“When an evil spirit comes out of a man ...” (Matthew 12:43-45)

“When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45)

What is Jesus talking about?

Here Jesus explains how unembodied spirits can occupy a physical body. The physical body is simply a vehicle. Each of us is a spirit-person occupying a temporary physical body.

But each of us is the rightful occupier of our physical body. We were assigned this physical body as a result of our consciousness and prior activities.

We each leave our bodies at the time of death.

What Jesus is explaining is what a spirit-person who has been left without a physical body will do after being expelled from a physical body.

This can describe a spirit-person who has left their own physical body at the time of death or a person who was unembodied and forcefully occupied someone else's physical body will face after being expelled from that physical body.

"it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it."

In other words, an unembodied person is in a hellish situation, because they can see the physical world but cannot participate within it. This is basically loneliness.

While there is a rightful occupier (spirit-person) of every particular physical body, a body may also become co-occupied by another spirit-person who desperately wants to become involved in the physical world - out of sheer loneliness. So they attempt to gain control or influence over that physical body.

Why does the spirit leave in the first place?

The reason such a living being becomes unembodied in the first place is due to the misuse of a prior physical body. For example, if one subjects their physical body to a life of drunkenness or drug-abuse - a life of intoxication - that spirit-person may be left unembodied after giving up or leaving that physical body at the time of death. Why?

Because alcohol and drugs desensitize the living being from the body. This takes place primarily through the nervous system. The result is that when we become drunk or take drugs we are subtly disconnecting ourselves from the nervous system of the body. We become numb. This is why a drunk person cannot drive well. They have lost full control over the body.

This in effect shortens one's destiny within that particular body - shortening the learning experiences that the body was to offer. So when such a person leaves their body - they must live out the remainder of that lifetime within the ethereal dimension - where they can observe the physical world but not participate within it.

The other means of becoming unembodied is through committing suicide. A person who commits suicide shortens the duration of their physical life only: They don't shorten the duration of time they were supposed to live within the physical world. Such a person may still have to live out at least the remainder of the years the body should have lived - but within the ghostly ethereal dimension - watching the physical world but not being able to participate within it. (This would be considered a natural consequence of having departed, using suicide, from their opportunity to participate in physical life.)

But a stronger unembodied spirit-person may be able to force their influence onto another physical body - which also typically takes place should the owner of that body become disengaged from the body - through intoxication or illness that weakens their nervous system control over the body.

This lack of control allows another unembodied spirit(s) to gain some influence over the body. They see the opportunity to move in, because unembodied spirits are lonely and looking to engage in the physical world. It is for this reason that many people become uncharacteristically violent or otherwise different when they are drunk. Another spirit-person has exerted undue influence over that body while its owner was disengaged.

What happens to the main living being during this time? They remain in the body, but in a partial state of limbo. When the body wakes up the next day, after the drugs and/or alcohol have been partly flushed out, they may again be in control over the body. The possessing spirit that entered during drunkenness is still probably around, however, awaiting our next period of weakness - as Jesus is describing.

How to discourage unembodied spiritis

When a destructive spirit-person exerts influence someone else’s body, they can be hard to get rid oft. It takes a very strong-willed and disciplined person to do this, but this is nearly impossible without the help of the Supreme Being.

Destructive spirits typically do not like to worship the Supreme Being - which is one reason they are away from Him in the first place. They do not like to witness prayer. They do not like to participate in loving service to the Supreme Being. They don't want anything to do with God.

This is our weapon against such unembodied spirit-persons. To protect ourselves against unembodied spirits, we should avoid becoming intoxicated with drugs and alcohol. Secondly, we should regularly invoke the Supreme Being. We can bring the Supreme Being into our lives using prayer and praising of the Supreme Being.

This is the power and authority Jesus wielded as he was able to send away evil spirits who were influencing others:
"By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him who sent me." (John 5:30)
Jesus is speaking of the Supreme Being's power and authority.

There are many stories of how evil spirits have been driven away by the depiction of the cross that Jesus' body was murdered with. Why is this cross so significant and abrasive to an evil spirit? Simply because the cross represents the ultimate devotional sacrifice to the Supreme Being. The cross symbolizes Jesus' complete devotion and commitment to the Supreme Being. (And therefore, should not be taken lightly either.)

Meanwhile, demons are devoted and committed to themselves.

Yes, for each of us living in the physical world or living within the ethereal dimension or the many other dimensions within the physical universe - the degree to which we are self-centered and care less about no one but ourselves - not to even speak of the Supreme Being - is the degree to which we are demoniac.

In this respect, some of those within this physical world are basically good-hearted people in that they do not want to hurt others and would like to advance spiritually and get closer to the Supreme Being. We might consider these as being 'spiritual works in progress.'

Evil spirits live all around us in different bodies

But those who could care less about others and simply want to get what they want despite how it might harm others would be considered an "evil spirit" - whether they possess a physical body or not.

There is relativity to evil because it is like mud: A person who enters a mud-slinging contest might start out nice and clean, but then as the mud starts flying they will get covered in the mud. But underneath all that mud - once they wash it off - is a clean person.

In the same way, each of us is a child of the Supreme Being - even the worst of evil spirits. But as self-centeredness progress into activities, that person's consciousness becomes increasingly covered up. The more it is covered up the worse it can get.

But contact with the Supreme Being - through praising His Holy Names and worshiping Him - can clean and purify our consciousness, just as soap and water can clean the mud off.

This means there are also different shades of "exorcism." An evil spirit can be driven out of a body they don't belong in or an evil spirit can be purified while occupying their own physical body.

Jesus’ statement also shows how evil spirits can work together in an attempt to control a physical body. They can return to the body with other spirits in an attempt to exert control. Again the only weapon is devotion to the Supreme Being.

Jesus also explains how human society will suffer a worsening of its enterprise of greed and violence as time goes on. This is because self-centeredness produces increasing self-centeredness - which can give rise to greed and violence.

Greed leaves a person empty, because the forms and things of the physical world cannot feed the spirit-person, and self-centeredness is a very lonely existence. Only love for the Supreme Being can feed the spirit, and cure this emptiness. This is the foundation of Jesus' teachings:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)