Tuesday, March 17, 2009

(2) Understanding hell, demons, and sin

Part II
Do you want to spend the rest of eternity, after you die, in hell, where in addition to eternal unbearable torment the only substance of the surroundings is the blackened burning stain of each individual sin ever committed by all previous human beings? That is what hell is “like” and the traditional pious believers understood that very well. I cannot begin to tell you how many people, immense crowds, of the modern generations who have perished are shocked and horrified to find them selves in hell, and that it is as unbearably full of eternal torment, just as the “fire and brimstone” preachers had always said.

You might say, “Well, where in the Bible does it say that all of the sins of humans, those both forgiven and those who are not, are part of the torment of the furnishings of hell?” It’s funny that many who do not believe, or have only partial or cynical belief, are the first to ask for the “Bible quote,” even as they ignore most of the rest of the Bible’s fullness of teachings. Well, in the previous section of this series I cited scripture to indicate the immensely wide range of bad human behavior, including foolish thoughts, which are considered sins. I have also cited from scripture that not only individuals but entire nations who are unrepentant of sin go to hell. That is an enormous amount of people who “qualify” for hell. So even if you do not believe in the “physics” of what I described to you of the presence of all sins in hell (and I will present more information on that regard), understand what the ancients did and pious ancestors as recently as the past few generations ago, MANY people go to hell and they truck all of those stains of sin right along with them, obviously. So every despot, his or her middlemen and women, and even the underlings (such as prison camp guards) through all of human history are there in hell, bringing along their individual litany of sins. They are the furnishings of hell, and do you want to be there with them? As I pointed out there are many human behaviors, such as not helping a specific person in need (as opposed to selected “good causes”) that are considered “normal” today, that merit hell. It’s not just the baby molesters who go to hell. As I cited in my previous post about this subject those who have foolish thoughts, who defame faith in others, who are unjust in any way (and that includes mean gossip), who are unrighteous (thus behaving in ‘bad’ ways that are beyond breaking one of the Commandments) and those who are supposedly believers but who go about their lives with only partial belief are ALL accumulating huge tolls of daily sin.

There is a gigantic spectrum of sin that people engage in today that they either don’t realize is sin or they ignore that it is. They also don’t realize that each instance “counts,” rather than being a behavior trait. I mentioned before that posting something spiteful and mean on the Internet is a sin, not an “art form” or “acting out,” and that each and every instance “counts” as a separate sin. The “statistics” of routine sin accumulation in most people in modern society today is truly appalling and I expect that since so many are of partial genuine belief and thus do not repent, many will go to hell. People of recent times who have not studied and understood what I described about the certainty of hell and the broad spectrum of behaviors that are individual sins have kidded themselves into thinking that hell is only the place that “really bad people like mass murderers or child molesters go.” The unrepentant mean bitch in the office has a very good chance of ending up in hell right next to the torturer at Auschwitz. Jesus himself made that very clear.

Matthew 25:41-46
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, ‘Depart from me, ye cursed, into the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.’ Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, ‘Verily, I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.’ And those shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Many think these words of Jesus are a warning that is “met” or “satisfied” if one engages in some sort of charity work. That is simply not true. Jesus is stating very clearly that you are to help the least of who are in need among you, that you personally encounter, not the abstract of selective social work and charity. The next citing is probably one of my top five in most frequency that I find I must cite to people through these teachings in order to make this abundantly clear. It is the story of the poor man Lazarus (not the one of the raising from the dead miracle) who is in heaven while a rich man is in hell because he ignored that one specific poor and suffering man, who died, right outside the city gate. You can reread my previous commentary on this scripture where I describe that the rich man in hell, by virtue of being in one of Jesus parables (though this is not a parable but an actual event, since Jesus uses a specific name, so this Lazarus, the rich man and his brothers indeed existed), would have been considered a “good man” (a Jewish believer who attends Temple and so forth) and thus is astonished to find himself in hell for neglecting one specific poor man.

Luke 16:19-25
There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at this gate full of sores. And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover, the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died, and was buried:

And in hell he lifted up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried, and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue: for I am tormented in this flame.’

But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted and thou art tormented.’

The rich man then asks that his five brothers who are still alive be warned (obviously it has dawned on the rich man that his entire family was living this way, thinking they are pious and generous but bound for hell due to their neglect of specific people who need them). Abraham explains that Moses and the prophets were the warning, and that no further warnings will be given, and that it is on their own heads that the scripture was not believed.

Jesus thus provides a specific description of hell, and also a very specific warning of how it is not general “good deeds” or “believing” that merits heaven, but that even the least person who needs YOU specifically should not be neglected.

As an aside, to make this even more relevant to contemporary dangerous error in understanding what Jesus has said, both “conservatives” and “liberals” totally misunderstand the previous two citations by Jesus. Liberals think they are “covered” by being big social or art program donors, who participate in “good deeds,” especially their favorite, which is to dole out food to the “locals” on Thanksgiving or other times in the soup kitchen. Celebrities visit sick children in hospitals (if they are ‘modest’ they don’t allow their photographs to be taken). Other liberals figure that if they fight for social justice or have a crusade regarding an area such as Darfur, that they are “covered” in having “found Jesus in the needy.” The story of Lazarus shows how totally bogus that notion is. And conservatives are cruel and just cannot be listened to when they self righteously repeat that charity is an “individual matter” and that the Bible “says so.” Again, that is just as outrageous as the liberal view, even though it is from the totally different slant. Remember, in “Biblical times” people did not earn “paychecks” or “capital gains,” have “tax deductions for charitable purposes,” and thus decide, based on “how well they are doing and how generous they can be” to “donate as an individual” to “worthy causes.” In Biblical times the religious authorities WERE the government regarding charitable giving. God mandates in the scripture, for example, that a certain portion of food fields be left unharvested so that the poor can eat. A farmer would leave his food for whoever needed it, not the “individual choice” that he “deemed” was “worthy” and “in his budget” “out of the kindness of his or her heart.” Jesus himself ate from those fields where the food was left for the poor to glean for themselves.

While people have always been wicked and prone to sin, prior to the industrial revolution, and I guess the so called intellectual “Enlightenment” before it is also to blame, people simply did not engage in the huge categories of sin widespread, routine, unthinking sin that they have since. These sins of individual, community and institutionalized neglect of the needy simply did not occur, to say nothing of being codified and rationalized away, on the grand scale as they occur today, among the Biblical people in Biblical times, that liberals and conservatives are so fond of quoting without understanding.

Matthew 16:18
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church: and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Jesus here designates Peter the leader of the church that will be built, which is the Catholic Church, by giving Peter the keys. Jesus also uses an interesting description of the powers of hell that many of commented on and even used in art, but I think many do not understand his use of the term “gates” of hell.

Hell has gates, and it also has a road, which Jesus references in a separate citation, where he warns that the road to hell is very wide and easy to travel. Gates are by definition a device to control traffic, both entering and exiting a place. We know that once someone is in hell, whether a human who is sent to hell or a fallen angel, they cannot leave hell (except for Satan, who roams at will for now). Therefore the gates of hell obviously cannot prevail against the church by sending the damned outward. So why would Jesus use an imagery that evokes hell’s gates somehow besieging the church? That is where my discussion of hell being the sin “repository” for all individual occurrences of sin helps in this theological understanding. While neither the damned nor their sins can “leave” hell, there is a miasma, the dark draw of previous sins and despair that seeps into the minds of those who are open to such influence. In other words, those who are sensitive or partial toward sin “feel” the tempting tug of the despair and evil nihilism of hell. When these people, to use a modern term, “open a channel” in their souls toward hell, they allow the seepage of the knowledge of hell, but without its cautionary power, into their hearts and minds. If enough of it collects there that is what is known as a devil or a demon.

So what Jesus means is that the Church itself, as a body, will never succumb to allowing the despair and nihilism of hell to seep into it. That does not mean that the Church never errs or sins, either through individuals or collectively. What it means is that Jesus has promised that the Church founded by Peter will never be demonized or otherwise tainted by the miasma, the seepage from hell. The Church may struggle, the Church may, and will, being of humans, err, individuals may commit great sin and go to hell, but the Church itself will never have its doctrine or its soul sullied by the temptations, despair and nihilism of hell. Jesus has not only promised that, but it is exactly the Gospel of Jesus that comprises the “earmuffs,” the “repellent” to any such seepage. The liturgy of the Church, its Creed and its sacraments are “temptation free.”

We all know people who are just incorruptible, not because they are of high nobility, but because they are “simple” people who do not crave the things at all by which others are tempted. My stepfather was an example of such a person and they used to be very common, but no longer. To use a saying, temptation to sin was like water flowing off of a duck; it just doesn’t adhere or stick, and that is what he is like. In fact, such people do not even “notice” temptation because it simply does not register with them. That is what Jesus is stating is the Church that he founded under Peter as a whole. The Church itself, the liturgy, the Creed, the Gospel that he has given it, and the sacraments are as a whole incorruptible as they are totally dead to the temptation of the gates of hell, to paraphrase what Paul said about individual Christians having to be “dead to sin.” Jesus has promised that the Church itself is dead to the gates of hell. There is no two way street of temptation or demonic influence between the Church and the gates of hell. The Church, even if everyone is killed, leaving just the Pope and a few priests and faithful, which pray God will never happen, in and of itself will never fall to the gates of hell since it simply is immune and dead to the temptation of despair that emanates to the vulnerable from hell. Humans have the power to kill members of the Church, to tempt individuals into sin and corruption, and to destroy or marginalize the Church’s presence. But HELL does not have that power over the Church. I am astonished that people do not understand that today. They used to.

Jesus has given no other institution or powers that promise or his specific protection against the power that emanates through the gates of hell. This is not to say that only the Church members “belong to the right Church” or “can be saved.” What I am explaining is that only the Church under the pontiff, the heirs of Peter, has the promise from Jesus that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Prevail means not only the sense of having a victory but of even a meaningful struggle. In other words, hell may “think” that it is throwing a great demonic attack against the Church, but its effect is not even noticed, as if a child is throwing water balloons against a brick wall. The Church in and of itself is like having Teflon, that stick free surface, whereby the temptations of despair and evil nihilism emitted through the gates of hell have absolutely no point on which to stick or to penetrate. Again, I am not speaking of individual humans and their temptation, or even organization mistakes by the hierarchy, but I am speaking of the heir of Peter, the liturgy, the Creed and the sacraments of the Church, which are and always will be untouched and impenetrable by that which is emitted by the gates of hell.

This leads us back to what Paul has said in Timothy, cited previously, that the Gospel of Jesus is protection against the worsening condition of mankind. It also helps to develop Paul’s analogy of the righteous Christian man furnishing with perfection his interior self according to God’s doctrine. The Church itself, faithful to the doctrine of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ, cannot ever be ‘furnished’ or ‘occupied’ as a whole by anything that is from the gates of hell.

Matthew 5:29-30
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that they whole body be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast if from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body be cast into hell.

When Jesus says “offend thee” he means that it is through use of that sensory organ or limb that one is tempted to sin. That is made clear in the previous line, Matthew 5:28, where Jesus uses the example of the sin of adultery that even wishing to be adulterous in one’s mind but not acting on it is the same as having committed the actual sin. So Jesus is saying that hell is so terrible that it is better (in theory, he’s not actually wanting people to self mutilate, but making a serious point) to pull out one’s own eye than use one’s vision to allow sinful thoughts as a result! Not even doing the sin, but having the thought of it! Does that sound like “hippie” Jesus who is peddled as being a soft touch by moderns who are totally ignorant? Jesus is the one who brought specific, clear and dire warning of the dreadful and real nature of hell and the vast numbers of people who are in peril of ending up there quite easily.

You must understand that the Gospels are just encapsulation of what Jesus would have spent hours and days preaching about, and in casual conversation with the disciples. If so many mentions of hell are preserved in the Gospels, do you not understand that the Apostles and disciples would have heard the same thing explained by Jesus many, many times? No fools they.

2 Peter 2:4-9
For if God spared not the angels that sinned but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemning them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly;
And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds);
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.

That, my friends, is a “fire and brimstone” preaching by the first Pope, St. Peter. Yes, the same St. Peter who people like to describe as just a fisherman, who denied Christ three times, but there you have it… a lot happens after Jesus gives St. Peter the keys. This Second Epistle General of Peter was written around the year 66 AD, over thirty years after Jesus Christ had resurrected and ascended into heaven. And around thirty years after that Epistle, long after St. Peter and St. Paul were martyred, St. John, the last living Apostle, witnessed with his own eyes the Revelation of the Apocalypse, and thus is able to testify in the first hand about hell.

Revelation 1:18
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

That is Jesus who is speaking to John.

Revelation 14:10
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lord.

This is what an angel is stating will happen to those who follow the beast. This is the origin of the phrase a “fire and brimstone” sermon. Notice that just as Jesus described that Abraham could see into hell and observe the rich man’s torments, those who are idolaters and the sinners who follow the beast will be observed in their torments in hell by the holy angels and the Lord himself. Blasphemers, for example, can look forward to not only an eternity of hell, but also having the angels and the object of their blasphemy, the Lord, looking down on them in wrath and scorn as the damned suffer forever in hell. There are “No private suites in hell.”

Revelation 20:14
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

This is what John observes. I mention this because it should clear up another modern misunderstanding. Some people think, despite Jesus speaking of the reality of hell, that hell doesn’t “really happen” until the final judgment at the end of times. However, if you read Revelation 20 with a well informed background in all the New Testament references to hell, you understand that hell itself, which always exists as a place of individual punishment, no longer has a ‘purpose’ once there is no human life left. So hell is cast into a second hell, the lake of fire, which is the post-apocalyptic repose of the damned. John is observing that at the final days the dead are raised and judged a second time, along with the living who are the remnants of human life on earth. So, for example, a blasphemer who died long ago and was cast into hell upon his or her death would be given their body back, judged a second time, and then cast back into hell, which once filled to completion of the final judgment, is itself cast into the final hell of the lake of fire. I encourage everyone to avoid meriting hell in the here and now, as there is no second chance out of hell, there is only the second hell that is the final repository after all human life has passed and there is no further need for adding additional damned souls after their judgment since human life no longer exists.

So John sees with his own eyes the reality of hell, and also what happens to hell after the Apocalypse.

Now that you have seen the progression of the Old Testament affirming that hell is very real and terrible, the teachings in the New Testament regarding the many types of sin and the ease with which people go to hell, plus affirmation that hell exists by Jesus, to the first hand witnessing of St. John, you can go back and read further mentions of hell by Jesus in the gospel and have a grip that this is not abstract concepts but real and dire risk that many face and indeed incur.

Mathew 3:12
Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Matthew is recording what St John the Baptist prophesied that Christ will come and will have the power to gather the righteous and cast the unrepentant sinners (the “chaff”) into hell.

Matthew 10:15
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Here Jesus is sending his apostles out to preach and do miracles. He gives them instruction and adds that they should not be discouraged by places that reject the Gospel, but to shake the dust of that place off of their feet and move on. He then alludes to hell, saying that those who hear but reject God’s will and doctrine will be treated in hell far worse than those who died bodily death when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed in fire. Notice that as I cited King David in Psalms before that, yes, entire cities place themselves in peril of being cast into hell.

Matthew 13:41-43
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. ‘Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.’

Jesus is again explaining that many people will be cast into hell because they do things that offend, they do iniquity, and they are not like the righteous. I cannot overemphasize that hell is not “just” for the “really evil people” who “break a Commandment.” Hell needs to be understood as the place where the unjust and unrighteous go, who offend God, who neglect and harm others, and who live lives that are without faith, even if with their lips they proclaim a faith. That is a LOT of people and Jesus continually warned about this grim reality, and the Apostles and disciples carried on that warning, particularly after John witnessed it himself in Revelation.

You will notice, and this is why it is important to study the Bible and progression of its themes in bulk, as a whole, and not piecemeal, that sin and hell are consequences of human actions and free choices. Humans decide to succumb to temptation, sin, repeatedly sin, spread sin, tempt others to sin also, deny that it is sin, deny that there are consequences, and ignore many warnings by prophets and the safeguards of the Church, who then go to hell. There is very little evidence of the common misguided affectations that “the devil made me do it” or that “demons and evil spirits attach themselves to people and force them to sin.” That was perfectly understood in most of the previous generations for thousands of years of study and obeying God’s revelation. But somehow in recent times people have invented excuses of Satan or demons, evil spirits, “aliens” or whatever other garbage they make up, who are the “real reason” that things “happen” to people and why they “behave” that way. When one reads the entire Bible one sees that that fiction is yet another temptation to sin, which is to declare one’s self as knowing more or better than the prophets of God who have gone before and revelation is closed and completed, and make up fictional reasons to sin.

People who then want to make up excuses for their own lots in life and their own behavior that is sinful and against God, in both the large ways and the small ways, as have been described above of neglect of doing good, fish for a few lines of scripture that they then deface into “proof” that “evil spirits,” “demons,” “angels,” and “aliens” are “really” to blame. When one reads the Bible as a whole, one is restored into sanity, as one reads page after page of God making himself known, and people leading ordinary free will lives of free will choices, and inevitably reaping the rewards or consequences of a righteous or an unrighteous life. No aliens or demons are running around controlling people. Modern society has totally lost its grip on reality and seems unable to even read the very prosaic and even mundane human happenings of page after page of scripture and understand that that IS reality.

In the entire Bible there is something like ten mentions of demons. Several of those mentions are using that name to denigrate and defame the false gods of the heathens (in three places in the Old Testament). In fact, only one instance of a demon possessing anyone (King Saul) is mentioned during the entire thousands of years of the Old Testament (1 Samuel 16). Doesn’t that tell you something? In all that happens during the Biblical Times from Creation until several hundred years before Christ, there is only one mention of a demon being responsible for someone’s sin? I mean, duh. If demons and evil spirits were running around as an active force, would not the Old Testament be loaded with examples and cautions?

In fact the most mention of demons comes about as a result of six miraculous cures by casting out of demons from men and a woman by Jesus Christ. Again, think about it. Jesus Christ performed thousands of cures during his public ministry, which we know because the Gospels report that he kind of ‘set up shop’ in an area and would cure everyone in a village or region who came to him for help. The Gospel authors recorded those miracles that were 1) particularly outstanding, such as the raising of the dead and the casting out of demons and 2) were illustrative of Jesus’ God given authority and power. Thus those that Jesus raised from the dead and those that were cured of various ailments caused by demonic possession are selected for particular reporting in the Gospel. It is a fact that incredible miracles that people would fall over in a faint to witness today, such as curing the blind, restoring limbs and the ability to use them, restoring hearing, removing diseases such as leprosy, were so common when Jesus ministered that they are just mentioned as him being busy at work, so to speak. Imagine a time when curing the blind was just as easy and unsurprising as Jesus being at work. That is how it was.

As an aside, this is one of the things that most pains and puzzles me, why more people do not love Jesus today. Jesus was not only about going to the cross and bringing the New Covenant, even though that was his mission. His ministry was day after day to cure the suffering and the ailing with incredible miracles, one after the other, any one of which if witnessed today would be a sensation. What kind of man, this Son of God, would use his ability to perform miracles to focus on healing the sick, and even raising from the dead the only son of a poor widow? How in the world can modern people today mock or marginalize Jesus, and not be overwhelmed with love for him, just on the kindness of what he chose to do with his miraculous God given abilities alone? Remember that he was curing people who, no matter what their disease or injury were viewed as having “deserved” what they had gotten because surely they or their family must be tainted and have somehow sinned. Not only was Jesus kindness and mercy and healing of God personified in human form, but he corrected that despicable error of the times that blamed the disabled, the sick, the injured, the wounded, and even the dead for their own afflictions and demises. How in the world, if you believe nothing else but that, can you not love Jesus with your whole heart and give him that respect? I think I will never understand this about these modern times.

So the six miraculous casting out of demons by Jesus have to be understood as being mentioned because of their particular profundity (such as raising the dead) and not at all representative of the majority of the human condition at any time in its history. These are six casting out of demons out of thousands of other miraculous cures, mentioned because they legitimize that Jesus has power over Satan and his influences. In fact, the demons recognize who Jesus is and his authority before Jesus even spoke a word. This is why there is this frequency of mention, as none of the Gospel authors would miss the gravity of those types of cures and would certainly record them. The purpose of the Gospel is not to fill out Jesus’ work time hourly activity report or to inventory or prioritize through the written record. The Gospels were written when people who witnessed Jesus could not travel to all places and verbally attest as fast as interest and need for a record of what happened grew. Thus the Gospels are written to transmit in writing what the disciples witnessed in person and then in turn would speak of in person to others. Just as God gave Jesus his miraculous powers and authority in order to demonstrate his authenticity and to strengthen the faith of all who witnessed and then believed, so too the Gospel authors selected those best examples of the God-given authority of Jesus. The raising of the dead, the casting out of demons, and the confrontations with the hypocritical religious authorities of the time are the life examples that are most demonstrative of how Jesus had the legitimate authority of God and acted on God’s behalf at all times.

Luke 4:33-36
And in the synagogue there was a man which had a spirit of an unclean devil; and he cried out with a loud voice, saying “Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.”
And Jesus rebuked him, saying “Hold thy peace and come out of him.” And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, “What a word is this! For with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.”

When Jesus cured the blind man the religious authorities were not amazed at this miraculous cure, but annoyed. However, when Jesus not only cast out demons but the demons recognize him as being the Holy One of God, those in the synagogue who witnessed are flabbergasted and awed. This is what you must understand about Biblical times, which were a time of great faith in God. They could be amazed yet still take in stride (and the hypocrites worry about their power) when Jesus does something incredibly miraculous as restoring sight to the blind. But it is when the demons themselves not only must obey Jesus but attest to his authentic identity and authority that people are stunned and realize that the Messiah is among them.

That is how you must understand authentic and rare evil spirits and demonic possession, as being manifestations of that miasma of sin in hell that will rarely but sometimes do attach themselves into someone open to such influence. We are not speaking of mental disorders that ancient people did not understand as being an illness of the brain and instead thought that was possession by demons or evil spirits. We are speaking of the rare (count them, six times encountered by Jesus in all his many miracles of curing) times that the collective despair and evil nihilism of hell extends its reach to latch into a person’s mind and soul. The vast majority of events in the Bible has absolutely nothing to do with demons or evil spirits and is 99.9 percent about the potentially sinful actions of human beings in their ordinary lives.

So how does one “recognize” a genuine evil spirit or demon? If there is a genuine evil spirit or demon it acknowledges God and Jesus Christ. We see that often they recognize Jesus and God’s presence before the other surrounding humans do. A human behavior that denies God and Jesus Christ is NOT, I repeat, NOT authentically demonic. The authentic and rare demons are the swiftest and totally truthful witness to the reality, authority and power of God and of Jesus Christ. Everything else that people try to blame on so called “evil spirits” or demons are the results of mental illness, having a god complex, or sinfully trying to excuse human depravity and weakness of behavior, often to “cash in” on those who can be persuaded that evil spirits roam and can be “cured” via cold hard cash. Gosh, what a surprise.

I hope that you have found this helpful. Remember, hell is real and dreadful beyond all imagining, and it is surprisingly easy to find one’s self there when it is your time.

To be continued in a Part 3.