Continuing on my previous posts, we’ve covered the basic theology behind demonology. We’ve looked at the scriptural basis for demons, their origins, their organization, and their activities. If you haven’t read the previous posts, I’d suggest you do that first.
I want to move into the more methodological part of demonology: how it applies to me and you. To do that, we must understand how the demonic carry out a hit on someone.
Demonic entities tend to attack in several ways, but we’ll boil them down into more manageable categories.
1) Sickness – Sickness came into the world through the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3). Let me be VERY quick to point out that sickness is in the world, but that does not mean that everyone suffering from an illness is doing so because they sinned. Jesus points this out in John 9. The Bible shows us there are many reasons for sickness, but for our learning it should be noted that sickness CAN be employed by the demonic to afflict your body. The body is no more immune to attack that your spirit can be to discouragement, shame, anger, etc.
2) Extreme Fatigue – Ever felt too busy or overworked? Stretched too thin, or seemingly buried under work that never stops coming? This is sometimes used as a way to open you up to attack. Satan came to Christ when he was hungry and weary after forty days of fasting in the desert (Matt. 4:2). When the prophet Elijah was worn out from a spiritual battle with the prophets of Baal he became so discouraged he wanted to be dead (1 Kings. 19:4).
3) Death – Physical death is a natural part of being human. That doesn’t stop demonic entities from attempting to cause you to die prematurely. Remember, The thief comes to steal and kill and destroy…(John 10:10a). Demons often tempt their victims to commit suicide.
4) Physical and Mental Abuse – Diabolic entities can promote the abuse of your body and mind by using drugs or alcohol to such a degree that it causes extreme effects. Also, they can encourage self-mutilation (cutting), carving (cutting shapes/pictures/words into your skin), and extreme scratching.
In addition, the investigator may note the following signs of physical abuse (that cannot be explained by human to human abuse) such as:
- Claw marks (usually in stripes of 3’s)
- Words carved into flesh in a language unknown to the victim (usually blasphemous)
- Sudden inexplicable shoves and pushes (especially around hazards like stairs or streets)
- Spontaneous bruising (that continues after a complete medical exam reveals no treatable cause)
- Spontaneous contortion of the limbs
- Lifting of the body
- Throwing of the body
- Burning sensations often accompanied by red marks
- Vomiting objects (glass, nails, ashes, etc.)
This is by no means an exhaustive list because there are many, many other physical manifestations that can accompany demonic activity, but this is to give you the basics of what to expect. As you can imagine, these physical abuses would take an incredible mental toll on anyone, so it’s a catch twenty-two, of sorts, assaulting the internal and external being.
Finally, there is one more area of attack:
5) Attack of the Family – The family was established by God in Eden and is often viewed as a microcosm of the relationship of the Trinity. It is a divine structure and establishment. Family is important to God! Because of the importance of the family, it becomes a primary attack point for the demonic. Evil forces try to drive a wedge between husband and wife, parents and children, and other relations.
When investigating an alleged case of demonic activity, it is very wise to observe the family dynamic and structure. How to they interact on a day-to-day basis? Do they eat dinner around a table together? Do they go to church, and if so do they all go together? Do they take vacations together? Is there an abnormal (who knows what normal is) amount of infighting and bickering? Is there a member or members of the family who are not Christian? Is there a family member who is involved in a false religion or practicing in the occult and/or dark arts?
Fr. Jack Ashcraft notes,
“In some cases of oppression and possession the demonic entity will manifest to other family members, cause objects to fly at them, frighten them with sounds, foul odors, etc.”
Whatever the enemy can do to disrupt a families sense of normalcy, he will. If someone in the family has given him an open door, he most certainly will up the ante and begin the process of oppression, which we’ll cover later.
In my next post we’ll look at the Five Levels of Diabolic Influence.