Let’s read that passage where Jesus said, “When an unclean spirit goes out of A MAN, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. 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” (NKJV).

This is a parable which has some “symbolic language” to illustrate spiritual truth. The word “house” symbolizes the “unclean spirit’s DWELLING PLACE.” It is NOT a “literal house” for Jesus said, “out of A MAN” and “the last state of THAT MAN is worse than the first” (verses 43 & 45). Scripture teaches us in many places that unclean spirits desire to LIVE INSIDE OF A HUMAN BEING. I would encourage you to read Mark 5:1-13 as a good example of this. The unclean spirit had lived inside “that man” and completely controlled him and when the Lord Jesus said, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit” (verse 8), the spirit begged Jesus to “send us to the swine that we may enter them” (verse 12). This teaches us that the love to possess a body, even if it is a body of a pig! They would prefer a man though so they could control him (or a woman) and torment him. If they aren’t able to dwell in a person, they are “restless” and seek to “rest,” which means they look for someone else to possess, and if possible, they will seek to return to the one they had possessed before. I read nothing in Scripture that would lead me to believe that unclean spirits love to possess an actual house.

Again, the parable in Matthew 12:43-45 employs symbolism and I believe the “unclean spirit” speaks of the “spirit of idolatry” that had possessed the nation of Israel for hundreds of years (the “house” in this case symbolizes the “HOUSE (nation) OF ISRAEL”; see Jeremiah 33:17). Israel had become so idolatrous that it was even practiced in the “house/temple of the Lord” in Jerusalem as we see in 2nd Chronicles 36:14, “Moreover all the leaders of the priests and the people transgressed more and more, according to all the abominations of the nations, and DEFILED THE HOUSE of the LORD which He had consecrated in Jerusalem.” God then judged the nation by allowing Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians to invade Israel, destroy their temple, and take those who remained alive captive to Babylon. While they remained in captivity, they learned to HATE IDOLATRY. The “spirit had gone out of the man” and Israel was free from idolatry. But as the parable teaches us, in a future day the unclean spirit of idolatry will return and dwell there “and the last state of that man is worse than the first.” This refers, no doubt, to the coming Great Tribulation, when the “house of the Lord” in Jerusalem will be defiled once again when an idol will be placed there and men will be forced to worship it (see Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15; Revelation 13:11-15). This will be “the abomination of desolation” that will bring God’s judgment upon the nation once again. It will be infinitely worse than any “unclean spirit of idolatry” that possessed them before, for instead of worshiping idols of gold, silver or wood, they will worship A MAN!  (DO)  (527.3)