Yeshua, the Holy Terrorist
We live in a world inhabited by two sorts of intelligent beings: visible and invisible. There are two categories of visible beings: children of the light and of the day, and children of the darkness and of the night. There are likewise two categories of invisible beings, commonly called angels and demons.
Some misinformed people think of angels as cute little Cupid-like cherubs, naked little babies with wings. And they think of demons as cute little horned imps with pitchforks living in the dark, fiery underground caverns of hell. There are some "angels that sinned" and "kept not their first estate" who are now "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness" in Tartarus. (See Jude 6 & 2 Peter 2:4.) But these eternally-chained fallen angels are not the ones who make trouble for mankind. The demons we have to deal with are not in hell. They are in this world.
I find it curious that we read very little about demonic activity in the Old Testament Scriptures, but when we read in the Gospels, there is by contrast a great deal of demonic activity. It seems that just about every place Yeshua went, there were demons manifesting themselves, even in the synagogues and among God's covenant people. It appears that there was a dramatic increase in demonic activity in Israel as soon as Yeshua began His work. Furthermore, the demonic activity was perceived as extraordinary by Yeshua's fellow Jews. One Sabbath in the synagogue, a man with an unclean spirit cried out, "Let us alone. What have we to do with Thee, Thou Yeshua of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God." After Yeshua had cast the demon out, "they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority commandeth He even the unclean spirits, and they do obey Him" (Mark 1:23-27).
When we consider the fact that in the time of Yeshua demonic activity dramatically increased among God's people, both in frequency and in intensity, we should likewise be amazed and question among ourselves, saying, "What thing was this? What new doctrine was this?" Why was there such a sudden and dramatic rise in demonic activity then? Did the population of demonic spirits suddenly increase at the time of the Messiah's arrival? I don't think so, because I don't think demons mate and give birth to baby demons.
I believe that the demons had been there long before Yeshua's arrival. If demons are assigned to specific geographical territories (as Michael's mention of "the prince of the kingdom of Persia" in Daniel 10:13 suggests), perhaps they all temporarily abandoned their usual territories and flew to the land of Israel to converge and concentrate all their powers against the One whose coming they had dreaded. Or perhaps many of them had simply been somewhat dormant, tormenting people in less conspicuous ways. Whatever the case, the arrival of the Holy One of God stirred them up.
I like to compare the demonic realm to a nest full of hornets. If you leave the hornets alone and are not a threat to them, they will leave you alone. If you can put up with a small number of stray hornets occasionally buzzing around your area, and avoid the nest, then the hornet activity will be minimal and tolerable. But if you approach the nest and start swinging a club at it, the hornets will get stirred up and start flying out of the nest like the proverbial "bat out of hell," to use an appropriate metaphor.
Yeshua did not even need to say anything to stir up the demons; the mere presence of God's Anointed One stirred them up. The wild madman with a legion of devils was provoked just by seeing Yeshua from a great distance: "But when he saw Yeshua afar off, he ran and worshipped Him, and cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with Thee, Yeshua, Thou Son of the most high God? I adjure Thee by God, that Thou torment me not" (Mark 5:6f).
The mere presence of God's Anointed One terrorized demons, even from a great distance. They recognized the threat He was to them, and they went into a wild panic. Yeshua was a Holy Terrorist to demons.
All of the preceding paragraphs serve as an introduction for a point I want to make – a kal v'chomer (Hebrew, "light and heavy") point, that is sometimes called a fortiori (Latin, "with [even] greater strength") reasoning: "If A is true, then how much more is B true!" A few examples of kal v'chomer/a fortiori reasoning in Yeshua's teachings (paraphrased):
If it's permissible to loose your ox so it can drink on the Sabbath, how much more permissible is it to loose this daughter of Abraham whom Satan has bound for eighteen years!
If you imperfect earthly fathers want to give good gifts to your children, how much more does your perfect heavenly Father want to give the Holy Spirit to those who ask!
If you ought to tithe on your mint, anise and cummin, a commandment of lesser importance, how much more should you pay heed to the weightier matters of the Law, namely justice, mercy, and faith!
Now for the kal v'chomer point I want to make: If the demons were so absolutely terrorized and driven into a panic by Yeshua's mere presence before He finished the work of His first Advent, before He took upon Himself the sins of the world, was crucified, rose from the dead with an incorruptible body, ascended, and was seated in glory at the right hand of the Father—if the demons reacted in terror before Yeshua did all these things, how much more of a Holy Terror is He to them now, since He finished the work of His first Advent!
Meditate on this kal v'chomer truth and let it sink deep into your heart and mind, because it will strengthen your faith in Him. It will give you more confidence in the power of Yeshua's name and more ammunition when you pray against demonic powers and sicknesses. You can remind the Enemy that he is no longer dealing with a "Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild," a Jesus who was subject to earthly limitations. You can remind the Enemy of the awful terror that even that Jesus inspired, and point out to the Enemy that he now has far more reason to be terrified, because now Yeshua is the Risen Lord of Glory.
I am no expert on the subject of demonology. I do not fully understand the connection between demonic spirits and sickness. I do not believe that every ache and pain a person suffers is always due to demonic spirits, but I do know that under ordinary circumstances, sickness is something contrary to the will of God. It is an invasion, an intrusion on God's perfect creation. Yeshua constantly annihilated sickness wherever He went. And in several cases, the sicknesses He healed were caused by evil spirits.
Yeshua was a Holy Terrorist to sickness and demons then, and He is much more of a Holy Terrorist to them now that He is glorified. We need to keep this in mind when we pray against sicknesses and demonic powers. We also need to keep in mind that He authorizes His disciples to do these things. Even before He finished the work of His first Advent, "He gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease" (Matt. 10:1).
Again, kal v'chomer: If He was willing to give this authority and power to His disciples then, before He finished the work of His first Advent, at a time when "the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Yeshua was not yet glorified" (John 7:39), how much more willing is He now to give this authority and power to His disciples to do these things, now that He is glorified! "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth," He said after His Resurrection. "Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world" (Matt. 28:18ff).
True to this promise, Yeshua was indeed "with them." "And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen" (Mark 16:20). The "signs following" are listed in the verses just prior to this: "And these signs shall follow them that believe: in My name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover" (Mark 16:17f).
This should be the norm. We should be holy terrorists like our master, because we are members of His Body. We are a part of Him, we are connected to the Head, we are an extension of Him, and we pray in His name, by His authority. Are we a terror to demonic spirits? We know that Paul was. "Yeshua I know, and Paul I know," an evil spirit once said to seven wanna-be exorcists (Acts 19:15). Do the demons know who we are? If not, why not? The answer to that question can be found in a lesson from the Book of Joshua.
Before the Israelites crossed the Jordan to enter the Promised Land, Joshua sent two men to spy out Jericho, the first city they had to conquer. A woman of Jericho named Rahab hid the Israelite spies in the hope that she and her family would be spared when the Israelites conquered Jericho. Rahab's words to the two spies paint a prophetic picture of how demonic spirits should react to our presence:
"I know that Yahweh hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how Yahweh dried up the water of the Red Sea for you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for Yahweh your God, He is God in heaven above and in earth beneath" (Josh. 2:9-11).
Demonic spirits should know that Yahweh hath given us the land; our terror should be fallen upon them; all of them should faint because of us, because of what Yahweh has done for us through Yeshua, the Prophet like Moses. The hearts of demons should melt; no courage should remain in any devil, because Yahweh our God is God in heaven above and in earth beneath. All power is given unto our Master in heaven and in earth, and He has said to us, "Go ye."
Do we terrify demonic spirits this way? If not, why not? To answer that question, consider the reason the inhabitants of Jericho felt terrified. The reason they felt terrified was not only because of what God had done for Israel during the previous forty years in the wilderness, but mainly because Israel was getting ready to invade their turf. The Israelites were getting ready to cross over and make war against them. If the Israelites had decided to settle on the wilderness side and mind their own business, the inhabitants of Jericho would not have been afraid of them. The Israelites would have been a potential threat, but not a real threat.
Every born-again believer is a potential threat to the Enemy, if not a real threat. Are you a real threat, or only a potential threat to the Enemy? That depends on what you intend to do. If you are satisfied to spend the rest of your life in a spiritual wilderness, merely surviving rather than thriving, you will never be a real threat to the Enemy. Demonic spirits will have no reason to fear you. They will respond to your demands like the evil spirit responded to the seven wanna-be exorcists: "Who are you?"
If, on the other hand, you are determined to cross over into your spiritual Promised Land, if you intend to find God's plan for you and begin to walk in it, if you resolve to do your part to make disciples of all nations, whether by teaching or by encouraging and supporting those who teach, then you will become a real threat to the Enemy, and not merely a potential threat.
James 4:7 also shines some light on this subject. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." Some believers expect the devil to flee from them simply because they are believers. The devil normally does not flee if he is not resisted. And you can't really resist him if you ignore the first step of the instruction James gives, namely, "Submit yourselves therefore to God."
So submit yourselves therefore to God. Believe in His Son and obey his commandments. Resist the devil by reminding him that he is no longer facing an earthly "Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild." He is now facing the Risen Lord of Glory, the Holy One "which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor. 2:8).
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