@Jimmy_Sellers Sounds like a very engaging Sunday school! While your standard answer from secular scholars would be that the idea of demon possession developed as a result of beliefs from Babylon and Persia, there is a much simpler explanation. But the idea that this change resulted from outside influences both ignores the fact that we know little about what the Jews really believed about this matter and that the story of the Bible provides a perfectly rational explanation. Consider these facts:
- in the OT, the satan worked chiefly through rival nations and their gods - the Israelite approach to evil spirits was to avoid them or to put to death those who worshiped them within their camp - you could almost say that spiritual evil was embodied in false religion
- when Jesus came, He cast out demons and the people said they had never seen anything like it and Jesus Himself used this fact as evidence that God’s Kingdom had come upon them - with Jesus on the scene, it was a whole new ballgame - satan was cast from Heaven and Jesus was casting the adversary from people as well
- we do see King David play music and an “evil” spirit leave, though some debate whether the idea here is equivalent to that in the NT (1 Samuel 16)
All in all, I think the key reason we see such a distinction is that in the OT evil was embodied in the false religions of the surrounding nations and Jesus was not on the scene yet.
What are your thoughts?
Leviticus 20:27 - - “A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.”
Judges 2:12-13 - They forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They aroused the Lord’s anger 13 because they forsook him and served baal and the ashtoreths.
I Samuel 16:23 - Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
Matthew 9:32-34 - While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. 33 And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.”
Matthew 12:28 - But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Luke 10:17-20 - The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
18 He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. 19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. 20 However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
This is probably best taken as allusion to [Isa 14:12]; the phrase in common is ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (ek tou ouranou). These exorcisms in Jesus’ name are a picture of Satan’s greater defeat at Jesus’ hands (D. L. Bock, Luke [BECNT], 2:1006-7). NET Bible