What is an Absalom spirit?

Absalom spirit
Question: "What is an Absalom spirit?"

Answer:
The existence of a “spirit of Absalom,” or an “Absalom spirit,” is a concept tied to certain views of demonic oppression. In some versions of the Charismatic faith, demons are considered to be the cause of almost every malady, particularly spiritual ones. So-called deliverance ministries claim the ability to exorcise those evil spirits, thereby removing those problems. In order to develop this tangled mythology, vague references from the Bible are inflated into grand ideas about the spiritual world.

An Absalom spirit is named for Absalom, the third son of David, who built an open rebellion against his father. Those who believe in a vast array of oppressive demons apply the label “the spirit of Absalom” to temptations such as defiance of spiritual authority, forming cliques within a church, or a lack of proper submission. Others blame the “Absalom spirit” for gossip, criticism of a pastor, or church divisions. Still other views ascribe flattery, false humility, or hunger for power to this specific demonic presence.

Of course, since the idea of an Absalom spirit is based mostly on speculation, with very little truth, it comes with a confusing range of interpretations. Two people who believe in an “Absalom spirit” might have identical or entirely contradictory views of what it does and how it operates. The same traits blamed on a “spirit of Absalom” are often associated with other demons, assigned names such as Ahab, Leviathan, Jezebel, and Delilah.

Scripture gives no reason to think there is a demonic entity named “Absalom” or that Christians have the power to identify it or rebuke it. Nowhere does the Bible imply that there are “specialty” demons responsible for specific sins or attitudes, and the Bible does not mention a category of evil spirit corresponding to the historical Absalom. The teaching of an “Absalom spirit” goes well beyond what the Bible says.

Demonic oppression and possession do occur. But whether or not a demonic presence is affecting someone, inventing a jumbled folklore of demons and spirits is unhelpful. Prayer, discipleship, and obedience to God are the only meaningful answers to spiritual problems.

Recommended Resource: Angels: Elect & Evil by C. Fred Dickason

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