Chapter 21


What have I been doing lately? Well, I have been wrestling with evil spirits. How about you?


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(Eph 6:12)  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against principalities, against powers, against [the master spirits who are] the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [supernatural] places.

1.       (Luke 24:39,40)  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me [touch me], and see; for a spirit [an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit: ghost] hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet.

2.       The Nelson Study Bible: Our real battle is not with human cultists, false religionists, atheists, agnostics, and pseudo-Christians, but with the demonic beings working through them, of which even the “flesh and blood” opponents themselves are sometimes unawares.

3.       The Full Life Study Bible: The Christian faces a spiritual conflict with Satan and a host of evil spirits. These powers of darkness are the spiritual rulers of the world (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4; 1 John 5:19) who energize the ungodly (Eph 2:2), oppose God’s will (Gen 3:1-7; Dan 10:12,13; Mat 13:38,39), and frequently attack the believers of this age (1 Per 5:8). These evil spirits constitute a vast multitude (Rev 12:4,7) and are organized into a highly systematized empire of evil with rank and order (Eph 2:2; John 14:30).

4.       Commentary: For an interesting symbolic taste of this systematized empire of evil please read This Present Darkness” by Frank Peretti, a very exciting and excellent novel.


(Mark 9:14-16)  And when he came [down from the mount of transfiguration] to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning [disputing] with them. And straightway [immediately] all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?

(Mark 9:17,18)  And one of the multitude answered and said, Master [teacher], I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb [mute] spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him [to take eagerly, i.e. seize, possess (so as to make him its own)], he teareth him: and he foameth [at the mouth], and gnasheth [grindeth] with his teeth, and pineth away [to desiccate; to shrivel: withers away (practically speaking, loses weight)]: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not [had not the power to do so].

(Mark 9:19-22)  He answereth him, and saith, O faithless [without faith: unbelieving] generation [Jesus was the 41st physical generation and Christ is the 42nd spiritual generation: Mat 1:17,18], how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer [bear with, endure with] you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him [i.e. had contact with Jesus], straightway [immediately] the spirit tare him [(through the idea of spasmodic contraction); to mangle, i.e. convulsed him]; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed [rolled about] foaming [at the mouth]. 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 [i.e. destruction is the purpose of Satan, but secular observers see this as suicidal tendencies]: but if thou canst do any thing [this man had doubts], have compassion on us, and help us [but he was speaking, praying to, and petitioning Jesus].

1.       The Full Life Study Bible: “faithless generation.” Failure to wage effective warfare against demons is seen as spiritual weakness of the part of Christ’s disciples.

2.       (Mat 14:31)  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand [to Peter], and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

3.       Commentary: This man had doubts, however, he did come to Jesus, as also did come to Jesus the man infested with Legion (about 6,000 devils).

4.       (Mark 5:1-3)  And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit [“possessed with the devil” Mark 5:15,16,18 (Legion)], Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

(Mark 9:23,24)  Jesus said unto him [and Jesus responded to the man], If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway [immediately] the father of the child cried out [an eager, piercing, inarticulate cry], and said with tears [emphatically demonstrating a marked increase in belief - faith], Lord [supreme in authority], I believe; help thou mine unbelief [I have faith; help thou my weakness of faith].

1.       (Luke 17:5)  And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

2.       The Nelson Study Bible: “I believe; help thou mine unbelief” expresses the dilemma that even those who believe can be nagged by doubt and hopelessness. This man took the correct course by appealing to Jesus for help.

3.       Commentary: Talking, speaking, worshipping, praying, studying, singing, interacting in any way with the Word of God increases our faith – belief, and consequent power. Who is the Word of God?

4.       (John 1:14)  And the Word [of God, the Bible] was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

5.       The Full Life Study Bible: “help thou mine unbelief.” In this life our faith is often mixed with doubt. This weakness does not mean, however, that Christ will not respond to our petitions, for He understands and sympathizes with our weaknesses (Heb 4:15). We should confess our lack of faith to Him and pray that He would give us the faith that is needed (Mat 17:20 foot note).

6.       King James Bible Commentary: The man, recognizing the burden laid upon him, confessed his imperfect faith: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” He longed for a stronger faith, and God granted his request, not because He saw mature faith, but because He honored his desire for growth.

(Mark 9:25-27)  When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked [to censure or admonish; forbid (Dict: to reprove, reprimand: censure, upbraid)] the foul [unclean, demonic] spirit [“And Jesus rebuked the devil” Mat 17:18], saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit [i.e. the young man could not hear either], I charge thee [command thee], come out of him, and enter no more [never again] into him. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore [convulsed him terribly], and came out of him: and he was as one dead [pale and motionless]; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up [i.e. symbolically resurrecting him (delivering him from all demons)]; and he arose.

(Mark 9:28,29)  And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind [(proving that there are different kinds of demonic spirits)] can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

1.       Commentary: prayer = spiritual sacrifice to God of our time and attention focusing on Jesus/God

2.       Commentary: fasting = physical sacrifice to God of our worldly desires; self-denial achieved through focusing our time and attention upon Jesus/God, thereby not focusing on the world.

3.       The Full Life Study Bible: “prayer and fasting.” Jesus does not mean that a time of prayer and fasting was necessary before this kind of evil spirit could be cast out. Rather a principle is implied here: where there is little faith, there is little prayer and fasting [self-denial]. Where there is much prayer and fasting [self-denial], founded on true commitment to God and His Word, there is much faith. Had the disciples been maintaining, as Jesus, a life of prayer and fasting, they could have dealt successfully with this case.

4.  (Mat 16:24)  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself [deny his natural self], and take up his cross [(focus) his cross to which all of his sin is attached, i.e. externalized outside himself that he may see and understand], and follow me.


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