Gary L. Grizzell

In Luke 11:14-23 the inspired text tell us that Jesus cast out a devil. Demon possession was on the scene of human history to glorify the power of Christ and prove his deity (Jn. 20:30-31; James 4:7 — today we may resist the Devil expecting him to flee from us with no miracle required). After the demon was miraculously cast out the Bible says that the dumb spake. When the dumb spake, the people wondered. Not only did they wonder but some falsely accused Christ of working by the power of Beelzebub.


Who is this Beelzebub? According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary: “Beelzebub: (Gr. form Beel’zebul), the name given to Satan, and found only in the New Testament (Matt. 10:25; 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22). It is probably the same as Baalzebub … the god of Ekron, meaning ‘the lord of flies,’ or, as others think, ‘the lord of dung,’ or ‘the dung-god.’” The seven verses in the New Testament which use the the word
Beelzebub are as follows:

1 — Mt. 10:25 — It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the
servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how
much more shall they call them of his household?

2 — Mt. 12:24 — But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not
cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.

3 — Mt. 12:27 — And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your
children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.

4 — Mk. 3:22 — And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath
Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.

5 — Lu. 11:15 — But some of them said, He casteth out devils through Beelzebub
the chief of the devils.

6 — Lu. 11:18 — If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom
stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.

7 — Lu. 11:19 — And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons
cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.


Before the record is given of Jesus’ arguments as to reasons his accusers were to reject the notion that he was in league with Satan, the inspired writer stated, “But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them” (Luke 11:17). Jesus is the great heart knower. Therefore, men are to take heed to their thoughts. God is concerned about our very thoughts. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). The very thought of sin is foolishness. We are to have the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5). Control our thinking (Phil. 4:8). Bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:5). One Christian who had sinned was told by the apostle Peter to repent of the very thought of his heart (Acts 8:22).

Religious hypocrites may be able to deceive those around them by their speech and their deeds, but God knows their thoughts (Mt. 7:21-23). God will bring men into account for those thoughts! “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). “In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ” Rom. 2:16; see also Eccl. 12:14). Jesus knew the thoughts of his accusers and that their hearts were full of iniquity.


When the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth he warned them that it is possible for Satan to get advantage of them. However, he informed them that they could avoid Satan’s advantage if they would become aware of his devices, tricks or snares (2 Cor. 2:11). Paul warned the church in his day of enemies of cross who possessed certain distinguishable traits: “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, [that they are] the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end [is] destruction, whose God [is their] belly, and [whose] glory [is] in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Phil. 3:17-19). Today, we as members of the Lord’s body must watch for traitor traits just as our early brethren were warned to do. Yes, there are disciples of the cross but there are also disciples of the double-cross in existence today.

In Jesus’ conversation with his critics, the Jews (in Luke 11:14-23) the characteristics and tactics of His enemies are set forth by the inspired writer and may be observed by the careful Bible student. When one contemplates these attitudes, dispositions and attacks he cannot but note that these same characteristics are seen in enemies of Christians today.

1. Characteristic #1 — False Accusation — verse 15.
2. Characteristic #2 — An Arrogant, Demanding Spirit — verse 16.
3. Characteristic #3 — Irrationality in Reaching Their Conclusions — 17-18.
4. Characteristic #4 — Inconsistency and Hypocrisy — 19.
5. Characteristic #5 — Ignorance — 20.


CHARACTERISTIC #1 — FALSE ACCUSATION — verse 15. “He casteth out devils through Beelzebub the chief of the devils.” For one to be able to so communicate with a demon so as to cause him to come out of an individual, it was reasoned that he must be in league with demonic powers and particularly, Satan.

Prejudice is the mother of false accusation. It is condemnation before investigation. False accusation is born of judging by appearance. Jesus said we are not to judge by appearance but we are to judge by righteous judgment (Jn. 7:24). It seems that the only mental exercise some people get is jumping to conclusions.

We are to avoid willful ignorance (2 Peter 3:5). False accusation is connected with “evil surmisings” (I Tim. 6:4). It takes no brains to falsely accuse another, all one has to do is just lean totally upon the flesh, what comes natural, his emotions, or his feelings.

Today, false accusation is heard by enemies of Christianity when we heard such statements as, “The Church of Christ was established by Alexander Campbell.” Some will insist on misrepresenting the truth that we are members of the church that Jesus built (Mt. 16:18; Acts 2:47). This will continue to happen even though we quote the New Testament as our authority rather than any inspired men. Let us
not be surprised, nor let us accept such as God-approved behavior.

CHARACTERISTIC #2 — AN ARROGANT, DEMANDING SPIRIT — verse 16. “And others, tempting [him], sought of him a sign from heaven.” Another group of those present demanded and desired Christ to perform a sign. Only then would he really prove his identity as one not on the same team with the Devil.
Jesus had acted in a manner which they had not expected from him (the lowly son of a carpenter), so they wanted more proof of his claim to divinity.

Likewise, enemies of Christ today demand that Christians think, speak and behave in a worldly manner. Peter said “they think it strange that ye run not with them … speaking evil of you” (I Pet. 4:4). What manner is that? Whatever is popular among men. Jesus teaches that what is popular is wrong (in regard to salvation, Mt. 7:13-14). However, Christians are taught to be living sacrifices to God’s service and not conformed to the sinful standards of the world (Rom. 12:1-2). The faithful child of God who seeks to live pure morally, doctrinally and evangelistically will not compromise with the worldlings in their smoking, dancing, drinking alcohol and in fellowshipping religious error. The godly will continue to refuse fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them (Eph. 5:11). God’s people will not be surprised when the world seeks to squeeze them into it’s mold in view of the fact that the very enemies of Christ tried to do the same thing to him.

CHARACTERISTIC #3 — IRRATIONALITY IN REACHING THEIR CONCLUSIONS — verses 17-18. “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house [divided] against a house falleth. If Satan also be divided against himself, how shall his kingdom stand? because ye say that I cast out devils through Beelzebub.” By reaching conclusions by improper thinking and apparently trusting whatever thoughts popped into their heads, the people who had witnessed the Lord perform a marvelous miracle reasoned irrationally. Jesus exposed their irrational, contradictory thinking. Satan’s business
was to insert or infuse evil demons into a human being — NOT cast them out. Satan wanted the devils in and would not have been “caught dead” ordering his messenger to cast them out. Anyone with half a brain should have been able to have seen Jesus’ point on this.

Today, this is just as easy to do as it was then. To reason irrationally just trust in your feelings, your likes and dislikes, and your self-serving preferences. Consider your likes and dislikes over the written Word of the Living God. However, to reason logically practice Paul’s admonition to the brethren at Thessalonica and prove all things (I Th. 5:21). After you have proved all positions (in regard to things necessary for salvation) by the New Testament, then hold fast (firm) to the correctly interpreted will of God.

Proving all things by evidence is the nature of the work of the civil courts. This is good. Should not the practice of proving all things in the “court” of spiritual matters (matters pertaining to the eternal soul) necessitate the proper use of evidence as well? Most certainly! Jesus our Lord trusted in what was/is written for his conclusions (Mt. 4:1-11). So should men today. The Bereans are commended for both readiness of mind and their act of searching the Scriptures in order to reach the proper interpretation or understanding (Acts 17:10-12). When God’s people today give a book, chapter and verse for what they believe, teach and practice in regard to salvation, Christianity and religion, it is unfair for denominationalists (those of man-made religion) to irrationally accuse the church of being arrogant and high-minded. It is also wicked for liberals in the church today to depend on a so-called new hermeneutic to arrive at their unscriptural conclusions on essential matters!

May we continue to make it known that faithful brethren intend to mark and avoid those who teach false doctrine (Rom. 16:17-18). However, we will not be surprised when such happens since we are no greater than our Lord who was so treated (Jn. 15:20).

CHARACTERISTIC #4 — INCONSISTENCY AND HYPOCRISY — verse 19. “And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast [them] out? therefore shall they be your judges.” These critics accepted miracles done by those they liked, but were inconsistent by their rejection of miracles performed by Jesus and His apostles. Jesus did good when he cast the devil out of the suffering individual and should have been appreciated for his good. However, not running with the clique of the Pharisees, the Scribes or the Sadducees cast Jesus in the shadow of the unpopular and made him a prime target for unfounded criticism.

We have people like this today both in and out of the church whose behavior seems to say, “If I like you, I consider you as being approved of God — but if I don’t like you, you must not be approved of God.” This type of inconsistency, which is junior-highish, is inexcusable before heaven. All such behavior will be rewarded accordingly. Paul wrote that God is not mocked and whatsoever a person sows, that will he reap (Gal. 6:7-8). When liberal change agents in the Church of Christ today belittle and make fun of faithful gospel preachers for referencing book, chapter and verse in their preaching — they are behaving inconsistently and wickedly. Have they ever heard of 1 Thessalonians 5:21? They themselves claim to accept the preaching of Jesus and His apostles, though the Lord and the apostles referred to what is written (Mt. 4:1-11; 1 Cor. 1:19).

CHARACTERISTIC #5 — IGNORANCE — 20. “But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. “ Jesus had not cast out the devil by the finger (power) of Satan but by the finger of God. This he has now proven. He has proven it by having shown them their irrationality in reaching their conclusions (vs. 17-18) and by their inconsistency and hypocrisy (vs. 19). Furthermore, the message that the kingdom was at hand should then have been heard by these corrected critics. Note that Jesus attempted to remove their prejudices before teaching them this essential message. This was the message that John the Baptist had died preaching, that is, the kingdom is at hand. Jesus was to build His church, the kingdom (Mt. 16:18-19). This took place as is recorded in Acts chapter two. Having proven his identity as the Son of God by miracleworking (Jn. 20:31-31), they were to now listen to his message about the coming kingdom, the church.

Many are those who will appeal to a false authority in religious matters. The Lutheran will appeal to Martin Luther, the Mormon to Joseph Smith and the Catholic to the pope. It may seem logical to each to believe that Luther, Smith and the pope are their authorities. However, it is a deceptive concept. Christ alone sits on the throne of authority over His church and over all men (Col. 2:18; Mt. 28:18-20). {This does not negate the fact that Jesus has delegated authority to elders in deciding expedient matters, Heb. 13:7, 17}. One is not following Christ as the authority by going to Jesus through Luther. Heads of denominations and sects are not mediums or mediators to THE mediator (who is Christ). “For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).

While not being naive to the obvious lack of respect for the authority of Christ today, ignorance of just who the authority in religion is keeps many from listening to faithful gospel preachers today. Although conservative, Bible Quotin’ – Bible Totin’ preachers establish the correct authority in their sermons, lectures and writings, many refuse to heed the message claiming that the preacher is just spouting off his own personal, bigoted opinions. Jesus is that authority and faithful elders, preachers, deacons and members lovingly establish and require New Testament authority for all that is done in obligatory matters (Col. 3:17; I Pet. 4:11). Just how fair is it then for those in error to criticize members of the church of preaching the Devil’s doctrine when they preach: 1) Water baptism is necessary to salvation (Mk. 16:16; I Pet. 3:21); 2) There is one church, the Lord’s church (Mt. 16:18; Acts 2:47; Eph. 4:4; Eph. 1:22-23); and a number of other necessary doctrines. When men have their prejudices addressed and removed from their heart, then we may do as Jesus and teach them the truth about the spiritual kingdom. ONLY THEN may we teach men of that kingdom into which sinners are translated from the power of darkness (Col. 1:13-14).


After proving he had worked a miracle by the finger (power) of God, Jesus then gave a divine analogy as follows: “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace: But when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and overcome him, he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted, and divideth is spoils” (Luke 11:21-22). The people had wondered when Jesus cast the demon out earlier. Some suspicioned him as to his identity and his relationship to Satan.

Jesus is the stronger “man” and Satan is the weaker “man” in the illustration He gave them. The analogy taught them that just as one who is physically stronger than another in the material realm may conquer the less equipped, so one in the spiritual realm may conquer the less equipped. In the context of Luke 11, Jesus overcame Satan in the spiritual realm. He overcame all that pertained to Satan in the incident just witnessed. Jesus conquered the demon (Satan’s evil messenger) in the spiritual realm to the extent that He was able to “divide his spoils.” Evidence of complete victory over the enemy was seen in that he the cured individual was now able to speak.

Perhaps a more general application of the illustration Jesus gave is that by Jesus’ RESURRECTION He bruised the head of the serpent, Satan (Gen. 3:15). He continues to destroy the works of the Devil today by the preaching of the gospel, the good works of the His church and by the prayers of the faithful (I Jn. 3:8). On the day of judgment Satan and his workers will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. The righteous will then go away into everlasting life (Mt. 25:41, 46).

Truly, in the war between Jesus and Satan, Jesus is “ STRONGER THAN HE.” Therefore, let us follow His example, fight the good fight of the faith and lay hold on eternal life (I Tim. 6:10). “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin” (I Pet. 4:1). This we may do when we are keenly aware of the characteristics of the enemies of Christianity as revealed by Christ, the greatest logician.

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