WAR ON THE SAINTS
BY: JESSIE PENN LEWIS
TITLE and SUBTITLES
A BIBLICAL SURVEY OFSATANIC DECEPTION
A Special Onslaught of Deceiving Spirits on the
Knowledge Gained By Letter of Scripture, and By
The Work of Satan as Deceiver in the Garden of Eden
The Curse of God Pronounced Upon the Deceiver
Satan as Deceiver in The Old Testament
Satan as Deceiver Unveiled in the New Testament
The Full Revelation of the Deceiver in the Apocalypse
The Last of the Apostles Chosen to Transmit the
THE SATANIC CONFEDERACY OF WICKED SPIRITS
God Legislating for Dangers From Evil Spirits
The Church in the Middle Ages
The Church of the Twentieth Century
Believers May Receive Equipment to Deal with
Distinction between Satan and Evil Spirits
Satan’s Challenge of Christ in the Wilderness
The Lord’s Attitude to and Recognition of Satan
Evil Spirits in the Gospel Records
DECEPTION BY EVIL SPIRITS IN MODERN TIMES
Can “Honest Souls” Be Deceived?
Faithfulness to Light Not Sufficient Safeguard Against Deception
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost
Is The Phrase Obeying “The Spirit” Scriptural?
The True Work of the Holy Spirit in the Believer
The Peril of the Time of the Baptism of the Spirit
PASSIVITY THE CHIEF BASIS OF POSSESSION
The Meaning of “Possession” Defined
The Word “Passivity” Describes Opposite Condition
The Class of Believers Who Are open to Passivity
Three Classes among Believers
Passivity of the Will
God Does Not Will Instead of Man
Passivity of the Mind
DECEPTION AND POSSESSION
Degree of Ground needed For, Evil Spirit to Possess
cannot be Defined
The Dual Personality of Demon Possession
Dual Personality of Evil Spirit Possession in
Dual Streams of Power
True and Counterfeit Accepted Together
Column 1: How Evil Spirits Deceive
COUNTERFEITS OF THE DIVINE
The Location of God by Believers
The Ultimate Result of Mistaken Location of God
The True Location of God
Christ as a Person in Heaven
Counterfeit Presence of God
The Counterfeit “Presence” Is Sensuous
Counterfeit Manifestations of Divine Workings in the
Effects of Evil Spirit Entry to the Bodily Frame
Compulsory “Confessions” of Sin
True Confession of Sin
GROUND AND SYMPTOMS OF POSSESSION
Ground to Evil Spirits in the Mind
How to Detect Evil Spirits’ Interference with the Mind
Symptoms of Interference with the Mind
Two Ways That the Enemy Puts Thoughts into the
Causes of Depression Apart From the Physical
Ground to Evil Spirits through Misconceptions
Passivity of the Body as Result of Passivity of the
Passive Yielding to Environment
THE PATH TO FREEDOM
The Humiliation of the Undeceiving Period
The Discovery of the Truth of Deception
The Spiritual Basis of Deliverance in Calvary’s
Column 1: Doubt of Experience
No “Contradiction” in Working of Spirit of God
Admittance of Possibility of Deception
The Basic Fact of the Fall
Admittance of Possible Deception
THE VOLITION AND SPIRIT OF MAN
Co-Operation with God Does Not Mean Automatic
God Governs the Renewed Man by His Co-Acting
The Natural” Versus the “Spiritual” Man
The Call To Decisive Action of the Will
God Calls A Man into Co-Action for His Own
The Believer’s Right of Decision of Will
The Spirit Energized by the Holy Spirit At the Back of the Will
The Distinct Organism of the Spirit
VICTORY IN CONFLICT
Degrees of Deliverance and Victory
Victory over Satan as Tempter
Various Kinds of Temptations
Difference between “Temptation” and “Attacks.”
Prayer Bringing Hidden Temptations to Light
Victory over Satan as Accuser
Believer Should Maintain Neutrality to
Accusations until Source Proved
“Feelings” Injected By Evil Spirits
Need of Discerning Accusation from True Conviction
Need of Unflinching Warfare against Sin
WAR UPON THE POWERS OF DARKNESS
Aggressive and Defensive Warfare
Some of the Results of the Undeceiving
The Believer Finds He is at War with All Hell
The Use of Christ’s Authority over the Power of the
The Authority of Christ is Not Inherent in the Believer
Degrees in the Results of Using the Authority of the
Knowledge a Factor in Authority
Evil Spirits Subject to the Believer
Joined to the Living Christ
REVIVAL DAWN AND THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT
Revival the Hour and Power of God
Why Revival Stops
Revival and War on Satan
Prayer for Revival
Instruments for Revival
What is a True Baptism of the Spirit
The Influx of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
The Holy Spirit Revealing Christ in Heaven
Revival Depends Upon True Understanding of the
Baptism of the Spirit
The True Revelation of Christ
SUMMARY OF “GROUND”
SEEKING RADICAL CAUSE IN GROUND
THE TRUE WORKINGS OF GOD, AND THE
COUNTERFEITS OF SATAN
A BIBLICAL SURVEY OF SATANIC DECEPTION
Truth of every kind makes free, while lies bind up in bonds. Ignorance also binds up, because it gives ground to Satan. Man’s ignorance is a primary and essential condition for deception by evil spirits. The ignorance of the people of God concerning the powers of darkness has made it easy for the devil to carry out his work as deceiver. Unfallen man in his pure state was not perfect in knowledge. Eve was ignorant of “good and evil,” and her ignorance was a condition which lent itself to the deception of the serpent.
The devil’s great purpose, and for which he fights, is to keep the world in ignorance of himself, his ways, and his colleagues, and the Church is taking sides with him when siding with ignorance about him. Every man should keep an attitude of openness to all truth, and shun the false knowledge which has slain its tens of thousands, and kept the nations in the deception of the devil.
A SPECIAL ONSLAUGHT OF DECEIVING SPIRITS ON THE CHURCH
Today there is a special onslaught of deceiving spirits upon the Church of Christ, the fulfillment of the prophecy which the Holy Spirit expressly made known to the Church through the Apostle Paul, that a great deceptive onslaught would take place in the “later times.” Since the utterance of the prophecy, more than eighteen hundred years have passed by, but the special manifestation of evil spirits in the deception of believers today, points unmistakably to the fact that we are at the close of the age.
The peril of the church at the close of this dispensation is foreshown to be especially from the supernatural realm, whence Satan would send forth an army of teaching spirits, to deceive all who would be open to teachings by spiritual revelation, and thus draw them away unwittingly from full allegiance to God.
Yet in face of this plain forecast of the peril in later times, we find the Church in almost entire ignorance of the workings of this army of evil spirits. The majority of believers too readily accept everything “supernatural” as of God, and supernatural experiences are indiscriminately accepted because all such experiences are thought to be Divine.
Through lack of knowledge, the majority of even the most spiritual people, do not carry out a full and perpetual war upon this army of wicked spirits; and many are shrinking from the subject, and the call to war against them, saying that if Christ is preached it is not necessary to give prominence to the existence of the devil, nor to enter into direct conflict with him, and his hosts. Yet large numbers of the children of God are becoming a prey to the enemy for lack of this very knowledge, and through the silence of teachers on this vital truth, the Church of Christ is passing on into the peril of the closing days of the age, unprepared to meet the onslaught of the foe. On account of this, and in view of the plainly given prophetic warnings in the Scriptures; the already manifest influx of the evil hosts of Satan among the children of God; and the many signs that we are actually in the “later times” referred to by the Apostle; all believers should welcome such knowledge about the powers of darkness, as will enable them to pass through the fiery trial of these days, without being ensnared by the foe.
Apart from such knowledge, when thinking he is “fighting for truth,” it is possible for a believer to fight for, defend, and protect evil spirits, and their works, believing he is thereby “defending” God, and His works; for if he thinks a thing Divine, he will protect and stand for it. It is possible for a man through ignorance to stand against God and to attack the very truth of God, and also defend the devil, and oppose God, unless he has knowledge.
KNOWLEDGE GAINED BY LETTER OF SCRIPTURE, AND BY EXPERIENCE
The Bible throws much light upon the Satanic powers, which cannot fail to be discerned by all who search the Scriptures with open minds, but these will not obtain as much knowledge of the subject from the sacred record, as will those who have understanding by experience, interpreted by the Holy Spirit, and shown to be in line with the truth of the Word of God. The believer may have a direct witness in his spirit to the truth of the Divine Word, but through experience he gets a personal witness to the inspiration of Scripture, to its testimony concerning the existence of supernatural beings, and their works, and the way they deceive, and mislead the children of men.
THE WORK OF SATAN AS DECEIVER IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN
If all that the Bible contains on the subject of the supernatural powers of evil, could be exhaustively dealt with in this book, we should find that more knowledge is given of the workings of Satan, and his principalities and powers, than many have realized. From Genesis to Revelation the work of Satan as deceiver of the whole inhabited earth can be traced, until the climax is reached, and the full results of the deception in the Garden of Eden are unveiled in the Apocalypse. In Genesis we have the simple story of the garden, with the guileless pair unaware of danger from evil beings in the unseen world. We find recorded there Satan’s first work as deceiver, and the subtle form of his method of deception. We see him working upon an innocent creature’s highest and purest desires, and cloaking his own purpose of ruin, under the guise of seeking to lead a human being nearer to God. We see him using the God-ward desires of Eve to bring about captivity, and bondage to himself. We see him using “good” to bring about evil; suggesting evil to bring about supposed good. Caught with the bait of being “wise,” and “like God,” Eve is blinded to the principle involved in obedience to God, and is deceived (1 Tim. 2: 14, A.V.).
Goodness is, therefore, no guarantee of protection from deception. The keenest way in which the devil deceives the world, and the Church, is when he comes in the guise of somebody, or something, which apparently causes them to go God-ward and good-ward. He said to Eve, “ye shall be as gods,” but he did not say, “and ye shall be like demons.” Angels and men only knew evil when they fell into a state of evil. Satan did not tell Eve this, when he added “knowing good and evil.” His true objective in deceiving Eve was to get her to disobey God, but his wile was, “ye shall be like God.” Had she reasoned, she would have seen that the deceiver’s suggestion exposed itself, for it crudely resolved itself into “disobey God” to be more like God!
THE CURSE OF GOD PRONOUNCED UPON THE DECEIVER
That a highly organized monarchy of evil spirit-beings was in existence is not made known in the story of the garden. Only a “serpent” is there; but the serpent is spoken to by God as an intelligent being, carrying out a deliberate purpose in the deception of the woman. The serpent-disguise of Satan is swept aside by Jehovah, as He makes known the decision of the Triune God in view of the catastrophe which had taken place. A “Seed” of the deceived woman, should eventually bruise the head of the supernatural being, who had used the form of the serpent to carry out his plan. Thenceforward the name of serpent is attached to him, the very name throughout the ages describing the climax action of his revolt against his Creator, in beguiling and deceiving the woman in Eden, and blasting the human race. Satan triumphed, but God overruled. The victim is made the vehicle for the advent of a Victor, who should ultimately destroy the works of the devil, and cleanse the heavens and the earth from every trace of his handiwork. The serpent is cursed, but, in effect, the beguiled victim is blest, for through her will come the “Seed” which will triumph over the devil and his seed; and through her will arise a new race through the promised Seed (Gen. 3:15), which will be antagonistic to the serpent to the end of time, through the enmity implanted by God. Henceforth the story of the ages consists of the record of a war between these two seeds; the Seed of the woman – Christ and His redeemed – and the seed of the devil (See John 8:44; 1 John 3:10), right on to the furthermost point of the final committal of Satan to the lake of fire.
Henceforth it is also war by Satan upon the womanhood of the world, in malignant revenge for the verdict of the garden. War by the trampling down of women in all lands where the deceiver reigns. War upon women in Christian lands, by the continuance of his Eden method of misinterpreting the Word of God; insinuating into men’s minds throughout all succeeding ages, that God pronounced a “curse” upon the woman, when in truth she was pardoned and blessed; and instigating men of the fallen race to carry out the supposed curse, which was in truth a curse upon the deceiver, and not the deceived one (Gen. 3:14).
“I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” said God, as well as between “thy seed and her seed,” and this vindictive enmity of the hierarchy of evil to woman, and to believers, has not lessened in its intensity from that day.
SATAN AS DECEIVER IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
When once we clearly apprehend the existence of an unseen host of evil spirit-beings, all actively engaged in deceiving and misleading men, Old Testament history will convey to us an open vision of their doings, hitherto hidden from our knowledge. We can trace their operations in relation to the servants of God throughout all history, and discern the work of Satan as deceiver penetrating everywhere. We shall see that David was deceived by Satan into numbering Israel, because he failed to recognize the suggestion to his mind as from a Satanic source (1 Chron. 21:1). Job also was deceived, and the messengers that came to him, when he believed the report that the “fire” which had fallen from heaven was from God (Job. 1:16); and that all the other calamities which befell him in the loss of wealth, home and children, came directly from the hand of God; whereas the early part of the book of Job clearly shows that Satan was the primary cause of all his troubles; as “prince of the power of the air” using the elements of nature, and the wickedness of men, to afflict the servant of God, in the hope that ultimately he could force Job into renouncing his faith in God, Who seemed to be unjustly punishing him without cause. That this was Satan’s aim is suggested in the words of the wife of the patriarch, who became a tool for the Adversary, in urging the suffering man to “curse God and die,” she, also, being deceived by the enemy into believing that God was the primary cause of all the trouble and the unmerited suffering which had come upon him.
In the history of Israel during the time of Moses, the veil is lifted more clearly from the Satanic powers, and we are shown the condition of the world as sunk in idolatry – which is said in the New Testament to be the direct work of Satan (1 Cor. 10:20) – and actual dealing with evil spirits; the whole inhabited earth being thus in a state of deception, and held by the deceiver in his power. We also find numbers of God’s own people, through contact with others under Satanic power, deceived into communicating with “familiar spirits,” and into the using of “divination,” and other kindred arts, inculcated by the powers of darkness, even though they knew the laws of God, and had seen His manifested judgments among them. (See Lev. 17:7, R.V. margin “satyrs”; 19:31; 20: 6, 27; Deut. 18:10, 11)
In the book of Daniel, we find a still further stage of revelation reached concerning the hierarchy of evil powers, when in the tenth chapter we are shown the existence of the princes of Satan, actively opposing the messenger of God sent to Daniel to make His servant understand His counsels for His people. There are also other references to the workings of Satan, his princes, and the hosts of wicked spirits, carrying out his will, scattered throughout the Old Testament, but on the whole the veil is kept upon their doings, until the great hour arrives, when the “Seed” of the woman, who was to bruise the head of the serpent, is manifested on earth in human form. (Gal. 4:4)
SATAN AS DECEIVER UNVEILED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
With the advent of Christ, the veil which had hidden the active workings of the supernatural powers of evil, for centuries since the garden catastrophe, is still further removed, and their deception and power over man is clearly revealed, and the arch-deceiver himself appears in the wilderness conflict of the Lord, to challenge the “Seed of the woman,” as it is not recorded that he appeared on earth since the time of the Fall. The wilderness of Judea, and the Garden of Eden, being parallel periods for the testing of the first and second Adam. In both periods Satan worked as Deceiver, in the second instance wholly failing to deceive, and beguile the One who had come as his Conqueror.
Traces of the characteristic work of Satan as deceiver can be discerned among the disciples of the Christ. He deceives Peter into speaking words of temptation to the Lord, suggesting His turning from the path of the Cross (Matt. 16: 22-23), and later on takes hold of the same disciple in the Judgment Hall (Luke 22:31), prompting him to the lie, “I know not the Man,” with the very purpose of deception (Matt. 26:74). Further traces of the work of the deceiver may be seen in the epistles of Paul, in his references to the “false apostles,” “deceitful workers,” and Satan’s workings as an “angel of light,” and “his ministers as ministers of righteousness” among the people of God (2 Cor. 11:13-15). In the messages to the Churches, also, given by the ascended Lord to His servant John, false apostles are spoken of, and false teachings of many kinds. A “synagogue of Satan” (Rev. 2:9), consisting of deceived ones, is mentioned, and “deep things of Satan” are described as existing in the Church (Rev. 2:24).
THE FULL REVELATION OF THE DECEIVER IN THE APOCALYPSE
Then the veil is lifted at last. The full revelation of the Satanic confederacy against God and His Christ, is given to the Apostle John. After the messages to the Churches, the world-wide work of the deceiver prince is fully disclosed to the Apostle, and he is bidden to write all that he is shown, that the Church of Christ might know the full meaning of the War with Satan in which the redeemed would be engaged, right on to the time when the Lord Jesus would be revealed from heaven, in judgment upon these vast, and terrible powers, full of cunning malignity, and hatred to His people, and as truly at work behind the world of men, from the days of the garden story to the end.
As we read the Apocalypse, it is important to remember that the organized forces of Satan described therein, were in existence at the time of the Fall of Eden, and only partially revealed to the people of God until the advent of the promised “Seed of the woman” Who was to bruise the serpent’s head. When the fullness of time had come, God manifest in the flesh met the fallen arch-angel, and leader of the evil angelic host, in mortal combat at Calvary; and, putting them to open shame, shook off from Himself the vast masses of the hosts of darkness who gathered around the Cross, from the furthermost realms of the kingdom of Satan (Col. 2:15).
The Scriptures teach us that God’s unveilings of the truths concerning Himself, and all the things in the spiritual realm which we need to know, are always timed by Him to the strength of His people. The full revelation of the Satanic powers disclosed in the Apocalypse was not given to the Church in its infancy, for some forty years passed after the Lord’s ascension ere the Book of the Revelation was written. Possibly it was necessary, that the Church of Christ should first fully apprehend the fundamental truths revealed to Paul, and the other Apostles, ere she could safely be shown the extent of the war with supernatural powers of evil upon which she had entered.
THE LAST OF THE APOSTLES CHOSEN TO TRANSMIT THE REVELATION
Whatever the reason of the delay, it is striking that it was the last of the Apostles who was chosen to transmit, at the very end of his life, the full war-message to the Church, which would serve as a foreshadowing of the campaign until its close.
In the Revelation given to John, the name and character of the deceiver is more clearly made known, with the strength of his forces, and the extent of the war, and its final issues. It is shown that in the invisible realm there is war between the forces of evil, and the forces of light. John says that “the dragon warred, and his angels… ” the dragon being explicitly described as the “serpent” from his guise in Eden – “called the Devil and Satan,” the deceiver of the whole inhabited earth. His worldwide work as deceiver is fully revealed, and the war in the earth realm caused by his deceiving of the nations, and the world-powers acting under his instigation and rule. The highly organized confederacy of principalities and powers, acknowledging the headship of Satan, is disclosed, and their “authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation,” all deceived by the supernatural and invisible forces of evil, and making “war with the saints.“ (Rev. 13:7)
THE SATANIC CONFEDERACY OF WICKED SPIRITS
A perspective view of the ages covered by the history in Bible records, shows that the rise and fall in spiritual power of the people of God, was marked by the recognition of the existence of the demoniacal hosts of evil. When the Church of God in the old and new dispensations was at the highest point of spiritual power, the leaders recognized, and drastically dealt with, the invisible forces of Satan; and when at the lowest they were ignored, or allowed to have free course among the people.
GOD LEGISLATING FOR DANGERS FROM EVIL SPIRITS
The reality of the existence of wicked spirits by whom Satan, their prince, carried out his work in the fallen world of men, cannot be more strongly proved, than by the fact that the statutes given by Jehovah to Moses in the fiery mount, embodied stringent measures for dealing with the attempts of evil spirit beings to find entry to the people of God. Moses was instructed by Jehovah to keep the camp of Israel free from their inroads, by the drastic penalty of death for all who had dealings with them. The very fact of Jehovah thus giving statutes in connection with such a subject, and the extreme penalty enforced for disobedience to His law, shows in itself (1) the existence of evil spirits, (2) their wickedness, (3) their ability to communicate with, and influence human beings, and (4) the necessity for uncompromising hostility to them, and their works. God would not legislate for dangers which had no real existence, nor would He command the extreme penalty of death, if the contact of the people with evil spirit beings of the unseen world, did not necessitate such drastic dealing.
The severity of the penalty obviously implies, also, that the leaders of Israel must have been given acute “discerning of spirits,” so sure and so clear, that they could have no doubt in deciding cases brought before them.
Whilst Moses and Joshua lived, and enforced the strong measures decreed by God to keep His people free from the inroads of Satanic power, Israel remained in allegiance to God, at the highest point of its history; but when these leaders died, the nation sank into darkness, brought about by evil spirit powers, drawing the people into idolatry and sin; the condition of the nation in after years, rising and falling (see Judges 2:19, 1 Kings 14:22-24; compare 2 Chron. 33: 2-5, 34: 2-7) into (1) allegiance to God, or (2) idolatrous worship of idols, and all the sins resulting from the substitution of the worship of Satan – which idolatry really meant – in the place of Jehovah.
When the new dispensation opens with the advent of Christ, we find Him – the God-Man – recognizing the existence of the Satanic powers of evil, and manifesting uncompromising hostility toward them, and their works–Moses in the Old Testament, Christ in the New. Moses, the man who knew God face to face. Christ, the Only Begotten Son of the Father, sent from God to the world of men. Each recognizing the existence of Satan and the evil spirit beings; each drastically dealing with them as entering and possessing men, and each waging war against them, as actively opposed to God.
Taking a perspective view, from the time of Christ on throughout the early history of the Church, up to the giving of the Apocalypse, and the death of the Apostle John, the manifested power of God wrought (in varying degrees) among His people, and the leaders recognized and dealt with the spirits of evil–a period corresponding to the Mosaic period in the old dispensation.
THE CHURCH IN THE MIDDLE AGES
Then the forces of darkness gained, and, with intermittent intervals and exceptions, the Church of Christ sank down under their power, until, in the darkest hour, which we call the Middle Ages, all the sins having their rise through the deceptive workings of the evil spirits of Satan, were as rife as in the time of Moses, when he wrote by the command of God, “There shall not be found with thee… one that useth divination, or that practiseth augury, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer.“ (Deut. 18: 10-11)
Now, at the close of the dispensation, and on the eve of the millennial age, the Church of Christ will again arise, and reach God’s purposed power, only when the leaders recognize, as Moses did in the Old Testament Church, and Christ and His apostles did in the New, the existence of evil spirit powers of darkness, and take towards them and their works, the same uncompromising attitude of hostility, and aggressive warfare.
THE CHURCH OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Why the Church in the twentieth century has not recognized the existence, and workings, of evil supernatural forces, can only be attributed to its low condition of spiritual life and power. Even at the present time, when the existence of evil spirits is recognized by the heathen, it is generally looked upon by the missionary as “superstition” and ignorance; whereas the ignorance is often on the part of the missionary, who is blinded by the prince of the power of the air to the revelation given in the Scriptures, concerning the Satanic powers.
The “ignorance” on the part of the heathen is in their propitiatory attitude to evil spirits, because of their ignorance of the gospel message of a Deliverer and a Savior sent to “proclaim release to the captives” (Luke 4:18), and Who, when He was on earth, went about healing all who were “oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38), and sent His messengers to open the eyes of the bound ones, that they might “turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.“ (Acts 26:18)
If missionaries to the heathen recognized the existence of evil spirits, and that the darkness in heathen lands was caused by the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2; 4:18 ; 1 John 5:19; 2 Cor. 4:4), and proclaimed to the heathen the message of deliverance from the evil hosts, they know so well to be real, and malignant, foes; as well as remission of sin, and victory over sin through the atoning sacrifice of Calvary; a vast change would come over the mission field in a few brief years.
But the Holy Spirit is already at work, opening the eyes of the people of God, and many of the leaders in the Church are beginning to recognize the real existence of Satanic powers, and are seeking to know how to discern their workings, and how to deal with them in the power of God.
BELIEVERS MAY RECEIVE EQUIPMENT TO DEAL WITH SATANIC POWERS
The hour of need always brings the corresponding measure of power from God to meet that need. The Church of Christ must lay hold of the equipment of the apostolic period, for dealing with the influx of the evil spirit hosts among her members. That all believers may receive the equipment of the Holy Spirit, whereby the authority of Christ over the demon hosts of Satan is manifested, is proved not only by the instance of Philip the deacon in the Acts of the Apostles, but also by the writings of the “Fathers” in the early centuries of the Christian era, which show that the Christians of that time (1) recognized the existence of evil spirits, (2) that they influenced, deceived and possessed men, and (3) that Christ gave His followers authority over them through His Name. That this authority through the Name of Christ, wielded by the believer walking in living and vital union with Christ, is available for the servants of God at the close of the age, the Spirit of God is making known in many and divers ways. God gives an object lesson, through a native Christian like Pastor Hsi, in China, who acted upon the Word of God in simple faith, without the questioning caused by the mental difficulties of Western Christendom; or He awakens the Church in the West, as in the Revival in Wales, by an outpouring of the Spirit of God; which not only manifested the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the twentieth century, as in the days of Pentecost; but also unveiled the reality of Satanic powers in active opposition to God and His people, and the need among the Spirit-filled children of God, for equipment for dealing with them. Incidentally, too, the Revival in Wales threw light upon the Scripture records, showing that the highest points of God’s manifested power among men, is invariably the occasion for concurrent manifestations of the working of Satan. It was so when the Son of God came forth from the wilderness conflict with the prince of darkness, and found the hidden demons in many lives aroused to malignant activity, so that from all parts of Palestine crowds of victims came to the Man, before whom the possessing spirits trembled in impotent rage.
The awakened part of the Church of today, has now no doubt of the real existence of the spirit beings of evil, and that there is an organized monarchy of supernatural powers, set up in opposition to Christ, and His kingdom, bent upon the eternal ruin of every member of the human race; and these believers know that God is calling them to seek the fullest equipment obtainable for withstanding, and resisting these enemies of Christ and His Church.
In order to understand the working of the deceiver-prince of this power of the air, and become acute to discern his tactics, and his methods of deceiving men, such believers should search the Scriptures thoroughly, to obtain a knowledge of his character, and how spirits of evil are able to possess, and use the bodies of men.
DISTINCTION BETWEEN SATAN AND EVIL SPIRITS
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).
SATAN’S CHALLENGE OF CHRIST IN THE WILDERNESS
This distinction between Satan, the prince of the demons (Matt. 9:34), and his legion of wicked spirits, is clearly recognized by Christ, and may be noted in many parts of the Gospels (Matt. 25:41). We find Satan in person challenging the Lord in the wilderness temptation, and Christ answering him as a person, word for word, and thought for thought, until he retires, foiled by the keen recognition of his tactics, by the Son of God (Luke 4:1-13).
We read of the Lord describing him as the “prince of the world” (John 14:30); recognizing him as ruling over a kingdom (Matt. 12:26); using imperative language to him as a person, saying; “Get thee hence”; while to the Jews He describes his character as “sinning from the beginning,” and being a “murderer,” and a “liar,” the “father of lies,” who “abode not in the truth” (John 8:44) which once he held as a great archangel of God. He is called, also, “that wicked one” (1 John 3:12, A.V.), the “Adversary,” and that “old serpent” (Rev. 12:9).
In respect of his method of working, the Lord speaks of him as sowing “tares,” which are “sons of the evil one,” among the wheat – the “sons” of God (Matt. 13:38, 39); thus revealing the Adversary as possessing the skill of a master mind, directing, with executive ability, his work as “prince of the world,” in the whole inhabited earth, and with power to place the men, who are called his “sons,” wherever he wills.
We read also, of Satan watching to snatch away the seed of the Word of God from all who hear it, this again indicating his executive power in the world – wide direction of his agents, whom the Lord describes as “fowls of the air”; in His own interpretation of the parable (Matt. 13:3, 4, 13, 19; Mark 4:3, 4, 14, 15; Luke 8:5, 11, 12); plainly saying that He meant by these “fowls” the “evil one” (Gr. Poneros, Matt. 13:19); “Satan” (Gr. Satana, Mark 4:15); or “Devil” (Gr. Diabolus, Luke 8:12); whom we know, from the general teaching of other parts of the Scriptures, does his work through the wicked spirits he has at his command; Satan himself not being omnipresent, although able to transpose himself with lightning velocity to any part of his world-wide dominions.
THE LORD’S ATTITUDE TO AND RECOGNITION OF SATAN
The Lord was always ready to meet the antagonist whom He had foiled in the wilderness, but who had only left Him “for a season” (Luke 4:13). In Peter He quickly discerned Satan at work, and exposed him by one swift sentence, mentioning his name (Matt. 16:23). In the Jews He stripped aside the mask of the hidden foe, and said, “Ye are of your father, the devil” (John 8:44), and with keen-edged words spoke of him as the “murderer” and the “liar,” prompting them to kill Him, and lying to them about Himself and His Father in heaven (John 8:40-41).
On the lake in a storm, fast asleep, and awakened suddenly, He is alert to meet the foe, and stands with calm majesty to “rebuke” the storm, which the prince of the power of the air had roused against Him (Mark 4:38, 39).
In brief, we find the Lord, right on from the wilderness victory, unveiling the powers of darkness, as He went forward in steady aggressive mastery over them. Behind what appeared “natural,” He sometimes discerned a supernatural power which demands His rebuke. He “rebuked” the fever in Peter’s wife’s mother (Luke 4:39), just as He “rebuked” the evil spirits in other, and more manifest forms, whilst in other instances He simply healed the sufferer by a word.
The difference between Satan’s attitude to the Lord, and that of the spirits of evil, should also be noted. Satan, the prince, tempts Him, seeks to hinder Him, prompts the Pharisees to oppose Him, hides behind a disciple to divert Him, and finally takes hold of a disciple to betray Him, and then sways the multitude to put Him to death; but the spirits of evil bowed down before Him, beseeching Him to “let them alone,” and not to command them to go into the abyss (Luke 8:31).
The realm of this deceiver-prince is specifically mentioned by the Apostle Paul in his description of him as “prince of the power of the air” (Ephes. 2:2), the aerial, or “heavenly places,” being the special sphere of the activity of Satan, and his hierarchy of powers. The name Beelzebub, the prince of the demons, meaning the “god of flies,” suggestively speaks of the aerial character of the powers of the air, as well as the word “darkness,” describing their character, and their doings. The Lord’s description of Satan’s working through “fowls of the air” strikingly corresponds to these other statements, together with John’s language about the “whole world lying in the evil one” (1 John 5:19); the “air” being the place of the workings of these aerial spirits, the very atmosphere in which the whole human race moves, said to be “in the evil one.”
EVIL SPIRITS IN THE GOSPEL RECORDS
The gospel record is full of reference to the workings of evil spirits, and shows that wherever the Lord moved, the emissaries of Satan sprang into active manifestation in the bodies, and minds, of those they indwelt; and that the ministry of Christ and His apostles was directed actively against them, so that again and again the record reads, “He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out demons” (Mark 1:39); He “cast out many demons, and He suffered not the demons to speak, because they knew Him” (Mark 1:34); “Unclean spirits, whensoever they beheld Him, fell down before Him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God” (Mark 3:11). Then came the sending out of the twelve chosen disciples, when the spirits of evil again are taken into account, for “He gave them authority over unclean spirits” (Mark 6:7). Later He appointed seventy other messengers, and as they went forward in their work, they, too, found the demons subject to them through His Name (Luke 10:17).
Were Jerusalem, Capernaum, Galilee, and all Syria, then filled with people who were “insane” and “epileptic”? Or was the truth of evil spirit possession of people a common fact? In any case it is evident from the gospel records, that the Son of God dealt with the powers of darkness as the active, primary cause of the sin, and suffering of this world, and that the aggressive part of His, and His disciples’ ministry, was directed persistently against them. On the one hand He dealt with the deceiver of the world, and bound the “strong man,” whilst on the other He taught the truth about God to the people, to destroy the lies which the prince of darkness had placed in their minds (2 Cor. 4:4) about His Father and Himself.
We find, too, that the Lord clearly recognized the devil behind the opposition of the Pharisees (John 8:44), and the “hour and power of darkness” (Luke 22:53) behind His persecutors at Calvary. He said that His mission was to “proclaim liberty to the captives” (Luke 4:18), and who the captor was He revealed on the eve of Calvary, when He said, “Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out” (John 12:31); and later on that this “prince” would once more come to Him, but would find nothing in Him as ground for his power (John 14:30).
DECEPTION BY EVIL SPIRITS IN MODERN TIMES
In the special onslaught of the deceiver, which will come upon the whole of the true Church of Christ at the close of the age, through the army of deceiving spirits, there are some more than others who are specially attacked by the powers of darkness, who need light upon his deceptive workings, so that they may pass through the trial of the Last Hour, and be counted worthy to escape that hour of greater trial, which is coming
For among those who are members of the Body of Christ, there are degrees of growth, and therefore degrees of testing, permitted by God, Who provides a way of escape for him who knows his need, and, by watching unto prayer, takes heed lest he fall (1 Cor. 10:12, 13). He is the Sovereign Lord of the Universe, and Satan is set his limit with every redeemed believer (see Job 1:12; 2: 6; Luke 22:31). Some of the members of Christ are yet in the stage of babyhood, and others do not even know the initial reception of the Holy Spirit. To such this book has not much to say, as they are among the weaker ones who need the “milk of the Word.” But there are others, who may be described as the advance guard of the Church of Christ, who have been baptized with the Holy Ghost, or who are seeking that Baptism; honest and earnest believers, who sigh and cry over the powerlessness of the true Church of Christ, and who grieve that her witness is so ineffective; that Spiritism and Christian Science, and other “isms,” are sweeping thousands into their deceptive errors, little thinking, that, as they themselves go forward into the spiritual realm, the deceiver, who has misled others, has special wiles prepared for them, so that he might render ineffective their aggressive power against him. These are the ones who are in danger of the special deception of the counterfeit “Christs,” and false prophets, and the dazzling lure of “signs and wonders,” and “fire out of heaven,” planned to meet their longing for the mighty interposition of God in the darkness settling upon the earth, but who do not recognize that such workings of the spirits of evil are possible, and so are unprepared to meet them.
These are the ones, also, who are recklessly ready to follow the Lord at any cost, and yet do not realize their unpreparedness for contest with the spiritual powers of the unseen world, as they press on into fuller spiritual things. Believers who are full of mental conceptions wrought into them in earlier years, which hinder the Spirit of God from preparing them for all they will meet as they press on to their coveted goal; conceptions which also hinder others from giving them, out of the Scriptures, much that they need to know of the spiritual world into which they are so blindly advancing. Conceptions which lull them into a false security, and give ground for, and even bring about, that very deception which enables the deceiver to find them an easy prey.
CAN “HONEST SOULS” BE DECEIVED?
One prevailing idea, which such believers have deeply embedded in their minds, is that “honest seekers after God” will not be allowed to be deceived. That this is one of Satan’s lies, to lure such seekers into a false position of safety, is proved by the history of the Church during the past two thousand years, for every “wile of error” which has borne sad fruit throughout this period, first laid hold of devoted believers who were “honest souls.” The errors among groups of such believers, some well known to the present generation, all began among “honest” children of God, baptized with the Holy Ghost; and all so sure that, knowing the side-tracking of others before them, they would never be caught by the wiles of Satan. Yet they, too, have been deceived by lying spirits, counterfeiting the workings of God in the higher ranges of the spiritual life.
Among such devoted believers, lying spirits have worked on their determination literally to obey the Scriptures, and by misuse of the letter of the written Word, have pushed them into phases of unbalanced truth, with resulting erroneous practices. Many who have suffered for their adherence to these “Biblical commands,” firmly believe that they are martyrs suffering for Christ. The world calls these devoted ones “cranks,” and “fanatics,” yet they give evidence of highest devotion and love to the Person of the Lord, and could be delivered, if they but understood why the powers of darkness deceived them, and the way of freedom from their power.
The aftermath of the Revival in Wales, which was a true work of God, revealed numbers of “honest souls” swept off their feet by evil supernatural powers, which they were not able to discern from the true working of God. And later still than the Welsh Revival, there have been other “movements,” with large numbers of earnest servants of God swept into deception, through the wiles of deceiving spirits counterfeiting the workings of God; all “honest souls,” deceived by the subtle foe, and certain to be led on into still deeper deception, notwithstanding their honesty and earnestness, if they are not awakened to “return to soberness” and recovery out of the snare of the devil into which they have fallen (2 Tim. 2:26).
FAITHFULNESS TO LIGHT NOT SUFFICIENT SAFEGUARD AGAINST DECEPTION
The children of God need to know that to be true in motive, and faithful up to light, is not sufficient safeguard against deception; and that it is not safe for them to rely upon their “honesty of purpose” as guaranteeing protection from the enemy’s wiles, instead of taking heed to the warnings of God’s Word, and watching unto prayer.
Christians who are true and faithful, and honest, can be deceived by Satan, and his deceiving spirits, for the following reasons: –
(a) When a man becomes a child of God, by the regenerating power of the Spirit, giving him new life as he trusts in the atoning work of Christ, he does not at the same time receive fullness of knowledge, either of God, himself, or the devil.
(b) The mind which by nature is darkened (Eph. 4:18), and under a veil created by Satan (2 Cor. 4:4) is only renewed, and the veil destroyed, up to the extent that the light of truth penetrates it, and according to the measure in which the man is able to apprehend it.
(c) “Deception” has to do with the mind, and it means a wrong thought admitted to the mind, under the deception that it is truth. Since “deception” is based on ignorance, and not on the moral character; a Christian who is “true” and “faithful” up to the knowledge he has, must be open to deception in the sphere where he is ignorant of the “devices” of the devil (2 Cor. 2:11), and what he is able to do. A “true” and “faithful” Christian is liable to be “deceived” by the devil because of his ignorance.
(d) The thought that God will protect a believer from being deceived if he is true and faithful, is in itself a “deception,” because it throws a man off guard, and ignores the fact that there are conditions on the part of the believer which have to be fulfilled for God’s working. God does not do anything instead of a man, but by the man’s co-operation with Him; neither does He undertake to make up for a man’s ignorance, when He has provided knowledge for him which will prevent him being deceived.
(e) Christ would not have warned His disciples “Take heed... be not deceived” if there had been no danger of deception, or if God had undertaken to keep them from deception apart from their “taking heed,” and their knowledge of such danger.
The knowledge that it is possible to be deceived, keeps the mind open to truth, and light from God; and is one of the primary conditions for the keeping power of God; whereas a closed mind to light and truth, is a certain guarantee of deception by Satan at his earliest opportunity.
THE BAPTISM OF THE HOLY GHOST
As we glance back over the history of the Church, and watch the rise of various “heresies” or delusions – as they have sometimes been called – we can trace the period of deception as beginning with some great spiritual crisis, such as that which, in later years, we have termed “the Baptism of the Holy Ghost”; a crisis in which the man is brought to give himself up in full abandonment to the Holy Spirit, and in so doing thus opens himself to the supernatural powers of the invisible world.
The reason for the peril of this crisis, is, that up to this time, the believer used his reasoning faculties in judging right and wrong, and obeyed, what he believed to be, the will of God, from principle; but now, in his abandonment to the Holy Spirit, he begins to obey an unseen Person, and to submit his faculties, and his reasoning powers in blind obedience to that which he believes is of God. What the Baptism of the Spirit means will be dealt with in a later chapter; at this point it is only necessary to say that it is a crisis in the life of a Christian, which none but those who have gone through it in experience, can fully under stand. It means that the Spirit of God becomes so real to the man, that his supreme object in life is henceforth implicit “obedience to the Holy Ghost.” The will is surrendered to carry out the Will of God at all costs, and the whole being is made subject to the powers of the unseen world; the believer, of course, purposing that it shall only be to the power of God, not taking into account that there are other powers in the spiritual realm, and that all that is “supernatural” is not all of God; and not realizing that this absolute surrender of the whole being to invisible forces, without knowing how to discern between the contrary powers of God and Satan, must be of the gravest risk to the inexperienced believer.
The question whether this surrender to “obey the Spirit,” is one that is in accord with Scripture, should be examined in view of the way in which so many wholehearted believers have been misled, for it is strange that an attitude which is Scriptural should be so grievously the cause of danger, and often complete wreckage, to many devoted children of God.
IS THE PHRASE OBEYING “THE SPIRIT” SCRIPTURAL?
“The Holy Ghost, Whom God hath given to them that obey Him,” is the principal phrase giving rise to the expression, “obey the Spirit.” It was used by Peter before the Council at Jerusalem, but nowhere else in the Scriptures is the same thought given. The whole passage needs reading carefully to reach a clear conclusion. “We must obey GOD” (Acts 5:29), Peter said to the Sanhedrin, for “we are witnesses... and so is the Holy Ghost Whom God hath given to them that obey Him.” (v. 32) Does the Apostle mean “obey the Spirit,” or “obey GOD,” according to the first words of the passage? The distinction is important, and the setting of the words can only be rightly understood by the teaching of other parts of Scripture, that the Triune GOD in Heaven is to be obeyed, through the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. For to place the Holy Ghost as the object of obedience, rather than God the Father, through the Son, by the Holy Spirit, creates the danger of leading the believer to rely upon, or obey, a “Spirit” in, or around him, rather than God on the throne in heaven, Who is to be obeyed by the child of God united to His Son; the Holy Spirit being the media, or means, through Whom God is worshipped, and obeyed.
THE TRUE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE BELIEVER
The Baptism of the Spirit, however, so brings the Holy Spirit as a Person into the range of the believer’s consciousness, that for the time being, the other Persons of the Trinity, in heaven, may be eclipsed. The Holy Spirit becomes the centre and object of thought and worship, and is given a place which He Himself does not desire, and which it is not the purpose of the Father in heaven, that He should have, or occupy. “He shall not speak from Himself“ (John 16:13), said the Lord before Calvary, as He told of His coming at Pentecost. He should act as Teacher (John 14:26), but teaching the words of Another, not His own; He should bear witness to Another, not to Himself (John 15:26); He should glorify Another, not Himself (John 16:14); He should only speak what was given Him to speak by Another (John 16:13); in brief, His entire work would be to lead souls into union with the Son, and knowledge of the Father in heaven whilst He Himself directed, and worked in the background.
But the opening of the spiritual world, which takes place through the filling of the Spirit; and the work of the Spirit, which now occupies the attention of the believer, is just the opportunity for the arch-deceiver to commence his wiles under a new form. If the man is untaught in the Scriptural statements of the work of the Triune God, to “obey the Spirit” is now his supreme purpose; and to counterfeit the guidance of the Spirit, and the Spirit Himself, is now the deceiver’s scheme; for he must somehow regain power over this servant of God, so as to render him useless for aggressive warfare against the forces of darkness, drive him back into the world, or in some way side-track him from active service for God.
THE PERIL OF THE TIME OF THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT
It is just here that the ignorance of the believer about (1) the spiritual world now opened to him, (2) the workings of evil powers in that realm, and (3) the conditions upon which God works in and through him, gives the enemy his opportunity. It is the time of greatest peril for every believer, unless he is instructed and prepared, as the disciples were for three whole years by the Lord. The danger lies along the line of supernatural “guidance,” through not knowing the condition of co-operation with the Holy Spirit, and how to discern the will of God; and counterfeit manifestations, through not knowing the “discerning of spirits” necessary to detect the workings of the false angel of light, who is able to bring about counterfeit gifts of prophesy, tongues, healings, and other spiritual experiences, connected with the work of the Holy Ghost.
Those who have their eyes opened to the opposing forces of the spiritual realm, understand that very few believers can guarantee that they are obeying God, and God only, in direct supernatural guidance, because there are so many factors liable to intervene, such as the believer’s own mind, own spirit, own will, and the deceptive intrusion of the powers of darkness.
Since evil spirits can counterfeit God as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit, the believer needs also to know very clearly the principles upon which God works, so as to detect between the Divine and the Satanic workings. There is a “discernment” which is a spiritual gift, enabling the believer to discern “spirits,” but this also requires knowledge of “doctrine” (1 John 4:1), so as to discern between doctrine which is of God, and doctrines, or teachings, of teaching spirits.
There is a detecting, by the gift of discerning of spirits, which spirit is at work; and a test of spirits, which is doctrinal. In the former a believer can tell by a spirit of discernment, that the lying spirits are at work in a meeting, or in a person, but he may not have the understanding needed for testing the “doctrines” set forth by a teacher. He needs knowledge in both cases; knowledge to read his spirit with assurance in the face of all contrary appearances, that the supernatural workings are “of God”; and knowledge to detect the subtlety of “teachings” bearing certain infallible indications that they emanate from the pit, while appearing to be from God.
In personal obedience to God, the believer can detect whether he is obeying God in some “command,” by judging its fruits, and by knowledge of the character of God, such as the truth that (1) God has always a purpose in His commands, and (2) He will give no command out of harmony with His character and Word. Other factors needed for clear knowledge are dealt with later on.
PASSIVITY THE CHIEF BASIS OF POSSESSION
That believers – true, fully surrendered children of God – can be deceived, and then up to the degree of deception, “possessed” by deceiving spirits, we have seen in the preceding chapters. The primary cause must now be made clear, and the conditions for deception and possession resulting therefrom; apart from the possession which is the outcome of yielding to sins of the flesh, or any sin which gives evil spirits a hold in the fallen nature.
It is first important to define the meaning of the word “possession;” for it is generally thought to cover only cases of possession in the acute, and fully developed degree of the cases given in the gospel records. But even then it is overlooked that many degrees of possession are referred to in the gospels, such as the woman with the “spirit of infirmity”; the man who was apparently only deaf and dumb; the little girl with the demon which terribly vexed her; the boy who gnashed with his teeth, and was sometimes thrown on the fire, and the man with the legion, so wholly mastered by the powers of evil that he dwelt outside the abodes of men.
THE MEANING OF “POSSESSION” DEFINED
Such cases as these are known today, amongst even true believers in Europe, as well as in heathen China, but “possession” is much more wide-spread than is supposed, if the word “possession” is taken to mean just what it is, i.e., 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.
Christians are as open to possession by evil spirits as other men, and become possessed because they have, in most cases, unwittingly fulfilled the conditions upon which evil spirits work, and, apart from the cause of willful sin, given ground to deceiving spirits, through (1) accepting their counterfeits of the Divine workings, and (2) cultivating passivity, and non-use of the faculties; and this through misconception of the spiritual laws which govern Christian life.
It is this matter of ground given which is the crucial point of all. All believers acknowledge known sin to be ground given to the enemy, and even unknown sin in the life, but they do not realize that every thought suggested to the mind by wicked spirits, and accepted, is ground given to them; and every faculty unused invites their attempted use of it.
The primary cause of deception and possession in surrendered believers may be condensed into one word, passivity; that is, a cessation of the active exercise of the will in control over spirit, soul and body, or either, as may be the case. It is, practically, a counterfeit of “surrender to God.” The believer who “surrenders” his “members” – or faculties – to God, and ceases to use them himself, thereby falls into “passivity” which enables evil spirits to deceive, and possess any part of his being which has become passive.
The deception over passive surrender may be exampled thus: a believer surrenders his “arm” to God. He permits it to hang passive, waiting for “God to use it.” He is asked, “why do you not use your arm?” and he replies “I have surrendered it to God. I must not use it now; God must use it.” But will God lift the arm for the man? Nay, the man himself must lift it, and use it, seeking to understand intelligently God’s mind in doing so.
THE WORD “PASSIVITY” DESCRIBES OPPOSITE CONDITION TO ACTIVITY
The word “passivity” simply describes the opposite condition to activity; and in the experience of the believer it means, briefly, (1) loss of self-control – in the sense of the person himself controlling each, or all of the departments of his personal being; and (2) loss of freewill – in the sense of the person himself exercising his will as the guiding principle of personal control, in harmony with the will of God.
All the danger of “passivity” in the surrendered believer, lies in the advantage taken of the passive condition by the powers of darkness. Apart from these evil forces, and their workings through the passive person, “passivity” is merely inactivity, or idleness. In normal inactivity, that is, when the evil spirits have not taken hold, the inactive person is always holding himself ready for activity; whereas in “passivity” which has given place to the powers of darkness, the passive person is unable to act by his own volition.
The chief condition, therefore, for the working of evil spirits in a human being, apart from sin, is passivity, in exact opposition to the condition which God requires from His children for His working in them. Granted the surrender of the will to God, with active choice to do His will as it may be revealed to him, God requires co-operation with His Spirit, and the full use of every faculty of the whole man. In brief, the powers of darkness aim at obtaining a passive slave, or captive to their will; whilst God desires a regenerated man, intelligently and actively willing, and choosing, and doing His will in liberation of spirit, soul and body from slavery.
The powers of darkness would make a man a machine, a tool, an automaton; the God of holiness and love desires to make him a free, intelligent sovereign in his own sphere – a thinking, rational, renewed creation created after His own image (Eph. 4:24). Therefore God never says to any faculty of man, “Be thou idle.”
God does not need, nor demand non-activity in the believer, for His working in, and through him; but evil spirits demand the utmost non-activity and passivity.
God asks for intelligent action (Rom. 12:1-2, “Your reasonable service,”) in co-operation with Him.
Satan demands passivity as a condition for his compulsory action, and in order to compulsorily subject men to his will and purpose.
God requires the cessation of the evil actions of believers, primarily because they are sinful, and secondly because they hinder co-operation with His Spirit.
Passivity must not be confused with quietness, or the meek and quiet spirit,” which, in the sight of God, is of great price. Quietness of spirit, of heart, of mind, of manner, voice and expression, may be co-existent with the most effective activity in the will of God (1 Thess. 4:11, Gr. “Ambitious to be quiet.”).
THE CLASS OF BELIEVERS WHO ARE OPEN TO PASSIVITY
The persons open to “passivity,” of whom the evil spirits take advantage as ground for their activity, are those who become fully surrendered to God, and are brought into direct contact with the supernatural world by receiving the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. There are some who use the word “surrender,” and think they are surrendered fully to carry out the will of God, but are only so in sentiment and purpose, for actually they walk by the reason and judgment of the natural man; although they submit all their plans to God, and because of this submittal sincerely believe they are carrying out His will. But those who are really “surrendered,” give themselves up to implicitly obey, and carry out at all costs, what is revealed to them supernaturally as from God, and not what they themselves plan and reason out to be the will of God.
Believers who surrender their wills, and all they have and are to God, yet who WALK BY THE USE OF THEIR NATURAL MINDS, are not the ones who are open to the “passivity” which gives ground to evil spirits, although they may, and do, give ground to them in other ways. These we may call Class No. 1, as shown in the following table.
THREE CLASSES AMONG BELIEVERS
2. Surrendered, Deceived, Possessed.
3. Surrendered but Undeceived, Dispossessed and Victorious.
These use the word “surrender,” but do not really know it, and act it out in practice. These seem more “foolish” than those in Class 1, but in reality are more advanced. The mind is liberated, and all the faculties are operating.
Believers in this stage are more reasonable than those in No. 2, because their faculties have not been yielded into passivity. In order to understand the actions of No. 2, it is needful to read them from their inner standpoint, for to them all that they do seems right. These are open to light and all that is Divine, but they seek watchfully to close themselves to all that is Satanic.
These believers call those in the next class “cranks,” “faddists,”…extremists,” etc. These are open to both Divine and Satanic power. No. 3 can read Nos. 1 and 2 intelligently.
Are liable to be “puffed up.”
Class No. 1 are “surrendered” in will, but not surrendered in fact, in the sense of being ready to carry out “obedience to the Holy Ghost” at all costs. They consequently know little of conflict, and nothing of the devil, excepting as a tempter or accuser. They do not understand those who speak of the “onslaughts of Satan,” for, they say, they are not “attacked” in this way. But the devil does not always attack when he can. He reserves his attack until it suits him. If the devil does not attack a man, it does not prove that he could not. Another class among believers–Class No. 2–are those who are surrendered in such a measure of abandonment that they are ready to obey the Spirit of God at all costs, with the result that they become open to a passivity which gives ground for the deception and possession of evil spirits.
These surrendered believers (Class No. 2) fall into passivity after the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, (1) because of their determination to carry out their “surrender” at all costs; (2) their relationship with the spiritual world, which opens to them supernatural communications, which they believe to be all of God; (3) their “surrender” leading them to submit, subdue and make all things subservient to this supernatural plane.
The origin of the evil passivity which gives the evil spirits opportunity to deceive, and then possess, is generally a wrong interpretation of Scripture, or wrong thoughts or beliefs about Divine things. Some of these interpretations of Scripture, or wrong conceptions, which cause the believer to give way to the passive condition, we have already referred to in a previous chapter.
The passivity may affect the whole man, in spirit, soul and body, when it has become very deep, and is of many years’ standing. The progress is generally very gradual, and insidious in growth, and consequently the release from it is gradual and slow.
PASSIVITY OF THE WILL
There is a passivity of the will; the “will” being the helm, so to speak, of the ship. This originates from a wrong conception of what full surrender to God means. Thinking that a “surrendered will” to God means no use of the will at all, the believer ceases to (1) choose, (2) determine, and (3) act of his own volition. The serious effect of this, he is not allowed by the powers of darkness to discover, for at first the consequences are trivial, and scarcely noticeable. In fact, at first it appears to be most glorifying to God. The “strong-willed” person suddenly becomes passively yielding. He thinks that God is “will”-ing for him in circumstances, and through people, and so he becomes passively helpless in action. After a time no “choice” can be got from him in matters of daily life; no “decision,” or initiative in matters demanding action; he is afraid to express a wish, much less a decision. Others must choose, act, lead, decide, while this one drifts as a cork upon the waters. Later on the powers of darkness begin to make capital out of this “surrendered” believer, and to work around him evil of various kinds, which entangle him through his passivity of will. He has now no power of will to protest, or resist. Obvious wrong in his environment, which this believer alone has a right to deal with, flourishes, and grows strong and blatant. The powers of darkness have slowly gained, both personally and in circumstances, upon the ground of passivity of the will, which at first was merely passive submission to environment, under the idea that God was “will”-ing for him in all things around him.
The text that such believers misinterpret is Phil. 2:13, “It is God which worketh in you, both to will, and to work, for His good pleasure.” The “passive” person reads it, “... God which worketh in me the willing, and the doing,” i.e., “willeth instead of me.” [note 2] The first means God working in the soul up to the point of the action of the will, and the second assumes His actually “willing” instead of, and “working” instead of the believer. This wrong interpretation gives ground for not using the will, because of the conclusion “God wills instead of me;” thus bringing about passivity of will.
GOD DOES NOT WILL INSTEAD OF MAN
The truth to be emphasized is that God never “wills” instead of man, and whatever a man does, he is himself responsible for his actions.
The believer whose “will” has become passive, finds, after a time, the greatest difficulty in making decisions of any kind, and he looks outside, and all around him for something to help him to decide the smallest matters. When he has become conscious of his passive condition, he has a painful sense of being unable to meet some of the situations of ordinary life. If spoken to, he knows he cannot will to listen till a sentence is completed; if asked to judge a matter, he knows he cannot do it; if he is required to “remember” or use his imagination, he knows he is unable to, and becomes terrified at any proposed course of action where these demands may come upon him. The tactics of the enemy now may be to drive him into situations where these demands may be made, and thus torture or embarrass him before others.
Little does the believer know that in this condition be may, unknowingly, rely upon the assistance of evil spirits, who have brought about the passivity for this very object. The faculty unused lies dormant and dead in their grip, but if used it is an occasion for them to manifest themselves through it. They are too ready to “will” instead of the man, and they will put within his reach many “supernatural” props to help him in “decision,” especially in the way of “texts” used apart from their context, and supernaturally given, which the believer, seeking so longingly to do the will of God, seizes upon, and firmly grasps as a drowning man a rope, blinded, by the apparently given Divine help, to the principle that God [note 3] only works through the active volition of a man, and not for him in matters requiring his action.
PASSIVITY OF THE MIND
Passivity of the mind is engendered by a wrong conception of the place of the mind in the life of surrender to God, and obedience to Him in the Holy Spirit. Christ’s call of fishermen is used as an excuse for passivity of brain, for some believers say, God has no need for the use of the brain, and can do without it! But the choice of Paul who had the greatest intellect of his age, shows that when God sought for a man through whom He could lay the foundations of the Church, He chose one with a mind capable of vast and intelligent thinking. The greater the brain power, the greater the use God can make of it, provided it is submissive to truth. The cause of passivity of mind, sometimes lies in the thought that the working of the brain is a hindrance to the development of the Divine life in the believer. But the truth is, that (1) the non-working of the brain hinders, (2) the evil working of the brain hinders, (3) but the normal and pure working of the brain is essential, and helpful for co-operation with God. This is dealt with fully in Chapter 6, where the various tactics of the powers of darkness are shown in their efforts to get the mind into a condition of passivity, and hence incapable of action to discern their wiles. The effects of passivity of the mind may be seen in inactivity, when there should be action; or else over activity beyond control, as if a suddenly released instrument broke forth into ungovernable action; hesitation, or rashness; indecision (as also from a passive will); unwatchfulness; lack of concentration; lack of judgment; bad memory.
Passivity does not change the nature of a faculty, but it hinders its normal operation. In the case of passivity hindering the memory, the person will be found looking outside himself for every possible “aid to memory,” until he becomes a veritable slave to note book, and helps, which fail at a critical moment. With this is also passivity of the imagination, which places the imagination outside personal control, and at the mercy of evil spirits who flash to it what they please. One danger is to take these visions, and call them “imaginations.” The passive state can be produced without crystal gazing, i.e., if a person gazes at any object for a prolonged period the natural vision is dulled, and the deceiving spirits can then present anything to the mind.
In pure inactivity of the mind, the mind can be used at the will of the person, but in evil passivity of the mind, the person is helpless, and he “can’t think!” He feels as if his mind were bound, and held by an iron band, or by a weight or pressure on his head.
DECEPTION AND POSSESSION
To be deceived by lying spirits does not mean that the believer is necessarily possessed by an evil spirit; and a person may be “possessed” without having been deceived. For instance, a believer may be misled in guidance, or be deceived by counterfeit visions and manifestations, without these deceptions leading on into possession; and where there is yielding to sin, either known or unknown, even by a believer, an evil spirit may take possession of the mind, or body, without there being any experience of deception (1 Cor. 5:5).
The faculties may become severally held, or possessed, by evil-spirits, by (1) 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 (2) 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.
DEGREE OF GROUND NEEDED FOR, EVIL SPIRIT TO POSSESS CANNOT BE DEFINED
The needed degree of ground given to an evil spirit in order to possess, cannot be clearly defined, but that there is (1) sin without evil spirit possession; (2) sin which opens the door to possession; and (3) sin which is unmistakably the result of Satanic possession (John 13: 2) is beyond question. If the man, be he unbeliever or believer, sins so as to admit an evil spirit, the ground given may be deepened without measure. (1) the ground given admits the demon, (2) the “manifestation” of the evil spirit takes place, (3) then the misinterpretation of the manifestation again gives further ground, because he believes, and admits still more of the lies of the evil one.
It is possible, also, for deception and possession to come about, and pass away without the man being conscious of either. He may yield to sin which gives access to an evil spirit, and then take the position of death (Rom. 6: 6, 11) to the sin or its ground, when, unconsciously to himself, the possession passes away.
Multitudes of believers are “possessed” in various degrees but do not know it, as they attribute the “manifestations” to “natural” causes, or to “self” or “sin,” and they put them down to these causes because they do not appear to bear the characteristics of demoniacal possession.
There is also a degree of deception by deceiving spirits, in connection with counterfeits of God and Divine things, which leads on to possession; and this too, depends upon the extent of the counterfeits which have been accepted by the believer. Through “possession” by accepting the counterfeit of the workings of the Holy Spirit, believers can, unknowingly, be brought to (1) put their trust in evil spirits, (2) rely on them, (3) surrender to them, (4) be guided by them, (5) pray to them, (6) listen to them, (7) obey them, (8) receive messages from them, (9) receive Scripture texts from them, (10) help them in their desires and working, (11) stand by them, and (12) work for them; believing they are in these attitudes towards God, and doing these things for God.
In some cases, the counterfeit manifestations have been accepted with such reckless abandonment, that deception has quickly developed into possession in a most acute, yet subtle, and highly refined form; giving no apparent trace of the presence of evil, yet the peculiar double personality, characteristic of fully developed “demon possession,” is easily recognizable to trained spiritual discernment; although it may be hidden under the of the most beautiful “angel of light” manifestation, with all the fascinating attraction of “glory light” upon the face, [note 4] exquisite music in song, and a powerful effect in speech.
THE DUAL PERSONALITY OF DEMON POSSESSION
The dual personality of fully developed demon possession is generally only recognized when it takes the form of objectionable manifestations; such as when a distinct other-intelligence obscures the personality of the possessed one, and speaks through the vocal organs, in a distinctly separate or altered voice, expressing thoughts or words unintended, or only partially volitioned by the subject; the victim is compelled to act in ways contrary to his natural character, and the body is manipulated by a foreign power, and nerves and muscles are twisted in contortions, and convulsions, such as are described in the Scripture records (Luke 9:39). A characteristic of the dual-personality of demon-possession also is that the manifestations are usually periodical, and the victim is comparatively natural, and normal, between what are described as “attacks,” but which are really periods of manifestations of the intruding power.
DUAL PERSONALITY OF EVIL SPIRIT POSSESSION IN CHRISTIANS
Evidences are now available, proving that this dual-personality of possession in its fullest degree, has taken place in believers who are not disobedient to light, or yielding to any known sin; but who have become possessed through deception in their abandonment to supernatural power, which they believed to be of God; such cases having all the symptoms and manifestations described in the gospel records. The demon answering questions in his own voice, and speaking words of blasphemy against God through the person, whilst he is, in spirit, in peace and fellowship with God; thus evidencing (1) the Holy Spirit to be in the spirit, and (2) the demon, or demons, in the body, using the tongue, and throwing the body about at their will.
This same “dual-personality,” under entirely different manifestations is easily recognizable by any who have the “discerning of spirits.” At times the environment of the subject is more favorable than others for the spirit manifestations, and then they can be detected in both beautiful and objectionable forms.
The fact of the demon possession of Christians destroys the theory that only people in “heathen countries,” or persons deep in sin, can be “possessed” by evil spirits. This unexamined, unproved theory in the minds of believers, serves the devil well as a cover for his workings to gain possession of the minds and bodies, of Christians in the present time. But the veil is being stripped off the eyes of the children of God by the hard path of experience; and the knowledge is dawning upon the awakened section of the Church that a believer baptized in the Holy Ghost, and indwelt by God in the inner shrine of the spirit can be deceived into admitting evil spirits into his being; and be possessed, [note 7] in varying degrees, by demons, even whilst in the centre he is a sanctuary of the Spirit of God; God working in, and through his spirit, and the evil spirits in, or through, mind, or body, or both.
DUAL STREAMS OF POWER
From such possessed believers there can proceed, at intervals, streams from the two sources of power; one from the Spirit of God in the centre, and the other from an evil spirit in the outer man; and with the two parallel results to those who come in contact with the two streams of power. In preaching, all the truth spoken by such a believer may be of God, and according to the Scriptures, correct and full of light – the spirit of the man right – whilst evil spirits working in mind or body, make use of the cover of the truth to insert their manifestations, so as to find acceptance with both speaker and hearers. That is to say, there may pour through a believer at one moment, a stream of truth from the Word, giving light and love and blessing to receptive ones among the listeners; and the next moment, a foreign spirit, hidden in mind or body, may send forth a streamlet through the soulish or physical part of the man, producing corresponding effects in soul or body among the listeners, who respond in their soulish or physical part to the Satanic stream, either by emotional or physical manifestations, or in nervous or muscular actions. One or the other of the “streams” of power from the Holy Spirit in his spirit, or from the deceiving spirit in mind or body, may predominate at different times, thus making the same man appear dual in character, with short intervals, at different periods of time. “See how he speaks! How he seeks to glorify God! How sane and reasonable he is! What a passion he has for souls!” may be said with truth of a worker, until some moments later some peculiar change is seen in him, and in the meeting. A strange element comes in, possibly only recognizable to some with keen spiritual vision, or else plainly obvious to all. Perhaps the speaker begins to pray quietly, and calmly, with a pure spirit, but suddenly the voice is raised, it sounds “hollow,” or has a metallic tone; [note 8] the tension of the meeting increases; an overwhelming, overmastering “power” falls upon it; and no one thinks of “resisting” what appears to be such a “manifestation of God!”
The majority of those present may have no idea of the mixture which has crept in. Some fall upon the ground unable to bear the strained emotion, or effect upon the mind; and some are thrown down by some supernatural power; others cry out in ecstasy; the speaker leaves the platform, passes by a young man, who becomes conscious of a feeling of intoxication upon him, which does not leave his senses for some time. Others laugh with the exuberance of the intoxicating joy. Some have had real spiritual help and blessing through the Word of God being expounded ere this climax came, and during the pure outflow of the Holy Spirit; consequently they accept these strange workings as from God, because in the first stage of the meeting, their needs have been truly met by Him; and they cannot discern the two separate “manifestations” coming through the same channel! If they doubt the latter part of the meeting, they fear they are untrue to their inner conviction that the earlier part was “of God.” Others are conscious that the “manifestations” are contrary to their spiritual vision, and judgment; but on account of the blessing of the earlier part they stifle their doubts, and say “We cannot understand the ‘physical’ manifestations, but we must not expect to understand all that God does. We only know that the wonderful outpouring of truth and love and light at the beginning of the meeting was from God, and met our need. No one can mistake the sincerity, the pure motive of the speaker… therefore, although I cannot understand, or say I ‘like’ the physical manifestations, yet – it must be all of God… “
TRUE AND COUNTERFEIT ACCEPTED TOGETHER
Briefly put, this is a glimpse into the mixed “manifestations” which have come upon the Church of God, since the Revival in Wales; for, almost without exception, in every land where revival has since broken forth, within a very brief period of time the counterfeit stream has mingled with the true; and almost without exception, true and false have been accepted together, because of the workers being ignorant of the possibility of concurrent streams; or else have been rejected together by those who could not detect the one from the other; or it has been believed that there was no “true” at all, because the majority of believers fail to understand that there can be mixed workings of the (1) Divine and Satanic, (2) Divine and human, (3) Satanic and human, (4) soul and spirit, (5) soul and body, (6) body and spirit; the three latter in the way of feelings and consciousness, and the three former in the way of source and power.
There must be more than one quantity to make a mixture; at least two. The devil mixes his lies with the truth, for he must use a truth to carry his lies. The believer must therefore discriminate, and judge all things. He must be able to see so much to be impure, and so much that he can accept. Satan is a “mixer.” If in anything he finds ninety-nine percent pure, he tries to insert one percent of his poisonous stream, and this grows, if undetected, until the proportions are reversed. Where there is mixture acknowledged to be in meetings where supernatural manifestations take place, if believers are unable to discriminate, they should keep away from these “mixtures” until they are able to discern.
In accepting the counterfeits of Satan, the believer thinks, and believes, he is complying with Divine conditions in order to ascend to a higher life; whereas he complies with conditions for Satanic workings in his life, and thereby descends into a pit of deception and suffering, with his spirit and motive pure.
How evil spirits gain access to the believer, is the next question we need to consider; and here we give in column form, six concise lists of (1) how they deceive; (2) the ground given for deception; (3) where they enter; (4) the excuses the spirit makes to hide the ground, and keep the believer in ignorance of his presence and the ground he holds; (5) the effect on the man thus deceived; and (6) the symptoms of the possession.
COLUMN 1: HOW EVIL SPIRITS DECEIVE
Taking the columns one by one we shall see how subtly the evil spirit works, first to deceive, and then to gain access to the mind or body, or both, of the believer. One principle governs the working of God, and the working of Satan in seeking access to a man. In the creation of a human being with a free will, God, Who is Sovereign Lord of the Universe, and of all angelic powers, has limited Himself in that He does not violate man’s freedom in obtaining his allegiance; neither can Satan’s evil spirits enter, and obtain possession of any part of the man apart from his consent, given either consciously, or unconsciously. Just as a man “wills” a good thing, and God makes it fact, so when the man “wills” an evil thing, evil spirits make it fact. Both God and Satan need the will of man for working in man.
In the unregenerate man the will is enslaved to Satan, but in the man who has been regenerated, and delivered from the power of sin, the will is liberated to choose the things of God. In one who has thus been brought into fellowship with God, Satan can only gain ground by stratagem, or, in Bible terms, by “wiles”; for he knows he will never get from a believer deliberate consent to the entry, and control of evil spirits. The Deceiver can only hope to obtain that consent by guile: i.e., by feigning to be God Himself, or a messenger from Him. He knows, too, that such a believer is determined to obey God at all costs, and covets the knowledge of God above all else on earth. There is, therefore, no other way to deceive this one, but by counterfeiting God Himself, His presence and His workings; and under pretence of being God, to obtain the co-operation of the man’s will in accepting further deceptions; so as eventually to lead to “possession” of some part of the believer’s mind or body, and thus injure or hinder his usefulness to God, as well as that of others who will be affected by him.
COUNTERFEITS OF THE DIVINE
In seeking to obtain full control of the believer, the first great effort of evil spirits is directed toward getting the man to accept their suggestions, and workings, as the speaking, working, or leading of God. Their initial device is to counterfeit a “Divine Presence,” under cover of which they can mislead their victim as they will. The word counterfeit meaning the substitution of the false for the true.
The condition on the part of the believer, which gives the deceiving spirits their opportunity, and the basis of this counterfeit, is the mistaken location of God; either (1) in them (consciously); (2) or around them (consciously). When they pray they think of, or pray to God in themselves, or else to God around them, in the room, or atmosphere. They use their imagination, and try to “realize” His presence, and they desire to “feel” His presence in them, or upon them.
THE LOCATION OF GOD BY BELIEVERS
This locating of God, in, or around the believer, usually comes about at the time of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost; for up to that time of crisis in his life, he lived more by the acceptance of facts declared in the Scriptures, as understood by his intelligence; but with the Baptism of the Spirit he becomes more conscious of the presence of God by the Spirit, and in the spirit, and so begins to locate the Person of God as in, around, or upon him. Then he turns inward, and begins to pray to God as within him, which in time, really results in prayer to evil spirits, if they succeed in gaining admittance under counterfeit.
The logical sequence of prayer to God as located within, can be pressed to absurdity, i.e., if the soul prays to God in himself, why not pray to God in another elsewhere? The limitation of God as a Person within, and all the possible dangers arising from this misconception of truth are obvious.
Some believers so live inwardly in communion, worship and vision, as to become spiritually introverted, and cramped and narrowed in their outlook; with the result that their spiritual capacity and mental powers become dwarfed and powerless. Others become victims to the “inner voice,” and the introverted attitude of listening to it, which is the ultimate result of the location of God as a Person within, so that eventually the mind becomes fixed in the introverted condition with no out-going action at all.
In fact, all turning inwards to a subjective location of God as indwelling, speaking, communing, and guiding, in a materialistic, or conscious sense, is open to gravest danger; for upon this thought and belief, sedulously cultivated by the powers of darkness, the most serious deceptions, and final out-workings of deceiving spirits have taken place.
THE ULTIMATE RESULT OF MISTAKEN LOCATION OF GOD
Upon this principle of the mistaken location of God; used by evil spirits as the ground work for manifestations to support and deepen this belief; has come about the delusions of believers during past ages, and of recent years, who assert themselves to be “Christ.” On the same principle will come about the great deceptions at the end of the age, foretold by the Lord in Matthew 24:24, of the “false Christs” and false prophets; and the “I am the Christ” of the leaders of groups of side-tracked believers; and the thousand others who have been sent to asylums, although they are not monomaniacs at all. The devil’s richest harvest is from the effects of his counterfeits; and unwittingly, many sober and faithful teachers of “holiness” have aided him in his deceptions, through the using of language which gives a materialistic idea of spiritual things, and which is eagerly laid hold of by the natural mind.
Those who locate God personally, and wholly in themselves, make themselves, by their assertions, practically, “divine” persons. God is not wholly in any man. He dwells in those who receive Him, by His own Spirit communicated to them. “God is Spirit,” and mind or body cannot hold communion with spirit. Sensuous feelings, or “conscious” physical enjoyment of some supposed spiritual presence is not true communion of spirit with spirit, such as the Father seeks from those who worship Him (John 4:24).
God is in heaven. Christ the Glorified Man is in heaven. The location of the God we worship is of supreme importance. If we think of our God as in us, and around us, for our worship, and for our “enjoyment” (?) we unwittingly open the door to the evil spirits in the atmosphere which surrounds us; instead of our penetrating in spirit through the lower heavens (see Heb. 4:14; 9:24; 10:19, 20) to the throne of God, which is in the highest heaven, “above principality and power, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but in that which is to come” (Eph. 1:21, A.V.).
THE TRUE LOCATION OF GOD
The Word of God is very clear on this point, and we need only ponder such passages as Heb. 1:3; 2:9; 4:14-16; 9:24; and many others, to see it. The God we worship, the Christ we love, is in heaven; and it is as we approach Him there, and by faith apprehend our union with Him in spirit there, we, too, are raised with Him and seated with Him, above the plane of the lower heavens where the powers of darkness reign, and seated with Him, see them under His feet (Eph. 1:20-23; 2:6).
The Lord’s words recorded in the gospel of John, chapters 14, 15 and 16, give the truth very clearly concerning His indwelling in the believer. The “in Me” of being with Him, and in Him, in His heavenly position (John 14:20), being the fact for the believer’s faith, and apprehension; and the “I in you” – spoken to the company of disciples, and hence to the Body of Christ as a whole – following as a result in the individual life of the believer. The union with the Person in the glory, resulting in the inflow and outflow of His Spirit and life, through the believer on earth (see Phil. 1:19). In other words, the “subjective” is the result of the “objective.” The “object” of Christ in heaven, being the basis of faith for the subjective inflow of His life and power, by the Holy Spirit of God.
CHRIST AS A PERSON IN HEAVEN
The Lord said “If ye abide in Me (i.e., in the glory), and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will…” (John 15:7). Christ abides in us by His Spirit, and through His words, but He Himself, as a Person, is in heaven, and it is only as we abide in Him there, that His Spirit, and His life, through His Word, can be manifested in us here.
“Abiding” means an attitude of trust, and dependence on a Person in heaven; but if the attitude is changed into a trust and dependence upon a Christ within, it is really a resting upon an inward experience, and a turning from the Christ in heaven, which actually blocks the avenue for the inflow of His life, and disassociates the believer from co-operation with Him by the Spirit. Any manifestation therefore of a “presence” within, cannot be a true “manifestation” from God, if it uncentres the believer from his right attitude toward the Christ in heaven.
There is a true knowledge of the presence of God, but it is in the spirit, when joined to Him Who is within the veil; a knowledge of spiritual union and fellowship with Him which lifts the believer, so to speak, out of himself to abide with Christ in God.
The counterfeit “presence” of God is nearly always manifested as love, to which the believer opens himself without hesitation, and finds it fill and satiate his innermost being, but the deceived one does not know that he has opened himself to evil spirits in the deepest need of his inner life.
COUNTERFEIT PRESENCE OF GOD
How the powers of darkness counterfeit the presence of God to those ignorant of his devices may be somewhat as follows. At some moment when the believer is yearning for the sense of God’s presence, either alone, or in a meeting, and certain conditions are fulfilled, the subtle foe approaches, and wrapping the senses round with a soothing, lulling feeling – sometimes filling the room with light, or causing what is apparently a “breath from God” by a movement of the air – either whispers “This is the presence you have longed for,” or leads the believer to infer that it is what he has desired.
Then, off his guard, and lulled into security that Satan is far away, some thoughts are suggested to the mind, accompanied by manifestations which appear to be Divine; a sweet voice speaks, or a vision is given, which is at once received as “Divine guidance,” given in the “Divine presence,” and hence beyond question as from God. If accepted as from God, when from the spirits of evil, the first ground is gained.
The man is now so sure that God has bidden him do this or that. He is filled with the thought that he has been highly favoured of God, and chosen for some high place in His Kingdom. The deeply hidden self-love is fed and strengthened by this, and he is able to endure all things by the power of this secret strength. He has been spoken to by God! He has been singled out for special favor! His support is now within upon his experience, rather than upon God Himself, and the written Word. Through this secret confidence that God has specially spoken to him, the man becomes unteachable and unyielding, with a positiveness trending on infallibility. He cannot listen to others now, for they have not had this “direct” revelation from God. He is in direct, special, personal communion with God, and to question any “direction” given to him, becomes the height of sin. Obey he must, even though the direction given is contrary to all enlightened judgment, and the action commanded opposed to the spirit of the Word of God. In brief, when the man at this stage believes he has a “command” from God, he will not use his reason, because he thinks it would be “carnal” to do so–“common-sense” is lack of faith, and therefore sin–and “conscience” for the time being, has ceased to speak.
Some of the suggestions made to the believer by deceiving spirits at this time, may be: (1) “You are a special of itself; (2) “You are different from others,” working to make him think he needs instrument for God,” working to feed self-love; (3) “You are more advanced than others” working to blind the soul to sober knowledge special dealing by God; (4) “You must take a separate path,” a suggestion made to feed the independent spirit; (5) “You must give up your occupation, and live by faith,” aiming at causing the believer to launch out on false guidance, which may result in the ruin of his home, and sometimes the work for God in which he is engaged.
All these suggestions are made to give the man a false conception of his spiritual state; for he is made to believe he is more advanced than he actually is, so that he may act beyond his measure of faith and knowledge (Rom. 12:3), and consequently be more open to the deceptions of the beguiling foe.
Upon the basis of the supposed revelation of God, and the special manifestation of His presence, and the consequent full possession of the believer by Him, the lying spirits afterwards build their counterfeits.
THE COUNTERFEIT “PRESENCE” IS SENSUOUS
Counterfeits of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, are recognizable by the manifestations being given to the senses; i.e., in the physical realm; for the true indwelling of God is in the shrine of the spirit alone; and the soul vessel, or personality of the believer, is purely a vehicle for the expression of Christ, Who is enthroned within by His Spirit; whilst the body, quickened by the same Spirit, is governed by God from the central depths of the human spirit, through the self-control of the man; acting by his renewed will.
The counterfeit presence of God is given by deceiving spirits working upon the physical frame, or within the bodily frame, upon the senses. We have seen the beginning of this, and how the first ground is gained. [note 15] It is deepened by these sense-manifestations being repeated, so gently, that the man goes on yielding to them, thinking this is truly “communion with God” – for believers too often look upon “communion with God” as a thing of sense, and not of spirit–and here he commences praying to evil spirits under the belief that he is praying to God. The self-control is not yet lost, but as the believer responds to, or gives himself up to these “conscious” manifestations, he does not know that his will-power is being slowly undermined. At last through these subtle, delicious experiences, the faith is established that God Himself is consciously in possession of the body, quickening it with felt thrills of life, or filling it with warmth and heat, or even with “agonies” which seem like fellowship with the sufferings of Christ, and travail for souls, or the experience of death with Christ in the consciousness of nails being driven into the bodily frame, etc. From this point the lying spirits can work as they will, and there is no limit as to what they may do to a believer deceived to this extent.
COUNTERFEIT MANIFESTATIONS OF DIVINE WORKINGS IN THE BODY
Counterfeit manifestations of the Divine life in various ways now follow quickly; movements in the body, pleasant thrills, touches, a glow as of fire in different parts of the body; or sensations of cold, or shakings, and tremblings; all accepted by the believer as from God, but showing what a full entry the deceiving spirit has obtained to the bodily frame; for there is a distinction between the manifestations of evil spirits “with” and “in” the body and mind of the believer; although when they are really inside, they can also make it appear as if they were outside, both in influence and action.
When evil spirits are really outside, and desirous of entry, they work by sudden suggestion, which is not the ordinary working of the mind, but suggestions which come from without; “flashes of memory,” again not the ordinary working of the memory, but coming from without; touches and twitches of the nerves; feelings of draught and sensations of wind blowing on the circumference, etc.
EFFECTS OF EVIL SPIRIT ENTRY TO THE BODILY FRAME
When the evil spirits are inside, the whole frame is affected, at times with the pleasant sensations referred to, but at others with pains in the head and body which have no physical cause, or else so working with the “natural” that the supernatural cannot easily be distinguished from it; such as accelerating the heartbeat so as to appear palpitation, and in other ways working with the physical causes, so that part has natural ground, and part is from the accentuating force of evil. Depression then ensues in proportion to the previous exhilaration; exhaustion and fatigue in reaction from the demand upon the nervous system in the hours of ecstasy; or else a sense of drainage of strength without any visible cause; grief and joy, heat and cold, laughter and tears, all succeed each other in rapid changes, and varied degrees – in brief, the emotional sensibilities seem to have full play.
The “senses” are aroused, and are in full mastery of the person, apart from the man’s volition; or they may be apparently under control, so that the evil spirit’s presence may be hidden from the knowledge of the believer, his workings being carefully measured to suit the victim he has studied so well; for he knows he must not go a shade too far, lest he awaken suspicion of the cause of the abnormal movements of the emotions, and of the sensitive parts of the bodily frame.
It can easily be seen that in time the health of the deceived one must be affected by this play upon mind and body; hence the “breakdown” that so often follows experiences of an abnormal kind, or else a snapping of the tension, by a sudden stoppage of all conscious feelings, and the apparent withdrawal of the “conscious presence of God;” followed by an entire change of tactics by the deceiving spirits in the body, who may now turn upon their victim with terrible accusations; and charges of having committed the “unpardonable sin,” producing as acute anguish and real suffering, as he once experienced of the bliss of heaven.
COMPULSORY “CONFESSIONS” OF SIN
Here the evil spirits may push the man to “confessions” of all kinds, however public and painful, which he hopes may result in regaining the “experience” apparently lost; but all in vain. These confessions instigated by deceiving spirits may be recognized by their compulsory character. The man is forced to “confess” sin, and oft times sins which have no existence, but in the accusations of the enemy. As it does not dawn upon him that evil spirits will push a man to do what looks like the most meritorious thing, and which the Scriptures declare is the one condition for obtaining forgiveness, he yields to the drive upon him, simply to get relief. Herein lies the danger of widespread “confessions of sin” during times of Revival, when almost a “wave” of “confession” passes over a community, and the depths of sinful lives are exposed to the gaze of others; through this enabling the lying spirits to disseminate the very poison of the pit into the atmosphere, and into the minds of the listeners.
TRUE CONFESSION OF SIN
True confession of sin should come from deep conviction and not compulsion, and should, be made only to God, if the sin is one only known by God; to man personally, and in private, when the sin is against man; and to the public only when the sin is against the public. “Confession” should never be made under the impulse of any compulsory emotion, but should be the deliberate act of the volition; choosing the right, and the putting things right, according to the will of God.
That Satan’s kingdom gains by public “confessions” is evident by the devices of the enemy used to push men into them. Evil spirits drive a man into sin, and then compel that man publicly to confess the sin which they forced him to commit–contrary to his true character–in order to make the sin which they forced him into, a stigma upon him for the remainder of his life.
Oft times the “sins” confessed have their rise in the believer, from the insertion by wicked spirits, of feelings as consciously abhorrent and loathsome, as were the former “conscious” feelings of heavenly purity and love; when the man who experienced them, declared that he knew of no “sin to confess to God,” or “no rising of an evil impulse” whatever; leading him to believe in the complete elimination of all sin from his being.
GROUND AND SYMPTOMS OF POSSESSION
In Column 2 of the summary given on page 102, the various ways in which ground is given for the deception and possession of evil spirits are briefly summarized. Communication is possible with the believer without ground being given, but evil spirits can never interfere with the faculties of brain or body, unless sufficient ground for possession has been obtained by them. Satan had power to communicate with Christ in the wilderness, for the Devil spoke to Him, and Christ replied, yet the Lord Himself said later on (John 14: 30) that although the prince of this world came to Him; he could find nothing in Him for his working.
The devil also communicated with Eve in a state of innocence. It is therefore no proof of ground, or sin in mind or life, that Satan is able to communicate with believers. But there is a certain class of “communication” which cannot be carried on without ground having been given. There is a difference, also, between “communication” and “communion”–communication is with the mind, as evil spirits suggest thoughts to it, but they have “communion” with the man through the senses, as these respond to “feelings” given by them to the senses. Delicious, lulling, exquisite sensations in the body, arising from spiritual causes, may always be attributed to deceiving spirits, for they feed the sensuous, and nothing that comes from God in purity does this; nor does He in any degree by His manifestations, minister to a self-indulgent, self-satisfied, sensuous condition of the mind, or body of His redeemed ones; but on the contrary, the operations of God in man, are directed to the elimination of all that feeds the senses, and the invigoration of spirit, soul and body, for the keenest activities of life.
The satiety of the senses, however, caused by evil spirits, sooner or later changes in manifestation, and the true character of the source stands revealed when irritable and disagreeable feelings take the place of the soothing influences hitherto given, to the horror of the one who had reveled in the exquisite “waves” of peace, thought to have come from God, and who is now convinced that he has lost God’s presence and power. Where the disagreeable takes place now, may have been the place where an agreeable manifestation occurred in the past.
GROUND TO EVIL SPIRITS IN THE MIND
In the list of various ways by which ground is given to evil spirits, the first is by means of suggestions or thoughts admitted to the mind. Thoughts manifestly from Satan every believer rejects at once, when he becomes conscious of them; but thousands of “thoughts” come without any volition of the person, for few understand control of the mind, and how to “bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10: 5). One of the symptoms of demon possession is absolute inability, even after volition, to change the course of thinking, or subject of thought, for the mind appears stiff and laborious in action. The man cannot let a specific thought go from his mind, even after he wills to.
The chief faculty open to the access of deceiving spirits is the mind, especially before the believer apprehends the need of a “renewed mind” (Eph. 4: 23), and realizes that his mind can be open to, and used by evil spirits, notwithstanding the Divine operation of God in the innermost shrine of his being. Also before he realizes what he has admitted as ground for evil spirits in his past life, for all the “thoughts” inserted by the god of this world blinding the mind (2 Cor. 4: 4; Ephes. 2: 2), form material for his later working; such as “thoughts” lodged there unconsciously, perhaps years before; mental conceptions admitted without examination; floating ideas which have drifted into the ground of the mind, the believer knows not whence; a sentence in a paper, a word dropped in his hearing; the flotsam and jetsam of the mental world, leaving unthought of effect upon him, colouring Scripture, and placing the mind almost at the mercy of any suggestion of evil spirits, under certain conditions, later on.
HOW TO DETECT EVIL SPIRITS’ INTERFERENCE WITH THE MIND
To detect the working of evil spirits upon the mind, let the believer note the way in which his “thoughts” come. If the mind is working easily, quietly, in normal action in the duty of the moment, and sudden “flashes,” “suggestions,” or apparent “thoughts” arise, not in sequence, or in orderly connection with the work he has in hand, then the enemy may be counterfeiting the operation of the person’s own mind, and trying to insert his suggestions into it as if they were the outcome of the man’s own thinking; for when he is in the process of thinking, the lying spirits seek to inject some thought, suggestion or feeling– the first into the mind, and the last into the spirit.
The danger at this point is for the believer to be ensnared by the simultaneous working of his own mind, and the presentation to the mind of the evil spirit’s “pictures” or visions, which he thinks come from his own “imagination”; or very subtly refined suggestions which have no appearance of being supernatural, or even distinct from the person at all. Many think all that is “supernatural” is of necessity strikingly marvelous, and awesome, whereas the enemy’s working is very ordinary–so ordinary that he is unrecognized, and the operations of the supernatural appear so “natural,” that they are not looked upon as supernatural. The Scripture statement of “the whole world lying in the evil one” is so true, that his speakings and workings are accepted and followed and yielded to, as the “ordinary” things of life, and as the ordinary operations of the mental faculties. The kingdom of darkness is near and “natural” to all the world under the rule of the prince of darkness.
SYMPTOMS OF INTERFERENCE WITH THE MIND
It is best to be suspicious of the abnormal in every shape and form. God does not interfere with the natural operations of the faculties. A sudden stoppage of thought, or sequence in the action of the mind, in thought or memory, as well as acute loss of the use of either, may indicate the interference of evil spirits. The spirits of evil, in possession of some faculty of the mind, can either hold it, or suddenly release it for action–this holding or releasing power explaining much that is unaccountable in suddenness of action, or “change of mind” which, like much else, is left in obscurity as “unexplainable.” “I can” one moment, then “I cannot” the next, generally being put down to an “erratic temperament,” or other causes. The believer, however, may be unable to act, because of the interruption, or interference of the enemy, but he really has the ability for action, if the faculties were free.
Others whose lives are spent in the bondage of a “spirit of infirmity,” are only conscious of a sense of inability, they are always “too tired,” and have “no spirit,” “no energy” for the ordinary demands of life, yet with no disease, or reasonable physical ground for their chronic inertness and feebleness. A sudden inability to listen, described as “absent-mindedness” or “preoccupation,” when the person is compelled to follow some “thought” suggested, or picture presented to the mind, or to follow the words of another, are all indications of the interference of evil spirits–the compulsions especially being a mark of their workings–when the person is in a normal condition of health, and the brain is not diseased.
For instance, in spiritual meetings, when people seem hardly able to listen to a vital truth, how many recognize the work of the prince of the power of the air taking away the Word (Matt. 13: 19), by the suggestion of other things, not appropriate to the moment, and by the mind being unable to follow the speaker’s words, and to grasp and apprehend? Streams of “texts,” also, pouring through the mind, apart from concentration, and the volitional action of the mind, may overpower all that the speaker is saying, and “Carry away” the hearer into far away thoughts, and “day-dreams,” which appear so beautiful and “divine,” yet after the “meeting” is over, have no solid result in practical life. Any admittance of these sudden suggestions, or passing thoughts, means ground given to the enemy.
TWO WAYS THAT THE ENEMY PUTS THOUGHTS INTO THE MIND
The Deceiver has two ways of putting thoughts into the mind: (1) By direct communication to the mind, and (2) indirect, by attacks on the spirit, causing undesirable feelings there, such as impatience through the attacks, which produce impatient thoughts in the mind, followed by impatient words. The believer has a sense of being hindered persistently by some unseen obstacle, for the evil spirit beings suggest a certain action to him, and then when he attempts it, he is hindered, causing in him a sense of irritation for which he cannot account. Nothing he does seems to “go right,” and his life seems made up of “pin-prick” troubles, too much for him to bear, causing a sense of moroseness and discontent which grows upon him in spite of himself.
Feverish activity which accomplishes nothing is manifested occasionally, or else perpetual occupation which gives no moment of rest; difficulty with work in the day time; “dreams” at night, with no sense of rest or leisure at any time; suffering, confusion, difficulty of action, embarrassment, perplexity, all emanating directly, maliciously, and deliberately from evil spirits, unrecognized by the man.
Believers whose circumstances, and environment, should give them every cause for a glad and quiet mind, are harassed with terrible anxiety, and they are rarely free from troubled thoughts. The mind over-estimates everything, because the imagination and mental faculties are in bondage; ant-hills appear as mountains to them. Everything is exaggerated, so that they shrink from seeing others, as conversation is terribly difficult. They imagine they are only “thinking” in an ordinary sense, but it is not I “thinking” when a thing grips the mind, but when the mind grips the thing. Their “thinking” goes beyond the line of pure mental action.
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION APART FROM THE PHYSICAL CONDITION
Herein lies the real cause of depression as experienced by many believers, apart from purely physical conditions. The victim of depression and melancholia has admitted thoughts suggested by the deceiving spirits, until the mind is unable to shake them off, or else the enemy has obtained such a footing, that he holds the mental faculties in a grip of passivity, so that they cannot act. He feels as though they were in a vice, or weighted with some heavy pressure which obscures all light, and prevents him grasping the facts around him, or using his reason at all. The malignant powers of darkness oft times succeed in keeping those who have given them opportunity to get them into their grip under the most harassing clouds and shadows. They rejoice over their own wicked deeds, and love to bind their victims, and keep them in bondage.
This is truly the “oppression” of the enemy (Ps. 42: 9), and is the outcome of the earlier stages of the attacks of deceiving spirits upon the mind, which could have been quenched had they been dealt with at the beginning.
That the enemy takes advantage of any mental feebleness, or overstrain, or disease, is, of course, to be recognized; but in persons of normal health, with no disease of the mind, inherited or induced, much of the “depression” may be attributed to the inroads of the enemy, through ground given unconsciously at some previous time. The cause of “brain-fag” too, needs to be examined in this light, lest many attribute to natural causes what may have been supernaturally brought about.
GROUND TO EVIL SPIRITS THROUGH MISCONCEPTIONS
Wrong conceptions of spiritual things give ground to evil spirits, and these conceptions the adversary skillfully cultivates ready for use on later occasions. Imaginations as to how God works in Revival power, and in “Pentecostal” measure, is specially a fruitful ground for evil spirits, i.e., a conception that God moves a meeting, and sways it as the wind sways the corn; and that God moves on the physical man, rather than from the centre of man’s spirit only. These imaginations prepare the believer for Satan’s deceptions in these very forms.
This entry of “thoughts” from any quarter comes from the deeper cause of a passivity of the mind which, as we have pointed out in Chapter 4, is the main object of the adversary to produce, ere he can succeed in his effort to obtain control of the believer’s will. The Lord’s words in Matthew 13:23, that the good ground hearer is “he that heareth the word and understandeth it,” show that the mind is the vehicle through which the truth of God reaches men to win their affections, and bring back the will into intelligent and loyal co-operation with God. In like manner the mind is the hindrance to Satan’s carrying out his schemes to win back control of the believer. For the success of his plans, the enemy knows that the mind must be lulled into inaction and disuse by some means or other, either by stratagem or attack. The arch-deceiver is well aware that any “teaching” of deceiving spirits accompanied by supernatural signs, may be received by the believer if his mind is lulled into passivity so that he does not question, or intelligently reason, what the teachings are, or what they involve in their ultimate issue.
PASSIVITY OF THE BODY AS RESULT OF PASSIVITY OF THE MIND
Passivity of body is the next stage in the development of passivity of the whole being, and is the ultimate consequence of passivity of the mind, for the mind dulled by passivity takes away alert action from the physical frame. The “dreamy,” passive mind is seen in a dreamy walk and a lethargy of action in every department of the human frame. All this is deepening ground for deceiving spirits. The faculties are unused, there is lack of mental control, a lack of reasoning power, a ceasing to use the judgment, followed eventually by a disinclination to use the will. The believer slowly loses power of decision, he becomes more and more tossed about by letting everything in his environment decide for him, and sometimes thinking and believing it is God choosing and deciding for him by “Providences”; he therefore does not choose or decide for himself, but passively drifts, and accepts the choice or decision made for him by “circumstances”; or else he is full of impulses, with no central poise of any kind.
But God does not choose instead of the man, otherwise he would become a machine; neither does he decide in his stead. He chooses an eternal inheritance for him, but even this choice of God for the man cannot be fulfilled apart from the believer’s intelligent co-operation.
PASSIVE YIELDING TO ENVIRONMENT
Therefore the passive yielding to environment and what the man sometimes calls “Providence,” really means letting evil spirits decide for him, for they are the world rulers of this darkness, and readily seize the opportunity of playing upon his passive will, and thus he is deceived by them and thinks that he is yielding to the will of God.
In this way good men have become victims of others’ sin, fearing to “resist evil” lest they disobey the commands of God, not intelligently understanding that they therefore fail to co-operate with God in fighting against sin (Heb. 12: 4; 1 Tim. 5: 20), and conquering the spirit of the age in their environment. God has given man a will, and a deciding voice; and all the purpose of His working in man, is to restore that once enslaved will to its throne of intelligent volition, in the choosing of right instead of wrong, and God instead of Satan. But Satan’s entire purpose is to drag back the will into captivity– and thus the man himself–so that he becomes a passive, though unconscious slave to the world-rulers of the darkness around him, and hence subject to Satan, the god of this world, ruling through his hierarchy of evil powers.
The actions of the believer thus re-captured by Satan, through his emissaries of evil spirits, are the outcome of the subtle and unknown control of the adversary and the actions again give more ground to the enemy. Words are spoken, and deeds are done, almost blindly, either by impulse, or in the confusion of sudden revulsion of feeling; and often without the man intelligently apprehending the consequences of words or deeds. Old habits which ceased to be manifested, show themselves again, and sins which were once conquered, re-assert their power.
THE PATH TO FREEDOM
It has been thought almost universally that the only way to deal with demon- possession is by the casting out of the evil spirit, by some Divinely equipped believer. But facts prove that this method is not always successful, for though the diagnosis of the intruder’s presence may be correct, yet the ground that gave it occupation cannot be cast out; and unless the ground is dealt with, no full relief can be obtained, or change seen, in the majority of cases. In others, when the evil spirit apparently departs, it must not be concluded that the person is entirely free, for it may be that what has occurred is only that a particular manifestation has ceased, and it is not unlikely that another manifestation may appear; possibly not a visible one, or one easily perceived or detected, but recognizable by any who have learned to discriminate between the workings of evil spirits, and those which are human or Divine. It is possible also to suppress a certain manifestation for a time, and not entirely get rid of it; and the same manifestation may return again and again in different guise, unless the ground is dealt with. In some instances, where the possession is so manifest that the true inner personality of the victim is almost entirely lost sight of, the relief may be immediate: but where the intruder hides himself so subtly in the mind, or body, as to be indistinguishable from the operations, or actions of the person —hidden in some state, or form, apparently natural or physical–the deliverance will not be obtained by “casting out” only, but by the truth being given to the mind, and the volition of the person actively refusing and disowning the ground.
The very first step to freedom is the knowledge of the truth as to the source and nature of experiences the believer may have had since his entrance into the spiritual life, which possibly may have been perplexing, or else thought with deepest assurance to be of God. There is NO DELIVERANCE FROM “DECEPTION” BUT BY THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND ACCEPTANCE OF TRUTH. And this facing of truth in regard to certain spiritual and “supernatural” experiences, means a keen edged knife to the man in his self-respect, and pride.
THE HUMILIATION OF THE UNDECEIVING PERIOD
It requires a very deep allegiance to the truth which God desires should reign in the inward parts of His children, for a believer to accept truth which cuts and humbles, as readily as he accepts that which is agreeable. The “undeceiving” is painful to the feelings, and the discovery that he has been deceived is one of the keenest blows to a man who once thought that he was so “advanced,” so “spiritual,” and so “infallible,” in his certainty of obeying the Spirit of God.
“Was he not advanced?” Yes, to a degree above the “man of soul,” but he had not reached the goal as he thought, for he had but begun the journey in the spiritual plane. The end of standard one is but the beginning of standard two. So after all, he believed a lie about himself and his experience. He was not as “advanced” as he thought. Thus the truth breaks upon his mind, and its entrance is not agreeable. It is not easy to disbelieve absolutely, what he once believed so thoroughly.
Then “Was he ‘spiritual’?” He may have had spiritual experiences, but this does not make a man “spiritual.” The spiritual man is a man who lives in, and is governed by, and understands his spirit, and co-operation with the Spirit of God. A great experience accompanying the ENTRANCE INTO THE PLANE OF THE SPIRIT does not make a believer “spiritual.”
THE DISCOVERY OF THE TRUTH OF DECEPTION
The deceived believe, laid claim to positions to which he had no right, for with the entrance of truth he discovers he was neither so advanced, nor so spiritual, nor so infallible as he had thought. He built his faith about his own spiritual condition on assumption, and left no room for a doubt, that is, true doubt, such as doubting a statement that afterwards turns out to be a lie, but in due season doubt finds an entry to his mind, and brings his house of infallibility to the ground. He knows now that what he thought was an “advanced” experience, was only a beginning, and that he is only on the fringe of knowledge. This is the operation of truth. In the place of ignorance is given true knowledge; in the place of deception, truth. Ignorance, falsehood and passivity; upon these three the enemy silently builds his castles, and unobtrusively guards and uses them. But truth pulls his strongholds to the ground.
By the entry of truth, the man must be brought to the place where he acknowledges his condition frankly, as follows:–
(1) 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) I AM deceived by an evil spirit;
(4) WHY am l deceived?
Then comes the facing of the fact that (1) “ground does exist; and (2) the seeking for knowledge as to what the ground is.
In order to discover the ground, the believer must first, in a general sense, get a fair conception of what ground is; for he is liable to be deceived in (1) putting down to “possession” what belongs to something else, and (2) placing to something else what belongs to possession. He may confuse ordinary conflict, i.e., the perpetual battle in spirit against the powers of darkness, with conflict which comes from possession. And when the deception and possession are of long standing, the spirits of evil may get the believer himself to defend their work in him, and through him fight tenaciously to guard the cause of his deception from being brought into light, and exposed as their work.
They thus get the believer himself, in effect, to take their side, and fight for them to keep their hold, even after he has found out his condition, and honestly desires deliverance; one of the greatest hindrances being the effect of an assumed position concerning spiritual experiences, which believers are loath to examine, and part with.
THE SPIRITUAL BASIS OF DELIVERANCE IN CALVARY’S VICTORY
The Scriptural ground for obtaining deliverance is the truth concerning Christ’s full victory at Calvary, through which believer CAN BE DELIVERED FROM THE POWER OF BOTH SIN AND SATAN, but in actual fact the victory won at Calvary can only be applied as there is conformity to Divine laws. As the deceptions of Satan are recognized, and the will of the person is set to reject them, he can, on the basis of the work of Christ at Calvary as set forth in Rom. 6: 6-13; Col. 2: 15; 1 John 3: 8, and other passages, claim his deliverance from these workings of the devil in deception and possession.
Just as there are various degrees of deception and possession, so there are degrees of deliverance according to the understanding of the believer, and his WILLINGNESS To FACE ALL THE TRUTH ABOUT HIMSELF, and all the ground given to the enemy.
In doing this the believer needs to have a steady grasp of his standing in Christ as identified with Him in His death on the Cross, and his union with Him in spirit in His place on the Throne (Ephes. 1: 19-23; 2: 6), and he must “hold fast” with steady faith-grip, the “Head” (Col. 2: 19) as the One who is, by His Spirit, giving him grace (Heb. 4: 16), and strength to recover the ground in mind and body which he has ignorantly yielded to the foe. For the man himself must ACT to get rid of passivity; he must revoke his CONSENT given to evil spirits to enter, and by his own volition insist that they retire from the place (Ephes. 4: 27) they have obtained by deceit. Since God will not act for him in regaining the normal condition of his outer man, nor exercise his choice for him, he must stand on the vantage ground of the Calvary victory of Christ, and claim his freedom.
Assuming, then, that the believer has discovered that he is a victim of the deceptions of deceiving spirits, what are the subjective steps in the path of freedom? Briefly, (1) acknowledgment of deception; (2) refusal of ground; (3) steadfast fight against all that possession means; (4) being on guard. against excuses; (5) the detection of all the effects of possession; and (6) a discerning of the result of these actions. For the believer must learn to read the signs of dis-possession, as well as the symptoms of possession, lest he be deceived again by the Adversary.
We give in column form a complement to the column lists in page 102. The first treated of the way the believer has been deceived; this one of the way of deliverance.
COLUMN 1: DOUBT OF EXPERIENCE
Taking first for consideration the list in Column 1.
(1) Doubt of the experience, or “manifestation” being of God. We cannot emphasize too strongly the need of not quenching, and not ignoring the first doubt, for the “doubt” is actually the initial penetration of truth to the mind, and hence the first step to deliverance. Some have instantly quenched the first doubt, fearing to “doubt God,” and in doing so, closed the mind to the first ray of light which would have led them into liberty. They have looked upon doubt as temptation, and resisted it, overlooking the distinction between true and evil, right and wrong, “doubt.” This has its root in the mind of most Christians, in associating only evil with such words as “judging,” “criticizing,” “doubting,” and “enmity,” “hatred,” “unbelief,” etc., all of which dispositions and actions they thought to be evil, and evil only, whereas they are evil or good according to their source in spirit or soul, and in relation to their object, e.g., “enmity” against Satan is God-given (Gen. 3: 15), “hatred” to sin is good, and “unbelief” of spirit manifestations is commanded until the believer is sure of their source. (1 John 4: 1).
To doubt God–which means not to trust Him–is sin; but a doubt concerning supernatural manifestations is simply a call to exercise the faculties, which all spiritual believers should use to discern “good and evil.” The deep doubt concerning some supernatural experiences is therefore not a “temptation,” but really the Holy Spirit moving the spiritual faculties to action according to 1 Cor. 2:15, “He that is spiritual judgeth–i.e., examineth–all things,” the “things of God” thus being “spiritually discerned” (A.V.).
NO “CONTRADICTION” IN WORKING OF SPIRIT OF GOD
A “doubt” generally first pierces the mind either (1) from truth pointed out by others, or (2) arises from some flaw in the experience which arrests the attention of the believer. In the case of some supernatural manifestation, for instance, which bore the appearance of being Divine, there was some slight contradiction which perplexed the soul. And as no contradictions can possibly occur in any of the workings of the Spirit of God, Who is the Spirit of Truth, one single contradiction is sufficient to reveal a lying spirit at work. This axiom must not be ignored. For instance, a believer declares, under supernatural “power”–assumed to be Divine–concerning one who is ill, that God purposes the restoration of that one, yet the sick one dies. This is a “contradiction” which should be fully examined, and not put aside as among things “not to be understood;” for the supernatural element in the declaration could not be of the Spirit of God, Who cannot depart from truth in His revelation of the Will of God.
To “prove the spirits” (1 John 4: 1), so as to discern between the “Spirit of Truth” and the “spirit of error” is a clear command to the children of God, as well as to “prove all things,” and hold fast that which is “good” (1 Thess. 5: 21); bring “to the proof . . . with all longsuffering” (2 Tim. 4: 2, R.V. m.). To question until all things have stood the test of full examination is the safest course, and is far removed from the doubting of God Himself, in His faithfulness and love, the only doubt which is sin.
ADMITTANCE OF POSSIBILITY OF DECEPTION
(2) ADMITTANCE OF THE POSSIBILITY OF DECEPTION is the second stage in the breaking of truth upon the mind, although it may sometimes precede the doubt. To admit the possibility of being deceived–or mistaken–in any aspect of new experience or action, or even view of truth, is really a possibility which should be acknowledged by every believer; and yet so subtle is the deception of the enemy, that almost invariably the attitude of each one is, that “others” may be open to deception, and he or she is the exception to the rule.
This certainty of personal exception is so deep seated with the most visibly deceived person that the long battle is simply to obtain entrance to the mind for the one thought of possible deception, in any point at all. The believer seems armed with unshaken assurance that if others be misled, he certainly is not; he “beholdeth the mote” in his brother’s eye, and is blind–blind to the “beam” in his own. But an open attitude to truth says, “Why not I as well as others? May not my assurance of safety be a deception of the enemy, as much as the deception I see in others?”
Why all believers should admit the possibility of deception by the deceiving spirits, may be considered just here.
THE BASIC FACT OF THE FALL
The primary fact to be recognized by every human being is the complete and utter ruin of the first creation at the Fall, when the First Adam admitted the poison of the serpent, which permeated and corrupted his whole being beyond repair. This fact of the utter corruption of the human race as a consequence of this is unmistakably declared in the New Testament:–
“The old man, which waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit.” (Eph. 4: 22 R.V.)
“Being darkened in their understanding; alienated from the life of God.” (Eph. 4: 18).
“We all once lived in the lusts of the flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the thoughts, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Eph. 2: 3).
Thus the Apostle described the whole race of man, Gentile and Jew, Pharisee and Publican–in all, he said, “the prince of the power of the air” wrought, as “the spirit that now worketh in the sons of disobedience.”
These facts declared by the Word of God, and the reality of the blinded mind (2 Cor. 4: 4), and ruined condition of every human being, is the ONLY BASIS UPON WHICH THE TRUTHS WE ARE CONSIDERING IN THIS BOOK CAN BE UNDERSTOOD, AND PROVED TO BE TRUE, IN EXPERIENCE AND PRACTICE.
ADMITTANCE OF POSSIBLE DECEPTION LOGICALLY REASONABLE
The second fundamental fact–and the logical outcome of the first–is that unless regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and the indwelling of the Spirit, means (1) sinlessness, and (2) the present possession of a resurrection body, every part of a believer not yet renewed, and freed by the redemption of Calvary from the effects of the Fall, MEANS GROUND FOR THE POSSIBLE ENTRY AND POSSESSION OF DECEIVING SPIRITS. Since absolute sinlessness, and the present possession of the resurrection body are not clearly taught in the Scriptures, as attainable whilst on earth, the admittance of possible deception, and entry of evil spirits to the outer man of mind or body, is logically and reasonably possible for all; even whilst the spirit and heart of the man is renewed by the Holy Spirit. If we come to facts of experience, the proofs are so abundant as to be beyond our power to handle in the limited space of this book, not only in the unregenerate world, but in those who are undoubtedly children of God, and spiritual believers.
If we knew ourselves, and our actual condition as sinners, simply as depicted in God’s Word, we should be in greater safety from the enemy. It is the ignorance of our true condition, apart from the new life from God implanted in us, and our blind confidence of safety, without an intelligent basis for our faith, which lays us open to being deceived by Satan through our very certainty of being free from his deception.
After admitting the possibility of deception in supernatural things, and a doubt has come in to the mind whether certain “experiences,” either personal or otherwise, were of God after all, the next stage is,
(3) THE DISCOVERY OF THE DECEPTION. Light and truth alone can make free, and when once a doubt comes in, and the man opens his mind to the truth that he is as liable to be deceived as anyone else, then to the open mind and attitude, light is given (John 3: 21). Sometimes the specific deception is seen at once, but more often the discovery is gradual, and patience is needed while the light slowly dawns.
Certain facts in connection with various experiences of the past, which the believer has failed to note, may now emerge into the light, and the half truths of the Adversary which he had used to deceive, are clearly seen–the twisting of words, the wrenching of sentences out of their context in the Scriptures, all come into view as the light is given. Then comes:–
(4) THE ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE DECEPTION. This is now imperative. The truth must not only be faced, but owned, so that things are called by their right names, and the father of lies defeated by the weapon of truth.
THE VOLITION AND SPIRIT OF MAN
It is now necessary to see from the Scriptures the true way in which God works in the believer, in contradistinction to the way of Satan and his wicked spirits; for the principle of co-operation with God, and not passive control by Him, must be fully understood, not only as the basis of deliverance from deception and possession, but also as the basis for the warfare which will be dealt with in our next chapter.
Briefly, it may be said that the Holy Spirit dwelling in the regenerate human spirit, energizes and works through the faculties of the soul and the members of the body, only in and with, the active co-operation of the WILL Of the believer, i.e., God in the spirit of man, does not use the man’s hand apart from the “I will use my hand” of the man himself.
CO-OPERATION WITH GOD DOES NOT MEAN AUTOMATIC WORKING
When Paul said, “His working, which worketh in me mightily” (Col. 1: 29), he first said, “I labor according to” His working. The “I labor” did not mean that hands and feet and mind worked automatically in response to a Divine energizing, as the engine works in response to the steam, but at the back of the “I labor” was the full action of Paul’s will, saying “I choose to labor,” and “as I labor, God’s power and energy energizes me in the acting,” so that it is “I who live and move and work,” and “yet not I, but Christ–the ‘Spirit of Christ’ in me.” (See Gal. 2: 20; Phil. 1: 19)
It was so in the Greater than Paul, Who said, “I came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me,” “The Son can do nothing of Himself,” and yet He said also, “My Father worketh hitherto and I work.” “The works that I do shall ye do also!” He had a separate will, but He came not to do His own will, but the will of the Father, and He was doing the Father’s will when He said to the one who sought His healing power, “I WILL, be thou clean!”
Thus it should be in the life of the believer. Granted the essential union of his will with the will of God, and the energizing power of the Holy Spirit, by his own deliberate choice of harmony with that Holy Will, the believer is actively to use his will in ruling himself in spirit, soul and body. God dwelling in his spirit co-working with him through his exercised volition.
GOD GOVERNS THE RENEWED MAN BY HIS CO-ACTING WILL
For deliverance from the power of sin and protection from deceiving spirits in their workings, it is important to have a clear apprehension of God’s purpose in redemption. God created man, with dominion over himself. This dominion was exercised by his act of will, even as it was by his Creator. But man fell, and, in his fall, yielded his will to the rule of Satan, who from that time by the agency of his evil spirits has ruled the world, through the enslaved will of fallen man. Christ the Second Adam came, and taking the place of man, chose obedience to the Father’s will, and never for one moment diverged from His perfect co-operation with that will. In the wilderness He refused to exercise the Divine power at the will of Satan, and in Gethsemane in suffering His will never wavered in the choice of the Father’s will. As Man He willed the will of God right through, becoming obedient even unto death, thus regaining for regenerated man, not only reconciliation with God, but liberty from Satan’s thraldom, and the restoration of man’s renewed and sanctified will to its place of free action, deliberately and intelligently exercised in harmony with the will of God.
Christ wrought out for man upon Calvary’s Cross salvation of spirit, soul, and body, from the dominion of sin and Satan; but that full salvation is wrought out in the believer through the central action of the will, as he deliberately chooses the will of God for each department of his tripartite nature.
The will of the man united to the will of God–and thus having the energizing power of God working with his volition–is to rule his (1) “own spirit” (see Prov. 25: 28; 1 Cor. 14: 32); (2) thoughts or mind (Col. 3: 2) inclusive of all the soul-powers; and (3) body (1 Cor. 9: 27), and when, by the appropriation of God’s freeing power from slavery to sin and Satan, the believer regains free action of his will so that he gladly and spontaneously wills the will of God, and as a renewed man re-takes dominion over spirit, soul and body, he reigns in life “through . . Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5: 17).
But the natural man does not reach this stage of renewal and liberation of his will, without first knowing the regeneration of his own human spirit. God is not in fallen man until the moment of his new birth (Ephes. 2: 12; 3: 16; John 3: 5-8). He must be “begotten of God;” the very fact of such a begetting being necessary, declares the non-existence of Divine life in him previously. After such a begetting, it is also necessary to understand that the regenerated man does not, as a rule, immediately become a spiritual man, i.e., a man wholly dominated by, and walking after the spirit.
THE NATURAL” VERSUS THE “SPIRITUAL” MAN
At first the regenerated man is but a “babe in Christ, manifesting many of the characteristics of the natural man in jealousy, strife, etc., until he apprehends the need of a fuller reception of the Holy Spirit to dwell in the regenerated spirit as His sanctuary.
The unregenerate man is wholly dominated by soul and body. The regenerate man has his spirit (I) quickened, and (2) indwelt by the Holy Spirit, yet may he governed by soul and body because his spirit is compressed and bound. The spiritual man has his spirit liberated from bondage to the soul (Heb. 4: 12) to be the organ of the Holy Spirit in mind and body.
It is then that, by the Holy Spirit’s power, his volition is brought into harmony with God in all His laws and purposes, and the whole outer man into self-control. Thus it is written “The fruit of the Spirit . . . is self-control” (Gal. 5: 23, m). It is not only love, joy, peace, long-suffering, and gentleness, manifested through the channel of the soul–the personality–but in a true dominion over the world of himself, (1) every thought brought into captivity, in the same obedience to the will of the Father as was manifested in Christ (2 Cor. 10: 5); (2) his spirit “ruled” also from the chamber of the will, so that he is of a “cool spirit” and can “‘keep back” or utter at his will what is in his spirit as well as what is in his mind (Prov. 17: 27, m.), and (3) his body so obedient to the helm of the will, that it is a disciplined and alert instrument for God to energize and empower; that body an instrument to be handled intelligently as a vehicle for service, and not any longer master of the man, or the mere tool of Satan and unruly desires.
THE CALL TO DECISIVE ACTION OF THE WILL
All this is fully made clear in the New Testament Epistles. “Our old man was crucified with Him” is said of the work of Christ at Calvary, but on the part of the one who desires this potential fact made true in his life, he is called upon to declare his attitude of choice with decisive action, both in the negative and positive positions. The Apostle appeals again and again to the redeemed believer to act decisively with his will, as the following few passages show:–
“Cast off the works of darkness.” “Put on the armor of light.” Rom. 13: 12. Rom. 13: 12.
“Put away the old man.” “Put on the new man.” Eph. 4: 22. Eph. 4: 24.
“Put off the old man with his doings.” “Put on the new man.” Col. 3: 9. Col. 3: 10.
“Put to death your members.” “Present your members unto God.” Col. 3: 5. Rom. 6: 13.
“Put off the body of the flesh.” “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh.”
Col. 2: 11. Rom. 13: 14.
See also Ephes. 6:13, 16 “Take up the whole armor. . . “Put on a heart of compassion.” Col. 3:12
“Put on the whole armor of God.” Eph. 6: 11
All these passages describe a decisive act of the will, not toward exterior things, but toward things in an unseen, immaterial sphere, incidentally showing the effect in the spiritual sphere of a man’s volitional action. They also emphasize the effect of the decisive use of the will of man, when it acts in harmony with the liberating power of Christ. Christ has done the work on Calvary’s Cross, but that work is applied in fact through the action of the believer’s own will, acting as if he himself had power to “cast off” the invisible works of darkness, and finding with this action of his will, the co- working of the Spirit of God making the casting off effectual.
In saving the man, God calls him into co-action with Himself, to “work out his own salvation,” for it is God Who works with and in him, to enable him to will and to do His pleasure.
GOD CALLS A MAN INTO CO-ACTION FOR HIS OWN SALVATION
In the hour of his regeneration God gives to man the decisive liberty of will to rule over himself, as he walks in fellowship with God. And by this restoration of a will free to act in choosing for God, SATAN LOSES HIS POWER. Satan is the god of this world, and he rules the world through the will of men enslaved by him, enslaved not only directly, but indirectly, by his inciting men to enslave one another, and to covet the power of “influence,” whereas they should work with God to restore to every man the freedom of his own personal volition, and the power of choice to do right because it is right, obtained for them at Calvary.
In this direction we can see the working of the world-rulers of darkness in the realm which they govern, directly in atmospheric influence, and indirectly through men, in (1) hypnotic suggestion, (2) thought reading, (3) will controlling, and other forms of invisible force, sometimes employed for the supposed good of others.
The danger of all forms of healing by “suggestion,” and all kindred methods of seeking to benefit men in physical or mental ways, lies in their bringing about a passivity of the will, and mental powers, which lays them open to Satanic influences later on.
THE BELIEVER’S RIGHT OF DECISION OF WILL
The liberation of the will from its passive condition, and control by the prince of this world, takes place when the believer sees his right of choice, and begins to deliberately place his will on God’s side, and thus choose the will of God. Until the will is fully liberated for action, it is helpful for the believer to assert his decision frequently by saying, “I choose the will of God, and I refuse the will of Satan.” The soul may not even be able to distinguish which is which, but the declaration is having effect in the unseen world, i.e., God works by His Spirit in the man as he chooses His will, energizing him through his volition to continually refuse the claims of sin and Satan; and Satan is thereby rendered more and more powerless, whilst the man is stepping out into the salvation obtained potentially for him at Calvary, and God is gaining once more a loyal subject in a rebellious world.
On the part of the believer the action of the will is governed by the understanding of the mind, i.e., the mind sees what to do, the will chooses to do it, and then from the spirit comes the power to fulfill the choice of the will, and the knowledge of the mind. For example, the man (1) sees that he should speak, (2) he chooses or wills to speak, (3) he draws upon the power in his spirit to carry out his decisions. This means knowledge of how to use the spirit, and the necessity of knowing the laws of the spirit, so as to fully co-operate with the Holy Ghost.
THE SPIRIT ENERGIZED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT AT THE BACK OF THE WILL
But the believer thus co-operating with God in the use of his volition, must understand that the choice of the will is not sufficient alone, as we see by Paul’s words in Rom. 7:18. “To will is present with me, but to do . . .is not.” Through the spirit, and by the strengthening of the Holy Spirit in the “inward man” (the regenerate human spirit –Eph. 3:16), is the liberated will desirous and determined to do God’s will, empowered to carry out its choice. “It is God which worketh in you . . . to will,” i.e., to enable the believer to decide or choose. Then it is “God which worketh in you ... to do His pleasure” (Phil. 2: 13), i.e., energizes the believer with power to carry out the choice.
That is, God gives the power to do, from the spirit where He dwells, and by the believer understanding the using of his spirit, as clearly as he understands the use (1) of his will, (2) of is mind, or (3) of his body. He must know how to discern the sense of his spirit, so as to understand the will of God, before he can do it.
THE DISTINCT ORGANISM OF THE SPIRIT
That the human spirit is a distinct organism, as separate from the soul and body, is very clearly recognized in the Scriptures, as these few verses show.
“The spirit of man.” 1 Cor. 2:11. “My spirit prayeth.” 1 Cor. 14:14.
“The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit.” Rom. 8:16. “. . .my spirit. . .” 1 Cor. 5:4.
“Relief in my spirit.” note 13 2 Cor. 2:13.
VICTORY IN CONFLICT
In a previous chapter we have seen the way of deliverance from possession by evil spirits. The great question here is, how to be victorious over the powers of darkness as a whole. How to have authority, and victory over the wicked spirits in place of their mastery over the believer; who, having learnt the devices of the enemy, and the way of deliverance, is now deeply concerned that others should be set free, and brought into the place of victory “over all the power of the enemy.” For this he must now understand that the degree of Christ’s “authority” the Spirit of God will energize him to exercise over the spirits of evil, will be according to the degree of victory he has over them in the personal conflict, which he must now settle down to face in the sphere of the spiritual life into which he has emerged.
DEGREES OF DELIVERANCE AND VICTORY
The believer needs to have thorough knowledge and understanding of their ways and works, and of the laws of the spirit, and how to keep in mastery of spirit in all the vicissitudes of life. As there are (1) degrees of deception, and degrees of possession and deliverance from possession; so there are (2) degrees of victory over the devil; (3) degrees of temptation, and victory over temptation. The power to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in the wielding of Christ’s authority will also be in degrees, and gained according to the aggressive spiritual strength obtained by overcoming the devil in his various workings; just as victory over sin deepens in its strength as the man overcomes temptation to sin; and victory over the world (1 John 5: 4-5) is increasingly known by faith in the Son of God. These degrees of overcoming power with the consequent degree of reward are to be clearly seen in the Lord’s call to the churches recorded in the Apocalypse. Degrees also of the future authority in the reigning with Christ are indicated in His words in one parable, “Be thou ruler over ten cities …over five ...” (Luke 19: 17-19)
The believer delivered from deception and possession by the spirits of evil, must now learn to walk in personal victory over the devil at every point, if he is to have the fullest victory over the powers of darkness. For this, just as he needs to know the Lord Christ in all the aspects of His Name and character, so as to draw upon His power in living union with Him, so the believer must learn to know the adversary in his various workings, as described in his names and character, that he may be able to discern his presence, and all his wicked spirits, wheresoever they may be, either in attacks upon himself, in others, or working as “world-rulers” of the darkness in the world.
VICTORY OVER SATAN AS TEMPTER
Victory over the Devil as a Tempter, and all his temptations personally, direct and indirect, must be learnt by the believer in experimental reality; remembering that all “temptations” are not recognizable as temptations, nor are they always visible, for half their power lies in their being hidden. A believer thinks that he will be as conscious of the approach of temptation, as of a person coming into the room, hence the children of God are only fighting a small proportion of the devil’s workings; that is, only what they are conscious of as supernatural workings of evil.
Because their knowledge of the devil’s character and methods of working is limited and circumscribed, many true children of God only recognize “temptation” when the nature of the thing presented is visibly evil, and according to their limited knowledge of evil, so they do not recognize the Tempter and his temptations when they come under the guise of natural or physical, or lawful and apparent “good.”
When the prince of darkness and his emissaries come as angels of light, they clothe themselves in light, which, in their case, stands for evil. It is a “light” which is really darkness. They come in the guise of good. Darkness is opposed to light, ignorance is opposed to knowledge, falsehood is opposed to truth. Darkness is a term applied to evil morality and moral darkness. The believer may need to discern evil spirits in the realm of the supposed good. That which comes to them as “light” may be darkness. The apparently “good” may be really evil; the apparent “help” which they cling to may be really a hindrance. For instance, a difficulty in work may arise out of accepting a degree of weakness, which is really the result of demon possession; so while desiring strength the believer may fulfill conditions which make him weak. The devil then tempts him because he is weak, and he succumbs.
There needs to be a choice between good and evil perpetually by every man, and the priests of old were specially called to discern and teach the people the difference between “the holy and the common,” the “unclean and the clean” (Ezek. 40: 23). Yet is the Church of Christ to-day able thus to discern what is good, and what is evil? Does she not continually fall into the snare of calling good evil, and evil good? Because the thoughts of God’s people are governed by ignorance, and limited knowledge, they call the works of God, of the devil; and the works of the devil, of God, and they are not taught the need of learning to discern the difference between the “unclean and the clean”, nor how to decide for themselves what is of God, or what is of the devil, although they are unknowingly compelled to make a choice every moment of the day. Neither do all believers know that they have a choice between good and good, i.e., between the lesser and the greater good; and the devil often entangles them here.
VARIOUS KINDS OF TEMPTATIONS
There are unseen temptations, and temptations in the unseen. Physical temptations, soulish temptations, spiritual temptations; direct and indirect temptations, as with Christ when He was directly tempted in the wilderness, or indirectly through Peter. The believer must not only resist the devil when he tempts visibly, or attacks consciously, but BY CONSTANT PRAYER HE MUST BRING TO LIGHT HIS HIDDEN AND COVERED TEMPTATIONS, knowing that he is a “Tempter,” and therefore is always planning temptation for the believer. Those who thus, by prayer, bring to light these hidden workings, are by experience, widening their horizon in knowledge of his work as a Tempter, and becoming better able to co- work with the Spirit of God in the deliverance of others from the power of the enemy; for in order to be victorious over the powers of darkness, it is essential to be able to recognize what they are doing. Paul, on one occasion, did not say “circumstances,” but “Satan hindered me” (1 Thess. 2: 18), because he was able to recognize when circumstances, or the Holy Spirit (Acts 16: 6), or Satan, hindered or restrained him in his life and service.
There are degrees also in the results of temptation. After the wilderness temptation, which settled vast and eternal issues, the devil left Christ, but he returned to Him again and again with other degrees of temptation (John 12: 27; Matt. 22: 15) both direct and indirect.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “TEMPTATION” AND “ATTACKS“
There is also a difference between the “temptations” and “attacks” of the Tempter, as may again be seen in the life of Christ. “Temptation” is a scheme or a plot, or compulsion on the part of the Tempter to cause another to do evil, whether consciously or unconsciously; but an attack is an onslaught on the person, either in life, character, or circumstances, e.g., the devil made an onslaught on the Lord through the villagers, when they sought to hurl Him over the brow of the hill (Luke 4: 29); when His family brought a charge of insanity against Him (Mark 3: 21); and when He was charged with demon possession by His enemies (John 10: 20; Matt. 12: 24).
Temptation, moreover, means suffering, as we see again in the life of Christ, for it is written, “He suffered being tempted” (Heb. 2: 18), and believers must not think they will reach a period when they will not feel the suffering of temptation, as this is a wrong conception, which gives ground to the enemy for tormenting and attacking them without cause.
PRAYER BRINGING HIDDEN TEMPTATIONS TO LIGHT
For perpetual victory, therefore, the believer must unceasingly be on guard against the Tempter, praying for his hidden temptations to be revealed. The degree of understanding his working will be determined by the degree of victory experienced, for “In vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird.” We have given in preceding chapters much knowledge needed by the believer, if he is to gain victory over every aspect of the Tempter’s workings, but especially does he require power of discrimination between what is temptation from the Tempter working upon the uncrucified “old man”; tempting through the things of the world (1 John 2: 15, 16; 5: 4, 5); and temptation direct from the spirits of evil.
In temptation the crucial point is for the tempted one to know whether the temptation is the work of an evil spirit having gained access to him, or from the evil nature. This alone can be discerned by the experimental knowledge of Romans 6 as the basis of the life. Temptation from the fallen nature should be dealt with on the foundation of “Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6: 11), and practical obedience to the resulting command “Let not sin reign in your mortal body.” In the hour of temptation to sin–to visible, known sin–the believer should take his stand on Romans 6: 6, as his deliberate position of faith, and in obedience to Romans 6: 11, declare his undeviating choice and attitude as death to sin, in death union with Christ. If this choice is the expression of his real will, and the temptation to sin does not cease, he should then deal with the spirits of evil, who may be seeking to awaken sinful desires (Jas. 1: 14), or to counterfeit them. For they can counterfeit the old nature in evil desire, evil thoughts, evil words, evil presentations, and many honest believers think they are battling with the workings of the old nature, when these things are given by evil spirits. But if the believer is not standing actively on Romans 6, the “counterfeits” are not necessary, for the old fallen creation is always open to be wrought upon by the powers of darkness.
VICTORY OVER SATAN AS ACCUSER
VICTORY OVER THE DEVIL AS AN ACCUSER: The difference between the accusation of the enemy and his temptations is that the latter is an effort on his part to compel, or draw the man into sin; and the former is a charge of transgression. Temptation is an effort to cause the man to transgress the law, accusation is an effort to place the believer in the guilty position of having transgressed the law. Evil spirits want the man to be wrong, that they may accuse and punish him for being wrong. “Accusation” can be a counterfeit of conviction–the true conviction of the Spirit of God. It is important that the believer should know when the charge of transgression is made, whether it is a Divine conviction, or a Satanic accusation.
(1) The devil may accuse when the man is truly guilty; (2) he may accuse when the man is not guilty, and cause him to think, and believe that he is guilty; (3) he may endeavour to pass on his accusations as a conviction, and cause the man to think that it comes from the evil nature, when he is not guilty at all.
Evil spirits are able to infuse a sense of guilt. Sin itself comes from the evil nature within, but it is not forced into the personality from without, apart from the person. How can the believer tell if evil spirits are at the back of involuntary sin? If the man is right with God, standing on Romans 6, with no deliberate yielding to known sin, then any manifestation of sin coming back again unaccountably, may be dealt with as from evil spirits.
The believer must therefore never accept an accusation–or a charge, supernaturally made, of having transgressed–unless he is fully convinced by intelligent knowledge and clear decision that he has done so; for if he accepts the charge when innocent, he will suffer as much as if he had really transgressed. He must also be on guard to refuse any compulsory drive to “confession” of sin to others, which may be the forcing of the enemy to pass on his lying accusations.
BELIEVER SHOULD MAINTAIN NEUTRALITY TO ACCUSATIONS UNTIL SOURCE PROVED
The believer should maintain neutrality to accusations, until he is sure of their real source, and if the man knows he is guilty, he should at once go to God on the ground of 1 John 1: 9, and refuse to be lashed by the devil, as he is not the judge of God’s children, nor is he deputed as God’s messenger to make the charge of wrong. The Holy Spirit alone is commissioned by God to convict of sin.
The steps in the working of evil spirits in their accusations and false charges are these, when the believer accepts their accusations:–
(1) The believer thinks and believes he is guilty;
(2) Evil spirits cause him to feel guilty;
(3) They cause him, then, to appear guilty;
(4) They cause him then to be actually guilty through believing their lies, it matters not whether he is guilty or not in the first instance.
Malicious spirits try to make the man feel guilty by their nagging accusations, so as to make him act, or appear guilty before others; at the same moment flashing, or suggesting to others the very things about which they are accusing him, without any cause. All such “feelings” should be investigated by the believer. Feeling wrong is not enough for a man to say he is wrong, or the Accuser to accuse him of being wrong. The man says he “feels” wrong. He should ask “Is the feeling right?” He may feel wrong, and be right; and “feel” right, and be wrong. Therefore he should investigate, and examine the question honestly, “Am I wrong?”
“FEELINGS” INJECTED BY EVIL SPIRITS
There are physical, soulish, and spiritual “feelings.” Evil spirits can inject feelings into either of these departments. Their aim is to move the man by “feelings” to substitute these for the action of his mind, so that the believer is governed by the deceiving spirits through his feelings. Also to substitute feelings for the conscience note 13 in its recognition of right and wrong. If believers “feel” they can do a thing, they do it, without asking whether it be right or wrong, if it is not visibly sinful. For victory over the deceitful enemy, it is essential that the children of God cease to be guided by “feelings” in their actions.
Again: If believers in any course of action “feel relief,” they think that sense of relief is a sign that they have been doing God’s will. But a man gets rest when his work is done, not only in the spiritual, but in ordinary life. A “sense of relief” in any line of action, is no criterion that it is in the will of God. The action must be judged by itself, and not merely by its effects upon the doer of it. For instance, a believer says he “felt happy” after doing such and such a thing, and that it was “a proof that he was doing the will of God”; but peace and rest and relief are no proof at all of being in God’s will. Believers also think that if they do some action that the devil wants them to do, they will “feel condemned” at once, but they overlook the fact that Satan can give pleasant feelings.
There are innumerable variations of feelings caused by evil spirits, from countless attacks, and countless false suggestions, which call forth all the spiritual discernment of the believer, and his understanding of spiritual things, to recognize them.
NEED OF DISCERNING ACCUSATION FROM TRUE CONVICTION
The devil as a Tempter very quickly becomes the Accuser, even if he does not succeed in getting the man to yield to his temptations. As we have seen, deceiving spirits can cause apparent “sin” to be manifested to the consciousness of a believer, and then lash and accuse the man for their own workings. They counterfeit some sin, which may be called with sadness, “my besetting sin,” in the believer’s life; and as long as it is believed to be sin from the evil nature, no “confessing” or seeking victory over it, will cause it to pass away. They can also hide behind real sin.
A sense of guiltlessness does not necessarily lead to absolute happiness, for even with the peace of conscious innocence there may be suffering, and the suffering have its source in some sin which is not known. Walking by known light, and measuring his guiltlessness by his knowledge of known sin, is very dangerous to him who desires a fathomless peace, for it leads only to superficial rest, which may be disturbed at any moment by the attacks of the Accuser, who directs his darts to a joint in the armor of peace, hidden from the believer’s view.
For obtaining victory over the Deceiver’s accusing spirits, spiritual believers should, therefore, understand clearly whether any consciousness of sin, is the result of real transgression, or is caused by evil spirits. If the believer accepts the consciousness of sin, as from himself, when it is not, he at once leaves his position of death to sin, and reckons himself alive to it. This explains why many who have truly known victory over sin by the “reckon” of Romans 6: 11, surrender their basis, and lose the position of victory; because the Accuser has counterfeited some manifestation of “self” or “sin,” and then accused the man of it, with the taunt that ” Romans 6 does not work,” and by this device made him surrender his basis of victory, causing him to fall into confusion, and condemnation, as into a pit of miry clay and darkness.
NEED OF UNFLINCHING WARFARE AGAINST SIN
On the other hand, if the believer in the slightest degree is tempted to treat sin lightly, or attribute it to evil spirits when it is from himself, he is equally on false ground, and lays himself open to the old fallen nature regaining mastery over him with redoubled force. The warfare against Satan must be accompanied with a vigorous, unflinching warfare against sin. Any known sin must not be tolerated for a moment. Whether it be from the fallen nature, or from evil spirits forcing it into the man, it MUST BE CAST OFF AND PUT AWAY; on the basis of Rom. 6: 6 and 12.
Two misconceptions which give great advantage to the watching enemy are the thoughts in many believers’ minds, that if a Christian commits sin he will at once (1) know it himself, or (2) that God will tell him. They, therefore, expect God to tell them when they are right or wrong, instead of seeking light and knowledge according to John 3: 21.
Believers seeking victory over all the deceptions of the enemy, must take an active part in dealing with sin. Based upon a wrong conception of “death” they may have thought that God would remove sin out of their lives for them, with the result that they have failed to actively co-work with Him in dealing with evil, within and in their environment, in others and in the world.
WAR UPON THE POWERS OF DARKNESS
In the path to freedom from deception and possession, the believer discovers the need of MAKING WAR AGAINST THE POWERS OF DARKNESS, for the undeceiving and the dispossession which follows, reveals to him the depths of the wickedness of Satan and his hosts of wicked spirits. The believer sees that he must (1) make war against their possession of him; (2) against all their works; and (3) against their deception and possession of others, as well as the need of a perpetual daily fighting against all their onslaughts, which come upon him apart from his giving them ground. The believer who is dispossessed is born into the war, and compelled to fight to maintain his freedom. Just as a child is born into the natural world, and must breathe to maintain life, so there is a birth into the warfare through the sufferings and pains of being undeceived, and delivered from the thralldom of Satan.
Through his aggressive warfare against the foe, the believer understands the systematic workings of the forces of Satan. Through the knowledge gained by reading the symptoms of deception and possession in his own case, he is now able to read them in others, and see their need of deliverance, and finds himself compelled to pray for them, and work toward that goal.
AGGRESSIVE AND DEFENSIVE WARFARE
In war, whether natural or supernatural, there are two principles governing the warfare, viz.: aggressive and defensive, i.e., the attacking force must be able to defend itself as well as to take the aggressive against the enemy.
Between the period of undeceiving and dispossessing, the believer learns to know his weak points, and vulnerable parts; and becomes able to recognize the methodical, planned and systematic attacks of the forces of the enemy upon those points. By these attacks, the knowledge of the active operations of the lying spirits, and of the need of unceasing warfare against them, is deepened in him. He knows that he must stand against them daily, or again be entrapped by their wiles, and fall a victim to their wicked devices; for he discovers that even the lesser attacks, which, before the time of his deception and possession, would be unfelt, quickly overwhelm him, and cause him to lose his equilibrium, or spiritual balance, immediately. He knows, therefore, by the lessons of his fight to freedom, that he must ever after be on his guard, and watch against the attacks of the subtle foe, whether they come through things around him, or directly–or indirectly–through others, the indirect onslaughts being often the most violent.
During the period of his undeceiving, the eyes of the believer also become open to the supernatural operations of the forces of evil; for just as God is seen by His workings (John 14: 10, 11), so the powers of darkness are to be recognized by their activities. Both the Divine and Satanic workings are invisible to the physical eye, but the effects are perceptible to him who has the power to read the signs. The one who has been dispossessed, can see how much that others attribute to God’s sovereignty is nothing else but the results of the Satanic world-rulers’ work. He sees that the primary cause of the apathy and deadness of the Church is Satanic, and that much which has been put down to sin, or the evil nature, is nothing but the work of evil spirits. Hence he must war against the false teaching, which settles down to accept Satanic workings in the world as the “operations of God.” Through his own undeceiving his old thoughts about things connected with God, and with Satan, fall to the ground as untested theories, and he receives two blessings through his undeceiving; i.e. (1) a purified “theology,” (2) and a true demonology.
SOME OF THE RESULTS OF THE UNDECEIVING
The undeceived and dispossessed believer also becomes intensely practical. He finds that God is “practical.” The devil is practical, and man must be practical to join with the One against the other. The believer sees that one of the ways in which the Son of God destroys the work of the devil, is through the instrumentality of prayer, and that he must now live a prayer-life, since prayer is the mightiest weapon against the foe.
Through his undeceiving, the undeceived believer has been made conscious of the actual force which the powers of darkness bring to bear upon and against his tripartite being, and thus learns that all the strength of his redeemed, renewed, and liberated powers–mental, spiritual and physical–must be set against them in order that he may keep at liberty. In the experience he has gone through, he has become more and more conscious of his own spirit, and the need of using it in strength, purity, and power against them. He has also discovered that in the perpetual war which the deceiving spirits wage against him, neither time, place, nor season, are exempt from their attacks. Therefore, wherever he is, whatever he does, whatever state he is in, he must wage equally persistent war upon them. If he finds himself in keen suffering and anguish, he knows that it is “the hour and power of darkness”; and learns by the suffering they cause that they are unmerciful, as well as evil; intensely evil; nothing but evil; aiming at nothing but evil, and with all the power they are able to wield, endeavouring to draw him into evil, doggedly, silently, persistently, wickedly, always at work; actuated by undying hatred and malice against the human race. Enemies they are, and will be. What they are they were, and what they were, they are still–evil, and evil only. Thus he learns and knows that he must resist them and, that the fight to keep his spirit strong, pure and buoyant for victory over them needs all the force of his being, in the power of God, to enable him to be victorious.
THE BELIEVER FINDS HE IS AT WAR WITH ALL HELL
In the discovery of the wickedness and hatred of the supernatural powers of evil against him, the believer learns he is not fighting against the intelligence of one supernatural being, but against principalities and powers, with vast resources at their command, and that IF HE STANDS VICTORIOUS AGAINST THEIR WILES, HE HAS CONQUERED, NOT ONLY ONE EVIL SPIRIT, BUT ALL HELL. He finds that the powers of darkness will not allow one single believer to be victor over them, until they as a whole (Ephes. 6: 12) have failed to conquer him. Hence their onslaught on him who elects to be victorious over them all, in vital union with the Victor Lord, Who put them to open shame through His death on the Cross of Calvary.
The believer is called to triumph over all the powers of darkness, but to reach the goal he must put on the whole armor of God, and lay hold of Divine strength, truth, righteousness, peace, faith, the mighty sword of the Scriptures, watchfulness and prayer. This armor, and the weapons belonging to it, will enable him to “stand against all” the wiles of Satan. If he stands, all heaven sees it; if he is defeated, all hell knows it. If he triumphs, the hosts of darkness are not only conquered, but discouraged, and rendered less effective in their schemes. The believer who would overcome such a disciplined and pertinacious foe, will never dare put his armour by, or give himself to careless work, for he finds that the foe is as tenacious and desirous to conquer as he himself is. But he who fully knows the foe and the warfare, and its eternal issues, finds his joy in the joy of war against an enemy devastating the earth, and the joy of victory, as a foretaste of the future triumph with the Lord Christ over all His foes. (Heb. 10: 13; 1 Cor. 15: 25, 26).
It is essential to study the powers of darkness from the point of view of their depraved nature. To be conquered, or to lose a point, is torment to them, for the fallen nature, both of men and angels, rebels against confessing itself vanquished. In the days of Christ, to be driven out of their hiding places, commanded to go, and thus be deprived of rest, was to demons “torment” before their time (see Matt. 8:29). They are being thus tormented by any truth made known about them to-day. The truth concerning them and their workings, with its consequent liberation of men from their power, is disturbing their rest at the present time, and what happened when Christ was on earth, will happen again when the casting out of evil spirits will become a recognized part of all Christian and ministerial activity. The Gospels record how Satan and his minions objected to Christ’s presence on earth, for He moved about as the Victor, and they were shown to be the vanquished ones.
THE USE OF CHRIST’S AUTHORITY OVER THE POWER OF THE ENEMY
The believer who has thus learnt, through fire, the real schemes and workings of the Satanic forces, and realizes that he must make war upon them for his own defense, as well as for the liberation of others, now discovers that Christ has given authority over “all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10: 19) to all who will lay hold of it, as part of the finished redemption of Calvary. That in union with Him He gives the believer power to wield His Name, and in His name to have authority to cast out demons. This was one effect of the enduement of power upon the believers of the early Church. Christ said, on the eve of His Cross, “Hitherto ye have asked nothing in My name.” But after Pentecost they wielded the Name, and found the Spirit of God witness to its authority. “Such as I have, I give unto thee. In the Name... rise. . .” said Peter. “I command thee in the Name of Jesus . . . come out ... “said Paul to the evil spirit (Acts 16: 18). “In My Name shall they cast out demons . . .” said Christ of His followers. “The spirits are subject to you …“ (Luke 10: 20) must be true of all who are in actual experience “one spirit” (1 Cor. 6: 17) with the Lord.
The authority of Christ is, therefore, open to the faith of all His children who are united to Him in spirit, even though they may not be wholly free, through ignorance, from the power of deceiving spirits in their outer man.
THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST IS NOT INHERENT IN THE BELIEVER
This is reasonably so, because the authority of Christ as Conqueror over the evil hosts of Satan, is not inherent in the believer, but is laid hold of by him through the power of the Holy Spirit, and is borne witness to by Him only in response to faith. Should, however, a believer by faith thus command evil spirits to depart they will make the most of any occasion he may give them, after he has dared to assert the authority of their Victor’s Name.
This is to be explained by the facts dealt with in earlier pages of this book, that it is possible for the believer who is fully joined to Christ in spirit, and in whose spirit the Holy Spirit dwells, to have foreign spirits located, unknowingly, in mind and body, who have obtained a footing by deception. The Holy Spirit does not give up His Place in a child of God who has received Him, because an intruder, against the man’s real desire, and by guile, has gained admission. The entrance of a demon to a man, in any part of him, does not make him a demon, any more than the entrance of the Holy Spirit makes a man God. It is when the believer knows the truth, and will not take an attitude of refusal to the ground giving place to the enemy, and thereby clings to known sin and gives known ground to evil spirits, that his innermost life becomes seriously affected, just as known sin which the man will not part with, brings a cloud between him and God. God uses a man, so long as he is honestly true to known light, whilst glaring inconsistencies–unknown to himself–may stumble others.
DEGREES IN THE RESULTS OF USING THE AUTHORITY OF THE NAME
There are degrees in the manifestation of Christ’s authority through the believer, over the spirits of evil, according to the degree of his personal victory described in our last chapter. Two believers may have faith to wield the authority of Christ, and have different results because of the difference in their knowledge of the workings of the powers of darkness, and hence a difference in their discernment, and consequent diagnosis of the case before them; that is, if one believer apprehends that he can cast out evil spirits by “commanding” only, and he does not know how the GROUND should be dealt with, he will not find the same results as the one who knows that the ground must be dealt with, before the evil spirits are really cast out.
Knowledge and discernment enables the believer to see where the Spirit of God would have him lay hold of the authority of Christ, and when to do so. For instance, authority over evil spirits to cast them out, is of no use in meeting their lies. Truth is the weapon of authority then. The truth of God, spoken with the authority of knowledge that it is the truth, will set the soul free.
KNOWLEDGE A FACTOR IN AUTHORITY
The degree of authority over evil spirits, then, depends not only upon personal victory, but also upon knowledge, and the believer who desires to know how to lay hold of the fullest authority over evil spirits for the sake of the deliverance of others, must set himself to understand their workings, as well as to be VICTORIOUS IN ALL, AND OVER ALL HE PASSES THROUGH. Let him note how much is said in the Scriptures about knowledge and understanding. The Apostle wrote to the Colossians about their being filled with “the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual understanding” (Col. 1:9), and the Lord said “This is life eternal, to know Thee. . .“ (John 17:3); “If we walk in the light … fellowship.” To walk in the light is to know God, and knowing God, we in relative degree know the powers of darkness; for light makes manifest the works of darkness (see Eph. 5:11-13). Those of full age in the spiritual life, have by reason o use, their “senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Heb. 5:14, A.V.)
The believer must be willing for the price of the knowledge necessary for discernment, for he cannot take an attitude of resistance to a thing he believes is of God, or is good, or towards which he is neutral. He must KNOW whether a thing is of God or no, therefore the degree of knowledge he has about the workings of the spirits of evil determines the degree of his (1) discernment, (2) resistance, and (3) authority over them in wielding the Name of Christ, whether exercised in “casting out,” commanding to leave a person, or dispersing them by the light of truth. The believer must know their wiles, schemes, methods and accusations, weights on the spirit and their causes, and when hindrances and obstacles are brought about by the enemy, so as to be able to discern all these things, and resist them.
EVIL SPIRITS SUBJECT TO THE BELIEVER JOINED TO THE LIVING CHRIST
Knowledge also affects faith. The believer must KNOW that it is God’s will that evil spirits should be, not only potentially, but actually subject to him as one joined in vital union to the Holy One of God, Who was Victor over them all when He walked on earth, and gave His messengers authority over them through using His Name (Cf. Luke 10: 17 to 24).
Some of the expressions used in Scripture describing the attitude of the Church, and of individual members of Christ toward the powers of darkness, clearly show God’s will and purpose for His people. Paul said that God would “bruise” Satan under the feet of His children (Rom. 16: 20); the principalities and powers were to be “wrestled against” (Ephes. 6: 12) –surely not with a view to their triumph over the Christian; to be “resisted” by a steadfast attitude of faith (1 Peter 5: 8-9)–surely not by ignoring their presence and workings; “withstood” (Ephes. 6: 13), in their onslaughts– surely not by ignorance of such attacks; “devices” recognized to be guarded against (2 Cor. 2: 10-11); and “cast out” with the word of command by the authority of the Name of Jesus (Mark 16: 17), as those who were compelled to go, when a believer identifies himself with their Conqueror, and acts in reliance upon the authority of His Name.
Knowledge again affects the use of the will, in resistance to the enemy. How can the believer take an attitude of resistance to evil spirits in a meeting, unless he has knowledge whether the power in that meeting is Divine or Satanic? The senses also, when acute, are factors in knowledge. If they are dulled by possession, the knowledge necessary actually to read and discern the workings of the powers of darkness is hindered.
KNOWLEDGE GOVERNS PRAYER. Abraham was seeking knowledge as to the conditions upon which God could spare Sodom, when he reverently questioned the Lord about the doomed city. He wanted to know God’s conditions, before he was able to pray for Sodom.
REVIVAL DAWN AND THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT
We have seen that the period in the believer’s life wherein he receives the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the special time of danger from the evil supernatural world, and the Baptism of the Spirit is THE ESSENCE OF REVIVAL. Revival dawn, is, therefore, the great moment for deceiving spirits to find entrance into the believer by deception through counterfeits, resulting sometimes in the possession dealt with in preceding pages.
The hour of Revival is a time of crisis and possible catastrophe. A crisis in the history of every individual, as well as in the history of a country, a church, or a district. A crisis for the unregenerate man, wherein he settles his eternal destiny, as he accepts, or rejects conversion to God; a crisis to those who receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit, and to those who reject Him; for to the believer who bends and receives the Holy Spirit, it is the day of the visitation of the Most High, but to others it means the decision whether they will become spiritual men or remain carnal (1 Cor. 3: 1); whether they will elect to remain in defeat in the personal life, or determine to press on as overcomers.
Few go through the crisis without deception by the enemy in more or less degree, and only those who cling to the use of their reasoning faculties at this time, can hope to be saved from the catastrophe of becoming a victim to the subtle workings of evil supernatural powers. If the believer does become deceived by evil spirits at the time that he is baptized with the Spirit, almost immediately after the highest point of his experience, he begins through deception to descend into a pit which ultimately means depth of darkness, bondage and misery, until he is undeceived and returns to the normal path. Those who do not discover the deceptions, sink into deeper deception, and become practically useless to God and to the Church.
REVIVAL THE HOUR AND POWER OF GOD
Revival is the hour and power of God, and of the devil, for the descent of the Divine power brings the accompanying onslaught of evil supernatural powers. It means MOVEMENT IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM. Revival itself is the hour of God, when heaven is opened, and the power of God works among men, but when the Divine power appears to pass away, and evil supernatural powers manifest their workings in a man, or a church, or a country, then men marvel that the devil’s work should be where God had been so manifest, not knowing that the devil was planting his seeds, and DOING HIS WORK, FROM THE DAWN OF REVIVAL. Revival ebb began with its flow, but all unseen.
In the hour and power of God in Revival, the “Tempter” appears to be absent, but he is present as the Counterfeiter. Men say there is “no devil,” and yet it is his greatest harvest time. He is netting his victims, mixing his workings with the workings of God, and beguiling the saints more effectively than he was ever able to do with his temptations to sin. As a counterfeiter, and deceiver, the ever watchful foe uses his old methods of deception and guile on new converts, who, having victory over known sin, think the Tempter has left them, not knowing his new ways. His absence is only apparent, and not real. Satan was never more active among the sons of God.
WHY REVIVAL STOPS
The Devil’s great purpose is to stop the Revival power of God, and every Revival that has been given of God to awaken His people, has ceased after a time, more or less short, because of (1) the Church’s ignorance of the laws of the spirit for co-working with God; the insidious creeping on of the powers of darkness, unrecognized, and yielded to by the people of God through ignorance. Those who are born of the Spirit at such a period of the manifested power of the Holy Spirit emerge into a spiritual world, where they come into contact with spirit-beings of evil, OF WHOSE EXISTENCE THEY HAVE NO EXPERIMENTAL KNOWLEDGE. They become conscious of spiritual forces and things which they think must be of God, and they do not know of the possibility of workings mingled by wicked spirits with the things of God. This is the reason why Revival, which quickens the Church, and for a period manifests to the world the regenerating, uplifting power of God, produces as an aftermath a number of genuine Spirit-born believers who are said to have “religious mania,” or are called “cranks.” And this is why “Revival” is sooner or later checked and discredited, the testimony to the world destroyed, the sober section of the Church dismayed, and made fearful of its effects.
To put it in bluntest language, the Revival hour is the occasion for evil spirits to obtain “possession” of spiritual believers, and REVIVAL CEASES BECAUSE OF SUCH POSSESSION. The most spiritual believers, baptized with the Holy Spirit, and most fitted to be used of God in Revival service, may become deceived and possessed by evil spirits in their outer being THROUGH ACCEPTING THE COUNTERFEITS OF SATAN. Believers who are not so abandoned to the Spirit escape the acute “possession, ” but in their contact with hitherto unknown workings from the spiritual realm, are equally open to deception which is manifested in a less recognizable way.
What is called the “fanatical” spirit, which in some degree, follows Revival, is purely the work of evil spirits. At Revival dawn the ignorant are teachable, but through their “spiritual experiences,” later on they become unteachable. Pre-Revival simplicity gives place to Satanic “infallibility,” or an unteachable spirit. Dogged, stubborn obstinacy in a believer after Revival is not from the source of the man himself, but from evil spirits deceiving his mind, holding his spirit in their grip, and making him unbending and unreasonable.
The scheme of the powers of darkness in Revival dawn, is to drive, or push to extreme, what is true. Their “push” is very slight and imperceptible at the beginning, in suggesting thoughts, or impelling to actions a very little contrary to reason, but as the “push” is yielded to, and the use of the reason is silenced, those who are thus deceived in due course become fanatical. The judgment of those believers impelled to unreasonable actions, may be against, and even resisting the things they are supernaturally urged to do, yet they are unable to stand against the supernatural power driving them, which they think and believe is from God.
REVIVAL AND WAR ON SATAN
All this, and much else already dealt with in preceding pages, together with the after history of all Revivals of the past, shows that REVIVAL MINUS WAR ON SATAN AND HIS WICKED SPIRITS, must always appear to end in partial failure through the mixed results, consequent upon Satanic counterfeits of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Church, therefore, sorely needs believers equipped with knowledge and discernment, to meet the Satanic counterfeits which invariably follow the advent of Revival, knowing the symptoms of Satanic deception and possession, and able to resist the powers of darkness, and teach the children of God the way of victory over them, as well as the aggressive warfare upon them. note 7 War upon the attacking spirits of evil is indispensable for maintaining the health, sanity and spiritual power of those who are revived.
A PURE REVIVAL–free from the usual aftermath–IS POSSIBLE if the Church understood the truth about the powers of darkness, as well as the way of co- operation with the Holy Spirit. Apart from this same knowledge of the workings of Satan and his wicked spirits, so as to be able to recognize their presence under any guise, no one can with safety accept all the supernatural manifestations which accompany Revival, or believe all seeming “Pentecostal power” to be of God. A PURE Revival is Divine power in full operation, minus sin and Satan. It is not cold “belief,” but life, and it has to do with the spirit, not the intellect.
PRAYER FOR REVIVAL
Apart from this same knowledge, those who pray for Revival do not clearly understand what they pray for, nor how to act when their prayers are answered; for they are not prepared to meet the Satanic opposition to their prayers; nor even the dangers attendant upon prayer for Revival.
Why is there not yet world-wide Revival in answer to world-wide prayer? For the same reason that Revival subsides when it has begun, and that prayer meetings for Revival may end in catastrophe, or powerlessness. The check to Revival, both when it has begun, and in the prayer preceding its advent, is caused by the spirits of evil deceiving or hindering the praying ones.
The hindrance to Revival, at the present time lies, not only in this opposition of the powers of darkness, but in the PRESENT CONDITION OF THE MOST SPIRITUAL SECTION OF THE CHURCH, through whom alone God can work in Revival power. These are the believers who know the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and were liberated in spirit in the Revivals of the last decade, but who are now driven back into themselves by the pressure of the enemy in the atmosphere, or else are in captivity to the foe through his counterfeits.
Let these quenched or deceived believers be liberated once more, and THOSE WHO ARE NOW USELESS WILL BE PRICELESS IN VALUE for teaching and strengthening others when Revival is once more given.
INSTRUMENTS FOR REVIVAL
The Holy Spirit is still in those who were baptized with the Spirit, during the last Revivals. The mistake at the time of the Revival in Wales in 1904 was to become occupied with the effects of Revival, and not to watch and pray in protecting and guarding the cause of Revival. The Spirit baptized souls, at present locked up in spirit, or side-tracked through Satanic deceptions, are still those who would be the instruments through whom God could work, were they but set free. Useless now, but priceless in maturity, and experience and knowledge for the guiding and guarding of a Revived Church, when they are once more liberated for true co-working with the Holy Spirit of God.
How, then, should the Lord’s praying ones pray at the present time? They should pray
(1) Against evil spirits now blocking and hindering Revival.
(2) For the cleansing and delivering of those who became possessed through deception during the time of later Revivals.
(3) That when Revival is once more given it may be kept pure, and
(4) For the preparation of instruments for Revival, trained and taught of God to guard against further inroads of the powers of darkness.
In brief, let all who pray for Revival, pray for light to reach those who HAVE BEEN ENSNARED INTO BONDAGE TO THE DECEIVING POWERS OF DARKNESS, that they may be set free, and once more become usable in Revival service; then will the forces of evil be beaten back from the ground they have regained, which still belongs to God.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is the essence of Revival, for Revival comes from a knowledge of the Holy Spirit, and the way of co-working with Him which enables Him to work in Revival power. The primary condition for Revival is, therefore, that believers should individually know the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. This term being used as a convenient expression for describing a definite influx of the Holy Spirit which thousands of believers throughout the Church of Christ have received as a definite experience. Such an infilling of the Spirit was the cause not only of the Revival in Wales in 1904-5, but of all other Revivals in the history of the world.
The fact that the counterfeiting work of Satan follows Revival through such an opening of the spiritual world as enables the evil spirit-beings to find access to believers under the guise of the Divine Spirit, must not hold back the children of God from seeking the true flood tide of the Spirit, for the bringing about of pure Revival, and the emancipation of the Church of Christ from the bonds of sin and Satan.
WHAT IS A TRUE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT
It is of primary importance to understand what is a true Baptism of the Spirit, the conditions for its reception, and the effects of obtaining it. Previous chapters will have thrown much light upon what it is not, and the dangers to be avoided in seeking it. It is not an influence coming upon the body, nor, according to the records in the Acts of the Apostles, does it result in physical manifestations, such as convulsions, twitchings and writhings of the human frame; nor does it rob a man of the full intelligent action of the mind, or ever make him irresponsible for his speech and actions.
In brief, the place of the indwelling of the Spirit of God in man, gives the key to all the true manifestations connected with the Baptism of the Spirit, as well as the conditions for receiving it, and the results in personal experience and service. THAT PLACE IS THE HUMAN SPIRIT. Once let the believer understand that his SPIRIT is the organ through which the Holy Spirit carries out all His operations in and through him, he will be able to discern the true meaning of being filled with the Holy Ghost, and how to detect the counterfeit workings of Satan in the realm of the senses.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit may be described as an influx, sudden or gradual, of the Spirit of God into a man’s spirit, which liberates it from the vessel of the soul, and raises it into a place of dominance over soul and body. The freed spirit then becomes an open channel for the Spirit of God to pour through it an outflow of Divine power. The mind receives, at the same time, a clarifying quickening, and the “eye of the understanding” is filled with light (Eph. 1: 18). The body becomes entirely under the man’s complete control, as the result of the dominance of the spirit, and often receives a quickening in strength for endurance in the warfare service he finds he has emerged into.
That the Spirit of God OPERATES THROUGH THE ORGAN OF A MAN’S SPIRIT, as shown in the epistles of Paul, needs to be kept in mind in reading the records of the working of the Holy Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles.
THE INFLUX OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AT PENTECOST
On the day of Pentecost, the 120 disciples–men and women–were filled in the spirit, as the Spirit of God filled the atmosphere, and their tongues were liberated, so that THEY THEMSELVES as intelligent personalities, could speak of the mighty works of God as the Spirit gave utterance, i.e., gave them power to speak. The record gives no hint that they became automatons, or that the Spirit spoke HIMSELF through them, or INSTEAD of them. From a spirit under the clothing of, and the afflatus of the Spirit of God, they themselves were given intelligent insight into, and utterance about, the wonderful things of God, as they were “moved” in spirit by Him.
This influx of the Divine Spirit into their spirits, not only left their mental powers in full action, but clarified them, and increased their keenness of discernment and power of thought, as seen in the action and the words of Peter, who spoke with such convincing power that through his words–inspired by the Spirit, but spoken by him in intelligent clearness of mind–three thousand were convicted and saved, the true influence of God the Holy Spirit being manifested through him, not in “control” of those who heard him, but in a deep conviction in their consciences which turned them to God, not conquered by terror of God, but by a godly awe, which led them to godly sorrow and repentance.
The “falling upon” of the Spirit (Acts 2: 15), is therefore upon the spirit, clothing it with Divine light and power, and raising it into union of spirit with the glorified Lord in heaven; at the same time, baptizing the believer into one spirit with every other member of the mystical Body of Christ, joined to the Head in heaven.
All who are thus liberated and clothed in spirit are “made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13)–the Holy Spirit–Who then, through the spirit capacity of each member of the Body, is able to distribute to each the gifts of the Spirit, for effective witness to the Risen Head, “dividing to each one severally even as He will.” (See 1 Cor. 12: 4-11).
THE HOLY SPIRIT REVEALING CHRIST IN HEAVEN
Another aspect of the true Baptism of the Spirit, having an important bearing upon the experiences of believers to-day, is to be found in the words of Peter on the Day of Pentecost, showing that the revelation of Christ given by the Holy Spirit at such a time, was of Christ as the glorified Man in heaven (Acts 2: 33, 34), and not in any vision or manifestation as a Person within. The same attitude to Christ as seated on the right hand of God, is uniformly to be seen in all the later records of the work of the Spirit in the Acts of the Apostles. The martyr Stephen sees the “Son of Man, standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7: 56), and Paul on the road to Damascus is arrested by a light from heaven (Acts 9: 3; 22: 6; 26: 13), out of which clothing of light the Ascended Lord spoke to him, saying, “I am Jesus . . . “
The Holy Spirit fills the human spirit of the believer, and communicates to him the very Spirit of Jesus, joining him in one spirit to the Spirit of the glorified Lord, imparting to him the life and nature of Christ for the building up of a new creation in His likeness (Rom. 8: 29; Heb. 2: 2-13). Instead of being turned inward to a self-centred apprehension of Christ, he is, by the influx of the Spirit of God into his spirit, lifted, so to speak, out of the narrow limit of himself, note 11 into a spiritual sphere where he finds himself one spirit with others who are joined to the Living Head forming one Body–or spirit organism–for the influx and outflow of the Spirit of the Lord.
REVIVAL DEPENDS UPON TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT
This aspect of the true meaning of the Baptism of the Spirit and its spiritual effect, has an important bearing upon Revival, and the reason why Revival does not come. Revival is an OUTFLOW OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD THROUGH THE ORGAN OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT LIBERATED FOR HIS USE. When the influx of the Spirit takes place into the spirits of many believers, and finds outlet through all, the unity which was so marked in the early Church is seen, and the united power becomes strong enough to overflow through all these liberated ones to others.
But if the believer turns INWARD, either (1) through the pressure of opposition, (2) powers of darkness in the atmosphere, or (3) to worship and pray in a self-centred way; or is occupied in any degree with an inward experience, THE OUTFLOW OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IS HINDERED; the unity with other liberated believers is checked by an invisible barrier, which has come between, and the released spirit, which was kept dominant over soul and body so long as the man turned outward as a channel for the inflow and outflow of the Holy Spirit, sinks down into the soul-vessel, a “spirit in prison,” so to speak, once more.
“Revival” is then checked at its very birth, because believers who seek, and obtain a Baptism of the Spirit, do not clearly understand the conditions upon which the inflow was given, nor how to co-operate with the Holy Spirit in the purpose of His coming; which is to make them channels for the OUTFLOW of rivers of living water.
THE TRUE REVELATION OF CHRIST
The influx of the Spirit of God to a man’s spirit, means love, joy, and liberty, buoyancy, light and power. It means a revelation of Christ as the Risen and Ascended Lord, which brings joy unspeakable and full of glory; and an intimate sense of His nearness in fellowship and communion, which makes the “I in you” a living power. It is at this time that ignorance is dangerous. If the believer does not understand that all this is an EFFECT WHICH IS INWARD AS A RESULT OF THE UNION WITH CHRIST IN HEAVEN, and an effect which will continue only so long as he abides in the right attitude toward the glorified Christ in heaven, he will turn into and sink down into the soul, i.e., into himself; and then the deceiving spirits will counterfeit in the sense-sphere the true experiences which he had IN SPIRIT through the incoming of the Holy Ghost.
These “experiences” then have little result beyond the circumference of the believer. When the true influx of the Holy Spirit to the spirit took place, there was (1) unity with others in the same spirit, (2) joy, (3) liberty of utterance, (4) power to witness to Christ, (5) effective and permanent results in the lives of others, and a heavenly “fire” from God in a burning, consuming white heat intensity of SPIRIT (Rom. 12: 11) in service to God. But when the sense counterfeit takes place, supernatural “experiences” frequently occur at the very same time that a wrong spirit is discernible, such as harshness, bitterness, pride, presumption, disunion, etc., showing either (1) that the “experiences” are not from the spirit, or (2) that the spirit is out of co-working with the Holy Spirit, and (3) the Holy Spirit is no longer able to bring forth the pure fruit of the Spirit through the believer’s spirit and life.
SUMMARY OF “GROUND”
Evil spirits must have ground:
Degree of ground for possession cannot be defined
Ground can be deepened..
Cannot interfere with faculties unless ground given.
They deceive and attack to obtain ground.
The ground given to e.s. for access:
Every thought accepted from them.
Wrong conceptions suggested by them, of spirit things.
Wrong interpretation of their workings, by believing their lies..
soul, and |
body | Passivity of spirit, soul or body.
Accepting of counterfeits
Note: (a) The fallen nature is permanent ground, needing to be dealt with perpetually on the basis of Rom. 6
(b) Acts of sin may also give ground.
Results of ground given:
Faculties dulled, rendered inoperative, etc
How ground is given to e.s.:
By CONSENT, i.e., act of will consciously; deliberately given, or obtained by guile.
Col. List II, p. 102.
How ground has to be dealt with:
Must be found out and given up, i.e., give up “thought,” or “passivity,” etc.
Light on ground obtained by prayer.
Knowledge of ground, and ground given up.
Must face truth about ground.
Ground must be discovered in detail for full dis-possession from e.s..
Ground given up specifically on points wherein deceived.
Ground traced to radical cause, i.e., thought and belief.
N.B. “Ground” cannot be cast out.
How ground is removed or given up:
By revoking consent given in the past, knowlingly or unknowingly, i.e., by steady refusal
Persistent refusal needed until liberty is obtained.
Ground may pass away gradually
Ground may pass away unknowingly by standing on Rom. 6..
Why ground does not pass away when given up.
How dispossession takes place:
As ground is removed the e.s. depart, or lose hold.
Believer dispossessed as ground passes away, i.e., wrong thoughts, passivity, etc..
Faculties gradually released as ground is given up.
SEEKING RADICAL CAUSE IN GROUND
In seeking for radical cause of e.s. possession, the believer must look to the opposite to discover the ground of access, e.g., as in the following instances.
Believer thought he opened to God to obtain Believer opened to e.s., which actually resulted in
ßAll these things supernaturally given in counterfeit, the true objective and result being à
N.B.–If believer takes all in Col. 1 from e.s., he is sure to get the results names in Col. 2.
Example.–Believer troubled with e.s., speaking to, and accusing him. The true cause lies in the fact that he–
1. Opened, as he thought, to God Himself speaking of His own initiative, making communications to the man, apart from his asking for them, and he opened to and listened to what he thought was God speaking.
2. Or he thought God spoke to him in answer to prayer, and he listened.
The cause therefore of e.s. speaking and accusing, is that the ground was given in the opposite, i.e., supposed listening to God.
Believer conscious of “cold”–really supernatural trembling. Root cause in the past was the acceptance of “fire” from e.s. under belief it was fire from God. The cause of one extreme is the cause of the other. The two results come from same cause, e.g., the cause of the cold, or trembling, is the cause of the heat, etc.
If hindered by e.s. now, the believer accepted help from them in the past; that accepted help giving them access to hinder now.
If no initiative now, then the believer ceased to act in the past, waiting for e.s. prompting, that prompting and waiting for it, giving them power to prevent initiatory action now.
If sudden stoppage of mind now, with result in mechanical words, the cause is a mediumistic attitude taken to God in the past, which produced the habit of cessation of action for supernatural action.
Thoughts of impatience, i.e. directly physical, not moral, and result of d.p. Remedy is regaining of normal condition, and refusal of d.p. as cause. Rom. 6: 11 must be kept as spiritual basis in all cases.
Daydreams in meetings, Resist by active refusal of e.s. interference, and choosing to concentrate in attention.
Assurance of safety may be deception, How then can a believer become sure? Only by seeking light from God, persistently, on all things, and definite reliance on Him apart from experiences.
Weakness, Weakness is not given by e.s., but produced by them, by their counteracting man’s own strength or force coming into action.
Terror of God; slavish fear,. “Awe” and terror are distinct. God inspires reverence and awe, as well as filial fear, but no terror.
The purpose of assertion, The believer must counteract lies with truth and he says a thing aloud to counteract impressions on his own mind.
“Craving,” It may be said generally that all cravings whether they be in the physical realm, i.e., for drink, or in the soul-realm, i.e., for love, fellowship, etc., are not from God.
Self-discrimination, Every believer should discriminate or “judge” himself; the true “self,” or person, must come to the bar of the man’s judgment. The basis of judgment must not only be the purpose of the will, or the desires of the heart, but ACTIONS and life. Perpetual discrimination, or self judgment, is not introspection.
Cessation of action, The believer must never stop action for “God to act,” i.e., stop the memory for God to remind. Men stop for e.s. to work, but never for God, who energizes the man to act. Sudden stoppage of mind is followed by mechanical words, caused by the interference of e.s., misnamed sometimes as “absentmindedness.” See pp. 154-157.
Burdens, False burdens may be the result of d.p. and will not pass away as long as looked upon as pure spirit-burdens. They will, on the contrary, develop and grow, especially if the man prides himself on his “burdens,” proving the evil of their character. If relief comes after getting rid of a burden, the inference cannot always be drawn that the burden was of God, because the enemy can give burdens, and when obedience is yielded to the purport of the burden, it goes.
Identity of e.s. with believer’s personality, A letter speaks of a Christian worker with a “peculiar sense of not realizing her own identity, but feels like one in a dream.” At times she would be thrown into “convulsions,” yet is a devoted worker for Christ. Those who have this sense of no “identity,” should definitely assert their personal experience. The e.s. in possession move such persons to constantly say “we” instead of “I”. They should refuse temptation to plurality in thought and word. This sense of loss of personal identity can come about by constantly saying “not I” but Christ, until such a believer finds it difficult to use the personal pronoun at all. The suppression of personality in thought and language, gives place to e.s. to identify themselves with the person, since God does not identify Himself with believers in such a way as to make them automatons. See
Symptoms of insanity and d.p. indistinguishable, On account of this the person may be constantly accused by e.s. of “going mad.” He must refuse such a thought at all costs. If there is natural ground, there is hope of its removal if e.s. are resisted in their attempts to drive the person to accept–or practically, by acceptance, give consent to their suggestion. The same may be said in regard to temptation to suicide.
Healing by “suggestion,” What is cured by suggestion was caused by suggestion.
Fear in casting out, The refusal of all fear of evil spirits is absolutely essential for victory over them. There is no cause for true fear in view of the complete victory of Christ on Calvary, and His authority over all the emissaries of Satan. Any fear which cannot be got rid of is the result of obsession or possession.
Keeping under the body, In some cases of d.p. “soul” manifestations dominate, and in others bodily ones. One form expresses every form of indulgence of the flesh, the other the utmost austerity and abstemiousness in food, sleep, and ordinary bodily comfort. Even in these cases the man is deceived in thinking all is under control, because the spiritual manifestations feed the senses in another form.
Talkativeness, Dumbness or evil silence is a symptom of d.p. with the effect of periodical lack of control of speech, caused by passivity of the human speaking in order for God to speak. Cf.
Counterfeit speaking of God, How the lying spirits counterfeit the speaking of God, was seen in one child of God who was suffering from what was though a “breakdown in health,” but what she and her family afterwards knew was possession. Praying one night to know God’s will whether she was to recover, a soft and gentle voice said, “To-day, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.” Answering so quickly her prayer, she took this as the “Voice of God” and yielded herself to it, when there came the suggestion to drink some poison at hand. Under the supernatural power her judgment and conscience became passive, and she was found at the moment of drinking the poison, and restrained. This lady is now delivered.
THE TRUE WORKINGS OF GOD, AND THE COUNTERFEITS OF SATAN
“Knowledge and all discernment; so that ye may prove the things that differ, that ye may be sincere and void of offence. . . .” Phil. 1: 9, 10, m.
1. The Baptism, or Fullness of the Spirit: An influx of the Spirit of God into the human spirit, which liberates the spirit from the soul (Heb. 4: 12), so as to become a pliable organ or channel for the outflow of the Spirit through the believer, manifested in witness to Christ and in aggressive prayer service against the powers of darkness.
It is a true baptizing into the Body of Christ and oneness with all the members of the Body. Its special mark and result is known in power to witness for Christ and in conviction of sin in others, and their turning to God.
The highest manifestation of the Fullness of the Spirit is co-existent with the use of the faculties and self-control.
There is but one reception of the Holy Spirit: with many succeeding experiences, developments, or new crises, resultant on fresh acts of faith, or apprehension of truth; various believers having varied degrees of the same Infilling of the Spirit, according to individual conditions. The enduement of power for service is often a definite experience in many lives..
1. Counterfeit workings of evil spirits may accompany a true reception of the Fullness of the Holy Spirit, if the believer “lets go” his mind into “blankness,” and yields his body up passively to supernatural power. As a “blank mind” and “passive body” is contrary to the condition for use required by the Holy Spirit, and is the primary condition necessary for evil spirits to work, the anomaly is found in the Holy Spirit responding to the law of faith, and filling the man’s spirit, at the same time that evil supernatural powers respond to the law of passivity fulfilled in mind and body. They then can produce in the senses manifestations, which seem to be the outcome of the Holy Spirit’s entry to the spirit.
The results of the counterfeit manifestations are varied, and wide in their ramifications, according to individual conditions. The abstract result is great “manifestations” with little real fruit; “possession” by evil spirits of the mind and body in varied degrees; a spirit of division from others, instead of unity, etc., etc.
2. The Presence of God: Known in and by the human spirit, through the Holy Spirit. When He fills the atmosphere of a room the spirit of the man is conscious of it, not his senses. The faculties of those present are alert and clear, and they retain freedom of action. The spirit is made tender (Psa. 34: 18), and the will pliable to the will of God. All the actions of a person moved by the true and pure Presence of God are in accord with the highest ideal of harmony and grace.
2. The counterfeit of the Presence of God is mainly felt upon the body, and by the physical senses, in conscious “fire,” “thrills,” etc. The counterfeit of the “Presence” in the atmosphere is felt by the senses of the body, as “breath,” “wind,” etc., whilst the mind is passive or inactive. The person affected by this counterfeit “presence” will be moved almost automatically to actions he would not perform of his own will, and with all his faculties in operation. He may not even remember what he has done when under the “power” of this “presence,” just as a sleep-walker knows nothing of his actions when in that state. The inaction of the mind can often be seen by the vacant look in the eyes.
3. God in and with man in the spirit: John 14: 23. The Father in heaven is realized to be a real Father (Gal. 4: 6), the Son a real Saviour, the Holy Spirit a real Person; manifested as One in the spirit of the believer, by the Holy Spirit: with resulting effects as in Rom. 8: 9-11.
3. Evil spirit’s counterfeit, as the occasion serves them, each Person of the Trinity, and can thus obtain access, and become in and with a man in manifestations given to the senses, in which the real spirit-sense may have no part.
4. Christ manifested in the believer by His Spirit, so that He is known as a Living Person on the Throne in heaven, and the believer joined in spirit to Him there, with the result that Christ’s life and nature is imparted to him, forming and building up in him a “new creation,” (Gal. 1: 16; 4: 19. Col. 1: 27), the believer growing up into Him in all things.
4. Christ apparently manifested inwardly as a “Person,” to whom the soul prays, or with whom he holds communion, yet there is no real evidence of the expression of the Divine nature, or true growth of the Christ life, with a deepening fellowship with the Christ in heaven. On the contrary the Christ in heaven seems far away. The counterfeit centres and ends in an “experience” which keeps the person introverted or self-centred (spiritually).
5. Consciousness of God: Felt in the spirit, and not by the physical senses.
5. “Consciousness” of “God” in bodily sensations, which feed the “flesh” and overpower the true spirit-sense.
6. The Holiness of God: when realized by the believer produces worship and godly awe, with a hatred of sin. On the ground of the Blood of Calvary God draws near to men, seeking their love, but His presence does not terrorize.
6. Evil spirits counterfeit this by giving a terror of God, which drives men away from Him, or forces them into actions of slavish fear, apart from the use of the mind, and volition, in glad voluntary obedience to Him.
7. Surrender to God: Of spirit, soul and body, is a simple yielding or committal to Him of the whole man, to do His will and be at His service. God asks the full co-operation of the man in the intelligent use of all his faculties. Rom. 6: 13.
7. Passive yielding of spirit, soul and body to supernatural power, to be moved automatically, in passive, blind obedience, apart from the use of volition or mind. Evil spirits desire “control” of a man, and his passive submission to them.
8. Fellowship with the sufferings of Christ: The result of faithful witness for Him, and in such “suffering,” the joy of the Spirit breaks forth in spirit. (Acts 5: 41) The fruit of true conformity to Christ’s death in the “fellowship of His sufferings” is seen in life to others, and growth in tenderness of spirit, and Christ-likeness in character. 2 Cor. 4: 10-12.
8. “Suffering” caused by evil spirits is characterized by a fiendish acuteness, and is fruitless in result–the victim being hardened instead of mellowed by it. The demons can cause anguished suffering in spirit, soul or body. “Possession” manifested in abnormal suffering, may be the fruit of (unconscious) acceptance of sufferings caused by evil spirits, often under the name of the “will of God.”
9. Trusting God: A true faith given of God in the spirit, having its origin in Him, without effort reckoning upon Him to fulfill His written Word. Co-existent with the full use of every faculty in intelligent action. “Faith” is a fruit of the Spirit and cannot be forced. Gal. 5: 22. 2 Cor. 4: 13.
9. “Trusting evil spirits” comes about through trusting blindly some supernatural words, or revelations, supposed to come from God, which produces a forced “faith,” or faith beyond the believer’s true measure, the result being actions which lead into paths of trial never planned by God.
10. Reliance upon God: An attitude of the will, of trust and dependence upon God, taking Him at His word, and depending upon His character of faithfulness.
10. Reliance upon evil spirits means a passive leaning upon supernatural help and experience, which draws the person away from faith in God Himself, and from active co-action with Him.
11. Communion with God: Fellowship in the Spirit with Christ in the glory as one spirit with Him. The consciousness of this is in the spirit (John 4: 24) only, and not in “feelings” in the senses. See for conditions of true communion with God, 1 John 1: 5-7.
11. “Communion” with evil spirits may take place by retiring within to enjoy sense communion, in “exquisite feelings” which absorbs and renders the soul incapable of the duties of life. The “flesh” is fed by this spurious spiritual “communion” as really as in grosser ways.
12. Waiting on God: The spirit in restful co-operation with the Holy spirit, waiting God’s time to act, and a waiting for Him to fulfill His promises. The true waiting upon God can be co-existent with the keenest activity of mind and service.
12. A “waiting for the Spirit to come,” in hours of prayer, which brings those who “wait” into passivity, which at last reaches a point of “séance” conditions, followed by an influx of lying spirits in manifestations.
13. Praying to God: Having access to the Holiest of all, on the ground of the Blood (Heb. 10: 19). Penetrating in spirit through the lower heavens to the Throne of Grace. Heb 4: 14-16. True “prayer” is not directed toward God as within the believer, but to a Father in heaven, in the Name of the Son, by the Holy Spirit.
13. Praying to evil spirits comes about by praying to “God” in the atmosphere, or within, or possibly to “pictures” of God in the mind; instead of approaching the Throne of Grace according to Heb. 10: 19.
14. Asking God: An act of the will in simple faith, making a transaction with God in heaven, on the ground of His written Word. “Answers to prayer” from God are usually so unsensational and so unobtrusive that the petitioner often does not recognize the answer. Cf.
14. “Asking” evil spirits, by speaking to some supernatural presence in, or around the person. The “answers” are generally “dramatic,” sensational, calculated to over-awe the person, and make him feel he is a wonderful recipient of favor from on high. By this means the demons gain control over him.
15. God speaking: Through His Word, by His Spirit, in the spirit and conscience of the man, illuminating the mind to understand the will of the Lord.
15. Evil spirits speaking, wither puffing up, accusing, condemning or confusing the person, so that is bewildered or distracted and cannot exercise his reason or judgment. The “speaking” of accusing spirits resembles the “thinking,” or speaking to oneself, when the words are not uttered audibly.
The attitude of the Early Fathers to evil spirits.
“Tertullian says, in his Apology addressed to the Rulers of the Roman Empire:
. . Let a person be brought before your tribunals who is plainly under demoniacal possession. The wicked spirit, bidden to speak by a follower of Christ, will as readily make the truthful confession that he is a demon, as elsewhere he has falsely asserted that he is a god. Or, if you will, let there be produced one of the god-possessed, as they are supposed–if they do not confess, IN THEIR FEAR OF LYING TO A CHRISTIAN, that they are demons, then and there shed the blood of that most impudent follower of Christ.
“ALL THE AUTHORITY AND POWER WE HAVE OVER THEM IS FROM OUR NAMING THE NAME OF CHIRST, AND RECALLING TO THEIR MEMORY THE WOES WITH WHICH GOD THREATENS THEM AT THE HAND OF CHIRST THEIR JUDGE, AND WHICH THEY EXPECT ONE DAY TO OVERTAKE THEM. FEARING CHRIST IN GOD AND GOD IN CHRIST, THEY BECOME SUBJECT TO THE SERVANTS OF GOD AND CHRIST. SO AT ONE TOUCH AND BREATHING, OVERWHELMED BY THE THOUGHT AND REALIZATION OF THOSE JUDGEMENT FIRES, THEY LEAVE AT OUR COMMAND THE BODIES THEY HAVE ENTERED, UNWILLING AND DISTRESSED, AND BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES, PUT TO AN OPEN SHAME . . .”
Justin Martyr, in his second Apology addressed to the Roman Senate, says: “Numberless demoniacs throughout the whole world and in your city, many of our Christian men–exorcising them in the name of Jesus Christ who was crucified under Pontius Pilate–have healed and do heal, rendering helpless, and driving the possessing demon out of the men, though they could not be cured by all other exorcists, and those who use incantations and drugs.”
CYPRIAN expressed himself with equal confidence. After having said that they are evil spirits that inspire the false prophets of the Gentiles, and deliver oracles by always mixing truth with falsehood to prove what they say, he adds: “Nevertheless these evil spirits adjured by the living God IMMEDIATELY OBEY US, SUBMIT TO US, OWN OUR POWER, and are forced to come out of the bodies they possess. . . .”
Symptoms of Demon Possession.
Gleanings from “Demon Possession,” by Dr. J.L. Nevius.
The one under demon-power is an involuntary victim. (The willing soul is known as a medium).
The chief characteristic of demonomania is a distinct “other personality” within. (This is different to demon-influence, for in this men follow their own wills, and retain their own personality.)
The demons have a longing for a body to possess (Matt. 12: 43, 8: 31), as it seems to give them some relief, and they enter the bodies of animals as well as men. There are distinctly individual peculiarities of the spirits.
They converse through the organs of speech, and give evidence of personality, desire, fear.
They give evidence of knowledge and power not possessed by the subject. In Germany, Pastor Blumhardt gives instances of demons speaking in all the European languages, and in some languages unrecognizable. In France there were some cases having the “gift of tongues,” speaking in German, Latin, Arabic.
The demon in possession of the body, entirely changes the moral character of those they enter, compelling them to act entirely contrary to their normal behavior. Reserved, reticent men will weep, sing, laugh, talk, meek souls will rage, ordinarily pure-tongued men and women will speak of things not to be named among children of God, and act in manner and conduct contrary to their normal dignity and behavior–all of which they are not responsible for whilst under “control” of this other personality within them. In brief, they will exhibit traits of character utterly different from those which belong to them normally.
There are also nervous and muscular symptoms peculiar to demon possession in the body.
There is also an afflatus of the breast, which is a special mark of demon possession, and Oracular utterances are given in jerks and sentences, quite unlike the calm coherent sequence of language seen in the utterances of the apostles at Pentecost.
Demoniacal activity in later times.
From “Spirit Manifestations.” By Sir Robert Anderson.
“The Gospels testify to the activity of demons during the ministry of Christ on earth; and the Epistles warn us of a RENEWAL OF DEMONIACAL ACTIVITY in the “latter times,” before His return. “All Scripture is God-breathed”; but it would seem that sometimes the revelation was made with special definiteness, and this particular warning is prefaced by the words; “the Spirit saith expressly.” And it relates not to any new development of moral evil in the world, but to a new apostasy in the professing Church, a cult promoted by “seducing spirits” of a highly sensitive spirituality, and a more fastidious morality than Christianity itself will sanction (1 Tim. 4)
The Gospel narrative indicates that some demons were base and filthy spirits that exercised a brutalizing influence upon their victims. But the Lord plainly indicated that these were a class apart (“this kind” Mark 9: 29). They were all “unclean spirits,” but in Jewish use the word akatharios connoted spiritual defilement. That it did not imply moral pollution is proved by the fact that the Lord Jesus was charged with having a demon, though not even His most malignant enemies ever accused Him of moral evil. It was only by prayer that these filthy spirits could be cast out; whereas pious demons acknowledged Christ, and came out when His disciples commanded them to do so in His Name . . .”
The physiology of the spirit.
Gleanings from “Primeval Man unveiled.” By James Gall.
“The natural body has its senses, the spirit also has its senses . . .”
“There are busy senses within, examining and judging, approving and condemning, joying and grieving, hoping and fearing, after a fashion of their own, which no bodily sense can imitate . . .”
“There is a spirit within which we call ourselves, and it is perfectly distinct from the body in which we dwell . . .”
“If our spirits, which are generated in or with our bodies, are elaborated from immaterial substances into separate existences, constituting individual spirits . . . these individual spirits must be presumed to be composed of spirit substance or substances, and possessed of different faculties . . .”
“Our very language implies that the human spirit is an organism composed of parts mutually related, which, though individually different, are generically the same . . .”
It is a well established doctrine of Scripture, that the body is animated by an intelligent and immortal spirit, that feels and acts by means of its material mechanism, without being itself material . . .”
Demon Possession among Christians.
The Case of a Christian Lady.
Extracts from private letters, by an Evangelist of repute in Germany.
“. . . In the Spring of this year (1912) [this servant of God] who was possessed, came here, and the spirits possessing her spoke through her in voices utterly unlike her own. They would utter through her the most awful blasphemies against God, and against our Lord Jesus Christ, and would prophecy concerning the Church . . .
Much prayer has been made for her, and with her. When the frenzy comes upon her, she is fearfully shaken, dashes about the room, made to howl like a dog, and her hands clenched, her face drawn with horrible contortions, etc., etc. But the marvel to everyone is that, although the frenzy is upon her every day, and sometimes once, twice, or more in one day, her health is perfect, she sleeps well, and in the interval is the MOST LOVELY SPIRITED CHRISTIAN WOMAN . . .”
Later. “. . . This sister is not one who has not got faith. She is well grounded in the same faith, and has the same light as we have; but we have here to do with a demon, the like of which I have never met before, nor read about . . . .
It would also be an error if one were to think that PRAYER AND COMMANDING had not been of any use, for in these last three weeks God has done great and glorious things, so that we are full of adoration. The demon is still there, it is true, but he has broken down mightily, so that he cannot any more torment the sister. He is quite powerless in her, and she looks so radiantly happy with a heavenly gladness, fresh and strong. Also the demon has been divested of all power over her lips. Instead of the blasphemies and ravings, there is only a desperate and plaintive howling . . and that lasts all the time we pray.”
Later. “For about a fortnight now the demon has been silent. For eight days he did not speak a single word, only he cried out twice: ‘THE AUTHORITY CASTS ME OUT!’ The only thing he does is howling and gnashing of teeth. Some days ago we prayed for about one-and-a-half hours. In this way it goes on now for ten or fourteen days–there is only this terrible crying, as if in great fear. There is not any blasphemy, nor cursing God, no more asserting threatenings, and all the sayings that he would not depart, that it would not suit him–all this has ceased. Instead of the dreadful ravings and outbursts of rage, there is now the desperate howling, often a dreadful screaming as if of fear, and the sister is almost free from his tormenting her . . . .
The demon must have received a terrible blow from God, so that his blasphemies have been silenced. It was so last evening; when we prayed, the desperate cry began at once, and I felt once more the impulse to command the demon in the Name of the Lord Jesus to depart. He then gave a great start, he trembled, howled, stretched out both hands as if imploring mercy, and begging us not to do that, but he was not allowed to utter a single word. But there followed strong reaction and vomiting, and this was repeated as often as I spoke the command in the Name of the Lord Jesus to depart.
Of course we have to go on praying just as earnestly, but as God has done such great things, and if we go on praying, also the last blow will be given. The demon will have to depart.”
Note: Further particulars of this case are given in “The Strong Man Spoiled,” by A.R. Habershon. (id. Morgan & Scott, London). The lady is now quite set free, and has been able to return to her mission work. It is stated clearly that her mental faculties were unimpaired, and she was able to prepare all the accounts and balance sheet of the mission she was engaged in, not long before the attacks became manifested.
In this book, the demon’s acknowledgment of the power and authority granted to those who commanded him, and the other spirits to depart, is striking. The spirit in possession said: “Oh, this authority, this authority which they have now recognized, is an awful thing for hell!”
Pleading for mercy at another time the e.s. said, “Do leave off your commanding. For three weeks I have suffered unbearable torments because of it. Do not tell anybody that we had to yield to the authority . . . . Oh, these prayers of believers . . . they always pray, they are no longer afraid . . . .”
The working of evil spirits in Christian gatherings.
1. Supposed “conviction of sin” by deceiving spirits.
“. . . I united with a number of brethren and sisters one whole week every month, in prayer to God to pour out more of His Spirit, gifts and power. After having done this for some time with great earnestness, such powerful and wonderful manifestations of God and His Holy Spirit (apparently) took place that we no longer doubted God had heard our prayer, and His Spirit had descended into our midst, and on our gathering. Amongst other things this spirit, which we thought to be the Holy Spirit, used a 15-year-old girl as his instrument, through whom everyone belonging to our gathering, and having any sin or burden of conscience, had it revealed to the gathering. Nobody could remain in the meeting with any burden of conscience without it being revealed to the meeting by this spirit. For example: A gentleman of esteem and respect from the neighbourhood came to the meeting, and all his sins were exposed in the presence of the gathering by the 15-year-old girl. Thereupon he took me into an adjoining room, so broken down, and admitted to me, with tears, that he had committed all these sins which the girl had exposed. He confessed this and all other sins known to him. Then he came again into the meeting, but hardly had he entered when the same voice said to him, ‘Ha! You have not confessed all yet, you have stolen 10 gulden hat you have not confessed.’ In consequence, he took me again into the adjoining room and said, ‘It is true, I have also done this . . . This man had never seen this 15-year-old girl in his life, neither she him.
With such events, was it astonishing that a spirit of holy awe came over all at the meeting, and there was one controlling note which can only be expressed in the words, ‘Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?’ Fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. There was a most earnest spirit of adoration, and who could doubt when even the strong were broken down, and nobody dared remain in the meeting if they were a hindrance.
And, yet we had to unmask this spirit which had brought about these things–and which we took to be the Holy Ghost–as a terrible power of darkness. I had such an uneasy feeling of distrust which could not be overcome.
As I made this known for the first time to an older brother and friend . . . he said, ‘Brother Seitz, if you continue to foster unbelief, you can commit the sin against the Holy Ghost which will never be forgiven.’ These were terrible days and hours for me, because I did not know whether we had to do with the power of God or a disguised spirit of Satan, and one thing only was clear to me, viz., that I and this meeting should not let ourselves be led by a spirit when we did not have clear light, and confirmation whether this power was from above or below. Thereupon I took the leading brethren and sisters to the uppermost room of the house, and made known to them my position, and said we must all cry and pray that we may be able to prove whether it was a power of light or darkness.
As we came downstairs the voice of this power said, using the 15-year-old girl as his instrument, ‘What is this rebellion in your midst? You will be sorely punished for your unbelief.’ I told this voice that it was true we did not know with whom we had dealings. But we wanted to be in that attitude, that if it was an angel of God, or the Spirit of God, we would not sin against Him, but if it was a devil we would not be deceived by him. ‘If you are the power of God, you will be in accord as we handle the Word of God.’ ‘Try the spirits whether they be of God.’ We all knelt down and cried and prayed to God in such earnestness, that He would have mercy upon us, and reveal to us in some manner, whom we had dealings with. Then the power had to reveal itself on its own accord. Through the person which he had been using as his instrument he made such abominable and terrible grimaces, and shrieked in such a piercing tone, ‘Now I am found out, now I am found out . . . .”
2. Supposed unity for “Revival.”.
For some time now it has been on my mind to try to put into language some of the things which it has been my painful experience to witness, and pass through, in connection with the workings of Satan as an “angel of light,” but everything seemed so complicated and confused . . . .
First, his attacks seem to be made upon the most spiritual souls–those who have made the fullest surrender to God, and who recognize a spiritual affinity, which they believe if broken, mars the whole purpose of God (1 Cor. 1: 10). The lying spirit insists on one mind, and judgment, and one expression. These souls thus “joined” form the “Assembly,” so called, and claim Psalm 89: 7. Everything is brought into the “Assembly” for decision, the assertion being that no individual soul can get the mind of the Lord, based on Prov. 11: 14, 5: 22, and 20: 18. Hours were spent in bringing the tiniest details of daily life before the Lord. The leader spread each matter, asking that all might be brought to one mind. The response was then given by each one in some word of Scripture. The attitude taken to receive the supposed “word of the Lord,” was the RESISTANCE OF ANY THOUGHT OR REASON, and LETTING THE MIND BECOME A PERFECT BLANK. If anyone ventured to give an opinion–or any judgment–they were ruled out of fellowship; the fact of reasoning being the proof of the “flesh-life.”
The discipline ministered to such was severe indeed. They were not allowed to speak to anyone, or to do any kind of work. In some cases this lasted for weeks, and even months. The effect upon the mind was very terrible. The only way back was by making a statement in the “Assembly” which satisfied them that there was true repentance.
Prov. 21: 4, and Isaiah 59: 3, are the words given for not working, and Rom. 8: 8. Prayer and reading the word–all adds to sin–consequently the soul is shut up in torment and despair, being excluded from all meetings.
Second. The “manifestation of the Spirit” in prophecy, prayer and travail. One person would often pray for an hour, and sometimes two hours, without a break. Messages, too, would often last for two hours, and the whole meeting for eight or nine hours. Anyone yielding to sleep or exhaustion, was at once pronounced “in the flesh,” and a hindrance to the meeting.
“Travail” was manifested by tears, groans and twisting of the body; and with some it was exactly like hysterics, and would last for hours. This was greatly encouraged as the means whereby God would work for the deliverance of souls–and those who did not come under this manifestation, were judged as preserving their own life, not willing to “let go”–lovers of themselves; and it was believed that when the whole company were unitedly under the so-called “manifestation of the Spirit” then God would break through in Revival. I might say here, that all this began with a nightly prayer meeting for Revival, with no limit as to time.
The paralyzing fear of resisting God by any lack of submission, and evading the Cross by an unwillingness to suffer, just sways the soul; and it dare not yield to one thought contrary to the “mind of Christ” in the “Assembly …”
3. Supposed manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
From a book recently published, said to contain the very words of the Lord Jesus, spoken THROUGH some of His children, and written down as spoken in the first person, the following brief extract is taken, showing the extract of the mediumistic control by deceiving spirits, which some are believed to be the work of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord Jesus is supposed to have said: “The manifestations of the Spirit, in some things, are very strange. Sometimes He will twist the body this way, and that, and the meaning is dark to you. I want you to know some things about this part of the Spirit’s work. I want you to see that they are not useless.
If you had spoken in your own tongue, when the Spirit came in, it would have graciously blessed you; but perhaps you might have thought it was yourself, as many have. So the Spirit comes in and speaks in an unknown tongue to you, that you might know that it was NOT YOURSELF SPEAKING...
Your hands He has often lifted up, and again He has raised your fingers in various ways. Your eyes open and shut by the Spirit now, as they did not before. Your very head has been shaken by the Spirit, and you have not known why He did this. You have thought sometimes, it was just to show He was living there, and that is true, but there is more in it than that, and He will show you as well as He can, in a few words, what some of these things are . . .
Some things in the manifestations are very peculiar to you. You have gone on wondering about them. Don’t think it strange that the Spirit works in you in many ways. His work is more than a two-fold work. It is manifold. This is puzzling many minds. They see the Spirit shaking. They hear Him singing. They FEEL HIM LAUGHING, and they are sometimes tried with His various twistings and jerkings, as though He would tear them to pieces.
Sometimes it seems He is imitating the animals in various sounds and doings. This has been all a mystery to the saints. His work, I say, is manifold. He seeks, in some, to show them that they are all one with each other, in the whole creation . . . If He shows you, by making a noise as of some wild animal, and that you are like that, you must not despise His way of working, for the Holy Spirit knows why He does it. He makes these noises in the animals, can’t He make them in you?
WAR AND THE SAINTS, Parts 1-17 [Jessie Penn-Lewis] YEAR 1912 1