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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: What Happens When a Person Is Demon-Possessed?

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Don Stewart
Those who were possessed by demons in Scripture showed certain symptoms. They include the following:

1. Cannot Control Themselves

A person who is under the control of a demon cannot control themselves. The evil spirit is able to speak through their lips or can make them mute as it so desires. Scripture gives examples of demon-possessed people who were mute.

And when the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke: and the multitudes marveled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel (Matthew 9:33).

Then was brought unto Him one possessed with a demon, blind and mute: and He healed him, insomuch that the mute man spoke and saw (Matthew 12:22).

We also find demons speaking through people.

Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, "What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God" (Mark 1:23-24).

2. New Personality

Demon-possession means that a new personality is introduced to that person - the victim becomes a different person. The Gadarene demoniac acted and spoke as one who was controlled by another personality

Suddenly they shouted, "What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?" (Matthew 8:29).

3. Different Voice

Sometimes those who are demon-possessed speak with a different voice. On one occasion, when Jesus asked the name of the demon, the demon spoke through the man and said:

And He asked him, What is your name? And he said unto Him, My name is Legion; for we are many (Mark 5:9).

4. Supernatural Knowledge

In one incident, the demons speaking through a man, immediately recognized Jesus as the Messiah.

Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, "What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are, the Holy One of God" (Mark 1:23-24).

This understanding of Jesus' identity came from supernatural knowledge. For at this time, Jesus had not yet revealed Himself to His disciples, or to the world, as the promised Messiah.

5. New Abilities

A person who is demon-possessed acquires new abilities. For example, those possessed by demons can demonstrate superhuman strength. The Bible speaks of one demoniac in the following way.

He had often been restrained with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always howling and bruising himself with stones (Mark 5:4,5).

6. Suicidal Tendencies

Demon possession can lead to suicidal tendencies. The Bible says of one person who was demon-possessed.

It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us (Mark 9:22).

It seems that demons want to physically destroy the person they possess.


The New Testament tells us some of the signs of demon possession The demons are able to speak through their victims, they can demonstrate new abilities, show different personalities, and exhibit suicidal tendencies. The main thing to understand is that demon-possessed people are controlled by this demonic presence. Though the symptoms may look like mere psychological dysfunction, in actuality, the problem is demon-possession.
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