Ghosts, spirits, demons.

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by Free Christian, Aug 12, 2014.

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  1. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    That "the devil" tempted Jesus is certain from Scripture. If he could tempt God's Christ there is no reason for thinking he or his angels cannot tempt humans by the same means he tempted Christ.
     
  2. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    The NT itself never connects the "demonic" with the devil and his angels. As far as the NT is concerned, the "demonic" refers to a physical and emotional evil, not to a moral one. A specific interpretation unites them and identifies them as one, but there is nothing in the Gospel accounts to warrant such a conclusion. The same false identification is often made in relation to Mary Magdalene and the harlot because of an unwarranted assumption that "demons" were connected with moral evil.

    Christ healed. Once He used spittle and clay and the Pool of Siloam. The reader is not required to believe there was any virtue in these things in order to believe that He healed by means of them. Sickness was identified with the "demonic" and healing therefore entailed the casting out of "demons." The reader is not required to believe that demons are anything in and of themselves. It suffices that the "demons" were a real part of the people's infirmities.

    The kingdom is the present reign of God in Christ. God once suffered the nations to walk in their own ways and "demons" were part and parcel of the intermediary system which ignorance devised. God now commands all men every where to repent. Intermediaries have no place in the kingdom of God. Christ has shown Himself to be the head of all principality and power. Christians are warned against being enticed by a voluntary humility and worshipping of "angels."
     
  3. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    This answer overlooks the previously established NT link between the "demonic" and "unclean" a term the NT does not always reserve for ceremonials; in at least one instance it is specifically contrasted with "holy" (1 Cor. 7:14). Whatever they are the "unclean spirits may not be arbitrarily presumed to be morally neutral.

    And this is a straw man argument. Although there is no place for any intermediary between God and man other than the man Christ Jesus, the realities behind "daimonion" are not such intermediaries attempting to occupy such a place but are opposed to both man and God. And it is precisely because Christ is the head above all principalities and powers that Christians ultimately do not have to fear whatever unclean realities that are that oppose Him.
     
  4. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Since these conjectures arise from a desire to justify a certain interpretation and have no basis in biblical exegesis, I I leave you to your guess-work.
     
  5. One Little Nail

    One Little Nail Puritan Board Sophomore

    Tim was correct Matthew, in that you created a strawman argument as has Earl, Devils are real, they are under the Sovereignty Of God nonetheless, but they are given power at times over believers to tempt or even afflict (Job) & unbelievers as well, occasionally even possessing, the Texts on these are straight forward & self explanatory there is no need to call them
    Whatever the heathen thought, they were deluded by falsehood this doesn't disprove the truth that Ephesians 6:12
     
  6. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    I haven't denied devils are real.
     
  7. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Nor have I.
     
  8. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    So logical conclusions from Scriptural statements have no basis in exegesis because some non-canonical writers have erred? Really? Anyone advocating such a view owes it to the rest of us to explain how non-existent "daimons," then "possessing" humans were repeatedly able to recognize Christ as the Son of God before Christ had told anybody else who He was (a question previously asked but yet to be answered.)

    There is far more Scriptural evidence for the reality of "demonic possession," whatever the "demons" may be, than there is for assuming that the Christ, the Apostles and the NT writers were accommodating to contemporary beliefs. Simply ignoring the difficulties raised by the NT material,and simultaneously advancing an accommodation hypothesis without bothering to provide NT support for it has less basis in exegesis than taking the biblical accounts at face value.

    And one other point concerning the accommodation hypothesis: since our age has largely rejected the gospel, spiritism is on the rise and similar phenomena to "demon possession" are now occurring and can be expected to continue. If therefore we see any Christian now performing an exorcism, how can we possibly object? For isn't our brother just following the Dominical, Apostolic and NT examples of accommodating to the cultural belief?
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  9. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    I should also have mentioned 1 Samuel 16: 14, 23 in which an "evil spirit" was tormenting Saul. Yes the spirit is from the Lord, but the adjective "evil" seems to rule out an unfallen angel as being meant here. Whatever this evil spirit was, it could influence Saul in some ways. Therefore we have to conclude that evil spirits can influence men in whatever ways Saul was influenced.
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  10. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    In paranormal ways?
     
  11. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    This may be my last time commenting on this topic. This last paragraph should be enough to give us all pause to think if we would not object to those performing exorcisms, as seen in many movies and other supercilious practices we hear about. In other words, I would object today since we have The Word in completion.
     
  12. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Accommodation and the Confession

    I somehow can't see the man who wrote ". . . we have renounced things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Cor. 4:2) giving any place to accommodation, even for a moment, on any point.

    But suppose I am wrong. Suppose that
    Christ, the Apostles or the NT writers ever accommodated the truth behind "daimonic possession" (or any other accommodation on any other point for that matter) to the erroneous belief of unbelievers. Such an accommodation seems to raise a conflict with WLC 145's list of sins forbidden in the 9th commandment. How would anyone defend against a charge that by accommodating, one was "perverting [the truth] to a wrong meaning, [by means of] equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of the truth?"





     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2014
  13. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Logical leaps have no place. It is a logical leap to jump from demons to devils and thereby ascribe demoniacal power to devils when the Scripture argues at length against it and convinces us that the power of life and death belongs to the Lord God alone.

    As soon as you say, "whatever that may be," you have affirmed accommodation and denied that the phenomenon is what it appears on the surface to be. But then you deny me the right to speak of accommodation because I do not conclude with you that devils have demoniacal power.

    I am not sure why a "brother" who confesses Jesus is Lord of all should feel the need to imitate a redemptive work of the only Saviour of sinners. I object to Romanists seeking to make satisfactions to divine justice. I should equally object to so-called Protestants seeking to bring the demons under subjection. Such belongs to the Lord of glory.
     
  14. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor



    The prejudice of truth is all on the side of those who deny the Confession's teaching that Christ is "the only Mediator between God and man," and "the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent's head."
     
  15. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    :scratch:...............:think:.....................ill take it as a no then!
    Thanks all for taking the time to answer.
     
  16. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Brett, my answer is definitely no, although others clearly disagree. From my perspective, if there is any "wonder" in these things, it is a "lying wonder." It should only be attributable to the Devil as one of his lies by which he seeks to lead souls astray into ignorance and superstition.
     
  17. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    From Thomas Manton:

    "The sum is this, then: that many things are pretended, not really done, -- impostures and forgeries, not miracles; other things, done by diabolical illusions, as there may be apparitions, visions, spectres, for Satan will bestir himself to keep up the credit of his ministers. Lastly, if we cannot otherwise disprove them, if they tend to false doctrine and worship, they are to be rejected, whatever extraordinary appearance there be in them."

    "upon the ceasing of miracles, or their growing to be unnecessary, we have the more cause to suspect them who will revive this pretence of a power to work miracles; especially after we are cautioned against these delusions."

    "The miracles wrought by Antichrist and his adherents are mira, but not miracula, some wonderful things, but no true and proper miracles; else, as Austin saith, Figmenta mendacium hominum, portenta fallacium spirituum -- either the fictions of lying men, or the illusions of deceiving spirits. Many times the matter of fact is not true; at other times the thing done is but some illusion of the senses by the devil, or something taken for a miracle which doth not exceed the power of nature. Either way it is an imposture; and, indeed, the miracles of the legends are so false, so ridiculous, so light and trivial, that they expose Christianity to contempt; or else, if there be anything in it, it giveth suspicions of magical illusion and converse with the devil which, among their votaries and recluses, is no unusual thing."
     
  18. Tirian

    Tirian Puritan Board Sophomore

    So, paranormally effecting someone's senses?
     
  19. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    What is sensory is normal. If it is a false perception it is an illusion. If it were paranormal it would not be an illusion but real.
     
  20. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Ok, now we are getting to it. So people who claim to have seen a ghost or demon are having their senses affected to believe they are seeing one but are not?
    They are not really seeing one but their senses are so affected that they believe they are. This makes a lot of sense to me, no pun intended.
     
  21. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, faith is the substance of things hoped for. If the faith is astray, then the substance will be also. Romanists, for example, believe they see Christ's body whereas Protestants know it is in heaven.
     
  22. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    The attempt to claim that those advocating the reality of demon possession attribute to Satan the divine attributes of life and death is another straw man argument: nobody has said that daimons have the power of life and death. As for myself I deny that claim utterly: what powers demons have they have by God's decree to serve his purposes. Nor is it an ungrounded logical leap to move from the recognition that the Lord God once delegated to "the devil" the power to afflict Job with the loss of his children and fortune to admit to the realm of possibility that God could similarly allow the devil or any of his angels to do likewise to any other believer in furtherance of his divine purposes. For it is certain that Christians are not guaranteed immunity from Satanic attacks: Paul saw both Satanic and Divine purposes behind his thorn in the flesh, whatever that thorn actually was.

    You are correct that it was an unfortunate choice of words. There is enough Scriptural evidence to show that a) the "possessor" was inimical to the human host, b) had supernatural knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and c) had superhuman strength. Rather than using the words I did, I should have specifically asked you what the possessor was if not a devil.

    First, If you object to today's Christians accommodating to the cultural prejudice as taking the prerogative that belongs to the Lord of glory, how do you clear the apostles from the same charge since on your hypothesis they were equally accommodating?

    Second, the question is not about "imitating a redemptive work of the only saviour" or Protestants bringing "the demons under subjection" instead of Christ doing so. These are also straw man arguments. The question is whether Christians who exorcise are used by Christ as his means of delivering those oppressed by them in the same way that the the godly reformed preacher whose preaching - the visible cause of the man's conversion - was being used by the Holy Spirit who actually regenerated the man.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  23. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    I would agree that if any evil spirit did appear visibly, it would be a "lying wonder" attempting to intimidate souls into ignorance and superstition.
     
  24. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    In Mark 9:22, "And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him."

    If he was a devil he was not a "possessor," but a "deceiver." If he was a "possessor," he was a demon, not a devil; but you have set aside the proper meaning of "demon" as not possible within a biblical view of life. So I fail to see how you can make the connections you are making.

    Of course it is. You yourself have quoted the passage concerning the coming of the kingdom in relation to the casting out of devils. This was unique to Christ who claims all power in heaven and earth as His. Any imitation of it is a rejection that the kingdom has come in the person of Christ.
     
  25. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior



    More straw man arguments.

    Nobody is claiming that the devil or his angels are a mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus, or denies that he has bruised the serpent's head. We recognize with Paul that the devil is a spiritual being. and as noted in another post, if we affirm that Christians have authority today over evil spirits we only affirm that we are the means the Lord uses in the same way that we affirm the godly preaching of the Reformed preacher is the means used by the Holy Spirit to convert a new believer. We also recognize that the victory Christ won at the cross although full and complete in essence, will not be fully realized in earthly human experience so long as this age lasts.

    So how do we clear the Apostles of the charge of violating WLC 145?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  26. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    The attribute of life and death is the ability to destroy not the ability to attempt to destroy. (Luke 12:5) Your cited Scripture illustrates the latter not the former.

    Yes all power in heaven and earth is Christ's and that is not denied. What is at issue is how he exercises his power over the daimonions. Is it always immediately or is it not? Clearly he worked through others on occasion when he used Apostles to do so. The question we need answered is: what is he doing today?
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  27. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    For what it's worth, A former of pastor of mine, a man who was an itinerant evangelist and exorcist for a good many years, wrote a book on demonology. (Sovereign Grace Baptist as exorcist is rather rare, needless to say.) If I recall correctly he wrote that anyone who sees a demon has a demon himself! I don't remember if it was an absolute statement or not but I think he wrote always or almost always.

    With regard to ghosts, some time ago I was listening to Dr. Erwin Lutzer's radio program. My recollection is that he said that a ghost is a "familiar spirit" that takes on the characteristics of the departed person it was "familiar" with. Thus, haunted buildings with the "ghost of John Smith" or whoever.

    I simply relate this information in response to the questions raised by the OP and do not intend to enter the fray, much less affirm the beliefs of the men noted in this post. :)
     
  28. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks Mathew. I get what is going on with them now in regards to peoples claims. In the West people claim to see Ghosts or Aliens, things that are popular with that culture. Even so far as Big Foots. Some claims are ridiculous and the person proven to be a hoaxer, but some have been put on lie detectors and passed with flying colours. To them what they believed they saw were real, but were not. Other cultures its other things and these cultural superstitions are what the evil forces, to use my words, are using to deceive and affect the senses into believing are real. So something is happening, yes, but that thing is an illusion. The greater the cultural superstitions and beliefs in creatures and spirits, the greater the illusions or attack on the senses created by these evil forces on those who believe in them. They prey on in a way the fears and superstitions. A culture that has few will have few of these illusions, but a culture with many will have many, such as countries where Voodoo and Witchcraft are part of the culture. So in a way I was wrong, and in a way right. They cannot appear which is what I would have told someone, which was right, but I was wrong in totally discounting all the claims as something may very well have taken place but it was an illusion, an attack on the senses. No fuel, superstition or erroneous belief, no fire, illusion.
     
  29. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    According to your theory the serpent is exercising precisely the same power as he was before Christ came, and that the same power of casting out devils is needed today. That is a denial that Christ has effected anything in this regard.
     
  30. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    It illustrates the man believed the devil itself had power to do harm. By your canon of interpretation you are bound to believe the phenomenon as described (although you reject the common notion of what a demon is because it doesn't suit your conjectures), which means you are bound to believe that the devil itself had the power the man ascribed to it.

    As explained, it is a demon, a disembodied spirit afforded divine power and honour by the people. As you reject this view, and follow the Christian tradition in calling it a devil, the consistent thing to do would be to acknowledge the basic fact that accommodation is involved.

    He is reigning according to the power given Him, not seeking to gain the power over all again.
     
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