And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils.…
— Mark 16:17
I have had to deal with demonic manifestations on several occasions in my ministry. I remember one time when a young Satanist teenager came forward at the end of one of my meetings in a large church. That night this young man had come to realize that Satan’s powers had taken his mind captive, so he came forward to receive prayer and to be set free.
As I prayed for this one and then that one, I could visibly see from a distance that this particular young man was sending forth spiritual signals of a very strong, evil presence. As I came nearer to him, I sensed that he had been involved in some type of occult activity.
When I finally reached the young man, he looked up at me through eyes that were so tightly squeezed together, they looked like nothing more than little slits in his face. Looking into his eyes, I felt like a demon was looking back at me from behind his face. When I saw this young man’s condition, I knew he was serious about being helped. It had taken a great deal of determination for him to shove that manipulating force aside and forge his way down to the front of the church auditorium.
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As I laid my hands on the young man that night, his body began to violently shake as it reacted to the power of God. Trembling under the weight of God’s power, he fell to the floor, crumbling down right next to my feet. Lying there under the electrifying power of God that was surging up and down his body, he cried out, as though something was trying to exit his body. As I leaned over to pray for him a second time, the horrible demonic influence that had held him captive immediately released him and fled from the scene.
This is just one instance of dealing with the demonized that I’ve encountered during our years in the former Soviet Union. We have had so many instances that I couldn’t begin to count them. When atheism took over, the people turned to psychic phenomena to satisfy their spiritual hunger. As you can imagine, that opened the floodgates for demonic activity in thousands of people’s lives.
So what do we do when we confront a demonic infestation in someone’s life? We take authority over it in Jesus’ name and cast it out!
In Mark 16:17, Jesus said, “…In my name shall they cast out devils.…” The word “cast out” is the Greek word ekballo, which is a compound of the words ek and ballo. The word ek means out, and the word ballo means to throw. When compounded into one word, it means to throw out, as to evict someone from a place; to drive out; or to expel. Historically it was used to describe a nation that forcibly removed its enemies out from its borders.
The word “devils” is the Greek word daimonion, meaning demons. In Jesus’ time, it was widely believed that demons thickly populated the lower, denser regions of the air and that these demons were the primary cause of most disasters and suffering that occurred in the earth. It was believed that demon spirits came into contact with humans primarily through occult practices, such as magic, spells, necromancy, or by one’s participation in religious paganism, which centered around such occult activities.
It is worth noting that the world in which Jesus lived generally believed that demon spirits were the chief cause for mental sickness or insanity. The ancients also firmly believed that demon spirits were ordered and arranged with an entire hierarchy of power. This agrees completely with the picture that Paul gives us in Ephesians 6:12, where he describes the rank and file of the devil’s kingdom (see June 10).
Today we tend to think of casting out demons in terms of ordering a demon spirit to leave a person’s body or mind. Certainly this is one aspect of casting out demons, and we need to be quick to take authority over demons in this way when we recognize their activity. We see examples of Jesus expelling demons in various places in the Gospels. Examples include:
- Matthew 8:16, where it is written, “…and he cast out the spirits with his word….” The words “cast out” are also from the Greek word ekballo, meaning to forcibly throw out. It tells us that Jesus literally kicked these demons out of people’s lives!
- Matthew 9:34, where even the Pharisees acknowledged Jesus’ authority over demon spirits. It says, “But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils.…” These words “casteth out” are also from the word ekballo, which means even the Pharisees recognized that Jesus literally tossed demons out of people’s lives.
- Matthew 10:1, which says, “And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out.…” Once again, the words “cast them out” are from the Greek word ekballo. Not only did Jesus expel demons from people’s lives, but He commissioned and anointed His followers to do the same.
Mark 16:17 makes it very clear that casting out demons is a responsibility that every believer possesses. Jesus never went looking for demons, and neither should we. But when they appear, we are to act as Jesus would act — taking authority over them and kicking them out of people’s lives, thus setting the people free from demonic control.
Demons were also considered to be the chief force behind occultism, sorcery, witchcraft, and paganism. Therefore, the removal of these practices was viewed to be another facet of casting out demons. This is why events like the one recorded in Acts 19:18,19 was so serious. It says, “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”
Notice that verse 18 says these new converts came and showed their “deeds.” This word “deeds” is from the Greek word praksis, which definitely refers to magical arts, incantations, spells, or any item or activity connected with witchcraft or sorcery. Verse 19 then speaks of those who had been involved in the “curious arts.” This comes from the Greek word periergos, which refers to everything connected to the practice of witchcraft or sorcery.
This verse also tells us that the people “…brought their books together, and burned them before all men….” The word “books” is the Greek word biblios. Today our idea of a “book” is like the one you are reading right now. But in ancient times there were no hardbound books; instead, the word biblios referred to scrolls or parchments. These scrolls and parchments were extremely expensive because the information contained in them was written by hand. But because these new converts wanted to cast out all demonic activity from their lives, they “…burned them before all men….”
The word “burned” is the Greek word katakaino, which means to completely burn or to thoroughly burn. This was done as a public declaration that they were permanently removing these objects from their lives. They were kicking evil out from their midst and publicly announcing that they could never turn the clock back and return to these past activities. Once those books were burned, it meant evil had been cast out of their lives.
So when you think of casting out demons, don’t think only of taking authority over a yelling, screaming demon and ordering it to leave an individual. Part of casting out demons is also removing anything associated with magical arts, incantations, spells, or any items or activities connected with witchcraft or sorcery. If you study Church history, you will find that early believers were so convinced that this was vital to the removal of evil that they defaced the pagan statues and destroyed places of pagan religious practices.
As you deal with people who have been demonized, take authority over those evil spirits and cast them out. Jesus has anointed you to do this, and you can do it. But don’t forget that breaking all ties to occult practices is also a part of the process. Cleanse the person, and then cleanse the environment!
Removing every evil item in one’s possession is a part of true deliverance and repentance. So be sure to burn all bridges to the past to show that you are truly casting all evil from your presence — and help those to whom you are ministering do the same!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, give me the courage to speak up and take authority over demons! Your Word declares that You have given me power over all unclean spirits. I am ready to use that power to bring freedom into people’s lives who are bound. Help me know how to best minister to people who fall into this category so that their freedom can be full and complete!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I boldly confess that I have authority over all evil spirits. I have no reason to be afraid of them! Jesus gave me power and authority over all the works of the devil. When I am confronted with a demonic manifestation, I speak to it, take authority over it, and cast it out in Jesus’ name!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Can you think of a time when you encountered a person who you believe was genuinely demonized? What was your immediate reaction when you realized you were being confronted by an evil spiritual entity speaking through another person?
2. Have you ever taken authority over a demon spirit and commanded it to leave another person’s life? If yes, what happened? If no, is there a reason you’ve never used the power and authority Jesus gave you to do this?
3. Had you previously considered the removal of occult items and objects as a facet of casting out demons? What do you think about this, and how does it affect your view of the objects you have in your home or apartment right now?