One of the hallmarks of God’s kingdom in demonstration is the casting out of demons. At the beginning of Christ’s earthly ministry it was His unchallenged authority over evil spirits that amazed the crowds:
“What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.” (Mark 1:27)
Though Christ’s first disciples at times were unsuccessful in driving out demons, after His death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we see the early preachers of the gospel wielding full authority over the evil spirits. There is historical evidence outside of the Bible about this phenomenon as well. The early church was known for its power over the devils.
Having personally ministered on several continents and having often faced demonized people from all sorts of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds, I too have learned a core truth. The demons are not only real and present in every land, but they are universally aware of who Jesus is and they tremble in fear of His name and of those who have real authority to represent His kingdom and purposes.
I was once asked by a self-righteous proponent of the “all religions are equal” concept, to explain why I went to other lands to tell people that my God was better than their gods. The man asked this with a very mocking and judgmental tone. I responded to the man’s question (which was really an accusation) that I didn’t go to far away places to proudly declare that my God was better. I went to those places to set people free from the slavery of false gods, so that they like me could experience the wonderful joy and freedom of following the only True God. I then asked the man a question:
Have you ever encountered a truly demon-possessed person? I don’t mean somebody who is simply a violent and ugly acting human. I mean a person whose personality and even consciousness has been overridden by an evil spirit – so much so, that the demon is even using their lips to speak out of?
The man assured me that he had not seen such a case. I told him that I have encountered such people in many places over the course of three decades now – including the good old USA. I then asked a follow-up question:
I have seen these demonized people wonderfully set free in just a manner of minutes. And these spirits flee when I invoke the authority and power that is present in one Person’s name. Do you know what name I am talking about,? The name that every demon fears?
Again, he admitted that he had no idea. (He at first spoke so confidently, as if he was fully aware of all religious truth. How quickly his lack of any real spiritual truth surfaced…)
I then answered the following:
Well, it is not the name of Buddha or Krishna or Mohammed. Nor is it the name of any church or organization. It is not even simply in the name of “god”. Rather, the only name that makes the demons tremble and flee is the mighty name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He is the Lord of heaven and earth and is recognized in the spiritual realm as the supreme authority of the Universe.
At this point the very proud proponent of “every religion and belief is equal” mantra, was curiously silent. I think the Holy Spirit was at work in a way that he had not before experienced. He could tell that I was not making these stories up. He realized that perhaps there was something about this Jesus of Nazareth that was unique among the world’s religions.
True authority over evil spirits is a practical sign of the Kingdom of God. In the next post we will look at how people try to counterfeit this authority and at some components of legitimate Kingdom authority.