Discussions about devils and evil spirits generally draw a variety of responses from people. In Western societies, many people’s knowledge of evil spirits is limited to what they have seen in horror movies or what they have heard about in stories involving ghosts and haunted houses. Some people are fascinated with angelic beings, but fearful with the idea that demons are fallen angels who terrorize and do evil. Some Christians even dismiss the idea that demons exist by explaining away the Gospel records of evil spirits, saying the records are by people who did not understand sickness such as epilepsy or mental illness like schizophrenia, and called them “demons.” Nevertheless, we believe that the Bible is God’s Word and as such that it provides instruction in all matters that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3), which would certainly include the existence and methods of demonic spirits.
Many Christians tend to become uncomfortable with discussions involving demonic powers, especially those involving questions concerning “possession.” Often, the sparse information people have about evil spirits produces just speculation and falsehood. This is not a surprise given that most of what people learn about dark angels comes through folklore, hearsay, movies, and the media. When it comes to the topic of “possession,” movies such as “The Exorcist,” “The Three Faces of Eve,” and others, have left many with deep false impressions about the demonic, what it is, how it happens, and how to guard against it.
Relying on the world as our source for spiritual truth is very problematic, especially when we recognize that this very world is under the control of “the evil one” (1 John 5:19). Looking to the world for accurate information on the demonic is somewhat like asking the fox the best way to protect the hen house. Our primary source for learning about the spiritual realm must come from the Bible. God’s Word is truth, and it will make us wise in the ways of the spiritual world. Not only can we learn much about the kingdom of the enemy through the numerous biblical accounts, we must also recognize that the hidden nature of the spiritual realm also requires that wisdom be gleaned from experience.
(5) Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.
(6) Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
(7) Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
Demons go to great lengths to deceive, as well as to operate in a covert and hidden manner. Because of this we must always be careful when it comes to people’s experiences with demonic powers. Despite their clandestine nature, people’s collective experiences with these spirit beings over the centuries has provided a very comprehensive picture of their powers and how they operate.
What is Demonic Possession?
Nowadays, most theologians recognize that the word translated “possessed” in the Bible is not accurate. The term “possessed” was first used in the King James Version of the Bible and is also found in other translations, including the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the New International Version (NIV). The actual Greek word that is translated “possessed” is daimonizomai, and means “demonized.” For most Christians the word “possessed” implies that an evil spirit is in a person and controlling them, whereas to be “demonized” provides a much broader picture of the demon’s activities. A demonized person can be someone who is under the control of a spirit or has a spirit in them, but it can also be someone who is merely oppressed or afflicted by demons. Consider the different sense conveyed by these two different translations of the same verse.
Matthew 9:32 NIV
While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus.
Matthew 9:32 ESV
As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him.
To be possessed suggests that a person is held fast in the death grip of a demon. However, if you are under the direct attack of evil spirits, if you are afflicted or oppressed by evil spirits then you are, biblically speaking, demonized. Christianity’s failure to grasp this simple truth has greatly hindered its ability to wage war against the wiles of the Devil.
I dig knowledge. In all realms – religion included. I’m not satisfied with someone simply telling me what to believe, what to do, how to live my life, I prefer to go back to the original source, absorb information from all sources and come to a logical, common sense conclusion myself. I have a brain, I’m not afraid to use it.
So articles like these? Are right up my alley.
Perhaps they will bless you, too.