Category Archives: Angels/Demons Questions

Questions about Angels and Demons: What Does the Bible Say about Demonic Oppression?

 

There is strong biblical evidence that a Christian cannot be demon possessed. The question then arises regarding what influence/power a demon can have over a Christian. Many Bible teachers describe demonic influence on a Christian as “demonic oppression” to distinguish it from possession.

The Bible says that the devil seeks to devour believers (1 Peter 5:8), and Satan and his demons “scheme” against Christians (Ephesians 6:11). As Satan attempted with Jesus (Luke 4:2), demonic forces tempt us to sin and oppose our efforts to obey God. Should a Christian allow the demons to succeed in these attacks, oppression results. Demonic oppression is when a demon is temporarily victorious over a Christian, successfully tempting a Christian to sin and hindering his ability to serve God with a strong testimony. If a Christian continues to allow demonic oppression in his/her life, the oppression can increase to the point that the demon has a very strong influence over the Christian’s thoughts, behavior, and spirituality. Christians who allow continuing sin open themselves up for greater and greater oppression. Confession and repentance of sin are necessary to restore fellowship with God, who can then break the power of demonic influence. The apostle John gives us great encouragement in this area: “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him” (1 John 5:18).

For the Christian, the power for victory over and freedom from demonic oppression is always available. John declares, “The One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). The power of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9) is always available to overcome demonic oppression. No demon, not even Satan himself, can prevent a Christian from surrendering to the Holy Spirit and thereby overcoming any and all demonic oppression. Peter encourages believers to resist the devil, “standing firm in your faith” (1 Peter 5:9). Being firm or steadfast in the faith means relying on the power of the Holy Spirit to successfully resist demonic influence. Faith is built up through the spiritual disciplines of feeding on the Word of God, persistent prayer, and godly fellowship. Strengthening our faith by these means enables us to put up the shield of faith with which we can “extinguish the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16).[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: What Does the Bible Say about Transferring Spirits?

 

The idea of “transferring spirits” is that someone can transfer an evil spirit to another person by touching or being near him. Those who teach this concept tell others not to associate with friends or family members who might transfer such a spirit into them. There is no scriptural basis for the concept of transferring spirits by touching or being near another person or by any other method. Of course, we can be affected by negative attitudes or sinful behaviors in others, but to identify these as spirit beings that can be transferred to others is unbiblical.

The Bible says there are two types of spirit beings, the unfallen, holy angels and the angels that followed Satan in his rebellion. Angels that have not sinned are called ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:14), and we are told that God sends them forth to minister to those that will be heirs of salvation, that is, those that believe in Christ as Savior. Angels that joined Satan in his rebellion are reserved in darkness (Jude 1:6) and constitute the horde of spiritual beings (demons) dedicated to evil.

The Bible records only one instance of demons being transferred from one living creature to another. It happened when Jesus transferred the legion of demons from the possessed men into the herd of pigs (Matthew 8:28–34). Jesus did not repeat this miracle, nor did He ever warn His disciples (or us) about transferring spirits. There is no reason for a born-again believer in Christ to fear Satan or his fallen angels. If we resist him, he will flee from us. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). As true believers, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We can be confident that the Holy Spirit will not tolerate a demon in His temple.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: Why Were Michael and Satan Disputing over the Body of Moses (Jude 9)?

 

Jude verse 9 refers to an event which is found nowhere else in Scripture. Michael had to struggle or dispute with Satan about the body of Moses, but what that entailed is not described. Another angelic struggle is related by Daniel, who describes an angel coming to him in a vision. This angel, named Gabriel in Daniel 8:16 and 9:21, tells Daniel that he was “resisted” by a demon called “the prince of Persia” until the archangel Michael came to his assistance (Daniel 10:13). So we learn from Daniel that angels and demons fight spiritual battles over the souls of men and nations, and that the demons resist angels and try to prevent them from doing God’s bidding. Jude tells us that Michael was sent by God to deal in some way with the body of Moses, which God Himself had buried after Moses’ death (Deuteronomy 34:5–6).

Various theories have been put forth as to what this struggle over Moses’ body was about. One is that Satan, ever the accuser of God’s people (Revelation 12:10), may have resisted the raising of Moses to eternal life on the grounds of Moses’ sin at Meribah (Deuteronomy 32:51) and his murder of the Egyptian (Exodus 2:12).

Some have supposed that the reference in Jude is the same as the passage in Zechariah 3:1–2, “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, O Satan!’ ” But the objections to this being the same incident are obvious: (1) The only similarity between the two passages is the expression, “the Lord rebuke you.” (2) The name “Michael” does not occur at all in the passage in Zechariah. (3) There is no mention made of the “body of Moses” in Zechariah, and no allusion to it whatever.

It has also been supposed that Jude is quoting an apocryphal book that contained this account, and that Jude means to confirm that the account is true. Origen (c. 185–254), an early Christian scholar and theologian, mentions the book “The Assumption of Moses” as extant in his time, containing this very account of the contest between Michael and the devil about the body of Moses. That book, now lost, was a Jewish Greek book, and Origen supposed that this was the source of the account in Jude.

The only material question, then, is whether the story is “true.” Whatever the origin of the account, Jude does in fact seem to refer to the contest between Michael and the devil as true. He speaks of it in the same way in which he would have done if he had spoken of the death of Moses or of his smiting the rock. And who can prove that it is not true? What evidence is there that it is not? There are many allusions in the Bible to angels. We know that the archangel Michael is real; there is frequent mention of the devil; and there are numerous affirmations that both bad and good angels are employed in important transactions on the earth. As the nature of this particular dispute over Moses’ body is wholly unknown, conjecture is useless. We do not know whether there was an argument over possession of the body, burial of the body, or anything else.

These two things we do know, however: first, Scripture is inerrant. The inerrancy of Scripture is one of the pillars of the Christian faith. As Christians, our goal is to approach Scripture reverently and prayerfully, and when we find something we do not understand, we pray harder, study more, and—if the answer still eludes us—humbly acknowledge our own limitations in the face of the perfect Word of God.

Second, Jude 9 is the supreme illustration of how Christians are to deal with Satan and demons. The example of Michael refusing to pronounce a curse upon Satan should be a lesson to Christians in how to relate to demonic forces. Believers are not to address them, but rather to seek the Lord’s intervening power against them. If as powerful a being as Michael deferred to the Lord in dealing with Satan, who are we to attempt to reproach, cast out, or command demons?[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: Who or What Is Metatron?

 

Metatron is a mythical angel mentioned in some Jewish writings. One version of the myth says that Metatron was created by God as a high-level angel with many responsibilities. A second myth claims that Metatron was originally a human named Enoch, a man who ascended to heaven a few times and was eventually transformed into a powerful angel.

According to the legend, Metatron is part of a select group of angels that is permitted to look upon God’s countenance, an honor most angels, like the seraphim, do not share (Isaiah 6:2). Metatron is sometimes referred to as the “Prince of the Countenance.”

Metatron is presented as having immense power and wisdom. According to mythology, Metatron is second only to God Himself in glory, wisdom, and strength. All the other angels must obey him. Among his heavenly tasks are to act as God’s scribe and to be an advocate or heavenly priest for the nation of Israel. One legend says Metatron was the angel that led Israel through the wilderness.

It is important to state that Metatron is never mentioned in the Bible. He is mentioned three times in the Babylonian Talmud, in some mystical texts from the Middle Ages, and in some occult books.

There is no reason to believe that Metatron exists. In fact, some of the legends concerning Metatron are decidedly unbiblical. There is only “one mediator between God and men,” and it is not an angel. It is “the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).

The Bible says that such myths and legends are unprofitable. “Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7; see also Colossians 2:18–19).[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: How Much Power Does Satan Possess?

 

Satan was an angel created by God who turned against God’s authority (Isaiah 14:13) and became the head of a kingdom of evil spirits called demons, his “angels” (Matthew 25:41). His power both in the heavenly realm and on earth is great and should not be underestimated. However, while Satan and his forces are formidable enemies, Jesus Christ crushed Satan’s power, fulfilling the prophecy of Genesis 3:15. The cross of Christ won the victory (John 12:31). “The prince of this world now stands condemned” (John 16:11), and Jesus will one day destroy Satan’s power completely and purify creation (2 Peter 3:10).

Satan’s power in the heavenly realm / spirit world:
Satan’s power has repute in the spiritual realm (Jude 9), where he has access to the presence of God (Job 1:6). The book of Job provides insight into the relationship between God and Satan. In Job 1:6–12, Satan stands before God and reports that he has been “walking up and down” on the earth (v. 7). God asks Satan if he has considered godly Job, and Satan immediately accuses Job of insincerity—he only loves God for the blessings God gives. “Stretch out your hand,” Satan says, “and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face” (v. 11). God grants Satan permission to affect Job’s possessions and family, but not his person, and Satan leaves. (The rest of the book is from Job’s perspective, providing an example of how to deal with suffering.)

This is an important passage because it shows Satan’s place in the spiritual realm. He is able to accuse God’s people in His very presence, and Jude 9 shows that even Michael the archangel needs the Lord’s help in overcoming him. However, Satan is obviously restrained from enacting his full fury; he is still a created being under God, and his power is limited.

Satan’s power on the earth:
Job 1 also reveals that Satan does enact evil and cause direct harm on the earth. The most well-known and important of his actions on earth occurred in the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3 tells of Satan’s temptation of Eve, the “mother of all the living” (v. 20), and her subsequent first sin. It was this act, and that of Eve’s husband Adam, that brought sin into the world, and it is the reason all humankind must be redeemed from sin in order to be with God.

One day, Jesus met a woman who had been “crippled by a spirit for eighteen years” (Luke 13:11). Jesus attributes the infirmity to Satan, who had kept her “bound” (verse 16). Satan’s power was real, but it was easily overcome by our Lord: “he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God” (v. 13). Jesus’ miracle was a clear demonstration of His authority over Satan.

Since his instigation of evil on earth, Satan has been named as the “prince,” “god” or “ruler” of this world (John 14:30; cf. John 12:31; 16:11; 1 Corinthians 2:6, 8; 2 Corinthians 4:3–4; Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 1:13). He is the enemy of God and truth (Matthew 13:24–30; 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12), and he does everything he can to tempt individuals (Genesis 3; Luke 22:31; Matthew 2:3; 1 Timothy 3:7). and larger groups of people (1 Thessalonians 3:5; Revelation 2:10). He “leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9). Satan accomplishes this by various means, including appealing to man’s pride (1 Timothy 3:6; 1 Corinthians 4:6), interfering with the transmission of truth (Matthew 13:18–22, 38–39) and placing false believers within the church (1 Timothy 4:1–2; 2 Timothy 3:1–9; Revelation 2:9; 3:9). In John 8:44, Jesus says that Satan “is a liar and the father of it.”

God still grants Satan some authority in this world, which means that his power is not yet completely broken—except in one area: his power of death. Hebrews 2:14–15 says that Jesus came as a man to die in order to “destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil,” a power Satan had held “from the beginning” (John 8:44). The salvation Jesus provides has released us from Satan’s stranglehold. Death has lost its sting (1 Corinthians 15:55).

Satan’s power—the conclusion:
The Bible says that “the whole world is under the control of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), and we must “be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Yet Christians have a great hope, for Jesus Christ (John 16:33) and our faith in Him (1 John 5:4) have overcome Satan’s evil. “The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: What Are Principalities and Powers?

The phrase “principalities and powers” occurs six times in the Bible, always in the King James Version and its derivatives (NKJV, MKJV). Other versions translate it variously as “rulers and authorities,” “forces and authorities,” and “rulers and powers.” In every place where the phrase appears, the contexts make it clear that it refers to the vast array of evil and malicious spirits who make war against the people of God. The principalities and powers of Satan are in view here, powers that wield power in the unseen realms to oppose everything and everyone that is of God.

The first mention of principalities and powers is in Romans 8:37–39: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” These verses are about the victory Christ has won over all the forces ranged against us. We are “more than conquerors” because no force—not life, not death, not angels, not demons, indeed nothing—can separate us from the love of God. The “powers” referred to here are those with miraculous powers, whether false teachers and prophets or the very demonic entities that empower them. What is clear is that, whoever they are, they cannot separate us from the love of God. Victory is assured. It would be unfortunate to dwell on identifying the powers and miss the main thrust of the verse which is assurance about what God has done to save us.

Another mention of principalities and powers is in Colossians 1:16, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Here is the clear statement that God is the Creator and Ruler over all authorities, whether they submit to Him or rebel against Him. Whatever power the evil forces possess, they are not out of the ultimate control of our sovereign God, who uses even the wicked for bring about His perfect plan and purpose (Daniel 4:35; Isaiah 46:10–11).

In the next chapter of Colossians we read about Jesus’ ultimate power over all other powers: “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15). In keeping with all things, the powers are created by Christ and therefore under His control. They are not to be feared for they have been disarmed by the cross. The Saviour, by his death, took dominion from them, and took back what they had captured. Satan and his legions had invaded the earth and drawn mankind into captivity, subjecting them to their evil reign. But Christ, by His death, subdued the invaders and recaptured those who had been vanquished. Colossians 2:14 speaks of Jesus being nailed to the cross along with the written charges against us. The record of our wrongdoing, with which Satan accuses us before God, is nailed with Christ to the cross. It is thereby destroyed and the powers can no longer accuse us; we are innocent in the eyes of God. Hence they are disarmed.

Ephesians 3:10–11 presents different principalities and powers—those of the heavenly realms: “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Here we see the angelic hosts being shown the wisdom and purpose of God in the plan of salvation through Christ. Angels, both holy and unholy, witness the glory of God and the preeminence of Christ above all creatures in the church, those who are saved and preserved by His power (Ephesians 1:20–21).

Ephesians 6:12 declares the warfare in which we are engaged as we battle throughout our lives “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” So having been saved we must continue to struggle to do good things in light of the sure victory promised in Romans 8. It is as though we are facing an army of dark powers who have been disarmed from real power and against whom we have been promised victory. It is our job to demonstrate and depend upon the wisdom and power of God in defeating them in our lives. We can do this by trusting in God’s victory.

The final reference to principalities and powers is Titus 3:1. Here they refer to those governmental authorities whom God has placed over us for our protection and welfare. They are God’s representatives on earth, and submission to Him involves submission to His duly constituted authorities. Those who rebel against earthly authorities are “rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:2).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: What Are the Names of Satan?

Satan is a spiritual being who led a heavenly revolt against God and was subsequently cast down into the earth (Luke 10:18). His personal name, “Satan,” means “adversary.” This name indicates Satan’s basic nature: he is the enemy of God, of all God does, and of all God loves.

He is also called “the devil” in the New Testament. The word “devil” means “false accuser” or “slanderer.” Satan plays this role in Job 1–2 when he attacks Job’s character.

In Matthew 12:24, the Jews refer to Satan as “Beelzebul,” an epithet derived from “Baal-Zebub” (“lord of the fly”), a false god of the Philistines in Ekron (2 Kings 1:2–3, 6).

Other titles of Satan include the tempter (1 Thessalonians 3:5), the wicked one (Matthew 13:19, 38), the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10), and—three titles that point to Satan’s authority in this world—the ruler of this world (John 12:31), the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2). Second Corinthians 11:14 says that Satan transforms himself into “an angel of light,” a description that highlights his capacity and inclination to deceive.

There are a couple of passages which refer to the judgment of earthly kings but may very well also refer to Satan. The first is Isaiah 14:12–15. This is addressed to the king of Babylon (verse 4), but the description also seems to fit that of a more powerful being. The name “Lucifer,” which means “morning star,” is used here to describe someone who sought to overthrow God’s very throne.

The second passage is Ezekiel 28:11–19, addressed to the king of Tyre. As in the “Lucifer” passage, this prophecy contains wording that seems to go beyond the description of a mere mortal. The king of Tyre is said to be “anointed as a guardian cherub,” but he was laid low by pride and “expelled” by God Himself.

In addition to providing names and titles of Satan, the Bible uses various metaphors to reveal the character of the enemy. Jesus, in the parable of the four soils, likens Satan to the birds that snatch the seed off the hardened ground (Matthew 13:4, 19). In another parable, Satan appears as the sower of weeds among the wheat (Matthew 13:25, 28). Satan is analogous to a wolf in John 10:12 and a roaring lion in 1 Peter 5:8. In Revelation 12:9, Satan is the “great dragon … that serpent of old”—obviously, a reference to the serpent who deceived Eve (Genesis 3:1).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: Who Are the Four Living Creatures in Revelation?

The four living creatures are found in Revelation 4:6–9, 5:6–14, 6:1–8, 14:3, 15:7, and 19:4. The texts that describe these creatures do not indicate that they are figurative—they are real, actual beings. The four living creatures (literally “beings”) are a special, exalted order of angelic being or cherubim. This is clear by their close proximity to the throne of God. Ezekiel 1:12–20 suggests that they are in constant motion around the throne.

Revelation 5:6–14 describes the duties or purposes of the four living creatures. They fall down and worship the Lamb, Jesus Christ, offering the same reverence to Him that they did to the Father (Revelation 4:10), proof positive of the deity of Jesus Christ. Along with the 24 elders, they have “harps and golden vials full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Harps are frequently associated with worship in the Old Testament, as well as with prophecy (2 Kings 3:15; 1 Chronicles 25:1). Incense represents the prayers of the saints. Therefore, taken together the four living creatures and 24 elders hold in their hands all that prophets ever prophesied and believers ever prayed for—all about to come to pass.

The purpose of the four living creatures also has to do with declaring the holiness of God, leading in worship and adoration of God, and they are involved in some way with God’s justice, for when He opens for first four seals and sends out the four horsemen to destroy, their powerful voices, like thunder, command “come” (6:1–8). The horsemen respond to the summons of the four powerful creatures, indicating the power the creatures possess. That power is seen again in Revelation 15:7 when one of the four unleashes the last seven plagues of God’s wrath on mankind.

The four living creatures are very similar, if not the same, beings as those in Ezekiel 10:2, 14, and 20 and Isaiah 6:1–3. They are four in number, full of eyes, have faces like the beings in Ezekiel 1:10, six wings (Isaiah 6:2), and offer worship as the beings in Isaiah 6:3, saying “holy, holy, holy is the Lord.” They may not be the exact same beings, but they definitely are comparable and probably of the same order.

In summary, these beings are an exalted order of angels whose purpose is primarily that of worship (Revelation 19:4). They are very similar to the beings in Ezekiel 10 and Isaiah 6:1–3, and they are in some ways involved in God’s divine justice.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: Is There an Angel Named Raphael in the Bible?

No, the Bible nowhere mentions an angel named Raphael. Only two angels are named in Scripture—Gabriel (Luke 1:26) and Michael (Daniel 12:1), the latter designated as an “archangel” in Jude 9. The angel Raphael does appear in the apocryphal book of Tobit (or Tobias), which is considered inspired by the Catholic Church. In that account, Raphael disguises himself as a human, keeps the younger Tobias safe on a journey, chases away a demon, and heals the elder Tobias of his blindness. Because of these actions, Raphael is considered by Catholics as the patron of the blind, of travelers, and of physicians.

In the book of Tobias, Raphael identifies himself as one of seven archangels “who stand before the Lord” (Tobit 12:15). Raphael also offers prayers on Tobias’ behalf, and Tobias, in turn, thanks the angel because he is “filled with all good things through him” (Tobit 12:3).

John sheds some light on the religious notions in the time of Christ. “A great multitude of sick people” are sitting beside a pool in Jerusalem, waiting for “the moving of the water.” They believed that an angel would descend from heaven and stir the water, making the pool a place of healing for them. Jesus approaches a man who had been infirm for 38 years and asks him if he wants to be healed. The man’s sad, superstitious reply is that he cannot be healed, because he cannot get into the pool quickly enough. Jesus then bypasses all superstition and shows His power to immediately heal the man (John 5:3–9).

Although the Book of Tobias was not included in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Septuagint did include it; therefore, the story of Raphael would have been familiar to almost everyone in Jesus’ day. It is quite possible that the “angel of the pool” the sick man was waiting for was, in his mind, Raphael. It is interesting that Raphael never shows up in John 5. It is Jesus, not an angel, who “heals all your diseases” (Psalm 103:3).[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Angels and Demons: Can a Christian Be Demon Possessed? Can a Christian Be Demonized?

While the Bible does not explicitly state whether a Christian can be possessed by a demon, related biblical truths make it abundantly clear that Christians cannot be demon possessed. There is a distinct difference between being possessed by a demon and being oppressed or influenced by a demon. Demon possession involves a demon having direct/complete control over the thoughts and/or actions of a person (Matthew 17:14–18; Luke 4:33–35; 8:27–33). Demon oppression or influence involves a demon or demons attacking a person spiritually and/or encouraging him/her into sinful behavior. Notice that in all the New Testament passages dealing with spiritual warfare, there are no instructions to cast a demon out of a believer (Ephesians 6:10–18). Believers are told to resist the devil (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8–9), not to cast him out.

Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:9–11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). Surely the Holy Spirit would not allow a demon to possess the same person He is indwelling. It is unthinkable that God would allow one of His children, whom He purchased with the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18–19) and made into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), to be possessed and controlled by a demon. Yes, as believers, we wage war with Satan and his demons, but not from within ourselves. The apostle John declares, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). Who is the One in us? The Holy Spirit. Who is the one in the world? Satan and his demons. Therefore, the believer has overcome the world of demons, and the case for demon possession of a believer cannot be made scripturally.

With the strong biblical evidence that a Christian cannot be demon possessed in view, some Bible teachers use the term “demonization” to refer to a demon having control over a Christian. Some argue that while a Christian cannot be demon possessed, a Christian can be demonized. Typically, the description of demonization is virtually identical to the description of demon possession. So, the same issue results. Changing the terminology does not change the fact that a demon cannot inhabit or take full control of a Christian. Demonic influence and oppression are realities for Christians, no doubt, but it is simply not biblical to say that a Christian can be possessed by a demon or demonized.

Much of the reasoning behind the demonization concept is the personal experience of seeing someone who was “definitely” a Christian exhibiting evidence of being controlled by a demon. It is crucially important, though, that we do not allow personal experience to influence our interpretation of Scripture. Rather, we must filter our personal experiences through the truth of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Seeing someone whom we thought to be a Christian exhibiting the behavior of being demonized should cause us to question the genuineness of his/her faith. It should not cause us alter our viewpoint on whether a Christian can be demon possessed / demonized. Perhaps the person truly is a Christian but is severely demon oppressed and/or suffering from severe psychological problems. But again, our experiences must meet the test of Scripture, not the other way around.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.