Demons and Mental Illness
God have to say about mental illness?
The wise of this world have devised
the so-called sciences of psychology and psychiatry, among others, to
treat mental illness. The medical
experts have given mental illness theoretical analyses and definitions
and developed synthetic medications and therapies such as electroconvulsive
therapy (ECT), formerly known as electroshock therapy, to treat sufferers.
Do the practitioners know what they’re doing?
Has it ever occurred to you that nowhere in the Bible, the Authoritative
Manual on Human Nature and Behavior, does it speak of or describe mental
illness in the way the medical society does? But what does one find in
Scripture that can easily explain mental illness? The Scriptures speak
of demonic possession. That’s right; the problem is invariably
a spiritual one at the core and is made manifest mentally and physically.
What, then, is to be done with people troubled and bound with devils?
Can practitioners not knowing the Lord Jesus Christ deal with the spiritual
problem? No. It doesn’t matter if they call themselves exorcists
or have medical credentials. Oh, they may appear to subdue the manifesting
spiritual entities, alter behavior, and somehow mask symptoms, but they
have no power over the spiritual realm. Here’s what Jesus said
of His followers, those who believe on Him, the only ones with authority
Mark 16:16-18 MKJV
(16) He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not
believe will be condemned.
(17) And miraculous signs will follow to those believing these things:
in My Name they will cast out demons; they will speak new tongues;
(18) they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing,
it will not hurt them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will
Luke 10:17-20 MKJV
(17) And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, “Lord, even
the demons are subject to us through Your Name.”
(18) And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall from Heaven like lightning.
(19) Behold, I give to you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions,
and over all the authority of the enemy. And nothing shall by any means
(20) Yet do not rejoice in this, that the evil spirits are subject to
you, rather rejoice because your names are written in Heaven.”
Devils were common in Jesus’ day, and they are no less common
today, perhaps more so, seeing men are mostly of Gentile (unbelieving)
nations and have come to the end of their ages of rule. Jesus cast out
(exorcised) many devils in many people by the power of His Word and authority:
“And He healed many who were sick of different diseases, and cast
out many demons. And He did not allow the demons to speak, because they
knew Him” (Mark 1:34 MKJV).
“And He proclaimed in their synagogues throughout all Galilee,
and cast out demons” (Mark 1:39 MKJV).
“And they cast out many demons, and anointed many with oil who
were sick, and healed them” (Mark 6:13 MKJV).
“And it happened afterwards, He traveled in every city and village,
proclaiming and announcing the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. And the
Twelve were with Him, and also certain women who had been healed of evil
spirits and infirmities; Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven
demons” (Luke 8:1-2 MKJV).
“And evening coming on, they brought to Him many who had been
possessed with demons. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed
all who were sick so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah
the prophet, saying, ‘He took on Himself our weaknesses and bore
our sicknesses’” (Matthew 8:16-17 MKJV).
“And His fame went throughout all Syria. And they brought to Him
all those being badly ill suffering various diseases and torments, and
those who had been possessed with demons, and those who had been moonstruck,
and paralytics. And He healed them” (Matthew 4:24 MKJV).
By that last passage, one could easily argue there’s a difference
between demon possession and mental sickness, the illness referred to
by Matthew as being “moonstruck” (another term is “lunatic” from
the Latin, “lunaticus,” meaning “of the moon”)
and there can be a difference. However, here are some other examples
in the Gospels of what people today would call mental illness:
Mark 5:1-15 MKJV
(1) And they came over to the other side of the sea, to the country of
(2) And when He had come out of the boat, immediately a man with unclean
spirits met Him out of the tombs,
(3) who had his dwelling among the tombs. And no one could bind him,
no, not with chains
(4) because he had often been bound with fetters and chains, and the
chains had been torn apart by him, and the fetters broken in pieces.
Nor could anyone subdue him.
(5) And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs,
crying and cutting himself with stones.
(6) And when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshiped Him,
(7) and cried with a loud voice, and said, “What is to me and to
You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure You by God not to torment
(8) For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!”
(9) And He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered,
saying, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”
(10) And he begged Him very much that He would not send them outside
(11) And a great herd of pigs was feeding near the mountains.
(12) And all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us into the pigs,
that we may enter into them.”
(13) And immediately Jesus allowed them. And the unclean spirits went
out and entered into the pigs. And the herd ran violently down a steep
place into the sea (they were about two thousand), and were choked in
(14) And the ones who fed the pigs fled and told it in the city and in
the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done.
(15) And they came to Jesus and saw him who had been demon-possessed,
and had the legion, sitting and clothed and right-minded, the one who
had the legion. And they were afraid.
Wouldn’t that man have been more likely referred to today as being
out of his mind rather than demon-possessed? Here’s another example:
Matthew 17:14-21 MKJV
(14) And when they came to the crowd, a man came to Him, kneeling down
to Him and saying,
(15) “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and
grievously vexed; for oftentimes he falls into the fire, and often into the water.
(16) And I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.”
(17) Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation,
how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him
here to Me.”
(18) And Jesus rebuked the demon, and he departed out of him. And the
child was cured from that very hour.
(19) Then the disciples came to Jesus apart, and said, “Why could
we not cast him out?”
(20) And Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief. For truly
I say to you, If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you shall
say to this mountain, Move from here to there. And it shall move. And
nothing shall be impossible to you.
(21) However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Some may call it madness, the father of the son called it lunacy, but
Jesus and His disciples saw it for what it was - demonic possession.
They understood that a devil was tormenting the boy, causing bizarre,
destructive behavior, and it had to be cast out of him.
The apostles Paul and Silas encountered a demon-possessed lady bothering
them for days with words that might sound agreeable, flattering, and
even godly. Here’s how Paul eventually dealt with the problem:
Acts 16:16-18 MKJV
(16) And as we went to prayer, it happened that a certain girl possessed
with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain
(17) The same followed Paul and us and cried, saying, “These men
are the servants of the Most High God, who are announcing to us the way
(18) And she did this many days. But being distressed, and turning to
the demonic spirit, Paul said, “I command you in the Name of Jesus
Christ to come out of her!” And it came out in that hour.
Her handlers were outraged because the apostles suddenly neutralized
their lucrative income. The people didn’t realize they were cooperating
and dealing with devils (a spirit of divination), and they didn’t
care; they just wanted their money.
Acts 16:19-24 MKJV
(19) And when her masters saw that the hope of their gain went out, having
seized Paul and Silas, they dragged them to the market before the rulers.
(20) And bringing them near to the judges, they said, “These men,
being Jews, are exceedingly troubling our city.
(21) And they teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive or
to do, being Romans.”
(22) And the crowd rose up against them. And tearing off their clothes,
the judges ordered them to be flogged.
(23) And after laying on them many stripes, they threw them into prison,
commanding the jailor to keep them safely;
(24) who, having received such a command, thrust them into the inner
prison and made their feet fast in the stocks.
The citizens of the world will hate those who come against Satan, the
prince of this world, in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. You can count
Isn’t it strange that many mentally ill people are religious and
have “Jesus” experiences? It’s not because their brains
aren’t functioning or because they’ve been indoctrinated
in Christianity. It’s because they’re demon-possessed. And
devils know Jesus Christ as the Son of God while few people do:
Luke 4:33-37 MKJV
(33) And in the synagogue there was a man who had a spirit of an unclean
demon and cried out with a loud voice,
(34) saying, “Let us alone! What is to us and to You, Jesus of
Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know You, who You are, the Holy
One of God.”
(35) And Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And
when the demon had thrown him into the midst, he came out of him, not
(36) And they were all amazed and spoke among themselves, saying, “What
a Word is this! For with authority and power He commands the unclean
spirits, and they come out.”
(37) And a report about Him went out into every place of the neighborhood.
Devils are of the spiritual realm and see and know things people of
the earth don’t. However, being evil, the spirits pervert and distort
the reality. They are liars, destructive deceivers. After all, they serve
their master Satan, who is a liar and a murderer from his beginning in
Eden (Genesis 3:1; see also The Origin
and Identity of Satan).
Is it any wonder atheistic medical practitioners in the mental sciences
will confuse the false with the true and come to suspect, if not conclude,
that normal believers in Christ are mentally deranged? Let’s take
it a step further. Many of those practitioners may well have devils,
too, and will therefore oppose the work of God and His servants.
(I write this paper because prompted by present circumstances in September/October
of 2015 in which we’re opposed by a psychologist who believes and
understands nothing of the Kingdom of God and Jesus Christ.)
Men speak of schizophrenia, split and multiple personalities. These
are invariably manifestations of devils, often several, dwelling in a
person. Interestingly, by medicating the vessel, demonic power can be
minimized; however, the problem is never solved. The devils continue
residence and power over their host.
Where one finds someone changing from one kind of person to another,
it is almost always demons at work. Devils also have names, strange names,
like Legion, as given in the Gospels. They often identify
themselves by the names of the lusts, sins, addictive substances, activities,
and gods the possessed victims have willingly given themselves over to.
For examples, people can have demons naming themselves as alcohol, theft,
fear, suicide, and every other thing imaginable.
By the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, a believer can compel devils
to identify themselves; devils - unclean spirits - have no choice but
to answer truthfully because they are all subject to the Name of the
Lord Jesus Christ; they must obey. And if the vessel is repentant, those
devils must leave when commanded to do so. The possessed person may need
to confess their sins and renounce the demons in order to be freed of
them; not always.
Devils also know how to deceive so that they might continue in their “home,” lest
someone with the power of the Lord Jesus Christ casts them out by prayer
and the power of His Word and perhaps with fasting in more difficult
Can just anyone deal with evil spirits/demons if they use Jesus’ Name?
Here’s what devils have to say about that:
Acts 19:13-17 KJV
(13) Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to
call over them which had evil spirits the Name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “We
adjure you by Jesus Whom Paul preaches.”
(14) And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the
priests, which did so.
(15) And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and
Paul I know; but who are you?”
(16) And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame
them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house
naked and wounded.
(17) And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus;
and fear fell on them all, and the Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
No, devils can only be overcome by saints, by disciples of Jesus Christ,
in whom is the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no other remedy, except
perhaps repentance from sin, which is also the work of the Holy Spirit
in the one being delivered.
I’ve witnessed many occasions where nominal Christians, usually
so-called ministers or priests, attempt and presume to cast out devils
and are deceived into thinking they’re successful. Devils are very
deceptive and will do all in their power to remain in their residences.
Because most of these ministers aren’t genuine believers (and no
priests are), they fail in their attempts, using Bibles and whatever
else (crosses or crucifixes for priests), and are deceived into thinking
Meanwhile the victim, the sinner, goes on bound by devils as before
and sometimes ends up even worse off.
Why worse off? Because some of these ministers acting as exorcists also
have devils that are passed on to those upon whom they lay hands for
deliverance. And because these “deliverers” are often found
to be living in sin themselves, they are prone to receive devils from
those they pray for.
Paul cautioned Timothy: “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands,
nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure” (1 Timothy
Beware of laying hands on anyone without direction of God, and beware
of men or women laying hands on you for prayer for any reason – deliverance,
healing, anointing, or anything else. You could fall victim to “mental
If the one inhabited by an evil spirit is able to repent of sin, which
sin or sins occasioned a devil to enter that person, then it can happen
that God will automatically free that person from the devil’s power.
Confession and repentance are often key to deliverance and may not require
prayer. This is only so, however, if the sinner has suffered enough and
the time for release has come. It’s much the same as when one has
committed a crime, been arrested and incarcerated, and has served his
“If someone brings a lawsuit against you and takes you to
court, settle the dispute while there is time, before you get to court.
Once you are there, you will be turned over to the judge, who will hand
you over to the police, and you will be put in jail. There you will stay,
I tell you, until you pay the last penny of your fine” (Matthew
Is “mental illness” or demon possession hereditary? Yes,
it is. Devils can be received from parents and even passed down from
ancestors. Devils can come from the womb of the mother or the loins of
the father. The Law says:
Deuteronomy 5:6-10 MKJV
(6) I am the LORD your God Who brought you out of the land of Egypt,
from the house of bondage.
(7) You shall have no other gods besides Me.
(8) You shall not make a graven image for you, any likeness of anything
that is in the heavens above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters
beneath the earth.
(9) You shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them. For I the
LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the
fathers upon the sons to the third and fourth generation of those who
(10) and doing mercy to thousands of those who love Me and keep My commandments.
The Bible says almost nothing of mental illness, but it speaks much
of demon possession. Do you realize how little most nominal Christian
churches and other religions speak of devils compared to how much devils
are mentioned in Scripture, particularly in the New Testament? There’s
at least one important reason for that: The people in those churches
don’t believe, notwithstanding their profession of faith in Christ.
By some examples given here, you can see how modern man would call demon
I’ve dealt with bizarre behavior and habits of addiction in a
few people whom concerned people would have referred to a medical doctor,
psychiatrist, psychologist, hypnotist, or some other practitioner for
treatment. Casting the devils out of them, they were mentally recovered,
back in control, and fine, unless they once again became ensnared in
sin, in which case it would become worse for them than before:
Luke 11:24-26 MKJV
(24) When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he walks through
dry places seeking rest. And finding none, he says, “I will return
to my house from which I came out.”
(25) And when he comes, he finds it swept and decorated.
(26) And he goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than himself,
and entering in, they dwell there. And the last state of that man is
worse than the first.
That’s no place to be, assuredly. The deeper the pit one digs,
the harder to climb out of.
Galatians 6:7-9 MKJV
(7) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that
he also will reap.
(8) For he sowing to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh. But
he sowing to the Spirit will reap life everlasting from the Spirit.
(9) But we should not lose heart in well-doing, for in due season we
shall reap, if we do not faint.
I don’t doubt most people in asylums are demonically troubled.
I also don’t doubt there are more people with than without devils
in what we might term “normal society.” After all, those
of the world and without Christ are captives of the prince of this world,
who does pretty much as he pleases with them, having license to do so
because of their sin, unbelief, idolatry, fornication, and rebellion
“He who believes on the Son has everlasting life, and he who does
not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God
abides upon him” (John 3:36 MKJV).
Some experiences with devils related in Victor’s Theo-autobiography: