Acts 19:13-16; Matthew 12:27; Matthew 7:22; Mark 9:38; Luke 9:49
The incident recorded in Acts 19:13-1613Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. (Acts 19:13‑16), raises the question as to what was an “exorcist”? The disciples of the Lord who were able to cast out demons were never so called. Were these vagabond or wandering Jews able to cast out demons irrespective of the name of the Lord Jesus? or did they only pretend to do so? Matthew 12:2727And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. (Matthew 12:27) is often quoted to show that the Lord admitted that such persons were able to cast out demons. Is it not more probable that the Lord was in that passage alluding to His disciples? The Lord was a mysterious person whom they could not comprehend; and He was charged with casting out demons by the prince of demons; but the Lord said, By whom do your children (the origin of whom you do know) cast them out? On the other hand, the Lord describes some of the lost as pleading that they had cast out demons in His name (Matt. 7:2222Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (Matthew 7:22)); but these also speak of having prophesied in His name; so that they would be persons who had made a profession, as Judas who was sent out with the other apostles.
On one occasion the disciples met with a man who was casting out demons in the name of the Lord, whom they forbad because he followed not with them; but the Lord said that no one who did a miracle in His name could lightly speak evil of Him (Mark 9:3838And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. (Mark 9:38); Luke 9:4949And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. (Luke 9:49)). On the whole it seems plain from scripture that the casting out demons could only be by the power of God. As explained by the Lord, Satan would not destroy his own kingdom. What power the exorcists really had we know not, but in the case under consideration God did not allow them to use the name of the Lord Jesus, and the demon overpowered and wounded them.