Where have all the demons gone?

Angels & Demons
User avatar
steve
Posts: 3336
Joined: Thu Aug 21, 2008 9:45 pm

Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by steve » Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:53 am

I cannot read many posts of this length (I usually leave them for others to respond to, since I am a slow reader with far too much reading material stacking up on any desk). However, since this was a response directly to my previous posting, I thought I would read it and respond.

The scriptures presented in the post can be found dealt with in my seres on spiritual warfare and on charisma and character (as well as my verse-by-verse lectures in situ. In them, I deal specifically with the arguments you raised. I won't deal with them here.

The anecdotal cases of derangement and dementia are tragic and compelling. They seem to prove what no one I know denies—namely, that there are degenerative diseases of the body, including the brain. But this does not speak to the cases that cannot be explained in that manner. Some behaviors that could possibly be regarded as merely physiological/psychological in origin may not always succumb to this reductionism. If the Bible records that a demoniac may sometimes fall into uncontrollable seizures, this is not in any way disproven by citing cases of epileptics who have no demons. To say that epilepsy causes seizures is not the same thing as saying that nothing besides epilepsy can cause seizures.

I read today on Facebook someone who dismissed anecdotal evidence of modern demonization, because (he claimed) "this evidence comes from missionaries who are trying to raise money." It would be hard to find a more naive and misinformed dismissal of the evidence from a skeptic. I have seen the phenomena and the deliverance in a number of cases myself. The psychiatrists and doctors, as well as pastors and missionaries, who have published the case studies known to me had no vested financial interest in their stories being believed.

If someone wishes to read an example of modern-day demon possession that cannot be reduced to an explanation of pathological brain degeneration, I would suggest reading Blumhardt's Battle, in which the 19th-century German pastor, Johann Christoph Blumhardt, documents for the sake of his denominational overseers, the experiences that he had with the demonized young woman, Gottlieben Dittus, over a period of two years. These manifestations were known and witnessed by most of the local townspeople, and the pastor himself made a point of regularly bringing the mayor and the local doctor along to witness the supernatural phenomena.

I might also recommend two other books, among the many on my shelf, which can easily dispel the man-made theory of the cessation of demon possession in the first century:

The book, Demon Possession and Allied Themes, was written by the 19th-century English missionary to China, John Livingston Nevius. He was a Presbyterian medical doctor, whose professional and religious training had led him to the conclusion that demon possession was a phenomenon that ended in the apostolic age. It was his early experiences in China that led him to believe that many pagans were suffering afflictions which did not belong in a medical category, but which were very much like the biblical cases of demonization. He resisted this conclusion for years, while collecting data on similar experiences from missionaries throughout Asia (through a questionnaire he sent out). In his book, he appears to have finally concluded that demonization is the best, and irresistible, diagnosis for certain cases he describes. It is a sober, reverent and even skeptical assessment of the topic from many different angles. No one should decide (especially in the absence of any supporting scripture) that demon possession ended in the first century without reading the data that finally convinced him otherwise.

Another book, simply entitled, Demon Possession, was edited by John Warwick Montgomery, who held eight earned degrees in law, philosophy, and theology. His book collects the papers presented "A Theological, Psychological, Medical Symposium on the Phenomena Labeled As Demonic", which was held at the University of Notre Dame, in 1975, by the Christian Medical Society. The participants included 25 specialists in theology, psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, sociology, medicine, missions and pastoral care. The essays in the book cover the subject of demonism from all of these vantage points. These were not missionaries writing a newsletter to raise support. There is no way that an objective reader could rationally encounter the information presented there and come away believing that demonization is a thing of the past.

Singalphile
Posts: 892
Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:46 pm

Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by Singalphile » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:31 pm

Those are some interesting ideas in there, 3Resurrections (though I admit that I can't follow a lot of it). I have considered that at least Satan has been taken out of this world (into the abyss) since about AD 70, as symbolically described in Revelation 20. I suppose the beast and false prophet, whatever and/or whoever they might symbolize, would be out of the picture as well (since they're in the lake of fire).

But I don't know about other demonic powers/entities. Perhaps some still roam. I'm assuming amillennialism, though, which you apparently do not.

Your posts do cover many, many different ideas, a lot of which I've never heard of. I think I'd have to spend a whole day researching just about every sentence. I appreciate your knowledge and interest, but maybe you can have a thread focused on just one specific part of what you're saying. That might be cool.

Happy New Year, all!
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23

3Resurrections
Posts: 64
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:32 am

Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by 3Resurrections » Thu Jan 03, 2019 3:46 pm

Hi Singalphile,

Very sage advice. I've no disagreement with the wisdom of concentrating on one text at a time, so I'll pick one that both you and Steve have partial agreement with. I spent a few hours listening to Steve's lectures on the Heb. 2:5, Romans 16:20, and Isaiah 24-27 texts as he suggested. Likewise his treatment of the Zech. 12-14 oracle, all of which views I presume he still stands by.

Singalphile, if your considerations have led you to think that Satan, the beast, and the false prophet could possibly all be "out of the picture" since about AD 70, we can shake hands on that one.

Steve, if your studies of "Isaiah's apocalypse" chapters 24 and following have led you to believe that this is Jerusalem's AD 70 destruction being depicted in apocalyptic language, we can shake hands on that one, too. Most heartily.

But there is a disconnect in your coverage of Isaiah 24:21-22 about the punishment of the evil angelic hosts when you arbitrarily switch the context over to the time period of Christ's ministry. Your lecture claims that these Isaiah 24:21-22 verses are speaking of a binding of Satan during Christ's ministry. How can that possibly fit the context, when Isaiah 24:21 specifically says that this "imprisonment" in Jerusalem of the "host of the high ones that are on high" (the evil angelic hosts), together with the "kings of the earth" would take place "IN THAT DAY"? What "day" was Isaiah talking about? It had to be the very "day" Isaiah had just been describing; the "day" when Jerusalem would be in the process of being shaken and destroyed, which you freely claim to be the AD 70 era's judgment on Jerusalem and the land of Israel (according to all those "earth" references).

This Isaiah 24:22 "imprisonment" was a phenomenon that had not taken place before the AD 70 era, since Revelation 18:2's prophecy said that Jerusalem (Babylon) "had become" a prison for every unclean spirit during that time; a new state of affairs that had not existed before the AD 70 era.

Likewise, the Isaiah 27:1 verse was still talking about the very same "IN THAT DAY" context of Jerusalem's AD 70 destruction, when Isaiah said that "the serpent", also called "the dragon" in the LXX (which your lecture said was "probably Satan") would be SLAIN by God. This is more than just having the devil annulled (as the Heb. 2:14 verse described that destruction - katargeo - of the devil's activity as the accuser of the brethren at the time of Christ's resurrection and ascension). I believe your lecture stressed this difference, Steve, which I agree with.

Satan and his angels would already have been cast out of heaven to the earth at Christ's ascension for a "short time" before AD 70, but here in Isaiah's AD 70 apocalypse, Satan as "the dragon" and "the serpent" would finally be CONSUMED. If I'm reading the "analisko" term correctly here in Isaiah 27:1 (LXX), God would slay (analei) the dragon by consuming him - he would be "used up" or spent up". How can a dragon and serpent called the devil and Satan be slain and consumed back in AD 70, and still be around operating in the world today? It doesn't compute.

That's why the KJV margin notes for Isaiah 24:22 said that "...after many days shall they be FOUND WANTING". That elimination of those two imprisoned categories included those punished angelic hosts and the punished "kings of the earth" - the high priest rulers of the people, as Christ spoke of them in Matt. 17:25. All of these would be gone by the time the spiritual New Jerusalem would be gloriously revealed with the Lord of hosts reigning over it (Is. 24:23), as He continues to do today. We've not had a re-emergence of the Levitical high priesthood since AD 70, and neither have we seen a re-emergence of those punished angelic hosts or the slain dragon either. These have all been consumed, according to Isaiah 24 and 27.

Okay, Singalphile, I tried to stick to just one text as the subject. Is that any better? Hopefully not so overwhelming.

Post Reply

Return to “Angelology & Demonology”