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Why aren't we seeing as much demon possession today?

Postby JP Holy » Mon Oct 23, 2023 9:38 am

So my question isn’t so much about demon possession as an event in of itself. My question is in regard to the era of history in which the Bible is written, specifically first century Palestine. Are there certain criteria that the known world at that time had far more demon possession than, let’s say, modern history?

Of course, there is probably demon possession now, and perhaps it is hidden, but it seemed proportionally, far more pervasive in the first century.

I’ve heard some good hypotheses about Satan having far more success in modernity by keeping the supernatural hidden and “letting the people go to hell in boredom on front of the TV”.

Another possibility might be that in modernity they are considered mental patients and sent to psych hospitals.

Anyway, I’d love you perspective on what, if anything, made the times of Jesus different for demon possession. Also, have there been times since the first century that demon possession has reared its ugly head in view of the general public of the times?
JP Holy

Re: Why aren't we seeing as much demon possession today?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Oct 23, 2023 10:07 am

Glad to toss my answer into the pot.

I’ll try to be thorough. Remember a few years ago we sat at Tim Horton’s and talked about demons. I presented a theory on demons you hadn’t heard before. I have presented it to others since then, I think it’s still a sound understanding. Here’s what I said:

“Demons seem to have no connection with Satan and no connection with sin. There is no mention of demons in the Old Testament. Nothing. They suddenly show up in the text when Jesus is here. We know nothing of their origin. They are never associated with Satan. In the Gospels they are often called 'impure spirits.' They don't seem to be concerned to lead a person into sin. They're just more like tormentors. They affect people physically, but they don't seem to affect them spiritually. James 3.15 calls them ‘unspiritual' and ‘earthy.' They don’t seem to oppose Jesus, but they don’t like him, either. They never try to hurt Jesus, and they never try to hurt his followers. But they do try to hurt people at random—whoever they happen to come across.

"There are a couple of times in the book of 1 Corinthians where the demons are contrasted to God (1 Cor. 10.20-21) and are associated loosely with idols. Paul is not claiming that the idols are demons, though. It seems he is associating the term with false deities in that case, but that’s not how the Gospels treat them, and Jesus never says anything about that.”

At the time I said that demons are disrupters. They’re obviously spirit beings, but they’re not associated with sin. They just make a mess of things, like any tornado or earthquake (though those are natural events, not spirit beings making trouble). They are forces for disorder in the world.

So, your question is, why so much during the time of Jesus, but not as much since and hardly at all in our world?

My perspective is this: Thank Jesus and the Church. Let me roll through some verses for you.

In Mark 3.27, Jesus says that you can’t plunder a strong man’s house unless you enter his home and restrain him. The implication is that’s what Jesus was doing. Jesus was talking about Satan, but I believe His words extended even further out. Jesus certainly came to cast out demons; He did it often. He gave His apostles authority to cast out demons. The Church was then formed, and they cast out demons. As in the Lord of the Rings, the times of the Orcs was being brought to a close because of the victory of the fellowship of the ring. So also here: The time of demonic activity is restrained first by Christ, then the apostles, then the sheer presence of the Church. They are in hiding (waiting for their moment to rise).

Zechariah 13.2 gives a bit of this kind of flavor (though the focus of Zech. 13 is not the era of Jesus’s 1st advent or about demons). It shows us that there will be eras where spiritual forces that were once dominant will be subdued.

1 John 3.8 says that Christ came to destroy the devil’s work. I believe it’s also relevant that one of the things Jesus accomplished was the crushing of the impact of demons. They are in the shadows now.

Colossians 2.15 is the most instructive, in my mind: "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” Jesus disarmed the demons and sent them scurrying for the corners, devoid of their power.

The very presence of the global Church keeps them in hiding. We are His presence on Earth.

Yet this is not the end of the story. The demons will rise again to participate in the last thrust against the Church. Humanity will turn toward worshiping demons (Rev. 9.20). They will be emboldened, arise from their dark corners (Rev. 9), and attack the Church with gusto. Rev. 16.12-14. And when Babylon falls, the demons will haunt its skeletal remains (Rev. 18.2).

in the End the demons will be destroyed along with every force of disorder, chaos, and sin, and Christ will reign.
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Re: Why aren't we seeing as much demon possession today?

Postby JP Holy » Sat Nov 18, 2023 9:22 pm

I really enjoyed your response. I need some time to look up all of the verses you sent and think through some of it, but, as you and I had talked a while ago…it does make sense. Demons seem to enjoy what they might call "goofing off" with humanity, creating chaos. It is strange from a biblical perspective.

Thank you for your thoughtful answer!

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