(How to…#4) be free from unclean spirits.

November 17, 2009 by · Leave a Comment 

"And all the devils besought Him, saying, 'send us into the swine, that we may enter into them'".


Kingdoms at war

When one reads the Bible, there are many differences to be observed between the OT and the NT.

  • In the OT, we find many historical events with dates and the details surrounding important people’s lives as well as those of nations, which are not found in the NT.
  • The OT focuses mainly on Israel – God’s chosen nation for that time period[1] – while the NT’s writings concern the Church (the spiritual Jews[2]) or as the Apostle Paul also named her, the body of Christ[3], and the chosen people[4] for the current age.
  • The OT was the dispensation of the Law, from the calling of Moses and Israel until the time of Jesus Christ[5], while the NT is called the dispensation of grace[6].
  • There are many more comparisons that one can draw but it is not the focus of this writing.


The fundamental dissimilarity between the OT and the NT is that of the natural and spiritual realms.

While we see the working of angels in the OT, the operations of evils spirits and demons are not found in the passages of the OT except for two accounts[7].  The wars fought in the OT were all in the natural, physical realm of the senses.  We are still experiencing those wars today.


However, with the introduction of the kingdom of God[8] a new form of military action was also introduced – spiritual warfare.  A lot of attention and instruction is given in the Gospels as well as the Pauline Epistles relating to this subject.


The casting out of evil spirits (also called devils or demons in some passages) was a visible display of the clash between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light.  This truth is amplified through the words of Jesus, “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you”.[9]

In the unseen realms of the spirit, we also find the same guerilla warfare, which we are so familiar with in the visible world we live in. 

The fact is that most people are oblivious to this truth.

The prize to be won in this invisible conflict is not oil, territory or costly minerals, but the hearts and souls of precious people.


Unclean spirits

The words unclean spirit(s) are found 21 times in the King James Version of the Bible[10].  Unclean spirits are also called evil spirits[11] or devils and take up their residence in people[12] or even animals[13]If we can understand the nature of unclean spirits, we will know their behaviour as well as where to find them.  The nature of animals or birds determines the location of their habitat.  It is senseless looking for the Albatross[14] bird in bushland areas or for Vultures in your backyard garden.

In His teachings and dealings with unclean/evil spirits, Jesus gave us definite clues as to the nature and whereabouts of unclean spirits.  We will briefly study four accounts:


  1. The prince/chief of the devils.
  • He is called Beelzebub, which was an OT idol called Baal-Zebub, the dung-god or Baal-of-the-Fly, also named Lord of the flies in the NT.
  • We are all familiar with the nature of flies.
  • Organic material such as garbage, animal droppings, and dead animals are the main attractants for flies.
  • They feed and breed on these kind of waste materials.
  • The colour and smell attracts flies within seconds.


We can also call these unclean spirits “spiritual flies”. They are attracted to spiritually dead and unclean people.

The question then follows; who are the spiritually dead and what does a spiritually unclean person look like?


Paul described the spiritually dead as follows:

  • Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.  You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.  He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.  All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature.  By our very nature, we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.  (Ephesians 2:1-3 NLT)
  • Whereas she who lives in pleasure and self-gratification [giving herself up to luxury and self-indulgence] is dead even while she [still] lives.  (1Timothy 5:6 AMP)


It is those who…

  1. Are not children of God and are still under the influence of the “prince of the power of the air”, living according to their sinful nature” and,
  2. Are children of God but have not crucified the sinful nature and are still living according to the carnal mind and worldly desires. (See Acts 24:16 AMP; Romans 6:6; 8:5-8; Galatians 2:20)


Jesus defined uncleanness in Mark 7:20-24.

“What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’  For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance, and folly.  All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’  “


  • Therefore, uncleanness are those things, which comes from the sinful nature.  (See also Galatians 5:16-21 NIV)
  • Thus we see that these spiritually dead and dirty people are to unclean (evil) spirits what garbage and rotten flesh are to flies.


2.    The Gadarene with unclean spirits.


The story of this man and his encounter with Jesus is found in Mark 5:1-20.  The significance of this case proves the abovementioned truths.

  • The man lived among the tombs – dead people.
  • He lived in an area where pigs – unclean animals according to the Law of Moses – roamed freely.  (The keeping of an herd of swine typified the spiritual condition of Israel at that time)
  • After their skirmish with Jesus, the evil/unclean spirits chose the unclean swine as an alternative residence.


3.    Any unclean/evil spirit will search for a new home once exorcised.

But when the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, it roams through dry [arid] places in search of rest, but it does not find any.  Then it says, I will go back to my house from which I came out. And when it arrives, it finds the place unoccupied, swept, put in order, and decorated. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and make their home there. And the last condition of that man becomes worse than the first. So also shall it be with this wicked generation. (Matthew 12:43-45 AMP)

According to these verses, the unclean spirit(s) needs a dwelling place and will continue to seek until one is found, even if it has to return to the first one.

In this portion of Scripture (Matt 12:25-45) as well as in the others, Jesus (and Paul) pointed out certain truths regarding the two spiritual kingdoms and their respective modus operandi[15].

  • Unclean/evil spirits work in and through people just as the Holy Spirit works in and through God’s children.
  • All people are houses/temples to spirits – their own as well as unclean spirits and/or the Holy Spirit.
  • Through the Spirit of God, the kingdom of God is advanced in the hearts and lives of people.  (Matt 12:28)
  • Satan’s kingdom is not divided, but will strive to cause division.  (See also James 3:16)

We know that when a housefly is swatted at, it will fly away seeking other garbage.  Not getting anything else it will return with its friends.

Therefore, getting rid of the unclean spirit is one thing, but removing the cause of the infestation is of greater importance.


4.    The return of the seventy disciples.


In Luke 9 Jesus sent his twelve disciples to go preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.  According to Luke 10 He commissioned another seventy do go before Him and likewise to preach and to heal.  After returning with joy they said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”[16]  Jesus responded with the following words; “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you”[17].


The fall of Satan like lightning from heaven here, is related to the disciples excitement of the devils submitting to them in the name of Jesus and not to some future event, as some claim.


For evil spirits to lose their control over a geographical area or a culture or group of people, our spiritual warfare is not directed to the heavenlies but instead, to the cleansing and changing of people’s hearts and natures.  If there is no available house, they have no place to stay.  There is no Scriptural basis for doing spiritual warfare directed to evil spirits in the air, for the Bible clearly states that the prince of the power of the air…worketh in the children of disobedience[18]!

 Once we are born again, baptized and decided to follow Jesus – like the disciples – He also gives us the right to use His name. (See Mark 16:16-18 and Luke 10:19)


To be free…


  • One must be born again and be baptized in water.  One of the many benefits of water baptism is the inward cleansing through the resurrection power of Christ Jesus.  (Read also “How to…#3 be baptized in water”)
  • One must not participate in the practices of the sinful nature.  There is no use in swatting the flies if the garbage remains.  Remove the garbage and the flies will stop coming.

All of us emanate a spiritual fragrance.  Some the odour of death and others the fragrance of Life (2Corinthians 2:14-16).  As the smell of putrefying flesh attracts flies, so the aroma of spiritual death invites unclean spirits!

Ask God to put to death and crucify the sinful nature in you through the power of His Spirit (Romans 8:13).  This cannot be accomplished through human striving, works or effort.

  • You must keep your mind on the things that are true, honest, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy. (Philippians 4:8)


  • If one has sinned, ask your heavenly Father forgiveness and to be cleansed with the blood of Jesus.  (1John 1:9) 

Being forgiven does not necessarily mean you are cleansed as well.

It involves two separate processes.

If my son goes and plays in the mud, forgetting my commandment of not playing in the mud with his school clothes on and then suddenly remembers my instructions, he will know that discipline awaits him.  Coming home, he asks for forgiveness, which he then receives from me.

The forgiveness sets him free from punishment but does not cleanse him.  He still needs to be washed or else the smell of dirt may attract some flies and even cause a sickness.

 Likewise, cleansing through the blood of Jesus is required after forgiveness is received!  (1John 1:7) (See “How to…#5, partake of the Lord’s supper)


  • Do not have fellowship with those who habitually practice and are living in sin (the sinful nature), as unholiness is infectious.  (Haggai 2:12-13 AMP; 1Corinthians 5:6-13)


  • Use your authority (the name of Jesus). If you know you are forgiven and cleansed and are still plagued with unclean thoughts or dreams use your God-given authority. Command them “in the name of Jesus Christ” to leave. It is through using/exercising our authority that we grow spiritually strong and later we can be used in helping others to be set free.



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[1] Deuteronomy 7:6-8; 14:2; 1Chronicles 17:21-22

[2] Romans 2:29

[3] Romans 12:5; 1Corinthians 12:12, 27; Ephesians 4:12;

[4] Ephesians 1:4; 2Thessalonians 2:13; 1Peter 2:9

[5] John 1:17

[6] Ephesians 3:2

[7] 1Samuel 16:14-15; 1Kings 22:22-23

[8] Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Luke 16:16

[9] Matthew 12:28 (NIV)

[10] Matthew 10:1; 12:43; Mark 1:23, 26, 27; 3:11, 30; 5:2, 8, 13; 6:7; 7:25; Luke 4:33, 36; 6:18; 8:29; 9:42; 11:24; Acts 5:16; 8:7; Revelations 16:13

[11] Luke 4:33 (KJV); Revelation 16:14

[12] Mark 1:23; 5:2 8; Acts 5:16; 8:7

[13] Matthew 8:31-32; Mark 5:12-13

[14] A large sea bird, which is found at the coastal areas.

[15] Manner of working

[16] Luke 10:17 (NIV)

[17] Luke 10:18-19 (NIV)

[18] Ephesians 2:2b (KJV)

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About Edgar Phillips
Husband, Dad, Ordained Minister and Missionary who loves God, Pastoral & Functional Therapist, Imago Professional Facilitator, EFT practitioner.

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