of Christ is blessed with are not for the person's own personal aggrandizement or entertainment. All authorizations and powers are given for the purpose of performing the work of the church and the benefit, edification, and enrichment of the Sovereign Father's elect (1.Cor.14:1-12; Eph.4:1-14) who are being prepared to serve all of humanity through the Family and Government of God.
The scriptures show that there are three primary reasons for the removal of evil spirits:
- To show compassion for people in order to improve their lives by removing the control and possession of evil spirits
- As a witness of God's authority and power over evil spirits
- To eliminate an impediment to the proclamation of the good news concerning Christ and the Kingdom of God
There are five fundamentals to carefully consider in the removal of an evil spirit which is in control and possession of an individual. Without understanding the following, the removal of evil spirits can be a very dangerous undertaking for both the person attempting to remove the evil spirit(s) and for the one controlled and possessed by the evil spirit(s):
- Who is the sovereign authority and power over all that exists?
- Who has the authority to command evil spirits to relinquish control of an individual?
- What method must be used to command an evil spirit to relinquish control of an individual?
- How does one prevent evil spirit(s) from returning to take control and possession again.
- What should be considered in the decision to remove (or not to remove) an evil spirit from an individual?
THE SOVEREIGN FATHER'S AUTHORITY
When dealing with evil spirits, it is important to fully understand that all existing authority and power resides in the Sovereign Father and that he controls, energizes, and sustains all that exists, whether physical or spiritual, and nothing can or will exist unless he allows it to. This is one reason evil spirits fear the authority of the Father, Jesus Christ, and those who have been delegated authority over them.
As he was preparing his disciples for his death and resurrection, Jesus told them that his heavenly Father's authority and power is greater than his:
"I [Jesus] said to you, I go away and come again to you. If you loved me you would rejoice, because I said, I go to the Father: for my Father is greater than I" (Jn.14:28 KJV).
Jesus tells Pilate that authority is given by the Sovereign God:
"Where do you come from? When Jesus did not respond to him, Pilate said, Why don't you speak to me? Don't you know that I have the authority to crucify you, and I have the authority to release you? Jesus answered and said, You would have no authority over me if it were not given to you from above . . . [i.e., from the Sovereign God]" (Jn.19:9-11 Para.).
The apostle Paul wrote the following to the elect at Rome about the Sovereign God's authority and power:
"Let every soul be subject to higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God [the Sovereign God]; but the authorities that exist have been ordained by God [the Sovereign God]" (Rom. 13:1 Para.).
The apostle Paul was also inspired to foretell the presentation of the earth and all righteous individuals to God the Father by Jesus Christ at the completion of the plan for the salvation of humanity. Paul's message reveals two important facts: 1) God the Father is the Sovereign God who is in authority over all that exists and 2) Jesus Christ rules God the Father's kingdom for him:
"Then comes the end, when he [Jesus Christ] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he [Jesus Christ] shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" (1.Cor.15:24-26 KJV).
Paul begins this prophecy with the statement "Then comes the end." But the end of what? This end refers to the end of the physical existence as God the Father arrives to make the earth the focal point of his realm.
"For he [God the Father] has put all things under his [Jesus Christ's] feet. But when he says all things are put under him, it is manifest that he [God the Father] is excepted, which did put all things under him [Jesus Christ]" (1.Cor.15:27 KJV).
Paul speaks of a time far into the future when all resistance to the Kingdom of God will have been overcome and Christ will rule as the Supreme Sovereign of the earth for his Father:
"And when all things shall be subdued to him [the Father], then shall the Son [Jesus Christ] also himself be subject to him [the Father] that put all things under him, that God [the Father] may be all in all" (1.Cor.15:28 KJV).
Jesus Christ has been delegated authority and power over all the physical and spiritual dimensions of existence in order for him to carry out the work that he has been charged with throughout his heavenly Father's Kingdom. Only the Sovereign Father is above Jesus Christ in authority and power, because the Father is the Sovereign in whom and from whom all authority and power resides and emanates. Notice what Christ told the disciples after his resurrection concerning his authority:
"Then the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, saying, All authority is given to me in heaven and in earth" (Matt.28:16-18 Para.).
The English word authority in verse 18 is translated from the Greek word exousia, which means ability to perform an action, the right, authority, or commission conferred by a higher court, and it denotes external power.
Jesus sits at the right hand of God the Father and is second in authority in his heavenly Father's kingdom. Jesus is responsible for managing all aspects of the Kingdom of God (See 1.Cor.15:22-28; Heb.12:1-2), which includes all angels, authorities, and powers (1.Pet. 3:22), as well as his Father's earthly family of king-priests (Eph.5:23).
Because God the Father has delegated to Jesus Christ authority and power over all things, Christ has full discretionary use of spirit-power and can also authorize authority and power to those within his Father's earthly family of kings and priests in order for them to perform the functions and responsibilities they are called to perform during this gospel age of salvation.
Christ's Authority over Evil Spirits
Mark's account of Jesus meeting a man in a synagogue who was possessed with a demon clearly shows that Christ had the authority to remove evil spirits from individuals.
An important point to understand is that authority is an extremely important issue when it comes to who is authorized to command demons to remove themselves from a person and not return:
"And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes" (Mk.1:21-22 KJV).
"And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, you Jesus of Nazareth? are you come to destroy us? I know you, you are the Holy One of God" (Mk.1:23-24; Lk.4:33-35 Para).
In verse 24, the English word destroy is a translation of the Greek word apollumi, which means to destroy fully, complete destruction, to perish, or to die. This same word is used many times to describe the utter destruction of individuals and places (See Matt.10:28, 12:14, 21:41; Lk.17:29). All of the examples noted of the word apollumi are used to convey utter or complete destruction. Both the Hebrew and the Greek words for destroy mean the destruction and cessation of existence.
The question the demon asked is important because it tells us four essential facts about evil spirits:
- Evil spirits recognize those who have authority over them.
- Evil spirits know they can be destroyed.
- Some evil spirits know they are going to die for their rebellion.
- Jesus has the power to destroy evil spirits.
"And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold your peace, and come out of him. 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 commanded he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him" (Mk.1:25-27 KJV).
The Twelve Disciples/Apostles
Jesus had the authority to remove evil spirits from individuals, as well as the authority to authorize others to do the same:
"And when he had called to him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease" (Matt.10:1 KJV). See also Matt.10:8.
Even after Christ's death and resurrection, all of the apostles continued to have authority and power over evil spirits in order to remove their control and possession of individuals:
"And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. And of those remaining no man ventured to join with them: but the people magnified them. And more believers were added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about to Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one" (Acts 5:12-16 KJV Para.).
Although Satan and evil spirits can cause all sorts of diseases, deformities, and physical disabilities, we must be careful not to ascribe all of these conditions to demonic possession, because most of these conditions are the product of natural circumstances or accidents.
Besides the twelve men who were Jesus' constant companions and were chosen to eventually be the leaders of the early church, Jesus chose seventy other men to proclaim the Kingdom of God. These men were also authorized to wield spiritual power, including the power to cast out evil spirits:
"After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, where he himself would come" (Lk.10:1 KJV).
"And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject to us through your name. And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give to you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject to you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" (Lk.10: 17-20 KJV).
Paul The Apostle
Although the apostle Paul was not of the twelve or the seventy who proclaimed the Kingdom of God with Jesus, Paul was also given many authorizations of spiritual powers, including the authority to remove evil spirits:
"And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought to the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them" (Acts 19:11-12 KJV).
The account in the Book of Acts in which Paul casts a demon out of a woman at Philippi demonstrates his authorization to remove evil spirits and provides insight into how this authority is used and recognized:
"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 KJV).
The English word divination in verse 16 is a translation of the Greek word puthon, which is taken from the name of the region of Delphi where the seat of the famous oracle was located. By analogy puthon means a diviner, inspiration, soothsaying.
The English word soothsaying in verse 16 is a translation of the Greek word manteuomai, which means a prophet (to rave through inspiration); to divine, i.e., utter spells (under the pretense of foretelling).
The indication is that this young woman was controlled and possessed by an evil spirit that cast spells (i.e., performed witchcraft), pretended to foretell the future, and revealed knowledge which could not be obtained through natural means. Whatever the ability projected through this young woman by the evil spirit, it was extremely lucrative for her owners.
"The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show to us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour" (Acts 16:17-18 KJV).
When Paul decided to remove the evil spirit, he did so by making sure those around him and the spirit itself understood where his authority came from. Paul did not engage the evil spirit in a lengthy conversation; he just commanded the spirit to leave by saying, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." As soon as the spirit had been commanded to leave, it did so because it knew Paul spoke with the authority of God the Father and Christ. This event tells us the following things:
- Evil spirits recognize the servants of the true God.
- Some evil spirits will harass the elect until they are removed from the person they are controlling or possessing.
- Paul recognized the evil spirit for what it was.
- Authority to remove evil spirits comes through Christ.
- Paul spoke directly to the evil spirit.
- Evil spirits must comply with legitimate demands of true servants of God the Father and Christ.
During Saul's persecution of the early church before his conversion, the apostle Philip went about preaching Christ, healed people, and cast evil spirits out of them:
"As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ to them. And the people with one accord gave heed to those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed" (Acts 8:3-7 KJV).
The Stronger Casts out the Weaker
In addition to being accused of using the power of Satan to remove evil spirits, Christ was also accused of being possessed by evil spirits (Matt.9:34). Through a parable, Christ explained he was stronger than Satan and this accusation constituted blasphemy:
"And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils he casts out devils. And he called to them, and said to them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but has an end" (Mk.3:22-26 KJV).
The only way Satan and other evil spirits will relinquish control and possession of an individual is if someone stronger forces them to do so.
These Scribes clearly understood that a household divided against itself falls apart from internal division, strife, power struggles, and squabbles. Christ simply asked them why Satan would destroy his kingdom, because the Scribes knew that Satan is the god and ruler of this world. But, we know that Satan will only rule this world until Christ deposes him at his return. Satan cannot cast himself out of a person by force. However, he can voluntarily relinquish control of a person if it suits his purpose.
Continuing his rebuke of the Scribes, Christ tells them his authority is greater than Satan's.
"No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house" (Mk.3:27 KJV).
In Luke's account of this event, Christ says his authority and power comes from the Sovereign God, which means that he is righteous and of the household of God.
"And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon you" (Lk.11:19-20 KJV). See also Matt.12:27-28.
The framing of Christ's question indicates that, either at that time or before his ministry, there were sons of the spiritual leaders of the Jews who had the ability to cast out evil spirits. Because demonic possession was prevalent among the Jews and people of other nations, the Creator God either authorized specific individuals with the ability and power to cast out evil spirits or he honored their prayers requesting the removal of these evil spirits. Whatever the case, Christ states that evil spirits were cast out by sons of the spiritual leaders of the Jews. The scribes could not answer Christ's question, because he had already shown them that it takes someone more powerful than Satan to cast out Satan and they knew that God is the only being with more authority and power than Satan.
In Mark, Christ informs the Scribes that they are on dangerous ground by accusing him of being possessed by Satan:
"Truly I say to you, All sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation Because they said, He has an unclean spirit" (Mk.3:28-30 KJV).
These scribes had either personally seen or heard about Christ proclaiming the Kingdom of God, teaching God's truth, performing acts of compassion through healing people, miraculously feeding people, and casting out evil spirits, yet they accused him of doing these things through the power of Satan. They could find no fault with what Christ taught and the miracles he performed, except that the truth he taught condemned them as unrighteous individuals. Therefore, they attacked his character, accusing him of being possessed by an evil spirit and using satanic power to perform supernatural works.
This is why Christ told them there was no forgiveness for blasphemy against the holy spirit (i.e., God's power and the essence of his existence as a spirit-being). Blasphemy against God's power is the same as showing disrespect for the Sovereign God himself. The result of blasphemy against the holy spirit is the second death from which there is no return. See Matt.12:31-33.
TWO DIFFICULT TEXTS
There are two difficult texts in Mark and Luke about casting out evil spirits which must be dealt with before we move on to the next section. These texts tell of a man who cast out evils spirits using Christ's name. However, he was not one of the twelve or the seventy Christ sent to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Moreover, he was not among the people who performed miracles in Christ's name whom Christ called lawless.
Keep in mind that this event happened during Christ's ministry and under the covenant with national Israel, which was terminated after his death and resurrection. The agreement God the Father makes with the sons of his new creation is different in many ways from the covenant with national Israel. God the Father's agreement contains many different authorizations and rules of conduct which must be adhered to in order to receive benefits under this agreement which were not a part of the covenant with national Israel (See the Book of Hebrews). One of these authorizations pertains to who is allowed to cast out evil spirits and how this power is to be used during the gospel age of salvation:
"And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in your name, but he does not follow us: and we forbid him, because he does not follow us. But Jesus said, Do not forbid him: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part" (Mk.9:38-40 KJV Para.). See also Lk.9:49-50.
Christ told his disciples not to forbid this man from casting out evil spirits. Apparently, this man had the authority to cast out evil spirits under the terms and conditions of the Creator God's covenant with national Israel and was neither violating God's law nor teaching in opposition to Christ's message; otherwise, Christ would have said so. Moreover, the evil spirits would not have allowed him to cast them out if he did not have the authority and power to do so.
The question Christ put to the spiritual leaders of the Jews about their sons casting out evil spirits, which is noted twice in the gospel accounts also indicates that some men under the covenant with ancient Israel were authorized by God to cast out evil spirits. See Matt:12:27-28; LK.11:19
Although no specific instructions can be found in the laws given to ancient Israel about the removal of evil spirits from people, there are many instructions not to allow people to remain in Israel who associated with evil spirits or practiced witchcraft:
"When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the Lord your God"' (Deut.18:9-13 NIV).
Because some of the Scribes' sons had the ability to cast out evil spirits (Lk.11:19-20), it seems logical that this ability was also given anciently to Israelite men in order to perform God's law, which mandated the removal of all who were associated with evil spirits or practiced witchcraft. This probably would have occasionally necessitated the removal of an evil spirit from a person.
People Who Oppose God's Law
The following is a serious warning to people who perform supernatural works and claim authority from Christ when he has not given them this authority:
"Not every one that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only the ones doing the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons, and in your name do many works of power? And I will tell them, I never knew you; depart from me you who practice lawlessness!" (Matt. 7:21-23 Para). See also Matt.15:3-9; Lk.6:46-49.
These people have deceived themselves into thinking they are God the Father's children and are authorized by Christ to do supernatural works. But, Jesus says, "I never knew you."
These people are not converted; they are not the Father's children and they do not have the holy spirit dwelling within them. Otherwise, Christ would know them. But, where do these people whom Jesus refers to as lawless get their authority and power to perform supernatural works? The following are three possible sources of their authority and power to foretell future events, cast out evil spirits, and perform other supernatural works.
1. Deception by Evil Spirits
Through many means, evil spirits can easily influence susceptible people into believing they have been given a gift of prophecy from God.
Evil spirits are extremely intelligent, clever, powerful, and deceptive. These spirit-beings existed long before humans were created and have amassed a tremendous amount of knowledge about the physical environment and human behavior, which gives them the ability to predict environmental events and the end result of certain human behaviors. Moreover, these spirit-beings have the power to manipulate the physical environment within certain limits and cause humans who are susceptible to their influence to make decisions and behave in certain ways in order to facilitate a predicted outcome.
The removal of an evil spirit's presence in a place or their influence or control of an individual is easily accomplished by evil spirits. There is no doubt that, if it fits their goals, they can voluntarily or pretend to remove their presence in a place or their influence or control over a person's mind or body.
The scriptures clearly show that some spirit-beings are more powerful than others. Therefore, it is logical to assume that, in order to deceive people, a more powerful evil spirit who is inhabiting a person or performing works for a person can remove control or possession of a lesser demon from a human body.
An evil spirit who controls or possesses a person or performs works for a person can easily manifest supernatural works and cause people who are susceptible to their influence to believe the person has been given these powers from the true God.
2. Discovered Knowledge
Throughout history, there have been people who discovered how to use physical and spiritual powers to gain insight and knowledge or to affect the physical and supernatural realms. During the beginnings of the early church, the Father called some people to salvation who had used their knowledge of the physical and spiritual dimensions of existence for the wrong purposes. But, after understanding their error regarding these forbidden practices, they repented and destroyed their books which held this knowledge:
"And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used magical arts brought their books, and burned them before all: and the price of these books was about 50,000 pieces of silver. So the word of God grew greatly and prevailed" (Acts 19:18-20 KJV Para.).
God strongly condemns the use of unauthorized knowledge and power, because its practice draws people away from truth and into error, which will lead to eternal death if not repented of.
3. Secret Knowledge
There are three categories of people who have the knowledge and ability to manipulate or affect the physical and spirit dimensions of existence through physical or spiritual power:
- People who have discovered this knowledge and gained this ability through studying the natural and spirit realms of existence without being influenced by evil spirits.
- People who have been guided into or given this knowledge and ability by evil spirits.
- People who have been guided into or given this knowledge and ability by God the Father and Jesus Christ through their physical or spirit-servants or through the influence of the holy spirit.
Whether or not you choose to believe there are people who have knowledge and abilities which are outside the norm of human experience, history and the biblical record clearly show that many people have possessed this secret knowledge which gave them the ability to interact with the physical and spirit dimension of existence in order to perform supernatural works.
The Seven Sons of the Priest
The account of the seven sons of the priest Sceva contains an extremely serious warning about the danger of attempting to cast out a demon without the authorization of Christ:
"Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so" (Acts 19:13-14 KJV).
These seven brothers were not followers of Christ; they wandered around as conjurers working magical spells, a practice forbidden by God (Lev.19:26; 21:27; Deut.18:10-12).
"And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded" (Acts 19:15-16 KJV).
These brothers seemed to have thought the name of Jesus contained magical power and by uttering his name they could force their will on an evil spirit. However, this is not the case at all. Neither the phonetic name of the Messiah nor its vocalization are endued with magical power as some teach. It is through Christ's authorization to use the power of the holy spirit that a person can perform righteous works and utilize spiritual gifts, such as the authority to remove evil spirits from a person.
This evil spirit recognized the authority of Jesus and Paul and it knew these seven men did not have authority over it. This is why it said it did not know them.
How did this evil spirit recognize the difference in authority between Jesus and Paul and the sons of Sceva? How did it know that these seven men did not have the authority to cast out evil spirits?
The sons of Sceva were not of the Sovereign Father's new creation; they were not his sons with the indwelling of his holy spirit, which makes his sons entirely different, in a spiritual sense, from humans with only the spirit of man as a part of their existence.
All spirit-beings, whether good or evil, can easily recognize the difference between the spiritual essence of normal human beings and those who have been reborn as part of the Sovereign Father's new creation. Moreover, all spirit-beings know the authority that individuals have and do not have in the spirit realm.
The ability to foretell future events, cast out demons, and perform awesome supernatural works is not necessarily evidence of a converted mind or a righteous person. Jesus says that some individuals who do these things are lawless, which means they are not in harmony with the Sovereign God's truth and therefore will not be granted permission to enter the Kingdom of God. See Matt.7:21-23; Gal.5:19-21; Rev.22: 14-15. Moreover, there are people who do not believe in the God of the Bible, but are of different religions and philosophies who are able to perform supernatural works.
It is wise for those who are serious about their salvation and their physical safety to be aware of the dangers associated with practices which are forbidden by God's law and individuals who seem to be righteous, but are not.
SHOULD EVIL SPIRITS ALWAYS BE REMOVED?
Should an evil spirit always be removed from someone? You may think that the answer is always yes, but, each confrontation with an evil spirit is unique, so how to deal with an evil spirit depends entirely upon the circumstances. In fact, removing an evil spirit from someone may not always be prudent in light of the extremely serious warning Christ gave about the inherent danger to the person over whom an evil spirit has relinquished its control and possession:
"When the spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, I will return into my house from where I came out; and when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and garnished. Then he goes, and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also to this wicked generation" (Matt.12:43-45 KJV Para.). See also Lk.11:24-26.
Although this warning was primarily meant for the Pharisees and the House of Judah who lived where Jesus proclaimed his heavenly Father's good news message, this warning also reveals why it is possible for an evil spirit to possess a person again, after it already relinquished control. Jesus' warning also explains what makes it possible for other evil spirits to then have an opportunity to control and possess that same person.
Being empty, swept, and garnished means that such a person is without any protection from demonic attack, control, and possession. This would seem to be a hopeless situation for a person who becomes controlled and possessed by an evil spirit if it were not for the following record of Jesus casting out the particularly cruel demon noted in Mark, chapter 9:
"When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying to him, You dumb and deaf spirit, I order you, come out of him, and do not enter him again" (Mk.9:25 Para.).
Jesus orders this evil spirit to leave the boy and never return. This record reveals that a person who has the authority and power to cast out evil spirits can also forbid them from returning to possess the same person again. This command is especially important when an evil spirit is removed from infants, very young children, and people who for whatever reason do not have a strong will or the mental capacity to resist evil influence.
It is possible to cast out an evil spirit and forbid it from returning, but nothing will prevent other evil spirits from controlling and possessing a person who has had an evil spirit cast out of them, unless one or more of the following circumstances exists:
- A person who has the authority and power to cast out evil spirits also has the authority to forbid all evil spirits to influence, control, or possess the person who was formerly possessed. This type of command may be necessary for infants, young children, or people in a mental state which makes it impossible for them to resist evil.
- The Sovereign Father is asked by righteous individuals to protect the formerly possessed person from future control and possession by evil spirits and the Father honors the request.
- The formerly possessed person has the mental maturity and a willingness to resist evil influence, in order to remain free from demonic influence, control, and possession.
The Ability To Resist Evil
The apostle James wrote the following to the elect about protecting ourselves from evil influence:
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. . ." (Jms.4:7-8 KJV).
Although James was writing to people who knew and understood the Sovereign Father's truth, his instruction reveals a spiritual law that has force and power in the spirit realm.
The result of resisting an evil spirit's influence is that the evil spirit will leave, because it has no power to influence, control, or possess a person who is resisting it. This law of resistance not only affords protection to the Sovereign Father's earthly children who have the indwelling of his holy spirit but also to anyone else who will apply its force and power to resist an evil spirit's influence.
The apostle James' instruction to resist evil is predicated on a person having some knowledge and understanding of God's truth which defines good and evil. Although a person may not have the indwelling of the holy spirit, a basic knowledge of good and evil is an inherent part of every normal person's mental makeup.
People who are open to being influenced, controlled, and possessed by evil spirits are those who are not defending their house (i.e., the body that they inhabit), or do not have the will or the mental capacity to resist.
The best defense against an evil influence or an evil spirit is to resist and call on God for help and support in your effort to resist evil.
Just as many people in ancient times were controlled and possessed by evil spirits, many people today are in the same situation. The biblical examples of when to cast out an evil spirit are clear; they are to be cast out when requested by a parent of a possessed child (Mk.9:17-29) and when they are interfering with the work of the church (Acts 16:17-18). Although other circumstances may warrant the casting out of an evil spirit, these circumstances would have to be carefully considered as to their short and long term consequences and whether or not they fall within the Father's plan for the salvation of mankind.
Much is left unsaid in the biblical narratives about the removal of evil spirits and the reason for their removal. In the following two accounts, we are told that evil spirits were removed from several women, but we are not told what precipitated their removal:
"And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered to him of their substance" (Lk.8:2-3 KJV).
"Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils" (Mk.16:9 KJV).
We know that Jesus cast evil spirits out of these women and that they followed him and helped in supplying the needs of his ministry. Other accounts of Jesus casting out evil spirits show he did this out of compassion, as confirmation of his authority from his heavenly Father, and as proof that his message was from the Sovereign God.
Casting out evil spirits is not an action to be performed without carefully considering the consequences. Those who have this ability should be very careful to use this authority and power prudently in order to avoid causing great harm to both the person who is controlled and possessed by an evil spirit and those who are closely associated with the possessed person.
COMMANDING EVIL SPIRITS
When it is determined that an evil spirit is to be cast out of a person, it is important to know how to command an evil spirit to relinquish control of a person and leave them.
The biblical examples of the commands to be used in order to make an evil spirit relinquish control of a person are simple and direct. There are no examples of making any hand gestures (e.g., the sign of a cross), uttering of magic words, phrases, use of graphic designs or symbols, sprinkling of water, burning of incense, use of oils or potions, chanting, uttering incantations, or performing rituals of any kind. The following are some biblical examples of commands that were issued to remove evil spirits.
"And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with you, you Jesus of Nazareth? Are you come to destroy us? I know you, you are the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold your peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and did not hurt him" (Lk.4:33-35 KJV Para.).
Jesus' command to this evil spirit is short and direct without any elaboration. Jesus' command contains the following three instructions: 1) Be quiet; 2) Come out; and 3) Do not hurt the man.
"And they were all amazed, and spoke among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out" (Lk.4:36 KJV).
The Demon Legion
In Matthew and Mark's accounts of Jesus removing many evil spirits from two men who were possessed by violent evil spirits, Jesus said to one of the spirits, "Come out of the man, you unclean spirit" (Mk.5:6-8). Jesus only needed to issue a short, non-negotiable command and the demons had no choice but to obey. See Matt.8:28-33; Mk.5:1-17.
The Apostle Paul's Example
In the following example of the apostle Paul removing an evil spirit from a young woman, he issued his command in the name of Jesus Christ. By invoking Christ’s name in his command, Paul was informing this spirit of his authority to remove it and that this authority comes from and through Christ:
"The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show to us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour" (Acts 16:17-18 KJV).
A person with the authority and power to remove evil spirits does not need to make an appeal to an evil spirit to relinquish its control and possession of an individual, because their authority and power to remove an evil spirit is absolute. Their command must be obeyed because it is the same as if Christ gave the command.
A Lack of Faith
The books of Matthew and Mark seem to contain a record of the same event in which the disciples were unable to cast out a demon, but the account in Mark has more details. This event is important from the aspect of the necessity for strong, unwavering faith in casting out certain kinds of evil spirits:
"And when they came to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not cure him" (Matt.17:14-16 KJV Para.).
The disciples and seventy others whom Jesus had chosen were all authorized by him to cast out evil spirits and to heal the sick as they went about proclaiming the Kingdom of God, so why were they not able to remove this particular evil spirit? Jesus gives the answer in verse 17:
"Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I put up with you? bring him here to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour" (Matt.17: 17-18 KJV Para.).
Faith in the biblical sense is the trust or the confidence that whatever is requested through prayer will be received, and whenever one exercises their spiritual authority and power, whatever action is commanded to happen will happen.
Although Jesus had given the disciples the authority and power to cast out evil spirits, they did not have the required faith in exercising their commands to remove this particularly evil and powerful spirit.
"Then the disciples came to Jesus privately, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said to them, Because of your unbelief: for truly I say to you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from here and go there; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you" (Matt.17: 19-20 KJV Para.).
The kind of faith that Jesus speaks of is the absolute faith in one's authorization and ability to use spiritual power; in that, when one commands something to happen, it will happen.
Mark's account of this same event fills in some important details which are missing from Matthew's account:
"And one of the multitude said, Master, I have brought my son to you, which has a mute spirit; And wherever he takes him, he tears him: and he foams, and gnashes with his teeth, and pines away [to desiccate; to shrivel; to become rigid]: and I asked your disciples to cast him out; and they could not" (Mk.9:17-18 Para.).
"He [Christ] answered him, and said, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him to me. And they brought him to him: and when he saw him, immediately the spirit tore him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long ago did this come on him? And he said, Of a child. And often it has cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if you cannot do anything, have compassion on us, and help us" (Mk.9:19-22 Para.).
Mark's account shows when some evil spirits recognize a person's authority over them and know that they have been recognized for what they are, they will act out in rage.
"Jesus said to him [the boy’s father], If you can believe, all things are possible to him that believes. And immediately the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help my lack of faith" (Mk.9:23-24 Para.).
Jesus had the authority and the power to remove the demon, but required the father to believe that the spirit would be removed. The belief required was not just a belief in the power of Jesus to remove demons. The father already believed that Jesus could cast out demons based on what he had come to know about Jesus casting out many demons, but he did not have a belief beyond doubt that Jesus could cast out this particular demon. Because the father knew he lacked this kind of faith, he asked Jesus to help him to believe.
"When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying, You dumb and deaf spirit, I order you, come out of him, and do not enter him again" (Mk.9:25 Para.).
Jesus simply ordered this evil spirit to leave the body and not return. This order is especially important for very young children and people who, for whatever reason, do not have a strong will or the mental capacity to resist evil influence. See Matt.12:43-45.
"Then the demon screamed terribly and convulsed the boy again and left him; and the boy lay there limp and motionless, to all appearance dead. A murmur ran through the crowd, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet and he stood up and was all right! Afterwards, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, "Why couldn't we cast that demon out? Jesus replied, "Cases like this require prayer" (Mk.9: 26-29 TLB).
Both Matthew and Mark record the reason Jesus gave for the disciples not being able to cast out this kind of demon was that prayer was required. But, why would a person who is authorised to cast out evil spirits need to pray in order to perform this task? Prayer is only needed when there is a lack of faith; a person would not need to ask their heavenly Father for help if their faith was unwavering and their confidence was absolute in their authorization and ability to use the power of the holy spirit.
The reason for prayer seems to be for the purpose of beseeching the Father for the kind of unwavering faith and wisdom necessary to deal with extremely powerful evil spirits and extremely difficult situations.
IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST
The apostle Paul introduces his first letter to the church at Corinth by acknowledging them as the Father's elect children who have the right to call upon the name of Jesus Christ. He also acknowledges that they are the recipients of spiritual gifts from the Father through Jesus Christ:
"To the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints along with all who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place. Grace be to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks always to my God [God the Father] concerning the gift of the grace of God [God the Father] that is given to you in Christ Jesus; That in everything you were enriched in him, in all discourse and knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So as for you to be lacking in no gift, awaiting the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1.Cor.1:2-7 Para.).
Many places in the New Testament tell us how the Father's elect children are able to access and communicate with him and how certain of the elect are able to perform supernatural works and miracles through God's spirit-power.
In order to properly use the authority to deal with evil spirits, it is necessary to clearly understand the meaning of the phrase, in the name of Jesus Christ and how it applies to the authority to use spirit-power and to give commands and instructions to evil spirits which they must obey.
In the Name of Jesus
What does the phrase in the name of Jesus Christ really mean to those who are called to salvation and to perform a work for God the Father and Jesus Christ? Why is it necessary to use a name when making requests of the Father, performing physical or spiritual acts, and giving commands and instructions to evil spirits? Is there some knowledge about the Messiah's name that must be acquired in order to use the power of the holy spirit to perform a physical or spiritual work?
The answers to all these questions are very important to anyone who has been called to salvation during this gospel age, because the answers have a direct impact on our ability to secure immortal life in the Family and Kingdom of God, as well as our ability to perform the various physical and spiritual responsibilities which God may give us during this lifetime.
The word name in both the Hebrew and the Greek languages, in the strictest sense, denotes a mark or identification of a person or thing. There are many examples in the biblical text in which a person's name is not only used to identify that person but also their authority, character, or reputation. It is also well known in biblical and rabbinical teachings that the phrase in the name of is used to connect the one with the authority to the one from whom the authority comes, and to connect a teacher with the authority and respect of the teacher who taught him.
Just uttering the words in the name of Jesus Christ, by or through the authority of Jesus Christ, on the behalf of Jesus Christ, or in the name of the Father, the Son, and the holy spirit has no power or meaning in and of itself. Moreover, these words have no power over anything, and they do not have the power to cause anything to occur in the physical or spirit realms of existence, unless the person who uses these words is authorized to use the authority and power which resides with God the Father and Jesus Christ.
To speak in the name of the Father or Jesus Christ is to use one's authorization as their representative to speak in their stead and on their behalf. It is one thing to just say the words in the name of or on behalf of the Father or Jesus Christ without understanding what these words are intended to mean and invoke, but it is another thing to understand the concept and power behind these words when they are spoken by someone who has been authorized by God the Father and Jesus Christ to perform a certain function or responsibility.
The various names of God the Father who is the Supreme Sovereign of all things and Jesus Christ who sits at his right hand as his Son and the high priest of all humanity are very powerful. This is not because the names themselves contain power or the various languages in which people may choose to speak these names are somehow holy. Their names have power because the authority and power comes from the two immortal beings whom the names describe and represent.
The expressions in the name of, by the name of, through the authority of, and on the behalf of, which are spoken before the Father's or Jesus' names, have the same conceptual meaning when used to invoke our delegated authority and power as a son of God. These expressions can be used for the following purposes by the elect of God:
- To communicate with the Father in order to fellowship with him
- To share our thoughts with the Father or request something from him
- To use spirit-power in order to influence the physical or spiritual dimensions of existence
- To represent ourselves as a servant of the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Family of God
- To show by whose supernatural, physical, or spiritual authority works are being performed
- As evidence of our authority to command obedience when dealing with an evil spirit
Making the Distinction
When God's people or other people spoke of the true God in biblical record, the true God was always differentiated from other gods by being referred to as the God of Abraham, the God of the Hebrews, the God of Israel, the God of the Jews, or the God of gods. This was done so there would be no doubt that the God-being spoken of was a different God from false gods. See Gen.24:12; 28:13; Ex.3:18; 5:1; Deut.10:17.
There are many gods in this world, but only one who claims to be the Sovereign God of all things, and there is only one who claims to be this Sovereign's firstborn Son and Savior of humanity. Therefore, the use of the official titles or name(s) of the Father and his Son when speaking of them or on their behalf or using an authorization which comes from them is what qualifies, defines, separates, and makes a distinction between God the Father and Jesus Christ and the false gods of this world.
When Jesus spoke of God or was asked whom he represented, by whose authority he taught the truth of God, or by whose authority he did supernatural works, he made sure the people knew he was speaking of the Sovereign God of all things and that he was authorized to represent and speak for him and perform supernatural works by his power. Jesus spoke of his God as the Father, the true God, my God, and your God (Jn.20:17), which left no doubt that he represented a God who was superior to and different from the gods of this world.
When the apostles and others of the early congregations of God spoke of God, they defined of whom they were speaking and by whose authority they were preaching and performing supernatural works. Therefore, when the elect of God speak of God, they should also make a clear distinction between God the Father and Jesus Christ and the gods of this world. This basic truth must be emphasized when representing God the Father and Jesus Christ or when preaching the gospel message, performing any supernatural works on their behalf, or using one's discretionary spiritual authority and power.
THE SOVEREIGN GOD'S NAME
One of the primary reasons our Redeemer was sent to earth was to reveal the Sovereign God as the Father, as well as what his name is to his chosen people. It is extremely important to understand that the Sovereign God of all things is not the Creator God whom the Israelites worshiped under the Mount Sinai covenant. The Sovereign God of all things is the Father of Jesus Christ who was the Creator God whom the Israelites worshiped. Moreover, the Father is the Sovereign God whom Jesus said is to be worshiped by all beings—physical or spirit. In order to truly understand who the Father is, one must first understand that the Father and the Son are two separate and distinct individuals in the Family of God and that Jesus Christ is the Creator God who became the Father's physical son and the first son of his new creation.
God is a Family
"For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named" (Eph.3:14-15 KJV).
Until a person comes to understand that there are two individual and separate God-beings who comprise the God Family in heaven at this time, and that the relationship between the Sovereign God (God the Father) and the Creator God (Jesus Christ) is a father-son relationship, almost none of the Bible, including the phrase in the name of Jesus Christ, can be clearly understood.
In reference to the Father's name, Jesus says the following:
"I have manifested your name to the men which you gave me out of the world: yours they were, and you gave them me; and they have kept your word" (Jn.17:6 KJV).
"O righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. And I have declared to them your name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith you have loved me may be in them, and I in them" (Jn.17:25-26 KJV).
Jesus says that he revealed the Father's name to his disciples; therefore, it must be possible to discover what the Father's name is and what he wants to be called by those whom he has called to be his sons.
The Sovereign Father
"And he [Jesus] went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will . . . He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, your will be done" (Matt.26:39-42 KJV Para.).
"And it came to pass, that, as he [Jesus] was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in the earth" (Lk.11:1-2 KJV Para.). See also Matt.6:9-10.
From these examples in Matthew and Luke, it is clear that the Sovereign God of all that exists wants to be called Father by those whom he considers to be his sons. Moreover, he is our Father, which is what his firstborn Son who is the Savior and Redeemer of humanity said to call him. The English word Father, which is used in these two texts is translated from the Greek word Pater and is from a root word that means nourisher, protector, and upholder. It connotes fatherly care and someone who has absolute authority as a father.
OUR SAVIOR'S NAME
"Therefore the Lord [the Creator God] himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son and shall call his name Immanuel [God is with us]" (Isa.7:14 KJV).
The prophet Isaiah said that the Savior would be named Immanuel. In a later prophecy he was inspired to reveal many other names for the Savior and Redeemer of humanity (Isa.9:6). Both Joseph and Mary were told to name the Messiah Jesus, and that he would be the Immanuel spoken of by the prophets (Matt.1:21-23; Lk.1:28-35).
Who Did Our Savior Say He Was?
"When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets. He said to them, But whom do you say that I am? Simon Peter said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus said to him, You are blessed, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but my Father that is in heaven has revealed this to you" (Matt.16:13-17 Para.).
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus calls himself the Alpha and Omega, and he is also called The Lamb, The King of kings and The Lord of lords.
The scriptures clearly show that our Savior and Redeemer who is the Christ and God the Father's son has many names by which he is known.
God the Father and Jesus Christ Have Many Names
Below are some of the many names and titles of the Sovereign God (God the Father) and the Creator God (Jesus Christ) and the meanings of these names, which show the true character of these two immortal beings. It is important to understand that the scriptural context determines the God being described.
- Elohim: Mighty Ones
- EL: A Mighty One
- El-Elyon: Exalted One; Most High
- El-Shaddai: Almighty God
- El-Olam: God the Everlasting One
- El-Roi: God Who Sees Me
- El-Berith: God of the Covenant
- El-Elohe Israel: God of Israel
- Emmanuel: God With Us
- Kuros: Supremacy
- Theos: Lord, God, Deity
- Logos: The Word
It is important to understand that the name of a person has no significance, meaning, or power in and of itself. A name serves only to identify a person or a thing. However, names and titles which are applied to God the Father and Jesus Christ help describe their individual attributes, character, and authority. When studying the attributes and character of God the Father and his son, it becomes clear that it is impossible for any one name or number of names to fully describe the Father and his Son.
Not all of the Father's or his son's names are made known in the biblical or historical record (Rev.19:11-12) and it is not necessary at this time in history to have this information. If it were important, all of their names would have been documented and presented for us to discover. It is important, however, for us to follow the spirit of the instructions which have been revealed to us whenever we communicate with God the Father and use the various delegations of authority and power given to us through the name of Jesus Christ.
Phonetic Sounds of Names
Many people today believe that some words have mystical powers, just as many of the ancients believed. They believe the utterance of mystical sounds or the speaking of certain words in an ancient language, such as Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew, or Latin, have power to alter or influence things and beings in the physical and spirit realms of existence.
Many people today believe they must correctly pronounce one or more of the many Hebrew names of the Creator God, God the Father, and the Savior in order to have access to God or his power. The problem with this belief is not with pronunciation, but with the basic concept of this belief. Nowhere in the Bible is there any support for the use of phonetic sounds in this manner. A specific pronunciation of any of the names of the Creator God, God the Father, or the Savior is of no benefit alone.
What we see in the New Testament is the delegation of authority and power to the elect in order for them to communicate with the Father, perform certain supernatural works, and proclaim the Father's good news message to the world. It does not matter how one pronounces the name(s) of the Father and Jesus, as long as it is done with the proper respect and honor for them. What does matter is having the authorization to communicate with the Father and his Son and to use the Father's spirit power.
Jesus Came in His Father's Name
"But I have a greater witness than John's, for the works that the Father has given me, that I should finish these works which I do, they bare witness concerning me. And the Father who sent me has himself born witness concerning me . . .. I have come in the name of my Father, and you do not receive me . . ." (Jn.5:36-37, 43 Para.). See also Matt.21:9; 23:39; Mk.11:9-19; Lk.19:37-38.
"And Jesus was in the temple area walking in Solomon's Colonnade. The Jews gathered around him, saying, 'How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ tell us plainly. Jesus answered, I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep" (Jn.10:23-25 NIV).
Matthew 8:5-10, 13 Paraphrased
The Jews were constantly questioning and challenging Jesus' authority to teach the word of God and to perform the great works that he did; however, there were a few individuals who understood his authority to do these things:
"When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came beseeching him, and said to him, Lord, my servant lies at home sick of palsy, and is greatly tormented. And Jesus said I will come and heal him. But the centurion said to him, Lord, I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only say the word and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant Do this, and he does it" (vs.5-9).
The centurion understood that the power Jesus had did not come from him, but that Jesus was under the authority of a higher power and had been delegated the authority and power to heal and perform supernatural acts at his discretion.
"When Jesus heard this, he marveled, and said to them that followed him, Truly I say to you, in Israel I have not found such great faith as this And Jesus said to the centurion, Go your way; and as you have believed, so shall it be done for you. And his servant was healed in the same hour" (vs.10,13).
Jesus Christ did not come to earth representing himself and his own authority. He came by and with the authority of God the Father to represent the Father and his kingdom to the world:
"I can of my own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father who has sent me" (Jn.5:30 KJV). See also verses 36-38.
The Kingdom of God is extremely organized and functions within a hierarchical structure. The Father who is the Supreme Sovereign over all that exists has delegated all authority to his son to perform his will throughout his kingdom, and his son has delegated some of his authority to his Father's elect children.
Just uttering the words in the name of Jesus Christ, in Jesus' name, or by the authority of Jesus Christ alone provides no authority or power, because these are not magical words. These words are only representations of the office and authority of Jesus Christ through which a person has been granted an authorization.
In order to command evil spirits to obey your instructions, you must be authorized to do so. This authorization is given by the Father to the sons of his new creation through his first son, Jesus Christ, who is the Redeemer and Savior of humanity. Through the authority represented by the name of our Savior, the elect are allowed to command evil spirits to obey their instructions. This authority and power is greater than that of evil spirits, they must obey when given a legitimate command and instruction by one of the elect who is authorized to do so.
DEALING WITH EVIL SPIRITS
Although intelligent and powerful adversaries, evil spirits are no match for those who truly believe in the Sovereign Father and Christ their Savior, because the elect have been given powerful authorizations to remove and control evil spirits. See Rev.12:10-11.
When it is discovered that there is an evil spirit or evil presence within or associated with a person, or that there is an evil spirit or evil presence manifesting itself in your surroundings, carefully and thoughtfully assess the situation and decide what action is necessary. The action you take depends entirely upon the circumstances. Sometimes no action is required because the circumstances are temporary and will not affect you, your loved ones, or others of the elect of God during or after the encounter. However, if it is determined that action should be taken, the following questions must be answered regarding the level of action to take and your level of authority in dealing with evil spirits:
If the situation calls for resisting evil spirits and their influence (See chapter 20, "Resist Evil"), then that approach and level of authority in dealing with evil spirits is appropriate.
If the situation calls for the removal of an evil spirit(s), then you must either have the authority to remove evil spirit(s) or seek the help of an individual who does have this authority.
In either case, the proper level of authority must be exercised in order to accomplish the desired result. Moreover, the command given must be directed to the spirit(s), either orally or through the projection of your thoughts directly to the evil spirit(s). This will reveal to the spirit(s) that you are aware of their presence and that you know that you have authority over them from the Sovereign Father and Jesus Christ.
The following are some of the authorizations that the Father's elect children have a right to exercise over evil spirits:
- Command the spirit(s) to remove itself or its influence from a person, an animal, a building, a home, property, or other surroundings.
- Command the spirit(s) to never come into your presence again.
- Command the spirit(s) to keep silent and not bother you.
- Ask the Father to take care of the situation.
A command directed to evil spirit(s) does not need to be lengthy; it just needs to contain what you want done and your authority to issue the command. However, you must be very clear as to what is being commanded, because evil spirits go by the letter of the law in their response to a command. Therefore, you must say exactly what you want to be done or not to be done, and leave nothing to be interpreted by the evil spirit(s).
The statement in which you deliver your command to the evil spirit(s) must contain your authority to issue the command and what you want done. For example:
- I command you to (whatever is to be done) in the name and by the authority of Jesus Christ.
- By the authority of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I command you to (whatever is to be done).
- In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to (whatever is to be done).
Fear of Punishment
When Jesus went to the country of the Gergesenes, he was met by two men who were possessed with evil spirits. When the spirits recognized Jesus, they asked him if he had come to punish them before their appointed time:
"And when he came to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, two possessed with devils met him, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so no man could pass by that way. And, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with you, Jesus, you Son of God? Are you come here to torment us before the time? And there was a good way off from them a herd of many swine feeding. So the devils besought him, saying, If you cast us out, allow us to go into the herd of swine. And he said to them, Go. And when they came out, they went into the herd of swine: and the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the water. And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was happened to those possessed of devils" (Matt.8:28-33KJV Para.).
There are many punishments that are reserved for the spirits who rebel against God, and some punishments are worse than others, which is why these spirits said what they did about being tormented.
Evil spirits know that they are going to be punished for their rebellion against God, but they do not want to receive this punishment before it is due. Therefore, when appropriate, the Sovereign Father's elect can reinforce their command by telling the spirit(s) to obey what is commanded, because the Sovereign Father will be asked to punish them before their time if they deviate from the intent of the command (See Chapter 6, "Angels Are Not Immortal", for an explanation of the various punishments reserved for evil spirits). As soon as possible after giving this type of command, you must follow through by telling the Father what you have done and asking him to honor your threat of punishment to the evil spirit(s).
As the end of this present age approaches and demonic activity increases, it is important to be alert for evil influence and take a proactive approach to dealing with evil spirits. For example, you may need to forbid evil spirits from entering your home, a congregational meeting, or forbid the projection of an evil influence through a person into your home or a congregational meeting. There are many other circumstances where it would be prudent and necessary to be proactive in asking the Sovereign Father's protection against evil spirits or issuing a command against their influence.
The Bible leaves no doubt that there are hundreds of millions and perhaps billions of spirit-beings who have the ability to exist in both the physical and spirit dimensions of existence, and that at least a third of these are evil spirits. Moreover, the Bible leaves no doubt that the elect are given certain authorizations to control the influence that an evil spirit has upon people and the physical dimension of existence.
It is the responsibility of each of the Sovereign Father's earthly children to be aware of the authority and power they have been given through God the Father and Jesus Christ over these evil spirits and their influence. It is paramount that we understand the dangers involved in communication and interaction with evil spirits, as well as the responsibility to oppose their threat to our salvation and eternal destiny.
It is important to remember that being delegated authority to use the power of the Father's holy spirit is not only a great blessing and privilege, but also an awesome responsibility which should be taken very seriously. Therefore, it is wise to spend much time in study, prayer, and meditation in order to understand the purpose and use of spiritual gifts and specialized authorizations of power that come from the Sovereign Father through Jesus Christ.
Study God's Word
We are not given perfect knowledge and understanding of all the mysteries of God's plan or his laws the instant we receive the holy spirit. A short review of the apostles' letters to the churches shows that the acquisition of spiritual knowledge and understanding requires much time, effort, study, and prayer:
"The heart of the righteous studies how to answer: but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things" (Pro.15:28 KJV).
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness" (2.Tim.2:15-16 NKJV). See also 1.Thes.4:10-12; 2.Pet.3:13-18.
All who have accepted the Sovereign Father's call to salvation are admonished to "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1.Thes. 5:21). See also Rom.12:2.
Although the spirit of God imparts knowledge, understanding, discernment, and wisdom a person must ask the Father for these things, and then follow through with diligent study into God's word and meditation on what you find there:
"Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law does he meditate day and night" (Psa.1:1-2 KJV). See also Psa.119:15-148; 1.Tim.4: 12-16.
Be Christ Minded
In order to use spiritual gifts and authorizations wisely, you must know and understand what the will of the Father and Jesus Christ is in each situation in which you find yourself. Because Jesus Christ knows the will of the Father and is actively carrying out his will in heaven and on the earth. If we know the mind of Christ in a given situation, we also know the will of the Father.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 2:5 KJV).
One of the primary ways to have the mind of Christ and understand the Father and his will for us is to study what he has caused to be written for our encouragement and edification:
"See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be you not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" (Eph.5: 15-17 KJV). See Col.1:7-10.
The Bible was written primarily for those whom the Father has called to salvation during this age. Through the things written in this book, we can learn from the experience and teaching of others and gain valuable knowledge, understanding, and inspiration to help us in our daily walk with our heavenly Father and our Savior. Moreover, we can learn how to use spiritual gifts and authorizations of spirit-power:
"Every scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; So that the man of God may be perfect, fully finished for every good work" (2.Tim.3:16-17 KJV Para.). See also Eph.6:10-17; Heb.4:12.
"Now all these things happened to them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1.Cor.10:11 KJV). See also Psa.19:7; Pro.1:1-7; Dan.12: 9-12; Col.1:7-10.
Listen And Obey God's Instructions
Because God speaks to us through his written word, we should study it in order to build a strong foundation of knowledge, which will help us grow spiritually and be successful in dealing with evil spirits:
"All who listen to my [Jesus'] instructions and follow them are wise, like a man who builds his house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents, and the floods rise and the storm winds beat against his house, it won't collapse, for it is built on a rock. But those who hear my instructions and ignore them are foolish, like a man who builds his house on the sand. For when the rains and floods come, and storm winds beat against his house, it will fall with a mighty crash" (Matt.7:24-27 LBP). See also 1.Tim.6:17-19.
By B.L. Cocherell b9w28