Ephesians 4:14-15 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.
I was first introduced to the teaching that a Christian could be demon possessed in the early 90's. A book by Neal Anderson called the Bondage Breakers had recently been released and several people I knew were excited about it. It seemed to make sense of many of the problems they were having in their lives spiritually. Due to their influence, I accepted the idea that Christians could incrementally become demon possessed, but abandoned it a few years later as I found that I had become fearful. Looking for demonic attack everywhere. I haven't read this book. So this is not a critical examination of the Bondage Breakers or Neal Anderson. However, I have seen this book promoted by many of the people that subscribe to this dangerous and erroneous doctrine.
At the time I was in my twenties and was at a stage in my Christian walk where my emotions were my primary guide and was often mistaken for the leading of the Holy Spirit. As a result, I was very susceptible to every wind of doctrine.
Now 20 years later, my life in the Church has shaped and tempered me. My relationship with God has grown deeper and more stable. I have learned the hard way to carry God's Word with me, hidden in my heart, like a concealed weapon. I tend to be more skeptical and I filter all my experiences through God's Word. As a rule, I avoid extreme doctrines.
It is with this understanding that I tackle the subject of Christian Demon possession. An extreme doctrine that undermines our faith in God's authority by calling into question his ability to save and keep us. It is my hope to spare you the pain I have experienced. It is no fun being batted around by every wind of doctrine. Sound teachings, will bring you balance, stability, and life everlasting. Both in this existence and the next.
When viewing this subject matter, It is import to remember just how much God loves us, and how committed He is to our relationship with Him as his children. Like a good father, he is our protector and our guide. He is determined to see us succeed in our Christian walk. To conform us into the image of Christ. Our daily focus should not be on the Devil, but on the love of God. Trusting Him to keep us safe from satanic possession or oppression. Never the less, there is value in understanding what the bible says about Satan. To understand his methods and his capabilities so that we can guard against his diabolical schemes
I broach the subject of demonic influence acutely aware that, most often, it falls into the realm of superstition and fantasy. That the explanation for behavior that defies normal human patterns and physical abilities are a matter of faith. Therefore it is subjective to ones personal beliefs. It is the sort of thing that calls into questions ones sanity. Caution must be our watch word. What we believe, defines us. When it comes to the spiritual realm this is especially true.
The psychiatric fields have made a great deal of progress over the past hundred years. They have helped us distinguish between the physical and the spiritual. Even so, there are those areas that seem to over lap. Some gray areas where demonic activity manifests itself through the appearance of mental illness. Epilepsy, Multiple Personality Disorders, and Tourette syndrome are a few neurological symptoms that often accompany genuine cases of demonic possession. So as you can imagine the difficulty is knowing when it is simply the frailty of the human body or if it is something more.
While doing research on this subject, I found an article by WorldNetDaily
Called "Real-life case of demon possession documented."
It is an article about a patient of Dr. Richard E. Gallagher, a board-certified psychiatrist and associate professor of clinical psychiatry at New York Medical College.
Dr. Gallagher documented his experience with an American woman whom he called Julia who levitated, demonstrated paranormal psychic powers and spoke foreign languages unknown to her. His only explanation for the things he witnessed was demonic possession. He published the case in the February 2008 issue of the New Oxford Review.
According to Dr Gallagher, Julia did not respond to normal psychiatric treatments. She had a long history of involvement with Satanic groups, was observed by a team of priests, deacons, several lay assistants, psychiatrists, nuns, some of whom also had medical and psychiatric training, levitating six inches off the ground while objects flew off shelves in the same room.
"Periodically, in our presence, Julia would go into a trance state of a recurring nature," writes Gallagher. "Mentally troubled individuals often 'dissociate,' but Julia's trances were accompanied by an unusual phenomenon: Out of her mouth would come various threats, taunts and scatological language, phrases like 'Leave her alone, you idiot,' 'She's ours,' 'Leave, you imbecile priest,' or just 'Leave.' The tone of this voice differed markedly from Julia's own, and it varied, sometimes sounding guttural and vaguely masculine, at other points high pitched. Most of her comments during these 'trances,' or at the subsequent exorcisms, displayed a marked contempt for anything religious or sacred."
WorldNetDaily reported that the purpose of Gallagher's paper is to "document a contemporary and clear-cut case of demonic possession." Dr Gallagher explains that even those who doubt such a phenomenon exists may find this case "rather persuasive."
While Dr. Gallagher's case was fairly believable, there is mountains of information out there that, quite frankly, sounds made up. One man would put feathers between the toes of those possessed while he removed the demon. Believing it aided in his sensitivity somehow. Most mixed a little scripture with a whole lot of imagination.
With this in mind, I wish to establish what I believe to be a sound doctrinal guide lines. Specifically, as it relates to the saved believer. The bible gives us a great deal of information about the demonic realm. In spite of all the myths that surround this subject, I believe I can present a biblical picture that is both accurate and practical.
The bible gives us two distinct pictures of demonic influence. Two ways that demons interact with humanity. One is through possession or the indwelling and ownership of the individual's will and body or oppression, the troubling of the mind and emotions.
Possession can be found in numerous places in the new testament. One of the more vivid accounts is the Man who lived in the tombs or better known as the Demoniac (Mark 5:1-18 and Luke 8:26-38.) Hollywood loves to depict this particular type of demonic influence in horror films. It is the most serious and intrusive of the two. Possession involves the entering of a demon, or demons, into an individual. Taking control of his mind, will, and emotions to some degree. Robbing him of his free will. Typically, there is some sort of supernatural activity involved. Super strength, fortune telling or prophesying, any number of things have been attributed to this affliction.
Mark 5:1-18 is the perfect illustration. Here we see a man who is out of control. Who no longer has a free will.
Mark 5:2-5 And when He(Jesus) had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.
These verses indicate, with verse 7, that the man had supernatural strength and supernatural knowledge. For he was able to brake chains, brake shackles into pieces and knew Jesus' true identity. This is important because it Makes clear that his condition was more then insanity or mental illness. Supernatural activity is one of the ear marks of a genuine case of Demonic habitation.
Next, they show us a man who regularly exhibited extreme violent behavior and was a danger to the greater community for they had often tried to restrain him. He lived like a wild beast roaming the tombs and mountains and could not be tamed. His dwelling was in the tombs, that desolate place of death. Indicating a man with no conscience, the loss of his sanity, and self control. A picture of complete depravity.
The saddest, most heart wrenching detail however, is the emotional condition in which we find him. He was exceedingly miserable and clearly in despair. He was seen crying out in anguish and cutting himself with stones. Calling for death to find him. In many of the credible accounts I read the demonized person does not live in a constant state of possession, most often, they are in their right minds. While sain they live in fear, torment, and self hate. Dreading the next time they loose control. Is there any question as to why this man was crying out? Demon possession is a constant state of torment, misery and despair. The one who is possessed is a pitiable creature indeed
According to Mark 5:8, This particular demoniac is in the clutches of a legion of demons. Desperate and helpless. Just like sin, one often leads to another. This speaks to the degree or depth of his bondage. This man was literally overwhelmed by the Devil.
Mark 5: 6 When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him.
I find it very interesting that this man worshiped Jesus while he was still possessed. His condition had not changed he was just as ruined, lost, and in bondage at this moment on his knees, as he was before he came to Jesus.
Mark 5: 7-10 And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.”For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country.
Here, we realize that it is not the man who is worshiping or addressing Jesus but the demons. Mark 5: 6-10 are important because these verses illustrate the man's loss of control over his tongue indicating demonic control over his mind and body, that he no longer has a free will. They show Jesus' authority over the demon or demons. Also, these verses begs the question, if a demon, who is not saved and has no hope of salvation, or any intention of living for God, will worship; is it not possible for humans to do the same? Many a person postures themselves before Jesus every Sunday morning and Wednesday evening in worship recognizing, and even acknowledging by faith, his true identity, yet they haven't made Him the Lord of their life. They fail to overcome their sin and remain enslaved to their sinful nature. In truth, they are not saved. They are slaves to their sin just as surely as this man is enslaved by his demons.
Romans 6:12-14 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Salvation Is Deliverance
Salvation Is Deliverance
We are told here in Mark 5:8-13 that Jesus commanded the demons to go into a large herd of pigs. The demons obeyed and some 2000 pigs ran to their death into the sea. Giving us an indication as to how many demons where binding this man to their will.
Mark 5:15 Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid.
It is important to notice that in every account documented for us in the New Testament, we see that when a demon-possessed person comes to Christ he is delivered instantly and completely, on the spot. In every case, deliverance is salvation. Jesus never left a person with a demon partially in control. If Jesus sets you free you are free indeed (John 8:36)
Mark 5:18 -20 And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.
This is a perfect ending to our story. The man, now in his right mind, wants to follow and be with Jesus. A true Christ follower. This is a wonderful picture of salvation. Jesus tells the man to go and tell everyone what God had accomplished in his life. Who can argue with the testimony of a man, once in bondage, who is now set free.
But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. (Luke 7:47)
Although I have never been demon possessed, I have been in bondage to my sin. Jesus said that anyone who sins is a slave to sin (John 8:34) Proverbs tells us that the cords of sin ensnare us like a trap (Prov 5:22). Paul tells us not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies lest we obey its evil desires. (Romans 6:12) The reality is that all saved believers have been delivered from their body of sin. We, like the demoniac, are helpless without Christ Jesus to save our soul from Hell. An ear mark of salvation is a grateful heart toward our savior. When we come to grips with who we are without Jesus, how much he has forgiven, and how enslaved we are to our flesh and in some cases demons as well. We, like the demoniac, are overjoyed and our love for Him deepens. Shining a light on Jesus' words "If you love me you will obey my commands" (John 14:15)
It is my position that a Christian, A saved believer can't be demon possessed because salvation and deliverance is one and the same. Those who come to Christ are delivered on the spot and are free indeed.
Whether it is from a demon or simply a pack of cigarettes. Jesus is our salvation and our deliverer. Satan no longer has authority over your life. You are now a child of God and He protects his children. Your flesh no longer has mastery over you for you have been set free.
How can one say that Jesus is the Lord of his life, if he is serving himself or the Devil. How can one be free indeed if he is still in bondage? The road to demonic possession starts by indulging in depravity without remorse or self-control. By chasing after the sinful desires of the flesh. The more we sin the easier it becomes. A severing of the conscience takes place. In truth, all humanity are enslaved by our sinful nature long before we are enslaved by the Devil. Possession is a process. One who is possessed by a demon has been on this road for a long time and has, at some point, consciously submitted their will to the Devil.
We as saved believers are no longer slaves to sin but slaves to Righteousness.
Romans 6:17-23 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things righteousness for holiness is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Dear friend, It is my sincerest hope that we all will submit ourselves to God 's will. If we are to be possessed by anything or any one, let it be His Holy Spirit. For He loves us, and cares for us. As we yield ourselves to His way, He guides us down a road that leads to heaven's doorstep. While on this path we are free from demonic oppression and fear. For we have an intimate relationship with God and are, secure in his arms of Love.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
The Wiles Of The Devil
Ephesians 6:10- 11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
The other type of demonic Influence is seen but not so easy to label. It is seen vividly in 4 places. In the Garden in the form of a serpent (Gen 3) in the life of Saul, the first king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:1). In the story of Job (Job 1), and in the temptations of Christ. (Mat 4:1-11) These accounts show Satan using outside means or life's circumstances to effect human behavior. This type of demonic interaction differs from the demonic possession in that we don't see a demon entering the person's body and toppling the mind. Effectively robbing the individual of his free will.
In Gen 3, we see a representation of Satan in the form of a serpent. Recorded for us is a dialog between Eve and the serpent that reveals Satan's primary weapon. Satan successfully manipulates Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. Effectively separating humanity from the presence of God.
I like this example because it shows us that Satan has an agenda of his own revealing his free will. That his agenda is the demise of the kingdom of God. That he uses manipulation as his primary tool. He used Eve's pride, her sense of justice, and her ignorance against her to accomplish his agenda. He twisted God's words in such a way as to cast doubt on God's motives providing Eve with justification for selfish ambition. I find it interesting that all he did was manipulate. It would appear that both Adam and Eve had to willfully rebel against God. He at no time entered Eve's body or mind and forced her to eat the forbidden fruit. We know that he has this capability, it is very telling that he didn't posses Eve and force her to sin. In my mind, possession would have been the fastest and surest way to accomplish his evil plot. Instead he chose the more risky route. Trickery, cunning craftiness and deceitful plotting. This demonstrates that Satan was limited in what he could do. Clearly it had to be her own desire. This speaks to the importance of our free will. If he had forced her she would have been sinless. For then she could have said the Devil made me do it.
1st Samuel 16:14"But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him."
The word "troubled " is giving us a clue into the effect the evil spirit was having on Saul's emotions and thoughts. It could mean that he was plagued by any number of emotional conditions. However, an examination of the word troubled in Hebrew, combined with the other things we know of his life, tells us that fear and paranoia were his primary emotions. Here again, Satan used Saul's fears against him. I like this example because it gives meaning to 2nd Corinthians 10:3-6 proving that the battle is in the mind.
2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.
Further, 1st Samuel states that the evil spirit was from the Lord, showing God's authority over it and that God had some purpose in allowing it to trouble Saul. Also, the word troubled gives us an accurate word to use to label this particular kind of interaction. It shows us the effect this type of demonic influence has on both the saved, and the unsaved, in varying degrees ranging from the severe to the mild.
In Job's case (Job 1:1-22 and Job 2:1-10), Satan used a whole gamut of personal disasters to arouse feelings of grief, self pity, anger, fear, and betrayal. His goal was to manipulate Job's emotions to encourage him to curse God. I like this example because it shows that God uses Satan's Agenda to accomplish His will. That He puts limits on what Satan can do. It demonstrates the length's that Satan will go to and the brutality in which he is willing to use to accomplish his goals. There can be no doubt that He would, if left unchecked, destroy all mankind. As with Eve, it is clear that Satan had no power over Job's tongue or mind. Proving that Job retained his free will.
In the case of Christ's temptations (Mat 4:1-11)Satan sought to trick Jesus into sinning. Each temptation was designed to arouse feelings of self importance, to fool him into acting in a prideful way by proving that he was the son of God. Causing Christ to sin would disqualify him as our savior.
As with Job and Eve, at no time do we see Satan taking Christ's free will, forcing him to sin. If ever there was a time in which Satan would have done so, it was here. Illustrating once again that God placed boundaries around him. Whether he likes it or not, he clearly was unable to step outside these boundaries.
Notice that once again Satan used reason and his knowledge of Jesus's surroundings to attempt to manipulate him. However, Christ recognized the ploy and did not yield to the temptations of his flesh. Illustrating effective spiritual warfare. Jesus took captive every thought and used God's Word to rule his personal ambitions and actions. Satan miscalculated, Jesus was submitted to God, not the desires of his flesh.