Why I Don’t Believe Demon Possession Is Possible Today
by Bob Wilkin
I’ve had quite a few people ask me about a passing comment I made in the last magazine. Since so many have asked, I thought I’d answer everyone at once.
To start with, I must admit that the Bible simply doesn’t tell us directly whether demon possession does or does not occur in the Church Age. Thus, we must speculate based on inferences in Scripture. I find three major hints in Scripture that demon possession is not possible today.
First, there is no indication that demon possession occurred before the ministry of Jesus and His Apostles. We have no references to it in the Old Testament. And the first we hear of this is in the Gospels during the ministry of Jesus. The last we hear of it is during the ministry of the Apostles. (There is no indication in the Book of Revelation of demon possession in the coming Tribulation period either.) This suggests that demon possession was something God allowed for a short time in order to demonstrate the power and authority of the Lord Jesus and of His Apostles.
Second, there is no instruction in the epistles on how to cast out demons. If demon possession is a problem during the Church Age, then believers need to be able to cast out demons. To do so we must know how. That there is no such instruction suggests this isn’t a problem now. (In addition, the sign gifts have ceased and casting out demons was associated with signs and wonders.)
Third, what is sometimes called demon possession today does not match up with the accounts we find in Scripture. We don’t find people, for example, who break the strongest of chains, as the possessed man of Gadara did (Mark 5:3-4; Luke 8:29). What we see today can be explained as psychiatric disorders.
It seems clear that spiritual oppression, whether caused by demons or fallen angels, does occur today. But possession by demons is not indicated by anything in Scripture or in experience.