Can A Christian Be
Demon Possessed?

    I am often asked, "Can a Christian be demon possessed?"  First, the expression "demon possession" is found no where in the "original" text of Scripture. The term of "demon possession" is an description that man has created.  It is used to describe an individual under absolute or near total control by a demonic spirit and generally it goes beyond temporal control to imply ownership.  Sometimes people may say, "The individual has sold his soul to the devil."  Second, theologians also use other expressions such as deception, obsession, oppression, harassment, occupation, or habitation.

 Some expressions that are used in the Old Testament:

1. "Came Upon" =  "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him"  (I Samuel 16:23).

2. "Troubled" =  "But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him" (I Samuel 16:14)

3. "Hath" =  "A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them" (Leviticus 20:27).

4. "Dealt With" = "And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger" (II Chronicles 33:6).

5. "Put ... In" = "Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee" (II Chronicles 18:22).

6. "Mingled In Midst" =  "The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit" (Isaiah 19:14).

Some New Testament expressions:
1. "Had" =   "And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself" (Luke 13:11).

2. "Given" = "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7).

3. "With" =  "And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out"  (Mark 1:23).

4. "Possessed"  (but the Greek word is "(demonized")  = "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick" (Matthew 8:16).  "For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed" (Acts 8:7).

    Some theologians have suggested that a Christian can be demon possessed (implying not only controlled by, but ownership of), while others have declared that since the Holy Spirit is in the Believer that he can not have a demonic spirit.  Again, the term used in the New Testament is "demonized" implying being under the influence of an evil spirit.
First, it is extremely important to recognize that man being made in the image of God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is a trichotomy having three distinct parts: spirit, soul, and body.  "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:23).

Second, it is important to recognize that man, being made in the likeness of God, is essentially a spiritual being, created to worship God with his spirit. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).

Third, we must understand that there is a distinction between the "spirit" and the "soul" of man. "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

The "spirit" was created to have a relationship and fellowship with God

The "soul' is composed of the mind, will, and emotions.

The "body" is simply our physical being.

    One who is NOT a Believer may be subject to demonic possession (by theological definition) as he opens his life to the powers of darkness.  See: The Open Door. This is not to say that all unbelievers are demon possessed.  However, many are blinded by the powers of darkness which keep them from receiving the truth. See: Salvation Through Binding.

    When an individual does accept Jesus as his Lord and Saviour through a faith commitment to God, the Spirit of Jesus (or the Holy Spirit) is united with that individual's spirit and he become a new creation in the spirit-man.  See: Finding Life, Purpose, Joy.   The individual becomes the temple of God, bought by the blood of Jesus. See: Discovering Your Identity.  In the spirit-man, all things have become new.   "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17). The new creation is on the inside and is not capable of being corrupted by anything including an evil spirit.  "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever" (I Peter 1:23).
 
When one becomes a Christian, the Holy Spirit unites with his dead spirit giving him eternal life.

    However, Paul is speaking of the inner man of the spirit, but not the soul or the body.  Although a Christian can NOT be demon possessed, the soul (mind, will, emotions) and the body of the Believer still can become object of habitation and control by an evil spirit or spirits. Please see: The Enemy's Methods Of Entry. Some would say that because the body of the Believer is the temple of the Spirit, that the body of the Believer can not be inhabited by an evil spirit. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" (I Corinthians 6:19). I would agree that the body of the Believer is the temple of God, but some Believers poison their bodies with illegal drugs and their minds with evil thoughts of hate and even murder.

    Are there any Scriptures to indicate that a Believer can have an evil spirit? We can not truthfully go to the Old Testament because although there were men and women who by faith believed God, the new birth is unique to the New Testament only after the resurrection and first ascension of Christ. "And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost" (John 20:22).  although the new birth was foretold in the Old Testament, this was the first time in time that the rebirth was offered in time.

1. Ananias and Sapphira (Two Believers in the church) =  "But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land?" (Acts 5:3).

2. Simon, a Believer = (Acts 8:13)  "Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done" (Acts 8:13).  Then he tried to buy the miracles, but Peter rebukes him. "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity" (Acts 8:22-23). He was in spiritual bondage.

3. A Believer can give property (his soul and body) over to the enemy.   "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
Neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:26-27).

4. Believer can have spiritual strongholds.  A stronghold is a fortress of lies behind which an evil spirit hides.  "(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:4-5).

5. A Believer can be held captive by a demonic spirit. "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will" (II Timothy 2:24-26).

6. God may turn us over to tormenting spirits if we refuse to forgive. "And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses" (Matthew 18:34-35).

    Before I came to understand that man is a three part being, I was taught and believed that a Believer could not have a demonic spirit.  However, something happened that shook by understanding.  I was working with some youth in a church and decided to invite three of them to my house for making plan for the coming year. All three were faithful Christians. However, one  young man who was the son of a deacon in the church came to the meeting with a evil spirit that destroyed the plans for the evening and the year.  I sensed the presence of the spirit in my house for a number of hours after the meeting was over.  I was dumbfounded!  When I spoke with my pastor, he could not give me an explanation.  It was not until many years later that I came to understand that a Christian can also have an evil spirit which can effect his soul (mind, will, and emotions) and his body.  A Believer may be attacked, harassed, oppressed, deceived, and even inhabited by evil spirits.

    Through counseling, I have discovered that many Believers have opened their lives to evil spirits. This is not to terrorize anyone who is considering counseling, but to make people aware of the enemy.  In fact, the Holy Spirit in the Believer is far greater than the power of the enemy.   "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world" (I John 4:4).  Furthermore, you, as a Believer, are to, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).  Furthermore, we are to be involved in a ministry of setting others free from the bondage of the enemy. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils ...." (Mark 16:16-17). Jesus also said, "Behold, I give unto you power (authority) to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19).
 


Some Evil Spirits Listed in Scripture

* spirit of jealousy  (Numbers 5:14), * familiar spirit (I Samuel 28:7), * a spirit (Job 4:15), * spirit of deep sleep (Isaiah 29:10), * spirit of whoredoms  (Hosea 4:12), * unclean spirit (Luke 8:29),  * spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11), * spirit of divination (Acts 16:16), * spirit of bondage (Romans 8:15), * enticing spirit (II Chronicles 18:20), * spirit of devils (Revelation 16:14), * spirits of false the prophets (I John 4:1), * seducing spirits (I Timothy 4:1), * evil spirits (Acts 19:13), * angel of light (disguised as) (II Corinthians 11:14), * the tormentors (Matthew 18:34), * a devil (Ephesians 4:27, Luke 9:42), * devils (Luke 11:20), * god of forces (Daniel 11:38), * prince of Persia (Daniel 10:13), * spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7), * spirit of antichrist (I John 4:3), * spirit of error (I John 4:6), * foul spirit (Revelation 18:2), * prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), * another spirit (II Corinthians 11:4), * spirit of the world (I Corinthians 2:12), * unclean devil (Luke 4:33),  * dumb spirit (Mark 9:17), * spirit of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3), * perverse spirit (Isaiah 19:14),    * spirit of travail and vexation (Ecclesiastes 4:6), * a haughty spirit (Proverbs 16:18), * hasty spirit (Proverbs 14:29), * a lying spirit (II Chronicles 18:22).

    This is not to say that this list is of evil spirits is complete for one man was inhabited by a whole legion of spirits. The term "legion" applied to a Roman army of 2,000 plus men. "And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many" (Mark 5:9). Although we don't know the exact number, there were enough to go into a large herd of pigs (about 2,000) and cause them to run off a cliff and fall into the sea and be drowned. This could well be understood that there were about 2,000 different kinds of spirits. "Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.  And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea" (Mark 5:11-13).

    We should also remember the 1/3 of the angels fell. "And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born" (Revelation 12:4). Furthermore, we should also remember that Satan has a regiment of powers, some in the heavenlies, some over the world, some over nations, some over cites .... and so forth.   "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" (Ephesians 6:12).  For example: A spirit of whoredoms may have under his authority spirits associated with lust, fornication, rape, pornography, and adultery. A spirit of infirmity may have various spirits associated with various diseases. This is not to say that every sickness is a evil spirit.

Some Symptoms Of Being Demonized

The following may be some indicators of demonization. Please take the self-test and check any boxes that apply to you.  This does not mean that just because you were once depressed that you are demonized.  However, if you find yourself checking several of the boxes you should consider seeking God for some answers.


1. You sometimes take on the character of an evil spirit.  (Example: A lying spirit compels the individual to lie.) (II Chronicles 18:22). a

2. You feel tormented by the spirit/s. (Matthew 18:34-35). b

3. You have repeated nightmares, dreams of terror, or sleep disorders. (Job 4:13-15). c

4. You exhibit bouts of anger, rage, or violence. (I Samuel 19:9-10, Acts 19:16). d

5. You struggle with chronic physical difficulties or illnesses. (Luke 13:11).e

6. You seem troubled a lot. (I Samuel 16:14). f

7. You have major bouts with depression. (Isaiah 61:3). g

8. You have exhibited supernatural strength that didn't come from God. (Mark 5:4, Acts 19:16). h

9. You have been involved in self mutilation. (Example: cutting yourself or have been tattooed) (Mark 5:5). i

10. You have an abnormal infatuation with death or dying. (Mark 5:3). j

11. You have bouts with thoughts of suicide. (Mark 9:22). k

12. You have major seizures. (Mark 1:26, 9:18).  l

13. You have supernatural knowledge that didn't come from God. (Mark 1:23-24). m

14. You sometimes speak in a different voice. (Mark 5:9).  n

15. You have power to tell fortunes or if you are drawn to fortune tellers or psychics. (Acts 16:16).  o

16. You know that you have a stronghold of doctrinal error. (I John 4:6).  p

17. You have a compelling charismatic personality. (II Chronicles 18:20, I Timothy 4:1). q

18. You are very fearful or suffer anxiety or panic attacks. (Job 4:14-15, II Timothy 1:7). r

19. You sometimes talk with the dead. (I Samuel 28:7). s

20. You have addictions (drug, alcohol, tobacco, etc.) that you can't seem to break.  (Romans 8:15).  t

21. You find yourself exhibiting uncontrollable pride. (Proverbs 16:18).  u

22. You are involved in some perverseness such as homosexuality, masturbation, or beastuality. (Isaiah 19:14).  v

23. You sometimes find yourself speaking things that you know are against Christ. (I John 4:3). w

24. You find yourself living in an unclean state with poor hygiene. (Mark 5:2,12).  x

25. You find yourself disturbing worship services or being disturbed by worship. (Luke 4:33). y

26. You find yourself seeking sexual relationships outside of marriage. (Hosea 4:12).  z

27. You find yourself extremely jealous. (Numbers 5:14).  a

28. You find yourself repeatedly jumping into situations without thinking about the consequences. (Proverbs 14:29).  b

29. You hear in your mind voices condemning you and telling that God is against you. (Job 4:16-21). c

30. You find yourself in a state of confusion. (This is one of the most common factors that I see in counseling.) (I Corinthians 14:33, James 3:16).  d

    If you are not a Believer and have discovered that you may be influenced by evil spirits, please immediate go to (1) Salvation Through Binding, then go to (2) Finding Life, Purpose, Joy, next go to (3) Deliverance Prayer Guide.  If you are a Believer, go to Deliverance Prayer Guide.

    Since by nature, evil spirits are deceptive and liars, it would be wise to also seek the assistance of a mature Believer or Christian counselor who is anointed of the Holy Spirit, has Scriptural knowledge, experience in discernment, and experience in guiding others in to freedom and healing. Don't forget that there always has to be a door of entry that must be closed. SEE: The Enemy's Methods Of Entry.



Footnotes:
a. (II Chronicles 18:22)  "Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil against thee." return.

b. (Matthew 18:34-35) "And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses." return.

c. (Job 4:13-5)  "In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,  Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.  Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up." return.

d. (I Samuel 19:9-10)  "And the evil spirit from the LORD was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin; but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night." (Acts 19:16)  "And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." return.

e. (Luke 13:11)  "And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself." return.

f. (I Samuel 16:14)  "But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him." return.

g. (Isaiah 61:3)  "To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified." return.

h. (Mark 5:4)  "Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him."  (Acts 19:16)  "And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded." return.

i. (Mark 5:5)  "And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones." return.

j. (Mark 5:3)  "Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains" return.

k. (Mark 9:22)  "And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us." return.

l. (Mark 1:26)  "And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him."  (Mark 9:18)  "And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not."  return.

m. (Mark 1:23-24) " And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,  Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God." return.

n. (Mark 5:9)  "And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many."  return.

o. (Acts 16:16)  "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:" return.

p. (I John 4:6)  "We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." return.

q. (II Chronicles 18:20)  "Then there came out a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will entice him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith?" (I Timothy 4:1)  "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils."  return.

r. (Job 4:14)  "Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.  Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up."  (II Timothy 1:7) "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."   return.

s. (I Samuel 28:7)  "Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor."  return.

t. (Romans 8:15)  "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."  return.

u. (Proverbs 16:18)  "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."  return.

v. (Isaiah 19:14)  "The LORD hath mingled a perverse spirit in the midst thereof: and they have caused Egypt to err in every work thereof, as a drunken man staggereth in his vomit." return.

w. (I John 4:3)  "And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world."  return.

x. (Mark 5:2)  "And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit." (Mark 5:12)  "And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them." return.

y. (Luke 4:33)  "And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice."  return.

z. (Hosea 4:12)  "My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God."  return.

a.. (Numbers 5:14)  "And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled."  return.

b.. (Proverbs 14:29)  "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly."  return.

c.. (Job 4:16)  "It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,  Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?  Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:   How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?  They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it.   Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom."  return.

d.. (I Corinthians 14:33)  "For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."  (James 3:16)  "For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work."  return.
 



 
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