What does Luke 11:26 mean?
ESV: Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
NIV: Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.'
NASB: Then it goes and brings along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they come in and live there; and the last condition of that person becomes worse than the first.'
CSB: Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and settle down there. As a result, that person's last condition is worse than the first."
NLT: Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.'
KJV: Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.
NKJV: Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
Verse Commentary:
Jesus finishes His discussion about the relationship between Himself and Satan. Jesus does not work for Satan (Luke 11:14–20). Jesus will conquer Satan and any who belong to him (Luke 11:21–23). Now, Jesus shows that there is no neutral zone. The parable of the restless spirit began with a man who is recently rescued from demonic oppression. He makes the most of his freedom by putting his life and his mind in order. He is as peaceful and well as any human can make himself.

He doesn't realize that this human peace makes him more vulnerable to attack. The demon returns with seven others to possess him, their grip on him stronger than ever. His good place in human society is destroyed.

Jesus explains that those who try not to choose a side by default leave themselves vulnerable to Satan. Satan is the ruler of this world (John 14:30) and all people are born as his "spoil" (Luke 11:22). This is why Jesus has been sending His disciples out to declare the kingdom of God (Luke 9:1–6; 10:1–11). We must intentionally choose Jesus to really be free and live in legitimate peace.

It's tempting to read too much into this parable. Scripture is not saying that someone who has received freedom from sin and oppression and who does not follow Jesus will inevitably be demonized again, or that they are destined for hell. This does parallel passages on apostates: those who have "tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away" (Hebrews 6:5–6). But God is more powerful than Satan and all his demons. The man in the parable is not condemned unless he dies having never asked Jesus for rescue from Satan and his sins. Until then, repentance is always an option (1 John 1:9).
Verse Context:
Luke 11:24–26 continues the extended section (Luke 11:14–54) about the conflict between the Jewish religious leaders and Jesus. Jesus has decisively shown that He and Satan are on two vastly different sides (Luke 11:14–23). Here, He reveals that there is no middle ground between them. Either people choose Jesus or they stay under Satan's authority. Next, Jesus explains that not even His closest family members are exempt from this dichotomy (Luke 11:27–28). Matthew 12:43–45 also records this parable.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus teaches the disciples how to pray and explains God's intent to give "good" to those who ask. He then exorcizes a demon and refutes the claim that His power is satanic. Jesus explains that unreasonable skeptics will only see the "sign of Jonah." He then criticizes the superficial legalism of the Pharisees. In response, they plot against Him.
Chapter Context:
In what some scholars refer to as "The Travelogue to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51—19:27), Jesus prepares His disciples for His crucifixion and resurrection and the establishment of the church. The description begins with Christ teaching the disciples how to spread the news of the kingdom of God and reaffirming how they will be blessed, culminating in the Lord's Prayer (Luke 9:51—11:13). Luke 11 finishes with accounts of leaders who reject Jesus. The remainder of the travelogue gives a pattern of teaching on the kingdom of God, miracles, and explanations of salvation. Then Jesus enters Jerusalem to face the cross.
Book Summary:
Luke was a traveling companion of Paul (Acts 16:10) and a physician (Colossians 4:14). Unlike Matthew, Mark, and John, Luke writes his gospel as an historian, rather than as a first-hand eyewitness. His extensive writings also include the book of Acts (Acts 1:1–3). These are deliberately organized, carefully researched accounts of those events. The gospel of Luke focuses on the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Luke's Gentile perspective presents Christ as a Savior for all people, offering both forgiveness and direction to those who follow Him.
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