There is a notion in charismatic circles that, when casting out demons, it is necessary to know their names. Really? What is the basis for this? One incident in the Bible; only ONE. Luke 8:30 says, "And Jesus asked him, saying, What is your name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him."
Casting demons out of people is not something to be trifled with, so it is a really good idea to follow Jesus' example of how He did it, as we operate under His authority and in His power. Did Jesus ask the demon its name to show us that we need to ask their names before we can give them the boot? There is no other example given of Him casting out demons where He asked them to identify themselves. In all other places, the Bible demonstrates that the demons knew who Jesus is, and when they tried to have a conversation with Him, He cut them off and told them to be quiet. Jesus did not allow the demons to put on a circus and drag out the process of getting the person delivered.
In Luke 8:30, Jesus did not ask the demon what its name was because He needed to know it before He could cast it out. He knew that He was dealing with many, many demons, but He did not ask, "What are your names?" He asked, "What is your name?" Singular. A Roman legion consisted of anywhere from more than 1000 to 6000 soldiers. He wanted to demonstrate to us how easy it is to cast lots of demons out all at once through the power of His Name. Though the measure of our faith is tiny, only the size of a mustard seed, if it is pure, free from doubt and unbelief, it has devastating atomic power compared to the little toothpick spears that satan and his minions wave at us.
It was for our benefit that Jesus asked the demon its name, because He knew that it would answer "Legion." There are several lessons in this incident. The demonized man was horribly tormented, so much so that he couldn't even go about in society anymore, not being able to keep his clothes on or restrain his violence. Yet, as heavily in bondage as he was, deep in his soul, that man wanted to be clean and to be free. God heard his cry and delivered him, and forgave him of all his sins.
Another lesson was to demonstrate what is in the heart of demons, how their purpose is to destroy. They asked to be allowed to go into the swine, and then what did they immediately do to those swine? They ran them into the sea and drowned them. They would have destroyed that man long ago, except that God saw that there was a possibility for redemption for that man, and He kept him alive. Demons make all sorts of promises to those whom they tempt to allow them to possess them, but even if they give them some "goodies" to keep them in bondage, their ultimate purpose is to send the soul that they have duped to everlasting destruction and torments.
It has been said that the drowning of the swine demonstrates that even a pig, which was an unclean animal, could not abide the presence of demons in them and drowned themselves, so why should a human being invite demons into them? Oh really? Animals are possessed sometimes, and they don't immediately kill themselves. The Bible speaks of "evil beasts", in reference to man–eating lions or bears. Demonic interference is probably involved in that. No, it is the nature of animals to fight for their lives, even when subjected to extreme deprivation or cruelty. They usually don't willingly give up their lives, unless they have become deeply attached to a person who dies, in which case they will often die shortly thereafter. The death of the swine demonstrates the true agenda of demons; to steal, to kill, and to destroy.
Now, if Jesus asked that demon it's name, because He needed to know it, in order to cast it out, why didn't He go through the whole roster when it identified that there were many demons in the man? Because we don't need to know their names. He just wanted to show us that there were over a thousand demons in there, maybe even 6000 of them, but they could be gotten rid of in just minutes. He was showing us that we shouldn't let demons give us a song and a dance, wasting hours of our time and putting the poor person who is being delivered through a rigorous session of screaming and frothing and throwing up. Sure we can give some credit to the people who are praying for hanging in there until the job was done, but often the person who is delivered isn't given credit for putting up with their fumbling methods and the personal torture that such methods entail, because they are so desperate to be free. Of course, this does not apply to the person who is just playing with them because they like attention and putting on dramatics. Sometimes this is the case and they need to be told to behave themselves.
Never, never, never in the Bible is there a demonstration, such as some so–called ministers put on (Bob Larson comes to mind), where demons are conversed with. How valid is any information that has been gotten from a demon? By nature, they are liars. Except for that one instance where He wanted to show for the record that there were lots of demons in the Gadarene man, and how swiftly he was delivered, Jesus never talked to them except to sternly tell them to shut up and come out.
It would be useful to read what Roger Sapp has to say on the subject in his article entitled CASTING OUT EVIL SPIRITS, as well as his article WHAT ABOUT CURSES? The business of casting out demons is supposed to be simple, not complicated and time consuming.
Personally, I have not had much experience with casting out demons, but I know how I don't want to do it. I have been around people who minister deliverance, and I have also received ministry from such people, and I have been set free, but it was a tough slog because they were fumbling around in the dark. Thank God, He saw to it that they managed to press enough of the right buttons. I have watched and listened for many years and have seen how people tend to operate in this ministry. Roger Sapp and ANDREW WOMMACK seem to have the most sensible notions that I have ever heard of how to cast demons out of people. In his videos, which are available on his website, Andrew Wommack tells a somewhat hilarious story of how he learned to stop letting demons give him the runaround. I have listened to several years of his videos and can't recall which ones in particular he talks about this, but it will do a lot of good, in any case, to listen to all his videos.
Most of my intercession in this regard happens when I am asleep. In my dreams, I have ministered to people, casting demons out of them, and I believe that I really was ministering to those people. I did not see instant change, but in the case of one person whom I am thinking of, though he is not yet serving the Lord, he has stopped taking drugs and drinking alcohol. I believe that my prayers for him are being answered.
I also dreamed of a child I know who was lying in a bathtub and he had drowned. I grabbed him out of there and threw him facedown on the floor and, straddling his back, desperately pressed on him to expel the water. What came out of his mouth was not water, but huge blobs of poop. It just kept blurping out of him until his lungs and belly were clear and then I swabbed his mouth out to get it clean. The Lord revealed to me that the poo was a spirit of unbelief. It relates to how an unbeliever will "pooh, pooh" the veracity of the Bible and accounts of God's miracle–working power in operation today and warnings of coming judgment. This child was being raised in a home where he was told that the Bible isn't true, and he had swallowed that crap, but after I had this dream, the child was more open to what I told him about the Lord and he later professed that he had asked Jesus to come into his heart. Our soul does not go to sleep, just because our body does. It is still active, still learning and operating in the Spirit, if, during our waking hours, we diligently and reverently meditate on the Word of God.
In another dream, which may have been just a rehearsal for deliverance ministry, I dreamed that there was an insane man who was going beserk. I came along and rebuked the spirit of insanity in Jesus' Name, and then I walked away, expecting that it was done. The man, however, continued to thrash about, so some people put a tarp over him and pegged it down, to keep him from hurting anyone.
After a while, the man managed to get out from under the tarp and he came over to where I was sitting at a picnic table, and sat across from me. I looked at his face. It was a mass of wrinkles because of all the stress that he had endured in his life, both from being badly abused as a child and from the torment that the demons had put him through. He was now calm and quiet. I smiled at him and said, "You're a blessing." His face lit up and he smiled for the first time in his life. It was the first time that anyone had ever told him that he was a blessing. He now had a sweet, child–like spirit.
It was such a sweet dream because of how it ended. It encouraged me to just pray and expect results, even if they do not immediately manifest. It also demonstrated how people need to be affirmed. When a person gets the picture on the inside of them that they are a blessing, they will act according to that picture. Let's help it come into focus for them.
Sometimes I have come under demonic attack, as I have moved forward in doing the things that God wants me to do. I have responded by doing what the Bible tells us to do in Luke 6:28, " Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you." I say to the Lord, "If this is a person who is putting curses on me, either through simply hating me or doing it deliberately with witchcraft, I bless them in the Name of Jesus. I know You love them and want them to get saved." The attack stops really fast and I go off to a peaceful sleep.
Sometimes the attack tries to launch itself again while I sleep, but God always comes to my rescue and turns the dream around, giving me Scriptures while I am dreaming to fire at the demons, or a spirit of love to manifest towards the people in the dreams who intend to do me harm. Sometimes the method that God initiates to vanquish demons in my dreams is to praise Him, and that kind of warfare is a very easy, relaxing way of cutting demons to pieces. Whatever way He chooses to deal with these attacks, the dream turns out to be edifying, instead of the nightmare that satan intended. 1 Peter 3:9 says, "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that you are thereunto called, that you should inherit a blessing."
There was an occasion when I was under demonic attack and I knew who the people were who were behind it. God gave me songs of deliverance to deal with the first one and, in regards to the second, a spirit of compassion and intercession on his behalf and of his family's. The following week, I received a report of sickness and injury that these people were suffering. It demonstrated to me that blessing those who curse us sets a shield around us that the curses bounce off of and go back to the person who sent them, for the purpose of bringing conviction on them for their malice and to warn them to not mess with God, but rather to go over to His side. God is not willing that any should perish, not even people who have sold themselves to the devil. They can be redeemed, if any part of them wants to be washed clean of their sins and develop the character of Jesus Christ.
There is only one name in connection with deliverance that we need to know and it is the Name of Jesus. There is power in His Name. There is healing and deliverance and provision in His Name. There is love and compassion in His Name. The Bible says that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Through the Name of Jesus, we can compel demons to bow their knees and let go of their captives. If we expect good results, we won't be disappointed.
The apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 11:3, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." Sometimes it is pride that propels people into complicated methods of exorcism and intercession, engaging in "spiritual mapping", and so forth, their activities accompanied by special effects that convince them that they are making great progress, in order to keep them distracted with these games. Sometimes they do make progress, simply because God has compassion on people and He will use what is available to set them free, but the intercessors fall into pride about being very wise and powerful warriors who know their way around this battleground, though there is no New Testament example for what they are doing.
Remember the acronym KISS, and, in this case, it means, "Keep It Simple, Sweetheart." Stick to the uncomplicated method that the Bible teaches about deliverance. If we can't manage to do it that way, then we need to fast and pray, like Jesus told us to, in order to get rid of the spirit of unbelief that is attached to us and hindering our faith, but we shouldn't put people through the wringer to get them set free or let the enemy make a big display of demonic power.
Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on October 27, 2012
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.