As we continue to proceed closer to the rapture and the great tribulation, there are signs all around us that Satan and his army of evil spirits are working overtime to change how he is viewed–to make himself seem acceptable. From popular entertainment media like TV shows, music, and movies to promoting various forms of occultic religions like the Kabbalah or Satanism. Now he is using ignorant “spiritual” people and the ignorant news media to cast doubt and stir up disdain for the practice of casting out devils from those who may be possessed.
One such mockery is the very sad case of the recent murder of the granddaughter of actor Morgan Freeman’s first wife at the hands of her live-in boyfriend, who was high on drugs. The news stories claimed he was performing an exorcism as he yelled out Jesus’ name and told the devils to get out of her while repeatedly stabbing her. Unknown to these reporters is the fact that people under the devil’s influence through drugs don’t cast out devils–real or imagined–even if they’re yelling out religious phrases. Casting out devils is a healing process, not a life-threatening process. This incident was murder–pure and simple.
Another mockery happened in Argentina, where a family thought a 16-year-old relative was possessed simply because she allegedly saw a goat that wasn’t there. So they asked their local “pastor” (instead of a medical doctor first) what to do. His so-called remedy, labeled as an exorcism, was to have a group of men gang rape the girl then have her sister gouge her eyes out so the devils could not access her body through her “visions.” The girl is now fighting for her life in a hospital, thanks to an ignorant superstitious “pastor” under Satan’s influence and ignorant gullible family members who didn’t think about consulting the Bible and God himself on the matter. Their actions helped make casting out devils look like a foolish endeavor, just as Satan probably hoped.
Do we have true believers in the church today with enough faith to confront and cast out real-life devils if someone needs that done? Or is this just an ancient ritualistic practice that has no place in today’s world?
Jesus’ disciples once faced a situation where they failed to cast out a devil from a boy (Mark 9:17-29) after they had previously cast devils out (Mark 3:14-15). Upon learning of their failure, Jesus called them a “faithless generation.” The disciples asked why they couldn’t cast the evil spirit out. Jesus replied, “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you,” (Matthew 17:20). Then he added, “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.“
So somewhere between Mark 3 and Mark 9, the disciples let their faith dwindle to having less than a grain of mustard seed so that they couldn’t cast out a strong demon that caused deafness, dumbness, and suicidal tendencies. Was Jesus too hard on them? How were they supposed to know about the prayer and fasting requirement? In the previous chapter (Mark 8:14-21), the disciples showed that they let the cares of the world block their hearts from hearing God. They probably assumed they could just “wing it” when it came to casting out devils. They were wrong.
If they had listened to the Lord, he would have clued them in on how to handle things. Their unbelief revealed their doubt in God’s power and a lack of humility. If they had faith and humility, the Spirit would have brought to their remembrance a scripture like Isaiah 58, where the Lord revealed the true purposes for fasting and prayer, namely “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?“ (Isaiah 58:6).
Lord, I pray that we as your church will not listen to the world’s ignorance on casting out devils, but that we will hear and obey your voice on these matters and act accordingly.
Harry A. Gaylord
(P.S.: I’m a firm believer that people should see a reliable medical doctor first before assuming something is a spiritual problem like a devil.)