where are demons today

Insight into the devil’s schemes

In my last blog post I raised the question “Where have all the demons gone?” It was generated by the noticeable contrast between the pervasive demands for deliverance in Jesus’ ministry versus the diminishment of such ministry in the church today, particularly in the West. Albeit it is a perception, but demons are not as in-your-face today as they were two thousand years ago.

First let me say, I don’t believe demons have not gone anywhere. The devil and his horde of demons are alive on planet earth and as wicked as ever. Since Jesus’ plan of redemption for human kind has not changed, neither has the devil’s plan for our captivity and utter destruction. Jesus told us that the devil comes “only to steal and kill and destroy,” but to counter that He came so that we “might have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)

While on earth, Jesus gave us critical insight into the devil’s strategy: “He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44 NLT)

The devil’s modus operendi therefore is deception. Again and again in the Bible we are warned that we must not be ignorant of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11) We are told plainly in the book of Revelation that when “that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan” was cast down to earth his goal was to “lead the whole world astray.” (Revelation 12:9) If that is not the epitome of deceptive intent what is?

Based on these facts about the devil’s strategies provides understanding as to why his tactics are different today than they were in Jesus’ day. Warfare has changed significantly over the centuries to where now it is often difficult, if not impossible, to identify the enemy. Spiritual warfare today is the same way. Battling demonic powers is not unlike trying to defend against suicide bombers and double agents. It is guerrilla warfare at best and subterfuge is the order of the day.

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Where have all the demons gone?

“Go tell that fox, I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.” Luke 13:32 NIV

This week as I have been reading through the gospel of Luke I have been struck by how much of the focus of Jesus’ ministry was in casting out demons. His message for Herod quoted above, who was seeking to kill him, put driving out demons right at the top of His priority list. Depending on how you read the Gospels, Jesus spent up to 30% of his time in deliverance ministry dealing with demons. In fact Jesus touted it as the imprimatur of the authenticity of His ministry. “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12:28 NIV)

It has caused me to wonder why there is such a stark contrast between the ministry of the church today, particularly in the west, and the ministry of Jesus and His followers two thousand years ago. Where have all the demons gone? Why aren’t we casting out demons with the frequency and ferocity of the early church?

Dealing with the devil and his minions was at the heart of what Christ came to do. The Apostle John who accompanied Jesus throughout his earthly ministry writes “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:8 ESV)
Now the “works of the devil” include first and foremost sin and death which Jesus overcame at the cross. But in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles we also find the devil and his demons causing diseases and infirmities, deafness and dumbness, depression and oppression and all manner of obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Jesus not only dealt with these works of the devil but also commissioned His followers to do the same. When He sent out the twelve on their short term training missions He specifically directed them and gave them authority to drive out demons in addition to curing diseases. It was an integral part of preaching the gospel of the Kingdom to set the captives free. (Luke 9:1-2) Jesus basically did the same thing when He sent out the seventy-two and they came back rejoicing saying “Lord even the demons submit to us in your name!” (Luke 10:17)

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