The Divine Council: Satanic Attacks During the Life of Christ
Angelic Rebellion Lesson #14
December 22, 2020
Dr. Robert L. Dean, Jr.
“Father, You are our rock, our redeemer, and our fortress. You are our shield. You are the One who watches over us and protects us. We know that as You guide and direct us, You still take us through difficult times and testing. You take us through situations that demand for us to use that which we have learned in our Bible studies and that we have assimilated into our souls.
“This testing of us is to improve our application, to improve our thought processes. Father, this process of sanctification and spiritual growth is necessary for us to fulfill the mission You have for each and every one of us in this life.
“Father, as we continue our study in the angelic revolt, understanding how human history fits within the framework of this overarching conflict, this overarching cosmic rebellion, that affects everything we know, we pray that You will help us to see everything of our role and the significance of it and that we may be challenged to be greater lights and testimonies in this conflict. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
You can go ahead and open your Bibles with me to Genesis 3. I’m just going to go over a few things by way of review as we begin. Last week as you remember, starting on Sunday, I began to look at Isaiah 14:12–14, which the traditional view in the Church Age has been that this passage is describing the moral failure of the highest angel God created. He is the brightest, the most beautiful, the most glorious, the most talented, the most gifted of all the creatures God created, who was given a place that was so close to the throne of God that it is described in Ezekiel 28:11–18 that he was the anointed cherub who “covered”.
The other cherubs carried the throne but he, as he spread his six wings, covered the very throne of God. In that position he is adorned with various precious stones that are reminiscent of the priestly breastplate of the high priest in Israel. Along with other language there, he trafficked in the praise of the angels to God and sin was found in him.
The sin that was found in him was the sin that is described in Isaiah 14:12–14, the five “I wills” culminating in the last one, “I will be like the Most High.” It’s interesting he doesn’t say he will be the Most High. because he knows he is not omniscient. He is not omnipotent. He is not omnipresent. He is not what Yahweh is. He is different.
He is a creature. He is finite. He is limited. Yet, he still, in the hubris of his soul, thinks that he can replace God and he leads a third of the angels with him in rebellion against God. That says something about his ability to deceive and to distract. He could sell ice to an Eskimo.
He is able to completely defraud the people he is seeking to entice who attempt to follow him. We know from the passage we looked at briefly, Matthew 25:41, which is in the context of a parable Jesus told at the end of the Olivet Discourse, about the sheep and the goats, which relates to the judgment of the nations, the Gentiles at the end of the Tribulation period.
Here’s a footnote. If not the primary passage, it’s one of two or three primary passages that socialists and social justice warriors will try to prove the case that the Bible is really socialist. They say at the end of Jesus’ evaluations, he says, “Because you have done this to these, my brethren …” They take the word brethren there to describe everyone. He talks about how they visited Him in prison and you took care of me when I was hungry and you fed me and gave me water when I was thirsty and so forth. This becomes their foundation for justifying socialism and social welfare programs and everything else.
The context shows that “these, my brethren” refers to the Jews. It is always used to refer to Jesus’ physical relatives. It refers to the Jews. The timing of this judgment of the Sheep and the Goats is related to the end of the Tribulation period. It is those gentiles who have survived. That which is evaluated is how they took care of the Jews during the Tribulation period.
The issues related to Israel are going to be so incredibly clear in the Tribulation period. They are not saved by their good works. They are saved by their faith in Christ. Those who believe in Christ understand the Jewish nature of the Messiah and they are good to His relatives. They’re not anti-Semitic. Those who have rejected them follow in the anti-Semitic path laid out for them by Satan.
We started off on Sunday morning looking at Revelation 12. In Revelation 12 in the beginning it talks about the woman who has twelve stars around her head and she’s adorned by the moon and the sun. The sun refers to Jacob. The moon refers to Rachel. The stars are Joseph’s brothers. It goes back to his dream in Genesis 37 and makes it very, very clear this is talking about Israel.
Then the woman gives birth. The woman is Israel and she gives birth to the Messiah. The woman is not Mary. She is not the Roman Catholic Church. The woman is none of these other things. It’s very clear the woman is Israel.
Then in that context, the dragon is going to seek to devour the child. We studied how that fit within the context of Matthew 2 and Herod’s attempt to murder the infant Jesus. Then if you read on in Revelation 12 what the text describes is that the dragon, the beast, chases the woman, Israel, into the desert and seeks to completely destroy the woman.
Between the giving birth and the woman is chased into the wilderness you have all of the Church Age and everything else because this chasing the woman into the wilderness is what takes place under the anti-Semitic policies of the Antichrist and the False Prophet during the second half of the Tribulation as Satan takes his last stand, hoping that he can prevent God from being able to fulfill His promises to the Jewish people. These promises are that He’s going to give them a kingdom, that He’ll return them to the land, and He will establish their perfect kingdom under a descendant of David.
That’s an important backdrop to understand where we’re going to go tonight. We’re going to look at the attacks Satan brought against Jesus during His time on the Earth, during His time of public ministry. When we look at this panorama, we have to look at these two ends that are there.
The end game is Satan’s desperation at the end of the Tribulation to wipe out every last Jewish person so that God can’t fulfill His promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What is the context of all of this? The context is seen in that judgment that is pronounced on those at the end of the Tribulation who have not helped the Jewish people but have sought to destroy them.
They will be assigned to the Lake of Fire. In Matthew 26:41 Jesus says, “Depart from Me into the Lake of Fire which has already been prepared.” That’s a perfect tense verb which means it’s completed action in the past. That means it’s already done. The Lake of Fire for the devil and his angels is already completed and prepared.
When did that happen? When was the Lake of Fire created? When Jesus is speaking during the time of His incarnation, two thousand years ago. It’s before the Cross. It’s during the Age of Israel. So, Jesus says the Lake of Fire has already been prepared for the devil and his angels.
There’s nothing that really informs us as to when that happened but as we put things together in the Scripture it seems like a strong conclusion that this is something that happened before man was even created and put in the Garden of Eden. God had brought a trial, as it were, of Satan and his rebellious angels in the past. There was a judgment brought against them. They were found guilty of rebellion, guilty of attempting to overthrow El Elon, the Most High God.
Yet, they’re not there. Why aren’t they there? They weren’t there two thousand years ago. They weren’t in the Lake of Fire two thousand years before that. They weren’t in the Lake of Fire two or three thousand years ago, however long it is back to the creation of man.
Why has there been a delay in assigning the devil and his angels to their permanent punishment because the text says it is an everlasting fire? It is prepared for the devil and his angels. There are a number of ways in which people have sought to put these details together because there’s no place in the Scripture where God spells this out verbatim.
In these attempts you can say that we have these elements of evidence, such as a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h and what can explain all of these different factors. One of the other factors that is important is that from the very beginning in God’s economy in the perfect environment of the Garden there is the hint of judicial action.
Where do I get that? God said that the day that you eat from the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you will certainly die. God establishes one law, one absolute. It is that they’re prohibited from eating the fruit. There is a judicial penalty which is that if they eat, there will be death, spiritual death.
That indicates that even in the perfect environment there was accountability and there was an absolute standard, a judicial standard, that had to be met and had to be followed out. When that happened, when Adam and Eve sinned, then what happens? What happens is that they run and they hide from God because now they are alienated as we saw in Ephesians 4:17–18, alienated from the life of God.
They’re separated from the life of God. They’re not incapable of thought or volition or other actions. They know that is God coming to them. It’s not like they’re ignorant of the existence of God and who He is and what He demands of them, but they are fearful and they run and hide.
God, in His grace, reaches out to them and God, in His grace, provides a solution. But He also, in His justice, says there are consequences to sin. There are consequences to the violation of the standard of the Garden and they’re going to be removed from the Garden.
All of that fits within that framework of Satan’s original sin because it is Satan who in the form of a serpent comes to tempt Eve. He picks to be what he observes to be the weak spot and he tempts her. She then tempts Adam. The race then falls into sin.
When we look at this scenario what we see is the issues of judicial language. There’s language such as redemption which is the payment of a price or the payment of a penalty. We see words that develop as we go through the Bible to describe the satisfaction of God’s justice, words like propitiation. We’re told that we must have forgiveness of sin and the words for forgiveness, whether you’re talking about Hebrew or whether you’re talking about Greek, are words that are used commonly in the language of the courtroom.
We are to confess sin. Forgiveness is the result of confessing sin. All of these terms are terms that relate to courtroom language. When we trust in Christ, God credits us with righteousness, an imputation of righteousness. Again, this is a legal term.
When we have that imputed righteousness, God declares us to be just, DIKAIOSUNE. Again, these are legal terms. Again and again and again what we find is that the language of our relationship with God is filled with judicial terminology. It’s filled with covenant language. Covenants are like legal contracts.
God limits Himself by entering into these formal contracts with the human race from the very beginning. A lot of people may think that’s not very loving that God bases all of His relationships upon all of these legal contracts. I hate to burst your little romantic bubble but when a woman and a man come and stand in front of a pastor and they go through the ritual of a marriage ceremony, what are they doing?
They are entering into a legal contract. When they sign the marriage license that the state asks for, it is a legally binding document. Does that mean there’s no romance there? No, it doesn’t have to. It’s not one or the other. It is both and because legalities provide protections when perhaps the emotions run in the other direction. There is a necessity for these things.
Our relationship with God is always defined within these legal terms. We ought to ask why that is. The answer that makes the most sense is that when we think in terms of Satan’s rebellion against the authority of the Most High God, El Elon, and there is a rebellion in the overall kingdom of God, then that must be brought to justice. In that judicial action, Satan somehow gets the final penalty delayed.
We already know that he could sweet talk a third of the angels to go with him, so he seems to be, pardon the pun, the silver-tongued devil who can put forth a case that maybe he can pull it off. Maybe he can be like God and maybe he can actually run a planet and oversee this thing that God has created, these humans, and he will be able to demonstrate that he can be like God.
This, of course, was before man was created so God gives him this opportunity by giving him an experiment. Most people think an experiment is a word that means we’re going to try something and see what happens. If you’re a scientist when you go into the laboratory, you’re pretty sure what’s going to happen. You know that if you take certain elements and you combine them and add a little heat or add some water, then every time there are going to be certain chemical reactions. You can depend upon that.
The experiment is not to see what will happen, but the experiment is to demonstrate a known truth. Only God who is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, can rule and reign over His universe because He is the only One who knows everything there is to know and everything that could possibly be known. No creature could ever do that.
The best that Satan can come up with are probabilities. The more Satan observes human behavior and the more he observes human history and the more that he pores over the Scripture that God has revealed, the more he estimates the probabilities. Yes, he must pore over the Scriptures because Satan doesn’t know what’s coming any more than you or I do. He can only make educated guesses.
He is trying desperately to do the one thing that he can do and that is to demonstrate that God cannot fulfill His promises, especially in an environment where you have thousands. if not millions, if not billions, of people who all want to be their own little god, and who all want to do their own thing, and who all want to make their own decisions in opposition to God.
How in the world can Satan control the situation? Satan really has a problem because he’s not omniscient or omnipotent so he certainly can’t control the situation. As Louis Sperry Chafer observed in his Systematic Theology, “All of the evil, all of the famines and droughts and wars, and all of the chaos and fighting and everything else is a testimony to the fact that Satan can’t control the environment.”
He’s lost control. He has to be able to control it to show he can be like God. God is, as it were, giving him enough rope to hang himself. He is giving him the opportunities in order to pull this off.
That’s the framework. We’re in this, as it were an appeal, to give Satan a chance to show that he can be like God.
We ended on Sunday morning with Genesis 3:15 where God is speaking to the serpent and He’s speaking to Satan through the serpent because Satan is the one who spoke through the serpent to Eve and He’s says to Satan that He will put enmity, that is antagonism, between him and the woman.
He will put enmity between Satan’s seed and her seed. Now that phraseology indicates your descendants and her descendants. It’s a singular because as I pointed out Sunday morning, that “he” at the beginning indicates this is talking about an individual and “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
Both of these are fatal wounds. You’ve often heard it said that a head wound is fatal, but a heel wound is not. If you’re bitten by a cobra on the heel, guess what? It’s a fatal wound. The Seed of the woman died on the Cross, but then there’s a surprise. Three days later He has victory over death.
This was not anticipated by Satan. This was not expected. We have to recognize there are certain things going on here in terms of Satan’s limited knowledge that are important for us to think about when we read through the gospels and we see all this demonic activity that is taking place in the gospels and we see how Jesus is being targeted by Satan through the gospels.
The first thing is that Satan did not know what God knew that Israel would reject her King and the Kingdom and would crucify the Savior. Israel would reject Jesus as their King, reject the Kingdom that Jesus was offering, and instead is going to crucify the Savior, thus bringing divine discipline upon themselves.
Satan did not know anything about what we’ve been studying on Sunday morning in Ephesians 2 and 3 that is called the mystery doctrine of the Church Age. As we have studied in Ephesians 3 God kept this a secret. He did not tell any angels. He did not tell any human beings. It was not revealed at all in the Old Testament. It was a closely guarded secret.
Now if we assume that is a closely guarded secret and Satan had no idea whatsoever what was going to happen despite his educated guesses as far as he was concerned when Jesus came, Jesus is offering the Kingdom to Israel. What must Satan do in order to win his case?
He has to block it. He has to stop and prevent Jesus from establishing the Kingdom. The best way to do that is to have Jesus killed, have Him destroyed so He can’t establish this Kingdom. Jesus, as the descendant of David, is going to be checked by Satan because Satan thinks he’s the checkmate.
Satan doesn’t have any idea how the Seed of the woman is going to accomplish redemption or gain His victory because Satan is not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent. The second thing Satan did not know was that Israel would reject the King and crucify the Savior. He thought that by having Jesus killed, he could end this.
The third point is that because Satan had no idea about the mystery of the Church Age, he focused on preventing the fulfilling the kingdom promises in the four unconditional covenants with Israel, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Land Covenant, the Davidic Covenant, and the New Covenant.
Think about the third temptation. I’m not going to spend time going through all the temptations, but the third one is when the devil took Jesus upon an exceedingly high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. You can’t even imagine how good he made this look. He is enticing the Second Person of the Trinity to do it his way instead of God’s way, so the bait has got to look exceptionally attractive.
He is not pulling any punches. He is going to make it look better than you can imagine, and he tells the Second Person of the Trinity that he, the devil, will give everything to Him if He will fall down and worship Satan. He is doing everything he can to entice the Son of God to be a rebel like himself.
“And Jesus said, ‘Away with you Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord Your God and Him only you shall serve.” ’ ” Jesus resisted Satan not in His deity, but in His humanity because He’s demonstrating that in His humanity He’s not going to fail as Adam failed. He is going to keep His focus on God the Father, keep His focus on Scripture, and He is not going to yield to the temptation.
Fourth, Satan thought that by murdering Jesus he would win because this would prevent the Kngdom from coming. It is only the resurrection, Christ’s victory over death, that secured this strategic victory over Satan.
That’s an important term to use. The concept and distinctions between strategy and tactics are things that are not readily apparent to most people. Strategy refers to a long-term plan, a long-term business plan, a long-term military plan, or a long-term academic plan. It could also be athletics or whatever.
The accomplishment of that long-term plan is based upon the accomplishment of secondary and tertiary goals and also tactical objectives. If you achieve these lessor tactical objectives, you ultimately achieve the strategic objective. Tactics describe the short-term maneuvers to achieve those secondary goals related to the over-all strategy.
At the Cross Jesus accomplished the strategic victory. Sin is paid for, and Satan is defeated. That’s monumental. Death is defeated in the resurrection, which is one reason the resurrection is so important.
In our previous lesson we saw that this ultimately boils down to this fight between the seed of Satan and the Seed of the woman. We saw there are multiple candidates for this seed of Satan. They are the serpent’s seed as we studied at the end of class on Sunday. This is what John the Baptist and Jesus called the Pharisees, a brood of vipers. Brood is another term for seed and vipers are serpents, so it is the seed of serpents.
What goes on in Genesis 3:22 is that, “And the Lord said, ‘Behold the man has become like one of us—that is, the Trinity—to know good and evil and now lest he put out his hand and take also of the Tree of Life and eat and live forever.’ ”
This is interesting. I got a call today from a listener, a good friend as well, who was listening to me talk about this the other day. I pointed out that when God removed Adam and Eve from the Garden, He did not establish a judicial authority on the human race. The highest authority was the family. God does not institute government until Genesis 9 with the Noahic Covenant.
Who took care of criminality? There certainly was criminality. You have murder right off the bat with Cain killing Abel. Later on you have Lamech who commits murder. There are all these kinds of criminality going on until the evil of man’s heart is before God continually.
He’s going to destroy everyone but one family, eight people, but there’s no judiciary. There’s no high authority. How were things adjudicated? They went to God in the Garden of Eden. Notice the next verse, “Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken.”
Why? The last part of Genesis 3:22, “Lest he put out his hand and take also of the Tree of Life and live forever.” The problem is that Adam is going to be kept from the Tree of Life, so verse 24 says, “So He drove out the man and He placed cherubs—an army of these mighty angelic creatures—at the east of the Garden of Eden and a flaming sword which turned every way to guard the way to the Tree of Life.”
Notice it doesn’t say it was to keep them out of Eden. That’s what this friend pointed out to me. Some things are so obvious you look at it and wonder why you didn’t see it before. It was to guard the way to the Tree of Life, not to keep them out of Eden.
Now that’s interesting because where would man go to get adjudication for a crime? He’s going to go to God whose dwelling place is in the Garden. We studied this in different series in many different ways. This isn’t a new thought. It’s not original with me by any means, that God retains His presence there on the Earth until He left.
There’s that verse I talked about in Genesis 6:3 translated in the King James as “strive”, but it’s a word that only occurs once in Hebrew. Its cognates in other Semitic languages means to abide or to remain. God is saying He has remained until that point on the earth but now, because of the sin and evil, God is leaving much as when later He would leave the presence of the Temple in Israel.
We see that from the very beginning there’s this fight between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. When Jesus comes, obviously there’s going to be an intensification of this battle. I’ve talked about the birth of Jesus and Herod’s attempt to kill all of the infants in Bethlehem on Sunday morning. This evening we’re moving beyond that.
One of the things that we see in the time of the incarnation, the time of Christ’s public ministry, is that we see a number of demonic attacks. We see people who are coming left and right to Jesus to have these demons cast out. It’s the most unusual thing.
If you read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, this all occurs during one small brief timeframe in history. It all occurs during the public ministry of Christ. You can’t find one person who is demon possessed in all of the Old Testament. The language does not allow for it.
People say that Saul was. No, he wasn’t. Saul had a demon that came upon him but not in him. It’s a different preposition in the Hebrew just like it is in English. It came upon him. It influenced him. He was under demonic oppression and demonic influence in an extreme way, but he was not demon possessed. There’s not a single example of anyone in the Old Testament who is demon possessed.
Then all of a sudden you get into Jesus’ public ministry, and it seems like these people are coming out of the woodwork with daughters and sons and with others who are demon possessed. This is a big problem today because people look to that period and think this is normative.
It’s not normative. It was designed to block the King from establishing the Kingdom. Remember this is what Satan is thinking about at this time. He’s thinking that Jesus is coming. He’s announcing the Kingdom. He’s going to bring in the Kingdom and Satan thought he had to stop it.
He released his demonic force on Israel to do everything he can to keep the Kingdom from coming. Where do we hear a similar phrase? When Jesus teaches His disciples to pray, one phrase is to pray, “Thy kingdom come.” It fits into the whole framework for when John the Baptist came, he said to “repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
Jesus announced, “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Jesus sent out His disciples to the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the same message, to repent for the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand. These attacks are designed to prevent the coming of the Kingdom.
We see that the first attack is by Satan in the three temptations covered in Matthew 4:1–10 and Jesus doesn’t blast Satan across the universe. He just responds with the Word of God. The power is in the truth of the Word of God. Even when Satan quotes Scripture, for Satan quotes a lot of Scripture, Jesus corrected Satan’s interpretation and with every Satanic thrust, the Lord uses the sword of the Spirit to parry the thrust and to defend Himself.
It’s a perfect example of what we will see later on with the armor of God in Ephesians 6, which tells us to stand fast, which is not a term for attacking. It is a term for defense.
Jesus was on the defense. That doesn’t mean He’s just defensive. It means He’s going to parry every attack with the Word of God.
I’m going to look at five cases quickly and point out some things. The key is observation, looking at the little details so no one’s eyes can glaze over. No one can take a quick nap. You have to pay attention to the text. Here is the first case. In Matthew 9:32–34 is the case of the demon-possessed man.
We read in these verses, “As they went out, behold, they brought him a man, mute and demon possessed.”
It is more than likely that the fact that he is mute is because of the demon possession. It doesn’t state it specifically as such, but it more than likely is. In this chapter there’s a series of events where Jesus heals, restores life to this ruler’s daughter in Matthew 9:18. He heals blind men in Matthew 9:27, and now this mute man comes.
What we have to do is to define demon possession. What does it mean to be demon possessed? We have to look at the words that are used in the original languages.
The word that is used here is not a clear word. It is ambiguous and vague. There are many Christians today who have been taught wrong about this because those who do not study the Scriptures closely enough are interpreting them in light of their experiences don’t have a clue. Bible teachers could drive a truck through this.
The word here is DAIMONIZOMAI. You can see just by the similarity of the language that DAIMON in the beginning means demon. The rest of that word indicates it’s a participle. It’s a present passive participle. Passive voice means the subject of the verb is acted upon by the action of the verb, so the man is receiving the action of the demon.
That, in a very simplified way, all this means is that this man was acted upon by a demon. The demon was doing something to the man. The word, itself, does not make that very clear. We’ll talk more about that as we go along. I just wanted to set the stage for that right now.
Then in Matthew 9:33 we read, “And when the demon was cast out, the man spoke.” This, again, indicates that the man’s ability to speak was related to the demon. “And the multitudes marveled, saying, ‘It was never seen like this in Israel.’ ”
That’s an interesting response, indicating nothing like this had ever happened before. Notice what is done to solve the problem. The demon is cast out. If the demon is cast out, what does that tell you? If you take something out of the refrigerator, where was it before you took it out? It was in the refrigerator. That tells us that DAIMONIZOMAI has something to do with a demon being in the person. We don’t get that from the word, but we get that from the surrounding words that describe the situation.
This word “cast out” is used again in Matthew 9:34 from the mouths of the Pharisees who said that Jesus cast out demons by the power of the ruler of demons. They’re claiming that Jesus does this by the power of Satan which is ultimately blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
The word for cast out here is EKBALLO. EK means out of, so we’ll see that on a couple of other words. BALLO means to cast. I memorized that word because it’s like casting a ball. That was just a mnemonic device that I used to memorize it.
How do you heal someone who is being acted upon by a demon? You cast out the demon. What this tells us is that the demon must be in the person. That’s the suggestion. Now we have to figure out where this takes us.
First of all, to summarize, DAIMONIZOMAI is an ambiguous, vague word and the solution to it is to cast out. We’ll build on that.
The second case we’re going to look at is a couple of chapters over in Matthew 11. This is just a statement that is made in this particular context about John the Baptist. It’s what the Pharisees said. Let me read the context to you. It says, “For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and they say He is a drunk and a winebibber.” You just can’t win with the Pharisees.
The point is that they use a different language here. They didn’t say John was DAIMONIZOMAI. They said he has a demon, using the Greek word DAIMONION with the verb ECHEI [or ECHO], which means to have. Now we have two different expressions. DAIMONIZOMAI and to have a demon.
In the parallel passage in Luke, we see that the same phrase is used by the Pharisees. It’s translated the same. There’s nothing different. It’s he has a demon.
Now we go to the third case. The first case we saw that this man was mute, and it was DAIMONIZOMAI. He was acted upon by a demon and the solution was the demon was cast out. Then we see another case where just the language expresses and describes John the Baptist as having a demon.
In this case we have the daughter of the Canaanite woman, the Syro-Phoenician woman who lives in the region of Tyre and Sidon. What do you know about the region of Tyre and Sidon? This is where Jezebel was from. This was where the Phoenicians were from. It was a region of the worship of Baal, all of the Asherah and fertility religions in the Old Testament. This is a Gentile area.
Matthew 15 states, “And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, ‘Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed [DAIMONIZOMAI].’ ”
This is where it gets a little more interesting. It gets a little more DAIMONIZOMAI in Matthew 15:22. What happens here is this Canaanite Gentile woman comes to Jesus. It’s kind of a bizarre situation if you remember when we studied this in Matthew a while back. She is coming to Jesus because she wants her daughter delivered of this demon possession.
Jesus’ response isn’t to do it. He looks at her and at first, He ignores her completely. Then the disciples keep asking Him what He’s going to do about this woman. She kept following them and kept saying that over and over again. Jesus turns to them and tells them He was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
This is still the first part of His ministry. He’s offering the Kingdom to Israel. He’s not there to talk to the Gentiles. People say Jesus came to heal people. No, He didn’t. He came to present the Kingdom and His credentials were that He healed some people, but He didn’t come to heal people.
He is ignoring her, completely, and she is not having anything to do with that. She comes to Him and look at what she calls Him, “Lord, Son of David”. She understands who He is. She understands He is the Messiah. She attributes to Him this Messianic title that He is the Son of David. She is appealing to the fact that He is the Messiah to intervene in their situation.
He says to her that it’s not good to take the children’s bread, meaning the good that is for Israel, and throw it to the little dogs. Dogs were not favored in Jewish society. Dogs were scavengers that you didn’t let in the house. They were a pain. No one liked dogs. They weren’t pets.
Jesus said that He wasn’t going to take the food that’s meant for Israel that I came to offer to them and give it to you, you’re just a dog. Today, the “woke” crowd, which means the Marxist crowd, would despise Jesus for this. He’s calling her a racial epithet.
Oh, my, how can He be God? Wait a minute. Maybe you’re all backwards in the way you think. He’s referring to her that she’s not one of the favored ones because she’s not Jewish.
She thinks quickly on her feet by saying that even the dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. She just wants a little overflow of the blessings you’re giving Israel so my daughter can be free. It’s a great story of the grace of God and Jesus intervenes.
In the parallel passage in Mark 7:25 Mark adds information. Note that here in Matthew the woman is speaking and says that her daughter is severely DAIMONIZOMAI. In Mark, the narrator of the passage says a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit. This tells us that having an unclean spirit is the same as DAIMONIZOMAI. Now we’re connecting the language together by looking at the parallel passages. Having an unclean spirit is the same.
In Mark 7:26 the woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth and she kept asking, which is an imperfect tense there. She’s badgering Jesus over and over and over. She doesn’t stop. She just keeps asking repeatedly for Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. What she is using is the word EKBALLO, to cast out. It’s the same word we saw in the first example.
What does it mean to be demon possessed? The claim that is made by a man named Dr. Fred Dickason, who was in the Theology Department at Moody Bible Institute and wrote a classic book on Angelology, which was a textbook of mine at Dallas Seminary during the Angelology class, his claim is that it just means to be acted upon by a demon.
At the end of it, in the conclusion which we really didn’t talk about in class, he hints at what he brought out in a larger book some years later called Demon Possession and the Christian: A New Perspective. He said that DAIMONIZOMAI doesn’t mean demon possessed. It just means to be acted upon by demons and Christians are acted upon by demons all the time.
He’s muddying the water. He’s just using a vague term and he’s saying that’s the key term. What I’m saying is it’s not the key term. It is a vague term, but the other terms around it like EKBALLO, and we will see EXERERCHOMAI, which means to come out of, and EISERCHOMAI, which means to go into. Those are the important terms. It’s telling us the demon is inside someone and has to come out or is out and has to go in, for example into the pigs. That’s the important term right there.
In EKBALLO the woman was asking Him to cast out the demon. We have to, then, go back to this phrase demon possession. You’ll hear people who’ll say different things about demon possession and it’s because of the way they define the term, so hold that thought.
On Thursday nights we are in 2 Peter and we got to 2 Peter 2:5 which talks about the angels who didn’t keep their first estate and are in chains of darkness and Tartarus. What preceded that in the first four verses of 2 Peter 3 is that Peter is warning of the coming of future false teachers.
Today there is a movement that is significant politically. It’s a Christian movement called the New Apostolic Reformation. We’re going to come back and talk about that when we finish this series as an illustration of the many different ways in which there are false teachers operating among us today.
Part of what they do is they believe in the continuation of signs and wonders. Signs and wonders according to 2 Corinthians 12 are the signs of an apostle. If we still have apostles today, we’re still going to have signs and wonders today. If we still have signs and wonders today, we need to be casting out demons and we need to be healing people and doing all of these other things.
This has distracted so many churches and so many Christians and destroyed their Christian lives. It’s just unbelievable. One of their little tricks is they say demon possession means to be owned by a demon. Possess means to own. You go to buy a house, you close on it, and you possess it. It means ownership.
They would say Christians can’t be owned by Satan, but they’re wrong. They end up saying Christians can be demon possessed, but this is one attack, and it has to do with mis-defining “possession” as having one’s own property. That’s one distortion they come up with.
The other meaning in the English dictionary is that “possession” means to indwell in order to control or dominate something. That’s what the Scriptures are talking about. I’ve heard charismatics talk about that we’re not going to be the devil’s property, but he can still indwell us but he doesn’t own us. That’s just playing word games. We always have to be careful with that.
We have to ask the question of what exactly does it mean to be demon possessed. What we’re seeing in our definition is that demon possession means it’s where a demon takes up residence internally. A demon is a spirit. He can take up residence inside a human body. Thousands of them can. That’s what happened with the Gadarene demoniac when Jesus asked him his name and demon says it is named legions because there’s thousands of us in here. They’re not restricted by space.
Slides 22 and 23
How do you know if a person is demon possessed? Has anybody seen the Exorcist where her head turns around 360 degrees and she vomits pea soup and all kinds of different things? It’s interesting to ask people what they think is seen in someone who is demon possessed. I ran across this list a while ago that in the 17th century the Puritans thought that the following were symptoms of demon possession:
1. If you thought you were possessed.
2. If you led a wicked life
3. If you were persistently ill, falling into heavy sleep (narcoleptic), vomiting unusual objects like toads, serpents, worms, iron, stones, etc.—or artificial objects—nails, pins, etc.
4. If you blaspheme.
5. If you make a pact with the devil.
6. If you’re troubled with spirits.
7. If you show a frightening and horrible countenance.
8. If you’re tired of living.
9. If you’re uncontrollable and violent.
10. If you make sounds and movements like an animal.
You can look at various modern books and they have a totally different list of symptoms such as if you’re addicted to drugs, addicted to alcohol, a sexual pervert, or any number of other things. They don’t list any of the things the Puritans did. The point I’m making is that it’s not based on our experience. We can’t know if a person is demon possessed or not. At that time, they thought they knew and it was legitimate, they believed.
In Mark 7:26, we see the word EKBALLO meaning to cast out a demon as indicating a demon is inside a person and needs to come out. The second point I’m making is that in Mark 7:25 the narrator, Mark, uses a synonym, “had an unclean spirit”, so DAIMONIZOMAI is the same as having an unclean spirit.
The solution as stated by the woman was “to cast out,” which indicates a demon is inside the girl. It’s not acting from the outside. It’s not influence. It’s something different.
Slides 26 and 27
In Mark 7:29 Jesus states that He has cast out the demon saying that the demon is out of her daughter. The word He uses here is EXERCHOMAI. This is a very important word. It means to come out.
In Mark 7:30 when she comes to her house, she found the demon had gone out and her daughter was lying in her bed. Again, it’s EXERCHOMAI. The point I’m making is that you keep seeing in all of these examples and I’m not going through nearly all of them the words like EKBALLO, casting out.
Jesus never exorcised the demon. Exorcism was what the magicians did. That’s what the pagan priests did. That’s what the Jewish exorcist in Acts 17 did. EXORKIZO is never used with Jesus as the subject or the disciples as the subject. It is very clear the only verb used for Jesus and the disciples is that they cast out the demons. It’s important to understand that. What they did was they told the demon to come out, EXERCHOMAI.
Jesus validated the terminology and told the woman that the demon was out of her girl. The narrator, Mark, says that when the woman returned home the demon was out of the girl, using the same language.
Now we come to the fourth case study. This is a man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue in Capernaum. You have a demon-possessed guy who comes into the synagogue service on a shabbat in Capernaum.
In Mark the language that he uses is the man came in with an unclean spirit using the preposition EN, but in the parallel in Luke 4:33, Luke said the man had a spirit of an unclean demon, using that same language we’ve already seen.
Now there was a man in the synagogue with an unclean spirit, meaning it was inside him. In Luke 4:33 it says that in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean demon so that makes it very clear. Jesus’ solution in Mark is that He addresses the demon and tells him to be quiet and come out, EXERCHOMAI.
In Luke 4:35 it says, “Jesus rebuked him saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’ And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him.”
Now the fifth case study is the case study of the Gadarene demoniac. It’s actually demoniacs. Matthew tells us there are two, but the others only talk about one of them. Why that is we’re not absolutely certain. The episode is described in Mark 5:1–20, Matthew 8:28–34, and then Luke 8:26–39.
The longest account, of course, is the Mark one. Mark 5:2 calls him a man with an unclean spirit. This is the same language that was used over here in Mark 1:23. It’s used here, saying a man with an unclean spirit.
In Luke 8:27 it says the man had demons, the same language we’ve seen before. Matthew tells us he was DAIMONIZOMAI, so he’s demon possessed. This demon is indwelling him.
Matthew 8:28 says that Jesus came to the other side of the Sea of Galilee to the country of the Gergesenes where He met two demon-possessed men coming out of the tombs, who were exceedingly fierce. In Luke 8:27 Jesus met a certain man from the city who had demons. In Mark 5:25 a man comes out of the tomb with an unclean spirit.
The second thing is that the solution is for Jesus to command the unclean spirit to come out, EXERCHOMAI. It’s always the same thing. This is precise language.
Third, the demons had entered the man. In Luke 8:30 Jesus asked the demon, “What is your name?” and the demon said it was ‘Legion,’ because many demons had entered him, EISERCHOMAI. This is important. EXERCHOMAI means the demon comes out. EISERCHOMAI means to go in or enter.
If you go into a house, it’s EISERCHOMAI. You have a form of that when you see a sign outside a building saying to enter here. That means to go into. It’s used in Mark 5:12 and also in Luke 8:32, meaning to enter the swine.
When Jesus cast the demon out, it’s EKBALLO, the demon comes out, EXERCHOMAI and goes into the pigs and you have deviled ham, EISERCHOMAI.
Why am I going through all this? One reason I’m going through is because when you get over to John 13:26 Jesus is having Passover with all 12 of the disciples and He announces that one of them is going to betray Him. Peter asked who it was, and Jesus answered and said it was the one who He was going to give a piece of bread to and after He dipped it He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.
Now after the piece of bread Satan entered Judas, EISERCHOMAI. In passages where there is demon possession, we know it is demon possession because of these two words, EISERCHOMAI and EXERCHOMAI. They define the action. You can’t come to John 13:27 and say that it’s demon influence here or you’re a lousy exegete. Words in those contexts always have to mean the same thing because it’s technical language.
Now we come to the important part. Can a Christian be demon possessed? The argument as I’ve heard it for many years is that because you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Satan or a demon can’t be in there at the same time or the same place. That doesn’t really work because the whole council of the gods and the convocations of the sons of gods in Heaven before God. God is asking them questions, so obviously demons and Satan can come up to God and God talks to Satan and asks him questions.
Can you imagine the kind of questions that were going on in Heaven during the life of Christ? I was thinking about that when I was driving here today because we see that the way God gets Satan to do certain things is that He just asks him questions. “Hey, see that baby down there? That’s the Seed of the woman. What do you think about that, Satan?”
God comes along and points out that baby is now grown. Satan, you missed your first shot. What are you going to do about that? Just imagine the kinds of things he was asking Satan, which just sort of pushed him over the edge.
The form of that argument was wrong. It’s not because we’re indwelt by the Spirit. It’s more technical than that. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you?”
It’s the word NAOS. There are two words used for temple, HIEROS and NAOS. HIEROS would describe the whole temple complex, all the buildings, and the courtyards. NAOS describes the Holy of Holies. If anything unclean got into the Holy of Holies, they would die.
God does not allow uncleanness. What does He do to Isaiah as soon as Isaiah shows up in that vision of the Throne of God? The seraph flies to his lips with a burning coal to purify him. Nothing impure or unclean gets into the NAOS and we are the NAOS of the Holy Spirit. This is the same language that Paul uses in Ephesians 2 as he talks about there is now this new entity, never seen before, where Jew and Gentile are together in one new man, one new body, and one new temple. The Holy Spirit indwells each and every believer as a temple and the Holy Spirit indwells the Church corporately as we saw in our study there.
So, no, a Christian cannot be demon possessed. He can be demon influenced and demon influence can present as psychosis, insanity, or whatever you want to call it. 1 John 4:4 is another great promise, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he that is in the world.”
He that is in you is the Holy Spirit. He’s greater than he that is in the world. So no, you cannot be demon possessed. Jesus uses this illustration in talking to the Pharisees and it applies in what I’m talking about. He’s speaking about what happened to Israel.
It applies to what would happen in an individual. “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, it goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none.” This is talking about the demon. The demon leaves. He can’t really find a home. He’s unhappy. He’s upset. He says he’s going to go back to his house. It may not have been a mansion, but it was okay.
When he comes back to his old house, he finds that it’s emptied, swept, and put in order. In other words, there’s been a moral reformation and not a spiritual rebirth. Someone has cleaned up their life. The demon thinks this is even better than before. “Then he goes and takes with him seven more spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
An application of this to our question is that there are exorcists who cast out demons and they leave for a while. Someone cleans up their life, but they don’t get saved. All it is is a moral reformation and there’s no real cleansing, so the demon can come back. If there’s regeneration, then the demon can’t come back.
Then Jesus prayed, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.” If Jesus is praying that God will keep us from the evil one, do you think God is going to answer that prayer? Of course, He is.
2 Thessalonians 3:3, “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.” So yes, we are protected. That doesn’t mean we can’t come under severe demon influence because we’re rejecting the truth of God’s Word.
One last passage. Colossians 2:15 describes what happened at the Cross. We’re forgiven and also on the Cross Jesus disarmed principalities and powers—terms to describe the hierarchy of angels. He disarmed them. It was something that happened in the past.
It’s an aorist, which means a past tense participle. But that word is poorly translated as “disarmed,” which indicates they’re impotent. It has the idea of removing clothing, APEKDUOMAI. This is a word used for taking off your clothes or taking off your armor. Here it means to strip them of something or to divest themselves.
In what sense, though? In the sense that they’ve lost the strategic battle. They’re defeated at the Cross. This is the strategic victory of Christ. It doesn’t mean Satan’s not going out like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. He still is. It doesn’t mean he’s not using all of the demons to do his bidding and to tempt Christians and to cause chaos and to bring chaos to various systems of worldly thinking.
It does mean that the strategic victory has been accomplished at the Cross. Eventually that will be demonstrated when our Lord returns and establishes the Kingdom and assigns Satan and the demons to the abyss for a thousand years. At the end of which he’s released, and they bring about a rebellion. God will rain fire and brimstone on them and all who follow them and that will end this present heavens and Earth.
So that’s what happens during the incarnation of Christ, during the time of Christ’s public ministry. What happens now? What happens in the Church Age? That’s what we’ll pick up Sunday morning.
“Father, thank You for this time to look at these things and to understand the significance of all this demonic activity during Christ’s time on the Earth. We see that this was a unique and distinct time because the King has come and has offered the Kingdom and Satan is trying to do everything he could to prevent that from happening, only to bring about his own strategic defeat.
“Father, help us to understand that we are protected in a unique way from Satan in terms of indwelling of demons, but we must still defend ourselves. We must stand fast and stand firm putting on Your full armor in order that we may stand firm in the day of evil.
“You are the One who protects us. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”