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Bible verses about Demon Possession
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Four of Christ's thirty-three miracles concern the casting out of demons. Satan always tries to counter God's work, and thus the years surrounding Jesus' ministry saw a marked rise in demonic activity. Scripture shows that exposing and casting out Satan and his demons is the responsibility of Christ (I John 3:8).

Evidently, some demons crave embodiment, and so demon possession consists of one or more demons inhabiting a human or even animals (Luke 8:32-33). Mental diseases, with their erratic or even insane behavior, along with physical diseases, often accompany demon-possession, for demons perversely desire to destroy even the bodies they inhabit.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcism in the Synagogue


 

Are the Devil and his demons real? The gospels leave no doubt that Jesus believed that the Devil and demons exist and that they have evil influence in and over human beings. Knowing that these powers of darkness are dreadful forces of evil, Jesus spoke of them with a serious intensity and authority. He also did not hesitate to declare openly the evil manifested in people's minds and bodies as coming from the source of evil, Satan the Devil.

Demons are angelic beings who rebelled with Satan and were expelled from heaven with their master. According to examples in Scripture, the Devil's power is exercised in a three-fold way: 1) directly by himself, 2) by the demons who are subject to him, and 3) through human beings whom he influences and/or possesses. People who have rejected God's authority and love are in subjection to the supernatural power of Satan and his wicked way of life. A person's personality and will is taken over by these deceiving, lawless spirit invaders.

When possessed, the human body and mind are intruded by a spiritual parasite, causing conflict and disharmony. Like hypnosis, demonic possession cannot take place without a willing subject. Satan entered Judas because the man opened up an entranceway for the Devil by betraying the Son of God. Judas first entertained a thought from Satan before Satan himself entered, as the apostle John explains, "The devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot . . ." (John 13:2, 27; see I Samuel 16:14; I Kings 22:21-23).

When a person loses control of himself, Satan can take control, and evil spirits have the opportunity to enter suddenly. In addition, immorality often precedes demon possession. When a person gives in to his sensual desires or to hatred and greed, he sets himself up for possible possession, or at the very least, strong demonic influence.

Most people are at least somewhat demon-influenced through Satan's broadcast of his evil attitudes and are enticed to sin (see Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 12:9). A quick glance at society reveals a perverse influence to pursue wickedness. An evil thought is introduced into the human mind, and human desire is motivated to pursue the yearning: "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death" (James 1:14-15). Demon influence begins with subtle suggestion and enticement, but it can later lead to a person's becoming demon possessed, captive to the Devil, and as his slave, sinking into deep degradation.

Evil spirits can take possession of human bodies. People sometimes invite demons to do so, and they become intimately acquainted, even friendly, with them. They are then called "familiar spirits" (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27). God instructs ancient Israel to put to death anyone who intentionally invites a demon to enter him. Once possession takes effect, sensuality and violence become more evident, as the person finds it difficult to resist the demon's will. Physical, mental, and spiritual disorders increase exponentially during possession, and the confusion, anguish, and mental filth caused by unclean spirits can result in insanity.

Not all disorders are the result of demonic possession (Matthew 4:23, 24; 10:1; 11:5). However, insanity, epilepsy, blindness, fevers, and various mental illnesses are frequent accompaniments and symptoms of demon possession (Matthew 12:22; 9:32; Mark 9:17, 25; Luke 11:14-16). Even so, Scripture does not necessarily identify these disorders with demon possession, though they may have been aggravated by these dark powers.

In the case of the demon-possessed man in Matthew 8, he obviously suffered from some sort of insanity. Demon possession is not just another name for madness, as they are clearly distinguished in Matthew 4:24. The Gadarene demoniac's disease was the result of his own wickedness, and the extreme demonic element added to his madness.

The apostle Paul mentions that the Gentiles sacrificed to demons (I Corinthians 10:20; also Leviticus 17:7; II Chronicles 11:15; Psalm 106:37), and demon possession is still an undoubted fact in many areas of the world. The Devil, as the prince of the power of the air, regulates the present way of life of the world, working in children of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). People yield themselves to his authority, and as a result, they become slaves to this evil power (Romans 6:16).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Two Demon-Possessed Men Healed (Part One)


 

1 Kings 22:19-23   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Did the false prophets see a ghost? Did something cause them to have a dream? There is no indication of that. Because so many of them were involved—four hundred—it must be that the demon somehow stirred up the men's spirit and put the thoughts into their minds, making them think it was theirs. When they all came up with the same answer, surely it must have been right. But, alas, they were unanimously wrong, being led by a lying spirit.

We can see by this example that spirit beings can and probably are influencing mankind. It is not enough for us just to understand that they are capable of it. God's Word shows that they are actively doing it—good ones and bad ones—and some people are so unaware of what is going on that they give themselves over to the bad ones and become possessed—the slave, the tool, of a spirit being that will use them for its own ends. We are beginning to see established proof that Satan manipulates our minds.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 3)


 

Matthew 8:28-34   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

In this miracle, (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; and Luke 8:26-39), Jesus Christ commands unclean spirits to come out of two men. Demons must obey Jesus even if people do not. Even so, the demons do not obey Christ's command immediately. They object, unwilling to abandon their victims. Christ could have compelled them to come out of the men immediately if He had wished, but the men may not have been able to survive the exorcism on their own strength.

In a separate incident, Mark 9:26-27 informs us, "Then the spirit [one demon] cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, 'He is dead.' But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose." Here, the exorcism had induced convulsions in the man as a single demon left him. Both exorcisms were under Christ's control; He used His great power but with wise, gentle, and cautious concern.

Jesus addresses the men as if they are possessed by a single spirit, but the demon's answer, giving his name as "Legion," shows that he led a company of demons. Mark records that the swine that the demons entered after their exorcism numbered about two thousand (Mark 5:13). If this was the number inhabiting the two men—each with its own personality, all under the power of one will, animated by one purpose and united in operation—then the plight of the two men must have been horrific in the extreme.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Two Demon-Possessed Men Healed (Part Three)


 

Matthew 8:31   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Christ does not send the demons into the swine but merely out of the men, nor does He drive the pigs into the sea through a divine miracle, but the demons themselves do it by divine consent.

There may be an element of judgment here on the owners for raising the swine as food (Leviticus 11:4-8). While Jews do not eat pork, Roman soldiers did, and providing unclean meat for others does not seem to have bothered the Jews' consciences. Thus, the destruction of their swine is deserved punishment for violating God's law.

The Bible tells us of demonic powers entering into only two species of animals: the serpent—a symbol of deception and shrewdness—and the swine—a symbol of uncleanness. What more appropriate place is there for unclean spirits to be contained than in swine?

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Two Demon-Possessed Men Healed (Part Three)


 

Matthew 8:32   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

There is great power in the Word of God (Proverbs 30:5). It can transform a person dramatically (Luke 4:4), working mightily in those who have faith in Christ (I Thessalonians 2:13). No one could have as big a problem as these men possessed by a legion of demons. Nevertheless, it took only a few words from Jesus to deliver them. In Luke 4:35-36 is another example of Jesus using the power of God's Word to exorcise demons:

But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet, and come out of him!" And when the demon had thrown him in their midst, it came out of him and did not hurt him. Then they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, "What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out."

The world tried many ways to restrain and control the two demon-possessed men in Gadara, but the only effective solution was God's power through Christ. Man's idea was to start on the outside with chains and other bonds, but Jesus began on the inside with the Word of God, which is not chained (II Timothy 2:9). Using their various "programs" to deal with evil, people only treat the symptoms. The best they can do is whitewash the outside. Christ corrects the problem at the source. So Christ is the solution, the remedy for the sin. He cleans out the inside, which is the best way to correct the problem on the outside.

When we study and accept the Word of God, we draw closer to the One who can give us access to the knowledge and power to conquer our spiritual enemy. Hebrews 4:12-13 reads:

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

The day of accountability is coming—at Christ's return with power and authority—when all people, as well as Satan and all his demons, will be forced to submit to the Word of God (Revelation 19:11-16).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Two-Demon Possessed Men Healed (Part Two)


 

Matthew 17:15   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Christ interrupts the father's appeal to ask about the duration of the child's affliction. The man answers, "From childhood," that is, since he had been a small child. The boy was still young, as the Greek word translated "child" in Mark 9:24 implies, but the sense is that the affliction had lasted many months or years. Sin, too, has been with us since we were children (Psalm 58:3; Isaiah 48:8).

The boy's illness—"epilepsy" (NKJV) or "lunatic" (KJV)—was then regarded as a disgraceful disease. Some thought it fell on those who had sinned against the moon (luna, "moon") and changes in the moon were said to govern the period of epileptic seizures. Epilepsy was also connected with demon possession, but we know today that being epileptic does not mean that a person is demon possessed.

The boy's convulsions are sudden and last an incredibly long time, for the evil spirit "departs from him with great difficulty." The demon's frenzy becomes more violent in Jesus' presence: The boy falls on the ground, rolls around, and foams at the mouth. Many who have given themselves to sin could be said to act crazily and irrationally. They may be highly respected people in society, but they do not act sensibly when it comes to life's most important matters. They have no interest in salvation, God's truth, or His Kingdom, justifying all sorts of evil. Their choices to do self-damaging acts shows the craziness of their thinking.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Young Boy (Part Two)


 

Matthew 17:18   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The gospels record the boy's horrible symptoms: severe convulsions, foaming at the mouth, grinding of the teeth, and general rigidity of body. Due to sudden attacks, he often fell into the fire and into the water. Another overwhelming symptom was deafness and dumbness. He could utter only inarticulate sounds, though he possessed all the necessary organs for speech. All of his problems came as the result of his miserable, possessed condition, and they left him so emaciated that all life seemed to be draining from him.

Yet, nothing is too hard for Jesus Christ to conquer, no matter how powerful a demon seems to be. After rebuking the faithless and perverse generation, including the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus rebukes the demon, and it departs from him (Matthew 17:18; Mark 9:20, 25-27; Luke 9:42; see Zechariah 3:2). The demon dares not disobey Jesus' order not to re-enter because it recognizes His authority over it.

From then on, the boy is free of the demon. Jesus takes the boy's hand and delivers him to his father, bringing calmness, peace, and order in place of the disruption that preceded the exorcism. His spiritual power to heal had overcome the demonic force that caused the boy to suffer.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Young Boy (Part One)


 

Mark 1:23   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

The demon invaded the man's mind, overriding his conscious personality, which allowed the unclean spirit to speak through him (Mark 5:7). Knowing that God's Son would come in the flesh to save humanity, and that God is raising firstfruits for His Family among humanity, the demons resentfully lust for victory over people. Though God mercifully limits demon possession, He often allows demons to influence people heavily, as seen in the unclean spiritual condition of this society. Thus, Christians must beware of worldly relationships (II Corinthians 6:15-18).

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcism in the Synagogue


 

Mark 1:25-28   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Jesus commands the demon to leave, giving it a short, direct order backed by God's authority. He does not rebuke the man, because the unclean spirit had possessed him, yet each of us must resist the influence of demons (I Peter 5:8-9). Jesus tells the demon, "Hold your peace," which actually means "be gagged or muzzled," a phrase He also uses to calm the storm in Mark 4:39. The unclean spirit does not speak again, but obeys in rage and anguish.

By his own power or authority, no man can cast out demons. Even the archangel Michael, not daring to revile Satan, called on the power and authority of God to rebuke him (Jude 9), setting a right example for us. Similarly, in rebuking the "spirit of divination" at Philippi, Paul says, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her" (Acts 16:18).

Because of Christ's authority in performing this miracle, the people in the synagogue are "amazed," a word meaning "to stupefy" and "to dumbfound or flabbergast." They express their astonishment in questions: "What is this? What new doctrine is this?" (Mark 1:27), as well as by immediately rushing away to tell everyone they can. The word translated "amazed" also can mean "to terrify" and "to be frightened." The people are not only astounded but also fearful of God's power through Jesus.

The focus of the testimony is on how Jesus exorcises the demon: simply by His command, which shows the power of God's Word. Contemporary Jewish doctrine for casting out demons was much different, as exorcists among them sometimes appeared to cast out demons by prayers or chants. Christ, however, does not cajole or request demons to leave, but authoritatively commands them to come out. The world has its weak and useless methods to appease evil and entice it to surrender, but Christ commands its defeat.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcism in the Synagogue


 

Mark 5:15   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

At least five significant changes occur in the men:

First, the exorcism left the men with a new posture, that of sitting and resting, in direct contrast to the constant roaming and wandering about the tombs and mountains and wilderness day and night. Christ says in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." A problem of sin is discontentment, the lack of peace and rest (Isaiah 57:20-21). However, that all changed when Christ entered the lives of the demon-possessed men to deliver them from the evil adversary.

Second, before the exorcism, the possessed men want nothing to do with Christ, but afterward a tremendous change in attitude occurs: The delivered men want to go with Christ out of reverence and respect for their "Savior." Jesus, though, has something else in mind: It is more important that they witness to others of what happened. Jesus instructs His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me" (Luke 9:23). The man wants to follow Jesus physically, but Jesus wants him to take up his cause for Him.

Third, before their deliverance they wear no clothes, yet afterwards they are clothed (Luke 8:27, 35). Sin makes people shameless and immodest, a natural development due to their separation from the righteous God. The men's spiritual cleanness is indicated by visible changes; modesty, cleanliness, and appearance improve, as it does when anyone is delivered by Christ. Wherever God's truth is received, people's morals improve, reflected in modest clothing.

Fourth, they regain their sanity. Fools, not wise men, reject God (Psalm 14:1), and sin invites Satan into a person's mind. Ultimately, his influence causes madness. Jesus explains: "When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, 'I will return to my house from which I came.' And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order" (Luke 11:24-25). When a demon is removed, a person's mind is cleaned of chaos and made orderly. To avoid being possessed again, he needs to replace what was swept out with God's Spirit and truth.

Fifth, the words "right mind" (Mark 5:15; Luke 8:35) suggest the controlling of thoughts and actions, so it indicates, not only sanity, but also self-control. The demons in the men are uncontrollable ("neither could anyone tame him," Mark 5:4), but when Jesus comes, they recognize God's authority over them. Evil people cannot control their desires, and society cannot control them, so crime rages on. Living God's way of life as revealed in the life of Christ is the answer. God provides the right mind to produce the fruit of the Spirit, including self-control (Galatians 5:23).

Jesus instructs the healed man to tell people about his deliverance, particularly those who were familiar and intimate with him. He wants him to be an example of God's grace, first among his own family and friends, so that they can come to repentance. A Christian is first responsible for witnessing to those closest to him, who will see the greatest difference in him as he lives God's way of life.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Two Demon-Possessed Men Healed (Part Three)


 

Acts 16:16-18   (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

A woman possessed by a demon begins to follow Paul and his party, calling them "servants of the Most High God" (verses 16-17). Though this is true, it greatly distresses Paul because the Jews might conclude that he consorted with soothsayers, unlawful according to Leviticus 19:31; 20:6; and Deuteronomy 18:9-14. From their point of view, the Gentiles might consider the religion Paul preached to be as pagan as all the other religions of the time. Thus, Paul commands the demon to leave the woman in the name of Jesus Christ (Acts 16:18).

Her employers, who made quite a profit by her fortune telling, are not pleased because her supernatural abilities disappeared with the demon. So they haul Paul and Silas before the city courts (verse 18).

Mark Schindler
Ingratitude


 

 




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