Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.


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Thursday, 3 July 2014

Errors of the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement Part 9

These posts stem from a series of fifteen studies conducted, in our Youth Fellowship meetings, at the request of the young people who attend, dealing with the errors of the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement

Study 1 - Introduction
Study 2 - The Infilling of the Spirit
Study 4 - The Cessation of New Testament Supernatural Gifts - Part One
Study 5 - The Cessation of New Testament supernatural gifts - Part Two
Study 6 - The Errors of Tongue Speaking
Study 7 - The Error of Faith Healing - Part One
Study 8 - The Errors of Faith Healing - Part Two

Study Nine - The Errors of Demon Possession - Part One
The next area of the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement that needs to be considered is that of 'Demon Possession'. It is the belief of some within the Charismatic Movement that there are numbers of people who are possessed by demons. In making this type of claim these Charismatics will state that demon possession happens:
1. Both among the unconverted and the converted;
2. On a sliding scale, with some greatly possessed, while others are only slightly possessed;
3. Without people being aware that they are possessed by demons.

As with Faith Healing there are Charismatic leaders who claim to have a special gift for discerning and exorcising demons. Is this so? Are there demons aboard today? What saith the Scriptures?

1. The Devil is real, has a multitude of associates and is busy in the earth
[1] The devil is a fallen archangel, who was cast out of heaven because of his rebellion. He is a created, finite, angelic creature, who according to Exodus 20:11, was made within the six days of creation: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. He has great power but is not all powerful.

It is believed by some that Isaiah 14:12-14 is in part a description of the fall of the devil: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Ezekiel 28:13-17 is also to be viewed in this light: Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.

A portion of the other angels also followed Satan in his rebellion. They were all cast down to hell and reserved for judgment. 

[2] The devil and his angels are busy in this earth. The earth is the devil's domain. He is the god of this world. These devils go about the earth, Job 1:7: And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it; 1 Peter 5:8: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour
Satan is not yet bound as promised in Revelation 20:1-3: And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. He still deceives the nations of the earth and will continue to do so until Christ's return.
2. There have been certain times of heightened devilish activity:
[1] There are those who see devilish activity behind the wickedness prior to the flood. The 'sons of God', Genesis 6:2,4 are taken by some as a reference to fallen angels. The term is used of such in Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7. There were 'giants' born from the union of these 'sons of God' with the 'daughters of men', Genesis 6:4: There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. These 'giants' were 'renown' for their wickedness. Physically and morally/spiritually they were exceptional beings! So much so that God visited the earth in Judgment.

[2] At the time of the Exodus from Egypt, and entrance into Canaan, the land of Canaan was populated and ringed with 'giants'. Plot the location of the giants mentioned in Deuteronomy and Joshua and this will become obvious. This was a devilish attempt to hinder Israel's entrance into the land of promise and their enjoyment of the good things which God has laid up in store for them.

[3] During the Saviour's earthly ministry, and immediately afterwards, there were numerous examples of demon possession. Almost at the beginning of the Saviour's ministry He was confronted by this, Luke 4:33: And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice. This continued throughout His earthly ministry. The most notable case was the two men of Gadara. The detailed account of one of these men is given in Mark 5:1-20.

[4] This continued into the days of the Apostles. In Acts 16:16-18 we have the record of Paul at Philippi casting out the 'spirit of divination' which was in a young woman: And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

3. These types of cases of devil possession died out after Christ's death and resurrection. As the New Testament progressed these cases became rarer.
[1] A different emphasis is to be noticed in the later books of the New Testament. There is still devilish activity but of a different sort. The works of the devil are characterised by 'lying', 'stirring up discord' in the church, 'persecuting' and constantly seek to 'plant false doctrines', cf. 1 Timothy 4:1; James 3:14,15; 1 John 4:1-6; Revelation 12:27

[2] 'Ministers of the Gospel' were never commanded, nor given instructions authorising them, to exorcise demons. There are no such commands in the Pastoral Epistles to Timothy and Titus or in the long passages in Romans, Galatians and Ephesians which deal with Satanic activity and temptation.

4. James and Paul teach us how to deal with the devil. James tells us that we are to resist him: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you, James 4:7. We are not instructed to exorcise the devil, rather we are to resist him.
Paul tells us how we are to do this. In Ephesians 6:10-18 we are told about how to go about counteracting the work of the devil. It is not by resorting to Charismatic leaders who claim to have a gift for discerning and casting out demons. The passage reads: Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Notice some points from what Paul teaches:
[1] Every believer is to personally engage in this conflict with the devil. Paul is writing to the church collectively, Eph 6:10: Finally, my brethren….

[2] We are collectively to wrestle against the wiles of the devil, v11. It is not an enemy who is merely flesh and blood or who manifests himself in flesh and blood that we face. It does not say that it is against an enemy who possesses people: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places, Eph 6:12

[3] We are to put on the whole armour of God to overcome the devil. Again no mention of casting out demons. Rather we are to have our loins girt about with truth; have on the breastplate of righteousness; and our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. We are to take the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. 

This is God's appointed way to contend with and to overcome the devil in our times.

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