T 1.64 More on Spirits: Some Specific Spirits

In T 1.6 Tradition in Original Christianity, Part 6, The Apostles Taught About Our Adversary, the Devil, and that We Have the Power to Overcome Him we looked at an overview of the role of the Adversary in the world today.

After a review of some key points, we are going to get into more specifics of the realm of the devil including what scripture says about specific spirits.

Remember, greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world! Remember that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Remember, that God never allows a man to be tried more than he is able. So, you will never be put in a position where you will be overpowered by the adversary.

On the other hand, Jesus came to expose the works of the devil. Because of Jesus, we learn the following; The devil walks about seeking whom he may devour and that’s just not unbelievers!

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1Pe 5:8 KJV)

The devil blinds the eyes of those around him.

in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.  (2Co 4:4 WEB)

The devil seduces.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (1Ti 4:1 KJV)

The devil is clever, and has designs and schemes that he gets men to follow and entice others with.

so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.  (2Co 2:11 ESV)

that we may no longer be children, tossed back and forth and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; (Eph 4:14 WEB)

The devil has been around much longer than any person so he has more experience and so it is not wise to underestimate him.

So, while no one is overpowered by the adversary, many have been seduced and tricked into doing the devil’s bidding, oftentimes thinking they’re doing the right thing.

And remember this, perhaps above all. in its simplest form wisdom is either of God or of the devil in its original source.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by his good conduct that his deeds are done in gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and don’t lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  (Jas 3:13-18 WEB)

“This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic” is a comparison. This verse talks about two sources of wisdom, from above and demonic.  God is the author of peace, gentleness, reasonableness, and mercy and His wisdom reflects that.  The devil’s way has bitter jealousy and selfish ambition involved.  And where they are, there is confusion and every evil deed. This gives us a framework to gauge situations and people.

But that does not mean that everything that has something amiss means there somebody that is possessed. On the contrary, the world, which is the devil’s domain, is full of his influence.  That is what the bible is teaching when it says “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.”  So we see that the devil has plans to thwart God, and designs his world where we live with the aim of keeping people from God.”  Of course, everyone in the world is not possessed, but everyone is constantly under the attack of his influence.

As examples, in Acts chapter 15, it says Peter and Paul had a big contentious argument. That doesn’t mean that they were possessed, either one of them. In the Gospel of John in chapter 9 Jesus healed a man that was born blind. It’s says in that record that there was a question by the people of who sinned.  The answer was no one sinned, this was done to show the glory of God.  So here was a man that was blind all of his life, and it wasn’t because of sin, and he certainly wasn’t possessed. He was just born blind.

You need discerning of Spirits to know if a spirit is involved.  Spiritual things are foolishness to natural men,

Now the natural man doesn’t receive the things of God’s Spirit, for they are foolishness to him, and he can’t know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  (1Co 2:14 WEB)

But we have access to recognizing spirits with the gift of holy spirit and its manifestations:

For to one is given through the Spirit the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another faith, by the same Spirit; and to another gifts of healings, by the same Spirit; and to another workings of miracles; and to another prophecy; and to another discerning of spirits; to another different kinds of languages; and to another the interpretation of languages. But the one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing to each one separately as he desires. (1Co 12:8-11 WEB)

The listing of the manifestations of the spirit includes discerning of spirits, that’s the ability to recognize when someone is actually controlled by an evil spirit, or that they are born again, or an angel, for that matter.

Not that every contact with an angel is made known as it says in Hebrews:

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for in doing so, some have entertained angels without knowing it.  (Heb 13:2 WEB)

Now, about individual spirits, Scripture calls demons unclean or evil spirits:

The multitude also came together from the cities around Jerusalem, bringing sick people, and those who were tormented by unclean spirits: and they were all healed.  (Act 5:16 WEB)

The simplest breakdown concerning spirits is that we get holy spirit from the Holy Spirit under his leadership, and the Devil has control over his host of unclean spirits. Now just as people with holy spirit can have a strength like a spirit of gentleness, or a spirit of power, the Devil’s spirits can have strengths too like a spirit of fear, or a spirit of lying, or a spirit of divination.  But all believers’ spirits are holy spirit, and all devil spirits are unclean spirits.  Likewise, the Holy Spirit gives gifts like prophecy and teaching to some while the devil imitates this by making some of his followers false prophets and false teachers. Thus, there are some parallels between God’s kingdom and the Devil’s domain, the world, because the devil sets himself up as an angel of light and his domain as enlightened so as to fool people.

As an example of unclean spirits, here’s the famous story from the Gospels where Jesus delivered the legion of evil spirits from a man and they went into pigs. Some people have taught that unclean spirits are sexual in nature but that record talks about other behaviors.  Notice that it doesn’t describe lewd acts or sexual sins as the characteristic of this spirit here (although that could have been part of the manifestation). The unclean spirit(s) enabled this man to tear apart chains and break fetters apart. He was always crying out and cutting himself with stones.  It looks like he was extremely wild and uncontrolled.

They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. When he had come out of the boat, immediately a man with an unclean spirit met him out of the tombs. He lived in the tombs. Nobody could bind him any more, not even with chains, because he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the fetters broken in pieces. Nobody had the strength to tame him. Always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and bowed down to him, and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have I to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, don’t torment me.” For he said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” He asked him, “What is your name?” He said to him, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” He begged him much that he would not send them away out of the country. Now on the mountainside there was a great herd of pigs feeding. All the demons begged him, saying, “Send us into the pigs, that we may enter into them.” At once Jesus gave them permission. The unclean spirits came out and entered into the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and they were drowned in the sea. Those who fed them fled, and told it in the city and in the country. The people came to see what it was that had happened. They came to Jesus, and saw him who had been possessed by demons sitting, clothed, and in his right mind, even him who had the legion; and they were afraid. Those who saw it declared to them what happened to him who was possessed by demons, and about the pigs. They began to beg him to depart from their region. As he was entering into the boat, he who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him.  (Mar 5:1-18 WEB)

Jesus recognized that the man had unclean spirit(s) by the manifestation of discerning of spirits.

Here’s another example where the term “all unclean spirits” was used.  The twelve were sent out and they were given authority over all unclean spirits:

And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;  (Mar 6:7 KJV)

That use of all unclean spirits there means there were none of the devil’s soldiers who wouldn’t be dealt with in a godly manner by the twelve, no matter what their strengths were.

Another example of recognizing strengths or abilities of spirit is in Ephesians:

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;  (Eph 1:17 WEB)

“A spirit of wisdom and revelation” is in the above verse.  We know that there is just one spirit when we’re talking about holy spirit. But, as we read in first Corinthians chapter 12, different believers serve different functions within the body. A spirit of wisdom and revelation is that same holy spirit that we are all sealed with, but it has abundant strengths of word of knowledge and word of wisdom.

Next, we are going to look at specific spirits written in scripture, and what, if anything, scripture teaches us about that particular kind of spirit. Just like everything else related to original Christianity I want to look at what scripture says.  There are some things written in this area that are from secular sources which I do not use.  There are some things where people read more than there is into the verse.  For example, was Cain possessed to kill Abel? There is no record in scripture that says that. Abel brought an offering of his first fruits to the Lord which pleased the Lord.  Cain just brought an offering and the Lord didn’t respect his offering.  Cain got very angry, the scriptures say. But it stops short of saying Cain was possessed.

The first spirit we will look at is a spirit of fear written about in 1 Timothy.  One of goals of the devil is to instill fear and doubt which counters believing faith.  There is a devil spirit of fear which can paralyze people and stop them.  The spirit in us, Christ in us, is a spirit of power, love, and self-control.

For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control. Therefore don’t be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner; but endure hardship for the Good News according to the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before times eternal,  (2Ti 1:7-9 WEB)

As we saw in the previous article and as written in Ephesians, we are to put on the whole armor of God which includes the shield of faith and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God.  Enduring hardship, remaining steadfast is part of that shield of faith. Wielding the sword of the spirit, speaking the truth in love as led by the Holy Spirit, unleashes the power of God.  All this counters the attack of the spirit of fear.

So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  (Rom 1:15-17 KJV)

Next, Paul and Silas encountered a spirit of divination in Acts 16:

As we were going to prayer, a certain girl having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by fortune telling. Following Paul and us, she cried out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us a way of salvation!” She was doing this for many days. But Paul, becoming greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” It came out that very hour.  (Act 16:16-18 WEB)

From the record we see that fortune telling is one of the manifestations of this evil force. This is the ability to predict the future.  You don’t think that’s real?  There are American presidents that have used fortune tellers so some people believe.  Franklin D Roosevelt consulted with Jeanne Dixon.  “Dixon is also famous for predicting the death of J.F. Kennedy in an interview with Parade magazine in 1956. She said that a Democrat would win in 1960, but would die in office.”[1]

Divination is the same spirit that King Saul inquired of back in the book of first Samuel but it is called a familiar spirit or medium in some texts.  He did this after he tried to inquire of Yahweh, but Yahweh chose not to answer him.

When Saul inquired of Yahweh, Yahweh didn’t answer him by dreams, by Urim, or by prophets. Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek for me a woman who has a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her.” His servants said to him, “Behold, there is a woman who has a familiar spirit at Endor.” (1Sa 28:6-7 WEB)

Notice that these verses list different avenues that the Spirit communicates with our spirit and Saul looked for those, dreams and prophets.  (There are numerous ways that Yahweh communicates including dreams, visions, angels, communicating directly, and via prophets.)

In Acts 16 Paul knew by discerning of spirits that there was a spirit of divination and he received the go-ahead (word of wisdom) to command the spirit out in the name of Jesus Christ!

There is a great record of deliverance from divination in Acts:

When they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of understanding. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul, and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fastened his eyes on him, and said, “You son of the devil, full of all deceit and all cunning, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is on you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sun for a season!” Immediately a mist and darkness fell on him. He went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.  (Act 13:6-12 WEB)

This next section talks about a spirit of deep sleep, also called a spirit of slumber.

It will be like when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he eats; but he awakes, and his hunger isn’t satisfied; or like when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he drinks; but he awakes, and behold, he is faint, and he is still thirsty. The multitude of all the nations that fight against Mount Zion will be like that. Pause and wonder! Blind yourselves and be blind! They are drunken, but not with wine; they stagger, but not with strong drink. For Yahweh has poured out on you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes, the prophets; and he has covered your heads, the seers. All vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is educated, saying, “Read this, please;” and he says, “I can’t, for it is sealed;” and the book is delivered to one who is not educated, saying, “Read this, please;” and he says, “I can’t read.” The Lord said, “Because this people draws near with their mouth and honors me with their lips, but they have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men which has been taught; therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the understanding of their prudent men will be hidden.”  (Isa 29:8-14 WEB)

Remember that all spiritual action was ascribed to Yahweh in sections in the Old Testament because natural man could not understand spiritual things. Some interesting things about this section of Scripture include that these are prophets who could no longer see, it says that the wisdom of the wise men perished, and the understanding of the prudent was hidden.  This is the work of a spirit of slumber.

Next, we have a record that refers to a troubling spirit.  This happened when political power was transferred from King Saul to King David.  Part of that transfer meant that the holy spirit that was on Saul left him while holy spirit came to rest on David.  And an evil spirit, one that troubled Saul, came to rest on him, but only at times.  The record says that when David played his harp for Saul the evil spirit left Saul for that time.

Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the middle of his brothers. Then Yahweh’s Spirit came mightily on David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up and went to Ramah. Now Yahweh’s Spirit departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from Yahweh troubled him. Saul’s servants said to him, “See now, an evil spirit from God troubles you. Let our lord now command your servants who are in front of you to seek out a man who is a skillful player on the harp. Then when the evil spirit from God is on you, he will play with his hand, and you will be well.”  (1Sa 16:13-16 WEB)

The spirit of antichrist is written about in 1 John 4.

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit who doesn’t confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God, and this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of whom you have heard that it comes. Now it is in the world already.  (1Jn 4:2-3 WEB)

The above verse establishes the criteria of whether our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ actually had a physical body on earth as critical to recognizing this spirit of antichrist. This verse says that those who have confessed their Lord and Savior came to earth have the spirit of God. And it says those who say he never came to earth, he never had a body, and he never lived, have the spirit of antichrist. That’s what the verse says.

Next, we look at a record of a spirit of infirmity. This next section describes a woman who was so bent over for 18 years that she could never straighten up even when she walked. Scripture says this woman had a spirit of infirmity.

Behold, there was a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and she was bent over, and could in no way straighten herself up. When Jesus saw her, he called her, and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your infirmity.” He laid his hands on her, and immediately she stood up straight, and glorified God.  (Luk 13:11-13 WEB)

Now, this is not to say that everyone with arthritis, or some medical condition is possessed. There are many records where people were delivered of sickness, and there’s no record of demon possession. But, as this record illustrates, some people do have a spirit controlling this. This spirit would have to be discerned, there is no way in the natural to know other than discerning of spirits.  So, like in this case, just because a person is bent over, it doesn’t mean that they are possessed.

Next, we see Jesus dealing with what is called a deaf and dumb spirit.

One of the multitude answered, “Teacher, I brought to you my son, who has a mute spirit; and wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and wastes away. I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they weren’t able.” He answered him, “Unbelieving generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me.” They brought him to him, and when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, wallowing and foaming at the mouth. He asked his father, “How long has it been since this has come to him?” He said, “From childhood. Often it has cast him both into the fire and into the water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, “I believe. Help my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” After crying out and convulsing him greatly, it came out of him. The boy became like one dead; so much that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose. When he had come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we cast it out?” He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting.”  (Mar 9:17-29 WEB)

The words “and fasting” are not in the text.[2]  This kind of spirit removal requires prayer.

Lying Spirit

Micaiah said, “Therefore hear Yahweh’s word: I saw Yahweh sitting on his throne, and all the army of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. Yahweh said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead?’ One spoke saying in this way, and another saying in that way. A spirit came out, stood before Yahweh, and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “Yahweh said to him, ‘How?’ “He said, ‘I will go, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ “He said, ‘You will entice him, and will prevail also. Go and do so.’ “Now therefore, behold, Yahweh has put a lying spirit in the mouth of these your prophets; and Yahweh has spoken evil concerning you.” (2Ch 18:18-22 WEB)

Remember, Yahweh does not tempt. But in the Old Testament people did not understand that the devil and his host of angels were in rebellion, and that’s why they do these things. So it was narrated to look like all things came from God, because in a sense they do. But it is Lucifer, the Morningstar, the adversary, that is in rebellion against our God and father of the Lord Jesus Christ, and he is the doer of these evil deeds like putting lying spirits in prophets’ mouths.

People open themselves up to influence, and in extreme cases, possession of their own free will. Ahab chose his lifestyle of rebellion against God, and God’s prophets. Ahab chose to have prophets that would prophesy against the prophets of Yahweh.

A Spirit of Error

Isaiah chapter 19 talks about a prophecy concerning Egypt. All kinds of things are prophesied to go wrong. The country will be put in the hands of a cruel Lord. Egyptians will be rising up against Egyptians. The fishermen, the linen workers, the wise men will all be put to shame. Then there is this verse:

The Lord has sent among them a spirit of error: and by them Egypt is turned out of the right way in all her doings, as a man overcome by wine is uncertain in his steps. And in Egypt there will be no work for any man, head or tail, high or low, to do.  (Isa 19:14-15 BBE)

Once again, in the Old Testament they did not understand that the devil is the prince of the power of the air and in rebellion to the Father. They also don’t understand that when people turned their backs to God that they open themselves up to devilish influence, and yes, even evil spirits. The verse above says that a spirit of error was going to be able to work in Egypt to the point where Egyptians rise up against Egyptians, and the whole economy and lifestyle of the Egyptians was going to waste.

This same spirit is mentioned in 1 John:

We are of God. He who knows God listens to us. He who is not of God doesn’t listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1Jn 4:6 WEB)

The spirit in us, our holy spirit, is the spirit of truth.  The Devil’s purpose is to promote error, and cause confusion. A spirit of error specializes in causing confusion. Confusion is a major tool of the devil. One of the reasons why it is important to agree on all the counsel of God and not just on some minimal framework of beliefs called essentials where everything else is nonessential is because we want to avoid confusion.  Instead of confusion we want peace.

for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace, as in all the assemblies of the saints.  (1Co 14:33 WEB)

Spirit of Prostitution

This spirit is referred to in the book of Hosea. Prostitution is usually defined as the exchange of sex for something else, often, money. But in the book of Hosea we see that it is used in that way but it is also used in reference to worshiping other gods. When God’s people go after other gods he describes that process using the analogy of prostitution, where his spouse isn’t faithful to him, and rather gives worship to something else. In the record he calls what they worship a wooden idol.

It will be, like people, like priest; and I will punish them for their ways, and will repay them for their deeds. They will eat, and not have enough. They will play the prostitute, and will not increase; because they have abandoned giving to Yahweh. Prostitution, wine, and new wine take away understanding. My people consult with their wooden idol, and answer to a stick of wood. Indeed the spirit of prostitution has led them astray, and they have been unfaithful to their God. They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks and poplars and terebinths, because its shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the prostitute, and your brides commit adultery. I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute, nor your brides when they commit adultery; because the men consort with prostitutes, and they sacrifice with the shrine prostitutes; so the people without understanding will come to ruin. “Though you, Israel, play the prostitute, yet don’t let Judah offend; and don’t come to Gilgal, neither go up to Beth Aven, nor swear, ‘As Yahweh lives.’ (Hos 4:9-15 WEB)

Do you see where it says both “your daughters play the prostitute” and “Though you, Israel, play the prostitute” using the reference for both actual prostitution and idolatry? When people worship false idols, whether it is statues, animals, or things like greed and power, scripture calls that worship prostitution.

Be subject therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (Jas 4:7 WEB)

The devils’ domain is real, and in this section we have been looking more at how it works. But I will end as I began. Remember that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil. Remember, that God never allows a man to be tried more than he is able. So, you will never be put in a position where you will be overpowered by the adversary. And always remember, greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world!

[1] 8 US Presidents that Used the Services of Psychics, https://summary.org/8-us-presidents-used-psychics/

[2] While there are texts that have “and fasting”, I agree with Metzger who wrote “In light of the increasing emphasis in the early church on the necessity of fasting, it is understandable that ??? ??????? is a gloss that found its way into most witnesses. Among the witnesses that resisted such an accretion are important representatives of the Alexandrian and the Western types of text.” A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Bruce M Metzger, Second Edition,United Bible Society, p. 85

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