Scriptures That Confirm That Christians Can Be Demonized by Sandy Simpson lists Scriptures that deal with Christians being influenced by, and at times "controlled" by demonic influence and affluence. Not "ownership" on Satan's part, but satanic oppression, harassment, and certain bodily affectations. Greek and Hebrew Grammars and Bible Dictionaries bring clear light on this subject.
Scriptures That Confirm That
Christians Can Be Demonized
By Sandy Simpson, 6/28/97 of the Apologetics Coordination Team
"In the New Testament, the Greek word 'daimonizomai' is used to express the presence of demonic spirits within a person. What this word means is: 'to be demonized; to be under the power or influence of a demon in certain areas; to have a demon.' The word 'possessed," however (in the KJV, for example), is a misleading translation for this Greek word. To English speaking people the term 'possessed' implies total ownership of something. This concept, as pertaining to the relationship between a demonic entity and a person, has no support in the scripture or in the original intent of the Greek word. There is no suggestion in the scripture that a demon has totally taken over a person as the word 'possessed' implies. (Can A Christian Have A Demon", Chris Simpson, 1995)"
Just to give you a little background -- I am not one of those people that attribute everything to satan in this life including all disease, disability, tragedy, and sin. He is only one force at work -- there is also the flesh and the world. And above all forces there is God, the only constant force of grace, righteousness, faithfulness and purity. But we as Christians must also not rule out demonization in our lives. If we ignore the workings of the enemy and remain complacent, it can give satan an occasion to deceive us. Be careful ... the enemy walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.
1 Pet. 5:8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
This was spoken to Christians!
Our enemy also masquerades as an angel of light.
2 Cor. 11:14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.
We need to be aware that the enemy is deceitful and can work through people who act as though they are following Christ, and to all outward appearances it looks like they are, but by their false prophesies, preaching of a different gospel, and by the fruit of their actions we can discover that they are really demonized false apostles.
2 Cor. 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.
However, lest we become complacent as Christians, the enemy can also demonize those who are true believers. The following teachings and examples from the Bible are plentiful on this subject. The argument that the Holy Spirit cannot exist in the same space as sin or a demon is ludicrous on two counts. First, this reduces the person of the Holy Spirit to some kind of good "force" when the Bible portrays Him as the third person of the Trinity. Second, the Holy Spirit is omnipresent and is working in the regenerate believer, who himself is still struggling with the old nature even though he has been given a new nature, a new self.
Ga 5:17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
There is nowhere in Scripture that says the Holy Spirit cannot be present with evil. This kind of idea is without biblical merit and is, in fact, a denigration of the power of God. The Almighty Spirit of God that created ALL beings has total control and dominion over good and evil. It is up to us as believers to believe (continuous tense) in Jesus Christ and to persevere and overcome.
Rom. 8:13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
Rom. 13:14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Gal. 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Rom. 11:22 Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.
2 Pet. 2:20 If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.
Rev. 2:7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
All spoken to Christians!!
The following passages of Scripture are some instances of demonization of believers of God, Jews and Christians, from the New Testament after Pentecost. There are also many pre-Pentecost and Old Testament references to demonization of believers, notably the stories of Job (Job 1:8-9; 2:3; 2:7); Saul (1 Sam. 16:14-16, 18:10, 19:9); the Caananite woman's child (Matt. 15:22-28); Jesus rebuking Peter (Matt. 16:22-23); a man with a demon in a synagogue (Mark 1:23); James and John being told "you know not what spirit your are of" (Luke 9:52-56); a "daughter of Abraham" with a "spirit of infirmity" (Luke 13:11-16); and Judas being demonized by Satan (John 6:70-71, 13:27). We believe that these are all pertinent examples that bear on this discussion as we believe that the Bible is a continuous revelation of how God works with man and what the will of God is for man.
But for the purpose of this study, because of the new covenant that we live under today, and because some do not accept that the lessons we are taught from the OT and NT before the Holy Spirit was given to all who believe the gospel message are truly relevant for us today, we will stick to post-Pentecost passages of Scripture. This list is not exhaustive.
Acts 5:1-11 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet. Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God." When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, "Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?" "Yes," she said, "that is the price." Peter said to her, "How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also." At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
An example of two Christians whose hearts were filled with satan.
Acts 8:9-24 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power." They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin." Then Simon answered, "Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me."
Simon, a believer, needed deliverance from the occult. He had believed in Christ but still had the heart of an occult sorcerer. He was still a captive to sin even after he had believed and been baptized.
1 Cor 5:1-5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
These verses speak of a believer filled with a spirit of lust and as a result, delivered over to satan for the destruction of his sinful nature and hopefully the salvation of his spirit. This shows that God even uses satan to bring about a turning from sin in a sinful believer. He used satan to test a faithful man like Job. Satan is God's devil. He cannot do anything to Christians apart from the will of God. God uses satan when other methods of getting our attention have not worked. This is what I believe is going on in the "counterfeit" revivals today. God has allowed satan to bring a delusion on believers. This may be their last chance. They may turn to Jesus Christ for salvation from fleshly sins, such as being drawn away into hedonism by false signs and wonders, or they may ultimately reject God. It is their choice.
1 Cor. 10:12-14 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.
Just because God makes a way out of temptation does not mean that professing Christians will take it. Therefore we are urged to flee from idolatry because we cannot serve two masters. This shows that professing Christians can turn back and serve the god of this world, just as they turned and served Christ. It also proves that Christians can fall away if they place their faith in idolatry rather than God.
2 Cor 2:10-11 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Satan can "get an advantage" over a believer. This statement was made to believers, not non-believers.
2 Cor. 11:3-4 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. How can our minds be lead astray from sincere and pure devotion to Christ? For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.
Our minds can be lead astray by listening to false teachers preaching false doctrines. Paul rebukes believers for receiving a "different spirit". How can believers have a different spirit than the Holy Spirit? By "receiving" it without testing the spirits. This is what is being done in the current "counterfeit" revivals.
2 Cor. 12:7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
Even Paul was tormented by a "messenger from satan". What this was we do not know. Some think it was a disease or sore on his body. Some think it was a person. Some think it might have been a temptation to keep him humble. In any case, Paul was tormented by a demon from satan. If Paul can be tormented, you can be too, fellow Christian!
Gal. 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.
Paul rebukes believers for being "bewitched". In the mildest sense of this word we could say they have been fooled or blinded. In the strongest sense we can take it literally and say that the Galations were being tempted by demons, demonized into believing that they were saved by the law and not by Jesus Christ. A mark of the current "counterfeit" revivals is legalism. If you have received the "anointing" and exhibit some weird manifestations, you are officially an "intercessor" and a part of the "in" crowd. This is legalism. Our salvation has nothing to do with unusual manifestations. It has everything to do with what Jesus did on the cross for us. He who is first shall be last, and the last shall be first.
Eph. 4:25-27 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbour, for we are all members of one body. "In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
Lying and anger can "give the devil a foothold" in a believer's life. Again, this is spoken to believers!
1 Thes. 2:18 For we wanted to come to you--certainly I, Paul, did, again and again--but Satan stopped us.
Though this is probably not speaking of demonization from inside a Christian, it is certainly evidence the demons can stand in the way of Christians trying to do the Lord's work. Demonization can happen from outside or inside a believer, in the mind, in the body, in circumstances.
1 Tim. 1:19-20 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
Paul speaks of two believers who he delivered over to satan for blasphemy. This was to teach them not to blaspheme, not to send them to hell. Satan can be used by God to teach us valuable lessons as Christians. Do not underestimate the power of God to deliver us, even from the clutches of satan himself. With regards to church discipline for the unrepentant, the last step in the process is to hand them over to satan for the destruction of their flesh and, hopefully, the redemption of their spirit. This proves that even when an unrepentant believer is handed over to satan, he is still under the plans of God -- plans to redeem, not destroy. (Jer. 29:11, Re. 3:19)
1 Tim. 3:6-7 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil's trap.
Christians, even potential Christian leaders, can fall into the devil's trap.
1 Tim. 4:1-2 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.
In latter times believers will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. I believe that the latter times are already here and this is exactly what is happening. Christians are listening to doctrines that come right out of the mouth of satan such as "you are little gods", the same old lie the serpent told Eve.
2 Tim. 2:24-26 And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
Believers can be snared and taken captive by the devil.
1 Pet. 5:8-9 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Christians need to stand firm in the faith because the devil is waiting to devour those who lose their faith. All Christians everywhere are waging the same battle against the enemy. It is one of losing our faith through believing in false doctrines, putting our faith in something or someone else other and Jesus Christ, or by abandoning our faith altogether. The loss of faith is the goal of the enemy, and losing faith is giving in to his temptations. Losing our faith can also happen by trading it in for faith in power, experiential thrills, and signs and wonders that are not from God but from the enemy prowling around and in the lives of professing believers, taking the footholds afforded him through sin.
The argument that many use that "a Christian cannot be demonized" is that the Holy Spirit would not reside or be at work in a person who is being demonized, or that they cannot co-exist in the same person. This is an argument from silence, since the Bible does not state categorically that the Holy Spirit cannot be in the same location as evil. Rather it gives many examples where the Holy Spirit was at work in demonized believers. Part of the problem is our perception of the person and work of the Holy Spirit. God is the creator, omnipresent and omniscient. Since He is omnipresent He would already be where the devil and demons are at the same time. I would propose the concept that He is a different being than the creatures He created, which include the angels, devil and demons. It may be entirely possible for the Holy Spirit, who is the agent, the seal of God unto salvation for those who believe in Jesus, to be at work in a Christian's life who is, at a particular time, being demonized. He certainly is there working with the "new self" which is still residing with the "old self". Can the Holy Spirit work in a sinful believer? Thank God He can!
I also think that the Holy Spirit is the "agent", not some "substance" with which we are filled. However, a demon is a creature and may have substance like other created beings such as angels. I cannot fully prove this hypothesis from Scripture and it may well be that this concept is not crucial for us to fully understand. The fact that Christians have and are being demonized is a fact from Scripture beyond dispute, as you have just read, and is important for us to be aware of.
Only God knows who His sheep are and whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. We cannot ever be absolutely sure about another person, only ourselves as our belief in Christ and relationship with Him remains steadfast through faith. Even then God is our judge and can see sinful areas in our lives even when we are blind to them ourselves, or when we are willfully unrepentant of them. When we allow a sin to continue unconfessed in our lives, or we confess sin but continue to live in it, we allow satan a foothold in our lives as Christians. It is our responsibility to confess our sins. Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It may be that God will allow Satan to tempt us, as He did with His own Son in the desert, or to torment us, as He allowed the enemy to do to Paul. In that case we need to put on the armor of God, stand firm, remain faithful, and use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to fight the enemy.
Eph. 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled round your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
We don't automatically get the armor when we are saved. We must put it on.
This section of Scripture was written to believers!!!
The devil has everyone's destruction in mind, including Christians. Many Christians today do not have the full armor of God on. They may have the "helmet of salvation" on their heads, but they have become gossips and do not have their "feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace". They may have the "shield of faith" up, but they have fallen into habitual lying and do not have the "belt of truth" around their waists. We must be ready as Christians, on all fronts, to stand and rebuff the power of the enemy in our lives, holding fast to our salvation, our faith, the Truth, Jesus' righteousness imputed to us by the cross, the Word of God, the gospel of peace -- and, last but not least, in prayer constantly.
Copywrite Sandy Simpson, 6/28/97
This article may be freely distributed.