Recently an image and it's description prompted a study of a particular Scripture verse and passage. Here is the image and description.

The medieval village of Craco is part of an incredible region with undulating shapes and vast farmland. Since the sudden abandonment of the village, rumor has it that the ruins have become inhabited by ghosts.

With the setting of the village residing in an arid landscape and the mention of the habitation of spirits, The Holy Spirit dropped Matthew 12:43-45 into my mind and spirit.
  • "When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 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 man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation."
This section of Scripture is found in the context of Jesus replying to the Pharisees and teachers of the law about the request for a miraculous sign. He gives none, but speaks about the Sign of Jonah and how "the men of Nineveh" and the "Queen of the South" will witness at the judgment how this generation missed IT, missed HIM, missed Jesus. In addition, Jesus says the condition of this generation will get worse. Generation could mean a set number of years, but the original word in the Greek here ghenehah meaning age or period of time seems to include the upcoming years ahead for the Pharisees and the distant years to come.

When reading on in the passage I get a glimpse of how bad things are to get from the time Jesus utters these words forward. The key for me to understand this is to get a grasp on what it means for the evil spirit to return to the house it left and find the house "unoccupied, swept clean, and put in order".  In other translations, the versions interpret the spirit as returning to the same man's body it left.  But how can an evil spirit return to a body that is "swept clean"?  How can it influence a body that is "put in order"? Maybe an evil spirit can re-possess a spiritually or mentally "unoccupied" body, but that is just one out of three.

When researching the original Greek for each of these words they mean what they say and seem to apply more to a structure than the body of a person.  "Empty" (KJV), skholadzo, means to be vacant of a house; to take a holiday or vacation.  "Swept" (KJV), saroo, means to sweep.  "Garnished" (KJV), means to put into order, decorate or adorn.  I'll leave room for someone to spiritualize or allegorize these words and this image, BUT my take is that this is a literal house which an evil spirit is returning to that is empty (unoccupied), swept (swept clean), and garnished (put in order).

Next, toward the end, Jesus says - "And the final condition of that man is worse than the first." Why is his condition worsened? Because after the evil spirit arrived and found the house unoccupied, swept, and in order, it needed seven other spirits more wicked than itself to go in and live there with it. A body is not needed for the condition to be worse. This guys house now has eight evil spirits residing within - that is bad enough! 

With "empty" meaning to leave as in going on a vacation, the implication is that the owner will return to his house. The bad news in this situation is that he may have been previously delivered bodily from an evil spirit, but now an evil spirit awaits with seven other worse house guests.

Whether you take the meaning of "the house" to be the man's body or a literal structure of dwelling, both need Christ's lordship. Don't wait like Hezekiah upon his deathbed hearing the Lord, through Isaiah say, "get your house or affairs in order" (2 kings 20:1). Right now the atmosphere of everyone's house or home, especially the Believer in Christ, needs to be saturated in the love and care of The Holy Spirit, notably in these unloving and uncaring times. The body of the Believer - mind, body, and spirit - also needs to have the dynamite power of The Holy Spirit living within, So That in the trying years ahead he/she will be lead, directed, and guided into all truth. Protect yourself from having and being The Arid House.