Demonic possession is a phenomenon where a person is believed to be controlled by a demon. Demons can affect everyone differently and can result in various symptoms, including physical impairments and changes in one’s behavior.
In some parts of the world, people do not consider satanic involvement seriously because they do not want to believe that there is anything beyond our natural world that can impact us. We would rather chalk up demonic activity as superstition or mental illness.
The Bible, however, gives us a very different perspective. It believes that demonic activity exists and gives us insights into how demons can penetrate our lives.
So, read on as we explore what the Bible says about demonic possessions in more detail.
How Does the Bible Define Demons?
To understand the nature of the demons, we must look into the father of all demon spirits, Satan. The Book of Revelation tells us that Satan was once an angel living amongst the stars in heaven at one point. It’s even possible that he was a cherub (Revelation 12:7-9).
Since Satan used to be a divine being created by God, we know that he and his fallen comrades were good beings. They chose freely, however, to reject God’s will and became tools for evil purposes instead.
We don’t know if Satan rebelled against God because of his pride or for some other reason, but we do know that an angelic war took place in heaven where the archangel Michael and his angels battled Satan and his angels (Revelation 12:7-9).
As a result of their revolt, Satan and the other fallen angels were vanquished and expelled from heaven (Revelation 12:9; Luke 10:18). Satan became known as “the prince of demons” (Matthew 12:24) and was hurled to the ground with the rest of the fallen angels (Revelation 12:9). They were subsequently sentenced to hell (Matthew 25:41).
What Are Demons Capable of Doing?
Even though they were kicked out of heaven, Satan’s demons still help him with his scheme to control the earth by tempting people into sin (Revelation 12:9).
The Bible warns us about Satan’s severe danger to mankind by calling him “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4) who “prowls” the earth “looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Demons are just as risky, as the Bible describes them as: “impure spirits” (Mark 1:27), “deceiving spirit[s]” (1 Kings 22:23), “he powers of this dark world” and “the spiritual forces of evil”(Ephesians 6:12), and as Satan’s “angels” (Revelation 12:9).
Satan and his demons can inflict harm on earth by doing the following:
1. Possessing people to inflict physical and spiritual harm (Matthew 12:22; Mark 5:1-20) as well as to do evil things (Luke 22:3-4)
Demons can possess people, which entails taking control of a person’s body and using it for evil purposes. This is why we see stories in the Bible of people being possessed by demons and doing things they would never do otherwise, like harming themselves or others.
2. Clouding believers’ minds to shroud the Gospel’s light (2 Corinthians 4:4)
In 2 Corinthians 4:4, it says, “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.”
The signs that Satan is blinding someone’s mind can include:
- Unwillingness to hear about the Gospel
- Having a closed mind toward spiritual things
- Constantly making excuses for why they don’t want to believe
This is why it’s so essential for us to pray for unbelievers, that God may reveal Himself to them.
3. Posing as servants of righteousness to deceive people (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)
The demons will try to deceive people into thinking they are good when they are evil. This is what happened with the serpent in the Garden of Eden. The serpent deceived Eve into thinking that he was her friend and that what he was saying was true. However, it was all a lie, and because of that, sin entered the world.
Demons will also try to deceive people by pretending to be religious. In Matthew 7:15, Jesus warns us about false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing but are really wolves in disguise. These false prophets are demons in disguise and aim to deceive people into following them.
4. Tormenting believers of Christ (2 Corinthians 12:7)
Lastly, demons seek to destroy the lives of believers in Christ. In 2 Corinthians 12:7, the apostle Paul talks about a “messenger of Satan” that was sent to him to torment him. This messenger likely refers to a demon and serves as an example of how demons can try to make our lives miserable.
Bible Verses about Demonic Possessions
The Bible provides examples of people who were possessed or influenced by demons. As mentioned, some symptoms of demonic influence can include changes in personality, abnormal strength, speaking in tongues, and exhibiting otherworldly knowledge.
For a demon to possess someone, that person must first be vulnerable to attack. This can be due to a lack of faith, opening oneself up to negative energy, or engaging in activities that invite evil into one’s life. Once a demon has taken hold, it will try to keep the person under its control by tormenting them emotionally and psychologically.
Here are a few key passages that speak about this phenomenon:
1. Matthew 9:32–33 (NIV)
32 “While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus.
33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
These verses show that demons can cause physical impairments and that Jesus has the power to deliver people from demonic oppression.
2. Matthew 17:18 (NIV)
18 “Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.”
This verse makes it clear that even though demons are evil beings with the power to possess someone, Jesus has more power, casting them out with a single word.
3. Mark 5:1–13 (NIV)
1 “They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain…
…6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.”
These verses show that demonic possession caused a man to lose control of his body and actions. Even so, the power of Jesus ruled over demons, and when the possessed man came into contact with Him, the demons cried out.
4. Mark 7:26–30 (NIV)
26 “The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.
27 “First let the children eat all they want,” he told her, “for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
28 “Lord,” she replied, “even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
29 Then he told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.”
30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.”
This story shows that the discriminative barriers that separated the woman from Jesus did not keep Jesus from healing the woman’s daughter. All she did was ask in faith, and Jesus granted her daughter the healing she needed.
5. Acts 16:16–18 (NIV)
16 “Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She 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.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed 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.”
In these verses, it is not Jesus who directly casts out the demon, but Paul, who does so in Jesus’ name. This authority to cast out demons and proclaim freedom in Jesus’ name (Luke 11:20) is given to all Christians, not just those in leadership positions. However, you must believe God will empower you to use it effectively. Otherwise, the demons will not budge.
Can Demons Possess Even the Most Faithful Christians?
In Matthew 16:23, Jesus rebukes Peter after he tries to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross. Many people don’t realize that it was actually Satan speaking through Peter in this instance. This shows that Peter, a believer in Christ, can still be influenced by the devil.
Another good example is the story of Judas Iscariot. He was a follower and even a preacher of the Gospel. But he allowed greed to take over his heart, making him vulnerable to demonic influence. In the end, he abandoned the faith.
There is no concrete example of a believer experiencing demonic possession, only demonic influence. This is because the Holy Spirit is within us and the Spirit of God denies the demons entry to His temple.
The following verses prove this:
1. 2 Corinthians 1:22
22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2. 1 Corinthians 6:19
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”
Let these verses be a reminder that Satan and his evil followers can only do what the Lord allows them to do (Job 1-2). But if we pursue God and constantly rely on His strength (Ephesians 6:10-18), then we have nothing to fear from Satan or any other evil entity because God ultimately controls everything!
How Can We Resist Demons?
Some believe it is impossible for practicing Christians to be possessed because the Holy Spirit abides in them; thus, demons cannot take hold. While this may be true, the best way to protect oneself from demon possession is to live a life steeped in obedience to Scripture. By doing so, we assert to the devil and his demons that we are not interested in their offers of sin and instead remain faithful to God.
We can also drive away demons by putting on God’s full armor (Ephesians 6:11-18):
1. The Belt of Truth
The Belt of Truth is representative of the truth of the Gospel. This truth frees us from the bondage of sin and gives us power over the enemy. This is because the enemy’s deception can only take hold if we do not know the truth.
2. The Breastplate of Righteousness
The breastplate protects our hearts and minds from the attacks of the enemy. It symbolizes God’s righteousness and reminds us that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ.
This breastplate also represents the imputed righteousness of Christ that is ours when we trust in him. In other words, we are saved only by God’s grace and not because of our good works.
3. The Gospel of Peace
The Gospel of Peace will help us free ourselves from the bondage of possessions. It will show us how to be content with what we have and live a simple life. This way, we can focus on our relationship with God and not on material things, which demons can use to control us.
4. The Shield of Faith
The Shield of Faith is the fourth piece of armor Paul lists in his letter to the Ephesians. This armor is what we use to protect ourselves from the enemy’s fiery darts. To do this, we must have faith in God and His power to defeat the enemy.
5. The Helmet of Salvation
Demons love to play with our thoughts. They thrive on lies, deception, and confusion. They have won a battle if they can get us to doubt ourselves or the truth of God’s Word. But when we put on the Helmet of Salvation, we are protected from their lies and deception.
6. The Sword of the Spirit
We can use the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, to defeat Satan and his demons. The Bible is our final authority, and we must stand on the truth of God’s Word. We cannot allow the enemy to deceive us with his lies.
The sword of the Spirit is also used to edify the body of Christ. When we speak the truth in love, we use the sword of the Spirit to bless others and help them grow in their faith.
Prayer is another weapon we have against the enemy. We can bind Satan and his demons in prayer and ask God to protect us from their attacks. We can also ask God to reveal any areas where we are vulnerable to attack.
What Will Eventually Happen to Demons?
Demons are terrified of Christ, realizing that he is stronger and that their time on Earth is only limited. For example, when Jesus confronted the demons in Matthew 8:29, they recognized his ultimate authority and impending destruction by screaming at him, “What do you want with us, Son of God?… Have you come here to torture us before our appointed time?”
Jesus is the absolute sovereign ruler of everything; even the demons must submit to him. So, while it is true that demons are powerful, they are still helpless against the one who has all power in his hands. Jesus will eventually defeat Satan and all of his demons. They are all bound to Hell for eternity.
After all, they are fallen angels who have chosen to rebel against the one true God. But for now, they remain free to roam the Earth and wreak havoc in people’s lives. So we must be on our guard against their schemes and lies. We know that Jesus has already won the victory, but we must still fight the good fight until he returns to make all things new.
What Are the Consequences of Being Possessed by Demons?
Since demons are fallen angels, they are much more powerful than humans. They can influence our thoughts and emotions and cause us to act in ways that are not in line with God’s will for our lives. When we allow them to take control, they can lead us into all sorts of sin and wickedness, both mental and physical.
The Bible gives many examples of demon possession, and the consequences are always disastrous. The person is never in control of their own body or mind and is often driven to violence, suicide, or other self-destructive behaviors. If you suspect that a demon may possess you or someone you know, it is important to seek help from a spiritual authority who can help you to identify and rid yourself of the demon.
While possession by a demon is certainly a scary thought, we need not be afraid. We know that God is more powerful than any demon, and He has promised to protect us from evil. If we live in His will and follow His commands, we can be confident that He will keep us safe from harm, including demon possession.
Below are the most common symptoms of demon possession. If you are experiencing any of these, it is important to seek help immediately:
- sudden changes in behavior or personality
- violent outbursts or self-destructive behaviors
- speaking in tongues or using words that are unfamiliar to you
- exhibiting superhuman strength
- knowing things that you should not know
- seeing things that no one else can see
- hearing voices that no one else can hear
These things can be dangerous because they can lead to physical, mental, and emotional harm. After all, you are no longer in control of your body or mind. There is also a risk of harming your reputation and relationships with other people.
If you think you may be possessed, the best thing to do is to seek help from a spiritual authority who can help you get rid of the demon. Remember, God is more powerful than any demon and will protect you from harm.
Unfortunately, the signs of demonic possession do not immediately make themselves apparent. It can be easy to mistake the early stages for something else, like a mental illness. This is why it’s important to be aware of the potential warning signs so you can get help as soon as possible.
Some of the early warning signs of demonic possession include:
- feeling like you are being watched
- sensing an evil presence
- having nightmares or sleep paralysis
- sudden changes in behavior
- feeling like you are not yourself
These signs are often subtle and can be easily overlooked. If you start noticing them, it’s important to take action immediately. The sooner you get help, the better.
Who Can Be Possessed by Demons?
Anyone can be demon-possessed. This is because, as human beings, we are all vulnerable to demonic influence. Jesus said that demons go out into the world seeking someone to possess (Luke 11:24-26). They enter and take control when they find someone open to their influence.
Some people, however, are more prone to demonic possession than others. These include people who are:
- Involved in occult practices
- Engaged in sexual immorality
- addicted to drugs or alcohol
- persistently angry, unforgiving, and bitter
These individuals provide an open door for demons to enter and take control. What can we do to protect ourselves from demonic influence? The best defense against demonic activity is a life lived in obedience to God. When we walk in the light of His Word, the demons have no power over us. And yet, even the most obedient Christians can still be vulnerable to demonic influence.
We see this in the life of Job, a man who feared God and lived a blameless life. Despite this, he still suffered from demonic activity. The reason for this is that we live in a fallen world under Satan’s control. This is why we must always be on our guard, praying for God’s protection and depending on the power of the Holy Spirit to keep us safe.
How Can We Refrain from Succumbing to Satan’s Influence?
Satan’s influence is a different thing compared to demonic possession. Satan’s influence pertains to thoughts and emotions, while demonic possession is when a demon takes over the physical body. Knowing the difference between the two is important because both are addressed in Scripture.
When it comes to demonic influence, we see in Matthew 12:43-45 that “when an unclean spirit leaves a man, it roams through waterless places seeking rest but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they enter and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.” This passage tells us that if we give into sin, it will open the door for more demons to come in and take over.
This is why it’s important to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When we’re filled with the Spirit, we’re better equipped to resist temptation and Satan’s influence. We see this in Ephesians chapter five, verses 18-20: “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
When filled with the Spirit, we have the power to overcome demonic influence and temptation. We must constantly ask God to fill us with His Spirit so that we can stand strong against Satan’s attacks.
Satan’s influence is real, but we don’t have to give in to it. By being filled with the Holy Spirit and staying close to God, we can resist Satan’s influence and live victoriously for Christ. Some of the most common manifestations of demonic influence are:
These things are considered “works of the flesh” in Galatians chapter five, verses 19-21. And Scripture tells us that those who do these things will not inherit the kingdom of God. God does not want us to live under the influence of Satan. He wants us to live under His influence.
If you’re struggling with demonic influence, ask God to fill you with His Spirit and help you resist temptation. Pray that God will give you strength to overcome any stronghold the enemy has in your life. Seek godly counsel from a pastor or a mature Christian friend, and ask them to pray for you.
Can Demons Possess Children?
Unfortunately, yes. Even children can be possessed by demons, although it is rare. In the Bible, we see that Jesus cast demons from children on multiple occasions. In Mark, chapter nine, Jesus casts out a demon from a boy who could not speak.
And in Luke, chapter thirteen, Jesus casts out a demon from a woman who had been disabled by it for eighteen years. If demons can possess children, we must take our children’s spiritual lives very seriously. This means that we need to be diligent in teaching them about God and His Word and helping them to grow in their relationship with Him.
We also need to pray for our children regularly that God would protect them from the enemy’s attacks. Children are more vulnerable to demonic activity than adults because they are still learning about the world and haven’t developed a strong faith yet.
But we serve a mighty God who is more than capable of protecting our children from evil. So, while we should be aware of the possibility of demonic activity in our children’s lives, we can rest assured that God is in control and will protect them.
The best thing we can do to help children is to teach them about God and help them to grow in their faith. We can do this by reading the Bible, praying, and attending church together. By doing these things, we can help our children to develop a strong foundation in their faith that will protect them from the enemy’s attacks. Even though it is an uphill battle, we can trust that God will give us the strength to fight for our children’s spiritual lives.
Possession is a serious matter, but we serve a God who can protect us from the enemy’s attacks. So let’s be diligent in teaching our children about God and helping them to grow in their faith.
Will Demons Be Able to Defeat God?
No, because God is all-powerful and will always defeat Satan and his demons. (Revelation 20:13-15) What, then, will happen to them? The Bible says that they “will be thrown into the lake of fire” along with Satan (Revelation 20:15). That is why it is so important to not give into temptation and sin now because the punishment will be much worse later.
Yes, demons can influence people and even take control of their lives if they are not careful. However, this does not mean that they have defeated God. This means that people have allowed themselves to be controlled by evil forces. And yet, those who strengthen their faith in God and trust in His power can resist the influence of demons.
Demons may be powerful, but God is much more powerful. And those who follow God will ultimately be victorious over evil. Therefore, there is no need to fear demons or be controlled by them. Instead, trust in God and His power to protect and guide you.
How Long Do Demonic Possessions Usually Last?
Demonic possessions usually don’t last very long. The average case lasts between a few days and a few weeks. However, there are some documented cases of possessions that have lasted for years or even decades. In most cases, a possessed person is unaware of the possession until it is brought to their attention by someone else.
Unfortunately, the longer a possession lasts, the more difficult it is to remove the demon. This is because the demon becomes increasingly entrenched in the person’s life and body. The longer a demon has been possessing someone, the harder it is to get rid of them. In most cases like this, the person possessed will need to be hospitalized and treated by a team of doctors, psychologists, and clergy.
If you think that you or someone you know may be possessed, it is important to seek help immediately. The sooner the demon is removed, the better.
The Bible has many stories about demonic possessions. However, in all these stories, Jesus Christ always casts out the demon(s). What does this mean for us today?
Simply put, if you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have nothing to fear from demonic possession. Jesus has already won the victory over Satan and his demons. When Jesus died on the cross, he destroyed Satan’s power over us. And when Jesus rose from the dead, he showed that he is more powerful than Satan and death itself.
If you are not a follower of Jesus Christ, you may be vulnerable to demonic influence and possession. But even if a demon possesses you, Jesus can still set you free. All you need to do is turn to him and ask for his help.