What’s With Demons? (ATP)
This week’s question was, “I recently learned that being demon-possessed and having a demon in you is not the same thing. What is the difference and how does it affect the human body?”
First, to clear things up to begin with, I believe what you’ve been hearing is that there’s a difference between being oppressed by demons and being possessed by demons. Yes, according to the Word, we see a difference between these two things. I’m instantly drawn to a few places in scripture that I believe will answer this question.
First, let’s look at Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” This scripture lets us know that there is a realm that is unseen, a supernatural realm, and in that realm it isn’t just God and His angels, but there’s also the enemy and spiritual hosts wickedness, aka demons. Many people are influenced by this spiritual realm whether they know it or not. In fact, if we dive deeper into this scripture we’d actually understand that the devil has his own army of ranking officials and those who will carry out their (evil) duties. But for the sake of time, we need to understand that the enemy is real and he’s constantly trying to find avenues to influence and destroy the lives of mankind, especially working overtime on Christians in order to steal, kill and destroy.
Let’s look at demonic oppression, because this is mainly what you’ll see on a day to day basis while on this earth. Look at Acts 10:38, “…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” We know that demonic oppression can bring sickness on the human body. We also know that Jesus came with authority to break that bondage and heal those who were oppressed of the devil, and that He left us with that same authority. (Matt. 8:18-20)
Another example of demonic oppression is the thorn in Paul’s flesh. 2 Corinthians 12:7, “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.” Who was that messenger of Satan? He was sent from those armies we saw back in Ephesians 6. What was that thorn? It was harassment from the enemy. It was not sickness or disease but it was obstacles in his way. Look at, 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.” These are examples of demonic oppression of the spiritual realm that becomes physically tangible in this natural realm. This is why the Word reminds us that it’s not people we’re dealing with, but the influence of the enemy and his helpers and this is why the Word tells us to fight the good fight of faith, with the protection of the Word of God.
Let’s talk next about demonic possession. Acts 16:16-18, “Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. If we’re not careful to study this out, we’ll miss what’s happening here. This woman was possessed by what we would called a psychic spirit. She was demon possessed, which manifested in her being able to tell future events. The devil always acts as a counterfeit, and with this demon-possessed medium, the purpose was that the people would conclude that these men of God were doing miracles by the devil, discounting the gospel. The enemy will use demons to possess and influence people to do things in order to make a mockery of the message of Christ.
Let’s look next at another example of demonic possession. Mark 5:2-5, “And when He 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.” This is full on, very evident demon possession. Notice this man was unclean, living in a cave, alienated from others, and he had superhuman strength enough to pull apart his chains. Notice also that no natural means could tame him and that he was extremely tormented to the point of crying out and even cutting himself or self mutilation.
The idea of demon possession can tend to produce fear in people but let’s keep in mind here that by the authority of the name of Jesus, these demons were cast out of these two demon possessed individuals we’ve read about. As Christians, as long as we abide in Him and His Word, we don’t need to worry about being possessed of a demon. We also don’t need to be overly demon conscious, just soberly demon conscious. As Christians we have authority! Luke 10:19, “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Endeavor to learn how to use your authority and allow the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to influence your steps.