What is demonic oppression? Can it affect Christians? Is it the same as demonic possession?
What are Demons?
Demons are essentially fallen angels. Apparently, one third of the angels joined Lucifer’s rebellion in heaven and that old dragon, the Devil, took with him a third of the angels with him. These angels became demons while Lucifer became Satan (Rev 12:4). That sealed Satan and the demon’s fate as we read in Revelation 20:10 where “the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” It appears that some demons grew so despicable that they had to be restrained , and still are as Jude writes that “the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:6). The Apostle Peter wrote something similar by writing that “God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept until the judgment” (2nd Pet 2:4) so both Jude and Peter tell us that some demons aren’t even allowed to be free. Perhaps they are so evil and dangerous that God had to restrain them in chains of darkness. By the way, this is also the fate of “the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Rev 21:8) although not exactly the same level of punishment as Satan will have. One thing we do know; demons have been known to oppress people and some even possess people, but can a Christian be oppressed by a demon?
Can Christians be Oppressed?
Can a Christian be oppressed by a demon or even Satan? The Apostle Paul relates that he had a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble (2nd Cor 12:7a) and the source of this thorn was actually “a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure” (2nd Cor 12:7b). God allowed Satan to buffet Paul by some unnamed affliction or persecutors so obviously Paul was oppressed but not just by any one. It wasn’t just a demon by Satan himself, the ruler of the kingdom of darkness. Satan certainly saw Paul as a threat to his kingdom and probably the greatest threat there was at the time because Paul planted churches about everywhere he went. He was entering enemy territory. Demons and Satan are opposed to anything and everything that has to do with Jesus Christ, the blood of the Lamb, the cross, repentance, confession, forgiveness, and eternal life through the Savior. They absolutely detest it and will do anything they can do to stop it but they can do no more than that God allows them to do. Demons are Satan can do nothing beyond what God’s will is which explains why Jesus told Peter that Satan had asked to sift Peter like wheat (Luke 22:31). We can conclude that Satan had to have God’s permission first. When Satan wanted to test Job, “the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord” (Job 1:12). Now we have at least two people that were allowed to be buffeted by Satan but by no means destroy their salvation.
Is Oppression or Possession?
Being demonically oppressed is certainly not the same thing as being demonically possessed. Everyone who’s possessed is already being oppressed but not everyone who’s being oppressed is being demonically possessed so they are certainly not the same thing. I can oppress someone I know but I certainly can’t possess their bodies and mind. The Apostle John writes; “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1st John 4:4) and we know who this “he who is in the world” is talking about; the god of this present age (2nd Cor 4:4) so the “He” that is in you is the Spirit of God and He’s infinitely greater than he who is in the world because the created thing (Satan) can never be greater than the One Who created Him (God).
If you’ve ever experienced spiritual attacks, then that is at least a form of oppression, but Satan and demons are limited by God as to how much they can oppress or even oppress at all (Job 1:12). Believers had better “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil” because “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph 6:11-12). This isn’t like playing with matches but playing with dynamite which gives us all the more reason to “take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph 6:13). I know some who are oppressed by demons on regular basis but I notice these are the people who are actively sharing their faith more than others and trying to reach lost people for Christ.
If you have ever thought of a time in your life when you’ve seen your own sin and how far that falls short of God’s standard (Rom 3:23) and that your sin separates you from God (Isaiah 59:2), then you have probably repented of those sins, hopefully. That means you’ve turned away from them and forsaken them and then turned to God and trusted in Christ. Jesus leaves all of us with only two options; “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.