Nazarene Space

Dealing with Demons
By
James Scott Trimm



There are many reasons that many the Hebraic-Roots movement have turned a blind eye to the issue of “demonic possession”.  Some may have come from backgrounds in dispensationalist theology which taught that “casting out demons” was only for the time of the emissaries, but is not for today.  Though dispensationalist theology is not compatible with Nazarene Judaism, some may not have finished “unlearning” the presuppositions of their past theology.  Many are also rightly concerned about sensationalism and exaggerated emphasis.  Some who have functioned in so-called deliverance ministry have often engaged in activity that borders on the bizarre.  I myself some years ago observed a Messianic “Rabbi” in a Messianic service attempting to cast demons out of a piano which (he complained) was playing out of tune.  The actions of the misguided should not rob unfortunate victims of real deliverance.     

There are in fact several examples of “demonic” possession in the scriptures.  A good example of such possession can be found in the Tanak.  King Saul was plagued with possession as we read:

Now the spirit of YHWH had departed from Sha’ul, and an evil spirit from YHWH terrified him. And Sha’ul's servants said unto him: 'Behold now, an evil spirit from Elohim terrifies you.
Let our master now command your servants, that are before you, to seek out a man who is a skilful player on the harp; and it shall be, when the evil spirit from Elohim comes upon you, that he shall play with his hand, and you shall be well.'
And Sha’ul said unto his servants: 'Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.'
Then answered one of the young men, and said: 'Behold, I have seen a son of Yishai the Beit-Lechemite, that is skilful in playing, and a mighty man of valour, and a man of war, and prudent in affairs, and a comely person, and YHWH is with him.'
Wherefore Sha’ul sent messengers unto Yishai, and said: 'Send me David your son, who is with the sheep.'
And Yishai took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Sha’ul.
And David came to Sha’ul, and stood before him; and he loved him greatly; and he became his armour-bearer.
And Sha’ul sent to Yishai, saying: 'Let David, I pray you, stand before me; for he has found favour in my sight.'
And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from Elohim was upon Sha’ul, that David took the harp, and played with his hand; so Sha’ul found relief, and it was well with him, and the evil spirit departed from him.
(1Sam. 16:14-23 HRV)

And it came to pass on the morrow, that an evil spirit from Elohim came mightily upon Sha’ul, and he raved in the midst of the house; and David played with his hand, as he did day by day; and Sha’ul had his spear in his hand.
And Sha’ul cast the spear; for he said: 'I will smite David even to the wall.' And David stepped aside out of his presence twice.
(1Sam. 18:10-11 HRV)

And an evil spirit from YHWH was upon Sha’ul, as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand; and David was playing with his hand.
And Sha’ul sought to smite David even to the wall with the spear; but he slipped away out of Sha’ul's presence, and he smote the spear into the wall; and David fled, and escaped that night.
(1Sam. 19:9-10 HRV)

In this case the demon was driven out by David by playing and singing the Psalms.  The Jerusalem Talmud indicates that Psalm 91 was traditionally used to give relief to those stricken by demons:

In Jerusalem they used to recite “The Song of the Evil Spirits”
on the Sabbath for the relief of a stricken person.  Which is it?
Psalm 91.
(b.Shab. 8b)

The Sefer Shimmush Tehillim (Book of the Use of the Psalms) says of Psalm 91:

After speaking this Psalm and the preceding one (Psalm 90),
over a person tormented by an evil spirit, or one afflicted by
an incurable disease, in the name of El Shadai, then pray
humbly, “Let it be your set-apart will, Oh my Elohim, to
take from <name> son of <name> the evil spirit by which
he is tormented, for the sake of your great, mighty and set-apart
name El Shaddai.  May you presently send him health and let
him be perfectly restored.  Hear his prayer as you once did
that of your servant Moshe when he prayed this Psalm .  Let
this prayer penetrate to You as once did the set-apart incense
arose to you on high.  Amen!  Seleh!”

Some of the symptoms of possible possession by a demon are: super strength (Mk. 5:3-4); fever (Lk. 4:39 ); self inflicted wounds (Mk. 5:5); muteness (Mt. 9:32-33); blindness (Mt. 12:12; Lk. 11:14); illness (Mt. 15:22-29; Mk. 7:25-30); seizures (Mt. 4:24; 17:14-18; Mk. 9:17-27; Lk. 9:37-42); paralysis (Mt. 4:24); powers of divination (Acts 16:16-18) false prophecy (1Sam. 18:10;1Kn. 22:21-23) irrational anger (1Sam. 18:10-11; 19:9-10) and anxiety of sacred names (1Jn. 4:3).  However it is important to realize that these symptoms in themselves do not prove that a person is possessed by a demon.  For example, just because a person has seizures does not mean they are possessed.  

Do not go looking for cases of possession.  You should conclude a person is possessed only after all other possibilities are eliminated.  Unless absolutely necessary, never attempt to deal with a case of possession alone.  While you should avoid dealing with these situations publicly (and thus creating a spectacle) impartial witnesses should be there if possible to offer support and validate your conduct.  And never attempt to expel a demon without wearing the full armor of Elohim.  You must maintain strict confidentiality concerning the event, discussing the matter in actual connection with the victim violates the rules of Lashon HaRa (evil speech).  

In expelling a demon from a host, it is best to follow the scriptural example  and stick with the formulation given in the Aramaic of Acts.  The Book of Acts supplies us with a word for word Scriptural formula to use. The actual Aramaic from Acts 16:18 is as follows:

Pakid ana liki bashmeh d’Yeshu M’shikha d’tippkin minah
I command you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah that you come out from her.

For a man the formula would be:

Pakid ana liki bashmeh d’Yeshu M’shikha d’tippkin mineh
I command you in the name of Yeshua the Messiah that you come out from him.

When a victim is delivered, beware, a demon may not go quietly.  Scriptural instances record demon crying out loudly (Mk. 1:23-26; Lk. 4:33-35; Acts 8:7) throwing their hosts down (Mk. 1:23; Lk. 4:33-35) and even injuring them (Mk. 1:26; 9:26).  

Some have argued that it is unbiblical to “prolong” the casting out of a demon by engaging in any conversation.  They argue that it is just a show if it takes more than using the sacred name and casting the demon out.  However on at least one occasion Yeshua allowed demons to state their names and even their desired destination (Lk. 8:30-32) in another case Paul allowed a demon to speak for several days before casting it out (Acts 16:16-18) additionally (as we shall discuss in a later section) the use of sacred names alone, may not be enough to cast out a demon.


Prayer and Fasting

Certain demons cannot be removed simply by evoking names of power.  These demons can only be removed though prayer and fasting, as Yeshua says:

Then came near to him the talmidim privately, and asked him, "Why could not we cast him out?"
And he answered them and said, "On account of your lack of trust. Truly I say to you, "If you have trust as a grain of mustard seed, and shall tell this mountain, 'Pass away from here,' it will immediately pass away, and the thing will not be withheld from you. <But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.">  (Mt. 17:19-21 HRV see also Mk. 9:18, 28-29)

Various commentaries have interpreted the “faith” that can “move… a mountain” in various ways.  However in the context here the “mountain” represents as demon.  Why does Yeshua use a “mountain” to represent a demon?

In the scriptures “mountains” often represent “kingdoms” (for example in Daniel 2:35, 44) and “Kingdoms” often correspond to demons.  For example “the prince of the Kingdom of Persia” (Dan. 10:13, 20) and “the prince of Greece” (Dan. 10:20).  The “mountains” here are “powers and principalities”, sacred names alone may not be enough to cast out or otherwise take authority over these demons.   

Daniel prayed and fasted for 21 (7 x 3) days in order to receive a prophecy (Dan. 10).  The Prince of Persia resisted the angel who was sent to bring this prophecy to Daniel (Dan. 10:13) but it appears that Daniel’s 21 days of prayer and fasting invoked and strengthened the angel Michael into the heavenly battle and overcame this demon.  Prayer and fasting has an impact in the ongoing war in the heavens (Dan. 10; Eph. 6:11-13, 18).


The Danger of Repossession

Yeshua warns us that casting a demon out of a host may do more harm than good, if their house is left empty:

When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, it goes through dry places, seeking rest, but finds none.
Then it says, 'I will return to my house from which I came out,' and it comes, and finds it empty, and cleaned out with shovels, and adorned.
Then it goes, and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they enter in and dwell there, so that the latter end of that man is worse than the beginning. Even so will it be to this wicked generation.
(Mt. 12:43-45 HRV see also Lk. 11:24-28)

This is just what happened with King Saul.  David drove the demon from him on more than one occasion, but the demon found Saul’s house vacant and only returned with more demons, making his condition even worse. In the case of King Saul, we read in the Tanak that the demon was able to trouble Saul because the Spirit of YHWH had departed from him (1Sam. 16:14).  In order to prevent the host from being re-inhabited by seven times as many demons, their “house” must be filled with the Ruach HaKodesh.  It is not enough for this person to simply be “saved”, they must be immersed into the Body of Messiah .  This means staring on the path to a Torah Observant lifestyle.

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Help support our project to put the ancient Aramaic text of the Book of the Enoch (see Jude 1:14-15) up on the internet in interlinear format keyed to Strong's Word Numbers. We started posting this material just recently, and will continue posting more every few days as the work continues. Click here to see it

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Views: 266

Comment by Barz Ganya on February 3, 2017 at 3:44pm
Comment by Barz Ganya on February 3, 2017 at 3:44pm

Good Shabbos James

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