“Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house ...” (Matthew 12:29)

“Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.” (Matthew 12:29)

What does the parable of the strong man's house mean?

Here Jesus confirms his previous statement regarding 'driving out demons' with a parable. What does it mean?

Jesus was speaking of the soul being in control of a person's physical body. One may also infer the idea of another soul intruding into the physical body and possessing it. But this is a very rare occurrence. The most common situation is where the person - the 'soul' or 'spirit-person' simply loses their grip on the physical body.

This effectively allows the physical body and the physical impulses that push and pull the body around - to have more control than the inner person has over the body.

This comes from the notion that the whims of the physical body are often animalistic - driven towards the basic needs and impulses of the body. These are eating, sleeping, mating and defending. When these tendencies are not in any way controlled by the spirit-person within, this situation has been identified with evil or the demoniac.

For example, the word "demon" comes from the Greek word δαιμόνιον (daimonion). This word can describe someone who suffers from a physical or mental disorder. People from ancient times often referred to illnesses as demons. The idea was that someone or something has taken some control over the body.

And surely, being severely ill can feel the illness - the virus or bacterial infection - has taken a hold on the body and the soul has lost some of its control.

What is the 'house' and the 'strong man'?

The "house" in the parable refers to the physical body.

The "strong man" is the living being - the spirit-person who is occupying that physical body.

Each of us is a spirit-person, and each of us is temporarily occupying our physical body much as a driver occupies and drives an automobile. Jesus is describing this spirit-person as a "strong man" because in a healthy situation, the inner person - the spirit-person - has a firm grasp of the physical body due to our identification with it.

The "anyone" in Jesus' parable is referring to any physical influence, whether it be a destructive relative, a schoolyard bully, or an individual within the more subtle dimension who could be exerting some undue influence upon the physical mind and body.

How long can this influence last?

The soul is only within a physical body for a few decades. Sometimes a soul must leave the body at any time, however. There might be an accident or illness that removes the soul from the body during childhood.

In the same way, an outside influence upon a body is also temporary. It might remain for decades, or be around for a day or two.

Such an influence can take place under several scenarios. It can take place should the body fall ill with an infection. It can take place with depression. It can take place when a person is under severe stress.

One of the likeliest scenarios is during intoxication. During intoxication, the spirit-person's neurological grasp of the physical body is weakened. This is illustrated by the loss of balance, perception and other physical signs of intoxication.

In such an intoxicated state, the soul's grip on the body becomes loosened, allowing an outside spirit-person to become an influence. This is why drunk people sometimes change personalities.

But possession is an untypical situation. What is more common is simply becoming overly influenced: The influence of the material world and its trappings. Or the influence of an entity from another world. Such an influence does not typically take place on a permanent basis. After all, each of us given a particular physical body. It is not as though everyone is constantly trying to push their way in.

But should the soul want out of that body in the form of intoxication or be gripped by illness, they can lose some control over the body.

This loss of control can also take place during a major illness, a severe depression, anxiety and other severe mental states whereby the soul within seeks to withdraw from the physical body. Often this will also accompany drugs as well - which produces intoxication and withdrawal of some grasp the person has over the body.

As discussed previously, the facility for removing such barriers often requires the participation of the Supreme Being and His messenger. God's Holy Names can help facilitate the disengagement of materialistic attachments.