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Question #1:

Regarding: Satan's postdiluvian attack on human freedom (the Tower of Babel: Genesis 11:1-9)

I thought I would make just two suggestions to this section. One point that maybe could be made not only at the end (and there also with possibly even stronger emphasis), but also at the beginning is that if the undertaking to build Babel was godly (and it may seem at least neutral to most Christians who are not familiar with it), then God would have never ceased it in the first place. Now that I'm re-reading Angelology and, as with many other things, I have asked you numerous questions about these things and associated passages, I have found your flow of arguments very clear, but setting out the evil nature of this undertaking which is clearly discernible through God's intervention is something that maybe beginning readers could benefit from. That is just a thought.

Secondly, I know that this may not be the place where you want to go into too much depth with these things, but the unified techno-society to which you are referring is now clearly being built. This is a point I often emphasize when discussing these issues with fellow believers, as with this world being evil and with so few believers being around, unification almost always without fail accelerates the corruption. The fact that English is the language spoken almost everywhere now, that in more and more areas technology allowing communication is in place is evidently almost only serving the evil purposes (with very few exceptions like your website). I'm not sure if you'd find it appropriate to make this point any stronger, but I thought I'd share my view on this, as things are clearly getting worse day by day.

Response #1:

You have this exactly right. I do try to make this point wherever the matter comes up in discussions of eschatology and spiritual warfare, so I don't think it's necessary to emend the present passage, but I will post your very insightful comment here when next this issue arises.  Some pertinent links:

Spiritual Warfare IV: Demons, Demonic Influences and Satanic Methodology

Spiritual Warfare III: Peter's 'Angel', Saul's Death, and Strange Events

Spiritual Warfare II

Faith, Hope and Love: Virtue in Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare

Question #2:

You wrote: There are apparently varying degrees of depravity among the demons (Matt.12:45; Lk.11:26), and varying degrees of persistence in that depravity (Matt.17:21).

Why did you use Matthew 17:21 as the reference for the second point?

Response #2:

Because this particular demon was not thrown out by the disciples who remained below and did not go up the mountain with our Lord – even though they had cast out demons all over Palestine previously for the better part of two years. So here was a persistent "kind" as our Lord says, "this kind" (Mk.9:29). If you mean that this verse does not occur in Sinaiticus (except by addition), it's a good point. Changing reference to Mk.9:29.

Question #3:

You wrote: Soothsayers and oracles (the witch of Endor, for example:1Sam.28:3-19) also exhibit greater or lesser ability to maintain some sort of joint control of their persons in company with the forces that possess them.

Response #3:

While scripture doesn't give us a "playbook" on how precisely demon possession happens, it's hard to see how a person could communicate with a demon absent at least partial and/or temporary possession (cf. the case of Judas comparing Jn.13:2 with Jn.13:27). In most cases, demons want complete control all of the time, but for individuals such as this, the "joint control" I mention suits their purposes of giving that individual special powers as far as the world is concerned. Any flirtation with anything demonic is so very dangerous that no believer should even consider having any part of it – and that certainly includes the mad rush towards exorcism which is currently plaguing the church-visible (believers today do not have that power and will only involve themselves with evil in pretending otherwise).

Question #4:

You wrote: Unlike demonic attack and infliction of disease, however, demon possession also requires the willful acquiescence of the possessed. and Demon possession, inevitably regretted after the fact, is as much an individual responsibility as is getting "hooked" on drugs, alcohol, or any other destructive behavior.

I can certainly see how willful wrong choices can lead to demonic possession, but having read relevant sections in this study and our correspondence on this subject, I am still not sure what piece of evidence would definitely exclude the possibility of one being possessed without a form of free will approval. Is there a verse or piece of scriptural evidence that makes such an option impossible?

Response #4:

For that matter, there is no verse which says directly and explicitly that believers cannot be demon possessed (but cf. Jn.14:20; 15:1ff.; Rom.16:7; 2Cor.5:17; Eph.2:6; 2:10; Heb.3:14; 1Pet.5:14). However, I've never heard of a case of it and there is no such case ever recorded in scripture (and as "temples of the Holy Spirit", clearly we cannot be: 1Cor.6:19). Also, if demons could possess believers, it would make it impossible for us to do what God wants us to do. And the same thing is true in the case of unbelievers when one considers that the exercise of free will is the reason all of us are here on earth. But if we have our free will taken away – without our consent – then that would seem to invalidate the entire nature of human life and the conflict of the 7,000 years in which we are all engaged. So just because scripture does not spell something out does not make it untrue, especially if it is an obvious counterpart of everything else scripture says. If demons were allowed to destroy our free will at will, then why wouldn't they be allowed to destroy us physically as well? That would amount to the same thing but would "cleaner" in a way. Of course they have the power to do so. They killed all of Job's children at one time. And if all believers could be killed, it would put an end to this conflict immediately. Taking away someone's free will is no small thing. To my mind it's worse than killing them. Without their acquiescence, I can't see any way that such a thing comports with the will or the character of God, or could be possible if the plan of God is proceeding in the way we understand it. Since there is no evidence of such a thing ever happening (in or out of scripture), it seems fair to conclude as has been concluded that no one suffers this without cooperating.

Question #5:

Hi Bob,

I am re-reading through all of your Satanic Rebellion series, but I am afflicted with extreme fluctuations in the confidence of my belief in all things Christian, and these extreme fluctuations resist coming under my control.

Please pray for me that I don't lapse into unbelief and agnosticism.

In the Risen Lord Jesus Christ who is in Hypostatic Union with Humanity (affirming this helps greatly),

Response #5:

I pray for you on these and related matters daily and will continue to do so. Kudos to you that you are rallying yourself with the truth – that is precisely the right approach.

I have absolutely no doubts about you not only retaining your faith but also growing in it and coming into the service the Lord has for you.

Please remember that being attacked is not a sin. Since you are continuing to move forward spiritually, of course that good progress will be opposed, and the devil always attacks at weak points (he is no gentleman). But please remember that the very fact that you are being attacked by evil forces means that there are evil forces – so that everything else unseen is real too, including the heavenly forces that oppose them and most especially the Spirit who live in you through your faith in Jesus Christ who is more real than anything we see. Being attacked not only verifies what we know to be true but is also a confirmation that what you are doing is in God's will. The very pressure to doubt is evidence that doubt is ridiculous since the pressure for it could only exist if what you believe is true and if what you are doing is good.

Keep fighting this good fight of faith, my friend!

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

When discussing Peter's and apostles' power to bind and to loose Thiessen seems to make a very good point by linking this statement by our Lord with Jeremiah 1:10 and calling it "declarative power". I would be curious what you think about this reference, as it looks applicable here and could be used to understand verses such as Matthew 18:18.

Response #6:

In the case of Jeremiah, this was true – through his prophesying of the Word of God. It was God and His Word that accomplished all uprooting (etc.). In that sense, yes, when they (or we) give the gospel, we bind or loose depending on the person's response to the truth. We do not decide whom to bind or loose (or how or when); we merely mediate the Word of God for the Spirit to use – just like Jeremiah did. I don't think this is what Thiessen means, however.

See the links:

Binding & loosing

Prayers for binding

Question #7:

Dear Dr. Luginbill,

This past Sunday in the morning service, I heard the Pastor in prayer say "I bind Satan", and this is not the first time.

My thoughts on this subject of "Binding and Loosing":

-There is a very large TV evangelistic organization head who teaches that, Christians have been given the power and authority to bind Satan and his demons, as well as loose/command or dispatch God’s angels to help us in our battle with these demon forces.

-In other words, what he is saying is, that based on the scriptures, we have the power and authority to "bind" and "loose" Satan and his demons, and command God’s righteous angels to perform for us on command by us.

-But, there is absolutely no evidence in scripture that supports this doctrine.

The only one who has the power to "Bind Satan" is Jesus Christ our LORD and Savior. Nowhere in Scripture do we find Jesus "binding" demons; in fact He did not bind them but cast them out. So called "Word Churches" are proponents of this doctrine as well as many many Charismatics, and even Pentecostals. I would appreciate very much your thoughts on this subject, and whether I am correct in my observations. Thank You so much for your Website, I have been studying and am now on Part 3. I am a former "Church of God" pastor, currently no longer pastoring.

Your brother in Christ,

Response #7:

Good to hear from you again, my friend. I entirely agree with you. This is the ridiculous sort of stuff that pastors who are not interested in doing the hard work of studying and teaching throw out to their congregations in order to keep them interested – and unfortunately it is often enthusiastically received (because in the era of Laodicea we have a "supply problem" as well a "demand problem"):

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.
2nd Timothy 4:3 NIV

The putative support for this dangerous behavior are the "whatever you bind" passages in Matthew (Matt.16:19; 18:18). However, in those passages our Lord is talking about the effect of the gospel in loosing those bound by Satan in unbelief on earth being loosed in heaven as well – salvation is dramatic, powerful, and has effects beyond what the eye can see. The gospel is the "key" which unlocks the kingdom for all who are willing to accept it.

Here are some links on this issue which may be helpful to you as well:

Binding & loosing

Prayers for binding

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hello Professor, how are you today?! I hope your family trip in May is going well. In Bible Study today we were studying Mathew on Binding and Loosing .

Can Satan hear and read our thoughts? Seeing we are binding and loosing do we speak out loud to Satan and command him in the Name of Jesus we bind.... And we loose.... Or can we pray silently and speak authority over Satan's schemes, lies, etc.?

Is there scripture on this area we were wondering. I know the Bible talks about the mind of Christ.

Jesus quoted scripture back to Satan and also he commanded him to get behind thee Satan. And Jesus has given us authority in the Name of Jesus. And I also pray the Blood of Jesus over a situation or person. It is all in the Name of Jesus for His Glory.

Thank you

Response #8:

Good to hear from you. My trip to visit my family went very well (thanks for asking). Hope you are having a good summer too!

As to your question, I have a number of things posted on these issues and will give you the links below. In a nutshell, the key instrument involved here is the gospel. It is the gospel which "looses" a person from sin and death (by grace through faith), and otherwise there is no "loosing". The devil has very limited ability to harass believers (possession of believers is impossible, for example), and when such harassment is forthcoming (as in the case of Paul: 2Cor.12:7ff.), it is only allowed by God for the purpose of refining mature believers (or for disciplining horribly wayward believers: 1Cor.5:1ff.). The devil most certainly cannot "hear our thoughts", but that does not mean that we should underestimate him. After all, many of us say plenty to others – or even talk out loud to ourselves. Imagine if you could secretly observe some other person every waking minute for a month – you would be able to discern a lot just by observation and listening. And the devil along with his demons is able to conduct surveillance on believers 24/7 our whole life long – and he is very intelligent and has been doing this since the creation of mankind.

The point is, Satan doesn't need to be able to "read our thoughts" to know a great deal about us, what we value and what we do not. After all, every decision we make about how to use our time is an important choice and shows what is important to us and what is not. Finally, there is no magic in true, biblical Christianity. God knows our hearts better than we do and He hears our prayers even if we don't use some special "abracadabra" formula (cf. Rom.8:26-27). As you rightly say, it is because we belong to Christ that we have special access to the very throne room of God, with the Spirit and Christ Himself interceding for us whenever we pray (see the link: "Intercession and Access"). Beings sons and daughters of the living God and one with the Savior of the universe, prayer is a most valuable weapon in our arsenal, and we would do well to understand it better and use it better day by day (see the links: "Prayer Questions" and "Prayer: the Persistence, Purpose and Power of. "). Here are those other links:

Binding & loosing

Prayers for binding

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #9:

I said a prayer for them last night as well as you and your family. The world is becoming a more unfriendly place for believers every single day, I can almost smell the hate, rage and fear in the air here. I can't even make a Christian comment on YouTube without getting threats anymore. Going to change my Google profile to just Christian stuff, I'm to the point where I am letting too many demons in again. I think you're right about secular music, much as I enjoy it, too much Satanism in it and that's just another way for demons to enter. Short on sleep lately, thanks for the prayers my friend. Hope things are going well at work and I will also continue to pray for the other issues you were dealing with, henceforth, will be saying the Lord's Prayer several times per day in addition to my nightly prayer. So you like this church in Colorado? I wish I lived there. God be with you.

In Jesus,

Response #9:

Thanks for your prayers! I pray all goes well tomorrow.

Let me assure you that whatever opposition you are experiencing, it is most certainly not anything to do with demon possession. You may be allowing yourself to be influenced; you may be under external attack against which only prayer and spiritual endurance can be deployed; but you cannot be possessed as a born again believer in Jesus Christ in whom dwells the Holy Spirit (Rom.8:9) – even though there is a good deal of misinformation (false teaching) out there in ether on this subject nowadays (as these links will attest):

Demonic Possession

Demon Possession (in SR 4)

The Demon Possessed Girl in Acts 16:16

Fallen Angels, Demons, Nephilim

The exorcism of Anneliese Michel

Prayers for binding

Exorcism

Demon Influences

Beware of third party reports I

Beware of third party reports II

Beware of third party reports III

Beware of third party reports IV

Beware of third party reports V

*Third Party Testimony

As to Pastor-teacher Mark Perkins' church (to which I assume you are referring), Mark and I were seminary classmates and shared a close bond with others in our class as those who followed the same teaching ministry. Mark is a good man and a good teacher, and I would probably agree with most of what he teaches (and he would probably agree with most of what I teach), but I would not give a blanket endorsement sight-unseen to everything he teaches, nor would I presume to say that he would endorse everything I teach. I don't think he has moved beyond the pre-Trib "rapture", as an example. But I have no doubt that he is doing good work for the Kingdom of God, even if I would be happier if he changed his mind on that point (and a few other) important points of truth.  Wherever you live, I do recommend Curtis Omo's Bible Academy.

You remain in my prayers day by day as well, my friend.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #10:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I've came across situations where someone will say my first and last name followed by cryptic messages. I am absolutely certain that I've never met this person. Then they will stare at me with a look that can only be described as piercing evil eyes. How do these people know me? And is that a bad omen? I thought about casting the demons out of them in the Name of Jesus, but they depart from me before I'm able to do it. Are evil spirits knowing about me a bad sign?

God Bless,

Response #10:

I've never heard of anything like this before, and I've never read about anything like this in scripture. To be sure, the evil one and his minions are capable of observing us and sharing said information with possessed individuals – up to a point. God does not allow everything to happen that otherwise could happen given angelic capabilities (otherwise Satan and his crew could wipe out the entire human race in a matter of minutes).

The important thing to keep in mind is that nothing can harm us in this unseen conflict in which we are engaged without the Lord's approval, and He would never allow anything to touch us unless it was for good in the long run (in terms of testing, e.g.). So being terrified of potential or actual demon attack of any sort is inappropriate for believers. We are safe because our Lord keeps us safe – He is with us, right here, and the Holy Spirit indwells us.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
1st John 4:4 NKJV

We are going to be in this world just as long as He desires us to be:

So what shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over for our sake, how will He not also graciously give us everything [we need] along with [that gift of] Him? Who will [dare to] bring charges against God's elect? God is the One who is pronouncing [us] justified. Who is he that condemns [us]? Christ Jesus is the One who died [condemned in our place], and the One, moreover, who was raised from the dead [for us], who is [seated] at the right hand of God, who is also making petitions on our behalf. What will separate us from Christ's love? Tribulation? Or privation? Or persecution? Or hunger? Or destitution? Or danger? Or violence? As it is written, "For your sake we are being put to death all day long. We were accounted as sheep for slaughter". But in all such things we are decisively victorious through Him who loved us [enough to do what He did for us]. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, neither angelic nor human authorities, neither things present nor things to come, neither heavenly powers, be they the highest [of the elect] or the lowest [of the fallen], nor any other created thing [on this earth] will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39

The bottom line here then is that we are best served by ignoring any real or potential demon activity. The "only" thing we can do about it in any case is to place the matter in God's hands through prayer – and that is no small thing! We have no power over demons, not being apostles with the special gift / power to cast them out. So since we can't do anything to them absent the Lord's intervention (for which we are free to ask), and since they can't do anything to us (absent the Lord's permission; cf. Job chapters 1-2), giving all such things as wide a berth as possible is always the best policy for a believer. We know this conflict is raging around us, but we participate by growing spiritually, progressing with the Lord, and helping others do the same through ministry. If we suspect certain people to be possessed, we can pray for them, but we certainly should avoid them! If that is not entirely possible, then we should treat them as we do anyone else. After all, that is what Paul, an apostle who did have the gift/power to cast out demons, did for a long time in the case of the woman who was very clearly possessed and was harassing him and his companions in Philippi. Only after he became exasperated (Acts 16:18) did he command the spirit to leave – and that had unintended consequences.

For more on the subject of exorcism, please see these links:

Spiritual warfare: Exorcism

"Deliverance" and demon possession

Demon Possession (in SR 4)

Exorcism

Demon Influences

Binding & loosing

Prayers for binding

I keep you in my prayers day by day for protection from all such things.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Robert,

Thank you so much for your prayer and care. It seems to come in phases or waves, and when I think things are "calming down," something else comes along and that's the next obsession. It’s almost more brutal for me, as I hesitantly begin to relax and begin thanking God for peace and truth in my home and then … bam.

The latest thing is "soul healing" and "setting captives free".

I don’t know what to do other than pray. I’m just holding on and fearful of the next wave.

Response #11:

I'm keeping you in prayer on this, my friend. The only word of consolation I can give is that we do know that there is nothing at the end of the road here. Sooner or later that becomes obvious to everyone who goes down it. Here's praying for sooner rather than later.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #12:

What dangers do you believe there may be from these seemingly well-intended attempts to involve oneself more with casting out demons and such? Harmless foolishness? Confusion? Anything dangerous in your opinion with demons?

Response #12:

It's very dangerous for anyone, even a believer, to deliberately involve him/herself with anything which has anything whatsoever to do with the demonic. Our Lord, His twelve disciples, the seventy, and the twelve apostles (and perhaps a small number of others connected directly with their ministries) had the ability to cast out demons. However, 1) this special type of gift/ability ended with the death of the last apostle John in ca. 68 A.D.; 2) none of these believers "got involved" with anything demonic in any way in the manner you relate (or in any of the other many dangerous and non-biblical activities which are all "quite the rage" in certain ostensibly Christian groups today). They simply commanded the demon(s) to leave, and so it (they) did. They had no special insight into demon activities, any more than we do from studying scripture; and they did not engage in any of the weird, non-biblical prayers, chants, incantations, gatherings, and speculations which are all too common today. All such things are very dangerous. And instead of accomplishing what the individuals involved say they desire, that is, deliverance from demons, these sorts of activities actually only open up said individuals (both the ministering and the ministered to) to demon influence.

Paying attention to demons and their supposed methods and influence is not authorized by scripture and doing so only allows these unseen adversaries to gain leverage over a person's life. Believers cannot be demon possessed since the Holy Spirit indwells us, but believers can turn from the truth (to a small or growing degree), and doing so always opens a person up to the lie – which is of the devil. Our best spiritual warfare consists in understanding that we are being attacked by unseen forces but in living our lives without reference to them. That is because we cannot see them and we cannot affect them. Our faith must reach out and grab hold of God's faithfulness in this regard (as in all others), knowing that "greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world" (1Jn.4:4), and that the forces of light which protect us are far more numerous and powerful than those who oppose us (e.g., 2Ki.6:15-17). It is important to understand everything the Bible says about spiritual warfare and live our lives in the light of this perspective, but in doing so we should walk in confidence that we don't have to worry about what God is taking care of; the more we can do that in regard to the invisible, the more we will be able to do so in regard to the visible – because He is in command of all that as well. Becoming hyper-sensitive about the invisible opposition we face – when we should be focusing our Lord – is getting things exactly backwards and upside down, and never comes to any good. Here are a number of links which may be helpful in this regard:

Spiritual Warfare IV: Demons, Demonic Influences and Satanic Methodology

Spiritual Warfare III: Peter's 'Angel', Saul's Death, and Strange Events

Spiritual Warfare II

Faith, Hope and Love: Virtue in Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare

Angelic Issues III: Demons, Satan, Elders, Female Angels and Guardians.

Satan's World System (SR 4)

Finally, it should be noted there have been others in the past who were fascinated by these issues, and only managed to lead themselves and others astray, namely the Jewish or Jewish-influenced Gnostics (see the link) who tried to contact and manipulate the aeons (not much different from daemons / demons) in very similar ways to how we see these modern day would-be exorcists behaving:

In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings.

Jude 1:8 NIV

I'm keeping you and your family in my prayers day by day, my friend.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #13:

Hi Bob,

I was reading in Luke that the young boy who was seizing was possessed by a demon, but in your study on demonic warfare you stated that demons are almost always facilitated entry via the occult and extreme sinful behavior among unbelievers. However, it would seem to violate the principle of self-involvement for a young child to be possessed.

Do you think that it is likely that the activity of the parents resulted in their child becoming demon-possessed? Because I am having a hard time imagining that anything the child himself did could result in demonic possession.

Sincerely,

Response #13:

The critical point here is the difference between English and Greek vocabulary. When we say "child" in a context such as this we are thinking of a youngster probably around five or six years old. This "boy" was old enough to have made his own decisions in this respect. It's not a question of "doing bad things" – although that can contribute. It's a question of opening oneself up to demon influence and the prospect of possession. A ten year old today who has reached accountability and rejected the idea of any relationship with God who happens to be a Star Wars fan might pray to various and sundry forces to "get the force" – and get something else entirely. Palestine in the years before our Lord's ministry seems to be exceptionally (or at least notably) infested with possessions – no doubt because the devil began laying the ground work for opposition to our Lord just as soon as Satan realized that the Messiah had been born.

Here is something I wrote about this previously:

The case of the "boy" with the unclean spirit is sometimes taken as an exception (Matt.17:14ff.; Mk.9:24; Lk.9:37ff.). When Jesus asks the time of his initial affliction, his father replies "since he was a boy", however this phrase translates the Greek adverb paidiothen which means here not "from childhood" but "from adolescence [onward]", based on the word pais (παις) which is often used to make this distinction in Greek.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob,

This sounds like the "Gospel of Personal Responsibility" which seems to exist exclusively in the US and Anglosphere countries. God helps those who help themselves, everyone is always accountable for everything that happens to them, and whatnot. According to the gospels anyone could be demon possessed, and Jesus didn't chastise those who were demon-possessed for being so.

Response #14:

It's not a question of blaming people for what they are suffering (as Job's comforters did to him); it's a question of whether or not anyone can be demon possessed without allowing the demon in – and the answer it 'no' (see the link: "Demon Possession"). If God allows it for His own purposes – as He did in Job's case – people can be afflicted by demons, a very different and much more common situation (see the link: "Demon Attack").

We don't find our Lord chastising those who needs help regardless of the help needed; we do find Him graciously healing any and all who come to Him for help from whatever trouble besets them, regardless of their level of personal responsibility for that trouble. We can't say that all those healed bore no responsibility – no one is sinless. Our Lord famously told that Pharisees when they asked Him why He associated with sinners, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners" (Mk.2:17 NIV).

So when you write "[a]ccording to the gospels anyone could be demon possessed", I don't find that borne out in scripture. The actual number of cases in the Bible of those who were demon possessed is small; however, there are many more instances of individuals under assault by demons, mainly in respect to their health.

That seems to be the main confusion here. "Anyone" can be attacked by demonic forces in respect to health and other matters if God allows it (as Job was); no one can be possessed without acquiescing to the demon of their own free will (Satan was not allowed to possess Job). That is the biblical position, and it is a blessing; the only other possibility would be for anyone to be able to be demon possessed, regardless of their free will – but that would mean that demons could take over anyone's free will at any time. This would (obviously) violate the entire reason for the creation of mankind in the first place – and it is obviously also not happening . . . but why wouldn't the devil so order if it was in his power to do so?

The "boy" with the unclean spirit discussed previously is a controversial case, but as I have explained the Greek allows us to understand that he was old enough to have acquiesced to this possession (just as the Gadarene demoniac did, just as Mary Magdalene did, before they were saved). What a blessing that believers in Jesus Christ never have to worry about this, belonging to God and being indwelt by the Holy Spirit!

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Dr Bob,

Please see the video below. It astonishes me that people think playing with evil spirits is funny. I don't get it. This is the rage going on in teen schools and playing with the occult is a trend. It is frightening to see what is happening and I know our Lord and Savior Christ is saddened but not shocked. We humans point blank do not fear His Word. I just don't get it. He is Christ. Where is the reverence?

It really irks me. I just don't get it and it is sad. Situations like this make you want Christ to come ASAP so at least the "fear" of the Lord will be in people.

http://kdvr.com/2015/05/26/latest-teen-trend-charlie-charlie-challenge-has-kids-trying-to-summon-mexican-demon/

Response #15:

Hello my friend,

Another sign of the times. We can only trust in the Lord that for those who are called to belong to Him, even if such influence comes their way they will reject it, or be "scared straight" by it before too much damage is done. We don't have to worry that the Lord is not "on the case" on behalf of all who belong to Him . . . or who soon will believe. Our best reaction to such things is 1) prayer, and 2) doubling down on the truth ourselves so as to be "salt" for those we love and in whose area we live. If anyone asks us for our opinion, of course we should counsel staying away. But I am sure that with all such things the devil loves to goad positive Christians into reacting and getting involved in some crusade or other "against" such activities – which in the end is only likely to make such things more intriguing and popular to many young people, even as it wastes our precious time (or worse).

In our dear Lord Jesus who is the truth,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Another related topic on which I would like for you weigh in is that of demons and demonic possession. I’ve read a lot on Ichthys on this topic, but there are a few specific questions I was hoping you could answer definitively for me. In the course of my research I’ve come across many Christian sources whose message relates to conspiracies and their connection to biblical matters. Two of these men, whom I discovered through the Hagmann and Hagmann Report online talk radio broadcast, are Pastor David Lankford and Steve Quayle. All men involved seem like genuine, good-hearted brothers in Christ, and they seem like they sincerely love the Lord and sincerely believe in what they are saying. I agree with most of it, but there are a few things that make me question what they are saying. They’re a little too charismatic for my taste. They believe that there are two "helpings", if you will, of the Holy Spirit; one that comes upon believing and one that comes later that gives you the power of tongues, prophecy, casting out demons, etc. They also believe that Acts is all prescriptive of how the Church should behave instead of strictly historical. What really made me think these guys might have the wrong idea on biblical matters was when Pastor Lankford said that the restrainer of the mystery of lawlessness in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 was the Archangel Michael and made no mention of the Holy Spirit in the context of that verse. Anyway, one of the topics they speak about is deliverance, and they promote certain practitioners of casting out demons like Pastor John Kyle and the late Derek Prince. This practice worries me. Firstly, I agree with the teachings at Ichthys that the sign gifts ended when the canon of scripture was completed. Also, they teach that even though you have that first helping of the Holy Spirit, it is still possible to have demons. That is, the demons dwell inside of you along with the Holy Spirit. Isn’t that impossible? I feel like if demons afflict believers it is externally. It may be supernatural and telepathic interaction and interference at times, but the demon can’t inhabit your body at all if you have the Holy Spirit; and there is only one dose of the Holy Spirit, which comes at the instant of believing. Am I correct about that? Lastly, and related, the part of this deliverance stuff that I have the biggest problem with is the actual process itself (which can be seen on any number of youtube videos if you search the names given above). It is my understanding from scripture that all communication with demons/spirits is forbidden and is grouped in with witchcraft. There are verses like Leviticus 19:31 and Deuteronomy 18:9-13 to support that. Yet in these ceremonies, the pastors call the demons up, the demons completely take over the person (as in complete possession where the voice changes and the person has no recollection of what happened afterward), interrogates the demon about who it is and how it got into the person, etc., and then he casts the demon out. The person has this big dramatic reaction and is supposedly delivered from their demons one by one. This practice really bothers me. I don’t know whether it’s real or these people are practicing some form of witchcraft in which they’re causing people to become demon-possessed. Can you straighten me out on this and let me know your thoughts on deliverance ministries? Also, I apologize for trying to listen to too many teachers, instead of parking myself at Ichthys, and thus getting myself all confused.

One other aspect of demons I’m curious about is their origin. Steve Quayle and Pastor Lankford teach that the account in the Book of Enoch is correct concerning the genesis of demons. According to them, the fallen angels bred with human women to create a hybrid race, the Nephilim. That much is true. Then, they say, that when the flood came, the fallen angels could not be killed because they are angels, so the ones guilty of sexual sin were imprisoned. However, the hybrid offspring could not also be killed in the same way as a full human because they were part angel. These hybrids then experienced a physical death of their body and their spirit then became a demon, and thus all of the demons are in fact disembodied spirits of angelic hybrids. I’ve read your teachings that demons and fallen angels are the same things, but this explanation would seem to make them different classes of beings. Could you clarify this for me as well? They also teach about this hybrid race of giants popping up after the flood, Goliath and his brothers as examples, although according to their logic Goliath is now a demon. What is the definition of Rephaim and Giborim in this context?

Response #16:

From your writing it seems to me that you have correctly discerned the things I teach. The hybrid theory you present has no biblical basis whatsoever. Demons are fallen angels (and not the remnants of nephilim). Secondly, there is only one gift of the Spirit, the baptism of the Spirit, the "one baptism" of the Church (Eph.4:5), and it comes to all believers when they believe (Rom.8:9). Those of the charismatic persuasion seem to want an emotional "pop" to "prove" they've "got it", and then they need more excitement after that (an ever increasing dosage of that drug: tongues, prophecy, miracles, healing, etc.). Exorcism is not, in my opinion, valid for those who are not 1) the Lord Himself, 2) one of the 70, 3) one of the twelve. Will the 144K do this? I believe so. But if so, they will be empowered and commissioned to do so. Right now, the way I read scripture, not only can believers not be possessed (we can certainly be afflicted!), but it is also the case that no one can do anything to relieve those actually possessed "except" pray to God for their deliverance. That is no small thing! We have access to the throne of God Almighty through the victory of our Lord Jesus. I know of plenty of cases where believers were helped by intercessory prayer, including in cases of putative demon attack. But the things some of these people/preachers are doing these days . . . Let's just say I don't find it justified by scripture.

On the Holy Spirit as the Restrainer, please see the links:

The Restraining ministry of the Spirit (in SR 2)

The Restraining ministry of the Spirit (in CT 2B)

Exegesis of the passage in 2nd Thessalonians

Question #17:

Hello Bob:

Great hearing from you.

Thank you for keeping me on your email list! And thank you for the a Lesson on Peter. My relative has been dealing with seeing evil spiritual things. I haven't asked specifically "what" is being seen.

I will pray this lesson may give some insight. Thanks again,

Response #17:

You're most welcome. I'll continue to keep you and your family in my prayers – including your evangelism work.

From what I read in scripture, we are indeed involved in spiritual warfare – but it is "unseen" (cf. Eph.2:2; 3:10; 6:12; Col.1:16). The forces of the evil one can only even touch us if the Lord allows it (cf. Rom.8:38-39) – and that doesn't include possession which is impossible in the case of believers. According to the biblical record, only Jesus Christ ever saw a demon while in the flesh – when the devil tempted Him. So while I have heard these sorts of tales before, it seems to me that, based upon what the Bible tells us, there is probably a lot of self-suggestion involved in such "sightings" (to put the most generous spin on it). We believers are to keep our eyes on the fight we can see, knowing that invisible forces are warring around us – evil ones, yes, but remembering that the power of God is absolute. That is how we participate in this spiritual warfare, namely, learning about it, understanding it, but then doing our "job" for the Lord as if such opposition didn't even exist.

Here are a couple of general links which might be of some help:

Spiritual Warfare IV: Demons, Demonic Influences and Satanic Methodology

Spiritual Warfare III: Peter's 'Angel', Saul's Death, and Strange Events

Spiritual Warfare II

Faith, Hope and Love: Virtue in Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Warfare

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Dr. Luginbill,

I had heard a sermon where the preacher had said that anyone who takes medication or prescription pills is committing sorcery and is in danger of hell fire. He tried to prove this by going to the original language of the word sorcery. He said it was "pharmakeia", and we get the word "pharmacy" from it. This troubled me because I take medication prescribed by my physician for chronic pain. Am I committing sorcery, or is this preacher taking the word sorcery out of context?

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #18:

As a mature Christian who has spent many years in the Word of God, I think you know very well that this is absolute nonsense. There is very clearly a difference today between legitimate medicine used for necessary therapeutic purposes on the one hand and using illegal substances for recreation on the other. We call both of these things "drugs", but the fact that we use the word for legitimately prescribed substances does not legitimize illegal use of other drugs any more than using the word "drugs" used for dangerous and illegal substances invalidates all modern medicine. This is like taking "don't do drugs!" to mean that a diabetic should stop taking insulin. That is worse than nonsense, and so is that sermon.

On the meaning of the Greek word pharmakeia and its cognates and the nexus between witchcraft in the ancient world and drug use please see the links:

Please don't stop taking your medication

Legitimate vs. illegitimate "drugs"

Pharmakon and witchcraft

Other substances

I have been praying for you for a long time, my friend, both for your family and for your health. I have also been praying for your protection against just this sort of thing, namely, bad influences coming in the name of Christ. There is a lot of this sort of thing out there in the ethos these days. Take my advice and steer clear of any ministry, pastor, church, website that "shows its cards" and makes it clear that they don't have any idea what they are talking about. Christians need the truth to grow; believing things that aren't true always leads to spiritual setbacks.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Good morning Bob.

What is referenced about hypnotism used to control addictive behavior or other undesirable conditions in people?

As always, your brother in the resurrected Christ Jesus.

Good morning again Bob.

I found my answer on your site in Part4 Satan's World System.

Again, many thanks for being a mentor to me.

'The Spirit spoke to me this morning - If you want Me to be the power for others, let Me be the Power for you.'

Peace,

Response #19:

You're most welcome, my friend! Good work on tracking this down - it's about the only thing I have to say about the practice at Ichthys. I usually avoid discussing it when I can. Clearly, anything that surrenders our will – in large or small part – over to someone else is a big mistake (and could, in the case of unbelievers, open a person up to demon possession). Doing anything important will take some will- power, a decision that we stick to, and there is no way to override that process of self-determination unless, as I say, we subcontract out our will out to someone else. Becoming a slave to someone else to whatever degree will be a miserable experience and certainly not be worth any benefit we might derive from selling our free will for a mess of pottage.

You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.
1st Corinthians 7:23 NASB

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Was Joseph involved in the occult?

"Joseph said to them, 'What is this you have done? Don’t you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?' " (Genesis 44:15)

"Isn’t this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination?" (Genesis 44:5)

Response #20:

I think we can be sure that a great man of God like Joseph was not involved in any sort of necromancy. This was part of his act to keep his identity concealed, a necessary subterfuge (to which his servant was privy) so as to bring the whole family down to Egypt in order to preserve them in the famine:

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
Genesis 50:20

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Joseph was given a special gift to interpret dreams. So maybe it's not out of the realm of possibility to believe that he had other gifts to interpret other divine/supernatural phenomena, not necessarily necromancy.

Ever since Calvin, Christians have been half way deists. But Rabbinical Judaism does believe that certain men of God such as Solomon and Joseph had special supernatural knowledge and powers.

Response #21:

Since rabbinical Judaism is wrong about virtually everything else, I wouldn't put too much stock in their opinion. There is no biblical instance of a believer using any such pagan methods – not, that is, when truly operating with the Spirit of God. Saul consulted the witch of Endor – and we know that this was violently against God's will. The only gift scripture tells of which has anything to do with anything like this is the gift of prophecy (in which both Solomon and Joseph shared), and it has nothing to do with the occult. Prophecy can be a gift of foretelling as well as forth-telling (e.g., God "does nothing, unless He reveals His secret [intentions] to His servants the prophets", Amos 3:7 NKJV). But this is the Lord giving information to a select few – not someone making use of witchcraft from their own will to divine the future; the former is passive and godly; the later is active and ungodly. It's an important point, because there have been those who have consulted with demons to get information otherwise unavailable by human means (not knowledge of the future as God has planned it, however, even though it can be made to look so). As the Tribulation approaches, we can expect such things to gain ever increasing credence; for spiritual safety, Christians need to stay far away from all such practices and from all such ideas.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #22:

"If we do not emphasize that Jesus Christ is the only way, many would be more than happy to add Christ to their many gods. For a short time we lived in the city of Minoo in an upstairs apartment rented to us by a dear elderly Japanese lady. She was one of the most religious people I had ever met. In her home sat a large altar with symbols of Buddhism and Shintoism, not really unusual in a Japanese home. But in the midst of this shrine, there was also a crucifix. She did not want to take any chances. On more than one occasion, we tried to convince her that Jesus Christ was the only way, but she never turned from her idolatry."  http://ministry127.com/missions/mount-fuji-and-the-path-to-heaven

I find it interesting that this woman had some fear of God within her, because she clearly was aware of what rejecting Christ means, but yet she was stubborn to her old ways.

Idolatry is only a "dead activity" in the West. The Far East still is very much an idolatrous society. The problem, though, is that Christians who lack knowledge go to Japan and completely ignore the underlying problems of pervasive idolatry. I remember a gentleman saying that when he saw a festival where people were taking pictures of a paper-mache Mt. Fuji saying that it was "idolatrous" and "like the great all-seeing pyramid." Please. There's absolutely no need to stretch the definition of idolatry to that extent when you have literal statues of false gods doting every street corner, and people giving money and prayers to them.

However, Japan isn't the worst of the idolatrous societies. Ancient Greek false gods were meaner and far more influential on their worshippers. Most Japanese are lukewarm agnostics who don't really think too much about religion.

"Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased" (Psalm 115:2–3).

In the Logos made flesh,

Response #22:

The later Greeks (that is, from the late 5th cent. B.C. on) and more particularly the Romans were generally more superstitious than religious. That is to say, they generally had no deep feelings of commitment to gods/goddesses; rather they were wary of coming under any sort of supernatural scrutiny or cursing. In this way, pagan idolatry of the classical world is a perfect representation of the unbeliever who recognizes that God exists, and merely wants to be left alone to do what he/she wants to do in this life without any divine interference.

Yet they say to God, "Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?"
Job 21:14-15 NIV

They said to God, ‘Leave us alone! What can the Almighty do to us?’
Job 22:17 NIV

And you are certainly correct that any sort of compromise with evil (or idolatry) is powerful leaven strong enough to leaven the whole lump (1Cor.5:9 Gal.5:9).

"I will stretch out My hand against Judah,
And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
I will cut off every trace of Baal from this place,
The names of the idolatrous priests with the pagan priests—
Those who worship the host of heaven on the housetops;
Those who worship and swear oaths by the LORD,
But who also swear by Milcom; (i.e., the pagan god Molech)"
Zephaniah 1:4-5 NKJV

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Hi Bob,

Do you think that the Satanic ritual abuse panic that went on in the 1980s was the modern-day equivalent of the Salem witch trials? I bring this up because every once in a while I come across material written by an evangelical regarding the occult, but the sources from which they obtain this information are almost always entangled in the SRA panic.

It seems that a lot of contemporary Christians in the USA aren't even aware that the 1980s was a period of mass hysteria.

Sincerely,

Response #23:

Always best to stay away from such things, that includes over-reacting (as you reference), but also under-reacting. Both behaviors are pretty obvious. Over-reacting: accusing others of such behavior and acting on that presupposition. Under-reacting: imagining that there is no satanic influence or that there are no nut-cases who get involved with such sick behaviors.

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #24:

Hi Bob,

Both Isaiah 47 and the Book of Revelation place an inordinate emphasis on sorcery. Why?

Sincerely,

Response #24:

I wouldn't say it's "inordinate", merely perhaps surprising for modern people growing up in a secular world which denies the existence of such things altogether. For one thing, there will be a resurgence of this sort of activity in the Tribulation (and the unveiling of much of what is going on today in the shadows). Another important aspect of this, however, is the issue of technology which, from a biblical point of view, differs little from magic and sorcery when it is put to evil ends. Babylon is a focal point of such sorcery in scripture – and that fits.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #25:

There is a third option: drug usage.

Response #25:

Good point. In the Bible this would be part of the same picture. For John and his audience there was no sharp distinction between the three categories as we see things today. For example, "sorcery/witchcraft" is pharmakeia in Greek, and all "drugs" were seen as potentially having to do with sorcery when put to ill use, and as said before, that includes all manner of "magic" of which modern technology may be seen to have a share when used for evil ends. Believers should not be anti-drugs if the drugs are genuinely used for medical therapy (only illicit use for recreation which often involves the demonic). Nor should we be anti-technology – since it can be used for good (as in this website). But we do need to appreciate that the current wave of innovation is conducive to hastening all manner of satanic ends. So while we should definitely refrain from what amounts to the worship of science and technology which characterizes our day, that doesn't mean we can't use it for godly purposes.

 

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