Possession or Oppression Rabbi Michael Weiner
Possession or Oppression?
That’s my title today. Can a follower of Yeshua be possessed by the devil? Another question would be if a follower of Yeshua can be oppressed by the devil. What is the difference? I sense that answering just these few questions could require an entire book and not just a blog post. Let’s see how far I can get today.
Yeshua Is Our Example
As I think about how to answers these questions, I’m captured by the life of Yeshua. After all, He is the first among many brothers. Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. We have a destiny to be conformed to Yeshua’s image. His suffering is our suffering. His victory is our victory.
Yeshua was baptized by his cousin, Yochanan HaMatbeal (John the Baptizer). Immediately after Yeshua’s immersion, we read … Matthew 4:1 Then Yeshua was led by the Ruach into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. While in the wilderness, Yeshua fasted for 40 days. Having just completed a 40 day fast while being tempted, you would think this would be an occasion for a victory celebration. But what happened? The tempter came to Him. Matthew 4:2-3 After He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. And when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are Ben-Elohim, tell these stones to become bread.”
Was Yeshua Tempted?
The question arises, was Yeshua really tempted? Was it possible for the Son of God to sin in the flesh, or was victory a foregone conclusion in which there was no possibility for Yeshua to fall? I’ve thought about this a lot and decided if failure was never possible, there is no victory. If Yeshua was above sin, He was not really one of us. Yet we read in Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a kohen gadol who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all the same ways – yet without sin. His victories are real victories. His overcoming is real overcoming.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have shalom. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world!”
What is that? “In the world you will have trouble!” We are promised a “Garden of Eden” existence, but not in this lifetime. Just as Yeshua had trouble, we will also have trouble. Just as He was tempted, we will also be tempted. Just as He obtained victory, we will also obtain victory.
What About Possession?
Back to the original question, “Possession or oppression?” I just made the case for our oppression. But possession is another issue altogether. We have all heard of someone being “possessed by the devil.” But can the devil possess what belongs to God? 1 Corinthians 6:19b …you are not your own. If we are not our own, then to whom do we belong? I like this last verse of 1 Corinthians 3:23 and you are Messiah’s, and Messiah is God’s.
We cannot belong to God and Satan. When we believe in Yeshua, we become God’s loving possession. John 1:12 But whoever did receive Him, those trusting in His name, to these He gave the right to become children of God. Did you see that? “He gave the RIGHT to become …” Grace is grace and salvation is by grace. But even grace requires a partnership. We have to be willing to receive grace. We partner with God by grace.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my loved ones, just as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence – work out your salvation with fear and trembling.
To “work out your salvation” means to overcome oppression. Possession is off the table. A believer in Yeshua cannot be possessed, but oppression is part of temptation. As we mature, we learn to trust, rely and lean on God. This is the life of an overcomer.
Revelation 12:10-12 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Anointed One, for the accuser of our brothers and sisters – the one who accuses them before our God day and night – has been thrown out. They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives even in the face of death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you with great rage, knowing that his time is short.
Today, the devil is here in the earth with “great rage, knowing that his time is short.” 1 John 5:4 For everyone born of God overcomes the world. And the victory that has overcome the world is this – our faith. The victory belongs to the Lord and from Him, to us as well. Walk in victory my friends.