Do you like scary stories? I grew up on them. A steady diet of scary stories, scary books and scary movies from a young age led to my adulthood involvement in even scarier things.
“Ghost hunting” and “paranormal investigations” at night seemed like harmless distractions from long days of being trapped in an office. The nightly distractions also satisfied my craving for anything and everything frightening. Of course, while nothing turned out to be what it seemed, the truth was far more terrifying than anything I originally imagined. I’ve blogged about the reality of the “paranormal” before so I’ll leave it at that for now.
Marty and I recently watched a documentary on exorcism, which was put together by the guy who directed the iconic movie, The Exorcist. It featured a 90 year old exorcist from Rome. This case that was featured was that of a woman named Cristina who had been possessed for quite a few years and was currently undergoing her eighth or ninth exorcism with the same priest.
First of all – do you believe in demonic possession? What IS a demon, and why would it want to possess you, or anyone else for that matter? To be clear, I do believe in demonic possession. Since we’re talking about demons, I think I should just clarify that we are talking about spiritual things, because demons are part of the whole “God thing” that I drive a lot of people crazy talking about. It’s a God thing. Demons were created by God, but when He created them they were angels. Then Lucifer did his thing, got kicked out of Heaven and took a full third of the angels with him. They’re fallen angels with a vendetta against God, and what better way to get back at God than to defile His children?
If you go back to the book of Job you’ll see a clear picture of what’s often referred to as The Great Controversy. Satan comes before God and other angels and struts his stuff – he makes it clear that he’s been walking about on the Earth, as if he owns the place. God asks him if he’s considered His servant, Job, who is an upright and blameless man – God had been blessing Job with a big family and wealth and possessions because Job was a good and faithful servant. Satan contended that of course Job loved the Lord because he’d been making out like a bandit! He said that if God took away all the goodies, Job would curse him to his face! So, God let Satan take everything from Job and still Job remained faithful to God. Do you think Satan has changed his tactics with us in the modern age?
Weren’t things perfect in the Garden of Eden? Adam and Eve had everything they could ever wish for. The only rule they had was, “Don’t eat that.” And along comes Satan. Does he force Eve to eat the fruit? No, of course not. Satan could not and still cannot force anyone to do anything. All he can do is plant a seed in someone’s mind. All he did was plant the seed of doubt in Eve’s mind. He simply asked, “Did God really say…?”
He does the same thing now. He plants seeds of doubt, he causes distraction and that’s all it takes for him to win. If we take our eyes off God, if we start doubting His Word then we’re in the wrong camp. The Bible says that the dead are asleep until the time of resurrection and judgement. The devil says they’re floating around here as ghosts or they’re up in Heaven looking down on us and visiting with us, or stuck in some limbo because they don’t know they’re dead. Do we believe the Word of God? Or do we believe Satan? How does he make us doubt the Word? He deceives us with his mighty army out there impersonating our loved ones – making appearances that we can see with our own eyes and shouldn’t we believe what we see with our own eyes?
Where are these demons, anyway? Are they lurking in the attics of old houses? Wandering through graveyards? Or are they sitting on the couch beside you… There’s a whole realm of reality we can’t see. There are angels around us all the time and we can’t see them. Sure, once in a while we get a glimmer or a glimpse or a hint of what’s going on but we can’t see them. And just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there. I know many church-going people who will be offended by the suggestion that they could have a demon sitting four feet away from them in their home, watching them. But here’s the reality of it – they’re around all the time, whether we’re Christian or not. This is how they pull off their great impersonations of deceased loved ones. They know our secret habits, our secret addictions. They know what temptations are our downfalls.
So, who gets possessed? The victims we see in the movies are usually people who play with Ouija boards or dance on graves. In reality it could be just about anyone. The doors we open to the demonic are a lot more subtle. We don’t have to scream the invitation when only a whisper will do. Open doors and invitations can include alcohol or drug abuse, porn, adultery… anything that turns our backs on God. You can go sit in a church pew every week and still wind up under demonic control.
So, is vomiting pea soup a sure way to tell that your friend or neighbor is possessed? Or is it just a way for them to say they don’t like your cooking? There’s an old saying about Satan’s greatest trick being convincing the world he doesn’t exist. It’s true. Subtle is his middle name. Think it’s any coincidence that possession and mental illness are often mistaken for one another? The instances of possession we see in the Bible are some pretty extreme cases – the Bible is a book that gets 6,000 years worth of history into one volume, so we don’t know the full stories of any of the demoniacs Jesus encountered. We only got the few minutes at the end of their stories where Jesus cast the demons out and the person was restored to their right minds. However, I’m sure their whole stories were a lot more complex than we see in the brief glimpse we see.
So, you wake up one morning speaking Latin and levitating? Not so much. Generally speaking a person who winds up being possessed starts out by being demonically harassed first. And there are a lot more people out there being demonically harassed than you might believe. Harassment is just exactly what it sounds like – it’s the whispers, the promptings, the thoughts that wear you down slowly and methodically. Aren’t we all harassed during the most intense periods of our lives? The times when things are going so well, and then – BAM! Out of the blue – or so it seems – things just take a nosedive. Or when things are at their worst and we can’t seem to pull ourselves back up again. The nagging thoughts that we’ll never be good enough, that we’re alone in the world, that it’s too late to change direction… Those thoughts can wear a person down to the point of suicide, can’t they?
And what about chronic illnesses that seem to come out of nowhere? Personally, I know a lot of people who dabbled in the occult and now they’re sick all the time. Heart disease, kidney disease, liver failure, fybro, the list goes on and on. Can a demon effect your health? Absolutely. When Satan destroyed Job’s family and possessions and he still remained faithful, he took another stab at him – and he afflicted the man with boils all over his body. Our health can be adversely affected by satanic influences. So can our finances. Satan can mess with every aspect of our lives – but remember, he cannot force us to do anything.
So, when he’s worn a person down to a low enough point, taking away any spiritual strength they have… what happens next? What happens when the person is possessed? Are there symptoms that can diagnosed like some kind of illness?
…to be continued…