Can children be possessed by a demon?
There are occasional cases in the news where a possession seems to be a central focus, or there exists a problem with a child or youth that medicine or psychology cannot solve. So the question was asked. Clearly, every tantrum a two year old throws isn’t a demonically inspired rant. Often, medicine or therapy can aid the child who is exhibiting symptoms of uncontrollable behavior, and demonic possession is not indicated. But cases where a spiritual problem is the root cause do happen and as John MacArthur says below, "I think much more common in the world today than we understand or the demons want us to understand.”
People are fascinated with the demonic. I was riveted when I read the scene with Jesus and the Gadarene demoniac. (Mark 5, Luke 8, Matthew 8). Just as we are fascinated with the physics and biology of how the Holy Spirit indwells Christians, we are equally fascinated with how it works when a non-believer has a demon inside him. We love to get glimpses of the other side, of the heavenly glories and also of the demonic.
MacArthur preached a sermon called Jesus’ authority over demons, and in it he stated, “And as I said last time, the victims of demon possession are not necessarily the most evil people, sometimes children were possessed, as we shall see in the New Testament. And they’re not to be confused with people who somehow aren’t functioning normally, mentally, because every time Jesus confronted a demon, the conversation was always comprehensible and rational cause you’re dealing with a rational being in dealing with a demon. Somebody who is completely spaced out, flipped out, incomprehensible, talking double talk, nonsense is…you’re probably not engaging a demon.”
In the scenes in the bible where a demon is present, whether inside a human or as a spirit, we see that they are vocal. In 1 Kings 22:19-23, a lying spirit came forward when God inquired of them how Ahab should be brought to the fullness of his iniquity. The lying spirit spoke aloud and had a rational conversation with God. You often find that when the demons speak, they are rational, lucid. The slave girl following Paul around had a spirit of divination in her and she kept shouting, “These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” (Acts 16:14-21). Not wanting satan’s publicity, Paul commanded the demon to come out of her, and it did that very moment. But she was shouting rationally, and what she was shouting was true.
This picture is a fictional representation of a possessed child walking on the ceiling.