Thursday, October 02, 2008

# 262: Disease, Sickness, Demons and Evil Spirits

Few of us can get through life without having to put up with some type of ailment/s. That is part of life. My question is, why? Is there anything we can do about it? I checked the New Testament to see what insight, if any, it may have to offer; this is what I found:

Luke 13:10-12 and 16. "On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God . . . Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?" In this healing, Satan was responsible for this woman’s misery.

2nd Corinthians 12:7-9. "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’" Click on post # 255 to see what “Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh” was. Satan can cause heartaches to even to the holiest of holy.

The term “possess an evil spirit” is mentioned many, many times in the New Testament. Most of the time, it mentioned people who were possessed by evil spirits. One such example of being possessed by an evil spirit was mentioned in Matthew 8:28-32. "When he arrived at the other side of the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. ‘What do you want with us, Son of God?’ they shouted. ‘Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’ Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. The demons begged Jesus, ‘If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.’ He said to them, ‘Go!’ So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water."

There is a similar account in Luke 8:26-33 which most likely is the same account; although some of the details are different, the finality is identical: the pigs being drowned in the water. It may be that violent people are possessed by evil spirits, and that they know their end will be painful.

In the four gospels, there are a dozen or so verses where either Jesus or His disciples drove out evil spirits from those who were possessed with them.

Now the question comes up: Does the New Testament indicate that sickness and disease somehow were associated with some form of satanic powers? The New Testament seems to indicate that assumption. Even though there are people who believe that Satan does not really exist, they have to admit there is an evil force in this world. Where does this evil force get its power? There are evil beings (Satan and all his cohorts) who are the source of most, if not all, unpleasant situations.

Mark 1:39. "So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons." Since Jesus was more powerful than the demons, he was able cleanse those who had them. Then the question comes up: Where do the evil spirits go? Answer: In other people whose desires are conducive to evil.

Matthew 5:37. ". . . anything beyond this comes from the devil." Much of what we are not aware of comes from the devil.

Luke 4:33. "In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit." This verse says demons and evil spirits are one and the same.

Matthew 9:2. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.’" There are several indications that physical illness is the result of a person’s sin.

Matthew 10:1. "He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to cure and heal every kind of disease and sickness." Jesus Christ had and still has the power to give authority to heal other humans (His disciples and apostles).

Matthew 9:33. "And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been dumb spoke." Demons are responsible for the misery of many sick and diseased people.

Matthew 12:34. "You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good?" People who don’t belong to or obey Jesus are classified as vipers.

Matthew 12:43-45. "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first." Evidently, evil spirits are not complete unless they possess the bodies and souls of humans. Could anyone imagine having more than one evil spirit?

Matthew 13:19. "When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart." It is imperative that we gain understanding of the complete Will of God on this earth. If we don’t, we can be tricked into allowing all our Christian efforts to be snatched by the evil one.

Matthew 17:18. "Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment." Jesus, along with those He chooses, had and still has the power to overpower demons.

Mark 2:5. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’" This verse is similar to the one in Matthew 9:2.

Mark 3:11. "Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him [Jesus] and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’" Verses like this one indicate that evil spirits have the ability to see what humans cannot. That means just because a person can see the future or things that normal people can’t, it doesn’t mean they are of God as they may profess.

Mark 5:2-15: "When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was able to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones . . . For Jesus was saying to him, ‘Come out of this man, you evil spirit . . .’ A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.’ He gave them permission, and the evil spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned . . . When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who was possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind." This tells me that when evil spirits are driven out of humans, they would rather live in animals than be inactive in only spirit form. These verses are telling the same story as in Matthew 8:28.

Exodus 34:7. "Yet he [God] does not leave the guilty unpunished: he punishes the children and their children for the sins of their fathers to the third and fourth generation."

Exodus 20:5. ". . . for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me . . ." These two verses in Exodus seem completely unfair. Yet, through genetics, mutations or environment, the saying is true; like father like son.

Mark 6:7. "Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits." Evil spirits have no power over those who have been given authority over them.

Mark 8:33. Jesus Talking to Peter: "‘Out of my sight, Satan!’ he said, ‘you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’" Those who have their mind on the things of people can be classified as workers of Satan. If that is true, we live in a world full of satanic people, dressed in angels’ garb.

Mark 9:20. "When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth." Those with evil spirits know those who possess the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

Luke 4:33-35. "In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, ‘Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the holy one of God!’ ‘Be quiet!’ Jesus said sternly. ‘Come out of him!’ Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him." Anyone with the Spirit of Jesus will be feared by Satan’s evil spirits.

Luke 13:11. "And a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’ Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God." Isn’t that wonderful? It is a shame we don’t see those types of healings in our modern times. This verse is identical to the one previously mentioned.

Luke 13:32. "He replied, ‘Go tell that fox . . .’ Here Jesus is saying that some people are likened to foxes.

John 9:1. "As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’" Again, it is true that the sins either of the parent or ourselves are responsible for many of our ailments.

John 5:9 & 14. “At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’” Quite often we are responsible for our own ailments because of our unnatural lifestyles. Of course, their desires are secretly inspired by the devil.

Acts 19:16. "The man who had the evil spirit jumped on them [the seven sons of Sceva] and overpowered them. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding." Evil spirits give tremendous strength to some humans.

1st Timothy 4:1. "The Spirit clearly says that in the latter times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." This verse is more true in our modern church than all the others verses put together. But spirits/demons do it in a sly way to make it look like it is genuine Christianity.

This tells me that in our sophisticated culture, where “seeing is believing,” there are many evil forces that dictate and control much of what is going on in this world. Where do you and I stand?

If a person doesn’t desire to believe in evil spirits and the devil, no problem; then you have to believe that all humans have a sinful human nature: That nature is the realm through which selfishness and evil work. You see, all wild animals are concerned with only one thing: survival of their kind. If you want to believe it or not, those wild things are where our self-centered, evil nature comes from. And that is where evil spirits get their power. Think about it. Leave me a comment. This subject is wide open.

In conclusion, a positive note: Even though Satan, most likely, is responsible for much, if not all, sickness and diseases, our Lord God capitalizes on that evil when it comes on His chosen people by giving them the longing to leave this ungodly world as soon as possible, along with becoming more fervent in their devotion to Jesus Christ. They can’t wait for this life to be over. This author is one of them.

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