III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
6. Ministry Illustrated Through Parables, Luke 8:4-21.
c. Our true family members, vs. 19-21.
Luke 8:21, “But He answered and said to them, ‘My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it’.”
“What we read in the Word of God redefines our relationships and our loyalty. The active obedience of the Christian to the Word of God actually creates in the Christian a higher loyalty than our closest earthly relationships. The Lord points us to the fact that there is a greater Father to whom we owe the highest loyalty. Our heavenly Father comes before our earthly mothers and brothers. The more we obey God’s Word, the more we have in common with others who obey God’s Word. We find ourselves closer to those who obey God’s Word than we are to our blood relatives who do not believe.” (Christ-Centered Exposition – Exalting Jesus in Luke).
Luke 8:19-21, reminds us of Jesus’ other lessons regarding our familial relationships, Luke 12:51-53; 14:26-27; Mat 10:34-39.
Luke 12:51-53, “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; 52for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. 53They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”
Luke 14:26-27, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
“Hate,” MISEO, does not mean we are to hold malice or bitterness or anger toward our families. Often it is used in the Bible to mean, “love less,” as Matthew’s record shows in Mat 10:37.
Mat 10:34-39, “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; 36and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household, (Micah 7:6). 37He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. 38And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”
Naturally and Biblically, we are to love our families and ourselves. Yet, Jesus gave the two major reasons people have for not committing themselves to Him: love of family and love of self. When we love our family or ourselves more than we do God and His Word, we are outside of our right relationship with God and are missing out on what God has designed and intended for us.
The real issue is priority more than feeling. Christ must come first in the life of His disciples. No one who follows Jesus with divided loyalties and halfhearted effort can successfully be His disciple. James 1:8 says, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Luke 16:13 and Mat 6:24 tell us, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
We also have the promise of great blessings and rewards when we put God and His Word as our number 1 priority in life, Mat 19:28; Mark 10:29-30.
Mat 19:29, “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.”
Mark 10:29-30, “Jesus said, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.”
We have to have a sense of priority in our commitment to follow God. That may mean the pain of separation from earthly family. The tension between the calling of God and family requires a constant assessment of what honors God most.
It is not that you love your family less than you do today. It is that in Christ, we now have a new family with whom we try to live out God’s Word. The Word of God forges new bonds and affections that natural families point to and symbolize.
And you know God’s Word is doing its work in your heart when you share a stronger bond with your brothers and sisters in the church than your blood relatives who do not believe. The Word of God learned and obeyed holds out the promise of a new and better family. The Word creates family, an eternal and everlasting family in Christ. You receive brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers one hundred-fold through the Word of God. That is what the local church is to be; the Family of God united by obedience to the Word.
Summary – Conclusion.
So, Luke 8:21, marks the end of a single episode before changing the setting. This entire section began with a seemingly disjointed reference to the devotion of disciples and the support of dedicated women, vs. 1-3. Jesus then taught that about the four types of soil that speak to the heart of man in either receiving His Word or rejecting it. The receptive heart bears the fruit of the Gospel while the others fail to yield anything, vs. 4-15. After that He taught that we have the light of God in us and we are His light that should not be hidden away but put on display so that those in darkness (sin) might be able to see the gospel, (receive salvation), vs. 16-17. In addition, He taught that everyone is responsible for their response to the seed / light they receive because, one day, we will be held accountable and be either rewarded or have loss of reward, vs. 18. Finally, Jesus concluded by emphasizing the new family relationship we have in Christ, that we should walk in and enjoy, as we are now a member of the Royal Family of God.
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
D. Activities of His Ministry, Luke 7:1-9:50.
7. Ministry in storms, Luke 8:22-25.
Here, we see our Lord’s power and authority over creation as He calms the storm. This scene continues the emphasis on having faith to enter and live the unique spiritual life as “good soil” believers. It is also recorded in Mat 8:23-27; Mark 4:36-41. We see a similar scene when Jesus walked on the water and had Peter also walk on water, where Jesus also calmed the sea, Mat 14:22-32; cf. Mark 6:45-51; John 6:15-21.
As we saw in the previous chapters, Jesus as the Messiah asserted His authority over the Church, Luke 4:14-37, over demons, Luke 4:31-37, over nature, Luke 5:1-11, over sin Luke 5:17-26; 7:36-50, over the Sabbath, Luke 6:1-11, over disease, Luke 4:38-41; 5:12-26; 7:1-10, and over death, Luke 7:11-17. Here once again, we see His authority over creation and demons with the main message of having faith in Him to overcome.
Luke 8:22, “Now on one of those days Jesus and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, ‘Let us go over to the other side of the lake.’ So they launched out.”
“Luke 8:22 marks a subtle shift in the public ministry of Jesus. His miracles had been mere skirmishes in His war on evil. Soon, He would take His fight to the source (9:51). In the meantime, His miracles took on a heightened meaning. Instead of merely freeing individuals from the temporal effects of evil, Jesus offered eternal refuge under His dominion, through which His followers could ultimately prevail with Him.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Luke).
Interestingly, as we noted in Luke 5:1-2, “Lake” here is the Noun LIMNE, λίμνη that only Luke and John use. Luke uses it for the lake called GENNESARET, in Luke 5:1-2; 8:22-23, 33, which is also called the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee is 686 feet below sea level in a deep rift between the Arabian Desert and the Mediterranean Sea. As such, winds both hot and cold unexpectedly whip through the gorge and churn up the sea into a choppy nightmare, especially for the crude sailing ships of Jesus’ day.
But, John’s use of LIMNE is only in the book of Revelation for the eternal “Lake of Fire,” Rev 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8. As you know, only unbelievers are cast into the Lake of Fire, so this word emphasizes the lack of faith in someone’s life that was tested here on this sea.
That is also emphasized in the next phrase, “so they launch out,” that uses ANAGO ἀνάγω that is used by Matthew and Luke regarding leading towards temptation, Mat 4:1; Luke 4:5; 22:66; Acts 7:41.
So, we see a time of temptation to prove the faith of the disciples, as they, “went over to the other side,” DIERCHOMAI EIS HO PERAN. From time to time, our Lord allows us to be tempted to prove our faith in Him and His Word, as we “pass through” various temptations, trials, or difficulties in our lives.
Luke 8:23, “But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger.”
“Sailing along,” PLEO, is used literally but means when we go about our daily lives. When we are “sailing along,” in our daily lives, thinking that everything is just wonderful, that is when temptation, trials or tribulations can strike most unexpectedly and catch us off guard. Therefore, we always need to be walking faithfully in the Lord, because we never know when disaster or temptation may hit.
But note that our Lord was fast “asleep,” APHUPNOO, ἀφυπνόω, a hapaxlegomena, (only used here in the NT), that means, “fall asleep.” Matthew used its synonym KATHEUDO, Mat 8:24; Luke 22:46, but that word can also means to “die or be dead,” Mat 9:24; Luke 8:52. KATHEUDO is typically used in passages regarding faith or lack of faith due to temptation.
Luke 22:46, “And (Jesus) said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation’.”
Yet, in our verse, Luke used APHUPNOO for literal sleep that demonstrated our Lord’s faith-rest, as He was not worried or afraid of the details of life or the potential for a storm, so much so that He was able to fall fast asleep as he faithfully trusted in the Plan and Will of God the Father.
The temptation that came to them was “a fierce gale of wind” LAILAPS, λαῖλα that means, “whirlwind, tempestuous wind, or fierce gust of wind,” along with ANEMOS, ἄνεμος that means, “wind.” We noted this word in Luke 7:24, regarding John the Baptist who was a “reed not shaken in the wind.” Therefore, this was a great storm, like a hurricane we could say, that tempted their faith and trust in God and Jesus.
“To some biblical writers, the sea acted as a symbol, “a principle of disorder, violence, or unrest that marks the old creation” (cf. Ps. 107:23-27; Isa. 57:20; Ezek. 28:8). Even for experienced fishermen, launching out into the middle of the Sea of Galilee was to propel oneself into the unknown.” (Swindoll’s Living Insights New Testament Commentary – Luke).
This storm “descended,” KATABAINO, “came down or descended,” “upon the lake,” EIS HO LIMNE once again. The temptation had come upon them.
“They began to be swamped,” uses SUMPLEROO, συμπληρόω in the Imperfect, Passive, Indicative that literally means, “filled completely or become entirely full.” This shows the overwhelming nature of this disaster in their lives. This word is only used by Luke here and in Luke 9:51; Acts 2:1. Luke’s latter two usages are the time period for our Lord’s ascension into heaven after His resurrection, as the “days were complete.” In other words, our Lord’s work was finished. Therefore, we see that the “swamping of the boat,” was the fulfillment of this temptation that they had received and it was overwhelming to them. Their hour of trial and temptation had come upon them.
This verse also tells us that this temptation was real, as they were “in danger,” KINDUNEUO, κινδυνεύω, which is also in the Imperfect, Passive, Indicative and means to be, “in danger or jeopardy, to run a risk, or be daring.” The first use is the context here. It is used here and in, Acts 19:27, 40; 1 Cor 15:30.
Even when our predicament is overwhelming and real danger, we should continue to faithful trust in the Lord for deliverance in the situation. Just as we should faithfully trust in God and His Word regardless of the peril we might be in.
Luke 8:24, “They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm.”
This must have been quite a violent storm to frighten experienced fishermen who had weathered many storms on Galilee. Interestingly, “They came to Jesus,” but not in faith, trust, and confidence in Him, but in fear, anxiety, and worry about their situation. Yet, the grace of God even receives and takes it from us, 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”Cf. Psa 55:22; Mat 6:25.
Psa 55:22, “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
“Woke Him up,” is the Verb DIEGEIRO, διεγείρω that means, “wake up thoroughly, excite, stir up, or arouse,” cf. Mat 1:24;
Mark 4:38-39; John 6:18; 2 Peter 1:13; 3:1. It is a compound word from DIA, “through or by,” and EGEIRO, “to raise.” It is first used for the waking of our Lord here in the Aorist, Active, Indicative, and then in the Aorist, Passive, Participle, “He got up.” This is an image of the disciples’ petition prayer to the Lord. Therefore, as the temptation, (gale force wind), was aroused against them, our Lord was aroused to defeat it.
When we arouse the Lord through our petition prayers, He is aroused to answer them in the defeat of evil.
Then they called upon Him as “Master, Master” which is the doubling of EPISTATES, ἐπιστάτης that can mean in the Greek language, “Master, overseer, superintendent, or administrator.” But, Luke uses it as an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew “Rabbi.” Again, only Luke uses this word in the NT and only in this Gospel, Luke 5:5; 8:24, 45; 9:33, 49; 17:13, as a title addressed directly to Jesus, by one or more of His disciples and by the 10 lepers who approached Jesus to ask for healing, Luke 17:13. Comparing the parallels in Matthew and Mark shows us that Luke used EPISTATES for the Hebrew rabbi, or “teacher,” Luke 9:33; cf. Mark 9:5, perhaps as a way to make the concept clearer to his Hellenistic audience. He also employed it as an equivalent of DIDASKALOS, “teacher,” Luke 8:24; cf. Mark 4:38; 9:38; Luke 9:49. It implies authority of any kind which produces an attitude of obedience. Matthew’s account uses KURIOS for “Lord.”
Their exaggerated complaint to Jesus was that they were “perishing,” APOLULUMI, (i.e., “we are dying”). It is a more dismal and terrifying word than “die.” Luke uses it several times in reference to damnation, (e.g., Luke 4:34; 9:25; 13:3, 5; 15:24, 32; 17:33; 19:10).
In honor of their complaint, which was a form of petition to Jesus, Jesus “rebuked the wind,” EPITIMAO HO ANEMOS. We have noted our Lord’s rebuking previously: in Luke 4:35, 41; cf. Luke 9:25, the exorcism of demons and Luke 4:39, the healing of a woman by rebuking the fever that may have been due to demonic possession. So we see this “rebuking” of the wind that may mean demonic influence over the wind that our Lord “rebuked or censured.” As Eph 2:2 states, Satan is the prince of the power of the air.
Eph 2:2, “In which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.”
EPITIMAO refers to calling attention to wrongdoing and assigning responsibility. It is similar to “reprove,” 2 Tim 4:2, except that the desired response is humility instead of conviction. Rebuking also implies the possibility of a consequence, therefore describing an authority figure bringing a subordinate back into line. In essence, Jesus woke up from His sleep and spoke strong words to the raging wind and crashing waves, “Be quiet and be still,” Mark 4:39, cf. Ex 14:13; Psa 4:4; 107:29.
Psa 4:4, “Tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
Psa 107:29, “He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed.”
Ex 14:13, “And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever’.”
This demonstrated our Lord’s power and authority over both the demons, (i.e., fallen angels), and creation, (the wind/storm).
As a result of our Lord’s rebuke, the “raging,” KLUDON, κλύδων, “a billowing, a surge of waves, or rough water or surf,” “water” HUDOR, “ceased,” PAUO, παύω “stopped, cause to cease, hinder, keep, rest from,” and the sea was “calm,” GALENE, γαλήνη, “calm or tranquility,” that is only used in this narrative in the NT, Mart 8:26; Mark 4:39.
“In nature, when a boisterous wind ceases, the waves would settle slowly. But here, the passage implies that the waves flattened out rather suddenly into an immediate calm. Although sudden and violent storms were common, this calm was unnatural and probably added to the amazement and subsequent fear of the disciples.” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary – Luke).
KLUDON is only used here and James 1:6, “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.” There, it figuratively pictures the dangerous instability of a person who does not make up his mind to trust God in prayer. The doubter, according to James, is like a rough sea that the wind drives one way and then another. So, in our verse, we see the disciples as the doubters who were fearful of the storm and their predicament because of their lack of faith in God and His Word. Yet, when we see the deliverance of the Lord, things get calm and still with peace within our souls.
Due to the faithfulness of our Lord, He rebuked or over powered the wind, (exercised His authority over angels and creation), on their behalf, with the result of ending the temptation that resulted in tranquility physically and in their souls.
When we have faith in God, His Son, and His Word, as faithful good soiled souls, we too will see our temptations overcome and eliminated with the result of having peace and tranquility in our souls. And remember, that even the trampled soiled, rocky soiled, and thorny soiled souls have this opportunity as God continuously sows His seed, (i.e., His Word / Bible Doctrine), on them all. All they have to do is receive it in faith. That is, make themselves available to the intake of Bible Doctrine through their Pastor Teacher, receive the Word, believe the Word, and then apply the Word to the situations (temptations) of life.
Keep in mind that Jesus Christ was with them and He had not finished His task on earth. He came to die on the Cross for our sins, not at sea. But the disciples did not stop to sort out their theology. They did not cycle the doctrine through their souls and as a result became fearful. As the boat was about to sink they had no one to turn to but Jesus, and fortunately for them in grace, He was there and answered their fears.
Luke 8:25, “And He said to them, ‘Where is your faith?’ They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, ‘Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?’”
This is the point of this entire scene, “Where is your faith?,” POU HO PISTIS HUMEIS. The interrogative POU is first used in the Bible in Mat 2:2, 4, when the Magi and then King Herod inquired as to where Jesus, (the King/ the Messiah), was born. They were looking for Him, as Jesus is now looking to see where the disciples’ faith is. It should have been in them to know that Jesus is the King and Messiah, but yet, their soil was filled with rocks and thorns, as they had their eyes on the storm, the sea, and the waves, rather than on Jesus as their God / King / Messiah. Therefore, besides rebuking the wind and waves, Jesus rebuked His disciples.
Matthew and Mark make this rebuke of the disciples a bit harsher:
Mat 8:26, “He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, (DEILOS, cowardly, timid), you men of little faith?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm.”
Mark 4:40, “And He said to them, ‘Why are you afraid, (DEILOS)? Do you still have no faith?’”
Especially because Jesus was on board, the disciples should have put their trust in Him. Instead, they allowed worry and fear to displace their faith in Him.
Seeing Jesus rebuke the demonic inspired winds and raging seas, the disciples became “fearful,” (PHOBEO, the dual between being afraid of Jesus and having reverence and respect for Him), and they were “amazed,” (THAUMAZO, which we have noted in Luke 1:21, 63; 2:18, 23; 4:22, 7:9). Luke points out their surprise: they did not anticipate such a display of power in response to their fearful pleas for help.
Remember, this incidence happened much earlier in Jesus’s ministry with His disciples than in Luke’s account. At this point in time, they had not witnessed Jesus performing many miracles. Therefore, they were still very immature in their faith, and Jesus was using this as an object lesson to build and increase their faith.
That is the same principle for all trails, tribulations, and even temptations in our lives. When we turn them over to God and faithfully trust in Him and His Word to solve or resolve our problems, seeing Him deliver builds our faith in Him, so we are better prepared for the next tempest to rely upon in Him.
Because this was early on in Jesus’ ministry, this led them to question, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds, (ANEMOS), and the water, (hudor), and they obey Him?’”
“Command,” is the verb EPITASSO, ἐπιτάσσω that means, “command, or order.” We noted this word in Luke 4:36, when people were “amazed” (THAMBOS, amazement, astonishment, wonder), that he could command demons to vacate the body they were possessing, cf. Mark 1:27, (its first use), 9:25, Luke 8:31. Therefore, we see the genesis of this temptation, Satan and His minions that rule the cosmic system.
“And they obey Him,” uses the Present, Active, Indicative of the Verb HUPAKOUO, ὑπακούω that means, “listen to, obey, respond, answer, follow, or be subject to,” cf. Mat 8:27; Mark 1:27; 4:41. It comes from the Preposition HUPO, “under, by, by means of, about or subject to,” and the verb AKOUO, “hear or listen to.” It is obedience that comes from hearing, in this case, the command Jesus gave, i.e., the Word of God.
So, we see that Jesus is Lord over the demonic realm, as He is Lord over creation, in the fact that they obey Him. Jesus needs to be Lord in our life too, as we obey His Word daily.
Paul used HUPAKOUO in terms of being obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ, 2 Thes 1:8; 3:14, and as an obedient servant to either sin or righteousness, Rom 6:12, 16-17; cf. Eph 6:5; Col 3:20. The latter being the preference.
Therefore, Jesus’ actions had the desired effect. Instead of fearing the storm, they now “feared” Jesus. Such fear (awe or respect) is good.
That is the choice we all have, as the disciples in the boat with Jesus had. They could have been obedient, as they were, to the wind, weather, and waves by being afraid of them in a lack of faith, or they could have been obedient to God by faithfully trusting and relying upon Him and His Word in times of troubles. And the fact is it only takes a little faith to be a “good soiled,” believer, Luke 17:6.
Luke 17:6, “And the Lord said, ‘If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.”
Therefore, we see our Lord’s authority over creation, even created fallen angels. And, He exercises His authority through His word, the written Word, the Bible that is meant to have the same effect in our lives as it does to the winds and the waves and the angels. When you consider that we are made in God’s image and made for fellowship with Him, you will also understand the importance of obeying His Word. Yet, since sin has come in the world, we find it difficult to obey God. As such, God used the winds and the waves to put His disciples and us to shame. We have to look at unthinking things and fallen creatures in order to know how we should think about God’s Word and His authority. Let us observe well, so that we too obey His every Word and receive the calm, peace, and tranquility that comes with living the faithful life unto Christ.
III. The Ministry of the Son of Man to Men, Luke 4:14-9:50.
D. Activities of His Ministry, Luke 7:1-9:50.
8. Ministry over demons, Luke 8:26-39.
This is paralleled in Mat 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-17. Mark is most similar to Luke’s account. Matthew’s is briefer. So, here we are on Halloween night 2019, and the Holy Spirit has timed it so that we are talking about demon’s and demon-possession on
this night. God has a great sense of humor!
In Luke’s gospel, the first miracle Jesus performed was the exorcism of a demon, Luke 4:31-37. In that episode, we see a similar reaction by the demon when Jesus confronted it in vs. 34, “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” We will note this further below, in vs. 28.
Luke 8:26, “Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee.”
This scene took place in the “country of the Gerasenes,” which is located on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee and is a part of the region of Decapolis, cf. Mark 5:20. In each of the Gospels, there are three variant names given from different ancient text sources. They are:
1) GADARENOS, Γαδαρηνός. Mat 8:28, Gadarenes.
2) GERASENOS, Γερασηνός, Mark 5:1; Luke 8:26.
3) GERGESENOS, Γεργεσηνός, Not used by English translators. It is a derivative of Gergesa, that does not occur in the NT. It is a person who lives in or is a native of Gergesa, “a Gergesene.”
A reason for seeing all three in various ancient texts, is that one is a city, the other the state, and the other the country. In our translation “country,” is the Greek Noun CHORA that can mean, “region, country, dry land, country side, or field.” Previously, Luke used it for a general “region,” Luke 2:8, 3:1. At this time, this was part of the Roman Empire and part of the Decapolis district, so it was not a separate country. We should think of this using the term “region.”
Luke 8:27, “And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs.”
In that region, Luke says Jesus met one demon possessed man, as does Mark, but Matthew says there were two demon possessed men, Mat 8:28, “When He came to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, two men who were demon-possessed met Him as they were coming out of the tombs. They were so extremely violent that no one could pass by that way.”
Matthew uses the Verb DAIMONIZOMAI, δαιμονίζομαι for, “being demon-possessed or demoniac,” only here. Matthew uses this word eight times, Mat 4:24; 8:16, 28, 33; 9:32; 12:22(twice); 15:22, and Mark uses it four times, Mark 1:32; 5:15-16, 18. John used it once in John 10:21. Except for one text, Mat 15:22, it always occurs in a Participial form where it means “tormented by a demon,” i.e., demon-possessed.
Luke used the phrase ECHO DAIMONION in the plural for, “having demons.” The term conveys the same animistic views characteristic of heathen religion everywhere: the spirits are able to “possess” or “take over” human or animal bodies.
Matthew linked demon-possession with physical infirmities, Mat 9:32; 12:22, and the demon-possessed were ruled by “spirits,” PNEUMATA, Mat 8:16, which are fallen angles, until Jesus cast them out.
In Luke’s account, the demon-possessed man had other characteristics in that he “had not worn clothing for a long time,” OUK ENDUO HIMATION HIKANOS CHRONOS, and “was not living in a house, but in the tombs,” i.e., the grave yard, OUK MENO EN OIKOS ALLA EN HO MNEMA. This was considered a sign of madness, uncleanness, and unclean spirits ruling this man’s soul.
Demon possession is defined as the invasion of one or more fallen angel(s) into the body of an unbeliever that takes control of his soul and body. Therefore, the demon can cause the possessed person to think and do certain things in certain ways. Only unbelievers can be demon possessed, as the believer is indwelt by God the Holy Spirit from the moment of his salvation / being born again. At the moment of our conversion, God the Holy Spirit makes a temple out of the body of the believer, 1 Cor 3:16; 6:19-20. A demon cannot dwell in that temple. Even though the believer cannot be possessed by a demon, if he or she enters into sin, carnality, or reversionism for a prolonged period of time, they open themselves up to demonic influence, but never possession.
All demonic activity, possession or influence, is related to man’s free will and demon possession never occurs apart from human consent. This does not mean they have to ask or pray for the possession, although some may do that, it means that they get involved in some form of sins or bad decisions in their life; so that the demon is free to invade the body of that unbeliever.
Decisions or methods that result in demon possession include:
a) Idolatry, 1 Cor 10:19-21. Wherever idolatry is practiced today there are demons behind the idols, just as they were in ancient times. Idolatry is the basic system for demon possession, as taught in Lev 17:7; Deut 32:17; Psa 96:5; 106:37-39. The sacrifice to demons is prohibited by God, Lev 17:7; Deut 32:17, because heathen nations and their worship was strictly demon possessed and influenced, Psa 96:5. The idols of these nations were demons, and demon worship and idolatry included the most horrible sexual practices, such as rape, homosexuality, bestiality, pedophilia, and the sacrifice of children, as we will note below, Psa 106:37‑39.
Psa 106:37-39, “They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, 38and shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood. 39Thus they became unclean in their practices, and played the harlot in their deeds.”
b. Drug addiction. Users of drugs, including the drug alcohol, are all liable to demon possession in the case of unbelievers, or demon influence in the case of those who are born again. In Gal 5:20, the word “sorcery,” is the Greek word PHARMAKEIA that is in the family of PHARMA words including PHARMAKEUS, PHARMAKON, and PHARMOKOS, (where we get our word “pharmacy” from), that means, “to mix potions or poison,” or the ones doing so, that was a part of witchcraft, sorcery, and magic in the ancient days, as it sometimes is today too. When you use drugs to influence your mind, it opens up the soul of the unbeliever for demon possession, and the soul of the believer to demonic influence.
c. The phallic cult, which was the use of sex in the worship of ancient gods. This is a basis for contact with demons, Isa 2:6; Luke 8:2; Mark 16:9. This includes demonic orgiastic response, auto-eroticism, lesbianism, homosexuality, prostitution, group orgies, unrestrained sexual lust, etc. In themselves, these things do not imply demon possession, but open up the possibility for the unbeliever to be possessed. Today, in the United States and many other nations around the world, pornography and the sex trades, in all their forms, are the replacement and/or means of phallic cult activities. In the ancient days and even today, it included human sacrifice and idolatry. This is why we have to be so careful regarding pornography today that is so readily available on the TV, movie screens, and especially the internet, as it leads to all kinds of demonic activities that the average person is unaware of. And it is only one click away!
d. Mental attitude sins carried to the extreme can result in demon possession. Many cases of neurosis and psychosis are cases of demon possession or influence, Mark 5, where the demon-possessed individuals had all of the characteristics of psychosis. Many of our “insane asylums” are filled with demon possessed people that are treated for various mental disorders, when the cause is demonic possession.
e. Religious reversionistic sensitivity, dabbling in the occult, playing with the Quija board, consulting mediums, spiritists, tarot card, palm, and crystal ball readers, or the function of necromancy, 1 Sam 28; 1 Chron 10:13; Isa 8:19.
Isa 8:19, “When they say to you, ‘Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,’ should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?”
These are designed to turn the body and soul over to some higher type of power, i.e. demons. The Law condemned to death anyone who dabbled in the occult, Lev 20:27; Deut 18:11; cf. Lev 17:7; 19:31; 20:6; 2 Kings 21:6; 23:34; 2 Chron 33:6; Isa 19:3.
The nations of Canaan were destroyed because of their demon activity, Deut 18:9-12. The same is true of Athens, Persia, Assyria, and the Mycenaeans. Military disaster can occur because of demon influenced leadership. Demonism brings the fifth cycle of discipline to a nation, Isa 47; Jer 27:6-10. Nebuchadnezzar came to Jerusalem on the basis of divination, Ezek 21:21ff.
The practice of necromancy was the cause of personal judgment to Saul and Manasseh, 1 Chron 10:13-14; 2 Kings 21:2‑9. The Jews reached the lowest form of apostasy because of demon activity.
Demon influence, by way of contrast, is the infiltration of satanic thought into the soul of a believer or unbeliever, 1 Tim 4:1; Eph 4:17, or the substitution of emotion for thought. The believer enters demon influence through the various stages of reversionism where they also may get involved in some of the activities noted above.
Satan uses certain demons to produce disease or physical handicaps in human beings, Job 2:6-8; Mat 12:22; Luke 13:16; Acts 10:38. Demon influence attacks the body through demon‑induced illness. When the mentality of the soul is in certain conditions, it brings on certain kinds of diseases.
Demon Possession Today:
The question is often raised whether demon possession exists at the present time. Although the authentic records of such control are mostly limited to the three years of the public ministry of Jesus, it is improbable that demon possession did not exist before that time, or has not existed since. It is reasonable to conclude that they like their monarch adapt their manner of activity to the culture of the age and locality. In the case of cultural recognition of God’s Divine Institutions and divine establishment principles, God will impede gross demon activity, which results in the more sublime nature of false righteousness. In the case of cultures where there is an absence of authority orientation, the more extravagant the manifestations of demon possession. Therefore, it is evident that they are not now less inclined than before to enter and dominate a body.
Demon possession in the present time is often unsuspected because of the generally unrecognized fact that demons are capable of inspiring a moral and exemplary life, 2 Cor 11:14, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” This is further disguised by appearing as the dominating spirit of a “spiritists” or “medium,” 1 Tim 4:1, “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons.”
Missionaries observing conditions in heathen lands record the grosser manifestations of demon possession. These demons too, like their king, sometimes appear as “angels of light,” but more often as “roaring lions,” 1 Peter 5:8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
One description of voodoo possession in the country of Haiti is as follows. “The subject enters a trance like state (usually after undergoing convulsions), during which one of the loas enters his or her body and ‘rides’ it. The human personality is displaced by the superhuman, the human features take on the characteristics of the spirit’s desire (masculine or feminine, good or evil, old or young, crafty or honest), and the human throat utters the Ion’s words, some of them in wholly unintelligible ‘tongues.’ The possession may last minutes or hours or sometimes days, during which time the person invaded by the spirit is fed the spirit’s favorite food and drink (often quite impossible for unpossessed humans to consume) and offered his favorite diversions. Afterward, the human remembers nothing of his behavior as a god” (Carter Harman, “The West Indies,” Life World Library [New York: Time, Inc., 1963], pp. 53-4).
The characteristics of demon-possession can be as varied as the activities of demons, ranging from mild to severe and even bizarre. A few specific symptoms of demon-possession are described in the Bible, which includes the following physical and mental abnormalities like:
a) Dumbness, blindness, and convulsions, Mat 9:32-33; 12:22; 17:15-18; Mark 1:26; 9:20; Luke 9:39.
b) Tendencies to self-destruction, Mat 17:15; Mark 5:5; Luke 9:42.
c) Abnormally violent, Mat 8:28.
d) Inflict suffering, illnesses and deformities, Mark 9:20; Luke 9:29; 13:11-17.
e) Insanity, Mark 5:5; Luke 8:26-35; John 10:20.
f) Nakedness in public, Luke 8:27.
g) Grinding the teeth, Mark 9:18.
h) Living among dead bodies, Mark 5:3.
i) Superhuman strength, Mark 5:3-4; Luke 8:29; Acts 19:15-16.
j) Occult powers, Acts 16:16-18.
Satan uses healers in his false system of religion. Satan orders the removal of a demon induced illness and the person appears to be cured. He also “heals” in certain strategic times, like during the tribulation, Mat 24:24; Acts 19:13-14; 2 Thes 2:9; Rev 16:14.
Though demons can do these things in people, this does not mean that all illness comes from demon activity. The Bible clearly distinguishes demon-induced diseases from illnesses due to other more natural causes, Mat 4:24; Mark 1:32-42; Luke 7:21; 9:1; Acts 5:16.
Mat 4:24, “The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them.:
Jesus Christ controls history by the restraint of demonism. An example of his control was the first-born judgment on Egypt, Ex 12:12. At the same time, demons were also judged, Num 33:4. Without the judgment of demons in Egypt, Israel would not have become a nation. Conversely, demons are powerless to change the course of history, Isa 19:3.
Should we be afraid of Demon Possession or the Demon Possessed? 1 John 4:4; 2 Tim 1:7
“At times I hear people talking about demons, and I am amazed at the great power they ascribe to the devil and his cohorts. While I certainly believe in demonic power, I don’t quake at the thought of it. I am in union with One who is so far greater than all the demons of hell put together that there truly is no comparison. The devil is a creature, made by God and always under God’s dominion. He exists only because God allows him to exist. He has no authority over God, no ability to win a victory over God, and no power equal to that of God. As believers, we should give very little credit to the devil and demons. They exist, they exert influence, but they are totally within the confines of God’s authority. The Bible states very clearly that the Holy Spirit resident in us is far superior to any power manifested by evil. John wrote, “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them (the false teachers, antichrists that reject the Person of Christ), because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).” (Charles Stanley on Satan, Our Unmet Needs, page 33)
1. Demon possession can only occur to an unbeliever.
2. Demon possession never occurs apart from human consent, either consciously or unwittingly.
3. Some bad decision is made which results in demon invasion of the body of the unbeliever.
4. These decisions are related to cosmic involvement, idolatry, the occult, drugs, etc.
5. The phallic cult uses human sacrifice, idolatry, and unrestrained sexual lust.
6. Idolatry is a basic system for demon possession.
7. Passive submission to demons is accomplished through drug addiction, idolatry, the phallic cult, the deliberate development of emotional revolt of the soul, the satanic mass, and any prolonged involvement in the cosmic system.
8. Active submission to demon possession can be both violent and painful, Luke 13:11-17. This woman was positive; trying to get to Jesus and apparently could not speak because of the demon.
a) Whenever Jesus cast out a demon there was always some arrogant, self‑righteous, person standing around to challenge exorcism by Jesus, Mat 12:22-28; Luke 13:11-15.
b) In Mark 3:15, Jesus delegated the authority of exorcism to his disciples. In Acts 5:16; 8:7; 19:12, He delegated that authority to the apostles of the church.
9. Because demon possession involves human sacrifice, it was the basis for capital punishment under the laws of divine establishment, Lev 20:27.
10. In the control of historical trends, our Lord often judges demon activity, Ex 12:12.
11. Demons are powerless to control history, Isa 19:3.
12. Demon activity results in the administration of the fifth cycle of discipline, Deut 18:9-12.
13. Demons are often used by God for the administration of the sin unto death, 1 Cor 5:5; 1 Tim 1:19-20.
14. Demonization of a nation results in the destruction of that nation, Isa 47; Jer 27:6-10.
15. Satan uses certain demons to produce disease. Some diseases are demon induced. Healing is often Satan removing one of his demons to produce a cure.
16. Demon possession is a source of the current tongues movement.
17. The believer should not fear demon possession or the demon possessed.
18. Demon influence, like the activity of Satan, is prompted by two motives: both to hinder the purpose of God for humanity, and to extend the authority of Satan. Those demonically influenced, therefore, at the command of their king, willingly cooperate in all his God-dishonoring undertakings. Their influence is exercised both to mislead the unsaved and to wage an unceasing warfare against the believer, Eph 6:12.
John 13:2, “During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him; (vs.27) After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly’.”
Yet, the “good soil soul” will not have demon possession or demonic influence, as they walk filled with the Holy Spirit while learning and apply God’s Word to their life.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
#19-114 & 19-115 & 19-116
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life.
So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!