A Series on Christian Deliverance

May 4, 2012

The Nature of Demonic Bondage
from A Pastoral Manifesto on Deliverance, Part 1

The Word

Texts: Daniel 7:21-27; Revelation 12:7-12

Oppression, not possession

This message specifically addresses one facet of deliverance ministry: demonic oppression in which there comes torment against believers. Demonic possession is never the case with a believer

The whole world is influenced by the spirit of disobedience

The Bible says that the whole world outside of Christ is vulnerable to the manipulation of the powers of hell (1 John 5:19; Ephesians 2:1-3). The only thing that preserves against that dominion of darkness is the presence of the living Church—salt and light. The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one, out of which all human bondage distills, whether by reason of:

  • Neglected responsibility – People fall into satanic control simply because they didn’t accept their responsibility
  • Innocent ignorance — Things they didn’t know about but still fell prey to. Just because you didn’t know there was a cliff, it will hurt just the same if you fall over it.
  • Sinful rebellion — People make up their own mind to do what they want.
  • Passive victimization —Things that happen or are transmitted to you, without you having any control over the situation—most often in childhood—that registered deep pain, becoming bondage with time through your response to it.

Choice and responsibility

Sin brings death, withering any area of life with which it makes contact (Romans 5:12; 6:23). While all human bondage distills from the general influence around it, it doesn’t come upon people irrevocably; people make choices.

We are responsible to rule our own spirit (Proverbs 16:32), to maintain the boundaries of our own soul (Luke 21:19). There are people who receive Jesus as their Savior but are constantly barraged by the works of darkness and they don’t know how to stand against it.

The adversary is constantly seeking to work destruction in any way he can (1 Peter 5:8) and we must be on guard against him. Get fixed it in your mind: The devil never has a day he’s tired of working and he never has a day that he decides he’ll be nice to you. The adversary comes to steal, kill and destroy. He is ready to spring any time, but you determine whether you’ll give place to it or not.

All spirits can only possess what is given to them

God can only possess what you give to Him. Man determines what he will allow to influence and rule in his soul—both his eternal destiny and his temporal well-being. Nobody else makes the choice. We are eternal beings, made in the image of God, and there is no attribute of God about you and me that is more significant than the fact that you have a sovereign will.

God will not overrule human will. That’s the reason we often pray so long until people come to Christ—you can’t just say, “I claim it now!” What you’re dealing with is warfare for eternal souls. The Holy Spirit draws people to Jesus, but it’s in warfare for that soul against other works of darkness.

No one should walk around nervous or fearful wondering if you’re likely to get possessed by a demon if you’re not careful. All spirits can only possess what is given to them. Only by our receiving the Lord does He gain possession of us. Anybody who’s afraid to deal with this subject is basically unaware of the biblical truth: Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world..

Believers in Jesus Christ cannot be demon-possessed

Once you open up to Jesus, you become Holy Spirit-possessed. You are possessed by the eternal Holy Spirit of God. That possession is real. The Bible says that until the day that rapture comes, the Holy Spirit is given to us as the guarantee of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:3-14).

All believers in Jesus Christ are “delivered/saved” from the “world spirit” when they receive new life in Him (Ephesians 1:15-23; 2:4-6).

Believers can be afflicted, oppressed, and tormented by demonic powers

The adversary hates everything that is named after God, and you are. His Name is upon us, the name of Jesus. The adversary will do everything He can to assail, afflict and torment believers.

There are Christians that need deliverance because though delivered when they were saved, they allow the residue of their past to reassert its dominance in their mind, emotions, attitudes and behavior or allow themselves to come under the governance of spiritual beings in the invisible realm (Galatians 4:1-9).

The word stoicheion, translated as “elements” (Galatians 4:3,9) refers to cosmic spiritual beings, astrological luminaries, heathen deities, rulers and gods, spirits, ghosts. As a verb it meant to make a ghost of or become a spirit.

There are several realms of reality around us:

  • The physical or material
  • The invisible, in which there is the holy and the unholy, the angelic and the demonic; there is God, there is Satan.

Man, in his scientific pursuits, has denied the reality of his spiritual being for so long that now there’s coming a reverse reaction and he’s opening up to spiritual things without the only handbook written by the Creator—the Bible. If you open up to the spiritual realm without controls, you subject yourself to the stoicheion. Paul is writing to a group of believers: Why is it that you resubmit yourself to bondage to the stoicheion?

Another practice is animism, the belief that spirits and demons inhabit various objects of nature. Wherever you find animism prevailing in a culture, you find horrific bondage, confusion and destruction of humankind.

Christian superstition

Superstition occurs when people acknowledge a spiritual realm but don’t live in its power. There are superstitions on the Christian and the demonic sides of things. There are people who go to church and partake of communion, but they don’t partake of its power. There are people who go through the forms of worship and there’s no power of God present. There are people that teach the Bible, and all it is is information—the truth doesn’t become alive and practical in their lives. They are as sincere as they may be, but they are only observing a superstition, because it’s spiritual reality without its dynamism present.

There is superstition in the invisible realm of people who have rabbit’s foot or read their horoscope—to some people it’s a game without any spiritual power until one day it gains that. Through their passivity or unawareness, there comes the bondage. Satan looks for a way to creep in.

Bondage comes when flesh rules

Bondage comes when believers in Christ allow the flesh to rule their passions instead of the Holy Spirit, thereby they give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:17-32). From the word translated place we derive the word topography, which is a literal physical place. You give a place to the devil when you do that. It doesn’t mean that he took possession; it means that you gave him a place, and he doesn’t go out without being evicted. He has to be dealt with.


We live in a time where there is an increasing intensity of the works of darkness. It can only be to your own confusion if as a believer you don’t recognize that, and live in the wisdom of:

  • Withstanding the efforts of the adversary to intrude;
  • Knowing how to deal with him when you have an experience with him, discerning between good and evil, between the human spirit and the Spirit of God.

This is not something reserved for a few experts who bring the teaching; even a fairly young Christian can understand this.

This is not to open a Pandora’s box of demonistic notions where people attribute every problem to the devil, but that when you face something that the Holy Spirit shows you is an assault, a point of bondage, or oppression from hell, you know what the terms are of Scripture, you know where you stand. You know that you don’t have to endure that, but there is hope, and victory awaits you. You know that Jesus dwells in you and although the devil tries to get squatter’s rights in one corner of your mind or your experience, he can be evicted because there’s a higher claim over you than anything hell can try.

Take this truth and hold it in your heart with childlike simplicity. Walk in praise, exalt the name of Jesus, and don’t be afraid. The Holy Spirit will impress it upon your mind if there is an effort of the adversary attacking you. Know that where you move, the kingdom of God dwells within you. The glory of the Lord moves in you to drive out the works of hell. If you’ve found yourself oppressed or tormented at any part of your life, first seek Jesus and ask Him to help you understand it. Then, seek prayer.

Don’t focus on the devil. Rise and lift up the name of Jesus. When you get the focus on the right place, you not only have the joy and confidence of faith, but you elude that inclination to get eerie and weird. God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.