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4-3-2 Exorcism Of Demons

Throughout Old and New Testament times there was the belief that by calling the name of a god over a sick person, demons could be exorcised (cp. Acts 19:13). The name of the god was held to have some mystical power. The true worship of Yahweh also placed great importance on the power of the Name of Israel’s God, e.g.: “May the name of the God of Jacob defend you… Save me, O God, by Your Name” (Ps. 20:1; 54:1). The fundamental difference between the Name of Yahweh and that of other gods was that the Yahweh Name was both a declaration of His character and also a prophecy of His people’s eternal future; therefore it was a means of real salvation. However, Yahweh evidently did not devise a system of worship for Israel which shied as far away as possible from using the language of contemporary beliefs. He revealed Himself in a way which showed His supremacy over those beliefs. Understanding this paves the way for a correct grasp of the New Testament language of demons. Christ spoke as if pagan exorcists had power (Mt. 12:27); it was only indirectly that He taught His superiority over them. There is much emphasis on the use of the name of Christ to cast out demons/heal diseases (Mk. 16:17; Acts 3:6; 4:10; 16:18; 19:13-16; James 5:14). This has some similarity with the way in which the pagans repeated the names of their gods to exorcise what they believed to be demons. We can therefore come to the conclusion that in the demonstration of His power as being greater than that of other ‘gods’ and so-called ‘demons’, Yahweh is very indirect about it, and does so through alluding closely to the style and language which those false systems used. If this is truly appreciated, it will be evident that just because the New Testament sometimes uses the style and language of the surrounding paganism, this is no proof that those pagan beliefs have any substance.

The conclusion is that the Bible uses language which is riddled with allusions to surrounding pagan beliefs, in order to demonstrate the supremacy of Yahweh worship over them. Yahweh was not just another god who took His place amongst the pantheon of deities the Canaanite people believed in. The God of Israel was the only true God. He was therefore in active antagonism towards the claims of the other gods; hence Yahweh continually alludes to them in His self-revelation through His word. But His style is evidently not to criticize those gods in so many words. This would be altogether too human for the Maker of Heaven and earth.

Modern medicine and psychotherapy can at times use the belief systems of the patient to effect a cure- even whilst disbelieving those belief systems to the point of ridicule. Consider the following extract from “The Rainbow Machine” – Tales from a Neurolinguist’s Journal by Andrew T. Austin (Boulder, CO: Real People Press, 2007). What Austin did is in essence what the Lord Jesus did by using the language of demons:

“Several years ago a successful businessman, who for all appearances was perfectly normal, consulted me.  His wife had recently left him, and he was suffering from severe insomnia brought about by issues relating to the separation, and from the demands of his busy work schedule.  I took a full history from him and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. He was just a normal guy reacting to his circumstances in a normal way – until I asked him a question I often ask, “So out of all the people in the phone book, why did you come to see me.  What is it you think I can do for you?” Dr Siebert would be proud of me.

“Well,” he said, “I know of your interest in the occult, and that is why I thought you could help me.  My wife has a friend who is a Black Witch.  She is able to enter my mind and make me ill.  She is a very powerful woman.”

Now, I ask the reader to stop for a moment and think carefully about how you would respond to this.  Read the sentence again.  Is he mad? Deluded? Ill? Is she really a Black Witch? Can she really enter his mind and make him ill? Are such things possible?

I personally don’t doubt that they are possible, it’s just that I have yet to meet anyone who is really able to do such things.  Derren Brown creates a very good illusion of such things, but he doesn’t claim any real psychic powers – he is very clear that what he does is “a mixture of ‘magic, misdirection, and showmanship.”

Many schools of thought say that colluding with a delusion or reinforcing it is a very bad thing to do, and that arguing with them, or correcting them, is a good thing to do. If you have ever tried arguing with a devout religious follower that his religion is wrong, you know that the chance that you will succeed in that is very close to zero. 

So, how do I help this guy? Change his belief? Reduce the hallucination? Challenge him? I did none of those.  I constructed a powerful sigil – a charm or talisman – according to the instructions in The Greater Key of Solomon. He collected it a week later, and I gave him strict and detailed ritual instructions for its use.  I didn’t hear from him again for over a year, when I met him at a chance encounter during a business conference.

“I feel a bit awkward saying this,” he told me in the queue for coffee, “but after I used the sigil in the way you described, I realized how silly I was being, and that there was no way that woman could be doing the things that I thought she was.  But I didn’t want to tell you, because I knew how sincere you were about the sigil and how it would work for me.”

Magic can indeed be a strange art at times. Explained in Ericksonian terms, he was caught in a therapeutic double bind.  The instructions were designed to act as a convincer for the efficiency of the sigil, but they also made him feel just a little bit silly.  He’ll either be convinced that he’s now protected from malign psychic influence, or he’ll realize that there isn’t such a thing – a win-win situation.

When working with any particular problematic belief, I rarely see fit to challenge it.  I know that it might seem counterintuitive to some people, but challenging a delusion can in fact actually make it stronger and tougher.  So think of it in these terms – don’t challenge it or reinforce it – instead, just accept it and expand it to make it more workable".