KINGDOM BIBLE STUDIES
"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
THE POWER OF THE KINGDOM
By His perfect life of love and His trust in His heavenly Father, Jesus demonstrated that He lived in the Kingdom of God. By His sonship ministry Jesus brought the power of the Kingdom of God into human experience as He forgave sins, cast out devils, healed the sick, raised the dead, and transformed men's lives. As the Son of God He had authority to share what belonged to Him with His chosen disciples. Thus, He shared with these the powers of the Kingdom of God. There was a day when the seventy followers whom He had sent out into the surrounding villages to preach and to heal returned to Him, with their faces eager and glowing and triumphant. "Master," they cried excitedly, "Master, it works -- this new power that has been given to us -- it really works! We have proved it. The darkest, foulest, most stubborn spirits are subject to us through Thy name!" Whereupon, says the Gospel writer, hearing that glad news, and understanding its deeper significance, which even they could not quite fathom, Jesus exclaimed, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven!" Obviously, Jesus was not talking about seeing the fall of a powerful archangel that supposedly fell from heaven away back before the foundations of the earth were laid or ever the stars twinkled in the night sky. Jesus did not mean that in some long ago He beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Ah, no!
He spoke of what His Father had revealed to Him about the Kingdom of God and the sonship ministry. He says that in the Spirit He had already seen Satan's overthrow, the power of darkness broken, destroyed, forever done for. Many years later on the barren slopes of Patmos John the Revelator in rapturous vision beheld the same scene. It was when he saw the manchild, the manifested sons of God, birthed and caught up to God and to His throne that "there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night" (Rev. 12:7-10).
May I point out here that John wrote of those things which "should be hereafter." John wasn't seeing the fall of Satan in the swirling mists of antiquity. It wasn't the fall of someone called Lucifer away back before the dawn of creation. No! Such theories are but carnal-minded delusions of men who have not the spirit of wisdom or revelation from God. Rather, John in the Spirit beheld the fall of Satan that could only come when the manchild company is caught up to God and to His throne! The truth is just this. It is only through the Kingdom ministry of Jesus and His many brethren that Satan falls as lightning from heaven. There is no other fall of Satan in all the pages of God's holy Book! When the devils were subject to Jesus and His disciples at the preaching of the Kingdom of God, Jesus saw the mystery of the Kingdom unfolding before His eyes. The ministry of the firstborn Son is the proto-type of the ministry of the son-company in preparation in this very hour! It is through the authority of sonship ministry that Satan is cast out of the heavens of his power. Only the sons of God can dethrone Satan! That is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!
Wherever Jesus went, demons were subject to His very word. He engaged not in incantations or magical ritual as Jewish exorcists of the day were accustomed to do; but He spoke a word and the demons obeyed Him. It was not the exorcism of demons as such which amazed the people; it was the fact that He commanded the unclean spirits with authority and they obeyed His mere word that gave Jesus such great fame (Mk. 1:27-28).
After the Lord announced that the time for the beginning of the Kingdom had come, He went into the synagogue at Capernaum and began to teach. Immediately the people noticed something very different about this man. There was an authority in His teaching that the scribes did not have. Furthermore, a man in the synagogue in which resided an unclean spirit began to cry out. The evil spirit could not withstand His presence nor the power of His authority. When Jesus rebuked the demon, commanding it to come out of the man, the demon cried out with a loud voice. When the people saw this happen before their eyes, they were greatly astonished. Never before had they seen an evil spirit instantly come out of anyone by the direct command of a man. None of their religious leaders, nor even the prophets, had such power. They questioned among themselves about what new doctrine or power this was.
It was true. A new power had come into operation among men. All through the Old Testament times, though the prophets had power to perform miracles and do exploits, not one person had cast a demon out of anyone by means of a direct command. What was this new power that was operating among men? Our Lord Jesus, Himself, explained it this way. He said, "If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come..." (Mat. 12:28). This new authority which He was exercising over demons and over all things was the sign and proof that the Kingdom of God had begun. When He first began to preach, He had said that the Kingdom of God was drawing near, but now, after He had started to cast out demons by the power of His Word, He declared, "The Kingdom of God IS COME!" It was no longer future, but had become a present reality within and through Himself.
One of the most instructive passages of scripture in connection with the power of the Kingdom is found in Matthew's Gospel. "Then was brought unto Him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and He healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: and if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you" (Mat. 12:22-28).
This enlightening passage unfolds for us the deepest mystery of the power of Jesus Christ the Son of God, which is the power of the Kingdom of God. The Pharisees recognized in Jesus the supernatural power, but accused Him of being in league with Satan himself. Jesus replied that this was an absurd and impossible notion, for it would mean that Satan's house was divided against itself in civil strife -- one part of Satan's rulers expelling the other part! The very idea was ludicrous. It would mean that Satan's kingdom was suffering an internal insurrection, a political coup d' etat! Very plainly Jesus set forth the eternal truth that Satan does not cast out Satan. Never forget that, my friend. That is the word of the King Himself! But He then hastily added these significant words, "And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whose power do your sons drive them out? For this reason they shall be your judges."
The above words reveal that there were those among the Pharisees themselves who were exorcists, and very naturally raised the question, Who were the Jews who were exorcists? Who were these sons of the religious leaders to whom Jesus was speaking who also cast out spirits? Both the Bible and the Jewish historian, Josephus, refer to the exorcists of the Jews. The ancient subject of exorcism has been popularized in our day by the block-buster movie, THE EXORCIST. Those who regard this current interest in exorcism as some weird phenomena may be surprised to learn about its prevalence in various cultures, including New Testament times. Exorcism was no new thing that began when Jesus came into the world. Rites of exorcism can be found in all cultures throughout all ages. The priest, the prophet, the magician, the exorcist -- these have all existed as long as there has been religion, from the remotest dawn of history. All the ancient pagan religions of Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome had their exorcists. Among the Jews it was often priests who served as exorcists.
The apostle Paul on one momentous occasion met a group of these exorcists. Paul had arrived at Ephesus and a mighty move of God had broken out. Many signs and wonders were performed during the space of two years, so that "all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them" (Acts 19:10-12). And then we read, from the Amplified Bible, "Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists also undertook to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, I charge you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches! Seven sons of a certain Jewish priest named Sceva were doing this. But one evil spirit retorted, Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you? Then the man in whom the evil spirit dwelt, leaped upon them, mastering them, and was so violent against them that they dashed out of that house in fear, stripped naked and wounded" (Acts 19:13-16).
These men made a trade, a profession of casting out demons. They had obviously heard about Paul and his great spiritual authority, perhaps had even witnessed it. They were trying to emulate him. These men were trying to imitate Paul and usurp his method by saying, "We adjure you by Jesus, whom Paul preaches." What happened? The evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?" Anyone could run into that reaction by trying to exercise spiritual authority without a deep relationship and union with Jesus! Now, these fellows were obviously not righteous either. They were professional exorcists. They were trying to usurp the power of the Kingdom of God without any union with the King of the Kingdom, Jesus. And they got what they deserved! The evil spirit in the man jumped on them and thoroughly beat them up, tearing their clothes off of them, until they fled in terror from the house naked and wounded. Of course, there was great fear in Ephesus as a result of this, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, because, in contrast, just the anointing carried in sweat rags from Paul caused demons to come out. And an entire group of professional exorcists couldn't cause it to happen!
It is now time for some deep, hard thinking. I ask you to follow me very closely with a reverent heart as I unfold a deep mystery of the Kingdom of God. There is a bewildering paradox in the things we have just read. On the one hand, Jesus says that Satan does not cast out Satan. On the other hand, Jesus says that there were men other than Himself who exorcized spirits. You see, Jesus did not deny that there were Jews who exorcized demons. And neither did He accuse them of being of the devil! But though He established that they were not of the devil, He also said that they were not moving in the Kingdom of God! They could not be exorcising spirits by the devil, because then Satan's kingdom would be divided. But only casting out devils by the Spirit of God could bring the Kingdom of God to men! This is a great mystery. You see, the Pharisees attributed Jesus' casting out of spirits to satanic power but accepted the validity of their own exorcisms. This, says Jesus, is self-contradictory! If He is casting out devils by the prince of devils, then Satan's house is in rebellion against itself. The devil does not cast out the devil! Now let us understand! There were Jews who cast out devils. Jesus Himself affirmed that they did. "If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out?" Furthermore, Jesus by His own argument with the Pharisees forever established, beyond any doubt, that the Jewish exorcists did not cast out devils by satanic power, because the devil doesn't cast out the devil -- not through Jesus, and not through anybody else! Nothing can be more certain than that. And nothing can be clearer!
The question follows -- who were these exorcists of the Jews? By what power did they cast out spirits? And in what way was Jesus' ministry greater than theirs? First of all, there was a distinct difference between Jewish exorcisms and those by Jesus. It was not merely the fact of Jesus' ability to cast out demons that impressed the Pharisees: it was the manner in which He did it. With a single command He cast out spirits! They were helpless before His word. Luke records Jesus' words in this way, "But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you." What does the "finger" of God indicate? What do you convey when you take your finger and shake it in your child's face and say, "You had better do what I told you -- NOW!" You are about to force the issue, aren't you? And the child understands that right well! He knows that while he may not have respected your authority, you are now ready to apply your force. You who are parents know that sometimes just your physical strength, or the power of your presence, or the parental authority that you have, is not enough to evoke the desired response. It takes the finger of Daddy in their face. "If I cast out devils with the finger of God, then without doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon you -- the omnipotent, irresistible power of the Kingdom is here! I am forcing the issue! You will obey! There is now no alternative!" The power of the Kingdom in Jesus brought the force of God against the devils, against sin, against sickness, disease and infirmity, against death, against the laws of nature, against the bigotry of man, against the delusions of religion -- He forced the issue wherever He went. That was the ministry of Jesus in every realm. That is the glory of sonship. That is the power of the Kingdom. The sons of God are destined to demonstrate in all its fullness the power of the Kingdom of God!
As I have already pointed out, it was not casting out devils itself, but the awesome authority of Jesus' ministry, that amazed the Jews. In contrast to this, Jewish exorcism, like all the religious exorcisms of the world, involved time-honored methods and techniques, the exercise of magical practices, repetitive phrases, vociferous commands, lengthy incantations and prayers, and the expenditure of a great deal of time and energy in unending hours of warfare before the demon succumbed and finally made his departure. The "exorcists" indeed were able to exorcize demons by their elaborate and sophisticated methods, but Christ cast out demons through the power of the Spirit of God. Only when devils were cast out by the power of the Holy Spirit was it a manifestation of the Kingdom of God. "If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, then is the Kingdom of God come unto you." Jesus' power was the power of the Kingdom! The Jewish exorcists' power was something else -- it was not Satan's power, but neither was it the power of God! They were merely professional exorcists. What, then, was it?
There is a world of difference between the two. Let me share an example I have read of a modern-day professional exorcism in the Catholic church. A woman who could not be helped by her psychiatrist was turned over to the priests of her church. She had dreadful spells, thinking of the most blasphemous things to do. She had been a pious woman. Now she feared that she would become completely insane. Before getting involved, the church made certain that the woman was indeed possessed. Then a priest with patience and courage was assigned the task of exorcising the evil that had taken possession of the woman. Precautions were taken to keep the affair secret so that people would not talk scandalously about her.
The woman was taken to a convent in the countryside, a peaceful place. Trouble began at once when the car, which was being driven by a priest, almost refused to run. At the convent, the woman's supper was sprinkled with holy water and taken to her. She would not eat, but started purring like a cat. She was then given unblessed food to insure that she would not hurl the dishes through the window. That the demon would put up a stiff fight to keep his possession of the woman was not debated in the least. She was placed on an iron bed and held firmly by several strong nuns. When the priest made the sign of the cross over her, she sprang from the bed, flew across the room, and hung on to the wall in a mysterious fashion. It took all the strength that the nuns could exert to pull her down and replace her on the bed.
As prayers continued, dreadful howlings were heard, all kinds of loud animal noises issued from the woman's mouth so that the whole countryside heard and came running. Her body was unbelievably distorted; she went into convulsive fits and vomited all kinds of foul messes, although she had taken nothing but water and a little milk for a couple of weeks. The devil was forced to speak during the exorcistic rituals. Through this means, the exorcist discovered that many demons were in possession of the woman. Often the spirits howled. Many voices were heard -- some suffering, others complaining. This went on for days. It was also discovered that the devils had entered the woman when she was but fourteen years of age, and her own father had cursed her. He was among the demons. He admitted now that he tried to force her into an incestuous relationship. His life had been debased and coarse and worthless. Then a woman demon appeared and tried to grab the Host which was on the breast of the priest.
All the prayers, all the evoking of the Trinity were repeated, but the demons kept howling, shouted obscenities, and spitted out foul matter. The priests and the nuns had to take turns going for fresh air in order to avoid collapse. This went on for days, and everyone suffered from the ugliness of the action. From early morning until late at night for twenty-three days, the exorcism went on. The possessed woman was given no solid food, but she continued to vomit excessively. At one time, she appeared to be on the brink of death, but the exorcist said she would not die. Then suddenly, after everyone was exhausted, the demons were driven out of the woman's body.
DOMINION OF SOUL AND SPIRIT
Why does such "exorcism" work, although it demands much time, persistence, perseverance, and the exertion of great courage and energy? I will now tell you how it works. When Jesus cast out devils, He did so by the Spirit of God -- by the force of the personality and authority of the Father who dwelt in Him. When "exorcists" exorcize spirits, they do so by the force of the personality of the human soul. The will and strength of the human soul is pitted against the will and strength of the demon personality. Do demons have power? Certainly they do! And those who suppose that demons are only a figment of the imagination or a product of the carnal mind, have obviously never met a demon. But the power of demons is limited. They are not omnipotent! Many of them are, in fact, quite weak personalities, just as some men in the flesh are strong and powerful while others are frail and weak. There is working in creation a divine law giving every creature in the universe its own unique sphere of influence and dynamic of personality. While some demons are strong, some men also have very strong wills and powerful energy flows. I will explain more about this later on.
In contrast to the personalities of demonic spirits, let us consider the greatness of man, of Adam the living soul. It was after the vastnesses of the heavens and the wonders of the earth had come forth from the hands of Omnipotence that the almighty Creator proclaimed the awesome fiat: "Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness: and let them have DOMINION" (Gen. 1:26). You see, the dominion over creation was given to man. Man was made a living soul, and this man was ordained by God to rule not only the earth, but the whole vast universe with its billions of galaxies and trillions of stars, suns, planets and moons. David mentions this fact in the eighth Psalm. "When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man! that Thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that Thou visiteth him? For Thou has made Him a little lower than God (Elohim), and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet."
"Thou has put ALL THINGS under his (man's) feet." That includes the earth, the moon, the stars, and all the heavens which the Psalmist enumerates as "the works of Thy fingers" which are all placed under man. And the phrase, "under his feet," is a Hebrew term which means that man was to have authority over all His creation. He was to rule it all, govern it all, be head of it all. God made man for that intent and purpose! In the New Testament the idea is expressed even more emphatically: "But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him...thou madest him a little lower than God; Thou crownest him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put ALL THINGS in subjection under his feet. For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left NOTHING that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him" (Heb. 6:2-8). There is holy wonder to these words that is almost beyond our understanding. Nothing has been left outside of the dominion of man. Weymouth puts it this way, "Thou hast put everything in subjection under his feet. For this subjecting of the universe to man implies leaving nothing that is not subject to him. But we do not yet see the universe subject to him." The whole cosmos really belongs to mankind! It is his residence, it is his dominion, his sphere of authority, and everything everywhere is to be put under his control.
The man in God's image and likeness has a divine and royal destiny to exercise authority and dominion in this world and throughout the unbounded heavens. He is to be Head of it all! All that happens in the cosmos must take place through man. Forget aliens! Forget angels! Forget devils! God created all things and then man in His image and likeness, as the connecting link between God and His creation, that through man in His image and likeness the invisible God might be seen and touched and known by all creatures in all worlds. The face of God would be revealed for all creation to behold, in the face of man, the image and likeness of God. The likeness of God would be made known to the entire universe in and by man. The glory, love, grace, goodness, wisdom, knowledge, and power of God would be exercised toward every creature and world and order throughout the vastnesses of infinity through the man in the image and likeness of God!
Now follows a great mystery which can only be understood by the mind of the Spirit. The magnificent purpose burning in the heart of God was proclaimed in these significant words uttered by the Lord God on the sixth creative day. "Let us make man in our image...and LET THEM HAVE DOMINION over the fish of the sea, and over the foul of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth" (Gen. 1:26). Let us now notice just what truth is stated here. In this shadowy type we behold a vivid portrait of the nature and scope of the dominion given to Adam the living soul -- he was to be, first, the ruler of things beneath, the lowest realms of the bottomless, typified by the fish swarming in the depths of the sea, and the creeping things. Next, the things upon the earth, typified by the cattle, and all the earth. And lastly, the things of the heavens also, typified by the foul of the air.
We can surely see from this that the dominion given to Adam was not only over visible and tangible things, but also over invisible realms of principalities and powers of the spirit world. How great was this man! How awesome his power! How sublime his authority! How vast his dominion! And should any reader of these lines doubt that this is the meaning of the allegory in the first chapter of Genesis, let him consider that our Lord Jesus Christ is the last Adam, the man who is the image and likeness of God, and this is precisely the authority and dominion committed unto Him! "And what is the exceeding greatness of His power...when He raised Him (Jesus) from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put ALL THINGS under His feet!" (Col. 1:19-22). "And ye are complete in Him, WHICH IS THE HEAD OF ALL PRINCIPALITY AND POWER" (Col. 2:10).
George Hawtin has given this beautiful description of the glory of man. "I am firmly convinced that their beautiful, light, ethereal forms were vibrant with the life of God, that they far more resembled the glorious body Jesus manifested at the transfiguration, as recorded in Matthew 16, then they were like the bodies of humiliation in which we are now clothed and in which we painfully dwell. They knew no pain nor weariness; no physical distresses nor illnesses alarmed them. They knew nothing of hunger nor thirst nor the multiplied curses that now beset us on every hand. They were glorious creatures, illustrious in their appearance, magnificent in their bearing, respected and admired by all creatures. About them an aura shone. They ruled not through fear, but through the love of God, who was in them. They knew no fear nor terror in themselves and they imposed no dread on others. The light of God's glory filled their countenances, making them distinct from all other creatures. They knew no lusts, nor were they ravished by carnal desires. Their delight was in their Most High creator and maker. They literally walked with Him and communed with Him in the cool of the day. They knew no grievous toil nor salty sweat. Every labor was a joy and every task a glory. In the Father they lived and moved and had their being. His joy was their constant strength and His love their everlasting comfort.
"Then came the hour of transgression. Through its predestined sorrow the man with his wife and all creation about him became subject to the nightmarish alarm of the fall. Fear, timidity, anxiety, apprehension and misgiving overshadowed them like a dark cloud, filling their hearts with disquietude, despondency and despair. Fear, temerity and remorse hourly beset them. To their dismay the animals and birds, which before had trusted them implicitly, now eyed them with suspicion, fear and mistrust, for all had changed because of the blighting curse that had fallen like a convulsion upon them. Then to add trepidation to their heart-breaking sorrow, they stood aghast at the sight of their own bodies, for those bodies once radiant with life and glory were now bodies of humiliation, corruption and death, fitted for an existence of vanity and futility which was now to be endured by them and all creation until the blessed Redeemer should come and restore all things. The Lord, whose presence they had always loved and anticipated with joy, now was a dread to their very beings, so they hid themselves from His life-giving presence among the trees of the garden" -- end quote.
When sin entered the world, Adam's power was proved to be a terrible reality, for through him the earth, with the whole race of man, and all things, was brought under the curse of sin and death. When he fell his kingdom fell with him! When he came under the dominion of sin and death he took all that he ruled with him. When Adam fell the magnitude of the damage to his race and all the earth is beyond our imagination. At the fall the awesome powers which man was given over the earth, over the universe, and over all spiritual realms, was greatly diminished. Yet, it does not mean that man now has no such power, for man still has a measure of dominion over nature and all things earthly; by soulish wisdom he is able to harness the energy of the flowing rivers, the rays of the sun, cosmic waves, electricity, and even the atom. Man can cure diseases and invent wonderful technologies. He flies through the air faster than sound and sends satellites and probes out into the darkness of space. And now by this same understanding, knowledge, authority and power he is reaching out to extend his influence and rule to worlds beyond! The power in Adam's soul was not lost absolutely -- it was merely weakened, debilitated, impaired, diminished and tainted by sin's influence and the dread power of death. We must keep this one fact in mind -- while Adam's dominion was greatly diminished through the fall, it was not completely destroyed or obliterated. Man is still the master of the earth! Although the elements threaten him, the terrors of the deep intimidate him, the roar of the lion frightens him, sickness and disease weaken him, and death finally conquers him, man still possesses wisdom, understanding, ingenuity, strength, ability, authority and dominion above all the forces of nature and every creature.
The power which Adam had in the beginning was tremendous beyond the finite comprehension of men who are today dissipated and weakened by six millenniums of sin and death. Adam in his bright beginning bore the image and likeness of God without the sad effects of the fall and banishment from the Paradise of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The astonishing power of that man in the image of God was present in his soul, for the first man Adam was made a living soul (Gen. 2:7; I Cor. 15:45). Adam the living soul possessed awesome abilities, authority and dominion, though in actuality what he had was not to be compared to the power of the last Adam, Christ, the quickening Spirit. Before his fall, Adam was able to freely and fully exercise this ability, since it was embodied in his soul.
Watchman Nee has pointed out in one of his writings that this power of Adam has become a "latent" force in his descendants. It has turned to become a kind of "hidden" power and when it is used at all, it is under the curse of sin and death, and is filtered through the flesh -- the carnal mind. It is not a spiritual or divine power at all, for it is not by the Holy Ghost. It is resident in the natural man and is the soul power of Adam. Today in each and every person who lives on earth, from the pauper to the prince, lies this ancient and original Adamic power. This power is not in man's spirit, for the power of the spirit is the power of the last man Adam -- Christ the quickening Spirit! The power in man today is the power of the first man Adam -- the living soul. The power of the natural man is soulish. The power of the spiritual man is spiritual. It is also possible for a spiritual man to use his soul power, but it is impossible for a soulish man to use his spirit power.
All the ancient pagan religions, and most modern ones as well, have in their respective ways practiced the release of man's soul power. Not having been quickened by the Holy Spirit of God, in man's ignorance and spiritual darkness, he mistakes this soul power for spiritual power. Anything that transcends the biological functions of the body appears to the natural man to be "spiritual." Any display of apparent miraculous power to discern the presence of invisible entities, to "know" beyond acquired knowledge, to perform physical healings and outward miracles, to prophesy and predict the future, or to cast out devils -- all these are deemed to be spiritual. Many miraculous things do happen which we cannot simply dismiss as illusion, superstition, or demonic activity. We are so prone to blame everything we can't understand on either God or the devil!
Can you not see, my friend, that there are three entities in our world, not two -- God, man, and Satan. There are therefore three sources of power! There is demonic power, soulish power, and spiritual (divine) power. Lest we should lose the thread of our thought, let me remind you that Satan cannot cast out Satan, for, as our Lord has clearly taught us, his house would be divided against itself, existing in a state of anarchy. But the soulish power of man is able to exorcize spirits, not with the authority and effectiveness of the power of the Spirit, but is able to do this and many other marvelous things. This is plainly what Jesus taught. The many miraculous occurrences which modern parapsychologists, hypnotists, psychics, fortune tellers, mediums, and faith healers demonstrate in no way attest to their spiritual character or indicate spiritual life. They merely prove the awesome power of the soul which may be released by meditation and other means of mental and soulish development.
It is a fact that psychologists declare that within man is a tremendous array of power: the power of self-control, creative power, reconstructive power, the power of faith, and the power of energy transference. Let me explain the principle of this soul power. There is working in all creation what may be called "biological energy" -- an energetic, influencing and impacting life-force that circulates within all living things. People are like magnets, they have a magnetic or energy field that extends beyond their skin into space. It is the emanation of the energetic life-force of the soul. A person's energy field swirls about and actually projects out toward other persons and things with which they interact. It can be projected, for instance, into plants causing the plants to either flourish or wither, depending upon whether the energy is positive or negative. This is why certain people appear to have a "green thumb" and by loving and talking to their plants can be successful in raising almost anything. Every person gives forth vibrations that can not only be felt by people, but which can be seen by animals. This explains why some people are introverts, others extroverts. Extroverts, for example, give off emanations that impact the emotions and thought patterns of people around them. They give off warm color shadows that can be seen by animals. Some people, especially those with strong psychic powers, can also see these auras of light.
Matter is composed of energy, and energy is never destroyed. Scientists have demonstrated in the laboratory the increase of the voltage of an electric current to atom-smashing velocity. Certain elements, when they are bombarded with this electrical force, can be transformed into other elements. The energy in man can, in a similar way, be focused to produce seemingly "supernatural" phenomena. By the very power of mental concentration some persons can bend spoons, cause objects to rise and float through the air or make material objects disappear. Karate masters talk about an underlying Chi energy responsible for their seemingly impossible stunts of breaking bricks with their hands and of being able to sit in one place unmoved with several men trying to push them over. This energy is often drawn upon for physical healing and emotional well being through visualization techniques, meditation, etc. Psychic healers have learned how to intensify and regulate their own energy fields, so they can effect, in a positive way, the energy fields of their patients. Patients suffering from illness or addictions often have imbalances in their electromagnetic fields. These kind of healings take place through the transference of this soulical energy from one person (in whom it is highly developed) to another.
There is nothing "spiritual" about these vibrations of psychic power! They are no more spiritual than a chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, aromatherapy, massage, visualization, or the treatments of an herbalist. It is both biological and soulish. It is the innate mechanics of Adam's life, of the natural man, and of the carnal mind. It is not by any means "supernatural." I do not say that we should seek it or follow after it, for man's soul power is defective and limited in the fall of man. And I speak the truth when I tell you that Satan often uses man's ignorance for his own ends, enticing him to develop his soul, deceptively convincing him that the power manifested is of the Spirit. In the very moment this takes place a false religion is born in which Satan is enthroned! He deceives man by making him believe that what is soulish is spiritual, that the fallen dominion of Adam is the very power of God, that the power of man's soul is in fact the power of the divine spirit within man, causing man to feel that he is rich in God and filled with life when in reality he has experienced nothing of God and abides in death. The adversary's strategy is to keep man from Life!
To rob man of life and thereby bring man under his dominion was the serpent's crafty tactic in that long ago Eden, and it should be obvious to every spiritual mind that he has not changed his method one iota from that tragic day to this present hour. This, beloved, is the dark deception in all New Age, Metaphysical, and Mind-Science religions! The adversary is now engaging this inherent soul power in man to serve as a substitute for the power of the Kingdom of God! He aims at substituting Christ's blood-bought salvation and the regenerating power of Christ within with the false Christ of old Adam's psychic force. The greatest protection for the children of God is in knowing the difference between soul and spirit. Soul force versus Spirit power is the battle ground today! The sons of God, by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit within, are marching to Zion! Through them shall be revealed the fullness of the power of the Kingdom of God!
None of the works of the soul have anything whatever to do with the Kingdom of God! Only those conversions, deliverances, healings, exorcisms, miracles, signs, wonders, discernments, teachings, experiences, visions, and prophecies that are wrought by God in the power of the Holy Spirit, through redeemed children of God, pertain to the Kingdom of God! "If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, then is the Kingdom of God come unto you." All other apparent supernatural phenomena is soulish and will rob you of eternal reality, will rob you of the mind of Christ, the image of God, divine wisdom, heavenly glory, spiritual understanding, Holy Ghost power, incorruptible life and immortality -- SONSHIP! God in His Kingdom never works with man's soul power, for it is unusable to Him. God works in the Kingdom by the Holy Spirit in our renewed spirit. "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit." Psychics and all who work on the soulical plane are able to use their powers without being cleansed by the blood, without being born of the Spirit, and without being transformed in Christ Jesus. Many are born with psychic abilities. That should be sufficient evidence for every child of God to clearly understand that such power is not the power of the Kingdom! God is calling His elect today to become developed in the authority, power and dominion of the KINGDOM OF THE SPIRIT -- not the kingdom of the soul! The Kingdom of the Spirit is within Jesus Christ, the life-giving Spirit; the kingdom of the soul is within Adam, the living soul.
I would add to this thought by quoting some pertinent words from Watchman Nee. "'The first man Adam became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit' (I Cor. 15:45). Paul says here that the first Adam became a living soul. The soul is alive. It has its life, therefore it enables man to do all sorts of things. This refers to the position which Adam had. Then the apostle continues with: 'The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.' This word is worthy of close attention; it is most precious and significant. The difference in effects between the operations of the spirit (Christ) and the soul (Adam) is clearly given right here. The soul is itself alive and has life within itself. The spirit, however, is able to give life to others and cause them to live. The soul is itself living, yet it cannot make others live. Only the spirit is capable of quickening people into life. The soul, no matter how strong it is, cannot impart life to others. 'It is the spirit,' says the Lord, 'that giveth life; the flesh profiteth nothing' (Jn. 6:63).
"We must distinguish between these two operations very clearly, for this is of the utmost importance. None can work satisfactorily if he is confused on this point. Let me repeat: the soul is itself truly alive, but it cannot make others live. The spirit, on the other hand, is not only itself living but in addition gives life to others. This is why I state with such emphasis that we must lay down our soul power. All that is of the soul is of no avail. We are not quarreling over terminologies, for this is too great a principle. Although the soul is alive, it has no way to make others live. Hence in helping people, we should aim at the depth of their beings instead of merely aiding their minds. We must not work according to psychic force, since it can neither save nor profit anyone. How very careful we need to be! How we must deny whatever comes out of the soul! For it not only cannot help people, it also hinders God's work. It offends God as well as deprives Him of His glory. Many miraculous phenomena are performed by soul force instead of by God. How can they expect good and lasting results if they substitute for the power of God their own natural abilities?" -- end quote.
With this thought in mind let us consider the following self-evident truth. Though weakened and diminished through the fall, there is yet inherent in the soul of man a residue of the awesome and expansive dominion that was given him in that long ago beginning. Man still retains a measure of the authority and power committed to him at the moment he came from the bosom of God. He came out of Eden cursed, marred and broken, but not destroyed. Man is still the wisest, the most glorious, and the most powerful creature of all God's vast physical creation! The light of God has fled from man's spirit, thrusting him into the quagmire of spiritual darkness, but deep within man's soul there remains a magnetism, an energy flow, a force of personality, a realm of dominion and a sphere of authority. Even the demons and spirits that indiscriminately roam earth's atmosphere recognize who man really is. And furthermore, a living man, with the wholeness of his being, if he understands the deep mystery of it, is greater than any disembodied spirit! Therefore, when the human soul engages in battle with a demonic personality, if persistent, tenacious, and strong-willed enough, he can progressively wear down and eventually overcome the most vicious, wicked, and vile of the spirits of darkness. THAT, precious friend of mine, IS EXORCISM! Exorcism is naught but the soulish authority of man used in warfare with spirit personalities. The soul of a good man, converted or not, has altogether as much authority on this earth as any dark spirit entity, especially the weaker ones.
Now, can you not see what Jesus meant when He revealed that the Jewish exorcists cast out demons, and it was not by the power of Satan -- but neither was it by the Spirit of God! This wonderful Christ explained the divine order of the Kingdom of Heaven in these illuminating words, "If I by the Spirit of God cast out devils, the Kingdom of God is come upon you!" Ah, casting out devils is not a manifestation of the Kingdom, but casting out devils by the Spirit of God is the demonstration of the power of the Kingdom of God! The exorcists cast out devils neither by the Spirit of God nor by the spirit of Satan. Oh, the wonder of it! This is a great mystery that few Christians in the whole world, and practically no preachers, have understood! Devils can be cast out by man, by the dominion within man's soul. That is precisely how all the exorcists of all the ages from Adam to this present day have exorcized spirits -- through the time-honored methods and techniques cunningly and artfully invented and meticulously developed by soulish religion! It is written in the book of Jasher (referred to in Joshua and Second Samuel) how that in the days of Adam "Enosh lived ninety years and he begat Cainan; and Cainan grew up and he was forty years old, and he became wise and had knowledge and skill in all (human, earthly) wisdom, and he reigned over all the sons of men, and he led the sons of men to wisdom and knowledge; for Cainan was a very wise man and had understanding in all wisdom, and with his wisdom he ruled over spirits and demons" (Jasher 2:10-11).
As we read these words of truth, surely we must realize the true level of much of what is promoted and touted today as "deliverance ministry." Did you ever notice the contrast between so-called deliverance ministry today and the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles? There are clear and obvious marks that distinguish between what I prefer to term "exorcism" and the casting out of devils by the Spirit of God. There is indeed such a thing as demon possession. To deny this is to wickedly repudiate the ministry of the firstborn Son of God. I do not believe, however, that most of what is called demon possession today is really demon possession at all. For the most part it is merely the works of the flesh. If you have ever seen real demon possession you know that it is far different than what the so-called "deliverance ministry" is calling possession today. They call such fleshly activities as fear, lust, rejection, cursing, lying, criticism, gossip, sexual fantasy, masturbation, adultery, incest, harlotry, nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, gluttony, hatred, envy, and a hundred more -- demons! There is no place in the New Testament where the saints of God are exhorted to get "deliverance" from such demons. I tell you, my beloved, it's not in the Book! Rather, we are exhorted to "Put off the old man with his deeds" (Col. 3:9), to "Mortify the deeds of the body" (Rom. 8:13), to "Mortify your members which are upon the earth" (Col. 3:5), and "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16). Read all these passages, and many more, and it is plain to see that the works of the flesh are exactly and precisely the very things the deliverance preachers are calling -- DEVILS! And the solution the Holy Ghost gives is not in "casting them out" but in mortifying them, or putting them to death by walking in the Spirit!
It is my conviction that nearly all of the casting out of demons I have witnessed during my years of walking in the move of the Spirit of God has been deceptive. The vast majority of this is mere showmanship, theatrics to impress congregations of people. This has especially been true in the great healing and deliverance crusades. Sometimes the preacher will say, "There he goes, for I saw him leave!" and the audience is duly impressed. Also, the people are psychologically prepared and conditioned to expect particular manifestations and to act in certain ways. Many of the so-called demonic manifestations are merely clever, psychologically-induced fleshly contortions, mesmerism, and mania.
One of the foremost deliverance ministries has given the following instructions concerning the methods of casting out demons. "As one of the ministers begins to command the specific demons to go in the name of Jesus, the others in the room will be engaged in prayer, praise, singing and/or reading of scripture. This should generally be done in subdued voices. In the early stages of my deliverance ministry I would use up my voice in a few hours. I usually speak to the demons in this manner: 'Demons, I know that you are there. I know of your presence and your evil works. I tell you that you have no right to stay in this person. This person belongs to Jesus Christ.' The one being delivered should cooperate in the following ways: He should refrain from praise, prayer and speaking in tongues. There are ways of taking in the Holy Spirit, and the mouth and breath must be left free for the departure of the evil spirits. He should be encouraged to enter into the battle with his will. He can address the spirits himself and let the demons know that he is determined that they leave. Next, the person being delivered should begin to expel his breath forcefully a few times. Since the spirits come out through the breath, this will help to expel them. Or, he can force a few healthy coughs. Ordinarily this is enough to 'prime the pump' and the demons will begin to move out readily with the manifestation being sustained without conscious effort. The person may force a cough and the demons begin to yawn themselves out. Keep commanding the demons until you get results. When evil spirits depart we normally expect some sort of manifestation through the mouth or nose. Undoubtedly the most common manifestation is coughing. The cough may be dry but is often accompanied by the bringing up of phlegm. Similar material may be brought up through vomiting, drooling, spitting or foaming. Other manifestations through the mouth include crying, screaming, sighing, roaring, belching and yawning. Air may be blown through the nose. Persons who yawn or sigh out their demons, are just as delivered as those who have the more violent manifestations" -- end quote.
This is definitely NOT how the firstborn Son of God cast out devils! There was no prayer, praise, sentimental background music, singing, or reading of scripture. There were no exhortations to the possessed about how they should "cooperate" for their deliverance. They were not told to breathe a certain way or not to breathe. They were not instructed to cough or yawn to aid the demons in leaving. In fact, this preacher states that the most common manifestation is coughing -- the very one that is never mentioned in scripture! If you induce someone into a coughing fit, naturally they are going to cough up globs of phlegm, drool, spit, and eventually foam! You don't need to be casting out devils to get that physiological response! It makes a very entertaining show, but it doesn't mean devils have really been cast out. I do not hesitate to tell you that all such methods are, one and all, unscriptural, extra-biblical, soulish, crafty human psychological manipulations by which the human personality (soul) engages in cat and mouse games with spirits -- either real or imagined. Even if the name of Jesus is used, it is still soul power and not the power of the Kingdom!
When Jesus demonstrated the Kingdom He spoke with absolute authority. While following the Master through the Gospels a marvelous revelation is unveiled. Not once did Satan or evil spirits persistently resist Him. They challenged and questioned Him, but they did not carry on a prolonged battle. Not one of His deliverances was progressive with some deliverance this session and a little more the next time. Not once did He scream at devils; not once did He groan over them; not once did He use tongues or any other spiritual gift to overcome them; He commanded and they obeyed! They recognized His absolute authority! When Jesus spoke a word to the devils He had no need to "create an atmosphere" -- HE HIMSELF WAS THE ATMOSPHERE! He sent forth His word and at the power of that word the spirits instantly obeyed! Jesus delivered the truly demon possessed from the evil spirits with infinitely greater authority and dispatch that we are seeing today in the Pentecostal and Charismatic circles. It was because He came in the POWER OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and not in the weakened, corrupted, soulish dominion of Adam!
Some time ago a precious friend and brother in the Lord wrote the following: "I get a little paper in the mail and they write about what they call a deliverance ministry. It seems to be all about demons, how to recognize them, how to find out what their names are, and how to cast them out. They talk about spirits of pride, spirits of envy, spirits of anger, and what have you. In the last paper they told of a little boy who had got delivered from a spirit of tantrums. I hope the deliverance was permanent; but I have seen many children delivered from this kind of a spirit by a trip to the woodshed, where a few applications of the board of education to the seat of knowledge took care of that spirit in a hurry. I don't know whether they got their authority from the Lord for this type of ministry or not, the Lord knoweth. I am not the judge in these matters, but I do know that Jesus said that in that day many, not a few, but many would say unto Him, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name, and in Thy name cast out devils, and in Thy name have done many wonderful works, but He answered them and said, Depart from me, I never knew you, ye that work iniquity. He didn't know them, and He hadn't sent them nor given them that authority from Himself to do those things; nevertheless they were able to do them. By their profession to be acting by His authority they are usurpers of the Kingdom authority."
Let me show you some further distinguishing marks between "exorcism" and casting out devils by the Spirit of God. If it takes hours, it is exorcism; if the spirits instantly obey the word of command, it is the power of the Kingdom of God! If there is an atmosphere created with long prayers, singing, or scripture reading, it is exorcism; if a simple word gets results, it is the power of God! If the name of Jesus has to be repeated over and over again, it is exorcism; if the devils respond without hesitation or resistance to the name of Jesus, it is the Kingdom of God in demonstration! When great physical exertion is required, it is exorcism; when a calm and quiet command demands obedience, it is the Kingdom of God! If the voice is raised, as if shouting and screaming at devils -- the volume of the verbal command -- could add something to its authority, it is exorcism; the Spirit of God needs not to lift up its voice -- the authority is legal, judicial, and governmental in the Kingdom of the Most High. A judge does not shout his sentence at a criminal, the tone of his voice could add nothing whatever to the authority by which he speaks. The authority is vested in his office -- not in physical demonstrativeness. With a simple phone call and a bare whisper the President of the United States can send all the might of our military into action against an enemy. He has the authority, therefore it works. Hours of shouting, sweating, pleading, barking the same command again and again would only call into question his sanity! The Spirit of God does not need to plead, cajole, struggle, contend, or fight with any spirit, principality, or power in heaven or on earth. The Spirit is omnipotent! Jesus Christ has all power everywhere! That is the power of the Kingdom of God!
Any power that is so weak it has to strive with the devil can only be the soul power of man, not the power of the Kingdom! You do not have to be an exceptional saint to discern that much of the deliverance ministry today is merely exorcism -- using the name of Jesus! Demons do not necessarily respond to the verbalization of the name Jesus. The seven sons of Sceva tried to use that name, but it didn't work. Many people in Christ's day were named Jesus. Our Lord was "Jesus of Nazareth" to specify which Jesus He was. Today millions of men in Spanish speaking countries are named Jesus. There is no power in the letters J-E-S-U-S. The authority is in the person, in the spirit, and in the nature! Spirits respond to the presence, to the life, to the authority and power of the Lord Jesus Christ, not to the form of His name. You can shout the name of Jesus Christ at spirits all day, but if the only authority the spirits recognize is in your soul, you will need to battle every inch of the way to gain the victory, if indeed you are able to overcome at all!
To be continued...
J. PRESTON EBY
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J. Preston Eby
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El Paso TX 79937-1240
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