In my last post, I talked about the differences between oppression, strongholds and demon possession. As I stated previously, oppression comes from outside of the body and demon possession is when a demon or demons actually live inside the body and at times, take control over the person’s voice, actions, etc. (as in Mark 5). A stronghold happens when a person opens a door for the enemy and gives him a place, license, permission or opportunity in his or her life (Ephesians 4:27). Stronghold means encampment, fort or castle. This mental fort or encampment is kept in place through deception of the enemy, the arguments, reasonings and theories (excuses and wrong thinking) that try to exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, (II Corinthians 10:4-5, The Amplified Bible). It is an area of captivity or demonic influence, not the same as demonic possession. As I explained previously, through my own experience and the scriptures, when we pray a prayer of genuine repentance, asking forgiveness, we remove the enemy’s license and then we can rebuke him and he has to go.
I was listening to the testimony of a couple of ministers recently that I highly respect (James Robison and Pastor Robert Morris). Both men were born again and had entered the ministry at a young age (in their twenties) and both men had a problem with lust, etc. God used a carpenter to teach them about deliverance and getting free from strongholds and to pray for them. Upon praying the prayers of repentance over the different areas in their lives, the strongholds were broken and they were set free. Pastor Robert Morris stated that the demons were inside his body, even though he was born again (and I do not doubt his word on that), so I have re-evaluated what I previously stated about demons not being in the body of a believer. Also, a couple of people that we have prayed deliverance for still needed further deliverance, even though they prayed to accept Jesus as their savior, but I am inclined to believe it was a stronghold, or maybe oppression, rather than possession, at that point, (the demons were not taking over their voice, etc. at that point).
I know a lot of us have been taught that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in an unclean temple, so how could this be? In the old testament, the temple was made up of three parts, the outer court, inner court (or holy place) and the holy of holies. I believe this corresponds to our bodies being comprised of three parts also. Our bodies correspond to the outer court, our souls (mind, will and emotions) correspond to the holy place and our human spirit (conscience and intuition), where the Holy Spirit resides, once we are born again, corresponds to the holy of holies. As I said, when we get born again, the Holy Spirit comes in and transforms our spirit man (this happens instantly), but our minds still have to be renewed or transformed through the word of God (Romans 12:2). This is an on-going process, not something that happens instantly. The more we renew our minds with the word of God and learn to think the way God thinks, repent of the things we need to repent of and make our ways His ways, the more the strongholds are broken in our lives, so that we no longer give place to the enemy. It makes me think of the scripture in Deuteronomy 7:22-23 where the scripture says: 22 “and the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you 23 “But the Lord your God will deliver them over to you, and will inflict defeat upon them until they are destroyed.” (The NKJV) So again, the children of Israel did not gain total and immediate victory in conquering the promised land (a type of the Spirit-filled life), it was a gradual process.
In Luke 13:10-17, we are given the account of Jesus healing a crippled woman who was bent over and could not straighten up for 18 years. Verse 11 states that she had been crippled by a spirit. When the Pharisees rebuked Him for healing on the Sabbath, Jesus replied: 15 …”You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? 16 Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?” (NKJV). Notice Jesus refers to her as a daughter of Abraham (the Father of faith), meaning she was a person of faith, a believer, and yet she had a spirit of infirmity, an unclean spirit which was inside her body for 18 years. This is in contrast to what He said to some of the Jews, who stated that they were Abraham’s descendants. Jesus told them that they were of their father, the devil (John 8:31-44). Not every sickness is due to an unclean spirit, but clearly Jesus said this one was. I have also heard people with healing ministries say that the Lord opened their spiritual eyes to be able to see demonic spirits (of infirmity) on or in people’s bodies. When they would point to where they saw the demonic creature on the person’s body and say does it hurt right here, they would say yes and upon praying and rebuking the demon, they would be healed.
Regardless of whether the demon is inside the body or outside, the main thing is that the Lord wants His people to learn how to get free. You may differ in your beliefs somewhat, that is okay. We are all on a journey and we may have different beliefs based on what we’ve been taught or what our experience has been. The main thing is that we agree on the most important things: that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the only way to the Father and He came to save, heal and deliver. He wants His people free. God bless you all. Kelly Rowe