Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Demon Possession

Apparent possession by spirits is a world-wide phenomenon. It may be sought deliberately, as by the shaman and witch-doctor among primitive peoples, and by the medium among both primitive and civilized men and women. It may come upon individuals suddenly, as with watchers at the Voodoo rites, or in the form of what is generally known as demon-possession. In each case the possessed person behaves in a way that is not normal for him or her, speaks in a voice totally different from normal, and often shows powers of telepathy and clairvoyance.

In the Bible the pagan prophets probably sought possession.
The prophets of Baal in 1 Ki. 18 would come in this category. Mediums, who were banned in Israel, must have deliberately cultivated possession, since the law regards them as guilty people, not as sick (e.g. Lv. 20:6, 27). In the OT Saul is an outstanding example of unsought possession. The Spirit of the Lord leaves him, and ‘an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him’ (1 Sa. 16:14; 19:9). We may fairly interpret this by saying that, if a person has been powerfully open to the Holy Spirit in a charismatic way, disobedience is liable to be followed by the entry into his life of an evil spirit allowed by God. On the other hand, we may simply say that ‘evil’ has no moral connotation here, but signifies depression. The spirit is driven away by David’s playing: since playing was normally accompanied by singing, it was probably David’s psalm-singing that drove away the spirit, as Robert Browning implies in his poem Saul.

The NT records many cases of possession. It is as though Satan had concentrated his forces in a special way to challenge Christ and his followers. The Gospel records show that Christ distinguished between ordinary illness and those that accompanied demon-possession. The former were healed by laying on of hands or anointing, the latter by commanding the demon to depart (e.g. Mt. 10:8; Mk. 6:13; Lk. 13:32; also Acts 8:7; 19:12). Possession was apparently not always continuous, but when it came it produced effects that were often violent (Mk. 9:18). Blindness and dumbness, when caused by possession, would presumably have been persistent (e.g. Mt. 9:32-33; 12:22).

Douglas, J.D.: New Bible Dictionary. electronic ed. of 2nd ed. Wheaton, IL : Tyndale House, 1982; Published in electronic form by Logos Research Systems, 1996, S. 278

Does demon possession still occurs?

Can Christians be demon possessed?


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Blogger Kansas Bob said...

I like the word demonized better than "possessed" Alex because possession conotes a loss of control where a person loses his will. I do think that a Christian can be demonized in the sense that they can be influenced by demonic forces.

I think that this is especially true when a Christian embraces a lie about themselves.. I think that these lies put them in bondage.. it is one of the reasons that Jesus said that a (heart) knowledge of the truth would set us free.. I have experienced that kind of freedom.

6:53 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi Bob,

I believe that demonisation is a conundrum. At that end is demonic oppression and at the other end, demon possession (temple medium in trance, etc). In the extreme case of demon possession, the individual may has allowed the demon or demons possession of his or her body that the person no longer have free will.

I agree with you that Christians can be demonised or demon oppressed. Jesus did talk about spirits leaving a house, the house being cleaned and later the spirits return. That may be the result of unconfessed sins in Christians. In Malaysia, where many are first generation Christians they may be, in their pre-Christian days be give up for 'adopted' by deities in temples so that they receive protection in their childhood, or have made a vow for healing of diseases or business success. Unless the new Christians break their former spiritual bondage, it may affect their spiritual growth.

What I am interested to learn is , do you think Christians can be demon possessed? After all, they do have the Holy Spirit inside them.

10:24 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

I am not a proponent of demonic possession Alex but I do think that there are varying degrees of demonization. I guess the issue is whether one believes that a person is possessed "by" or "with" demons. If one is possessed "by" a demon then, in a sense, the demon owns them and the person has lost complete control. If a person is possessed "with" a demon it would probably resemble a spiritual cancer of sorts where the demon's power might increase and it could appear that one is losing or has lost control.

Now about a Christian? In a sense your question presupposes that the Holy Spirit inhabits every part of the Christian and there is no room for a demon to coexist.. but maybe I read to much into your question.

Now whether a Christian can be possessed.. of course I don't subscribe to possession but if I did.. if a Christian were to be possessed then it seems that Romans 8:14 would be invalidated and the Christian would no longer be a Christian because they were no longer being led by the Spirit but by a demon.

I am sure that I have begun to ramble. Please let me know what you think.

Blessings, Bob

5:15 AM  

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