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Demon’s Recognition of the “Son of God”

Gospel accounts of the supernatural realm of principalities recognizing Jesus as the Son of God came in a specific hierarchical sequence. The archangel Gabriel announced to Mary her miraculously conceived baby would be the Son of God although no one on Earth had yet to recognize him as such.[1]

First of the supernatural powers to distinguish Jesus as the Son of God was by none other than God, Himself. Immediately after Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, the Voice of God called out: [2]

MK 1:11 “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (NKJV)

John the Baptist testified to what he had seen and heard that day when he baptized Jesus of Nazareth. “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”[3]

Fasting for 40 days in the wilderness after his baptism, Satan approached Jesus in his emaciated condition. Satan cunningly began his temptations saying to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…” Nevertheless, Jesus quoted from the Scriptures to successfully rebuff the temptations.

Jesus began his public ministry traveling from Nazareth to a Capernaum synagogue where he taught. A man in the audience was possessed by an “unclean demon” and its voice cried out: [4]

LK 4:34 “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” (NKJV)

Commanded to be silent and to come out of the man, the demon threw him down into convulsions, then came of the man leaving him unharmed. Those who witnessed the exorcism were “amazed” exclaiming Jesus was someone of authority and power causing his fame to quickly spread.[5]

It would not be the only instance when demons proclaimed Jesus to be the Son of God. Mark and Luke wrote that whenever demons saw him, they forced their hosts to fall down before Jesus crying out, “You are the Son of God.”[6]

Mathew, Mark and Luke record another especially harrowing encounter with a demon-possessed man in the Gerasenes (Gararenes) region on the Gentile side of the Sea of Galilee.[7] He lived nake without a house among the tombs and could not be restrained by anyone – chains and shackles would only be broken into pieces. Obviously, out of fear people avoided the area of the tombs.[8]

Arriving by boat from across the Sea of Galilee, the demon-possessed man spotted Jesus, ran to him and bowed down before him. A voice of the demon within the man cried out asking for mercy:

MK 5:7 “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” (NKJV)

Appealing to Jesus by the name of God for mercy, the demon demonstrated Jesus was subject only to the authority of God. The evil entity also recognized that Jesus had complete power and discretion over the demons.

Asked for his name, the demon answered Jesus saying, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”[9] When Jesus commanded the demons to come out of the man, Legion implored Jesus for mercy not to be thrown into the abyss; instead, asking that they would be allowed to enter a nearby herd of swine.[10] Jesus granted the request and the demons entered the herd of pigs which then charged down a steep hill into the sea and drowned.

Herdsmen of the hogs ran into the town and told their story of what had happened. A crowd gathered and went out to see things for themselves. They saw the former fearsome demon-possessed man clothed and calmly sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Fear gripped the crowd imploring Jesus to leave them alone. Jesus honored their request telling them to return to their homes and he sailed back across the sea. Meanwhile, the healed man proclaimed throughout the town what Jesus had done for him.

The Book of Acts, written by the same author as the Gospel of Luke, recounts another demon encounter that did not end well. Some Jewish exorcists, the seven sons of high priest Sceva, attempted to invoke the name of Jesus saying to the demon, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”[11] 

Not impressed by the authority of their command, the demon retorted, “I know about Jesus and I am acquainted with Paul, but who are you?”[12] By the words of their own command, they did not acknowledge the power and authority of Jesus, rather only the person about whom Paul was preaching.

The demon reacted by causing the possessed man to overpower the seven sons and beat them to a point they ran from the house naked and bleeding. Word spread throughout Ephesus causing fear and praise for the name of Jesus.[13]

Accounts of the exorcisms carried such a degree of credibility, the enemies of Jesus believed the witnesses.[14] Rather than believe Jesus was performing the exorcisms by the power and authority of God, the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub, another name for Satan. In response, Jesus asked two rhetorical questions:

LK 11:18-20 “”If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (NKJV)

In the supernatural realm, God was the first to recognize Jesus of Nazareth as His own son. Secondly was Satan followed thirdly by his demons who recognized and bowed down to Jesus as the Son of God. What then should mortal people believe?

 

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REFERENCES:

[1] Luke 1:30-32, 35.  CR Matthew 1:20-22.
[2] Mark 1:11. Luke 3:21-22.  NKJV. CR Matthew 3:13-17; John 1:32-33.
[3] John 1:32-34. NKJV.
[4] Luke 4:34. NASB. CR Mark 1:24.
[5] Mark 1:27-28; Luke 4:36-37.
[6] Mark 3:11. Luke 4:41. NKJV. CR Mark 9:17-27; Luke 6:18.
[7] Matthew 8:28. NetBible.org. Footnote 1.
[8] Matthew 8:29-34; Mark 5:1-13; Luke 8:26-39.
[9] Mark 5:9. NET.
[10] Luke 8:29-33.
[11] Acts 19:13. NET. Acts 19:13-17.
[12] Acts 19:15. NET.
[13] Acts 19:13-17.
[14] Matthew 9:34, 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15.

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