Silencing the Witness of Demons

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Silencing the Witness of Demons

Post  dove on Tue 15 Jan 2008, 2:31 pm

"It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling. Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, 'These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.' She continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, 'I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!' And it came out at that very moment" (Acts 16:16-18). It has been asked why Paul would want to silence this slave-girl since she was witnessing to the fact that Paul and his companions were actually true followers of Jesus and were telling people what was necessary to be saved. Would not this slave-girl's testimony help Paul convince the Jews and Gentiles that Jesus was the Messiah? What she spoke was the truth, yet Paul chose to silence her. Why?
If you were preaching and teaching others and Adolph Hitler got up on the platform with you and endorsed you, told your listeners that you were a godly man, that the words you spoke were true, that the Holy Spirit rested upon you, would you welcome the endorsement? If Larry Flint, publisher of a pornographic magazine, took a place by your side and endorsed you, would you welcome the endorsement? How about someone like Jeffery Dahmer, a member of the Ku Klux Klan, a self-proclaimed witch, a pedophile? Likely your answer would be no. People such as this, obviously evil and immoral, profane the holiness of the truth. The credibility of the preacher/teacher is not enhanced by such people's agreement of the truth; rather, it becomes suspect. Who would want their name associated with Hitler, regardless of the association? Thus, if we would spurn the endorsement of Hitler or those who are morally corrupt, how much more should we spurn the endorsement of one of Satan's angels; that is, a demon?

Jesus many times silenced the demons He met. "Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, 'You are the Son of God!' But rebuking them, He would not allow them to speak, because they knew Him to be the Christ" (Luke 4:41). Jesus even encountered demons in what to us would be church. "Just then there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, saying, 'What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are the Holy One of God!' And Jesus rebuked him, saying, 'Be quiet, and come out of him'" (Mark 1:23-25)! If you do not think there are demon-possessed people in the churches today just look at what they advocate sexual impurity, abortion, worship of the goddess Sophia, (honest), and the feminization of God the Father. The spirit that motivates such people is not the Holy Spirit. Sin is rampant in the churches today and if you want to feel the hostility that Jesus encountered by demons all you need to do is speak up against such sin.

I believe Jesus silenced the demons for two reasons. One was that it was not time for the Messiahship of Jesus to be made know. As Solomon said long ago, "There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven - " (Ecclesiastes 3:1). When Jesus asked His disciples who He was Peter declared, "You are the Christ" (Mark 8:29). Then Jesus "warned them to tell no one about Him" (Mark 8:30). It was just not the right time for that truth to be revealed. "On one of the days while He was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders confronted Him, and they spoke, saying to Him, 'Tell us by what authority You are doing these things, or who is the one who gave You this authority'" (Luke 20:1-2)? He would not reveal that His authority came from the fact that He was Emmanual, God with us.

Time is something that is critical to the Christian walk, and thus, our witness to the world. We desire to have faith capable of healing someone instantaneously like we read that Jesus or the Apostles did. We want to merely speak the word or lay our hand upon someone and watch him recover from an illness or deformity. We become disappointed or discouraged when it does not happen and we question the genuineness of our faith. We want the healing now, but what takes more faith someone being healed immediately or praying for someone for twenty years before the healing takes place?

Even speaking the truth must be done at the right time. Jesus taught His disciples many things, but some things He was unwilling to disclose to them prior to His death and resurrection. "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now" (John 16:12). The word "bear" used here is the Greek "bastazein" and means "to take upon one's self, to bear what is burdensome, to carry". The truth can sometimes be difficult to bear or to accept But speaking the truth at the wrong time can cause unnecessary problems if we are unable or unwilling to deal with it at the time we are told. Jesus recognized this and would not allow the demons to reveal who He was before the Father's time. Nor would He burden His disciples with knowledge that they could not bear. When we are hurting our desire is to share that hurt with someone who would be sympathetic and thus possibly ease the pain within us. But as Jesus steadily approached the cross and all the torment that came with it, He suffered alone, knowing that others could not understand. It was not time for His disciples to die defending Him; thus, He would not arouse their emotions to fight for Him, nor allow the truth that He was the Messiah to take root deep enough within them to cause them to fight to rescue Him from the Jews and the agony of the Crucifixion.

The second reason was because of what we have discussed earlier. Jesus had no desire to be associated in any way with the demonic world. In the Gospel of John, the Gospel that expresses the divinity of Jesus, He is accused several times of having a demon, or being demon-possessed. "The Jews answered and said to Him, 'Do we not say rightly that You are a Samaritan and have a demon?' Jesus answered, 'I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me'" (John 8:48-49). "Many of them were saying, 'He has a demon and is insane. Why do you listen to Him'" (John 10:20)? These were the Jews, the religious people of Jesus' time, that accused Him of having a demon. Why did they think this? "But because I (Jesus) speak the truth, you do not believe Me" (John 8:45). They would not believe the truth out of jealousy and the fear of losing their place of privilege. Yet the only way they could justify their rejection of Jesus after He had done so many good works and miracles was to attribute them to the devil.

In fact, this association that the Jews made between Jesus and the devil is what is at the center of what is known as the Unforgivable Sin. "And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, 'He is possessed by Beelzebul,' and 'He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons'" (Mark 3:22). Jesus responded by saying, "Truly I say to you, all sins shall be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin' because they were saying, 'He has an unclean spirit'" (Mark 3:28-30). To blaspheme means to speak evil of, to slander in order to destroy the character or reputation of someone. Essentially what Jesus was saying is that all sins and even slandering Jesus the Man will be forgiven, but to slander the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.

What does it mean to slander the Holy Spirit? I believe it means to intentionally and willfully attribute to Satan and his demons the work of the Holy Spirit in order to destroy the reputation of God Himself. Jesus once condemned the Pharisees by saying, "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves" (Matthew 23:15). One way they did this was to try to convince people that they spoke for God, that they alone held the truth, and that Jesus was demon-possessed and therefore all His words and miracles were lies from the pit of hell. I believe the religious leaders recognized, at least in part, the truth about Jesus. But to acknowledge that would have meant they needed to step aside and give up their authority and place of prominence in society something they absolutely would not do.

Why silence a demon-possessed girl who was witnessing to the truth of salvation through Jesus Christ? Because it legitimizes evil and gives Satan a foothold in the lives of people. The motive behind such witnessing is always to blur the line between good and evil. Divination and fortune telling, which this slave-girl practiced, were strongly condemned by God. "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you" (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

But Satan is extremely clever. As long as these demon-possessed people spoke evil or carried out evil deeds it was easy to condemn them and justify driving them out. Yet he knows that fallen man will accept what God has condemned if it can be wrapped in a half-truth. Once that happens it becomes easier to accept things that previously were solidly condemned as wrong. Look at Christianity today. What is accepted in some denominations today would not have been tolerated for one moment ten or twenty years ago. Some who pastor and preach in these churches are without question unsaved, unholy, unspiritual, and immoral people. "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their deeds" (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). It is the disguise of truth hiding the true nature of evil. Satan does not fear the truth as long as he can present it by one of his messengers. Once we accept such a messenger the truth will become increasingly diluted until we believe that which we once vehemently opposed. A half-truth is much easier to accept than a bold-faced lie and an evil messenger is easier to accept when he looks and acts holy. The deadliest poison is one that tastes good.

What kind of a witness are we? Are we pure and holy in thought, word, and deed? Do we grieve over our sins and shortcomings? Do we fear bringing our Lord's name into disrepute when others associate us with Christianity? The Psalmist prayed such a thing would be far from him. "Let not those who wait and hope and look for You, O Lord of hosts, be put to shame through me; let not those who seek and inquire for and require You [as their vital necessity] be brought to confusion and dishonor through me, O God of Israel." (Psalm 69:6 AMP) The most destructive thing that attacks Christianity is not the unbeliever, but the one who claims to be a Christian, but looks and acts like the unsaved world around him. The higher the Christian is held in esteem the greater the damage done if he falls, if he embraces the values and morals of the world. Pastors, preachers, and teachers will be judged more severely than others. "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment" (James 3:1). An example of this type of witness would be the televangelists that succumbed to unethical fund raising and immorality a few years ago. When the secrets of these men were exposed Christianity was mocked and ridiculed. Much of what they taught was truth, but like the demon-possessed girl, their witness did greater harm than good.

We are called to a life of holiness, purity, and righteousness. "Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, 'You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy'" (Leviticus 19:2). This is more than a command; this is a promise. As we submit ourselves to our Husband, Jesus Christ, we will take on more and more of His character and nature. As He is holy, so shall we be. "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6). Thus our witness, not just our words, but also the example we set each day as we live out the nitty-gritty details of ordinary life, becomes more acceptable. We are to separate (the word "holy" means to separate from one thing unto another) ourselves from all that would defile us in any way.

Paul once asked: "What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever" (2 Corinthians 6:15 AMP)? The word "harmony" is the Greek "sumphonesis" and literally means "a sounding together". We get the English word "symphony" from it. A symphony is a mixture of notes arranged by a gifted musician that transcends language and cultures. A person that speaks English can listen to Bach or Mozart and revel in the beauty of the music as it flows through his being. Yet a person that speaks not a single word of English can experience the same feelings. We call those who create these symphonic masterpieces musical geniuses, and so they are. They bring notes together that compliment each other in such a way that the ear longs to hear more. This is what the Christian and Christ are to be like. Christ arranges each day of our life to create a song of praise to him and as we live in holiness the song is one of beauty. It has the power to create within others a longing to share in that song. But if we call ourselves "Christian" and live a life that is immoral, impure, and disobedient to our Lord, the sound the world hears is one of discord and disharmony. The result is ears being shut to the Gospel because the message has become intolerable, much like fingernails being scraped across a chalkboard.

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Re: Silencing the Witness of Demons

Post  jari on Sun 20 Jan 2008, 11:00 pm

Really loved and understood the article. Very interesting!

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