Is the Practice of Exorcism Valid Today
This article is written by Hans Neser and is used with his permission.

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Question
"Why there is not anymore the practice of casting out the demon or healing,lay hand,..in this generation which had previously been practiced during Jesus' time and also 1st century disciples? what is there are now a demon possessed person,how can we as disciples help them? What is the biblical view over witchcraft, sorcery, divination?"

Answer
The easiest place to start is the biblical view of witchcraft, sorcery and divination - The biblical view is that they are off limits to the Christian. This view is seen in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Leviticus 20:27
"A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.'"

Deuteronomy 18:9-15
"When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in a the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. he nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so. The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him."

As we can see the Old Testament was vary specific about it - it is interesting to note that most of what people call "New Age" practices are actually thousands of years old - they are just resurfacing with different names.

In the New Testament we see that God has the same attitude towards these practices - the bottom line is we can't condone these practices as Christians.

Galatians 5:16-24
"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Revelation 21:6-8
"He said to me: 'It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulphur. This is the second death.'"

Demons and Laying on of Hands
In asking the question you have correctly linked these topics together. In a nutshell as Jesus was active in the land so was Satan in a very powerful way. Satan attempted everything he could to kill Jesus and to foil his ministry here on Earth. Ironically this actually ended up giving a greater testimony of Jesus and his power.

 

The Laying on of Hands that imparted Spiritual gifts was a special gift given by God to believers to testify to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus. Only the Apostles were able to impart this gift to other believers. With the collection and canonisation of the New Testament scriptures we no longer needed the special gifts to act as a testimony as we now have the Bible.

Demons as a whole are an interesting topic and you will find many varied opinions on them. A lot of people today claim that the "Demons" in the Bible were really mental illnesses or that serial killers today are demon possessed. A lot of fiction has grown up around the idea of demons and demon possession especially with the slew of movies out these days.

We do know that in Jesus' time that demons were intelligent beings that possessed a separate consciousness from the person they were possessing. They could predict the future and knew that Jesus was the Messiah and were terrified of him.

Today I believe that God can work in miraculous ways and that spirits and angels go amongst us fighting a spiritual war - as to demon possession I cannot say - I have not seen or read of any modern day possession that is verifiable. I do believe that if you encountered someone that was possessed that all the tools you need are given to us in the Gospel - faith, belief and prayer.

Ephesians 6:10-18
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 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 powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

We are told that we will never face a challenge that is beyond us - I believe this would also extend to demon possession and dealing with any such possession. Have a look at the following two verses.

1 Corinthians 10:13
"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Matthew 17:14-20
"When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 'Lord, have mercy on my son,' he said. 'He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.' 'O unbelieving and perverse generation,' Jesus replied, 'how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.' Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, 'Why couldn't we drive it out?' He replied, 'Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.'