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James 4:7 by Robert Dean
Duration:55 mins 12 secs

Demon Influence and Demon Possession; James 4:7b


Demon influence and demon possession (Cont.)

5)  Satan's strategy is to get the human race to think independently of Bible doctrine, independently of God, and to think man can solve his problems on his own, or at best he can just help God.

6)  In contrast to this we have the horrible status of demon possession. There are six key words we have to understand if we are going to understand what the Bible says about demon possession.


a)  DAIMONIZOMAI [daimonizomai], the present passive participle form of the noun for demon, DAIMON [daimwn]. A participle indicates a verbal adjective. A passive voice indicates that the subject is being acted upon by something else. Since it is a passive participle it just means to be acted upon by a demon. What some want to say—and this has become a standard fare among evangelicals—is that there is no real biblical distinction between demon possession and demon influence. All you have is a very broad word DAIMONIZOMAI which means to be acted upon by a demon and they will translate it to be demonised, and it is this one word, they say, that covers everything from what we would call demon influence to demon possession. They make a fundamental error. It is called an etymological fallacy, and that is to determine word meaning simply by grammar or history alone. Ultimately what determines word meaning is usage. What we will see in Luke chapter eight is that the description of a person who is said to be demonised, i.e. DAIMONIZOMAI, has had a demon inside them. The cure is for that demon to be cast out of the body. The word that is normally translated demon possession, DAIMONIZOMAI, is a general and vague term. So it is the other terms that give it specificity, that make its meaning clear. DAIMONIZOMAI does not mean simply to be acted upon by a demon, it means to be demon possessed. This word is used 13 times in the Gospels for demon possession: Matthew 4:24; 8:16, 28, 33; 9:32; 12:22; 15:22; Mark 1:32; 5:15, 16, 18; Luke 8:36.

b)  The verb ECHO [e(xw] which means to have, to hold, plus the noun DAIMON [daimwn] or DAIMONION [daimonion]. It means simply to have a demon. This phrase is used eight times in the Gospels: Matthew 11:18; Luke 7:33; 8:37; John 7:20; 8:48, 49, 52; 10:20. The Greek grammar conveys the idea that the subject of this phrase is characterized by a demon indwelling them.

c)  EN PNEUMATI AKATHARTOS [e)n pneumati a)kaqartoj]. The preposition EN, meaning with, plus the dative of possession PNEUMA = with a spirit, plus the adjective for unclean: "with an unclean spirit." This describes the nature of the demon possession. Used in Mark 1:23; 5:2.

d)  EKBALLO [e)kballw]. This is a compound word, the main verb is BALLO, and the preposition EK means "out of." So it comes to mean to cast out, to throw out. Some of these words are used of Jesus when He goes into the temple. He enters the temple [e)rxomai] and He cast out [e)kballw] the money changers. So we see an interesting picture there of what Jesus does in demon possession. He casts out a demon. In order to cast a demon out of a person the demon has to be in the person.

e)  EXERCHOMAI [e)cerxomai]. The preposition e)c is the same as e)kballow, the preposition e)k. The verb e)rxomai means to come or to go. With the preposition e)c it means to come out, to go out. So it comes to mean to exit, to leave, to go out, to come out. Rhetorical question: If the demon is to come out or to go out, where must it be first? In the body. So DAMONIZOMAI doesn't just mean something vague, acted upon by a demon. When Jesus cast the demon out and tells the demon to come out DAIMONIZOMAI now has precise meaning, doesn't it? It means there is a demon in someone or something.

f)  EISERCHOMAI [e)iserxomai]—EIS means direction to or towards something; ERCHOMAI means to come or to go. So the compound word means to go into, to enter, to enter into, to move into. The thing that is important to learn about this is that when the demons come along and they are cast out of, for example, the Gadarene demoniac, it says (Luke 8:30) that "many demons had entered him." The verb is "had entered," an aorist active indicative. The subject of a verb in the Greek performs the action of the verb, just like in English. The subject in Greek is always in the nominative case. That tells you what performs the action. The demons perform the action of entry, EISERCHOMAI. The reason EISERCHOMAI is important is because DAIMONIZOMAI is a vague term. If that is all we have then somebody could say it just means to be acted upon by a demon, but when you have words in a demon possession narrative that have this kind of specificity, going into and coming out of, the reason that we can say that it means demon possession is because of these words.


If we go back and look at the meaning of EISERCHOMAI in classical Greek, the language used in Greece from Homer on and in the 5th century BC, it was used to describe a party or parties who would enter into a contract, a treaty, and it indicates that they are moving from outside this agreement to inside the agreement. Before the treaty they were not bound by it, they were outside. So they entered into an agreement. Xenophon used it to describe commercial transactions, money that was going from one person's account into another person's account. Notice, it always has this movement idea, going from outside the account to inside the account. It was used in drama to describe the action of the chorus, moving from off-stage to on-stage. Notice, from outside to inside. Plato used it this way, as did Xenophon. This developed a metaphorical or figurative use. The idea is of entrance used to convey the entry of a thought into the mind, a character quality into the soul such as "courage entered his heart." Or the entry of a new emotion: anger. So the conclusion: the thought, the quality or the emotion is always the subject of the verb. The emotion is always in the nominative case, indicating they are the subject performing the action.


Luke 8:26-33 NASB "Then they sailed to the country of the Gerasenes, which is opposite Galilee. [27] And when He came out onto the land, He was met by a man from the city who was possessed with demons [e)xwn daimonia = to have demons]; and who had not put on any clothing for a long time, and was not living in a house, but in the tombs." If we look at the Matthew passage it talks about the country as the Gadarenes: Gadara was the town; Gerasa was the region. Apparently there were two men that came. Matthew focuses on both men, whereas Mark and Luke only focus on one man. In Matthew, instead of saying "he has a demon" [e)xw daimona] he says he was demon possessed [daimonizomai]. So there we learn by the comparison of the two accounts that daimonizomai and e)kw daimon are synonymous. In Mark we are told it was the region of the Gerasenes. He focuses on one man only and uses e)n pneumatic a)kaqartoj, an unclean spirit. Each account uses a different term to describe demon possession. Luke goes on to tell us that they were unable to bind this man with chains, that he was naked, he lived in the tombs, and he was violent. Matthew only mentions the fact that these two men lived among the tombs and that they were violent. Mark adds even more detail. He, as well as Luke, suggests that they were unable to bind him. Mark and Matthew both leave out the idea of nakedness. All three mention that he lived in the tombs, that there was violence, and Mark adds that he would ruin around screaming and gashing himself with stones. So obviously he was out of control. In demon possession the demon indwells the body and manages to override individual volitional control of bodily functions. The person is still there and can still exercise positive volition toward the gospel, but that is the only thing they can do. They can't control their life. Ultimately to get into demon control the victim makes a series of decisions culminating in volitional surrender to the demons. But that doesn't mean the personality is obliterated and it doesn't mean they can't be positive to the gospel, because that is the only solution.

In Luke, when Jesus comes up to the possessed man, the demon cries out: "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me." He uses His whole title, he knows who Jesus is. How does Jesus address the man? Luke 8:30 "And Jesus asked him, 'What is your name?' And he said, 'Legion'; for many demons had entered him [EISERCHOMAI]." So more than one demon can indwell someone. [29] "For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out [EXERCHOMAI] of the man."

Matthew said the person was DAIMONIZOMAI, demon possessed. In 8:31 NASB "The demons {began} to entreat Him, saying, 'If You {are going to} cast us out [EKBALLO], send us into the herd of swine.'" Again, Jesus is going to cast them out and the demons request that He send [APOSTELLO] them into the pigs. APOSTELLO is with the preposition EIS which means "into." Mark says, "Send us into," and he uses a different word, PEMPO [pempw]. So there is a variation which means the same thing for the same request. Luke 8:32 "Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and {the demons} implored Him to permit them to enter [EISERCHOMAI] the swine. And He gave them permission." Notice: Demons can't operate independently of the sovereign permissive will of God. [33] "And the demons came out [e)cerxomai] of the man and entered [e)iserxomai] the swine; and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and was drowned." In the Matthew account the same terminology is used.

Demon possession means to go into; when you are relieved of the demon the demon is cast out. This is contrasted to an episode in the Old Testament. In chapter 1 Samuel 15 Saul partially obeyed the Lord. He was told to completely destroy the Amalekites in battle and he failed to do that. Samuel told him that because of his disobedience that the kingship would be taken away from him, and this was the beginning of Saul's fall into disobedience and carnality. 1 Samuel 16:14 NASB "Now the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him." The Holy Spirit leaves Saul, it was only a temporary enduement. "…an evil spirit from the LORD terrorized him" raises some interesting questions in the minds of many people, but this shows us the sovereignty of God over the demons.

1 Kings 22:5 NASB "Moreover, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, "Please inquire first for the word of the LORD." Jehoshaphat is a believer and he wants to hear what the Lord has to say. So the Ahab gathers everybody together and they all answer the same way, they're a bunch of yes men, all the sycophants tell him, O yes, the Lord will give you victory. But Jehoshaphat sees through them all. [7] "But Jehoshaphat said, 'Is there not yet a prophet of the LORD here that we may inquire of him?'" [8] Ahab says yes: "There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. {He is} Micaiah son of Imlah. But Jehoshaphat said, 'Let not the king say so.'" So they brought in Micaiah, and he must have a great sense of humour. [14} "But Micaiah said, 'As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I shall speak.'" [15] His answer to the king was: "Go up and succeed, and the LORD will give {it} into the hand of the king." He is sarcastic. Ahab sees right through it and said: "How many times must I adjure you to speak to me nothing but the truth in the name of the LORD?" That is, Quit lying like everybody else. He knows that a good word from Macaiah is not the truth. [17] So he [Macaiah] said, "I saw all Israel Scattered on the mountains, Like sheep which have no shepherd. And the LORD said, 'These have no master. Let each of them return to his house in peace.'" He sees the armies scattered, the leadership is killed, the king is dead, and they are just wandering aimlessly. That proves Ahab's point and he says to Jehoshaphat: "Did I not tell you that he would not prophesy good concerning me, but evil?" Then Macaiah gives a warning. [19] "Micaiah said, 'Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven [angels, fallen and elect] standing by Him on His right and on His left. [20] The LORD said, 'Who will entice Ahab to go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead?' And one said this while another said that. [21] Then a spirit [demon] came forward and stood before the LORD and said, 'I will entice him.' [22] The LORD said to him, 'How?' And he said, 'I will go out and be a deceiving spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' Then He [the LORD] said, 'You are to entice {him} and also prevail. Go and do so.'"

What this is portraying is the sovereignty of God over the demons. It is one thing to say they can't do anything without God's permission but this tells us how that permission operates. In Proverbs it says: "God created the evil one for the day of wicked [judgment]." This shows us that nothing happens by pure random chance in God's universe. God is in control of every detail; Jesus Christ controls history; God will bring about everything to His glory eventually. He utilizes Satan and his demons to bring about His purposes. In the same way the Lord sends a demon as part of divine discipline upon Saul in 1 Samuel 16 to terrorize Saul. 1 Samuel 16:15 NASB "Saul's servants then said to him, 'Behold now, an evil spirit from God is terrorizing you. [16] Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play {the harp} with his hand, and you will be well." We have just looked at some passage in the New Testament that describe demon possession. In those passages there are some very important prepositions: "in" and "out." Do we have either of those prepositions in this passage? No, we don't. What we have is the preposition "on." Saul is not demon possessed; there is no demon inside of Saul. He is being acted upon from the outside by a demon with the result that it is affecting his mental state as he continues to deteriorate in reversionism. And notice the solution. The solution is not to cast the demon out of him but to play music so that it soothes him and relaxes him to counteract the effect of this oppression from the demons.

1 Samuel 16:23 NASB "So it came about whenever the {evil} spirit from God came to Saul [preposition al= to or towards], David would take the harp and play {it} with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him." Notice: What are the prepositions that are important? "In" and "out." What do we find here? "On" and "to." Saul is not demon possessed, he is demon oppressed. What we do not find in the Hebrew of any of these passages is be, which means in or into. Saul was not demon possessed and he was a believer. Samuel told Saul: 1 Samuel 28:19 NASB "Moreover the LORD will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be with me [in Paradise, Abraham's bosom]."