Now this [Caiaphas] did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied ...
~ John 11:51 (NKJV)
A recent comment asked, "Can born again Christians be possessed by demons/evil spirits?"
The above verse shows the Holy Spirit using a person who resists Him. Caiaphas did prophesy, but he was also an evil man who sent Jesus to Pilate for crucifixion.
To answer the above question, an important distinction should be made about whether the Holy Spirit or demonic spirit fills or inhabits a person, or is "with" or "upon" a person.
King Saul is a striking Old Testament example of having the Holy Spirit and then an evil spirit (1 Samuel 16:14). But it appears that the evil spirit did not dominate Saul until the Holy Spirit left him, and it nowhere says that the Holy Spirit was ever within him. The Old Testament tells of several instances when the Holy Spirit was upon a person or with a person, but only once says the Holy Spirit was actually within a person (Exodus 31:2-3).
In New Testament times, after Jesus died for sins, those who put faith in Him—who are "born again" of the Holy Spirit—become the temple within which the Holy Spirit resides. It is unthinkable that the Holy Spirit would share residence and live together with a demonic spirit. When Jesus was accused of driving out demons by the power of the devil, He pointed out the absurdity of Evil working against itself to cooperate with Good. Rather, the evil spirit, or "strong man," is driven out before being plundered of its human spoil:
"But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can one enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house."
~ Matthew 12:28-29 (NKJV)
We know from numerous Bible passages that even after the Holy Spirit inhabits us, evil spirits still try to access us.
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me ...
~ 2 Corinthians 12:7 (NKJV)
[Other references to the devil's presence include 1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:11; Ephesians 4:26-27; James 4:7).]
There is no reason to fear the devil or his minions residing in the same person as the Holy Spirit. But they can still wreak plenty of trouble if they get a foot in the door. The Bible teaches us how to become strong in the Holy Spirit so that doesn't happen when demons come knocking.
Lord Jesus, our adversary the devil is strong. But you are good and wise and almighty. You have already defeated him. Please remind us of our spiritual armor. Please alert us to our enemy's schemes even as we ask You to thwart them. Please let us fear no one but God.
Comments are welcome (including respectful disagreement) and will receive a reply.
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Copyright 2012, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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