What does Matthew 12:45 mean?
ESV: Then it goes and brings with it 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. So also will it be with this evil generation.”
NIV: Then it goes and takes with it 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. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.'
NASB: Then it goes and brings along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they come in and live there; and the last condition of that person becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.'
CSB: Then it goes and brings with it 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. That's how it will also be with this evil generation."
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. That will be the experience of this evil generation.'
KJV: Then goeth he, and taketh with himself 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. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
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. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.”
Verse Commentary:
The New Testament unmistakably presents Satan and demons as literally real beings. They are active in the world and do damage to people by taking some level of control over them. Jesus has pictured a scenario where a demon leaves a person behind only to return later and find this "house" cleaned up and put in order. In other words, the person is back to being in his or her right mind and living an orderly life (Matthew 12:43–44).

Now Jesus completes the picture. The demon has found this person to be a good home again, with nothing to protect him or her. The "house" is cleaned, but it's still unoccupied and undefended. Instead of simply moving in, the demon goes out and finds seven other demons—all more evil than it is—to join it in occupying this person. Jesus says the condition of the person is far worse than it was when oppressed by the demon the first time.

Finally, Jesus reveals the point of His story. This "evil" generation of Israelites are in danger of experiencing something similar. Jesus has demonstrated His easy authority over the power of Satan and other demons. He casts them out with a word and has freed many people from demon oppression. Still, this generation of Israelites, as a group, have rejected His teaching and authority over them. They will not receive Him as the Messiah. Jesus warns of what will happen as a result. It's not clear if the warning is of greater demonization in Israel or about what this generation will experience on the day of judgment in the end times.
Verse Context:
Matthew 12:43–45 contains a warning from Jesus for "this evil generation" of Israelites, who have failed to receive Him as Messiah. Jesus describes a demon that has left a person but can find no other home. The demon returns to the person and finds its old "house," the formerly possessed person, cleaned up and orderly. The demon invites seven even more wicked demons to join it in re-occupying the person, making them worse off than before being freed. Jesus uses this analogy to warn against a similar fate for the people of His era.
Chapter Summary:
Matthew 12 features confrontations between the Pharisees and Jesus over several issues. Among these are working on the Sabbath, healing on the Sabbath, and the source of His power to cast out demons. Jesus counters each argument and rebukes the Pharisees sharply for their obstinate unbelief. He even notes that those who maliciously ascribe His miracles to demons are unforgivable. He warns them, and the rest of their current generation, about the judgment to come. Jesus calls the Pharisees a brood of vipers and rejects their demand for another miracle. All they'll be promised is the sign of Jonah. The Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days. Jesus also states that all who do His Father's will are His family.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 11 depicted Jesus preaching and teaching after sending out His chosen disciples in pairs in chapter 10. Chapter 12 immediately picks up with more confrontation with the Pharisees. Jesus responds to those criticisms and rebukes their evil hearts as the source of their evil words. In the following chapter, Matthew will shift His focus onto Jesus' parables.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
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