Demoniacal Possessions

The most marked exhibition of the power of evil spirits over the bodies and minds of men, is afforded by the demoniacs so often mentioned in the evangelical history. These demoniacal possessions were of two kinds. First, those in which the soul alone was the subject of the diabolic influence, as in the case of the "damsel possessed with a spirit of divination," mentioned in Acts xvi. 16. Perhaps in some instances false prophets and magicians were examples of the same kind of possession. Secondly, those in which the bodies alone, or as was more frequently the case, both the body and mind were the subjects of this spiritual influence. By possession is meant the inhabitation of an evil spirit in such relation to the body and soul as to exert a controlling influence, producing violent agitations and great suffering, both mental and corporeal. That the demoniacs mentioned in the New Testament were not mere lunatics or the subjects of epilepsy or other analogous diseases, but cases of real possession, is plain, First, because this was the prevailing belief of the Jews at that time; and secondly, because Christ and his Apostles evidently adopted and sanctioned that belief. They not only called those thus affected demoniacs, but addressed the spirits as persons, commanded them, disposed of them, and in every way spoke and acted as they would have done had the popular belief been well founded. It is certain that all who heard Christ thus speak would and did conclude that he regarded the demoniacs as really possessed by evil spirits. This conclusion he nowhere contradicts; but on the contrary, in his most private conferences with the disciples abundantly confirmed. He promised to give them power to cast out demons; and referred to his possession of this power, and his ability to delegate its exercise to his disciples as one of the most convincing proofs of his Messiahship and divinity. He came to destroy the works of the devil; and that He did thus triumph over him and his angels, proved that He was what He claimed to be, the promised almighty king and conqueror, who was to found that kingdom of God of which there is to be no end. To explain all this on the principle of accommodation would destroy the authority of Scripture. On the same principle the doctrine of atonement, inspiration, divine influence, and every other distinctive doctrine of the Bible, may be, and has been explained away. We must take the Scriptures in their plain historical sense -- in that sense in which they were designed to be understood by those to whom they were addressed, or we do thereby reject them as a rule of faith.

Hodge v 1 p 645-646

  1. Kathee and I continued in Joshua tonight. Chapters 19 & 20
  2. Yard was fertilized today. Already starting to green up.
  3. Tomorrow we drive to Mankato in the afternoon. Rachel is being inducted into an honorary (academic) society.

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