A Supernatural View of Reality: Matthew 12:43-45
““43) Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44) Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45) Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”” Matthew‬ ‭12‬:‭43‬-‭45‬ ‭
Jesus now abruptly returns to the subject of spiritual warfare. These verses are familiar to many people. Let’s see if we can unpack some insights from this text.
First, there seems to be “different kinds” of unclean spirits. Some need a moist body to occupy. Notice in verse 43 the mention Jesus made of unclean spirits “passing through waterless places seeking rest.” That should catch your attention. Many times the host can be a human body. In Mark 5:9-13, the Legion went into a herd of swine. By contrast, in Ephesians 2:2 Paul refers to “the prince of the power of the air.” Some apparently roam about freely. In Matthew 17:21 Jesus referenced “this kind” as of to differentiate between different kinds of unclean spirits. This is a mystery to me. I merely point out the contrast.
Second, multiple unclean spirits can occupy the same human host. In this text, Jesus referenced one unclean spirit returning with seven others more wicked spirits. Notice they are called “unclean” or “wicked” spirits. They are not nice! In the case of the Gerasene demoniac referenced in Mark 5:1-14, there was an entire legion present. No wonder the man was so severely tormented.
Third, referring back to Matthew 12:24 & 28, both the Pharisees and Jesus referred to “casting out” demons or unclean spirits. There is hope for demon possessed people. Jesus can set them free.
Forth, in Matthew 12:44-45 Jesus warned of the plight that can befall a person who does not fill the void left from an unclean spirit. It is essential for people to turn to Jesus Christ for salvation and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Do not let your inner house or temple be unoccupied. Do not be passive about salvation. You cannot remain neutral and be king of your own life. The last state of a person can become far worse and tragic.
Fifth, I must warn from John 10:10 that the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. People may begin channeling a spirit thinking they are gaining an advantage, but at some point the enemy turns on them. They will reach a tipping point where tragic abuse and torment will ensue. Many are trapped and cannot free themselves. The ultimate goal of unclean spirits is the death and eternal damnation of their human host.
Finally, Jesus closed this context in verse 45 by talking about “this evil generation.” He seemed to be saying that human civilization can slide from being moral and good to becoming immoral and evil very quickly. It can move from a climate of light to darkness in one generation. The opposite can also happen when God visits a region or society with revival and awakening.
The key is that individuals must turn to Jesus Christ for personal salvation. Freedom can be lost for both the individual and also for a nation. Wow to any generation or nation that turns its back on God. Satan is ready and eager to fill the void.
The bottom line is that the spiritual realm is real. The Bible is written against the backdrop of supernaturalism. A naturalistic world view does not explain reality. Many people are blind, deceived and living in tragic sinful bondage. To hold God at arms length yields to the kingdom of darkness by default. Jesus Christ is the only Saviour for sinful and lost humanity. He is the Bondage Breaker.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global