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. (Acts 19:13-16)
Note that these seven were sons of a Jew, who was a chief priest, and therefore would have inherited priestly offices from their father.
They seem to have heard that Paul had success casting out evil spirits using the name of Jesus, so they thought they should be able to do the same. The problem was they didn’t have the authority as they thought, and the evil spirit told them so.
One of the things we learn from this story is that spirits on the other side of the veil are compelled to recognize and obey the authoritative acts of a legitimate priesthood holder, but not those of a pretender or usurper. In fact, a usurper actually puts themselves in the power of evil spirits because the deceit they attempt to practice puts them on the side of the great deceiver, Satan. Satan has power over his own.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has priesthood power today, restored by angels, for which I am grateful.
Let’s make good choices and stay firmly on the Lord’s side so that Satan has no power over us.