Beelzebub Slander – Do people slander people? Do slanderous rumors circulate like wild fire? Are poisonous, character damaging thoughts planted by rumors and slander? Have you ever listened to a slanderous rumor? What affect did it have on you toward the person being slandered? Were you now poisoned? Sadly, there’s something about human nature that finds a sick delight in rumors unless the slanderous rumors are about them. I have learned to hate rumors and slander even if about my worst enemy. They are venomous to my mind and I already have enough poison in there.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE CHAPTER 11
The Beelzebub Slander Luke 11:14-23
By Delbert Young
The Beelzebub Slander – Luke 11:14-23
Scriptures: Luke 11:14-16; Luke 11:17-18; Luke 11:19-20; Exodus 8:6-7; Exodus 8:17-19; Luke 11:20
Let’s begin today with a few questions: Do people slander people? Do slanderous rumors circulate like wild fire? Are poisonous, character damaging thoughts planted by rumors and slander? Have you ever listened to a slanderous rumor? What affect did it have on you toward the person being slandered? Were you now poisoned? Sadly, there’s something about human nature that finds a sick delight in rumors unless the slanderous rumors are about them. I have learned to hate rumors and slander even if about my worst enemy. They are venomous to my mind and I already have enough poison in there.
Today we’ll talk about a slanderous rumor about Jesus planted by religious people. Imagine that! Rumors follow us and seem to never go away. Religious leaders began the slander in Galilee years earlier (Mat 12:22) and it followed Jesus to Judea. It erupted in the passage we study today.
Luke 11:14-16 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. BUT SOME OF THEM SAID,” BY BEELZEBUB, THE PRINCE OF DEMONS, he is driving out demons.” Others tested him by asking for a SIGN FROM HEAVEN.
Jesus was doing his daily ministry driving out a demon. The Bible tells us without apology demons exist no matter if we believe they do or not. However, the driving out of this demon this day was not the emphasis or on the mind of Jesus. The emphasis was the Beelzebub slander. Jesus used the demonic experience to confront the idiotic slanderous rumors planted in the minds of men (and women). Slander may be worse than a demon.
No one could dispute the power of Jesus was supernatural – the way he spoke and how lives changed. No one could dispute mute people spoke, diseases healed, lepers were cleansed, blind people had vision, multitudes feasted, dead people lived – all were undisputable. The greatest critics of Jesus never disputed his miracles. The most ancient writings do not dispute the miracles. What he said and what he did was never discredited. So, to discredit Jesus the mean, cruel, and sick religious people put out a slanderous rumor saying Jesus was from hell, not from heaven. He was of Beelzebub, not of God.
They didn’t want just a sign. They saw a sign that amazed them as Jesus drove out the mute demon. They said, “Give us a sign FROM HEAVEN. We’ve heard you are from hell.” If Jesus could not give them some undisputable sign from heaven then the Pharisees were right. Jesus was from hell they concluded.
Beelzebub is of Aramaic origin and a name referencing filth used to identify a sub servant of Satan. Beelzebub is a manipulation of the name of the ancient Philistine god Baal spoken of frequently in the Old Testament. The Israelites manipulated Baal to Beelzebub in mockery of the Canaanite deity. It means “Lord of the flies,” or better “Lord of dung (feces).” They were not saying Jesus was Satan. They would not give Jesus that much credit. Neither were they saying he was Beelzebub. They were saying the Lord of Jesus was the Lord of dung. They used the most derogatory filthy sub servant of Satan – Beelzebub the prince of demons who was similar to Michael the great prince with God (Dan 12:1 – archangel – NLT).
This was horrific blasphemy. They said Jesus, the Son of God and God himself, served the Lord of feces. What worse could one say about God? However, this is similar to what Judaism continues to say today when it comes to Jesus.
Luke 11:17-18 Jesus KNEW THEIR THOUGHTS and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand?
Nothing’s been said about Beelzebub yet. Jesus posed a question with an obvious answer – it can’t stand. It was a set up for helping people deal with the venomous thoughts Jesus knew they were forced to deal with by the slanderous rumors. The crowd would think Jesus was following up the deliverance with a teaching about Satan’s kingdom. They would be in agreement. “Amen brother Jesus! That’s right!” The crowd didn’t see it coming. Jesus said,
Luke 11:18 …I SAY THIS BECAUSE YOU CLAIM that I drive out demons by Beelzebub.
Uh-oh! In the middle of their amazement and amen, Jesus told them the real reason behind what he said. Jesus said let me help you here. You’re really not this dumb. You know if Satan’s head guy, Beelzebub, was working against Satan by using me to drive out demons Satan’s kingdom would be ruined and fall. They knew that. He addressed their gullible stupidity shown by listening to the ridiculous rumor. It would be similar to an army whose generals led their soldiers to purposefully shoot each other. Jesus said you’re listening to and thinking about something you know cannot be true. You’re smarter than this. Something about us feasts on slander. We’re so gullible to it.
It is amazing how gullible people are when it comes to slander and rumors. You think, “Are people really that dumb?” No they’re not. People can be mean and cruel. People want to believe rumors even when they know they cannot be true.
Luke 11:19-20 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by THE FINGER OF GOD, then THE KINGDOM OF GOD HAS COME TO YOU.
Josephus, the ancient historian, wrote about some things the Jews attempted to do to drive out demons. They were pretty weird and used strange things similar to exorcisms using incantations and “holy water.” Jesus said if driving out demons is controlled by the power of Beelzebub then how do you explain your follower’s attempts?
Jesus said this is simple. If driving out demons is this easy for me, if I can do it with my finger, you’ve got to know the kingdom of God has come to you? No way can you miss it. This slander is robbing you of the kingdom. The purpose of slanderous rumors is to poison the person who hears it and keep them from God’s best. Ever wonder what you listening to rumors and slander does? It poisons you and blocks God’s best. These people missed God’s kingdom because of a slanderous rumor.
The term “finger of God” brings this entire event into correct focus. It references the plagues of and exodus from Egypt. After the second plague we read,
Exodus 8:6-7 So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt.
How brilliant! We don’t have enough frogs. Let’s duplicate the plague and produce more frogs. (That’s about what slander does – millstone Luk 17:2) Pharaoh pleaded with Moses who removed the frogs. They could create a plague, but not remove a plague. (We can start a rumor we cannot remove the eternal damage of the rumor) God hardened Pharaoh’s heart exactly as the Pharisees hearts were hard. The third plague of gnats was sent.
Exodus 8:17-19 …and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came upon men and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. And the gnats were on men and animals. The magicians said to Pharaoh, “THIS IS THE FINGER OF GOD.”
They knew what Jesus referenced. Even pagan idol worshipers see the finger of God when it happens. Jewish leaders could too. Like Pharaoh who saw and refused to acknowledge it, these leaders, refusing to acknowledge, decided to place slanderous thoughts in people and it worked amazingly well. Slander and rumors work even against God. Plant the thought and damage is done even if utterly false.
Do we ever see God’s finger in our lives but refuse to acknowledge it? Our hearts become hard. We experience frogs, but refuse to acknowledge God. We explain some things away, but we know some things happening in our lives are the finger of God. Do we listen to the slander of evil, or heed God’s finger attempting to deliver us?
Luke 11:20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the KINGDOM OF GOD HAS COME TO YOU.
Clearly Jesus said “the kingdom of God has come.” He did drive out demons by the finger of God, right? I understand the perplexity of saying the kingdom has come. That’s primarily because of our being told and taught the kingdom is futuristic. The consummation of the kingdom is yet to happen, but we are “born again” (Joh 3) to see, enter, participate, and enjoy the kingdom right now exactly as Jesus explained to those that day.
Jesus went on in an attempt to help people “detox” the slanderous poisonous thoughts planted by the religious leaders. Jesus said here’s how you should see me.
Luke 11:21-22 “When a STRONG MAN, fully armed, guards HIS OWN HOUSE, his possessions are safe. But when SOMEONE STRONGER ATTACKS and overpowers him, he takes away the ARMOR in which the man trusted and divides up the SPOILS.
The “strong man” is not Jesus. The “his own house” is the house of hell – Satan. No one can enter the house of Satan and carry off the possessions except the Messiah.
Jesus gave a word video. The strong man, fully armed is Satan. He’s armed and guarding his own house – speaking of Judaism specifically. Jesus, someone stronger, attacks and overpowers him, takes away the armor, and divides up the spoils. The thought of the spoils is foreign to Americans. America doesn’t do war this way, but they did in Jesus’ day and Jesus gave them a picture they understood. We are the testimony of this. We are the spoils. Jesus plundered the strong man for each of us. You are valuable enough to be fought for.
Jesus ends this discussion with a most alarming and startling statement we can’t afford to miss.
Luke 11:23 “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.
Every one of us were born into an epic battle like it or not. It will last our entire lifetimes. Maybe what we don’t realize is there is no neutral position. “He who is not with me is against me.” Neutrality is to be against God. There are no spectators in this conflict though many think they are. Many are doing today exactly what those did then. They are figuring out if Jesus was of heaven or of hell.
Jesus said you are either with or against. Either you gather or you scatter. There are two choices and two choices only. It’s one or the other and it’s this way throughout scriptures with Jesus. It’s light or dark. It’s broad or narrow. It’s life or death. It’s with me or against me. Making no decision is making a decision to be against. Every person in the world, none excluded, is in the kingdom of darkness or the kingdom of light. You’re a child of God or a child of Satan.
Some of us do, and we all know people who “feel ok” about Jesus. Some don’t, necessarily oppose Jesus. It’s not as if they don’t believe in God, but they really aren’t with him. They’re deceived thinking they are Switzerland in WWII. They knew the Allied and Axis powers existed. They knew there was a war going on with people dying by the thousands, but they wanted to be neutral. That way whoever won they would be in a good place. They don’t want to miss out doing their thing in case this Jesus thing is not real. Jesus said that won’t work. Jesus here says if you’re not with me helping to gather and attacking darkness you’re adding to the chaos and part of the problem.
There is no other way to interpret this. Real problem isn’t the slander. The real problem is with or against, gathering or scattering, belief or unbelief. There is no purgatory where God will put you while he figures out what to do with you. He doesn’t use scales to see if your good outweighs your evil. We are either with him or against him. No exception. Where are you? So, if you’re battling with determining if Jesus is from heaven or hell – real or fraud – you best decide quickly.
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