Using the Lord’s Name in Vain

Acts 19:13-20

The typical version of a “power encounter,” such as the confrontation of Baal and Yahweh on Mt. Carmel with Elijah representing Yahweh, is that Yahweh overpowers the unclean spirits and embarrasses them in the process. Another such encounter was in Philippi in Acts 16, when Paul cast a python spirit out of a soothsaying girl. Many people were saved, and public knowledge of the local principality having to bow to Yahweh was spread far.

In  Ephesus in Acts 19, the other side of the coin was displayed. Some men whose father was named Sceva were called “itinerant Jewish exorcists” by Luke. A very Jewish form of witchcraft called “kabbalah” is my presumption about what their style of exorcism was.

Thinking that they had discovered a new power tool by watching Paul cast demons out of people, they invoked the name of Jesus in their attempt to overpower the demon in a man they had apparently been hired to exorcise. “In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches,” was part of their mantra against the demon.

They had no authority to use that name in power, though, so the unclean spirit in the man overpowered all seven of them and beat them severely, sending them down the street naked and bleeding. The result of this power encounter was that many who had been practicing witchcraft brought their paraphernalia and books to a worship event and burned them, convinced that witchcraft was becoming dangerous with the Kingdom of Heaven advancing on them. The believers estimated that the value of the offering of unclean junk was 50,000 pieces of silver.

You do have authority to speak and otherwise display the name of your elder Brother in power.  You are a member of His family, and He loves strengthening you in your battles. He loves embarrassing your enemies. Drop His name in conversation and warfare often.

Leave a Reply