How Did Jesus Deal With Territorial Spirits?

There seems to be a lot of teaching on territorial spiritual warfare going around. Specifically that territorial spirits must be identified by name, bound and cast into the pit before evangelism can take place in a specific area. This is done on a lot of prayer walks.
Is this biblical? How did Jesus deal with territorial spirits?

Mark 5:1-17 NASB
The Gerasene Demoniac
5 They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. 2 When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, 3 and he had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one was able to bind him anymore, even with a chain; 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and gashing himself with stones. 6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he *said, “What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” 8 For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 And he began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now there was a large herd of swine feeding nearby on the mountain. 12 The demons implored Him, saying, “Send us into the swine so that we may enter them.” 13 Jesus gave them permission. And coming out, the unclean spirits entered the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea, about two thousand of them; and they were drowned in the sea.

14 Their herdsmen ran away and reported it in the city and in the country. And the people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 They *came to Jesus and *observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened. 16 Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine. 17 And they began to implore Him to leave their region.

  • Notice v10 => these do seem to be territorial spirits.
  • Notice v6-8=> Jesus was commanding the unclean spirits out of the man before they revealed that they were territorial. It’s interesting that Jesus’ first command to come out appears not to have worked. Also notice these territorial spirits were inside a man and knew who Jesus was.
  • Notice v9=> Jesus does find out their name, but does not appear to use it in allowing the spirits to come out and go into the pigs. He also does not order them to leave the territory and go to the pit of hell.
  • Notice v13=> what do these spirits going into the pigs and over a steep bank into the sea represent? => The final judgement where satan, and those who follow him are thrown into the lake of fire(Rev 20:10, 14-15)

Why didn’t Jesus just cast these territorial spirits out and into the pit of hell? There is a similar account which has the answer
=> it was not yet the appointed time of final judgement (Mt 8:29).

Is there any danger in christians taking authority and casting demons out into the pit before the time of judgement?
=> Notice that even the archangel Michael did not dare bring judgement against the territorial spirits he fought against.

Jude 1:8-10 NASB
8 Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming, defile the flesh, and reject authority, and revile angelic majesties. 9 But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct, like unreasoning animals, by these things they are destroyed.

  • Notice v10 => the warning of being destroyed by passing judgements on the devil and his angels of light(2Cor 11:14).
  • A similar warning here(2Pe 2:11-12) seems to imply it’s the false prophets who encourage this passing judgement on the devil and his angels of light.
  • There is a cross reference from these verses to Daniel 10:13,21
    => This is the verse most often quoted in support of identifying by name, binding and casting territorial spirits into the pit
    => also notice what Daniel prayed – he wasn’t even aware of the battle at the time of this prayer
    Daniel 10:12 NASB
    12 Then he said to me, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words.
    => notice the focus of this prayer is not on confronting spirits directly, but on asking humbly for understanding

Luke 10:19-20 NASB
19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing will injure you. 20 Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven.

  • Notice the focus in these verses=> it’s not on the fact that we have authority, but rather on being humble and rejoicing in the fact that your name is written in the book of life. While we do have authority over the serpent it appears we have to be careful how we use it.
  • Taking authority when it’s not appropriate has severe consequences(Lk 11:24-28)
  • Casting demons to the pit = passing judgement on the devil and his angels of light before the appointed time and risks the person doing this being destroyed or deceived(Jude 1:8-10;2Pe 2:11-12)=> if casting out is appropriate and directed by the Lord it is better to cast out and direct to the feet of Jesus for Him to deal with.

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One Response to “How Did Jesus Deal With Territorial Spirits?”

  1. khollandsblog Says:

    A popular example of misusing authority in the form of a declaration:

    I put a hook in leviathan’s nose, a cord around his tongue, and I bore a thorn in his jaw (Job 41:1–2).

    Look at the scripture this is from:
    Job 41:8-10 AMPC
    8 Lay your hand upon him! Remember your battle with him; you will not do [such an ill-advised thing] again!
    9 Behold, the hope of [his assailant] is disappointed; one is cast down even at the sight of him!
    10 No one is so fierce [and foolhardy] that he dares to stir up [the crocodile/leviathan]; who then is he who can stand before Me [the beast’s Creator, or dares to contend with Me]?

    =>The above is a warning about how fool hardy it is to confront leviathan – satan directly – how fool hardy it is to think you can hook his nose and control him …

    => We do have authority BUT we need to be careful not to misuse it!

    Similar misuse of Job 41:

    Rip the scales of leviathan (Job 41:15)
    Break the stony heart of leviathan and crush it to pieces (Job 41:24)
    Break the teeth of leviathan and pluck the spoil out of his mouth (Job 41:15)
    I strip the scales of leviathan and take away his armor (Job 41:15; Luke 11:22)
    Let the waters of the deep be dried up, and destroy every spirit of leviathan (Job 41:31; Isaiah 44:27)

    => also notice that some of these pass judgement before the appointed time and are not necessarily addressed to a person who needs deliverance …

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