All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” (Matthew 12:23)but the Pharisees accused Jesus of using the devil’s power,
They said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” (Matthew 12:24)From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus was driving out demons from demon-possessed and demon-oppressed people. And just as early in the Lord's ministry, the Pharisees had begun dismissing this by saying that Jesus had been driving out demons by the permission, or the power, or both, of the prince of demons.
Satan is a real person. Interestingly, a lot of people don’t believe this – The Barna Research group found that in 2007 more than half of all adults surveyed in the United States, 57%, said that the devil, or Satan, is not a living being but is actually only a symbol of evil.
In that same survey Barna discovered that nearly half of all born-again Christians, 46%, denied Satan's existence.
Yet both the Pharisees and Jesus acknowledged that Satan was a real person, the prince of demons whom they referred to as Beelzebub, which means "lord of the flies" in Hebrew, and was meant as a mockery of the actual title "Prince Baal."
Scripture talks about a spiritual being, an angel named Lucifer, who was accompanied by a large angelic force in a rebellion against God. Isaiah 14 describes the thoughts that went on in Lucifer's mind, "I will make myself like the Most High." He was the most powerful, the most beautiful, of all the angels. His name meant "light-bearer," "shining one," "Son of the Dawn," and he aspired to the throne of God.
He wanted God's possession of and dominion over all the universe, with earth as his footstool.
Jesus said He saw Satan, which means "adversary," fall like lightning from heaven when God cast him out.
Demons are also real, and powerful. A third of God's angels became demons when they were cast out of heaven with Satan and made this earth their dark world. Since that time Satan has been referred to as
- The prince of darkness,
- The father of lies,
- The accuser,
- The beguiling serpent,
- A murderer.
The Bible describes him as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, and the demons as having the primary purpose of possessing or oppressing humans and tormenting us.
The New Testament describes demons as causing physical as well as mental ailments. They have superior knowledge, supernatural strength and an ability to foretell the future. The devil is fierce, powerful, evil and all the more dangerous because he is a spiritual being; he is invisible.
Satan continues his rebellion against God, seeking in every way to usurp God's position as king. As soon as he had successfully enticed the first man and woman to disobey God, he took ownership of the world and now receives worship from it.
Jesus acknowledged that the world, that people themselves, are occupied by a strong man who possesses them. Satan's rod is death, and he leads the whole world into sin and corruption, using the world to oppose God.
And this was the Pharisees’ official verdict concerning Jesus. No, they said to the gathered crowd of people. This is not the Son of David, the Messiah we’ve been waiting for. This man is possessed of the devil.
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