Spiritual Warfare

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    Spiritual Warfare

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:06 pm

    Gentlespiritedlady asked me to repost this thread here, which I will now do. But I am unable to repost it in its original format, because I can't post under anyone's name but my own. So, the posts that were written by others will have their names in the subject line.

    That's the best I can do for you, sister!

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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:11 pm

    by kittn1 on 2008-06-16, 11:43:25 am

    Who is it that said, "The Christian life isn't a playground, it's a battleground" ?

    Spiritual warfare is real and I don't think it's something Christians can afford to dismiss lightly. But, we have all we need to fight the fight of faith too, outlined in Ephesians 6.

    Have you ever really thought about all the counterfeits Satan has for the good that God gives us? Biggest one coming to mind being sex, not that I wanna go into a detailed diatribe on it. But, consider God's ideal, and then consider the number of different perversions Satan has twisted it into...and how the perversions are becoming increasingly accepted by society!

    Think of anything God has or gives and Satan has his own version. The Bible...worship...trinity...etc. Why? Because of those 5 "I will's" of Isaiah 14.
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    Re: Spiritual Warfare

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:17 pm

    If we’re gonna discuss spiritual warfare, we should start with a few very specific verses, just to get the right orientation :

    How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. (Is. 14:12-15)

    And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. (Lu. 10:18 )

    Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. (Jn. 12:31)


    And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels …. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Rev. 12: 7, 9)

    And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (Rev. 20:10)


    One of the reasons these verses are so important is this: Although we are engaged in a spiritual battle every day of our Christian lives, the actual war has already been won. Our adversary, Satan, is a defeated enemy. He’s lost. It’s a done deal. He rebelled in Heaven, and has been blighting and besieging this world for at least 4,000 years, but he’s defeated. And the day will come when he’ll be forced to bend the knee to Jesus Christ, and call Him Lord! That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth (Ph. 2:10).


    That’s a good starting place. The Enemy can, with God’s permission, cause all kinds of misery in our lives: the best example, of course, is Job, about whom we’ll have more to say. But he’s defeated. In fact, that’s one reason that he does cause so much chaos:
    ... for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time (Rev. 12:12b).

    That’s the basic orientation. We’re fighting against a defeated foe. And he was defeated, not by our efforts, or our cleverness, or our theological formulas, or our “positive confessions:” he was defeated by the Lord Jesus Christ, the mighty Creator Himself. And, in our day to day battles, although we may wear the armor and bear the sword, it’s still Jesus Christ Who defeats the Enemy: not us.

    That’s very important. So important, in fact, that I’m gonna leave it there, for awhile.

    However, here's something that's a wonderful blessing and opportunity. The very best book ever written on the subject of spiritual warfare is War on the Saints, by Jessie Penn-Lewis. Every believer should read this book. Sadly but typically, modern publishers have "abridged" the book beyond all recognition - - - the book is quite old - - - because the author had some insights that are unpopular today: specifically, the fact that Christians can be, to some degree, possessed by unclean spirits. If you buy the book, be sure to get the original, unabridged edition; it's available from Ruckman's bookstore. (Any paperback edition, in any "Christian bookstore," will be an abridged edition.) By the grace of God, however, the orginal is available, free of charge, online! I can't recommend it highly enough; it's one of those books that has been absolutely indispensible in my life. It's available online at:

    http://www.apostasynow.com/wots/

    In my next post on this subject, with your permission, I’ll talk about the specific nature of the enemies we face today: the “principalities and powers.” It’s heavy.

    You didn’t think I was gonna try to cover this all in one post, did you?
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:17 pm

    by kittn1 on 2008-06-20, 06:40:03 pm

    No, but you've captured my interest.....!
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:18 pm

    by Here Am I on 2008-06-23, 09:31:38 pm

    Me too, kittn. I wonder where part 2 is??

    Hey, VR! Come on! We wanna hear more!
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    Re: Spiritual Warfare

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:20 pm

    Quit screaming at me! I’m sorry for the delay.

    Writing about this stuff is difficult, for the same reason that studying it is difficult: the Enemy doesn’t want us to know about it. He doesn’t want us to know the truth about it, that is. He loves it when we get preoccupied with books and movies and TV shows about demons and witches and Satan himself, because he gets glory from those things - - - and, as long as we’re watching them, we’re not learning what God has to say about it. That’s why Hollywood churns out so much of that garbage: there are new “demonic” movies or video games every week. If the Enemy can get us hooked on that stuff, he accomplishes two things: he “satisfies” (quenches is a better word) our spiritual curiosity, instead of having it satisfied by God’s truth; and he gobbles up our time, so we can’t fellowship with, or serve, our Saviour.

    (He does something else, too: something very subtle, and very nasty. If we fill our minds with ideas and images about “the supernatural” from movies and TV, then the next time we hear a preacher refer to a Bible passage dealing with such things, we automatically think, “Oh yeah! That’s just like the scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer when….” And we’ll miss the whole point, the whole truth. Satan is very crafty.)

    I wasn’t planning to start out this way, but as long as I have, let me say something very, very clearly. I studied the occult as an unsaved young man, and now I’ve been studying the Bible for nearly 39 years. And I can tell you with absolute confidence: the way Hollywood (movies, TV, video games) depicts Satan, demons, angels, and “spiritual warfare” is never accurate. They can say “Based on a true story!” until they’re blue in the face, but they’re liars. None of what they say about such things is true. From The Exorcist to Ghost Rider and Charmed and the Left Behind video games, it’s all a lot of … well, a lot of nonsense and lies. I had a stronger term in mind, but let it pass. That includes the “good” stuff, too, like Touched by an Angel or The Passion of the Christ. I’m not saying that it’s a sin to go to movies; that’s a discussion for another time, and, frankly, not one that interests me very much. But I’m saying that if you believe one word of what Hollywood tells you about “supernatural” things, you’re a sucker and a fool and a weenie. No offense!

    This sounds like I’ve gone off on a weird tangent, but I haven’t. Because, if we allow ourselves to believe (or even “make-believe”) in this rubbish, we’re violating about six or seven specific commands of Scripture. But, since this is a post, and not a sermon, I’ll only mention one verse: Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11).

    We are supposed to be aware of the Enemy’s tactics and traps and strategies. Not obsessed or hung up; but aware. God expects that of us. If we’re “ignorant of his devices,” we’re letting God down - - - and setting ourselves up for big, big trouble.

    Okay, here are some questions: What’s the difference between a principality and a power? Can Satan read our mind? Can we rebuke Satan? And that old favorite, Can a Christian be possessed? Can we talk to angels? Those are the things we mean by “spiritual warfare:” and, of course, the “whole armor of God” in Ephesians 6, which is the most practical passage. I don’t have all the answers, as I said before. You guys need to help me. Because, if you don’t, it won’t work.
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:21 pm

    by kittn1 on 2008-06-24, 06:12:14 pm

    Good questions...ok, I'm up for the research!
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:26 pm

    by Here Am I on 2008-06-24, 07:05:06 pm


    Okay, here are some questions:


    Okay, I'll give it a try...


    What’s the difference between a principality and a power?

    A principality is the area over which a power has control.


    Can Satan read our mind?

    I was going to say 'no', but now I'm not sure. I am very much aware of how the enemy brings to my mind things which I'd rather not think about or remember, lest I get sucked back into things of this world.


    Can we rebuke Satan?

    A search for the word 'rebuke' in the New Testament brings up something interesting: Jesus rebuked Satan on a number of occasions, but the apostles never did. Paul writes to Timothy to rebuke those who sin, but does not mention rebuking spirits or the devil.

    What is written about the devil?

    We are told to not give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27)

    We may be able to stand against the devil's wiles (Ephesians 6:11)

    We can fall into the snare of the devil (1 Timothy 3:7), but if we do, it's because we allowed it (2 Timothy 2:26)

    If we are not careful, we will give heed to doctrines of devils (1 Timothy 4:1)

    Earthly wisdom is devilish (James 3:15)

    Resist the devil (James 4:7)

    Be sober and vigilant, because of the devil (1 Peter 5:Cool

    Satan will tempt us (1 Corinthians 7:5), and he tries to get an advantage (2 Corinthians 2:11)

    God allows the devil to hurt us, for a purpose (2 Corinthians 12:7) and he can make it hard for us to do things for God (1 Thessalonians 2:18)

    When he does show up, he may look beautiful, and he can do miracles (2 Corinthians 11:14, 2 Thessalonians 2:9)

    Now, this is by no means an exhaustive study, but even in the time I spent looking for references to Satan/devil, I did not see any mention of rebuking him.

    So, I'd have to say, probably not. We are to resist him, and flee from his temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13). I'd let the Lord rebuke him, though.


    And that old favorite, Can a Christian be possessed?
    Can we talk to angels?

    I'll leave those last two for someone else.

    Next?
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:27 pm

    by kittn1 on 2008-06-25, 11:33:54 am

    Can a Christian be possessed? We're already "possessed" by the Holy Spirit and He isn't going to step aside to let demonic forces indwell us, but we can be oppressed.
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    Re: Spiritual Warfare

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:30 pm

    Here Am I wrote:
    A search for the word 'rebuke' in the New Testament brings up something interesting: Jesus rebuked Satan on a number of occasions, but the apostles never did. Paul writes to Timothy to rebuke those who sin, but does not mention rebuking spirits or the devil.

    somebody else wrote:
    Here Am I... yes they did rebuke evil spirits. Don't be ignorant of what the Word of God says (Didn't mean to sound harsh. But your "search" missed some key scriptures):

    Actually, I don’t think she sounded “ignorant” at all; indeed, she quoted many of the same verses I was thinking of. The question I asked in my previous post was, “Can we rebuke Satan?” And the apostles didn’t rebuke him, directly. You posted an example of Paul casting out “a spirit of divination.” He did not “rebuke Satan.”

    Here Am I also said that Paul didn’t instruct Timothy to rebuke the Devil (or spirits). Is she mistaken? Did Paul give Timothy such instructions? I know you want to run back to Matthew and Mark, where Jesus is physically present on earth, and talking to the twelve disciples personally, and the church age hasn’t even started yet; but that’s not what she was talking about.

    It’s very easy to say that everything Jesus told the disciples is meant, literally, for us today. That’s not “rightly dividing the word of truth,” but it’s a convenient way to interpret Scripture. But can you show me, anywhere in the New Testament, where anyone other than Jesus Himself “rebuked Satan?”

    I appreciate you telling us what your church believes; although I obviously disagree, I respect that. But when our church teaches something that’s in error, it’s our responsibility to look for another church. And I’m not just making cheap talk, either. I had to leave the Presbyterian church, which I loved very much, when I found out that their teachings (Calvinism, baby-sprinkling, etc.) were wrong. I had never felt so lonely in my life. But I obeyed God, and He led me into a church that rightly divided the word of truth. My evangelical, soul-winning Presbyterian church was exactly where God wanted me, as a baby Christian. Thank God for it. But when I became a man, I had to put away some of those things.

    Anyway, the issue is not what your church teaches, or what my church teaches. The issue is, “What does the Bible say?” And it says that we are not to rebuke Satan.

    I don’t care if Kenneth Hagin and Marilyn Hickey and Benny Hinn say they can do it, or that we should do it. They are false prophets. Hagin says of Satan, “He’s no lion, he’s just a big pussycat, I’m gonna tie a knot in his tail!” Well, then, he’s denying Scripture, and - - - get this - - - If he’s able to rebuke Satan, then he’s more powerful than Michael the Archangel.

    Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. (Jude 1:9) Even the mightiest created being, besides Satan, recognized that it’s God’s place to rebuke the Devil - - - and His place alone. We can ask Him to do it (and I ask Him to do it very often), but we can’t do it ourselves.

    Now, that’s from a letter written to Christians in the Body of Christ. That’s normative: it’s in effect, it’s current, it’s the norm (or rule) for us to follow today. I know how Paul dealt with unclean spirits; I know that people were healed by his shadow passing by, or by handkerchiefs he gave them. So what? Those things happened, they’re true, but they’re not normative for us today. Like all Scripture, those things have spiritual application to us; but the doctrinal application was only to the original apostles.

    Please notice that I’m talking about rebuking Satan. Dealing with the unclean spirits that attack us is a different subject, and I’ll have a lot more to say about it. But, to jump ahead to the bottom line: we’re not supposed to “rebuke” them, either.

    There are other ways of dealing with the situation.
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    Re: Spiritual Warfare

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:36 pm

    Okay, I'm back. Excuse the delay. Please get a sandwich or something: this is gonna be a long post.

    Here are the two most fundamental questions involved in studying spiritual warfare:

    1) Who, or what, is the Enemy? What are his characteristics and tactics?

    2) How, exactly, are we expected to fight him?

    All the other questions spring from these. Before going any farther, however, it has to be emphasized that this discussion is for saved, born-again, Bible-believing Christians. Nobody else will receive any profit whatsoever from reading it. If you have not been born again, according to John 1:12 and John 3:3, then reading this kind of stuff will, at best, confuse you; at worst, it might stimulate a morbid interest in certain matters that can prove very destructive. And, if you don't believe the King James Bible, it won't mean a thing to you.

    Having said all that....

    Every Christian knows that we have three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the Devil. The "world" is not the planet we walk on, but the world-system to which we're constantly exposed: education, business, entertainment, politics, fashion, sports, etc. YouTube, the European Union, the textbooks you read in school, the price of oil or gold, the clothes you buy in the stores, and everybody from Hannah Montana to Pope Benedict - - - these are all examples of the world. The flesh is simply your body and emotions and psychology, which have been corrupt ever since the Fall. And the Devil is ... well, you know. Obviously, these different enemies work together, very smoothly, to mess us up or make us misbehave.

    The Devil, Satan, is one of the most powerful created beings alive. When he lived in Heaven with God, he was not an angel, as most folks assume; he was a cherub, which is a much more powerful creature. (Comparing an angel to a cherub is like comparing a chihuahua to a Kodiak bear: and, since angels are unimaginably powerful creatures, that's saying something!) He was the most beautiful creature God ever made, and his job was to hover over God's throne, giving Him glory. Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 tell the story; here's the cherub part, with God speaking to Lucifer (Satan's original name): Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (Ez. 28:14, 15)

    Here's something important to remember: if you get this, you'll be smarter than 99.9% of the human race: Satan is not God's opposite. God is The Uncreated One; He has no opposite. People think, "Well, it's God on one side, and the Devil on the other." But that's very wrong: Satan can never be compared to God. Satan, created by the hand of God, is the opposite of Michael the Archangel (Jude 1:9, Rev. 12:7). Michael is very close to Satan in power. We'll be talking more about him later.

    So, Satan is our Enemy. But when, in so many posts, I refer to "the Enemy," I'm referring to Satan and to his followers and slaves, the unclean spirits. If I say, "The Enemy is giving me a hard time today," I don't necessarily mean Satan himself: frankly, I doubt that Satan wastes that much time with me, or with you. Usually, we're not that important. When I say "the Enemy," I refer to Satan, or to the unclean spirits in the world. Most folks call them demons.

    (But, as Ruckman has pointed out, "demon" is a poor choice of words. It's never found in the King James Bible, although the new versions love it. In ancient Greece and elsewhere, a "daimon" could be considered a good thing, or a bad thing. It was often considered a mark of genius, a flash of divine inspiration. It would be said, of a great poet or artist, "He has a demon!" Socrates and Nietzsche and Beethoven all claimed to have "demons" - - - and probably did, but not in the sense they imagined! The King James term is "devil:" as in, "possessed with devils." So, the King James chooses the diabolical, evil word for the foul, unclean spirits, and the new versions choose the ambiguous, unclear term that might be good or bad. Very, very typical.)

    Anyway, here's another interesting bit of information: The unclean spirits that infest this world (and there are many millions of them, I'm sure) are not "fallen angels." We know that a bunch of angels were booted out of Heaven along with Satan; and another group was locked up after that unfortunate business in Genesis 6. But they have not been turned into devils (demons, unclean spirits, whatever). "Demons" are not fallen angels. That's a very popular misunderstanding, but it's a mistake. People who believe it are not bad or stupid; they just need to study the Bible some more, like we all do. I believed it myself for years, but God took mercy on my ignorance!

    It seems that there are many types of supernatural creatures; certainly more than we know about. We already know about Satan, going about as a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8 ), and we already know that there are angels, good angels, doing God's bidding in the world. But there's more. For 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. (Eph. 6:12) A lot of people interpret this to mean human rulers and bad guys, like Obama (or Bush and Kim Jong Il; but that's not right. It says spiritual wickedness, not political. When it says "high places," it doesn't mean the White House or 10 Downing Street or the Kremlin. It means spiritually high places: and, since Satan is called the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2), it might mean literally high places.

    So, we're up against the Devil, Satan; and "devils," popularly called demons; and principalities (whatever they are) and powers (whatever they are) and the rulers of the darkness of this world (whoever they are; they're certainly not the Democratic Party or Al Quaeda) and spiritual wickedness in high places. That's four different types of being that the Christian wrestles against. We don't know the exact nature of these things, but we wrestle against them. Somebody might say, "Well, all those words refer to the same thing: demons." Then why did God, in His wisdom, writing a perfect Book, list them seperately? God doesn't stutter.

    Okay, that's the nature of the Enemy we face - - - in addition to the world and the Devil! I can't explain all of Eph. 6:12, but it's there. If you want some other verses, like on "principalities," check out Romans 8:38, Eph. 3:10, Col. 1:16, and Col. 2:15 (that's a good one!). But be aware of something: sometimes, "principalities" does refer to human authorities: that's obviously the case in Titus 3:1, and that may explain why folks misunderstand Eph. 6:12. But, usually, it refers to spiritual things.

    And that's all I can say about it. This post is already way too long. Next time, we'll talk about the second question: How do we fight these things?

    Thank you, very much, for your patience!
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:38 pm

    by kittn1 on 2008-07-21, 01:38:02 pm

    Here's something important to remember: if you get this, you'll be smarter than 99.9% of the human race: Satan is not God's opposite. God is The Uncreated One; He has no opposite. People think, "Well, it's God on one side, and the Devil on the other." But that's very wrong: Satan can never be compared to God. Satan, created by the hand of God, is the opposite of Michael the Archangel (Jude 1:9, Rev. 12:7). Michael is very close to Satan in power. We'll be talking more about him later.


    Good points...how often do we buy into the misconceptions automatically, even though we know that's what they are? I know for me, oftentimes, old habits die hard. It's like assuming there were three wise men that visited baby Jesus in the stable at Christmastime, even though that's not what the Bible says.

    I'm enjoying this, VR. Stuff with substance, not just fluff. Stuff to meditate on, not just speed-read.
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:40 pm

    by Here Am I on 2008-07-22, 10:05:49 am

    kittn1 wrote:
    Good points...how often do we buy into the misconceptions automatically, even though we know that's what they are? I know for me, oftentimes, old habits die hard. It's like assuming there were three wise men that visited baby Jesus in the stable at Christmastime, even though that's not what the Bible says.

    Exactly, sister. That's a good point.

    Most of us have probably seen those 'biblical' epics, like 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'. While I enjoy them, I'm always aware of the inaccuracies within, like Jesus telling Peter that He will build His church ON Peter. Must be Catholic influences, hmm?

    Or they just don't read the Bible. That's probably a great deal of it!

    I can't watch 'The Ten Commandments' anymore, because there's too much of that incorrect, Hollywood-ized stuff, and I get irritated and yell at the TV...


    I'm enjoying this, VR. Stuff with substance, not just fluff. Stuff to meditate on, not just speed-read.

    Meat, sister, MEAT. I love steak!

    Why would anyone want Gerber strained applesauce when they can have a sirloin steak???? Medium rare! Woo!
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    Re: Spiritual Warfare

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:45 pm

    I know this stuff gets deep, but, God willing, this post will be more practical. It will certainly be more personal! In previous posts, I've attempted to distinguish between Satan himself, and the unclean spirits. The distinction is better stated by Jessie Penn-Lewis in War on the Saints:

    The distinction between the workings of Satan as prince of demons, and his evil spirits, should specially be noted, so as to understand their methods at the present day; for to many the adversary is merely a tempter, whilst they little dream of his power as a deceiver (Rev. 12: 9), hinderer (1 Thess. 2: 18 ), murderer (John 8: 44), liar (John 8: 44), accuser (Rev. 12: 10), and a false angel of light; and still less of the hosts of spirits under his command, constantly besetting their path, bent upon deceiving, hindering, and prompting to sin. A vast host wholly given up to wickedness (Matt. 12: 43-45), delighting to do evil, to slay (Mark 5: 2-5), to deceive, to destroy (Mark 9: 20); and having access to men of every grade, prompting them to all kinds of wickedness, and satisfied only when success accompanies their wicked plans to ruin the children of men (Matt. 27: 3-5).

    The unclean spirits attempt to do (and succeed in doing) many of the things Satan does. I do not recall that any unclean spirit ever killed anybody in the Bible, except for encouraging people to committ suicide; but Jesus described Satan as "a murderer from the beginning," and that's certainly good enough (or bad enough) for me. Anyway, here's one thing that Scripture seems to imply: that unclean spirits, for all their wickedness, can't kill us. But then, God wouldn't let Satan kill Job, either (Job 2:6). So, when you see the little girl kill the priest in "The Exorcist," or any other such drivel, you know you're dealing with typical Hollywood crapola and nothing else. (And, although I enjoy movies as much as anyone, I don't think any Christian has any business watching the occult stuff; it offends God, and it's dangerous - - - but we'll get to that in a minute.) Hollywood never gets it right!

    (Side note: I think that God, in His love and grace, protects little children from the unclean spirits. I mean children below the age of accountability [which is different with each child]. Babies and toddlers can be, pardon the expression, "Hell on wheels" to deal with, but they are not motivated by Hellish beings. There are no such cases in Scripture. I only mention this because I've heard parents, driven to distraction by unruly [usually undisciplined] tots, wonder if they might be possessed. And, once again, Hollywood has given us plenty of "possessed" children, starting with "The Omen." But it doesn't work that way; in the Bible, the only beings that hurt tiny children [burning them alive, for example] are humans. If an unclean spirit wants to hurt a little kid, it has to use another human being to do it. Which, sadly, happens all the time.)

    As Penn-Lewis says, the unclean spirits specialize in deceiving, which includes both false doctrine and false "guidance" in our individual lives: so, when you "just feel led" to date or marry or divorce somebody, you'd better ask who's doing the leading. Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 Jn. 4:1) They also specializing in tempting us, as everyone knows. They can't "make" us sin, but they can sure point out the opportunities, and put on the pressure!

    In the matter of temptation, of course, we're up against all three of the enemies we mentioned before: the world, the flesh, and the Devil. The world presents our senses with a sexy girl or guy; our flesh then feels those old, familiar stirrings; and the Devil, or the unclean spirits, try to "talk us into" doing the wrong thing. The world presents us with a dishonest business opportunity (robbing the petty cash drawer, embezzlement, not paying taxes); our flesh reminds us of just how much we "need" or want the money; the unclean spirits start their persuasive work. There are all kinds of examples; you could come up with five or ten without even concentrating!

    What about physical and mental illnesses? Can they be caused by unclean spirits?

    I'm not trying to be cute, but the answer is "yes and no," most often "no."

    There is one example of an unclean spirit removing a person's abilities to hear and speak: Mark 9:17-29. (The victim's father said that the problem had existed "from a child," meaning the victim [who could have been 30 years old by this time; we don't know] first received the spirit at an early age: but that doesn't mean he was an infant or toddler. According to how one defines the word, a "child" can be anyone from conception to 18 or 20 years old! In 2 Kings 2, the "children" who mocked Elisha and were gobbled up by bears could have been juvenile delinquent-type teenagers.) Because the unclean spirit had been in the victim for such a long time, it was extremely resistant, and pitched a fit (literally) when Jesus cast it out. Jesus and His disciples referred to it as a "dumb spirit," a spirit causing dumbness.

    I think this is the only recorded case of an unclean spirit causing a physical illness; maybe Bro. Parrish or Kiwi or Chaplain Les can correct me if I'm wrong.

    But then, we don't know that it was an illness. The guy's ears might have been perfectly normal; in fact, I think they probably were. But the unclean spirit somehow made it impossible for him to use them; the spirit incapacitated him in some way, so that he really couldn't hear or speak. I'm not saying it was mental; I'm saying that it was a physical manifestation of a spiritual phenomenon.

    But, because Jesus referred to the "deaf spirit," Pentecostal/charismatic "healers" have been preaching for years that nearly all human illness is caused by demons. They say there are "epileptic spirits" and "hemorrage spirits" and "blind spirits" and "cancer spirits" and, for all I know, "dandruff spirits." That's nonsense: unScriptural, sub-Christian, belly-worshipping nonsense. It is false doctrine; in fact, it's probably inspired by the evil spirits themselves. The Bible always draws a clear distinction between physical/mental illness and spirit activitity. For example: Mtt. 8:16, Mtt. 10:1, Lu. 8:2 (that's a good one!), and Acts 5:16: There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one. In every verse, sick people and evil spirit-tormented people are listed separately.

    It's not just the Charismatics who get this all mixed up; they're just the most outrageous example. I haerd a professor of theology at a Calvinist college tell one of my friends, who suffered from terrible allergies in the springtime, that his problem was probably caused by demons. And I once heard a Christian woman tell a friend that her, um, monthly difficulties were probably made worse by demons. Yeah, right. She might as well blame it on global warming.

    What about mental illness? Well, Bible believers often have problems talking about this subject, because they instinctually distrust psychiatrists, and much psychological theory is indeed garbage and tripe from start to finish. "Just get right with God," they say, "and He'll straighten out any mental problems you have." (I'm talking about mental illness here, like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or major depression, all of which have a chemical basis.) Yes, and maybe He'll cure your broken leg or your diabetes; but maybe He won't, either. Anyway, like any physical problem, mental illness is not caused by demons. If you suffer from a premature reuptake of seratonin neurotransmitters, it's not because of evil spirits. But evil spirits can take advantage of it, just as they can take advantage of physical illnesses: by making you bitter or selfish or angry, for example. Anyway, "lunaticks" and people with evil spirits are listed seperately in Mtt. 4:24.

    One more thing. If you get into the occult, either by seeping your mind in Hollywood tripe, or doing horoscopes and such .... unclean spirits can drive you crazy. They can't make you "mentally ill," but they can get such a hold in your life that reason and reality (not to mention Godly spirituality) slip away a little at a time. You can't spend all your time watching "Hellboy" or "Charmed" or playing demonic video games, or playing with a Ouija board, without it hurting you. Really hurting you. But in that case, the evil spirits aren't just attacking you from out of nowhere: you have, either through laziness or rebellion, invited them in. We'll talk about that next time.

    This post has been longer than I intended. Next time, I promise - - - God willing - - - we'll talk about how you fight and defeat these things, by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ. Until then, look at Him!
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    from Here Am I

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:47 pm

    You sure won't get this stuff on TV or in those fluff books available at Lifeway...

    ...thanks, brother! I appreciate your contributions to the thread. There's some stuff here I've not heard of nor thought of before.
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:48 pm

    by Kiwi Christian on 2008-07-25, 05:40:00 pm

    Vendetta Ride wrote:
    I think this is the only recorded case of an unclean spirit causing a physical illness; maybe Bro. Parrish or Kiwi or Chaplain Les can correct me if I'm wrong.
    I think the woman of Luke 13:11-16 may qualify:

    Luke 13:11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. 13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

    Good posts btw brother, I'm enjoying them, keep it up!
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    Re: Spiritual Warfare

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:53 pm

    Thanks, brother! And thanks for the reference to the sick lady; I hadn't thought of her.

    Okay, now it gets heavy. Have I said that in previous posts? Well, maybe; in dealing with this subject, it's all heavy, But here's where it gets really heavy.

    A simple question: Can a Christian be possessed by unclean spirits?

    Many Christians say "No, absolutely not! A Christian can never be possessed!" That answer is based, for the most part, on two things: wishful thinking, and a single verse of Scripture. The verse is 1 John 4:4: Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. The context is, indeed, talking about unclean spirits, but it's not talking about day to day spiritual warfare; it's talking about our positional victory over the Enemy. (It's like 1 Jn. 2:13b: I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. That doesn't mean that every young man has permanently defeated Satan in his daily activities and habits; it means that the victory has been won, at Calvary, and that even young men share in it.) But a lot of Christians, mostly charismatics, say, "Well, greater is He that's in me, than he that's in the world; therefore, an unclean spirit cannot inhabit the same body that's indwelt by the Holy Spirit." That's a big "therefore!" And it's not a sound (or even logical) exegesis of the verse. But that's the verse you hear quoted, over and over. And Christians jump through all sorts of hoops trying to justify this notion. You've heard it said, or said it yourself (I said it, like a good little evangelical, for years): "A Christian can be obsessed by demons, or oppressed by demons, but not possessed." Using the same approach, Bill Clinton said "It all depends on what the meaning of 'is' is." People like to play word games.

    Can a Christian be possessed by an unclean spirit? Yes, but before going any further, we should check our terminology. In the Bible, nobody is possessed "by" an unclean spirit. The Bible terminology is "possessed with devils," or, occasionally, possessed of devils. (Mtt. 4:24, 8:16,28,33; 9:32; 12:22; Acts 4:32, 8:7; and others.) Is the choice of prepositions important? Well, it is if you're a Bible believer. God chose His words carefully; He wasn't sloppy. I can't fully explain the difference between "possessed by" and "possessed with," but I can read the Bible, and God never uses the words "possessed by demons." So, naturally, that's exactly the way the world - - - and most Christians - - - say it! We're a perverse race, aren't we? Even our language is skewed.

    A person possessed with an unclean spirit doesn't act like they do in the movies. (Why do I keep going back to that? Because the movies and television are where 90% of Christians get their information!) Possessed people don't necessary bark at the moon or kill people or levitate in the air, and their heads certainly don't swivel around on their necks. You almost certainly are exposed to possessed people every day, unless you're a stay-at-home mom who never goes shopping or to church.

    Jessie Penn-Lewis again, defining possession:

    "... a hold of evil spirits on a man in any shade of degree; for an evil spirit "possesses" whatever spot he holds, even though it be in an infinitesimal degree, and from that one spot, as a spider finds his base ere he weaves his web, the intruder works to obtain further hold of the whole being."

    So, possession can be a sudden, dramatic thing, but more often, it's a very gradual thing, and it takes time. In a sense, possession is very similar to alcoholism, or sexual perversion, or chronic gambling: it usually starts out small, with a an isolated act that becomes increasingly more frequent, until one is completely caught up in it. Of course, possession is more scary and horrifying, more truly diabolical, because instead of dealing with the world and/or the flesh, one is dealing with living, external creatures that are consciously seeking control and domination. A whiskey bottle or a deck of cards doesn't plot against us; it just sits on the shelf until we reach for it. But the unclean spirits are planning and conspiring, even while we're asleep.

    (Another side note: I don't think we need to worry about dreams. I do not believe that unclean spirits, or Satan himself, enter our minds and cause us to have certain dreams. They can certainly suggest certain things while we're awake, and these things might come back to us in a dream; but I think God protects us while we're unable to pray or resist or protect ourselves. I've had some truly terrible, "Satanic" dreams, and you probably have, too, but they were caused by "input" that was there before we went to sleep. And, when we dream of sin - - - this may be of practical interest to the young men in the forum - - - I don't believe God holds us accountable for it. If I dream of having sex with Queen Elizabeth, or strangling the Pope, I don't think God expects me to confess it! Dreams are dreams. We do not "sin in our sleep," although the Enemy might, when we awaken, try to make us feel guilty. That's His game: He's the accuser of the brethren. Nor do I believe, from Scripture, that Satan or the spirits can "read our minds." Satan is powerful, but he can't do everything.)

    Possession starts out small, in most cases. So, how does it get started? What starts it? Well, it's entirely voluntary.

    The two places where possession starts are passivity and ground.

    Passivity is exactly what it sounds like: being passive, instead of active. (Ruckman talks about this a lot, especially in connection with music.) When we're not engaged in some active ... um ... activity, we're being passive. The activity might be internal: meditating on the word of God, for example, or praying. Or it might be external: anything from working at our jobs to playing a game or sport. Anything that we're doing, or allowing God to do through us. But they key word is "doing." Passivity is just the opposite: it's when we're just sitting like a couch potato, absorbing whatever's in the air: being "entertained" by television or sports or all kinds of stuff, where we're spectators and not participants. We can be "passive" sitting in a stadium with 50,000 fans, watching a football game: because we're just reacting to what's happening on the field; we're no longer individuals, but part of a big, screaming crowd. We can be passive at a rave, on a dance floor, letting the music and the mood and the atmosphere move us around. (A dancer or rock fan says, "I just become the music!" Yes, and you cease to be yourself, an individual.) Reading is not usually a "passive" activity, because your mind is engaged; but when the words start to blur, and our attention starts to wander, it can become very passive indeed. And this passivity, where we're not really in conscious control of ourselves, can open the door to unclean spirits. No, it doesn't always have that result: but it can, very easily.

    Passivity is, among other things, a surrender of our individuality. (God doesn't make groups; He makes individuals.) You sit in a theater, watching a horror movie or a comedy, and the entire audience gasps or giggles or groans at the same moment; they're being manipulated by the moviemakers, and they're no longer acting as individuals. Things that don't really scare you cause you to jump; jokes that aren't really funny cause you to laugh - - - because everybody else is doing so. (This becomes very clear from seeing a movie in a theater, and later seeing it again at home, on DVD, when you're in control of the environment: you react differently, don't you?) Anything that makes us passive is risky.

    And, to be clear, there's a difference between being passive and being receptive or submissive. We should be receptive to God's voice when we pray, for example. We should be receptive, and mentally alert, when listening to Biblical preaching and teaching. In many ways, in many circumstances, we should be receptive to our spouse. God says "the way of a man with a maid" is wonderful (Pro. 30:19), and that involves submission and receptivity. But zoning out and becoming nothing but a sponge for our environment is totally passive, and attracts unclean spirits just as a corpse attracts flies. Because, let's face it: in the Western world - - - Europe and the English-speaking nations - - - we live in the filthiest environment in many centuries.

    God says, I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service (Ro. 12:1). That's submissive, but it's not passive; it's very, very active. And, if we're not consciously doing that, then we're gonna submit our bodies and minds to .... something else.

    Anyway, that's passivity, and it's one way that unclean spirits get a hold. The other is what Penn-Lewis calls "ground," which is as good a term as any. And, if passivity is something that we don't do (like thinking or acting), then ground is something that we do. It's the "active" route to possession.

    It can be unconfessed sin, or it can be deliberate, intentional exposure to "questionable" things when we really know better. See the difference? Passivity means doing nothing, or thinking nothing; ground involves something wrong that we do. And the unclean spirits seize on ground like a dog on a bone.

    Think of it this way: when you sin, or when you refuse to do the right thing (which is one definition of sin, James 4:17), you're giving the spirits something to work with. And they can attack you without worrying about your "free will" - - - which they are bound to respect, just as God Himself respects it - - - because you've deliberately chosen to do wrong. And they can get very "territorial" about it. Penn-Lewis again:

    The faculties may become severally held, or possessed, by evil-spirits, by yielding to the sin of passivity--passivity is the sin of omission, for God does not give a faculty either for misuse, or non-use, or yielding to sins of action, e.g., if the tongue lends itself to slander or foul language, it lends itself to sin; and becomes liable to possession. And so with the eyes, ears and other parts of the body; the lust of the eyes in seeing, and looking at vile things; the ears by wrong listening--eaves-dropping is lending the ears to the emissaries of Satan--or, on the other hand, evil spirits may take hold of the nerves of the ear, so that the person cannot hear what he should, yet is permitted to be alert enough in bearing all that he should not hear.

    Let's say that I decide to subscribe to an occultic magazine or website. "I'm just gonna read it for research," I tell myself. But really, I have no business doing it for any reason; and, in doing it, I have given the spirits ground in my life. At that point, I may as well have said, "Spirits, please come deceive me for awhile; I'm a big boy, I'm not scared of you!" And God is under no obligation to protect me from such deception, caused by that foolish decision. Now, He might protect me, and He often will protect me, because He's patient and loving and gracious: but, in yielding that amount of ground to the unclean spirits, I have (as somebody said) "stepped out from under the umbrella of God's protection" in that area. If I sleep around, God is not obliged to protect me from AIDS.

    What a horrible thought! Being out from under God's protection!

    Ground can be anything from bitterness to gambling to laziness, from drug abuse to gossiping about the pastor. It's something we do, or something we neglect (like reading the Bible).

    Some folks, including the authors recommended by Jack Chick in this area, get very confused about this. They say, "Well, if you own a CD by Ozzy Osbourne, there's a demon in it, and it can get you at any time." But that's superstition, not Bible doctrine. If you own any Ozzy CDs, you're probably already in trouble, but there's not a demon "in" the CD. That's absurd.

    So, "possession" doesn't necessarily mean complete control of a person by a spirit or spirits. But this is where it starts: with passivity and ground.

    For what it's worth, I've heard Ruckman say, "I figure I pick up ten or twenty devils every day!" Then, at the end of the day, he casts them out. Of himself! That sounds goofy, but it makes sense. And, in the next post, we'll talk about how to get rid of unclean spirits, in ourselves or others. We don't need an exorcist or a faith healer; we just need to trust and obey!
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:54 pm

    by Here Am I on 2008-07-25, 09:01:35 pm

    Talk about a good, chewy steak...that's a lot of meat to latch onto, brother.

    But it's good, very good, I just need some time to chew it up and absorb it.

    Please don't stop, keep going with this thread!
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:55 pm

    by kittn1 on 2008-07-25, 09:20:59 pm

    Just a thought, but to me, "possessed by" would indicate a person's entire personality has been displaced by the unclean spirit, Hollywood style, while "possessed with" would indicate the person's personality is still his/her own, but the unclean spirit has started to move in alongside it.

    In which case a Christian can be "possessed with" an unclean spirit because the unclean spirit is wreaking havoc from outside the individual, as the individual provides passivity and ground. The person doesn't actually become the unclean spirit.

    In which case, yes, I can say I've picked up a few unclean spirits of my own along the way. But, praise God, they were eventually evicted!
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    Re: Spiritual Warfare

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 4:56 pm

    kittn1 wrote:
    (hm) Just a thought, but to me, "possessed by" would indicate a person's entire personality has been displaced by the unclean spirit, Hollywood style, while "possessed with" would indicate the person's personality is still his/her own, but the unclean spirit has started to move in alongside it.

    In which case a Christian can be "possessed with" an unclean spirit because the unclean spirit is wreaking havoc from outside the individual, as the individual provides passivity and ground.

    That makes a lot of sense, sister. Thanks for the thought!
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    Re: Spiritual Warfare

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 5:00 pm

    If we haven't talked very much about the dramatic, highly visible cases of demonic "possession," it's because such cases are very, very rare. They're also totally unrepresentative of how possession usually works.

    Christians, like most people, tend to look for the obvious, the startling, the exciting. In so doing, they usually miss the Enemy activity taking place all around them, in their daily lives. It's easy to look at a doped-up rock star, jabbering and howling about "my sweet Satan," or a filthy-minded comedienne making fun of Jesus, and say, "Well, they're obviously possessed." Maybe they are, but their public antics are much more representative of the flesh - - - the desire for attention, the self-infatuation, the craving for applause, etc. Genuine possession by unclean spirits is a lot more subtle than that. Satan may be many things, but he is not stupid, and he knows that calling attention to himself that way is probably gonna scare people away.

    Possession, as we've seen, is a process. It starts when we yield up some measure of authority over ourselves, either through passivity or ground (or both). The old joke says that it's impossible to be "a little bit pregnant:" a woman is either pregnant, or she's not. But it's very, very possible to be "a little bit possessed." And, once it begins, the "little bit" gets bigger and bigger, until complete possession (which is rare) finally takes place.

    It's interesting that Jessie Penn-Lewis, author of War on the Saints, chose the word "ground" for those things in our thoughts or lives that give the spirits an entry. It can be a lustful thought, a slanderous word, or an interest in things we shouldn't mess around with. We have to fight for our own independence (I'll explain what I mean by that word in a minute) every day, and many battles have to be repeated again and again. Gen. George Patton was famous for saying, about combat, "I don't like to have to pay for the same ground twice." But that's exactly what Christians have to do.

    Why should this surprise us? God already warned us that this is what the Christian life is all about:

    Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses (1 Tim. 6:12).


    No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier (2 Tim. 2:4).


    For 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 (Eph. 6:12).


    This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare (1 Tim. 1:18 ).


    Those are just a few of the verses. How can we complain, or claim to be surprised, and say, "You mean I have to fight against these unclean spirits every day? Like, all my life?" Yes, that's what it means. If you're saved, you're in a daily spiritual battle. If you're not aware of it, then you're probably just lying around, stupid and broken and malnourished, in the Enemy's Prisoner of War camp. Is that how you want to live your life?

    So, when the unclean spirits tiptoe into some "little" area of your life, how do you deal with it? How do you get rid of them?

    First, you need to declare your independence and autonomy as a free moral agent, with free will. The evil spirits don't own you: even in the worst cases, they can never own you. You don't even own yourself. 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? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (2 Cor. 6:19, 20). When I talk about "declaring our independence," it's in that context. Yes, I belong to God, every bit of me. But he's the only One I belong to. And no devil or unclean spirit has any rights over me.

    (Side note: That explains why unclean spirits are so eager to possess us: because we do belong to God. Stealing something from Vendetta or Kiwi or Cody is no big deal; but to steal one of the Creator's blood-bought servants from Him! What a victory! They can't "steal" us in the sense of taking us to Hell, but they can rob us of our time or our effectiveness, if we let them. They strike at us, in other words, because they can't strike at God.)

    I have never used my own prayers as a model or an example, but here's how I do it. Driving in the car, sitting at a desk, or lying in bed, I take a minute and say, "Lord Jesus, I hereby declare my independence and autonomy. You made me, and nobody else has any claim on me. I have free will and am a free agent. I consciously, by an act of my free will, reject the claims on me by any unclean spirits. And now that I've said that, Father, I hand that 'independence' back to You, and submit myself to you as my Lord. Please do with me what You will. I depend on You for everything! Wash me in Your blood, and fill me with Your Spirit. Please rebuke and expel any unclean spirits in my body, right now, in Jesus' Name." You notice, I don't rebuke them; I ask God to do it. They'll listen to Him! Then, I go on to pray about other things. And that takes care of the situation - - - until next time.

    This isn't a magic formula. Usually, I confess my known sins (1 John 1:9) before I do this, but that's just my habit or practice. The main thing is this: These little "declarations of independence" are a conscious, deliberate rejection of evil spirits, their "authority," and their influences. This is very important. In order to understand all the reasons for its importance, you'll need to read War on the Saints. The unclean spirits take it very seriously.

    Such prayers, of course, are only the beginning. We need to get rid of the ground, whatever it is. I'll give you an example of ground in my own life. I used to watch Friday Night Fights on televsion, and I don't think watching the boxing did me any harm (although my time could have been better spent). It was just two hours a week; no big deal, right? But Friday Night Fights has commercials, and many of those commercials have scantily-clad female types strutting around. The fights didn't hurt me, but those commercials, in appealing to my lust, provided ground for the spirits to use later. So, to get rid of the ground, I quit watching the fights. That might sound like a silly, trivial example .... but we're in a war. A bullet is a small, trivial thing, but it can kill you.

    An example of "passivity" might be neglecting to speak up for the Lord at the proper time, or smiling (not even laughing) at a dirty joke. The spirits say, "Oh, you're not gonna use your voice for what God intended? Then let's see how we can use it!"

    Penn-Lewis says that we must ask ourselves four questions, and answer them honestly:

    1. Do I believe that it is POSSIBLE for a Christian to be deceived and possessed by evil spirits?
    2. It Is possible for ME to be deceived?
    3. AM I deceived by an evil spirit?
    4. WHY am I deceived?


    The "why," of course, gets into passivity and ground in our lives.

    Sigh .... I keep thinking that I'll finish this up with one more post, but I never do. Thank you for your patience. These posts have not been easy to write; I've never made so many typo's in my life! But, if you're really wanting to get the information in depth, go back to the post where I put the link for War on the Saints. It's online, free.

    More later, by the grace of God!
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    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 5:01 pm

    I wonder if any of the Bible colleges teach any of this stuff?

    It's very stimulating, interesting. I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment...
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    Re: Spiritual Warfare

    Post  vendetta ride on Tue May 12, 2009 5:05 pm

    And now, just for a change of pace.....

    Questions and Answers

    1. Are animals especially sensitive to unclean spirits? Can animals detect their presence?


    Yes, they can. The best example is Balaam's ass (Numbers 22). In this case, the ass (donkey, mule, burro, whatever) clearly perceived a good spirit, an angel sent from God; but Balaam himself didn't see or hear the angel. This was certainly an unusual case, because either God or the angel gave the animal the power to actually speak; but the point is, the animal saw the spirit when its master was totally oblivious.

    I'm sure many of us have noticed dogs or cats reacting to something that we couldn't see: hissing, growling, staring at something "that wasn't there," etc. Granted, there may be times when the animal is looking at a gnat or a spider in the corner, that we haven't noticed yet; but, just as often, there's no apparent cause at all. I can't prove it from Scripture, but I firmly believe that the animals can, at the very least, sense an evil influence that has come near. I have always been comforted to have a dog or cat sleep with me - - - I mean, in the room with me, not necessarily with its head on the pillow! - - - for this very reason. Animals can't protect us from unclean spirits, but it may be that they can warn us.

    Can animals be possessed? I don't know. The pigs certainly were, in Matthew 8:32 (also Mark 5:13 and Luke 8:33); but that may have been a special case, in which the unclean spirits were reacting to the physical presence of Jesus. It happened nowhere else in Scripture. In this day and age, I'm not aware of any examples of animal possession; but that doesn't mean it's impossible. I doubt it, though. They prefer to afflict people.


    2. Can Satan or the unclean spirits read our minds?


    I don't think so. They can, however, speak to our minds, with suggestions or arguments; but that's based, not on reading our minds, but knowing our personal strengths and weaknesses, or favorite sinful tendencies, etc. And, because they can observe us in our most private moments, they know things about us that nobody else knows (except God). Very often, however, sudden, "unexplainable" thoughts of temptation or discouragement are products of the flesh. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mtt. 26:41). When studying spiritual warfare, it's understandable to blame everything on the unclean spirits, but it's a mistake. We still have the world and the flesh to battle, too. Never underestimate the flesh: read Romans 7.

    But they don't "read our minds." If, all of a sudden, I remember a lecture on Irish literature from my college days, the unclean spirits probably are unaware of what I'm thinking. If, however, I was reminded of the lecture by a book or TV show, they can "guess." They might say, "Aha, he studied that in college, thirty years ago! Let's remind him of that girl in the front row that he used to lust after...."


    3.Can we rebuke Satan?


    Well, we'd better not! This is a very popular misconception. The charismatics talk about it a lot, but so do many fundamentalists and evangelicals. The idea is that we should, when Satan comes around, rebuke him directly:" Satan, [or unclean spirits] by the Blood of Jesus Christ, I rebuke you! Go away!" As a new Christian, I did it myself, and it sometimes seemed to work. The unclean spirits did back off, for awhile. But now, I'm convinced that it was God protecting me in my ignorance.

    We are not told, in Scripture, to "rebuke" Satan. Far from it: Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee (Jude 1:9). Even Michael, who, as we have seen, is Satan's opposite, didn't rebuke him; he said, "the Lord rebuke thee."

    We are told to resist Satan. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (James 4:7). What's the difference? Very simple: "Resisting" Satan, after submitting ourselves to God, means to turn away from him and his temptations, to refuse to follow him, to reject his "suggestions" or attacks. We do this in various ways, primarily prayer and immersing ourselves in Scripture. But, in all this, we are not addressing Satan; we're not speaking directly to him. That's very, very dangerous: because, once we've spoken to him, we've acknowledged a willingness to deal with him ourselves, and he will then try to argue and debate with us. Don't ever argue with the Devil: he'll win. The only One Who ever beat him was Jesus Christ. Also, addressing him (or the unclean spirits) gives them "ground," a basis in which to operate, as we discussed in a previous post.

    Also, there's another danger. If we teach or say that Christians can "rebuke" Satan, or unclean spirits, we're setting a horrible, hazardous example to folks who aren't saved, but who believe in "spirits" - - - and the world is full of them today, especially among the "angel worship" crowd. Remember the example of the "exorcists" in Acts 19, who had seen Paul cast out spirits: Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

    I know that Paul and Peter commanded spirits at times, such as Acts 16:18, but they were apostles, exercising apostolic gifts that are not routinely given these days. I didn't say "never:" I said "routinely." God might do certain things in foreign lands, which have never had the light of the Gospel, that He doesn't choose to do in the West, where there's a church on every corner. But it is presumption, folly, and bad doctrine to assume that God will do everything through us that He did through the apostles. If you doubt this, try healing people with your shadow, as God did through Peter (Acts 5:15).

    Next time, we'll talk more about "ground," the things in our life that give evil spirits access to us. Because there's some ground in every believer .... which will be identified next time, if it's not already obvious.
    avatar
    gentlespiritedlady

    Posts : 21
    Join date : 2009-05-07

    This is so cool, thankyou very much

    Post  gentlespiritedlady on Tue May 12, 2009 8:39 pm

    Thank you for this, It is helping me alot. I am having some major troubles, maybe even my civil rights are being violated, and I certainly need some guidence as I am very vuneralble to these evil spirits right now, they are preying on my fears about losing my kids.

    I had to comply with the state concerning counseling for my oldest son, and due the laundry that was IN my LAUNDRY room, (Not folded, but most of clean) DcF will be coming to my house on Friday to go through my dressor drawers, my husbands, and my childrens to see that I have put the clothes away. All of this without a search warrent, They will be going through my personal things and invading my privacy and my families.

    I will allow the search, but it will be recorded. I will then find out if my civil rights were violated and take action, even if that means filing a law suit against the state of Florida and the Department of Children and Families(DCF)

    Looks like the devil is trying to pull me away from my fellowship with the LORD.
    avatar
    eremiah

    Posts : 1
    Join date : 2009-05-12
    Age : 40
    Location : surrey,bc,canada

    Re: Spiritual Warfare

    Post  eremiah on Tue May 12, 2009 9:00 pm

    vendetta ride wrote:by kittn1 on 2008-06-25, 11:33:54 am

    Can a Christian be possessed? We're already "possessed" by the Holy Spirit and He isn't going to step aside to let demonic forces indwell us, but we can be oppressed.
    im well in agreement with this
    interpretation. Like a Star @ heaven

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    Re: Spiritual Warfare

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