Written by Christine Darg
Friday, 29 July 2011 06:10
Have you heard the expression…. the eyes are the windows of the soul? Many times if you are a discerning believer, you can see the presence of evil or evil intent in somebody’s eyes.
The ministry of exorcism, of casting out devils, is a legitimate work of the Holy Spirit yet, due largely to sensational movies and unbalanced teachings, there remains much misunderstanding, and even ridicule of this aspect of the ongoing ministry of Jesus the Messiah. We must have a balanced view of this legitimate and needful Biblical ministry-the ministry of exorcism, casting out devils. Jesus' ministry consisted of four main activities: prayer, teaching, healing and casting out devils.
For many years as part of our healing outreaches we have prayed for many people who need healing and deliverance, and because my husband and I were also part of an outstanding ministry in Africa for many years, we have seen just about every kind of case due to witchcraft bondage set free in the name of Jesus. I’ll never forget praying for a madman who wandered into one of the meetings in Africa. In the Name of Jesus, he came back into his right mind. But the casting out of devils is not just a ministry for Third World countries. With apostasy in western churches and so many people trafficking in the occult, deliverance ministry is vital everywhere today.
When we first joined the team of Reinhard Bonnke in Africa, we noticed in his big outdoor meetings that there were special areas, designated tents, where people were prayed over for deliverance from evil spirits. In the beginning, my husband asked if the ministers in the deliverance tents were especially qualified to be a part of the deliverance team. The person in charge said, “Casting out demons is the work of every believer according to the great Commission!”
Indeed, in Mark 16 verse 17 the first of five signs that will follow every believer. . . .is we shall "cast out devils," then we will also "speak with new tongues; cast down serpents," and if we "drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt" us; we will also "lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." So casting out, or exorcising devils, is a primary duty of every disciple of Jesus! But how few actually do it!
One time when we were preaching in Egypt, a person fell down as if dead and stayed unconscious for quite a while. We also saw this tactic of the devil in one of our open air meetings in Pakistan. A woman in the crowd looked as if she was playing dead. Both times, in the name of Jesus, we rebuked the spirit of death and the persons were set free. Sometimes their eyes roll up in the back of their heads; only the whites of the eyes are visible—this is an evil spirit’s way of avoiding looking at you in an effort to keep the victim from making contact and getting help.
Although it’s the duty of every disciple to do the works of Jesus- and that surely includes casting out devils- we also must heed the admonition of the Apostle Paul to covet spiritual gifts, especially the discerning of spirits. When we possess the gift of the discerning of spirits, we can know by the Spirit when someone is influenced by the Holy Spirit, by the natural human spirit, or by an evil spirit.
Because of the gift of the discerning of spirits, some believers have the God-given ability to recognize the presence of an evil spirit. Some are gifted even to know the identity or name of the evil spirit, such as lust, murder or greed.
Leaders in the deliverance ministry sense the presence of evil spirits in different ways: perhaps they experience chills, or there’s a recognizable unease in their spirits, or sometimes they perceive a bad smell. When St. Catherine of Siena visited the Pope’s court, she was overwhelmed by a stench, an odor she attributed to sin and demons, rather than to natural causes.
I’ve experienced these manifestations in my ministry; the Lord works with us with such words of knowledge and he doesn’t expect us to grope in the dark. We can become finely tuned to detect evil like a smoke detector recognizes fire.
Unfortunately as we draw closer to the Second Coming of Jesus, there is an alarming decrease in overall discernment in the church. People are not able to endure sound doctrine and biblical preaching but are listening to fables and succumbing to doctrines of demons. We should arm ourselves with a great knowledge of the Word of God in light of the fact that Jesus warned us that deception will be a primary characteristic of the Last Days.
There are many categories of evil spirits that we should be able to discern: such as new age spirits and spirits of the occult, such as familiar spirits, which are familiar with us, our past and lots of information. Familiar spirits take on many guises and masquerade, for example, as departed relatives. The Bible gives stern warnings about dabbling with the occult. In the Torah, for example, is this prohibition in Deuteronomy 18:10-11:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or is a sorcerer, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead” for, the next verse says, “all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord.” They are absolutely detestable to God!
A number of TV shows promote trafficking with familiar spirits, preying upon the guillibility of benighted souls who erroneously seek to make contact with deceased loved ones. But the Word of God says that is not possible to contact the dead, because God has fixed a gulf between the living and the dead, according to Luke 16:26, and so spirit voices who impersonate the dead are deception.....big time. There’s nothing so deceptive as deception itself!
And here’s something very important to know and to learn: Demonic powers can appear to heal somebody simply by removing the evil that they have inflicted on the person, and consequently the person is duped into believing that he's been healed by a witchdoctor, a shaman or New Age practitioner. That’s why so many false ministers seems to be able to heal and to hook their victims with lying wonders. So it’s very important to understand that satanic forces can let go and remove their oppression to deceive the person into believing in the false healer.
Jesus commanded devils to depart and we should do the same in His name. I usually say to a demonic presence with great authority, “be gone from me in the name of Jesus!” If evil spirits recognizes your authority in Jesus, I guarantee you . . . . they will depart. But if they have gained a legal foothold due to sin, you will have an ongoing battle on your hands until the sin is renounced and repented of.
In some Christian circles I have to say there’s too much emphasis upon the devil. I’ll never forget mentioning one time to evangelist Reinhard Bonnke a number of years ago that I had read a communication about Haiti, that some voodoo priests planned to sacrifice a goat on a mountain to rededicate that nation to the devil. “Reinhard! I said, we need to PRAY!!!!” And I’ll never forget his dismissive answer. (He was not so impressed with the devil’s power; he’s totally impressed with the power of the Blood of Jesus.) He said, “Oh, Christine, don’t you know the Lord dealt with all of that hocus pocus 2,000 years ago at the Cross!” Well, amen! I learned to take that attitude on board.
We also frequently heard Reinhard Bonnke tell the story of a woman who begged, “Pastor help me!” “What’s wrong?” Reinhard asked. The woman told him she was troubled by a demon sitting on her shoulder. In a flash the right answer came to him: "Lady, flies only land on cold stoves!” Amen! If the fire of God is in you, no fly or devil will sit on you for very long!
So in Exploits Ministry, we don’t overemphasize the power of the demonic realm, but we do need to caution believers in these last days that Satan is desperate. He sees that his time is drawing short, and he’s patrolling around as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Let’s be ready and know how to resist him!
As part of our protection, not only do we possess the Ephesians 6 armor of God, but Jesus taught us to pray the Lord’s Prayer which includes the phrase, “Deliver us from evil.” An accurate translation is “Deliver us from the evil one,” namely, Satan. "Deliver us from evil" should be a frequent prayer in this increasingly dangerous world. Jesus knew fully well that there are demons, and He taught his disciples to subjugate them. Trouble is, many institutional Christians are too sophisticated to address this subject with anything but scorn. They do not know the Master.
Somebody was telling me the other day that a Christian leader died because someone had cursed him with sickness. But that kind of mentality doesn’t belong to a strong believer. The Bible declares in one of my favorite verses, Proverbs 26: 2, that an undeserved curse does not alight- it simply cannot stick to an obedient child of God. You cannot curse what God has blessed—that’s a biblical principle. If you are a strong, obedient believer, I declare any curses, hexes or spells hurled at you to be null and void in the name of Jesus Christ. If any evil spirits have been sent on assignment against you, in the name of Jesus, you have the power and the authority to decommission them.
However, on the other hand, the late Bible teacher Derek Prince, of blessed memory whom I knew in Jerusalem and admired, listed four primary categories of sin that he believed will ordinarily call down a curse upon a person:
-worship of false gods; this includes involvement in the occult or witchcraft (Deuteronomy18:10-12
-Disrespect for parents shortens life (whereas honoring parents leads to a long life)
-Oppressing people, especially the weak (Derek Prince mentioned that abortion, for example, ordinarily brings a curse)
-And fourthly, illicit or unnatural sex.
I would also add:
- Unforgiveness, bitterness, or resentment because Jesus warned us that unforgiveness turns us over to the tormentors
-Speaking evil of, or causing harm to, God’s ministers (1 Samuel 26:9); in other words, touching God’s anointed
-Disregard, disrespect for the Jewish people; anti-Semitism brings the curse of God according to Genesis 12: 3, where the Lord says, “And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”
Through prayer we can come to God and ask Him to forgive us; we can also ask Him todeliver us, if necessary! First John 1:9 is a sure and wonderful promise that I have relied upon many times, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." In Psalm 50:15 we also have this marvellous promise, "Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."
Here’s something amazing: When we are living a holy and righteous life, 1 John 5: 18 declares that the evil one cannot touch us. I like that verse in the New Living translation, “We know that those who have become part of God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot get his hands on them.”
But if we have opened the door to Satan and have said, in effect, “Come right in. . . .” through sin or disobedience, we must take action to remove any consequential curses.
First we must repent, confess our foolishness to God; and secondly, we must renounce what we have done. To renounce the sin is different from repenting. Repentance involves turning to God, admitting our guilt and asking Him to forgive us, whereas renunciation involves turning away from wrong activity and taking a permanent stand against evil.
Having done these two things- renunciation and repentance- we can be freed from any curse. (It is helpful to voice these things to another believer to be a witness.)
Now what about displaying occult objects in your home? Reinhard Bonnke always taught in his Gospel campaigns that if you have idols, charms, witchcraft potions or any of the paraphernalia of the devil in your home, Satan has the right to visit your house to inspect his property. This teaching is in line with the Bible:
In the Book of Acts Chapter 19 the apostle Paul was ministering powerfully in Ephesus in the Roman province of Asia Minor, which today is Turkey. At the same time a team of vagabond Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits, and they tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus. Interestingly the incantation they used to cast out spiirts was this: "I command you by Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!" Seven sons of a priest named Sceva were doing this. However, when they spoke this incantation on a man possessed by an evil spirit, the spirit replied, "I know Jesus, and I know Paul. But who are you?" Then the man jumped on them and with supernatural demonic strength, attacked them with such violence that they ran way naked and badly injured.
A solemn fear descended on Ephesus, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. Some who had practiced magic burned their books in a public bonfire. The value of the books was great, but these people were wise. They would rather be finished with sin rathern than try to resale the books and cause others to stumble.
One time a person to whom I was ministering could not be set free because he flatly refused to get rid of all of his expensive Asian idols that he’d collected during trips to the Far East. He cared more about the artefacts and the money he had spent than his personal health and standing with God.
If you possess any artefacts connected with occult activities, you must get rid of them to have a peaceful environment. Once your house is free from accursed books and DVDs, decorations, and questionable objects, a great peace will shine in your home.
On some of our ministry trips members of our team have been given trinkets and gifts, but upon close examination they were unable to keep some of these things, because the accursed objects were associated with demonic powers and symbols.
Can a Christian be possessed by a demon? We are created as three-part beings: we have a spirit and a soul and we live in a body. When we receive Jesus' Atonement and are born again, the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our spirit, so the spirit of a born again believer cannot be possessed by devils, but we may still battle fleshy and soulish desires under the influence of evil spirits which must be resisted and cast out.
How to minister deliverance: Lead the oppressed person to renounce evil and to sever themselves from generational curses, because the sins of the fathers are transmitted down to the third and fourth generations (Exodus 34:7). We must all renounce and take authority over any known or unknown generational curse.
Oil is a symbol representing the Holy Spirit. In James 5:14-15 in the New Covenant we read: "Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him."
So it is the name, Yeshua ha Meshiach, Jesus the Anointed One, accompanied by the anointing with oil and the prayer of faith that brings healing and deliverance. This anointing is done, according to James, by the leaders, the elders of the church. However, there’s another type of anointing with oil which some ministers refer to as "evangelistic anointing.”
Evangelistic anointing with oil is just as much a part of Jesus’ ministry as preaching or teaching. Evangelistic anointing with oil does not require the sick person to call for the elders of a congregation. This is because the disciples of Jesus as recorded in Mark 6:12-13, “went out, and preached that men should repent. And they cast out many devils, and ANOINTED WITH OIL many that were sick, and healed them." That’s why I usually carry a bottle of anointing oil with me as I never know when I will have opportunity to use it. I’m prepared to anoint anybody with oil who has the faith and desire to be touched in the Name of Yeshua HaMashiach, Jesus the Messiah.
I hope this teaching has helped your spiritual walk. It is not a comprehensive teaching, but I do believe I’ve covered the main issues. We publish a ministry magazine called Exploits with articles about healing and End-Time events.