How do you know if you are being spiritually attacked?

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by Pergamum, Sep 8, 2008.

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  1. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I see Westerners possessed with all kinds of things. One man I know is possessed with sexual pleasure; he now cannot look on a physical body without thinking of it in terms of the arousal it brings him. It is very sad. He needs to know the truth as it is in Jesus. The Lord seems to allow such things in order to show the slavery and depravation which follows from belonging to the kingdom of Satan.

    The Bible provides the revelation for understanding the phenomenon of evil. It never leads us to believe that there is some kind of paranormal activity which influences the actions of human beings. It always insists that humans are responsible and will finally be judged for their own actions, whether they be good or evil.

    Concerning your observations of "demon possession," I can only say that phenomena require principles in order to interpret them correctly. Because you accept the idea of demons exercising a physical power through human experience you interpret these experiences accordingly. From my own perspective, I do not believe the woman demonstrated a physical strength which was not natural to her. Rage is a powerful passion. Enraged people often do not know their own strength.
  2. AVT

    AVT Puritan Board Freshman


    I think you are very smart, really , but a man who is possessed with sexual pleasure may not be really possessed by demons. It is just consistent with the nature of being a fallen man with a fallen soul and body.

    1). It's because he is a man.
    2.)Women dress provocatively, it hits you in the eye right away, many women are just to much to bear---no discretion at all.
    3.) It's just the sin of the soul (the mind and will) that is expressed in the body.
    4.)It's called sexual addiction , like nicotine addiction---we can rehabilitate patients. What do you think? We have a lot of drugs now that could lower male libido.
    5.) Probably, if we put that man in an island alone without women and with a lot of things to deviate his mind, like sports,games, nature, fishing,hunting and will help.
    6). he needs to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit so he can have more control of the sins of the mind will and body. Of course!

    I really have honest questions about demon possession because I 've seen that the person does not behave within normal limits. That case in the Philippines, I was a nurse and the family called me to check her blood pressure. I had no clue she was possessed, she behaved like a patient and cooperated but later on got very angry. When I prayed and rebuked the devil, she fainted right in front of me. (Somebody yelled, "watch out, she is possessed"). I asked God for protection and she just fainted! Then ,when I left the house, she run out and 5 men tried to tackle her and she was very strong!

    Prayer works, but I am still holding the position that evil affects the mind and body until someone can fully convince me that I am wrong.

    Job 2;7 "So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head".
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2008
  3. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Nobody will be able to convince you that you are wrong unless you cease assuming that what you saw was demon possession, and examine the "principles" by which you are interpreting the "phenomenon." I have no doubt that what you call demon possession will admit of a rational explanation in terms of normal psychology and behaviour where all the facts of the case can be accounted for.

    Job 13:15, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."
  4. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)


    ....And are you assuming that it is NOT demon possession?

    Or, are you merely saying that the treatment is the same, so no matter what the diagnosis, let's pray, read Scripture and defeat the enemy that way, whether it is demonization or just human sin.
  5. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    I am saying it is not demon possession, but not merely assuming it, because I think a rational consideration can explain the phenomenon when all the facts of the case are accounted for. Half the problem with the assumption of demon possession is that it usually only looks at an "episode," and makes no attempt to understand the individual in the context of his life. Hence a kind of "mystery" attaches to the "episode," which is then referred back to paranormal activity. But take into account the person's psychology, and one soon sees links in the chain of his behaviour which removes the mysterious element.
  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    So have you thrown the possibility of demonization aside? Or are you merely wanting to give other possibilities as well?
  7. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    "Demonisation" is a reality because people believe lies. Believe the truth and there is no realisation of the lie. Hence on one level, the phenomenological, I accept the reality, just as I accept that the idol is something to the idol-worshipper and deal with his conscience accordingly. On another level, the noumenal, such acceptance would require me to believe the lie, which is morally unacceptable.
  8. AVT

    AVT Puritan Board Freshman

    Job was a believer and sees God's sovereignty in his situation. He knew that God is God and controls everything.

    God allowed Satan to be Satan but controlled the bounds of what he could do.No argument about it.

    Job was harrassed and inflicted with sufferings (mental, emotional and physical by Satan). Therefore: Satan has the ability to inflict mental, emotional and physical sufferings , as in the case of Job.

    That girl that I saw was demon possessed. I've been in Psychiatric Hospital taking care of mentally ill patients but she is different.

    She was brought by her family to a quack doctor for healing and was subjected to the rituals of a Faith healer. I met a Baptist Pastor in that remote town who told me that she was indeed demon possessed and that the family approached him to help her. (I didn't know this when I checked the girl at first).The pastor was very mad because he told the family not to bring her to a faith healer and the family brought her twice. The pastor said "it just made her worse'.

    The girl gets very mad at Christians and when I was praying silently, she was reversing my prayers. She yells when others pray. There was an atmosphere of fear. People were gripped with fear!

    She also exposes the sins of Christians around her so they'll be thrown off.

    The Pastor told me to ask forgiveness for all my sins that I could remember and ask God for protection because Satan is an accuser and will qoute one' sins in front of everybody. She did it to one Pastor to throw him off!

    What are we going to do when people, non christians or christians are faced with this and come to us for help? Just tell them not to believe the lie?
  9. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    No, teach them to believe the truth. John 8:32.

    Concerning the woman's telling people's sins, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the slanderer and he will flee from you," James 4:7.
  10. AVT

    AVT Puritan Board Freshman

    She was not able to accuse the other Pastor (who was teaching me how to handle her). The Pastor fasted for more than a week (he told me), asked forgiveness for his sins and stood on God's assurance of forgiveness, the shield of Faith ...and the whole church prayed.

    She was not able to harm me at all and I had geat compassion for her. The devil is an enemy and full of hate. I am glad God saved me!
  11. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Matthew and friends,

    People say the same thing when seeking to negate the spiritual reality of our Faith: “a rational consideration can explain the phenomenon when all the facts of the case are accounted for”. They just don’t believe. As regards Christians who believe differently, we have the same data, but we interpret it differently.

    I would like to give two examples of infiltration into humans by devils, and Christians at that! Not “possession”, but infiltration, so that some of their faculties have been given over to the control of these spirits. In both cases the infiltration is accomplished through deception, where the believer thinks a thing of God, and embraces it. Deliverance comes not from without, in the form of exorcism, but from learning the truth, and withdrawing ground voluntarily given to the activity of evil spirits, and obeying God according to the truth of His word.

    Perhaps we in Reformed communions think all churches are sane and rational like we are (for the most part), but this is not the case. The first instance pertains to an extreme sector in the Pentecostal / charismatic assemblies – though the principle which allows this to occur is in all such assemblies, even the more “conservative” ones – and I refer to the Holy Laughter / Toronto Blessing movement. (The principle mentioned is “God still speaks directly to His people in continuing revelation apart from the Bible”.) In this movement there is “another spirit” (2 Cor 11:4) which is received – embraced – and these folks allow an alien power into themselves, thinking it the Holy Spirit. Some may say, “Well, this is just a psychological manifestation of bizarre emotional content”, or give another “rational consideration [to] explain the phenomenon”, but my discernment is otherwise – it is devilish (since some don’t like the word demonic). The spirits purport to be the Holy Spirit, but the counterfeit is apparent to those who are well acquainted with the Spirit of Christ. There are some immature believers – pastors among them – who evidently cannot discern, due to their spiritual senses being stunted through lack of exercise (Heb 5:14), their charismatic experiences having dulled and atrophied them.

    If anyone here has ever been in a Holy Laughter meeting, it is bedlam, and madness, and it makes Benny Hinn stuff look tame. They deliberately court “another spirit” to indwell them. Some are deceived to think it the Spirit of God.

    The second instance may involve even those who are not in charismatic circles. It pertains to false guidance, and a matter related to it, passivity of the faculties. There is so much of this false guidance among the charismatics – “the Lord spoke to me about this”....“I have this leading of the Spirit, who gives me a sense of what I am to do, and I trust this ‘leading’ ”....“I have this feeling of great peace when I am doing God’s will; it is a sensation like holy fire burning in my chest, and this can only be Him”....“I have this sense of spiritual light that illumines my mind and heart when I am doing what He wants”. And it goes on. The principle of guidance for them is anything other than using one’s intelligent judgment after prayer and in accord with Scriptural principles. The passage, “Lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov 3:5) is used to negate the use of our mind and intelligent discernment, opting instead for a “spiritual” sign or leading. People who adhere to these leadings oft go far astray in terms of “hearing God’s voice”. Whose voice is it they are listening to?

    A very popular Chinese writer of a generation or three ago, Watchman Nee – especially in his book, The Spiritual Man – posited a way of walking with the Lord that involved discerning one’s own (human) spirit and how the Lord was moving in it by His Spirit. It led to an “inward-gazing” that sought to sense / intuit the monitions and movements of God’s leading within oneself. This teaching was brought into the “Deeper Life” and Keswick movements, some of which were far from charismatic.

    The book I referenced earlier in post #3 (and elsewhere in this thread), War On The Saints, has chapters on deception in these areas, and the resulting passivity. If we think we have superior guidance from the Lord in the form of special leadings and signs, we will allow our intelligent judgment to atrophy, to shrink from disuse, as is the case with muscles when they are not used. After you have a cast on your broken arm for six weeks, when you take it off your arm is very skinny, the muscles not having been exercised for so long.

    There are many dangers through these counterfeit leadings and imitations of the Holy Spirit; passivity of our faculties – our volition, our minds – reduces our usefulness to the Lord and our fellow men; we can become proud, seeing as we believe the Lord has favored us above our fellows, and we may become unteachable, rigid, arrogant, led here and there by forces not friendly to us. There are some who see lights in their minds, or hear voices, indicating which direction they should go in, using Isaiah 30:21 to justify this method: “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”

    We give ground to the devil to interfere in our natural (that is, spiritual) functioning, through listening to his imitations of the Lord’s guidance. Does anyone think I am misunderstanding Calvin when I see him supporting my view in his comments on Eph 4:27, "Neither give place to the devil"?

    Neither give place (τῷ διαβόλῳ) to the devil. I am aware of the interpretation which some give of this passage. Erasmus, who translates it, “neither give place to the Slanderer,” (calumniatori,) shews plainly that he understood it as referring to malicious men. But I have no doubt, Paul’s intention was, to guard us against allowing Satan to take possession of our minds, and, by keeping in his hands this citadel, to do whatever he pleases. We feel every day how impossible, or, at least, how difficult it is to cure long-continued hatred. What is the cause of this, but that, instead of resisting the devil, we yield up to him the possession of our heart? Before the poison of hatred has found its way into the heart, anger must be thoroughly dislodged.​

    This is what William Henry Green, in his book on Job, Conflict and Triumph: The Argument of the Book of Job, says in his chapter 3, “Satan”:

    There is a profound meaning in his appearing here among the sons of God before the LORD. It is designed to express his subordination and subjection to divine control. He cannot act untrammeled and at his own discretion....

    Satan is the enemy of goodness and the enemy of man. With the powers of an archangel, and with the malice and subtlety of a fiend, he is intent on our destruction, and hesitates at nothing by which it can be accomplished. He pursues his mischievous designs with sleepless vigilance and untiring assiduity. Invisible to human eyes, he has all the advantage of secrecy, and taking his victims at unawares. He has his tools and associates in vast numbers of spirits of wickedness, who acknowledge him as their head, and are animated with a rage and cunning similar to his own; and even in friendly hands from whom no danger is suspected, and who little think whose commission they are unwittingly fulfilling. He has a control over external nature and over the bodies of men, which we have no means of estimating, but which can only be conjectured from such facts as the disasters he brought upon Job, and the maladies he caused in the time of our Lord. And, more than all, he has direct access to our souls: he can touch in some incomprehensible way the springs of feeling and conduct, and exert an influence over us, which it may make us shudder to think of. (pp. 21, 22)​

    Green does not leave it at that, and concerning the temptations Satan is allowed to afflict us with, continues,

    They should drive us to take refuge in God. One grand aim of the earthly discipline of God’s people, in all its parts, is to bring them to a closer acquaintance with him and dependence upon him....

    Here precisely the temptations of the Evil One have their place in God’s great scheme of training. Every instinct of self-preservation in a gracious soul should lead it to cry mightily unto God for his delivering aid. Every temptation is attended with an imminence of peril, which should startle us out of our security, and lead us to fly for safety to him who alone can save.

    He who has any just sense of his own weakness and frailty, and of the frightful evil of sin, must be incessant in his entreaties that he may be upheld in steadfastness by an almighty arm, and guarded from the assaults of one who succeeded even in enticing angels to their fall, and prevailed over our first parents in all the vigour of their early integrity, and to whom we shall prove an easy prey, unless One, stronger than the strong man armed, interferes for our rescue.

    A proper sense of our peril will not only tend to beget the general conviction that in God alone is our help, but will, in addition, lead us to fasten upon those particular assurances and grounds of encouragement which are afforded by him for just such a crisis as this. The knowledge of the vast power of our spiritual adversary will lead us to take refuge in the omnipotence of God, to place a new value upon this glorious attribute, to avail ourselves of it as a basis of repose and confidence, to experience in our daily consciousness what it is to have a God of such infinite resources to supply our pressing need.

    The almighty power of God is then no longer an abstraction to us – an intellectual conviction – but a present practical necessity; not a perfection which we distantly contemplate, but one by which we live and without which we perish. The dire necessity which drives us to the fount of life is, in its results, an incalculable blessing. And the temptation of Satan which terrifies the soul out of all self-dependence and creature-dependence, and compels it to find refuge in an almighty Saviour, has accomplished its gracious end. (pp. 23, 24)​

    I realize this is a much starker and more serious picture of our danger from the devil than some would paint. We are often so caught up in the world, its entertainments and distractions, that we give little thought to the state of our minds and hearts. We minimize the activity of the devil and his legions to comfort our minds, and he is pleased with this picture we paint – it gives him more room to operate undetected. In some respects we are children of the world – although we do belong to God – so caught up we are in television, fantasy tales, sports, that we lose the clarity of spiritual perception necessary to function as spiritual beings.

    Pastor Winzer is right when he says that to live in the truth is sufficient defense against the evil one, but there are multitudes (of us) who stray from this highway of holiness into realms devoid of light. Not blatant sin, but subtle distraction to excess.

    If I keep the garden of my soul well weeded of poisonous growths that come from seeds dropped from the air or spring up from corrupt depths, I shall have a quiet and clean place where the Lord is pleased to dwell by His presence.

    And I prepare myself for the “evil day” – the especially evil day – (Eph 6:13), that it take me not unawares, that I “think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try” me (1 Peter 4:12), for Paul did say that “we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Satan thinks nothing of planning for 10 or 40 years to bring a temptation upon us designed to bring us down. What can guard us from such but staying near the Savior, abiding deeply in Him?

    “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor 10:12)​
  12. MW

    MW Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Thankyou, Steve, for yet another well considered post. I hope I am not misunderstood when I speak of rational explanation. I am not saying that we can know all that goes on in the angelic world. I am only speaking of the phenomemon as it comes to bear on human experience. The same applies to our faith so far as it is exercised by us. I would not say the object of our faith can be rationally explained; we require divine revelation to know God. But one might consult Hebrews 11 for numerous instances where faith as exercised by individuals admitted of rational explanation. Noah was "moved with fear," Sarah "judged him faithful," Moses was "esteeming the reproach of Christ." We might call these the psychological effects of faith. Therefore, while we acknowledge the object of our faith to be beyond rational explanation, nevertheless the working of faith in the person believing can be examined on rational grounds. I would maintain that the same applies to the working and effect of devilish activity on human experience.
  13. Clay7926

    Clay7926 Puritan Board Sophomore


    As someone who was charismatic/pentecostal for most of his life, the passage in Jude convicted me as well (and still convicts to this day, even right now!). I don't think you're taking the passage out of context; if anything, it's a reminder of who truly has the power to rebuke the enemy.
  14. rgreen

    rgreen Puritan Board Freshman

    What are you all thinking?

    I respect the opinions of all of God's people, but as I have been reading systematically through this thread, my incredulity has grown far beyond reasonable proportions. I wonder if I have just been zapped into some parallel universe!

    I don't even know what to say.

    We are strangers and pilgrims in this world. It is therefore no surprise that we do not fit in, and that daily we are confronted with difficulties and the contempt of the worldly, but we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

    I do not believe that demons are out there stroking people and the like, but I am pursuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord.
  15. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    The devil can bother us, cause disease and blind peoples minds.

    Of course, you ought to believe that the devil is out there "stoking people and the like." To think that the demonic is not active is foolish. The thing is, we just cannot always know how this is manifested and it is usually manifested through unbelief and false doctrine instead of bells, whistles and pea soup being puked on an exorcist.
  16. Rich Koster

    Rich Koster Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I personally believe we are constantly being attacked, by Satan and his servants, in varying intensities. How? LIES and all of their derivatives....lying signs and wonders, lying messengers (masqueraders of light), the forementioned superstitions and so on. They try to get us into practices that God has clearly forbidden by repackaging them with some new name and "christianizing" them which boils down to lies. Their goal is to get us to not trust God and drown in fear and doubt. The armor illustration in Eph6 shows that we have a defense. Thank be to God that He wants to give truth to us for the asking.
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