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Matthew 8:16 New International Version

When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.

Matthew 8:

28 When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29“What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

30Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding. 31The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”

32He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.

It seems that when a demon possesses a person, it lives inside the person.

Luke 8:2

and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out;

Was Mary possessed by demons?

John 13:27

As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him. So Jesus told him, "What you are about to do, do quickly."

Was Judas possessed by Satan?

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  • Does Satan actually enter humans (becoming a symbiote), or does Satan simply influence humans (testing their faith)? – חִידָה Mar 25 at 13:55
  • Is Jesus commanding Satan (not Judas) in [John 13:27] "What you are about to do, do quickly". | If Satan is believed in New Testament theology to have symbiotic power over Judas' spirit, did Judas really betray Jesus? Was Satan being commanded by Jesus to help fulfill the Messiah's mission? – חִידָה Mar 25 at 14:08
  • This all depends on what "entered him" means. – חִידָה Mar 25 at 14:19
  • +1 Great question. Since Jesus spoke to Satan inside Judas and the other disciples did not understand it seems that indeed Satan had possessed Judas. This made me curious to research about demons allowances to operate in people. – snoopy Mar 25 at 14:23
  • @snoopy Mmmm, So was Peter possessed? (Mark 8:33). – Dave Mar 25 at 17:44
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Different verbs are used.

  • δαιμονίζομαι = demon-possessed, as used in places like Matt 4:24, 8:16, 28, 33, 9:32, 12:22, etc. Thayer defines this succinctly as, "to be under the power of a demon"
  • In John 13:27 we have εἰσῆλθεν εἰς ἐκεῖνον ὁ Σατανᾶς = (in quintessential redundant Hebrew phraseology) "Satan entered into him".

Thus, John does not explicitly say that Judas was demon-possessed, but effectively uses another phrase that is the same effective meaning.

Thus, after three years of training by the greatest teacher the world has ever known, Judas rejected the wise and kind counsel and teachings of Jesus to accept the lordship of the great Satan. Only someone so "possessed" could so brazenly and systematically betray the Son of Righteousness, and with a kiss of false friendship in the garden!

Ellicott says:

It was at that moment, when the last effort had been tried, and tried in vain, when the heart hardened itself to receive from Jesus the sacred pledge of love, while it was plotting in black hatred how to betray Him; it was then that hope took her flight from a realm of gloom where she could no longer dwell, and light ceased to shine in a darkness that would not comprehend it.

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Certain characteristics are commonly seen in demon possession. A possessed person tends to: 1) demonstrate extremely abnormal behavior and/or superhuman ability, 2) voice knowledge that a normal person would have no way of knowing, 3) be repelled by that which is holy, and 4) be possessed by more than one demon. All these characteristics are exhibited by the man in the following account:

  • He lived among the tombs; and no one was able to bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4 because he had often been bound with shackles and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him and the shackles broken in pieces; and no one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Constantly, night and day, he was screaming among the tombs and in the mountains, and cutting himself with stones. 6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he said, “What business do You have with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God, do not torment me!” 8 For He had already been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” (Mk 5:3-9)

In addition, the traits that characterize demon possession are not in character with Satan’s more subtle and crafty ways. He is known as a shrewd tempter, the father of lies, and a master of disguises:

  • Now the serpent was more cunning than any animal of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” (Gen 3:1)
  • Whenever he tells a lie, he speaks from his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. (Jn 8:44)
  • No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Cor 11:14)

Judas’ behavior at the Last Supper did not exhibit any of the usual characteristics of demon possession; at least, there is little evidence to show that Satan had taken control over Judas’ body. The only thing that seems clear is that Judas had become an instrument of evil. He had succumbed to the voice of temptation, chosen the path of evil, and in essence, opened the door for Satan to enter and accomplish his will through him.

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  • +1 Judas hanged himself. Was he possessed then? – Tony Chan Mar 27 at 23:05
  • @Tony Chan - I don't think so, and here the reason is more clear. By that point, Judas had come to regret his actions: "he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Mt 27:3-4). Can those who are possessed by demons express such genuine and personal feelings, even if they feel them? – Nhi Mar 28 at 0:17

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