Fear the Demon that Doesn’t Fear God. Really?

“The Possession” pulled in the most box office receipts last weekend, which also happened to be the lowest grossing weekend for American movies in over a decade.  The advertising for “The Possession” is something of which to take note.  Just a brief glimpse back at other recent movies of its kind shows us that the poster, trailer, and premise are criminally similar to a slew of others in this sub genre.

Most notable is the tagline for “The Possession”, which says “Fear the demon that doesn’t fear God.”  This is a red flag.  Christians should take note when they see advertising as ignorant as this.  A movie poster is often the hook; it’s the first thing that draws a potential movie-goer into the theater.  And in the case of “The Possession”, the tagline is dangerous.

But It’s Just a Tagline

A tagline is almost never just a tagline.  It’s the pronouncement of a message, even a belief.  With movies dealing with demons and the spiritual realm, taglines have historically proven themselves to be ambiguous or carelessly theological.  Consider the tagline at hand:

Everything about this is contrary to the Bible, which is a fair criticism since, according to summaries, the movie deals with a dybbuk, a demon from ancient Hebrew lore. The two ideas in the tagline are twisted and inaccurate.

1. Fear the demon…

No, don’t do that.  The words of the Apostle Paul cry out against this.

“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the power of this dark world and the against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:11-12

The terms “rulers”, “authorities”, and “spiritual forces of evil” all refer to demons, and Paul charges Christians to take a stand against them, not to fear them.

2. …that doesn’t fear God

There is not a demon that exists that does not fear God.  That includes the chief of demons, Satan himself.  Though they blaspheme and scheme and dishonor God, they know who God is and fear Him.

“You believe that there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” – James 2:19

Consider the God-Man, Jesus Christ, whose power over demons was documented again and again in the Gospels.  His interaction with demons demonstrates his all-encompassing authority over them.

“When he saw Jesus, he cried out and fell at his feet, shouting at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?  I beg you, don’t torture me!’ For Jesus had commanded the evil spirit to come out of the man.” – Luke 8:28-29

Real Fear

Ultimately, fear should be directed singularly toward God.  Demons do fear him; we are to learn to fear him.  The Lord Jesus said, “…fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).  God’s authority is over all things, including the demonic realm, the full activity of which remains bound and chained apart from God’s sovereign permission.

More than that, God has purchased us in the death of his Son.  Colossians tells us that Jesus triumphed over demons and Satan and hell through his death and resurrection.

Don’t let a movie poster make you forget that.

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