Monday, June 24, 2013

My Answer to an Inquiry about Jesus and Exorcism

Last week I posted that Jesus’ exorcisms were eacted prophecies that pointed to the in-breaking of God’s kingdom and to the ultimate defeat of the powers that hold God’s people captive.

A well-known Bible teacher (whom shall remain unnamed) responded with this question: “I like your take Alan. Do you believe some deliverances point ahead only in sense of announcing a future demon-free creation?”

Here’s My Answer:

Your question is a difficult and one I am still working out. But here is where I am now in my thinking:

I believe that all of Jesus’ exorcisms point to God’s victory over Satan, both temporarily and ultimately, or the “already” and “Not yet” aspects of the K of G. Entering enemy territory, Jesus plunders Satan’s house, i.e. Satan’s kingdom. Each triumph is a sign that God’s kingdom had arrived and was expanding, and that Satan was diminishing as Satan was losing his grip over people’s lives (see Luke 4:18-21; Matt 11:29).

When defending his exorcisms and explaining their purpose, Jesus likens his exorcisms to binding a strong man (Mark 3:23), an allusion to Isa 24:21-22, which speak s of the complete elimination of evil at the end of the age.

Revelation speaks of Satan being bound in a bottomless pit for 1000 years (Rev 20:1-3) and the Book of Enoch describes the binding of God’s enemies, namely Azazel and his associates (1 Enoch 10:4-16). For Jesus and his followers, exorcisms or the binding of evil spirits, mean that the “age to come” had arrived already in some way.

Of course, this caused so much confusion among Jesus followers and the masses,  since Jesus did not set up the kingdom as they had expected. In hindsight we can now see he inaugurated the kingdom at his first coming, but will not consummate it until his return.

Like the 12 apostles, the church now possesses the authority over demons (Matt 10:1, 11, 17; Acts 8, 9, 16) as we preach the Gospel of the kingdom. Each present-day exorcism is an enacted prophecy that frees someone from the grip of Satan now and points to the final day when Satan and his hordes will be bound forever. 

On the cross Jesus dealt a death blow to Satan, decisively sealing the latter’s fate (John 12:31-33; Col 1:13-14; 2:14-15). The cross is “the hinge of history “ and  represents Christ’s victory over Satan.

I deal with both exorcisms and healings in my book “Heaven on Earth: Experiencing the Kingdom of God in the Here and Now,” which can be purchased on Amazon in paperback and in Kindle format.

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