OPINIONS by Charlotte L Pound
Is demon activity an issue more or less today than in Bible Days?
It seems that we don’t hear much on this subject, are we missing something?
L.C. Gore, Wylie, TX
The spirit world is just as active as it has always been. Our modern secular society is not as aware or open to these spiritual insights or answers. However, the church must be. While we cannot ignore this, it would be a mistake to perceive “a devil under every rock.”
There are times when people are possessed with spirits or demons today. My context is North America. No doubt many more people are dealing with hellish spiritual influences and oppression, and are even under the influence of spiritual wickedness in our culture than outright possession. At times these are familiar spirits, strongholds, etc. These things, mixed with carnality, the works of the flesh, and the erosion of our world make for a culture of spiritual darkness in these times.
The fallen spirit world still affects people, in various cases, with influences, oppression, and possession that can and does, at times, result in various physical or mental ills. A word of caution would be to note that labeling everything or everyone with various physical or mental challenges as demonic possession or influences would be incorrect and wrong.
As a modern Apostolic people and church, we should be ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word with demonstration and power. We must rely on the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the discerning of spirits, as well as good common sense, balance, and life experience.
We should minister to see people delivered and not just to be delivering sermons. There is an ongoing need for the apostolic church’s five-fold ministry and believers to operate, live, and be led by the Holy Ghost in this end-time hour like never before. The spirit world is very active in these days. This means the fallen angels or spirits, the heavenly angels or spirits, human spirits, and the Holy Spirit are all at work. These things are taught and exampled in the Bible. The need is no different today. May our approach ever be like Jesus and the apostles.
Art Wilson, Wayne, MI
1 Corinthians 10:19-2: “What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.”
The first point I would like to establish is, yes demonic forces are very real! Based on these verses of Scripture, it is clear that the demonic is very real in our day. I have personally had encounters with many demon-possessed people that were seeking deliverance. I have also encountered many that are under the influence of demons and were not seeking deliverance.
I have encountered demons and demon-possessed people while ministering in prisons and in the heights of the United Nations alike. (They are at work everywhere!) In either case, the biblical verse is true that many “fellowship with demons.”
Today’s world is set up to make it so easy to come under demonic influence that many are even unaware of their actions! It’s important to understand that devils relate to people in a variety of ways (demons, devils, beasts, familiar spirits, impersonating angels of light, and principalities). That’s why we must stay close to the Word of God and allow the Holy Ghost’s conviction (no matter how difficult) to continue to be our guide.
Garry Tracy, St. Louis, MO
Demons are part of Satan’s kingdom. They are real and active in our world. Having ministered in several non-Christian nations, my experience reveals that demonic activity and possession are more prevalent where the majority of people worship idols or ancestors. Belief in and sincere worship of the one true living God greatly hinders demonic activity. Oppression caused by demon activity can cause depression and confusion, while possession by demons can cause serious physical and mental health issues.
Demons are masters at hiding their true identity; they are deceivers like their father, the devil. Therefore, it is imperative that we have the gift of discernment by the Holy Spirit so that demon activity or possession can be correctly identified. Great harm has been caused by those who presume a person to be oppressed or possessed by a demon, when in fact it is a mental health issue or chemical imbalance. Equally important is to be living a holy life under God’s authority and having faith in the power of Jesus’ name when casting out demons. Jesus has absolute authority over all demons and so do Spirit-filled believers. As the Western world turns away from God’s authority over their lives, we will experience a rise in demonic activity. This necessitates proper instruction for God’s people as we approach the imminent return of Jesus.
L.L. Booker, Rialto, CA
I feel it is safe to say that there is as much or more demonic activity in the world today as at any time in human history. “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Rev. 12:12) However, I feel that for the most part, demonic activity has gone “underground” in that the modus operandi in, say, the United States, is now far more subtle… they are there, but tend to “lie low.”
Our experience also has been that when they are challenged by God’s Word, Spirit, or people; the greater the show that they can put on, the more they like it. Showing out by them, and the excited reactions of people, tends to instill fear—and the devil thrives in fear and unbelief the way God’s Spirit works through faith and boldness.
We actually have seen and dealt with as much demonic activity in our services as at any time in my fifty years of ministry. However, if at all possible, we do not allow the devil to put on any productions. The individual is most often surrounded by intensely praying individuals, while a small trash container is simply placed relatively close to the individual to catch their vomit.
Once this is finished, we move on in an effort to pray them through, or back through, to the Holy Ghost. I know this is probably a gross over-simplification, but I well remember the rather famous words of a now-deceased boxer: “I don’t care if people speak well of me, or bad about me… I just want them to talk about me!” Jesus spoke very little about the devil—He just cast him out and kept going forward. I also feel that many a devil has been cast out while the repented individual they’ve lurked in is baptized in Jesus’ Name. I doubt any demon would enjoy being baptized in His Holy Name.
Tom Crutchfield, Hinesville, GA
Jesus taught the disciples that they had power and authority over all devils as well as to cure all diseases. I feel we don’t see this as much in our urban society because, as Galatians tells us, there is the age-old battle of flesh against the Spirit. Often, we are dealing with out-of-control flesh. Other times we are facing “spiritual wickedness in high places.” I believe the demonic in America has a more hidden and camouflaged agenda as they try to advance. They don’t act out as much, in fear of exposing themselves.
As far as healing, I don’t believe that most of our sickness is from evil spirits. Aside from being a pastor, I am also an RN. Working in an emergency department, I have had so many opportunities to see people near death, in hypovolemic shock, who God has brought back from the clutches of death through prayer and people gifted to care for others in medicine.
Today’s church has power, but we don’t try to turn over every rock looking for a devil. We will deal with plenty in our lifetime without doing that.
My opinion of the needed instruction in this area of ministry is to stay full of the Holy Ghost, and don’t give place to the devil. If a demonic spirit wants a show, we remove the person to an area away from the crowd and send several of our staff ministers to pray with them. It’s important for Pastors to have spirit-filled altar workers that are trained in this area to keep everything decent and in order.
Jason Carr, Beaumont, TX
There are countries I have traveled to where demonic possession is very prevalent and effective at scaring and stopping people from moving closer to God. I don’t believe this is the case in America. However, I must confess my bias as a therapist, my first inclination is to think that some people are just not in their right mind! Having the spiritual discernment to determine which is physical and which is demonic is the issue.
I believe that in America, what we primarily deal with are spirits of oppression and depression that torment people’s minds. The demonic world is still very active in our day and in our country, but not nearly as active and destructive as carnal flesh.
The old adage, “You get what you’re looking for,” is true. So why would we rather look for a fight with the devil than look for blessing and favor from the Lord? If we are actively looking for Jesus, everything else will follow. If we look for anything but Him, we are looking for the wrong thing! “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2
Some things will only come with experience. The Word of God tells us in Luke 10:19, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Everything is subject to the Name of Jesus.
Seeking after information about conquering the demonic is looking in the wrong direction. Prayer, studying, and submitting to the Word of God and learning to feel after the Spirit of God is all we need to have power and authority over all principalities and powers.
God himself, robed in flesh, said to us in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” When we start seeking the right thing first, all things will fall into place!