Faith, Believers and Demon Possession
A fallen spirit gaining access to one of Messiah’s followers is a notion which perhaps many are unwilling to objectively explore.
This idea usually faces rejection based upon the premise that an evil spirit and the Holy Spirit cannot both occupy a believer.
I would like to point out some specifics that address why this is not the case, but first I’d like to briefly examine the word “possessed”.
“Possessed” is found 15 times in the New Testament.
Of these 15 occurrences, 13 refer to what is commonly called “demonic possession”.
11 of these 13 occurrences are translated from Strong’s Greek word 1139 “daimonizomai”.
Each of these 11 uses of diamonizomai is translated as a phrase, as opposed to being translated as a singular word.
The 11 phrases translated from ‘daimonizomai’ can be found in the following verses:
“possessed with devils”.. Matthew 4:24, 8:16, 8:28 and Mark 1:32
“possessed of the devils”.. Matthew 8:33 and Luke 8:36
“possessed with a devil”.. Matthew 9:32 and 12:22
“possessed with the devil”.. Mark 5:15, 5:16 and 5:18
Daimonizomai is a middle voice verb with one singular definition: “to be under the power of a demon”.
The other 2 verses which mention possession by fallen spirits are in the book of Acts.
“..unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed..” [8:7] and “..damsel possessed with a spirit of divination..” [16:16]
Both of these verses render “possessed” as a single word, translated from Strong’s Greek word 2192 “echo”. Echo is a common verb, found over 600 times in the NT, and means “have, hold, own, possess, be closely joined to”.
The other 2 instances of “possessed” in the NT are in Acts 4:32 and 1Cr 7:30, where we find the participle “hyparchonta” and the verb “katecho”, respectively. These 2 verses do not reference spiritual possession, but rather possession of goods or things.
At this point, all of this information may seem unnecessary, however it’s important to point out the fact that in scripture there are not myriad ambiguous hypotheticals.. but rather infinite solid truths.. and that in the New Testament when someone is noted as being “possessed” of devils, it means just that.
Perhaps when we consider this condition of being possessed by fallen spirits, we assume that those who are inhabited by unclean spirits are themselves strictly the worst of the worst of humanity.. but before resigning yourself to that assumption.. give quiet consideration to the following..
“And, behold, a man of the company cried out, saying, Master, I beseech thee, look upon my son: for he is mine only child.”
[ a man’s son, his only child.. ]
“And, lo, a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; and it teareth him that he foameth again, and bruising him hardly departeth from him.”
[ possessed by an evil spirit.. ]
“And I besought Thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not.”
[ which His disciples could not cast out.. ]
“And Jesus answering said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you?”
[ because their faith was lacking. ]
“Bring thy son hither.”
“And as he was yet a coming, the devil threw him down, and tare [him].”
[ the demon visibly afflicts the child in front of Yahushua, His followers and the multitude.. ]
“And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child, and delivered him again to his father.”
[ Yahushua casts out the spirit and heals the child. ]
“Child” in the last verse is Strong’s Greek word 3816 “pais” a noun which means “a child, infants, children”
Think about that for a moment.. we just read about what is most certainly a young child (not quite the “worst of the worst” of humanity).. obviously violently possessed by a devil.. who could not be cast out, not for the child’s lack of faith in Yahushua, but for the disciples lack of faith in Him.
Do we as believers ever want to find ourselves in the same position as the disciples were when Yahushua said of a little child, ‘Bring him to Me’, because they were so lacking in faith that He could not work through them to heal a little child overtaken and hurt by the enemy..
Perhaps imagine that little child is your only son or daughter.. would you be willing to let Messiah work through you to cast the enemy out of your little one.. even if it took fasting and prayer.. or would you let your only child suffer needlessly because you could not accept the fact that a child could be possessed by a devil..
“And they brought unto Him also infants, that He would touch them: but when [His] disciples saw [it], they rebuked them.
But Jesus called them [unto Him], and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Would any believer argue the fact that children are protected by the One who created them.. we just saw how a child could be possessed by a demon, then delivered by Messiah.. and we know that if we are not at least like little children then we have a shallow grasp on humility, not to mention the Kingdom.
“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”
Often it is said that believers can become vulnerable to “demonic oppression”, but are impervious to “demonic possession”.. though that idea really falls short considering the account of the possessed child in Luke 9 (and Matthew 17).. perhaps more often it is said that believers cannot become vulnerable to demonic possession because the Holy Spirit cannot reside within the same believer in which an unholy spirit resides.
The idea that “good and bad” or “light and darkness” cannot both be present at the same time is not found in the bible.. ‘light and darkness’ do not agree with one another, but they do co-exist within the same individual.. if this were not the case, then all believers would be perfect and without sin.. sin is evil, and yet we as believers will sin at times, even though the Holy Spirit indwells.
“..if thine right eye offend thee, pluck it out..”
[Mat 5:29, 18:19, Mar 9:47]
We are called to continually separate ourselves from sin.. first and foremost the sin that originates in our own flesh, which is not yet redeemed, and is still carrying a weak human sin nature
“..the spirit [is] indeed willing, but the flesh is weak..”
When we accept that we are hopeless sinners.. then turn and accept Yahushua as our savior.. He forgives us and washes away those sins.. from then on, we are told, we will still sin.. but that we should repent of our sins, instead of willfully remaining in them. Unrepentant willing sin can become a demonic stronghold in a believer.
This is not put forth to frighten (we are called to fear only the Almighty), but to bring to light the truth of our condition as believers in this fallen world.. and also to remind, that as believers we have the ability through the Holy Spirit to be delivered by the authority of Yahushua our savior.
We are in a physically unredeemed state though, in a spiritually wicked world of which we desire no part.. but all believers are in different phases and stages in their walk of faith.
Often new believers who have been delivered out of occult practices will struggle especially hard with the reappearance in their lives of former sins.. the enemy never wants to let go of someone it once had hold of, and will fight to regain a foothold in the life of a new believer.. during this time it can be touch-and-go for some as they claw to cling to the cross of salvation while their former masters work tirelessly to recapture their souls.
Did any of us here wake up perfect the day after accepting Messiah..
At this time I would like to offer up the reminder that as those born again in Messiah, we are called to be compassionate teachers of the gospel, loving of each other, and workers together in furthering the Kingdom of our Master.. none of which can be best accomplished by turning a blind eye to the truth in His scripture.
Consider the only son of the man who cried out to Yahushua for help.. the lack of faith of the disciples in that situation.. and what you would do if you were in their shoes.
“Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.”
“He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Thy name.
And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”