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What the Bible Says about Affliction

Chronic, Unexplained Sickness: What the Bible Says about Affliction

By Betty Miller

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Betty Miller on Affliction

There are countless examples of people who have gone to their doctors with physical symptoms of unknown origin which hear something to the effect, “All your tests are normal, we can’t seem to find anything wrong,” the proverbial “It’s all in your head.” Estimates of primary care consultations with medically unexplained symptoms range from 15 to 66 percent.  We have also had countless people who have come to us and shared how they have had one person after another praying for them and nothing has helped.  Many wonder if they are being attacked by demons.

Demons Can Cause Sickness

Sometimes an evil spirit is not the problem and the person may need healing instead.  In other cases this works vice versa where people have been prayed over and over for healing to no avail because they need a demon cast out first which is causing the sickness.

And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.  And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.  Luke 13:11-13

This woman responded and straightened up when the spirit of infirmity left her.  In Luke 13:16 Jesus also states, in reply to the ruler of the synagogue’s criticism of healing on the Sabbath, “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” Here we can see that Satan had her bound and that the sickness was from him. Jesus came to set the captives free, and many were delivered from satanic powers of darkness.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, Luke 4:18

Today, the Lord is still sending forth the gospel to the poor in virtually every country. He does not want to stop with just “half” the gospel preached but desires that the concurrent messages of salvation, deliverance and healing be preached and administered. The full gospel message is needed desperately today, just as it was needed then. Human hearts have not changed, demons have not changed and God has not changed. God is healing and delivering all today who come to Him in faith, just as He did then. The only difference is that Jesus was limited to a physical body then, but now He comes in the person of the Holy Spirit and all who have the Holy Spirit have access to His power.  The gift of discerning of spirits (2 Corinthians 12:10) is provided by the Lord to aid in setting people free from evil spirits.  God has set members in the body of Christ who have been given this gift.  Praise God!

But how do these demons gain access to attack our bodies.  Demons need an entry point.  Demons cannot just enter people any time they want.  They need a legal opening to do so.  In order to be set free and remain free it is important to understand what it was that gave them the legal right to afflict your body.

Generational Chains of Iniquity

Some people suffer under a curse that has come down upon them, not as a direct result of their own involvement in evil but because their parents or grandparents were partakers in such things.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me…Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;  And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.  Exodus 20:3, 5-6

Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is his name,  Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings: Jeremiah 32:18-19

From these verses we see that a “chain of iniquity” comes down upon us from our forefathers who have sinned. On the positive side, we receive unmerited blessings if our fathers obeyed and walked in the Lord’s ways. We see this on a national scale; the United States has reaped the blessings that our forefathers procured by faith and prayer. Many are not living for God today, yet are blessed with freedom and safety because of God’s promise to show mercy to thousands. We see the opposite of this in foreign lands where the people worship heathen gods and idols and where the curses of poverty, sickness, filth and ignorance are rampant.  Even so in our personal lives we inherit the blessing or the curse, dependent upon our parents’ relationship with God.

Timothy in the New Testament received the blessing of faith from his mother and grandmother because they were devoted Christians. When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also (2 Timothy 1:5).

Some children are born under a generational curse (Exodus 20:3-5) and have demons that cause their erratic behavior. Parents are in ignorance as to why some children beat their heads on the floor in rages, scream and yell uncontrollably, bite themselves, or have continual nightmares.  Many children do have demons and need to be set free. There is an account of this in Mark 9:20-21, And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him?  And he said, Of a child.

Demons can attack with no sin involved on the victims’ part as in the case of children. The sins of the fathers bring a curse, and there is a “chain of iniquity” that needs to be broken.  Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments (Exodus 20:5-6).  Additional Scripture talking about the “chains of iniquity” is found in Jeremiah 32:18, Thou showest loving-kindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them; the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is his name.  Also Jeremiah 16:19 and Isaiah 14:20-22 show how we can inherit spiritual curses because of our father’s or ancestor’s evil deeds.

We do not have a problem understanding how we inherit physical and emotional traits from our parents and grandparents, but some people cannot believe we inherit spiritual traits although the Word teaches otherwise. In the natural, if a father should have weak kidneys, many times the children will have this same problem.  If the parents are highly nervous and fearful, the children will, many times, have these same characteristics. Should a parent have an addictive personality, the children can inherit that trait also. Spiritually we encounter the same kind of situation. As a child of God, we do not have to keep those things that are detrimental to our lives, because we have a new Father. We now can receive the Heavenly Father’s traits, His healings and His blessings.

We no longer inherit the curse. We must, however, appropriate the blessings. They are not automatic. We should ask the Lord in prayer to break every “chain of iniquity” over our lives and disinherit the evil things from our earthly parents so as to receive the blessings promised to those that love God.

Sins of Commission

The “chain of iniquity” is not the only kind of curse that must be overcome. There are times when curses are spoken against people by those who practice witchcraft. As children of God we need not be afraid of these affecting us since Satan has no power to bring evil upon us unless we are practicing sin and are living out of the will of God. Those, however, who are outside of Christ and His protection, can suffer terrible effects from these evil practices.  A satanic curse is designed as a stumbling block to cause Christians to fall, thus leading to their destruction.  False prophets, sorcerers, witches and other emissaries of the devil cast spells and place curses on people. This was spoken of in the Bible as we are told of their diabolical ways.

Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 2 Peter 2:14-17

In this Scripture we see that unstable souls and those who have forsaken following the Lord are affected by a curse pronounced against them.

Balaam was the son of a soothsayer (one who practices witchcraft, Joshua 13:22). God hates this practice now as much as He did then. Balaam began as a prophet of God but ended up as a false prophet. One of the reasons was probably because of the chain of iniquity from his father’s participation in witchcraft. Balaam yielded to sin and false doctrine (Numbers 22, 23, 24, & 31:16).

Demons are invited in by persons who yield to sin continually, or are involved in activities that have a satanic nature behind it like listening to rock musicKnow ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness (Romans 6:16)?  Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin (John 8:34).  The demon personality is compatible with the particular sin the person is entertaining.  Demons drive and compel people towards the same evil things and they find they cannot stop doing it freely.  One of the areas where many people are most conscious of this is in the area of sexual lust often beginning with what seems harmless such as pornography or x-rated movies.  Unfortunately we have heard of cases where this so called “harmless” activity lead to adultery, child sexual abuse, homosexuality, involvement with prostitution and sex trafficking, and even death when people have been afflicted with AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases.    If the Lord is not sought to set the person free, one demon will invite others and the person will be possessed, even as Mary Magdalene was with seven demons.  And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, our of whom went seven devils (Luke 8:2).

Idols and Cursed Objects

Any object associated with idolatry can bring demons into a person’s life.  Some of these items could be objects that were used in cult and occult practices, whether purchased by yourself, by someone else, or handed down.  These objects represent Satan and therefore we need to cleanse our home of them.  We can unknowingly have ornamental objects, books or ornaments (idols) that pertain to false religions, cults, the occult and anything pertaining to Satan’s kingdom, CD’s, records, books, etc in our homes that we are not aware of that can bring in a curse and open the door to demonic attacks.  We are commanded to have nothing to do with these kind of things in Scripture.  Deuteronomy 7:25-26 states, “The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an  abomination to the Lord thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an  abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but  thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.”

Many Christians have brought idols and other works of evil into their homes without realizing the harm and curse that also comes in with them. Idols or statues that others use for worship are specifically forbidden in Scripture.  Statues of Buddha are one of the most common idols seen in homes. Satan has deceived people by presenting these as decorator items. Objects such as these should be burned or destroyed, for they open lives up to Satanic bondage and attack.  More details concerning this topic can be read in our article What the Bible Says about Spiritually Cleansing Your Home.

Sins of Omission

Sins of omission are the main reason that demons get into or back into Christians.  James 4:17 says, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”  A sin of omission is a sin that is the result of not doing something God’s Word teaches that we should do.  Many Christians believe that once they are saved there is nothing else they need to do, reasoning that we are not saved by works, but by grace.  It is true that we cannot work our way to heaven, but because we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, we will have good works – not to be saved, but because we are saved.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).  Our lives are to bring Him glory.   We are suppose to be filled and submitted to the Holy Spirit at all times, and to seek the face of God (James 4:7).  We are supposed to be vigilant to pray (Ephesians 6:18).  We should be casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5).  When we are not doing this, we are living contrary to The Will of God, and Satan knows it.

Demons return to empty vessels.  The demon says, “I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.”  Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation (Matthew 12:44-45).  Demons can only get back in when we are not doing what we are supposed to be doing.  Paul admonishes in Ephesians 4:27 not to give place to the devil.  We give place to the devil, when the first motions of sin are not grievous to our souls; when we consent to them; and when we repeat an evil deed. This teaches that as sin, if yielded unto, lets in the devil upon us, we are to resist it, keeping from all appearance of evil.   The accuser of the brethren takes great delight in slandering and reproaching the saints; he especially takes great delight through an unbecoming conversation, by lying and sinful anger, or by other means.


Many of us have been deeply offended by something or someone in our past. That offense was real and should not be taken lightly. But at some point, without total true forgiveness they are going to be opened up to demons.  This is a good example of how one demon can bring with it many others; the spirit of offense is often accompanied with the spirits of resentment, rejection, anger, hatred and bitterness.  The Greek word for offend comes from the word skand which originally referred to the part of the trap to which the bait was attached.  That word signifies laying a trap in someone’s way.  The Bible reminds us that people we are close to or spend time with can offend us deeply.  The most common way we set ourselves up for offense is by setting unrealistic expectations.  Christians who have been hurt by pastors or spiritual leaders are especially vulnerable.  If this applies to you, for your own sake, forgive them, pray for them, and avoid speaking evil of them.  Although we are not told what the offense was in the story of Nabal in 1 Samuel 25, we see that we can have money, family, spiritual connections, and even people behind the scenes helping us out without us knowing it, and none of it will bring us peace as long as we are holding onto the offense.  Some physicians have even linked some types of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis to bitterness and resentment in the soul.  Many people have been healed and received answers to prayer after releasing offenses.

Sudden Shocks, Traumas and Crises

Demons can also enter when the person’s will is weakened and he is overpowered by the devil. This happens many times when a person goes through a terrible shock or experiences an incident that produces extreme fear.  These types of traumatic events open the door for a spirit of fear to enter in and that demon may have a stronghold for years afterwards.  Accident victims who are knocked unconscious due to blows on the head often are subject to demon invasion. Addicts and alcoholics eventually have demons as the drugs and alcohol suppress their wills leaving them open for attack.

Becoming Set Free

Many people desire to be free, yet continue to find themselves in bondage. Recognizing the need for deliverance is the first step to freedom. Before coming to Christ, man takes all kinds of things into his heart and spirit and one of the first works of the Holy Spirit is to begin cleaning his “spiritual house.”

A beautiful “type” of this is the incident of Jesus cleansing the temple that had been defiled by those who were wicked.

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.  Matthew 21:12-13

We are now the temple of God and when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, He begins the same process of “casting out” those things that offend Him.  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people (2 Corinthians 6:16).

This cleansing process sometimes happens automatically at the time of salvation simply due to God’s grace and our ignorance of demons even existing. However, some do not continue to walk in the freedom of God’s Spirit and therefore fall back into the world. All their old habits return to haunt them. They then try to get the victory, but find something is controlling them that is stronger than their wills. They have given place to the devil.  Ephesians 4:22-32 warns us not to give in to the “old man” thus giving place to the devil.

Symptoms of Demonic Activity

There are three main identifying marks of evil spirits. They enslave, they defile and they torment. If a person has renounced evil and committed his life to Christ but still has not found peace, the problem is very likely due to the influence of evil spirits. The sooner one recognizes this evil force and accepts God’s way of being freed, the sooner he can go on to a normal, happy life.

Demonic activity in a person’s life can manifest through the following symptoms: an uncontrollable temper, excesses of any kind, addictions to food, alcohol, tobacco, pills, drugs, rock music, obsessive urges, homosexuality, perverted sex acts, oral sex, masturbation, prostitution, evil imaginings, vile thoughts on sex, sadistic mental pictures, incest, child abuse, rape, murder, suicide, tormenting fears, terror, nightmares, insomnia, sleepwalking, talking in one’s sleep, bed wetting, extreme shyness, grinding of teeth, unusual weakness, hyperactivity, intellectual memory amplified, loss of memory, insanity, low I.Q.s, extremely high I.Q.s, unrelieved grief, continual strife, materialism, impotency, frigidity, manias and phobias of every kind. Unclean spirits of infirmity attack the body and can manifest as tumors, cancers, crippling diseases, arthritis, blindness, ulcers, migraine headaches, hay fever, asthma, allergies, epilepsy, heart problems, fevers and many other torturous diseases. Records of such cases are spoken of in the New Testament. By casting out the demons the people were freed.  Matthew 17:14-15 and 18 records a case of a boy delivered from insanity.

And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water…And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.  Matthew 17:14-15, 18

Mark 3:10-11 tells of others being set free.  “For he had healed many; insomuch that they pressed upon him for to touch him, as many as had plagues.  And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God.”  Deaf and dumb mutes can be delivered as this is from an evil spirit also.  “When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him” (Mark 9:25). Another account of Jesus bringing healing by casting out devils is found in Matthew 12:22-30.

Seducing spirits are usually the spirits that influence those involved in false religions, cults and the occult. These deceiving and witchcraft spirits manifest as religious spirits and can even counterfeit the true gifts of God. They also manifest in strange supernatural happenings, such as weird sights, sounds and smells. People have been visited by apparitions (ghosts), demons impersonating dead people or U.F.O. visitors when these demons are in operation.  These visits usually happen as a direct result of involvement in cultic or occult practices. We are warned about these doctrines of devils. Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils (1Timothy 4:1).  To be free from the curse that comes upon those involved in such things, one needs to seek God for deliverance.

Prior to or in conjunction with unexplained illness or sickness can also be other signs that demons are attacking.  They can bring deep confusion, inability to read the Word of God without falling asleep or confusion, inability to stay awake in church, inability to hear God’s voice, losing interest in attending church and reading God’s Word, oppression, heaviness, inability to develop a prayer life, unexplained pain, unexplained fears, obsession, night torment or terror, tormenting thoughts, bad dreams, suspicion, inability to focus, out of body experiences, inability to sleep, impatience, doubt and unbelief.

The need for deliverance in Christians is common and should not be viewed as freakish or out of the ordinary.  Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, great emphasis was placed upon casting out demons.  He not only personally freed people from demons, but He commissioned His followers to do likewise and gave them the authority to use His name to achieve this miracle.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.  And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.  And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.  And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.  And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.  Mark 1:22-27

After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come…And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.  Luke 10:1,17

The problem of demons was a common one and Jesus dealt with it continually in His ministry.  And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him (Mark 1:34).

We find accounts of this same ministry in the lives of Peter, Paul and Philip.

And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.  And there was great joy in that city.  Acts 8:6-8

There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.  Acts 5:16

These people that were coming to Philip for deliverance were spoken of as “giving heed to the things he spoke.” We know Philip was an evangelist so he was speaking the salvation message and many of these people had to be saved if they were obeying what he preached. Therefore, they were Christians who needed deliverance.

If you feel you are afflicted by demonic attacks, it would be advisable to seek the counsel of a pastor of a spirit filled Christ centered church involved in the deliverance ministry. Keep in mind that you have power over all demonic principalities in the name of Jesus once you have accepted Christ as your personal Savior and are covered by His blood.

Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name. Luke 10:17

To delve into further details concerning these topics we suggest reading Exposing Satan’s Devices by Betty Miller.  Exposing Satan’s Devices is a spiritual tool chest of the many devices Satan uses to keep people under his lies and deceptions which eventually destroys them.  It is an exposé of Satan and his methods and how to overcome him through spiritual warfare.  As overcomers we have the victory. 

Copyright (c) 2013 – Christ Unlimited Ministries –

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Chains of Iniquity: What the Bible Says about Affliction