.
 .
War On The Saints Home Page
by Jessie Penn-Lewis, with Evan Roberts
World Wide Web Edition (Based on Unabridged 1912 Edition)

from http://www.apostasynow.com/wots/Contents.html
Free pdf version

Jessie Penn-Lewis (1861–1927) was a Welsh evangilistic speaker and was greatly influenced by the writings of Andrew Murray. She was involved in the Welsh Revival of 1904-1905 which was one of the largest Christian revivals in history.

War on the Saints is considered by many to be THE definitive work in all of Christendom, and throughout the ages, on Spiritual Warfare.

There are many copies of this book available on the market today, however, we must offer a warning to those interested in reading the original text, that these publications alter, paraphrase and distort the actual words and meaning of Penn-Lewis. Even some reprints that are called “unabridged” editions, have been found to be guilty of misrepresentation and distortion.

The version we offer here, are the TRUE unabridged 1912 edition in Mrs. Penn-Lewis’ original words.

Click on any of the Chapter titles to view that title

click on the title to close the chapter and view the Chapters

.

.

Chapter 1

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
To-day there is a special onslaught of deceiving spirits upon the Church of Christ, the fulfilment 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 to-day, 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 organised 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 fulness 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 organised 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).

WORLD-WIDE DECEPTION DISCLOSED IN THE APOCALYPSE
War is the keyword of the Apocalypse; war on a scale undreamed of by mortal man; war between vast angelic powers of light and darkness; war by the dragon, and the deceived world-powers upon the saints; war by the same world-powers against the Lamb; war by the dragon upon the Church; war in many phases and forms, until the end when the Lamb overcomes, and they also overcome who are with Him, called and chosen and faithful (Rev. 17: 14).

The world is now drawing nearer to the “time of the end,” characterized by the deception depicted in the Apocalypse as being world-wide; when there will be deception of nations, and individuals, on such a vast scale that the deceiver will practically have the whole earth under his control. Ere this climax is reached there will be preliminary stages of the deceiver’s working, marked by the widespread deception of individuals, both within and without the Church, beyond the ordinary condition of deception in which the unregenerate world is lying.

To understand why the deceiver will be able to produce the world-wide deception depicted in the Apocalypse, which will permit the supernatural powers to carry out their will, and drive nations and men into active rebellion against God, we need clearly to grasp what the Scriptures say about unregenerate men in their normal condition, and the world in its fallen state.

If Satan is described in the Apocalypse as the deceiver of the whole earth, he has been so from the beginning. “The whole world lieth in the evil one” (1 John 5: 19), said the Apostle, to whom was given the Revelation, describing the world as already lying deep in darkness through the deception of the evil one, and blindly led by him through vast evil spirit hosts under his control.

THE WORD “DECEIVED” THE DESCRIPTION OFEVERY UNREGENERATE MAN
The word “deceived” is, according to the Scripture, the description of every unregenerate human being, without distinction of persons, race, culture, or sex. “We also were . . . deceived” (Titus 3: 3), said Paul the Apostle, although in his “deceived” condition he was a religious man, walking according to the righteousness of the law, blameless (Phil. 3: 6).

Every unregenerate man first of all is deceived by his own deceitful heart (Jer. 17: 9; Isa. 44: 20), and deceived by sin (Heb. 3: 13); the god of this world adding the “blinding of the mind” lest the light of the gospel of Christ should dispel the darkness (2 Cor. 4: 4). And the deception of the evil one does not end when the regenerating life of God reaches the man, for the blinding of the mind is only removed just so far as the deceptive lies of Satan are dislodged by the light of truth.

Even though the heart is renewed, and the will has turned to God, yet the deeply ingrained disposition to self-deception, and the presence, in some measure, of the blinding power of the deceiver on the mind, betrays itself in many forms, as the following statements from Scripture show :–

The man is deceived if he is a hearer, and not a doer of the Word of God (Jas. 1: 22).
He is deceived if he says he has no sin (1 John 1: 8).
He is deceived when he thinks himself to be “something” when he is nothing (Gal. 6: 3).
He is deceived when he thinks himself to be wise with the wisdom of this world. (1 Cor. 3: 18).
He is deceived by seeming to be religious, when an unbridled tongue reveals his true condition (Jas. 1: 26).
He is deceived, if he thinks he will sow, and not reap what he sows (Gal. 6: 7).
He is deceived, if he thinks the unrighteous will inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6: 9).
He is deceived , if he thinks that contact with sin will not have its effect (1 Cor. 15: 33) upon him.

Deceived! How the word repels, and how involuntarily every human being resents it as applied to himself, not knowing that the very repulsion is the work of the deceiver, for the purpose of keeping the deceived ones from knowing the truth, and being set free from deception. If men can be so easily deceived by the deception arising from their own fallen nature, how eagerly will the forces of Satan seek to add to it and not diminish it by one iota. How keenly will they work to keep men in bondage to the old creation, out of which will spring multitudinous forms of self-deception, enabling them the more readily to carry on their deceiving work. Their methods of deception are old and new, adapted to suit the nature, state, and circumstances of the victim. Instigated by hatred, malice, and bitter ill-will towards mankind and all goodness, the emissaries of Satan do not fail to execute their plans, with a perseverance worthy to be imitated by him who fain would reach his goal.

SATAN THE DECEIVER ALSO OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD
The arch-deceiver is not only the deceiver of the whole unregenerate world, but of the children of God also; with this difference, that in the deception he seeks to practise upon the saints, he changes his tactics, and works with acutest strategy, in wiles of error, and deception concerning the things of God (Matt. 24: 24; 2 Cor. 11: 3, 13, 14, 15).

The chief weapon which the deceiver-prince of darkness relies upon to keep the world in his power, is deception, and deception planned to beguile men at every stage of life; deception (1) of the unregenerate who are already deceived by sin; (2) deception suited to the carnal Christian; (3) and deception fitted to the spiritual believer, who has passed out of the preceding stages into a realm where he will be open to meet more subtle wiles. Let the deception be removed which holds the man in the earlier days of his unregenerate condition, and in the stage of the carnal Christian life; when he emerges into the heavenly places, described by Paul in the Epistle to the Ephesians, he will find himself in the very keenest workings of the wiles of the deceiver, where the deceiving spirits are actively at work attacking those who are united to the risen Lord.

THE DECEPTION PERIL OF THE LAST DAYS OF THE AGE
In the Apocalypse, we have the full unveiling of the Satanic confederacy in widespread control of the whole earth, and the war upon the saints as a whole; but the work of the deceiver among the foremost saints of God is especially depicted in the Ephesian letter of the apostle Paul, where, in Ephesians 6: 10- 18, we have the veil drawn aside from the Satanic powers, showing their war upon the Church of God, and the individual believer’s armour and weapons for conquering the foe. From this passage we learn that in the plane of the believer’s highest experience of union with the Lord, and in the “high places” of the spiritual maturity of the Church, will the keenest and closest battle be fought with the deceiver and his hosts.

Hence as the Church of Christ draws near to the time of the end, and is, by the inworking power of the Holy Spirit, being matured for translation, the full force of the deceiver and his hosts of lying spirits will be directed upon the living members of the Body of Christ. A glimpse into this onslaught of deceiving spirits upon the people of God in the close of the age, is given in the Gospel of Matthew, where the Lord uses the word deceived in describing some of the special marks of the latter days. He said: “Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My Name, saying, ‘I am Christ:’ and shall lead many astray” (Matt. 24: 4, 5, A.V. and R.V.); “and many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24: 11, A.V.). “There shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray [or “deceive” A.V.] if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24: 24).

DECEPTION IN CONNECTION WITH THE
SUPERNATURAL REALM
The special form of deception is said also to be in connection with spiritual, and not worldly, things; incidentally showing that the people of God, at the time of the end, will be expecting the coming of the Lord, and therefore be keenly awake to all movements from the supernatural world, in such a measure that deceiving spirits will be able to take advantage of it, and anticipate the Lord’s appearing by “false Christs” and false signs and wonders; or mix their counterfeits with the true manifestations of the Spirit of God. The Lord says that men will be deceived (1) concerning Christ and His parousia–or Coming; (2) concerning prophecy–or teaching from the spiritual world through inspired messengers; and (3) concerning the giving of proofs of the “teachings” being truly of God, by “signs” and “wonders” so Godlike, and therefore so exact a counterfeit of the working of God, as to be indistinguishable from the true by those described as His “elect”; who will need to possess some other test than the judging by appearances of a “sign” being from God, if they are to be able to discern the false from the true.

The Apostle Paul’s words to Timothy, containing the special prophecy given to him by the Holy Spirit for the Church of Christ in the last days of the dispensation, exactly coincide with the words of the Lord recorded by Matthew.

The two letters of Paul to Timothy are the last epistles that he wrote ere his departure to be with Christ. Both were written in prison, and Paul’s prison was to him what Patmos was to John, when he was “in spirit” (Rev. 1: 10)note 1 shown things to come. Paul was giving his last directions to Timothy for the ordering of the Church of God, right on to the end of her time on earth; giving “rules to guide,” not only Timothy, but all God’s servants, “in dealing with God’s household.” In the midst of all these detailed instructions, his keen seer’s vision looks on to the “later times”; and by express command of the Spirit of God, he depicts in a few brief sentences, the peril of the Church in those times, in the same way that the Spirit of God gave the prophets of the Old Testament some pregnant prophecy, only to be fully understood after the events had come to pass.

The Apostle said: “The Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, seared in their own conscience as with a hot iron . . ” (1 Tim. 4: 1, 2, R.V. m.).

PAUL’S STATEMENT IN 1 TIM. 4: 1, 2, THE ONLY SPECIFIC
ONE SHOWING THE CAUSE OF THE PERIL
Paul’s prophetic statement appears to be all that is foretold in specific words about the Church, and its history, at the close of the dispensation. The Lord spoke in general terms about the dangers which would encompass His people at the time of the end, and Paul wrote to the Thessalonians more fully about the apostasy, and the wicked deceptions of the Lawless one in the last days, but the passage in Timothy is the only one which explicitly shows the special cause of the peril of the Church in its closing days on earth, and how the wicked spirits of Satan would break in upon her members, and by deception beguile some away from their purity of faith in Christ.

The Holy Spirit, in the brief message given to Paul, describes the character and work of the evil spirits, recognizing (1) their existence, (2) their efforts directed towards believers, to deceive them, and by deception draw them away from the path of simple faith in Christ, and all that is included in the “faith once for all delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).

That the character of the spirits is described in 1 Tim. 4: 1-3, and not the men they somtimes use in the work of deception, may be understood from the Greek original.note 2

The peril of the Church at the close of the age, is therefore from supernatural beings who are “hypocrites,” who pretend to be what they are not, who give “teachings” which appear to make for greater holiness, by producing ascetic severity to the “flesh,” but who themselves are wicked and unclean, and bring in to those they deceive the foulness of their own presence. Where they deceive they gain possession; and whilst the deceived believer thinks he is more “holy,” and more “sanctified,” and more delivered from the desires of the flesh, these hypocritical spirits defile the deceived one by their presence, and under cover of sanctity hold their ground, and hide their workings.

THE PERIL OF DECEIVING SPIRITS AFFECTS EVERYCHILD OF GOD
The peril concerns every child of God, and no spiritual believer dare say he is exempt from peril. The prophecy of the Holy Spirit declares, that (1) “some” shall fall away from the faith; (2) the reason for the fall will be a giving heed to deceiving spiritsi.e., the nature of their working being not known evil, but deception, which is a covered working. The essence of deception is that the operation is looked upon as sincere and pure. (3) The nature of the deception will be in doctrines of demons, i.e., the deception will be in a doctrinal sphere. (4) The way of deception will be that the “doctrines” are delivered with “hypocrisy,” i.e. spoken as if true. (5) Two instances of the effect of these evil spirit doctrines are given: (a) the forbidding of marriage, and (b) abstaining from meats; both, said Paul “created by God,” Therefore their teaching is marked by opposition to God, even in His work as Creator.

THE SATANIC FORCES DESCRIBED IN EPHES. 6
Demoniacal “doctrines” have been generally tabulated as either belonging to the Church of Rome, because of the two marked results of demon teaching mentioned by Paul, which characterise that Church; or later “cults” of the twentieth century, with their omission of the fact of sin, and the need of the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and a Divine Saviour. But there is a vast realm of doctrinal deception by deceiving spirits, penetrating, and interpenetrating Evangelical Christendom, by which evil spirits, in more or less degree, influence the lives even of Christian men, and bring them under their power; even spiritual Christians being thus affected on the plane described by the Apostle, where believers united to the Risen Christ meet “spiritual wickedness” in “heavenly places.” For the Satanic forces described in Eph. 6: 12, are shown to be divided into (1) “Principalities“–force and dominion dealing with nations and governments; (2) “Powers“–having authority and power of action in all the spheres open to them; (3) “World- rulers“–governing the darkness, and blindness of the world at large; (4) “Wicked spirits” in the heavenly places–their forces being directed in, and upon the Church of Jesus Christ, in “wiles,” “fiery darts,” onslaughts, and every conceivable deception over “doctrines” which they are capable of planning.

The peril of the household of God is therefore not of a few, but all, for obviously none can “fall away from the faith” but those who are actually in the faith to begin with. The peril is from an army of teaching spirits poured forth by Satan upon all who would be open to “teachings” from the spiritual world, and through ignorance of such a danger, be unable to detect the wiles of the enemy.

The peril assails the Church from the supernatural world, and comes from supernatural spirit-beings who are persons (Mark 1: 25) with intelligent power of planning (Matt. 12: 44, 45), with strategy (Eph. 6: 11) the deception of those who “give heed” to them.

The peril is supernatural. And those who are in peril are the spiritual children of God; who are not to be beguiled by the world or the flesh, but who are open to all they can learn of “spiritual” things, with sincere longing to be more “spiritual” and more advanced in the knowledge of God. For deception by doctrineswould not concern the world so much as the Church. Evil spirits would not urge spiritual Christians to open sin, such as murder, drink, gambling, etc., but would plan deception in the form of “teaching” and “doctrines,” the believer not knowing that deception on “teaching” and “doctrines” gives admission to evil spirits to “possess” the deceived one, as much as through sin.

HOW THE EVIL SPIRITS DECEIVE BY “DOCTRINES”
How the evil spirits as teachers get men to receive their teachings, may be summed up in three specific ways: (1) By giving their doctrines, or teachings, as spiritual revelations, to those who accept everything supernatural as Divine because [it is] supernatural–a certain class unaccustomed to the spiritual realm, accepting all that is “supernatural” as from God. This form of “teaching” is direct to the person; in “flashes” of light on a text, “revelations” by visions of Christ, or streams of texts apparently from the Holy Spirit.note 3 (2) By mixing their “teachings” with the man’s own reasonings, so that he thinks he has come to his own conclusions. The teachings of the deceiving spirits in this form are so natural in appearance, that they seem to come from the man himself, as the fruit of his own mind, and reasoning. They counterfeit the working of the human brain, and inject thoughts and suggestions into the human mind;note 4 for they can directly communicate with the mind, apart from gaining possession (in any degree) of the mind or body.

Those who are thus deceived, believe that they have come to their own conclusions, by their own reasonings, ignorant that the deceiving spirits have incited them to “reason” without sufficient data, or on a wrong premise, and thus come to false conclusions. The teaching spirit has achieved his own end by putting a lie in the man’s mind, through the instrumentality of a false reasoning.

(3) By the indirect means of deceived human teachers, supposed to be conveying undiluted Divine “truth,” and implicitly believed because of a godly life and character, believers saying, “He is a good man, and a holy man, and I believe him.” The life of the man is taken as a sufficient guarantee for his teaching, instead of judging the “ teaching” by the Scriptures, apart from his personal character. This has its foundation in the prevalent idea that everything that Satan and his evil spirits do is manifestly evil, the truth not being realized that they work under cover of light (2 Cor. 11: 14), i.e., if they can get a “good man” to accept some idea from them, and pass it on as “truth,” he is a better instrument for deceptive purposes than a bad man who would not be believed.

FALSE AND DECEIVED TEACHERS
There is a difference between “false” teachers, and deceived ones. There are many deceived ones amongst the most devoted teachers to-day, because they do not recognize that an army of teaching spirits have come forth to deceive the people of God, and that the special peril of the spiritual section of the Church lies in the supernatural realm, from whence the deceiving spirits with “teachings” are whispering their lies to all who are “spiritual,” i.e., open to spiritual things. The “teaching spirits” with “doctrines” will make special effort to deceive those who have to transmit “doctrine,” and seek to mingle their “teachings” with truth, so as to get them accepted. Every believer must test all teachers to-day, for himself, by the Word of God, and their attitude to the atoning Cross of Christ, and other fundamental truths of the gospel, and not be misled into testing “teaching” by the character of the teacher. Good men can be deceived, and Satan needs good men to float his lies under the guise of truth.

THE EFFECT ON THE CONSCIENCE OF THE
TEACHINGS BY EVIL SPIRITS
How teaching spirits teach, we find described by Paul, for he says they speak lies in hypocrisy, that is, speak lies as if they were truth. And the effect of their working is said to “cauterize” (Gr.) the conscience, i.e. , if a believer accepts the teachings of evil spirits as Divine, because they come to him “supernaturally,” and he obeys, and follows those “teachings,” “conscience” is unused,note 5 so that it practically becomes dulled and passive–or seared–and a man does things under the influence of supernatural “revelation” which an actively awakened “conscience” would keenly rebuke and condemn. Such believers “give heed”‘ to these spirits, by (1) listening to them, and then by (2) obeying them; for they are deceived by accepting wrong thoughts about God’s presence,note 6 and about Divine love, and unknowingly give themselves up to the power of lying spirits. Working in the line of “teaching,” deceiving spirits will insert their “lies” spoken in hypocrisy, into “holiness” teaching, and deceive believers about sin, themselves, and all other truths connected with the spiritual life.

Scripture is generally used as the basis of these teachings, and is skilfully woven together like a spider’s web, so that they are caught in the snare. Single texts are wrenched from their context, and their place in the perspective of truth; sentences are taken from their correlative sentences, or texts are aptly picked out from over a wide field, and so netted together as to appear to give a full revelation of the mind of God; but the intervening passages, giving historical setting, actions and circumstances connected with the speaking of the words, and other elements which give light on each separate text, are skilfully dropped out.

A wide net is thus made for the unwary, or the untaught in the principles of Scripture exegesis, and many a life is side-tracked, and troubled by this false using of the Word of God. Because the experience of ordinary Christians in regard to the devil is limited to knowing him as a tempter, or as an accuser, they have no conception of the depths of his wickedness, and of the wickedness of evil spirits, and are under the impression that they will not quote Scripture, whereas they will quote the whole Book if they can but deceive one soul.

SOME WAYS OF “TEACHING” BY DECEIVING SPIRITS
The “teachings” of deceiving spirits now being promulgated by them, are too many in number to enumerate in a small compass. They are generally recognized only in “false religions,” but the teaching spirits with their “doctrines,” or religious ideas suggested to the minds of men are ceaselessly at work in every clime, seeking to play upon the religious instinct in men, and give a substitute for truth.

Therefore truth, alone, dispels the deceptive doctrines of the teaching spirits of Satan: the truth of God, not merely “views of truth.” Truth concerning all the principles and laws of the God of Truth. “Doctrines of demons” simply consist of that which a man “thinks” and “believes” as the outcome of suggestions made to his mind by deceiving spirits. All “thought” and “belief” belongs to one of two realms–the realm of truth, or the realm of falsehood–each having its source in God or Satan. All truth comes from God, and all that is contrary to truth, from Satan. Even the “thoughts ” that apparently originate in a man’s own mind come from one of these two sources, for the mind itself is either darkened by Satan (2 Cor. 4: 4), and therefore fertile soil for his “teachings,” or renewed by God (Ephes. 4: 23), and clarified from the veil of Satan, and made open to the reception and transmission of truth.

THE BASIC PRINCIPLE FOR TESTING TEACHINGS
BY TEACHING SPIRITS
Since thought, or “belief,” originates either from the God of Truth, or the father of lies (John 8: 44), there is but one basic principle for testing the source of all doctrines, or “thoughts” and “beliefs,” held by believers, or unbelievers, i.e., the test of the revealed Word of God.

All “truth” is in harmony with the only channel of revealed truth in the world–the written Word of God. All “teachings” originating from deceiving spirits–

  1. Weaken the authority of the Scriptures;
  2. Distort the teaching in the Scriptures;
  3. Add to the Scriptures the thoughts of men; or
  4. Put the Scriptures entirely aside.

The ultimate object being to hide, distort, misuse, or put aside the revelation of God concerning the Cross of Calvary, where Satan was overthrown by the God-Man, and where freedom was obtained for all his captives.

The test of all “thought” and “belief” therefore is its

  1. Harmony with the written Scriptures in its full body of truth.
  2. The attitude to the Cross, and sin.

In the Christianised world, some doctrines of demons, tested by these two primary principles, may be mentioned as

Christian Science:no sin, no Saviour, no Cross.
Theosophy:no sin, no Saviour, no Cross.
Spiritism:no sin , no Saviour, no Cross.
New Theology:no sin, no Saviour, no Cross.

In the heathen world:

1.Mahommedanism
Confucianism
Buddism, etc.
No Saviour, no Cross, a “moral” religion, with man his own Saviour.
2.Idolatry as the worship of demonsNo knowledge of a Saviour, or of his Calvary sacrifice, but true knowledge of the evil powers, which they endeavour to propitiate, because they have proved them to be existent.

In the Christian Church: Countless “thoughts” and “beliefs,” which are opposed to the truth of God, are injected into the minds of Christians by teaching spirits, rendering them ineffective in the warfare with sin and Satan, and subject to the power of evil spirits, although they are saved for eternity through their faith in Christ, and accept the authority of the Scriptures, and know the power of the Cross. All “thoughts” and “beliefs” should therefore be tested by the truth of God revealed in the Scripture, not merely by “texts” or portions of the Word, but by the principles of truth revealed in the Word. Since Satan will endorse his teachings by “signs and wonders” (Matt. 24: 24; 2 Thess. 2: 9; Rev. 13: 13), “fire from heaven”, “power” and “signs,” are no proof of “teaching” being of God; nor is a “beautiful life” to be the infallible test, for Satan’s “ministers” can be “ministers of righteousness” (2 Cor. 11: 13- 15).

THE CULMINATION OF THE FLOOD TIDE OF DECEIVING
SPIRITS SHOWN IN 2 THESS. 2
The culmination of the flood tide of these deceiving spirits sweeping upon the Church, is described by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians, where he speaks of the manifestation of one, who will, eventually, have so deceived Christendom as to have gained an entrance into the very sanctuary of God; so that “he sitteth in the sanctuary of God, setting himself forth as God . . . ” The “presence” of this one being a “Presence” like God, and yet “according to the working of Satan, with all power, and signs, and wonders, of falsehood, and with all deceit . .” (2 Thess. 2: 9, 10, R.V. See margin R.V.).

Confirmation of the Lord’s words recorded by Matthew, is found in the revelation given by Him to John, on Patmos, that at the close of the age, the main weapon used by the deceiver for obtaining power over the people of the earth, will be supernatural signs from heaven, when a counterfeit “lamb” will do “great signs,” and even “make fire come down out of heaven” to deceive the dwellers on the earth, and thereby exercise such control over the whole world, that “no man shall be able to buy or sell, save he that hath the mark of the beast” (Rev. 13:11-17). Through this supernatural deception, the full purpose of the deceiving hierarchy of Satan, thus reaches its consummation, in the foretold world-wide authority.

Deception of the world with deepening darkness; deception of the Church through “teachings,” and “manifestations,” will reach the highest flood-tide climax at the close of the age.

THE SPECIAL WARNING TO THE CHURCH BY THE
WRITER OF THE APOCALYPSE
It is striking to note that the Apostle who was chosen to transmit the Apocalypse to the Church, in preparation for the last days of the Church militant, should be the one to write to the Christians of his day: “Believe not every spirit” (1 John 4: 1-6), and earnestly warn his “children” that the “spirit of anti-Christ,” and the “spirit of error” (deception) was already actively at work among them. Their attitude was to be “believe not”–i.e., to doubt every supernatural “teaching” and “teacher,” until proved to be of God. They were to prove the “teachings,” lest they came from a “spirit of error,” and be part of the deceiver’s campaign as “anti- Christ,” i.e.against Christ.

If this attitude of neutrality and doubt toward supernatural teachings was needed in the days of the Apostle John–some fifty-seven years after Pentecost– how much more is it needed in the “later times” foretold by the Lord, and by the apostle Paul. Times which were to be characterised by a clamour of voices of “prophets,” that is–in the language of the twentieth century–“speakers” and “teachers” using the sacred Name of the Lord; and when “teachings” received supernaturally from the spiritual realm, would abound. “Teachings” accompanied with such wonderful proofs of their “divine” origin, as to perplex even the most faithful of the Lord’s people, and even, for a time, to deceive some of them.

DANIEL’S PROPHECY THAT “TEACHERS” SHOULD
“FALL” AT THE TIME OF THE END
Daniel, in writing about this same “later time,” said “Some of the teachers shall fall, to refine them, and to purify, and to make them white, even at the time of the end” (Dan. 11: 35, R.V. m.). Yes, the truth must be faced! The “elect” may be deceived, and, from Daniel’s words, are apparently permitted to be deceived for a season, so that in the fire testing they may be “refined” (the word refers to the expulsion of dross by the smelting fire): “purified” (the removal of dross already expelled), and made “white” (the polishing and brightening of the metal after it has been freed from its impurities).note 7 Probably it is in connection with this solemn word, that one strange statement about the war at the close of the age is made, when it is said of the attack of the leopard-like beast, that “it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” (Rev. 13: 7).

Daniel also speaks of the same prevailing of the enemy for a season: The horn “made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (Dan. 7: 21). Daniel adds: “Until the Ancient of Days came . . and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” It appears, therefore, that in the “time of the end,” God will permit Satan to prevail for a season against His saints, even as he prevailed over Peter when he was handed over to him to be sifted (Luke 22: 31); as he apparently prevailed over the Son of God at Calvary, when “the hour and power of darkness” closed around Him at the Cross (Matt. 27: 38-46); and as he is shown to do over the “two witnesses” described in Rev. 11: 7, and in the last great manifestation of the dragon deceiver’s triumph over the saints, and his power over the whole inhabited earth, in Revelation 13: 7-15.

All these instances have taken place at different periods of time in the history of Christ and His Church, and in the Apocalypse picture, the prevailing of the leopard-like beast may refer to the saints on the earth after the translation of the Church; but they show the principle that God’s triumphs are ofttimes hidden in apparent defeat. The elect of God must therefore take heed, at all stages of the war with Satan as deceiver, not to be swayed, or moved by appearances; for the apparent triumph of supernatural powerswhich appear to be Divine, may prove to be Satanic; and appearances of outward defeat, which appear to be the devil’s victory may prove to cover the triumph of God.

OUTWARD SUCCESS OR DEFEAT NO TRUE CRITERION
FOR JUDGMENT
The enemy is a deceiver, and as a deceiver he will work and prevail in the later times. “Success” or “defeat” is no criterion of a work being of God or Satan. Calvary stands for ever as the revelation of God’s way in working out His redemption purposes. Satan works for time, for he knows his time is short, but God works for eternity. Through death to life, through defeat to triumph, through suffering to joy, is God’s way.

Knowledge of truth is the primary safeguard against deception. The “elect” must know, and they must learn to “prove” the “spirits” until they do know what is of God, and what is of Satan. The words of the Master, “Take heed, I have told you , ” plainly implies that personal knowledge of danger is part of the Lord’s way of guarding His own, and believers who blindly rely upon “the keeping power of God,” without seeking to understand how to escape deception, when forewarned to “take heed” by the Lord, will surely find themselves entrapped by the subtle foe.note 8

 

Chapter 2

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–recognising 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 Saviour 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”note 1 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,note 2wielded 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,note 3 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 to-day, 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).

CHRIST ALWAYS DEALING WITH THE INVISIBLE ENEMIES
It is striking to find that the Lord did not attempt to convince the Pharisees of His claims as the Messiah, nor take the opportunity of winning the Jews, by yielding to their desires for an earthly king. His one work in this world was manifestly to conquer the Satanic prince of the world by the death of the Cross (Heb. 2: 14); to deliver his captives from his control, and to deal with the invisible hosts of the prince of darkness working at the back of mankind (See 1 John 3: 8).

The commission He gave to the twelve, and to the seventy, was exactly in line with His own. He sent them forth, and “gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to preach the gospel” (Matt. 10: 1); to “first bind the strong man” (Mark 3: 27), and then to take his goods; to deal with the invisible hosts of Satan first, and then “preach the gospel.”

From all this we learn that there is one Satan, one devil, one prince of the demons, directing all the opposition to Christ and His people; but myriads of wicked spirits called “demons,” lying spirits, deceiving spirits, foul spirits, unclean spirits, subjectively at work in men. Who they are, and whence their origin, none can positively say. That they are spirit beings who are evil is alone beyond all doubt; and all who are undeceived and dispossessed from Satanic deception, become witnesses, from their own experience, to their existence, and power. They know that things were done to them by spirit beings, and that those things were evil; therefore they recognize that there are spirit beings who do evil, and know that the symptoms, effects and manifestations of demoniacal possession have active, personal agencies behind them. From experience they know that they are hindered by spirit beings, and therefore know that these things are done by evil spirits who are hinderers. Therefore, reasoning from experimental facts, as well as the testimony of Scripture, they know that these evil spirits are murderers, tempters, liars, accusers, counterfeiters, enemies, haters, and wicked beyond all the power of man to know.

The names of these evil spirits describe their characters, for they are called “foul,” “lying,” “unclean,” “evil,” and “deceiving” spirits, as they are wholly given up to every manner of wickedness, and deception, and lying works.

CHARACTESTICS OF EVIL SPIRITS
What the characteristics of these wicked spirits are, and how they are able to dwell in the bodies and minds of human beings, will be seen by a careful examination of the specific cases mentioned in the Gospels; as well as their power to interfere with, mislead, and deceive, even servants of God, from references to them in other portions of the Word of God.

Evil spirits are generally looked upon as “influences,” and not as intelligent beings, but their personality and entity, and difference in character as distinct intelligences, will be seen in the Lord’s direct commands to them (Mark 1: 25; 5: 8; 3: 11, 12; 9: 25); their power of speech (Mark 3: 11); their replies to Him, couched in intelligent language (Matt. 8: 29); their sensibilities of fear (Luke 8: 31); their definite expression of desire (Matt. 8: 31); their need of a dwelling place of rest (Matt. 12: 43); their intelligent power of decision (Matt. 12: 44); their power of agreement with other spirits; their degrees of wickedness (Matt. 12: 45); their power of rage (Matt. 8: 28); their strength (Mark 5: 4); their ability to possess a human being, either as one (Mark 1: 26) or in a thousand (Mark 5: 9); their use of a human being as their medium for “divining,” or foretelling the future (Acts 16: 16); or as a great miracle worker by their power (Acts 8: 11).

THE RAGE AND WICKEDNESS OF EVIL SPIRITS
When evil spirits act in a rage, they act as a combination of the maddest, and most wicked persons in existence, but all their evil is done with fullest intelligence, and purpose. They know what they do, they know it is evil, terribly evil, and they will to do it. They do it with rage, and with the full swing of malice, enmity and hatred. They act with fury and bestiality, like an enraged bull, as if they had no intelligence, and yet with fun intelligence they carry on their work, showing the wickedness of their wickedness. They act from an absolutely depraved nature, with diabolical fury, and with an undeviating perseverance. They act with determination, persistency, and with skilful methods, forcing themselves upon mankind, upon the Church, and still more upon the spiritual man.

VARIED MANIFESTATION OF EVIL SPIRITS
THROUGH PERSONS
Their manifestations through the persons in whom they obtain footing, are varied in character, according to the degree and kind of ground they secure for possession. In one Biblical case the only manifestation of the evil spirit’s presence was dumbness (Matt. 9: 32); the spirit possibly locating in the vocal organs; in another, the person held by the spirit was “deaf and dumb” (Mark 9: 25), and the symptoms included foaming at the mouth, grinding the teeth–all connected with the head–but the hold of the spirit was of such long standing (v. 21) that he could throw his victim down, and convulse the whole body (Mark 9: 20-22).

In other cases we find merely an “unclean spirit” in a man in a “synagogue,” probably so hidden that none would know the man was thus possessed, until the spirit cried out with fear when he saw Christ, saying, “Art Thou come to destroy us?” (Mark 1: 24); or a “spirit of infirmity” (Luke 13: 11) in a woman of whom it might be said that she simply required “healing” of some disease, or that she was always tired, and only needed “rest,” as some would say in the language of the twentieth century.

Again, we find a very advanced case in the man with the “legion,” showing that the evil spirits’ possession reached such a climax, as to make the person appear insane; for his own personality was so mastered by the malignant spirits in possession, as to cause him to lose all sense of decency, and self-control in the presence of others (Luke 8: 27). The unity of purpose in the spirits of evil to carry out the will of their prince, is especially shown in this case, as with one accord they besought to be allowed to enter the swine, and with one accord they rushed the whole herd into the sea.

DIFFERENT KINDS OF EVIL SPIRITS
That there are different kinds of spirits is evident from all the instances given in the gospel records. Their manifestation outside the gospel cases, may be seen in the story of the girl at Philippi, possessed by a “spirit of divination,” and again in Simon the Sorcerer, who was so energized by Satanic power for the working of miracles, that he was considered to be “a great power of God” by the deceived people (Acts 8: 10).

Spiritists, to-day, are deceived, in so far as they really believe they are communicating with the spirits of the dead; for it is easy for spirits of evil to impersonate any of the dead, even the most devoted and saintly Christians. They have watched them (Acts 19: 15) all their lives, and can easily counterfeit their voices, or say anything about them, and their actions when on earth.

EVIL SPIRITS FORETELLING THROUGH MEDIUMS
In like manner as a “spirit of divination,” deceiving spirits can use “palmists,” and “fortune tellers,” to deceive; for in their work of watching human beings, they inspire the mediums to foretell, not what they know about the future–for God alone has this knowledge–but things which they themselves intend to do; and if they can get the person, to whom these things are told, to co-operate with them, by accepting, or believing, their “fore-telling,” they try eventually to bring them about; e.g., the medium says such and such a thing will happen, the person believes it, and by believing opens himself, or herself, to the evil spirit, to bring that thing to pass; or else admits the spirit, or gives free opportunity to one already in possession, to bring about the thing foretold. They cannot always succeed, and this is the reason why there is so much uncertainty about the response through mediums, because many things may hinder the workings of the evil spirit beings, particularly the prayers of friends, or intercessors in the Christian Church.

These are some of the “deep things of Satan” (Rev. 2: 24) mentioned by the Lord in His message to Thyatira, manifestly referring to far more subtle workings among the Christians of that time, than all that the Apostles had seen in the cases recorded in the gospels. “The mystery of lawlessness doth already work,” wrote the Apostle Paul (2 Thess. 2: 7), showing that the deep laid schemes of deception through “doctrines” (1 Tim. 4: 1), foretold as reaching their full culmination in the last days, were already at work in the Church of God. Evil spirits are at work to-day, inside as well as outside the Church, and “spiritualism,” in its meaning of dealing with evil spirits, may be found inside the Church, and among the most spiritual believers, apart from its true name. Christian men think they are free from spiritism because they have never been to a seance, not knowing that evil spirits attack, and deceive every human being, and they do not confine their working to the Church, or the world, but wherever they can find conditions fulfilled to enable them to manifest their power.

THE POWER OF EVIL SPIRITS OVER HUMAN BODIES
The control of the spirits over the bodies of those they possess is seen in the gospel cases. The man with the legion was not master over his own body or mind. The spirits would “seize him,” “drive him” (Luke 8: 29), compel him to cut himself with stones (Mark 5: 5), strengthen him to burst every fetter and chain (v. 4), “cry out” aloud (v. 5), and fiercely attack others (Matt. 8: 28). The boy with the dumb spirit would be dashed to the ground (Luke 9: 42), and convulsed; the spirit forced him to cry out, and tore him, so that the body became bruised and sore (v. 39). Teeth, tongue, vocal organs, ears, eyes, nerves, muscles and breath, are seen to be affected and interfered with, by evil spirits in possession.note 4 Weakness and strength are both produced by their working, and men (Mark 1: 23), women (Luke 8: 2), boys (Mark 9: 17), and girls (Mark 7: 25), are equally open to their power.

That the Jews were familiar with the fact of evil spirit possession, is clear from their words, when they saw the Lord Christ cast out the blind and dumb spirit from a man (Matt. 12: 24). Also that there were men among them who knew some method of dealing with such cases (v. 27). “By whom do your sons cast them out?” said the Lord. That such dealing with evil spirits was not effective, may be gathered from some instances given, where it appears that alleviation of the sufferings from evil spirit possession, was the most that could be done; e.g. (1) the case of king Saul, who was soothed by the harp playing of David; (2) the sons of Sceva, who were professional exorcists, yet who recognized a power in the Name of Jesus which their exorcism did not possess. In both these cases the danger of attempted alleviation and exorcism, and the power of the evil spirits, is strikingly shown in contrast to the complete command manifested by Christ and His Apostles. David playing to Saul is suddenly aware of the javelin flung by the hand of the man he was seeking to soothe; and the sons of Sceva found the evil spirits upon them, and mastering them as they used the Name of Jesus, without the Divine co-working given to all who exercise personal faith in Him. Among the heathen, also, who know the venom of these wicked spirits, propitiation and soothing of their hate by obedience to them, is the most that they know.

THE EXORCISM OF EVIL SPIRITS CONTRASTED WITH
CHRIST’S POWER OF WORD
How striking to contrast all this with the calm authority of Christ, who needed no adjuration, or methods of exorcism, and no prolonged preparation of Himself ere dealing with a spirit-possessed man. “He cast out the spirits by a word,” “With authority and power He commandeth . . and they obey Him,” was the wondering testimony of the awe-struck people; and the testimony, too, of the seventy sent forth by Him to use the authority of His Name, as they found the spirits subject to them, even as they were to their Lord (Luke 10: 17-20).

“‘They’ obey Him,” said the people. “They”–the evil spirits whom the people knew to be real identities governed by Beelzebub, their prince (Matt. 12: 24- 27). The complete mastery of the Lord over the demons, compelled the leaders to find some way of explaining His authority over them, and so by that subtle influence of Satan–with which all who have had insight into his devices are familiar–they suddenly charge the Lord with having Satanic power Himself, by saying “He casteth out demons through Beelzebub, the prince of the demons,” suggesting that Christ’s authority over evil spirits was derived from their chief and prince.

The reference to the kingdom of Satan, and his kingship was left uncontradicted by the Lord, who simply declared the truth in the face of Satan’s lie, that He cast out demons “by the finger of God,” and that Satan’s kingdom would soon fall were he to act against himself, and dislodge his emissaries from their place of retreat in human bodies, where alone they can achieve their greatest power, and do the greatest harm among men. That Satan does apparently fight against himself is true,note 5 but when he does so, it is with the purpose of covering some scheme for greater advantage to his kingdom.

THE AUTHORITY OVER EVIL SPIRITS BY THE APOSTLES
AFTER PENTECOST
That the Apostles after Pentecost recognized and dealt with the denizens of the invisible world, is evident from the records of the Acts of the Apostles, and other references in the Epistles. The disciples were prepared for Pentecost, and the opening of the supernatural world through the coming of the Holy Spirit, by their three years’ training by the Lord. They had watched Him deal with the wicked spirits of Satan, and had themselves learned to deal with them, too, so that the power of the Holy Spirit could safely be given at Pentecost to men who already knew the workings of the foe. We see how quickly Peter recognized Satan’s work in Ananias (Acts 5: 3), and how “unclean spirits” came out at his presence, as they did with his Lord (Acts 5: 16). Philip, too, found the evil hosts subservient (Acts 8: 7) to the word of his testimony, as he proclaimed Christ to the people, and Paul knew, also, the power of the Name of the Risen Lord (Acts 19: 11) in dealing with the powers of evil.

It is therefore clear in Bible history that the manifestation of the power of God invariably meant aggressive dealing with the Satanic hosts; that the manifestation of the power of God at Pentecost, and through the Apostles, meant again an aggressive attitude to the powers of darkness; and, ergo, that the growth and maturity of the Church of Christ at the end of the dispensation, will mean the same recognition, and the same attitude toward the Satanic hosts of the prince of the power of the air; with the same co-witness of the Holy Spirit to the authority of the Name of Jesus, as in the early Church. In brief, that the Church of Christ will reach its high water mark, when it is able to recognize and deal with demon-possession; when it knows how to “bind the strong man” by prayer; “command” the spirits of evil in the Name of Christ, and deliver men and women from their power.

THE CHURCH IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY MUST
RECOGNIZE THE POWERS OF DARKNESS
For this the Christian Church must recognize that the existence of deceiving, lying spirits, is as real in the twentieth century as in the time of Christ, and their attitude to the human race unchanged. That their one ceaseless aim is to deceive every human being. That they are given up to wickedness all day long, and night long, and that they are ceaselessly, and actively pouring a stream of wickedness into the world, and are satisfied only when they succeed in their wicked plans to deceive, and ruin men.

Yet the servants of God have been concerned only to destroy their works; and to deal with sin; not recognizing the need of using the power given by Christ, to resist by faith and prayer, and prayer and faith, this ever- flowing flood of Satanic power pouring in among men; so that men and women, young and old, and even Christian and non-Christian, become deceived and possessed through their guile, and because of ignorance about them, and their wiles.

These supernatural forces of Satan are the true hindrance to revival. The power of God which broke forth in Wales, with all the marks of the days of Pentecost, was checked and hindered from going on to its fullest purpose,note 6 by the same influx of evil spirits as met the Lord Christ on earth, and the Apostles of the early Church; with the difference that the inroad of the powers of darkness found the Christians of the twentieth century, with few exceptions, unable to recognize, and deal with them. Evil spirit possession has followed, and checked every similar revival throughout the centuries since Pentecost,note 6 and these things must now be understood, and dealt with, if the Church is to advance to maturity. Understood, not only in the degree of possession recorded in the gospels, but in the special forms of manifestations suited to the close of the dispensation, under the guise of the Holy Spirit, yet having some of the very characteristic marks in bodily symptoms, seen in the gospel records, when all who saw the manifestation knew that it was the work of the spirits of Satan.

 

Click another Chapter title to close this chapter and open another chapter


 

Chapter 3

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 upon the earth (Luke 21: 34-36; Rev. 3: 10).

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 fulness 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;note 1 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 counterfeitnote 2 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,note 3 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.note 4

WHY THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT IS A SPECIAL TIME
OF DANGER
Another question of grave importance arises just here. Why, after a Baptism of the Holy Spirit, the believer should be so specially open to the deceiver’s workings, for the enemy must have ground to work upon, and with the Holy Spirit so manifestly in possession, how can “ground,” be possible, or the believer be open to the deceiver’s approach?

Possibly because in preceding years, through yielding to sin, an evil spirit may have obtained access to body or mind, and, hiding deeply in the structure of the man, never been detected, or dislodged. The manifestation of this evil spirit possibly being so apparently “natural,” or so identified with the person’s character, as to have had unhindered sway in his being; such as some peculiar idea in the mind being considered as part of the man’s idiosyncrasy; some habit of body, as part of the upbringing of the man himself, therefore “put up with” by others, and looked upon by the believer as a lawful thing, or of trivial importance; or else this evil spirit had lodgment through some secret sin known only to the person, or through some disposition which gave him sway. [See also “Passivity,” Chap. 4 and “obsession,” Chap. 5].

In the Baptism of the Spirit, the sin will of necessity have been dealt with;note 5 that is, the “works of the devil,” but the evil spirit manifested in the peculiar idiosyncrasy, is left undetected. The Baptism of the Spirit takes place, and the Holy Spirit fills the spirit of the man; the body and mind are “surrendered” to God, but hidden secretly in one, or both,note 6 is the evil spirit, or spirits, which obtained lodgment years before, but who now break forth into activity, and hide their “manifestations” under cover of the true workings of the Spirit of God, dwelling within the inner shrine of the spirit.

The result of this is, that for a time, the heart is filled with love; the spirit is full of light and joy; the tongue is loosed to witness, but ere long a “fanatical spirit” may be detected creeping in, or a subtle spirit of pride, or self-importance, and self-aggrandisement,note 7 concurrent with the other pure fruits of the Spirit, which are undeniably of God.

What the ground is upon which the deceiver works to carry out his schemes, and what these schemes are, and why in so many instances they succeed in ensnaring devoted believers, we shall deal with later on in this book. The fact to emphasize now, is, that “honest” and earnest believers can be deceived, and even “possessed” by deceiving spirits, so that for a period they go out of the main line into a bog of deception, or they are left deceived to the end, unless light for their deliverance reaches them.

THE NEED FOR EXAMINATTON OF THEORIES
In the light of the working of deceiving spirits, and their methods of deception, it is also becoming clear that close examination is needed of the twentieth century theories, conceptions, and expressions, concerning things in connection with God, and His way of working in man; for only the truth of God, apart from “views” of truth, will avail for protection, or warfare, in the conflict with wicked spirits in the heavenly sphere.

All that is in any degree the outcome of the mind of the “natural man” (1 Cor. 2: 14) will prove to be but weapons of straw in this great battle, and if we rely upon others’ “views of truth,” or upon our own human conceptions of truth, Satan will use these very things to deceive us, even building us up in these theories and views, so that under cover of them he may accomplish his purposes.

We cannot therefore, at this time, over-estimate the importance of believers having open minds to “examine all things” they have thought, and taught, in connection with the things of God, and the spiritual realm. All the “truths” they have held; all the phrases and expressions they have used in “holiness teachings”; and all the “teachings” they have absorbed through others. For any wrong interpretation of truth, any theories and phrases which are man- conceived, and which we may build upon wrongly, will have perilous consequences to ourselves, and to others, in the conflict which the Church, and the individual believer, is now passing through. Since in the “later times” evil spirits will come to them with deceptions in doctrinal form, believers must examine carefully what they accept as “doctrine,” lest it should be from the emissaries of the deceiver.

THE SPIRITUAL BELIEVER EXHORTED TO
“JUDGE ALL THINGS”
The duty of this examination of spiritual things is strongly urged by the Apostle Paul, again and again. “He that is spiritual judgeth (margin, examineth, or, as in the Greek, investigates and decides), all things” (1 Cor. 2: 15). The “spiritual” believer is to use his “judgment,” which is a renewed faculty if he is a “spiritual man,” and this spiritual examination, or judging, is mentioned as operative in connection with “things of the Spirit of God” (1 Cor 2: 14), showing how God Himself honours the intelligent personality of the man He re-creates in Christ, by inviting the “judging” and “examining” of His own workings by His Spirit; so that even “the things of the Spirit” are not to be received as of Him, without being examined, and “spiritually discerned” as of God. When, therefore, it is said in connection with the supernatural, and abnormal manifestations of the present time, that it is not necessary, nor even according to the will of God, for believers to understand, or explain all the workings of God, it is out of accord with the Apostle’s statement that, “he that is spiritual, judgeth all things,” and consequently should reject all things which his spiritual judgment is unable to accept, until such a time as he is able to discern with clearness what are the things of God.

And not only is the believer to discern, or judge the things of the spirit–i.e., all things in the spiritual realm–but he is also to judge himself. For “if we discriminated ourselves”–the Greek word means a thorough investigation –we should not need the dealing of the Lord, to bring to light the things in ourselves which we have failed to discern by discrimination (1 Cor. 11: 31, m.).

“Brethren, be not children in mind, howbeit in malice be ye babes, but in MIND BE MEN” (Gr., of full, or mature age, 1 Cor. 14: 20), wrote the Apostle again to the Corinthians, as he explained to them the way of the working of the Spirit among them. The believer is in “mind” to be of “full age”; that is, able to examine, “bring to the proof” (Gr., to prove, demonstrate, examine, 2 Tim. 4: 2, R.V. m.), and “prove all things” (1 Thess. 5: 21). He is to abound in knowledge, and “all discernment,” so as to “prove the things that differ,” that he may be “sincere and void of offence” until the day of Christ (Phil. 1: 10, m.).

EXPRESSIONS, “VIEWS,” DOCTRINES, NEED TO BE
EXAMINED
In accordance with these directions of the Word of God, and in view of the critical time through which the Church of Christ is passing, every expression, “view,” or theory, which we hold concerning things, should now be examined carefully, and brought to the proof, with open and honest desire to know the pure truth of God, as well as every statement that comes to our knowledge of the experience of others, which may throw light upon our own pathway. Every criticism–just or unjust–should be humbly received, and examined to discover its ground, apparent or real; and facts concerning spiritual verities from every section of the Church of God, should be analysed, independent of their pleasure, or pain, to us personally, either for our own enlightenment, or for our equipment in the service of God. For the knowledge of truth is the first essential for warfare with the lying spirits of Satan, and truth must be eagerly sought for, and faced with earnest and sincere desire to know it, and obey it in the light of God; truth concerning ourselves, discerned by unbiased discrimination; truth from the Scriptures, uncoloured, unstrained, unmutilated, undiluted; truth in facing facts of experience in all members of the Body of Christ, and not one section alone.

THE PLACE OF TRUTH IN DELIVERANCE
There is a fundamental principle involved in the freeing power of truth from the deceptions of the devil.Deliverance from believing lies must be by believing truth. Nothing can remove a lie but truth. “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8: 32), is applicable to every aspect of truth, as well as the special truth referred to by the Lord when He spoke the pregnant words.

In the very first stage of the Christian life the sinner must know the truth of the gospel, if he is to be saved. Christ is the Saviour, but He saves through, and not apart from instruments or means. If the believer needs freedom, he must ask the Son of God for it. How does the Son set free? By the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit does it by the instrumentality of truth; or we may say, in brief, freedom is the gift of the Son, by the Holy Spirit working through truth.

There are three stages of apprehending truth :–

  1. Perception of truth by the understanding.
  2. Perception of truth for use, and personal application.
  3. Perception of truth for teaching, and passing on to others.

Truth apparently not grasped may lie in the mind, and in the hour of need suddenly emerge into experience, and thus by experience become clear to the mind in which it has been lying dormant. It is only by continual application, and assimilation of truth in experience, that it becomes clarified in the mind in order to teach others.

The great need of all believers is that they should eagerly seek truth for their progressive liberation from all Satan’s lies; for knowledge and truth alone can give victory over Satan as deceiver and liar. If the hearers of truth should resist it, or rebel against it, truth can well be left to the care of the Holy Spirit of Truth. Even in the case of resistance to truth it has at least reached the mind, and at any time may fructify into experience.

There are three attitudes of mind in regard to knowledge, i.e.,

  1. Assumption of knowing a certain thing.
  2. Neutrality toward it, i.e., “I do not know.”
  3. Certainty of real knowledge.

This is instanced in the life of Christ. Some said of Him, “He is a false prophet,” with an assumption of knowledge; others said, “We do not know”- -taking a position of neutrality until they did know; but Peter said, “We know . . ” and he had true knowledge.

THE SAFETY OF A NEUTRAL ATTITUDE TO ALL
SUPERNATURAL MANIFESTATIONS
When believers first hear of the possibility of counterfeits of God, and Divine things, they almost invariably ask, “How are we to know which is which?” It is enough, first of all, for them to know that such counterfeits are possible; and then, as they mature, or seek light from God, they learn to know for themselves, as no human being can explain to them.

But they cry, “We do not know, and how can we know?” They should remain neutral to all supernatural workings until they do know. There is among many a wrong anxiety to know, as if knowledge alone would save them. They think that they must be either for, or against certain things, which they cannot decide are either from God, or from the devil; and want to know infallibly which is which, that they may declare their position: but believers can take the attitude of “for” or “against” without knowing whether the things they are in doubt about are Divine or Satanic; and maintain the wisdom and safety of the neutral position to the things themselves, until, by a means which cannot be fully described, they know what they have wanted to understand.

One effect of over-eagerness in desiring knowledge, is a feverish anxiety, and a restless impatience, worry and trouble, which causes a loss of moral poise and power. It is important in seeking one “blessing” not to destroy another. In seeking knowledge of spiritual things let not the believer lose patience, and calm quiet restfulness, and faith; let him watch himself, lest the enemy gain advantage, and rob him of moral power, whilst he is keen to get light and truth upon the way of victory over him.

MISTAKEN CONCEPTION ABOUT THE SHELTER OF THE BLOOD
Ere we pass on to deal with the ground for the working of deceiving spirits in believers, some misinterpretations of truth which are giving ground to the powers of darkness at this time, and which need examination to discover how far they are in accordance with Scripture, may briefly be referred to. (1) A mistaken conception concerning the “shelter of the Blood,” claimed upon an assembly as a guarantee of absolute protection from the working of the powers of darkness.

The New Testament “proportion of truth” concerning the application of the Blood, by the Holy Spirit, may briefly be said to be as follows:–(1) The Blood of Jesus cleanses from sin, (a) “if we walk in the light,” and ( b) “if we confess our sins” (1 John 1: 7, 9). (2) The Blood of Jesus gives access to the Holiest of all; because of the cleansing power from sin (Hebrews 10: 19). (3) The Blood of Jesus is the ground of victoryover Satan, because of its cleansing from every confessed sin, and because at Calvary, Satan was conquered (Rev. 12: 11), but we do not read that any can be put “under the Blood” apart from their own volition, and individual condition before God; e.g., if the “shelter of the Blood” is claimed over an assembly of people, and one present is giving ground for Satan, the “claiming of the Blood” does not avail to prevent Satan working on the ground which he has a right to in that person.

In gatherings of people at all stages of spiritual knowledge and experience, the actual effect of claiming the power of the Blood can only be upon the atmosphere where the evil spirits are; and the Holy Spirit bears witness to it there with immediate cleansing effect, as exampled in Rev. 12: 11, where the warfare spoken of is in the “heavens,” with a spiritual foe, working as an accuser.

A misconception, therefore, about the protecting power of the Blood, is serious; for those who are present in a meeting where Satan is working as well as God, may believe they are personally safe from Satan’s workings, apart from their individual condition and dealing with God; whilst through the ground they have given–even unknowingly–to the adversary, they are open to his power.

MISTAKEN CONCEPTIONS CONCERNING “WAITING
FOR THE SPIRIT”
(2) Mistaken conceptions concerning “waiting for the Spirit” to descend. Here again we find expressions and theories misleading, and opening the door to Satanic deceptions. “If we want a Pentecostal manifestation of the Spirit, we must ‘tarry’ as did the disciples before Pentecost,” we have said the one to the other, and we have seized upon the text in Luke 24: 49, and Acts 1: 4, and passed the word along. “Yes, we must ‘tarry,'” until, compelled by the inroads of the adversary in “waiting meetings,” we have had to search the Scriptures once more, to discover that the Old Testament word of “wait on the Lord” so often used in the Psalms, has been strained beyond the New Testament proportion of truth, and exaggerated into a “waiting on God” for the outpouring of the Spirit, which has even gone beyond the “ten days” which preceded Pentecost, into four months, and even four years, and which, to our knowledge, has ended in an influx of deceiving spirits which has rudely awakened some of the waiting souls. The Scriptural truth concerning waiting for the Spirit”note 8 may be summed up as follows:

  1. The disciples waited ten days, but we have no indication that they “waited” in any passive state, but rather in simple prayer, and supplication, until the fulness of time had come for the fulfilment of the promise of the Father.
  2. The command to wait, given by the Lord (Acts 1: 4) was not carried forward into the Christian dispensation after the Holy Ghost had come, for in no single instance, either in the Acts or in the Epistles, do the Apostles bid the disciples “tarry” for the gift of the Holy Spirit, but they use the word “receive” in every instance (Acts 19: 2).note 9

It is true that at this time the Church is, as a whole, living experimentally on the wrong side of Pentecost, but in dealing with God individually for the reception of the Holy Spirit, this does not put the seekers back to the position of the disciples before the Holy Ghost had been given by the Ascended Lord. The Risen Lord poured forth the stream of the Spirit again and again after the day of Pentecost, but in each instance it was without “tarrying” as the disciples did at the first (see Acts. 4: 31). The Holy Spirit, Who proceeds from the Father through the Son to His people, is now among them, waiting to give Himself unceasingly to all who will appropriate, and receive Him (John 15: 26 ; Acts 2: 33, 38, 39). A ” waiting for the Spirit” therefore is not in accord with the general tenor of the truth given in the Acts and the Epistles, which show rather the imperative call to the believer to put in his claim, not only to his identification with the Lord Jesus in His death, and union in life with Him in His resurrection, but also to the enduement for witnessing, which came to the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.

On the believer’s side, we may say, however, that there is a waiting for God, whilst the Holy Spirit deals with, and prepares, the one who has put in his claim, until he is in the right attitude for the influx of the Holy Spirit into his spirit, but this is different from the “waiting for Him to come,”note 10 which has opened the door so frequently to Satanic manifestations from the unseen world. The Lord does take the believer at his word when he puts in his claim for his share of the Pentecostal gift, but the “manifestation of the Spirit”–the evidence of His indwelling and outworking– may not be according to any pre-conceptions of the seeker.note 11

WHY WAITING MEETINGS ARE PROFITABLE TO EVIL
SPIRITS
Why “waiting meetings”–that is, “waiting for the Spirit” until He descends in some manifested way–have been so profitable to deceiving spirits, is because they are not in accord with the written Word, where it is set forth that (1) The Holy Spirit is not to be prayed to, or asked to come, as He is the Gift of Another (see Luke 11: 13; John 14: 16). (2) The Holy Spirit is not to be “waited for,” but to be taken, or receivedfrom the hand of the Risen Lord (John 20: 22; Eph. 5: 18); of Whom it is written, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire” (Matt. 3: 11). [This is] out of line with the truth of the Scriptures, therefore prayer to the Spirit, “trust in the Spirit,” “obeying the Spirit,” “expecting the Spirit” to descend, may all become prayer, trust, and obedience to evil spirits, when they counterfeit the working of God, as we shall see later on.

Other mistaken conceptions of spiritual truth, centre around phrases, such as these: “God can do everything. If I trust Him He must keep me“; not understanding that God works according to laws, and conditions, and that those who trust Him, should seek to know the conditions upon which He can work in response to their trust. “If I were wrong, God would not use me“; not understanding that if a man is right in his will, God will use him to the fullest extent possible, but this being “used” of God is no guarantee that any man is absolutely right in all that he says and does .

I have no sin,” or “sin has been entirely removed“; not knowing how deeply the sinful life of Adam is ingrained in the fallen creation, and how the assumption that “sin” has been eliminated from the whole being, enables the enemy to keep the life of nature from being dealt with by the continual power of the Cross. “God, Who is Love, will not allow me to be deceived” is of itself a deception, based on ignorance of the depths of the Fall, and the misconception that God works irrespective of spiritual laws. “I do not believe it possible for a Christian to be deceived,” is a shutting of the eyes to facts around us on every hand. “I have had too long an experience to need teaching” ; “I must be taught Of God direct, because it is written, ‘Ye need not that any man teach you.’ ” is another misused passage of Scripture, which some believers interpret as meaning that they are to refuse all spiritual teaching through others. But that the Apostle’s words, “Ye need not that any man teach you,” did not preclude God teaching through anointed teachers, is shown in the inclusion of “teachers” in the list of gifted believers to the Church, for the “building up of the Body of Christ” through “that which every joint supplieth” (Eph. 4: 11-16). For God is sometimes able to teach His children more quickly by indirect means–that is, through others–than directly, because men are so slow in understanding the way of direct teaching by the Spirit of God.

Many other similar misconceptions of spiritual things by Christians of to- day, give opportunity to the deception of the enemy, because they cause believers to close their minds to (1) the statements of God’s Word; (2) the facts of life; (3) and the help of others who could throw light upon the way (1 Pet. 1: 12).

THE DANGERS OF COINED PHRASES TO EXPRESS
SPIRITUAL TRUTHS
Other dangers centre around the coining of phrases to describe some special experience, and words in familiar use amongst earnest children of God who attend Conventions; such as “possess,” “control,” “surrender,” “let go,” all containing truth in relation to God, but in the interpretation of them in the minds of many believers, liable to bring about conditions for the evil spirits of Satan to “possess” and “control” those who “surrender,” and “let go” to the powers of the spiritual world, not knowing how to discern between the working of God and Satan.

Various preconceptions of the way God works, also give evil spirits their opportunity; such as, that when a believer is supernaturally compelled to act, it is a special evidence that God is guiding him, or that if God brings all things to our “remembrance” we need not use our memories at all.note 12

Other thoughts which are liable to bring about the passivenote 13 condition, which evil spirits need for their deceptive workings, may also be through the following misconceptions of truth:

  1. “Christ lives in me,” i.e.I do not live now at all;
  2. “Christ lives in me,” i.e., I have lost my personality, because Christ is now personally in me, based on Gal. 2: 20.
  3. “God worketh in me,” i.e., I need not work, only surrender and obey, based on Phil. 2: 13.
  4. “God wills instead of me,” i.e., I must not use my will at all;
  5. “God is the only one to judge,” i.e., I must not use my judgment.
  6. “I have the mind of Christ,” I must not have any mind of my own, based on 1 Cor. 2: 16.
  7. “God speaks to me,” so I must not “think” or “reason,” only “obey” what He tells me to do.
  8. “I wait on God,” and “I must not act until He moves me.”
  9. “God reveals His will to me by visions,” so I do not need to decide, and use my reason and conscience.
  10. “I am crucified with Christ,” therefore “I am dead,” and must “practice” death, which I conceive to be passivity of feeling, thinking, etc.

To carry out in practice these various conceptions of truth, the believer quenches all personal action of mind, judgment, reason, will and activity, for the “Divine life to flow,” through him, whereas God needs the fullest liberation of the faculties of the man, and his active and intelligent co-operation in will, for the working out of all these spiritual truths in experience.

The following table will show some other misinterpretations of truth, which need clarifying in the minds of many children of God:

TRUTHTRUE
INTERPRETATION
INCORRECT
INTERPRETATION
1.“The Blood of Jesus cleanseth . .”Cleanses moment by moment.Leaves the man sinless.
2.“It is not ye that speak . .”The source is not from the believer.note 14The man must not speak nor use his jaws, but be passive.
3.“Ask and ye shall receive.”Ask according to God’s Will and you will receive.note 15Askanything, and you will receive.
4.“It is God that worketh in you to will and to do . .”The man must “will” and must act. (page 74)note 14God wills for you (or instead of you) and God works instead of you.
5.“Ye need not that any man teach you.”You do not need any manto teach you, but you need Spirit-taught teachers given of God.note 16I must not take teaching from any man, but “direct” from God . . .
6.“He will guide you into all truth . .”The Spirit of God will guide, but I must see howand when . .note 16 guided me into all truth . . .
7.“A people for His own possession . .”God’s ownership.“Possessed” by God indwelling, moving and controlling a passive automation.
8.“Meet for the Master’s use . .”God, in the man’s spirit, using the mind, in the sense of giving light for the believer’s intelligent co-operation.“Used” by God as a passive tool, requiring blind submission.

What, then, is the condition of safety from the deception of evil spirits? (1) Knowledge that they exist; (2) that they can deceive the most honest believers (Gal. 2: 11-16); (3) an understanding of the conditions and ground necessary for their working, so as to give them no place, and no opportunity of working; and, lastly, (4) intelligent knowledge of God, and how to co-operate with Him in the power of the Holy Spirit. To make these points clear will be our purpose in succeeding pages.

 

Click another Chapter title to close this chapter and open another chapter

Chapter 4

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 to-day, 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,note 1 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

I.
Unsurrendered.
II.
Surrendered, Deceived, Possessed.
III.
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 “will”-ing instead of, and “working” insteadof 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 Godnote 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,note 4 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.

PASSIVITY OF JUDGMENT AND REASON
Passivity of judgment and reason, which means that the man in this condition has closed the mind to all arguments, and statements upon which he has come to settled conclusions, and all effort to give him further truth and light is regarded as interference, and the person attempting it as ignorant, or intrusive. The believer in this stage of passivity lapses into a state of evil positiveness, and infallibility; from which nothing can release the “judgment,” but the rude shock of seeing that he has been deceived, and possessed by evil spirits. To undermine the deception of a believer in this condition, almost means the re-laying of the very foundations of his spiritual life. Hence the few–called “fanatics” and “cranks” by the world–who have been saved out of this degree of the deception of the enemy.

PASSIVITY OF THE CONSCIENCE
As for the passivity of the reasoning powers, when such believers have taken words spoken to them supernaturally, as God’s expressed will, they become law to them, so that they cannot be induced to reason over them. If they receive a “commandment” (supernaturally) about anything, they will not examine it, or reason or think upon that point, and they steadfastly determine to close themselves absolutely to any further light in this particular direction. This brings about, what may be described as, passivity of the conscience . The conscience becomes passive through non-use, when believers think that they are being guided by a higher law of being told to do this, or that, directly from God; that is, by direct guidance through voices, and texts.note 5

When believers sink into passivity of conscience, there is a manifestation of moral degradation in some, and in others stagnation, or retrogression in life or service. Instead of using their mind, or conscience in deciding what is good and evil, and right and wrong, they walk, as they believe, according to the “voice of God,” which they make the deciding factor in all their decisions. When this takes place, they will not listen to their reason, or conscience, or the words of others, and having come to decision through the supposed direction of God, their minds become as a closed and sealed book on the matter in question.

Ceasing to use their true reasoning powers, they become open to all kinds of suggestions from evil spirits, and false “reasonings”; for example, in regard to the coming of Christ, some have falsely reasoned that because Christ is coming soon, they do not need to carry on their usual work, overlooking the words of the Lord on this very matter: “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath set over his household, to give them their food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.”note 6

Because of what he will gain through it, therefore, the devil will do anything to engender passivity in any form whatsoever, in spirit, or mind or body.

PASSIVITY OF THE SPIRIT
Passivity of the spirit is closely associated with passivity of mind, because there is a close relationship between mind and spirit; a wrong thought generally means a wrong spirit, and a wrong spirit a wrong thought.

The human “spirit” is often spoken of in the Scriptures as having activities, and is described as being in various conditions. It can be moved, or be inactive, it can be “loosed,” bound, depressed, faint, free, and moved from three sources: God, the devil, or the man himself. It can be pure, or “filthy” (2 Cor. 7: 1, A.V.), or in a mixed condition, in the sense of being pure up to a degree, with other degrees of impurity to be dealt with.

By the cleansing power of the Blood of Christ (1 John 1: 9), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the spirit is brought into union with Christ (1 Cor. 6: 17), and should actively dominate the man in full co-operation with the Holy Spirit. But passivity of spirit can be brought about by so many causes, that believers may be scarcely conscious of having any “spirit” at all, or else, through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, which releases the human spirit into freedom and buoyancy, the man may become acutely conscious of the spirit life for a season, and afterwards sink into passivity of spirit, unknowingly. This, then, means absolute powerlessness in the warfare with the powers of darkness; for full liberty, and usage of the spirit in co-working with the indwelling Holy Spirit, is a supreme essential for personal victory, and wielding the authority of Christ over the powers of evil. (See example of Paul in Acts 13: 9, 10).

CAUSES OF PASSIVITY OF SPIRIT
Passivity of spirit generally follows the Baptism of the Spirit, by the will and the mind becoming passive through lack of use; and the believer then wonders why he has lost the buoyant light and liberty of his joyous experience. It may come about through:

(1) Ignorance of the laws of the spirit,note 7 and how to keep in the freedom of the spirit.

(2) Wrong mental conclusions, or wrong thoughts.note 8 Mixing up feelings, such as physical, soulish and spiritual, not knowing which is which, i.e., (1) putting the spiritual down to soulish and physical, or (2) attributing to the spiritual that which is natural and physical.

(3) A drawing upon of the soulish life instead of the spirit, through lack of knowledge of the difference between them; also by quenching the spirit through ignoring the spiritual sense;note 9 for the mind should be able to read the sense of the spirit, as clearly as it does the sense of seeing, hearing, smelling, and all the senses of the body. There is a knowledge of the mind, and a knowledge in the spirit, hence a “sense” of the spirit,note 9 which we should learn to understand. It should be read, used, cultivated, and when there is a weight on the spirit of the believer, he should be able to recognize it, and know how to get rid of it.

(4) Drainage and exhaustion of the body or mind, by constant activity of the mind in excessive use. In short, the mind and body must be released from strain, before the spirit can be fully operative. (Compare experience of Elijah in 1 Kings 19: 4, 5, 8, 9).

Worry, or trouble over the past, or future, checks the free action of the spirit, by making the outer man and outer affairs dominant, instead of the inner man being at liberty for the will of God in the moment.

The result of all these causes is that the spirit becomes locked up,note 10 so to speak, so that it cannot act, or fight against the powers of darkness, either in their indirect attacks through environment, or in aggressive warfare against them. The rapidity with which a believer can sink into passivity, at any moment when the resisting attitude ceases, may be likened to the sinking of a stone in water.

PASSIVITY OF THE BODY
When passivity of body takes place, it practically means a cessation of consciousness, through the passivity affecting sight, hearing, smell, taste, feeling, etc. Assuming the person to be in normal health, he should be able to focus his eyes on any object he chooses, either for vision or work, and he should have the same control over all the other senses, as avenues of knowledge to his mind and spirit. But with all, or some of these senses in a passive condition, the consciousness becomes dulled or deadened. The believer is “unconscious,”note 11 of what he should be keenly alive to, and automatic in his actions. “Unconscious” habits, repulsive or peculiar, are manifested. It is easier for persons in this condition to see these things in others, than to know what is going on in themselves; whilst they may be hyper-conscious of external things touching their own personality.

When the passive condition brought about by evil spirits reaches its climax, passivity of other parts of the body may result, such as stiff fingers, lost elasticity of the frame in walking, lethargy, heaviness, stooping of the back and spine.note 12 The handshake is flabby, and passive; the eyes will not look straight into the eyes of others, but move from side to side; all indicating passivity, brought about by deepening interference of the powers of darkness with the whole man, resulting from the first passive condition of the will and mind, in which the man gave up (1) his self-control, and (2) use of his will.

PASSIVITY OF THE WHOLE MAN
At this stage every department of the whole being is affected. The man acts without using, or using fully, the mind, will, imagination, reason; that is, without thinking (volitionally), deciding, imagining, reasoning. The affections seem dormant, as well as all the faculties of mind and body. In some cases the bodily needs are also dormant, or else the man suppresses them, and deprives himself of food, sleep and bodily comfort at the dictation of the spirits in control; thus carrying out a “severity to the body” which is not of any real value against the indulgence of the flesh (Col. 2: 23). The animal part of the man may also be awakened, and whilst stoical in sensibilities and feeling, be gluttonous in the demand for supply of bodily needs; that is, the machinery of the bodily frame goes on working independently of the control of mind or will, for the body now dominates spirit and soul. Men may live in the (1) human spirit, (2) in the soul, or in the (3) body; for example, the glutton lives in, or after, the body; the student in mind, or soul, the spiritual man “in the spirit.” “Spiritists”note 13 are not really “spiritual,” or true men of spirit, for they live in the sense realm generally, and only have to do with “spirit” through their dealing with the evil spiritual forces, through understanding the laws for their workings, and fulfilling them.

THE SPIRIT SENSE LOST IN SENSATIONS OF THE BODY
When the believer is in any degree possessed by evil spirits, he is liable to live in the body, give way to the sensuous, and to be dominated by the physical realm. This can become the case through “spiritual” experiences felt in the physical frame, but which are not really spiritual, because not from the spirit. A sense of “fire” in the body, “glow,” “thrills,” and all exquisite bodily sensations from apparently “spiritual” causes, really feed the senses; and, unconsciously to themselves, whilst they have these experiences, believers live in the sense-realm, practically walking “after the flesh,” though they call themselves “spiritual.” For this reason “I keep under my body” (1 Cor. 9: 27), is practically impossible in demon-possession, even in its most refined, or weakest degree; because the sense-life is aroused in all kinds of ways, and the sensations of the body are forced upon the consciousness of the man. The spirit sense is practically lost in the acute realization of all the sensations in the bodily consciousness. A man, for example, in normal health, is oblivious of the physical action of breathing going on in his physical frame. In like manner, a believer under the domination of the spirit, ceases to register his bodily sensations, but the opposite is the case when evil spirits have gained a footing, and awakened the sense-life to abnormal action, either by beautiful experiences, or the contrary.note 14

The cultivation of this condition of passivity may be ignorantly, and sedulously, carried out for years by the surrendered believer, so that it deepens its hold upon him to an incredible extent; until, when it reaches its consummation, the man may become so under the bondage of it as to awaken to his state; and then he thinks that “natural causes” alone explain his condition, or else that in some unaccountable way, his acute sensitiveness to God, and Divine things, has become dulled beyond power of restoration or renewal.note 15 The physical feelings become deadened, or atrophied, and the affections seem petrified, and stoical. This is the time when deceiving spirits suggest that he has grieved God beyond repair, and a man goes through agonies of seeking the Presence he thinks he has grieved away.

The cultivation of passivity may come about from reliance upon the many helps, contrived, (unknowingly), by the person to counteract, or obviate the inconvenience of the passive state, such as the provision of, and dependence upon, outward helps to the eye for assisting the passive memory; utterance in speech to assist the “thinking” of the passive mind; and, what may be termed “crutches” of all kinds, known only to the individual; elaborately constructed, and multiplied to meet his different needs, but all keeping him from recognizing his true condition, even if he has the knowledge for doing so.

MANIFESTATIONS OF INFLUENCE OF EVIL SPIRITS
CALLED NATURAL IDIOSYNCRASIES
But this truth about the working of evil spirits among believers, and the causes and symptoms of their power upon mind or body, has been so veiled in ignorance, that multitudes of children of God are held in bondage to their power without knowing it. The manifestations are generally taken as natural idiosyncrasies, or infirmities. The Lord’s work is put on one side, or even never taken up, because the believer is “over strained,” or else “without gifts” for doing it. He is “nervous,” “timid,” has no “gift of speech, ” no “power of thought,” where the service of God is concerned; but in the social sphere these “deficiencies” are forgotten, and the “timid” ones shine out at their best. It does not occur to them to ask why it is that only in God’s service are they thus incapable? But it is only in respect to such a service that the hidden workings of Satan interfere.

THE SHOCK WHEN THE BELIEVER APPREHENDS
THE TRUTH
The shock is great when the believer first apprehends the truth of deception and possession as possible in himself, but as the ultimate issue is realized, the joy of the one who sets himself to understand, and fight through to full deliverance, is more than words can tell. Light pours in upon the unsolved problems of years; both in the personal experience, and in the perplexities of environment; as well as on conditions in the Church and in the world.

As he seeks for light from God, the subtle inroads of the deceiving spirits into his life, slowly become clear to the open minded believer; and their many devices to deceive him stand revealed, as the searchlight of truth goes far back into the past, revealing the cause of unaccountable difficulties in experience and life, and many mysterious happenings which had been accepted as “the inscrutable will of God.”

Passivity! How many have fallen into it, little knowing their state! Through the passivity of their faculties much time is lost in dependence upon the help of outward circumstances, and environment. In the lives of so many there is much “doing,” with so little accomplished, many beginnings, and few endings. How familiar we are with the words “Yes, I can do that,” and the impulse is moved, but by the time the need for action has come, the passive man has lost his momentary interest. This is the key to much of the lamented “apathy,” and the dulled sympathy of Christians to really spiritual things, whilst they are keenly alive to the social, or worldly elements around them. The worldling can be stirred in acutest feeling for the sufferings of others, but many of the children of God have, unknowingly, opened themselves to a supernatural power which has dulled them in thought, and mind and sympathy. Ever craving for comfort and happiness and peace in spiritual things, they have sung themselves into a “passivity”–i.e., a passive state of “rest,” “peace” and “joy”–which has given opportunity to the powers of darkness to lock them up in the prison of themselves, and thus make them almost incapable of acutely understanding the needs of a suffering world.

PASSIVITY OCCASIONED BY WRONG INTERPRETATIONS
OF THE TRUTH OF “DEATH”
This condition of passivity may come about by wrong interpretations of truth, even the truth of “death with Christ” as set forth in Romans 6 and Galatians2: 20, when it is carried beyond the true balance of the Word of God. God calls upon true believers to “reckon” themselves “dead indeed unto sin,” and also to the evil self-life, even in a religious or “holiness” form; that is, the life which came from the first Adam, the old creation; but this does not mean a death to the human personality, for Paul said “Yet I live,” although “Christ liveth in me!”note 16 There is a retention of the personal being, the ego, the will, the personality, which is to be dominated by the Spirit of God, as He energizes the man’s individuality, held by him in “self-control” (Gal. 5: 23, m.).

In the light of the misconception of the truth of “death with Christ” as conceived to mean passivity, and suppression of the actions of the personality of the man, it is now easy to see why the apprehension of the truths connected with Romans 6: 6, and Galatians 2: 20, have been the prelude, in some cases, to supernatural manifestations of the powers of darkness. The believer through the misconception of these truths, actually fulfilling the primary conditions for the working of evil spirits; the very conditions understood by spiritist mediums to be necessary for obtaining the manifestations they desire. In such cases it may be said that truth is the devil’s fulcrum for launching his lies.

So far as Romans 6 is understood to be a momentary declaration of an attitude to sin; and Galatians 2: 20 another declaration of an attitude to God; and 2 Cor. 4: 10- 12 and Phil. 3: 10 the out-working of the Spirit of God in bringing the believer into actual conformity to the death of Christ as he maintains his declared attitude; the powers of darkness are defeated; for the momentary declared attitude demands active volition, and active co-operation with the Risen Lord, and active acceptance of the path of the Cross. But when these truths are interpreted to mean (1) a loss of personality; (2) an absence of volition and self-control, and (3) the passive letting go of the “I myself” into a condition of machine-like, mechanical, automatic “obedience,” with “deadness” and heaviness which the believer thinks is “mortification” or “the working of death” in him;note 17 it makes the truth of death with Christ a fulfilling of conditions for evil spirits to work, and an absence of conditions upon which God can alone work; so that “supernatural manifestations” taking place on the basis of passivity, can have no other source than the lying spirits, however beautiful and God-like they may be.

This counterfeit of spiritual “death” may take place in regard to spirit, soul or body. How the truth of death with Christ can be misconstrued, and made the occasion for evil spirits to obtain the ground of passivity, may be exampled in some of the following ways:–

MISCONCEPTION OF SELF-EFFACEMENT
1. Passivity caused by misconception of self-effacement: Under the conception of surrender of self to God, as meaning self-effacement, self-renunciation, and, practically, self-annihilation, the believer aimed at unconsciousness of (1) personality, (2) personal needs, (3) personal states, feelings, desires, external appearance, circumstances, discomforts, opinions of others, etc., so as to be “conscious” of God only moving, working, acting, through him. To this end he gave over his “self-consciousness” to “death,” and prayed that he might have no consciousness of anything in the world, but the presence of God; then to carry out this absolute surrender of self to death, and this entire self-effacement, he consistently, in practice, “yields to death” every trace of the movement of “self” he becomes aware of, and sets his will steadily to renounce all consciousness of personal wishes, desires, tastes, needs, feelings, etc. All this appearing to be so “self-sacrificing” and “spiritual,” but which results in an entire suppression of personality, and the giving of ground to evil spirits in a passivity of the whole being. This permits the powers of darkness to work, and bring about an “unconsciousness” which becomes in time a deadness and dullness of the sensibilities, and an inability to feel; not only for himself, but for others, so as not to know when they suffer, and when he himself causes suffering.

MISCONCEPTION OF TRUTH PART OF “TEACHINGS”
OF DECEIVING SPIRITS
As this conception of self-effacement, and loss of self-consciousness is contrary to the believer’s full use of the faculties, which the Spirit of God requires for co-operation with Him, evil spirits gain ground on the basis of this deception about “death.” The misconception of what death means in practice, was really part of their “teachings,” subtly suggested, and received by the man who was ignorant of the possibility of deception, over, what looked like, devoted, whole-hearted surrender to God. The “teachings of demons” can, therefore, be based on truth, under the guise of misconception, or misinterpretation of the truth, whilst the believer is honestly holding the truth itself.

The effect of the deception on the believer is, in due time, an “unconsciousness” produced by evil spirits, which is hard to break. In his state of unconsciousness, he has no ability to discern, recognize, feel or know things around him, or in himself. He is “unconscious”note 18 of his actions, ways and manners, together with a hyper-self-consciousness which he is unconscious of, and which makes him easily hurt, but “unconscious” of his own hurting of others. He has practically become stoical, and unable to see the effect of his actions in putting others into suffering. He acts “unconsciously,” without volitional thinking, reasoning, imagining, deciding, what be says and does. His actions are consequently mechanical and automatic. He is “unconscious” of sometimes being a channel for the transmission of words, thoughts, feelings which pass through him apart from the action of his will and his knowledge of the source.

“Unconsciousness” as the effect of demon-possession, becomes a formidable stumbling block in the way of deliverance, for the evil spirits may hold, hinder, attack, divert, suggest, impress, draw, or do any other equally offensive, and injurious thing, in or through the person, whilst he is “unconscious” of their workings.

PASSIVTY CAUSED BY WRONG ACCEPTANCE
OF SUFFERING
2. Passivity caused by wrong acceptance of suffering. The believer consents to accept “suffering with Christ” in the “way of the Cross,” and in fulfilment of this surrender to suffering, from this time on passively yields to suffering in whatever form it may come, believing that “suffering with Christ” means (a) reward, and (b) fruitfulness. He does not know that evil spirits can give counterfeit “suffering,” and that he may accept suffering from them, believing it to be from the hand of God, and, by thus doing, give ground to them for possession. Possession interprets both sin in the life which cannot be got rid of, and suffering in the life which cannot be explained. By understanding the truth of possession, the first can be got rid of, and the latter explained. Suffering is a great weapon to control and compel a person into a certain course, and is a great weapon for evil spirits to control men, as by suffering they can drive a man to do what he would not do, apart from its compulsion.

Not knowing these things the believer may entirely misinterpret the suffering he goes through. Believers are often deceived over what they think to be “vicarious” suffering in themselves for others, or for the Church. They look upon themselves as martyrs, when they are really victims, not knowing that “suffering” is one of the chief symptoms of possession. By putting a man into suffering, the evil spirits ease themselves of their enmity, and hatred to man.

MARKS OF SUFFERING CAUSED BY EVIL SPIRITS
Suffering directly caused by evil spirits may be discriminated from the true fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, by a complete absence of result, either in fruit, victory, or ripening in Spiritual growth. If carefully observed, it will be seen to be entirely purposeless. On the other hand, God does nothing without a definite object. He does not delight in causing suffering for the sake of suffering, but the devil does. Suffering caused by evil spirits is acute and fiendish in its character, and there is no inward witness of the Spirit which tells the suffering believer that it is from the hand of God. To a discriminating eye it can be as clearly diagnosed when from an evil spirit, as any physical pain can be discriminated from a mental one, by a skillful physician.

The suffering caused by evil spirits can be (1) spiritual, by causing acute suffering in the spirit, injecting “feelings” to the spirit, repugnant or poignant; (2) soulish, by acute darkness, confusion, chaos, horror in the mind; anguished, knife-like pain in the heart, or other innermost vital parts of the being; or (3) physical, in any part of the body.

The ground given for the evil spirits to produce counterfeit suffering in such an acute degree as this, may be traced back to the time when the believer, in his absolute surrender to God for the “way of the Cross,” deliberately willed to accept suffering from Him. Then afterwards, in fulfilment of this surrender, he gave ground to the enemy, by accepting some specific suffering as from God, which really came from the spirits of evil , thus opening the door to them, by (1) the reception of their lie, (2) the admittance of their actual power manifested in the suffering–continuing still further to give more ground by believing theirinterpretation of the suffering–and (3) as “the will of God”; until the whole life became one prolonged “yielding to suffering,” which seemed unreasonable, unaccountable in its origin, and purposeless in its results. God’s character is thus often maligned to His children, and the deceiving spirits do their utmost to arouse rebellion against Him for what they themselves are doing.

PASSIVITY THROUGH WRONG IDEAS OF HUMILITY
3. Passivity caused by wrong ideas of humility and self-abasement. The believer consents in accepting “death,” to let it be carried out in a “nothingness” and a “self-effacement” which gives him no place for proper and true self-estimation whatsoever (compare 2 Cor. 10: 12-18). If the believer accepts the self-depreciation, suggested to him and created by evil spirits, it brings an atmosphere of hopelessness and weakness about him, and he conveys to others a spirit of darkness and heaviness, sadness and grief. His spirit is easily crushed, wounded and depressed. He may attribute the cause to “sin,” without being aware of any specific sin in his life; or may even look upon his “suffering” experience as “vicarious” suffering for the Church; whereas an abnormal sense of suffering is one of the chief symptoms of possession.

In the counterfeit of the true elimination of “pride,” and all the forms of sin arising from it, the counterfeit caused by possession may be recognized by (1) the believer obtruding his self-depreciation at moments most inopportune, with painful perplexity to those who hear it; (2) a shrinking back from service for God, with inability to recognize the interests of the kingdom of Christ; (3) a laborious effort to keep “I” out of sight, both in conversation and action, and yet which forces the “I” more into view in an objectionable form; (4) a deprecatory, apologizing manner, which gives opportunity to the “world-rulers of the darkness of this world,” to instigate their subjects to crush, and put aside this “not I” person, in moments of strategic importance to the kingdom of God; (5) an atmosphere around such an one of weakness, darkness, sadness, grief, lack of hope, easily wounded touchiness–all of which may be the result of the believer “will”-ing, in some moment of “surrender to death,” to accept an effacement of the true personality, which God requires as a vessel for the manifestation of the Spirit of Christ, in a life of fullest co-operation with the Spirit of God. The believer, by his wrong belief, and submission to evil spirits, suppressed into passivity a personality which could not, and was not meant to “die”; and by this passivity opened the door to the powers of darkness to gain ground for possession.

PASSIVITY CAUSED BY WRONG THOUGHT ABOUT
WEAKNESS
4. Passivity caused by a wrong thought about weakness. The believer consents to a perpetual condition of weakness, under a misconception of its being a necessary state for the manifestation of Divine life and strength. This is generally based upon Paul’s words “When I am weak, then am I strong,” the believer not apprehending that this was a statement made by the Apostle of a simple fact that when he was weak, he found God’s strength sufficient for all His will; and that it is not an exhortation to God’s children deliberately to will to be weak, and hence unfit for service in many ways, instead of saying “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” That the “will” to be weak, so as to have a claim on Christ’s strength, is a wrong thought, can be seen practically in many lives, where “weakness” is passively accepted, with a burden and care to others, which is no evidence of such an attitude being in accordance with God’s plan and provision. The “will” to be weak actually hinders God’s strengthening, and by this subtle deception of the enemy in the minds of many, God is robbed of much active service for Him.

PASSIVITY WITH SATANIC ACTIVITY
It does not mean that “passivity” in its full extent, means no “activity”; for once the man becomes passive in volition and mind, he is held by deceiving spirits without power to act, or is driven into Satanic activity; that is, uncontrollable activity of thought, restlessness of body, and wild, unbalanced action of all degrees. The actions are spasmodic and intermittent, the person sometimes dashing ahead, and at other times sluggish and slow; like a machine in a factory, with the wheels whirring aimlessly, because the switch of the centre control is out of hand of the master. The man cannot work, even when he sees so much to be done, and is feverish because he cannot do it. During the time of passivity he appeared to be content, but when he is driven into Satanic activity, he is restless, and out of accord with all things around him. When his environment should lead to a state of full content, yet something (may it not be “somebody”?) makes it impossible for him to be in harmony with his external circumstances, however pleasant they may be. He is conscious of a restlessness and activity which is painfully feverish; or of passivity and weight; of a doing of “work,” and yet no work. All the manifestations of a demoniacal destruction of his peace.

DELIVERANCE FROM PASSIVITY
The believer needing deliverance from the condition of passivity must first seek to understand what should be his normal or right condition;note 19 and then test, or examine himself in the light of it, to discern if evil spirits have been interfering. To do this, let him recollect a moment in his life, which he would call his “best,” either in spirit, soul and body, or in his whole being; and then let him look upon this as his normal condition, which he should expect as possible to be maintained, and never rest satisfied below it.

As the passivity has come about gradually, it can only end gradually, as it is detected, and destroyed. The full co-operation of the man is necessary for its removal, and is the cause of the long period needed for his deliverance. Deception and passivity can only be removed as the man understands, and co-operates by the use of his volition in the refusal of the ground, and the deception which came through it. This is also the reason why, in this aspect of “possession,” evil spirits cannot be “cast out,”note 20 because the cause which gave them admittance is a factor in their expulsion.

An important point in deliverance from passivity is to keep perpetually in the mind, the standard of the normalnote 21 condition, and if at any time the believer drops below it to find out the cause, so as to have it removed. Whatever faculty, or part of the being, has been surrendered into passivity, and therefore lost for use, must be retaken by the active exercise of the will, and brought back into personal control. The “ground” given which caused any faculty to fall into bondage to the enemy, must be found out, and given up; and then refused persistently,note 22 in a steady resistance to the spirits of evil in their hold of it, remembering that the powers of darkness fight against the loss of any part of their kingdom in man, as much as any earthly government would fight to protect its own territory and subjects. The “Stronger than he” is the Conqueror, and strengthens the believer for the battle, and to recover all the spoil.

 

Click another Chapter title to close this chapter and open another chapter

Chapter 5

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–eavesdropping 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,note 1 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,note 2 (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.note 3

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;note 5 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.note 6

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 favourable 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!”

MIXED MANIFESTATIONS
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.

See chart on page 102.

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.note 9

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.

DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE PERSON AND THE
PRESENCE OF GOD
The counterfeit of God in and with the believer, is the basis on which is built the whole after structure of possession through deception. Believers desire and expect God to be with, and in them. They expect God’s presence with them, and this is counterfeited. They expect God to be in them as a Person, and evil spirits to counterfeit the three Persons of the Trinity.

In order to understand the counterfeiting methods of evil spirits, we must distinguish between the Presence and the Person of God. The “Presence” as giving forth an influence, and the Person manifested as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. Crudely put, it may be described as the difference between God as Light, and having light from God. God as Love, and having love from God. The one is the Person Himself in His nature, and the other the outshining, or giving forth of what He is.

The thought with many is that the Person of Christ is in them, but in truth, Christ as a Person is in no man. He dwells in believers by His Spirit–the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8: 9), as they receive the “supply of the Spirit of Jesus” (Phil. 1: 19; Acts 16: 7 R.V.).

It is necessary also, to understand the teaching of the Scriptures on the Trinity, and the different attributes and work of each Person of the Trinity, to discern the counterfeiting work of the deceiver.

God the Father, as a Person, is in the highest heaven. His presence is manifested in men as the “Spirit of the Father.” Christ the Son is in heaven as a Person, His presence in men is by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of the Father, and of the Son, is on earth in the Church, which is the Body of Christ; and manifests the Father or the Son, in, and to believers, as they are taught by Him to apprehend the Triune God. Hence Christ said “I will manifest Myself,” to those who loved and obeyed Him; and later “We will come, and make our abode with him” (John 14: 23) i.e. , by the Holy Spirit to be given on the Day of Pentecost.

THE PERSON OF GOD IN HEAVEN, HIS PRESENCE
ON EARTH BY HIS SPIRIT
The Person of God is in heaven, but the presence is manifested on earth, in and with believers; through and by the Holy Spirit; in, and to the human spirit, as the organ of the Holy Spirit for the manifested presence of God.

The believer’s misconceptions of the manner in which God can be in, and with him, and his ignorance that evil spirits can counterfeit God and divine things, form the ground upon which he can be deceived into accepting the counterfeit workings of evil spirits, and give them access into, and possession, and control of his inner being.

If God, Who is Spirit, can be in and with a man, evil spirits can also be in and with men, if they can obtain access by consent. Their aim and desire is possession and control. These are terms which are often used of God’s work in believers, but which are not really Scriptural, in the meanings which are given to the words in the present day, i.e., God “possesses” a man in the sense of ownership, and then He asks for co-operation, not “ control“. The believer is to control himself, by co-operation in his spirit with the Spirit of God; but never does God “control” the man as a machine is controlled by another, or by some dynamic force.

DISTINCTION BETWEEN GOD AND DIVINE THINGS
We must also make a distinction between God and Divine things, i.e., all that is Divine is not God Himself, just as all that is Satanic is not Satan himself, and all that is human is not the man himself; Divine, Satanic and human things, being those which emanate from God, Satan, and man respectively.

These three sources must always be taken into account in everything, e.g.Guidance can be (1) divine, (2) satanic, or (3) human. Obedience may be rendered to (1) God, (2) Satan, or (3) men. Visions may have their source in (1) God, (2) evil spirits, or (3) the man himself. Dreams can come from (1) God, (2) evil spirits, or (3) the man’s own condition. Writing in its source may be from (1) God, (2) evil spirits, or (3) the man’s own thoughts. Counterfeits by evil spirits may therefore be (1) of God, and divine things, (2) of Satan and satanic things, or (3) the human and human things.

To obtain possession, and control of believers, who will not be attracted by sin, the deceiving spirits must first counterfeit the manifestation of the presence of God, so that under cover of this “presence” they can get their suggestions into the mind, and their counterfeits accepted without question. This is their first, and sometimes their long piece of labour. It is not always an easy task, especially when the soul has been well grounded in the Scriptures, and learnt to walk by faith upon the Word of God, nor is it easy when the mind is acute in usage, and well guarded in thought, and healthily occupied.

THE COUNTERFEIT OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD
From the counterfeit presence, comes the influence which causes the counterfeit to be accepted. Evil spirits must make something to imitate the presence of God, as their “presence” does not, and cannot be a counterfeit of it. The counterfeit presence is a work of theirs, made by them, but is not the manifestation of their own persons, e.g., they give sweet or soothing feelings, or feelings of peace, love, etc., with the whispered suggestion, adapted to the ideal of the victim, that these indicate the presence of God.

When a counterfeit presence, or influence, is accepted, then they go on to counterfeit a “Person,” as one of the Persons of the Trinity, again adapted to the ideals or desires of the victim. If the believer is drawn to one more than another of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, the counterfeit will be of the One he is attached to most.note 10 The Father, to those who are drawn to Him; the Son to those who think of Him as “Bridegroom” and crave love; and the Holy Spirit to those who crave for power.

The counterfeit “Presence,” as an influence, precedes the counterfeit of the “Person”note 11 of God, through which much ground is gained.

The period of danger is, as already shown in Chapter 3, at the time of seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, when much has been said by others about manifestations of God to the consciousness, or some “coming upon” of the Spirit, felt by the senses. This is the opportunity for the watching spirits.

What believer is there that does not long for the “conscious” presence of God, and would not give up all to obtain it? How difficult it is to walk by “faith,” when passing through the dark places of life! If the “conscious presence” is to be obtained by the Baptism of the Spirit, and there can be supernatural effects upon the senses, so that God is really felt to be at hand–then who would not be tempted to seek it? It looks to be an absolutely necessary equipment for service, and it appears from the Bible story of Pentecost, as if the believers then must have had this conscious presence, felt by them physically and actually.

SATAN’S WORKING UPON THE SENSES
Here lies the danger point which first opens the door to Satan. The working upon the senses in the religious realm, has long been Satan’s special mode of deceiving men throughout the whole world, of which he is the god and prince. He knows how to soothe, and move, and work upon the senses in every possible way, and, in every form of religion ever known, deceiving unregenerate men with the form of godliness whilst denying the power. Among the truly converted, and even sanctified believers, the senses are still his way of approach. Let the soul admit a craving for beautiful emotions, happy feelings, overwhelming joy, and the conception that manifestations, or “signs,” are necessary to prove the presence of God, especially in the Baptism of the Spirit, and the way is open for Satan’s lying spirits to deceive.

THE TRUE MANIFESTATION OF CHRIST
The Lord said, on the eve of His Cross, concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit to the believer, “I will . . manifest Myself unto him” (John 14: 21), but He did not say how He would fulfil His promise. To the woman at the well He said “God is spirit,” and “they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” The manifestation of Christ is, therefore, to the spirit,note 12 and not in the realm of the senses, or animal soul. Hence the craving for sense-manifestation opens the door to deceiving spirits to counterfeit the real presence of Christ; but the consent and co-operation of the will to their control must be obtained,note 13 and this they seek to get under the guise of an “angel of light”; as a messenger of God apparently clothed with light, not darkness, for light is the very nature and character of God.

The basis of this deception of the believer is his ignorance of the principles on which God works in man, and the true conditions for His manifested presence in the man’s spirit; and his ignorance of the conditions upon which evil spirits work, in a passive surrendernote 14 of the will, mind and body to supernatural power. In his ignorance of the true working of God, the believer expects Him to move on the physical being, so that He is manifested to the senses, and to use his faculties apart from him, as a proof of His presence and “control,” whereas God only moves in, and through the man himself by the active co-operation of his will–the will being the ego, or centre of the man. Neither does God use the faculties of the man apart from conjunction with the man, i.e., through his will. Not instead of the man, but with him (2 Cor. 6: 1).

THE COUNTERFEIT PRESENCE IS AN INFLUENCE
UPON THE BELIEVER
The counterfeit presence is an influence from outside upon the believer; and can begin in some cases, not only at the time of the Baptism of the Spirit, but by a “practice” of the “Presence of God,” if the believer means by that a sense consciousness of “God,” who is to be known and recognized by the sense of the spirit, not the senses of the body. The true presence of God is not felt by the physical senses,note 15 but in the spirit, and the same is true of “feeling” the presence of evil spirits, or Satan. The spirit sense alone can discern the presence of God, or Satan; and the body only feels indirectly.

It is important clearly to recognize the distinction between the “obsession,” or influence of the counterfeit presence; and the “possession,” or access obtained, which follows the acceptance of the obsession, or influence from without.

The distinction and the characteristics may be briefly described as follows:–(1) Obsession: an influence from outside; a counterfeit presence of God as an influence upon the person, to which he opens himself in mind and body.

(2) Possession: the counterfeit of a person within (after obtaining a footing), generally as love.note 16Absolute abandonment to this of the affections and will. Exquisite feelings in physical and soulish realm, with spirit untouched. The man thinks all is “spiritual,” when it is really the sensuous life in a spiritual form.

The word obsession has been exaggerated in modern use, and symptoms, or manifestations truly belonging to possession, are frequently put down to it.

OBSESSION AND ITS CAUSE
“Obsession” means an evil spirit, or spirits, hovering around, and influencing a man with the object of obtaining a footing in him, and gaining possession, in however small a degree. If these influences are yielded to, it must result in possession, e.g., if an evil spirit counterfeits the presence of God, and comesupon the man as an influence only, it may be described as obsession; but when a footing is gained in him, it is “possession,”note 17 because the obsessing spirits have gained access, and possess the ground they hold, up to the extent of the ground given.

The meaning of the word obsession as given in the dictionary bears this out. It means “to besiege,” and it is described as “persistent attack, especially of an evil spirit upon a person; and “the state of being molested from without, as opposed to ‘possession’ or control by an evil spirit from within.” According to this description of obsession, it is evident that it is a very common form of attack by the powers of darkness upon the children of God; not to speak of the unregenerate who are already, according to the Scriptures (Eph. 2: 2), controlled from within, i.e., “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (A.v.).

EXTERIOR MANIFESTATIONS OF THE CHARACTER
OF OBSESSION
Evil spirits “obsess,” or persistently molest, and besiege the man, to gain possession. They obsess his mind with some dominating idea which destroys his peace, and clouds his life; or they counterfeit some Divine experience, which seems to come from God, and which the believer accepts without question. This is one dangerous form of obsession in the present day, when evil spirits seek to gain admittance to a believer by counterfeiting some exterior manifestation of God, such as a “Presence” filling the room, and felt by the physical senses; “waves” of “power” pouring upon, and through the physical being; or a feeling of wind, air, or a breathing upon the outer man, apparently from Divine sources. In brief, all exteriormanifestations to the believer, coming from without upon the body, have the characteristics of “obsession,” because they may come from deceiving spirits seeking access to mind or body.

The deliverance of persons under obsession of any kind, or degree, is by truth, such as:–

  1. Giving them knowledge how to detect what is of God or the devil, by understanding the principles distinguishing the working of the Holy Spirit, and evil spirits.
  2. Showing them that they should accept nothing from without either in suggestionsnote 18 to the mind, or influence of any kind coming upon the body; as God the Holy Spirit works from within the spirit of the man, illuminating and renewing his mind, and bringing the body under the believer’s own control.
  3. Teaching them how to stand in Christ, and resist all besieging attacks of the powers of darkness.

For the deliverance of souls under the bondage of evil spirits in possession, i.e., when they have, after obsession, gained admittance in any degree; much knowledge of God and of spiritual things is needed.

It is generally thought that “casting out”note 19 the spirit or spirits, is the only method of dealing with them, but since the ground they obtained to gain entrance, and abide in, cannot be “cast out,” it is obvious that although the “casting out” may avail in some cases, it is not the only means of deliverance.

SOME WAYS OF DELIVERANCE FROM POSSESSION
Much depends upon the cause of the possession. In China, among the heathen, demons are cast out immediately after the simple prayer of faith by the Christians.note 20 In Germany, an evangelist of ripe experience, speaks of men delivered from demon-possession after one prayer, but others who were “weeks, months, years, before they got free,” and this only after much wrestling in prayer by men of God, mighty in faith.

But for believers who have become possessed by evil spirits as a result of deception, the main principle of deliverance is them being undeceived . To deal with “possession” which is the fruit of deception, by commanding the spirits to depart, is to deal with the effect, rather than the cause; and to bring about only temporary, if any, relief, with the danger of the evil spirit returning quickly to his “house,” i.e., the ground which gave him lodgment.

Believers who discover themselves to be possessed through deception, should therefore seek light upon the ground through which the evil spirits entered, and give it up. It is by ground given that they obtain access, and it is by ground removed that they depart.note 21 It is for this reason that emphasis is placed in this book upon the understanding of truth,note 22 rather than upon the aspect of the casting out of demons, as it is written for the deliverance of believers deceived and possessed through accepting counterfeits of the working of God.

Deceived and possessed believers should also be taught the fundamental principle of the attitude of the human will in relation to God,note 23 and Satan, and his deceiving spirits. The Scriptures are full of this truth. “If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know . .” (John 7: 17); “he that will, let him take . .” (Rev. 22: 17).

Let it be emphasized again: deceiving spirits are obliged to get the consent of the man’s will ere they can enter,note 24 and as to how far they enter. This they do by counterfeit and deception. They can only obtain the believer’s surrender to their power, by feigning to be God. In fact, obsession, and possession, in all cases, both of regenerate and unregenerate, is based upon deception and guile; for it is not until a man is very fully under the power of Satan that he willfully, and knowingly, yields himself up to him.

Deliverance, therefore, requires the active exercise of the will, which must, in reliance upon the strength of God, and in the face of all beguilements, and suffering, be kept steadily set against the powers of darkness,note 25 to nullify previous consent to their working.

Deceiving spirits also counterfeit God in His holiness, and in His righteousness. The effect in such a case is to make the believer afraid of God, and to shrink away from, and loathe all spiritual things. They try to terrorize those who are timid and fearful; to influence those who yearn for power; or to draw into their control those who are open to the attraction of love and happiness.

PHYSICAL SENSES SHOULD NOT FEEL GOD’S PRESENCE
It may be said deliberately, that it is never safe in any case to feel God’s presence with the physical senses,note 26 for it is almost beyond doubt a counterfeit “presence”–a subtle snare of the enemy to gain a footing in the man. This is one reason why some who have urged upon other believers their need of a “realization of God”–meaning a felt presence in the atmosphere, or within them–have, to their grief and dismay, lost the “realization” they themselves had, and sunk into darkness, and numbness of feeling.note 27 These believers not knowing this to be the direct result–either quickly or at some distant period–of all supernatural manifestations to the senses; the victim looking for the cause of the breakdown, or “deadness” to spiritual things, in “overstrain” or “sin,” and not to the realization experience he rejoiced in.

The normal condition of the faculties for use, is plainly to be seen in all Bible records of men in direct communication with God. Paul in a “trance” (Acts 22: 18), had full possession of his faculties, and intelligent use of mind and tongue. Especially so is this recognizable in John on Patmos. His physical being was prostrate from the weakness of the natural man in the unveiled presence of the glorified Lord; but after the quickening touch of the Master, his full intelligence was in use, and his mind clearly at work, in power to grasp and retain all that was being said and shown to him (Rev. 1: 10-19).

The difference between the Bible records of the revelations of God, and the conditions of the men to whom they were given; and the records of many of the supernatural manifestations to-day, lies in a principle which reveals the distinction, in striking contrast, between the pure Divine working, and the Satanic counterfeits of God: i.e., the contrasting principles of,

  1. The retention of the use of the will, and faculties;
  2. The loss of personal control through passivity.

We may take as example what is called “clairvoyance” and “clairaudience”; i.e., the power to see and the power to hear: the first meaning the seeing of supernatural things, and the second the hearing of supernatural words. There is a true seeing and hearing, and a false seeing and hearing of supernatural things; and they result either from a Divine gift, which is the true (Rev. 1: 10-12); or an evil passivestate, which admits the counterfeit.

CLAIRVOYANCE AND CLAIRAUDIENCE AND THEIR CAUSE
It is said that clairvoyance and clairaudience powers are “natural gifts,” but they are really the result of an evil state, in which evil spirits are able to manifest their power and presence. Crystal gazingnote 28 is also merely a means of inducing this passive state, and so with all the various methods in vogue in the East and elsewhere, to bring about the manifestations and workings of supernatural powers. The principle is the same. The key to all these, and other Satanic workings in the human frame, is the need of the suspension of the mental activity; whereas in all Divine revelations, the mental faculties and powers are unchecked, and in full operation.

The people at the foot of Mount Sinai “saw God,” yet they were not “passive.” Vision–whether mental or physical–is really active and not passive, that is, separated from volition and personal action; and “visions” may be either physical, mental or spiritual.

SUPERNATURAL WRITING AND SPEAKING
In writing under the control of evil spirits the same principle is manifested, i.e., the suspension of volitional and mental action:–

  1. The person writes what he hears dictated audibly in a supernatural way.
  2. He writes what he sees presented to his mind supernaturally, sometimes with rapidity as if compelled.
  3. He writes automatically, as his hand is moved, without any mental, or volitional action.

In descriptive writing, or writing from what is supernaturally presented to the mind, the words may pass before the mental vision as clearly as if they were seen by the physical eye, sometimes in letters of fire, or light.note 29 The same may take place in public speaking, when the speaker may describe what ispresented to the mental vision–that is, if his mind is in a passive state–thinking that all is “illumination by the Holy Spirit.”

This may take place in some, in such a refined degree, that the man is deceived into thinking that it comes from a “brilliant mind,” “gifts of imagination,” “delicate power of poetic description,” whilst none of it is the real product of his own mind; for it is not the outcome of thought , but the seizing of subtly presented “pictures” given at the moment when writing or speaking. It can be tested by its fruits; being (1) empty of tangible results, and sometimes (2) mischievous in suggestion; certain sentences intermingled with words of truth, being subversive of the pure gospel; whilst the whole has no spiritual substance at the back of the beautiful words, or any permanent result in the salvation of the unregenerate, or the building up of believers.

PREACHING FROM MENTAL PRESENTATIONS
It is possible that this may be the hidden cause of the evanescent character of Missions carried out on a wide scale, which seem at the time to be fruitful, but which pass away like the morning cloud in a few brief weeks. The speakers gave the truths of the gospel, but may have preached from mental presentations, and not from the source of the spirit in co-operate action with the Holy Spirit. The powers of darkness have nothing to fear from words–even words of gospel truth–if there is no fructifying life in them from the source of the Spirit of God; and that there are spurious conversions on a wide scale permitted, if not brought about, by the spirits of evil, is now beyond question. It is easy for them to, apparently, let go their captives when it suits their plans to deceive the people of God, and there is much in the religious movements of to-day which absorbs the energy of Christians, and appears to extend the Kingdom of God, but leaves undisturbed the kingdom of the spirits of the air.

In automatic writing, and in the more refined presentations referred to, the mind is passive in greater or lesser degree; and the man writes, or speaks, not what comes from the normal action of the mind, but what he sees presented to him.

Ignorant of the existence of evil spirits, and their unceasing schemes to deceive every child of God; and equally ignorant of the danger of fulfilling the conditions for their working; a great number of believers do not know that in the ordinary circumstances of life they can be opening themselves to the deceptions of supernatural beings, who are keenly watching to gain admittance, and to use the servants of God, e.g., a public speaker who seeks to depend on “supernatural help,” and does not keenly use his brain in alert spiritual “thinking,” practically cultivates a passive condition which the enemy may make use of to the fullest degree; and thus unknowingly gain an influence in his life, which is manifested in unaccountable attacks of all kinds, with, apparently, no ground given by him in life or action.

The same may be true of an author, who in some way, unknown to himself, has become passive–or bluntly put, mediumistic –in some faculty, or part of his inner life, and thereby has opened himself to the supernatural “presentations” of evil spirits,note 30 for his speaking or writing, which he thinks is illumination from God.

TRUE WRITING UNDER THE HAND OF GOD
In writing under Divine guidance, three factors are required:

  1. spirit indwelt by, and moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1: 21).
  2. An alert and renewed mind, acute in active power of apprehension and intelligent thinking (See 1 Cor. 14: 20).
  3. body under the complete control of the spirit and volition of the man (See 1 Cor. 9: 27).

In writing or speaking under the control of evil spirits, a man is not truly “spiritual,” for his spirit is not in use; what appears “spiritual” being the work of supernatural powers manifesting their spirit power on, and through, the passive mind of the man, apart from his spirit. But in writing under the guidance of God; since it is not given by dictation, as to an automaton, but by the movement of the Holy Spirit in the man’s spirit; the man must be truly spiritual, the source being in the spirit, and not in the mind, as it is when men write the products of their own thoughts. The Scriptures bear the marks of their having been written in this way. “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. 1: 21). They spake from God,” but as men they received and uttered, or wrote the truth given in the spirit, but transmitted through the full use of their divinely enlightened faculties.

Paul’s writings all show the fulfillment of the three requirements mentioned; of his spirit being open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, his mind in full use, and his body an obedient instrument under the control of the spirit; his letters also revealing the capacity of the renewed mind for apprehending the deep things of God.

PAUL’S POWER OF SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT
In Paul, too, we see the clear discrimination possessed by a spiritual man, able to recognize what came from God in his spirit, and what was the product of his own thought in the exercise of his judgment as a servant of God.note 31

The recordsnote 32 of most “supernatural revelations” today, almost entirely show (1) the absence of the requirements for true Divine manifestations; and (2) of having fulfilled the law for the workings of evil spirits; i.e. , the suspension of the use of the mental faculties, with the consequent emptiness, and sometimes childish folly, of the words said to have been “spoken by God,” and the purposelessness of the “visions,” and other manifestations.

Let the conditions necessary for evil spirits to work in the human frame be fulfilled, and then no experience of the past, no dignity of position, no intellectual training, or knowledge, will protect the believer from their counterfeit manifestations. Consequently, the deceiver will do anything and everything to engender passivity in the children of God, in any form whatsoever, either in spirit, soul or body; for he knows that sooner or later he will gain the ground then given. It can therefore be said unhesitatingly, that if the law for evil spirits to work is fulfilled, in the non-use of the mind and faculties, evil spirits will work and deceive the very elect of God.

WHY EVIL SPIRITS WANT THE BODY
It may be asked why evil spirits want the body, and why they so persistently work to gain access and possession?

  1. Because in it they find “rest” (Matt. 12: 43), and seem to find some relief for themselves in some way we do not know. But still more than this:
  2. Because the body is the outlet of the soul and spirit; and if they can control the exterior, they can thereby control the inner man at the centre by hindering his freedom of action man-ward, although they may not do so God-ward.

In the case of the believer, they do not destroy the life at the centre, but they can imprison it, so that the inner man, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is unable to attack and destroy their kingdom and works. When the evil spirits gain possession of a believer’s body and mind in any degree, all previous spiritual growth is practically of no service value. In the spiritual section of the Church of Christ, a great number of believers need light for liberation of their circumference. Their spiritual growth is checked and hindered by the dulling of their faculties, the clog of misconceptions and deceptions in their minds, or weakness and disease in their bodies. These conditions also checking the outflow of the Holy Spirit indwelling the spirit, so that the life of Jesus cannot be manifested through them, in the using of the mind for the transmission of truth, or in the strengthening and using of the body in active effective service.

Therefore, when the outer man becomes dispossessed, it does not bring the centre life into existence, but into freedom of operation. All this may be in various degrees, for all believers are not in the same degree of bondage. There are degrees of (1) inner spiritual growth; of (2) mixture in the life, of workings of God from the spirit, and evil spirits in the outer man; of (3) passivity of the man in spirit, soul and body, resulting in (4) degrees of “possession.”

The moment ground is given, in any degree, to evil spirits, the faculties are dulled by them, or become passive through non-use. Their aim then is to substitute themselves for the person in all his actions, and so to gain entrance to him, over the rails, so to speak, of his passive faculties, will, etc., as to intertwine themselves in the innermost structure of his being, and thus to control him and use him for their own purposes; the man meanwhile believing that he is admitting Divine substitutions for himself–that is, God working, and acting instead of himself–and thus he is becoming “God-possessed.”

Believers in such a degree of possession by deceiving spirits then have “supernatural power”, and can, in a supernatural way, get from the spirits in control of them, and give forth from them as their transmitters, many supernatural workings, or manifestations such as:–

    The getting and transmitting of “Revelations.”

 

Chapter 5

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–eavesdropping 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,note 1 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,note 2 (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.note 3

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;note 5 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.note 6

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 favourable 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!”

MIXED MANIFESTATIONS
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.

See chart on page 102.

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.note 9

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.

DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE PERSON AND THE
PRESENCE OF GOD
The counterfeit of God in and with the believer, is the basis on which is built the whole after structure of possession through deception. Believers desire and expect God to be with, and in them. They expect God’s presence with them, and this is counterfeited. They expect God to be in them as a Person, and evil spirits to counterfeit the three Persons of the Trinity.

In order to understand the counterfeiting methods of evil spirits, we must distinguish between the Presence and the Person of God. The “Presence” as giving forth an influence, and the Person manifested as Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. Crudely put, it may be described as the difference between God as Light, and having light from God. God as Love, and having love from God. The one is the Person Himself in His nature, and the other the outshining, or giving forth of what He is.

The thought with many is that the Person of Christ is in them, but in truth, Christ as a Person is in no man. He dwells in believers by His Spirit–the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8: 9), as they receive the “supply of the Spirit of Jesus” (Phil. 1: 19; Acts 16: 7 R.V.).

It is necessary also, to understand the teaching of the Scriptures on the Trinity, and the different attributes and work of each Person of the Trinity, to discern the counterfeiting work of the deceiver.

God the Father, as a Person, is in the highest heaven. His presence is manifested in men as the “Spirit of the Father.” Christ the Son is in heaven as a Person, His presence in men is by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of the Father, and of the Son, is on earth in the Church, which is the Body of Christ; and manifests the Father or the Son, in, and to believers, as they are taught by Him to apprehend the Triune God. Hence Christ said “I will manifest Myself,” to those who loved and obeyed Him; and later “We will come, and make our abode with him” (John 14: 23) i.e. , by the Holy Spirit to be given on the Day of Pentecost.

THE PERSON OF GOD IN HEAVEN, HIS PRESENCE
ON EARTH BY HIS SPIRIT
The Person of God is in heaven, but the presence is manifested on earth, in and with believers; through and by the Holy Spirit; in, and to the human spirit, as the organ of the Holy Spirit for the manifested presence of God.

The believer’s misconceptions of the manner in which God can be in, and with him, and his ignorance that evil spirits can counterfeit God and divine things, form the ground upon which he can be deceived into accepting the counterfeit workings of evil spirits, and give them access into, and possession, and control of his inner being.

If God, Who is Spirit, can be in and with a man, evil spirits can also be in and with men, if they can obtain access by consent. Their aim and desire is possession and control. These are terms which are often used of God’s work in believers, but which are not really Scriptural, in the meanings which are given to the words in the present day, i.e., God “possesses” a man in the sense of ownership, and then He asks for co-operation, not “ control“. The believer is to control himself, by co-operation in his spirit with the Spirit of God; but never does God “control” the man as a machine is controlled by another, or by some dynamic force.

DISTINCTION BETWEEN GOD AND DIVINE THINGS
We must also make a distinction between God and Divine things, i.e., all that is Divine is not God Himself, just as all that is Satanic is not Satan himself, and all that is human is not the man himself; Divine, Satanic and human things, being those which emanate from God, Satan, and man respectively.

These three sources must always be taken into account in everything, e.g.Guidance can be (1) divine, (2) satanic, or (3) human. Obedience may be rendered to (1) God, (2) Satan, or (3) men. Visions may have their source in (1) God, (2) evil spirits, or (3) the man himself. Dreams can come from (1) God, (2) evil spirits, or (3) the man’s own condition. Writing in its source may be from (1) God, (2) evil spirits, or (3) the man’s own thoughts. Counterfeits by evil spirits may therefore be (1) of God, and divine things, (2) of Satan and satanic things, or (3) the human and human things.

To obtain possession, and control of believers, who will not be attracted by sin, the deceiving spirits must first counterfeit the manifestation of the presence of God, so that under cover of this “presence” they can get their suggestions into the mind, and their counterfeits accepted without question. This is their first, and sometimes their long piece of labour. It is not always an easy task, especially when the soul has been well grounded in the Scriptures, and learnt to walk by faith upon the Word of God, nor is it easy when the mind is acute in usage, and well guarded in thought, and healthily occupied.

THE COUNTERFEIT OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD
From the counterfeit presence, comes the influence which causes the counterfeit to be accepted. Evil spirits must make something to imitate the presence of God, as their “presence” does not, and cannot be a counterfeit of it. The counterfeit presence is a work of theirs, made by them, but is not the manifestation of their own persons, e.g., they give sweet or soothing feelings, or feelings of peace, love, etc., with the whispered suggestion, adapted to the ideal of the victim, that these indicate the presence of God.

When a counterfeit presence, or influence, is accepted, then they go on to counterfeit a “Person,” as one of the Persons of the Trinity, again adapted to the ideals or desires of the victim. If the believer is drawn to one more than another of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, the counterfeit will be of the One he is attached to most.note 10 The Father, to those who are drawn to Him; the Son to those who think of Him as “Bridegroom” and crave love; and the Holy Spirit to those who crave for power.

The counterfeit “Presence,” as an influence, precedes the counterfeit of the “Person”note 11 of God, through which much ground is gained.

The period of danger is, as already shown in Chapter 3, at the time of seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, when much has been said by others about manifestations of God to the consciousness, or some “coming upon” of the Spirit, felt by the senses. This is the opportunity for the watching spirits.

What believer is there that does not long for the “conscious” presence of God, and would not give up all to obtain it? How difficult it is to walk by “faith,” when passing through the dark places of life! If the “conscious presence” is to be obtained by the Baptism of the Spirit, and there can be supernatural effects upon the senses, so that God is really felt to be at hand–then who would not be tempted to seek it? It looks to be an absolutely necessary equipment for service, and it appears from the Bible story of Pentecost, as if the believers then must have had this conscious presence, felt by them physically and actually.

SATAN’S WORKING UPON THE SENSES
Here lies the danger point which first opens the door to Satan. The working upon the senses in the religious realm, has long been Satan’s special mode of deceiving men throughout the whole world, of which he is the god and prince. He knows how to soothe, and move, and work upon the senses in every possible way, and, in every form of religion ever known, deceiving unregenerate men with the form of godliness whilst denying the power. Among the truly converted, and even sanctified believers, the senses are still his way of approach. Let the soul admit a craving for beautiful emotions, happy feelings, overwhelming joy, and the conception that manifestations, or “signs,” are necessary to prove the presence of God, especially in the Baptism of the Spirit, and the way is open for Satan’s lying spirits to deceive.

THE TRUE MANIFESTATION OF CHRIST
The Lord said, on the eve of His Cross, concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit to the believer, “I will . . manifest Myself unto him” (John 14: 21), but He did not say how He would fulfil His promise. To the woman at the well He said “God is spirit,” and “they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” The manifestation of Christ is, therefore, to the spirit,note 12 and not in the realm of the senses, or animal soul. Hence the craving for sense-manifestation opens the door to deceiving spirits to counterfeit the real presence of Christ; but the consent and co-operation of the will to their control must be obtained,note 13 and this they seek to get under the guise of an “angel of light”; as a messenger of God apparently clothed with light, not darkness, for light is the very nature and character of God.

The basis of this deception of the believer is his ignorance of the principles on which God works in man, and the true conditions for His manifested presence in the man’s spirit; and his ignorance of the conditions upon which evil spirits work, in a passive surrendernote 14 of the will, mind and body to supernatural power. In his ignorance of the true working of God, the believer expects Him to move on the physical being, so that He is manifested to the senses, and to use his faculties apart from him, as a proof of His presence and “control,” whereas God only moves in, and through the man himself by the active co-operation of his will–the will being the ego, or centre of the man. Neither does God use the faculties of the man apart from conjunction with the man, i.e., through his will. Not instead of the man, but with him (2 Cor. 6: 1).

THE COUNTERFEIT PRESENCE IS AN INFLUENCE
UPON THE BELIEVER
The counterfeit presence is an influence from outside upon the believer; and can begin in some cases, not only at the time of the Baptism of the Spirit, but by a “practice” of the “Presence of God,” if the believer means by that a sense consciousness of “God,” who is to be known and recognized by the sense of the spirit, not the senses of the body. The true presence of God is not felt by the physical senses,note 15 but in the spirit, and the same is true of “feeling” the presence of evil spirits, or Satan. The spirit sense alone can discern the presence of God, or Satan; and the body only feels indirectly.

It is important clearly to recognize the distinction between the “obsession,” or influence of the counterfeit presence; and the “possession,” or access obtained, which follows the acceptance of the obsession, or influence from without.

The distinction and the characteristics may be briefly described as follows:–(1) Obsession: an influence from outside; a counterfeit presence of God as an influence upon the person, to which he opens himself in mind and body.

(2) Possession: the counterfeit of a person within (after obtaining a footing), generally as love.note 16Absolute abandonment to this of the affections and will. Exquisite feelings in physical and soulish realm, with spirit untouched. The man thinks all is “spiritual,” when it is really the sensuous life in a spiritual form.

The word obsession has been exaggerated in modern use, and symptoms, or manifestations truly belonging to possession, are frequently put down to it.

OBSESSION AND ITS CAUSE
“Obsession” means an evil spirit, or spirits, hovering around, and influencing a man with the object of obtaining a footing in him, and gaining possession, in however small a degree. If these influences are yielded to, it must result in possession, e.g., if an evil spirit counterfeits the presence of God, and comesupon the man as an influence only, it may be described as obsession; but when a footing is gained in him, it is “possession,”note 17 because the obsessing spirits have gained access, and possess the ground they hold, up to the extent of the ground given.

The meaning of the word obsession as given in the dictionary bears this out. It means “to besiege,” and it is described as “persistent attack, especially of an evil spirit upon a person; and “the state of being molested from without, as opposed to ‘possession’ or control by an evil spirit from within.” According to this description of obsession, it is evident that it is a very common form of attack by the powers of darkness upon the children of God; not to speak of the unregenerate who are already, according to the Scriptures (Eph. 2: 2), controlled from within, i.e., “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (A.v.).

EXTERIOR MANIFESTATIONS OF THE CHARACTER
OF OBSESSION
Evil spirits “obsess,” or persistently molest, and besiege the man, to gain possession. They obsess his mind with some dominating idea which destroys his peace, and clouds his life; or they counterfeit some Divine experience, which seems to come from God, and which the believer accepts without question. This is one dangerous form of obsession in the present day, when evil spirits seek to gain admittance to a believer by counterfeiting some exterior manifestation of God, such as a “Presence” filling the room, and felt by the physical senses; “waves” of “power” pouring upon, and through the physical being; or a feeling of wind, air, or a breathing upon the outer man, apparently from Divine sources. In brief, all exteriormanifestations to the believer, coming from without upon the body, have the characteristics of “obsession,” because they may come from deceiving spirits seeking access to mind or body.

The deliverance of persons under obsession of any kind, or degree, is by truth, such as:–

  1. Giving them knowledge how to detect what is of God or the devil, by understanding the principles distinguishing the working of the Holy Spirit, and evil spirits.
  2. Showing them that they should accept nothing from without either in suggestionsnote 18 to the mind, or influence of any kind coming upon the body; as God the Holy Spirit works from within the spirit of the man, illuminating and renewing his mind, and bringing the body under the believer’s own control.
  3. Teaching them how to stand in Christ, and resist all besieging attacks of the powers of darkness.

For the deliverance of souls under the bondage of evil spirits in possession, i.e., when they have, after obsession, gained admittance in any degree; much knowledge of God and of spiritual things is needed.

It is generally thought that “casting out”note 19 the spirit or spirits, is the only method of dealing with them, but since the ground they obtained to gain entrance, and abide in, cannot be “cast out,” it is obvious that although the “casting out” may avail in some cases, it is not the only means of deliverance.

SOME WAYS OF DELIVERANCE FROM POSSESSION
Much depends upon the cause of the possession. In China, among the heathen, demons are cast out immediately after the simple prayer of faith by the Christians.note 20 In Germany, an evangelist of ripe experience, speaks of men delivered from demon-possession after one prayer, but others who were “weeks, months, years, before they got free,” and this only after much wrestling in prayer by men of God, mighty in faith.

But for believers who have become possessed by evil spirits as a result of deception, the main principle of deliverance is them being undeceived . To deal with “possession” which is the fruit of deception, by commanding the spirits to depart, is to deal with the effect, rather than the cause; and to bring about only temporary, if any, relief, with the danger of the evil spirit returning quickly to his “house,” i.e., the ground which gave him lodgment.

Believers who discover themselves to be possessed through deception, should therefore seek light upon the ground through which the evil spirits entered, and give it up. It is by ground given that they obtain access, and it is by ground removed that they depart.note 21 It is for this reason that emphasis is placed in this book upon the understanding of truth,note 22 rather than upon the aspect of the casting out of demons, as it is written for the deliverance of believers deceived and possessed through accepting counterfeits of the working of God.

Deceived and possessed believers should also be taught the fundamental principle of the attitude of the human will in relation to God,note 23 and Satan, and his deceiving spirits. The Scriptures are full of this truth. “If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know . .” (John 7: 17); “he that will, let him take . .” (Rev. 22: 17).

Let it be emphasized again: deceiving spirits are obliged to get the consent of the man’s will ere they can enter,note 24 and as to how far they enter. This they do by counterfeit and deception. They can only obtain the believer’s surrender to their power, by feigning to be God. In fact, obsession, and possession, in all cases, both of regenerate and unregenerate, is based upon deception and guile; for it is not until a man is very fully under the power of Satan that he willfully, and knowingly, yields himself up to him.

Deliverance, therefore, requires the active exercise of the will, which must, in reliance upon the strength of God, and in the face of all beguilements, and suffering, be kept steadily set against the powers of darkness,note 25 to nullify previous consent to their working.

Deceiving spirits also counterfeit God in His holiness, and in His righteousness. The effect in such a case is to make the believer afraid of God, and to shrink away from, and loathe all spiritual things. They try to terrorize those who are timid and fearful; to influence those who yearn for power; or to draw into their control those who are open to the attraction of love and happiness.

PHYSICAL SENSES SHOULD NOT FEEL GOD’S PRESENCE
It may be said deliberately, that it is never safe in any case to feel God’s presence with the physical senses,note 26 for it is almost beyond doubt a counterfeit “presence”–a subtle snare of the enemy to gain a footing in the man. This is one reason why some who have urged upon other believers their need of a “realization of God”–meaning a felt presence in the atmosphere, or within them–have, to their grief and dismay, lost the “realization” they themselves had, and sunk into darkness, and numbness of feeling.note 27 These believers not knowing this to be the direct result–either quickly or at some distant period–of all supernatural manifestations to the senses; the victim looking for the cause of the breakdown, or “deadness” to spiritual things, in “overstrain” or “sin,” and not to the realization experience he rejoiced in.

The normal condition of the faculties for use, is plainly to be seen in all Bible records of men in direct communication with God. Paul in a “trance” (Acts 22: 18), had full possession of his faculties, and intelligent use of mind and tongue. Especially so is this recognizable in John on Patmos. His physical being was prostrate from the weakness of the natural man in the unveiled presence of the glorified Lord; but after the quickening touch of the Master, his full intelligence was in use, and his mind clearly at work, in power to grasp and retain all that was being said and shown to him (Rev. 1: 10-19).

The difference between the Bible records of the revelations of God, and the conditions of the men to whom they were given; and the records of many of the supernatural manifestations to-day, lies in a principle which reveals the distinction, in striking contrast, between the pure Divine working, and the Satanic counterfeits of God: i.e., the contrasting principles of,

  1. The retention of the use of the will, and faculties;
  2. The loss of personal control through passivity.

We may take as example what is called “clairvoyance” and “clairaudience”; i.e., the power to see and the power to hear: the first meaning the seeing of supernatural things, and the second the hearing of supernatural words. There is a true seeing and hearing, and a false seeing and hearing of supernatural things; and they result either from a Divine gift, which is the true (Rev. 1: 10-12); or an evil passivestate, which admits the counterfeit.

CLAIRVOYANCE AND CLAIRAUDIENCE AND THEIR CAUSE
It is said that clairvoyance and clairaudience powers are “natural gifts,” but they are really the result of an evil state, in which evil spirits are able to manifest their power and presence. Crystal gazingnote 28 is also merely a means of inducing this passive state, and so with all the various methods in vogue in the East and elsewhere, to bring about the manifestations and workings of supernatural powers. The principle is the same. The key to all these, and other Satanic workings in the human frame, is the need of the suspension of the mental activity; whereas in all Divine revelations, the mental faculties and powers are unchecked, and in full operation.

The people at the foot of Mount Sinai “saw God,” yet they were not “passive.” Vision–whether mental or physical–is really active and not passive, that is, separated from volition and personal action; and “visions” may be either physical, mental or spiritual.

SUPERNATURAL WRITING AND SPEAKING
In writing under the control of evil spirits the same principle is manifested, i.e., the suspension of volitional and mental action:–

  1. The person writes what he hears dictated audibly in a supernatural way.
  2. He writes what he sees presented to his mind supernaturally, sometimes with rapidity as if compelled.
  3. He writes automatically, as his hand is moved, without any mental, or volitional action.

In descriptive writing, or writing from what is supernaturally presented to the mind, the words may pass before the mental vision as clearly as if they were seen by the physical eye, sometimes in letters of fire, or light.note 29 The same may take place in public speaking, when the speaker may describe what ispresented to the mental vision–that is, if his mind is in a passive state–thinking that all is “illumination by the Holy Spirit.”

This may take place in some, in such a refined degree, that the man is deceived into thinking that it comes from a “brilliant mind,” “gifts of imagination,” “delicate power of poetic description,” whilst none of it is the real product of his own mind; for it is not the outcome of thought , but the seizing of subtly presented “pictures” given at the moment when writing or speaking. It can be tested by its fruits; being (1) empty of tangible results, and sometimes (2) mischievous in suggestion; certain sentences intermingled with words of truth, being subversive of the pure gospel; whilst the whole has no spiritual substance at the back of the beautiful words, or any permanent result in the salvation of the unregenerate, or the building up of believers.

PREACHING FROM MENTAL PRESENTATIONS
It is possible that this may be the hidden cause of the evanescent character of Missions carried out on a wide scale, which seem at the time to be fruitful, but which pass away like the morning cloud in a few brief weeks. The speakers gave the truths of the gospel, but may have preached from mental presentations, and not from the source of the spirit in co-operate action with the Holy Spirit. The powers of darkness have nothing to fear from words–even words of gospel truth–if there is no fructifying life in them from the source of the Spirit of God; and that there are spurious conversions on a wide scale permitted, if not brought about, by the spirits of evil, is now beyond question. It is easy for them to, apparently, let go their captives when it suits their plans to deceive the people of God, and there is much in the religious movements of to-day which absorbs the energy of Christians, and appears to extend the Kingdom of God, but leaves undisturbed the kingdom of the spirits of the air.

In automatic writing, and in the more refined presentations referred to, the mind is passive in greater or lesser degree; and the man writes, or speaks, not what comes from the normal action of the mind, but what he sees presented to him.

Ignorant of the existence of evil spirits, and their unceasing schemes to deceive every child of God; and equally ignorant of the danger of fulfilling the conditions for their working; a great number of believers do not know that in the ordinary circumstances of life they can be opening themselves to the deceptions of supernatural beings, who are keenly watching to gain admittance, and to use the servants of God, e.g., a public speaker who seeks to depend on “supernatural help,” and does not keenly use his brain in alert spiritual “thinking,” practically cultivates a passive condition which the enemy may make use of to the fullest degree; and thus unknowingly gain an influence in his life, which is manifested in unaccountable attacks of all kinds, with, apparently, no ground given by him in life or action.

The same may be true of an author, who in some way, unknown to himself, has become passive–or bluntly put, mediumistic –in some faculty, or part of his inner life, and thereby has opened himself to the supernatural “presentations” of evil spirits,note 30 for his speaking or writing, which he thinks is illumination from God.

TRUE WRITING UNDER THE HAND OF GOD
In writing under Divine guidance, three factors are required:

  1. spirit indwelt by, and moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1: 21).
  2. An alert and renewed mind, acute in active power of apprehension and intelligent thinking (See 1 Cor. 14: 20).
  3. body under the complete control of the spirit and volition of the man (See 1 Cor. 9: 27).

In writing or speaking under the control of evil spirits, a man is not truly “spiritual,” for his spirit is not in use; what appears “spiritual” being the work of supernatural powers manifesting their spirit power on, and through, the passive mind of the man, apart from his spirit. But in writing under the guidance of God; since it is not given by dictation, as to an automaton, but by the movement of the Holy Spirit in the man’s spirit; the man must be truly spiritual, the source being in the spirit, and not in the mind, as it is when men write the products of their own thoughts. The Scriptures bear the marks of their having been written in this way. “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. 1: 21). They spake from God,” but as men they received and uttered, or wrote the truth given in the spirit, but transmitted through the full use of their divinely enlightened faculties.

Paul’s writings all show the fulfillment of the three requirements mentioned; of his spirit being open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, his mind in full use, and his body an obedient instrument under the control of the spirit; his letters also revealing the capacity of the renewed mind for apprehending the deep things of God.

PAUL’S POWER OF SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT
In Paul, too, we see the clear discrimination possessed by a spiritual man, able to recognize what came from God in his spirit, and what was the product of his own thought in the exercise of his judgment as a servant of God.note 31

The recordsnote 32 of most “supernatural revelations” today, almost entirely show (1) the absence of the requirements for true Divine manifestations; and (2) of having fulfilled the law for the workings of evil spirits; i.e. , the suspension of the use of the mental faculties, with the consequent emptiness, and sometimes childish folly, of the words said to have been “spoken by God,” and the purposelessness of the “visions,” and other manifestations.

Let the conditions necessary for evil spirits to work in the human frame be fulfilled, and then no experience of the past, no dignity of position, no intellectual training, or knowledge, will protect the believer from their counterfeit manifestations. Consequently, the deceiver will do anything and everything to engender passivity in the children of God, in any form whatsoever, either in spirit, soul or body; for he knows that sooner or later he will gain the ground then given. It can therefore be said unhesitatingly, that if the law for evil spirits to work is fulfilled, in the non-use of the mind and faculties, evil spirits will work and deceive the very elect of God.

WHY EVIL SPIRITS WANT THE BODY
It may be asked why evil spirits want the body, and why they so persistently work to gain access and possession?

  1. Because in it they find “rest” (Matt. 12: 43), and seem to find some relief for themselves in some way we do not know. But still more than this:
  2. Because the body is the outlet of the soul and spirit; and if they can control the exterior, they can thereby control the inner man at the centre by hindering his freedom of action man-ward, although they may not do so God-ward.

In the case of the believer, they do not destroy the life at the centre, but they can imprison it, so that the inner man, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, is unable to attack and destroy their kingdom and works. When the evil spirits gain possession of a believer’s body and mind in any degree, all previous spiritual growth is practically of no service value. In the spiritual section of the Church of Christ, a great number of believers need light for liberation of their circumference. Their spiritual growth is checked and hindered by the dulling of their faculties, the clog of misconceptions and deceptions in their minds, or weakness and disease in their bodies. These conditions also checking the outflow of the Holy Spirit indwelling the spirit, so that the life of Jesus cannot be manifested through them, in the using of the mind for the transmission of truth, or in the strengthening and using of the body in active effective service.

Therefore, when the outer man becomes dispossessed, it does not bring the centre life into existence, but into freedom of operation. All this may be in various degrees, for all believers are not in the same degree of bondage. There are degrees of (1) inner spiritual growth; of (2) mixture in the life, of workings of God from the spirit, and evil spirits in the outer man; of (3) passivity of the man in spirit, soul and body, resulting in (4) degrees of “possession.”

The moment ground is given, in any degree, to evil spirits, the faculties are dulled by them, or become passive through non-use. Their aim then is to substitute themselves for the person in all his actions, and so to gain entrance to him, over the rails, so to speak, of his passive faculties, will, etc., as to intertwine themselves in the innermost structure of his being, and thus to control him and use him for their own purposes; the man meanwhile believing that he is admitting Divine substitutions for himself–that is, God working, and acting instead of himself–and thus he is becoming “God-possessed.”

Believers in such a degree of possession by deceiving spirits then have “supernatural power”, and can, in a supernatural way, get from the spirits in control of them, and give forth from them as their transmitters, many supernatural workings, or manifestations such as:–

    The getting and transmitting of “Revelations.”

Click another Chapter title to close this chapter and open another chapter

 

Chapter 6

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.note 1

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,note 2 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,note 3 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.note 4 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.note 5

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.note 6 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 enjoymentnote 7 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 faithfor 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 Godnote 8 is nearly always manifested as love,note 9 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,note 10 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 favour! 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.note 11 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”note 12 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 instrument for God,” working to feed self-love; (2) “You are more advanced than others” working to blind the soul to sober knowledge of itself; (3) “You are different from others,” working to make him think he needs 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;note 13 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;note 14 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 prayingnote 16 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.note 17 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,note 18 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”note 19 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,note 19 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;”note 20 followed by an entire change of tactics by the deceiving spirits in the body, who may now turn upon their victim with terrible accusations;note 21 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 ofttimes 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 convictionnote 22 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.

Ofttimes 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.

In short, the counterfeit manifestations of the Divine presence in the body, in agreeable and heavenly feelings, can be followed by counterfeit feelings of sinful things,note 23 wholly repugnant to the volition and central purity of the believer–who is as faithful to God now in his hatred to sin, as in the days when he reveled in the sense of purity given consciously to his bodily frame.

The deceiving spirit in possession of the body, may now reveal his malignity in attacks of apparent disease, or acute pain without physical cause, counterfeiting or producing (1) consumption, (2) fever, (3) nerve breakdown, and other illnesses, under which the lifenote 24 of the victim may be lost, unless the workings of the “murderers” acting under Satan are discerned, and dealt with by prayer against them, as well as the bodily frame cared for in the natural way.

COUNTERFEIT GUIDANCE
Counterfeit guidance is one of the fruits of the possession of the body which the deceiver obtains through guile. Many believers think the “guidance” or “leading” of God, to be only by a voice saying “Do this,” or “Do that;” or by a compulsory movement or impulse, apart from the action or volition of the man. They point to the expression used about the Lord, “the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness”; but this was abnormal in the life of Christ, for the statement implies intense spirit conflict wherein the Holy Spirit departed from His ordinary guidance. We have a glimpse into a similar intense movement in the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, in John 11: 38, when “groaning with indignation in His spirit” He moved to the grave of Lazarus. In both instances He was moving forward to direct conflict with Satan–in the case of Lazarus, with Satan as the prince of death. The Gethsemane agony was of the same character.

But normally the Lord was guided, or led, in simple fellowship with the Father; deciding, acting, reasoning, thinking, as One who knew the will of God, and intelligently–speaking reverently–carried it out. The “voice” from heaven was rare, and, as the Lord Himself said, was for the sake of others, and not for Himself. He knew the Father’s will, and with every faculty of His being as Man, He did it. (See John 12: 30, 5: 30, 6: 38).

As Christ was a pattern or example for His followers, guidance or “leading” in its perfect and true form is shown in His life, and believers can only expect the co-working of the Holy Spirit when they walk after the pattern of their Example. Out of line with the Pattern they cease to have the working of the Holy Spirit, and become open to the deceptive counterfeit workings of evil spirits.

If the believer ceases to use mind, reason, will, and all his other faculties as a person, and depends upon voices, and impulses for guidancenote 25 in every detail of life, he will be “led” or guided by evil spirits, feigning to be God.

COUNTERFEIT “INWARD” DRAWINGS
At first, after the Baptism of the Spirit, the believer knows to a great extent the true guidance of the Spirit of God. He knows true inward constraint to act, and restraint from action in like manner; such as when to speak to another about his soul, when to rise and testify in a meeting, etc., but after a time he ceases to watch for this pure inward moving of the Spirit; often through ignorance of how to read the monitions of his spirit; and begins to wait for some other incentive or manifestation to guide him in action. This is the time for which the deceiving spirits have been watching. Because at this point the believer has ceased, unknown to himself, to co-operate with the inward spirit action; to use his volition, and to decide for himself,note 26 he is now watching for some other supernatural indication of the way to go, or the course to take. Hence he must have “guidance” somehow, some “text,” some “indication,” some “providential circumstance,” etc., etc. This is the moment of opportunity for a deceiving spirit to gain his faith and confidence: and so some word or words are whispered softly, that are exactly in accordance with the inward drawing that he has had, but which he has not recognized as from another source than the Holy Spirit, Who acted by the deep inner constraining and restraining of the spirit .note 27 The soft whisper of the deceiving spirit is so delicate and gentle, that the believer listens to, and receives the words without question, and begins to obey this soft whisper, yielding more and more to it, without any thought of exercising mind, judgment, reason, or volition.

The “feelings” are now in the body, but the believer is unconscious that he is ceasing to act from his spirit, and by the pure unfettered action of his will and his mind, which, under the illumination of the Spirit, is always in accord with the spirit. This is a time of great danger if the believer fails to discriminate the source of his “drawing” feelings, and yields to them before finding out their source. He should examine his basic principle of decision, especially when it has to do with feeling, lest he should be led away by any feeling without being able to say where it comes from, or whether it is safe for him to go by it. He should know there are physical feelings, soulish feelings, and feelings in the spirit, either of which can be Divine or Satanic in their source, therefore reliance on “feelings”–feeling drawn, etc.–is a source of great mischief in the Christian life.

From this point deceiving spirits can increase their control, for the believer has begun the listening attitude,note 28 which can be developed acutely, until he is always watching for an “inner voice,” or a voice in the ear, which is an exact counterfeit of the voice of God in the spirit; and thus the believer moves, and acts as a passive slave to “supernatural guidance.”note 29

THE COUNTERFEIT VOICE OF GOD
Evil spirits are able to counterfeit the voice of God, because of the ignorance of believers that they can do so, and of the true principle of God’s way of communication with His children. The Lord said: “My sheep know My voice . . ” i.e., My way of speaking to My sheep. He did not say this voice was an audible voice; nor a voice giving directions which were to be obeyed apart from the intelligence of the believer, but, on the contrary, the word “know,” indicates the use of the mind, for although there is knowledge in the spirit, it must reach the intelligence of the man, so that spirit and mind become of one accord.

The question whether God now speaks by his direct voice audibly to men, needs consideration at this point. A careful study of the epistles of Paul–which contain an exhaustive epitome of God’s will for the Church, the Body of Christ, as the books of Moses contained God’s will and laws for Israel–seems to make it clear that God, having “spoken to us in His Son,” no longer speaks by His own direct voice to His people. Nor does it appear that since the coming of the Holy Spirit to guide the Church of Christ into all truth, does He frequently employ angels to speak, or to guide His children.

THE MINISTRY OF ANGELS
The angels are “sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1: 14), but not to take the place of Christ or the Holy Spirit. The Apocalypse seems to show that this ministration of angels to the saints on earth, is a ministration of war in the spiritual realm, against the forces of Satan;note 30 but there is little indication given of ministry in any other way. After the first Advent, when there was great angelic activity over the wondrous event of the Father bringing the “Firstborn” of the new race (Rom. 8: 29) into the inhabited earth (Heb. 1: 6, R.V.); and again at the Advent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to begin His work of forming a Body like unto the Risen Head–and during the early years of the Church–the employment of angels in direct and visible communication with believers, seems to give way to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The entire work of witnessing to Christ, and leading the Church into all truth, has been committed to the Holy Spirit. Therefore all intervention of “angels,” or audible voices from the spiritual realm, purporting to be from God, may be taken as counterfeits of Satan, whose supreme object is to substitute the working of his own wicked spirits in the place of God. In any case, it is best and safest in these days of peril to keep in the path of faith and reliance upon the Holy Spirit of God, working through the word of God.

HOW TO DETECT THE SOURCE OF A VOICE
In order to detect which is the “voice of God,” and which is the “voice of the devil,” we need to understand that the Holy Spirit alone is charged to communicate the will of God to the believer, and that He works from within the spirit of the man enlightening the understanding (Eph. 1: 17-18), so as to bring him into intelligent co-working with the mind of God.

The purpose of the Holy Spirit is, briefly, the entire renewal of the redeemed one, in spirit, soul and body, He therefore directs all His working to the liberation of every faculty, and never in any way seeks to direct a man as a passive machine, even into good. He works in him to enable him to choose the good, and strengthens him to act, but never–even for “good”–dulls him, or renders him incapable of free action, otherwise He would nullify the very purpose of Christ’s redemption on Calvary, and the purpose of His own coming.

When believers understand these principles, the “voice of the devil” is recognizable, i.e., (1) when it comes from outside the man, or within the sphere of his circumference, and not from the central depth of his spirit, where the Holy Spirit abides; (2) when it is imperative and persistent, urging sudden action without time to reason, or intelligently weigh the issues; (3) when it is confusing and clamorous, so that the man is hindered from thinking; for the Holy Spirit desires the believer to be intelligent, as a responsible being with a choice, and will not confuse him so as to make him incapable of coming to a decision.

The speaking of evil spirits can also be a counterfeit of the apparent inner speaking of the man himself, as if he were himself “thinking,” and yet with no concentrated action of the mind; e.g., a persistent and ceaseless “commentary” going on somewhere within, apart from volition or mind action, commenting on the man’s own actions or the actions of others, such as “you are wrong,” “you are never right ….. God has cast you off ….. you must not do that,” etc., etc.

HOW TO DETECT THE SOURCE OF “TEXTS”
SUPERNATURALLY SPOKEN
The “voice of the devil” as an angel of light is more difficult to detect, especially when it comes with wonderful strings of texts which makes it appear like the voice of the Holy Spirit. Voices from without, either as from God or angels, may be rejected, yet the believer may be deceived by “floods of texts” which he thinks are from God. In this case the detection needs more knowledge, i.e.,

(1) Does the believer rely upon these “texts” apart from the use of his mind or reason? This indicates passivity.

(2) Are these texts a prop to him? (a) undermining his reliance on God Himself; (b) weakening his power of decision, and (right) self- reliance.

(3) Do these texts influence him? and (a) make him elated and puffed up as “specially guided by God,” or (b ) crush and condemn him, and throw him into despair and condemnation, instead of leading him to sober dealing with God Himself, over the course of his life, with a keen and increasing knowledge of right and wrong obtained from the written Word by the light of the Holy Spirit?

If these, and other such like results, are the fruit of the “texts” given, they may be rejected as from the Deceiver, or at least an attitude of neutrality taken to them, until further proof of their source is given.

The voice of the devil as distinguishable from the voice of God may also be known by its purpose and outcome. Obviously if God speaks direct to a man, that man must be infallibly correct in regard to the specific matter in question. e.g ., A believer may say he is “led” to ask another to a meeting. The one asked must accept, or else give the lie to the other’s “leading.” If the one who believed he was “led” still holds to that position, he considers the one who declined as deceived, or else puts the matter aside without consideration, not realizing that failure in guidance means that he has deceived himself, or else become deceived by deceiving spirits.

HOW EVIL SPIRITS ADAPT THEIR GUIDANCE TO
THEIR VICTIM
Deceiving spirits carefully adapt their suggestions and leadings to the idiosyncrasies of the believer, so that they do not get found out; i.e., no “leading” will be suggested contrary to any strong truth of God firmly rooted in the mind, or contrary to any special bias of the mind. If the mind has a “practical” bent, no visibly foolish “leading” will be given; if the Scriptures are well-known, nothing contrary to Scripture will be said; if the believer feels strongly on any point, the “leadings” will be harmonized to suit that point; and, wherever possible, will be so adapted to previously true guidance from God, as to appear to be the continuance of that same guidance.

Here we see clearly the way of the enemy’s working. The soul begins in God’s will, but the purpose of the evil spirit is to draw it off into the carrying out of his will by counterfeiting the guidance of God. Satanicguidance alters the points of the life, and misdirects the energies of the man, and lessens his service value. To frustrate this artifice of the enemy, the believer should know that there are two distinct attitudes for guidance, which have serious results if their difference is not understood, i.e., (1) Trusting God to guide, and (2) trust that God is guiding.

The first means reliance upon God Himself, and the second is an assumption of being guided which can be taken advantage of by deceiving spirits. In the first, God does guide in response to definite trust in Him, and He guides through the spirit of the man who continues to co-operate with His Spirit; leaving every faculty free to act, and the will to choose intelligently the right step in the path before him.

In the second, when evil spirits take advantage of an assumption that God “is guiding,” independently of momentarily watchful co-operation with the Holy Spirit, a slight compulsion may be noticed, slowly increasing in force, until presently the believer says “I was compelled” to do so-and-so, and “I was afraid to resist,”–the compulsion being taken as an evidence of the guiding of God, instead of recognized as contrary to God’s principle of dealing with His children.

THE DECEIVED BELIEVER A SLAVE TO EVIL SPIRITS
If yielded to, and believed to be of God, the result is that the believer becomes a slave to a supernatural powernote 31 which destroys all freedom of volition and judgment. He begins to be afraid to act himself, lest he should not fulfil, what he believes to be, a minute obedience to the “will of God.” He asks “permission”note 32 to do the most obviously simple duties of life, and fears to take a step without “permission.” As soon as the deceiving spirits have obtained perfect control, and the believer is so passively automatic that he is incapable of realizing his condition, they do not need to work so much under cover. They insidiously commence to direct him to do the most absurd or foolish things, carefully working inside the range of his passive obedience to their will, so as to avoid the danger of awakening his reasoning powers. As a matter of “obedience,” and not from any true conviction, or true principle, he is bidden to let his hair grow long, so as to be like Samson, a Nazarite; to go without his cap, to prove his willingness to obey in the smallest matters; he must wear faded clothes as a “test” of “no pride,” or as a “crucifixion of self,” or as a mark of “implicit obedience to God.”

These things may seem trifles to others, who use their reasoning powers, but they have great issues in the purpose of the deceiving spirits, who, by these directions, aim at making the believer a passive, unthinking, or unreasoning medium, pliable to their will; in obedience to which–even in these trivial matters–their hold deepens upon him.

When these foolish and absurd actions are publicly visible, the lying spirits know that they have destroyed the testimony of the deceived man in the eyes of sober people; but there are vast numbers of devoted believers, known to the Church at large, who are not pushed to such “extremes” of exterior action; but who are equally misled, or in bondage to “supernatural” commands concerning matters of food, dress, manner, etc., which they think they have received from God. The spirit of judgment of others, and the secret self-esteem for their “consecration to God” which accompanies their “obedience,” betrays the subtle workings of the enemy.

THE “PLANCHETTE” USE OF THE BELIEVER BY EVIL
SPIRITS
As long as the believer thinks it is God who is directing him, so long the deceiving spirits are safe from exposure, and they can lead him on into more and more deception. When the man reaches a very high degree of Satanic deception, and possession, he finds himself unable to act unless the spirits in control allow him, so that he no longer even asks for “permission” to do this or that. In some cases they even establish communication with him from within his own bodily frame. If he desires to know whether he shall go here or there, he turns inward for guidance to the inner voice–supposed to be the “voice of God”–the answer “Yes,” being by a movement of his head,note 33 caused by the spirit in possession, or “No” by no action at all; evil spirits making use of the body of the man in the same way as they reply to those who consult them through a “planchette” in other cases;note 34 showing their complete control over the nerves of the body and the whole being of the victim, who now believes that every supernatural movement in his body has signification since it may be originated by “God” in possession.

The possession by deceiving spirits at this stage is so great, that no arguments, reasonings, or outward considerations of any kind, influence the actions of the believer thus deceived; or turn him from obeying the “guidance,” or “permission” of the inner voice, which he fully believes is of God. In truth should he endeavour to go against it in the smallest matter, the condemnation and suffering are so great, that he becomes terrified at any “disobedience,” and would rather be condemned and misjudged by the whole world than go against it. His great horror is “disobeying the Holy Ghost,” and the evil spirits deceiving him take every occasion to deepen this fear, so as to retain their hold upon him.

As the believer thus minutely obeys the spirit in control, he relies more and more upon supernatural help, for the moment he does something apart from it he is accused–apparently by the “Holy Spirit”–of “working apart from God.”

It is at this stage that all the faculties fall into deepening passivity, as the man lets go entirely to the voice of guidance, and into a reliance upon the divine (?) speakings, which keep the brain in complete inaction.

Here also counterfeit manifestations in “miraculous gifts,” prophecy, tongues, healings, visions, and supernatural experiences of every kind possible to the Satanic powers, may be given to the believer, with abundant “texts” and “proofs” to confirm their “Divine origin.” He experiences a lightness of the body which makes it appear as if he were carried by invisible hands; he is lifted off his bed in what spiritists know as “levitation”;note 35 he can sing and speak, and do what he has never been capable of doing before. Constant contact with spirit forces gives the man a “mystical” look, but all lines of strength, which come from strenuous conflict and self-mastery, go out of the face,note 36 for the sense-life is being fed and indulged in a spiritual way as much as by fleshly habits, yet these, such as smoking, etc., have for a time no power.

THE COUNTERFEIT PERSONATION OF OTHERS
But counterfeits of God and Divine things are not the only “counterfeits” the angel of light has at his command. There are also counterfeits of the “human” and human things; such as the personation of others, and even of the believer himself. Others appear to be different from what they really are, jealous or angry, critical or unkind. “Self” is represented in another, in enlarged form, where there is really the very opposite manifestation of selflessness and love. Wrong motives appear to govern others where none exist; simple actions are coloured, and words made to mean and suggest what is not in the minds of the speakers; and sometimes seem to confirm the supposed wrong-doing of others.

Others of the opposite sex may also be personated to a believer in times of prayer or leisure, either in repulsive, or in beautiful form, with the object of arousing various dormant elements in the human frame, unknown to exist by the innocent believer; sometimes the reason for the personation is given “for prayer,” or “fellowship” and “spirit-communion” in the things of God.

When their footing is in the body, the lying spirits’ counterfeit representations of others, may be in the realm of the passions, and affections, seeking to rouse, or feed these in the possessed one; their faces, voices, “presence,” being presented, as if they too were equally affected. This is accompanied with a counterfeit “love,” or drawing to the other one, with a painful craving for their company, which almost masters the victim.

This subject of love, and its painful arousing, and communicating or counterfeiting by evil spirits, is one that touches multitudes of believers of all classes. Many are made to suffer poignant agonies of craving for love, with no specific person involved; others are wrought upon in their thoughts so as not to be able to hear the word love mentioned, without embarrassing manifestations of colour, wrought by evil spirits within the bodily frame; none of these manifestations being under the control of the will of the believer.

THE COUNTERFEIT OF THE MAN HIMSELF
In counterfeiting the believer himself, the evil spirit gives him exaggerated views, almost visions, of his own personality; he is “wonderfully gifted,” and is therefore “puffed up”; he is “miserably incapable,” and so is in despair; he is “amazingly clever,” and thus undertakes what he cannot do; he is “helpless,” “hopeless,” “too forward,” or “too backward”–in brief, a countless number of pictures of himself, or others, are presented to the mind of the man when once the lying spirit has gained a footing in the imagination.

So subtle is the identity of the deceiving spirit with a believer’s individuality, that others see, what may be described as a “spurious personality,”note 37 sometimes the person appears to be “full of self” when the inner man is deeply selfless; “full of pride” when the inner man is sincerely humble. In fact, the whole outer appearance of the man in manner, voice, actions, words, is often quite contrary to his true character, and he wonders why “others misunderstand,” misjudge and criticize. Some believers, on the other hand, are quite unconscious of the manifestation of this spurious self, and go on happily satisfied with what they themselves know of their own inner motives, and heart life; oblivious of the very contrary manifestation which others behold, and pity or condemn. The spurious personality caused by evil spirits in possession, can also be in a beautiful form, in order to attract or mislead others in various ways, all unwittingly to the person, or to the victim. This is sometimes described as “unaccountable infatuation,” but if it was recognized as the work of evil spirits, refused and resisted, the “infatuation” would pass away. It is so wholly apart from the action of the will in the persons concerned, that the work of evil spirits is clearly to be recognized, especially when the supposed “infatuation” follows supernatural experiences; and possession, through the accepting of counterfeits, has resulted.

COUNTERFEIT SIN
Evil spirits can also counterfeit sin, by causing some apparent manifestation of the evil nature in the life, and matured believers should know whether such a manifestation really is sin from the old nature, or a manifestation from evil spirits. The purpose in the latter case is to get the believer to take what comes from them, as from himself, for whatever is accepted from evil spirits gives them entry and power. When a believer knows the Cross and his position of death to sin, and in will and practice rejects unflinchingly all known sin, and a “manifestation” of “sin” takes place, he should at once take a position of neutralitynote 38to it, until he knows the source, for if he calls it sin from himself when it is not, he believes a lie as much as in any other way; and if he “confesses”note 39 as a sin what did not come from himself, he brings the power of the enemy upon him, to drive him into the sin which he has “confessed” as his own. Many believers are thus held down by supposed “besetting sins” which they believe are theirs, and which no “confessing to God” removes, but from which they would find liberty if they attributed them to their right cause. There is no danger of “minimizing sin” in the recognition of these facts, because in either case, the believer desires to be rid of the sin or sins, or he would not trouble about them.

COUNTERFEIT SELF-CONDEMNATION
Again the believer is so acutely conscious of a “self” which he hates and loathes, that he is never free from the dark shadow of self-condemnation, self- accusation or self-despair, which no appropriation of identification with Christ in death, destroys; or else there is a self-confidence which continually draws the man forward into situations from which he has to retire abashed and disappointed. A spurious personality encompasses the true inner man, which few are aware of as possible, but which is a sadly real thing among multitudes of the children of God.

On the part of the soul beset with these constant presentations to his mind of his own personality, he only thinks he has a “vivid imagination,” or still more that some of these things are visions of God, and that he is favoured of God, especially where the vision is of “great plans for God,” or wide visions of what God is going to do! Always with the believer as the Centre, and special instrument of this service!

Many of the “plans” for “movements” which have gone even as far as print, in connection with Revival, have been of such a character; plans given by “revelation,” and which have resulted in gaining but the few caught by them, and no others. Of such a character has been the aftermath of Revival, where men have left their regular calling, and followed a will-of-the-wisp revelation of “launching out on God,” world-wide plans conceived, and dissipated in a few months. Such deceived believers become ultra-devotional, with an excess of zeal that blinds them to all things but the supernatural realm, and robs them of power to wisely meet the claims of other aspects of life. All this comes from an evil spirit’s access to the mind, and imagination, through the deception of counterfeiting the presence of God.

COUNTERFEITS OF SATAN HIMSELF
Counterfeits of Satan himself also suit his purpose at times, when he desires to terrorize a man from actions, or prayer, adverse to his interests. There are occasions when Satan appears to fight against himself, only to cover deep schemes for obtaining fuller possession of a victim, or some greater advantage which he knows how to secure. Fear of the devil may always be regarded as from the devil, to enable him to carry out his plans of hindering the work of God. Of such a character may be the fearsome shrinking from hearing about him and his works, and the passive deadness of the mind in regard to all Scriptural truth concerning the forces of evil. Also the fear caused by reference to his name, given in order to frighten away believers from knowing the facts about him; whilst others who desire the truth may be given exaggerated impressions of his presence, and of “conflict…..clouds,” “blocks,” darkness, etc., until they lose the clearness of the light of God.

Especially is the work of the deceiver manifested in his efforts to make the children of God believe in his non-existence, and in the suggestion that it is only necessary to hear or know about God, as a protection from any form of the enemy’s power. On the other hand, a deceived believer may be more deeply deceived, by seeing nothing but Satan’s counterfeits everywhere.

Supernatural visions and manifestations are a fruitful source of revenue to deceiving spirits, and they have gained a strong footing somewhere in mind or body when these are given; especially when the believer relies upon, and quotes more from these experiences than the Word of God; for the aim of the wicked spirit is to displace the Word of God as the rock-ground of the life. It is true the Scriptures may be referred to and quoted, but often only as a warrant for the experiences, and to strengthen faith–not in God, but in His (apparent) manifestations. This secret drawing of faith from the bare Word of God to manifestations of God, as being more reliable, is a keenly subtle deception of the evil one, and it is easily recognized in a believer thus deceived.

COUNTERFEIT VISIONS
When evil spirits are able to give visions, it is an evidence that they have already gained ground in the man, be he a Christian or an unbeliever. The “ground” being, not of necessity known sin, but a condition of passivity, i.e., non-action of the mind, imagination, and other faculties. This essential condition of passive non-actionnote 40 as the means of obtaining supernatural manifestations is well understood by spiritist mediums, clairvoyants, crystal gazers, and others, who know that the least action of the mind immediately breaks the clairvoyant state.note 41

Believers not knowing these main principles can unwittingly fulfil the conditions for evil spirits to work in the life, and ignorantly induce the passive state by wrong conceptions of the true things of God. e.g., They may (1) in seasons of prayer, sink into a passive mental condition which they think is waiting on God;note 42 (2) deliberately will the cessation of their mind action, in order to obtain some supernatural manifestation which they believe to be of God; (3) in daily life practise a passive attitude which they think is submission to the will of God; (4) endeavour to bring about a state of personal negation, in which they have no desires, needs, wishes, hopes, plans, which they think is full surrender to God, and their “will” lost in God.note 43

BELIEVERS CAN IGNORANTLY DEVELOP
MEDIUMISTIC CONDITIONS
In brief, believers may unknowingly develop mediumistic conditions, of which deceiving spirits are not slow to take advantage. They are careful not to frighten the believer by doing anything which will open his eyes, but they keep within the range of what he will receive without question. They will personate the Lord Jesus in the special way which will appeal to the person, e.g., to some as “Bridegroom”note 44 to others as seated on a throne, and coming in great glory. They will also personate the dead to those who grieve after their loved ones, and as they have watched them during life, and know all about them, they will give ample “proofs” to confirm the deceived ones in their deception.

Visions may come from one of three sources. The Divine, from God; the human, such as hallucinations and illusions because of disease, and the Satanic, which are false. “Visions” given by evil spirits, also describe anything supernatural presented to and seen by the mind or imagination,note 45 from outside; such as terrible pictures of the “future”; flashing of texts as if they were lit up;note 46 “visions” of widespread “movements,” all counterfeiting either the true vision of the Holy Spirit given to the “eye of the understanding,” or the normal and healthy action of the imagination. The Church is thus often made a whirlpool of division through believers relying upon “texts” for guiding their decisions, instead of the principle of right and wrong set forth in God’s word.

THE DETECTION OF VISIONS FROM GOD OR SATAN
Apart from the “visions” which are the result of disease, the detection of Divine from Satanic visions depends a great deal upon knowledge of the Word of God, and the fundamental principles of His working in His children. These may be briefly stated thus:–

(1) That no supernatural “vision” in any form, can be taken as of God, which requires a condition of mental non-actionnote 47 or comes whilst the believer is in such a condition.

(2) That all the Holy Spirit’s enlightening and illuminating vision is given when the mind is in full use, and every faculty awake to understand; i.e., the very opposite condition to that required by the working of evil spirits.

(3) That all which is of God, is in harmony with the laws of God’s working as set forth in the Scriptures, e.g., “World-wide movements” by which multitudes are to be gathered in, are not in accord with the laws of the growth of the Church of Christ as shown in (1) the grain of wheat (John 12: 24.); (2) the law of the Cross of Christ (Isa. 53: 10); (3) the experience of Christ; (4) the experience of Paul (1 Cor. 4: 9-13); (5) the “little flock” of Luke 12: 32 ; (6) the foreshadowed end of the dispensation given in 1 Tim. 4: 1-3; 6: 20.

Many a believer has left his path of “grain of wheat multiplication,” caught by a vision of “world-wide” sweeping in of souls, given by Satan, whose malignant hatred, and ceaseless antagonism is directed against the true seed of Jesus Christ , which in union with Him, will bruise the serpent’s head. To delay the birth, (John 3: 3,5), and growth of the Holy Seed (Isa. 6: 10), is the devil’s aim. To this end he will foster any widespread surface work of the believer, knowing it will not really touch his kingdom, nor hasten the full birth into the Throne-life of the conquering seed of Christ.

The safe path for believers at the close of the age is one of tenacious faith in the written Word as the sword of the Spirit, to cut the way through all the interferences and tactics of the forces of darkness, to the end.

COUNTERFEIT DREAMS
All dreams also, as well as visions, can be classed, as to their source, under three heads: (1) Divine, (2) human, or (3) Satanic, each to be known, first by the condition of the person, and second by the principles distinguishing the working of God or Satan.

If the person is under any degree of possession, no dreams at night can be said with certainty to be either from natural causes or “Divine communication,” but are simply night presentations of the same character as “visions” to the mind during the day, and are the counterfeits by evil spirits of these two causes.

Passivity of brain is an essential condition for the presentation to the mind of things by evil spirits. At night the brain is passive, and whilst activity of the mind in the daytime hinders, they have their occasion at night when the passivity is more pronounced in sleep.

Believers who are fighting possession, and the regaining the use of their mental faculties in normal action, can “refuse” these night presentations by evil spirits as definitely as they refuse their workings during the day, and in due time find their complete cessation.

Dreams arising from the natural condition of the person, and attributable to purely physical causes, may be recognized as natural (1) when there is no “possession,” and (2) when such physical causes really exist, and are not used as a cover, by deceiving spirits, to hide their workings.

Apart from the condition of the person, the principle distinguishing Divine from Satanic in relation to dreams, is in the first instance, by their import and exceptional value (Gen. 37: 5-7; Matt. 1: 20, 2: 12), and in the latter, their “mystery,” absurdity, emptiness, folly, etc. as well as by their effects on the person. In the first, the recipient is left normal, calm, quiet, reasonable, and with an open, clear mind. In the second, elated, or dazed, confused, and unreasonable.

The presentations of evil spirits at night is frequently the cause of morning “dullness” of mind, and heaviness of spirit. The sleep has not been refreshing because of their power, through the passivity of the mind during sleep, to influence the whole being. “Natural” sleep renews, and invigorates the faculties, and the whole system. Insomnia is,note 48 in a great degree, the work of evil spirits, adapting their workings to the over-wrought condition of the person, so as to hide their attacks under cover.

Believers who are open to the supernatural world should specially guard their nights by prayer, and by definite rejection of the first insidious workings of evil spirits along these lines.

How many say “The Lord woke me,” and place their reliance upon “revelations” given in a state of half-consciousness, when mind and will are only partially alert to discern the issues of the “guidance” or “revelations” given to them. Let such believers watch the results of their obedience to night-revelations, and they will find many traces of the deceitful workings of the enemy. They will find, too, how their faith is often based upon a beautiful experience given in the early hours of the morning; or, vice versa, shaken by accusations, suggestions, attacks and conflict manifestly of the evil one, instead of an intelligent reliance upon God Himself in His changeless character of faithfulness and love to His own.

All workings of the enemy at night can be made to cease by their recognition as of him, and definitely refused in the Name of the Lord,note 49 revoking all ground unknowingly given for such workings, in the past.

Chapter 6

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.note 1

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,note 2 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,note 3 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.note 4 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.note 5

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.note 6 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 enjoymentnote 7 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 faithfor 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 Godnote 8 is nearly always manifested as love,note 9 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,note 10 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 favour! 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.note 11 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”note 12 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 instrument for God,” working to feed self-love; (2) “You are more advanced than others” working to blind the soul to sober knowledge of itself; (3) “You are different from others,” working to make him think he needs 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;note 13 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;note 14 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 prayingnote 16 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.note 17 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,note 18 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”note 19 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,note 19 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;”note 20 followed by an entire change of tactics by the deceiving spirits in the body, who may now turn upon their victim with terrible accusations;note 21 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 ofttimes 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 convictionnote 22 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.

Ofttimes 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.

In short, the counterfeit manifestations of the Divine presence in the body, in agreeable and heavenly feelings, can be followed by counterfeit feelings of sinful things,note 23 wholly repugnant to the volition and central purity of the believer–who is as faithful to God now in his hatred to sin, as in the days when he reveled in the sense of purity given consciously to his bodily frame.

The deceiving spirit in possession of the body, may now reveal his malignity in attacks of apparent disease, or acute pain without physical cause, counterfeiting or producing (1) consumption, (2) fever, (3) nerve breakdown, and other illnesses, under which the lifenote 24 of the victim may be lost, unless the workings of the “murderers” acting under Satan are discerned, and dealt with by prayer against them, as well as the bodily frame cared for in the natural way.

COUNTERFEIT GUIDANCE
Counterfeit guidance is one of the fruits of the possession of the body which the deceiver obtains through guile. Many believers think the “guidance” or “leading” of God, to be only by a voice saying “Do this,” or “Do that;” or by a compulsory movement or impulse, apart from the action or volition of the man. They point to the expression used about the Lord, “the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness”; but this was abnormal in the life of Christ, for the statement implies intense spirit conflict wherein the Holy Spirit departed from His ordinary guidance. We have a glimpse into a similar intense movement in the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, in John 11: 38, when “groaning with indignation in His spirit” He moved to the grave of Lazarus. In both instances He was moving forward to direct conflict with Satan–in the case of Lazarus, with Satan as the prince of death. The Gethsemane agony was of the same character.

But normally the Lord was guided, or led, in simple fellowship with the Father; deciding, acting, reasoning, thinking, as One who knew the will of God, and intelligently–speaking reverently–carried it out. The “voice” from heaven was rare, and, as the Lord Himself said, was for the sake of others, and not for Himself. He knew the Father’s will, and with every faculty of His being as Man, He did it. (See John 12: 30, 5: 30, 6: 38).

As Christ was a pattern or example for His followers, guidance or “leading” in its perfect and true form is shown in His life, and believers can only expect the co-working of the Holy Spirit when they walk after the pattern of their Example. Out of line with the Pattern they cease to have the working of the Holy Spirit, and become open to the deceptive counterfeit workings of evil spirits.

If the believer ceases to use mind, reason, will, and all his other faculties as a person, and depends upon voices, and impulses for guidancenote 25 in every detail of life, he will be “led” or guided by evil spirits, feigning to be God.

COUNTERFEIT “INWARD” DRAWINGS
At first, after the Baptism of the Spirit, the believer knows to a great extent the true guidance of the Spirit of God. He knows true inward constraint to act, and restraint from action in like manner; such as when to speak to another about his soul, when to rise and testify in a meeting, etc., but after a time he ceases to watch for this pure inward moving of the Spirit; often through ignorance of how to read the monitions of his spirit; and begins to wait for some other incentive or manifestation to guide him in action. This is the time for which the deceiving spirits have been watching. Because at this point the believer has ceased, unknown to himself, to co-operate with the inward spirit action; to use his volition, and to decide for himself,note 26 he is now watching for some other supernatural indication of the way to go, or the course to take. Hence he must have “guidance” somehow, some “text,” some “indication,” some “providential circumstance,” etc., etc. This is the moment of opportunity for a deceiving spirit to gain his faith and confidence: and so some word or words are whispered softly, that are exactly in accordance with the inward drawing that he has had, but which he has not recognized as from another source than the Holy Spirit, Who acted by the deep inner constraining and restraining of the spirit .note 27 The soft whisper of the deceiving spirit is so delicate and gentle, that the believer listens to, and receives the words without question, and begins to obey this soft whisper, yielding more and more to it, without any thought of exercising mind, judgment, reason, or volition.

The “feelings” are now in the body, but the believer is unconscious that he is ceasing to act from his spirit, and by the pure unfettered action of his will and his mind, which, under the illumination of the Spirit, is always in accord with the spirit. This is a time of great danger if the believer fails to discriminate the source of his “drawing” feelings, and yields to them before finding out their source. He should examine his basic principle of decision, especially when it has to do with feeling, lest he should be led away by any feeling without being able to say where it comes from, or whether it is safe for him to go by it. He should know there are physical feelings, soulish feelings, and feelings in the spirit, either of which can be Divine or Satanic in their source, therefore reliance on “feelings”–feeling drawn, etc.–is a source of great mischief in the Christian life.

From this point deceiving spirits can increase their control, for the believer has begun the listening attitude,note 28 which can be developed acutely, until he is always watching for an “inner voice,” or a voice in the ear, which is an exact counterfeit of the voice of God in the spirit; and thus the believer moves, and acts as a passive slave to “supernatural guidance.”note 29

THE COUNTERFEIT VOICE OF GOD
Evil spirits are able to counterfeit the voice of God, because of the ignorance of believers that they can do so, and of the true principle of God’s way of communication with His children. The Lord said: “My sheep know My voice . . ” i.e., My way of speaking to My sheep. He did not say this voice was an audible voice; nor a voice giving directions which were to be obeyed apart from the intelligence of the believer, but, on the contrary, the word “know,” indicates the use of the mind, for although there is knowledge in the spirit, it must reach the intelligence of the man, so that spirit and mind become of one accord.

The question whether God now speaks by his direct voice audibly to men, needs consideration at this point. A careful study of the epistles of Paul–which contain an exhaustive epitome of God’s will for the Church, the Body of Christ, as the books of Moses contained God’s will and laws for Israel–seems to make it clear that God, having “spoken to us in His Son,” no longer speaks by His own direct voice to His people. Nor does it appear that since the coming of the Holy Spirit to guide the Church of Christ into all truth, does He frequently employ angels to speak, or to guide His children.

THE MINISTRY OF ANGELS
The angels are “sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1: 14), but not to take the place of Christ or the Holy Spirit. The Apocalypse seems to show that this ministration of angels to the saints on earth, is a ministration of war in the spiritual realm, against the forces of Satan;note 30 but there is little indication given of ministry in any other way. After the first Advent, when there was great angelic activity over the wondrous event of the Father bringing the “Firstborn” of the new race (Rom. 8: 29) into the inhabited earth (Heb. 1: 6, R.V.); and again at the Advent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to begin His work of forming a Body like unto the Risen Head–and during the early years of the Church–the employment of angels in direct and visible communication with believers, seems to give way to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.

The entire work of witnessing to Christ, and leading the Church into all truth, has been committed to the Holy Spirit. Therefore all intervention of “angels,” or audible voices from the spiritual realm, purporting to be from God, may be taken as counterfeits of Satan, whose supreme object is to substitute the working of his own wicked spirits in the place of God. In any case, it is best and safest in these days of peril to keep in the path of faith and reliance upon the Holy Spirit of God, working through the word of God.

HOW TO DETECT THE SOURCE OF A VOICE
In order to detect which is the “voice of God,” and which is the “voice of the devil,” we need to understand that the Holy Spirit alone is charged to communicate the will of God to the believer, and that He works from within the spirit of the man enlightening the understanding (Eph. 1: 17-18), so as to bring him into intelligent co-working with the mind of God.

The purpose of the Holy Spirit is, briefly, the entire renewal of the redeemed one, in spirit, soul and body, He therefore directs all His working to the liberation of every faculty, and never in any way seeks to direct a man as a passive machine, even into good. He works in him to enable him to choose the good, and strengthens him to act, but never–even for “good”–dulls him, or renders him incapable of free action, otherwise He would nullify the very purpose of Christ’s redemption on Calvary, and the purpose of His own coming.

When believers understand these principles, the “voice of the devil” is recognizable, i.e., (1) when it comes from outside the man, or within the sphere of his circumference, and not from the central depth of his spirit, where the Holy Spirit abides; (2) when it is imperative and persistent, urging sudden action without time to reason, or intelligently weigh the issues; (3) when it is confusing and clamorous, so that the man is hindered from thinking; for the Holy Spirit desires the believer to be intelligent, as a responsible being with a choice, and will not confuse him so as to make him incapable of coming to a decision.

The speaking of evil spirits can also be a counterfeit of the apparent inner speaking of the man himself, as if he were himself “thinking,” and yet with no concentrated action of the mind; e.g., a persistent and ceaseless “commentary” going on somewhere within, apart from volition or mind action, commenting on the man’s own actions or the actions of others, such as “you are wrong,” “you are never right ….. God has cast you off ….. you must not do that,” etc., etc.

HOW TO DETECT THE SOURCE OF “TEXTS”
SUPERNATURALLY SPOKEN
The “voice of the devil” as an angel of light is more difficult to detect, especially when it comes with wonderful strings of texts which makes it appear like the voice of the Holy Spirit. Voices from without, either as from God or angels, may be rejected, yet the believer may be deceived by “floods of texts” which he thinks are from God. In this case the detection needs more knowledge, i.e.,

(1) Does the believer rely upon these “texts” apart from the use of his mind or reason? This indicates passivity.

(2) Are these texts a prop to him? (a) undermining his reliance on God Himself; (b) weakening his power of decision, and (right) self- reliance.

(3) Do these texts influence him? and (a) make him elated and puffed up as “specially guided by God,” or (b ) crush and condemn him, and throw him into despair and condemnation, instead of leading him to sober dealing with God Himself, over the course of his life, with a keen and increasing knowledge of right and wrong obtained from the written Word by the light of the Holy Spirit?

If these, and other such like results, are the fruit of the “texts” given, they may be rejected as from the Deceiver, or at least an attitude of neutrality taken to them, until further proof of their source is given.

The voice of the devil as distinguishable from the voice of God may also be known by its purpose and outcome. Obviously if God speaks direct to a man, that man must be infallibly correct in regard to the specific matter in question. e.g ., A believer may say he is “led” to ask another to a meeting. The one asked must accept, or else give the lie to the other’s “leading.” If the one who believed he was “led” still holds to that position, he considers the one who declined as deceived, or else puts the matter aside without consideration, not realizing that failure in guidance means that he has deceived himself, or else become deceived by deceiving spirits.

HOW EVIL SPIRITS ADAPT THEIR GUIDANCE TO
THEIR VICTIM
Deceiving spirits carefully adapt their suggestions and leadings to the idiosyncrasies of the believer, so that they do not get found out; i.e., no “leading” will be suggested contrary to any strong truth of God firmly rooted in the mind, or contrary to any special bias of the mind. If the mind has a “practical” bent, no visibly foolish “leading” will be given; if the Scriptures are well-known, nothing contrary to Scripture will be said; if the believer feels strongly on any point, the “leadings” will be harmonized to suit that point; and, wherever possible, will be so adapted to previously true guidance from God, as to appear to be the continuance of that same guidance.

Here we see clearly the way of the enemy’s working. The soul begins in God’s will, but the purpose of the evil spirit is to draw it off into the carrying out of his will by counterfeiting the guidance of God. Satanicguidance alters the points of the life, and misdirects the energies of the man, and lessens his service value. To frustrate this artifice of the enemy, the believer should know that there are two distinct attitudes for guidance, which have serious results if their difference is not understood, i.e., (1) Trusting God to guide, and (2) trust that God is guiding.

The first means reliance upon God Himself, and the second is an assumption of being guided which can be taken advantage of by deceiving spirits. In the first, God does guide in response to definite trust in Him, and He guides through the spirit of the man who continues to co-operate with His Spirit; leaving every faculty free to act, and the will to choose intelligently the right step in the path before him.

In the second, when evil spirits take advantage of an assumption that God “is guiding,” independently of momentarily watchful co-operation with the Holy Spirit, a slight compulsion may be noticed, slowly increasing in force, until presently the believer says “I was compelled” to do so-and-so, and “I was afraid to resist,”–the compulsion being taken as an evidence of the guiding of God, instead of recognized as contrary to God’s principle of dealing with His children.

THE DECEIVED BELIEVER A SLAVE TO EVIL SPIRITS
If yielded to, and believed to be of God, the result is that the believer becomes a slave to a supernatural powernote 31 which destroys all freedom of volition and judgment. He begins to be afraid to act himself, lest he should not fulfil, what he believes to be, a minute obedience to the “will of God.” He asks “permission”note 32 to do the most obviously simple duties of life, and fears to take a step without “permission.” As soon as the deceiving spirits have obtained perfect control, and the believer is so passively automatic that he is incapable of realizing his condition, they do not need to work so much under cover. They insidiously commence to direct him to do the most absurd or foolish things, carefully working inside the range of his passive obedience to their will, so as to avoid the danger of awakening his reasoning powers. As a matter of “obedience,” and not from any true conviction, or true principle, he is bidden to let his hair grow long, so as to be like Samson, a Nazarite; to go without his cap, to prove his willingness to obey in the smallest matters; he must wear faded clothes as a “test” of “no pride,” or as a “crucifixion of self,” or as a mark of “implicit obedience to God.”

These things may seem trifles to others, who use their reasoning powers, but they have great issues in the purpose of the deceiving spirits, who, by these directions, aim at making the believer a passive, unthinking, or unreasoning medium, pliable to their will; in obedience to which–even in these trivial matters–their hold deepens upon him.

When these foolish and absurd actions are publicly visible, the lying spirits know that they have destroyed the testimony of the deceived man in the eyes of sober people; but there are vast numbers of devoted believers, known to the Church at large, who are not pushed to such “extremes” of exterior action; but who are equally misled, or in bondage to “supernatural” commands concerning matters of food, dress, manner, etc., which they think they have received from God. The spirit of judgment of others, and the secret self-esteem for their “consecration to God” which accompanies their “obedience,” betrays the subtle workings of the enemy.

THE “PLANCHETTE” USE OF THE BELIEVER BY EVIL
SPIRITS
As long as the believer thinks it is God who is directing him, so long the deceiving spirits are safe from exposure, and they can lead him on into more and more deception. When the man reaches a very high degree of Satanic deception, and possession, he finds himself unable to act unless the spirits in control allow him, so that he no longer even asks for “permission” to do this or that. In some cases they even establish communication with him from within his own bodily frame. If he desires to know whether he shall go here or there, he turns inward for guidance to the inner voice–supposed to be the “voice of God”–the answer “Yes,” being by a movement of his head,note 33 caused by the spirit in possession, or “No” by no action at all; evil spirits making use of the body of the man in the same way as they reply to those who consult them through a “planchette” in other cases;note 34 showing their complete control over the nerves of the body and the whole being of the victim, who now believes that every supernatural movement in his body has signification since it may be originated by “God” in possession.

The possession by deceiving spirits at this stage is so great, that no arguments, reasonings, or outward considerations of any kind, influence the actions of the believer thus deceived; or turn him from obeying the “guidance,” or “permission” of the inner voice, which he fully believes is of God. In truth should he endeavour to go against it in the smallest matter, the condemnation and suffering are so great, that he becomes terrified at any “disobedience,” and would rather be condemned and misjudged by the whole world than go against it. His great horror is “disobeying the Holy Ghost,” and the evil spirits deceiving him take every occasion to deepen this fear, so as to retain their hold upon him.

As the believer thus minutely obeys the spirit in control, he relies more and more upon supernatural help, for the moment he does something apart from it he is accused–apparently by the “Holy Spirit”–of “working apart from God.”

It is at this stage that all the faculties fall into deepening passivity, as the man lets go entirely to the voice of guidance, and into a reliance upon the divine (?) speakings, which keep the brain in complete inaction.

Here also counterfeit manifestations in “miraculous gifts,” prophecy, tongues, healings, visions, and supernatural experiences of every kind possible to the Satanic powers, may be given to the believer, with abundant “texts” and “proofs” to confirm their “Divine origin.” He experiences a lightness of the body which makes it appear as if he were carried by invisible hands; he is lifted off his bed in what spiritists know as “levitation”;note 35 he can sing and speak, and do what he has never been capable of doing before. Constant contact with spirit forces gives the man a “mystical” look, but all lines of strength, which come from strenuous conflict and self-mastery, go out of the face,note 36 for the sense-life is being fed and indulged in a spiritual way as much as by fleshly habits, yet these, such as smoking, etc., have for a time no power.

THE COUNTERFEIT PERSONATION OF OTHERS
But counterfeits of God and Divine things are not the only “counterfeits” the angel of light has at his command. There are also counterfeits of the “human” and human things; such as the personation of others, and even of the believer himself. Others appear to be different from what they really are, jealous or angry, critical or unkind. “Self” is represented in another, in enlarged form, where there is really the very opposite manifestation of selflessness and love. Wrong motives appear to govern others where none exist; simple actions are coloured, and words made to mean and suggest what is not in the minds of the speakers; and sometimes seem to confirm the supposed wrong-doing of others.

Others of the opposite sex may also be personated to a believer in times of prayer or leisure, either in repulsive, or in beautiful form, with the object of arousing various dormant elements in the human frame, unknown to exist by the innocent believer; sometimes the reason for the personation is given “for prayer,” or “fellowship” and “spirit-communion” in the things of God.

When their footing is in the body, the lying spirits’ counterfeit representations of others, may be in the realm of the passions, and affections, seeking to rouse, or feed these in the possessed one; their faces, voices, “presence,” being presented, as if they too were equally affected. This is accompanied with a counterfeit “love,” or drawing to the other one, with a painful craving for their company, which almost masters the victim.

This subject of love, and its painful arousing, and communicating or counterfeiting by evil spirits, is one that touches multitudes of believers of all classes. Many are made to suffer poignant agonies of craving for love, with no specific person involved; others are wrought upon in their thoughts so as not to be able to hear the word love mentioned, without embarrassing manifestations of colour, wrought by evil spirits within the bodily frame; none of these manifestations being under the control of the will of the believer.

THE COUNTERFEIT OF THE MAN HIMSELF
In counterfeiting the believer himself, the evil spirit gives him exaggerated views, almost visions, of his own personality; he is “wonderfully gifted,” and is therefore “puffed up”; he is “miserably incapable,” and so is in despair; he is “amazingly clever,” and thus undertakes what he cannot do; he is “helpless,” “hopeless,” “too forward,” or “too backward”–in brief, a countless number of pictures of himself, or others, are presented to the mind of the man when once the lying spirit has gained a footing in the imagination.

So subtle is the identity of the deceiving spirit with a believer’s individuality, that others see, what may be described as a “spurious personality,”note 37 sometimes the person appears to be “full of self” when the inner man is deeply selfless; “full of pride” when the inner man is sincerely humble. In fact, the whole outer appearance of the man in manner, voice, actions, words, is often quite contrary to his true character, and he wonders why “others misunderstand,” misjudge and criticize. Some believers, on the other hand, are quite unconscious of the manifestation of this spurious self, and go on happily satisfied with what they themselves know of their own inner motives, and heart life; oblivious of the very contrary manifestation which others behold, and pity or condemn. The spurious personality caused by evil spirits in possession, can also be in a beautiful form, in order to attract or mislead others in various ways, all unwittingly to the person, or to the victim. This is sometimes described as “unaccountable infatuation,” but if it was recognized as the work of evil spirits, refused and resisted, the “infatuation” would pass away. It is so wholly apart from the action of the will in the persons concerned, that the work of evil spirits is clearly to be recognized, especially when the supposed “infatuation” follows supernatural experiences; and possession, through the accepting of counterfeits, has resulted.

COUNTERFEIT SIN
Evil spirits can also counterfeit sin, by causing some apparent manifestation of the evil nature in the life, and matured believers should know whether such a manifestation really is sin from the old nature, or a manifestation from evil spirits. The purpose in the latter case is to get the believer to take what comes from them, as from himself, for whatever is accepted from evil spirits gives them entry and power. When a believer knows the Cross and his position of death to sin, and in will and practice rejects unflinchingly all known sin, and a “manifestation” of “sin” takes place, he should at once take a position of neutralitynote 38to it, until he knows the source, for if he calls it sin from himself when it is not, he believes a lie as much as in any other way; and if he “confesses”note 39 as a sin what did not come from himself, he brings the power of the enemy upon him, to drive him into the sin which he has “confessed” as his own. Many believers are thus held down by supposed “besetting sins” which they believe are theirs, and which no “confessing to God” removes, but from which they would find liberty if they attributed them to their right cause. There is no danger of “minimizing sin” in the recognition of these facts, because in either case, the believer desires to be rid of the sin or sins, or he would not trouble about them.

COUNTERFEIT SELF-CONDEMNATION
Again the believer is so acutely conscious of a “self” which he hates and loathes, that he is never free from the dark shadow of self-condemnation, self- accusation or self-despair, which no appropriation of identification with Christ in death, destroys; or else there is a self-confidence which continually draws the man forward into situations from which he has to retire abashed and disappointed. A spurious personality encompasses the true inner man, which few are aware of as possible, but which is a sadly real thing among multitudes of the children of God.

On the part of the soul beset with these constant presentations to his mind of his own personality, he only thinks he has a “vivid imagination,” or still more that some of these things are visions of God, and that he is favoured of God, especially where the vision is of “great plans for God,” or wide visions of what God is going to do! Always with the believer as the Centre, and special instrument of this service!

Many of the “plans” for “movements” which have gone even as far as print, in connection with Revival, have been of such a character; plans given by “revelation,” and which have resulted in gaining but the few caught by them, and no others. Of such a character has been the aftermath of Revival, where men have left their regular calling, and followed a will-of-the-wisp revelation of “launching out on God,” world-wide plans conceived, and dissipated in a few months. Such deceived believers become ultra-devotional, with an excess of zeal that blinds them to all things but the supernatural realm, and robs them of power to wisely meet the claims of other aspects of life. All this comes from an evil spirit’s access to the mind, and imagination, through the deception of counterfeiting the presence of God.

COUNTERFEITS OF SATAN HIMSELF
Counterfeits of Satan himself also suit his purpose at times, when he desires to terrorize a man from actions, or prayer, adverse to his interests. There are occasions when Satan appears to fight against himself, only to cover deep schemes for obtaining fuller possession of a victim, or some greater advantage which he knows how to secure. Fear of the devil may always be regarded as from the devil, to enable him to carry out his plans of hindering the work of God. Of such a character may be the fearsome shrinking from hearing about him and his works, and the passive deadness of the mind in regard to all Scriptural truth concerning the forces of evil. Also the fear caused by reference to his name, given in order to frighten away believers from knowing the facts about him; whilst others who desire the truth may be given exaggerated impressions of his presence, and of “conflict…..clouds,” “blocks,” darkness, etc., until they lose the clearness of the light of God.

Especially is the work of the deceiver manifested in his efforts to make the children of God believe in his non-existence, and in the suggestion that it is only necessary to hear or know about God, as a protection from any form of the enemy’s power. On the other hand, a deceived believer may be more deeply deceived, by seeing nothing but Satan’s counterfeits everywhere.

Supernatural visions and manifestations are a fruitful source of revenue to deceiving spirits, and they have gained a strong footing somewhere in mind or body when these are given; especially when the believer relies upon, and quotes more from these experiences than the Word of God; for the aim of the wicked spirit is to displace the Word of God as the rock-ground of the life. It is true the Scriptures may be referred to and quoted, but often only as a warrant for the experiences, and to strengthen faith–not in God, but in His (apparent) manifestations. This secret drawing of faith from the bare Word of God to manifestations of God, as being more reliable, is a keenly subtle deception of the evil one, and it is easily recognized in a believer thus deceived.

COUNTERFEIT VISIONS
When evil spirits are able to give visions, it is an evidence that they have already gained ground in the man, be he a Christian or an unbeliever. The “ground” being, not of necessity known sin, but a condition of passivity, i.e., non-action of the mind, imagination, and other faculties. This essential condition of passive non-actionnote 40 as the means of obtaining supernatural manifestations is well understood by spiritist mediums, clairvoyants, crystal gazers, and others, who know that the least action of the mind immediately breaks the clairvoyant state.note 41

Believers not knowing these main principles can unwittingly fulfil the conditions for evil spirits to work in the life, and ignorantly induce the passive state by wrong conceptions of the true things of God. e.g., They may (1) in seasons of prayer, sink into a passive mental condition which they think is waiting on God;note 42 (2) deliberately will the cessation of their mind action, in order to obtain some supernatural manifestation which they believe to be of God; (3) in daily life practise a passive attitude which they think is submission to the will of God; (4) endeavour to bring about a state of personal negation, in which they have no desires, needs, wishes, hopes, plans, which they think is full surrender to God, and their “will” lost in God.note 43

BELIEVERS CAN IGNORANTLY DEVELOP
MEDIUMISTIC CONDITIONS
In brief, believers may unknowingly develop mediumistic conditions, of which deceiving spirits are not slow to take advantage. They are careful not to frighten the believer by doing anything which will open his eyes, but they keep within the range of what he will receive without question. They will personate the Lord Jesus in the special way which will appeal to the person, e.g., to some as “Bridegroom”note 44 to others as seated on a throne, and coming in great glory. They will also personate the dead to those who grieve after their loved ones, and as they have watched them during life, and know all about them, they will give ample “proofs” to confirm the deceived ones in their deception.

Visions may come from one of three sources. The Divine, from God; the human, such as hallucinations and illusions because of disease, and the Satanic, which are false. “Visions” given by evil spirits, also describe anything supernatural presented to and seen by the mind or imagination,note 45 from outside; such as terrible pictures of the “future”; flashing of texts as if they were lit up;note 46 “visions” of widespread “movements,” all counterfeiting either the true vision of the Holy Spirit given to the “eye of the understanding,” or the normal and healthy action of the imagination. The Church is thus often made a whirlpool of division through believers relying upon “texts” for guiding their decisions, instead of the principle of right and wrong set forth in God’s word.

THE DETECTION OF VISIONS FROM GOD OR SATAN
Apart from the “visions” which are the result of disease, the detection of Divine from Satanic visions depends a great deal upon knowledge of the Word of God, and the fundamental principles of His working in His children. These may be briefly stated thus:–

(1) That no supernatural “vision” in any form, can be taken as of God, which requires a condition of mental non-actionnote 47 or comes whilst the believer is in such a condition.

(2) That all the Holy Spirit’s enlightening and illuminating vision is given when the mind is in full use, and every faculty awake to understand; i.e., the very opposite condition to that required by the working of evil spirits.

(3) That all which is of God, is in harmony with the laws of God’s working as set forth in the Scriptures, e.g., “World-wide movements” by which multitudes are to be gathered in, are not in accord with the laws of the growth of the Church of Christ as shown in (1) the grain of wheat (John 12: 24.); (2) the law of the Cross of Christ (Isa. 53: 10); (3) the experience of Christ; (4) the experience of Paul (1 Cor. 4: 9-13); (5) the “little flock” of Luke 12: 32 ; (6) the foreshadowed end of the dispensation given in 1 Tim. 4: 1-3; 6: 20.

Many a believer has left his path of “grain of wheat multiplication,” caught by a vision of “world-wide” sweeping in of souls, given by Satan, whose malignant hatred, and ceaseless antagonism is directed against the true seed of Jesus Christ , which in union with Him, will bruise the serpent’s head. To delay the birth, (John 3: 3,5), and growth of the Holy Seed (Isa. 6: 10), is the devil’s aim. To this end he will foster any widespread surface work of the believer, knowing it will not really touch his kingdom, nor hasten the full birth into the Throne-life of the conquering seed of Christ.

The safe path for believers at the close of the age is one of tenacious faith in the written Word as the sword of the Spirit, to cut the way through all the interferences and tactics of the forces of darkness, to the end.

COUNTERFEIT DREAMS
All dreams also, as well as visions, can be classed, as to their source, under three heads: (1) Divine, (2) human, or (3) Satanic, each to be known, first by the condition of the person, and second by the principles distinguishing the working of God or Satan.

If the person is under any degree of possession, no dreams at night can be said with certainty to be either from natural causes or “Divine communication,” but are simply night presentations of the same character as “visions” to the mind during the day, and are the counterfeits by evil spirits of these two causes.

Passivity of brain is an essential condition for the presentation to the mind of things by evil spirits. At night the brain is passive, and whilst activity of the mind in the daytime hinders, they have their occasion at night when the passivity is more pronounced in sleep.

Believers who are fighting possession, and the regaining the use of their mental faculties in normal action, can “refuse” these night presentations by evil spirits as definitely as they refuse their workings during the day, and in due time find their complete cessation.

Dreams arising from the natural condition of the person, and attributable to purely physical causes, may be recognized as natural (1) when there is no “possession,” and (2) when such physical causes really exist, and are not used as a cover, by deceiving spirits, to hide their workings.

Apart from the condition of the person, the principle distinguishing Divine from Satanic in relation to dreams, is in the first instance, by their import and exceptional value (Gen. 37: 5-7; Matt. 1: 20, 2: 12), and in the latter, their “mystery,” absurdity, emptiness, folly, etc. as well as by their effects on the person. In the first, the recipient is left normal, calm, quiet, reasonable, and with an open, clear mind. In the second, elated, or dazed, confused, and unreasonable.

The presentations of evil spirits at night is frequently the cause of morning “dullness” of mind, and heaviness of spirit. The sleep has not been refreshing because of their power, through the passivity of the mind during sleep, to influence the whole being. “Natural” sleep renews, and invigorates the faculties, and the whole system. Insomnia is,note 48 in a great degree, the work of evil spirits, adapting their workings to the over-wrought condition of the person, so as to hide their attacks under cover.

Believers who are open to the supernatural world should specially guard their nights by prayer, and by definite rejection of the first insidious workings of evil spirits along these lines.

How many say “The Lord woke me,” and place their reliance upon “revelations” given in a state of half-consciousness, when mind and will are only partially alert to discern the issues of the “guidance” or “revelations” given to them. Let such believers watch the results of their obedience to night-revelations, and they will find many traces of the deceitful workings of the enemy. They will find, too, how their faith is often based upon a beautiful experience given in the early hours of the morning; or, vice versa, shaken by accusations, suggestions, attacks and conflict manifestly of the evil one, instead of an intelligent reliance upon God Himself in His changeless character of faithfulness and love to His own.

All workings of the enemy at night can be made to cease by their recognition as of him, and definitely refused in the Name of the Lord,note 49 revoking all ground unknowingly given for such workings, in the past.

 

Click another Chapter title to close this chapter and open another chapter

 

Chapter 7

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,note 1 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.note 2 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”;note 3 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,”note 4 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,note 5 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 ofttimes 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 conceptionsnote 6 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 inactionnote 7 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 bodynote 8 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,note 9 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,note 10 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 slavenote 11 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.

COLUMN 3: WHERE THE EVIL SPIRITS ENTER
Where evil spirits enter is the subject of the third column, and the list is very brief, since the widest ramifications of their workings in man can be covered by the words spirit, soul and body, for they bury themselves in the very structure of the human frame, some acting directly upon the organs or appetites of the body, others upon the mind or intellect, sensibilities, emotions and affections, and others more immediately upon the spirit.note 12 In the body they specially locate themselves in the spinal column, nervous system, and deepest nerve centres, through which they control the whole being; from the ganglionic nerve centre located in the bowels, the emotional sensibilities, and all organs affected by them, to the cerebral nerve centre in the head, the eyes, ears, neck, jaws, tongue, muscles of the face, and delicate nerve tissues of the brain.

They may obtain access gradually and insidiously, as already shown, but there are instances where they make a sudden assault, so as to rush the victim into involuntary surrender.note 13

COLUMN 4: SYMPTOMS OF THE PRESENCE OF
EVIL SPIRITS
When evil spirits have gained entry to the believer through the ground given to them, as already described, the symptoms of their presence are recognizable according to the degree of the possession and the place wherein they are located, whether deep in the innermost structure of the person, or in the mind and faculties which are more visibly affected by them.

Many of the symptoms have already been touched upon in previous chapters, especially in “Passivity as the chief basis of Possession” (4), and “Counterfeits of the Divine” (6) in spiritual experiences, and need not be recapitulated.

Here we need but sum up some of the characteristics of acute and fully developed possession in mind and body, when the passive surrender to deceiving spirits is very complete, and the whole of the outer man is open to their use in every part of his being. It must, however, be clearly understood, that (1) all the symptoms may be present in a very slight degree, so as to be almost indistinguishable from entirely natural causes; (2) they may be only manifested in the part of the human frame wherein the intruders are located; or (3) they may come into existence, and pass away through various causes, WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGEnote 14 of the victim.

CHARACTERISTICS OF ACUTE “POSSESSION” OF
MIND AND BODY
When the possession is very pronounced, these intruders entirely dominate the outer man, using, or interfering with the vocal organs, the tongue, jaws, eyes, ears, smell, taste, muscles, the hands and feet, sometimes with uncontrollable and unconscious movements.note 15 They interfere with the head, and move it at their will, and with the five senses of the body, because they are the avenues of knowledge to the mind. They seek to dull and check the acute use of the senses, so that they may have more opportunity to control their victim, and when they do this, there is more or less difficulty in all the operations of the senses and faculties.note 16

VOCAL ORGANS INTERFERED WITH
When evil spirits affect the vocal organs, they may interfere with all the vocal operations in audible reading, speaking, singing, or praying. In speaking, the enunciation may be heavy or blurred, slow or quick; the words may appear to run one into another, the pronunciation variable, and the accents, or emphasis, wrong, for emphasis in speech which is not the result of the mind controlling any emphasis, may be the effect of possession.

The supernatural power affecting the passive mind mixes up, so to speak, the words in the mind, and then in the speech; prevents the mind grasping thoughts, and causes the memory to fail in action. Words come to the mind, and do not remain long enough for speech; or, on the other hand, torrents of “thoughts” come, which “rush” the vocal organs into action beyond control. It is then easier to speak than to listen to another speaking. The tongue acts independently of the mind or will. Words are spoken unthought of by the mind, or intended by the will; sometimes the exact opposite to what was in the mind and intention, which astonish the speaker when he is afterwards reminded of what he has said.

GARRULITY OF CHRISTIANS
Much that has been called “garrulity,” “talkativeness,” and irresponsible use of the tongue among Christians, may be attributed to the cause here named; for many whose tongues are uncontrollable in gossip, slander and backbiting, are sincerely unconscious of what they do, or if they are conscious, are quite unable to control or check their grievous, irresponsible talking. Evil spirits may “possess” them only in the organs of speech, or practically have control of the tongue through the CHANNEL OF A PASSIVE MIND.

This may be the case in platform speakers, who have a voluminous flow of words which pour through the lips, or else a rapid rushing speech, or in staccato form, without any concentration or true action of the mind.note 17 Pulpit preaching is even possible in this way, evil spirits being unaffected by “preaching” which does not proclaim the atoning sacrifice of Christ, and is not in the power of the Holy Ghost.

VOICE AFFECTED BY EVIL SPIRITS
The voice of a man is more easily affected by supernatural power than many have thought. When evil spirits touch the man’s spirit, it may be sometimes recognized by a harsh, metallic sound in the voice, or a hoarse and rough thickness; or these same effects may be noticed in an atmosphere which is very thickly charged by the powers of darkness; showing their effect upon the delicate vocal chords.note 18

In the interference with, or use of the vocal organs and voice, may be placed the counterfeit “gift of tongues,” or the exquisite singing which has been termed the “heavenly music,” because of its manifest supernatural source, and its being beyond the singer’s own natural power.

In pronounced demon possession, evil spirits may affect the voice in an apparently natural way, which is put down to natural causes. For instance, in singing, the man may be doing so with power, and with clear, and bell-like enunciation, but soon there comes weakness in the muscles of the throat, a dry cough, and tears in the eyes, and the singing ceases. The concentration of the eyes upon the music book grows weaker, a sense of heaviness comes on neck and spine; the playing goes on, but heedless, spiritless, dejected and heavy, the singer turns away, putting it all down to “difficulty of breathing,” and physical impediment, when it has been entirely a manifestation of the evil spirits in possession.

INTERFERENCE WITH THE HEAD
In interference with the head, the jaws can be moved by the spirits of evil, and the nerves of the face manipulated in the production of smiles, which appear at unsuitable moments, manifestly apart from the cognizance of the person. Of such a nature is the mechanical smile, when the facial muscles seem made of elastic, or a stiffening of countenance which makes the face appear hard or cruel, dried up and withered, or painfully miserable.

Demon possession does affect the face, and cause expressions upon it which may be opposed to the true character of the person. Other effects upon the face produced by the controlling spirits may be repellent or beautiful, and appear natural and physical; such as a blushing red, impure look, or an angelic look of heavenly beauty, with exquisite smiles, and light as of glory, which may suddenly change into a stern unbending look, with lips set and brow furrowed, or into a dark cloud as of sudden storm and tempest.

In the drainage of vitality, caused by the grip of the spirits of evil, the temples may be sunken, and the hair become prematurely gray. In a sudden manifestation of the intruders, the nostrils may become tightened, the scent deadened, and the breathing gasping and short, with choking, suffocating feelings, and noises in the head.

INTERFERENCE WITH THE EYES
No part of the nerves in the head are more affected than those of the eyes, for there can come about a passivity of the eyes, which permits them to be moved by evil spirits, and forced to see visible objects apart from the use of the volition. In reading, the eyes can be moved to see the printed words, and rapidly skim the pages of matter, without any of it entering the mind, and making any impression upon the memory. It is important, in connection with the use of the eyes, to notice whether mental action always governs their movements, or whether they look at objects independently of the intelligent volition;note 19 for evil spirit interference is most marked when the eyes roam about whilst the man is speaking to another person, or gaze upward or downward, or in any direction without any cause, ofttimes in a most unseemly or discourteous manner.

Particularly is the use of the eyes by evil spirits manifested in a set or fixed gaze upon various things, or upon the faces of others, the latter is especially dangerous, when the person is compelled by this fixity of gaze to take, unknowingly, a mediumistic attitude to another. Any persistent drawing of the eyes to another’s face should be instantly resisted.

Especially in meetings where supernatural powers are manifestly present, a “fixed gaze” in listening to a speaker should be avoided, if it has the effect of causing non-action of the mind and a dazed condition, as it opens the listener to the workings of evil spirits through his passivity. In the same way, speakers in such gatherings should take care lest the spirits of evil find opportunity to use their eyes in fixity of concentration upon the people, to sway them by power and thus hinder the intelligent opening of their minds to the words that are being spoken.note 20

IN ACUTE POSSESSION INTERFERENCE WITH THE
EYES IS VERY MARKED
In acute demon possession, the eyes are affected very markedly. They are forced to see evil things, and bad things, so much so that they affect the person, and make him fidgety and complaining; the eyes cannot look straight in another’s face, nor, indeed, look at anything without an “attack” of some kind, produced by the spirits of evil. These attacks may cause the person to look guilty in the eyes of others, when there is no ground for doing so.

There are two kinds of concentration: (1) Physical, through the eyes, and (2) mental, by the mental vision. The man himself is only acting in any action of the body, when concentration of mind and will is at the back of his every action. Visions may be physical, mental or spiritual.note 21 In the physical vision the eyes are needed; in the mental, the eyes of the mind; and in the spiritual the inward vision of the spiritual man.

When evil spirits control the physical eyes, visions of supernatural, and natural beings, and things, appear before them, and in ordinary matters of life things appear different from what they really are.note 22 The man receives impressions of things contrary to reality, such as the panel of a door appearing like a cross, lights in the sky in various figures, etc. The man declares he “sees” these things, but he does not know that evil spirits can present them to his vision.

The eyesight of necessity is affected by this manipulation of the eyes, and there are general feelings of weakness. Things look misty and blurred, and undefined. There may be short-sightedness, and inability to concentrate on any small object; concentration of the eyes is painful and difficult, the man complains of the light, tiredness of the eyes, and dark spots appear before them, either stable or moving, near or far; symptoms which might be looked upon as purely physical if it were not for the supernatural element accompanying them.

THE EARS AND HEARING AFFECTED
In interference with the ears, entire deafness may be caused by an evil spirit locating in the nerves of the ear, or there may be degrees of interference with the hearing, such as the loss of words, so that in listening there are moments when sentences, or words, are not heard at all; or there is a failure to grasp clearly what others say because the person hears partly what the speaker says, and partly what the evil spirit inserts, or suggests to the mind, hence “misunderstandings” of given instructions, or the clearly expressed language of others. This also causes an indisposition to listen to others speaking, and a restless impatience which cannot wait for them to complete their sentences, or communications, because the intruders are thrusting in their own suggestions to the mind, and claiming attention to their speaking. The believer has a sense of double listening, so to speak, which is an interior and exterior listening at one and the same time. That is, he may be trying to “listen” to feelings and movements withinnote 23 whilst listening to the voices of others outside. This causes difficulty in listening to music, speaking, and reading aloud. There is also a deadness to exterior sounds, because of a buzzing in the ears,note 24 and the sound in the ears is stronger than the sound outside, with the effect of an apparent absent-mindedness. The man needs to be released from listening to the supernatural speaking within himself, before he is free to listen to that which is external.

Evil spirits interfering with the sensory nerves of the ears, render exterior sounds acute in forced consciousness of them, producing confusion and irritation; the exaggerated sense of sound rendering concentration difficult.

They also make strange sounds by interference with the sensory nerves, the man declaring that he heard voices, thunder, rustling as of a dress, etc., which no one around him hears.

THE “BUZZ” OF EVIL SPIRITS SPEAKING
This persistent “buzz” in the ears, makes the victim pre-occupied, and almost unconsciously shake his head, as if shaking off something which is annoying him. It is so distracting that he is obliged to speak aloud to himself to make an impression on his own mind: he must read aloud in order to take in the sense of what he may be reading, or speak aloud to apprehend his own speech, because of the confusion caused in his mind by the inward “buzz” of the persecuting spirits. Because of this confusion, also, fresh ground is given to the powers of darkness, for deeper possession through the distraction caused by their interference.

The cause of this is, that, unknowingly, the believer has lent his ears to evil spirits, listening to their words and suggestions, often because he believed he was listening to God, or listening to himself. This comes particularly when there has grown a habit of listening for an inner voice;note 25 or an alert inside“listening” which in time enables the evil spirit to dull the outer ear, and acute attention to outer communications; or a “listening” inwardly to “feelings,” sensations, movements,note 26 “drawings,” whilst at the same time listening for voices, texts, and messages from without.

DESCRIPTION OF THE SPEAKING OF EVIL SPIRITS
The speaking of evil spirits may be described somewhat as follows:

(1) It is not like the vocal speaking of a human being, which must always be stronger than the speaking of spirits, because spirits have no force of breath; therefore if a man speaks aloud, he can always drown the speaking of evil spirits. On the same principle a man can also drown the voice of the Holy Spirit, because He is Spirit and His speaking is always in the spirit, or through conscience.

(2) It resembles more the “thinking” of a person, or the speaking in oneself, when the words are not uttered through the lips.note 27 When evil spirits are speaking to the inner ear, it seems like a ceaseless buzz of inner words, apparently belonging to the person himself yet not from his mind, nor the result of mental action, nor from his will, nor even expressing his own personal ideas or desires.

When this “buzz” of objectionable, or annoying, or irresponsible words are thus, in an indefinite way, claiming the inner attention of the man, and he has outer claims to deal with, he is liable to speak aloud with a strong voice, so as to overpower or dull the inner clamour, without being conscious that he is raising his voice, or why he is doing so.

UNCONSCIOUS USE OF LOUD VOICE
Unknowingly the man is making an impression on his own mind, through his own ear, by using a loud voice; otherwise his dulled mind would not be able to take in, or retain what he is saying; or get the impression into his mind.

The believer may not be conscious of the inner “buzz” of the evil spirits’ words, and not conscious that his voice is raised to express his own thoughts in audible speech, or know why he finds himself obliged to speak to get clear in his own thinking. Unconsciousness is a symptom of the depth of the evil spirit’s possession, and unconsciousness of facts concerning himself, is as detrimental to the person, as attempts of strangers to enter a house would be to a householder who is oblivious to all sounds.

Consciousnessnote 28 of all things connected with the inner life and environment is as keenly needed by the believer, and should be cultivated by him, as consciousness of all exterior matters connected with the duties of life. Unconsciousness by men of how they themselves act and speak, think or appear, in oblivion to all that is patent to others,note 29 or, on the other hand, an “unconscious” self-consciousness, or ultra- consciousness of the actions of self, may all be results of the work of deceiving spirits.

Some symptoms of thus having listened to supernatural voices, may be described as:

(1) Difficulty in listening to others;
(2) Face “screwed up” in difficulty, of grasping what is said;
(3) A sense of dullness or heaviness in the ear or ears.

The distinction between deafness through the interference of evil spirits with the ears, and that which is the result of physical causes, depends upon whether the person has other symptoms of evil spirit possession, or whether he is in a normally “natural” condition.

VARIED SYMPTOMS
There are other varied symptoms showing disturbance of the entire systemnote 30 of the man when dominated by evil spirits in possession. In affecting the muscles, hands and fingers or feet, the nerves are held, and these act without control of the mind or will, sometimes in convulsive action, or in twitches, and prostration, or else in the paradox of being muscularly weak and strong consecutively, and in rapid succession. There are many accidents through possession, which are called “the visitation of God,” “slips of the hand,” unaccountable “failures of the mind,” which are left unexplained, but these “happenings” are not really “accidents”–they are the carrying out of the real designs of unseen spirit beings malignantly concerned in the world of men.

The insidious spirits have prepared for this manipulation, or interference with the person by their slow dulling of the mind; the weakening of the reasoning powers, which prevents him seeing the outcome of a certain step or action; the disuse of the judgment; the imperceptible loss of decision, and independent action of the will, so that it “snaps,” so to speak, at a critical moment, with fatal results; for without this passivity of mind and will, the emissaries of Satan cannot have the full control of the body which they so keenly desire.

In affecting the body,note 31 the spirits of evil also interfere with all the functions at various times, and in various degrees, such as in eating and drinking, and the swallowing of food. The mastication of food, the saliva, the phlegm, the breath and breathing, physical weakness or strength, stiffness of limbs, heaviness, heat and cold, agreeable or disagreeable feelings, sleeplessness, dreams,note 32 restlessness at night, all can be irritated, produced or exaggerated by the presence and will of evil spirits.

MANIPULATION OF THE BODY
How evil spirits can manipulate the body through the nervous system,note 33 we find clearly defined in the Scriptures; but we never find a single instance of the Holy Spirit working in the same way. Not once in the Acts of the Apostles do we find “twitchings,” “writhing,” convulsions, or other effects of supernatural power on the human frame, recorded as results of being filled with the Holy Spirit. But we do read that evil spirits can convulse the body, tear it, bruise it (Luke 9: 39), cause it to pine away (Mark 9: 18), or give it strength (Mark 5: 4); they can make the man cry out suddenly with a loud cry (Luke 9: 39), or make him dumb, gnash his teeth, roll on the ground, cast him into the fire to burn him, or water to drown him (Matt. 17: 15).

In this acute form the symptoms of demon possession and insanity are almost indistinguishable. The difference lies in the fact that in pure demon possession the mind is not impaired, although it may be passive, or suspended in action, but in insanity the evil spirit takes advantage of a physical condition, “Insane” people are more “sane” than sane people think they are, and there is more truth in what they say than is believed. What they “see” is not always delusion, but the actual doings of evil spirits.

It is necessary, therefore, to distinguish between

  1. Pure insanity,
  2. Pure “possession,”
  3. Insanity and possession.

Before declaring a person insane, from physical and natural causes, the physician should find out if there be any supernatural cause. Insanity may be caused by natural derangement,note 34 and by supernatural interferences of evil powers. True insanity can also be the result of possession, and be (humanly) irrecoverable.

In short, under the power of a lying spirit, the man loses control of his body, and is, for the time being, when the intruder manifests himself, irresponsible for his actions.

The spirits in possession of the body vary in character, and in manifestation, as much as when in possession of the mind, or spirit, in spiritual manifestations. Some are malignant, and some are milder in their actions, such as the “spirit of infirmity” or powerlessness described in Luke 13: 11, or the blind and dumb spirit in Matt. 12: 22. These Scriptures show there were cases of possession which looked like cases for healing, but the Lord’s words and action proved that the woman who was bent for eighteen years, did not require healing, but deliverance.note 35 The bending of the back is one of the symptoms of demon possession, when the body is deeply affected.

PROPHETIC ECSTASY AND INSPIRATION
Another manifestation of evil spirits may be described as prophetic ecstasy, or “inspiration.” Such was manifested in the girl with a “spirit of divination,” which Paul cast out (Acts 16: 16-18). The danger of this kind of spirit is that the manifestations are more like those of the Holy Spirit,note 36 than when in the nervous system, or bodily frame. To distinguish between the two in the Corinthian Church was the object of the Apostle writing the 12th and 14th chapters of the first Corinthians: “Concerning the ‘inspired’. . . I would not have you ignorant,” he wrote, as he proceeded to show them how to detect the difference between the manifestations of deceiving spirits in demoniacal ‘inspiration’ or ecstasy, and the true inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God in one believer being in harmony with the manifestation of His power in others, and the demoniacal spirit producing “schism” or “mutiny” of the members of Christ’s Body one against the other. The Holy Spirit causing interdependence, and honour of His workings in the one and in the other; the demoniacal spirit causing lawlessness, and confusion. “Harmony” and “confusion” being respectively the hall-mark of the supernatural power being from God or Satan in the assembly of God’s people.

COLUMN 5: EXCUSES USED BY EVIL SPIRITS
TO HIDE THEIR PRESENCE
The excuses of the evil spirit to cover the ground held opens again a wide field of consideration. Once the ground is taken, and the mind is dulled from its power of critical discrimination, the lying spirit is apt in suggesting “excuses”note 37 to the believer to cover his location, and the ground he holds. The list of varied explanations is given in Column 4. If the mind labours in action, “it is natural” or “it is heredity,” he suggests. Where the whole nervous system is involved, “it is disease” or “it is purely physical.” “It is fatigue,” or it is “spiritual.” There may be, and there generally is, some basis for the “excuse,” for the deceivers are keenly clever in working along-side natural conditions, either in circumstances, temperament or disturbance of the bodily functions, i.e., the attack may be in the natural and physical realm, but not from it as the source. They like to have, and watch for, some physical or mental ailment to serve as the cover, or “excuse” for their manifestation.

They attack a person because they are in possession, but make him think and believe it to be an indirect attack, i.e., through another person. The blame is placed on the man himself or someone else, or on anything but the true cause, so that the intruder may not be discovered and expelled. It is therefore important that all “excuses” should be examined, i.e., the “reasons” for such and such an unexplainable manifestation. The causes should always be gone into, for by believing a wrong interpretationnote 38 of the manifestation, more ground is given to the lying spirits. The believer may be refusing ground on the one band, and giving new ground on the other, unless he examines all the suggestions which come to his mind concerning his condition.

The following tables show the stages of the advance in possession, and how wrong interpretation gives new ground:

(1)Ground followed by
(2)Possession, manifested by–
(3)for example, “Twitching of nerves”–then the evil spirits give
(4)Wrong interpretation of the cause of this twitching, which, if accepted by the believer, admits new lies from them, and gives more ground.

Four sequences should be noted in this connection:

(1)Ground because of (a) ignorance, resulting in (b) deception;
(2)Followed by possession, because of ground;
(3)Manifestation because of possession;
(4)Danger of wrong interpretation of manifestation.

Deceiving spirits also persistently endeavour to keep the believer occupied with something else to fill up the mind, so that he may not discover his own need of deliverance. Workers are almost obsessed with the thought of “Revival,” or the “need of others,” whilst blind to their own condition. Devotion, singing, preaching, worship–all rightful things–may so possess the mind as to close it to all personal knowledge of the need of deliverance from the adversary’s deception.

The effect on the believer of evil spirit possession, we have already dealt with, in the aspect of mental and bodily inertness. To this we add, general weakness of the whole man, spiritual, mental and physical. He becomes erratic in temperament, spasmodic in study, wavering in allegiance, and undecided in action; easily moved by (1) impulses, i.e., a sharp movement forward without volition; or (2) repulsion without reason, i.e., a sharp movement backward apart from volition.

THE LIFE FULL OF CONTRADICTION
The life becomes increasingly full of contradictions. The man seems strong and yet is weak, he is stoical and yet seeks love; he is spasmodic in his actions, erratic and dogmatic in his beliefs, and utterly illogical in his reasonings. All these symptoms may be visible or invisible, and manifested at different intervals, and in different degrees, concurrently or consecutively.

After a time the believer may become conscious of his condition, and then he has a painful shrinking lest these symptoms should be read by others, and thus cause attacks upon him. When they do become too manifest to be hidden or ignored, then he is often said to be suffering from a “nerve breakdown,” for the symptoms coincide with all the characteristics of neurasthenia, and can only be distinguished from it by an examination into past spiritual experiences, and the discovery of the working of supernatural powers.

Should the apparent “neurasthenia” be really the possession of evil spirits, no prolonged rest or natural means will set the person free, although such means may give the body a renewing which will enable the victim to face the spiritual truth in due time.

This growing weakness of the circumference also weakens the spiritual life, by preventing its growth into vigorous manhood in Christ; for the inner spiritual man needs the outer man for expression, and development. But in possession through deceptionnote 39 the mind is too passive to act, and express the inner life–the expression of the face is passive and dull, the eyes are dreamy and slow. In brief, the outer man becomes a “prison,” so to speak, of the spirit life at the centre within.

Another very manifest effect is that as time goes on, the man lives more in the body than in the soul and spirit, the lawful appetites reassert controlnote 40 and the spirit-life is more unrecognized and less followed,note 41 whilst variations and inconsistencies in life, in state, in actions, all show increasingly the marks of “possession.”

THE GENERAL EFFECT ON THE MAN OF
SUPERNATURAL EXPERIENCES
A very little consideration of the characteristics of those drawn into abnormal supernatural experiences, will bear out this diagnosis. The invariable effect upon such believers is the weakening of the mental force, the reasoning and judging power; a weakening in moral force and will and ofttimes; a haunting sense of fear–fear of the future, fear of persons so that they cannot bear to hear them spoken of, or to speak to them; and a gradual general weakening of the physical frame. In time there comes an involuntary effect upon the nervous system, and there is impatience–manifestly “nervous” and not moral–and restlessness, and often an involuntary twitching action of the nerves.note 42

In the moral realm comes an attitude of infallibility, positive assertion and unteachableness, with loss of the real power of choice, and personal control of mind, speech, manner, and actions–for persons thus “possessed” cannot choose or act, because they shall not; and they have acutely a sense that they “don’t know what to do,” on account of the evil spirit’s hold of them.note 43

COLUMN 6: EFFECTS OF POSSESSION ON THE BELIEVER
The effect of evil spirit possession as listed in Column 6 has already been more or less indicated in the preceding columns, and it is only necessary to compare Column 4 and 6 for their further summing up.note 44

The subtilty of the deception has been that in multitudes of cases, all these “symptoms” are thought to be physically or morally the outcome of the individual personality, i.e., the “temperament” of the person, which must be borne with until released from the body of clay in the grave! “Self,” they declare, is their trouble, which no acceptance of the Fulness of the Spirit, nor light upon identification with Christ, has altered. Wandering of mind in prayer, restlessness, talkativeness, or extreme reserve; and many other hindering troubles in the outer man remain, and are tolerated, or grieved over, without hope of change.

But how different the outlook, when much that troubles them is attributed to the true cause. “An enemy hath done this!” In many it is not “self” after all, but ground unwittingly given to deceiving spirits, who could be dislodged by the knowledge of the truth, and by refusal of ground.

 

Click another Chapter title to close this chapter and open another chapter

These links will take you to another site in another browser tab
Click the colored link to open the page

Chapter 8.The Path to Freedom.
Chapter 9.The Volition and Spirit of Man.
Chapter 10.Victory in Conflict.
Chapter 11.War upon the Powers of Darkness.
Chapter 12.Revival Dawn.

Read the non-chapters, they have MUCH good information

Summary of “Ground”
H
ow evil spirits gain access to humans
Seeking radical cause in ground
H
ow we become deceived while seeking God.
Brief Notes
O
verview of concepts and terms used
The true workings of God, and the Counterfeits of Satan
A
 great comparison of God’s workings and Satan’s workings
APPENDIX  Make sure you read this, it has valuable information about the Welsh Revival