The Law of Territorial Spirits
Recently, I was watching a teaching by John Paul Jackson. In it, he was breaking down how psychic healings actually operate. Here is the summation: Let’s say you have a problem with your foot. You go to the psychic healer (or witch doctor, or shaman, or New Age pastor, etc.) and they do their thing and the problem leaves your foot. You walk away thinking you’re healed when in actuality, you’ve traded a problem in your foot for a problem in your heart or your kidney or your spleen. You get the idea.
Now this was not the first time I’d heard this. I’ve heard Bishop “Earthquake” Kelley discuss this before, and he addresses it from the perspective of a man who was an Occult practitioner before becoming a Believer and deliverance minister. Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses, let every word be established.
How False Healing Operates
You might still be wondering how these false healings operate. What happens is the spirit that was affecting the one area of your body then leaves that body part, and then - unbeknownst to you and even potentially the so-called healer - the spirit moves from the “healed” part of your body to another part of your body. And as John Paul taught, everyone they’d ever heard of who experienced a psychic healing wound up dying of something worse than whatever it was they originally went to the psychic to have healed.
Dabbling in the Occult for any reason is NO JOKE.
This reminds me of the Pharmaceutical industry. Now I believe in moderation and employing balance. I use medication. I’m not against medication in general. Yet hear the principle in what I’m about to say:
The Greek word for sorcery is pharmakeia. Just let that sink in. So with that in mind, it’s easy to see how you can take medication to treat one problem yet wind up with a host of other problems we call side effects!
Now again, PLEASE employ wisdom. I am NOT telling you to not take pharmaceuticals prescribed by your doctor. What I AM telling you to do is to employ wisdom. Now that we’re done with that portion of the lesson, let’s move to the next…
Legion & the Swine
Now we’re getting to the meat of our lesson. You’ve learned how false/psychic healing operates. For the next portion of this lesson, we need to turn to the story of the man of the Gadarenes.
Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”
For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then He asked him, “What is your name?”
And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea.
So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region.
And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled. (Mark 5:1-20)
Now this is a very interesting passage. Allow me to go through a few important pointers with you:
1) The Strongman.
The man whose abode was in the tombs was possessed by a strongman named Legion. And not only Legion, but a legion of other demons counting anywhere between 3,000 to 5,200 by Roman format all of which tormented him day and night while he tormented anyone who came near him.
A strongman is similar to a principality. It rules with a measure of authority over a region and works in conjunction with the principality over that region as well as any lesser demons assigned to that region as well. I will not say it in general, but in the context of this particular story, I believe Legion is a terrestrial strongman.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the evil spirits we’re dealing with in a nutshell:
Aerial Spirits (Ephesians 6:12)
I. Principalities - fallen angelic princes such as the Prince of Persia and Kings of Greece mentioned in Daniel 10 or Jezebel in the form of Diana in Ephesus (Acts 19:21-41) and Thyatira (Rev. 2:18-29).
Powers - deputy rulers like a Joseph to Pharaoh or a Haman to Xerxes.
Rulers of the Darkness of the Age/Spirits of the Age - spirits dedicated to particular dispensations of time such as homosexuality at present or the religious spirit in the time of the Pharisees.
Spiritual Hosts of Wickedness in High Places - the lowest rung of fallen angelic spirits; the demonic hosts of heaven.
I. Strongmen - earthbound princes who rule over regions from a terrestrial perspective; they cooperate with the fallen aerial angelic forces. Legion is an excellent example of this.
General Demons/Unclean Spirits - these are the everyday, run of the mill demons all lumped into one category. These most often afflict and seek to possess people, haunt places, impersonate dead people, perform surveillance, etc.
There are naval (water) spirits too, but we won’t get into all of that. Just know they’re bad, Bad, BAD! Think Leviathan, Python, sirens, and others.
These aerial, terrestrial, and water spirits can and do work together to possess REGIONS. If they can possess a region, then they can control and oppress the people living in it without even having to possess or demonize them specifically.
So let’s see one of example of this demonic coordination. In Mark 5, Jesus encounters Legion, but in Mark 4, He encountered a storm on the Sea of Galilee. The storm was a demonic interference that the coordinated team was running to throw Jesus off. But Jesus didn’t flinch because He knew the real battle would be on the shore, not the sea. So He slept until the disciples awoke Him, and then rebuked the winds and waves for their sake alone. The key here is regional coordination which brings us to my next point...
2) The Gadarenes.
The Gadarenes or Gadara is a city located within the region of Decapolis. Now, the Book of Matthew says it was two demon-possessed men, not one, from the Gerasenes or Gerasa, but whichever translation you prefer, the region itself was Decapolis.
Decapolis derived from the Greek for ten (“deca”) and cities (“apolis”) is exactly what it proclaimed to be: a region of 10 cities including Gerasa, Scythopolis, Hippos, Gadara, Pella, Philadelphia, Capitolias, Canatha, Raphana, and Damascus. The names of these cities further reinforce that the region was Greek or rather, a part of the Roman Empire settled overwhelmingly by Greeks or Hellenists.
And just like Ephesus in Acts 19 and Thyatira in Revelation 2 which were dedicated to the Roman goddess, Diana (Artemis in Greek, Jezebel in actuality), all Greco-Roman cities are dedicated to the god or goddess of their choice. And in the case of Decapolis, the region was dedicated to the Greek god of their choice. This brings us to my next point.
3) The Swine.
The pigs play an interesting role here to the trained eye. Any good student of Jewish history or kosher food could tell you that Jews do not eat pork. At least the Orthodox ones don’t. According to Mosaic Law, pigs or swine are considered unclean (Levi. 11:1-8, Deut. 14:3-8, Matt. 7:6). So what was a herd of 2,000 pigs doing there anyway? There’s a clue we can borrow from the Book of Daniel.
In 167 B.C. a Greek ruler by the name of Antiochus Epiphanies set up an altar to Zeus over the altar of burnt offerings in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. He also sacrificed a pig on the altar in the Temple in Jerusalem. This event is known as the abomination of desolation.
So we see that swine were historically a sacrifice to the head of the Greek pantheon of gods, Zeus. And if they were his sacrifice, then we can safely infer that the herd of swine we see in Mark 5 are not being raised for the Jewish populace, but for sacrifices to the demonic prince masquerading as Zeus.
Now what does all this mean? The region of Decapolis was a Gentile one; mixed like Samaria at best. And if Gentile, then pagan. While “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men,” He has also allowed Lucifer to be the Prince of the Power of the Air (Eph. 2:2). And when we as Believers abdicate our God-given authority in the earth, we forfeit our rulership, thus leaving it to the Kingdom of Darkness. It’s all a game of territories.
From the days of John the Baptist until the present, the kingdom from heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people have been attacking it… (Matthew 11:12 ISV)
When confronted by the Son of Man, Legion within the Gadarene begged not to be sent away from the region; furthermore, asking if they could go into the pigs. You see, Legion or the legion of demons within the Gadarene knew they were under assignment. Whether it was the Legion of demons answering to the strongman region, or the strongman, Legion, answering to Baal in the form of Zeus who ruled over the region, there was a chain of command and they knew they were not permitted by their leader to leave the region. Thus Jesus knowing this, allowed them to go into the pigs.
Tying It All Together
All fallen spirits are territorial. Their focus is always possession. Possessing the airwaves, waterways, the land, and the inhabitants of the land. So whether the assignment is a person, a family, a ministry, or a region, that spirit - angelic or demon - is not permitted to leave its assignment unless by leave of a higher authorized spirit such as was in the case of the Prince of Persia and Kings of Greece.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days; and behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left alone there with the kings of Persia. …
Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your prince.” (Daniel 10:13, 20-21)
There was a war in the heavens. The prince and kings of Persia ruled over the Medo-Persian Empire (Medes and Persians), and soon they would be overtaken by the Greeks under the power of the prince of Greece. And Michael, the prince of Israel, also occupied the airwaves because the Israelites dwelt within the region that was being filled with even more enemy princes. The Persian princes could only fall back because it was the time for the Greeks to rule the region instead. But neither the Persian nor the Greek princes wanted the prince Michael there.
To leave the region as a fallen angelic prince or demonic spirit is to admit that you have been overcome by the enemy. See what Jesus said of strongmen in Scripture:
But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters. (Luke 11:20-23)
In other words, a strongman, a demonic spirit of any sort assigned to a specific territory no matter how big or how small, will stay precisely where they are assigned to be until and if a stronger man being the Holy Spirit comes along and evicts them from their post and takes back all their stolen goods. And even then, the unclean spirit or strongman is not content to just fail at their job. Oh no! If the newly liberated “territory” does not install or maintain the new strongman of the Holy Spirit in that place, that spirit will come right back and set up shop all over again, and this time, with a much greater force!
“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26)
It’s ALL about territory, dominion. And the solution to any territorial spirit plaguing you is just this: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you,” (James 4:7). This is how you have an enemy-free zone in order to prevent or maintain deliverance.
And if you are in need of actual deliverance, then you need the strongman of the Holy Spirit embodied in human flesh, a.k.a. the Finger of God, to signal to that demon that the Kingdom of God has arrived and He has made you His dominion, the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (Rev. 11:15)! He can’t just go into another part of the region, but he has to vacate altogether!
There is no power greater than that of our God; no god, no demon greater than our God! He IS the King of the universe and Creator of all! We should start acting like we know it!