Jesus gives us an unusual insight into the spiritual realm in this section of scripture. There were numerous times where he (and others) cast out demons releasing people from the power of Satan. Here he tells us what happens to the demons cast out, which gives us some insight.
First he says that when the spirit is cast out of a person it, “passes through waterless places.” Have you ever been to a desert? That is a waterless place. It is hot, arid, no shade and of course no water. A desert is an inhospitable place and very uncomfortable. It is a place of death for those who do not have the resources for life, particularly water.
When the demon passes out of a man it goes into a spiritual desert. It would appear that it is very uncomfortable for a demon not to possess a man. Outside of the flesh of a man they are in an inhospitable and waterless place and one in which they are uncomfortable.
Then we see that the evil spirit wants to get out of these waterless places for they cannot find rest. When they possessed the man they were at rest, but of course the man was not but was afflicted with all kinds of evil.
The demon is unable to find rest and so says to itself, “I will return to my house from which I came.” (Verse 24) Here is a warning. When the person has had the demon cast out, after the demon passes through these waterless places and cannot find rest, it will try to come back into the man.
If the demon finds the next conditions in the man described by Jesus, the man is in trouble. Jesus said, “And when he comes he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.” (verse 25-26)
When the demon finds that the person it originally came out of is “swept and put in order,” but also empty, it seeks seven other demons and re-enters the person with these others. The reason it brings the others is so that it is strengthened and therefore harder to remove. It does not want to go through waterless places again so it fortifies itself in the person by bringing in a number of other more evil and stronger demons to protect their possession of the man.
Protecting Against Demon Possession
How does someone protect themself against demon possession or the reinfection of even more evil demons? The key to this is in the words “swept and put in order.”
A house that is swept and put in order is empty and awaiting possession. Likewise, a person cleansed of demons is swept and put in order waiting to be filled.
To protect a house you need to be stronger than possible assailants. Thus a person needs to be stronger than the demons that are going to come and try to reinhabit the man. This is achieved by receiving the Holy Spirit who is stronger than the demons. The Holy Spirit can exercise all the power of God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is able to repel any of the attacks of Satan and demons that may try to reinfect the person.
When someone is released from bondage of demon possession, they must not remain as they were but must seek God and come to Jesus. They need to be baptised into Jesus Christ and receive the Holy Spirit so they can learn the truth and put on the whole armour of Christ described in Ephesians 6 and stand against the attacks of Satan.
The important point is to prevent the demon re-entering. Man does not have the power in himself to do this. It is only possible through the Lord Jesus Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit. So if a person is released from the power of Satan, it is imperative they come to the Lord and seek his way so they are not dragged back to a worse state than they were in.