Serious flaw in the phrase 'demon possession'
I think we need to drop the term "demon possessed", because there is no such thing! NOT even in the life of a NON-BELIEVER! You might be asking, "Here's somebody who's sold on the deliverance ministry and he's telling us that there's no such thing as somebody being demon possessed?" Let me explain...
The NT Greek: If you look up the term 'possessed' in the NT Greek Lexicon, it does NOT refer to ownership, it rather means to be under the power (influence) of a demon. There's a BIG difference! The Bible, as far as I know, provides absolutely NO backing to the idea that a person can be possessed (according to modern English) by a demon!
Can a person be influenced or under the power (influence) of a demon? Absolutely! This is what we address in the ministry of deliverance!
Greek scholars will tell you that this was an error (or at least a misleading impression) in the modern translations of the Bible, including the KJV. It gives the wrong impression simply because today's meaning to the word possessed is much different then it was back then.
If you look up the word possessed when used in conjunction with the word demon or devil in the NT Greek, you'll find that it means to be under the power (influence) of a demon, not to be owned by a demon. There is a BIG difference! Roughly half of the healings I found Jesus perform in Matthew were actually deliverances. So if half the sickness and diseases in the world today were demonically rooted, then a lot of people (including Christians) are without a doubt influenced by demons. Does that mean that the person is owned by the demon? No way! Did the demon(s) own the man who Jesus cast the deaf and dumb spirit out of? Of course not!!
It's also interesting that the Spanish Bible does not use a term that refers to ownership, like our English Bibles do. Our English Bibles have been flawed because the meaning of the word possessed has changed, but our Bibles have not been updated to reflect this change.
The keyword is 'influenced', not 'possessed': Another interesting point is that if a demon truly owned a person, then you wouldn't be able to cast a demon out of him or her, because the person would belong to that demon. The reason you can cast demons out of people, is because demons are intruders in their lives. People can be under the power (influence) of demons, just as they can be under the power or influence of alcohol. The more a person drinks, the more it influences them. The deeper a person gets into demonic bondage, the more it influences them. Those who have gotten in touch with the occult and Satanism demons usually have significant signs of demonic bondages. The deeper a person gets into demonic bondage, the stronger of an influence the demons will have over them.
The Bible refers to several cases of people who had demons, and uses the word possessed, but it does not say that the person was under total control of the demon. Actually, some passages are obvious that the person was NOT under complete control of the demon. Like the times when deaf and dumb spirits were cast out of the man. All they did was cause the person to be blind or not be able to speak... scripture does not say that they did anything else to the man. This alone proves that the word possessed in the NT does NOT refer to ownership!
Almost every time the NT has used the term possessed in conjunction with demons or devils, the phrase used was "possessed with." If you replace the word 'possessed' with 'owned' (as it could have been written if it truly meant ownership), it doesn't sound right at all: 'The man was owned with a demon.' Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?
The bottom line? To be possessed with a demon means to be under the power (which means influence) of a demon, but it does NOT mean that the demons owns the person. Like being under the influence of alcohol, the more you drink (or get yourself into bondage), the more you come under it's influence.
If you are 'possessed' by a spirit of fear, it means you are under the power of a spirit of fear, which means you will be influenced by the spirit of fear, and therefore you will be fearful. Same is true with spirits of deafness, if you are under their power, you won't be able to hear. To be possessed really means to be under the power of that particular demon.
What does it mean to be under the power of a demon?
It means to have a demon, or to be under the power or influence of a demon. It may not be even in the soul realm at all, it could be a spirit of infirmity affecting your body in one way or another.
What basically happens is that either you or your ancestors have given a certain amount of control of yourself or your body over a demon. Some people may be lightly affected by the demonic, while others may be more heavily affected. It all depends on what strength of demons are involved, what doors have been opened, and how many demons are involved, along with other factors that will determine the amount of power or control the demons have in a person.
A good way to illustrate this is by comparing demonic bondages to drinking; the stronger the drink, and the more of it you have, the more it will influence your behavior. If you drink too much of a strong drink, it can become quite noticeable. If you take a sip of wine, you may not even notice the effect.
Demons can affect the physical body, as well as the mind of a person. Common ways that they affect a physical body is through sickness and disease, such as cancer or arthritis. Common ways they affect a person mentally is by fear, depression or even mental illness. Demons can also hinder a person's spiritual growth.
Some common things that usually indicate demonic bondage
Compulsive cutting or self harm: Mark 5:5, "And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones."
Physical infirmities sickness or diseases: Matthew 9:32-33, "As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake..."
Matthew 9:25, "When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him."
Luke 13:11, "And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself."
Uncontrollable anger: Matthew 8:28, "And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way."
Super-human strength: Matthew 5:2-4, "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."
Mental health problems: Matthew 5:2-5, "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." Does that sound like somebody who's in their right mind to you? What would somebody in their right mind be doing roaming the tombs? This tells me that there was a spirit of death involved, which gave him exceeding interest in the dead. Who in their right mind would be roaming the tombs day and night crying and cutting themselves with stones? When Jesus cast those demons out, the man was said to have been "in his right mind" once again (verse 15).
Luke 8:27, "And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs." What kind of a person in their right mind would go running around in the tombs naked?
Matthew 17:15, 18, "Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water... And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour."
Matthew 9:17-18, "And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not."
Mental torment (fear, depression, etc.): 1 Samuel 16:14, "But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him." I like how the New Living Translation says it, "Now the Spirit of the LORD had left Saul, and the LORD sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear."