Bible Q&A: Were There Supernatural Events Involving Demons?

The Bible records many examples of supernatural occurrences done by angels, such as angels being at Jesus’ tomb at his resurrection or striking people blind at Sodom.  Were there supernatural events involving demons?

The terms “demon” and “spirit” are used interchangeably (Matt. 8:16; Luke 8:2), proving that demons are spirits, particularly evil spirits.  In fact, the term “demon” itself comes a Greek term (dimonion) which literally means “a person of intelligence, a ‘knowing one.”  In biblical times this term was applied to spirits of those who have passed away because they had let their human bodies and had gone on into the next world, thus being “knowing ones” about what happens after death.  Josephus said, “Demons are the spirits of wicked men, who enter into living men and destroy them, unless they are so happy as to meet with speedy relief.”  Philo said, “The souls of dead men are called demons.”  Therefore, a demon would have been understood in New Testament times to refer to the departed, disembodied spirits of the dead.  Thus, by their very existence demons are involved in the supernatural.

Additionally, demon possession had a clear supernatural aspect.  Illnesses came about as a direct result of being possessed by a demon, such as muteness (Lk. 11:14) and epilepsy (Matt. 17:14-18).  Demons would compel those under their power to cut themselves with stones (Mk. 5:5), be naked and expose themselves to the elements (Lk. 8:27), and try to burn or drown themselves (Matt. 17:14-18; cf. Mk. 5:11-13).  They would also give those under their power superhuman strength (Acts 19:15-16).

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