Where have all the demons gone?

Angels & Demons
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psimmond
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Where have all the demons gone?

Post by psimmond » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:18 pm

Jesus spent most of his life wandering from little village to little village in northern Palestine and during his travels he constantly encountered and cast out demons. His disciples also cast out demons in the area. And yet there's nothing in the New Testament to indicate people being surprised that such a large percentage of Jews were demon possessed.

Is it possible that most all of the people reported to be demon possessed actually were simply suffering from common ailments: epilepsy, mental and psychological disorders, blindness, etc.? I wonder how much superstition and lack of medical knowledge played into this.
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Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by morbo3000 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 8:15 pm

Certainly epilepsy and schizophrenia could account for a lot.

Some people believe that some mental illnesses are demonic. Personally, I don't think it is clear cut. It's possible that some schizophrenia is demonic harassment. And some things people might believe are demonic may actually be schizophrenia. I take meds for bipolar, and I won't be stopping them anytime soon, thank you very much. The fruit of the spirit can be confirmed by people around me, I'm hungry for the word, and pray daily. So I don't think meds are suppressing demonic influence in my life.

Opinions on this will also be based on your view of the Bible. Some people would say the gospels are inerrant, thus if they describe Jesus commanding demons, then there can be no question it was demons. Otherwise, Jesus is lying, or that it's a slippery slope to re-imagine the meaning of these events. Again, I don't think it's that clear-cut. I have no doubt in demonic activity. But I also believe the gospels are colored by their times.
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Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by dizerner » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:09 pm

Well they called Jesus demon possessed.
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Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by morbo3000 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:22 am

dizerner wrote:Well they called Jesus demon possessed.
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steve7150
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Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by steve7150 » Fri Sep 04, 2015 10:57 am

Is it possible that most all of the people reported to be demon possessed actually were simply suffering from common ailments: epilepsy, mental and psychological disorders, blindness, etc.? I wonder how much superstition and lack of medical knowledge played into this.








May also be the other way around meaning we do have demonic activity today but it goes unrecognized by our secular culture. You can have symptoms that appear to be various explanable disorders but which were impacted by demonic activity.

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Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by dwilkins » Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:17 am

One option is that there was a major change in how demons worked in the world based on, you guessed it, preterism. If it starts to derail the conversation too much I'll stop responding. But, have you considered the possibility that demonic activity in the New Testament was very real, and that at some point (I'd argue the judgment associated with 70AD) the paradigm changed significantly. I'll use three passages to summarize my point:

Romans 16:19-20 (ESV)
19 For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Hebrews 2:5-8 (ESV)
5 Now it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking.
6 It has been testified somewhere, "What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him?
7 You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor,
8 putting everything in subjection under his feet." Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him.

Revelation 20:4 (ESV)
4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

The point of the progression is this: The era of the Old Testament and into the New Testament writings was one in which the Divine Council of angels (good and bad), with the bad led by Satan, ruled human affairs. One of the major changes in the transitions from the old system to the new system was that world affairs would no longer be managed by angels, but humans. In Romans we see that the saints will "crush" Satan "soon". In Hebrews we see that the old world was ruled by angels, but the new one will be ruled by humans. In Revelation, we see that the new judging council that will rule are humans sitting on thrones in heaven.

If this paradigm is correct, it's possible that the demonic influence in the world was either radically abated, or eliminated completely at the time of the judgment of Satan. I think that might account for real stories of demonic activities in ancient times, but in modern times there seems to be an admission that it is a thing of the past (at least in modern civilized countries).

One argument against this is that missionaries on the frontier are quick to point to demonic possession in people they encounter. This is where the radical abatement comes in. In might be that the demonic head (Satan) was eliminated at the judgment in the first century, and that the influence of other evil spirits is then eliminated as Christianity grows (see as the Saints ruling from heaven as the kingdom expands).

Doug

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Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by TheEditor » Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:46 am

Hi Doug,

I don't think Preterism is a prerequisite for this view. I have heard the same view argued by premillenialists. In fact, I read one exposition of Colossians that made the same argument regarding demonic powers. I can see where it would dovetail nicely with preterism, but I don't think that is necessary. BTW, does anybody else hear the song "Where have all the Flowers Gone" in their head when the read the title of this thread? :lol:

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

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TheEditor
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Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by TheEditor » Sat Sep 05, 2015 12:48 am

Some years ago I read a commentary that had an entire list of actions and ailments ascribed to demons by the Jews. I'll have to dig it up. But apparently it was a pretty common thing for the Jews to assume most ills were caused by demons.

Regards, Brenden.
[color=#0000FF][b]"It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."[/b][/color]

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Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by dwilkins » Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:10 am

I haven't read this in detail, but this is another position referenced by a smart guy I know (I don't think I agree with it, but there might be some interesting stuff in there).

http://www.austincc.edu/philosophy/arch ... hap45.html

Doug

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Re: Where have all the demons gone?

Post by dwilkins » Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:31 am

TheEditor wrote:Hi Doug,

I don't think Preterism is a prerequisite for this view. I have heard the same view argued by premillenialists. In fact, I read one exposition of Colossians that made the same argument regarding demonic powers. I can see where it would dovetail nicely with preterism, but I don't think that is necessary. BTW, does anybody else hear the song "Where have all the Flowers Gone" in their head when the read the title of this thread? :lol:

Regards, Brenden.
I'd be interested to see how a premillennialist can come to this conclusion. I can't see how it's possible outside of preterism.

Doug

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