Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Demonolgy 101

The Bible Vocabulary of Demon Activity (4:33-36)
The familiar Bible term "demon-possessed" has controlled our thinking about people troubled with demons. But the word "possessed" is one of those final, all-or-nothing expressions. And it prevents us from understanding the mechanisms involved in demon activity within humans. Let's study further:
• "Unclean spirit" (20 references in the NT, including Luke 4:33; 6:18; 8:29; 9:42; 11:24). The Greek word pneuma, the same word used to translate Holy Spirit, is modified by akatharos, "unclean." NIV uniformly translates "unclean spirit" as "evil spirit" with a footnote.
• "Evil spirit" uses pneuma modified by the Greek word poneros (only 4x in the NT: Luke 7:21; 8:2; Acts 19:12-13; 15-16)
• "Demon" (Used 50+ times in the NT, such as Luke 4:41), Greek daimonion, "demon, evil spirit." Always translated by the KJV as "devil" or "devils."
• "Demon-possessed" (Luke 8:36; in Matthew 4:24; 8:16, 28, 33; 9:32; 12:22; Mark 1:32; 5:15f; John 10:21; Acts 19:14). The Greek word is daimonizonai, literally "to demonize" from daimonion, "demon, evil spirit." A blood washed Child of God CANNOT be POSSESSED! BUT! They can be influenced and oppressed by demons.
• "Lunatick" (KJV) or "have seizures" (Greek seleniazomai, Matthew 4:24; 17:15)
• "Bind," Greek deo, used in the context of demons twice (Luke 13:16 and Matthew 12:29=Mark 3:7, cf. Luke 8:22 "assails and overcomes"). It is also used in connection with the power of prayer (Matthew 16:19; 18:18).
• "Healed" (Greek therapeuo or iamai or sozo), occasionally used to describe the state of a person from whom a demon has been driven out. (Luke 8:2, 36; 9:42; Matthew 12:22; Mark 16:9; Acts 10:38).
• "cast out" (Greek ekballo)
• "rebuke" (Greek epitimao, Luke 4:41; 9:42). The Greek word means " 'rebuke, reprove, censure' also 'speak seriously, warn' in order to prevent an action or bring one to an end.
Let's examine the word daimonizonai, often translated "demon-possessed." The word isn't a compound word. It is the word "demon" with an ending -izonai, a class of imitative verbs, where the ending -izo indicates "acts like, imitates." While the lexicons translate it "to be demon-possessed," perhaps from the world view represented in early Judaism, all the word requires is a meaning such as "to be influenced, oppressed, or controlled by a demon, to be like a demon." Some have coined the word "demonization" to describe this demonic activity.

The reason this is important is that when your categories are limited to "demon possessed" or "not demon possessed," then we all agree that it is impossible for a Christian to be demon possessed, since by definition a Christian has the Holy Spirit.

Degrees of Demonization in the New Testament
However, experience and careful theological reflection on the scriptures indicate the need for a more thoughtful terminology. Missionaries and others who work commonly with people afflicted with demonic problems affirm that indeed Christians can be affected. Even though Christians have the Holy Spirit in them, there may be various places in their life where demon oppression is strong. Consider the following passages:
The Apostle Paul instructs us, "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 (Greek topos)" (Ephesians 4:26-27). The implication is that if you give into anger often and carry a grudge, then the devil will gain a place in your life. The word topos means "place," but can have the special meaning as in the Ephesians passage of "possibility, opportunity, chance".

Though Satan has "filled" Ananias' heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, yet Ananias and his wife Sapphira are held morally responsible for their action, and thus punished for giving into Satan (Acts 5:1-11). Judas, too, had a similar experience: "Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve" (Luke 22:3). "The evening meal was being served, and the devil had already prompted (literally "put into the heart of," Greek ballo) Judas Iscariot, son of Simon, to betray Jesus" (John 13:2). "As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into (eiserchomai) him" (John 13:27a). Was Judas morally responsible? Of course. He was tempted by money and probably other motives (Luke 22:3-6). Just because Jesus' betrayal fulfilled prophecy doesn't absolve Judas of responsibility for his actions. "Woe to that man by whom he is betrayed..." (Luke 22:22). Even though Satan's temptations can be strong, especially when he gets a foothold of sin in our heart, we can't pass off responsibility by saying, "The devil made me do it."

How do demons Operate?

The subject of demons has mystified humanity for centuries. Every major religion has in their belief structure beings that embody evil. From the Judeo/Christian belief structure they are called demons or devils. The Muslim calls them Jinn. Humanist say they are a figment of our imagination. Whatever name you call them, they do exist! This booklet is based upon the Bible and it’s description of these evil spirits, or fallen angels.

Demons are disembodied spirits that were once angels that fell when Lucifer decided to rebel against God. Demons are mans enemy and are constantly seeking mans downfall. The Latin definition of “demon” is “Those that divide”. I really believe they seriously try to cause division in the church.

Often demons are portrayed as hideous creatures, Usually with fangs, forked tongues, bat-like wings, and serpentine features. I have never seen a creature that looked like that. I have seen on three occasions in my life shadow-like beings move swiftly before my eyes. Twice in church services, and once in my apartment. I will tell you about the encounter in my apartment first. I was in the Air Force for over 23 years, and I traveled a great deal. I was in Somalia for 3 weeks back in 1986. While in this oppressive country I brought back souvenirs. One of the items was a wall hanging of animal horns and another was a spear. When I got back home I hung them on the wall of my apartment. In addition to the African artifacts I had some Martial Art trophies and oriental wall hangings I got in Korea. Well to make a long story short, I felt strongly impressed by the Holy Spirit to take all of the material off of my walls one evening, I knew it was the Lord talking, but I decided to take a nap and do it later. I fell asleep on the couch and within the hour something gripped me in my sleep! I was choking and paralyzed. I tried to scream and I couldn’t. I knew this was a demonic attack! I eventually was able to scream JESUS! At that moment I was released, but that’s not all. I woke up immediately and saw a shadow like figure walk out of my living room and down the steps. I believe God allowed this to show me the seriousness of disobeying Him.

The other two times I saw similar manifestations were in church services, Once at a small Primitive Baptist church in southern New Jersey. I was in the pulpit praying before I had to preach and I had an eerie feeling come over me. The Lord let me know there was terrible sin in this church and to preach accordingly. I rose to walk to the podium and I saw this same shadow like figure flee down the stairs to the basement. Demons hate the Word of God! The other incident happened at a military chapel, in the same fashion the shadow like figure left through the rear door just as the praise service started. Demons hate the praises of God! In the chapel incident I was not the only one that saw it! Another brother saw it as well, so I didn’t feel like I was losing it.

Now from this point on I will share what the scriptures have to say on this subject. I share the personal experience to give you an idea of what we are dealing with. Chances are you will never see a demon. But that doesn’t mean they are not there trying to cause you destruction. Demons usually function in the dark and don’t want you to know they are real, but they are. Be encouraged saint of God, The Greater One lives in you!