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Doctrine of Demons: How Yahshua Taught Against The

Superstition of Demonic Possession.

A historical and scriptural investigation explaining how Yahshua Jesus the
Messiah, did not justify a belief in demonic possession, but taught that it was an
impossibility. Further historical discourse on the actual history of the word demon
and how it became a title for those afflicted with difficult diseases, which Yahshua
was prophesied to and did indeed cure.

Second Edition
Yahweh of War Ministries 2014


What Jesus actually taught about Demonic Possession .................................................................. 5
Evil spirits and hand washing: Jesus public rebuke against the belief of demonic possession. .... 5
Jesus education of the people was in Galilee and its significance................................................. 8
Demon possession was not geographically uniform ....................................................................... 9
Summery of first part .................................................................................................................... 10
2. The history of the word demon, demoniac, and all other terms directly connected to demon
possession ..................................................................................................................................... 11
How the concept of demons as the spirits of dead men came into popularity .............................. 11
Popular Lectures and Addresses By Rev. A. Campbell 1868....................................................... 11
How early Theological sources viewed Demoniacs (The demon possessed) ............................. 14
Three inquiries on Christs use of the word demon 1854 Walter Balfour .................................... 18
Why demons cannot be fallen angels ............................................................................................ 20
Demoniacs, The Cyclopaedia of Biblical literature, Vol 1. 1881 John Kitto ............................... 20
Demons and Mental Illness from a 1
century Aramaic Syriac stand point ................................. 25
Ending remarks: A call to repentance ........................................................................................... 27


Doctrine of Demons: How Yahshua Taught Against The Superstition of Demonic
Prove all things, hold fast that which is good. (I Thes 5:21)

It is demonstrably acknowledged that Jesus, Yahshua the Messiah, was the wisdom of Yahweh
(1Cor 1:24). It is also settled that He had an understanding of the Holy Scriptures above every
other individual, before or after Him. For modern theologians to presume that the Messiah could
have erred in scriptural doctrine is a false belief, but one that has been propagated, codified and
believed in by almost every believer. To claim that Yahshua had an eschewed knowledge about
the nature of what many now agree to be disembodied living human spirits, or disordered angels
(demons) is a great oversight in the theologians tradition-motivated diligence to substantiate
radical demonology or literal demoniac possession. Because of misunderstanding the
Messiahs culture and the Holy Scriptures in their original languages, many have run head first
into superstitious conclusions about doctrines concerning demons, and this is partly due to the
New Testaments seemingly simple and clear matter-of-fact form it tackles demonic activities
with: but such simplicity is built on a worldview that was steeped in superstitious belief (King
James authored a demonology rife with error and presumption). A great problem that exists is
that the superficial treatment of demons in the New Testament is, when read outside and apart
from its original context, incorrectly understood in almost every instance of its treatment on the
matter, meaning that in order for anyone to correctly understand the original narrative, a certain
amount of work is required, this work being the readers responsibility.
In order for the Messiah to have believed in the existence of literal beings that possessed
the bodies of the living, He would had to have been receptive to pagan ruminations and long
existing vain philosophies coming from outside of Israel a practice which His ministry
constantly fought against. For the Messiah to have believed in literal demons, He would had to
have been acting in a way blatantly antagonistic towards the various plainly stated truths
discussed in the only scriptures He used as foundationally sure, this being the Tanakh. If it were
true that He did ignore the words in the Tanakh, this would have brought multifarious problems
into His ministry, problems that scripturally could not exist if He was to remain the promised
Messiah whom He was. With acknowledgment of this, it is our responsibility to re-align the

actions and teachings of this Holy One, with the truths found in His Tanakh, and then understand
the sure road of explanation for why Yahshua would seem to teach and substantiate the existence
of disembodied spirits who afflict, disease and possess the living, and all this while the
Scriptures He lived upon clearly stated the opposite.
To suggest that the Messiah could err in one of the most fundamental and clearly defined
Old Testament doctrines (this regarding posthumous existence in a spiritual form, before the
judgment), is on behalf of the educated first a gross oversight, and secondly, a reading into, or
more properly, scriptural eisegesis. By inspiration, the Messiah told Paul that men were
appointed once to die than after this the judgment (Heb 9:27), and the Spirit of Holiness told
Solomon that when men died they could no longer think or act (Ecc 9:10), yet many of the
superstitious Hellenized Pharisee teachers of the 1
century would have all believe that after
death those who passed away in an angry state of mind (this being just one example), could
spiritually leave the grave and seek new lodgings in the abodes of the sinful or somehow
susceptible living. Teachings about the spirits of the dead having life after death was not passed
down from 1st Samuel verse 28, nor was such teaching popularized through the Messiahs
parable about Lazerous and the rich man, but was a doctrine attained from historical heathendom,
either Greek, Roman, Babylonian, Indian or Persian; such ideas arriving fully prepared with
complete demonologies, proving their stark unbiblical origin. Such beliefs were so well feared
by the people in the first century, that the Apostles on no less than two occasions believed Jesus
was a wayward spirit, and this after they had been educated by Him during His ministry. The
notion of demonic possession was a superstition that was very firmly rooted in the cultural
consciousness of the first Century as it remains so concreted everywhere today.
For brevities sake here are the Old Testament scriptures that confirm the impossibility of
posthumous thoughts or human spiritual existence before the judgement:
Ecc 8:8 There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power
in the day of death
Ecc 9:6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any
more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.

Ecc 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor
device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
Psa 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
Psa 146:3-4 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.
His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish.
One of the first Old Testament examples of an individual expressing a belief in spiritual
possession comes from the King of Babylon. This example is fitting, seeing that spirit possession
was a belief taken from Babylonian mysteries:
Dan 4:9 O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy
gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen,
and the interpretation thereof. (KJV)

The Aramaic OT source says the Spirit of the Holy God singular. This still promotes a belief in
the notion of spiritual possession. This alluded to scripture has many different translations, but
each hold to the idea that a spirit inhabited the body of Daniel, opposed to him being taught by
God outwardly.

What Jesus actually taught about Demonic Possession
Many people surmise that Jesus never corrected the errors contained in the beliefs of demonic
possession, but such conjecture is incomplete, and because of its incompleteness becomes
absolutely erroneous. In actuality, Yahshua openly condemned the heathenized Pharisee belief
that demons could ever enter the body and control ones mind or will. His rebuke towards this
notion took place while teaching in Galilee, which was a section of Israel that had been utterly
steeped in demonic superstitions.

Evil spirits and hand washing: Jesus public rebuke against the belief of demonic


The account of Jesus public rebuke of demonic possession is as follows:
(Mar 7:1-3) Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which
came from Jerusalem. (2) And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that
is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. (3) For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except
they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders.

Note: the Judean Pharisees warned against eating with unwashed hands for various ritual
reasons, each of these finding authority in post Tanakh texts or current oral traditions (most
finding allusion for authority from the Tanakh). One example of such a decree is found in the
Talmud Bavli Hullin 106a-b.

The account continues:

(Mar 7:14-23) 14 And when [Yahshua] had called all the people unto him, he said unto
them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from without a
man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they
that defile the man. 16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 17 And when he was entered
into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. 18 And he saith
unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing
from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 Because it entereth not into his heart,
but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which
cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the [mind] of men,
proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness,
deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come
from within, and defile the man.


A very important element of this public rebuke was that the Pharisees from Jerusalem
who were present, did not in any way disagree with the Messiahs words about the effects of
eating with unclean hands. Since the Pharisees from Jerusalem did not believe firmly in demonic

possession writ-large, Yahshua had used their disbelief, as a support; through their lack of
denying His message (that demons could possess you from eating with unclean hands) He
changed their presence into a witness for what He now publicly taught the people to be correct.

To elaborate on the reason for why the Messiah said what He did, a book titled Jewish
Magic and Superstition: A Study in Folk Religion highlights the significance of the purposes of
hand washing, and why the Pharisees (more specifically those who believed in demon possession)
took it so seriously. The connection between demons and uncleanness was made to serve
important hygienic ends. Evil spirits, sometimes called "spirits of uncleanness," and once
identified by the name bat melech, rest upon unwashed hands, contaminate foods handled with
them, and endanger the lives of those who eat such food. Seven occasions which require a ritual
washing of the hands (which destroys or dislodges the demons) were enumerated; most
important among these was upon arising in the morning, for the night creates a special
susceptibility to spirit contamination. Even on Yom Kippur when no ablutions might be
performed, the hands must be washed in the morning. Touching the eyes, ears, nose and mouth
with unwashed hands spells trouble; no doubt it was feared that the evil spirits would enter the
body through these orifices. (... if, in speaking of infection, our vocabulary is more "scientific,"
the sense remains the same.) The demon of uncleanness, entering the eyes, could cause one's
glance to have a devastating effect upon the innocent passer-by; it might even be responsible for
the loss of one's memory, and ultimately complete loss of mind. (33, Trachtenberg)
It can be fairly presumed that the Pharisees from Jerusalem were more concerned with
the breaking of tradition/oral law then the negative effects of catching a demon from eating food
with unclean hands. This perspective will be emphasized further. I must highlight that when
Yahshua spoke to the Apostles in the house He focused on food, and how it could not
contaminate the one who ate with unwashed hands, and in doing so He entirely disregards the
existence of evil spirits and their ability to posses, instead teaching a valuable lesson showing
His followers that evil comes from within (the mind).

A side note and point of interest is how the evil spirits of hand washing could cause a
person to develop the Evil eye
. In the above passage Jesus mentions the evil eye, and it is clear
that He surely did not believe in its existence, yet He mentioned this superstition intentionally
because He knew about the traditional teachings surrounding unclean hands and demonic
possession which was said to cause it. Through its mentioning, He wished to prove that the evil
eye was nothing more than human envy if anything at all. I would also like to note that the evil
spirits, who were said to enter the body as mention in Trachtenbergs text, were by admission of
the author equated with sicknesses caused by touching susceptible parts of the body with
contaminated hands, this having a correlation between ideas of possession and ill health.
The Trachtenberg text continues:
The custom of washing the hands after a funeral is very widespread Efforts were
made to find a Biblical precedent for this act, but there was a general admission that it was
done to dispel the spirits of uncleanness which cling to ones person, these being the demons
that follow them home. (179, Trachtenberg).

We now see that hand washing and being followed or haunted by a demon are also synonymous.
From our 21
century view we know how ludicrous or unbiblical such an idea is, just as Yahshua
taught it was. From the Mark 7:14 account we notice that Yahshua told the people that they
lacked understanding. Belief in demon possession to Yahshua was without question, both folly
and ignorance. By understanding that Jesus had corrected the erroneous beliefs about demonic
infiltration and possession, we must further evaluate the attitudes regarding demonic possession
held by the people in both Galilee and Judea during this historical period.
Jesus education of the people was in Galilee

The basic belief in the evil eye consists of the notion that there are people, animals, demons or gods who have
the power to cause harm to those of whom they are envious or jealous, just by looking at them (cf Nicholson
1999:18). People may become ill, have accidents, misfortunes, or even die. Those who possess the evil eye may
cause harm to others, knowingly or unknowingly. Some people are not aware that they have the ability to harm
another with an envious glance. The eye is believed to be the window to the soul, physically exposing a persons
inner being. Through this window evil spirits/demons enter the body, empowering the jealous or envious person to
cause harm to others (Moss & Cappannari 1976:2). (p. 1027-28 The Greek evil eye, African witchcraft, and
Western ethnocentrism Anastasia Apostolides and Yolanda Dreyer)


Based on his studies of the relevant Talmudic literature, Cambridge rabbinical scholar
Herbert Loewe concluded that during the first century AD rabbis in Galilee and Mesopotamia
generally believed in the literal existence of demons, while those in Judea did not. ... Loewe next
summarizes the results of his findings: "In investigating Talmudic evidence as to spirits, the
reader will notice, at the outset, different attitudes adopted by the Rabbis in dealing with this
question. In some cases the reality of demons seems to be taken for granted absolutely; in others
it seems, with no less certainty, to be denied. Stories occur in which both these attitudes may be
traced simultaneously. The reason for this may be found if the nationality of the respective
teachers be sought. It has already been stated that Galilee was the centre of Palestinian
demonology, and it will almost invariably be found that Galilaean teachers accepted, while
Judaean teachers rejected, the existence of spirits. The numerous instances which the NT
furnishes would have been impossible save in Galilee; there is a strong similarity between these
and those adduced by Galilaean Rabbis. The same must be said of those Rabbis who came from
Mesopotamia. And they were brought up in surroundings in which superstition was rife, their
teaching was tinged by a belief in spirits, and in comparison with them the clarity of Palestinian
teaching stands out in bold relief. (Loewe, Demons and Spirits (Jewish), Encyclopaedia of
Religion and Ethics, ed. 4, James Hastings (Edinburgh, 1911), p. 612-13.)

"This background information opens a window on demonic activity during the ministry
of Christ. Belief in demons was taught and fostered in the north by the local rabbis; conversely,
those in the south were encouraged by a sceptical outlook by the Judaean teachers. Since belief
in demons was rampant in the north, many people attributed sickness to demons. Because demon
belief was much less common in the south [the above-cited scholarly source implies that it was
virtually nonexistent among Judaean rabbis], then the demons did not exist either." (6,
Geographical distribution of demons, Snobelen)

Demon possession was not geographically uniform evidence against the belief
Demon-possession in the Gospel accounts is not a geographically-uniform phenomenon.
Specific cases of demon-possession in the synoptics occur in regional clusters, always in
northern environs such as Galilee, rather than occurring throughout every location through which
Christ travelled and performed healings. Conversely, not a single case of demon-possession in

Judea or Jerusalem is recorded by Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Moreover, the Synoptics
include several quantitative summaries of demon-possession that imply that demon-possession
was a common and even characteristic phenomenon in Galilee and the northern regions. No
comparable statements for Judean areas are found in the Gospel records. Finally, certain
ostensibly physical pathological conditions, such as blindness, deafness and muteness, which are
sometimes attributed to demon-possession in the north, are never so characterized in the south,
even though descriptions of these conditions do occur in texts commenting on the Judean
ministry. (1, Snobelen)
It has now been made clear that Yahshua did in fact correct the beliefs about demonic possession
during His ministry. Through teaching that evil comes from within, out of a corrupt mindset, He
agreed with many New Testament epistles (James 1:14-15 &c), and clearly stated that nothing
could enter into a man or women to defile them spiritually. This is to say that sin is the fruit of
the human will. Yahshua clearly tells all the people present during His speech that demons were
not able to enter into them or take possession of their minds and wills, and that this notion is
impossible (for even Yahweh Himself leaves intact Humanities free choice, even Yahshua the
embodiment of Yahweh had a will with choice). The fact that Jesus made reference to the evil
eye shows that He was concerned with the numerous superstitions currently ensnaring the people.
For Yahshua to command the people to understand, this shows that they as a whole held onto
incorrect ideas that needed correcting. The fact that He rebuked His apostles shows that the
practice of hand washing was not the chief focus of His reproof, but the belief in demonic
possession (which the apostles, most coming from Galilee or the surrounding area also believe
in), this standing as the chief object of His scrutiny, and nothing less. Since Yahshua knew that
the Judean Pharisees would not contradict His rebuke on demon possession, He purposely taught
the lesson in their presence using them as a support, Yahshua not only corrected the Pharisees
flawed reasoning about hand washing obtained from the Talmud or at that time Oral law, but He
used their perspective on the demon doctrine for the advantage of educating the people.
The topic of possession, and how Yahshua treated it is in absolute perfect agreement with
the Tanakh; and it also shows that even though the Messiah used the term demon at other times
when speaking about those suffering from mental or otherwise un-diagnosable ailments, He not

only understood the actual cause of their diseases (sin, mans material nature or Yahwehs
allowance/will), but He used this popular term so that the people of His time would understand,
and could relate to Him. Yahshua had in no way justified the existence of actual demons, human
or angelic, nor demonic possession for that matter. There are numerous treatments on why angels
cannot sin, and how Satan is the mans carnal nature or any adversary for that matter, but these
will not be covered in this paper.
2. The following treatments will go through the history of the word demon, demoniac, and
all other terms directly connected to demon possession, and will show how these terms were
historically derived from places outside of Israel. It will continue to show that when said terms
were used in Israel, they represented nothing more than names for people suffering from various
difficult illnesses, or were descriptors for parable based mythical beings for educational purposes.
How the concept of demons as the spirits of dead men came into popularity
(Popular Lectures and Addresses By Rev. A. Campbell 1868)
The subject of demons, as forming a portion of the real antiquities of the world as connected
with Pagan, Jewish and Christian theology the subject of demons, sometimes called devils, not in
their fictitious, but in their true character, is that which I propose to discuss; for even here, as in
everything else, there are the fact and the fable, the true and the false, the real and the imaginary.
The extravagant fancies of the poets, the ghosts and spectres of the dark ages, have spread their
sable mantles upon this subject, and involved it either in philosophical dubiety or in a, blind
indiscriminate infidelity. The Christian philosopher in this department, as in most others, finds
truth and fable blended in the same tradition; and therefore, neither awed by authority; nor
allured by the fascinations of novelty, he institutes an examination into the merits of this subject,
which, if true, cannot but deeply interest the thoughtful, and if false, should be banished from the
minds of all.

That a class of beings designated demons has been an element of the faith, an object of dread and
veneration, of all ages and nations, as far back as memory reaches, no one who believes in a
spiritual system, no one who regards the volumes of divine inspiration, or who is even only
partially acquainted with Pagan and Jewish antiquity, can reasonably doubt. But concerning

these demons, of what order of intelligences, of what character and destiny, of what powers
intellectual and moral, there has been much debate, and there is need of further and more
satisfactory examination. Before entering either philosophically or practically into this
investigation, it is necessary that we define the true and proper meaning of the term demon. This
word, it is said, is of Grecian origin and character of which, however, we have not full assurance.
In that language it is written and pronounced daimoon, and, according to some etymologists, is
legitimately descended from a very ancient verb, pronounced daioo, which means to
discriminate, to know. Daimoon, or demon, therefore, simply indicates a person of
intelligence----a knowing one. Thus, before the age of philosophy, or the invention of the name,
those were called demons, as a title of honor, who afterwards assumed the more modest title of
philosophers. Aristotle, for his great learning, was called a demon, as was the celebrated
'I'hucydides: hence among the Platonists it was for some time a title of honor, But this, it must be
observed, was a special appropriation, like our use of the words divine and reverend. When we
apply these titles to sinful men, who, because of their calling, ought to be not only intelligent, but
of a divine and celestial temper and morality, we use them by a special indulgence from that
sovereign pontiff with whom is the jus et norma Loquendi [right and norm of speaking]. But as
some of the Platonists elevated the spirits of departed heroes, public benefactors and
distinguished men into a species of demigods or mediators between them and the supreme
Divinity, as some of our forefathers were accustomed to regard the souls of departed saints, this
term began to be used in a more general sense. Among some philosophers it became the title of
an object of worship; while, on the other hand, it degenerated into the genii of poetry and

In tracing the popular transitions of words, permit me, gentlemen, to say that we are not to
imagine that they ceremoniously advance, like our naval and military officers, from one rank to
another, by some systematic or conventional agreement. On the contrary, the transitions are
exceedingly anomalous, and sometimes inverted. In this instance the term demon" from simply
indicating a knowing one, became the title of a human spirit when divested of its clay tenement,
because of its supposed initiation into the secrets of another world. Thus a separated spirit
became a genius, a demigod, a mediator, a divinity of the ancient superstition, according to its
acquirements in this state of probation. But we shall better understand the force and import of

this mysterious word from its earliest acceptation among the elder Pagans, Jews and Christians,
than from the speculations of etymologists and lexicographers. Historical facts, then, and not
etymological speculations, shall decide not only its meaning, but the character and rank of those
beings on whom, by common consent, this significant title was conferred.

To whom, then, among Pagan writers shall we make our first appeal? Shall we not at once carry
up the question to the most venerable Hesiod, the oldest of Grecian bards, whose style even
antedates that of Homer himself almost one hundred years? Shall we not appeal to the
genealogist of all the gods, the great theogonist of Grecian mythology? Who more likely than he
to be acquainted with the ancient traditions of demons? And what is the sum of his testimony in
the case? Hear him speak in the words of Plutarch : The spirits of mortals become demons when
separated from their earthly bodies." The Grecian biographist not only quotes with approbation
the views of Hesiod, but corroborates them by the result of his own researches, avowing his
conviction that the demons of the Greeks were the ghosts and genii of departed men; and that
they go up and down the earth as observers, and even rewarders, of men; and although not actors
themselves, they encourage others to act in harmony with their views and characters." Zenocrates
too, is quoted by Aristotle, extends the term to the souls of men before death, and calls them
demons while in the body. To the good demons and the spirits of deceased heroes they allotted
the office of mediators between gods and men. In this light Zoroaster, Thales, Pythagoras, Plato,
Plutarch, Celsus, Apuleius, and many others regarded the demons of their times. Whoever,
indeed, will be at pains to examine the Pagan mythologies, one and all, will discover that some
doctrine of demons, as respects their nature, abodes, characters or employment, is the ultimate
foundation of their whole superstructure; and that the radical idea of all the dogmata of their
priests, and the fancies and fables of their poets, is found in that most ancient and veritable
tradition-that the spirits of men survive their fallen tabernacles, and live in a disembodied state
from death to the dissolution of material nature. To these spirits, in the character of genii, gods or
demigods, they assigned the fates and fortunes of men and countries. With them a hero on earth
became a demon in hades, and a demigod, a numen, a divinity, in the skies. It is not without
some reason that the witty and ingenious Lucian makes his dialogist, in the orthodoxy of his age,
ask and answer the following questions:- What is man' A mortal god. And what is God! An
immortal man. In one sentence, all Pagan antiquity affirms that from Titan and Saturn, the Poetic

progeny of Coelusm and Terra, down to Aecnlapius, Proteus "and Minos, all their divinities were
the ghosts of dead men, and were 80 regarded by the most erudite of the Pagans themselves.
We see that historicity and scholarly knowledge prove the specific source for both the word and
imaginary ideal of what are commonly called demons. Can we honestly, with a holy heart
presume Jesus took these ideas from none believing, ignorant and lost men? Let us not even
remotely think so.
How early Theological sources viewed Demoniacs (The demon possessed)
(A theological, biblical and Ecclesiastical Dictionary 1815 John Robson)
DEMONIAC, a human being whose volition and other mental faculties are overpowered and
restrained, and his body possessed and actuated by some created spiritual being of superior
power. This appears to be the determinate sense of the word; but it is disputed whether any of
mankind were ever in this unfortunate condition. The following are the principal arguments on
each side of the question.
1. Arguments against the existence of demoniacs. - The Greeks and Romans believed in the
reality of demoniacal possession. They supposed that spiritual beings sometimes entered into the
sons or daughters of men, and distinguished themselves by capricious freaks, deeds of wanton
mischief, or prophetic enunciations. But in the instances in which they supposed this to happen,
it is evident that no such thing took place. Their accounts of the state and condition of those
persons whom they believed to be possessed in this supernatural manner, plainly shew that what
they ascribed to the influence of demons was merely the effect of natural diseases.
Among the Latins, all the words which describe demoniacs, or persons possessed by ghosts,
include in them the idea of madness. Their lareati, cerriti, and lymphatici, were all madmen,
persons of a disordered mind, and in the same unfortunate situation as those madmen, idiots, or
melancholy persons, whom we have among ourselves. To be full of lareae, or the ghosts of
wicked men, was a phrase expressive of the most outrageous madness. In like manner among the
Greeks, rage and phrenzy were the usual attendants of inspiration and possession; and the same
word denoted both the being mad, and having a demon. The highest degrees of rage and
distraction are expressed by the term borrowed from evil demons.

Lucian describes demoniacs as lunatic, and as staring with their eyes, foaming at the mouth, and
being speechless. It appears still more evident that all the persons spoken of in the New
Testament as possessed with devils, were either mad or epileptic, and precisely in the same
condition with the madmen and epileptics of modern times. Some of the Jews, offended with
Christ's discourses, said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? The expressions he hath
a devil, and is mad, were certainly used on this occasion as synonymous. With all their virulence,
they would not surely ascribe to him at once two things that were inconsistent and contradictory.
Those who thought more favourably of Christ, replied to the calumny of his enemies, these are
not the words of him that hath a devil; meaning that they did not discover in his discourse the
ravings of a madman, or of one disordered in his understanding. The Jews ascribed to demons
not only raving, but also the melancholy madness of John, who secluded himself from
intercourse with the world, and was distinguished by abstinence and acts of mortification, they
said, He hath a demon. The youth, whose father applied to Jesus to cure him, was plainly
epileptic; and the disorder was attended with a deprivation of the understanding, or loss of sense,
and with the signs of phrenzy. This appears from the language of his father: Have mercy on my
son, for he is lunatic, and sore vexed with a demon: for often times he falleth into the fire, and
often into the water. In the interval of his fits, the demon was supposed to depart from him.
Indeed, everything related in the New Testament concerning demoniacs, proves that they were
persons affected with such natural diseases as are not uncommon among mankind in this present
age. When the symptoms of the disordered cured by the Saviour and his apostles, as cases of
demonical possession, correspond so exactly at the present time, it would be absurd to impute
them to a supernatural cause.
It is much more consistent with common sense and sound philosophy, to suppose that our
Saviour and his apostles adopted the vulgar language in the speaking of those unfortunate
persons, who, without any foundation, were imagined to be possessed with demons. It is
customary with the sacred writers, and our Saviour himself, to speak on many subjects in the
language of the vulgar, though known and admitted to have been originally grounded on a false
philosophy. When therefore, the sacred historians tell us, that one person was possessed by seven
demons, and another by a legion, is it not more probable to suppose that they adopted the
phraseology of the Jews, than to imagine that diseases which arise at present from natural causes,

were produced in ancient times by the intervention of demons, or that evil spirits still continue to
enter into mankind in all cases of madness, melancholy, or epilepsy?
Besides, it is by no means a sufficient reason for receiving any doctrine as true, that it has been
generally received through the world. Error, like an epidemical disease, is communicated from
one to another. In certain circumstances, too, the influence of the imagination predominates, and
restrains the exertions of reason. Many false opinions have extended their influence through a
very wise circle, and for a long time maintained it. On all such occasions, therefore, it becomes
us to enquire not so much how generally any opinion has been received, or how long it has
prevailed, as from what cause it has originated, and on what evidence it rests. In every part of the
world that falls under our observations, we perceive a fixed order of causes and effects, which is
not disturbed by any invisible beings; and the preservation of this order appears to be essential to
the happiness of the creation. May we not hence conclude that the human system, in particular, is
governed in the same manner, and subjected to invariable laws, which God alone can control?
Are we to take it for granted that God will permit these laws to be controlled, merely for the sake
of subjecting the healths, the understandings, and the lives of mankind, to the caprice and malice
of evil spirits? This appears utterly repugnant to all our ideas of the equity, the goodness, and the
mercy of the gracious Parent of mankind.
2. Arguments for the existence of demoniacs. - It would appear that, in the time of our Saviour,
demoniacal possession was very common among the Jews, and also in the neighbouring nations.
Many were the evil spirits, that Jesus is related in the gospels to have ejected from patients, who
were brought to him as possessed and tormented by those malevolent demons. His apostles, too,
and the first Christians who were very active and successful in the propagation of Christianity,
frequently exerted on similar occasions the miraculous powers with which they were endowed.
The demons displayed a degree of knowledge and malevolence which sufficiently distinguished
them from human beings. The language in which the demoniacs are mentioned, and the actions
and sentiments ascribed to them in the New Testament, shew that our Saviour and his apostles
did not consider the idea of demoniacal possession merely as a vulgar error concerning the origin
of a disease or diseases produced by natural causes. The more enlightened cannot always avoid
the use of metaphorical expressions, which, though founded on error, yet have been so
established in language by the influence of custom, that they cannot be suddenly dismissed.

However, in descriptions of characters, in a narrative of facts, and in laying down systems of
doctrine, we require different rules to be observed.
If any person, in compliance with popular opinions, should talk seriously of the existence,
dispositions, declarations, and actions of a race of beings whom he knew to be entirely fabulous,
we certainly could not praise him for his integrity; we must suppose, that he either exults in irony
over the weak credulity of those around him, or that he takes advantage of their weakness, with
the dishonesty and selfish views of an imposter. If he himself should pretend to any connection
with them, particular honours from his contemporaries, what ever might be the dignity of his
character in all other respects, no person would hesitate to brand him as an impostor. In this light
we must regard the conduct of our Saviour and his apostles, if the idea of demoniacal possession
be considered merely as a vulgar error. They talked and acted as if they believed that evil spirits
had actually entered into those who were brought to them as possessed with devils, and as if
those spirits had been actually expelled by their authority from the unhappy persons possessed.
They also demanded that their authority and declarations should be believed, in consequence of
their performing such mighty works, and thus triumphing over the powers of hell.
The reality of demoniacal possession rests on the same evidence as the gospel system in general.
There is nothing unreasonable in this doctrine, it does not appear to contradict those ideas which
the general appearances of nature and the series of events, suggest, concerning the benevolence
and wisdom of the Deity, by which he regulates the affairs of the universe. We often fancy
ourselves able to comprehend things to which our understanding is wholly inadequate; we
frequently persuade ourselves, that the whole extent of the works of the Deity must be well
known to us, and that his designs must always be such as we can understand. We are then ready,
whenever any difficulty arises in considering the conduct of providence, to model things
according to our own ideas, to deny that the Deity can be the author of things for which we are
not able to account, and to assert that he must act on every occasion in a manner consistent with
our narrow views. This is the pride of reason, which seems to have suggested the strongest
objections against the reality of demoniacal possession. But the Deity may certainly connect one
order of his creatures with another. We perceive mutual relations and a beautiful connection in
every part of nature within the sphere of our observation. The inferior animals are connected
with mankind, and subject to their authority, not only in instances in which it is exerted for their

advantage, but even where it is tyrannically abused to their destruction. Among the evils to
which mankind have been subjected, might not demoniacal possession be one? The Supreme
Being may employ whatever agents he thinks proper in the execution of his purposes: he may
either commission an angel or let loose a devil, as well as bend the human will, or communicate
any particular impulse to matter. All that revelation makes known, all that human reason can
conjecture, concerned the existence of various orders of spiritual beings, good and bad, is
perfectly consistent with, and favourable to, the doctrine of demoniacal possession. It is
mentioned in the New Testament in such language, and such narratives are related concerning it,
that the gospels can be regarded only as parts of an imposture and Jesus Christ be considered as a
person who took advantage of the weakness and ignorance of his contemporaries, if this doctrine
be only a vulgar error. In short, it teaches nothing inconsistent with the general conduct of
providence; and the pride of reason alone, not the canton of philosophy, suggests objections
against this doctrine. Farmer's Essay on the Demoniacs of the New Testament; Dr.
Worthington's Impartial Inquiry into the case of the Gospel Demoniacs; Fell's inquiry into the
Heathen and the Scripture Doctrine of Daemons.
The positive element found in this second argument is that it kneels to the truthfulness of
Yahshua Jesus teachings. Since the Messiah did in fact teach against the existence of such
beings, He has eradicated this second argument leaving us with the first and only the first to
choose from.
(Three inquiries on the following scriptural subjects 1854 Walter Balfour)
That Christ should adopt the common language of the day on this subject, as well as on others,
is certainly no matter of surprise. Nor does it follow that by so doing he confirmed the people in
the doctrine of real possessions. It is common, always and everywhere, to employ, on given
subjects, the popular language of the day, and that without being held accountable for the errors
from which it took its rise. We use the word lunacy, but we do not believe that the moon has
anything to do with insanity; and we speak also of St. Anthony's fire, and St. Vitas' dance,
without believing in the power and existence of these saints, much less that they are the authors
of the disorders bearing their names. And so we say of a man that 'he is out of his head,' ' has lost
his senses,' &c.; which expressions are far from being philosophical, yet are universally used.
We speak, likewise, of 'catching cold,' as if it were something to be laid hold of, or seized with

the hands; of a fever leaving a patient, as though it had a personality ; of a disorder attaking him,
as if it came upon him like an armed man ; which phrases, according to the strict construction of
language, are grossly incorrect, and yet are everywhere' current. Now it would be just as
unreasonable to conclude, that because a physician calls a certain disease St. Anthony's fire, he
therefore believes it to be caused by that saint, or because he says a fever leaves a patient, it has
an individuality, and goes about from place to place, as to conclude that because Christ
adopted the popular language of his age respecting demoniacal possession, he really believed it,
or because he represents the demon as departing, or going out of the insane, he supposed it to be
anything more than the disorder. (392, Balfour)

Perhaps it will be said, this reasoning, though plausible, is not satisfactory; for we cannot think
that Christ would have adopted the phraseology of his times on this subject, if he had not
received the opinion in which it originated. Suppose we grant this, do we thereby avoid difficulty
1. If we admit the existence of demons, we must admit also the common opinion that they
produced insanity, fits, and various other diseases. Dr. Barnes unhesitatingly adopts this
absurdity, in opposition to all medical science. While that science explains the causes of diseases,
and accounts for them on natural principles, and treats them in accordance with their origin, he
places himself in direct opposition to it, and attributes insanity and other diseases to demons.
Hear him: "We still see a multitude of cases that no man can prove not to be produced by the
presence of an evil spirit. Who would attempt to say that some evil being may not have much to
do in the case of madmen ?"Com. on Matt. 4: 24. Rev. H. J. Hipley, in his Notes on the
Gospels, endorses this idea. Now we are frank to confess that we cannot thus array the Bible
against medical science; and we find it much easier to suppose that Christ adopted the common
language of his age in regard to demons, without intending to endorse it, than to suppose that
medical science is entirely wrong in the idea that disease has a natural cause. Medical men of this
age are not alone in their theory in regard to diseases. Many of the learned in the age of Christ
had the same theory. Aristotle said that those supposed to have demons were merely under the
influence of melancholy. Hippocrates wrote a work to prove that epilepsy was the effect of natu-
ral causes. Plotinus says only the vulgar held that diseases were caused by demons. Origen says
this was the opinion of physicians in his times. Fasidonius, the most eminent physician of his
times, affirms that insanity was owing, not to demons, but to a redundancy of peccant humors.

The opinions of such men are worthy of consideration, for they judged from a knowledge of men
and disease, and were not swayed by vulgar superstitions. (393-394)

Demons cannot be fallen angels
Now if demons were fallen angels the fact was unknown to the Jewish people. Their idea of
them was entirely different. We have the best authority for saying that the common opinion
among them was, that demons were the spirits of the dead. Josephus, in his writings, makes
frequent reference to them ; and in his Jewish War, book vii., chap, vi., sect. 3, speaking of a
very remarkable root he says, " Yet after all this pains in getting, it is only valuable on account of
one virtue it hath, that if it be only brought to the sick persons, it quickly drives away those
called demons, which are no other than the spirits of the wicked, that enter into men that are alive
and kill them, unless they can obtain some help against them." Here was the Jewish opinion.
Demons were the spirits of the wicked, and not fallen angels. Admit, then, that in the time of
Christ such spirits did actually possess men, and it affords not a particle of-proof that angels fell
from heaven. Dr. Barnes, therefore, gains nothing to sustain his theory respecting fallen angels,
and is reduced to the necessity of admitting that demons were only the spirit of dead men. (395)

In conclusion, let me say, in thus adapting himself to the language of his times, Jesus shows that
it was better to allow a mere superstition, which affected none of the vital questions concerning
God, or "the plan of salvation, or the principles of duty, to be removed by time and the general
influence of his religion, than for him to turn aside from his great work to refute it. He came to
establish his divine system of truth, and to this work he consecrated his whole time, leaving
minor errors, and especially those pertaining to science, to be corrected by others. On theology
and on religious and moral duty, instead of passing over errors, he was entirely different, and
sought to displace error by truth. (395)

(Demoniacs, The Cyclopaedia of Biblical literature, Vol 1. 1881 John Kitto)
To these arguments the opponents of the theory of real demoniacal possessions reply, generally,
that there can be no doubt that it was the general belief of the Jewish nation, with the exception
of the Sadducees, and of most other nations, that the spirits of dead men, especially of those who

lived evil lives, and died by violent deaths, were permitted to enter the bodies of men, and to
produce the effects ascribed to them in the popular creed ; but the fact and real state of the
possessed were afflicted with some peculiar diseases of mind or body, which, their true causes
not being generally understood, were, as is usual in such cases, ascribed to supernatural powers ;
and that Jesus and his apostles, wishing of course to be understood by their contemporaries, and
owing to other reasons which can be pointed out, were under the necessity of expressing
themselves in popular language, and of seeming to admit, or at least of not denying, its
correctness. They further plead that the fact, admitted on all hands that the demon so actuated the
possessed, as that whatever they did, was not to be distinguished from his agency, reduces the
question, so far as phenomena are concerned, to one simple inquiry, namely, whether these
phenomena are such as can be accounted for without resorting to supernatural agency. They
assert that the symptoms predicated of demoniacs correspond with the ordinary symptoms of
disease, and especially of hypochondria, insanity, and epilepsy ; that the sacred writers
themselves give intimations, as plain as could be expected under their circumstances, that they
employed popular language ; that consequently they are not to be considered as teaching
doctrines or asserting facts when they use such language ; and that the doctrine of the agency of
departed spirits on the bodies of men is inconsistent with certain peculiar and express doctrines
of Christ and his apostles.
With regard to the symptoms related of the demoniacs, it is urged that such persons as
were called demoniacs in other countries, and who seem to have laboured under precisely the
same symptoms, are recorded to have been cured by the use of medicines. Helleboro quoque
purgatur lymphatieus error (Sereb. Sammon. c. 27. v. 507), 'Insane delusion is remedied by
hellebore.' Josephus and the Jewish physicians speak of medicines composed of stones, roots,
and herbs, being useful to demoniacs (Gattei, f. 67). The cure of diseases by such methods is
intelligible ; but is it rational to believe that the spirits of dead men [can be ejected] from human
bodies by medical prescriptions? Maimonides (in sabat. ii. 5) says, ' all kinds of diseases which
are called melancholy, they call an evil spirit' (comp. Matt xi. 18; John vii. 20; x. 20).
1. With regard to the two demoniacs at Gadara (or one, according to Mark and Luke), it is
concluded that they were madmen, who fancied that there were within them innumerable spirits
of dead men. Accordingly they dwelt among the tombs about which the souls of the dead were
believed [in the Talmud] to hover, went naked, were ungovernable, cried aloud, attacked

passengers, beat themselves, and had in their phrensy broken every chain by which they had
been bound. Strength almost superhuman is a common attendant of insanity. The subject is
illustrated by Westein, in extracts from Greek medical writers. P. AEgineta, Actuarius, Caelius
Aurelianus, also tell that such persons fancied themselves to be gods, demons, wolves, dogs, &c. ;
hence the disorder was sometimes called [Greek words left untranslated]. Their question, 'Art
thou come to torment us?' refers to the cruel treatment of the insane in those times, and which
they had no doubt shared, in the endeavours of men to ' tame ' them. Both Mark and Luke the
physician describe the demoniac as ... in 'his right mind,' when healed, which implies previous
insanity (see also Matt. xii. 22 ; xv. 28 ; xvii. 18 ; Luke vii. 21 ; viii. 2 ; ix. 42). It is true that
these demoniacs address Jesus as the Son of God, but they might have heard in their lucid
intervals that Jesus, whose fame was already diffused throughout Syria, was regarded by the
peoples as the Messiah. They show their insanity, ' their shaping fancies,' by imagining they were
demons without number, and by requesting permission to enter the swine. Would actual demons
choose such a habitation? They speak and answer, indeed, in a rational manner, but agreeably to
Locke's definition of madmen, 'they reason right on false principles, and, taking their fancies for
realties, make right deductions from them. Thus you shall find a distracted man fancying himself
a king, and with a right inference require suitable attendance. Others, who have thought
themselves glass, take the needful care to preserve such brittle bodies' (Essay in Human
Understanding, vol. 1. ch. 11, & 12). It is true that Jesus commands the unclean spirit (so called
because believed to be the spirit of a dead man), but he does this merely to excite the attention of
the people, and to give them full opportunity to observe the miracle. It is not necessary to
suppose that the madmen drove the swine, but merely that in keeping with all the circumstances,
the insanity of the demoniacs was transferred to them, as the leprosy of Naaman was transferred
to Gehazi, for the purpose of illustrating the miraculous power of Christ ; and though this was a
punitive miracle, it might serve the good purpose of discouraging the expectation of temporal
benefits from Him. If the demoniac is represented as worshipping Jesus it should be remembered
that the insane often show great respect to particular persons.
2. The men who were dumb, and both blind and dumb, are not said to have been
disordered in their intellects, any more than the blind man in John v. These diseases in their
organs were popularly ascribed to the influence of demons. It is observable that in the parallel
passage (Matt. ix. 32), the evangelist says the man was dumb.

3. The symptoms of epilepsy in the youth described Matt. xvii. 15, are too evident not to
be acknowledged. If the opinion of relatives is to be pressed, it should be noticed that in this case
the father says his 'son is lunatic.' It was most probably a case of combined epilepsy and lunacy,
which has been common in all ages. Epilepsy was ascribed to the ... moon in those times. The
literal interpretation of popular language would therefore require us to believe that he was
'moonstruck,; as well as a demoniac. A curious instance of the influence of popular modes of
speech, even on those who are conscious of its incorrectness, is offered in the case of
Hippocrates, who though he wrote a book to prove that epilepsy is not a sacred malady ... is
nevertheless in the habit of applying to it that very appellation. In the same way a learned
physician still speaks of lunacy, St. Anthony's fire ; and persons of education speak of the rising
and setting of the sun, falling stars as we all use phrases derived from the rites and religion of
4. The damsel at Philippi is said by Luke to have been possessed with [greek word], a
spirit of Apollo. It was her fixed idea. The gift of divination is said by Cicero to have been
ascribed to Apollo (De Divinat. i. 5). Insane persons, pretending to prophecy under the influence
of Apollo, would be likely to gain money from the credulous. A belief among the common
people that the ravings of insanity were sacred was not confined to Egypt. The larvati, the
lymphatici, the cerriti of the Romans signify possessed persons. The apostle, who taught that an
'idol is nothing in the world,' did not believe in the reality of her soothsaying. Many demoniacs
are mentioned, the peculiar symptoms of whose diseases are not stated, as Mary Magdalene
(Mark xvi. 9), out of whom Jesus cast seven demon, i.e. restored from an inveterate insanity
(seven being the Jewish number of perfection), supposed to be caused by the united agency of
seven spirits of the dead. Yet she is said to have been healed (Luke viii. 2).
5. If Jesus forbade the demoniacs to say he was the Christ, it was because the declaration
of such persons on the subject would do more harm than good. If he rebuked them he also
rebuked the wind (Matt. viii. 26), and the fever (Luke iv. 39). If it be said of them, they departed,
so it is also said of the leprosy (Mark i. 42).
6. It may be questioned whether the writers of the New Testament make a distinction
between the diseased and those possessed of demons, or whether they specify the demoniacs by
themselves, as they specify the lunatics (Matt. iv. 24) merely as a distinct and peculiar class of
the sick. It is, however, most important to observe that St. Peter includes 'all' who were healed by

Jesus, under the phrase [long list of greek words], many of whom were not described by the
Evangelists as subjects of demoniacal possession, which is urged as a striking instance of the
usus loquendi [usage of speaking]. Sometimes the specification of the demoniacs is omitted in
the general recitals of miraculous cures (Matt. xi. 5), and this, too, on the important occasion of
our Lord sending to John the Baptist an account of the miraculous evidence attending his
preaching (Matt. xi. 5). Does not this look as if they were considered as included under the sick?
7. It cannot be proved that all the demoniacs knew Jesus to be the Messiah.
8. It is admitted that Jesus addresses the demons, but then it may be said that his doing so
has reference partly to the persons themselves in whom demons were supposed to be, and partly
to the bystanders ; for the same reason that he rebuked the winds in an audible voice, as also the
fever. It is also remarkable that the case of the demoniac (Mark v.8), it is said - [greek], the man,
[greek], not [grk]. The same words occur in Luke viii, 30.
9.With regards to our Lord's reply to the seventy, it will not be urged that it was intended
of a local fall of Satan from heaven, unless it may be supposed to allude to his primeval
expulsion ; but this sense is scarcely relevant to the occasion. If, then, the literal sense be
necessarily departed from, a choice must be made out of the various figurative interpretations of
which the words admit ; and taking the word Satan here in its generic sense, of whatever is
inimical or opposed to the Gospel, Jesus may be understood to say, I foresaw the glorious results
of your mission in the triumph which would attend it over the most formidable obstacles. Heaven
is often used in the sense of political horizon (Isa. xvi. 12, 13 ; Matt. xxiv. 29). To be cast from
heaven to hell is a phrase for total downfall (Luke x. 15 ; Rev. xii. 7-9). Cicero says to Mark
Antony, You have hurled your colleagues down from heaven. Satan is here used tropically. Our
Lord does not, therefore, assert the real operation of demons.
10. In the refutation of the charge that he cast out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of the
demons, he simply argues with the Pharisees upon their own principles, and 'judges them out of
their own mouth,' without assuming the truth of those principles.
11. The fact he seems to assert respecting the wandering of demons through dry places
(Matt xIi. 45), were already admitted in the popular creed of the Jews. They believed that
demons wandered in desolate places (Baruch iv. 35). Upon these ideas he founds a parable or
similitude, without involving an opinion of their accuracy, to describe the end of this generation.
The observations respecting prayers and fasting seem to have relation to that faith in God which

he exhorts his apostles to obtain. Prayer and fasting would serve to enable them to perceive the
divine suggestion which accompanied every miracle, and which the apostles had not perceived
upon this occasion, though given them, because their animal nature had not be sufficiently
12. The application of the term Satan to the case of the women, who had a spirit of
infirmity, is plainly to heighten the antithesis between the loosing of an ox from his stall, and
loosing the daughter of Abraham whom Satan, as they believed, has bound eighteen years.
13. The objection taken from the supposed consequence of explaining the casting out of
demons to signify no more than the cure of diseases, that it tends to lower the dignity of the
Saviour's miracles, depends upon the readers complexion of mind, our prior knowledge of the
relative dignity of miracles, and some other things perhaps, of which we are not competent
It remains to be observed, that the theory of demoniacal possessions is opposed to the
known and express doctrines of Christ and his Apostles. They teach us that the spirits of the dead
enter a state corresponding to their character, no more to return to this world (Luke xvi. 22, &c. ;
xxiii. 13 ; 3 Cor. v. 1 ; Phil. i. 21). With regard to the fallen angels, the representations of their
confinement are totally opposed to the notion of their wandering about the world and tormenting
its inhabitants (2 Pet. ii. 4 ; Jude, ver. 6). If it be said that Jesus did not correct the popular
opinion, still he nowhere denies that the phenomena in question arose from diseases only. He
took no side ; it was not his province, It was not necessary to attack the misconception in a
formal manner ; it would be supplanted whenever his doctrine respecting the state of the dead
was embraced. To have done so would have engaged our Lord in prolix arguments with a people
in whom the notion was so deeply rooted, and have led him away too much from the purposes of
his ministry. 'It was one of the many things he had to say, but they could not then bear them.' It is
finally urged that the antidemoniacal theory does not detract from the diverse authority of the
Saviour, the reality of his miracles, or the integrity of the historians.
For further explanation of demonic possession and those supposedly demon possessed called
demoniacs, we will allude to the first century Aramaic perspective on the matter, to gain even
greater clarification and light on the subject.
Demons and Mental Illness from a 1
century Aramaic Syriac stand point

To say that demons were cast out of someone is to say that they were cured of a mental illness,
or an illness which was not understood at the time. People living in the first century tended to
blame everything which they couldnt understand on these imaginary beings called "demons.
Mental illness being hard to understand with their level of medical knowledge, the people spoke
of those afflicted as "demon possessed. In Old Testament times, an evil or unclean spirit
referred to a troubled mental state (Jud. 9:23; 1 Sam. 16:14;18:10); and in every Old Testament
reference to evil spirits, they were sent by God ... In New Testament times, the language of evil
spirit/demon possession had come to refer to those suffering mental illness. The association
between demons and sickness is shown by the following: They brought unto him (Jesus) many
that were possessed with demons: and He cast out the spirits with a dro that it might be
fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare
our sicknesses (Mt. 8:1617). So human infirmities and sicknesses were described as being
synonymous with demon possession and indwelling evil spirits.

When we read of unclean spirits crying out in Acts 8:7, the Eastern (Aramaic) text reads:
Many who were mentally afflicted cried out. This is because, according to George Lamsa
unclean spirits is an Aramaic term used to describe lunatics (3). It should be noted that Lamsa
was a native Aramaic speaker with a fine understanding of Aramaic terms. He grew up in a
remote part of Kurdistan which had maintained the Aramaic language almost unchanged since
the time of Jesus. It's significant that Lamsa's extensive writings indicate that he failed to see in
the teachings of Jesus and Paul any support for the popular conception of ... demons he insisted
that the Semitic and Aramaic terms used by them have been misunderstood by Western readers
and misused in order to lend support for their conceptions of ... demons. (4-3 Demons And
Sickness, Heaster)

Here is how the Aramaic Pishetta renders Matt 8 showing how the Arameans viewed demonic

8:16 And when it was evening, they brought before him many demoniacs, and he cast out their
devils by a word; and all those who were heavily afflicted he healed. 8:17 So was fulfilled what

had been spoken by the prophet Eshaia, who said, that he should take our griefs, and bear our
infirmities. (The New Testament, Murdock)

Philo and other writers comment how the demonpossessed were laughed at and mocked
especially by children indicating that demon possessed people refer to the mentally ill rather
than the physically sick. ... The "demon possessed man in Mk. 1:23 sits in the synagogue and
then suddenly screams out showing he was mentally afflicted. People thought that Jesus was
mad and said this must be because He had a demon He has a demon, and is mad (Jn. 10:20;
7:1920; 8:52). They therefore believed that demons caused madness. (Demons and Sickness:
The real Devil, 208-209)
George M. Lamsas book, New Testament Light, which gives the Aramaic view and
understanding of idioms used in the NT. On the subject of The Unclean Spirit in the passage in
Mark 1:23-27, he says, The Aramaic word rokha tamtha means the unclean spirit, [which
means] a person who is unruly, insane or has an evil inclination. The term spirit in Aramaic
also means inclination, rheumatism, temper, pride or a person ... Wrong inclination is
considered unclean. [In this passage] Jesus rebuked the insanity and the man was restored.
The mentally disturbed man [who] spoke out, I know who you are, Holy One of God, [spoke]
sarcastically (pp. 58-59). Lamsa says that the unruly man in the synagogue could not control his
anger toward Jesus for His speaking out against the religion of the scribes and Pharisees.
On a section regarding; The Lunatics and the Swine (Mark 8:31), he states that, Cast out is
an Aramaic phrase which means to restore to sanity, to remove the cause which produces
insanity (Mitchell, Greater-emmanuel.org)
Ending remarks: A call to repentance
It is the authentic Christians duty to test all things and hold fast to that which is true, and this
means rejecting pagan explanations for phenomenon that have already been explained in the Old
Testament, or exists currently in the New Testament if even in a state that has to be questioned
due to so many apparent contradictions. In order to grow, we must raise ourselves from the dust
of ignorance, and understand our Creator for who He says He is. The true Christian is one whos
freed from the practice of superstition, he/she is a human of superior mind and spiritual strength,

and this is because he/she knows the truth about everything that needed to be understood, for
living perfectly before their God. Blind leaders have lead Israelites to doom from the start, and
these same blind uneducated ideas are those that will lead you into the exact folly; and if not into
destruction via a life of worrying over imaginary things. Many generations have lived and died
believing in the existence of demons, and these same generations have feared their imaginations,
like a group of self led children, this is opposed to respectfully fearing the only living Creator
Yahweh who controls all things including disease and death.
The lesson provided is to not follow in the footsteps of tradition and superstition if it doesnt
align with scriptural fact. The scripture says And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but
now commandeth all men everywhere to repent, and this time is now. If you have read this
information and are thoroughly convinced, repent of idolatry, as with believing in lies, failing to
do your duty though necessary study, and the granting of reverential fear to false demons (pagan
gods). Return to Yahweh through the blood of Jesus who died for your failings, providing the
spiritual and physical sacrifice for sin. Ask God for further wisdom so you can know your
Creator and live the way He intended you to.
All glory be to Yahweh the Father, the Source of All life, and His co-eternal Son, who is the
creator of all life, Love to Yahshua Jesus the Messiah.
Children keep yourselves from superstitions.
Blessings in Yahweh.


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