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Not every illness is a demonic attack

hospital, sick
(Photo: Unsplash/Marcelo Leal)

When I rededicated my life to the Lord in the middle of the Charismatic movement of the early 1980s, most of the people that I knew believed that all sickness was from the devil. Having deep roots in Christianity and realizing that something about this seemed wrong, I began to seek the Lord diligently regarding theorigins of illness.

As a beginner in the Faith movement, I began to ask questions. "If you have a headache and it was caused by the devil and you take an aspirin and the headache goes away, did you just cast out a demon with an aspirin? Or if I mistakenly burn myself on a hot stove, do I cast out a ‘burn’ demon, or do I put a burn salve on it?” As you can imagine, many people did not like my intuitive and slightly sarcastic questions.

Those who believe that all sickness is from Satan focus on scripture such as Acts 10:38: "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him." Focusing solely on Job in the Old Testament and a few other New Testament scriptures, they feel that all sickness originates from the devil. Therefore, when they pray against any illness, they apply Jesus’ admonition to the disciples to “cast out devils” and proceed to command demons (of whatever sickness) to leave in Jesus name.

Due to this belief, many state that COVID is from Satan. Although we learned in Biology 101 that there are three categories, "animal, vegetable, and mineral," it is true that Jesus did teach us about one more category or dimension of existence: "spiritual."  For example, regarding the woman with the issue of blood, Jesus clearly specified the demonic origin of her physical problem. He also definitely referenced the seizures of the boy in Matthew 17:18 as being the result of a demonic work.

However, aren't we forgetting the dozens of other accounts of healing found in the New and Old Testament where healings took place without any mention of a demon having to be cast out?

In the world of biology, the electron microscope can view the world that COVID lives in, as well as that of countless other living organisms. When they meet our bodies, they make us sick. We must realize that Satan did not create the Coronavirus, nor should we give him credit for it. We can, however, rightly blame Satan for all the oppression and heartache that surrounds the COVID induced suffering, since the Bible tells us that he is the one who does come to steal, to kill and to destroy, but Jesus has come that we might have life and life more abundantly (John 10:10).

To communicate a message that leads people to believe that Satan is the author of all sickness and death from a single or even a group of scriptures is bad theology, no matter how good it may sound to vulnerable minds. In a desire to try to make God appear good in every situation, it may be a simple answer, but it simply does not harmonize with Scripture.

God has allowed this terrible plague to come into our world in this season. Let us expect testimony after testimony of how He has worked even this for our good! If God does reveal to you that any illness is an attack of Satan, then pray in Jesus’ name for healing, just like the Bible commands us. However, trying to cast out a virus as if it were a demon is like treating a vegetable as if it were an animal. 

Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is www.verticalsound.org.

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