Bible Articles on the Topic of Evil spirit

The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.

What Are Demons?

To “have a demon” was the same as to “have an unclean spirit”, which is a Bible way of saying that something was wrong or “unclean” about a person’s way of thinking or mental capability. In short, a person with a demon was a person with a mental illness.

Unclean Spirit

“And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us?  I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.  Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.” (Mark. 1:24)

Insane Lunatics

“Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.” (Luke 9:1)

Evil Spirits

“For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.” (Acts 8:7)

Come To Torment Us

“And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Mark 8:29)

Lunatics and the Swine

“So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.” (Matthew 8:31)

Casting Out Devils

“And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.” (Mark 1:34)

My Name Is Legion

“And he asked him, What is thy name?  And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.” (Mark 5:9)

Seven Devils

“And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils.” (Luke 8:2)

Satan and the Evil Inclination in Hebrew Poetry

One way to identify Hebrew poetry is through the use of “Thought Rhyme” (also known as “Parallelism”). Synonymous parallelism is where the thought of the first line is repeated in the second line, expressed in different words for emphasis. A good example is found in Psalms 24:2:

Ruah in the Bible

The Tanakh [the writings of Moses, the prophets, etc.] is the ancient Jewish text that most openly and directly influenced Rabbinic thought. Ruah is an important term in the Tanakh from the first page of Genesis, where Ruah Elohim, the spirit or wind of God “hovers over the face of the water.” (Genesis 1:2). The word may variously signify wind, breath, or spirit (human or divine). Ruah is dynamic, and is described in conjunction with many verbs, such as “hovering” (Genesis 1:2), “filling” (Exodus 31:3), “pouring out” (Numbers 11:25, Joel 3:1-2), “enveloping” (Judges 6:33-34), “ringing” or “pounding” (Judges 13:25), “bearing” (1 Kings 18:12), “guiding” (Isaiah 63:14), and even “tormenting” (1 Samuel 16:14-15). Ruah as wind, breath, or spirit, is used some 250 times in the Tanakh in conjunction with divine activity. These references to Ruah as the Spirit of Elohim or the Spirit of YHWH, are found in many books and are particularly prominent in Judges and the books of Samuel. Some use of the term ruah is found in all books of the Bible except for Leviticus in the Pentateuch; Obadiah, Nahum, Zephaniah in the Minor Prophets; and Ruth, Lamentations, and Esther in the Writings.

Seizure’s Lament: An Epileptic’s Documentary

Background: A Seizure’s Lament was first commissioned by the 2011 Deep Wireless Festival in Toronto and aired on CBC Radio’s Living Out Loud. It later aired on CBC Radio’s Tapestry and was featured at the Third Coast Filmless Festival in Chicago and PRX’s How Sound show.

Note on Diabolical Possession

In the New Testament, disease, except when it is a special visitation from God (Hebrews 12:6), is regarded as the work of super-natural forces (Matthew 9:32, 12:22; Luke 11:14, 13:16; Acts 10:38, etc.). In particular, nervous diseases and insanity are represented as due to diabolical possession. This was the universal belief of the time, and our Lord, in using language which implies it, need not be regarded as teaching dogmatically that there is such a thing as possession, devils or demons. There were strong reasons why He should seek to ‘accommodate’ his language to the popular theory. (1) The insane persons whom He wished to heal, were firmly convinced that they were possessed by devils. This was the form assumed by the insane delusion, and to argue against it was useless. The only wise course was to assume that the unclean spirit was there, and to command it to come forth. (2) It was our Lord’s method not rashly or unnecessarily to interfere with the settled beliefs of his time, or to anticipate the discoveries of modern science. The belief in demonic possession, though probably erroneous, was so near the truth, that for most purposes of practical religion it might be regarded as true. He, therefore, did not think fit to disturb it. He tolerated the belief and left it to the advance of knowledge in future ages to correct the extravagances connected with it.

The Language of Accommodation

John Walton said it particularly well in a lecture: “Nowhere in the Bible does God ever ‘upgrade’ the Israelites’ understanding of the world.” Meaning: He doesn’t tell them the world is a sphere; He doesn’t tell them that the sun is bigger than the earth or that most stars are bigger than the sun. He doesn’t expound the germ theory of disease. He doesn’t explain the causes of mental illness. He doesn’t give them any new technology—including steam engines, but also including, say, soap; etc., etc. He takes them as He finds them, and expounds to them theological ideas only.

The Devil, His Origin and End

The word “devil” is used by some flippantly and frivolously, and the subject of the devil is regarded as one to excite laughter and derision. While there is some excuse for this because of the absurd theories set forth in the religious world, theories in which there is a strange mixture of the sublime with the ridiculous, yet the subject deserves and demands a most serious consideration; and it is this demand which renders it necessary for us to include the investigation of it in our dealing with the great problems of the world’s redemption.

Epilepsy or Demon-Possession?

A Christian who does not believe in the literal existence of demons faces many challenges in making a strong case in light of the first three gospel records. Matthew, Mark and Luke all make frequent reference to “demons” and “evil spirits,” which at first glance seem to make a strong case for their literal existence. Yet there are some disturbing things that should make a believer in demons take a more cautious stance.

Hellenistic Demonology

Heathen writers used the word “demon” with considerable latitude. In Homer’s writings, where gods are but supernatural men, the word “daimon” ( Greek) is used interchangeably with “theos” (Greek word, translated “God”). Afterwards Hesiod used it to denote intermediate beings — messengers of the gods to men. This became its general meaning, although in poetry and in philosophy “to daimonion” was sometimes used as equivalent to “to theion” for any superhuman nature. Aristotle applies the term to Divinity, Providence. Plato used the word in the distinctly limited sense. It was also believed that the “daimonia” became tutelary deities of individuals, hence “daimonion” was often used in the sense of “fate” or “destiny” of a man. McClintock Strong states:

Epilepsy Was A Physiological Disease

We generally interpret the “lunatick” boy in Matthew 17 as an epileptic. “Oft times it throweth him into the fire, and oft times into the water,” etc. This is interesting because Greek physicians as early as 400 BC were arguing that epilepsy was a physiological disease. On the Sacred Disease was written around 400 BC and attributed to Hippocrates. The “sacred disease” is epilepsy, at least as near as we can tell.

Satan, The Cabala and the Jews

With regard to the Talmud, great care should be taken to separate the Halacath from the Hagadoth¹ in framing ideas as to the Jewish system and traditions. The Halacath are binding on Jews who believe in the binding character of the Oral law, or who rely on, or at least attach great importance to the dicta, decisions, and discussions of the great sages.

The Case of Jenkins vs. Cook

So the Dean of Arches has decided that the denial either of the eternity of punishment (of course hereafter) or of the personality of the evil one is sufficient to justify a clergyman in refusing the Holy Communion to a parishioner; in other words, that the belief of an implacable God, who either has not the will nor the power to pardon, as well as belief in Satan, or in a second god inferior, it is, true to the good God, but still a God as intent to injure than as his superior is to benefit him, is part and parcel of the faith of a true Christian. We Jews may congratulate ourselves upon the different reading of our own Scriptures. Our God is mercy itself. He inflicts punishment for the expiation of sin, not from revenge. With the expatiation of the sin the punishment ceases. The object is attained, why continue the torture?

Spirits: Divine and Human

When the Apostle Paul addressed the Athenians, he began by discreetly deprecating the idolatry that was so prevalent in their city, and enlightened his audience as to “the God Who made the world and all things therein,.... He is Lord of heaven and earth.... For in Him, we live and move and have our being.”¹ This teaching discredited the superstition and made vain the idolatry of ancient religions, according to which, each form of life and power had a separate or independent source, cause or creator. Hence there were gods of war and thunder, gods of hills and valleys, gods of waters and flies. The saying is true that “the heathen created gods like themselves.” Heathen principles, in effect, still hold sway in the world. Consider such expressions as “the power of money,” “the power of pleasure,” and “the power of politics.” The modern gods are centred on earth and not in other worlds. The root of the whole matter was, and still is, in the passions and promptings of the human heart. Hence the French proverb, “The more it changes, the more it remains the same”—only a seeming paradox.

Demons and Demoniacs Among the Jews in the Time of Christ: Whence the Doctrine was Derived

In regard to the doctrine of Demons, their origin, character, actions, and their power to possess and torment the bodies of the living, and the method of their expulsion, we find the Jews, in the time of the Savior, in perfect agreement with the Orientals, the Greeks, and the Romans. Of course this acknowledged fact provokes the question, Whence did they obtain these notions respecting demonology? We have no accounts of persons possessed with devils or demons, no allusions to casting out unclean spirits from the bodies of the living, in any of the historical, prophetic or poetic books of the Mosaic or the Law dispensation.

The Psychology of Belief in Demons

Demons are never described in the Bible as trying to tempt people or corrupt them; demons in the sense of demon possessed people often express faith in Christ. This is in sharp contrast to the assumption commonly made that demons are fallen angels intent on tempting people to sin—in Pentecostal churches we hear of a shopping demon, a smoking demon, a speeding demon, etc. But this simply isn’t how ‘demons’ are referred to in the New Testament. The Bible speaks of demons as being the idols which had been built to represent them; and it is stressed that these idols and the demons supposedly behind them don’t exist. And therefore “be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil”, nor have they any capacity to in fact do anything (Jeremiah 10:3-6; Psalms 115:2-9).

The Woman Bound by Satan

Luke 13:11-17  And a woman was there who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years; she was bent over and could in no way straighten herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her and said to her: Woman, you are free from your infirmity. And he laid his hands upon her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God. And the ruler of the synagogue, being moved with indignation because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, answered and said to the crowd: There are six days in which men ought to work. In them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day. But the Lord answered them and said: You hypocrites! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath release his ox or his ass from the stall and lead him away for watering? And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham whom Satan had bound for eighteen years, to have been freed from this bond on the Sabbath day? And as he said these things, all his adversaries were put to shame, and all the crowd rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.

Unclean Spirits

Matthew 12:43-45: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth if empty, swept, and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.”

Demons

The synoptic gospels recount a considerable number of occasions when Jesus cast out demons or unclean spirits. In addition there are further references in John’s gospel, Acts and the Epistles. As a class these incidents constitute one of the biggest problems of interpretation in the New Testament. It can hardly be said that the answers usually supplied are completely satisfying.

Mad

This is easy. The Greek word is mania (with the verb mainomai). And this is exactly what it means in every place, as the context plainly shows: “He hath a demon, and is mad” (John 10:20). “Paul, thou art beside thyself (said Festus: Acts 26:24); much learning doth make thee mad.” The Roman governor was, in effect, saying to Paul: ‘That’s just what you told us yourself ten minutes ago!’—for had not the apostle declared: “and being exceeding mad against them (the Christians), I persecuted them even unto strange cities” (26:11)? Here the phrase is often read as meaning “very angry”. But no! Paul meant what he said: In those violent days he had behaved like a lunatic.

A Biblical Exposition of that Old Serpent, the Devil and Satan: Chapter 5

It is a common opinion that Jesus and his disciples cast out “devils.” Such a statement is very frequently recorded in the Common Version of the New Testament; and, yet it is a fact, astounding in relation to a translated work (the very words of which translation are regarded with a peculiar reverence) that, not once, in the original Greek Scriptures, is Christ said, or are his disciples said, to have cast out either “a devil” or “devils.”

Manifestations by Those Supposed to be Possessed

Possessions, daimonia, must have been indicated by certain signs, otherwise such possessions could never have been inferred. Some deviations from the usual habits of the individual must have been presented to have induced the belief that the individual was influenced by some “supernatural” power. What then were the indications that the Greeks, the Romans, and the Jews, beholding in an individual, ascribed to possessions?

Daimones are Demons and not Diaboloi (Devils)

It has been demonstrated that the daimones, and the daimonia, are not diaboloi, “devils,” “false-accusers.” It has been demonstrated that the first term (daimon) is expressive of a “departed human spirit,” and the second term (daimonion) of such “spirit” supposed to be in possession of living human beings. It has been shown that the belief in possessions prevailed amongst almost all the nations, the Jews included, at the time of Christ and of his apostles; while the assertion that such beings existed was a lie palmed upon mankind by an enslaving priesthood; and Paul, when referring to such “departed human ‘spirits’” deified and worshipped by the Gentiles, as plainly as words can express, declares them to be nothing: declares them to be delusions of the imagination: to be a lie.

Amulet

am ́ū̇-let (קמיע, ḳemīa‛, לחשׁים, leḥāshīm, מזוּזה, mezūzāh, תּפלּין, tephillīn, ציצת, cīcith; φυλακτήριον, phulaktḗrion): Modern scholars are of opinion that our English word amulet comes from the Latin amuletum, used by Pliny (Naturalis Historia, xxviii, 28; xxx, 2, etc.), and other Latin writers; but no etymology for the Latin word has been discovered. The present writer thinks the root exists in the Arabic himlat, “something carried” (see Dozy, Supplément aux Dictionnaires Arabes, I, 327), though there is no known example of the use of the Arabic word in a magical sense. Originally “amulet” denoted any object supposed to have the power of removing or warding noxious influences believed to be due to evil spirits, etc., such as the evil eye, etc. But in the common usage it stands for an object worn on the body, generally hung from the neck, as a remedy or preservative against evil influences of a mystic kind. The word “amulet” occurs once in the Revised Version (Isaiah 3:20) but not at all in the King James Version.

Asmodaeus

az-mo-dē ́us (אשׁמדי, ‘ashmedhai; Ἀσμοδαῖος, Asmodaíos): An evil spirit first mentioned in Tobit 3:8. Older etymologists derived the name from the Hebrew verb shāmadh, “destroy”; but it is now generally held to be associated with Zoroastrianism, with which the Jews became acquainted during the exile, and by which later Jewish views on the spirit-world were greatly influenced. It is now held to be the equivalent of the Persian Aeshma-Deva, the spirit of concupiscence. The spirit is at times reckoned as the equal in power of “Abaddon” (Job 31:12) and of “Apollyon” (Revelation 9:11), and in Tobit is represented as loving Sara, only daughter of Raguel of Ecbatana, and as causing the death on the bridal night of seven husbands who had in succession married her. His power was broken by the young Tobias acting on the advice of the angel Raphael (Tobit 6:15). He burnt on the “ashes of incense” the heart and liver of a fish which he caught in the Tigris. “But when the devil smelled the smell, he fled into the uppermost parts of Egypt, and the angel bound him” (Tobit 8:3). Milton refers to the incident in Paradise Lost, 4, 168-71, founding on Jewish demonology and the “loves of the angels” (Genesis 6:2).

Lunatic(k)

The English word “lunatic,” which in popular speech signifies a sufferer from any mental derangement, whether periodic or chronic, other than congenital idiocy, appears in the King James Version as a translation of the Greek word σεληνιάζομαι, selēniázomai, in the two passages where it occurs. In the Revised Version the word has very properly been displaced by the strictly accurate term “epileptic.” This change is justified not only by the extra-Biblical usage (see Liddell and Scott, under the word), but clearly enough by Matthew 17:15 (compare Matthew 4:24), where epilepsy is circumstantially described.

Deranged Man Attacks the Sons of Sceva

Evil spirit

The Sons of Sceva and the Deranged Man

Evil spirit

Apollo

Apollo (Attic, Ionic, and Homeric Greek: Ἀπόλλων, Apollōn (GEN Ἀπόλλωνος); Doric: Ἀπέλλων, Apellōn; Arcadocypriot: Ἀπείλων, Apeilōn; Aeolic: Ἄπλουν, Aploun; Latin: Apollō) is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in classical Greek and Roman religion and Greek and Roman mythology. The ideal of the kouros (a beardless, athletic youth), Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of music, truth and prophecy, healing, the sun and light, plague, poetry, and more. Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto, and has a twin sister, the chaste huntress Artemis. Apollo is known in Greek-influenced Etruscan mythology as Apulu.

On the Sacred Disease

On the Sacred Disease is a work of the Hippocratic Corpus, written in 400 BCE. The authorship of this piece can not be confirmed and is therefore regarded as dubious. The treatise is thought to contain one of the first recorded observations of epilepsy in humans. The author explains these phenomena by the flux of the phlegm flowing from the brain into the veins rather than assigning them a divine origin. This turn from a supernatural to a naturalistic explanation is considered a major break in the history of medicine.

Pythia

The Pythia (/ˈpɪθiə/, Greek: Πυθία [pyːˈtʰi.a]), commonly known as the Oracle of Delphi, was the name given to the priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi who served as the oracle.

Python (mythology)

In Greek mythology, Python (Greek: Πύθων, gen.: Πύθωνος) was the earth-dragon of Delphi, always represented in Greek sculpture and vase-paintings as a serpent.