You, Too, Can Become Free
Have you had unpleasant experiences with supernatural forces? There is a way to get free.
MAN has an inborn desire to be free. He has even fought wars to obtain freedom. But did you know that one of the worst sources of bondage is unseen to man?
There are many people throughout the earth who have had experiences with the supernatural. Some hear “voices” or see “apparitions” of objects or persons. Others may acquire supernatural physical and mental powers. Certain persons become able to cure sicknesses or even to cause them. Some complain of becoming sick with diseases that medical doctors prove unable to diagnose.
“Voices” from the Invisible Realm
Consider, for example, the case of a woman from Brazil. During her childhood her parents allowed an elderly woman who practiced spiritism to stay at their home for a couple of days. But after the woman left, “voices” began to talk to the little girl, teaching her spiritist hymns and remedies to cure sicknesses. The girl became frightened. She went to a spiritist center for help but was told that she had a “gift” and should practice it. As a result, her house became a spiritist center where novenas to Saint Cosme and Saint Damião were held.
In the years that followed, she would be acting quite normal when, suddenly, a black figure would appear and she would go into a trance. In this state she would perform healings, prescribe remedies for illnesses and free other individuals who were under attack from supernatural forces. But when she would come out of her trance and learn what had happened, she would find it hard to believe.
One night while fast asleep, this woman was pulled out of bed and, unconscious, was led outside the house toward a nearby sluice where she could have met her death. However, she tripped over a fence and regained consciousness. She was badly shaken by the experience and desperately wanted to break free from the forces that controlled her.
But what were those forces?
The Bible Explains the Source
The Bible gives a satisfying explanation. It points to wicked intelligent creatures in the spirit realm as being responsible for these things. At Ephesians 6:12 it says: “We have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against . . . the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.” The chief of these wicked spirits, or demons, is Satan the Devil.—Matt. 12:24-26; Eph. 2:2.
Some people, though not able to peer into the invisible realm themselves, scoff at the idea that such persons as the Devil and demons exist. Yet Jesus Christ, who had lived in the spirit realm before coming to earth, affirmed their existence. (John 3:13; Matt. 12:25-28) He knew that wicked spirit creatures were responsible for experiences like the one related above. That is why Jesus expelled demons in order to cure certain ailments.—Matt. 9:32, 33; 12:22; 17:14-18; Mark 5:3-5; Luke 9:42.
How You, Too, Can Become Free
Today, too, it is possible to get free from bondage to wicked spirits. The woman mentioned above did. How? First of all, she realized that she would need supernatural help to break free from these forces, whatever they were. So she prayed to God and promised that, if he would deliver her, she would never again do anything disagreeable to him.
The following morning there was a knock at her door. Before she could answer it, “voices” commanded her not to open the door. Why? The “voices” told her that ‘the Devil was waiting for her.’ The knock persisted and so did the “voices.” With great effort she finally answered the door.
But the “voices” had lied. It was not the Devil. Instead, there was a young man at the door who had come to encourage her to read the Bible. He offered her an issue of the Watchtower magazine that contained an article on the influence of wicked spirit forces. She wondered how the young man knew that she was in trouble with these forces. Then she remembered her prayer the night before. Could this be the answer to it? If this was an opportunity to get free from harassment by supernatural forces, she did not want to miss it.
She began to study the Bible, and, as she learned God’s will, she made changes in her life. Gradually she became free of demon control. How happy she was to learn that Bible truth helps people to become free, even from supernatural forces!—John 8:32; Jas. 1:25.
It can help you, too, to become free.
Objects Related to Spiritism a Problem
Many feel that a house full of religious images can benefit and protect the family. But if the images promote false worship or convey ideas contrary to the Word of God, they can invite trouble. Why so? For one thing, such things draw attention away from the true God, Jehovah. (Isa. 42:8) But there is another serious danger too. At Psalm 106:36, 37 the Bible says concerning the nation of Israel: “And they kept serving their idols . . . And they would sacrifice their sons and their daughters to demons.” Do you get the full import of that text? Here the Bible makes a direct connection between the use of “idols” and the influence of “demons.” If one is having unpleasant experiences with supernatural forces, the images may be a factor. The Scriptures counsel: “Flee from idolatry.” (1 Cor. 10:14) The experience of a woman from Rio Grande do Sul State, Brazil, illustrates the value of obeying that counsel.
This woman suffered from a serious inflammation of the hand, which no doctor was able to diagnose. She went with a neighbor to a spiritist session of umbanda and was healed. But at the same time she was threatened that the evil would return if she did not continue attending spiritist sessions. For that reason she spent twenty-two years in spiritism, acting as a medium, a slave to wicked spirit forces. Then something happened to change her entire life. What was that?
One day this woman heard the name Jehovah in a popular song on the radio. Later, when one of Jehovah’s witnesses called on her, she asked who Jehovah was. For the first time in her life the Bible was opened in front of her and she began to study it with the Witness. But the influence of spiritism persisted in her life. Why? This woman did not realize the danger of possessing objects connected with spiritism.
When she became aware of this from her study of the Bible, she decided to get rid of the many idols and spiritistic objects in her house, including serpent bracelets. She planned to throw them all into a nearby river. But a “voice” kept warning her: “Don’t try that or you’ll go down with them.” She did it anyway. When they sank below the surface of the water, the woman felt free for the first time in more than twenty years.
Another woman from Brazil had a similar experience. When one of Jehovah’s witnesses first told her about the good things that God has in store for mankind, she was hesitant to accept the offer of a Bible study. Why? This lady was already very religious and her house was full of images and shrines, including a statue of “Our Lady of the Perpetual Help.” The Witness reasoned with her from the Bible, showing her that real help comes from the “living God,” Jehovah, not from lifeless images. (1 Tim. 3:15; Ps. 115:4-8; Jer. 10:3-5) This moved the woman to accept a Bible study. But each time they would begin the study, strange things would happen in the house. Also, terrible noises would disturb the household during the night. What should they do?
In harmony with Scriptural principles, it was suggested that the images be removed. When this was done, the noises stopped. Now this woman and many of her relatives are helping others to take in accurate knowledge of the Bible in order to become free servants of Jehovah God.
Books on the Occult—Harmless?
Today interest in the occult is increasing as never before. Books about divination, astrology, magic and other occult practices are prominently featured in bookstores and on library shelves. Many people, out of curiosity, have acquired literature on these subjects, feeling that it is really harmless. But is this true in every case?
A man from Australia relates the following experience: “My health began to deteriorate and progressively worsened for about a year. I had no strength at all and would have to go to bed for about an hour just to muster up enough strength to talk to people. After a while I could no longer think straight and was afraid to speak to people for fear that I would say something I didn’t mean. My condition became so bad that I thought I was finished.”
Then this man read in The Watchtower an article entitled “Resisting Wicked Spirit Forces.” He continues: “I noticed that wicked spirit forces can try to gain control over a person ‘by reducing him to a state of exhaustion, nervously, mentally and physically.’ This really stood out in my mind, for that was exactly what I was experiencing.* The article contained the suggestion to get rid of objects that would be connected with spiritism. So I thought about my possessions and remembered a book on ‘occultism’ that I had purchased some time ago.”
Could such a thing really have been instrumental in this man’s difficulty? Here it would be of benefit to consider the course of action taken by certain persons in Ephesus, a city of Asia Minor renowned for magical arts. The Bible, at Acts 19:18, 19, relates: “And many of those who had become believers would come and confess and report their practices openly. Indeed, quite a number of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them up before everybody.” Would it benefit this man to follow that example?
He reports: “I began looking for the book and located it in my office. I burned it.” What was the result? “The next day I woke up feeling fine. No headache that kept me awake all night, no feeling of deep depression as though my head were in a bag. In fact, I felt so happy and relieved that I couldn’t help whistling.”
Of course, many people possess objects or books connected with spiritism without experiencing any harmful effects. But this does not disprove the fact that they can cause difficulties for others. The case of a family from the eastern United States shows that, sometimes, only certain individuals in a household will be affected.
A seventeen-year-old girl complained that, while she was sleeping one night, she felt something get up on the bed. She became paralyzed with fear and called out to Jehovah. The thing slid off the bed. It was the first experience of this kind for this girl, but her mother had had experiences with the supernatural for twenty-four years. During this time the mother had seen persons in the bedroom and faces coming toward her. She was constantly tired and, at times, a strong, unpleasant odor would seem to follow her. What could be the trouble?
It was learned that her husband had books on demonism, omens and spiritism in their bedroom. He was urged to burn them, according to the example given at Acts 19:19. But, as he had never experienced any ill effects himself, he was skeptical at first. Nevertheless, he agreed to cooperate. The result?
After twenty-four years of demon harassment, this woman had no more trouble. Instead of her suffering from constant fatigue, how delighted she was now to be able to get up and around! Her husband was so impressed with the experience that he began sharing with Jehovah’s witnesses in helping others to learn the grand hope that the Bible contains.
You personally may never have had an encounter with wicked spirit forces. If you wish to remain free of their influence, be sure to avoid every form of spiritism. This includes keeping away from such practices of divination as the use of crystal balls, Ouija boards, palmistry, astrology and looking for omens in dreams. The Bible clearly says that everyone who employs these things becomes “something detestable to Jehovah.”—Deut. 18:10-12.
If you have already had unpleasant experiences with supernatural forces, make a careful study of God’s Word. Draw close to Jehovah God in prayer and get rid of all objects and articles that have any connection with spiritism. Associate yourself with those who love Jehovah God and respect his Word. Doing this has helped many to break free from slavery to the demons. It can do the same for you.
Luke 13:10-17 relates about Jesus’ healing of a woman “whom Satan held bound” for eighteen years with “a spirit of weakness.”