Why Would An Exorcism in the Name of Jesus Whom Paul Preaches Fail?
Jesus taught us that many who call Him Lord can say they "cast out demons in your name," but Jesus will say "I never knew you." Matt. 7:21-23.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (NIV)
Of course, any casting out of demons is truly by the power of the name of Jesus. For Jesus explained Satan cannot cast out Satan. (Matt 12:26, for it would represent a "house divided.")
So Jesus teaches us that His name is powerful, and will be effective to cast out a demon, even by a person who never truly knew Jesus. Thus, Jesus will do it, binding the demon in the process even if a stranger to the true Jesus uses Jesus' name to cast out demons.
This means for example that if Paul did not know the true Jesus outside Damascus, as I contend (see link), Paul could still cast out demons in Jesus' name - meaning the Jesus of the 12 - and Jesus will do it.
But in Acts is a very interesting account how Jews using Jesus' name could not truly cast out a demon. When we look carefully, we will see that they did not use Jesus' name by itself. Rather they referred to the "Jesus preached by Paul" in their verbal formula. This changed it from a request in Jesus' name alone to a request in the name of the "Jesus preached by Paul." Paul understood that others were preaching a "different Jesus" than Paul. (See our page.) We contend the Jesus seen in the wilderness of Damascus is not the true Jesus. Paul was preaching that Jesus. However, in an exorcism one time performed by Paul in Acts 16:18, Paul was simply using the name of "Jesus Christ," and it was effective, just as Jesus says it would be in Matthew 7:21-23 even if you did not truly know Jesus.
So let's read the account carefully about the Jews who get attacked by the man who had the demon rather than enjoy exorcising that demon:
13 Then 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.
14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
16 And 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.
17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. (Acts 19:13-17 KJV.)
Now compare and contrast this to Acts 16:18 KJV where Paul is able to cast out a demon:
18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.
Thus, notice how Luke unwittingly gives us criteria that will prove, if you read carefully, Paul's Jesus is not the true Jesus Christ:
1. Paul calls on the name of the true Jesus Christ, and the demon comes out. (Acts 16:18.) Jesus says this will happen even for people who do not know the true Jesus if they use Jesus' name. (Matt 7:21-23).
2. But the Jews at Ephesus call upon "the Jesus who Paul preaches," and this is insufficient to overpower the demon, and it turns on them. (Acts 19:13-17.)
Hence, the "Jesus who Paul preaches" is not the powerful name that non-believers can use. Only the name "Jesus Christ" was powerful.
This proves the "Jesus who Paul preaches" was not the true Jesus. How do we know? By the obvious contrast between Acts 16:18 and Acts 19:13. You can see what was the weakened addition used by the Jews at Ephesus -- "Jesus WHO PAUL PREACHES." That Jesus is powerless to cast out demons.
This is another example that proves Luke was an accurate historian. Even though he evidently wanted to help Paul be taken positively, he unwittingly provides significant details which God made sure Luke would not miss. These details, when cross-referenced with Jesus' words in Matt 7:21-23, eviscerate Paul's validity.