September 2015
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Christian Living: Evil Spirits

To begin, let’s be very clear about one thing: evil spirits are NOT “ghosts”. The Bible clearly states that when a person dies their soul instantly goes back to the Father (2 Corinthians 5:8). ALL souls belong to God (Ezekiel 18:4). The Bible mentions evil spirits and unclean spirits many times. This is entirely different than “ghosts”. When evil spirits were first banished from Heaven, they were called “angels” (Revelation 12:9). Evil spirits are followers of Satan who try to lead us away from our Father. Before Satan’s rebellion they were God’s angels, but when Satan rebelled they followed Satan and were banished from Heaven.  

We see the presence of Satan, also called Lucifer (which is translated from the Hebrew word “הֵילֵל” which means “light-bearer”; Lucifer is also called “the morning star”) all the way back to the Old Testament where he tempted Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:1-5). In fact, when Satan tempted Adam and Eve, he tempted them with the very thing he wants: power (Genesis 3:5). In Isaiah 14:12, we learn of the fall of Satan from Heaven to Earth. Isaiah continues to tell us why Lucifer was cast to Earth in Isaiah 14:13 and Isaiah 14:14. Satan wanted power, glory and recognition. He was not satisfied serving our Lord; he wanted to be like God, with all of God’s angels serving him. God tells us what punishment awaits Satan in the next verse (Isaiah 14:15). A similar thing is said of Satan in Ezekiel 28, although this time he is called the king of Tyrus (“צֹר” in Hebrew, is a city on the Mediterranean Coast. Tyrus means “rock” and when referring to Satan, it means the false rock. Christ is the true rock):   

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11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.
13 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.
14 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.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.
16 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.
17 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.
18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee.
19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.  

Satan wanted to be like God, Isaiah 14:12-14 makes that very clear. Satan thinks he will be like God, but we know he will fail. Our God is the creator of ALL things and it is not wise for the created to EVER think they can be more powerful than the creator, our Heavenly Father. Satan did not want to worship God anymore, he wanted to be worshipped and that’s what caused his fall. He was “the anointed cherub that covereth” (or protects) before his fall. He fell because of pride.  

The world today is filled with prideful people that give no credit to God. We can clearly see Satan’s evil influence on the world. Many people want nothing to do with God and that is why there is so much evil in this world we live in. There are people who try to take God out of the equation, for example, people trying to remove God from schools. There will be no blessings for anyone who tries to remove God.  

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Satan rebelled against the Lord and now he spends his time trying to get us to disobey God. He wants us to listen to him instead of God, and many people do. He is called the tempter (Matthew 4:3). He even tried to tempt Jesus in the desert. But, of course, it is impossible for God’s perfect Son, our perfect Savior, to be tempted by Satan. Satan tries daily to tempt us and lead us away from our Heavenly Father. Sometimes Satan sends his demons to try to separate us from God. Satan’s demons are the angels that formerly served God until Satan’s rebellion and now they do Satan’s bidding. They attach themselves to our homes, belongings, and ourselves. We can sometimes feel the presence of demons around us.   

Olive Oil Photo ©2007 Wikimedia Commons user Alex Ex. Licensed under CC-BY-SA

If we do feel them we should verbally (they are not all-knowing like our Lord) cast them out, asking God to protect us in the name and blood of Christ and by rebuking them in Christ’s name and by anointing. For example you should say something like this: “I pray for the protection of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ over this doorway (or whatever it is). In the name of Christ I rebuke all evil.” For anointing you can use any oil (such as: olive, vegetable or baby oil) that you have asked God to bless as anointing oil. (For more information on how to anoint look at our Bible Study Christian Living: How to anoint.)  

To cast out demons you have to have faith in the Lord. In Acts 19, we see what happens if you try to cast out demons without faith:  

13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.  

In Matthew, the apostles tried to cast out a demon but they failed. Then Christ cast it out. The apostles asked why they couldn’t cast it out (Matthew 17:19) and Jesus said because they didn’t have enough faith (Matthew 17:20).  

Keep in mind that when you anoint and expel the demons, you need to replace them with the Holy Spirit. Matthew 12 tells us what happens when we do not replace the evil spirits with the Holy Spirit:  

43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.  

This means that when you get rid of a demon, you must replace it with Christ; otherwise, the spirit will return and find his house (Matthew 12:44; a.k.a.: you) “empty” (as in lacking Christ; spiritually empty), so he will bring 7 worse demons back with him. Don’t just think you can pray one time and get rid of all your problems. You must stay strong in God’s Word and in faith, filling yourself with the Holy Spirit, to keep away evil. God will protect you if you stay faithful to him. You have to have faith.  

God wants to see who we choose

Why doesn’t God just destroy Satan? He definitely has the power to destroy Satan; however, God permits Satan to live (for now) so that we may have the CHOICE to follow him or to follow Satan. Another reason God has not yet destroyed Satan is so that mankind has time to repent. God is using a negative (Satan’s rebellion) as a positive as part of his plan. We certainly do not want any evil in Heaven so when God destroys sin he will do it fully. He will eliminate Satan and all of those who do not repent and believe in Christ.  

Illustration for John Milton's “Paradise Lost“ by Gustave Doré, 1866

Satan’s evil spirit roams the Earth (Job 1:7). Satan’s presence is seen in the book of Job. Job is a very righteous man, blessed by God (in Job 1:8 the word escheweth, “וְסָר מֵרָֽע” in Hebrew, means to turn away from evil). Satan claims that Job only follows God because God protects Job (Job 1:10), and if Job didn’t have God’s blessings Job would curse God (Job 1:11). So God removes Job’s protection and allows Satan to do anything he wants to Job but kill him (Job 2:6). Job’s children, wealth, and physical health are taken from him (Job 1:21). Job’s 3 friends try to “help” Job by telling him that he had sinned, but Job knew he did not sin (Job 1:22), and these 3 friends were wrong. Satan challenged Job’s integrity, and took almost everything from Job, and Job DID NOT curse God (Job 2:10). Job was then restored to a better condition than he was in before God allowed Satan to do anything he wanted to Job but kill him (Job 42:10-12). God knew he could count on Job, and that’s how he expects us to be: faithful like Job. The book of Job teaches us to NEVER blame God. God loves us, and we need to keep strong in our faith. Satan’s evil spirit is very real and he roams the Earth. But we Christians have NOTHING to fear because God has given us power over our enemies (Luke 10:19).   

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Evil spirits try to separate Christians from God so that they will follow Satan instead of God. Sometimes a Christian doesn’t even realize that there is an evil spirit trying to influence them. Evil spirits are masters at deceit. They tell lies and if you are not aware of the truth you won’t even know it is a lie. That’s why it’s important to study God’s Word, so that you know the truth. Satan is a fake and a liar. He will influence false teachers encouraging them to lie to God’s children. He will come at the end days and will be disguised and mistaken by many for Christ (1 John 4:1, 2 Corinthians 11:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:4). You need to be prepared for the end times so you will not be deceived by Satan. Mark 13 tells us what the end times will be like. Mark 13:12 speaks of families betraying each other. This will be caused by Satan’s deceit. He will fool people into thinking he is Christ and families will be divided over who he is.  

Evil spirits search for weakness. If you are straying from God’s Word then evil spirits will see that and will use it against you. Your relationship with God is constantly changing. It is impossible for your relationship to stay the same with him. You are always either growing closer or straying away from him. You can stay in His Word and continue to strengthen your relationship with God, or you can stop reading the Bible and talking to God (even for a little) and allow yourself to drift away from him. If you remove God from your life, even for a short time, an evil spirit can work itself between you and the Father. That’s why it is crucial to always make time for God; he always has time for you. God will protect us from evil spirits as long as we keep Christ in us. 

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Evil spirits try to lead us astray. So we must make time, at least once a day, to be with God and talk to God. God loves you and wants you to talk to him. If you stay faithful to God you will be blessed, on Earth, and most importantly, in Heaven. So do not let evil spirits take your blessings. Satan has no salvation and no blessings, so he sends his demons to try to tempt you so you will lose what God wants to give you. You need to spend time with God to keep the evil spirits away. If you keep Christ in you, you will be blessed by God and protected from evil spirits.