Darkness Fights the Light

Chapter 18 of Corrupting the Image vol 2: Darkness Fights the Light

When Jesus began His ministry, there were hordes of demons in Galilee. They were concentrated in the Galilee because they were worshiped in the shadowland of the snake-dragons. They had gained dominance in the very place where Satan commanded the sons of God to descend and begin their genetic warfare. 

Matthew tells us that after the testing, Jesus was “leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali” (Matt 4:13). Jesus knew that the Sanhedrin and the influential rabbis were in Jerusalem. However, Jesus did not go to Jerusalem to try to make reforms to the religious leaders; instead, he went to the front line of the war, as Matthew notes: 

This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, along the sea road, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles! The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the shadowland of death, light has dawned. From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” (Matt 4:14–17). 

What did Isaiah mean concerning the people of Zebulun and Naphtali living in darkness and the shadowland of death? Isaiah revealed that these people were recommending that everyone “Consult the spirits of the dead and the spiritists who chirp and mutter,” whereas Isaiah rightfully answered, “Shouldn’t a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isa 8:19). He then states how they need to go “to the law and to the testimony” (Isa 8:20a), and further warns:  

If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them. They will wander through the land, dejected and hungry. When they are famished, they will become enraged, and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. They will look toward the earth and see only distress, darkness, and the gloom of affliction, and they will be driven into thick darkness (Isa 8:20–22 Holman Standard). 

It is after this warning that Isaiah adds that in the territories of Zebulun and Naphtali, “a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness” (Isa 9:2). Jesus was raised in Nazareth, which was in the territory of Zebulun. It was a small, landlocked territory and hence, “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” was a reasonable question.  

Figure 61 Tribal Divisions of Northern Israel. 

Naphtali was next to the Sea of Galilee and adjacent to the land of Bashan and Mt. Hermon. As we have seen, Og was King of the Bashan, the land of snake-dragons. Furthermore, his name meant “death”, and according to Ugaritic texts, a deified dead king ruled from Ashtaroth and Edrei, which were the headquarters of Og, according to Deuteronomy 1:4.  

Thus, the people of Zebulun and Naphtali succumbed to the ways of Batios, the snake-dragon. Isaiah’s declaration (reiterated by Matthew) that the people were living in darkness and in the shadowland of death, was no exaggeration—neither was it simply a metaphor for their sinful lifestyle. They had so utterly abandoned God’s ways, His laws and instructions, that they had sided with the enemy whose headquarters were in that very region. Even back as far as when Mt. Hermon served as the meeting place for the angels who descended in the days of Noah, the area was malevolent. Naphtali was geographically in the shadowland of Bashan and Hermon, the headquarters of the kingdom of death. Jesus focused His ministry there, not Jerusalem, because the land of Bashan and Mt. Hermon were the frontline of the battle!  

With that in mind, we have a newfound appreciation for the statement “The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the shadowland of death, light has dawned” (Matt 4:16). Isaiah warned, “If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them” (Isa 8:20 HCSB), and sadly, because of their disobedience, there was no dawn and no light for the next seven centuries. Yet, Jesus’ arrival meant a new dawn had come. What glorious, good news it was that:  

For a child will be born for us, a son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. The dominion will be vast, and its prosperity will never end. He will reign on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish and sustain it with justice and righteousness from now on and forever. The zeal of the LORD of Hosts will accomplish this (Isa 9:6–7 HCSB). 

A flashlight in the blackness of night is seen for miles around. Jesus’ light shone so brightly that the spiritual host of darkness saw it, and the light frightened them. In a kingdom of darkness, light is the enemy that must be vanquished. The dark forces mounted an opposition which is the reason there seemed to be demons on every corner in Galilee. Mary Magdalene was tormented by seven which Jesus cast out (Luke 8:2). Jesus’ fame for healing people quickly spread beyond the region of Galilee into Syria. The masses began bringing people to him who were “afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them” (Matt 4:24). He continued physical healing and casting out the demons (Matt 8:16), and thereby demonstrated His incredible power: The demons were compelled to obey Him.  

After humbling the demonic powers of darkness who had terrorized the people in the region of Galilee, Jesus “gave the order to go to the other side of the sea” (Matt 8:18), to take the fight to the region of Bashan, to the shadowland of death! The destination was Gadara, which according to the ancient writers “was a strong fortress … the position was one of great strength.” (Emphasis mine).cxc The destination appears to have been not merely a physical fortress, but a spiritual stronghold, as well.  

When an enemy attempts a frontal attack on a stronghold, defensive measures are enacted, and this is exactly what happened. “Suddenly, a violent storm arose on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves. But He was sleeping” (Matt 8:24). Though storms were not uncommon on the Sea of Galilee, this one was so fierce that experienced fishermen greatly feared for their lives: “So the disciples came and woke Him up, saying, ’Lord, save us! We’re going to die!’” (Matt 8:25). The storm was not typical and not natural, but was a storm caused by Satan and his demonic host in an attempt to kill Jesus and His disciples! Satan wielded the fierce power of a storm when he killed Job’s children:  

So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD (Job 1:12). … a messenger came to Job and said … “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” (Job 1:16). While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house (Job 1:18), “and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead” (Job 1:19). (Emphasis mine.) 

Spirit beings can affect our world. Eliphaz, one of Job’s “friends”, shared his experience with a spirit being, though we do not know if it was a good or bad angel. The spirit brought fear and trembling, and it made him shake and made his hair stand up, but he could not make out the form. Then the being spoke to him.  

In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, When deep sleep falls on men, Fear came upon me, and trembling, Which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair on my body stood up. It stood still, But I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes (Job 4:13–16);  

Eliphaz was troubled by a real spirit, that although invisible, he could vividly perceive. Satan and demons can manipulate this world. Satan was also able to incite the Sabeans and the Chaldeans to attack Job’s servants and kill them. Satan used the power of fire from heaven (possibly lightning) and wind to kill Job’s kids and the animals.  

Satan’s control of weather and wind is completely in line with his title as “Prince of the Power of the Air” in the Bible and “Lord Wind,” as the Sumerian Enlil, and the “storm god” as the Canaanite Baal Hermon. In the next round with Job, Satan causes terrible sores to come upon Job’s body. If Satan can cause all of these effects while limited from the other side of the veil, what will happen when he is cast down to Earth? When he gains access to this side of the veil by inhabiting the Beast and controlling the False Prophet, it truly will be a scenario where the world will ask, “Who can make war with the beast?” The Beast and the False Prophet will indeed have Satan’s power to make “fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men” (Rev 13:13). Thus, it was the “storm god” Satan who stirred the storm that confronted Jesus and the disciples; it was not a natural storm.  

The disciples woke Him, and while still lying down (and still groggy) He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” The text says, “then He arose and rebuked [επετιμησε epetimise] the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm” (Matt 8:26). In other words, Jesus appears to be bummed about being woken from His nap for something so trivial. Jesus did not merely tell the storm to be still. Rather, the word is “to express strong disapproval of someone, rebuke, reprove, censure also speak seriously, warn in order to prevent an action or bring one to an end.”cxci If Jesus were merely speaking to air currents, then why would He need to make a warning? How can one warn air molecules? However, the weight of evidence, is that He was rebuking Satan and his demons who were trying to prevent Him from crossing into their territory, and hopefully kill Him. Naturally, the disciples were utterly shocked and asked, “What kind of man is this? —even the winds and the sea obey Him!” (Matt 8:27). What they could not know at the time was that the storm was from Satan! 

LEGION 

Satan failed to keep Jesus from coming over, and once He arrived “two demon-possessed men met Him as they came out of the tombs. They were so violent that no one could pass that way” (Matt 8:28). These men were filled with Satan’s forces and ready to take out any who trespassed into the land of the snake-dragon, King Og of Bashan’s former territory. Mark tells us that “immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit” (Mark 5:2). Demon and unclean spirit are one and the same thing. (See Appendix 1 Demons). Note that the demon-possessed man lived in the tombs. He slept, ate and spent his time in the cemetery, the place of the dead. Og, King of Bashan was a chthonic (underworld) deity associated with other underworld gods like Ninurta, Molech, etc. Hence, this man was filled with demons of the kingdom of death and was drawn to places of the dead.  

For the ‘Canaanites’ of Ugarit, the Bashan region, or a part of it, clearly represented ‘Hell’, the celestial and infernal abode of their deified dead kings, – Olympus and – Hades at the same time. It is possible that this localization of the Canaanite Hell is linked to the ancient tradition of the place as the ancestral home of their dynasty, the rpum. cxcii 

In the text, we next see that the man had incredible strength—so much so that “no one could bind him, not even with chains” (Mark 5:3). Mark informs us that “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” (Mark 5:4).  

When the demoniac saw Jesus “from afar, he ran and worshiped Him” (Mark 5:6). 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” (Mark 5:7). Matthew’s gospel adds, “Have You come here to torment us before the time?” (Matt 8:29). The demons instantly knew who Jesus was, and seemed to know about some impending torment, possibly a reference to their final judgment. However, we must consider the context of this statement where immediately prior, Jesus had warned the wind and waves. Jesus was also sending a warning to the powers behind the storm which were Satan and his forces. It could be that they were fearful of the warning that He had given, and out of fear, reacted through the man they inhabited.  

After all, that man had a legion of demons in him. A legion is between 4,000-6,000 men. That means there were at least four thousand demons in the man and there may have been upwards of twelve thousand between the two of them. Jesus is unimpressed. He simply commanded: “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” (Mark 5:8). There was no contest between Jesus and the many mighty demons who had terrorized the people of the region for centuries. Once God’s champion showed up, they groveled before him. Indeed, Mark says the demons “begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country” (Mark 5:10). Apparently, it was beneficial to the demons for them to remain in the region of Bashan.  

Indicative of the apostasy of the region, “A large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains” (Mark 5:11). God had given the land to the children of Israel, and swine was not to be on the menu. Yet, because the people had given themselves to darkness, pig farming was popular. Then:  

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 (Mark 5:12–13). 

The thousands of demons were nothing before God’s Anointed. Jesus was showcasing his strength; and Satan must have taken notice, for if it had been about strength, Jesus clearly would have won. Yet, so long as Satan held the Tablet of Destinies, the Earth would legally be in his hands.