A Study of Theology II – Part 2
A Study of Theology II – Part 2 (Dr. Thomas Figart)
Who is the “strong man” of Matthew 12:29-30? What is the destiny of fallen angels?
A Study of Theology II – Part 2
Dr. Thomas Figart
Angelology: The Study of Angels (con’t)
Third: The Principle of the Strong Man. Matthew 12:29-30
12:29-30 “Or else, how can one enter a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods except he first bind the strong man? And then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”
Two applications of this saying of Christ are possible. If the strong man is Satan or one of his demons, then the house is the body of the demon-possessed individual (12:25, 27). The stronger man then would be Christ, Who forcibly casts out the strong man and delivers the possessed person.
Second, if the strong man is Christ, Who indwells the believer, then any “stronger” man would have to be stronger than Christ, and Satan with all of his demons would never be able to overcome Christ and the Holy Spirit (both of whom indwell the believer Colossians 1:27; 1 Corinthians 6:19). This is another way of proving that it is not possible for a true believer in Christ to be demon-possessed.
What then can Satan and his demons do against believers? The Greek word katadunasteo is translated “oppressed” referring to those who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). This word can refer to Satan exercising control from the outside, but never means “indwell.” Satan can tempt the believer (2 Corinthians 11:3); he can use his “wiles” (deceptions) (Ephesians 6:11); he can afflict, as in Job 1; 2 Corinthians 12:7; he tries to “snare” the believer (2 Timothy 2:26); he can “sift” us (Luke 22:31); to gain advantage over us (2 Corinthians 2:7-11); influence us to “lie” (Acts 5:3). Yet, all these things can be successfully resisted and defeated (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9; 1 John 2:13, 4:4).
In Matthew 12:43-45, Jesus makes four significant statements about demonism:
1). Demons can “come out” (exelthe) of a person on their own.
2). Demons can inhabit barren wildernesses, but seem to prefer live humans.
3). Demons can return to a cleansed body if that person is still unsaved, or “empty.”
4). Demons can re-enter “with seven other spirits more wicked than himself and dwell there” until they leave again or are expelled (verse 45). Then Jesus says that “the last state of the man is worse than the first,” and applies this to “this wicked generation.”
All of this poses questions concerning the spirits of the dead. Can dead relatives return in spirit and communicate with the living? Does the Bible mention this at all? What can be said concerning reports of people actually hearing the voices of dead relatives, or of famous historical characters?
Lucifer and one third of the angels sinned and fell from God (see previous notes on Fallen Angels) these demonic forces have been called “lying spirits” in 1 Kings 22:22 and as far back as Leviticus19:31; 20:27 God said: “Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God”; “A man also or woman who hath a familiar spirit, or who is a wizard, shall surely be put to death.” Remember what Jesus said in John 8:44 about Satan: “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it.”
In Luke 16 Jesus told the story of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man: “And it came to pass that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom; the rich man also died and was buried. And in hades (hell) he lifted up his eyes, being in torments.” He wanted Abraham to send Lazarus for water to cool his tongue; but Abraham said: “Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed” so no one could pass over it. He then asked Abraham to send someone from “the dead” so his brothers could repent before they died, and Abraham reminded him that if they would not believe Moses and the prophets, they would not believe if one rose from the dead (Luke 16:19-31).
This shows that the true spirits of believers or unbelievers could not communicate with the living.
When Christ was crucified, he said to the believing thief on the cross, “Today, shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Note that Christ did not say, “After three days I will arise and take you to paradise,” but “Today.”
In Ephesians 4:8-10 Paul says: “Wherefore, he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now, that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?) He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.” From this Scripture we believe that Jesus took the believing thief to Abraham’s bosom that very day, and then after three days ascended to heaven and led all those believing spirits from Abraham’s bosom to paradise, which is now up and not down. Paul makes this clear in 2 Corinthians 12:2,4 speaking of himself: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I cannot tell, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth)—such an one caught up to the third heaven…. How he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”
Now that Abraham’s bosom is no longer in existence, all believers who die go directly upward into the third heaven to be with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8: “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” Those who want to believe that they are communicating with dead loved ones must think that to be in the presence of the Lord is not enough; their dead loved ones would rather roam around the earth in spirit, for something better than heaven?
What can be said further about Satanic and demonic activities today? The list is long, but it is well to mention a few from the Scriptures:
Satan uses demons to infiltrate the Church with false doctrine: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly that, in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).
Deceptive teachers: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ, and no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).
Acts 20:29: “For I know this, that after my departure shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.”
The answer to the question concerning so-called voices from the past may include one or more of the following:
- Satanic and demonic activity using deception, lying and evil powers as described above in Scripture, to lure people away from the Truth.
- Some visions and voices may occur as a result of different mental illnesses, without any evil influence, or combined with it.
- Unscrupulous evangelists and spiritual counselors using all kinds of modern electronic technology to deceive the unaware or lonely relatives of the dead, claiming to have special God-given gifts to produce both physical and spiritual miracles.
- The Destiny of Fallen Angels.
- First, there is no plan for the salvation of fallen angels in Scripture. They were created as real persons, with intellect, sensibility and will. The fact that the angel Gabriel appeared to Daniel and was capable of delivering messages from God proves his intellect. Daniel 9:22: “O, Daniel, I am come forth to give thee skill and understanding.” Job 38:7 indicates that angels have sensibilities, as God asked Job where he was “when the morning stares sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” at the creation of the earth. 2 Timothy 2:26 refers to people who are taken captive by Satan “at his will.” Remember, Satan was an angel who rebelled against God and declared five times, “I will” in Isaiah 14:12-15. Therefore, when one third of the angels were fallen from God, it shows that they deliberately rebelled and caused their own fatal destiny (Revelation 12:4). Thus, there is no plan of salvation for fallen angels. They were originally created holy, and forsook all the glories of heaven, just as their leader, Satan, had done. Since they rejected heaven already, why would they ever will to be restored?
- Second, Christ became incarnate as a real human, taking on a full human nature. He did not become an angel, to redeem fallen angels. They had their chance to remain eternally holy, and used their wills to follow Satan. So Christ: “verily took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham” (Hebrews 2:16).
- Finally, the eternal destiny of Satan and the fallen angels will be Gehenna, or the Lake of Fire, which is unquenchable: “everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). This same truth is mentioned in Revelation 20:10: “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
An after-note is given here: The Old Testament term “the angel of Jehovah” refers to Christ in His pre-incarnate state. This should be a part of the Study of Christ, since He was not an angel, but the Second Person of the Trinity, from Eternity to Eternity.