Testing The Spirits – Part VI (c): Demons, Devils, & Idols


A question has been asked that requires more discussion about the demoniacs of Matt. 8:28-34, and so we continue from Part VI (b).

28And he having come to the other side, to the region of the Gergesenes, there met him two demoniacs, coming forth out of the tombs, very fierce, so that no one was able to pass over by that way, 29and lo, they cried out, saying, `What — to us and to thee, Jesus, Son of God? didst thou come hither, before the time, to afflict us?’

30And there was far off from them a herd of many swine feeding, 31 and the demons were calling on him, saying, `If thou dost cast us forth, permit us to go away to the herd of the swine;’

32and he saith to them, `Go.’ And having come forth, they went to the herd of the swine, and lo, the whole herd of the swine rushed down the steep, to the sea, and died in the waters,” (YLT)

The question is what does the word “they” refer to in vs. 32? What entered into the swine?

The simple answer is nothing. Demons do not exist (see Part VI(a)), therefore Jesus did not cast out “demons.” Something else was happening.

Remember the curses God promised to the people if they turned from Him to worship idols / demons.

15`And it hath been, if thou dost not hearken unto the voice of Jehovah thy God to observe to do all His commands, and His statutes, which I am commanding thee to-day, that all these revilings have come upon thee, and overtaken thee:

16`Cursed [art] thou in the city, and cursed [art] thou in the field. 17`Cursed [is] thy basket and thy kneading-trough. 18`Cursed [is] the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, increase of thine oxen, and wealth of thy flock. 19`Cursed [art] thou in thy coming in, and cursed [art] thou in thy going out.

20`Jehovah doth send on thee the curse, the trouble, and the rebuke, in every putting forth of thy hand which thou dost, till thou art destroyed, and till thou perish hastily, because of the evil of thy doings [by] which thou hast forsaken Me.

21`Jehovah doth cause to cleave to thee the pestilence, till He consume thee from off the ground whither thou art going in to possess it. 22`Jehovah doth smite thee with consumption, and with fever, and with inflammation, and with extreme burning, and with sword, and with blasting, and with mildew, and they have pursued thee till thou perish

23`And thy heavens which [are] over thy head have been brass, and the earth which [is] under thee iron; 24Jehovah giveth the rain of thy land — dust and ashes; from the heavens it cometh down on thee till thou art destroyed.

25`Jehovah giveth thee smitten before thine enemies; in one way thou goest out unto them, and in seven ways dost flee before them, and thou hast been for a trembling to all kingdoms of the earth; 26and thy carcase hath been for food to every fowl of the heavens, and to the beast of the earth, and there is none causing trembling.

27`Jehovah doth smite thee with the ulcer of Egypt, and with emerods, and with scurvy, and with itch, of which thou art not able to be healed. 28`Jehovah doth smite thee with madness, and with blindness, and with astonishment of heart;

29and thou hast been gropling at noon, as the blind gropeth in darkness; and thou dost not cause thy ways to prosper; and thou hast been only oppressed and plundered all the days, and there is no saviour.” (Deu. 28:15-29, YLT)

God promised them disease, pestilence, madness, blindness, fevers, inflammation, ulcers, and itches. He would curse their animals, their children, and the land they lived on.

The demoniac men of Matt. 8, and Mark 5 were literally mad, insane, cutting themselves.

We have to remember to identify who is speaking in the scriptures. The Bible is the inspired word of God. God’s word is true (Psa. 119:160). The Holy Spirit’s record of exactly what was said and of the events as they happened is true. However, just because the Holy Spirit reported the words that uninspired men spoke does not make their words truth.

When we are reading the words men said in the Bible we have to contrast their words with God’s word – test the spirits (1 John 4:1-3). First, were they inspired of the Holy Spirit? If so, we can believe their words. If not, then we have to keep in mind that men can be deceived, or at times deliberately lie. The Holy Spirit has recorded their words, their lies and false words that men spoke. So, just because the men and the people said they were possessed by demons does not make that true.

“… and he saith to them, `Go.’ And having come forth, they went to the herd of the swine,… (Mat. 8:32, YLT)

The Holy Spirit, God, His messengers, prophets, Jesus and His disciples and Apostles spoke in the cultural understanding of their times in terms the people were familiar with. Would it have been easier for the insane man (or men) if Jesus had sat with him and given him a lesson on medical science and psychology for why he was not really possessed of a demon?

Or, was it more to the point to show him, to let him see something he could believe, something that would convince him that Jesus’ power was greater than the power of the imaginary demons he believed in? Jesus showed him that He had all authority, and the man (or men) did not have to fear the “demons” any longer.

It would have been futile to spend time denying a falsehood when the people were convinced the demons existed. Better to show whose power was greater, and thereby abolish the power their belief in demons held over their minds. As in many other things, Jesus corrected them by example.

The result was that afterwards he was sitting with Jesus, “…clothed, and right-minded-… (Mark 5:15). Right-minded, or sane.

Scripture does not contradict scripture. As the Holy Spirit has made clear that demons do not exist, then referring to demons in the miraculous healings of the New Testament was a method of showing the people that what they thought of as demons held no power. Jesus was correcting their false views with His power over all and healing them. Jesus healed their maladies, their blindness, their deafness, their legs and feet, and He healed their minds.

Excerpt from Caananite Theology Smashed by Duncan Heaster:

“Paul Volz took the idea further when he observed that in the early Old Testament passages where Yahweh is portrayed as doing the things expected of demons, He has “absorbed everything demonic… so that no demons were required any more in Israel” (6). And so there are no further associations of Yahweh with demons / idols but rather an overt mocking of their existence in the later Old Testament. Something similar happens in the New Testament. Initially, the Lord Jesus is presented as dealing with and overcoming real demons; but His miracles are so powerful that it becomes evident that they effectively don’t exist, and the later New Testament exalts in the supremacy of God over the demons / idols which in fact are non-existent….

The Old Testament way of deconstructing pagan ideas carried over into the New Testament. For example, it has been shown by many students that the Gospel and epistles of John are shot through with allusion to the language of surrounding Gnostic philosophy in order to show the infinite superiority of the true Gospel over the vain philosophy of the first century world in which John’s Gospel was first inspired (9). This is a New Testament example of what was done throughout the Old Testament Scriptures….” Source: http://www.realdevil.info/4-2-1.htm

Excerpt from Demons and Sickness by Duncan Heaster –

“Yet in the New Testament we read of demons being cast out– in fact, the New Testament is written as if the common idea of demons is correct. I suggest that the answer to this paradox lies in an understanding of the way in which God uses language in the Bible. George Lamsa comments: “”Cast out” is an Aramaic phrase which means to restore to sanity” (1). The evidence given above is proof enough that demons do not exist. If the New Testament speaks as if they do exist, and the Bible does not contradict itself, it follows that surely the answer is to be found in an analysis of the way in which God uses language. If we are clearly told that God brings our problems and that He is the source of all power, then the Bible cannot also tell us that demons– little gods in opposition to the one God– bring these things upon us. It seems significant that the word “demons” only occurs four times in the Old Testament and always describes idol worship, but it occurs many times in the Gospel records. We suggest this is because, at the time the Gospels were written, it was the language of the day to say that any disease that could not be understood was the fault of demons. “So far as the [1st century] populace was concerned, any disease involving mental disturbance, delirium or spasms was attributed to demons, believed to swarm in the air” (2). If demons really do exist and are responsible for our illnesses and problems, then we would read more about them in the Old Testament. But we do not read about them at all in this context there….

To say that demons were cast out of someone is to say that they were cured of a mental illness, or an illness which was not understood at the time. People living in the first century tended to blame everything which they couldn’t understand on these imaginary beings called ‘demons’. Mental illness being hard to understand with their level of medical knowledge, the people spoke of those afflicted as ‘demon possessed’. In Old Testament times, an evil or unclean spirit referred to a troubled mental state (Jud. 9:23; 1 Sam. 16:14;18:10); and in every Old Testament reference to evil spirits, they were sent by God, not an orthodox ‘Devil’. In New Testament times, the language of evil spirit/demon possession had come to refer to those suffering mental illness. The association between demons and sickness is shown by the following: “They brought unto him (Jesus) many that were possessed with demons: and He cast out the spirits with a word… that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses” (Mt. 8:16-17). So human infirmities and sicknesses are described as being possessed by “demons” and “evil spirits”……

When they were healed, people “possessed with demons” are said to return to their “right mind” (Mk. 5:15; Lk. 8:35). This implies that being “possessed with demons” was another way of saying someone was mentally unwell – i.e. not in their right mind. Those “possessed with demons” are said to be “healed” or “cured” (Mt. 4:24; 12:22; 17:18), implying that demon possession is another way of describing illness. In Luke 10:9 Jesus told His 70 apostles to go out and “heal the sick”, which they did. They returned, rejoicing that, in their terms and frames of understanding, “even the demons are subject unto us through Your name”– again, demons and illness are equated (Lk. 10:17). Christ not only rebuked unclean spirits, but also wind and waves (Mt. 8:26) and fever (Lk. 4:39) – all impersonal things. Note that when people brought to Jesus a woman whom they said had been bound 18 years by satan, we read that Jesus simply said: “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity” (Lk. 13:16). ” Source: http://www.realdevil.info/4-3.htm

In Matt. 8: 28-32, Jesus issued the command that the evil spirits went forth because it was what the deceived and spiritually weak people would expect at that time. Jesus sent forth imaginary “unclean spirits” into unclean animals which were used for sacrifices to idols / demons by the pagan Greeks of that region. Rather appropriate wasn’t it?

The pagan beliefs in demons as spirit beings that cause men to sin and do wicked things has been around for centuries, and permeates all of Christendom. It has been meshed with the Scriptures through the promotion of false teachers and false prophets, church “fathers,” and Jewish rabbis and none of it is according to God’s word.

19 ‘And this is the judgment, that the light hath come to the world, and men did love the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil; 20for every one who is doing wicked things hateth the light, and doth not come unto the light, that his works may not be detected;” (John 3:19-20, YLT)

even as through one man the sin did enter into the world, and through the sin the death; and thus to all men the death did pass through, for that all did sin;” (Rom. 5:12, YLT)

Evil men love the darkness because it hides their sins. God tells us that is by man, specifically Adam, that sin entered the world. Who then is responsible for sin? We are! The unbelieving, pagan world always desires to pass the blame onto someone or something else.

The pagan “demons” are not real, and though they were part of the 1st century cultural beliefs of mankind, they never existed.

I want to ask you to think about the situation in the garden in Genesis 3. What does a very young child automatically do when caught red-handed in a wrong? Isn’t it common that they immediately point the finger at another child, brother or sister, and pass the blame onto them? “He did it, he did it”, they cry. And, what was it that Eve did in the garden but blame the serpent for her actions?

Further reading:

Legion And The Gadarene Pigs by Duncan Heaster – http://www.realdevil.info/4-3-1.htm

Geographical Distribution of Demon Possession – PreteristCentral

31 thoughts on “Testing The Spirits – Part VI (c): Demons, Devils, & Idols

  1. cinnamonaiblins777

    I was trying to explain to one of my dispensationalist friends a few days ago, the New Jerusalem was figurative language for the christian church today. Obviously she wasn’t buying that. She said the physical dimensions of the city are to be taken literally. You’ve probably broken down the symbolic meaning of the city’s measurements on this site. Maybe you could point me to that thread. I can’t find it. Thank you!

    Like

    1. I did not break it down into its component parts, just the overall symbolism. See Part III of The Signs of Revelation : Codes of Colors & Numbers. But your first approach should be to show them that the prophesies contain much figurative, & hyperbolic language. They have been taught to take everything literally, & that is part of the trap of this entire psyop on the perspective required to read the Bible. See Frequent Mistakes Part V: Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue… Until they can see that God’s prophetic language has a pattern of word figures, they can’t break out of the “everything is literal” mode to see the figurative New Jerusalem.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. cinnamonaiblins777

        I listened to a Billy Graham sermon tonight from 1969. He was preaching about the 2nd coming of Christ. He made many statements that were false, based on the premise that Christ would return to Earth in our time or a time beyond ours. How should we view sermons like this? Putting aside his erroneous interpretation of prophecy, Graham’s sermon stayed true to the essential message of redemption in the blood of Christ. On the one hand, Graham was leading people to Christ. On the other hand he was misleading them on the points of prophecy.

        Like

      2. We always test the spirits of men against God’s word. Sift it, keep what agrees with God’s word, & toss the rest. But, when men are making such huge errors, & are not staying to true to God’s word, I do not listen to them anymore. Graham had a huge following, but never spoke the truth about immersion into Christ. Story I’ve heard is that when confronted by certain preachers with the error & false teaching he was proliferating, that he said he knew baptism was immersion, but was afraid he would lose his following if he tried to correct their belief that they only needed to say a prayer of faith to be in Christ. What then was Graham trusting in – mammon or God?

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I will also add that if men are teaching that Christ has not yet returned as He told His disciples He would, then they are denying Christ, and in essence calling Him a liar. That is a very dangerous position to be in. It is blasphemy to deny the words of the Holy Spirit, which is to call God a liar.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. cinnamonaiblins777

    Probably one aspect of preterism that causes many christians to recoil, is that preterists tend to come across as not believing that John was actually writing down what he saw in a vision. The friends that I have who are dispensationalists seem to genuinely believe that John actually had a vision of all these things that he wrote down. I think many preterists, if they are being honest with themselves, don’t truly believe John was recounting the details of a vision. Rather, he was consciously and carefully choosing his words, and utilizing the “vision” as a literary device to convince the audience that it can be trusted, rather than a literary work emanating from the mind of a man. Now, perhaps you believe John really saw this vision, but I’m not sure that’s the case with other preterists. I’m not defending dispensationalists’ interpretation of scripture because they are totally missing the mark. But it does seem like they are more inclined to believe in the authenticity of the vision than are preterists.

    Like

    1. I have never heard anyone say that John was just choosing his words for the book of Revelation. Jesus told him to write down what he saw, and I believe the scripture to be true. John wrote what he saw. The vision was given to him, and he recorded it.

      Like

  3. cinnamonaiblins777

    If you’ve covered this already on this site, I apologize, but must ask. The conclusion of the book of Revelation makes a statement about anyone adding or taking away from the words of this prophecy and the consequences of doing so. What do you make of that?

    Like

    1. Rev. 22:18 “add to” Strong’s Gr 2007 “epitithémi:” – to lay upon, to place upon; Usage: I put place upon, lay upon, I add, give in addition.

      Rev. 22:19, “take away from” Strongs Gr. 851 “aphaireó” – to take from, take away; Usage: I take away, smite off

      I believe I have mentioned this in another post but I cannot find where right now. It means literally what it says. No one is to add words to that prophesy, nor take words away from that prophesy, which involves changing the meaning of the prophesy. I consider that changing the meaning of the words is also adding and taking away from the prophesy. Therefore, all “interpretations” that change the meaning of the words fall under this adding and taking away. They are in danger.

      Like

  4. cinnamonaiblins777

    Are there any stories in the Bible that traditionally the church as a whole has taken literally, but should instead be taken figuratively? We were discussing earlier whether or not to consider the serpent in the garden as a metaphor for Eve’s lustful desires. I know that in prophecy there is often symbolism and metaphor. The 1,000 years in Revelation is clearly symbolic. But what about stories like Elijah being taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire and horses? I assume these stories must be taken literally, because once we start venturing down the road of metaphor and symbolism for everything in the Bible, that is a road that will remove us ultimately from belief in Christ’s bodily resurrection. It’s difficult for the 21st century brain to believe in a chariot of fire swooping down and taking a man up into the clouds. We just don’t see things like this today. We are in a world governed by certain natural laws.

    Like

    1. There are many prophesies that the churches are trying to teach as literal: 2 Pet. 3:10; the new heaven and new earth prophesy of Isa. 65-66; etc. The trick is to watch for the small words “as,” “like.” “is.” “are” because they usually define a metaphor or simile that will be used figuratively in prophesy. And, then to learn to switch gears to watch for those metaphors when God’s word goes into prophesy. The prophesies will contain both figurative and literal elements. The current belief that all of the Bible is literal is nonsense. Much of it is literal., but the prophesies use a great deal of figurative, symbolic language.

      The other thing to keep in mind is that the visions the prophets had of the spiritual realm were not seen by the others around them. Notice the language of 2 Kings 2:9-12,

      “9 And it cometh to pass, at their passing over, that Elijah hath said unto Elisha, `Ask, what do I do for thee before I am taken from thee?’ and Elisha saith, `Then let there be, I pray thee, a double portion of thy spirit unto me;’ 10 and he saith, `Thou hast asked a hard thing; if thou dost see me taken from thee, it is to thee so; and if not, it is not.’

      11 And it cometh to pass, they are going, going on and speaking, and lo, a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and they separate between them both, and Elijah goeth up in a whirlwind, to the heavens. 12 And Elisha is seeing, and he is crying, `My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and its horsemen;’

      The answer to Elisha’s request was “if thou doest see me taken” then Elisha would have a double portion of the spirit. Elisha saw Elijah taken into the “heavens” in that chariot, but that does not mean than anyone standing nearby would have seen it, because it was in the spiritual realm. I would refer you to my post Frequent Mistakes – Part VII: The Translation of Enoch and Elijah as there is a misconception about where Elijah was taken. See also the post Frequent Mistakes – Part V: Roses are Red, Violets are Blue…

      Also consider the opening of the servant’s eyes in 2 Kings 6:15-17 where God answered Elisha’s prayer that the servant be able to see the angelic army standing ready for battle. God’s spiritual realm is all around us; we just cannot see it with our mortal eyes. The natural laws of this earthly realm limit our mortal bodies in an earthly set of physics. But, God’s messengers / angels are all around us. Jesus’ appearance in the upper chamber for example – did He walk through walls, or did He transport into the room? He has a different set of physics now.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. cinnamonaiblins777

    So, in a nutshell, is it fair to say there does not exist an evil force in the world, beyond the evil actions of men? There is not an invisible, evil enemy prowling the world seeking the ruin of souls? You’ve laid out some persuasive arguments here. The way I view the serpent in the garden is that it was a creature that God made, that originally had a different method of locomotion than it’s descendants have today (those scary looking things slithering through the grass). Are snakes evil? Of course not. They are merely hungry animals trying to survive. They may look scary and startle us occasionally, but they are not sinister. Was the serpent in the Garden sinister? I suppose it was, but its descendants are certainly not evil. They are just innocent little creatures (however ugly or scary they may look to us).

    Like

    1. Yes, the evil forces we face in this world are the consequences of the actions taken by selfish, evil people. Our fight is against principalities who run rampant over the people (Eph. 6:12). Rules and regulations are generated by people, and carried out by people. They go through the “air” of the spoken word, and then written documents to enforce them.

      Evil rulers were characterized by God in the OT as “serpents” and “dragons” (Isa. 26:21-27:1; Psa. 58:3-4; Psa. 140:1-3; Jer. 51:34; Ezek. 29:3; Matt. 23:33). So, we are to stand against evil dictates and actions of evil rulers. Capital punishment for the proven guilty, & self-defense against an attack is not part of the discussion of Eph. 6:12. The “devil,” is the false accuser that we contend with throughout every generation. Which specific devil is always different as the job function of being a false accuser passes from one evil man to another. The false accusers are those evil people, whose evil words, evil spirits are continually working against righteousness. The YLT uses “world-rulers of the darkness…” Evil ones operate in darkness, not the light.

      Our swords are the two-edged swords of the truth of God’s word, & the gospel of Christ (Psa. 149:6; Heb. 4:12). We fight our battles with God’s word, the spirit of Truth, the words of the Holy Spirit. Unlike the beliefs of many who are told to kill the infidels, He does not send us out to physically attack other people. God will take His vengeance upon the wicked.

      There is not one evil entity that is causing evil wicked people to do bad things. Their hearts are given over to evil deeds, and evil selfish lusts. That evil comes from within their own hearts. To say otherwise, that an evil spiritual entity is causing them to do bad things, is to say they are not responsible for their actions. Then how would a just God hold us accountable if we are not the responsible party?

      And, I am truly wondering if that “serpent” in Gen. 3 was only meant as a figurative personification for Eve’s sin of the lusts of the flesh. Is it possible that the references in God’s word to that devil, and that serpent are all personifications of the sinful condition of man’s heart.

      “And Jehovah seeth that abundant [is] the wickedness of man in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil all the day;” (Gen. 6:5, YLT)

      Like

      1. cinnamonaiblins777

        You may have a valid point about the serpent could have been a personification of Eve’s fleshly lusts. The part that throws me off is the serpent being cursed to crawl on its belly and being cursed above all other animals. This makes it very difficult to view this part of the story figuratively. It comes across as literal, especially taking into account that Adam and Eve received punishments that were literal (painful childbearing and earning food by the sweat of his brow). It’s the serpent’s punishment of having to crawl on its belly that compels me to not view this as figurative. This is what perplexes me about the Genesis account. The fact that the snakes we see slithering through the grass today, have as their original ancestor, this creature that was bipedal and had the ability to tempt Eve. Snakes today certainly don’t have those mental faculties to communicate with a human that way. I’m not going to dismiss the figurative possibility, but it just doesn’t seem to harmonize.

        Like

      2. It’s a puzzlement. I am shifting back and forth between the timeline of Rev. 20 after the destruction of Jerusalem when the “devil” and hades were thrown into the lake of fire, so he’s gone anyway; or the idea that Christ’s victory over that serpent / devil is His victory over our sins with His sacrifice. Either way what we face today is the evil that men do.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. cinnamonaiblins777

    It is interesting to think about Eve pointing the finger at the serpent. We humans have been blaming everthing and everyone for our own failings since the beginning. I would like to point out that in principle, there is no difference between blaming a demon for your behavior and blaming a mental illness. People in the 1st century may have blamed a demon. People today may blame a mental disorder. But in both cases, it is an excuse for one’s behavior. My view of free will is that there is no excuse. There is a long standing debate between environment vs heredity as to which influences behavior the most. As a person who believes in free will, I say that it is neither environment nor heredity. They are both excuses just as blaming demons is an excuse. We are free. There are no excuses. My behavior is determined by me alone.

    Like

      1. What do y’all make of this theodicy?:

        [Mat 13:27-28 NKJV] [27] “So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ [28] “He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’

        Like

      2. People continually ask how God can allow evil to exist. The defense (theodicy) is always that God allows man free will, choices. He commands that we believe in Him (Deu. 6:5-13; 1 John 3:23), but He knows that some will not obey. That is why He laid out the curses for those who choose to indulge their selfish desires & wicked acts. Salvation is an “if” proposition. If we will obey, if we are counted worthy, if we die in the Lord, then we will have eternal life with Him in heaven. To do otherwise, to prevent the evil that men conceive in their hearts and carry out for their own selfish desires – usually because of money, or power issues – is to make us all robots, automatons. God is not the author of sin. We are, and He allows us to choose.

        The parable of the tares involves an enemy, specifically mankind (Strong’s Gr. 444, anthropos) that plants or sends infiltrators (tares) within God’s people (wheat). The Jews were doing this in most if not all of the assemblies in the 1st century AD, which is what Paul and the other Apostles were constantly warning against. Letting the tares and wheat grow together allows for time to distinguish one from another, and then separation of the wheat (righteous) from the tares (unrighteous) at harvest. The spring planting (Pentecost) is harvested in the fall (Yom Hadin, Day of Judgement, Feast of Trumpets, 1st of Tishri). This ties to the separation out of Hades that Christ prophesied to His disciples in Matt. 25:31ff at the fall of the temple in Matt. 24 (AD 70).

        Like

  7. cinnamonaiblins777

    Though I am a full-preterist when it comes to prophecy, I must say there are times when full-preterism can border dangerously on the cultural-relativism line. Regarding demons and their reality, as you explained in the above post, we can look at it from the viewpoint of the people at that time who believed in the reality of these invisible demonic forces possessing people. From there we can conclude that the writers of the gospels are merely using language that the people of that time understood, which can come across as the scripture objectively supporting the reality of demons possessing people. My concern is this, if demons do not exist, and therefore belief in demons is a deception and lie, then why would holy scripture, even embolden people’s belief in demons by speaking that language so they understand? I don’t like viewing the 1st century audience through a type of cultural relativistic lens. As if their culture believed in demons and we today in the 21st century don’t because of modern science. It’s one thing to say the people in the 1st century understood that the apocalyptic message of Revelation was written to them and not us, because that is just simply in line with historical fact. The end of the age was clearly in 70 A.D. That was not a prophetic warning for us in the 21st century. But when we start breaking down the historical development of belief in demons and why this culture believed in their reality and this culture doesn’t, it bothers me on some level. I can’t quite put my finger on why it bothers me other than to say it comes off as analyzing the bible the way an atheistic secular humanist college professor would analyze and study it.

    Like

    1. Understanding their language, & the 1st audience perspective is not cultural relativism. We are not talking about different moral values for a different society, nor are talking about accepting their beliefs because their culture believed it. It is having empathy for why they believed differently. We need to walk in their shoes to understand their customs, and their idioms, but that does not mean we accept those customs. We just need to know what their words meant to them.

      There is a reason that we have dictionaries and concordances for the words & meanings from the original Hebrew & Greek languages. If we took those people out of the 1st century AD & set them down in our time, in an English language country & said to them “by the skin of our teeth” would you expect them to understand what our idiom / phrase meant by those words, or would they try to think about teeth having skin? You think that Jesus did not tell them demons did not exist?

      In Matt. 12:24-28, when the Pharisees accused him of casting out devils by the chief of the devils Beelezebub, did He tell them Beelzebub was a false god and did not exist (2 Kings 1:2)? Or did He instead turn the argument back against them & ask if Beelzebub cast out demons then how were their children casting them out? Some of the Jews were practicing exorcism to cast out demons (Acts 19). If they were thinking analytically they would have realized that Jesus just told them their accusation was based upon a falsehood.

      Think about the trouble we are having trying to tell the dispensationalists why we believe in full preterism. Their ears and minds are closed by their indoctrination. Our battle is fought over the meaning of words, not over different morals or different measures of a standard of value. And our words are falling on deaf ears.

      The second link I added for the geographical distribution of casting out demons points out that most if not all of the healing of demons possession was in the northern areas of Galilee where the rabbis had accepted the belief of demons and demon possession, but there were almost none in Judea and Jerusalem where the rabbis did not accept that belief. False beliefs have consequences. Jesus was dealing with those in the simplest way He could.

      People don’t seem to think about why Jesus did not answer the disciples question at the time of His ascension in Acts 1: “…Will thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Why didn’t He fully explain to them that their idea & belief in a physical kingdom was not the plan? He had been telling them what the kingdom was like for 3-1/2 years, & it still did not pierce their expectations & beliefs they had been raised with.

      I am only trying to point out how pagan beliefs are still being laid on top of God’s word, and how God’s word has already told us those pagan beliefs are false.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. cinnamonaiblins777

    It’s a lot to ingest and I’m going to read this over again. I’m still on the fence about the reality of demons. I am right there with you on the “devil made me do it” card that we humans love to pull out of our pockets. Even atheists, who do not believe in God or the Devil, enjoy justifying their wrong choices by pinning the blame on others or something outside of themselves. Once question I have regarding free will is this…will we have free will in heaven? I would think that free will either does not exist in heaven or it operates under a totally different manner than here on Earth. For if our salvation is sealed forever and can’t be thrown away once we are in the heavenly realm, then I must ask, are we free to choose in heaven? And if heaven is absent free will, then it means an existence without free choice is paradise. So why were we given free will to begin with if the best life possible is a life absent free will?

    Like

    1. Free will is limited to choices. We have the choice to obey God, or not obey God. “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matt. 6:24. Mammon – Strong’s Gr. 3126, riches, wealth, treasure; wealth personified. In other words our own desires and lusts for material things. So, every day we have a choice. Do I do what I want, or what God wants?

      Therefore, if we are counted worthy, if we die in the Lord and are resurrected to eternal life, we have already made that choice to obey God. I am sure He has somethings for us to do when we get there (Matt. 25:23), and I will gladly obey. But, He has told us we will rest from our works, so I expect to be able to visit with God, Jesus, Abraham, David, Ezekiel, my family, meet new brothers and sisters in Christ, eat some angel food (manna of heaven) without gaining weight, play with some lions, and read in God’s library. “…Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1. Cor. 2:9.; from Isa. 64:4 – which is first about the Messianic kingdom under the gospel of Christ, but I do think it also speaks to the beauty of what waits for us in heaven.

      It is not about slavery, but about the freedom to worship God, and be with Him for all eternity.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have done a lot of investigation, but have never been able to come to terms with any of it; I remain befuddled. But I might say that it seems that the authors of the NT considered Christ to be the truth, so it really didn’t matter how many fictions you had to tell to get there – to Christ.

        Like

      2. There are many things that have bothered me about the traditional teaching of the demon possessions of the NT, and of the devil / satan for a long time, as it seems to always be an excuse to place blame for our actions on some thing else. Flip Wilson’s joke of “the devil made me do it”. In fact God is the cause of the evils and distress that attends those who turn away from Him. That’s why I quoted those curses from Deu. And, the language of 2 Cor. 2:4 for “the god of this age” that everyone seems to believes to refer to the devil, has it’s roots in the Roman empire cult worship system. Paul used the language the people used for the Roman emperor – the god of that age, b/c he was called a son of god. It never was a reference to the devil. God never abdicated His control or power over this world to any other being. I would encourage everyone to check out the background of the pagan beliefs that have infected God’s word that Duncan Heaster has presented.

        Like

      3. I know exactly what you are talking about. I understand your motivation. Ditto for “hell” and all that mess. But everywhere you (or I) turn in the NT I run into more of the bizarre! And it doesn’t seem to wash off. Not as easily for me as it might for you.

        Like

      4. [Phl 1:15-18 NKJV] [15] Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: [16] The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; [17] but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel. [18] What then? Only [that] in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s