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DEMONIAC (Gk. daimonizomai, "to be under the power of a demon," rendered "demon possessed" or "demoniac").

A term frequently used in the NT of one under the influence of a demon. The verb "to be demonized" occurs, in one form or another, seven times in Matthew, four times in Mark, once in Luke, and once in John.

By some, demoniacs are believed to have been "persons afflicted with especially severe diseases, either bodily or mental (such as paralysis, blindness, deafness, loss of speech, epilepsy, melancholy, insanity, etc.), whose bodies, in the opinion of the Jews, demons had entered." But the evidence points to actual possession by spirits. "The demonized were incapable of separating their own consciousness and ideas from the influence of the demon, their own identity being merged, and to that extent lost, in that of their tormentors. In this respect the demonized state was also kindred to madness" (Edersheim, Life of Jesus, 1:608).

Jesus treated cases of demonic possession as realities. He is not only described as "rebuking," "commanding," and "casting out" the unclean spirits, but His direct addresses to them are recorded. In (Mark 5:8-12) and (Matt. 8:28-32) Jesus addresses the demons who are called "Legion," commanding them to leave and finally granting them permission to enter a nearby herd of swine. Again <Mark 1:25; Luke 4:35>, He directly addressed the unclean spirit: "Be quiet, and come out of him!"

Clearly demonism was regarded by our Lord as reality.