This word is frequently used in the New Testament, and applied to persons suffering under the possession of a demon or evil spirit, such possession generally showing itself visibly in bodily disease or mental derangement. It has been maintained by many persons that our Lord and the evangelists, in referring to demonical possession, spoke only in accommodation to the general belief of the Jews, without any assertion as to its truth or its falsity. It is concluded that, since the symptoms of the affliction were frequently those of bodily disease (as dumbness, (Matthew 9:32) blindness, (Matthew 12:22) epilepsy, (Mark 9:17-27)), or those seen in cases of ordinary insanity (as ill) (Matthew 8:28; Mark 5:1-5) the demoniacs were merely persons suffering under unusual diseases of body and mind. But demoniacs are frequently distinguished from those afflicted with bodily sickness, see (Mark 1:32; 16:17,18; Luke 6:17,18) the same outward signs are sometimes referred to possession sometimes merely to disease, comp. (Matthew 4:24) with Matt 17:15; (Matthew 12:22) with Mark 7:32 etc.; the demons are represented as speaking in their own persons with superhuman knowledge. (Matthew 8:29; Mark 1:24; 5:7; Luke 4:41) etc. All these things speak of a personal power of evil. Twice our Lord distinctly connects demoniacal possession with the power of the evil one. (Luke 10:18) Lastly, the single fact recorded of the entrance of the demons at (Gadara (Mark 5:10-14) into the herd of swine, and the effect which that entrance caused is sufficient to overthrow the notion that our Lord and the evangelists do not assert or imply any objective reality of possession. We are led, therefore, to the ordinary and literal interpretation of these passages, that there are evil spirits, subjects of the evil one, who, in the days of the Lord himself and his apostles especially, were permitted by (God to exercise a direct influence over the souls and bodies of certain men.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Try Bible Gateway Plus, a brand-new service that lets you experience Bible Gateway free of banner ads! It also gives you instant access to over 40 Bible study and inspirational devotional books, including the NIV Study Bible. With Bible Gateway Plus, you can experience and understand God's Word in life-changing new ways, without the distraction of ads. Try it free for 30 days—you can cancel at any time. Following your 30-day free trial, Bible Gateway Plus is only $3.99/month.