Demonic Oppression and Demon Expulsion -Part 1 (62)
It cannot be successfully denied that the Bible teaches Satanic or demonic oppression. That Satan and evil spirits are present in our world since the time of Adam and Eve up to our 21st century is a fact among Bible believers.
Yes, secular society especially those in urban areas, tend to assign diseases and sicknesses to improper balance of chemical, electrical and emotional properties in the human body Or perhaps due to disturbance of natural laws. There is less awareness of the spiritual powers in the urban areas compared to rural communities. We should be aware that Satan is “more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” Satan could adjust his strategies to secure his goals. The Devil knows the contents of the Bible more than we do. He can twist scriptures to his advantage.
Let us talk about Satanic or Demonic oppression. Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary defines “oppression” this way: “1. The act of oppressing. 2. Subjection to unjust hardships; tyranny. 3. Mental depression; languor, dullness of spirit. 4. A sense of weight or of constriction. 5. That which oppresses or is hard to bear; privation, hardship; cruelty.”
Somebody you may have interacted with defines oppression something like this: “when a disciple is unable to tame his fleshly desire/s like one or more of the following: pornography, getting drunk, illicit sex, gambling, and these lead him to repetitive or enjoyment of sins.” That can be true, but the nudging of the Devil could not be discounted.
Are there unjust hardship and tyranny suffered by God’s people? Yes. Is it possible for some of God’s people to have dullness of spirit when they slide back into sin? Yes. Do some who have initially found Jesus Christ as the Savior suffer cruelty or persecution? Yes. Do disciples of Christ bear heavy burdens and undergo struggles in making decisions when confronted between yielding to Satanic temptations on one hand and the call to Spirit-induced holy living? Yes. Do some of God’s people undergo unjust hardships and tyranny? Yes. Do some God’s people carry burdens that are hard to bear? Yes? Does the NT teach that disciples undergo tribulations and trials? Yes. See Rev. 1:9. My conclusion: Many of God’s people suffer much Satanic or demonic oppression. That is why Christ and the Apostles employed the words “free, freedom, liberty” many times during His earthly ministry and the Apostles’ preaching period. Please see Luke 4:18; John 8:32, 33, 36; Romans 3:24; 6: 7, 18, 20, 22; 7:3; 8:2, 21; 2Cor.3:17; 7:21, 22; Gal. 4:26, 31; 5:1; 5:13; James 1:25; 2:12; 1Peter 2:16; 2Peter 2:19.
We should recognize the actual presence of Satan and his cohorts of evil spirits in our present world. Since the Fall in Genesis and continuing up to the end of the world, Satan has become the God of the present age says Apostle Paul in 2 Cor. 4:4-6. Our apostle gives the alarm in Ephesians 6:10-18 of the presence of the enemy. 1 Peter 5:7-8 describes the aggressiveness of the enemy: like a roaring lion ready to pounce on the weaklings.
Oppression is not always accomplished through the personal presence of the enemy within a disciple. Oppression could be physical, mental, emotional. Satan is a spirit being and so are evil spirits. They can affect their influence from a distance without becoming a resident in a human body. Like the case of Balak asking Balaam to curse Israel from a distance. Sometimes we humans talk about mind power. I’ve seen videotaped demonstrations of forks bent from a distance through “mind power”.
From His abode in the heavens, Yahweh God can effect blessings on earth to His people. Christ says that through the power of a strong faith one could move a mountain (Matt. 17:30).
Genesis 3 reveals the beginning of oppression, hardship, depression, deprivation of humanity caused by the deception of Satan right there inside the Garden of Eden. There is the continuous toil and labor of humanity to produce food as a result of that first disobedience. That is demonic oppression. The earth has been cursed because of Satan’s foolishness on earth. There is the continuing pain of childbirth of mothers cited by Apostle Paul in 1 Tim. 2:13-15. The curse and groaning of the material world started in Genesis 3 and will continue until the end of time says Romans 8:18-30. A section of this passage reads,
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. (8:20-22)
Are Christians oppressed today because of Satan’s activity? Yes.
NOTE: Satan and his cohorts of evil spirits use as entry points the following human desires:
(a) With Adam & Eve: “Good for food, was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.” Genesis 3:6.
(b) With Jesus Christ: “stones turn to bread” – hunger for food, Matt. 4:4; “throw yourself down” from the pinnacle of the temple” – doubt about relationship with the Father & pride, Matt. 4:5-7; “showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory”, – social honor and material riches, Matt. 4:8-9 (c) Among Christians: “Lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1John 2:16)
Can Disciples Neutralize Demonic Oppression?
Among Churches of Christ, observed are three schools of thought about disciples and the influence of evil spirits:
(1) There is a belief that some sicknesses and diseases today are not caused by evil spirits but that Satan can still cause confusion through worldly philosophies and traditions but not through demon possession.
(2) Others say that since the cessation of miraculous powers endowed by the Holy Spirit, one among these is to cast out demons taught in 1 Cor. 13:8-11, the personal presence and influence of evil spirits also have ceased.
(3) Still others believe that Satan and his evil spirit followers are active and that the Holy Spirit’s personal presence or influence in conjunction with the word in a Christian’s life could assist the disciple to overcome the Devil’s temptations.
I favor View #3. Satan and evil spirits are real and are personally aggressive in tempting or confusing the people of God. Satan and evil spirits could cause evil personally or through the agency of humans or through the disturbance of natural laws. Like what happened to Adan and Eve at the Garden of Eden which was personal. Or what happened to Balaam in Numbers 22:1-35 whose mental powers could affect the activities of people at a distance. Or what happened to Job and his family (Job 1 & 2). Or what happened to King David in 2Sam. 24:1-4; 1 Chron. 29:26-30. Or what happened to Judas Iscariot (John 13:2, 27).
The Devil could disguise himself as an angel of light (2Cor. 11:13-15). It seems that the thorn in the flesh was given by Satan to Paul but the Lord God provided strength which over-ruled that malady in the apostle (2:Cor. 12:7-10). Apostle Paul asked Christians to pray for him and they did.
However, we should recognize that there are burdens that are caused by God for God’s glory to be manifested like what happened to that person born blind in John 9. Some events that appear tragic to us humans may be a God-given blessing. A physical problem may be caused by God as a disciplinary action to save a person’s soul. We are familiar with the saying: When God closes the door, He opens the window. Romans 8:28 says, “We know that to them who love God, the ones called according to his purpose, God works all things together for good.” (McCord’s Translation).
Confronted by the sufferings of humans in this present world, The Preacher declares,
Then I returned and considered all the oppressi0n that is done under the sun: And look!
The tears of the oppressed, but they have no comforter – On the side of their oppressors
there was power, but they have no comforter. Therefore I praise the dead who were
already dead, more than the living who are still alive, yet, better than both is he who has
never existed, who has not seen the evil work that is done under the sun. (Eccles. 4:1-3)
The Apostles were given extraordinary power over evil spirits so that by direct oral rebuke, evil spirits could be cast out. It was promised in Matt. 10:1; Mk. 16:17. It was done by the Apostles in Acts 5:16-17. However, there was a failure among the apostles at one time that is recorded in Matthew 17:14-21; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:17-42.
Prayer is the power the Lord Jesus Christ prescribed in John 14:12-14. “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.” (John 14:14). This effective prayer is with the help of the Holy Spirit. This we are told in Romans 8:26-27; Jude 20; Ephesians 3:16. In the year 2021, the power we have may not be as strong as the direct rebuke of the Apostles that expelled evil spirits from oppressed people, but the power of prayer remains. The result of our earnest prayers today in the twenty-first century may not result to observable spectacular, spontaneous phenomena as the effect of apostolic rebuke. Nonetheless, it is still effective if it is God’s will. Of course, there are things that are factored in like repentance, humility, and God’s plan for His glory. So we still say, “Thy will be done.” Not all our prayers are answered the way we desire.
To be freed from the confusion that could be sown by the Devil or any oppression poised upon a disciple, prayer is the tool promised in James 5: 13-15. Healing from physical sickness could be obtained through earnest prayers. Prayer for wisdom from God is taught in James 1:13-18. Our Lord Jesus Christ declares in Luke 22:31, “And the Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.’”
Can one disciple pray over somebody who has doubts, who is confused, who is sick, who is oppressed by a bad habit, or oppressed by an addiction? Certainly, yes. The above verses teach us this possibility. We often pray for the healing of brethren who are hospitalized for certain diseases. Why should addiction to some hobbies or some sins be not included to be detached from a certain brother through prayer? “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you,” assures scripture in 1 Peter 5:7. Apostle Paul admonishes us in 1 Thess. 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”