demon possession

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Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
There is no demon possession today. Jesus encountered this in his ministry and early in His ministry there was an increase in the activity as these demons opposed His kingdom. When you read the gospels the abilitiy to cast them out and the increase in the activity was a sign that the kingdom of God had come into the world. The ministry of the apostles was associated with laying the foundation of the church and imparting new revelation, which has ceased. Jesus came to overthrow the kingdom of satan and he has been defeated.

:offtopic: Is Russell Hamilton the teaching elder at your church in Bangor? If he is say hello to him and his wife for me. Him and I were in seminary together. We were both on the student council. He is a great man and has a wonderful accent (of course he is Scottish :))
 

Sydnorphyn

Puritan Board Freshman
ummmm...Eph. 6

There is no demon possession today. Jesus encountered this in his ministry and early in His ministry there was an increase in the activity as these demons opposed His kingdom. When you read the gospels the abilitiy to cast them out and the increase in the activity was a sign that the kingdom of God had come into the world. The ministry of the apostles was associated with laying the foundation of the church and imparting new revelation, which has ceased. Jesus came to overthrow the kingdom of satan and he has been defeated.

:offtopic: Is Russell Hamilton the teaching elder at your church in Bangor? If he is say hello to him and his wife for me. Him and I were in seminary together. We were both on the student council. He is a great man and has a wonderful accent (of course he is Scottish :)
How then does one understand Ephesians 6.10-20?
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
There is no demon possession today. Jesus encountered this in his ministry and early in His ministry there was an increase in the activity as these demons opposed His kingdom. When you read the gospels the abilitiy to cast them out and the increase in the activity was a sign that the kingdom of God had come into the world. The ministry of the apostles was associated with laying the foundation of the church and imparting new revelation, which has ceased. Jesus came to overthrow the kingdom of satan and he has been defeated.

:offtopic: Is Russell Hamilton the teaching elder at your church in Bangor? If he is say hello to him and his wife for me. Him and I were in seminary together. We were both on the student council. He is a great man and has a wonderful accent (of course he is Scottish :)
How then does one understand Ephesians 6.10-20?
Ephesians 6 is written to the believer. Satan is not non-existent and can still fight the church. We are warned that we are to be aware of his tactics, but he has been bound. Peter says that he roams about seeking whom he may devour. He has limited power and can use many tricks to fight against the saints but he can no longer possess people as he did before his kingdom was overthrown. One of the things that Jesus did at the cross was to overthrow his kingdom. He is a defeated foe but is like a dog without teeth.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
There's an awful lot of people over here that think they are possessed. Many even ask to be. I don't see any NT proof that this cannot be so...
 

hollandmin

Puritan Board Freshman
I would have to disagree with you Stephen, demon possession still exsists. There is absolutely no NT scripture that in anyway could lead anyone to believe that it doesn't. In fact just he oppossite is true. Eph. 6 is quite clear in expressing that we must protect ourselves with the whole armor of God. You only have to watch the evening news to know that Satan and his demons are alive and well and wreaking havock around the world on a regular basis.

Blessings

Hollandmin
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I am beginning to be convinced that this is much like the issue of tongues. From a redemptive-historical perspective the vast majority of demon possession is referenced in the gospels as Jesus walked the earth. Except for a few references in Acts, there seems to be little or no mention of demon possession in the rest of the NT.

One NT commentator hints that demonic work and activity in the gospels is so prevalent because Satan was aware of Jesus coming and was doing everything possible to prevent or stall His victory. After the temptation in the wilderness, however, it is clear that there is only one possible victor and He has now begun and will complete the domination of all spiritual powers that are not subject to Him (Romans 16:20; Ephesians 1:21-23)

Luke 11:21-22 "When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils"

This would seem to indicate, that, at the very least, we should expect that demon possession is now rare if not altogether impossible. And whatever we might make of Ephesians 6:10-20 no where does it indicate that demon possession is occurring but rather a battle with spiritual forces.

This is not to deny the influence and work of Satan in our age, nor even to absolutely deny that demon possession occurs. But it would seem that it is not the norm from the NT evidence.
 

Raj

Puritan Board Sophomore
Are there any known legitimate cases of demon possession today?

:detective:

Yes, there are many cases.


My own mother got healed after only we offered a goat. When we were unbelievers.

aunt got healed after I went to ask her, what's in my hand, I carried a Bible with me.

A woman was possed as soon as started singing hymns in their homes got healed after about one month compeletly, the same woman got possesed on one Sunday and abused me in the public, which in normal, she would never do. Now whole family our member.
A boy got healed who was dumb for two days after my Pastor and me prayed in our village.

A woman danced in during the worship claimed to be Shiva, was healed now our member.

A woman I saw crawling on the ground like a serpent, almost attacked the senior Pastor, we were about 5, from our seminary, woman was healed after about one hour.
 
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BobVigneault

Bawberator
There are two correlative mistakes that are made when the two sides discuss this issue. The 'demons are no longer active' side says that there is no demonic activity, only superstitions and group fears that get interpreted (mis-labeled) as demonic activity. This is why animistic cultures are more prone to stories of demons.

The other side, the 'demons are very present and very real' side says that demons are so powerful that some days God wins and some days Satan wins. Demons are not figments of the imagination but are very real and very powerful. If we don't pray then the angels can not be energized to hold back the demons. (Read Frank Perretti's books.)

Both sides are right and both sides commit important errors.

Demons are very real, BUT demons are not very powerful. The demons power is actually an illusion created by utilizing a person's or group's superstitions and fears.

A very real but weak demon can leverage a tremendous amount of fear by understanding a person's or group's expectations about demons. Anyone involved in the art of illusion understands this important principle. David Copperfield could go into a majority of world cultures and convince the folks that he is a god or controls the forces of nature. I've heard people in the states say 'he has a demon.' Mr. Copperfield is not demonic but he knows the power of a sleight, a feint, the expectations of the audience.

An illusion is a distortion of the senses, revealing how the brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation.
Is a demon smarter than Mr. Copperfield? Yes, very much more and they have lots and lots of experience in illusion, human expectation, leveraging fear, superstition and how a human brain is wired.

Can a demon possess a human today? Based on my experience I would have to say yes, however, the real power still depends on how much fear and superstition the 'host' is controlled by.

I may have used this example before:

First scenario - You are sitting in your well-lighted kitchen having a bowl of cereal. Water is dripping slowly into a pan in the sink, you aren't even aware of it. The weight of the water shifts in the pan and it falls over. You jump and look at the sink and realize immediately what happened. No problem.

Second scenario - Instead of sitting in your well-lit kitchen you moved to the dark den and you are watching a movie of a psycho-killer systematically going through a house killing people. It is an absolutely creepy movie. The pan in the sink is slowly filling with water. You are totally engrossed in the plot when you hear a crash in the kitchen. You are terrified, paralyzed with fear you are ripe for the picking at this point. You are convinced there is a killer or monster loose in the house. You can't breath, you move slowly in the direction of the kitchen or you just call the police.

What changed? A pan filled with water in the sink and fell. Perfectly harmless. What changed was the set up. Every magician knows that the success of a trick is not so much in the technique, but in the set up.

Demons are experts in the set up. In the end though, all they can really do is turn on a toy, or make a noise, even make a woman crawl like a serpent. There is really nothing to fear and in fact, fear is what they need to control you.

Obviously the non-believer in much more pliable and susceptible. A believer cannot be 'possessed', (and that word really should be defined when we use it. Possessed is too strong of a term.) The true danger from a demon is in our own fear and superstition. God's electing Love casts out all fear.

In short the demon is real but weak. The demon is an expert in illusion and understanding of human fear and will leverage it in the most dramatic ways.
 

Raj

Puritan Board Sophomore
In short the demon is real but weak. You are right.

It would be wonderful, if any of you could visit us and see the whole culture here.
And I do know we serve a Living and Powerful God.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
And thank you Raj for sharing those experiences. I have a good friend who was a missionary for years in the Philippines. He wrote about the spirit world there.

We reformed shy away from experience that seems to differ from the words of Scripture. I am organizing a book that will record my own experiences and bring them to an explanation that remains consistent with Scripture and also give a view to Satan's schemes. I appreciate hearing of these experiences for that reason.
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
I would have to disagree with you Stephen, demon possession still exsists. There is absolutely no NT scripture that in anyway could lead anyone to believe that it doesn't. In fact just he oppossite is true. Eph. 6 is quite clear in expressing that we must protect ourselves with the whole armor of God. You only have to watch the evening news to know that Satan and his demons are alive and well and wreaking havock around the world on a regular basis.

Blessings

Hollandmin
According to your argument Christians can be possessed, which is false. I never stated they did not exist or did not influenc people, but they do not have control, or else the cross work of Christ accomplished nothing. Thomas Brooks teaches in Precious Remedies Against Satan's Devices, that satan is a trickster and can certainly use schemes or tricks, but he has no power over us.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
In all fairness Stephen, the original post, Pastor Holland's and yours never mentioned Christians being possessed; only whether or not possession still exists.

I think we all agree that possession is a loaded word. The movie industry really caused a great change in the way people think of demonic activity and possession. Satan was given way too much power by the movie industry in the 70's and it's very unfortunate. Our knowledge of the demonic should only come from scripture and experience must be made to agree with God's Word.

I prefer the word 'demonized' and by that I mean oppression, influence, nudging but not full control.

According to your argument Christians can be possessed, which is false.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Just how weak are demons and the supernatural?

A few anecdotal stories hear tell of local animistic leaders (witches if you will) cursing a few others, who then die. In one case, a swollen leg, in another case blurred vision, in in other case nausea and vomiting until death.


In another case a man wore his family's amulet that he said possessed a spirit inside. He reported that this spirit appeared more and more to him over time, at last urging him to kill himself. We prayed over him and took the amulet..at which point all such symptoms cease.

Did we implant a psychological suggestion only into his mind, or did something "spiritual" actually happen (i.e. did I perform my first "exorcism"?).


How much of this is psychosomatic and how much can the suernatural and spiritual powers work to eleicit spiritual responses?
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Also, I find it interesting that 80% of Westerners I meet in Christian circles in the West poo-poo these issues, while 80% or maybe 90% in Asia do not poo-poo these ideas, but treat them as incontestable.

Either the East or the West is blinded...or both a little. We can look down our noses at the Superstitious Eastor we can do the oppisite and regard with pity our atheistic and skeptical West. But it is interesting how these beliefs differ globally.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
The demons are very weak Perg, they have to borrow their 'power' from perception. Be careful of anything you receive through hear say, hear say travels with conclusions that were effected heavily by world view. You asked if the activity was demonic or psychosomatic? It is not an either or. The weak but clever demon needs to use every factor available. He will use mental defect, allergies, fatigue, ghost stories, superstitions, UFOs, chubacabra, Elvis, ANYHING to keep us in the game, to keep us superstitious and to keep us fearful. A fearful Christian is a Christian that nullifies the practical truth of God's absolute sovereignty and Christ's absolute authority over all things.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
The difference between east and west again is our level of superstitions. An animistic culture allows the demon more exotic and overt tools to play with. In the west, we are much more sophisticated in our superstitions. We have spirit guides and ascended masters and aliens.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
How much of this is psychosomatic and how much can the suernatural and spiritual powers work to eleicit spiritual responses?
Interestingly, the Bible seems to distinguish by "natural disease" and demons:

"And when He had called his twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease." Matthew 10:1
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
The Bawb-erator:

I don't know if I buy that.

Of course, I need not fear. But what of those who are unsaved and are thus more subject to whatever demons can do? Your conclusions reinforce the atheists contentions that there is nothing that really happens supernatural today and all these items are only "in our heads". I.e. a delusion.

What of reports of demons speaking to the unsaved? Can we medicate them ALL for schizophrenia as a solution and why are some of these psychoses linked very closely with religion..because it is the "opium of the people."


It appears that the NT reported an active supernaturalism whereas enlightenment-influenced Christianity is heavily anti-supernatural and largely deistic. What active role DO God and the demons play today?
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
The question must be asked this way Perg. Why does God allow demons to afflict humans, saved or unsaved? The reason is: to test and discipline.

For the unsaved, they are afflicted in order to bring them to a dependency on Christ and claim him as their Lord and Champion. Jesus said, "do not fear the one that can destroy the flesh but the one that can destroy the soul in Hell." Affliction by a demon is nothing compared to the torment of hell or to stand in God's presence without a mediator.

Job was afflicted with demonic oppression as Satan, an agent of God's wrath, tested and proved Jobs faith and also found the weakness in Job's self-righteousness. Satan was under God's authority the entire time.

A demon will try and keep the unbeliever in bondage to sin. God can also use a demon to challenge a besetting sin in the believer. Bottom line is, God is always sovereign and the demons are not, can not work outside his eternal plan.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
After a certain fashion, doesn't the devil posess all those who do not believe?


I say yes, it still happens.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Again Perg, as Luther says, "Satan is God's ape."

Satan and sin have been ordained in a manner to bring the greatest display of God's glory in justice.

After all is said and done Satan possesses nothing. All he has is deception - that's it. Deception is his sole weapon and possession. All of the Lord's enemies have been put under His feet. The reprobate does not belong to Satan but Satan shares the fate of the reprobate.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
So Bawb, you are denying categorically that there is NO demon possession today?


You're preaching to the choir with the other stuff.

Of course, I know that God is sovereign.

Yet evil still occurs and death has not yet been subdued, so it is not implausible that demonic disturbances or possessions still occur.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
A General controls an army right?

In Matthew 25 it speaks of the devil and HIS angels doesn't it?

Of course he is no omnipresent, but he is the Dark Boss and so it can be said that if any of the devil's angels control a person they are posssesed by demons or a devil at least.

They are under the power of THE devil even though possessed by A devil, if you want stricter language.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Perg, define the word.

During one of a couple of 'deliverance' sessions at my house (I do not recommend deliverance ministries) I witnessed some pretty overt demonic activity. As things heated up it was obvious that a demon was jumping back and forth between my two teenaged daughters. When it would jump my daughter (I believe the demon) would turn and give me this very distinct leer, kind of a mocking grin, to let me know it had changed daughters. This happened several times.

At one point, the younger daughter cleaned out a bunch of spices in the kitchen, went to her bedroom where she placed them in a circle around her bed, she drew pentagrams on both of her hands and calmly explained she was trying to keep evil spirits away. This daughter had no knowledge of occultic practices and was very skeptical of such things. There was obviously a definite influence going on.

My daughter today has no memory at all of these things happening.
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
In all fairness Stephen, the original post, Pastor Holland's and yours never mentioned Christians being possessed; only whether or not possession still exists.

I think we all agree that possession is a loaded word. The movie industry really caused a great change in the way people think of demonic activity and possession. Satan was given way too much power by the movie industry in the 70's and it's very unfortunate. Our knowledge of the demonic should only come from scripture and experience must be made to agree with God's Word.

I prefer the word 'demonized' and by that I mean oppression, influence, nudging but not full control.

According to your argument Christians can be possessed, which is false.

Yes, you are right the original question said nothing about Christian's being possessed. I was addressing this brother who said that no where in the Bible does it say that possession does not exist and then cites Ephesians 6. Ephesians 6 does not teach this, but it calls believers to put on the armour and stand against the evil one. I am basing my position on the Reformed understanding that the kingdom of satan was overthrown by the ministry of Christ. This is consistent with the teaching of many like Vos, Ridderbos, and others. I am not saying he has no power or infuence, because the Scriptures teach otherwise, but he has been limited and does not possess people as he did in the ministry of Christ.
 
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