Spiritual Warfare Part Three: Jesus, Demons and Authority
It is not uncommon to find Christians and even Christian theologians who deny the reality of the demonic. They chalk up all claims of demonic activity to psychology, medical causes, mistaken sensory perception, or pure lying and myth making. Sacred Scripture treats it as real, and so did Jesus Himself. Let's look at just a few examples of Jesus interacting with demons.
One thing that is pretty clear from these passages is that Jesus considered them to be very real. As He is our prime witness to objective Truth, we cannot ignore his example. From these verses we can deduce that demons:
- Are personal,
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.- Ephesians 6:12
The above verse inform us that demons are of various "orders" or "functions" and that, as created beings, are under the authority of Jesus, through whom they were created.
Additionally Jesus has granted a certain degree of authority over these demons to His church. Now there are some who suggest that the authority to cast out demons ceased with the passing of the twelve apostles. Is this what Sacred Scripture says? No. In fact it tells us the seventy two disciples had this same derived authority.
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”- Luke 10:17
Now if some attempt to move the goal post and suggest that this authority ceased with the seventy two disciples, they still have the problem of Philip, who was not one of the seventy two nor one of the twelve.
Beyond this we have the testimonies of the Church Fathers who tell of demons being cast out in their time.
"Throughout the whole world, and in your city, many of our Christian men have healed numerous demon possessed persons, exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ."- Justin Martyr
"Even the demons fear the power of his name. At this day, when they are exorcised in the name of Jesus...they are defeated."- Justin Martyr
"Even to this day, the demon possessed are sometimes exorcised in the name of the living and true God."- Theophilus
"We daily hold them up to contempt. We exorcise them from their victims, as multitudes can testify."- Tertullian
"The demons themselves confess concerning themselves as often as they are driven by us from bodies by the torments of our words and by the fires of our prayers.."- Mark Minucius Felix
"This is also done in the present day. For the devil is scourged, burned, and tortured by exorcists-by the human voice and by divine power." - Cyprian
Indeed, this authority to cast out demons continues to this day in the Body of Christ, and is a derived authority and not something for us to take joy in or brag, boast and sell as some televangelists are fond of doing.