Can Christians be demon possessed? In his book “Demons & Deliverance In the Ministry of Jesus”, the late Frank Hammond, author of numerous books on deliverance, provides a helpful answer to that question:
No, a redeemed child of God cannot be owned by the devil! To redeem means “to release by paying a ransom price”. The price paid by Jesus for our redemption was His own blood:
Knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things. with silver or gold … but with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ. (I Peter 1:18,19)
Therefore, a Christian is His purchased possession, “for ye were bought with a price” (I Corinthians 6:20).
A Christian is Jesus possessed, not demon possessed.
Much misunderstanding has resulted from the King James version having translated the Greek word daimonizoma as “possessed with devils”. A more accurate translation of daimonizomai is: “to be under the power of a demon.” There is a vast difference between being possessed (owned) by demons and by having demons. Webster renders possessed in reference to demons as, “affected by demons or invisible agents”.
The proper question is not “Can a Christian be demon possessed?” but rather, “Can a Christian have a demon or be under the power of demons”?
An honest assessment of New Testament teaching must bring us to the conclusion that the New Testament makes no distinction between believers and non-believers as far as demonization is concerned.
Therefore, if the New Testament makes no such distinction, then none should be made. The obvious conclusion is that both unbelievers and believers can be demonized.
How can we understand the demonization of a Christian? The question faced is: Can property owned by one person be trespassed upon by another person? Suppose a landowner has a wooded piece of property that affords good squirrel hunting. A trespasser can come upon that property and begin to shoot squirrels, but he can also be put off the property as one who has no legal right. This is precisely what takes place when a demon indwells a Christian. The evil spirit has no rights of ownership. Therefore, when the evil spirit is commanded to go, by the Owner or His delegated authority, the evil spirit has no choice but to go. Trespassers can be evicted.
Deliverance for Christians represents the eviction of trespassing spirits.
Another pertinent question is: “For whom is deliverance provided?” Jesus called deliverance “the children’s bread” (Matthew 15:26), meaning that deliverance from demons is for those who have faith in Christ Jesus. Jesus declared that the children’s bread was not to be given to “dogs”, meaning those who are ceremonially impure, or those outside the covenant of God. The gentile woman of Canaan, who was seeking deliverance for her little daughter, exhibited faith by her contention that even dogs are allowed the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. Whereon, Jesus declared, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was healed from that hour” (Matthew 15:28).
When evil spirits are driven out of a person, a spiritual condition is created which Jesus compared to a newly vacated house. He taught that if the “house” (person’s life) is left unoccupied, it is susceptible to the return of the old tenant and his friends. Only a believer can fill his life with the things of Christ.
One who does not fill himself with Jesus and an opposite lifestyle from which he was delivered, is in imminent danger of ending up seven times worse than he was before.
There are many Christians who hop from ministry to ministry, seeking deliverance from their spiritual problems.
However, according to Christian author Retah McPherson, deliverance is not a passive thing, where the believer in need bears no responsibility whatsoever for his/her own deliverance. McPherson shared this in her recent newsletter, and we present extracts of it below:
Deliverance is not a passive thing that someone can do for you. You need a repentant heart and attitude of complete surrender, humbly seeking YHVH’s (God’s) face for the truth. I have not seen people get delivered if there is no humble heart seeking deliverance and seeking truth…
There is no super deliverer that you need to see immediately. No, not even those who claim successful results. No, we all just need utter, complete dependency on Holy Spirit. He is our source of revelation, guidance and dunamis power that delivers us….
With that I do not say that you should not see someone to help you on your journey. But, please know that Yeshua is the healer – and not man!
We all are in need of help and deliverance – our only help is Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah. His Blood is enough for all of us. He gives us Truth through Holy Spirit and that Truth – sets us free!
To read the full newsletter that was written by Retah McPherson, please click here.
In their book “How to Heal the Sick”, the late healing evangelist Charles Hunter shares how one can deal with a sudden demonic mind attack:
One day before Frances and I were married, I was driving from one part of Houston to another while I was working as a Certified Public Accountant. The sun was shining, I was happy, I was singing songs of praise to God, and the whole world was thrilling to live in. I stopped in the bright sunlight at a parking lot, got out of the car and started toward a cafeteria for lunch.
My life had been totally surrendered to God and I had spent over a thousand exciting hours meditating in the Bible the past few months. Everything was beautiful and perfect!
But as I stepped out of the car, a darkness, a depression came over me and it felt like everything was wrong, that all love left me, all joy and peace left, and that my whole world had caved in on me.
I didn’t know what had happened. It was so sudden and my mind tried in a flash of a second to know what had happened. But, because my mind had been saturated with the Word of God, and was controlled by the Holy Spirit, and my desires were to please God and not myself, a scripture came quickly into my mind.
I said, “God, if that is the devil, get him out of here and draw close to me!”
Instantly, like a flash of lightning, all the darkness, the depression, the emptiness left me like a wind. The evil spirit which had so viciously attacked my mind could actually be sensed like a wind which for an instant rose out of me slowly and then it accelerated to a tremendous speed and disappeared into space.
Satan had sent a demon after me to try to get into my spirit to control me and to steal me away from the God I loved so much.
But, “the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12).
The great weapon against demons is the Word of God. That is one reason we should meditate day and night in his Word, and think about him and what will please him; not think about what we can get for ourselves.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:3-5).
The first time a demon attacks your thoughts is the time to get rid of it! Don’t let it get a foothold on your mind or your thoughts. Preventive medicine is better than having to take medication for a cure. The Word of God is the immunization we need to protect us from demonic influence, control or possession. We need to have the nature of God implanted in us as an inoculation against the infection the devil places in our thoughts and inner desires.
Demons are invisible, bodiless creatures that have the ability to move about wherever Satan sends them, and they can hover over us, surround us, attack us, put thoughts into our minds, put diseases into our bodies, or even cause us to lose our minds and become insane.
They can be present at our birth, or as we are formed in the belly of our mothers, and cause defects in our formation. Being spirits who live forever, they can transfer from one generation to another and thus cause diseases or defects which may be in the form of genes or deformations.
They come against our flesh to try to control our souls. We must use all the understanding we can get, and allow the Holy Spirit to teach us how to get rid of them, in whatever way they attack.
Demons can afflict Christians, leading to some Christians approaching their pastor for deliverance. However, it is important for the pastor to discern whether it might indeed be a demonic attack, or the case of an unrepentant attitude, as the late healing evangelists Charles and Frances Hunter illustrate in their book “How to Heal the Sick”:
What causes people to follow Satan and his evil ways? How do people submit themselves to a hating devil when God has so much for us? Why would anyone even consider making a deliberate choice to submit themselves to an eternity of torment instead of an eternal home with God?
“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
The trickery of Satan is to pervert our minds into believing that his way is best. If we accept his lies, it is the beginning of the invitation by mankind for a demon to kill and destroy their souls by stealing them away from God. He does this principally through bad attitudes, and BAD ATTITUDES ARE NOT DEMONS, but they give a foothold to demonic activity. Bad attitudes don’t need to be cast out like a spirit, but we need to overcome them by the power of God!
The devil lied to Eve in the Garden of Eden, and she had the choice of rejecting his temptation, or believing his lie. She gave a foothold to the devil, and he stole her away from God. Satan cleverly gained this foothold through her mind. He cunningly put thoughts or words into her mind and she believed him.
When you are ministering to someone in the deliverance of demons, first talk with them to see if they are saved. Ask them if they really love Jesus and if they would say, “Jesus is Lord of my life.” If they are truly born again, they will be able to say that and mean it, but if they are not able to say it, you need to deal with a demon. Otherwise, inquire about attitudes that are wrong. MAYBE THEY JUST NEED TEACHING about their responsibility to get rid of bad attitudes. “Here is the test: no one speaking by the power of the Spirit of God can curse Jesus, and no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and really mean it, unless the Holy Spirit is helping him” (I Cor. 12:3 TLB).
A woman came to Frances one night with a very sad story. She started off by saying, “I’ve been prayed for by the best, so I don’t know why I’m coming to you, but …
I’ve had the demon of smoke cast out! I’ve had the demon of tobacco cast out!
I’ve had the demon of nicotine cast out!
I’ve had the demon of cigarettes cast out!” She continued, “Do you have a word from the Lord for me?”
Frances said, “Yes!” ”
What is it?” she asked.
Frances said, “Quit!”
The woman was obviously shocked. But too many times we blame spirits or demons for things that are simply our fault. We run from evangelist to evangelist, from preacher to preacher, from conference to conference, asking for deliverance at every service, when the problem is really very simple. It lies within ourself – QUIT SINNING! Throw those cigarettes away, don’t buy any more, and quit blaming it on demons!
If, with all your heart, mind, body and soul, you want to be obedient to all that God and Jesus want you to do, there will never be a desire to sin. A desire to sin is simply a way of expressing your disbelief that God’s way is best. God doesn’t like that. But it delights him when you want to do what pleases him!
“I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to. For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us and our wishes are never free from their pressures.”
“When you are guided by the Holy Spirit you need no longer force yourself to obey Jewish laws.”
“But when you follow your own wrong inclinations your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group – and there will be wrong doctrine, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:16-21 TLB).
Do you notice from that part of God’s Word that these are attitudes which come into our mind because our old self-nature wants its way? That is the simplest way I know to tell you how the devil gets a foothold on your mind in his drive to take your soul away from God. The way to avoid the trap the devil sets is simply set forth in the rest of that chapter: “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws. Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural evil desires to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit’s power, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Then we won’t need to look for honors and popularity, which lead to jealousy and hard feelings” (Gal. 5:22-26 TLB).
When we let thoughts contrary to God’s nature enter into our minds, these thoughts begin to develop and become a part of us. Our inner desires either invite the Holy Spirit or Satan’s old nature in us to control our thoughts.
Stop thinking about the negative, evil old nature and you can stop most demons from having activity in your mind. They don’t immediately possess you, but they begin to control you little by little until you no longer desire God’s ways.
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:7,8). Who is to do that? We are.
In their book “How to Heal the Sick”, the late healing evangelists Charles and Frances Hunter share how they deal with demons of breast cancer:
…We believe incurable diseases are caused by a spirit in the majority of cases. When a doctor says there is no cure, our spiritual antennas pick up the fact that it is a spirit. For instance, because cancer is considered incurable, we believe it is caused by an evil spirit which attacks the body.
Let me show you how I understand the operation of a demon of cancer. He cannot get into your spirit if you are a Christian, but he can certainly come into and attack your body and your mind. A demon takes a look at a woman and says, “Wow, I think I will lay a little cancer on her. She looks like a real good victim.” So he jumps into her body (not her spirit) and before long the woman discovers that she has cancer of the breast. She goes to the doctor. She panics!
The doctor says, “We will cut that cancer out.” The demon goes right along into the operating room, and probably sits there laughing at the doctor, and watching him carefully. The minute the doctor inserts the knife, the demon says, “Whoops, here I go! I will go over to the other side.” Then I imagine he just sits there and laughs as the doctor operates, because the damage of the demon has been done on one side.
He will gleefully say, “They think they have me, but they don’t. I’ll just jump over on the other side!”
Three years later the woman goes back, and they find cancer on the other side. Why? Because the demon has not been cast out, and you can’t cut a demon out in surgery. When they do the next surgery, the demon says, “Whoops, I believe I will go into the stomach this time, or maybe I’ll go into the lungs!”
Demons probably can plant a seed such as cancer into our flesh, bones or blood, and hover outside us, or even leave us, and the seed will continue to produce fast-growing, destructive cancer cells to destroy our bodies. When a male plants a sperm or seed into the womb of a female, cells develop into an infant. The devil counterfeits anything good with bad; therefore, it’s logical that he would plant killer seeds instead of seeds of life. It is very likely that this is the way many diseases caused by demons are implanted into our bodies. We, of course, know from the Bible that demons do occupy human bodies when they can, so maybe they bring the seed and stay with it in the body.
We are told by doctors and nurses that the marrow of the bones is the manufacturer of blood, which is life. We know that cancer patients often need a new supply of blood.
Generally when we minister healing to a cancer victim, our prayers are something like, “Father, we praise you for the power you have given us over all the power of the enemy and for the power and authority to heal the sick. Satan, we bind you with the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus. You spirit of cancer, we command you to come out and not return. We curse you, seed of cancer in this body, and command you to die. Marrow of the bones, we command you to produce healthy blood and send it forth for healing and health to this body. In the name of Jesus!”
A friend of ours who is a Spirit-filled surgeon has many patients referred to him because of his excellent record with cancer patients. When he gets in the operating room, he is the head “honcho” in there, so he lays hands on the patients and begins to pray in tongues before he operates, and then he casts out the spirit of cancer. He has a great recovery record, because once he commands and gets the spirit out, it is not hard to cut out the flesh that is diseased!
A friend of ours who is not only a successful medical doctor, but is Spirit-filled and ministers healing in the power of the Holy Spirit as well, was talking with us about incurable diseases being caused by evil spirits. He made this statement to us: “In this day and age in which we are landing men on the moon and are looking at DNA molecules through microscopes, I consider that those diseases which we cannot understand, and which we claim as incurable, must have their origin elsewhere than in science.” (DNA molecules are chromosomes that carry the hereditary factors -genes -which are made of DNA.)
We believe that the “elsewhere than in science” is in the spirit world and the origin is demons.
“For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies – the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world” (Eph. 6:12 TLB). We are not fighting against people! We are fighting against unseen powers. We cannot fight them in the natural as you would another human being.
When you are fighting against an evil spirit which causes a disease, you are fighting against an unseen principality. You are fighting against something you cannot see. That is why in the natural, we have absolutely no power or control over demons. Remember that it is only in the supernatural area where we win because of Jesus!
Some Christians complain of demonic harassment, even though they may have been attending church for a long time. According to the late Christian author and deliverance minister Frank Hammond, one reason could be an undisciplined life. Hammond elaborates on this in his book “Demons and Deliverance In The Ministry Of Jesus”:
Over and over we have discovered that undisciplined lives provide access for demon invasion. Therefore, if one expects to close the door to demons and live above the Old Serpent’s fangs, he must strictly discipline every area of his life.
Undisciplined thought life can be the seed-bed for demonic infestation. When a man is born again his mind is not instantly renewed. Paul exhorted the Christians at Rome, “Be not fashioned according to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind … ” (Romans 12:2). The renewing of the mind comes through programming the mind by the Word of God. Having “this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” is a daily disciplinary process.
Many Christians live defeated, discontent, depressed and discouraged lives simply because their minds are filled with garbage fed to them by the devil. One of the greatest discoveries a believer can make is that he has power over his thought life. He can choose what not to think upon and what to think upon. What is the focus of a proper thought life?
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true … honourable .. .just…pure .. .lovely … of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise. THINK ON THESE THINGS. Philippians 4:8 (Emphasis mine)
The above verse prescribes the choice of godly, edifying thoughts. If the thoughts which fill one’s mind lead down a path of fear, depression, filth, unbelief and things contrary to God’s Word, then one must activate his will and turn his mind-switch to “reject”. Peace of mind is only a few days of self-discipline away. The choice of thoughts is ours!
The battle for the mind is a strategic battle.
Unless the battle in the mind is won, problems of the thought life will filter into the emotions and volition. For example, an unchecked thought of resentment can soon lead to feelings of bitterness and acts of retaliation. Through a lack of discipline Satan is able to build strongholds in our minds which can only be brought down by using “the weapons of our warfare .. . mighty before God to the casting down of strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Second, the emotions also require discipline. Most of us can readily identify with the Psalmist as he takes us on an emotional roll-a-coaster from the heights of “oh clap your hands, all ye peoples; Shout unto God with the voice of triumph” (Psalm 47:1) to the depths of “Our soul is bowed down to the dust: Our body cleaveth unto the earth” (Psalm 44:25).
The Pslamist knew that emotional excesses were not of God because they hindered his praise and ministry to the Lord. Therefore, he dealt harshly with his soulish man: “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, The help of my countenance, and my God” (Psalm 43:5 NAS).
Disciplined emotions are healthy emotions; channels through which we express praise, worship, love and joy. Undisciplined emotions are channels filled with the darkness of jealousy, hatred, anger, fear, hopelessness, self-pity and depression.
Third, the human will must be disciplined. At one end of the spectrum the will is flabby and passive, while at the opposite extreme it is rebellious and obstinate. Rebellion is a steep, downward path into the snake pit. Passivity creates a greased slide into the waiting arms of the devil. But, the human will that is compliant to God’s will discovers fellowship with God and victory over the adversary.
Be subject therefore to God; but resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
A fourth priority of disciplined living is the bridling of the tongue.
Every spoken word goes forth in ministry.
Our words either tear down or build up. Truly, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:2).
Behold, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. (James 3:5b-6 NIV)
When the tongue is set on fire by hell it spews forth destructive words which serve the devil’s purposes. The undisciplined tongue keeps a person knee-deep in serpents!
A fifth arena of disciplinary warfare is with the appetites of the flesh. Unrestrained lusts for food, drink and sex have brought many a person to ruin. Paul realized that his years of faithful service to God were no guarantee of continued victory. He must daily guard against disgraceful failure: “I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified” (I Corinthians 9:27 NIV).
The highest motivation for curbing sensual appetites and glorifying God in one’s body is the continuous confession that one’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who dwells within.