People sometimes use demon possession as an excuse for bad behavior. The person will say, “It wasn’t my fault! A demon made me do it.”
First, let’s understand that Jesus conquered the forces of Satan. In Colossians 2:15, after Paul said that Jesus had forgiven our sins and canceled the written code, he goes on to say that Jesus also “disarmed the powers and authorities” which are Satan’s spiritual forces. You and I do not run the risk of having a demon take over and make us do something against our will. Here are some of the biblical reasons why we know that can’t happen:
#1. Prophecy said that when the Messiah would come, unclean spirits would be gone. See Zechariah 13:1-14. That is backed up by 1 John 3:8, and Colossians 2:15.
#2. One primary theme in the New Testament is that every person chooses what to believe and whom to obey. We cannot be taken over by anything, because it is our free moral choice. See Philippians 2:12, John 20:31, and James 2:14.
#3. The Church was never warned about demons even though it was warned about everything else. If we were at risk of demon possession, the Church would have been warned. See Acts 20:28-31, 1 Corinthians 4:14-17, Colossians 1:28, and 2 Peter 1:3-9.
#4. The New Testament gives us the cure for overcoming Satan’s power. See James 4:7, Ephesians 6:12-18, 1 Peter 5:8-9, and Hebrews 4:15-16.
#5. The Bible says that God has restricted Satan. See Revelation 20:1-3, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Romans 8:28, and 2 Corinthians 12:7-12.
God gave us the right to choose Him or Satan. It is our free choice, and God has promised He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). We cannot use the excuse that a demon made me do it.
You have probably heard the statistic that “ten percent of people are gay” or even “ten percent of people are BORN gay.” The truth is that nobody is “born gay.” There is a condition called “intersex” in which a child is born with some characteristics of both sexes. Those cases are very rare and varied. The different variations of intersex can occur anywhere from one birth in thousands to one in hundreds of thousands. But that does not mean the child is “gay.”
Research and observation seem to indicate that same-sex activity is increasing. Some experts have suggested that the apparent increase in “gayness” in our society is due to environmental pollution. There has been a lot of research into finding a “gay gene” or any environmental factor that makes a person “gay.” So far, there are no reliable answers.
The “ten percent of people are gay” statistic was falsely derived from the 1940’s Kinsey research. Alfred Kinsey, a zoologist at Indiana State University, interviewed people in prisons and the “gay underworld” using methods that would not hold up to modern statistical sampling techniques. He compiled the statistics in his reports on “Human Sexual Behavior” that shocked America. In the 1970s, Bruce Voeller, who founded the National Gay Task Force, used Kinsey’s research to say that ten percent of people are “gay.” That number has become one of the myths of modern culture. (Similar to the myth that we use only ten percent of our brains.) After all, ten percent is a nice round number even if it has no basis in fact.
So what is the truth about the apparent increase in same-sex activity? Reliable research indicates that the percentage of people in the overall population who consider themselves to be gay/lesbian/bisexual is much lower than ten percent. However, the percentage is higher among young people. How much of this is a factor of family breakdown, media and celebrity influence, or society’s acceptance of the “gay lifestyle” is difficult to determine.
The October 2018 issue of Scientific American (page 39) contains an article by Brooke Borel titled “Clicks, Lies and Video Tape.” The article begins by stating, “Artificial Intelligence is making it possible for anyone to manipulate audio and video. The biggest threat is that we stop trusting anything at all.” Then what can we trust?
The article tells us that in April 2018 a new video of Barack Obama appeared on the internet in which he spoke looking exactly as he did when he was president of the United States. The image we could all see was Obama facing the camera, and with outstretched hands, he said, “President Trump is a total and complete XXXXX.”
In reality, it wasn’t Obama at all, but an actor named Jordan Peele who used BuzzFeed News to produce a fake video. The technology is now available to make realistic-looking fake videos. They can contain what appears to be known political characters spreading disinformation. In fact, this is already being done.
The first example of fakery was the serpent in Genesis 3, and Satan has continued to use this tool throughout time. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 Paul writes, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” The truth is that we cannot trust anything in the physical world. The evening news is full of falsehoods and agents of Satan.
As Christians, we would encourage others to understand that while humans can be bribed, bullied, and deceived. What can we trust? The word of Jesus Christ is true and testable. It can be trusted 100%. What a joy it is to know that we have a rock that is God’s word. If we trust God, all of the deceit and lying of men and of Satan himself cannot mislead us.
1-SATAN WORKS BY BRUTE FORCE. In the Genesis account, God tells us how the battle between good and evil will progress. “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. It will bruise your head and you will bruise His heel.” The blow to Satan will ultimately be fatal–evil will die. The damage to the heel will be bad in this life, but not eternally.
The Bible is full of descriptions of Satan’s brute force–the repeated captivity of Israel, the slaying of the babies by Herod, the crucifixion of Jesus, etc. Satan frequently enters his workers to make brute force happen. In John 13:27 Satan entered Judas. In Matthew 16:23 he attempted to enter Peter, but Jesus rebuked him. In our world today he enters people, especially when invited or not resisted. Every day we see examples of this on the front page of our newspaper.
2-SATAN WORKS BY SOWING BAD SEEDS. In Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus told a parable to explain a second way how Satan works. It is almost impossible to tell the difference between a tare seed and a wheat seed. Satan sows seeds that are not always obvious at the time. It is not always obvious who is sowing the bad seed as verse 25 says the sower of the bad seed comes at night.
3-SATAN WORKS BY IMITATING GOD’S GOOD THINGS. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-14 we read, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And don’t be surprised for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” In the parable, the tares were not removed until the harvest, because it would do too much damage to the wheat to rip them out. So also, evil will not be removed from our lives until the harvest when the fruit of our lives can be seen. God allows perverse forms of marriage and sex to continue to exist, but in the end, the results of these perverse things will be clear.
Once we understand how Satan works, we can know what comes from Satan and not from God. Mathew 7:15-20 tells us to “watch out for false prophets who will come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them … every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit … thus by their fruit you will recognize them.” The next three verses have these evil workers claiming miracles in the name of Christ. People can claim anything, but Jesus says, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you.” We find Paul reaffirming that in 2 Corinthians 11:15.
Jeremiah 23 gives five tests we can all make of religious leaders to see if they are good leaders or false prophets. 1-Vs 9-14 Do they have high moral standards? 2-Vs 16-17 Do they offer false hope? 3-Vs 21-22 Do they have integrity and oppose evil? 4-Vs 29-32 Do they speak where God has not spoken? 5-Vs 33-36 Do they state their opinions as God’s Word?
There are plenty of cheap imitations of the Lord’s Church out there as you can see by turning on your TV. The religious teachers that fail the tests Jeremiah laid out are Satan’s workers, and they are all around us. That is how Satan works.
When you think of Satan, what do you visualize? Do you see an image of a sinister, demonic-looking man with horns and a tail? Do you see a cartoon guy in a red suit with a pitchfork? The Bible refers to Satan by name more than 50 times and uses other descriptions such as “the enemy” or “the prince of this world,” or “the devil.” Is this opposing spirit adversary Satan real or an ancient construction of superstitious people?
The Old Testament Hebrew word and the New Testament Greek word translated “satan” literally mean “accuser,” “adversary,” or “opposing spirit.” In 1 Chronicles 21:1, Zechariah 3:1-2 and Job chapters 1 and 2 present Satan as appearing before God along with the angels as an accuser. The New Testament tells us that Satan entered into Judas as he betrayed Jesus (Luke 22:3). Christ even called Peter “Satan” when he opposed God’s plan (Luke 8:33). The Bible does not portray Satan as taking on a human form in the physical realm, but it does show the opposing spirit assuming a symbolic form as a serpent creature (Genesis 3:1). So we have an opposing spirit adversary in the spiritual realm.
There are two realms of existence–the physical and the spiritual. The physical realm that you and I live in is time-dependent. Our senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing enable us to comprehend the physical. The spiritual existence is time-independent, and we perceive that realm in other ways, but not through our senses.
The Bible tells us that beings exist in the spiritual realm. Ephesians 3:8-10 describes this for us: “God gave me the work of telling all people about the plan for his secret truth that has been hidden in Him since the beginning of time. He is the one who created everything, His purpose was that all the rulers and powers in heavenly places will now know many different ways He shows His wisdom. They will know this because of the Church.”
Ephesians 6:11-12 repeats this reference to the spiritual realm. “Wear God’s armor so that you can fight against the devil’s clever tricks. Our fight is not against people on Earth. We are fighting against the rulers and authorities of this world’s darkness. We are fighting against spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places.”
As science probes more deeply into the origin of mass and electric charge, something becomes increasingly apparent. The physical realm’s source is from a dimension higher than the three-dimensional world we experience. String theory, for example, proposes 11 spatial dimensions in its mathematical analysis. We directly sense only three dimensions plus time, but the spiritual realm exists outside of the spatial dimensions that make up the physical world.
Most people don’t believe that when we die there is no further existence of any kind. We sense that there is something more. Revelation 21:3-5 tells us that when our physical life ends, we will be in a time-independent realm. For those who are in Christ “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain so the old order of things is passed away.”
According to Revelation 20:10 the opposing spirit will be done away., but it is very active in today’s world. We will continue with more on that tomorrow.