Protect yourself by knowing more about this, and what to do.
Mark 5:1-20 is the definitive passage on demon possession and its effects in the Bible. Some of the details about demons the Bible reveals in this passage are:
1. Devils want to be near dead human bodies or tombs (vs. 2, 3, 5). 2. They can cause unusual strength (vs. 3-4). 3. They can make a person unreasonable or immune to sensible persuasion (vs. 4). 4. They cause excessive crying (vs. 5). 5. They cause sadistic and masochistic behavior (vs. 5). 6. They have an affinity for heights (vs. 5). 7. They recognize Christ as “the Son of God” and appeal to Him (vs. 6-7). 8. They know they deserve torment and dread it (vs. 6-7). 9. They have names (vs. 9). 10. More than one can possess the same body (vs. 9). 11. They desire to stay in the same geographical region or “country” (vs. 10). territorial. 12. They would rather indwell an animal body than none at all (vs. 12). 13. They can cause animals to kill themselves (vs. 13). 14. They desire to be in a body when it dies (vs. 13). 15. They have a desire for water (vs. 13).
Mark 9:17-29 gives us even more details about devils:
16. They can cause dumbness and deafness (vs. 17, 25). 17. They cause rabid animal like behavior (vs. 18). 18. They can indwell from childhood (vs. 21). 19. They cause suicidal behavior (vs. 22). 20. They resist leaving a body and violently “rent” it while leaving (vs. 26). 21. There are different kinds of devils. Some have more power than others (vs. 29). 22. Some can only be removed by prayer and fasting of believer (vs. 29).
Devils do exist, we know they are unembodied spirits that work in the spiritual realm, they desire to and are able to indwell humans (also animals) and influence their bodies and minds for evil, they vary in power and authority, but all are more powerful than man, and they can be controlled or cast out by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But how much power does a devil have over a Christian? Can devils or demons control a believer as they can a lost person?
The Bible mentions basically two types of satanic or demonic influence or control over men:
1. Satanic or Demonic Oppression, where Satan or devils contact and influence people externally; from the outside in.
2. Demon Indwelling or Possession, where the devils actually dwell inside the person, influencing and manipulating him internally.
The Bible warn believers to “resist the Devil” (James 4:7) and “neither give place to the Devil” (Eph. 4:27) When a born again Christian yields to his old nature and sins, “old man” is still vulnerable to satanic temptation, oppression or even more (Eph. 4:22-32).
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
This verse is quoted as if it removes any threat of satanic or demonic influence over a believer, but look at the passage closely. John is simply reassuring believers they are of God, over comers in Christ, and have the ultimate victory over spirits
Symptoms of Demon Possession
A. Biblical Symptoms
1. Physical: blindness (Matt. 12:22-29), dumbness (Matt.9:32), a crippled woman (Lk. 13:11-16). While we can’t be dogmatic, it may be that some of these symptoms were psychosomatic, meaning that there was no organic or material cause. We also would not rule out the possibility that demons could cause illnesses which would otherwise be diagnosed as being caused by chemical imbalances or from such sources as bacteria or viruses.
2. Supernatural. Mark 1:24. The demon knew Christ’s true identity. The same demon threw his subject to the ground. See also the account in Matt. 8 where the victim had extra-ordinary strength and was made to break chains, etc. In Acts 16, we have an account of a girl with apparent psychic ability.
3. Antisocial behavior. Self-inflicted wounds, nakedness, screaming and attacking others – either verbally or physically.
4. Mental or emotional: depression, mental illness. The boy in Matt.17:15ff. is described in the original text as being moonstruck or literally insane. The symptoms were so like epilepsy some English translations translate it epilepsy. When Jesus commanded the demon to leave, the boy went into convulsions apparently caused by the demon.
5. Generally accepted evil behavior. lying, hate speech, aggression, threats to harm, sadistic,
4 characteristics of demon possession:
1. Knowledge of a language previously unknown by the victim.
2. Knowledge of hidden or secret things.
3. Demonstration of superhuman strength.
4. An aversion to the things of God.
Interpretation of possession – there are two extremes to avoid.
(1) The Materialist or naturalist view says man is just a complicated electro-chemical machine. This is, of course the prevailing view in academia and much of modern psychiatry. This view denies the supernatural or spiritual aspect of man. Denies the spiritual.
(2) The Spiritual view. This view tends to see a spiritual cause behind all problems including physical disease, i.e. sickness is due to sin. Evil in this view is attributable to Satan and his demons. Denies natural causes, or fallible human nature. Example: sickness caused by the devil, rather than poor health.
How People become Possessed
People become demon possessed when they break the First Commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. This is why the sin of idolatry was so serious in the OT(see Deut. 32:17 and in the NT, I Cor. 10:20,21).
The images themselves were nothing; it was the demons behind them. Demon possession is less common in cultures which are pervasively Christian. Where demons (spirits) are worshiped, as in Southeast Asia, demon possession is common. As our own society becomes more pagan, we can expect to see its frequency increase.
Any habitual un-repented sin can open the door to demonic presence.
Any prolonged exposure to demon possessed people, sinful behavior in general, or cursed objects which carry a demonic presence with them can open the door to possession or oppression. Cursed objects can be statues, pictures, or artifacts of ancient gods, astrology books, books of the occult, satanic music, etc.
Ministering to the Demon Possessed
A. Christians do not have to fear demons. Greater is He that is in you…
However, neither should they be taken lightly. One should have a clear understanding of what the Bible teaches about the enemy.
B. From our understanding of Scripture, there are no special gifts operative today such as gifts of deliverance, or gifts of exorcism, or even gifts of discernment (in the supernatural sense). Every believer is a priest and can pray for someone in bondage.
C. When a case of demon-possession is highly suspected, the following is recommended:
1. The person needs to be confronted with the fact that their state is a result of their willful decision to yield to the evil spirits rather than to their
2. The person must be enjoined to repent of the sin of worshipping false gods and turn to Christ for forgiveness and salvation. Note: in some cases, due to the severity of the demonic attack it may be impossible to share the gospel. See the next step.
3. The Prayer of Faith: The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:16. (For the right kind of faith see I Cor. 13:2).
Pray that the afflicted will be convicted of sin (his or hers), righteousness (Christ’s), and judgment (its certainty) (see John 16:5-11).
Pray that the Lord Jesus, to whom all authority is given, will release this person from the bondage of the demon(s).
It is recommended that you not be alone but in the company of other believers who will pray with you.
It is also recommended by some that you pray out loud. Demons cannot read our thoughts.
4. The Scripture is an offensive weapon (Eph. 6:17) Read aloud passages which tell of Satan’s defeat.
D. Do not carry on a dialogue with evil spirits. Instead, insist (in the name of Christ) that they shut up.
E. When the person is freed the emptiness must be filled by Christ or the demons will eventually return, making the person’s state worse than it originally was. Matt. 12:43ff. Make sure the person has accepted Christ, and then follow up for continued support. If there is no follow up, the person may be danger.
F. Evidence of deliverance – the person’s personality and behavior will change, and become softer and gentler, more open. Sometimes, during deliverance, one can feel something like puff of air coming out of the individual.
G. In spite of the seemingly powerful influence a demon can have on someone, the demons are actually very small and powerless by themselves.
H. It is the cooperation of the possessed person and the submission of the mind and will that gives the demon its power. That is why it is so important to get the person to agree that this is what they want, and repent, and reject the demon with their own human will.
Final Observations and Concerns
A. It is very dangerous to develop a doctrine of demonology from experience. See Jn.8:44 . When demons speak they lie. Do not go by what demons say. Go by the scriptures.
B. What about Christians? Can they be demon possessed? There is no doubt that professing Christians can be possessed. Eighty-five percent of the population in the U.S. claims to be Christian. It is difficult to believe that a person’s body can be occupied simultaneously both by the Holy Spirit and a foul spirit.
When I Cor. says our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit it uses the Greek word naos, the same word used for the Holy of Holies in the OT.
There is no warrant from Scripture for the belief that a true, regenerate Christian can be demon possessed. The superficially professing Christian needs to be distinguished from the born again believer.
That a true Christian can be influenced, harrassed, be oppressed, or be in bondage to demons there can be little doubt, otherwise the admonition to put on the whole armor of God would make little sense.
Therefore, one who is not born again, even though they profess Christianity, can be possessed. A born again believer cannot be possessed, but oppressed.
Author: Marianne Tioran
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