Resist Wicked Spirit Forces
1. How did Jesus react when he encountered wicked spirits?
RIGHT after his baptism, Jesus Christ went into the Judean wilderness to pray and meditate. There Satan the Devil tried to get him to break God’s law. However, Jesus rejected the Devil’s bait and did not get caught in his trap. Jesus faced other wicked spirits during his ministry on earth. Yet, time and again, he rebuked and resisted them.—Luke 4:1-13; 8:26-34; 9:37-43.
2. We will consider what questions?
2 Bible accounts describing those encounters should convince us that wicked spirit forces do exist. They try to mislead people. However, we can resist these evil spirits. But where do wicked spirits come from? Why do they try to deceive humans? And what methods do they use to achieve their ends? Finding the answers to such questions as these will help you to resist wicked spirit forces.
WICKED SPIRITS—THEIR ORIGIN AND TARGET
3. How did Satan the Devil come to be?
3 Jehovah God made a multitude of spirit creatures long before he created humans. (Job 38:4, 7) As explained in Chapter 6, one of these angels developed a desire to have humans worship him instead of worshiping Jehovah. Pursuing that objective, this wicked angel resisted and slandered the Creator, even suggesting to the first woman that God was a liar. Fittingly, then, this rebellious spirit creature became known as Satan (resister) the Devil (slanderer).—Genesis 3:1-5; Job 1:6.
4. How did certain angels sin in Noah’s day?
4 Later, other angels sided with Satan the Devil. In the days of the righteous man Noah, some of these abandoned their service in heaven and took on fleshly bodies to satisfy their lust for sexual relations with earthly women. Satan no doubt influenced those angels to take that disobedient course. It led to their fathering the hybrid offspring called Nephilim, who became violent bullies. When Jehovah caused the great Deluge, it destroyed corrupted mankind and this unnatural progeny of the disobedient angels. The rebellious angels escaped destruction by dematerializing their fleshly bodies and returning to the spirit realm. But God restrained these demons by treating them as outcasts in spiritual darkness. (Genesis 6:1-7, 17; Jude 6) Satan, “the ruler of the demons,” and his wicked angels nevertheless have pushed on with their rebellion. (Luke 11:15) What is their goal?
5. Satan and his demons have what objective, and what do they use to entrap people?
5 The evil objective of Satan and the demons is to turn people against Jehovah God. Hence, these wicked ones have been misleading, frightening, and assaulting people throughout human history. (Revelation 12:9) Modern-day examples confirm that demon aggression is more vicious now than it has ever been. To entrap people, the demons often use spiritism in all its forms. How do the demons use this bait, and how can you defend yourself?
HOW WICKED SPIRITS TRY TO MISLEAD YOU
6. What is spiritism, and what are some forms of it?
6 What is spiritism? It is involvement with demons, or wicked spirits, either directly or through a human medium. Spiritism does for demons what bait does for hunters: It attracts prey. And just as a hunter uses a variety of baits to lure animals into his trap, so wicked spirits encourage various forms of spiritism to bring humans under their control. (Compare Psalm 119:110.) Some of these forms are divination, magic, looking for omens, sorcery, binding with spells, consulting mediums, and inquiring of the dead.
7. How widespread is spiritism, and why does it flourish even in so-called Christian lands?
7 The bait works, for spiritism attracts people around the world. Those living in jungle villages go to medicine men, and city office workers consult astrologers. Spiritism flourishes even in so-called Christian lands. Research indicates that in the United States alone, some 30 magazines with a combined circulation of over 10,000,000 are devoted to various forms of spiritism. Brazilians spend over 500 million dollars on spiritistic items each year. Yet, 80 percent of those frequenting spiritistic centers of worship in that country are baptized Catholics who also attend Mass. Inasmuch as some clergymen practice spiritism, many religious people think that practicing it is acceptable to God. But is it?
WHY THE BIBLE CONDEMNS THE PRACTICE OF SPIRITISM
8. What is the Scriptural view of spiritism?
8 If you have been taught that some forms of spiritism are means of contacting good spirits, you may be surprised to learn what the Bible says about spiritism. Jehovah’s people were warned: “Do not turn yourselves to the spirit mediums, and do not consult professional foretellers of events, so as to become unclean by them.” (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27) The Bible book of Revelation gives the warning that “those practicing spiritism” will end up in “the lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This means the second [everlasting] death.” (Revelation 21:8; 22:15) All forms of spiritism are disapproved by Jehovah God. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) Why is that the case?
9. Why can we conclude that present-day messages from the spirit world are not from Jehovah?
9 Jehovah sent good spirits, or righteous angels, to communicate with some humans before the Bible was completed. Since its completion, God’s Word has provided the guidance humans need to serve Jehovah acceptably. (2 Timothy 3:16, 17; Hebrews 1:1, 2) He does not bypass his holy Word by giving messages to mediums. All such present-day messages from the spirit world come from wicked spirits. The practice of spiritism can lead to demon harassment or even possession by wicked spirits. Therefore, God lovingly warns us not to get involved in any spiritistic practices. (Deuteronomy 18:14; Galatians 5:19-21) Moreover, if we continued to practice spiritism after knowing Jehovah’s view of it, we would be siding with the rebellious wicked spirits and would be enemies of God.—1 Samuel 15:23; 1 Chronicles 10:13, 14; Psalm 5:4.
10. What is divination, and why should we avoid it?
10 One popular form of spiritism is divination—attempting to find out about the future or the unknown with the help of spirits. Some forms of divination are astrology, crystal-ball gazing, interpretation of dreams, palmistry, and fortune-telling with the use of tarot cards. Many view divination as harmless fun, but the Bible shows that fortune-tellers and wicked spirits go hand in hand. For example, Acts 16:16-19 mentions “a demon of divination” that enabled a certain girl to practice “the art of prediction.” However, her ability to foretell the future was lost when the demon was expelled. Clearly, divination is a bait used by the demons to lure people into their trap.
11. How do attempts to communicate with the dead lead into a trap?
11 If you are grieving over the death of a beloved family member or a close friend, you could easily be enticed by another bait. A spirit medium may give you special information or may speak in a voice that seems to be that of the dead person. Beware! Attempts to communicate with the dead lead into a trap. Why? Because the dead cannot speak. As you no doubt recall, God’s Word plainly says that at death a person “goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts do perish.” The dead “are conscious of nothing at all.” (Psalm 146:4; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10) Moreover, it is actually the demons who have been known to imitate the voice of the deceased and give a spirit medium information about the one who has died. (1 Samuel 28:3-19) So “anyone who inquires of the dead” is being entrapped by wicked spirits and is acting contrary to the will of Jehovah God.—Deuteronomy 18:11, 12; Isaiah 8:19.
FROM ATTRACTING TO ATTACKING
12, 13. What evidence is there that the demons persist in tempting and harassing people?
12 When you comply with the counsel of God’s Word regarding spiritism, you spurn the bait of the demons. (Compare Psalm 141:9, 10; Romans 12:9.) Does this mean that wicked spirits will stop trying to capture you? By no means! After tempting Jesus three times, Satan “retired from him until another convenient time.” (Luke 4:13) Similarly, obstinate spirits not only attract people but also attack them.
13 Recall our earlier consideration of Satan’s attack on God’s servant Job. The Devil caused the loss of his livestock and the death of most of his servants. Satan even killed Job’s children. Next, he struck Job himself with a painful disease. But Job kept his integrity to God and was greatly blessed. (Job 1:7-19; 2:7, 8; 42:12) Since then, the demons have made some people speechless or blind and have continued to revel in the suffering of humans. (Matthew 9:32, 33; 12:22; Mark 5:2-5) Today, reports show that demons sexually harass some and drive others to insanity. They incite still others to murder and suicide, which are sins against God. (Deuteronomy 5:17; 1 John 3:15) Nonetheless, thousands of people once ensnared by these wicked spirits have been able to break free. How has this been possible for them? They have done so by taking vital steps.
HOW TO RESIST WICKED SPIRITS
14. In harmony with the example of first-century Ephesian Christians, how can you resist wicked spirits?
14 What is one way that you can resist wicked spirits and protect yourself and your family from their snares? First-century Christians in Ephesus who had practiced spiritism before becoming believers took positive steps. We read that “quite a number of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them up before everybody.” (Acts 19:19) Even if you have not practiced spiritism, get rid of anything having spiritistic uses or overtones. This includes books, magazines, videos, posters, musical recordings, and objects used for spiritistic purposes. Also included are idols, amulets and other items worn for protection, and gifts received from practicers of spiritism. (Deuteronomy 7:25, 26; 1 Corinthians 10:21) To illustrate: A married couple in Thailand had long been harassed by demons. Then they got rid of objects associated with spiritism. What was the result? They were relieved of the demonic attacks and thereafter made real spiritual progress.
15. In resisting wicked spirit forces, what is another necessary step?
15 In order to resist wicked spirits, another necessary step is to apply the apostle Paul’s counsel to put on the complete suit of God-given spiritual armor. (Ephesians 6:11-17) Christians must fortify their defenses against wicked spirits. What does this step include? “Above all things,” said Paul, “take up the large shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles.” Indeed, the stronger your faith, the greater will be your ability to resist wicked spirit forces.—Matthew 17:14-20.
16. How can you strengthen your faith?
16 How can you strengthen your faith? By continuing to study the Bible and apply its counsel in your life. The strength of one’s faith depends largely on the firmness of its base—the knowledge of God. Do you not agree that the accurate knowledge you have gained and taken to heart as you have studied the Bible has built up your faith? (Romans 10:10, 17) No doubt, therefore, as you continue this study and make it your custom to attend the meetings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, your faith will be fortified even more. (Romans 1:11, 12; Colossians 2:6, 7) It will be a mighty bulwark against demon attacks.—1 John 5:5.
17. What further steps may be necessary in resisting wicked spirit forces?
17 What further steps might be taken by a person who is determined to resist wicked spirit forces? Ephesian Christians needed protection because they lived in a city infested with demonism. Hence, Paul told them: “Carry on prayer on every occasion in spirit.” (Ephesians 6:18) Since we live in a demon-infested world, praying intensely for God’s protection is essential in resisting wicked spirits. (Matthew 6:13) Helpful in this regard is the spiritual assistance and prayers of appointed elders in the Christian congregation.—James 5:13-15.
KEEP UP YOUR FIGHT AGAINST WICKED SPIRITS
18, 19. What can be done if the demons again trouble a person?
18 Even after taking these basic steps, however, some have been troubled by wicked spirits. For instance, one man in Côte d’Ivoire studied the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses and destroyed all his amulets. Thereafter, he made fine progress, dedicated his life to Jehovah, and was baptized. But a week after his baptism, the demons began to trouble him again, and voices told him to abandon his newfound faith. If this happened to you, would it mean that you had lost Jehovah’s protection? Not necessarily.
19 Though the perfect man Jesus Christ had divine protection, he heard the voice of the wicked spirit creature Satan the Devil. Jesus showed what to do in such a case. He told the Devil: “Go away, Satan!” (Matthew 4:3-10) In like manner, you should refuse to listen to voices from the spirit world. Resist wicked spirits by calling on Jehovah for help. Yes, pray aloud using God’s name. Proverbs 18:10 says: “The name of Jehovah is a strong tower. Into it the righteous runs and is given protection.” The Christian man in Côte d’Ivoire did this, and the wicked spirits stopped harassing him.—Psalm 124:8; 145:18.
20. In summary, what can you do to resist wicked spirits?
20 Jehovah has allowed the wicked spirits to remain in existence, but he shows his power, particularly in behalf of his people, and his name is being declared in all the earth. (Exodus 9:16) If you stay close to God, you need not fear wicked spirits. (Numbers 23:21, 23; James 4:7, 8; 2 Peter 2:9) Their power is limited. They were punished in Noah’s day, were cast out of heaven in recent times, and are now awaiting final judgment. (Jude 6; Revelation 12:9; 20:1-3, 7-10, 14) In fact, they dread their coming destruction. (James 2:19) So whether wicked spirits try to attract you with some kind of bait or attack you in any way, you can resist them. (2 Corinthians 2:11) Shun every form of spiritism, apply the counsel of God’s Word, and seek Jehovah’s approval. Do this without delay, for your life depends on your resisting wicked spirit forces!
TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE
How do wicked spirits try to mislead people?
Why does the Bible condemn spiritism?
How can a person break free from wicked spirit forces?
Why should you keep resisting wicked spirits?
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How do you view spiritism in its many forms?