These weekly posts show the Triad teachings. Starting at week 1 and progressing through the weeks will help you see the logic of the series.
The Demonic Realm
Demons are real too. Most people in civilized countries do not believe in demons. Our culture is scientific and skeptical of invisible spiritual truth. In the passage below, for example, Jesus believes that the child’s “illness” is a demon. Our culture would say that this is a neurologic problem.
“When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. ‘What are you arguing with them about?’ he asked. A man in the crowd answered, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.’ “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, ‘How long has he been like this?”“From childhood,’ he answered. ‘It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.’ ‘If you can’?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’ When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. ‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ‘I command you, come out of him and never enter him again. ‘The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, ‘He’s dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayerand fasting.’
Now, a passage like this does present problems for “Bible believing” Christians too. For example, it raises the possibility that physical illness may have a demonic basis and that, in addition to prayer, speaking to a spirit may bring healing. One thing for sure, each person has to make up their own mind on what they believe. Before you decide too quickly, note the role of belief and unbelief in the above passage.
At any rate, shown below is a passage that forces the issue.
“When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. ‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ they shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’ Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31 The demons begged Jesus, ‘If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs. ‘He said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water. Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon- possessed men. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region”.
Now, this “illness” talked to Jesus. “Unbelief” will call this story “a cultural metaphor”. But, for those who believe the narratives recorded in the New Testament cannon are actual true historic events, there is little choice but to realize that demons are real. Neither a cultural metaphor nor a neurotransmitter imbalance can make a herd of pigs jump off a cliff.
The demons in the above 2 examples are spirits who evidently have restricted spheres of authority. The Bible however teaches that some spirits have great and broad power. For example, Paul, in teaching that Christians should avoid idol worship, says that “the cup offered to idols is offered to devils”. So, when we read that ancient civilizations; regions and nation states, had their own local “god” we can realize that these gods, and their representative idols, drew their power from a demon who was working behind the scenes.
The magnitude of these “principalities and powers” is illustrated in the story of Daniel’s prayer (Daniel chapter 10):
“In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision. In those days I Daniel was mourning three full weeks. I ate no pleasant bread, neither came flesh nor wine in my mouth, neither did I anoint myself at all, till three whole weeks were fulfilled. And in the four and twentieth day of the first month, as I was by the side of the great river, which is Hiddekel; Then I lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a certain man clothed in linen, whose loins were girded with fine gold of Uphaz: His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in color to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves. Therefore I was left alone, and saw this great vision, and there remained no strength in me: for my comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength. Yet I heard the voice of his words: and when I heard the voice of his words, then I was in a deep sleep on my face, and my face toward the ground. And, behold, a hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto you, and stand upright: for unto you I am now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then he said to me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that you set your heart to understand, and to chasten yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I am come for your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I had to remain there with the kings of Persia until he came.”
Next week we look at the world systems of evil found in the government of Satan and his devils.