Topical studies

Demonic possesion

1. An example of possession.

(Mark 5:1-20 KJV) And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: 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. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him, And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not. For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

This example shows many of the characteristics of the demonic. They often demonstrate all or some of these. The man possessed in this case was naked, superhuman strength, lawless, restless, isolated, unhappy, sadistic and insane.

Jesus named them “unclean” (evil) and commanded they give their name. (s)

2. What are demons?

(Isa 14:12-17 NIV) How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! {13} You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. {14} I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” {15} But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit. {16} Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: “Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, {17} the man who made the world a desert, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?”

(Ezek 28:11-19 NIV) The word of the LORD came to me: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “‘You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.  Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendour. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching. All the nations who knew you are appalled at you; you have come to a horrible end and will be no more.'”

These Scriptures describe Satan, as the overlord of the demonic host, which has a place in the heavens and will in due time be brought down.

(Rev 12:7-10 NIV) And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. {10} Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.

They are spirit beings, evil ones that have followed Satan; fallen angels, which are to come to a final judgement.

(1 Cor 6:3 NIV) Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!

Lucifer (Satan) took one third of the angels with him into rebellion. The rest are God’s servants and messengers.

(Heb 1:13-14 NIV) To which of the angels did God ever say, “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?  Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?

The evil angels are a minority and as disembodied beings roam about seeking bodies to inhabit to fulfil their rebellious and destructive nature.

(Mark 5:12 NIV) The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.”

Their leader is known as a prince of the powers of the air.

(Eph 2:2 KJV) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air , the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:


(Eph 6:12 KJV) 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.

Principalities or Rulers, (Arche = beings who exercise rule)….Powers, (exousia = beings to whom power/authority has been given.)…. Rulers of the darkness…(kosmokrator = spirit powers who exercise antagonistic authority in the spiritual darkness. Some kind of hierarchy is indicated and this idea is supported in Daniel.

(Dan 10:12-13 KJV) Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
(Dan 10:20 KJV) Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.

These were not earthly princes but rulers of the spiritual darkness. The demonic world has its governmental organisation and we need to be aware of the hierarchical nature of the enemy’s army.

There are many levels of operation, for example some are strong, some little, some stubborn and defiant. All have names.

These creatures seek to invade in two ways: physically, in the body or flesh life, and mentally, in the soul and mind

(Mat 10:28 NIV) Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

The reborn spirit cannot be harmed by these beings.

All the forms of negation of God’s life, light and love is found in the hosts of the demonic. e.g.

Physical forms: Cancer, TB, Fits, deaf, dumb, blind, Paralysis, Palsy, Goitre, and in fact most forms of disease, can be found in demon form. Demons who have these forms can and do manifest the specific diseases in those who are possessed by them. This does not mean that everyone who has a disease has a demon but that some demonic forces can use disease to destroy the individual.

Spiritual forms: Religious, Familiar, Lying, Schizophrenic, Unclean, Sensual, Perversions,

Mental forms: Fear, Temper, Deceiving, Miserly, Seducing, Prideful

4. How they operate

Their aim is, like their master Satan, to destroy.

(John 10:10 NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy ; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(1 Pet 5:8 NIV) Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour .

A typical attack comes in three stages:

a. oppression,
b. obsession
c. possession.

That moment of weakness, strain, tiredness, a person feels “down” and begins to think negatively. No harm can come to those who are walking in the light

5. Be aware

It is one thing to know that demons are present but another to know how to deal with them. They are cunning, sly, evasive and shrewd. Nevertheless there is a time to act.

(Acts 16:16-18 NIV) Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.

To know the position and name of the opposition is half the battle. Note that the gift of the Holy Spirit is called “The discerning of spirits” ( NOT discernment).

(1 Cor 12:10 KJV) To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits;

6. A Defeated foe

(1 John 3:8 KJV) He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

This victory was finished at the cross. Jesus said: (John 19:30 NIV) “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

It was after this that He could say: (Mat 28:18 NIV) , “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

As children of the living God we share this authority .

7. Casting out the demonic

Casting out or forcibly ejecting. Never be afraid of demons. They feed on fear and you are rendered powerless. Know your authority and believe that you have it!

(Mark 16:17 NIV) And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons ; they will speak in new tongues;
(Acts 1:8 NIV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Know the power of His name … Lord Jesus Christ … Be IN the name.

Speak in faith nothing doubting

(John 15:7 NIV) If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.

There is an imperative need to act only as one is led and guided by the Holy Spirit. Acting presumptuously leads to downfall.

(Acts 19:13-20 KJV) Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 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.

8. The need for continuing ministry

Many who are delivered regain their problem or sickness. There is need for salvation and the infilling of the Holy Spirit after deliverance from the demonic. Demons wander about seeking another body to inhabit and will try to re-enter their former home.

(Mat 12:43-45 NIV) “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.