Can demon spirits inhabit a house or other objects?
The answer is no, they cannot. Now before some of you start disagreeing, let’s look at what the Bible says about demon spirits.
What are demonic spirits?
They are disembodied spirits that seek to inhabit human beings or even animals, but not man-made objects. In Luke 8, when Christ confronted the demons possessing a man, they begged Him to let them enter a herd of swine, not a house. The functional abilities of these spirits seem to be very limited unless they can inhabit a physical body, be it human or animal.
As for the origin of demon spirits, the Bible does not really tell us. Some scholars claim that demon spirits are fallen angels, but the Word of God gives no indication that angels, good or bad, possessed anyone. Others say they are the disembodied spirits of a pre-Adamic creation on this earth that threw in their lot with Lucifer in his rebellion against God. But these are speculations at best; there is not enough scriptural authorization to guarantee these claims.
What we do know is that God did not create demon spirits in their present disembodied, evil state because everything that God creates is good (Gen. 1:31).
What do demon spirits do?
At present, they are allowed to wander about and find their depraved pleasure in tempting men. Demon spirits are full of hatred toward God and envious of man. They find a miserable satisfaction in their attempts to keep men out of those heavenly mansions, which they themselves, through pride, are forever excluded.
Demon spirits help Satan carry out his work of rebellion against God. Jesus said they steal, kill, and destroy, which is their end goal. They seek to inhabit people that they can use to carry out their evil designs.
Do demons have names?
“And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many” (Mark 5:9).
About this conversation, scholars say that Jesus “kept on asking” the name of this demon. Why? Because He knew there were other demons in this man, and Jesus wanted the head demon to admit it. Possibly, the demons were conspiring among themselves that one or more would depart while the others remained, but Christ’s question forestalled these darkened plans. Even though these spirits were liars, they knew it was pointless to lie to Christ, so the head demon told the truth about their infestation.
Like Legion, demon spirits are given descriptive names in the Bible that include spirits of:
Despite their names, all of them are subject to the name of Jesus Christ.
- Bondage (Rom. 8:15)
- Divination (Acts 16:16)
- Foul; dumb and deaf (Mark 9:25)
- Evil (Acts 19:15)
- Infirmity (Luke 13:11)
- Lying (II Chron. 18:21)
- The world (I Cor. 2:12)
- Unclean (Mark 1:26)
Where do demon spirits linger?
“And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country” (Mark 5:10).
In Mark 5, we see how this head demon, Legion, on behalf of the other demons possessing this poor man, preferred to be in this location—the country of the Gadarenes. It is said that Decapolis, of which Gadara was a part, was full of Hellenistic apostate Jews, and therefore loved by demon spirits. Clearly, demon spirits enjoy certain places that have little or no mention of Christ.
Nations of the world that want nothing to do with Christ are also under the sway of demon spirits. As a result, these countries are inflicted with crime, disease, poverty, superstition, and witchcraft. Where Jesus is, demons have to go. Where He is not, demons abound.
Sadly, many churches in America have also put Jesus to the side, quietly, and replaced Him with man’s humanistic ideas. As a result, the spirituality of the United States has dropped significantly, with demon spirits holding greater and greater sway.
We believe fallen angels and demon spirits are fighting ferociously for the soul of America. This is at least one of the reasons that our leaders are doing such foolish and ridiculous things. Meanwhile, the Bible is being thrust out of government life altogether. Every blessing on this nation, from its beginning, is a result of the Word of God, but now we are losing those blessings.
What about haunted houses?
The Bible does not mention anything about demon spirits haunting houses or possessing any other man-made object or structure.
Matthew 12:43 does say this: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.”
In Joseph Benson’s Commentary on Matthew 12, he writes: “‘When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man’—not of his own accord, or willingly, but compelled by one that is stronger than he—‘he walketh’—wanders up and down—‘through dry places’—barren, dreary, desolate; or places not yet watered with the gospel. The words contain a plain allusion to the common notion that evil demons had their haunts in deserts and desolate places.”1
In Matthew 12:44, Jesus tells us what kind of house demon spirits do search for: “Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.”
If not filled with God, such empty spaces—in nations or in people—will be instantly filled with demon spirits. That’s why today we are seeing so much hatred, poverty, racism, starvation, and war.
We do not dispute or discount manifestations of demonic activity that many Christians seem to have experienced in their homes such as mysterious noises or encountering an evil, threatening presence. Such demonic activity is real and designed by the enemy to create fear and draw attention to the powers of darkness.
But we are making the point that demon spirits do not possess houses or man-made objects. These evil spirits will, however, linger in places where there is potential for them to oppress, possess, and plague God’s highest creation.
The spoiling of Satan’s house
In Matthew 12:29, Jesus said, “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.”
Even though Satan is strong, Jesus is much stronger.
In this verse, the part about, “how can one enter into a strong man’s house” tells of Jesus coming to invade Satan’s domain. He had already entered this strong man’s house—Satan’s dominion over mankind—which Jesus would destroy, and there was nothing Satan could do about it.
John said, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8).
The rest of the question in Matthew 12:29, “and spoil his goods,” is about Jesus destroying the stranglehold over individuals by casting out demons or healing the sick—sicknesses caused by the powers of darkness.
As a result of Christ’s victory, any believer who is Spirit-filled can use the name of Jesus to cast out demons; believers do not have to have any special calling or gift to do so.
The apostle Paul demonstrates this for us when he casts out a spirit of divination: “But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour” (Acts 16:18).
Praise God, every power of darkness, which includes demon spirits, fallen angels, and Satan himself, was defeated at the cross of Calvary.
Paul wrote, “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15).
Christians who find themselves facing the terrible powers of darkness should understand that there is only one thing that can defeat these powers—the name of Jesus according to what He did at the cross.
Jesus said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils” (Mark 16:17). Praise the name of the Lord!
1. Benson, Joseph. “Commentary on Matthew 12”. Joseph Benson’s