In the writing of the articles on this topic I am reminded of many incidents where I had a clear encounter with spiritual forces of darkness. One such incident stands out when I had just finished translating Harry Ebbe, an old Dutch Preacher friend of mine during a Sunday service in the large Church in Amsterdam I mentioned earlier. Harry was then already in his mid-seventies. He came to the faith in one of the famous Gospel Miracle Crusades with T.L. Osborne on the Maai-field, Den Haag, The Netherlands in 1958 known as “the Holland Wonder”.
Those crusades drew crowds exceeding 100,000 people in a single service. Harry was one of the very few preachers I knew on whom I could always see the light of God’s presence. He always had this amazing light on him. This has to do with operating in the spiritual gift of discernment of the spirits.
(1 Corinthians 12:10)
This gift is one of the operations and influences of the Holy Spirit in us by which we can perceive impressions of the spiritual realm to be able to determine when something is of God or when it is of the darkness or even when it is just people’s own emotions and extreme behavior. For some reason, this gift always works extraordinarily strong in me. For people who have this gift working in them it is crucial that they are established in the Gospel truth to understand what it is that is happening to them so they can process it correctly. It is certainly not cool for someone who does not know what is happening to them if they get impressions from the spiritual realm of the presence of some evil spirit.
I am not a psychiatrist but sometimes I think that some people who are sensitive for these things and have experiences without a good foundation in Gospel truth could be tempted to question their own sanity. However, remember that if the Holy Spirit is working in you, it always comes with a sense of peace and a knowing that this is His work in you.
Through the gift of discerning of the spirits, I could see light on and around people, and I could equally see darkness on and around people. I could sometimes also see spirits, whether that be angelic beings or demonic entities. As Harry and I came out of the service, we walked into the large meeting hall next door when there was a young man there on his knees, praying loud, almost screaming, and begging God to help him get free from his anger. The young man looked like he was really suffering mental and emotional torment. He saw Harry and jumped up and ran towards him and asked him if he could help him by praying for him. Harry then calmly smiled, as he would do. His calm and understanding manner would always instill confidence. He said to the young man, “but of course my boy, I will help you get free”. The young man was anxious and looked afraid. But Harry was not in the least bit intimidated by the presence of something evil that could clearly be felt.
Harry then said to him: “say this after me, Father thank you that you love me”. The young man keenly repeated every word Harry said. “Thank you, Jesus, that you forgave me of all my sins”, “Lord I don’t want this evil spirit, I don’t want this anger”, “I want it out of my life”, “I want it to go now”. And as the young man repeated everything, truly meaning what he said, Harry put his hand on the young man’s forehead and looked over the young man’s head with a gaze as though he could see what was troubling him, when he spoke with authority and said: “In the name of Jesus, I command this evil spirit to go, now!” He then said the young man’s name out loud, looking him straight in the eye and said, “In Jesus name, I set you free, now!” As I watched, the moment Harry said; “In Jesus name, I set you free, now!”
I saw into the spiritual realm and I could clearly see something that looked to me like an ancient samurai swordsman about seven feet tall and big with full armor on.
The instance Harry said “I set you free” there was a tangible mighty but invisible power, I could not see it, but it catapulted the samurai swordsman far from the young man behind him through the wall and it was gone. The wall was about one hundred feet behind the young man. I could see that Samurai spirit shot through the hall backwards instantly. It all happened in a split second. Then the young man’s face lit up and he became calm and relaxed and began to cry, and said “it is gone”.
This may be the point where some people might struggle with the validity of incidents like this. I get that. Nevertheless, I can tell you story after story of similar nature. Each one confirming one and the same overlapping truth. People can be influenced by a spirit and they can be set free by the power of God. The common denominator with all these people is that they must at least want to be free. There is much to be said for that. I agree that there are many cases where the mental health of a person has deteriorated to a point where the mental instability may have inhibited the ability of the person to make sound decisions. However, it must clearly be said that not everyone who struggles with anxiety, depression, or any mental illness is affected by an evil spirit.
Please allow me to present an especially important principle here.
The truth people accept will set them free. People in a service listening to a message of Gospel truth about a particular topic will set them free from the lack of knowledge and pre-conceived ideas about that topic. If there was an evil spirit involved in deceiving a person about that topic, accepting and believing the truth will have set them free from the influence of that spirit just like that.
John 8 King James Version (KJV)
32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Getting delivered from the influence of an evil spirit by revelation of the truth can easily happen without even praying for them. I believe that true deliverance happens on mass scale just by teaching the Gospel truth. There are cases where an individual may need some assistance like in the case of the young man. However, unlike the early days of the “spiritual warfare” and “deliverance” movement back in the 80’s and early 90’s, we should never assume that when a person suffers with a severe emotional problem that there are always evil spirits involved.
Severe emotional problems can potentially become an attractive opportunity for an evil spirit. But like I stated earlier evil spirits are only opportunists. They have no legal right to affect anyone.
Here is the question of questions, which has had many Christians rattled over the years, arguing between either possession and or oppression by the devil.
Can Christians be possessed by the devil?
In almost all cases in the synoptic Gospels, where mention is made of people being possessed of the devil, and the King James Version literally often uses the word “devil”, it should actually be the word demon, or unclean spirit, not the word devil. Let me also be clear that it is irrelevant what kind of evil spirit could be involved. There is no benefit to asking the spirit’s name. In fact, the less attention you give to its presence the better. Why strike up a conversation with an evil spirit? It needs to go!
The New Testament terms, “demon possessed” comes from the Greek daimonizomai, and the terms “with an unclean spirit”, comes from the Greek, en pneumati akathartō, and “having a demon” from the Greek echōn daimonian. Can someone literally be possessed like in the Exorcist movie of 1973 and as is featured in the many other films that followed? I think people’s ideas of “demon possession” tends toward the extreme.
The dictionary word for possession is – the act of having or taking into control, or control or occupancy of property without regard to ownership, and ownership. So, lets explore that for a bit. The devil or demons do not own people. Christ redeemed all and we were bought with a price. We are not our own, we belong to Christ.
1 Corinthians 6 King James Version (KJV)
19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
If we are Christ’s property and if He owns us, then obviously the devil or demons could never literally posses or own any of us. Now if Christ redeemed all of humanity then that means He is the rightful owner of everyone, and the devil or demons could never legally take ownership of any person.
Can a demon literally occupy the mind and body of a person? I think this is the golden question for many, but it is a wrong question, which can only render half answers.
Here is something to consider. When a demon is commanded in the name of Jesus to leave a person, is there a difference between leaving that person from inside their body or from leaving them alone and ceasing their efforts to influence them? The exorcist movie example is also a very extreme example, and I believe designed to sensationalize and create fear in people by exaggerating a demon’s ability to control a person.
Is there a difference between a demon and an evil spirit? Well, I have read many studies on this, but I have not come across anything conclusive. I do not know that there is a difference, and so far, the Lord has not shown me that there is a difference. I’m inclined to agree that evil spirits and demons are the same thing. The book of Enoch, which was rejected from the Biblical canon in the third century, describes the Fallen angels as the Watchers. They took for themselves women and their offspring were the giants known as the Nephilim. When those giants died their spirits were doomed to roam the earth as demons. I will spend time on the book of Enoch in another study. It is noteworthy to mention here that Jesus Himself and the Apostles quoted Enoch repeatedly. However, demons or evil spirits, it makes no difference, they all have to submit to Jesus the King of Kings and that’s what really matters.
In many cultures where pagan beliefs are practiced it is considered part and parcel of the ritual when someone is possessed by a spirit. An easy quick example is the Voodoo widely practiced in Haiti. To the people there, Voodoo, also called Voudon, is part of their culture and religion. It is a mixture of Roman Catholicism and West-African traditions, ancestral worship, working with the universal energy and the elements of nature.
In voudon, possession by a spirit, also called a loa, seems to be a desired experience. In a ceremony guided by a priest or priestess, this possession is considered a valuable, first-hand spiritual experience and connection with the spirit world. According to Scripture this is certainly not a good thing. If any person partaking in such a ritual is experiencing a spirit/demon influencing* them, it is clearly not of God. Note: I used the word “influencing” rather than “taking up residence in a person”, which is not possible. Paradoxically, a spirit can manifest through a person temporarily, but the spirit/demon can not permanently abide within the individuals spirit. The operation of that spirit/demon occurs through the individuals ether-energy body and then through their mind (often from an un-conscious level) and their physical body.
Yet, my point is that people make their own decisions. People can yield themselves. Never mind the fact that Christ is their true King and He owns them, irrespective of whether they know or believe that truth or not. The Voodoo ritual involves a period of playing special traditional music, creating an energy vortex in the location where the ritual is being held, a sacrifice of usually a chicken or some animal like a goat, and strong liquor for pouring out libations (a drink poured out as an offering to a perceived deity) with the chanting’s and prayers and singing of the people involved. It is only a matter of time until an individual enters a heightened state of trance. It is up to the individual how far they give themselves over to their senses at that time. When they achieve a strong emotional state, desiring to be influenced by a spirit, that state could then easily become the landing base for an evil spirit to begin their influence.
It is of course also possible that person(s) yield themselves to a strong desire for a certain experience to the degree that the power of suggestion is enough for an individual to manifest extreme behavior. They could then consciously show the signs of a possessed person, but it is clearly fake. Or they could be in such a trance to where their strong desire is expressed through the sub conscious mind of that person, but it is still just them doing it. Believe me, if there is an evil spirit present it can usually be discerned quickly. If they are not present it can equally be discerned.
I have repeatedly seen the same principle occur in Christian meetings. Christians who are desperate for a manifestation of God tend to show extreme behaviors in services because they crave a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. What about the thousands if not millions of Christians who claim they were slain in the Spirit when they fell backwards when hands were laid on them? Is it all false? No, certainly not, but many just followed a trend. If falling was assumed to mean that people were touched by God, then who would want to remain standing?
Sometimes we fall by our own doing as we yield to what the Lord is doing in our life’s. That is fine.
Just make sure someone is behind you catching you. Haha.
I have also seen people who were really slain in the Spirit. Man, when you see that, you know it is real. I have seen a guy who fell forward flat on his face a few times. He would be out for a few minutes, and when he woke up, he said he could not remember falling. I was always surprised how he never ended up with a broken nose or something worse.
With regards to the Voodoo rituals, it is fascinating to see how remarkably similar the rituals are compared to that of the people in Aruba, Curaçao, Jamaica, Haiti and other Caribbean islands, South America, West-Africa like the Juju practices in Ghana, Nigeria, Ivory Coast etc. It is all the same except there may be slight variations in style, or the music that is used, the naming of things, but all in all the principles are the same.
When someone is victimized by an evil spirit that does not mean that spirit is there the whole time.
No, at least not discern-able. It usually begins to manifest when the emotional pain of that person is triggered by some event.
Possession or oppression? I would say look at it as influence. When the Bible speaks of people being filled with the Holy Spirit, the word filled really means “influence”. A person can be influenced by an evil spirit but let me tell you that setting someone free from the influence of a demon is easy.
What is harder is helping a person to accept the truth. If someone is stubbornly holding on to a believe that is destroying them, there is almost no point in dealing with the demon. If you were to set that person free from a demon’s influence, but they are not renewing their mind and their beliefs with the Word of God that same demon can just come back and continue to pester them, and the person could end up worse than before. Paradoxically, there can be a strategy where the influence of an evil spirit is momentarily restrained by the power of God, in the name of Jesus, so a person can become more receptive for truth. After they receive revelation of truth they are permanently free from that spirits’ influence.
My advice is to stick to believing and preaching the true Gospel and most people who hear it and believe it, if there were any evil spirits influencing them previously, they will just fall away and leave.
With the practises like Voodoo, (from Haiti), Juju (from Ghana), Bonu Bonu (from Surinam), Dukun (Shaman) and Kebatinan (believe system from Java, Indonesia) when blood sacrifices are made these rituals are based on the idea of “the cutting of a covenant”. You will know that the original idea of a Covenant came from God and has scriptural foundation. Understanding the Biblical covenants is hugely crucial to understanding the Gospel. In the world of dark magic, the occult rituals involving blood sacrifices are only the low copycat attempt of entering a covenant with demonic powers. As you know a covenant is a blood contract where both parties obtain benefits when promises are kept but punishments if the covenant is broken.
A person who was involved in those kinds of occult rituals before, but has now come to the faith of Christ, needs to renew their mind knowing they are a new creation in Christ. They must learn to understand that they died with Christ on the cross and are raised with Him in His New Life. They are not bound to the contract of a covenant with evil unless they want to. Even if that occult covenant has been kept in their family for generations. It makes no difference, it was all based on a lie. They do not owe the devil anything. They do not owe any allegiance to those old demons anymore. They belong to Christ now, and always have done. They just did not know it before.
When that person first begins to follow their faith in Christ, they may experience demonic resistance and attacks. That is only because those spirits want to intimidate that person to discourage them from their path with Christ before they grow established enough in the truth. That person needs to realize that God is with them and that greater is He (Christ) that is in them, than he that is in the world.
It is just a scare tactic, that is all. They hold no authority delegated by God, and they are afraid that you will find out they lost their footing on Earth 2000 years ago when forgiveness was poured out at the cross. They were cast out of the New Heaven and Earth, which is the New Covenant in Christ.
My answer to the golden question?
Because Christ has redeemed us, and our spirit is one with the Lord, it is impossible for a demon or evil spirit to take up residence inside a human being. A person can be influenced by evil spirits but if you can help the person to believe truth and they themselves want to be free, then getting rid of spirits is the easiest part of the process. No need for hours long exorcism and shouting at demons. Command silence upon them and command them to leave. Bind them in the name of Jesus. To bind, means to forbid, and to shut the door to their influence. I will elaborate on this significantly more when I get to the presentation on the „binding and Loosing“ principle, from Rob Bell’s book „Velvet Elvis“.
The devil is not omnipresent
You may have heard it said, “The devil is not omnipresent”. He is not everywhere at the same time geographically. This is true but it is not a complete statement. In our physical world we are subject to the natural laws of gravity, time, and space. I am not a scientist, but I read through some of the works of scientists who have studied the likes of Einstein, who quote the General Relativity Theory: On February 11th, 2016, researchers affiliated with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) reported the detection of gravitational waves. This discovery provides scientists with a new method for exploring the universe. The next step up from this theory is that “gravity of mass holds the time space continuum in place”. Take gravity away and there is no time space continuum.
Aaargh, this is too much for me! Ok my point is that Satan is a spirit, and as such he is not subject to the laws of gravity, of time, and space like we are. God placed limits on what he can do, but he can be in many places geographically by moving through the spiritual realm which is not subject to the laws of gravity, time, and space. Even if he could only be in one geographical location at the time, if he had some strategy, all he needs to do is try and have the media under his control. At least, that’s what I would do if I could and wanted to manipulate the psyche of the masses. Our TV, Radio and Internet media now reach the population on a global scale and could easily become the spearhead of one man’s message. It is a fact recorded in most recent history that there have always been covert government departments studying the science and behavioral psychology of how to effectively manipulate the opinions of the general public through propaganda in media. These studies were deemed a necessary part of the defense programs of the USA, and at the time USSR during the Cold War.
This included alternative techniques and experiments with ESP to explore the potential to spy and to influence hostile nations. The Stargate Project was the 1991 code name for a secret U.S. Army unit established in 1978 at Fort Meade, Maryland, by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and SRI International (a California contractor) to investigate the potential for psychic phenomena in military and domestic intelligence applications. Some of the documents for the STAR GATE project were declassified in 1995 and are now in the public domain, downloadable from the official CIA website.
Here is the main document.
A quick read and a real eye opener. If they run that project for eighteen years that would suggest they had a decent level of success. If they achieved success, do you really think they stopped these type of projects?
One significant example of technology used in media for the purpose of influencing the public that could be highlighted was the Cambridge Analytical scandal in 2017/18. You can watch the documentary called “The Great Hack”. It revealed how Cambridge Analytical harvested massive amount of data from Facebook users. They would then identify the concentration of what they called the persuadable’s on the map of a swing state in the USA during election time. They divided the state into grids, and then target the users with adds until they would become potential voters for a preferred candidate. They were exposed but the technology of collecting data and using it for this purpose has only developed and is likely being used on a much larger scale now. Data is BIG business and the consumers of media and of the internet of things have become the commodities.
Apart from A.I and algorithms, which can easily predict an individuals’ views and choices, there is a huge risk for the potential to use these technologies assisted by psychology with hypnotic embedded suggestions, with brain wave technologies to subliminally affect the subconscious mind of the user of media. The technology is very impressive. It is not so much the data mining that concerns many. Many will say, “I don’t care, because I have nothing to hide”. But I believe the greater harm is done when A.I. technology in algorithms is not just collecting our data, it is studying us. It is learning from us, to the point it knows more about us than we do ourselves. This information then assists the technology to influence people. I find this hugely troublesome.
Mainstream media in USA is 90% owned by no more than six large corporations who are each owned by one person, namely, Summer Redstone, Bob Iger, Jeff Bewkes, Brian L. Roberts, Rupert Murdoch, and Kazuo Hirai. I find that somewhat concerning as well. I guess it will not harm to really keep those six people in prayer and in the name of Jesus, restrict Satan from influencing them.
Media can endorse, establish, and reaffirm a government’s agenda and create the desired narrative.
It can create an all-out propaganda campaign to ostracize select groups of people and views, who express things, which do not fit that narrative. The twentieth century has many examples of totalitarian governments who gradually introduced propaganda through media to divide the dissidents from the rest. They would first be named and shamed. They were described as people who suffered of a slow form of schizophrenia. Eventually it progressed in just locking people up or worse. Do not for one minute assume that this is only happening in some few select countries far away.
The more mainstream media attempts to silence and suppress certain ideas, which are not clear incitements to commit crime or endorse hatred, but just views and ideas of others which might challenge the status quo, the more they make themselves look questionable and their motives to be suspicious.
It is human nature to talk those down who disagree with us. At first the silencing and suppression of other people’s views may all appear very innocent, but it is only subtle for those who are not aware of it. For many who practice a healthy amount of critical thinking, and who are willing to review all viewpoints, a bias narrative could seem blatant and openly and consistently propagated 24/7 on TV, News, and all media platforms.
Just a quick refresher:
Human Rights Act
Article 10 protects your right to hold your own opinions and to express them freely without government interference.
This includes the right to express your views aloud (for example through public protest and demonstrations) or through: published articles, books or leaflets, television or radio broadcasting, works of art, the internet and social media.
The law also protects your freedom to receive information from other people by, for example, being part of an audience or reading a magazine.
Are there any restrictions to this right?
Although you have freedom of expression, you also have a duty to behave responsibly and to respect other people’s rights.
Public authorities may restrict this right if they can show that their action is lawful, necessary and proportionate in order to: protect national security, territorial integrity (the borders of the state) or public safety, prevent disorder or crime, protect health or morals, protect the rights and reputations of other people, prevent the disclosure of information received in confidence, maintain the authority and impartiality of judges.
An authority may be allowed to restrict your freedom of expression if, for example, you express views that encourage racial or religious hatred.
When media is used to subliminally manipulate the publics views and opinion then media has become weaponised to promote their agenda at the exclusion of other sound views.
We know that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
So we are called upon to pray in such a way that if media was under influence of satanic forces our prayer can effectively restrict that influence. Oh, I know that sounds almost impossible. Good, because what is impossible with man is possible with God. In the name of Jesus, I bind the devil and every evil spirit that has sought to use people in the media around the world to push their influence upon the population. I command silence upon them, I shut the door to them. They have no right to do this. I declare the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all people who work in the TV, and Internet Media networks everywhere in every nation. That’s a lot of people, yet God is a BIG God, He can handle it.
Is it really our responsibility to pray and bind the influence of evil spirits somewhere far from us geographically?
We never really see any of the Apostles pray or intercede for problems that would occur halfway around the world in their day. But that was because they would not know about it unless by some revelation. The Apostle Paul instructed us to pray for those in authority. That means he must have prayed for the Emperor of the Roman empire at the time. You might say, “well that did not stop the Neronic persecution”. No, it did not, but imagine what could have happened if they didn’t pray at all for those in leadership. It’s a bit like those who say, “Pat, you exercise everyday, but you still have a bit of a winter belly, what’s the point in all that exercise?” My answer to them is “imagine what my belly would look like if I didn’t exercise? haha”.
1 Timothy 2 King James Version (KJV)
1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
We know about events around the world because we are globally connected through media and internet. If what is happening in another country far away indirectly affects me in someway it becomes my business to pray for that nation, its government, and its people. If you think that praying for all nations of the world is just too big of a task, you are making it too complicated. It is not too hard for God. You do not have to answer your own prayer. He is the one who answers your prayer.
Isaiah 40 King James Version (KJV)
15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.
God can deal with the nations. As you can see, He does not feel overwhelmed. He is not struggling to deal with a nation just because of its size. He needs us to pray for those nations, the right way.
A simple heartfelt prayer for wisdom, protection, guidance for government leaders goes a long way. Now if you know how to intercede in such a way that it will cause satanic influence to be shut out from gaining entrance into governments, and media then we are really causing a tidal wave of God’s influence.
Isaiah 59 King James Version (KJV)
19 So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.
By the way, the original Hebrew text does not contain comma’s. They were placed there by the translators. What if we place the comma just after the word “in”? The the verse would read like:
When the enemy shall come in,.. like a flood the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.