Topical Studies

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What the Bible says about Convulsions
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 17:15

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

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)


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