Children, Dogs and Lampreys:
Saving Demonized Children

Mother recalls the last smarting episode: “I hate you, Mother, I despise you,” the girl wailed.  She casts her fists at the dear matron, tearing her clothes with her sharp, unkempt fingernails, bloodying her hands.  Discipline that should have worked never did; the devil inside seemed to get stronger and stronger as the pain of punishment grew worse and worse.  Now the girl is nearly grown; she’s an obnoxious, mean, half-girl, half-woman, seductive and foul-mouthed long before the years would have made her so. 

Mark 7:24 - 30 He left that place and set out for the territory of Tyre. There he went into a house and did not want anyone to know he was there; but he could not pass unrecognized. 25. At once a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him and came and fell at his feet. 26. Now this woman was a gentile, by birth a Syro-Phoenician, and she begged him to drive the devil out of her daughter. 27. And he said to her, "The children should be fed first, because it is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to little dogs."  28. But she spoke up, "Ah yes, sir," she replied, "but little dogs under the table eat the scraps from the children." 29. And he said to her, "For saying this you may go home happy; the devil has gone out of your daughter." 30. So she went off home and found the child lying on the bed and the devil gone.

Praying from the Gut: An Honest Prayer Journal for Teens
By Steven James / Standard Publishing

If you could tell Elohim anything, what would you say? If you could whisper to Him your darkest secrets, let Him know about your greatest disappointments, or share with Him your wildest joys...would you do it? Elohim offers to listen to your deepest cries, just like a friend would - a friend so true, so loyal, so close that you could tell him anything without fear or shame or regret. He's available. He wants to hear your needs, your doubts, your pain, your praise. And He's waiting for you to talk to Him right now.
This honest prayer journal for teens will help you talk to the One who loves you most. No matter who you are, what you've done, or what you have on your mind.


   The Pensacola News Journal (September 4, 2003) has an advice column; looks like Abby’s out and Annie’s in!  This week Annie got a letter from a stepmother.  Here’s a little of it:

   Dear Annie: Eight weeks ago, my 14-year-old stepson moved into our home.  His mother could not control him.  He had eight school suspensions for aggressive behavior and using foul language ... He is rude, obnoxious and disrespectful.  I quit my job in order to be home full time [because] I can’t leave Junior alone for more than an hour.  I am at my wits’ end in dealing with this spoiled child.  Should I insist that if Junior doesn’t straighten up, he can go elsewhere?  Signed, Fed Up Step-mom.

   Dear Step-mom:  Junior is crying out for help ... and needs to know you love him no matter what.  Talk to Junior’s therapist [about] what you and your husband should be doing at home to reinforce positive behavior.  Then ask the therapist to refer you to someone who can help you [personally].  Signed, Annie.

   This boy has a greater problem than can be solved with “modeling positive behavior” and “talking with a therapist.”  The medical community tells us that such behavior is symptomatic of a twisted nature; perhaps his ‘disease’ is genetic, acquired through trauma, or the product of feelings of insecurity or fear of abandonment.  Treatment consists in counseling and psychoactive drugs that may help improve brain chemistry and thus behavior. 

   On the other hand, social scientists are fairly sure Junior’s problem lies in his behavioral choices that he bases on his upbringing or lack thereof.  Medications may help, but of primary value is the kind of therapy we used to call punishment (i.e. negative reinforcement) – that the offending behaviors be identified and meaningful penalties exacted to help Junior think twice before committing offenses again.


Rhoda and Junior

   So we’ve summarized treatment for Junior’s problem from two primary perspectives: psychological and social.  Yet, more and more, scientists are identifying some children like Junior as “bad seed,” a term based upon the novel by William March, edited into a very popular play by Maxwell Anderson.  You may remember “The Bad Seed”; here’s the synopsis:

Is cute, polite little Rhoda what she appears to be--a perfect little girl--or is she what her mother begins to suspect, a conscienceless killer? As the bodies begin to mount, the question becomes crucial  (The Cold Spot). 

The screenplay made the motion picture theaters in 1956.  Although the bad-seed-child Rhoda appeared to be perfect on the outside, something on the inside was rotten, compelling her to kill for trinkets or revenge.

   In psychological terms, Rhoda is a bona fide psychopath.  Of course, Rhoda, is a fictional character.  As for Junior, he had been in {fingers} “therapy” for years without -- therapy.  Undoubtedly, the pills did little to remedy the situation.  And at fourteen, corporal punishment or even negative reinforcement might just have an opposite effect – it may be too late for Fed-up Step-mom to do anything.  Junior has the classic, Biblical symptoms of being demonized.  No advice columnist can help him, nor can most doctors or social workers address the spiritual evil inside.  Junior needs a deliverance minister.


Rhoda, Junior, Mom and Dad

   For believers, badly behaving children or grandchildren are the greatest tests of our faith – especially those who have had good upbringings, even righteous upbringings.  Such kids have certainly been spiritually afflicted, but we’ve hardly been taught, especially in this benign world of plurality, that personal evil even exists much less that it roams about, making prey of the most vulnerable and beloved members of our community.  We know little more about dealing with evil than patiently enduring it or praying about it.  Often we facilitate evil behavior, and tacitly allow our children to become monstrous adults, whether we want to admit it or not.  We help them because we love them and want to believe that, no matter how old they become, they’ll grow out of it.  Yet we wonder if they can love us back and, if they do, why they do what they do to us.  {Prayer}


Recap {optional}

   In our last Gospel installment, we remember that the Pharisees and their scribes had come north to Galilee clear from Jerusalem to dog Yahshua around, watching his every move, judging his every word.  They latched upon the disciples eating without having performed the ritual acts of cleanliness not required by the Law of Yahweh, but of their extra book, the Mishna.  You may remember that the Mishna is a collection of sayings that are not much different than an out-of-date psychology book.  According to this Mishna, the punishment for religious folks eating with unwashed hands was the same as the punishment for adultery – death by stoning. 

   (We remember that Yahshua encountered elders wanting to stone an adulterous woman when Yahshua intervened by saying, “You who are without sin, cast the first stone” (John 8:7).  Yahshua wasn’t annulling the law in making his judgment; he’s not coddling the mortal sinner or condoning the sin of adultery in any way.  Rather, he shows us the capability of pronouncing a merciful sentence – “No one is killing you now; Go and sin no more.”  Certainly if a death sentence can be annulled for adultery, it can also be modified for not washing one’s hands.)

   Yahshua not only rebuked these hypocrites for their ridiculous judgment, which was made on the basis of conjecture, but he began to rebuke the Pharisees about the Corban, a legal loophole that religious folks used to steal their aging parents’ investments (which we’d taken up in a past message).  He also annulled their food laws, reckoning what passed in wasn’t as defiling as what passed out; that is, evil thoughts, immorality, theft, murder, etc.  He also called these Pharisees “children” - children of the devil, that is (Matthew 23:15, John 8:44).


Phoenicia & Sidonia

   The situation is so hot for Yahshua in northern Galilee, with hostile reinforcements on the way, that he leaves the country – it’s not his time to be arrested – there’s far more yet to do.  He heads north to Phoenicia.  We learned about Phoenicia in elementary school – the teacher told us then that the Phoenicians were seafarers, and that they invented writing.  In Yahshua’ day, the area was commonly known as Sidonia after the capital city, and was a province of Syria, though Yahweh allotted this land to the Israelite tribe of Asher.  This tells us that the original population was Canaanite, a collection of pagan tribes that were never driven out as commanded (Judges 1:31,32). 

   Some of the Jews believed that Canaanites, like Pharisees, were a hybrid people – conceived from bad seed, the union of humans and demons – and thus Canaanites were kin to the devil himself (see Genesis 6:6ff literal and Numbers 13:17ff).  Sidonia had a very famous Canaanite resident – Jezebel – the wife of Ahab, King of Israel – who led the children of Israel into the idolatrous and immoral worship of demons. 


Mother and Daughter

   Why all the demographics and demon-graphics?  One of the thrills of Bible study is skillfully reading between the lines.  We have a protagonist, a woman whose name isn’t even given.  But that doesn’t mean that Bible sleuths can’t know her.  The gospel writers’ details always mean something significant.  Who is she?

   Mark calls her a Syrian, a Phoenician and a Greek.  In Matthew’s account, she’s a Canaanite (Matthew 15:22).  How can she be of all these ethnic origins at once?  What is the writer is trying to tell us?  (Firstly) This woman is a pagan of mixed blood, and some of that blood comes from fallen angels (i.e., demons) by no fault of her own – who doesn’t have some bad blood?  And (secondly) that she’s of the same occult heritage as Jezebel, whose children Yahweh promised to strike dead in the future (Revelation 2:23).  (Thirdly) She has a daughter whom she loves, but who is demon possessed to the fullest degree (kakoV daimonizetai). 

   Well, up here in Sidonia, some might say all children were vexed by demons and some never grew out of them as adults.  However, this girl isn’t any girl.  “She’s MY daughter – mine!”  The woman’s no fool.  She knows her own background – her genealogical and spiritual heritage – the ignobility of her race and people – her mixed blood and the disrespect it gets her in this primitive and exclusive world.  She’s used to being used; degraded and despised – called “a Jezebel” by certain religious others.  She’s partaken in the idolatrous worship of unclean Elohims; she’s aware of her occult / spiritual culture, and, of course, she recognizes that the doctor’s notions (that her daughter has ADD or is just going through a phase or a hormonal imbalance or will grow out of it some day) are simply ridiculous – all of them –the time for growing out of things has long since passed. 

   Mother knows not how this particular loveless evil intruded, but she’s so steeped in the occult world of Sidonia that she has to admit it could’ve come in any number of ways.  Maybe it was when she dedicated the child to the Greek wine-god, Dionysius, as all good mothers did.  Maybe the midwife had claimed her child for the evil ba’al at birth.  Maybe a curse of insanity or psychopathy had made its way down the family tree and found her daughter at the end.  Maybe she’d been abused or molested; or a spell had been cast in the shadowy days.  MAYBE THIS DAUGHTER WAS FROM BAD SEED.  Whatever the case, the unclean spirit was in, and, while mother was worrying and the medical trade was promising, IT had just taken over. 

   Mother recalls the last smarting episode: “I hate you, Mother, I despise you,” the girl wailed.  She casts her fists at the dear matron, tearing her clothes with her sharp, unkempt fingernails, bloodying her hands.  Discipline that should have worked never did; the devil inside seemed to get stronger and stronger as the pain of punishment grew worse and worse.  Now the girl is nearly grown; she’s an obnoxious, mean, half-girl, half-woman, seductive and foul-mouthed long before the years would have made her so.  She does as she pleases, whether what she does is insensible, disrespectful, dangerous or unlawful.  She teases mother and taunts her, holding out a little shred of what looks like love from time to time; but when mother tries to grasp it, the girl only tears it away with a diabolical cackle.  There’s no compassion in her eyes anymore – they are as hard as colored glass.  She only thinks of herself – her gratification  – her wants – and, like Lola, whatever she wants, she gets.


A Mother’s Lament

   Mother thinks on these things in this house of her employment.  Her heart cries out, though she doesn’t speak:

   “I am a woman, a mother, a Sidonian, a Syrian, a Phoenician, a Greek.  I can’t shed my heritage or my past.  I can’t pour out my tainted blood into the dirt as a towdah sacrifice.  But I am capable of love and I want to be loved by my own flesh; but a foul demon has taken my dear one.  Yet I’ll do whatever it takes to see her delivered, even if it kills me.  Yes.  Even if it kills me.” 

   She falls down right there to the floor, bloodying her knees, and with eyes yet closed, lifts her head a bit, and sings a little song she’d been taught by her own mother, who had been taught by hers: 

(Psalms 121 excerpts) I will / lift up mine eyes to the hills, from whence cometh my help.  My / help cometh from Yahweh, who made the heaven and earth.  He shall preserve thee from evil: he shall preserve thy soul.  He shall preserve thy going and coming for evermore.  Selah!


Kurie elehson

   Then she opens her eyes and, as if by a vision, there is a little man standing quietly before her, listening.  Then he sings the little song, too:  He shall preserve thee from evil: he shall preserve thy soul. Selah!  Wait a minute.  She knows this man.  He’s been here before.  He’s famous.  He’s the Galilean exorcist.  Where’d he come from?  She lunges at his robe there upon the dust-caked floor, falling face forward and catching the hem of his garment, crushing its tassels in her grimy, defiled hands,

Kurie elehson, `uioV Dauid!  Elehson!  Elehson!

“Mercy!  Mercy!  Have mercy, Master, Son of David, my daughter is severely possessed by a demon” (kakoV daimonizetai).  This little man tries to scoot away, but he just pulls the slight woman’s figure along in the dust.  Some other man screams at her, “Get away, filthy witch.  Yahshua – send her away before she gives us all up.  Cast out the dog!  Get away!  Get away.”  But she begs him all the more in many words and tears, until the floor is mud and his garment is muddy. 

   The theology student in the bunch has some compassion.  He breaks the tradition of the elders by kneeling down and speaking to this pitiful woman.  “You know you’re not our kind.  You’re a dog.  And you’re acting the part, here, on the floor.  Please get hold of yourself and recognize your place.  Pester the Master no further.”

   Yahshua concurs by saying some of the most confounding and unloving words in the entire Gospel record. 

"Yes, let the children first be fed, for it’s not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."

   Did you ever wonder why our Yahshua would ever say such a thing?  Again, let’s read between the lines.  (Firstly)   The children to which Yahshua is referring are the “lost children of Israel”; this is why he traveled so much – he came to Syria to seek and save the lost children of Israel.  Sidonia was to be the land of Asher, one of the lost tribes.  So even in Sidonia, the home of Jezebel, Yahshua sought out the children of Asher.
   (Secondly) This mother was of Jezebel’s people who were cursed until the Millennium.  Did you know that Jezebel’s final words were spoken to Yahweh?  She cursed herself, praying, “Yahweh, may the dogs eat me” (1 Kings 21:23).  Ever since Jezebel met her death (as she prophesied), these Sidonians were known as “dogs,” a short way of saying “to be eaten by dogs.”

   (Thirdly)  His words show no compassion or he would’ve helped her child as he had helped other “children,” whom he commanded to come unto him.  But instead he tests her.  As unlikely as it might seem, maybe a child of Israel dwelt here, even a woman branded a Syrophoenician Greek Canaanite by the Gospel writer.  It was doubtful, but possible.

   Her tearful answer to Yahshua’ insult is brilliant; its light comes from the desperation and agony of loving a demon-possessed child, as much as from a quick wit.  But her words also emanated from another quarter.  Do you remember when Peter confessed, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living”?  Yahshua told Peter that the Father gave him those words (Matthew 16:17).  Well, the Father also gave this Sidonian mother these words as a signal from Yahweh to Yahshua to heal this girl.  How do I know this?  Look at

Jeremiah 5:7.  [Yahweh saith], thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no Elohims, even when I had fed them to the full.

{Read it again.} Knowing now this prophetic passage, in the context of idolatry and the connotation of feeding, and knowing what the word “children” means, we realize that it must have been the Father in Heaven who spoke through this accursed woman with the words:

"Yes, Master; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's breadcrumbs."

Why did Yahshua then immediately, without another word, deliver the woman’s daughter from the possessing spirit?  He did it for no other reason than for what she said: 

"For this saying,” said Yahshua, “you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter."

It wasn’t the compassion of Yahshua that got this girl delivered, it was the persistence of the desperate parent and the direct instruction of the Father in Heaven.



   We know that parasites often go after the weakest victims.  It’s never a parasite’s intention to kill its prey, but keep it alive for as long as possible.  Be they viruses or tapeworms, they like their food hot and alive.  One of the vilest parasites is the lamprey.  The lamprey looks innocent – like a little suckerfish.  But inside the suction cup mouth, the lamprey has rows of razor-sharp teeth.  It will attach to the vulnerable underside of, say, a shark.  There the lamprey remains, grinding away at layers of skin, sucking off meat, then blood and juices, finally the bowels.  The shark lives on while the lamprey sucks the life out of it until there’s no life left.  It’s a very painful process and a very slow death.

   A shark isn’t weak prey.  The shark could easily dispense with the lamprey if only it could be seen.  But sharks can’t see them nor can they extract them.  They don’t even know the lamprey exists – the shark only feels the hideous pain of it.  Sharks aren’t educated on lampreys and they have little compassion for one another, or they might help each other by destroying the little killers.  And, if a shark were smarter, it probably still wouldn’t believe in something it couldn’t see.  Yet believe it or not, the mighty shark will finally be consumed alive by the tiny suckerfish.


Saving Junior

   Demons are like lampreys.  They often have access to children (for one reason or another).  (There are many doors of access, according to Scripture.)  When demons go for a child, they make every attempt to attach, grind through, then start sucking the life out.  The wound they make is often severe, and the person oppressed is often gravely affected, like Junior or Rhoda.  Demons can’t usually be seen, but when they are, loved ones often simply won’t acknowledge that their children could possibly be demonized.  They take therapeutic measures that will work for any other malady, but not for this.  Drugs and counseling never work for this.  Parents finally give up.  Like Junior, some are abandoned by the spiritually blind to be consumed and possessed, then die in their sins, making everyone miserable in the process.  In the end, Peter tells us they lose their humanity entirely to become brute beasts, taken away and destroyed (2 Peter 2:12).  We know this is true – our prisons with their “death rows” are full of such beasts.  Yet it’s never too late, even for the so-called “incorrigible.”

   For Yahweh is merciful.  He’s given us men and women with vision who can see through the veneer of official diagnoses and love-blinded foolishness.  He’s provided us with a Bible and many other good books to teach us how we might set our children and ourselves free.  He’s given us devoted ministers who know how to work in the spiritual realm of evil, and have compassion to work for no pay at all but the satisfaction of having served their Savior and their fellow man.  He’s blessed us in our day with easily finding the help we need.  Best of all, Yahweh gave his Son to render to us supernatural power over the enemy through his shed blood and resurrection.  And he tells us that,

(Hebrews 2:14,15 excerpts)  Since all the children share the same human nature, he shared equally in it, so that by his death he could set aside the devil and set free all who had been held in slavery.

   Friend, it’s time to learn to set the captives free.  You may be skeptical, but once you see someone actually get free, really free, your skepticism will vanish away like bubbles on the wind.  You’ll learn that it’s never too late -- and you can do it!  In the second part of this series, I’ll teach give you an experiment that will help convince you of the reality of what Yahshua is trying to teach you today; and I’ll give you some tools so that you can start destroying the works of the devil and healing your own children’s gaping wounds, no matter how severe they be or how old they are.  {Here include a list of resources.}

Jackson Snyder, September 5, 2003


CLASSIC MacNutt!  Deliverance from Evil Spirits

Frangipane - Three Battlegrounds - Self-deliverance

CLASSIC!  Frank Hammond - Demons and Deliverance

CLASSIC!  Deliverance and Inner Healing - Sanford

Deliverance for Children and Teens


Neil Anderson Pack, 2 Volumes   Victory Over Darkness / The Bondage Breaker, updated editions

Deep Wounds Deep Healing: Discovering the Vital Link Between Spiritual Warfare & Inner Healing Charles Kraft - helping self & others

I Give You Authority Charles Kraft - how to have & use it

Spiritual Housecleaning: Protect Your Home From Spiritual Pollution  Alice & Eddie Smith