Demon possession still occurs today in our modern world. However, we will get to that a little bit further below. First, we need to clarify that believers cannot suffer from demon possession because they have the indwelling Holy Spirit. This truth does not mean that we can’t suffer a demonic attack in other ways (Satan and his followers will challenge and oppose every bit of growth, progress, and production we believers make in this life). But that is not the same thing as having demons inside us controlling much of what we do. Nothing in Scripture even remotely suggests that Christians can suffer demonic control of the kind described in the New Testament.
On the other hand, we mentioned that demons can and will still attack believers by opposing their godly conduct. No surprise because Satan and his legions have tried for many years (ever since the temptation and downfall of Adam and Eve) to thwart the plan and purpose of God. Since Christ’s arch enemy hates our Lord, he hates his followers as well and will stop at nothing to convince them to turn around and give up on their faith. Unbelievers (the world) also consist of Satan’s followers (John 15:18). And even for many of them who don’t hate believers now, their love toward Christ’s flock will change by growing cold during the tribulation (Matthew 24:10-12). It is easier to love people during good times. But it is often a different story during bad times when push comes to shove.
We must not give in to the desires of the evil one! It is not uncommon for believers to fall for the lie that many or all dark spiritual attacks are aimed at them individually, purposely, and intentionally. Too many Christians mistake so much of the satanic opposition they face as “personal matters.” In other words, they take it personally when they shouldn’t. This kind of evil resistance that comes our way is a good thing because it signifies that we are doing our job to the Lord as we should. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12). 1 Corinthians 10:13 states, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” We also have it from 1 Peter 5:8-9 that our family of believers worldwide are undergoing the same kind of sufferings that we are. Therefore, we are not alone in this struggle and should never take it personally.
The devil and his forces can attack us in many ways. They are so many and mysterious that it would be impossible to list and examine every single one. But we need to understand that even though Satan may take different angles and approaches with his attacks, a temptation is still a temptation. Yes, some will be harder than others due to their nature, timing, and circumstances. But the solution to the problem remains the same every time—“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). There is no temptation too great for us to overcome. And although no two are precisely the same, they all still have in common the fact they are temptations that we can overcome every time.
I do believe Satan can attack us in our dreams. And, of course, we could label distraction from reading our Bibles and prayer as “demonic attack” to some degree because those are definite possibilities. But we can’t necessarily confirm this, even if that is what occurred. The problem with many Christians who have undergone some strange “experience” (dream, vision, etc.) is that they tend to try to read into their experiences far too much to the point where they over-involve and obsess about it. Even worse is when we try to interpret what we underwent to begin to act on our “perception” of what went on. When we have experiences like this (demonic or not), it is best to forget them and move on. If anything, they should cause us to take our walk with the Lord more seriously, not do ourselves harm by going the opposite direction through dangerous involvement with evil forces. And of course, (pretty common sense) believers should never involve themselves in witchcraft, ghost hunting, sorcery, or anything of this sort. Paul gives a strong warning that those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (Galatians 5:19-21). For more information on this topic, please see Cryptozoology and the Bible.
With all the above said, let us now address the statement we made at the beginning of this comment, “Demon possession still occurs in our modern world.” This statement is most likely true but with some differences. Firstly, demonic possession may occur differently than it did in Jesus’s day in more subtle, “under the radar” ways. In Biblical times, demons would “go” to people and possess them. Today, it is more common for people to reverse this phenomenon and “go” to demons themselves through manufactured drugs, methods, procedures, practices, and rituals.
First, I am not saying that demons can’t possess unbelievers as they did during biblical times by taking the initiative. That is a possibility though possibly far less common today. The demonic possession we speak of here occurs through the use of shamanic drugs and other methods. In Cryptozoology and the Bible, I wrote the following on this subject—
People reportedly contact aliens ( known as demons) and are “abducted”/possessed by them telepathically through shamanic drugs. This phenomenon is a modern version of demonic possession. Mclean also notes that contactees and abductees are demonically attacked and “subjected to humiliating and painful procedures to satisfy the desires of their abductors.” This is something that most in the church would find hard to accept, but the Bible nowhere tells us that this can’t or doesn’t occur. So no believer has any right to automatically dismiss such occurrences and say that “the Bible doesn’t support such strange behavior in our times.” True, but it neither says that it DOESN’T occur either. But we know that satanic activity is alive and well for sure. Demonic possession/(unbelievers mistake this for alien abductions) does occur in our modern world in more different, subtle/less obvious ways.
Finally, I also stated (while quoting the author involved therein) the following—
Additionally, Jason Mclean notes that such demonic possession, as described above, would cease when the victims would call upon the name of Jesus. In his book, he writes that “The CE4 Research Group has recorded over 400 cases of individuals who were experiencing abductions and “alien” contacts only to have them ended by calling on the name of Jesus, and this group is by no means alone or unique.” Why is that? Because demons are afraid of God; we know why that is.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Even if those people who cried out to God for help because of the torture they were undergoing never got saved, I doubt it makes any difference to the demons. Just mentioning the name “Jesus” or “God,” in my opinion, is enough to scare away all satanic forces, regardless of whether the person had a salvation experience or not. Fallen angels are terrified of Jesus Christ!
Hopefully, all this explains the statement I made above. The best thing for believers to do is acknowledge the spiritual realities around them so that these things do not shock us (as they will do to many during the tribulation) and cause many to turn away from the faith. After we acknowledge them, we can move on and worry about them no longer as if they weren’t even there. As mentioned in the paper in the link above, many unbelievers (including apostates) will undoubtedly fall for the lie that the beast, false prophet, and all the world’s possibly half-human, half demonic world leaders alive at that time (during the tribulation) are extraterrestrial. As Servants of God, we know better than to fall for rubbish like this. Our job is to focus on and complete the mission Christ has assigned us to accomplish through spiritual growth, progress, and production. As followers of Christ, we know what we need to do.