An Adventist's Perspective on Fighting Spiritual
Is such a notion Scriptural? Can we bind or keep the devil out of our
churches and our country?84 Such a notion is not in the Scriptures.
Evil angels are present at every gathering of the saints (Mt 13:19 par. Mk 4:15 par. Lk
8:12).85 Satan was dogging Christs footsteps continually during
His earthly ministry.86 When Satan was there blinding the minds of the
masses, why did Christ not rebuke, cast, and bind Satan out of there? It would have made
his job a lot easier. Evidently, it was not within His right to do so. Nor is it ours. We
are never asked to cast evil spirits out geographically but to prepare our hearts in
consecration to God for the reception of His message,87 so that their
influence has no effect upon us. At this time, God does not always remove the temptation
but He will most certainly provide a way out. However, at the very end of time, the Lord
will indeed destroy forever the devil and his angels.
Humans cannot bind Satan, only God can, for Satan "is a smart
general, and therefore, no man can handle him. And for that very reason, God sent
His Son into the world."88
Inheriting Demons From Our Ancestors?
Some people believe that it is necessary to renounce the sins of our
ancestors and any curses which have been placed upon us. Appeal is made to Exodus 20:4-5
to imply that "familiar spirits can be passed on from one generation to the next if
not renounced and your new spiritual heritage in Christ is not proclaimed. You are not
guilty for the sin of any ancestor, but because of their sin, Satan has gained access to
Does Exodus 20:4-5 teach that demons can be passed down the family
line? It simply doesnt. "This notion of generational transference of demonic
agents is quite simply a piece of occult theology"90 that has
infiltrated popular spiritual warfare theology that focuses on casting out demons.
Nowhere in the Bible is there an example of a true believer who
inherited demons from his ancestors. Nowhere in the Bible is there an example of a true
believer who was ever invaded by demons because of former occult practices. Nowhere in the
Bible is there an example of a true believer who was inhabited by demons because of a
transfer. Nowhere does the New Testament instruct the church to deliver a believer in
Christ from demons because of ancestral involvement, personal involvement, transferal, or
any other reason. And nowhere does the Bible say a true believer ever needs or is to seek
such a deliverance. Why? Because God provides both deliverance and divine protection in
The Apostle Paul expressed it in this way: "The Lord is faithful,
and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one" (2 Thes 3:3). In 2 Timothy
1:12 he echoed the same truth: "I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that
He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." Paul was sustained
by his intimate relationship with God. He personally knew the One in whom he placed his
trust. What did he entrust to the Lord? His entire life. Everything! He knew God would
guard his life to the day when Christ comes to reward His church. If you are a true
believer, God will protect you in the same way.91
What About Previous Occult Involvement and the
The Bible addresses this issue in numerous places. The cultures surrounding
Israel were idolaters. Most Gentiles in the New Testament era were idolaters. The Bible
clearly links idolatry with the worship of demons (Lev 17:7; Dt 32:17; Ps 106:36-37; 1 Cor
10:20). So the Scriptures say a great deal about how to view the occult and how to
minister to people involved in it.
Take Acts 8, for instance, which focuses on the Samaritan
Acts 8:5-24 tells of Simon the magician who was an occult practitioner
of the highest order, manifesting astonishing power. But when Simon heard the Gospel, he
believed and was baptized. He had the typical reaction of amazement when he saw Philip
casting out demons and healing. When Simon saw the power coming through Peter and John as
they prayed for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit, he wanted the same power. He
even offered money for it.
What does this passage imply for someone coming from an occult past.
First, notice that Simon still operated in bondage to occult mentality. He expressed a
lust for spiritual power, or a lust to control power, for personal gain. Simon was a
professing believer, but sinful patterns of his occult past held him in bondage.
Philip was casting out demons and healing, creating a
tremendous stir (Acts 8:6-7, 13). If unclean spirits are slave-masters who inhabit the
human heart to produce residual moral bondage in believers, we would expect Philip or the
apostles to apply this method to Simon. If an ex-sorcerer, along with any convert out of
an occult lifestyle, needs EMM [a casting out of evil spirits] done routinely, we would
expect a dramatic vindication of the view that the occult leads to demon inhabitation and
that effective ministry needs to bypass the human will to contact deeper, indwelling
But third, notice Peters response to Simons request for
power. Peter delivered one of the most stinging rebukes in all of Scripture, addressing
Simon as a responsible moral being: "Your heart is not right before God. Repent of
this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a
thought in your heart" (Acts 8:21-22). Simons heart was not right; it was his
wickedness; he must repent and pray. Peter describes extreme bondage to sin and danger of
damnation. Slavery to sin is a problem of the heart, not of aliens inhabiting the heart.
This passage undermines the presumption that occult involvement entails
demonic inhabitation necessitating EMM [a casting out of evil spirits]. In fact we should
remember that most converts to the Christian faith in the first century had occult,
demon-worshipping, idolatrous backgrounds. The first Gentile converts turned from the
outright dominion of Satan to God and were sanctified by faith in Jesus (Acts 26:18), not
EMM [a casting out of evil spirits].
No doubt those involved in the occult have engaged in profound iniquity
that may have lingering consequences. Residual patterns of evil evil behaviors,
false beliefs, self-serving motives, chaotic emotions, bizarre fantasies may be
strong. Temptations may arrive frequent and fierce, for Satan rages against his betrayers.
Renewal of mind, purity of heart, and a lifestyle of love may come slowly. But there is no
pattern of bondage to evil that necessitates some supplement to classic spiritual warfare.
Occultists need repentance, not EMM [a casting out of evil spirits].92