What is demon possession?

What is demon possession?

Demon possession is the act of a demon, a fallen angel, an agent of Satan, moving into the body and mind of a human being.  
Christ spoke of this type of possession in Matthew 12:44 and Luke 11:25


Matthew 12:43-45  When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.  (44)  Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.  (45)  Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Christ was correcting a problem with empty religion of the Pharisees.  A person who is under the control of Satan is described in Ephesians 2:1-2 as someone following the course of this world - unbridled sinful living, ungodly thinking, lust-filled passions, no limits, sensual, greedy, animal-like, selfish passion.

Ephesians 2:1-2  And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience--

Eventually, a person in this state may grow weary of this type of life and seek reformation and religion.  But a man who is reformed, but not reborn (as in born again) is not truly a Christian.  The key phrase in this passage is verse 44 "unoccupied".  The Holy Spirit is not a resident in his heart.  He is therefore eventually going to return to his Satanic-driven lifestyle and be even more enslaved to his habits.

Other Examples

There are a number of examples of people who were possessed by a demon, but none of them were believers.  The demoniacs of Gadara (Matthew 8:28; Mark 5:2) are them most startling examples of demon possession.  These show us the extreme change that came upon them once Christ had driven the demons from them.  These were not mere problems such as "demons of depression" or "demons of mental illness" or "demons of alcoholism", but true possession of a demonic spirit.

Demons may enter the body of an unbeliever and take control of his thoughts and emotions but the Christian is protected from Satan and his angels because he is indwelled by the Holy Spirit (1 John 4:4; Ephesians 1:13-14; Colossians 1:13-14).

Shad David Sluiter