One of the amazing graces we receive from God through Yeshua, along with forgiveness of sins, eternal life and the Shekhina presence of the Holy Spirit, is the power and authority to heal the sick and cast out demons. Although casting out demons is portrayed in the entertainment world as some kind of weird, insidious, dark ritual, it is actually a common place event in the lives of true followers of Yeshua, as long as it is accompanied by true repentance and a commitment to a pure and honorable life afterwards.
While it is exciting to think of the ability to cast out demons, there is also spiritual warfare against the works of the devil on a wider, more corporate level. Individual demons cause sin and sickness, but greater powers of evil are assigned to destroy the community of faith as a whole. That corporate attack on the Ecclesia comes on three levels:
- Accusing the brethren
- Dividing the church
- Scattering the sheep.
Ironically, those most enthusiastic about healing and casting out demons are sometimes used of the devil to do much greater damage to the community of faith as a whole.
Israel and the Church are described as a glorified bride who is under attack by the evil serpent Satan (Revelation 12). The central part of that attack is described as:
“accusing our brethren…” – Revelation 12:10
The “brethren” here of course are fellow believers in Yeshua. Accusation usually comes in the form of gossip and complaining in the guise of seemingly sincere “correction.” And while “brethren” can be anyone, the demonic attack is usually directed toward leaders. When we find ourselves gossiping and complaining about pastors and other leaders, there is a possibility that we might actually have become a demonically-energized accuser of the brethren without realizing it.
The second attack is even worse: not only to accuse leaders but to cause a split in the Body. In speaking of spiritual warfare, Yeshua said:
“any kingdom divided against itself will fall…” – Luke 11:17
Sometimes people are so sure that they are right, they are willing to cause a split in the Body. The damage done by “dividing the church” is often much worse than the seemingly righteous context for causing the split. (Of course, there is essential moral discipline and accountability for congregations and leaders. In the case of sin, a split can be justified. However, that is not the same as causing a split because of differences of opinion.)
The worst level is called by Yeshua as the work of the thief, the destroyer or the wolf. Yeshua is the Good Shepherd, but the enemy comes to:
“steal and scatter the sheep…” – John 10:12
There is a significant deception, promulgated by some of the most zealous believers, that there is no reason to belong to a church or congregation. All kinds of spiritual reasons are given for this campaign of lies, but ultimately it leaves weak believers exposed and unprotected before the “gates of hell” (Matthew 16:18), and scatters the sheep away from the fold and the shepherds.
Just as we should be zealous to heal the sick and cast out demons, let us also be zealous to oppose demonic attacks on the community of faith as a whole.