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Tag Archives: The Exorcist

The Topic that Freaks Churches Out

While documentaries and numerous Cable shows on Unidentified Flying Objects have reduced the stigma on this topic, you will still get strange looks if you appear too excited to discuss aliens and UFO’s. Modern day churches have similar issues that are taboo, especially televangelists who prefer to paint a positive spin on life to maintain online donations. Yet, outside of horror films like the Exorcist, bringing up demons remains a topic of conversation that freaks out most church members.

And Jesus summoned to Him His twelve disciples and gave them power and authority over unclean spirits, to drive them out, and to cure all kinds of disease and all kinds of weakness and infirmity, Matthew 10:1.

As a child, I wasn’t much of a reader until I discovered Daniel Cohen. Cohen was the In Search Of author of books. Rather than listen to Leonard Nimoy on television, Daniel Cohen introduced me to mysterious phenomena like the possibility of a Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monter and Unidentified Flying Objects. Subsequently, as an adult, topics like demons and a real-life Devil who serves as the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2, doesn’t seem all that far-fetched to me. This belief was confirmed when I was confronted by a demon while assisting Mark, a Stephen’s ministry counselor during a home visit with an alcoholic.

But when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through dry [arid] places in search of rest, but it does not find any. 44 Then it says, I will go back to my house from which I came out. And when it arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, put in order, and decorated. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So also shall it be with this wicked generation, Matthew 12:43-45.

Perhaps, too many Christians are afraid to talk about demons in public, like the former stigma of opening up about alien encounters. After watching a rerun of Cold Case Files on A&E, the detective interviewed a serial killer who blamed a Succubus, a female demon, for persuading him to rape and kill women. If this is the case, how many other attacks, crimes, and unsolved mysterious can be attributed to demonic influences? It doesn’t take much to look at tragic stories on social media to imagine the possibilities. If Jesus took demons seriously 11 times in the gospel, churches need to unveil this spiritual aspect of life.

by Jay Mankus

A House of Horrors

As cable and streaming services continue to feature horror films this month, the Bible contains a villain unlike any depicted by Hollywood. The backstory of this man from Gerasa comes to the surface as Jesus asks a series of probing questions. Apparently, this man left home as he was afraid that he might hurt his wife or children. Subsequently, he moved out to live alone in a series of catacombs.

They came to the other side of the sea to the region of the Gerasenes. And as soon as He got out of the boat, there met Him out of the tombs a man [under the power] of an unclean spirit. This man [a]continually lived among the tombs, and no one could subdue him any more, even with a chain; Mark 5:1-3.

According to John Mark, this man exhibited uncontrollable fits of rage, possessing supernatural strength. Sensing some sort of demonic possession, Jesus doesn’t stop his inquiry until discovering this man’s spiritual condition. Based upon the context of Mark 5:13, this Legion which spoke to Jesus was like something out of the Exorcist. The actual number of demons inside this man was two thousand.

For he had been bound often with shackles for the feet and [b]handcuffs, but the handcuffs of [light] chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he rubbed and ground together and broke in pieces; and no one had strength enough to restrain or tame him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always [c]shrieking and screaming and [d]beating and bruising and [e]cutting himself with stones, Mark 5:4-5.

The number of demonic influences living inside this man is incomprehensible, even for Hollywood. Nonetheless, this sets the scene for one of the most memorable exorcisms in the Bible. Mark spends a total of 20 verses on this man living in a house of horrors, waking up from nightmares in a graveyard. Yet, in this story, there were no human murders, just a herd of hogs that drown in the Sea. This account reveals how Jesus can transform one man’s house of horrors into a peaceful sleep and in his right mind.

by Jay Mankus

The Exorcists in the Bible

The 1973 film the Exorcist is a classic horror movie that will scare the hell out of you. Adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel, a mother notices dramatic and worrisome changes in the behavior and physical make-up of her 12-year-old daughter. This storyline sets the stage for an exorcism conducted by two priests. Although this fictional scene may seem unbelievable today, the supernatural power exhibited by demons and evil spirits is consistent with that found during an exorcism gone wrong in the Bible.

Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists also attempted to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I implore you and solemnly command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches!” 14 Seven sons of one [named] Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this, Acts 19:13-14.

During Paul’s third missionary journey, God enabled Paul to perform extraordinary and unusual miracles. Just as followers of Jesus gathered around to touch the edge of his cloak, Matthew 9:20-22, aprons, handkerchiefs and towels touched by Paul were used to heal the sick. As bystanders watched in awe, 7 brothers decided to imitate Paul’s teaching, performing exorcists in the name of Jesus and Paul. However, during one encounter with a demon possessed man, an evil spirit attacked all 7, ripped their clothes off as each exited a house, running for their lives buck naked.

But the evil spirit retorted, “I know and recognize and acknowledge Jesus, and I know about Paul, but as for you, who are you?” 16 Then the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they ran out of that house [in terror, stripped] naked and wounded. 17 This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified and exalted, Acts 19:15-17.

College professors and public school teachers often refer to the Bible as out of date, not relative in today’s progressive culture. Yet, the passage above unveils a glimpse of the supernatural powers that exist in the spiritual realm. During my last few years at the University of Delaware, I was fortunate to meet and hear missionaries share their experiences living within third world nations. One guest speaker talked about America becoming spiritually dead, numb to the idea of demons, evil spirits and powers of darkness. Perhaps, the armor of God is included within of Ephesians 6 as a reminder to the 7 sons of Sceva who were from Ephesus to prepare skeptics for the schemes of the Devil. If you don’t take this threat seriously, you too could be caught off guard like these exorcists in the Bible.

by Jay Mankus

Euphoria and Misfortune

Whether you’re participating in a competition, watching a game or witnessing an accident, emotions vary depending upon the outcome.  Winning elicits smiles, encourages applause and promotes praise from those in the attendance.  Meanwhile, losing can trigger tears to flow, depression to linger and disappointment to reside within heartbroken souls.  Thus, anytime someone experiences euphoria, misfortune will visit those on the opposing side.

So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed, Mark 5:20.

The gospel of Mark contains one of the first exorcisms ever recorded.  Although there isn’t any evidence of this man’s head twisting around like Hollywood’s version, the demon possessed man exhibited super human strength.  Nonetheless, as Jesus performed another miracle, John 21:25, few people recognize the misfortune of this pig farmer.  Two thousands pigs is a lot of bacon, pork and income lost.  Without any warning, an entire life’s savings was gone, floating away like the devastation citizens of Texas are coping with following historic flooding.

Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened, Mark 5:14.

As the summer approaches, the weather will cause business owners to either praise God or curse Him.  Beach resorts are hoping for sunny and warm weekends while farmers pray for rain to water their arid fields.  Though car washes and golf courses long for dry skies, shopping malls wouldn’t mind an afternoon shower to fill up their stores.  Whatever happens, euphoria will come to the victors and misfortune to the defeated as this roller coaster of emotions will continue until your time on earth comes to an end.  Therefore, prepare yourself for every situation with the calming force of prayer, Philippians 4:6-7.

by Jay Mankus

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