There’s a spectrum Christians don’t talk about because many have no clue what a demonized person looks like.
Would you be able to recognize a demon possessed person?
When it comes to demonic possession / oppression, not everyone is going to present like the Gadarene Demoniac or the boy who threw himself in the fire.
#1 The Gadarene Demoniac
“And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit.
He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.
And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”– Mark 5:2-9 ESV
Obviously you have the Gadarene Demoniac types – naked, in the tombs, cutting himself, superhuman strength.
Almost always has a sexual abuse component to how they came to be demonized.
#2 Special Needs & Suicidal
“And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.”
And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.
And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’
And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’ And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, ‘He is dead.’ But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. “ – Mark 9:17-27 ESV
mute, deaf, foaming at the mouth, convulsing, suicidal as it specifically threw him in the fire or water.
Some would assume he’s simply special needs today, although not all disabilities are caused by demonic possession.
#3 Can’t Keep Up The Facade
“And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him.” – Mark 1:23-26
These people attend church but they’re disruptive. Without prompting, they’ll say something that gives themselves away.
Be extra alert if someone seems “off” at church. They’ll volunteer information that gives themselves away.
#4 Demon Child
“Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.” – Mark 7:26
even small kids can have demons. While scripture doesn’t describe the demon – possessed girl except to say she was young, kids with demons can and do present in all the ways that adults with demons do. Be vigilant around out of control and violent kids.
#5 Supernatural Powers
“As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling.” – Acts 16:16
People involved in the occult who have any sort of “special power” are receiving that from demons. They’re not clairvoyant, they’re possessed. May simply seem “spiritual” and will say some truth with a lot of lies.
#6 Something Seems “Off”
Your spirit will pick up on people who seem “off.” People without discernment may dismiss this demon-possessed person as simply low IQ, special needs or socially awkward – but they’re not.
They’re there to be disruptive & drive people away from hearing the gospel.
#7 Irrationally Angry
Another type of demon-possessed person will seem intellectual but lash out verbally or physically towards those they are in disagreement with, even if their target is a stranger minding their own business. They will be involved in some sort of occultism.
#8 Super Extra At Church
Be weary of the person who is “extra” at church. Sits near the front. Super loud “hallelujah” / “amen” or other phrases after nearly even mundane sentences from the pastor. Goes wild during praise & worship with weird behavior. Tries to get constant attention from pastor.
While this is by no means an exhaustive list of types of demon-possessed people, let me know what type you’ve seen / experienced and any that aren’t on this list.