The Bible spares no words in identifying a real world of evil spirit beings. Satan himself presents as intrinsically real, not figment of the imagination. Actually, exposed as a fallen angel, ruler of the kingdom of the air, and prince of the devils. Although he opposes God, the sense of that opposition is far from dualistic. It is not a case of two equals, ‘good’ and ‘evil’, fighting things out. Rather, the devil is ultimately only another created being, and his end in judgement is sure.
Strictly speaking, it would seem that the parallel concept within folk Islam is that of evil spirits and not jinn. In some respects, however, the demons of the Bible have characteristics and produce effects similar to those of jinn in the folk Islamic world.
The Old Testament discloses a class of evil spirit embodied in animals, a facet anticipatory of the folk Islamic concept of metamorphosis. This class of spirit is found especially in deserts, among tombs and in ruined houses.
The Old Testament also includes references to heathen gods as demons. The strongest condemnation is laid on the people of Yahweh for their spiritual prostitution in abandoning the Lord to worship such demons.
The New Testament acknowledges reality of demons. Jesus addresses demons directly and commands them, expecting their obedience.
Paul presents a view similar to that of the Old Testament with regard to the deities of the Gentile world. At the time of his later imprisonment, Paul declares that evil spirits or demons are whisperers of false teaching among community of the faithful.
If the Bible acknowledges reality of the world of evil spirits, even though it is not as detailed in its categorization as folk Islam, it does so to declare that, in and through Christ, that world disarmed and judged. The first declaration in Mark’s Gospel of the Sonship of Chris made by a frightened evil spirit.
At the same time, provoked evil spirits to violent activity among their charges before their exposure and expulsion. Often, the Gospels record that a possessed man or child is especially tormented as the time approaches for Jesus to exorcise the spirit.
The cross provides the pivotal point of the conflict. On the cross, Christ disarms all evil powers and authorities, triumphing over them.
The biblical answer to the acknowledged reality of evil spirits, including jinn, is that cure from their oppressing and possessing of humans is available. It is a power derived from the victory of Jesus’ death on the cross. In the first few centuries AD, all the earliest confessions of Christian faith expressly celebrated Christ’s vanquishing of demons, powers and authorities.
Rick Love records a change he made in presenting the Christian message to Muslims once he had become familiar with the world where they lived. He got a little response from his Muslim friends when he told them that Jesus sent by God to take away their sins. However, when he said Jesus sent by God to destroy the works of the devil – he received their undivided attention.
Malika is a Moroccan believer from a Muslim background who experienced periods of deep depression and diagnosed as a disability called schizophrenia. Over an eight year period, it became clear to local Christian leaders and to Malika that at least part of her condition arose from an occult bondage. As the believers gathered to pray with her, Malika called upon Christ for deliverance. In the ensuing, hour-long encounter, a voice spoke from Malika refusing to leave, claiming that it had been inside her since she was three years old. Finally, the demon expelled and Malika’s expression changed markedly. Following deliverance were acts of renunciation.
In a village in Bangladesh, a seven-year old Muslim girl started waking up from sleep at midnight and going into the jungle as an evil spirit called her. Her parents grew worried about their daughter’s nocturnal wondering at the beckoning of the spirit. After observing it for several nights, they approached a Christian pastor for help. The pastor called some of the church believers to pray for the child and from that time on the spirit silenced and the nightly wandering stopped.
In such proclamation and spiritual warfare lies hope for Muslims who have discovered in their experience that the night, and perhaps the day also, belongs to the jinn.