Halloween is coming up. You can read my obigatory Halloween rant here; I want this post to be something else. Let’s examine the reality of witches, demons, evil spirts and ghosts. Let’s separate literal truth from literary fiction, because in this life “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorites, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Eph 6: 12
We’re studying the Gospel of Mark in our Sunday morning small group, and my wife was fascinated by one of the stories in chapter one. As this person possessed by a demon is approached by Jesus, he identifies Jesus and asks why he is there. Jesus at once commands his silence, then casts out the unclean spirit. This event was early in his ministry, and Jesus didn’t want anyone blabbing out who he really was just yet. On at least one occasion, Jesus will instruct those just healed to tell no one what has happened. The interested thing, though, is that the demonic spirit knew immediately that Jesus was the Holy One of God when he saw him. Many people would listen to the sermons, see the signs and wonders, and still not believe. Jesus would read from the prophets, have long talks with leaders such as Nicodemus, and still people would walk away puzzled not knowing what to believe. But any demon or unclean spirit Jesus encountered at once knew who he was, and often questioned if they were to be punished before the time. We should not be surprised at their apparent knowledge.
Jesus exists from everlasting to everlasting with God. The Nicene Creed describes him as being the eternally begotten Son of God. Before their fall from grace, the angelic beings worshipped God (and his Son) in heaven. Consider also the temptation of Jesus by Satan in the wilderness. The devil can quote scripture, no doubt. And just why was he offering Jesus all this stuff anyway? He knew that by following God’s plan, Jesus could ruin all of his plans. Herod had tried to kill Jesus as an infant, now Satan would attempt to derail his ministry just as it was beginning. Just because someone believes in God or knows scripture doesn’t make them a true believer. This is illustrated by James 2:19 that says “…even the devils believe and shudder.” They know the scripture, the prophesies, and even the God that created them better than we do.