In the Old Testament bible days, there were active demons on earth, possessing people. It wasn’t a frequently mentioned activity in the bible, but it happened. Further, the people living at the time knew what it was when it was happening.
I hear unsaved folks and even Christians say that in the bible times of 1000, 2000, 3000 years ago, people were ignorant of medical things. They were just dumb sheepherders who attributed everything to demons and not to science or medicine. Well all I’ve go to say is, go build a Sphinx, a Pyramid, Solomon’s Temple, Aqueduct, or a Babylon Hanging Garden, Lighthouse at Alexandra, and then we’ll talk.
Though a visible presence of demons as bodily possessors was an occurrence in the OT days, they weren’t frequent. Demonic events seemed to ramp up immediately prior, during, and just after Jesus’ incarnation. The heightened activity of Satan on earth was evidence of the battle in the heavenlies, by then having come to earth in a fierceness unseen since that time.
The presence of demons will again become visible and palpable immediately prior to Jesus’ Second Coming. As Revelation 9:2 tells us, the pit where many demons are being held will be opened for them to pour out like locusts and perform God’s wrathful will upon the people of earth. Sin will be unrestrained (2 Thessalonians 2:6) so demonic activity will have a heyday unlike any other, except perhaps immediately before the Flood. (Genesis 6:5)
Aside from the dramatic events of the Flood and the Tribulation, and the few years of Jesus’ incarnation, for the most part, demonic activity is invisible. Make no mistake, just because it’s invisible doesn’t mean it is not happening.
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:11-12)
Here is an example of how demonic activity is present on earth but invisible. It is fairly early days in the kingship of Saul. The Israelites wanted a king they could see, “like the other nations.” They rejected God as their king and wanted a man. God did as they asked, and Saul initially had some success. However, God’s choice, David who had been anointed but not set up as king yet, was having more success.
“And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on. The next day a harmful spirit from God rushed upon Saul, and he raved within his house while David was playing the lyre, as he did day by day. (1 Samuel 18:7-10)
Here is what struck me about this. Saul was jealous of David. Saul cast a wary, jealous eye upon David from that day on. This is Saul’s right. He can choose to sin. It is God’s right to do something about it.
How long was it before the evil spirit came upon Saul? The next day.
Do we suppose sin waits? Lolls around, just to see how it’ll go? No chance. Sin is always crouching at the door.
“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:7)
Sin desires you! (And me!)
Here is an example of how sin crouches. “And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13)
The ‘him’ referred to here is Jesus. The devil tempted Jesus, got nowhere and departed to get Him another time (or so the devil thought).
So sin crouches. Guess what? Sin also prowls.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Sin desires us, crouches at our door, prowls, and once sin appears in our heart or mind (like Saul) it comes in immediately.
We must master sin, as commanded in Genesis 4:7. Of course we cannot do that ourselves. The beauty of the universe and every atom in it, is that Jesus delivers us this grace, this power. Through this power that ever believer has, we can live victoriously before Christ! Saul did not rely on the LORD. David did. It wasn’t that neither sinned, but it was that David actively and constantly sought the LORD’S power to help him resist sin, and when David failed to resist, he repented sincerely.
“Against you alone I have sinned.” (Psalm 51:4)
It might surprise some to know that satan isn’t behind every sin. Our own fleshly desires are part of the battle, too. When satan isn’t directly tempting, our own desires fill in the gap. Adding to that are the world’s desires, pressure from without. We cannot master the world, and we can’t master satan, but through Christ, we can rule over our fleshly desires, and when we do that regularly, satan withdraws “until an opportune time.”
The key is to give him the opportunity less and less frequently.
It seems that the odds are stacked against us, with satan on the prowl, his demons crouching at the door, the world pressing its desires onto us, our own desires clamoring to get out, but Jesus IS THE VICTORY. He has won it! He gave His victory to us! His Spirit in us is the all in all, able to conquer any and all sin. As ugly as sin is, how beautiful, wonderful astounding, that He sent His Spirit to enable us to resist satan. In so doing Satan will flee! Otherwise, ‘the next day’ sin will come bursting through your door.