SPIRITUAL WARFARE -5
What if children were born as a result of an adulterous relationship?
Here it is clear that the parents have sinned. Let us consider the possibility that they were demonised to some extent. But how can we assume from there that the children are born demonised? They had no way to exercise any choice, and it is unthinkable that God allows them to be forced. God did allow the child born out of adultery between David and Bathsheba to die. But He also allowed the child born to Judah and Tamar in an adulterous relationship to be an ancestor of Jesus! In David's case it must have been a special case of discipline for an otherwise godly man, but as the case of the son of Judah and Tamar, it doesn't follow that a child born out of adultery has a demon.
What about children who have been sexually abused or subjected to satanic ritual abuse?
It is somewhat complicated because it is difficult to know the level of response from the children. We know that they suffer deeply from a psychological point of view. Many of them are scarred for the rest of their life unless there is an intervention. What we are unable to fathom is whether they have yielded in any way to demonic influences during their trauma.
We know that when Christian parents dedicate their children to God, God begins to act in the children's lives. However, He does not forcefully make them His children. He begins to influence their lives and finally it is up to the children to yield to Him. Perhaps demons also work in a similar way, by beginning to influence the children till they themselves yield to the demons. What we can do is to seriously examine the possibility of some level of demonisation in children who have gone through such experiences.
Are there these so-called territorial spirits?
'Territorial spirits' is a new term which is being used by people, which is not in the Bible. However, the Bible gives an example of a powerful demon referred to as 'the prince of Persia' who hindered the angel Gabriel from coming to Daniel with a message from God (Dan.10:13), and one of the archangels, Michael, had to go to help Gabriel. Gabriel also mentioned the 'prince of Greece' (v.20). When we look at the references to 'principalities' (Rom.8:38) and 'rulers and authorities in the heavenly places' (Eph.3:10), we can conclude that Satan has a hierarchical set up of demons with distribution of authority for different geographical areas.
However the Bible does not tell us to first identify the territorial spirit (the so-called process of spiritual mapping) in charge of a place, 'bind' it and then to start evangelism, as some teach. At the same time I see no reason why this procedure cannot be worked out by the people of God, as long as they are following the leading of the Spirit. There are instances when this has resulted in a major breakthrough, but there are also other instances when people tried to imitate the method and failed miserably. The fact is that all evil spirits have been conquered by Jesus on the cross and what we need to do is to exercise His authority over them at different times. The important thing is to listen to the Holy Spirit as He leads us and act accordingly, instead of imitating methods or styles that have worked in some cases.
What about prayer walks?
This is an imitation of the children of Israel walking around Jericho and finally the walls of Jericho falling down. We must remember they did this at the specific instruction of God. There is no power in the method. We cannot just walk around and claim land or areas for God even though God gave such a promise to Israel in their time (Deut.11:24).
What do you say about using holy water, blessed handkerchiefs, prayer shawls, etc.?
Two types of mistakes are involved here. The first mistake is to place trust in methods rather than listening to the Holy Spirit and hearing what He wants us to do in any particular situation. People are trying to identify the processes that took place in the Bible and repeat them. These methods have no power and they are not to be blindly followed. The second mistake is not understanding that the old covenant which God made with the people of Israel through Moses has been replaced with a 'new' covenant through Jesus (Heb.8:13). The old covenant was about external behaviour and external blessings, and the focus has now shifted to what goes on within us in our hearts. Now it is not a place or an object that is to be kept holy but we are to be holy. Now we are to be led by the Holy Spirit rather than follow the letter of the law (Rom.8:14). We cannot fight with demons by showing a cross or waving the Bible (which are mere objects) but by using the authority of Jesus. We cannot keep our house or church building free from access to demons by 'sprinkling the blood of Jesus' around them but only by resisting them in the name of Jesus (Jas.4:7). It is all a matter of our relationship with God through Jesus and our faith in exercising His authority and not to do with blessed objects or places.
What is this authority 'in the name of Jesus'?
'In the name of Jesus' is not a magic formula we or anyone can use to overcome demons. The words have no power in themselves even if they are repeatedly shouted out. Some people tried to use this formula to cast out some demons, and the demons only overpowered them (Ac.19:13-16). They had no relationship with Jesus as His disciples, and so they had no authority to use His name. This authority is given to those who have put their trust in Jesus and chosen to follow Him as His disciples. But then the least one who has trusted in Jesus and come under His grace has the privilege to use this authority. Satan and all his demons will have to submit to us when we stand against them with this authority.
In the last days there will be many deceptions (Matt 24:24;1Ti.4:1). It is dangerous to live in a false sense of security ignoring demonic activities, but at the same time it is unnecessary to live as if we are helpless at the hand of demons, because Jesus has given us His authority to overcome them. Let us be vigilant, understand the times, and get to experience the power of God in this area also.