In the Fulness of Time/Part 83
By: Dr. Thomas Figart
|By: Dr. Thomas O. Figart; ©2007|
|We look this time at “The Principle of the Strong Man, in Exorcism.” The two previous principles showed that Christ did not cast out demons by Satan, and that true exorcism has its source in the kingdom of God through the Spirit of God. The third principle, found in this month’s article, is given in the form of an illustration.|
The Principle of the Strong Man, in Exorcism. Matthew 12:29-30
- Mt. 12:29-30 “Or else how can one enter into 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.”The two previous principles showed that Christ did not cast out demons by Satan, because it would mean that Satan’s kingdom was divided against itself; second, true exorcism has its source in the kingdom of God through the Spirit of God. His third principle is given in the form of an illustration, the main points of which can be interpreted from the text itself.
Specifically mentioned are the strong man, his house and his goods. The problem is to overcome the strong man, then enter his house and spoil his goods and his house. The context shows that the strong man is Satan (verse 25) or one of his demons (verse 27). The one who binds the strong man must be stronger than he; this would have to be Christ, Who is stronger than Satan and any demons (1 John 4:4). The house into which the strong man enters is the body of the demon possessed: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man…. He saith, I will return into my house from which I came out” (12:44). The “spoiling” comes from diarpadzo, “to snatch away or carry off by force,” and has to do with the house as well as the goods, so that this would include both the bodies and souls of men. Since the whole context has to do with Christ casting out demons, He, the stronger man, then forcibly delivers the demon-possessed man.
This is but one application of the principle of the strong man. If the “strong man” is Christ, Who indwells the “house,” the human body of the believer (Cf. Colossians 1:27, “Christ in you, the hope of glory“) then any attempt of Satan or any demons to “enter into” this strong man’s house would be immediately thwarted, because the Father and Son (John 14:23) as well as the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) dwell there permanently. Thus, a truly born-again Christian can never be possessed by Satan or any demons! Before Satan or a demon could enter into the body of a believer, they would necessarily have to bind all Three Persons of the Trinity, and this is impossible for them or anyone else to do! Thus, it is never a question of how much of the body is occupied; rather it is the greater strength of the opposing Persons, coupled with the first principle, that there cannot be a divided house, or it will not stand!
What harm, therefore, can Satan and his demons do to a Christian? A number of words are used, but the most comprehensive one is katadunasteo translated “oppressed” in Acts 10:38, which can have reference to control from the outside, but never means “to indwell.” Satan can tempt (2 Corinthians 11:3), he can use his “wiles” or deception (Ephesians 6:11), he can afflict, as in Job 1 or 2 Corinthians 12:7 in Paul’s life. He tries to snare the believer (2 Timothy 2:26), to sift us (Luke 22:31), to gain advantage over us (2 Corinthians 2:7-11), to influence us to lie (Acts 5:3). It is significant that the same word, plero-o, “to fill,” or to control, is used in Acts 5:3 of the oppressing by Satan, but is also used of the filling or control of the believer by the Holy Spirit, in Ephesians 5:18. Yet, all of this is outside oppression and can be successfully resisted and defeated (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:9; 1 John 2:13, 4:4).
Verse 30 is a reminder from our Lord, that, in addition to the impossibility of a divided house, there cannot be a divided loyalty. If you are not “with” the Lord, you are “against” Him, and instead of an ingathering, there will be a scattering. As applied to the Pharisees, this saying goes well with Luke 11:52, “Woe unto you lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge; ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering ye hindered.”
In the fulness of time, the everlasting judgment of the Lord will fall upon such unbelievers!