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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Jesus Calls Out a Deaf and Dumb Spirit

We usually think in this culture, of deaf and dumb as going together, and being totally of a physical origin. We reason that if one cannot hear, then it only stands to reason that one will have difficulty speaking. The idea though of 'a deaf spirit' seems foreign to the modern mind, which has great difficulty comprehending a divine battle which includes 'entities' such as demons which take a person partly or wholly captive.Oddly, though, we have already mentioned that even in the realm of secular unbelieving Psychology, the concept of the demonic, rather differently defined exists. The example used prior is that of Rollo May's concept of 'the Demonic in Psychotherapy' in which he defines 'demonic' as any process which overpowers and controls the person to the hampering or exclusion of free will. The observation of 'possession' has existed in Church history from the beginning though, and the 'modernization' of the concept of the demonic actually supports the idea and observation, but the teachings of Jesus were definitive that the 'power' which controls and intrudes was that of a demon spirit, while the modern concept attributes it to some unknown , hopefully explainable process.

Deaf and Dumb

In the New Testament, most deaf are mentioned as also dumb, and as being possessed or controlled by a spirit or demon (devil), but interestingly, blind and dumb appear as cohorts frequently also---perhaps the greatest implication there supports the idea of a supernatural control, because there would certainly be no rational physical common cause of blindness and dumbness. While we will look at Jesus' healing of the blind shortly, and the implications, we shall continue for now considering Jesus' healing of the deaf and/or dumb, by a 'calling out' of the Spirit. He uses a word, "Epaphratah" in one calling out, which many who study the Bible read once or twice and never consider beyond the Aramaic, but it points to an aspect of Jesus' ministry which few address: the keyholder, with the keys to all, opens and closes and it is in his sovereign power likewise to open eyes, ears and hearts as well as Heaven and Hell. How could a grave contain, the one with the Keys?

The Structure of Jesus Calling out the Deaf and Dumb Spirit
In Mark 9:20-23, a Child is brought to Jesus for healing and consideration, notable because the child was a) brought to his attention by the disciples and b) because the disciples could not heal the child. Says the Scriptures:

And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things [are] possible to him that believeth.

The passage notes that
A. The Spirit tore him
B. He fell on the ground
C. He 'wallowed foaming'
D. Jesus asks the father 'how long' and the reply remarks of a child 9:21b
E. It casts him
1. into the Fire
2. into the Waters and
F. It is destructive and seeks to destroy.

One of the first characteristics of the 'possession' or control of the boy is that the disciples, as mentioned could not heal the boy, and they asked Jesus about it. They had already been able in his power and name to call out demons and heal, but this boy did not respond. Jesus suggests prayer and fasting, as a remedy, but, the characteristic which stands out is that when the father of the boy is quieried, as to how long the boy has been in the 'condition' he remarks 'of a child' in other words, since the boy was very young, so the hold on the child was of a lengthy period, and one must assume that the spirit which had bound the child was deeply entrenched. Later in Scripture, Jesus refers to a spirit cast out and the 'house being swept clean', but that if allowed to enter in again, the posession is seven times worse. Just as the Holy Spirit abides in us for the good, for salvation, healing, wholeness, and order, the longer one walks in the Holy Spirit, obeys God's word and stays in it and keeps in surrender and obedience, the person grows strong in the LORD, and more powerful in the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are unencumbered. We see Christ more in the person as a result. But conversely, especially in an unsaved person, when a demonic force enters and takes control, leaving the person with no 'divine' support or opposition, it 'encamps' and sets up a stronghold. Sin is often the entrance point. Some who have dabbled in the occult will report black moods, or odd occurrences in their life even some time after the 'dabbling'. Demonic spirits, or as the New Testament refers to them 'devils' set up shop, so to speak, inhabit, 'arrange' the furniture in metaphor, and a lengthy time of no opposition can produce real physical symptoms.

This is no doubt a troublesome and unpopular point of view for those not immersed in the Scriptures, but it is a clear teaching.

Mat 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth [it] empty, swept, and garnished.
Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last [state] of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

more to follow....
2. 84.