What deliverance ministery should be...
An incorrect picture of the deliverance ministry
The ministry of deliverance has taken a somewhat unfortunate beating from Hollywood's overhyped films that make Satan look powerful and Jesus look helpless. This has resulted in many people being scared to approach the deliverance ministry as a result.
Good deliverance ministery will glorify Jesus
Despite what many may think, it's not about the demons, it's about the person being gloriously set free in Jesus' name! I have been through deliverance myself and can testify to it's benefits. When deliverance is ministered properly, Jesus is glorified and lives are changed, including my own!
The attention should not be on the demons, but on Jesus, and how His work on the cross has defeated the demons and disarmed them. We are simply walking out the victory that Jesus won on the cross by exercising the authority that He gave us to drive the intruders out of our lives and the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The ministry of deliverance is a life-changing ministry!
Hollywood and other poorly educated deliverance ministries has given the ministry of delivernace a bad image, but I can testify that when it's ministered properly, and Biblically sound, it is a beautiful and glorious ministry to be in! You see the Bible come alive when demons are being driven out as they were in Jesus' day, and then when you see the person afterwards glow with the glory of God after they have shed what felt like 10 tons of garbage to them... it is a glorious moment! Tears of joy are often shed, and God is glorified! It doesn't surprise me to see people walk away from a deliverance, never to be the same again!
The purpose of ministering deliverance
This ministry isn't about demons! It's primarily about guiding and helping our brothers and sisters come into the victory that Christ died to give them! The purpose of ministering deliverance is to set free those who are in bondage. As Jesus was sent fourth to preach deliverance to the captives (Luke 4:18, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to... preach deliverance to the captives..."), so we are also sent out (John 20:21, "Then said Jesus to them... as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.") to do the works He did (John 14:12, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also..."), and this includes casting out of devils (Matthew 10:8).
The ministry of deliverance is about bringing spiritual victory and freedom to those who are in bondage. It doesn't matter what you call it (demonized, possessed, oppressed, etc.), if they are in demonic bondage, whether they need to tear down a stronghold, break up a legal ground, cast a demon out, or all three... it's still deliverance, because it's setting the captives free. Casting out demons, is just part of the overall ministry of deliverance.
Four important elements of this ministry
Deliverance is not just simply casting out demons and leaving the person to themselves. This is a grave mistake that causes a lot of people to walk away from a deliverance still in bondage. There is more to it than simply casting out demons. In Luke 9:42, we are told a story of how Jesus not only rebuked demons in a boy who was mentally affected by evil spirits, but also is said to have healed the boy. There is no mention of the boy needing physical healing, but if you look up the word healed in this passage, one of the meanings is, "to free from errors and sins...", which is likely what Jesus did with the boy, Jesus removed the boy's legal grounds (sins) and freed him from errors (strongholds). This case of deliverance required more than just rebuking demons!
There have been times when I have successfully helped people out of their demonic bondages, without even having to cast out demons! Sometimes all that is needed is the pulling down of a stronghold, or a breaking up of a legal right. Other times, all three areas need to be addressed to bring the person into complete freedom.
An educated deliverance minister should be knowledgeable with all three of these very important elements, and be prepared to address them without hesitation:
Inner healing: Many times when a person has been abused, rejected, wounded, or hurt in some way, there is an emotional wound that needs to be healed. Demons will use these wounds and weaknesses against the person, as leverage to hold them in bondage and get them to re-open doors so that they can re-enter. Inner healing is a vital step in the overall restoration process that needs to take place in the lives of many who are seeking deliverance.
Tearing down strongholds: Strongholds are incorrect thinking patterns that people develop over time, and are often set up and nurtured by demons through lies and deception. Demons thrive on strongholds, and use them to hang around a person and torment them. I recommend reading the teaching on Strongholds (at the bottom of this post in blue) for a clear insight into exactly what a stronghold is, and how to go about tearing them down. Failing to tear down strongholds can hold up a deliverance and prevent us from walking in complete spiritual freedom.
Removing legal rights: Legal rights are things that give demons permission to enter and remain in our lives. Before demons can often be cast out, it is important to address and remove these legal rights. The teaching on Legal Rights lists the most common legal rights and how you can go about removing them. Failing to remove legal rights can hold up a deliverance very easily.
Casting out the demons: This requires two basic elements: knowledge of your authority in Christ Jesus over the powers of the enemy, and faith in that authority. Demons are cast out with a simple spoken command, such as, "I command the spirit of fear to come out in the name of Jesus!" You can learn more about your authority and how it works from the teaching on Spiritual Authority.
I believe it is usually a good idea to give the person requesting deliverance a Deliverance Questionnaire that will give you an overview of their background, the bondages they are facing, the root or source of their problem, as well as legal grounds, strongholds and any particular spirits that need to be addressed. Then begin to work with them to receive inner healing, break up any legal grounds, and tear down any strongholds you see in their life and of course, cast out any demons that need to go.
It is always helpful to have a general idea of what the different common demons are, what they do and how they enter, how they usually operate, etc. For example, the Bible speaks of spirits that cause physical health problems such as the spirit of infirmity, blindness, deafness, etc. along with spirits that cause fear and depression (King Saul), mental illness, etc. The teaching on Demon Possession is a good place to start and will help you begin to understand how demons affect us, and what it really means to be 'possessed with a demon'. I don't necessarily recommend reading occult books or books on demons that were not written by solid Christian ministers, because that can cause you to pick up demons yourself! Whatever you do, don't wander into the dark world to learn about it! The best place to learn about demons, is from the Bible itself! Whatever you can't find in the Bible, you can learn from other solid Christian ministers such as Derek Prince, Bob Larson, Frank Hammond, Jack Frost and Doris Wagner.
Teaching on Strongholds
What is a stronghold?
A stronghold is a faulty thinking pattern based on lies and deception. Deception is one of the primary weapons of the devil, because it is the building blocks for a stronghold. What strongholds can do is cause us to think in ways which block us from God's best. For example, if you think you have to confess all your sins to everybody you've ever wronged, you'll feel just awful and guilty until you do all that, and even then, you'll probably feel guilty, because you probably forgot many people that you didn't confess your sins to. All unnecessary, and a waste of time, all because you were deceived and thought that you had to do something that you really didn't have to do.
An example of a stronghold at work: A common scene is somebody who is scared of God, and has a hard time feeling His love and presence. They view Him as a cruel taskmaster, and not as the God that is really is to them, and therefore, they put up there own wall which makes it hard for them to receive God's love, presence and draw close in their relationship with Him. If you saw your spouse as a rude and cruel dictator, you probably wouldn't be as apt to snuggle upto Him and love him as you would if you saw him as a loving and kind person who loves you and cares for you. If you see somebody as mean, it's hard to receive their love, isn't it? That's how our perception of God can hinder us from feeling His love and presence in our lives. It is VERY important to have a correct perception of God if we want to live victorious lives in Christ Jesus!
Two very destructive and common strongholds
The first one, where you see God incorrectly: One of the most popular and devastating strongholds to have, is an incorrect image in your mind of who God is, and how He sees us. People who see God as a taskmaster, live their lives with an unhealthy fear of God. There's a good kind of fear of God, which is more like a holy respect for Him, but there's another kind of fear that is very unhealthy that the enemy wants us to have, and it's the kind of fear where we see God as a taskmaster, cruel, cold, distant, uncaring and would snap the whip at us the moment we step out of line. People who are afraid they've committed the unpardonable sin are almost guaranteed to have this stronghold. People who find it hard to feel God's love and presence, often have this stronghold too. If you feel God is distant and cold, or question if God loves you, then you need to get this stronghold torn down.
One awesome book that will help you break down this stronghold is Blessed Beyond Measure by Gloria Copeland. It talks about the goodness of God, and it's impossible to read that book and be the same person when your done seeing the love and goodness that God wants to bless us with!
The second one, where you see yourself incorrectly: People who suffer from this have a hard time seeing the new person that they are now in Christ Jesus, and often suffer from low self-esteem. They don't understand what Christ did for them, and how it applies to their own life. Common symptoms of this stronghold are guilt feelings (questioning if you've really been forgiven of your sin(s)), low spiritual esteem (they feel like sinners, not saints), they lack spiritual confidence that we are supposed to have in Christ Jesus, they may still struggle with sin (Jesus said that if you keep in His Word, which tears down strongholds, you will be free from the power sin has over you - John 8:31-34), and overall you don't feel 'worthy' spiritually and lack the joy of the Lord in your life. If you even remotely struggle with this stronghold, the teaching Forgiven sinner or saint? is an absolute must-read!
One of the best books I've seen for tearing down this stronghold is Victory over Darkness by Neil T. Anderson. It will teach you of the new person you are now in Christ Jesus, and help you be victorious over the darkness through an understanding of your identity in Christ.
How to tear down a stronghold
2 Corinthians 10:4, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds."
Strongholds are birthed and dwell in deception (which are lies and false beliefs), so naturally the cure is to bring the truth in God's Word on the scene. You debunk the lies of the enemy, with the truth, which is in the Word of God! The Bible says that our weapons are mighty for the tearing down of strongholds (2 Cor 10:4, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds."). What is our primary offensive weapon? The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Eph 6:17, "...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."). Truth dispels deception and lies, and therefore the more truth you bring into a situation, the more the darkness must flee. This is where it's important to grow in God's Word, is because it is your primary weapon for tearing down the strongholds of deception that the enemy has been feeding you.
In John 8:31-36, Jesus tells us that we can be held in bondage due to strongholds in our lives. And His solution was to, "continue in my word... and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (v. 32-32) Strongholds are torn down as we meditate on God's Word, which is truth!
Some great Bible verses for strongholds can be found at:
What are legal rights?
A legal right is something that can give demons an opportunity to enter or harass us, or gives them the right to remain in us even when we try to cast them out. Some of the most common legal rights that are faced when ministering deliverance are:
Sins (especially willful sins): When we commit sin, it gives the enemy a legal right to affect or bother us in one way or another. The deeper the sin, the bigger the door that is opened to the devil. When a person allows unholy thoughts to enter their mind, it can open the door to a demon of lust, which eventually causes the person to commit adultery and the matter is compounded. It starts when the enemy tempts us to think the wrong thing, then when we accept it and make it a habit, it opens the door for the enemy to move in further, then behind the bad habit which can be formed, lies a demonic compulsion that isn't easily resisted. If the person continues down this path, he continues to open more doors to the enemy, and eventually that person finds himself committing adultery, rape, etc. because the feelings and desires the demons push on that person are irresistible. Once he commits those sins, mega doors are then opened, and the problem is like a snowball going down the hill. Sin opens the door to demons, which push us in the direction to more sins, which open us wider to more demons, etc.
The remedy? Repentance! Verbally confess and repent of your sins that have given the enemy legal rights in your life. If you recognize a particular sin or sins that has opened the door to the bondage you are seeking deliverance from, it helps to specifically repent of that sin. Any larger or gross sins you can remember are always good to repent of specifically.
1 John 1:9 tells us to confess our sins. If we don't confess our sins and instead we hide them from God, it leaves that sin remaining in our lives. We need to confess our sins in order to be forgiven.
Soul ties: It is possible for two persons to share spiritual ties (like spiritual bridges that connect the two persons). Some of the most popular and destructive soul ties are formed during an adultery or fornication. 1 Corinthians 6:16 warns us not to have sexual relations with a prostitute because we become one flesh (flesh as in soul realm kind of flesh, not a physical flesh) with that person. This ungodly soul tie is like a rope between two persons that demons can use to their advantage to cross from one person to another. If that person had demons tormenting them, and you had sex with them, it unites the two persons, and therefore a soul tie is created, and the demons tormenting that person can also have rights to torment you. This does not apply to married couples, because there is no unhealthy soul tie created from sex within marriage. The Bible says that the marriage bed is un-defiled, and defilement is required to create an evil soul tie.
The remedy? Repentance, renunciation and breaking of soul ties! First, specifically repent of the sin which caused the soul tie to be formed in the first place. Then you can use your authority in Jesus to break and sever the unholy soul tie. Saying something like this should do the job, "I now renounce, break and sever all unholy soul ties created between myself and _____ through the act of adultery in Jesus' name!"
There can also be soul ties between yourself and another person, without any sexual relationship involved. Sexual relationships are one of the best way to create a very strong soul tie, but it's not the only way. Other soul ties can be created through unhealthy relationships, such as being so close to a parent that you take their advice over God's advice. Again, repentance and the breaking of the soul ties in Jesus' name is the way to go about solving this problem.
Another thing that could hold back the breaking of a soul tie, is a physical object given to you from the other person, through a sinful relationship. If you were given a ring, or bra or a love gift through an adulterous relationship, for example, then those gift(s) can hold the soul tie together. If the gift is valuable, and not necessarily bad in itself, then it's best to sell the gift. If the gift is demonic or unholy, then it's best to throw away the gift.
Demonic vows: A demonic vow can be like a spiritual signature that the enemy uses as a legal right to gain access into our lives. Demonic vows can be made consciously or unconsciously. Often when a person joins a cult coven (a group of witches), they are required to make vows with the devil. Demonic vows can be made unconsciously just by dabbling with the occult. Just by getting curious about the occult and reading forbidden materials (including horoscopes) can give the enemy your spiritual signature; it tells the enemy know that your interested. Jesus warns us not to make any vows at all. The only vows I can see are practical and good are those made during a marriage ceremony.
The remedy? But if we have made vows that do not glorify God, then we should repent and renounce those vows verbally and seek God's forgiveness. Do this verbally, because vows are made verbally, breaking them is also done verbally.
Unforgiveness: When we don't forgive others, God won't forgive us. When God doesn't forgive us, it leaves our sins remaining, which can give the enemy legal rights into our lives. Read Matthew 18:23-35, and keep in mind that the tormenters they are referring to, are demons. The legal ground the enemy may be standing on to torment you may very well be rooted in unforgiveness! I've heard that the single most common reason that people aren't healed, is because they are holding unforgiveness in their hearts, and I believe it! Forgiveness is not an option; it's a necessity! See my study on "Unforgiveness: Poison" for a more in depth understanding of how unforgiveness works.
The remedy? Repent for holding bitterness in your heart against others, and make a solid choice to forgive those who have wronged you (also confirm your choice by verbally forgiving them), and release the bitterness and hurt from your heart against them.
Ancestral sins: When you involve yourself in the deeper sins or the occult world, you not only open demonic doors in your own life, but also in the lives of your children and grandchildren (Exodus 20:5). If your ancestors have committed gross sins or been involved in the occult, then it's a good idea to confess those sins (to the best of your ability... God knows your heart), and ask Him for forgiveness (Leviticus 26:40-42). Even though you personally aren't guilty of those sins, they may have caused curses in your life, and those curses need to be broken. Common ways to tell if ancestral sins are involved, is if your siblings or ancestors have experienced or are experiencing the same or similar problem that you are.
The remedy? The legal grounds have already been broken! If any spirits are remaining, they must be cast out. For more information, see the teaching on Generational Curses.
Childhood rejection: Much demonic bondage is caused during childhood. For example, if a parent shows rejection toward their child, a spirit of rejection may enter.
The remedy? If you have been rejected by either your parents or somebody else, you must make a solid choice to forgive that person(s), and release the hurt in your heart against them. The spirit of rejection is usually present in this situations, and should be renounced.
Points of weakness: When the person experiences weakness, such as emotional shock, physical trauma, fearful experiences during childhood, and other areas to which the natural walls of defense in the physical, spiritual or emotional system of a person are weakened, it leaves us vulnerable for the enemy to attach himself to us. The same is true with drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and especially true with drugs, because they lower our defenses, and since demons thrive on weakness, they love to move right in and setup camp.
The remedy? If there was any bitterness involved (say somebody caused the traumatic experience for you, and you are still holding it against them), then you must forgive the person who hurt you, and repent for harboring bitterness in your heart against them. If the point of weakness was caused by your own sin, such as drinking or drugs, then confess and repent of that sin. If the demons entered solely through traumatic experience, and none of it was anybody's fault, then the demons are 100% trespassers in this situation, and need to be told to leave!
Spoken self-curses: The words we say have spiritual value, the Bible says to bless and not curse, and that the tongue has the power of life and death. If you walk around saying, "I wish I could just die," a demon may hear you and can go to God and say, "Look, she wants to die!" and here comes a spirit of death. There is a book titled, "Blessing or Curse: You can choose, " by Derek Prince, which deals with this topic of curses in much detail.
The remedy? Take back what you spoke against yourself, renounce it! Repent for speaking such thing(s), and break the curse(s) in Jesus' name!
Cursed objects: Physical objects can carry spiritual value, such as idols, occult books, rings, movies, charms, etc. If you brought any Indian or pagan religion artifacts into your home, you could be opening the door for demons to enter and bother the people within your home. Land can also become defiled by the sins of it's owners (Leviticus 18:27).
The remedy? Burn, destroy or get rid of any physical objects that you have located that could be cursed. Isaiah 2:18, "And the idols he shall utterly abolish." It is Biblical to burn cursed objects. Repent for bringing such objects into your home if you are responsible for them! Land can be cleansed by prayer and repenting of the sins of the previous owners.
Renounce demons: Renounce any known demons that have been invited in (ex. spirit guides), and any interest or involvement in the occult or Satanism. Also renounce any demons that you know need to be cast out. This helps let the demons know that you are no longer interested in having them around.
Other helpful things to look for: When did the bondage start? Try to pinpoint how the problem started and what gave the demons the ability to enter. Look for any involvement in the occult, sins, vows, traumatic experiences, etc. along with any unusual happenings emotionally, spiritually or mentally.
Authority doesn't beg; authority doesn't ask; authority commands! We are not told to ask God to cast out demons, we are told to do it ourselves! We are not told to beg demons to come out, we are told to CAST them out!
Matthew 8:8-9, 13, "The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it... And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."
Authority is exercised through our spoken word. The power of life and death are in the spoken word: Proverbs 18:21, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."
Jesus' own authority
One thing that made it clear that Jesus was the son of God, is because He exercised authority that nobody else had access to in history!
He cast out demons using His authority: Mark 1:27, "And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him."
He cast out demons with His spoken word: Matthew 8:16, "When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word..."
He healed the sick with His spoken word: Luke 7:7, "Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed." Also John 5:8, "Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk."
Jesus has been given authority over everything: Matthew 28:18, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
Authority to heal
Jesus said to, "Heal the sick"! Matthew 10:8, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." I think it's interesting how Jesus didn't tell us to pray and ask God to heal the sick, He told US to heal the sick!
I have never seen where Jesus prayed, "Father, please heal this person!" Instead, we see that Jesus healed people with His spoken Word! In John 5:8, Jesus told the man to, "...Rise, take up thy bed, and walk."
The early church healed people in this same manner. In Acts 3:6, "...Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk."
Notice in Luke 9:1 that He not only gave His disciples authority over all devils, but also to cure diseases: "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases."
Authority is exercised when there is a RIGHT to exercise it. They weren't praying and asking God to heal people, they had the authority to heal, and they were exercising it with a spoken word, just as Jesus did!
I want to clarify that I'm not saying that prayer can't heal people... because it can (James 5:14-15)... I'm just saying that we are taught to heal the sick using the authority that Jesus gave us! I have seen and heard of many healings that took place through prayer, so I'm not saying not to pray, or that prayer doesn't work. I'm simply saying that we have authority over sickness, and therefore we can exercise our authority to bring about healing in another person's life!
I also think it's interesting how Mark 16:17-18 tells us that healing can come through the laying on of hands: "And these signs shall follow them that believe... they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." The laying on of hands can encourage the transferring of power from us into the person and heal them, just like the woman who felt power flow from Jesus when she touched the hem of His garment (Mark 5:30)! Jesus said that those who believe will have the Holy Ghost flowing out of their innermost being (John 7:38-39), and even Peter's shadow healed people (Acts 5:15)!
Authority to cast out demons
Notice that we are never told to beg or coax the demons to come out, neither are we told to pray and ask God to remove them, but we ARE told to cast them out! Matthew 10:8, "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give." And also look at Mark 16:17, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils..."
Luke 9:1, "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils..."
Luke 10:17, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."
Jesus distributes His authority
Mark 13:34, "For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch."
Jesus is given authority: Matthew 28:18, "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."
Authority given to Jesus' 12 disciples: Luke 9:1, "Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases."
Authority given to Jesus' 70 disciples: Luke 10:17, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."
Through Jesus' name
Notice that the authority Jesus gives His people is not to be used in their name, but Jesus' name:
Luke 10:17, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name."
Mark 16:17, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils..."
Acts 3:6, "...Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk."
To use somebody's authority through their name is quite an honor! It's like being able to go to the bank and draw out a million dollars on behalf of a wealthy businessman!
Authority has been given to "Them who believe"
Jesus gave His disciples authority to carry out His will here on earth, but they weren't the only ones. He also gave ALL believers authority to heal the sick and cast out devils as well! (Mark 16:17-18)
Authority to cast out demons: Mark 16:17, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils..."
Authority to heal the sick: Mark 16:17-18, "And these signs shall follow them that believe...they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."
Mark 13:34, "For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch."
Authority is accessed through faith
It is also helpful to point out that our spiritual authority is accessed by faith. There is a lot to be learned from the story told in Mark 9:17-29 about how faith allows us to access our authority. When the disciples came across an unusually strong demon that wouldn't budge (verse 18), Jesus made it clear that they lacked faith by calling them faithless (verse 19). He also made it clear that some demons are so strong that a higher than usual level of faith is required to cast them out (verses 28 and 29), and that we can gain that higher level of faith through prayer and fasting (verse 29).
Matthew 17:20, "And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."
The deliverance questionaire can be obtained from the following link:
Serious flaw in the phrase 'demon possession'
I think we need to re-assess the term "demon possessed", because in the original Hebrew & Greek the term possession/possessed is not used. NOT even in the life of a NON-BELIEVER! Possessed means to be owned by.
The NT Greek: If you look up the term 'possessed' in the NT Greek Lexicon, it does NOT refer to ownership, it rather means to be under the power (influence) of a demon. There's a BIG difference! The Bible, as far as I know, provides absolutely NO backing to the idea that a person can be possessed (according to modern English) by a demon!
Can a person be influenced or under the power (influence) of a demon? Absolutely! This is what we address in the ministry of deliverance!
Greek scholars will tell you that this was an error (or at least a misleading impression) in the modern translations of the Bible, including the KJV. It gives the wrong impression simply because today's meaning to the word possessed is much different then it was back then.
If you look up the word possessed when used in conjunction with the word demon or devil in the NT Greek, you'll find that it means to be under the power (influence) of a demon, not to be owned by a demon. There is a BIG difference! Roughly half of the healings I found Jesus perform in Matthew were actually deliverances. So if half the sickness and diseases in the world today were demonically rooted, then a lot of people (including Christians) are without a doubt influenced by demons. Does that mean that the person is owned by the demon? No! Did the demon(s) own the man who Jesus cast the deaf and dumb spirit out of? Of course not!!
It's also interesting that the Spanish Bible does not use a term that refers to ownership, like our English Bibles do. Our English Bibles have been flawed because the meaning of the word possessed has changed, but our Bibles have not been updated to reflect this change.
The keyword is 'influenced', not 'possessed': Another interesting point is that if a demon truly owned a person, then you wouldn't be able to cast a demon out of him or her, because the person would belong to that demon. The reason you can cast demons out of people, is because demons are intruders in their lives. People can be under the power (influence) of demons, just as they can be under the power or influence of alcohol. The more a person drinks, the more it influences them. The deeper a person gets into demonic bondage, the more it influences them. Those who have gotten in touch with the occult and Satanism demons usually have significant signs of demonic bondages. The deeper a person gets into demonic bondage, the stronger of an influence the demons will have over them.
The Bible refers to several cases of people who had demons, and uses the word possessed, but it does not say that the person was under total control of the demon. Actually, some passages are obvious that the person was NOT under complete control of the demon. Like the times when deaf and dumb spirits were cast out of the man. All they did was cause the person to be blind or not be able to speak... scripture does not say that they did anything else to the man. This alone proves that the word possessed in the NT does NOT refer to ownership!
Almost every time the NT has used the term possessed in conjunction with demons or devils, the phrase used was "possessed with." If you replace the word 'possessed' with 'owned' (as it could have been written if it truly meant ownership), it doesn't sound right at all: 'The man was owned with a demon.' Makes a lot of sense, doesn't it?
The bottom line? To be possessed with a demon means to be under the power (which means influence) of a demon, but it does NOT mean that the demons owns the person. Like being under the influence of alcohol, the more you drink (or get yourself into bondage), the more you come under it's influence.
If you are 'possessed' by a spirit of fear, it means you are under the power of a spirit of fear, which means you will be influenced by the spirit of fear, and therefore you will be fearful. Same is true with spirits of deafness, if you are under their power, you won't be able to hear. To be possessed really means to be under the power of that particular demon.
What does it mean to be under the power of a demon?
It means to have a demon, or to be under the power or influence of a demon. It may not be even in the soul realm at all, it could be a spirit of infirmity affecting your body in one way or another.
What basically happens is that either you or your ancestors have given a certain amount of control of yourself or your body over a demon. Some people may be lightly affected by the demonic, while others may be more heavily affected. It all depends on what strength of demons are involved, what doors have been opened, and how many demons are involved, along with other factors that will determine the amount of power or control the demons have in a person.
A good way to illustrate this is by comparing demonic bondages to drinking; the stronger the drink, and the more of it you have, the more it will influence your behavior. If you drink too much of a strong drink, it can become quite noticeable. If you take a sip of wine, you may not even notice the effect.
Demons can affect the physical body, as well as the mind of a person. Common ways that they affect a physical body is through sickness and disease, such as cancer or arthritis. Common ways they affect a person mentally is by fear, depression or even mental illness. Demons can also hinder a person's spiritual growth.
Some common things that usually indicate demonic bondage
Compulsive cutting or self harm: Mark 5:5, "And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones."
Physical infirmities sickness or diseases: Matthew 9:32-33, "As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake..."
Matthew 9:25, "When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him."
Luke 13:11, "And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself."
Uncontrollable anger: Matthew 8:28, "And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way."
Super-human strength: Matthew 5:2-4, "And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him."
Mental health problems: Matthew 5:2-5, "And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones." Does that sound like somebody who's in their right mind to you? What would somebody in their right mind be doing roaming the tombs? This tells me that there was a spirit of death involved, which gave him exceeding interest in the dead. Who in their right mind would be roaming the tombs day and night crying and cutting themselves with stones? When Jesus cast those demons out, the man was said to have been "in his right mind" once again (verse 15).
Luke 8:27, "And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs." What kind of a person in their right mind would go running around in the tombs naked?
Matthew 17:15, 18, "Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water... And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour."
Matthew 9:17-18, "And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not."
Mental torment (fear, depression, etc.): 1 Samuel 16:14, "But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him." I like how the New Living Translation says it, "Now the Spirit of the LORD had left Saul, and the LORD sent a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear."
Have you ever seen a family where the father has a problem with uncontrollable anger, his son seems to have been 'handed it', and the grandpa had the same problem? Or have you noticed that not only do you suffer from something such as persistent irrational fears or depression, but your mother and her father also suffered from it as well? There are many people today who are living under bondage that the sins of their forefathers has brought them under.
Exodus 34:7, "Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting (punishing) the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation."
Lamentations 5:7, "Our fathers have sinned, and are not; and we have borne (been punished for) their iniquities."
This is beyond learned behavior; many children learn to be messy if their parents are messy. This is a spiritual bondage that is passed down from one generation to another. Some symptoms of a generational curse is a continual negative pattern of something being handed down from generation to generation. Often people who are adopted end up with the same characteristics as their birth parents, not because they were around their birth parents to learn how they behaved, but because they inherited their spiritual bondage. Some common symptoms of generational curses are family illnesses that seem to just walk from one person down to the next (cancer is a common physical manifestation of a spiritual bondage), continual financial difficulties (they continually hit roadblocks in their finances), mental problems, persistent irrational fears and depression. Anything that seems to be a persistent struggle or problem that was handed down from one generation to another may very well be a generational curse.
The purpose of a generational curse
I believe the reason God would punish the future generations with the sins of their fathers, is because of God's bitter hatred for sin. He would require somebody who practiced witchcraft to be put to death (Exodus 22:18). He knows that one of the most prized possessions you have, is your children, and therefore it makes sin a lot harder to commit when you realize that you are not the only one that is being punished for it, but also your own children are going to pay the price for your foolishness. That's what I believe is the reason behind generational curses. The whole human race fell thanks to Adam's sin for that matter.
The price for generational curses has been paid!
The good news is that once you accept Jesus, the transference of bondage stops from your ancestors by means of generational curses. You can no longer receive spiritual bondages in this manner from your parents once you accept Jesus!
Christ was made a curse, so we can be freed from the curses that sin (both our sins and those of our forefathers) has brought us. Galatians 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:"
Once you become a child of God, no longer will the sins of your forefathers cause curses to transfer into your life: Jeremiah 31:29-30, "In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge."
So why are there so many believers who seem to be living under a generational curse? This has puzzled me before I understood how it works too. What may need to be dealt with though, is any bondage that was already passed down to you before you came into covenant with God. The legal grounds are certainly paid for on the cross and therefore broken. The only thing left to do is cast out any spirits that have gained entrance before you accepted Jesus.
Non-believers are still affected
Even after Jeremiah 31:29-30 makes it clear that believers are redeemed from generational curses, the next chapter in Jeremiah (32:18) clearly says, "Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the LORD of hosts, is his name." Apparently, generational curses are still in effect, but for who is the big question.
Ezekiel 18:2-3 tells us, "What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel." (Note the keywords "in Israel"... this is referring to those who are in covenant with God, which are us believers, not the rest of the world.)
Obviously, generational curses are alive and well in the lives of those who are outside the new covenant with God (non-believers).
'Triggering' the effects of a generational curse
It is possible for demons to enter a child before he accepts Jesus, then remain dormant or hidden in that child's life until some time later in his or her life when it manifests (or makes itself known). Sometimes when a person heads for the ministry, it seems like the devil kicks up his ugly heels and causes havoc for that person. Other times, a line of fear runs in the family tree, but isn't manifested in a person's life until they get themselves involved in something fearful, such as watching a demonic movie. All of a sudden, the spirits in that person's life "come alive" so to speak, and make themselves known. They were there all along, but just now they have come out into the open. The solution is to cast them out.
If you have involved yourself in any sin or opened any doors in your own life while 'awaking' or triggering the spirits, then it's important that you clear up any legal grounds (or strongholds) that you gave the enemy in your own life relating to the bondage. For example, if you have went to see a demonic movie, and it seemed to have triggered spirits of fear in your life that were handed down to you, then it's important to repent for going to see such a movie before trying to cast out any spirits. It's also possible that you picked up the spirits from such a movie without them even being there in the first place, and/or added to spirits that were already inside you. It's always a good idea to clear up any legal grounds or strongholds in your own life before casting spirits out.
I believe unforgiveness is a great way to 'trigger' generational spirits, so I would be on the lookout for any bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart as well. A common sight is when a spirit of cancer is running down the family tree, and I believe bitterness is a great way to trigger those spirits. Unforgiveness is a serious sin that blocks the forgiveness of your own sins (Matthew 6:15), which creates ample legal grounds for the enemy in your life. Unforgiveness in itself puts us into the enemy's hands (Matthew 18:23-35), say nothing about awaking any evil spirits in us already!
The curse may be canceled, but the demons may remain
Just as other demons don't automatically leave at the time of salvation... neither do the demons that you get from your ancestors automatically leave you either.
Let's say that you accept Jesus at age 15. Because you were born a sinner and outside of God's covenant, you were still living under the curses handed down to you and demons can enter you through those curses. Once you've accepted Jesus, those curses are broken automatically, but often the demons that entered in before you accepted Jesus still need to be cast out. In other words, the curse is already broken, and there's no need for you to break any generational curses. But the demons who entered into you through those curses before you accepted Jesus may still need to be cast out. That's why it seems so many believers are living under generational curses, when the Bible makes it clear that we have been freed from any curses handed down from our forefathers!
My parents have almost perfect health well into their 60's, while it seems the family tree has many health problems that have been handed down from the forefathers. My parents seem almost immune from the health problems in the family tree! Sure, they take care of their bodies, but they also believe that they have been freed from the curses handed down in the family tree, and since no demons have entered them to take advantage of those old curses, they were freed from the effects simply by standing on what Jesus had done for them on the cross!
On the other hand, if demons have entered you through curses handed down to you before you became a Christian, then those demons may need to be cast out. Demons often don't leave on their own accord, and when they don't, the remedy to get rid of them is by casting them out.
There's a neat story in Mark 9:17-27, where Jesus deals with what is almost certainly a generational curse (verse 21). Notice that Jesus didn't have the boy confess the sins or iniquities of his ancestors, He cast out the demons that entered in through the curse. That's how I believe we are to deal with the affects of a generational curse; since the curse has been broken, all there is left to do is just cast the demons out that entered into that person's life back before they became a Christian (before the curse was broken).
Confess what is rightfully yours!
We know that our generational curses have been broken in Jesus' name, but I still like to verbally confess what is going on and what is rightfully ours anyways, because there's power in our verbal confessions, and helps us to realize that we are set free, and also lets the enemy know that he's in trouble! Here's a great sample confession prayer you can use to do just that:
In the name of Jesus, I confess the sins and iniquities of my parents (name specific sins if known), grandparents (name specific sins if known), and all other ancestors. I declare that by the blood of Jesus, these sins have been forgiven and Satan and his demons can no longer use these sins as legal grounds in my life!
In the name of Jesus, and by the power of His blood, I now declare that all generational curses have been renounced, broken and severed, and that I am no longer under their bondage!
In the name of Jesus, I declare myself and my future generations loosed from any bondages passed down to me from my ancestors. AMEN!
Another factor to consider
There are other things that can 'seem' like generational curses, but aren't. Perhaps the most common is if there is an ungodly soul tie formed between you and one of your ancestors, that can also allow for the transferring of spirits. There is more to learn on this subject in the teaching on Soul Ties.
Ignorance: Another source of bondage!
I also believe that some people can live under what SEEMS like a generational curse, simply because they believe it's still in affect! We need to know that it is NO LONGER in affect, and we have been FREED from any generational curses we used to live under! Jesus makes it very clear that we can be held in bondage to sin through ignorance (John 8:31-36), and I believe the same is true with bondage to generational curses.
In a nutshell
To wrap it up in a nutshell, I don't believe Christians can live under generational curses... but I do believe they can be affected by spirits that have entered through those curses before they accepted Jesus. Just like many people's past actions before they came to Christ have landed them in demonic bondage and caused them to pick up demons. Those demons are not automatically shed at the time of salvation, they often need to be cast out. The same is true with demons that enter in through generational curses (a doorway to demons).
How you deal with a spirit that has entered through a generational curse is very simple: Mark 16:17, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils..." Learn of the Spiritual Authoritythat Jesus has given you over demon spirits, and by faith, you can command those spirits to leave you in Jesus' name! If you can't seem to get them out, try prayer and fasting, as Jesus clearly stated, some demons won't come out unless you have a higher level of faith that only prayer and fasting can bring you into (Matthew 17:19-21). If you are facing heavier bondages, it is recommended to seek deliverance through a man or woman of God who is knowledgeable and working in the ministry of deliverance. Before seeking out a deliverance through another person or minister, I recommend reading the teaching on Seeking a Deliverance.
Another type of generational curse
The type of curses handed down as a result of an ancestors sin is automatically atoned for on the cross, providing we don't hide the sins of our forefathers in our hearts (holding sin in our hearts is never a good idea - whether its ours of the sins of our ancestors). But there's another kind of generational curse that is handed down, and it's a spoken curse that takes a toll on future generations as well. We can see this kind of curse in action in Genesis 9:24-25, "And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." As the Bible goes on to say, this curse ended up affecting an entire nation! I believe these kinds of curses may need to be renounced and broken. If you are unsure of whether a curse should be broken, I recommend breaking it anyways, just so you know it's broken. It doesn't hurt to break a curse that's already been broken. Here's a sample prayer you can pray that you can use to break yourself free from spoken generational curses:
In the name of Jesus, and by the power of His blood, I now renounce, break and sever all curses that have been handed down to me from my ancestors. In the name of Jesus, I now loose myself and my future generations from any bondages passed down to me from my ancestors!
Again, if a curse has landed on you and has been broken, it still doesn't mean you are delivered from the spirits that entered in through that curse. You may still need further deliverance to have the spirits cast out that took advantage of the curses handed to you.
The good news is that Jesus died so that complete freedom from demonic oppression/influence is completely possible for you and I. I can personally testify to this truth. I have been set free from mental illness, addiction, fear, rage, tormenting spirits infirmity and so many other things. You can read about some on my testimony on my home page.
I pray that if you are reading this and struggling with any of these things you will be set free, as I have been. God Bless you!
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