How Does a Person Become Demon Possessed?

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Dear Mr. Wilson:

I’ve been watching your video seminars on the web. Thank you for making them available for free! A few days ago I was watching a segment from Revelation and I heard you say that predatory violence is the clearest evidence of demonic possession. Maybe it’s just me, but after hearing you say this, I am seeing predatory violence in the news almost every day. You probably saw the story about a disgruntled truck driver in Connecticut who killed eight coworkers before killing himself. Then, in California, an uninvited husband showed up at his ex-wife’s birthday party and after killing her and her friends, he dropped their two children off with his parents and then killed himself. Last week, three young men in Boston ordered pizza and they ambushed the 58 year old pizza delivery man. They stabbed him to death for about $100 before eating the pizza. These tragedies are senseless and outrageous, but until I watched your video I had not yet connected the dots. If your conclusion about predatory violence is correct, then demonic possession is rampant! How does a person become demon possessed?

Thanks, Cindy


Hello Cindy:

Thank you for your email. You are correct: There is more demonic possession around us than people realize! Demonic possession is an important topic and many Christians shy away from it because (a) they believe demon possession is part of the occult, and (b) they believe there is nothing that can be done about it. Actually, demon possession is not limited to the occult and there is something that can be done about it!

A demon possessed person is dangerous because he is not in control of himself. His need for gratification can eclipse whatever pain or suffering his actions may cause. When a person has no empathy for others and no controlling sense of right and wrong, everyone around that person is at risk. The Bible speaks of demonic possession in a number of places,1 but it does not differentiate between mental illness and demonic possession. An important difference between demonic possession and mental illness is this: Mental illness has a predictable pattern of behavior which mental health experts can detect and diagnose. Fortunately, many people with mental illness are helped with “leveling” drugs. Even though mentally ill people can be dangerous to themselves and others, they are not predators with a predetermined scheme or target. The three examples you cited indicate demonic possession to me. So, let s determine how a person becomes demon possessed.

First consider this thought: Everyone is a possible candidate for demonic possession. In fact, a time will come during the Great Tribulation when there will be two groups of people on Earth. One group will have the seal of God and the other group will be demon possessed! Therefore, demonic possession is only going to increase and it is imperative that Christians understand the topic. The only way out of demonic possession is through divine intervention.2 Medical science cannot exorcize a demon. An ordinary person cannot help someone who is demon possessed and neither can a possessed person cast out a demon who has consumed him.3

Demonic possession comes through the process of sinking lower and lower into the clutches of sin. The Bible teaches there are four types of sin: defiant, willful, accidental, and ignorant. Of course, all wrongdoing is sin,4 but God deals with our sins in different ways as outlined in the following paragraphs:

Defiant Sin

To understand defiant sin, we must first understand how the Holy Spirit works in a person’s life. The Holy Spirit sets the clearest evidence of God’s will before us (the truth about God’s will), strongly impresses us that this knowledge is true, and convinces us that God’s will must be obeyed (conviction). Defiant sin begins when we refuse to obey the knowledge and conviction given by the Holy Spirit. Over time, defiance can be habitual and when it does, the Holy Spirit will eventually cease to work within us. Let me be clear, when it comes to defying the Holy Spirit, there is a point of no return. The Bible calls this point the unpardonable sin.5 After the person reaches the point of no return, he or she has no desire or internal urging to do what is right, to learn about God, or please and honor Him. When the Holy Spirit leaves a person’s heart, it is though a person becomes a zombie – having little discernment or concern about right or wrong. There is no peace in such a soul – only a restless, cold, tormented heart.

Accidental Sin

Accidental sin, on the other hand, occurs spontaneously without forethought – such as telling a lie, uttering a bad word, being dishonest, etc. Accidental sins plague humanity because every sinner is “spring loaded” toward wrongdoing.6 This explains why the Bible says, “….all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 7 We cannot help it, but sooner or later the carnal nature will rise up and cause each of us to accidently sin. Even though he had been a Christian for more than twenty-five years when he wrote this, the apostle Paul lamented, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate to do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.” 8 Even though all wrongdoing is sin, God will not hold a person guilty for an accidental sin if that person confesses his sin 9 and restores or repairs the damage caused (makes restitution). 10 God knows that no one is perfect, but God does require that each sinner show sorrow for his sins by forsaking them and making things right.

Ignorant Sin

Even though every sin has guilt, God does not condemn a sinner or wrongdoing if he is ignorant of his sin. This may sound comforting; however, ignorance is not bliss. Each sin has seeds of death within it.11 Each sin (big or small) has a potential for a deadly outcome – even if we ignorantly sin! For example, consider the past 6,000 years. What has been the outcome of Eve’s ignorant sin 12 of eating the forbidden fruit?

Ignorance will not alter the consequences of wrongdoing. For example, what difference does ignorance or knowledge make if a person falls out of a tree? The law of momentum is impartial and so is the law of sin!13 The law of sin demands that ignorant and informed sinners reap what they sow.14 Look at the stories in the newspapers; people are reaping all that has been sown. Even worse, history says that we are corporately reaping the consequences right now which generations sowed in the past!

This brings us to a profound point. Sin is not a set of arbitrary rules which God made up according to His pleasure. God infinitely understands the seeds of death found in every sin and He wisely set up boundaries (laws) to protect us from sin’s deadly harvest (the consequences of wrongdoing). Because every sin has the potential of a deadly harvest, God commands us to avoid wrongdoing for our benefit, not His. So, blessed are those who are honest in heart, willing to grow in discernment about matters of right and wrong and double-blessed are those who walk in the light!


Knowledge is a double-edged sword. Knowledge can save us or it can condemn us. Consider the following two examples: A sinner receives knowledge and the Holy Spirit convicts the sinner to obey the knowledge; however, the sinner refuses to obey because he prefers to indulge in the pleasures of sin. God reads the sinner’s heart and sees that the sinner has chosen to rebel. In this example, God holds the sinner guilty of defiant sin.

In this next example, suppose a devout person loves God but he has chosen to honestly refuse to embrace truth about God’s will because of the new information is contrary to his present knowledge of God. In this situation, the sinner’s rebellion stems from his love for his religious heritage instead of the pleasures of sin. Even though this sinner insists on remaining ignorant, God sees that he has an honest heart.  God will not hold this sinner guilty because guilt is not imparted unless knowledge and conviction are both present.15 Unfortunately, the person in this example will not benefit from advancing truth. This was Israel’s experience and we know they wandered in the wilderness for forty years, eventually dying there. Again, the point is made that ignorance is not bliss when it comes to sin. In this example, we see how “honest rebellion” can keep a sinner in the wilderness throughout his life, even though he will not lose eternal life.16

God reads the heart. He understands defiant, willful, accidental, and ignorant sin. He sees our knowledge base and the amount of Holy Spirit conviction in each heart.17 God is more than fair in His judgment. Human beings sin every day (through acts of commission or omission) without any awareness that out actions are sinful in God’s sight, but a merciful God overlooks our ignorance as long as we are honest and faithful according to all that we believe to be right and true.

When it comes to pleasing God, He is primarily concerned with our honesty and faith. Human beings cannot comprehend God’s higher ways because God is infinite. His ways are a thousand times higher than our highest thoughts! Therefore, honesty and faith are nonnegotiable in His sight. Honesty is an openness to the facts and a willingness to know more truth.18 If we are honest in heart, the Holy Spirit will be able to show us new concepts from God’s Word. After we receive knowledge, the Holy Spirit will produce conviction. Together, these produce a compelling sense of “this is the way, therefore, walk in it.” When knowledge and conviction come together, a testing truth occurs. God tests us because He requires everyone to step out in faith and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, even though our friends and family may think we are crazy. Therefore, honesty (an attitude of openness toward new truth) and faith (our willingness to act on conviction) enables the Holy Spirit to sanctify (purify) us.19

Deliberate Sin

Sin is a topic that has multiple dimensions and we briefly looked into defiant, accidental, and ignorant sins. Now, we need to examine deliberate sin because this sin is the doorway through which demons attempt to gain control over people. When deliberate sin finally becomes defiant sin, demons rejoice!

When Jesus created Adam and Eve, He gave them intelligence. Because we have intelligence we have the capacity to think and analyze situations and to intelligently reason from cause and effect. Even teenagers can analyze some aspects of life and determine what is good and what is evil. (Smile). Prior to sinning, Adam and Even knew the difference between right and wrong, 20 but they did not have the knowledge of good and evil.21 Prior to sinning, Adam and Eve had a natural tendency toward right doing. They did not have to struggle to do right because it came naturally. When Eve ignorantly22 sinned and then Adam deliberately sinned, 23 the result was the same. Bot became subject to the law of sin which leads to death.24 They lost their sinless natures and wrongdoing came naturally – not only to Adam and Eve, but to their offspring as well! Sinners commit all four types of sins from time to time and God knows that we cannot prevent it.25 But, a God of amazing grace and bountiful mercy does not give up on us until He sees there is nothing further He can do with us!26

The Knowledge of Good and Evil

God has given us the Bible for several reasons. First and foremost, He wants us to know about His love for us! This knowledge can be transforming if properly understood and embraced. God also gave us the Bible because it contains the truth about good and evil. God wants every human being to understand goo d and evil because seeds of death are within every sin. The Royal Law contains the greatest two commandmentsfollowed by the Ten Commandments28 27 and this is which shows us what love will do and not do. The Bible also tells us about the thirst of the carnal naturethat sins of omission are treated like 29 and it reminds us sins of commission.there is a sin of failing to bring glory 30 Finally, the Bible tells us to God.overwhelming, but sinners are not 31 This knowledge may appear to be helpless and neither are they hopeless. This is a fact: In our own strength, we cannot overcome sin. Here is another fact: We can overcome sin by allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us from within!

John wrote, “No one who is born of God will continue to [deliberately or defiantly] sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he is born of God [and power to overcome sin is given to everyone born of God]. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” 32

Of course, the devil does not want people reading the Bible or advancing in the knowledge of God’s love or the Bible’s definition of good and evil. Consequently, the devil tries to reduce or eliminate the importance of the Bible, and sadly, his efforts are paying off very well. (Recent surveys taken by the Pew research Center indicate that succeeding generations of Christians tend to study the bible less than previous generation.) To further reduce the effectiveness of our minds (so that human beings cannot determine good from evil) and reduce self-control (so that human beings will find it easier to do evil), the devil and his demons have introduced all kinds of mind-altering substances into society. The demons well know that mankind is “spring loaded” to do evil. Therefore, demons prey on young people because (a) they are largely ignorant about matters of good and evil, (b) having the carnal nature, they are spring loaded toward wrongdoing, and (c) they are fascinated with mind altering substances that give an delusional sense of well-being. Add promiscuity and sexual immorality to this mix and there is a doorway to pleasure that most young people cannot resist.33

God hates promiscuity and sexual immorality34 because once a person becomes involved in sexual immorality, there is a possibility that sexual gratification will shut out self-control.35 In other words, it is easy to become a slave to passion.36 If a person willingly engages in sexual immorality, knowing that it is sin, then it is deemed a deliberate act and God holds that person guilty for his sin. On the other hand, if a person ignorantly engages in sexual immorality, the consequence of this sin will be horrible even though God may overlook the sinner’s guilt. Remember, there is no difference when falling out of a tree. The man who understands the law of momentum hits the ground just as hard as the man without knowledge. There is a sorrowful harvest for every sin because seeds of death are with every sin.

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