I was wondering if you could tell me anything about demon possession today in the Dispensation of grace. How active are demons/devils today? It doesn’t appear that there is the same activity as back in the earthly ministry of our Lord.
To briefly respond to your question regarding demon-possession today in this dispensation of grace: First of all, Paul for example in II Cor. 11:13-15 makes it clear to us today that Satan operates differently in this dispensation than he did in God’s program with Israel. Paul says that he has transformed himself into “an angel of light” to deal with what God is doing today and his ministers are “ministers of righteousness.” Satan understands the dispensational change God has made better than most Christians. He knows that the exact same policy of evil that he used against Israel isn’t going to handle what God is doing with the church the body of Christ. This affects a number of things, including the role of his devils.
In God’s program with Israel, infiltrating the land of Israel with his unclean spirits was a necessary thing for Satan to do in order to achieve his goal of defiling the land and maintaining Israel as his “lawful captive.” The Lord recognized this and taught Israel about it in His earthly ministry as He dealt with the issue of why He was casting out devils, etc. (See, for example, Matt. 12) In view of Satan’s physical grip upon the nation through the presence of his devils in the land, one of the hallmark signs that the kingdom of heaven was “at hand” was the issue of casting the devils out of the land. (See, for example, Zech. 13:2) Hence, when a devil was cast out of someone he was cast out of the land of Israel as well. The casting out of devils didn’t just cast them out of the individual, but cast them out of the land of Israel too.
However, with the suspension of God’s program with Israel and with the bringing in of this new and different dispensation of grace, defiling the land of Israel, or any other land for that matter, doesn’t do Satan any good. He has had to develop a new policy of evil to deal with God’s new program in this dispensation. Which he has done.
That new policy of evil is given to us in Paul’s epistles to us, which are for and about this dispensation. And no where in what he teaches is there any mention of us having to cast out demons, or being taught how to do so, etc. Hence, we don’t need to be concerned with doing that. Casting out demons is not going to be an issue in this dispensation because using his devils like that isn’t an issue with Satan in this dispensation. Though Paul teaches us about Satan and his devices, and how we “wrestle against principalities, against powers,” etc., as we encounter the “wiles of the devil,” Paul never talks about demon-possession, casting out demons, territorial demons, or anything like that with us. Instead, we are taught about a policy of evil that is full of the “doctrines of devils.” And that is different.
Satan and his co-horts are teachers in this dispensation. More than they ever have been before. He and his ministers operate as per II Cor. 11; I Tim. 4; Col. 2; etc. The kind of defiling Satan is interested in today is not the defiling of a land, Israel or otherwise. Rather, it is the defiling of the Christian’s mind with doctrines contrary to those that are for us and about us in this dispensation of grace. That’s what he and his principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and devils, are engaged in doing today. This is what Paul teaches us regarding Satan’s policy of evil in this dispensation, in view of him being transformed into “an angel of light.” He acts differently today, and accordingly so do his devils. In fact, it is because Satan acts so differently in this dispensation that the Corinthians were being so successfully deceived by him.
Unfortunately, when Christians fail to “rightly divide the word of truth” in accordance with the revelation of the mystery given to Paul, they are ripe for being deceived by counterfeits, and counterfeiters, of the power of God, just as Paul describes, for example, in Ephesians 4:14;
Col. 2:18-19; I Tim. 4:1ff, II Tim. 3:5-13. “Seducers” and ones “speaking lies in hypocrisy” or just “vainly puffed up in (their) fleshly mind,” along with the “sleight of men” and “old wives’ fables,” can easily deceive an unestablished Christian into thinking that they are encountering a whole bunch of things, including demons and demon-possession situations like those during our Lord’s earthly ministry. This is what Paul warns us about, and this is what is happening when it occurs.
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