In the Gospel of Luke, we find the ominous instruction concerning the believer that has had an unclean spirit leave him, but ends up with "seven spirits more wicked" inhabiting him - "and the last state of that man is worse than the first." (Luke 11:26). The overall context of this statement is in the chapter that speaks of "an evil generation" which was reproached by Christ on the occasion of the accusation that the LORD Jesus Christ was casting out devils through the power of Beelzebub (Luke 11:18). Indeed, the episode concludes with the harshest denunciation of the religious authorities.
Because everything in prophecy runs at least twice, we are presently seeing the seeds of a re-iteration of this prophetic confrontation - and once again, the roles are reversed. The established "Christian" Churches are now in the role of the Pharisees, and the Remnant believers in Christ that have come out of the harlot religion are those that are being accused of being in league with Lucifer. In short, we live among the final manifestation of an "evil and adulterous generation."
The clash between Christ and the Church of His day is most informative, for we are seeing the same sequence of events in our time. For instance, the text tells us Jesus was clearly on the offensive, for we see that He was casting out devils. In response to this activity, we learn that some said "He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils" (Luke 11:15). This is the classic pattern seen throughout Scripture: The LORD pours forth His light, and the surrounding spiritual darkness reacts to it.
John tells us "the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not" (John 1:5). Paul further elaborates on this cyclical sequence when he writes how "all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light." (Ephesians 5:13). In each example, it is the LIGHT of the LORD that initiates the action, and the darkness reacts unfavorably. In the case of the account in Luke where we observe Jesus manifesting His power over the devils, the darkness that is resident in the evil generation does not understand the source of His power. They then compound their error by attempting to malign His glory as they attribute His power to Beelzebub - another name for the Devil.
Others that were present as JESUS took new spiritual ground "sought of him a sign from heaven" (Luke 11:16). This second attempt at spiritually resisting the brilliant light that was shining in their presence was just another variation as the darkness continued to attempt to fight against the TRUTH being seen in their presence. By demanding a "sign," they were asserting that it was not yet clear that Jesus was doing the work of the LORD Himself. Thus, the evil spirits that were present in that setting continued to resist the LORD's great work.
Finally, the dark spirits that were present tried a third tactic - albeit more subtle than the brazen accusation that Jesus was secretly in league with Beelzebub. In verse 27, "a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked." (Luke 11:27). This statement was essentially a spontaneous word of praise for the woman that was Christ's mother - Mary. This is probably the first attempt at the glorification of Mary in the New Testament, and quickly Jesus corrects the woman by shifting the emphasis to where it should be - stating "But...rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it." (Luke 11:28).
Note the amazing progression that is seen in this chapter. Jesus Christ takes the initiative and begins shining the light of God into the evil generation. The darkness reacts, and first attacks Jesus as being empowered by an evil spirit (Luke 11:15). The dark spirits then seem to grudgingly acknowledge He has power from God, but more information, such as a sign from heaven, is needed to conclusively validate that He is who He says He is (Luke 11:16). Finally, the dark spirit that is present deceptively seeks to join itself to the cause, as it exuberantly recognizes a great work is occurring; even as it seeks to shift the focus to Mary, instead of Jesus Himself (Luke 11:27).
In this sequential series of encounters, we see that the Spirit of Antichrist that was present does not give up - it simply changes tactics.
In this setting we may recognize the truth of the continuing battle and the way that the spirit wars against the flesh - even when it seems that the Spirit of God has triumphed (Galatians 5:17). In this context, Jesus has made it clear that the He is the one who is able to "enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods." (Matthew 12:29). By seeking to "spoil his house," we see that Jesus has come to take the captives back from the "strong man" (Satan). We further see that there is no neutral ground as Christ flatly informs us that "He that is not with me is against me." (Luke 11:23). Christ tells us that
"When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first." (Luke 11:24-26).
This is the story of how the organized "Christian" church "is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." (Revelation 18:2). Naturally, the "believers" scoff at such a notion, for they are completely ignorant of the truth of the matter. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of "Christians" consider it an affront to be told "this people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me." (Matthew 15:8). They find it inconceivable that they could so completely fail to recognize the truth of the matter.
Yet this is the central message of the very account we are studying. When Luke describes how the "unclean spirit" has gone out of a man, we are seeing a vivid description of the deliverance from the "strong man" that is offered through JESUS CHRIST. Most would recognize that Christ is the one who is able to take dominion and redeem us from the Devil, but they fail to recognize that once Satan lost us to the LORD, he didn't give up - he simply changed tactics.
Luke says that when that unclean spirit has been cast out, he is still "seeking rest" and thus initiates a counter attack. He decides to "return unto my house whence I came out" (Luke 11:24). When the dark spirit returns, it does not find the house indwelled by the Spirit of the LORD - it finds the house empty. Thus, because the vessel (the "house") has not continued to move forward in the power and Spirit of the LORD, the dark spirit is able to "enter in, and dwell there" (Luke 11:26).
Ironically, this is not only the story of Israel, it is also the story of the Christian Church. While the "Church" sees themselves as the recipients of the blessings of God that were rejected by Israel, they commit the same sin in that they fail to recognize the time of their visitation. The people and the priesthood during the time of Christ's first incarnation believed they had the pre-eminence in God's plan. They said "Abraham is our father!" (John 8:39). They exclaimed "We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is." (John 9:29). To put it another way, the religious crowd was completely secure that they did not need what God was doing in their midst because they were positive that God would never forsake them.
The Pharisee's modern counterpart is the Christian Church. In that same haughty spirit, they come in the name of Jesus and say 'He is Christ!' (Matt 24:5) They proclaim "I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing!" (Revelation 3:17). They proudly bray about how they supposedly follow the Scriptures - yet when they are confronted with the TRUTH of their lies, they attack the SPIRIT that is in those that oppose their empty religion. In short, the religious crowd is completely secure that they do not need what God is doing in their midst because they are positive God would never forsake them.
These twice dead "believers" claim that the Remnant that reproves them is functioning "through Beelzebub the chief of the devils" (Luke 11:15). They say we are mad, or members of a cult, or backslidden. They are absolutely certain there is no prophetic word for them to hear from a latter day prophet. They say "Where's your love, brother?" - even as they refuse to recognize it takes LOVE to be willing to stand up and state the TRUTH.
As God has brought modern day prophets to the "Church" to reprove them for their Apostasy, the darkness that is in the church has become manifest. As the small Remnant of true believers have exposed the serpentine spiritual tentacles of the Beast that have strangled organized Christendom, the darkness comprehends it not. As previously cited, "all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light" (Ephesians 5:13). Just as it was in the time of Jesus' first manifestation, it is the LIGHT of the LORD that initiates the action, and the darkness reacts to it.
Because the Church's "house is left...desolate" (Matthew 23:38), it is the spiritual equivalent of "swept and garnished" (Luke 11:25) - and the "unclean spirit" has returned and taken "to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself" (Luke 26). The house has now been overcome with "seducing spirits and doctrines of demons" (I Timothy 4:1) and "the last state of that [church] is worse than the first" (Luke 11:26).
But God is gracious in that He has promised to preserve "a remnant according to the election of grace" (Romans 11:5). Through the agency of organized religion, the False Prophet and his corporate Christian Church "deceiveth them that dwell on the earth...and cause[s] that as many as would not worship [obey] the image of the Beast of the beast should be killed" (Revelation 13:15). Although the Dragon and his Beast government persecute the true believers, the Remnant believers "overcame him by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Revelation 12:11).
The corporate "Christians" will shortly "be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames...And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth...." (Isaiah 13:8). JESUS described this astonishment among those that were so very sure they were secure in God's plan - but JESUS plainly warned that "many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:11,12).
"When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:25, 26).
"Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off" (Romans 11:22).
May 19, 2003 - James Lloyd
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