"Traditionally there are certain signs that often accompany true cases of possession,” the priest said, “things that are difficult if not impossible to explain otherwise.” These signs include aversion for sacred objects, the sudden ability to speak languages that the person has never studied or had contact with, the movement of objects with no physical cause, sharp changes in mood that are not attributable to psychological reasons, and other such things, he told Breitbart.Vatican Exorcism Course Draws 170 Students to Study Demonic Activity, where the Vatican reports an increase in demonic possession and the increasing need for 'exorcists'. The article focused on the busting-at-the-seams demonic deliverance training classes now being held at the Vatican.
One concept to note in that quote, and there is much to discuss about this, is that the priest holding the demon-busting classes said that frequently a sign of possession is speaking in a language one has not learned. This is known as speaking in tongues.
Typically when a 'miracle' or 'manifestation' of something supernatural appears, witnesses usually ascribe it to Jesus or heaven. However, just because an event occurs which is obviously supernatural, it doesn't mean it is sent from heaven. Usually it is NOT. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 we read that men masquerade as false apostles, satan appears as an angel of light, and demons disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.
Satan and his unholy angels have powers that allow them within limits to counterfeit miracles. Read Exodus 7:8-11,
Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 9“When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’” 10So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. 11Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts.
Getting even more specific, in discussing the particular gift of tongues, that was a gift given to the early church and the early church only. The gift of tongues is recorded in Acts 2:4-5.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.
|A Roman Catholic Crucifix.|
This is a sign gift, and the gift of tongues and other sign gifts were temporary. They ceased with the passing of the Apostles. People do not speak in tongues anymore. Not genuinely anyway. (For biblical reasons why this is true, go here )
As for the non-genuine ways people speak in tongues, you might be surprised to discover that speaking gibberish, jerking involuntarily, and falling down insensate is a sign that a person is possessed by a demon, not speaking a heavenly language or filled with a heavenly spirit.
You might be even more surprised to discover that those signs as they are manifested in a person are commonly manifested in false religions, such as Hinduism.
Now, this may be a little bit anticlimactic because this has already been discussed somewhat. But for those who may be tuning in on the Internet and haven’t been here at the conference, which theological group does the following: heretic jerking and shaking, uncontrollable laughter, being slain in the Spirit, they prophesy and they speak in tongues. Of course, most people would think of Charismatics/Word of Faith, it’s actually Hindus.
Hindus do all of these things as well and has already been mentioned in this conference, you can look at video clips of Hindus practicing this thing known as Kundalani(?), it’s a subset, a little discipline within Hinduism. You can look at clips of Hindu Kundalani, and look of clips of professing Charismatic Christians and they are absolutely indistinguishable. You cannot tell the difference, the exact same kind of behavior. And so that should give us really a lot of pause before we start to say, “Oh, well so-and-so is speaking in tongues, or so-and-so is being slain in the Spirit, that’s a sign of God’s hand on that person, that’s a sign of spirituality.” Absolutely not. There may be a spirit at work, but it is not the Holy Spirit…it is not the Holy Spirit. (Source)
In this passage, when Jesus cast out a demon from a man, and healed his muteness and blindness, the Pharisees descended to a panic when the people began wondering if Jesus was the promised deliverer of Israel.
And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” 25Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.
In his commentary, MacArthur says of this verse,
And it is further true that Satan often disguises himself as an angel of light, (2 Cor 11:14). In that role he may pretend to cast out a demon by restricting its power over the possessed person in order to give the impression of a cleansing. That sort of supposed exorcism has been common throughout the history of the church and is practiced today by various cults, false healers, and exorcists.
|Sons of Sceva, Matthias Scheits (c.1630-1700)|
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. (Acts 19:13-17).
Matthew Henry says of trying to exorcise demons outside the authority of God,
It was common, especially among the Jews, for persons to profess or to try to cast out evil spirits. If we resist the devil by faith in Christ, he will flee from us; but if we think to resist him by the using of Christ's name, or his works, as a spell or charm, Satan will prevail against us.
|HuffPo via Washington Post and Getty Images|
Pope Francis has spoken of the devil repeatedly, insisting that he is real and must be fought. This generation, the Pope said last October, “was led to believe that the devil was a myth, a picture, an idea, the idea of evil. But the devil exists, and we have to fight him.” Pope Francis has praised the work of exorcists, priests dedicated to the work of deliverance and casting out demons. According to the Pope, priests devoted to the ministry of exorcism “manifest the Church’s love and acceptance of those who suffer because of the devil’s works.”Well we all suffer because of the devils' works, the unsaved and the saved. But of course they are focusing on the exact wrong thing, satan, when we all should be focusing on Jesus. But RCC priests cannot focus on Jesus becuase they are an enemy to Him.
In general, if a person is not in Christ, he is a friend of satan. 1 John 2 outlines the dichotomy. If you love the world, you're not a friend to Jesus, and vice versa. Satan can certain possess any person who is of this world because this world is temporarily his. (2 Cor 4:4). Satan dividing satan is not logical, as Jesus eloquently explained to the Pharisees.
Alternately, if you're a Christian, you cannot be possessed. The Holy Spirit is sealed within us as a guarantee of the deposit of our inheritance (Ephesians 4:30, 1:13-14). No one can break that seal, only God, and God has said He will not. (James 1:18, John 10:28). Moreover we are called to resist the devil, (James 4:7) not take classes in demonic ninja and then go out to find him and fight him.
What fruit will it bear to keep our eyes on satan, when our eyes should be on Jesus? Chasing after demons brings nothing to Jesus but pride, arrogance, and wasted time. HE is our all in all, sufficient for all battles. (Judges 7:7).
Friends, do not let all this talk of increasing demonic activity pique your interest. The Catholics, Hindus, and other adherents to false religions may play at exorcism, may utter what they believe is heaven sent gibberish, may seek satan on the battleground, but we are to seek Christ-
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually! (Psalm 105:4).
Our weapon is prayer. Do we believe we have the strength to overcome 5000 demons, the number that was reported inhabiting the man in the Gadarene tombs? (Luke 8:26-39). Our strength is puny compared to the heavenly power of even the unholy angels, whom we dare not blaspheme (2 Peter 2:12). We are to rely on His strength, and He will deliver us one way or another.
If someone comes to you with a report of supernatural activity such as tongues, demon deliverance by any other method except salvation, or any supernatural miracle, be skeptical. Very skeptical. Seek the Lord, who is Good; not satan, who is evil.
Can Christians be demon-possessed?
According to 1 Peter 1:5, when Christ reigns in a person’s life, that person is kept by God’s power. As a result, “the evil one does not touch him” (1 John 5:18). When the Holy Spirit inhabits a person, no demon can set up house as a squatter. Indwelling by demons is only evidence of a lack of genuine salvation.Can a Christian today perform an exorcism? What does the Bible say about casting out demons?
Interestingly, there seems to be a shift in the latter part of the New Testament regarding demonic warfare. The teaching portions of the New Testament (Romans through Jude) refer to demonic activity, yet do not discuss the actions of casting them out, nor are believers exhorted to do so. We are told to put on the armor to stand against them (Ephesians 6:10-18). We are told to resist the devil (James 4:7), be careful of him (1 Peter 5:8), and not give him room in our lives (Ephesians 4:27). However, we are not told how to cast him or his demons out of others, or that we should even consider doing so.Vatican Exorcism Course Aims Comes Amid Growing Interest in Occult
The Vatican was holding a course about exorcism this week amid a burgeoning interest in the practice and the occult in general, according to one of the organizers. "We have held this course for the past 10 years, and the numbers of those who want to attend keep growing," said Giuseppe Ferrari of the Research Group of Socio-Religious Formation, one of the event's organizers. "Initially we had 50 students. This year we had 200 people from 30 countries around the world," he said on Friday.