Mt. 12:22 π Mt. 17:15 π Mk. 5:4 π Mk. 9:18 π Lk. 9:39; 2nd π Lk. 13:11
How evil spirits can manipulate the body through the nervous system, we find clearly defined in the Scriptures; but we never find a single instance of the Holy Spirit working in the same way. Not once in the Acts of the Apostles do we find "twitchings," "writhing," convulsions, or other effects of supernatural power on the human frame, recorded as results of being filled with the Holy Spirit. But we do read that evil spirits can convulse the body, tear it, bruise it ( Lk. 9:39 ), cause it to pine away (["dry up," i.e., go rigid or stiff] - Mk. 9:18 ), or give it strength ( Mk. 5:4 ); they can make the man cry out suddenly with a loud cry ( Lk. 9:39 ), or make him dumb, gnash his teeth, roll on the ground, cast him into the fire to burn him, or water to drown him. ( Mt. 17:15; top )
In this acute form the symptoms of demon possession and insanity are almost indistinguishable. The difference lies in the fact that in pure demon possession the mind is not impaired, although it may be passive, or suspended in action, but in insanity the evil spirit takes advantage of a physical condition. "Insane" people are more "sane" than sane people think they are, and there is more truth in what they say than is believed. What they "see" is not always delusion, but the actual doings of evil spirits.
It is necessary, therefore, to distinguish between
- Pure insanity,
- Pure "possession,"
- Insanity and possession.
Before declaring a person insane, from physical and natural causes, the physician should find out if there be any supernatural cause. Insanity may be caused by natural derangement, and by supernatural interferences of evil powers. True insanity can also be the result of possession, and be (humanly) irrecoverable.
In short, under the power of a lying spirit, the man loses control of his body, and is, for the time being, when the intruder manifests himself, irresponsible for his actions.
The spirits in possession of the body vary in character, and in manifestation, as much as when in possession of the mind, or spirit, in spiritual manifestations. Some are malignant, and some are milder in their actions, such as the "spirit of infirmity" or powerlessness described in Luke 13:11 , or the blind and dumb spirit in Matthew 12:22 . (top) These Scriptures show there were cases of possession which looked like cases for healing, but the Lord's words and action proved that the woman who was bent for eighteen years, did not require healing, but deliverance. The bending of the back is one of the symptoms of demon possession, when the body is deeply affected.
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