15 Deliverance (1) Basic Definition
“.. handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his (Paul’s) body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”and the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.” Acts 19: 12 – 19 (NASB)
If I were to ask you what the first miracle of Jesus was, you would probably say it was when He turned the water into wine in John 2. That miracle, undoubtedly, chronologically was the first miracle Christ performed in history, the apostle John says so. Mark and Luke, however had more in mind than historical chronology when they listed what they perceived to be the first and primary miracle that Jesus performed, that needed to be chronicled in their respective gospels. As far as they were concerned something incredible took place when Jesus was interrupted in His preaching by a man crying out one morning in Synagogue. He then cast the interrupting demon out of a person. This was the first time the Bible tells us so clearly and explicitly about what I an here referring to as “deliverance.” In fact it is so crystal clear, we seriously need help to misunderstand it. It all happened in the synagogue in Capernaum.
1. There was a human being with a demon spirit that was actually residing within him. Where did it live? In his heart? His mind? Which part of his body? We are not told. How did it get there? Was he born with it? If not, what did he do to allow it in? What other symptoms apart from disrupting Christ’s sermon, did the man have that showed people he had a demon? Whatever the answers to these questions were, we need to just note at this point of time that there was a demon malignantly, secretly present amongst them, as they worshipped.
2. The suggestion is that the demon had been there for some time, not struggling against, nor fighting in the man’s efforts to attend church – or synagogue as it was at this time. The demon knew he was safe every week in this church (Synagogue) context because nobody knew about him, about demons in general, about their influence or the way they obstructed people’s lives. A demon is an evil, mischievous, yet malignant spirit. Demons do not have the kudos of evil or the weight of power that Hollywood would try to teach us.
3. The spirit within the man knew the anointing of God was in the room (ie: The Spirit of God resting in the heart and life of another person). The anointing upon Jesus was an anointing without measure. If you will, it was an anointing that no other could ever receive – the ultimate infusion of the Holy Spirit into a human life. The perfect, sinless man walking under the influence and power of the perfect Holy Spirit, with perfect communication from one to the other. The demon spirit knew this, and was impacted not only by Christ’s presence, but greatly by His preaching and teaching. None of the people, nor the church leaders were aware exactly who was present. Some were accepting what Christ said, some were no doubt rejecting Him. But the demon could not so choose. He could not stay still nor silent in such an environment. Note that it makes no difference how many people present are ignorant of demons and their modus operandi, it only takes one person in the Holy Spirit, and with the insight to see and to know, and the demon surfaces.
4. This man in whom the demon was residing may have been a pleasant chap. He was probably part and parcel of the church/synagogue family. The presence of the demon in no way interfered with his hearts faith in God, but would have played havoc with his health, his mind, his understanding, and his volitional choices. The demon was hiding within the man’s psyche and his entire human make-up. The man might not have even been aware that the demon was there within him. The demon was “in hiding,” and would occasionally “surface” within the man’s psyche to cause the man to do something, probably habitually, against his normal characteristic self. The man might have even been saying to himself whilst the spirit was troubling him, “Why did I say that?” or, “Why did I do that?” There might even have been times when somebody would have asked him why he did this, or said that, and he might not have even known he had said it. The man could have felt comfortable and inspired listening to Jesus preach and teach. Something inside him, however, was deeply distressed at the visit of the person from Nazereth. Like a human being sat in a room that is on fire, or a fish that had always lived in the darkness of the sea 5 miles deep being brought to the surface and the day light, the demon began to wriggle, or whatever the parallel response is in the realm of the spirit. He was out of his normal dark habitat. He was in a strange and torturous place where the malignancy of his evil was suffering – like a polar bear being left in a sweltering tropical forest. It just didn’t feel normal to be there.
5. The anxiety of the demon, in the presence of Christ, became the anxiety of the man in whose life the demon was living. The sweat or discomfort that would have swept over the man, would have been noticed by others, as well as his body language and breathing. It is possible the man knew nothing of it. Demons have a certain amount of insight simply because they are spirits, dealing with human spirits, and here, were confronted by the very Spirit of God. That is why they know how to hide within. Demons can manipulate people very well, especially those who do not even know they themselves are spirit, or those who deny that they themselves are spiritual beings.
6. The demon, who was troubled because he sensed the power of God in the room, had a voice and spoke beyond the choice of the man whose body he was dwelling within. It might not have even been the man’s normal voice that people heard. My experience would suggest that the man’s face may or may not be contorted, but would definitely not look like his normal self whilst the demon “surfaced” and spoke. The unclean spirit did the speaking while the victim was not only ignorant of the fact that his mouth was talking, but was probably in a state of “blackout”. I don’t know what phrase they would use in psychiatric circles for something like this, but the man was “unconscious,” yet awake and moving while the demon spoke through him. When asked, later, he would undoubtedly not know what he had said under the influence of the demon spirit. Like some science fiction concept, there were two intelligent entities within the same body. The human entity was at home as his creator intended him to be. But the trespasser was illegally squatting, and there were moments where he could shut the proper owner out of the proceedings, and take over the helm of the ship. This is more common than is widely known, and more tormenting for the victim trespassed against than human language can express.
7. The spirit had hitherto been comfortable when in church, because the deeper his victim got into the teachings of his church/synagogue, the safer he thought he was, and the better developed was the hiding place he had created for himself. Nobody had known he was there, apart from those who were sharp enough to know that the victim occasionally did things that were way out of character to his normal activity. There were times when this man was doing some hideous things, and he was hardly aware he had done it, if people hadn’t told him.
8. It was the spirit’s fear, discomfort, and dare I say, pain that caused him not to stay in his hiding place. He could have stayed silent, and maintained his ease and his “human host” in perpetuity until he died, whereupon he would conceivably move in to some surviving loved one or confidante of the demised victim. But the anointing was painful for a demon to be around. He knew he was discovered, as a creature of the dark screams when pure light is focussed on him, and in the consciousness of discovery and his complete vulnerability to the power and word of God, he cried out as if in a spasm of agony. I have seen it many times. It is as if the demon spirit itself is, for want of a better word, a “misfit” in a normal human body. It is as if the malignant spirit does not have the wherewithal to control a human body and act normally.
9. The spirit knew he was absolutely subject to Christ, and that whatever was to happen now, Christ would not make him welcome. The people present and the scribes and/or teachers who led the services there, just did not know this, and were sat their confident in their choices of accepting or rejecting what this man Jesus was saying. Never could they have conceived of any creature having such a response to the truths and the belief system that they held as fundamentalist Jews. Not that the term, “fundamentalist” had been thought of at that time. Such is the nature of sin that man’s pride may, and often does, argue about submission to Christ, and the very authority of His person.
10. I would say, that at this moment, the demon spirit was the only one in the room who was aware of who Christ was. And if you were to say to me, “On a point of order! What about the disciples, whoever it was that was present with Jesus at the time?” I would answer that even they did not at this time know exactly who it was that they were following, not in the full and comprehensive theological way that this demon spirit knew it. He knew who Christ was on a higher level than any University Theology lecturer could know.
11. The spirit knew Jesus was “the Holy One of God.” That language lets us know, that the demons knew God in the flesh had entered the room, and they were not there to parley. It was “Emergency Code Red” time for anybody from hell.
12. The greater the anointing of the Holy Spirit, the more powerful the presence, the quicker the demon will answer. The evil spirit literally had to come out of hiding in the presence of the anointed one. He could do nothing else. Without any consideration to the feelings or dignity of the man who was hosting this hideous demonic force, he cries out, manically.
13. “Leave us alone…” the voice cried. Oops! They have given something away there! There is more than one of them. It wasn’t an “it.” It was a “them.” It wasn’t a “me.” It was an, “us.”
14. “What business do we have with each other?” was the demonic continuation. By the very nature of the demon‘s existence, the anointing of God challenges them by direct command, or by indirect words of God. Jesus, as yet, had not spoken directly to the demon, but it had taken personal offence that whatever Christ was talking about, was against hell and was against the demons within the man, no matter how many there were.
15. Note Christ had simply preached and taught. Whatever the content of the teaching had been, it had dislodged the demons from their comfort zone, thrown them out of bed, upturned their chair, and they were utterly exposed. The spirit, or spirits, wanted to be left alone in their hiding place. They were crying out like spoilt brats who were about to be told to leave the nursery, to get out and never come back.
16. “I know who you are!” He did as well. He (the demon in charge of the group) was absolutely fully compus mentus about the divine personage who was in the synagogue with them that morning. One demon was now speaking for however many demons there were within the victims life. This is a normal thing. Many demons; one “Strong Man” leader. Sometimes they talk enbloc as a group; sometimes it is the leader. Sometimes it is correct to just call it “a spirit.” Sometimes it is sound to refer to, “them.” Not important. But it’s a fact. It is not always multiple spirits that are infesting a person, but often it is.
17. “Have you come to destroy us?” This is a fear the inhabitants of hell carry around with them as a natural facet of their existence. The plain answer, of course, would have been a loud and clear, “YES!” The scripture tells us that, “For this purpose was the Son of God manifest, to destroy the works of the evil one (1 John 3:8). But Christ was not about to waste breath, energy and words to such a malignant little being.
18. Demon power knows that its interference with mankind is one day to be brought to an end. These evil malignant intelligent life forms thought their time had come for eternal judgement it seems. Demons obviously cannot see into the future. The question was voiced as an immature and manic one. Such is the nature of those spirits in this man
19. Note that once the demons had chosen to come out of hiding, they were uncivil, confrontational, and as street language would have it today, “in yer face!”
20. Jesus had other priorities, and was not to suffer distraction longer than was necessary, although He knew full well that faith would rise amongst the people when the demons were silenced and expelled. So: “Be quiet, and come out of him!” was the severe and unbending command of the Son of God. Obviously, Jesus did not want the demon to talk in the midst of the service, not because of any legalistic law concerning the issue, but simply so that, for this, the first time ever to our knowledge, the people would learn what demons were, and how they had to flee when God’s word was used against them. They were told to be silent, and they were.
21. “Come out of him!” It was not a mental condition, although I am sure that psychiatric people would detect a mental condition of some kind in a demonised person. Jesus attacked the victim’s state at its very root. He commanded the malignant beings “Out!” Demons do not, cannot, and will not hang around when told to do something, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
22. These demons from hell would not, and could not stay. By the finger of God Christ rid the man of his demonic infestation and was healed, restored to normalcy. Such was their grip and permeation of the man’s being, they threw him to the ground as they left. Mark says that, “throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit cried out with a loud voice and left the man.” So now, the demon in charge, or, as Jesus referred to his kind once, “the strong man”, the leader of the pack, was speaking for them.
23. Luke tells us that even though the demon threw the man down on the ground, he did him no harm. The man stood up healed, and sound in every possible way.
24. The people were amazed! Why? Because they had never heard of such a thing before. This was breaking new ground for mankind.
25. This was a vindication to the truths and the power that they talked about every week in the synagogue when they discussed the biblical accounts of God’s dealing with mankind from Adam till their present moment.
26. Messiah had arrived, and the Kingdom of God had been manifested among them. The power of God causes amazement. The manifestation of God causes faith to rise. The word of God happening among the people creates useful and faith building conversations, debates and discussions. It nourishes faith. That’s part of its ongoing benefits. Mark says that people were saying, “What’s this?” Luke say’s they started discussions off by exclaiming, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.” The people were talking about Jesus in terms of power, grace, authority, and the rule of God. The word of God was magnified and started to grow among the people, just as it did with Paul in Ephesus in Acts 19.
27. The power of God brought a state of amazement to the recipients of that power and grace, as well as to the spectators who were witnesses to that power and grace being ministered. The power of God brought fame to Christ. The power of God brought money to the cause. The power of God opened some doors, and closed others. The power of God resounded for miles around. And this account is where it started.
28. Jesus Christ actually stated that, “If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you” (Luke 11:20). Deliverance is the children’s bread, freedom belongs to mankind, and God’s ministers and disciples need to feed the people with that bread today. It is by these means(amongst others, of course) that Paul took Ephesus. It was a key armament in Paul’s management of the miraculous. Let us be clear that Jesus taught that when unclean, vexing, harassing, tormenting or demonizing spirits are cast out of people, the Kingdom of God is being manifested. It is insipient millennial blessings. With deliverance, just as with healing, prophect, and preaching the word of God with power, we are tasting the power of the world to come. We are eating now as a delicacy, what will be daily fare in Christ’s millennial reign. Wholeness and freedom is ours for the taking, by faith.
29. Jesus, the Word incarnate, was anointed by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus and stayed there. He was moved by the Holy Spirit throughout His entire ministry. Like Jesus, we too need the Holy Spirit in exactly the same way.
30. It was the presence of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus living in the power of the Holy Spirit that effected the deliverance of that first miracle in Mark and Luke.
31. Jesus said the Holy Ghost was a gift from the Father. He told his disciples prior to His return to heaven that “they should not depart from Jerusalem but wait for the promise of the Father…. For John truly baptized with water but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:4-5). We understand that Jesus may have said that to some 500 people. Some listened, some did not. Only 120 were in Jerusalem on the day that Jesus baptized them with the Holy Spirit. For those that gathered together on that day, to them gave He power.
32. Uncommon blessing, such as this, catapults people into faith and joy. We understand why, on the day we are referring to, deliverance ministry was rare, in fact, unheard of before. But in the church of Christ in the twenty first century, it should be an assumed grace that church leaders, and Christians in general, walk in.
33. The waiting believers in Acts 1 and 2, and the others that were later baptized with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in other tongues (Acts 2:1-8; 8:14-18; 10:45-46; 19:5-6), to them was given power to tread on serpents and over all the power of the wicked one. They wasted no time confronting devils and casting out unclean spirits.
“There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed everyone.”(Acts 5:16).
Philip went to Samaria. “And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city.”(Acts 8:6-8)
And here we have in Ephesus with Paul: “So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:12)
People need help. Where will they find it? This man was already going to church, listening to the preacher and meditating on the Word, but still he was demonized by an unclean spirit. Going to church, reading the bible, alone is not enough. People need an encounter with Holy Spirit power and His anointing.
The bottom line is this: The anointing on the Word (Christ) caused this unclean devil to manifest. When it manifested Christ did not ignore it, He told it to shut up and come out. The act of deliverance was fulfilled in a public place. Today thousands need the same kind of deliverance from unclean spirits.
The significance of what we are saying here shall be enlarged on in our next pages.