Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Miracles (7) Evil Spirits

Evil Spirits have the ability to move in the spiritual realms but change things in the physical world. They operate on the boundary between the physical and spiritual.

Evil Spirits can speak.
  • Many people have heard evil spirits speak. If they submit to the voice, they give the evil spirit power in their life.

  • Sometimes they speak with a voice of deception. That is what happened to Jesus. The tempter spoke lies to him to try and deceive him into submitting to his power. The solution to the voice of deception is to speak the word of God, under the leading of the Holy Spirits.

  • Evil spirits can drop thoughts into the minds of people. This applies to people in the world and those who are following Jesus.

Evil spirits have physical power. They have the ability to make changes in the physical world. They can change the nature of physical things.

  • When God had finished his creative activity, everything was good. There were no earthquakes, volcanoes, droughts, tornados, tsunamis, fatal diseases and floods. When humans sinned, the powers of evil were free to attack God’s creation. They hate him, so they delighted in finding ways to harm his world. The powers of evil changed the way that the earth functions.

    Once human sin had squeezed God out of his universe, the powers of evil got to work and really messed it up. Earthquakes, floods, droughts, tsunamis, tornados, volcanoes and other destructive forces appeared on earth for the first time.

    For the first millennium of human history, there were far more evil spirits working on earth than there were humans. They attacked these people, but they focussed on harming and destroying the creation. They made changes to the way that the physical world functions. They changed some animal species to make them violent. They played with genetic material to manipulate species and destroy God’s good creation. Animals, insects and plants changed into dangerous forms that had not existed when the world was good. Bacteria and viruses that cause sickness and disease emerged and began to spread. A vast army went to work in the universe creating evil species, wreaking havoc and spoiling the beautiful world that God created.

    The powers of evil had more than a thousand years rampaging through God’s beautiful world. After the flood, when the numbers of humans on earth had increased, evil spirits no longer had numeric superiority. They shifted their focus from harming creation to using political power to control and harm the people of the world.

  • Evil spirits can make people physically sick. In the case of one woman that Jesus had healed, the powers of evil had changed the functioning of her spine or given her osteoporosis (Luke 13:16). They seem to be able to shift bacteria and cause cells to mutate to become cancerous cells. They seem to be able to create or release viruses.

  • An individual spirit is not strong enough to create a storm, a tornado or an earthquake. However, a large group of them can join together to release a storm or an earthquake, if the conditions are right. They are not strong enough to create an earthquake, but if geological pressures have built up sufficiently on a fault, they can trigger the timing of a quake. The same applies to storms. They are not strong enough to create a storm, but if the conditions are building, they can nudge them to release a storm.

    The storm that struck the disciples when they were sailing across the Sea of Galilee seemed to have been triggered by the spiritual powers of evil. Mark describes it as a "great storm of wind" (Mark 4:37). Matthew says a great shaking (seismos) occurred in the sea. (Matt 8:24). The men in the boat were experienced sailors, but they were filled with terror because they realised they could be destroyed.
    The forces of darkness understood that Jesus was a risk to them. Now he had started his ministry the risk was becoming clear. He was casting out demons, and they were powerless. He was healing the people they had inflicted with sickness. They knew that they had to deal with him, before he really got going. so they stirred up the sea and the wind in an effort to kill Jesus.

    When the disciples woke Jesus, he understood what was happening. He rebuked wind in the same way as he rebuked evil spirits that he was casting out. He spoke to the said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still" (Mark 4:39)! Speaking to an "act of nature" is a pointless waste of time, but Jesus knew the storm was demonic. He seemed to be speaking to the wind and the waves, but he was actually speaking to the evil spirits who were at work in both.

    The disciples just saw a storm. Jesus realised that in the spiritual realms, a host of evil spirits had stirred up the wind and the sea in an effort to destroy him. There were other boats on the Sea of Galilee that night (Mk 4:36), but the spirits focussed the attack on his boat. Jesus understood his authority, so he rebuked the evil spirits. I presume that when he spoke, a host of powerful angels forced the evil spirits off the lake. That is why the wind and the waves instantly calmed.

    Unlike a natural storm, this storm came without warning and ended suddenly. Much is made of the unpredictability of storms on the Galilee, but Jesus disciples knew how to read the weather signs (Luke 12:54) and would not have gone out if a storm was brewing. This storm ended as quickly as it started, because its source was demonic.

  • Most storms are caused by strong winds, not by demonic powers. The same applies to earthquakes and bush fires. Most are just natural events caused by the workings of nature. Only a few are the word of the demonic powers. The natural and spiritual events look the same, so spiritual discernment is needed to tell the difference.

  • Evil spirits are always fighting each other, so they find it hard to work together. This means that situations where the join together to something big in the physical world are rare. It only happens, when they are bullied by a more powerful controlling spirit, such as the spirit called Destruction (Rev 9:11).

  • Evil spirits can pretend to be something that they are not.

Evil spirits are not very creative, so they usually try to find something that works and do it over and over again. They spent the first millennium attacking the physical earth. When the flood and the Rainbow Covenant put an end to that method, they have switched to using political power and human empires to leverage their influence on earth.

Since the cross, the spiritual powers of evil have concentrated on using political power to control people. A government-spirit working with a few powerful spirits can control an entire city or nation, but that is another story.

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