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Why does it seem demon possession only exists in the New Testament?

There is no clear record of demon possession recorded in the entire Old Testament. Although the reality and existence of demons is recognized…And although their evil influence in the world is acknowledged…There is no record of a demon possession or of an exorcism.

Why is this?


Asked by IhartU at 8:10 AM on Oct. 6, 2010 in Religious Debate

Level 27 (31,412 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (18)
  • Because Judaism believes everything comes from G-d. So no angel, or demon can go against G-d's will, as they themselves don't have free will. We don't believe in the Christian version of Satan. So demonic possession in the Christian sense is a foreign concept in Judaism, it really began when Christianity created that duality of G-d and Satan, which we don't have. There is some Jewish folklore of a spirit called a "dybbuk", that supposedly can "posses" a person, but it's not necessarily a malignant spirit. But that's folklore, it's not really from the actual OT.


    Answer by momto2boys973 at 3:06 PM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • possibly, because the OT is more historical, as compared to the NT, which is more of personal accounts of the writers.
    perhaps where there is mention of it in the NT, its because the writer who witnessed it or was involved with the actual happening, he felt it was important enough to 'remember' and include in his book/letter.
    its just a possiblity. i'm sure there are lots of things that happened, and were not included. just like there is no record of JC's life between being found teaching in the temple and right before the end of his life. i've always been curious as to why there is no account of that time period..but what can ya do? :)

    Answer by dullscissors at 9:34 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • oh it was there just not in those words.. all you have to do is read the stories.
    I will highlight two...
    Saul was tormented daily by a demon, it took David's music to calm Saul down.
    Nebcadezzer was tormented for a season
    jessa hit it nail on the head
    Only the priests in the OT had any authority to do anything... it wasn't until Jesus came fulfilled the ot and gave US His disciples the authority and power to do anything.
    In Isaiah there are several scriptures talking about setting captives free.

    Answer by Shaneagle777 at 11:00 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • Maybe it has something to do with the way the influence worked? By the time of the NT, they were influenced by Greco-Roman beliefs and customs, as well as having encountered many other beliefs and ideas from neighboring places. The world was getting "bigger", if you get what I mean, there were more people and more ideas being exposed and passed around.

    Owen Chadwick, in his History of Christianity, says that Greeks called epileptic fits "the disease of the demons", so I could see how the idea could be from external influences....

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 11:28 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • Before Christ's death and resurrection people lived under the old law. So there was demonic posession. The new testament begins with the birth of Jesus, still the old law. There is a time of change between the old and new law when the apostles began preaching and teaching about this new law/testament. The apostles were given the power of healing, casting out demons just as Jesus had done. Granted the bible doesn't give us exactly all the details of the how and why this happened. The old testament does mention witches and sorcery though, too.

    Answer by jessa1091 at 10:49 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • Because not all of history is recorded in the Old Testement. It probably wasn't considered necessary. It's possible that no writer of the Old Testement ever witnessed a case of demon possession. If they exist at all, they are very rare.

    Answer by Anna92464 at 7:08 PM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • Thank you for your answer and that does make perfect sense.

    Comment by IhartU (original poster) at 10:42 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • Shan, but isn't there is a difference between being 'tormented' by a demon and one taking 'possession' of your body? I'm not denying there is no mention of demons in the OT, I just find it strange that it's mentioned so much in the NT. I mean was there more of that going around in those days- not just in the Jewish belief system, but in that of other cultures as well?


    Comment by IhartU (original poster) at 11:08 AM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • bandgeek521... that's what I was wondering... If more ideas were introduced because of the influences of other cultures and the idea of possession had become popular by that time when it really wasn't before.


    Comment by IhartU (original poster) at 1:14 PM on Oct. 6, 2010

  • momto2boys973... thank you. I have actually read the exact same answers on other websites that you have given, and it kind of makes me wonder even more than before if the NT is really a 'continuation' of the OT. There are so many differences...


    Comment by IhartU (original poster) at 3:54 PM on Oct. 6, 2010