What happened to demon possession?

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no1special18

Puritan Board Freshman
I was asked by a kid the other day about demon possession -- he wanted to know if it was real -- so ofcourse I told him it was real, but I have had something on my mind since he asked the question. Why, in the gospels, is demon possession not all that uncommon, and today we hardly ever see cases of demon possesion. At first I thought that maybe demon possession did not happen all that often in the gospels. However the Gospels basically cover a three year period of Jesus life (with the exception of his birth and the passage in Luke when he was twelve), and Jesus encounters and casts out several demons during this time (according to their account so did the seventy that Jesus sent out). Anyway, what do you guys think? Are demon possessions still as common as they were? If they are, why does the church as a whole not encounter these demon possessed people? If they are not, why are they not?

:flamingscot:
 

Anton Bruckner

Puritan Board Professor
The argument that credible theologians follow is that during special moments in history where God acts directly by manifesting His sovereign power, He willingly allows for the manifestation of demonic powers to glorify Himself while vanquishing them. I tend to agree with this, since we see during the time of Moses whereby God wrought great signs and wonders we likewise see the counterfeit which deceived the heathen nations manifesting itself likewise in Pharaoh's court. The same goes for the time of Jesus who is the ultimate prophet in the line of Moses. More knowledgeable people can expound on this.
 

Calvibaptist

Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan
Ditto above. The time of Jesus was a special time, when Satan was working his hardest to discredit Christ. God also "allowed" Satan a little extra rope to hang himself, while Jesus showed his authority over demonic powers.

Another explanation that I have heard is that we do have as much demon possession today. But we explain it as psychological disorders and medicate the possessed and put them in asylums.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Demons can afford to be more overt in animistic cultures. This is why we hear so many stories from missionaries. Spiritual warfare takes on a much more subtle style in technological societies.

There definitely was more activity during Chirst's incarnation and ministry. Take a look at Luke 2 but try and step away for the Christmas card imagery.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
This was not a ceremonial group of spirit beings, this was an enormous regiment of warriors. There was a military operation going on. We sing "Silent Night" but the fact that the Father dispatched a multitude of warriors indicates that something big was going on in the spirit realm. If I were a shepherd, I would be impressed if just one angel showed up. Three would be mind boggling. To insure that the insertion of the God-baby took place in space and time required a huge army of the most powerful fighters in creation.

This, to me, is an indication of the increased spiritual activity that was just then hitting the world and would continue until the church foundations were set in place.

Amazingly Jesus told Pilate as preparations for his execution were being made -

53 Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”
There's a picture, the hordes of demons had a plan in place and were carrying it out while 60,000 angels stood still with their swords sheathed, just watching.
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
Demon possession recedes with the expansion of Christianity. As Christ conquers the land, demons flee. I will see if I can find some quotes later and post them.

Christ's expansion also causes magic to cease. From Athanasius, On the Incarnation:
Who, then, is this Christ and how great is He, Who by His Name and presence overshadows and confounds all things on every side, Who alone is strong against all and has filled the whole world with His teaching? Let the Greeks tell us, who mock at Him without stint or shame. If He is a man, how is it that one man has proved stronger than all those whom they themselves regard as gods, and by His own power has shown them to be nothing? If they call Him a magician, how is it that by a magician all magic is destroyed, instead of being rendered strong? Had He conquered certain magicians or proved Himself superior to one of them only, they might reasonably think that He excelled the rest only by His greater skill. But the fact is that His cross has vanquished all magic entirely and has conquered the very name of it.
 

Preach

Puritan Board Sophomore
While attending The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, I had three professors share that in their opinion, they had personally encountered a demon possessed person (three separate encounters). One prof. was in Latin America. Another prof. was in South America. I don't remember where the third prof. was, but it was a third world country.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
We must guard against judging the activity of the demonic solely on our own experiences in the Christianized west. It would stand to reason that with more preaching there would be less demonic activity. That means that areas with less preaching would have greater demonic activity, no?
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
We must guard against judging the activity of the demonic solely on our own experiences in the Christianized west. It would stand to reason that with more preaching there would be less demonic activity. That means that areas with less preaching would have greater demonic activity, no?
Yes, that is the idea. That explains why reputable people come back from mission work with credible reports of demonic possession and activity and yet we see so little of the dramatic sorts here.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
My theory for why we were so targeted is because of my extended family's involvement in the occult. My dad and uncles, aunts and grandmother were all faith healers. There was divination, p0rnography, adultery, divorce. A hellish heritage that I vowed would stop with me and my family but I believe the numerous invitations and family sins lead to the demonic attack on my wife and especially on my two daughters.

I was not reformed in my thinking and really believed that Satan won some days and Jesus won other days depending on whether or not the saints were praying (got that from Frank Peretti, Neal Anderson, Mark Buber.)
 

Scott

Puritan Board Graduate
My theory for why we were so targeted is because of my extended family's involvement in the occult. My dad and uncles, aunts and grandmother were all faith healers. There was divination, p0rnography, adultery, divorce. A hellish heritage that I vowed would stop with me and my family but I believe the numerous invitations and family sins lead to the demonic attack on my wife and especially on my two daughters.

I was not reformed in my thinking and really believed that Satan won some days and Jesus won other days depending on whether or not the saints were praying (got that from Frank Peretti, Neal Anderson, Mark Buber.)
While everything happens in accordance with God's decrees, from an earthly, or secondary cause, perspective, some demons cannot be defeated apart from prayer and fasting. Mark 9:29.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I like the explanation above regarding medication and incarceration in psychiatric institutions. I think there is plenty of demon possession in the west, but we use chemical restraints (the clinical terminology) to bind those who appear, that or electro- or insulin-shock "therapy" to so scramble the nervous system that what is in the soul cannot be expressed.

There are many tormented souls who pine away in misery in the caves of the psych wards. May God have mercy on them.

Especially in the 60s (or even in the present) drug cultures where psychedelic / sorcerous potions were ingested, there were numerous cases of such satanic invasion of people. The drug-use realm (note I include grass despite some folks at PB denying it) can be called "the satanic wavelength". We open the door of our spirits to that realm and those things may come in!

No doubt at all that in primitive societies it is more openly prevalent

We legalize drugs and we will see more of it.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I like the explanation above regarding medication and incarceration in psychiatric institutions. I think there is plenty of demon possession in the west, but we use chemical restraints (the clinical terminology) to bind those who appear, that or electro- or insulin-shock "therapy" to so scramble the nervous system that what is in the soul cannot be expressed.

There are many tormented souls who pine away in misery in the caves of the psych wards. May God have mercy on them.

Especially in the 60s (or even in the present) drug cultures where psychedelic / sorcerous potions were ingested, there were numerous cases of such satanic invasion of people. The drug-use realm (note I include grass despite some folks at PB denying it) can be called "the satanic wavelength". We open the door of our spirits to that realm and those things may come in!

No doubt at all that in primitive societies it is more openly prevalent

We legalize drugs and we will see more of it.
I'd add (and this is really nothing more than a hunch) that the obsession with UFOs and alien abductions are related too. Maybe the "repressed memory" phenomenon recovered by hypnosis is similar. I sometimes think that the little aliens are merely recycled trolls and fairies from an earlier age. When people get immersed into odd and mysterious things, absent from the shield and protection of faith, odd things may well come to them.
 

shackleton

Puritan Board Junior
I thought the Reformed idea for there not being people possessed by demons was that the devil is bound. But, maybe this is just from the Amillinialism view of eschatology?
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
I'm of the interpretation that Satan 'bound' means that he cannot deceive entire nations as he did before he was bound.
 

MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I'm of the interpretation that Satan 'bound' means that he cannot deceive entire nations as he did before he was bound.
I heard Pastor William Harrell of Immanuel Presbyterian Church Norfolk VA discribe Satan being bound this way. Immagine a big dog on a chain and that chain is secured to a post in the ground. The dog still has a "circle of influence" but the chain will not allow the dog beyond that.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
I'd add (and this is really nothing more than a hunch) that the obsession with UFOs and alien abductions are related too. Maybe the "repressed memory" phenomenon recovered by hypnosis is similar. I sometimes think that the little aliens are merely recycled trolls and fairies from an earlier age. When people get immersed into odd and mysterious things, absent from the shield and protection of faith, odd things may well come to them.
:up:
 

govols

Puritan Board Junior
I'd add (and this is really nothing more than a hunch) that the obsession with UFOs and alien abductions are related too. Maybe the "repressed memory" phenomenon recovered by hypnosis is similar. I sometimes think that the little aliens are merely recycled trolls and fairies from an earlier age. When people get immersed into odd and mysterious things, absent from the shield and protection of faith, odd things may well come to them.
Just don't go bashing Big Foot. He's for REAL!
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I'd add (and this is really nothing more than a hunch) that the obsession with UFOs and alien abductions are related too. Maybe the "repressed memory" phenomenon recovered by hypnosis is similar. I sometimes think that the little aliens are merely recycled trolls and fairies from an earlier age. When people get immersed into odd and mysterious things, absent from the shield and protection of faith, odd things may well come to them.
Just don't go bashing Big Foot. He's for REAL!
No, I'd never bash Big Foot. He's too big!

I once apparently caused a Big Foot scare, though. It was in Butte Montana, my first year of college, winter, and I decided to leave my dorm to camp on the hill above Montana Tech. It was 40 below zero and I had a huge Air Force surplus down sleeping bag strapped to my back and home-made snowshoes for the hike.

As I climbed the hill, dogs started barking and lights from some houses came on. People peered out into the darkness but it was too cold for anyone to come out. That night the wind picked up and blew snow onto my tracks.

So I came down the next morning for an uneventful breakfast in the dorm cafeteria. The day after that, however, the Montana Standard had a local news item about a Big Foot sighting in the area. It showed a picture of my tracks heading up the hill.

I kept quiet.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Parable of the wheat and tares

I was reading this today and thought about this thread.

Matt 13:24,25

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
The wicked one sows his seed in the cover of darkness. I wonder as our nation plunges itself deeper and deeper into darkness if we will see a rise in demonic activity.
 

21st Century Calvinist

Puritan Board Junior
I have heard it said that in the West we see little direct demonic activity because Satan has many other ways of binding people in our "free" society.
 
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