HOW TO DEFEAT DEMONS
By Rev. Jim and Carolyn Murphy
PART TWO - LEARNING ABOUT SPIRITUAL WARFARE
HOW PEOPLE ARE SNARED BY DEMONS
Again, we must make the distinction between demonic “oppression” and demonic “possession.” Many times a person is what I call “oppressed” by demons but certainly not possessed. I have personally helped in the deliverance of people whom I considered fully possessed. On the other hand, I have worked with countless others whom I considered oppressed.
The key to the presence or absence of a demon is authority! There are many ways people give authority to the demonic world to gain access to them. Thus, it is necessary for us to recognize and deal with the authority used by the demon to gain access. To guarantee victory, we must take away the demon’s authority with the authority given us by Jesus. Only by overriding this prior authority with the authority we have in Christ can we have an assurance of victory.
The Holy Spirit can, and sometimes does, sovereignly speak to us and show us how the demon entered. But it is very helpful to become familiar with the following list of known ways demons gain access to people. The Holy Spirit can use such a list to speak to us concerning a person or situation.
Although the following listing is long, I have undoubtedly left out some of the ways demons gain access to people. Because I do not believe this list to be complete, please always be open to the Holy Spirit if He shows another way.
In cultures structured around tribes or clans, ritualistic practices are common. The basis of these rituals is often demonic. The ceremonial initiations of newly born or very young children into a tribe is often demonic. Some African, Latin American, American Indian, and Asian tribes use such initiations. Some tribes in Africa initiate children by marks cut into their skin. In parts of Mexico children are formally “anointed” with a potion by the community spiritist to “keep evil from them.” Often parents of a new born child simply take the child to the community spiritist to have “protective rituals” performed over the child. These rituals vary from place to place, but demons are present wherever tribalism exists.
What is generally not recognized by most of the participants is that these rituals often give the infant over to demonic oppression for the rest of his or her life...unless that person is set free.
The inheritance of demons is common among those born into families who practice the occult, witchcraft, satanism, and so on. These are the families whose senior male member is a witch doctor or medicine man, or whose senior female member is a witch. In these cases children born into the family are often given over at birth to demons. We encountered this practice in the interviews with the former Satanist and Witch Doctor in Chapter Three.
As we have seen, demonic practitioners exist who specialize in supplying the needs of people. Demons are transferred to those who come seeking the services of the practitioner. Remember, whether or not the practitioner knows his power comes from Satan does not matter. The fact is that it does. All who accept the services of such practitioners open themselves and their family members to demonic power.
Here I refer the reader to Chapter Four and the section “The Problem of Herbal Medicines.” In that chapter we discuss all aspects of the use or non-use of herbal medicines. I again emphasize that the use of any herbal medicines gotten from a witch doctor is wrong. It opens the door for demonic transfer to its user.
The term “occult participation” has a different meaning in the non-Western world than it does in the Western world. In the Western world it means such things as participating in seances, levitation, spiritist churches, the use of tarot cards, ouija boards, etc. In the non-Western world it has a much larger application. In general, it means not only those practices listed above that are common to the Western world, but it also means obeying the teachings of demons. Such teachings are in superstitions, conducting rituals, repeating incantations, keeping and/or using charms, divining for water, using demon power, casting spells, etc. The demonic world uses the occult and its practices to take people captive worldwide. Those who freely take part in these occult practices will soon become the unwitting host of demons.
In most every culture people believe certain items bring “luck” to their owners. For example, as children in the part of America where I grew up, we believed having a rabbit’s foot was good luck. In other parts of the world people believe certain stones, bones, or other objects have magical powers. Others make idols and believe they have supernatural powers.
If demons cannot easily find a human or animal host, they often will make their home in objects. This is especially true of objects made for and dedicated to demons.
A Christian friend of mine told the following story: He opened his home for prayer meetings one night a week. At one of these meetings, a man who came saw two wood-carved figures in the room in which they were meeting. He looked at the two figurines and told the host, “Those figurines have demons! Where did you get them?” The shocked host replied, “I got them in the Philippines. Are you sure about the demons?” “Absolutely!” the man responded, “I can see them looking at me!”
At that comment the host took the two small figurines and tossed them into the fire that was gently burning in the fireplace. Instantly loud, hideous screams came from the fire! Sparks from the fireplace flew all over the room. Neighbors who lived across the street saw flames shooting two or three meters above the chimney. These neighbors became so frightened they telephoned the fire department. The responding firemen who watered the sparks from the chimney were very doubtful when told what had burned in the fireplace!
The use or possession of any of these objects opens the door for the demonic world to enter the home or the lives of those who live there. Therefore, the home or work place should not have any such objects, their presence is an open invitation to the demonic world.
There are geographic or territorial areas in the demonic world. Demons have been known to live in locations such as a building. This is especially true of places used for demonic rituals. This is not to say that anyone who enters such buildings or passes through such places will become demonized. But rather, if someone lives or works in such a building or place he or she should expect demonic activity from time to time.
The common word used in the Western world for these places is “haunted.” Demons often reveal themselves in these buildings by unusual noises, voices, foot steps walking when no one is there, musical instruments playing, and so on.
The human will is a key element in keeping oneself free from demons. We will cover the human will in detail in Chapter 11. Demons are unable to enter a person who exerts his will to take a strong stand against the demonic realm. But they can and often do wait patiently looking for an opportunity when the possible host’s guard is down.
A severely traumatized person’s will to stand against the demonic world is easily shaken. The trauma can result from a serious bodily injury, rape, incest, emotional betrayal by a spouse or other family member, death, or some other thing that severely shakes a person.
We know from our interviews with people after their deliverance that, in some instances, it was during a time of trauma that the demons gained a foothold. Therefore, it is very important for Christians to stand guard over their traumatized loved ones and brothers and sisters in Christ. Stand guard through prayer until the victim has fully recovered and until his or her will is fully operative again. This is one of the countless blessings of having brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. In the case of traumatized children, it is vital that the adults with authority over these children stand guard against demonic attack on behalf of the children.
Severe physical/emotional trauma poses the danger of demon entrance because the guard of the human will is down. When a person allows a hypnotist to hypnotize him, he or she is voluntarily giving his will into the hands of another. No Christian, for any reason, at any time, should ever allow himself to be hypnotized! I am not saying that everyone who has ever been hypnotized is automatically demonized. What I am saying is that the risk is very high because demons often hang around hypnotists, patiently waiting for a victim. I believe some hypnotists actively work with the demonic world to help the demons gain access to people. This is particularly true of hypnotists who work with magic tricks and hypnotize people as “entertainment.”
First, let me define subliminal: below the threshold of consciousness or apprehension; involving the use of stimuli that become effective subconsciously by repetition. Today’s modern technology has given Satan many new tools to use against mankind. Advertisements abound worldwide telling people that they can learn any subject they wish - while they sleep! It’s simple, all they have to do is play a tape in their hearing while they sleep. Easy, isn’t it? But the problem is the same as in hypnotism. The human will is off guard.
I recently sat through a lecture by a man who was a professional hypnotist for twenty years. He warned against both practices. He made little distinction between hypnotism and subliminal learning. In both demons take advantage of the sleeping human will to gain access to the unwary.
Subliminal messages are commonly coupled with demonic music (number 14, below). Many such recordings contain destructive subliminal messages. These messages suggest suicide, murder, rape, Satan worship, and so on.
The sending of demonic forces to do harm to a person, family, business, church, community, etc. is a curse. Curses are one of the tools of trade used by witch doctors, Satanists, and demonic practitioners. Sadly, the cursed person usually has no knowledge of the curse. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal it to us.
To become and remain free from curses, we need to understand the different types of curses. There are five types of curses. We find four in Scripture. The curses found in the Bible are by: 1) parents, 2) self, 3) others, and 4) God. The fifth curse comes from the demonic world.a.Curse by Parents - In Matthew’s Gospel, when Pontius Pilate was trying to free Jesus from the Jews, they cried, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” (Mat 27:25 NIV). History shows the fulfillment of that curse.
We find another form of parental curse in Exodus:
Thus, we see quite clearly that parents can bring a curse on their children by their own words and actions.b.A Curse on Oneself - Matthew 27:25 states that the curse was called down not only upon the children but also upon the adult members of the crowd screaming for Jesus’ crucifixion. c.A Curse on Others - Joshua placed a curse on anyone who tried to rebuild Jericho:
I Kings, Chapter 16 records the fulfillment of this curse. A man named Hiel of Bethel rebuilt Jericho at the cost of his oldest and youngest sons.
d.A Curse by God - In Deuteronomy, Chapter 27 Moses listed several forbidden sins and the curses from God that fall on those who commit these sins. The list includes those who carve images, those who treat their parents with contempt, and those who move a neighbor’s landmark. The list continues with those who cause the blind to wander off the road and those who deny justice to the stranger. Then the list turns to sexual sin with those who sleep with their fathers’ wife, those who have sex with animals and those who have sex with their sisters, half-sisters or mothers-in-law. It concludes with those who attack their neighbor without cause and those who takes a bribe against the innocent. e.Curses from the Demonic World - While we cannot cite a verse from Scripture concerning this curse, it is real. I recall hearing a missionary who served in Haiti tell of a sickness that came over him. It lasted for nearly three years. During that entire time he was barely able to preach, counsel, teach or participate in the spreading of the gospel. He reached the point where he wanted God to either heal him or take him home. He began to fast and pray in earnest for God to do one or the other.
The Holy Spirit spoke to him and told him to go out into his yard and look at his house. As he stood looking at his house, his eyes focused on a small object attached to the wall near the roof. He removed the object and examined it. It was a device used by local witch doctors to curse people. He immediately burned the object and renounced the curse in the name of Jesus! Total healing came within days! In this instance the demon attached to that object had instructions to “rob, kill and destroy” those in that house. The following story is told to further demonstrate Jesus’ power to break curses. Dr. David Paul, who now has a strong ministry in India, recently told me of a remarkable experience he had in 1976 while he was teaching at a college in Livingstone, Zambia. One of his students was a very good runner. He had won several trophies for his school in various track events. One morning, when he awoke, he was unable to move his legs. You see, there were those who were jealous of his achievements. Someone had hired a witch doctor to curse him with this paralysis. News of his condition spread quickly through the school.
One day his companions brought him to school in a chair so he could take his exams. Dr. Paul asked the young men to bring him to his office. Since it was known on campus that Dr. Paul believed in Jesus, and that he further believed that Jesus heals people, many others also came to his office to see what would happen.
He asked everyone to leave except the young man who was paralysed. He then told the young man about the love of Jesus and how He died for our sins. After a few minutes the young man had a genuine conversion experience as he asked Jesus to come into his heart.
Then Dr. Paul did a remarkable thing. Sitting across the desk from the young man, he asked him, “If the God who raised Jesus from the dead is living inside you, do you believe that the witch doctor’s curse can remain on your legs?” The young man sat in silence.
Again Dr. Paul asked, “If the God who raised Jesus from the dead is living inside you, do you believe that the witch doctor’s curse can remain on your legs?” Still, the young man sat in silence without moving.
Dr. Paul was aware that the young man was absorbing everything he was saying but was still very fearful. Then Dr. Paul rose and walked around the desk and placed himself face to face with the young man. He locked eyes with him and asked again, “If the God who raised Jesus from the dead is living inside you, do you believe the witch doctor’s curse can remain on your legs?” This time the young man answered by standing to his feet! He ran out of the office shouting, “Thank you, Jesus!” to the cheering crowd that had gathered outside the office. He continued to run all over the school campus shouting, “Thank you, Jesus!”
Yes, Jesus does give us the power to break every curse, but we must decide to move into that power as the young man did. ALWAYS REMEMBER, JESUS CHRIST HAS THE POWER TO BREAK EVERY CURSE. HALLELUJAH!
From my study of Scripture, every false religion mentioned in the Bible glorified a demonic personality. God has made it quite clear that those practices were and are detestable to Him. Those religions are still around today. The only thing that has changed is that there are more of them. I believe that anyone who is a devout follower of one of these false religions is at high risk of demonic oppression through that religion.
Sin is sin whether committed by Christians or unbelievers. When a sinner comes to salvation through Christ, all of his sins are forgiven. That fact is indisputable. Every sin is fully forgiven. God places all past sins as far as the east is from the west and remembers them no more. (Ps 103:12).
But many Christians forget sin has a price. King David slept with Uriah’s wife and then had Uriah murdered to cover that sin. When the prophet Nathan accused him of sin, he repented and received the forgiveness of God for those sins. But as Nathan said, for the rest of his life David would live with the consequences of his sin through rebellion in his household. (II Sam 12:10). David suffered the consequences of his sin even though he was forgiven.
I have heard the consequences of sin illustrated in another, quite visible way. A single woman may become sexually involved with a man and eventually find herself pregnant. Then she repents and receives full forgiveness from the Lord for the sin. But she is still pregnant! In other words, though she is forgiven the sin, the consequences of that sin are still there. (There are also grave consequences for the man! They’re just not as visible).<
Many believe there are no degrees in sin. I have
heard many say, “Sin is sin. It’s all the same.” I don’t believe the
Bible teaches that as truth. Otherwise, why would the Lord list certain
sins such as those in Deuteronomy, Chapter 27 referred to above as
deserving of a curse? Also, the Lord says in Proverbs:
Thus, it does appear there are degrees of sin.
I believe the more severe the sin, the more grave
the consequences to the person who commits that sin. I believe that one
of the consequences of sin may be the yielding of an area of one’s life
over to a demon. The Apostle Paul stated it this way:
When we repeatedly yield our bodies to sin, as time passes we become slaves to the sin. Some examples are 1) sexual sins such as adultery, fornication, prostitution, masturbation, sexual lust, incest, bestiality, 2) sins of the heart such as hatred, unforgiveness, jealousy and seething anger, and 3) sins of indulgence such as gluttony, alcohol, drug and nicotine abuse.
I want to make it very clear that I don’t believe one act of any of the above will result in demon oppression or bondage. But, when one or more of the above sins becomes a way of life, there is most certainly demonic involvement in the life of the participant. It matters not whether the participant is a Christian. In fact, Satan would prefer to ensnare a Christian. He can then hold him out to the rest of the unbelieving world as a hypocrite!
Once sin becomes a life style for the person, Satan accuses the person before God and he or she may be cast into a spiritual prison. I cover this principle in more detail in Chapter 10 under the heading “Spiritual Imprisonment Explained.”
In today’s world, music captivates the youth of the whole Western world. Unfortunately, Satan has recognized this and is exploiting this youthful craving for music. Satan has infiltrated the musical artists, producers and distributors of Western secular music. This music proclaims messages of immorality, lust, sex, rebellion, anti-christian, anti-christ and even murder and suicide. Tragically this music has worldwide distribution. It has made its way into virtually every country I have visited.
My experience in dealing with young people shows that deep involvement or participation in satanic music demonizes many of them. I have heard many parents testify that their children had complete personality changes when they began to listen to hard rock music. Children who were formerly kind, outgoing, obedient, and gentle became secretive, sullen, angry, rebellious, and rude after even a brief season of listening to such music. Yes, Satan does own and operate a successful music business through which he demonizes our young people around the world.
There is an American expression that says, “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” This expression means that something offered to you as “free” always has strings attached. That is indeed the case. We have already seen how Satan often gives demons power to do “good” for people, to help them in business dealings, to heal their sick, etc.
Again we ask the question, “Why would Satan grant miraculous powers to demonic practitioners to do good for people?” Satan isn’t going to tell the future for you, cure your fever, heal your child, or find your lost watch for free! He wants something in exchange for his “help.” The tragedy is that most who use demonic power as a “help” in any of those forms never know that they are exchanging one problem for another much bigger problem.
Sure, Satan will gladly heal your body...in exchange for the authority to place one (or more) of his demons in you! That’s the deal - you engage in demonic practices seeking to meet your needs and you open the door wide for demonic activity in your life.
When a person goes to the demonic world, or, in the case of a child, is taken to the demonic world, and asks for and accepts their “help,” that person is entering into an agreement. He or she enters a “contract” with the demonic realm. From that moment on the demonic world has legal authority over that portion of his being. If it involves a physical need, the surrendered portion of his being is physical. If it involves information, the surrendered portion of his being is more in the intellectual life of the person, and so on.
But I didn’t know I was giving authority to a demon! I didn’t know I was signing a contract with the devil when I went to the witch doctor!” our victim cries. No, he didn’t know, but after all, Satan is the father of lies. He is the master of deceit and he has had thousands of years of practice.
Many of the people involved in these practices, including many practitioners, do not fully realize the rules of Satan’s deadly game. Why? Because they don’t know what the Bible teaches. They may be ignorant of the fact that their power comes from a demon. The spirit itself frequently will say, “I serve god.” Remember, the issue is always which god? And remember, if the practitioner matures in his craft, he eventually learns that he is serving Satan. At that point he is no longer a dupe but a willing participant. It is then that the practitioner starts to lie about his knowledge and the source of his powers.
The demonic world submits to authority. In the case of parents and children, God has given parents the authority over their children. (General references, I Cor 11:3 and 11:9, Eph 6:4, Deut 6:5-9). Specifically the Lord has mandated that the father is the spiritual head over his household to protect those under his care from all harm, both spiritual and physical. If the father is absent, or has abdicated his role as spiritual head, the mother has the right to take up the protective umbrella over her family. In either case God gives the authority over children to the parents or guardian.
Since the parent has this authority, he or she also has the power to misuse that authority. For example, if the parent takes his or her child to a demonic practitioner, he is giving the demon world authority to invade and even to rule that child. Parental authority then allows the demon’s presence. Demons oppress many Christians, particularly in the non-Western world, because of the legal authority given them by their parents when they were infants.
I spent many years in the military. Often our unit would take long marches, thirty or forty kilometers, with back packs, rifles, and all of our personal equipment. I never enjoyed these marches because I’m not a particularly physical person. But one of my friends was strong and muscular. I would get behind him as we marched. In the center of his back pack was a hook. On two or three occasions I took my heavy equipment belt off, held it in one hand, and slowly exerted weight on the hook on the back of his pack with my other hand. Once the weight nearly equalled my equipment belt, I hung my belt on the hook! From then on my friend was carrying my heavy equipment belt and he didn’t even know it! I had no permission or authority from him to hang my belt on his hook. I simply took advantage of his inattention to do so.
Demons will do the same. They will come when our guard is down and ever so slowly make their entrance bringing their sickness, lust, financial drain, anger, discord, jealousy, envy, and all the rest and we ignorantly allow it! In such cases the demons have acted without authority and may be quickly and easily cast out once we learn they are there.
Now that we have examined how demons gain access to people, let’s look at the long-term effect demons have on them. I want to show how demons work in the lives of people. I want you to see how cruel their dirty work is. This list is not complete because the cruel, wicked work of demons in the lives of people varies endlessly. Remember, the demonic kingdom’s goal is to steal, kill and destroy the lives and/or quality of lives of their hosts.
Some of the observations listed below are from my personal knowledge gained over the past twenty years. Other observations I have gleaned from Bill Subritzky’s excellent book entitled Demons Defeated.a.Demons Seek to Enslave People - Demons themselves are bondslaves to Satan and sin and therefore try to drag their human hosts into the same bondage. They will seek to enslave us to destructive emotions such as fear, hatred, jealousy, rage and anger. They bring destructive habits such as alcoholism, drug abuse and sexual debauchery. They encourage destructive thoughts of lust, greed, envy and so on. Note that I am not saying every one of these emotions and thoughts is demonically inspired. The flesh is very strong too. We must exercise control over our flesh as well as be alert to demonic attack. b.Demons Torment - Demons will torment and taunt people by planting lies and fears into their minds. They will rob us of sleep by awakening us in the night always exaggerating and distorting our circumstances. This can cause worry and loss of sleep. c.Demons Deceive - Demons will deceive us if they can. One of their most common deceptions is to tell us that God doesn’t love us, our parents don’t love us, the pastor doesn’t love us, etc. d.Demons Distort Biblical Doctrines - Demons teach lies that sound like truth, often through the distortion of some biblical truth. (I Tim 4:1).These false doctrines give birth to many of the “near Christian” religions such as Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Armstrongism, etc. In Nigeria there is a Church of the “Cherubim and Seraphim” which is a cultic church based on visions, dreams and supposed angelic visitations. Each cult bases its belief in part on Scripture. Demons Tempt - Demons are continually tempting people to sin. Demons tempt us in thought, word and action every chance they get. Here again, I am not saying every temptation is from Satan. Our own minds and wills have a great deal to do with whether or not we are tempted. Both the will and the demonically inspired temptations must be controlled. We must learn to “...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (II Cor 10:5 NIV). f.Demons Drive and Compel - Demons try to drive us with compulsive habits or addictions. A compulsion is anything which has an unbreakable grip on us such as smoking, drinking, drugs, lying, cheating, overeating, gambling, various forms of lust, etc. A compulsion to violence also falls into this group. I have read many testimonies of violent criminals who said of their crimes, “I don’t know what came over me. I couldn’t stop! Something was driving me.” Yes, something was driving that person and it was a demon. g.Demons Defile - Demons hate purity in all its various forms. Jesus personifies purity. Thus, demons will try to defile and ruin anything that is pure, be it a young child, one’s life, family, marriage, etc. They will use any means at their disposal including rape, incest, lies, violence - whatever it takes to make a pure vessel impure. h.Demons Rob Peace - Demons detest peace. They cause dissention, spread discord and rumors and tell lies to destroy the peace of God in us. The main targets of this demonic activity are husbands and wives, families, and church bodies. Restlessness, anger, argumentativeness, and aggressiveness are common mannerisms of people who have no peace. If someone demonstrates these traits, be alert to the demonic forces behind them. And, remember, the person is usually cooperating with these forces by his own sin and willfulness. i.Demons Oppress - We see that “...God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil...” (Acts 10:38 NIV). Some translations of Scripture use the phrase “oppressed by the devil.” Oppression is one of Satan’s highest priorities. Demons will seek to oppress us emotionally, physically, relationally, economically and mentally. Those oppressed by demons go through life depressed, unstable and weak. They are robbed of their rightful inheritance of the joy and peace of God. j.Sexual Intercourse - Demons may sexually assault people, particularly women. This happens in two ways. Demons will incite a man to assault a woman, or the demon itself may sexually assault a woman. I have counselled a number of women who have been victimized by such demonic attacks. They are relieved to learn that they are not unique. This is not something we in the church like to talk about, but it happens.
Demonic presence in the life of a person may bring about any number of medical and/or psychological problems. I list many of these problems in the two following tables.
NOTE: the reader is NOT to conclude automatically that demons are the cause of all psychological or medical problems. Such a conclusion would certainly be in error and could lead to much damage, both to the affected individual and to the Christian witness in the community. One must always seek the wisdom of the Holy Spirit about the source of these problems before making judgment.
Here are some of the “works” of demons:
Asthma and other breathing related problems.
Boils and other skin diseases.
Cancer in any of its various forms.
Headaches and sinus infections.
Internal organ maladies and diseases.
Pain in various parts of the body.
Physical attacks against one’s body such as striking, choking, twisting an arm or leg, crushing the chest, etc.