This subject is very personal to me, I have mental illness in my family history and it is a very sad situation in anybody’s life. Whenever we think of mental illness, we automatically think about people who have gone mad. We also tend to think about the mentally handicapped, such as someone who is mentally retarded, or has autism, or someone who has aspergers, we as a society are pretty uneducated about mental illness and tend to think about it as some kind of curse or something. Well, as time goes on and as people educate themselves about these different kinds of mental handicaps we see more and more scientific reasons as to why some of these things happen. Remember, all that science is, is man observing creation and studying it. And to some extent I believe we are all scientists. This is not a dis at the scientific community at all, I am just bring this up, because scientific data changes consistently, because people learn more and more just as the Bible says they would in Daniel chapter 12:4. Now, getting back on point, I believe that people who have been blessed with children that have autism for example are really that, blessed. I tell them that I believe that they have one of God’s chosen ones, the reason I say this? Well, because most of the people that I have met with autism are childlike for their entire lives and this makes them special. For to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven you must be childlike. I believe that God blesses us with these kind of people for His purposes in our lives, to show us how to be more childlike. We tend to let life become a huge burden throughout our lifetimes and our attitudes show it, but someone with autism is content and does not worry about the issues of life that we do.
This study is intended to show people how the Bible shows us different situations of mental illness throughout the Scriptures, and some of the reasons behind the mental illness. It is not intended to help anyone diagnose their mental illness or even of how to correctly address mental disorders. It is only to show you that there are even mental disorders recorded in the Word of God (The Holy Bible). God understands everything that we go through and He does filter everything that happens in our lives, even mental illness. I hope that this study will show you how the LORD knows about what is going on in our lives and that He is in complete control of these particular issues that are going on in our lives, that He is concerned and that He can heal even mental disorders. He obviously uses many different ways of doing this, but as you will see in Scripture it is He who is in control, not the Devil. Jesus had authority even over the demons who would possess people and torment them throughout their lifetimes. May the LORD bless you and give you a different perspective about mental illness and show you that He is concerned about our welfare throughout this study and give yourself and those you love a healing touch in the mind, so that we will all be a blessing to each other, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Daniel 4:1-37 NKJV
Nebuchadnezzar the king, To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me. How great are His signs, And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to generation. I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying: “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation. “These were the visions of my head while on my bed: “I was looking, and behold, A tree in the midst of the earth, And its height was great. The tree grew and became strong; Its height reached to the heavens, And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth. Its leaves were lovely, Its fruit abundant, And in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, The birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches, And all flesh was fed from it. “I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. He cried aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, And the birds from its branches. Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, Bound with a band of iron and bronze, In the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, And let him graze with the beasts On the grass of the earth. Let his heart be changed from that of a man, Let him be given the heart of a beast, And let seven times pass over him. ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, And the sentence by the word of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, Gives it to whomever He will, And sets over it the lowest of men.’ “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.” Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies! The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth, whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home- it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth. And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him’; this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.” All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
As you see in this first story, the King had become proud and the LORD struck him with mental illness for seven years. I do not believe that this happens a lot but it still could happen if the LORD chose to do it. But being the gracious God that He is, He restores his mental faculties after the seven year period and He even restored his position of power as the King. But you also notice that the King’s attitude towards the LORD of heaven is totally different, King Nebuchadnezzar I believe is a true believer of God today and probably is even in His presence today. I personally can’t wait to meet him.
Now in this next section you will see a story about two demon possessed men who were living in tombs out in the wilderness, but two of the versions only speak about the one demon possessed man. I believe the reason that we only see the one focused on in the three different stories is because the one man was at the feet of Jesus and the other man was not. So what happened to the other man? We do not know, did he become demon possessed because of whatever he was into in the first place and went back to it again? We are not told what happened with him, but we do know what happened with the one that was still at the feet of Jesus, he was later on testifying of the great things that Jesus did for him. This is another situation of what we would call today mental illness. These men were out of their right minds, they were naked and dangerous, violent and strong, people were frightened of them. I want you to read these three different accounts of the story from three different people’s perspective and notice some of the differences that were recorded for our account. There are no contradictions in the word of God, but there are some different contrasts as you will see right here in these stories.
Matthew 8:28-34 NKJV
When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way. And suddenly they cried out, saying, “What have we to do with You, Jesus, You Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” Now a good way off from them there was a herd of many swine feeding. So the demons begged Him, saying, “If You cast us out, permit us to go away into the herd of swine.” And He said to them, “Go.” So when they had come out, they went into the herd of swine. And suddenly the whole herd of swine ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and perished in the water. Then those who kept them fled; and they went away into the city and told everything, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw Him, they begged Him to depart from their region.
Mark 5:1-20 NKJV
Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore You by God that You do not torment me.” For He said to him, “Come out of the man, unclean spirit!” Then He asked him, “What is your name?” And he answered, saying, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” Also he begged Him earnestly that He would not send them out of the country. Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, “Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.” And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea. So those who fed the swine fled, and they told it in the city and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that had happened. Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. And those who saw it told them how it happened to him who had been demon-possessed, and about the swine. Then they began to plead with Him to depart from their region. And when He got into the boat, he who had been demon-possessed begged Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” And he departed and began to proclaim in Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him; and all marveled.
Luke 8:27-39 NKJV
And when He stepped out on the land, there met Him a certain man from the city who had demons for a long time. And he wore no clothes, nor did he live in a house but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, “What have I to do with You, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!” For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For it had often seized him, and he was kept under guard, bound with chains and shackles; and he broke the bonds and was driven by the demon into the wilderness. Jesus asked him, saying, “What is your name?” And he said, “Legion,” because many demons had entered him. And they begged Him that He would not command them to go out into the abyss. Now a herd of many swine was feeding there on the mountain. So they begged Him that He would permit them to enter them. And He permitted them. Then the demons went out of the man and entered the swine, and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the lake and drowned. When those who fed them saw what had happened, they fled and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what had happened, and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon-possessed was healed. Then the whole multitude of the surrounding region of the Gadarenes asked Him to depart from them, for they were seized with great fear. And He got into the boat and returned. Now the man from whom the demons had departed begged Him that he might be with Him. But Jesus sent him away, saying, “Return to your own house, and tell what great things God has done for you.” And he went his way and proclaimed throughout the whole city what great things Jesus had done for him.
Now that you have read these three different accounts of the same incident, did you notice that only one of the two demon possessed men were at the feet of Jesus, that there was only one man spoken to by Jesus, the one who was at his feet. There was no other interaction written about the other demon possessed man. The one that was at the feet of Jesus was commissioned to go back to where he was from and testify of what Jesus did for him. This testimony was later written down by Mark and shows that he made it into the city of Decapolis and the people marveled. You will also notice that after the demons had been cast out of the man with the unclean spirit named “Legion” that he was sitting and dressed and in his right mind. That Jesus had totally healed him and provided for his needs. Now you will also notice that the people of the towns did not want Jesus around and actually asked him to leave. What a shame for them. But as far as they were concerned, they did not care about the man, but about their profits from the pigs. Now if you do your research on these people, they were descendants of the Jews and they were actually not even supposed to have anything to do with pigs at all. That just goes to show you what these people cared about, money not people. Something else I want to point out to you is that the demons did not want to be tormented but they knew that Jesus had authority over them, but they also knew that it was not the appointed time at the end of the age of mankind. That is when they know that they are going to be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented for all eternity. We do not know what got these men demon possessed but we do know that they were living in a community that rejected Jesus Christ Himself and they were cursed because of it. But remember Jesus Christ went to them, because He knew the heart of the one demon possessed man, that he was truly a child of God, being tormented and it was time to release him of that bondage.
Now these next verses are about a child who had been tormented since childhood and his father heard about Jesus and brought his son to Jesus to be healed. As in the Scriptures that you just read about the demon possessed men that lived in the tombs, you will see that again there are three different versions of the same story. Again you will see some different contrasts that will give us a little more insight about the whole situation. Read these verses carefully and put all of the details together to get the full picture of what happened.
Matthew 17:14-21 NKJV
And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. “So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
Mark 9:14-29 NKJV
And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. “And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. “And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!” Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
Luke 9:37-42 NKJV
Now it happened on the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, that a great multitude met Him. Suddenly a man from the multitude cried out, saying, “Teacher, I implore You, look on my son, for he is my only child. “And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out; it convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and it departs from him with great difficulty, bruising him. “So I implored Your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” And as he was still coming, the demon threw him down and convulsed him. Then Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, healed the child, and gave him back to his father. Another thing that you should have noticed is that the spirit was a deaf and dumb spirit, which means everybody thought that this kid was just deaf and dumb, but Jesus called it an unclean spirit and he told his father that if he believed that the whatever he wanted would happen. Now we know that this man just wanted his son healed. Now I do not believe in the whole name it and claim it doctrine out there, but I do believe my LORD when He tells me that I need to line up with Scripture and pray and believe that my LORD wants to heal people. I have personally seen many miraculous miracles happen right before my eyes including exorcism.
When you read these verses did you catch that this demon could not be cast out even by Jesus’ disciples because they had not prayed and fasted. Jesus Himself said that this kind of demon could only be cast out by prayer and fasting. Obviously this demon was stronger than some of the other demons that his disciples had been casting out. You seen that Jesus was getting a little upset with His disciples, I would say this was probably because Jesus had been showing how to get themselves prepared spiritually for quite a long time by this time in His ministry and they were obviously not getting it. The reason I say this is because in the very next verses after these stories it says that Jesus revealed to his disciples that He was about to be betrayed into the hands of men, which means this was at the end of His earthly ministry. I personally believed if we as the church had great enough faith that we could probably cast out a lot of demons from people who the medical field thinks are mentally ill, but we are too afraid of looking like fools in front of people. The Word of God (The Holy Bible) says that in the end times that it is going to be like the days of Noah, that people are going to be doing what it right in their own eyes and that the hearts of men are going to be evil. I do not know if you are paying attention, but it looks like we are living in those days. Wake up people!!! I would rather look like a fool to people than watch my fellow man be tormented by a demon. Even if I am wrong and they have some other kind of mental illness, what did it hurt to pray over them and cast the demon out. But let me give you a stern warning over doing this also. In this next verse you will see men try to do this that were not Christians, they were not born again believers, they were Jews who thought that they could go out and cast demons out of people in the name of Jesus. And as you read Scripture you will see that the demons knew who Jesus was and they also knew his disciples but they did not know these guys. Another thing that I want to bring up, is that there is nowhere in Scripture that a Christian (A child of God) is ever demon possessed. God is not going to share his house with the Devil, but God will evict the Devil from His house, that is, when God enters into a person that the Devil will no longer be able to take possession of that person again!!!! But we also have to do what Jesus tells us to do and that is sin no more.
Acts 19:13-20 NKJV
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
As you can see the demon did not know these Jewish exorcists and he overpowered them easily. The spiritual world listens to Jesus and His disciples, not to just anyone. So when it comes to casting out spirits you need to know that you are a child of God and that God is with you. For the evil spirits do not just listen to anybody, even spiritual people such as these men appeared to be. They do know who God’s children are and they also know that they have to obey them, because of the authority that they have in Jesus’ name. But as Jesus showed us in the last story, there are different levels of demons with their authority also. But as the Word of God says, “Greater is He in you, than he that is in the world”. Speaking about Jesus being in a child of God and speaking about the god of this world system (Satan). When I say world system, I mean everything that is bad, such as greed, hatred, racism, adultery, etc. I am sure you get the picture.
In this next story you will see how King David used mental sickness to his advantage and how he was faking the whole thing in order to not get killed by his enemies. David was very street smart and he knew how to get out of most situations, this time he chose mental illness, because he knew the people were freaked out by it. He knew that they were afraid of him and that they might show pity to him and let him go, which they did, so sit back and enjoy the story.
1 Samuel 21:10-15 NKJV
Then David arose and fled that day from before Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. And the servants of Achish said to him, “Is this not David the king of the land? Did they not sing of him to one another in dances, saying: ‘Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands’?” Now David took these words to heart, and was very much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. So he changed his behavior before them, feigned madness in their hands, scratched on the doors of the gate, and let his saliva fall down on his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, “Look, you see the man is insane. Why have you brought him to me? “Have I need of madmen, that you have brought this fellow to play the madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”
The King did not want him around, so in the next verses it says that David escapes and let’s face it they probably did not chase him, for they thought that he was crazy and the King did not want him around anyway. So David actually used mental illness to save his life and I personally believe that a lot of people who really have mental illness are truly seeking healing, they just cannot convey their thought processes properly to tell others what is really going on with them. We need to pray for these people and help them as much as possible, not shun them but seek help in their behalf, whether it be spiritual help, medical help or the authorities if they are out of control, we need to be involved with them and help them as much as possible, sometimes that is just getting off of the drugs or getting them medication that helps them mentally. We should seek the proper care for the situation and I believe every family knows what they need to do for their family members and if they do not, then they should seek out their options.
May the LORD Bless You and Your Family and touch and heal all of our loved ones that are affected by these disorders in Jesus’ name, Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!