DEMONIC POSSESSION AND OPPRESSION, BOTH ARE REAL

Experience of the demonic

Two stories of Duncan’s experience with the demonic are taken from the article Does the Devil Exist? in Patheos Evangelical JANUARY 11, 2022 by Duncan Edward Pile.

STORY ONE: My friends and I were in San Fernando, Philippines. It was our day off, so we decided to walk into town and share the Gospel with anyone who was interested. Ten minutes into the walk we came across a gathering on a street corner. It was the intersection of several dirt streets, with an open area of dusty ground and a small stand selling coca cola. Around us were rustic homes constructed from tree fibres.

We stopped and began to talk with the locals, and I was soon engaged by an old, staggering drunkard, wearing a large medallion – a carving of a snarling, demonic face. I’d seen plenty of similar items in the UK but they’d always struck me as harmless, gothic accessories. This was different. Just looking at it made me feel sick.

The old man grabbed my arm, and I immediately felt nauseated. Suddenly he wasn’t drunk anymore. I began to retreat but he came after me, seeking to touch me again. I became frightened. Every time his skin brushed mine I felt another wave of nausea and an intense sense of spiritual oppression. It was clear the old man was aware of the discomfort he was causing me. His eyes were cold and hard, staring at me with a hatred so intense it was palpable. He raised a bony finger before my face.

“In…your…HEAD!” he barked, stabbing my forehead with his finger. I ran, chased by his cackling until I found a group of friends. I ducked into the middle of them and squatted on my heels, arms wrapped tightly around my knees. I was literally hiding, utterly terrified.

I knew what I’d encountered. Back in the UK, I’d cast out a couple of demons. I knew the look in a person’s eyes when possessed. It’s like nothing else, but I wasn’t afraid of them until that moment. I believed they were defeated at the cross, and had no power other than that which we lend them, but I’d never encountered a person utterly given to possession – like the man in the Bible who had a whole legion of demons within him. Now I had, and the encounter had shaken me to my core.

My friends calmed me down, and a good look around told me the old man had gone, so I went to the Coke stand to get a drink. There was one customer already at the stand, and as I placed my order, I realised it was the same old man. I have no idea how I failed to spot him. He saw me and broke into a broad, nasty leer. He got into my space, and banging the heel of his palm rapidly against his chest, said:

Why is your heart going boom boom boom?” For the second time that day, I ran, and this time I didn’t return.

STORY TWO: Some friends and I were ministering at a church in Manila. During a meeting a girl doubled over, crying out in pain. She was clutching her chest, just below her left collarbone. Everyone gathered around her, praying for her to be healed, but I was on the far side of the room and there was a ring of people between her and me.

One of the gifts of the Spirit is the discernment of spirits, and at that moment, I knew beyond human knowledge that her pain was the result of demonic oppression, rather than illness. I was filled with power and authority and knew I had to act, so I crossed the room, asking people to move aside. The ring of praying folk around her parted, and on reaching her, I placed my finger on her collarbone and said: “Go! In Jesus’ name.”

Instantly, she gasped, collapsing in relief. She’d been having these attacks for some time, and even had a diagnosis for them, but the pain was instantly and completely gone. This wasn’t a ‘out of ten, how do you feel?’, before and after kind of comparison, which can be manipulated to make something seem like more than it is. One moment she was in agony, crying out in pain, and the next she was completely free of pain. She was utterly astonished.

So, what to make of the above? Each situation can certainly be explained in modern terms. The old man might have been a master of human behaviour, and sensing my vulnerability, decided to prey on me. Or perhaps we were both deluded. Maybe there is no God, and no Devil, and human beings are capable of manufacturing all manner of intense inner experiences we then label as spiritual. Maybe we were both complicit in a mutual delusion, playing for imaginary teams in an imaginary game.

In the second scenario, perhaps my conviction was enough to persuade her she was set free, and the placebo effect resulted in the sudden cessation of pain.

It’s possible to explain anything away if you try hard enough, but why do we feel the need to do so? It is also possible that there is a God, and that evil spirits oppose him, seeking to harm the lives of those he loves.

The consequences of denying the Devil’s existence

The Bible gives us both warnings and advice about demons and how to cope with their attacks. Sadly many churches do not address this basic issue and leave their congregations open to demonic attack.

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.1 Peter 5: 8-9

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.James 4:7

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.Ephesians 6:10-13

The importance of spiritual warfare

When I pray for others, I rely on the leading of the Spirit to know how to pray. At times I know to pray for the mercy of God, at others for grace, and yet for others, I know to go to battle on their behalf, praying in power and authority against spiritual forces trying to harm them. This spiritual dimension is essential to the dynamics of effective prayer, and to Christian faith in general. I’ll tell you this much – if you’re going through trouble, these are the kind of believers you want praying for you. Good wishes and warm thoughts achieve nothing.

I fear we are busy pouring out the baby with the bathwater, reshaping Christianity in an image so far from the life and ministry of Jesus it becomes something else altogether. My prayer is that we are not so deceived by our own importance and cultural perspective that we deny the spiritual side of life, including the darkness we are called to resist. Where we’ve replaced spiritual activity with softly-spoken ponderings and general niceness, I pray we will get real.

In these last days before Jesus returns we know from Biblical prophecy that demonic warfare will only increase so we need to heed Paul’s warning to put on the full armour of the Lord daily to be able to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit gifts. Know full well that the world will hate you for being Jesus’ disciple. Torben Sondergaard and his team at Last Reformation Ministries were casting out demons from people on the streets of Denmark. Satan managed to make it look like Torben was doing something that was damaging particularly to children looking on and so the government made it illegal and a jailable offense. The situation became so intolerable for Torben that he fled to the USA. After an incredible time of ministry all over the USA making disciples of Christ that are prepared to reach out to their communities to make more disciples, Torben is now in jail in the USA on a trumped-up charge. It has been six months and he is still there. God of course has used Torben in jail to transform the lives of other prisoners but his testimony of what God has been doing to transform Torben Sondergaard will both challenge and inspire you. Take a look at my post New Year’s Greetings from Torben Sondergaard – Now six months in Jail posted January 4th, 2023.

DEMONIC DECEPTION IS REAL, SAYS EX-PSYCHIC

An ex-psychic whose encounter with tarot card reading as a child led her on a journey into new-age practices and the occult is offering a dire warning about the “deception” and dangers she encountered.

Jenn Nizza spent years doing readings and communicating with what she believed were the dead loved ones of her clients — until she had an encounter with Jesus that changed everything.

The hidden dangers of alternative spirituality in contemporary America and its churches.

Nizza recently told “The Playing With Fire Podcast” about how her journey into the occult unfolded at a “very young age” when the “door was open” inside her home. Despite being culturally Catholic, she said paranormal discussions were a regular occurrence with her family.

“In my home, it was very acceptable to talk about paranormal activity, what people commonly call ghosts, which, of course, were demons,” she said. “I had my very first tarot card reading [at the age of 13].”

Around the same time, Nizza said she had already begun experiencing what she now believes was demonic oppression. She started having dreams about events that would essentially come true. Rather than flee from these practices and experiences, Nizza became enamored and dove in even deeper after her first tarot reading.

“That’s when I really walked through the door, because I was so intrigued by it, and I started seeking it out. … I went full-in,” she said. “It was a rabbit hole of destruction. … I had my own tarot cards. I kept going for readings; I became addicted to it.” Nizza found herself exploring numerology (the occultic practice of exploring the relation of numbers to events) and astrology (divination that involves celestial objects), among other techniques.

At the same time, she faced struggles with depression, as well as an eating disorder.

Still, Nizza forged on and started doing readings for friends, family, and eventually other clients. She said she eventually believed “every single lie the New Age,” told her.

She Believed She Was Helping

Nizza said she really believed she was helping people through her “abilities” and made an important proclamation about many of the psychics and mediums she has known. While many Christians might assume these individuals have diabolical plans, most believe they’re assisting others.

“This is part of the destruction that happens,” she said. “I think it’s the first line of deception … I’ve always been a compassionate person and these psychic mediums, for the most part, are nice, compassionate people that really do want to help other people.”

But people engaging in such things, she said, have become spiritually vulnerable, believing the evil they’ve allowed in is somehow a form of good.

“Satan masquerades as an angel of light,” Nizza said. “You think that you’re a servant of righteousness.”

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.2 Corinthians 11:13-14

A Warning About Demons

Rather than receiving information from sources of good, she said demons, whom she described as fallen angels, are “giving psychics information.”

Demons are real and they hate us, and they hate God, and they’re on a mission to get us away from the Lord,” Nizza said, adding they predict what will unfold but can’t know for sure.

As a former medium, she believed she was communicating with the dead but now acknowledges the spirits she once channeled were demonic.

“There is no good spirit talking to a psychic. … They masquerade as your deceased loved ones,” Nizza said. “When it seemed like mom or dad or grandma, and you’re crying with your client … that seems good and comfortable.” But the ex-psychic said mediums are actually convening with evil.

Finding Jesus in the Mess

As for Nizza’s own journey away from the occult, she said she eventually hit her absolute lowest point and found herself calling out to Christ.

“When I was 36, I first cried out to Jesus,” she said. “I was at the lowest of the low, the lowest moments of my life — one of the darkest moments. … My soul, my spirit, knew to cry out to Jesus. I needed Him.”

By the time she turned 37, her Christian journey had finally begun.

Reflecting on all that unfolded, Nizza — who believes she was oppressed throughout her life but not possessed — found it fascinating she turned to Christ rather than the spirits she spent years adoring.

“I didn’t cry out to a deceased person, a spirit guide, an angel, anybody who I thought I was communicating with all those years,” she said. “I cried out to Jesus Christ and He really did show up.”

Nizza continued, “The Gospel is what saves.”

She also offered a warning to anyone considering or in the midst of pondering occultic and New-Age practices: beware of the dangers. “If you go down the wrong road — it just takes one tarot card reader on TikTok, one person in the new age, one ‘love and lighter’ to tell you that you are gifted,” she said. “And you are going to go down the rabbit hole of destruction.”

DEMONIC OPPRESSION IS REAL

Demonic oppression is a spiritual attack from a demonic spirit that seeks to influence a person’s thoughts, emotions, and actions. Since a demon cannot possess a Christian to control them, then oppression is the next best option. Because of the way we are created as humans, these attacks will often begin in our minds because this is the central hub that dictates what we think about, how we feel, and ultimately what we do. The goal of demonic oppression is to keep a person trapped and bound. The desire is to paralyze the Christian believer so they become ineffective.

From Job, we know that God allows demonic spirits to attack the body so the following story is possible.

Actress Joey King, who played a little girl afflicted by the supernatural in the demonic-themed horror film, “The Conjuring,” recently shared strange details from her time making the movie that still makes her “shudder.”

King, 22, said earlier this month in an appearance on “The Drew Barrymore Show” that she developed a strange blood disorder while playing Christine, one of the Perron children in “The Conjuring.”

“It was pretty intense. Some weird stuff happened on the set, along with the movie being scary,” she told fellow actress Drew Barrymore. “It’s true, I developed this bizarre, rare, out-of-nowhere blood disorder, and basically, my body, like all the red platelets from my body were like drained out.

“In the [movie], when the mother gets possessed, she gets all these bruises on her,” King said. “And so during the filming of those particular scenes, I started having a lot of bruises show up on my body.”

The bruises in strange places like her chest and stomach were so pervasive that makeup artists thought she stole their supplies to create fake bruising. They only realized this wasn’t the case when they tried to remove the bruising to no avail.

“It was so dramatic,” she said. “So I had to, every day before work and after work, go to the hospital, get my blood taken.”

But something truly bizarre happened once King finished filming “The Conjuring.” “Then, all of a sudden, I got home, and I’ve never had a problem with my blood since,” she said, sparking a shocked reaction from Barrymore. “Every time I think about it, I just shudder a little bit.”

It’s a truly bizarre story, but regardless of the veracity of the claims, scripture does tell us that evil is very real. Satan cannot possess Christians but he can oppress them. Scripture reveals that in the end times this will escalate.

Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Revelation 2:9-10

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.James 4:7-8