Can we, as the sanctuary of God, be possessed by demons?

Early Sunday morning found me doing my usual; listening to the morning devotional and playing Tiger Woods golf. As I listened to the devotional, the young man talked about how he did not know the Lord, but when he finally did, he became attached, in a sense, to Pastor James Robinson (he is also a television pastor,) as a youth minister.

James had apparently been talking about demons, and the young man admitted to Pastor James that he did not understand what was being said. This young man stated that James then had this youth minister and his wife come over to the house for homemade ice cream, and there James showed him this scripture.

Psalms 74:3 NASB Turn Your footsteps toward the perpetual ruins; The enemy has damaged everything within the sanctuary.

The young man thought about the scripture and what James had said, and then asked Pastor James, are you saying that we, as the sanctuary of God, are possessed by demons. To which James replied, well, what does it say? The premise was that we are.

At this point, I stopped everything for a moment, and asked the Father, if what he said was true. Here is what I began finger pecking on my phone.

In light of current events, that have us longing for Jesus’ return, we are often directed to 2 Thessalonians 2:3. There we see the word apostasy or falling away. As I have learned from Dr. Andy Woods, it should read the departure or gathering.

The idea of falling away and gathering are opposing points of view, and open the door for doctrines of demons to be taught.

The Apostle Paul explained that anything outside of what he taught, was a doctrine of demons. There are always those, who for example, cling to the King James only – I have heard several of these say, it is the only authorized Bible we are to use. I am snickering because almost every King James Bible states that it is the authorized version, and it was, for King James, at that time; that does not make it the best and only version we should use. The twisted logic is, that to use anything else would be to fall away, and that is not the case.

As Dr. Woods explained, the Catholic church had the Greek word apostasia changed from departure to apostasy, so as to better convey the State Church’s disdain for those leaving the flock and following after Protestantism.

Paul, in this letter to the church at Galatia, lays out how those who preach contrary to what he had taught should be accursed. What that looks like I do not know.

Galatians 1:6-9 NASB I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; (7) which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. (8) But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! (9) As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

Paul took this to the next step in his first letter to Timothy by explaining that there are doctrines of demons.

1 Timothy 4:1 NASB But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

What if one of those things were the demon possession of believers, as Pastor Robinson seems to have indicated?

First, let me say, I don’t buy into the idea that a follower of Christ can be possessed. One of the few examples from scripture, that speaks about possession comes from Matthew 14: 43-45; there, it tells us that demons will come back to a clean and empty abode. That being the case, then let’s make the assumption that having Christ in your life fills that empty space.

Another passage that concerns itself with demons comes from the Psalms.

They did not destroy the peoples, As the LORD commanded them, (35) But they mingled with the nations And learned their practices, (36) And served their idols, Which became a snare to them. (37) They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, (38) And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan; And the land was polluted with the blood. (39) Thus they became unclean in their practices And played the harlot in their deeds. Psalms 106:34-39 NASB

Pay attention to how this passage above is worded.

  1. “They did not destroy the peoples, As the LORD commanded them, (35) But they mingled with the nations …”
  2. They “learned their practices, (36) And served their idols, Which became a snare to them.”
  3. They even sacrificed their sons and their daughters to the demons, (38) And shed innocent blood, The blood of their sons and their daughters, Whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan;”
  4. And because of their actions and the gods they followed, “the land was polluted with the blood.”
  5. And this is how “they became unclean in their practices,”

Paul, in writing to Timothy, spoke of “new converts” becoming snared by the devil.

1 Timothy 3:6-7 NASB and not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. (7) And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he painted a picture of repentance by a believer (note that this time it says nothing about this person being a new convert,) which leads them to the Word of God, and a release from the captivity of Satan.

The Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged, with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26 NASB)

Now, how did a believer become captive to Satan?

Paul tells us, that they were snared by Satan because they were in opposition to the Word of God, which Paul spoke. Paul, by the way, spoke from the Old Testament, just as Jesus did, so don’t get all hung up on semantics.

I still don’t see the word possessed, but it certainly spells out a life in which the person, inadvertently becomes a follow of Satan. No pun intended, but let me play the devil’s advocate for a moment. Some may foolishly turn to a verse like we see in Mark’s gospel.

When evening came, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. (Mark 1:32 NASB)

Here, many who were demon-possessed were brought, and Jesus healed them. But were ANY Christ followers, living in God’s grace and mercy? The answer is NO, they were, at best, ALL Jews.

Now keep in mind, we are not talking about a person that is filled with Christ in this next reference.

Luke 4:33-35 NASB In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, (34) “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!” (35) But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, he came out of him without doing him any harm.

Where was Jesus when this event happened?

You got it, in the synagogue.

Why is it that we don’t see anyone alarmed by what this Jewish man is saying?

Maybe its because he isn’t saying anything he hasn’t already heard repeatedly. They did not want Jesus nor his message, and that becomes very clear to us in the gospels. It is a common belief that Jewish men talk in caustic, argumentative manner all the time, and this day seemed no different.

What did the man say?

I will give you the first part, as it makes sense, to a degree. “Let us alone! What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth?” I would guess that any of these men would have gladly said this to Jesus. But the voice opened with a strange phrase and NO ONE caught it, “let us alone!”

So, who was being referred to?

To many in audience, the voice was referring to the general crowd. But Jesus knew immediately that the voice was referring to the crowd of demons in the man.

What was the next thing the voice said?

“Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are–the Holy One of God!”

At this point, “Have You come to destroy us?” may have applied to the Jewish audience, specifically the Scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees; but again, Jesus knew exactly who the voice was referring to, the demon crowd inside the man. When the demons said this, all bets were off. I know who you are – the Holy One of God!, this had to have sent a shock wave through the synagogue, as NONE of them dared say such a thing. Some might try to argue, Nicodemus would have said such a thing; really, and risk his family wealth and position as a Pharisee. Scripture proves that he was a closet believer, at best, because he came to Jesus by night.

You must know there were those possessed in the Old Testament, however, the Old Testament does not use the word to describe someone possessed, even once.

I can’t find a thing that breaks this idea that a Christian, can be possessed unless of course, you choose to play with the devil, and I think it would be safe to say, you never knew the God you claim to know.

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