Repelling the Attack of Wicked Spirits
Ensnaring spiritistic practices are found in every land. What can you do to protect yourself and loved ones?
TODAY it is more urgent than ever before to pray, “Deliver us from the wicked one”—the closing words to the model prayer Jesus Christ gave his disciples. (Matt. 6:13) They are a petition to Jehovah God for deliverance from wicked spirit forces. But who specifically is the “wicked one” whose attacks we need to repel?
Jesus Christ gave us the identity of this “wicked one.” In his illustration of the weeds in the field, he said: “The weeds are the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil.”—Matt. 13:38, 39.
The “wicked one,” then, is Satan the Devil, a powerful wicked spirit, concerning whom the Holy Bible says: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) Jesus’ instruction on how to pray shows, however, that deliverance from the power of this “wicked one” and other wicked spirits is possible. Also illustrating this is the Bible account that describes all the troubles that the Devil brought against the righteous man Job, and yet Job came off triumphant. This is encouraging, for Job was an imperfect human just like us, and still he came off victorious over all the malicious attacks of that “wicked one.”—Job 1:1–2:10; 42:10-17.
VICIOUS, DESPERATE WICKED SPIRITS
But why is it so urgent to pray, “Deliver us from the wicked one”? Because, as Revelation chapter twelve shows, a war has been fought in heaven with far-reaching consequences for the earth. God’s kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ proved victorious, and the Devil and his demon angels were hurled down to the vicinity of the earth. (Rev. 12:7-9) They were cast, not away from mankind, but in the direction of mankind! Did this forebode good for those dwelling on the earth and those on the sea? No! The Bible shows it would be a time of unprecedented woe: “Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”—Rev. 12:12.
The Devil and his demons are thus very close to mankind, and they know their time is very short. When Jesus Christ cast out demons from a man in the first century, they requested that he not order them to go away into the abyss, so Jesus allowed them to go into a herd of about 2,000 swine, which then plunged off a precipice into the sea and drowned. (Luke 8:27-33; Mark 5:1-17) If 1,900 years ago the demons, knowing that someday they would be cast into the abyss, manifested such a violent disposition, surely now when the time of their abyssing is so near, they must be more vicious and desperate than ever. These spirit desperadoes are out to accomplish all the wreckage among mankind they can, especially to crush Christian personalities, since they are anti-God, anti-Kingdom, anti-Christ, anti-all who are Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. (Rev. 12:17) Thus we see the urgency of knowing how to repel the attack of wicked spirit forces.
MANY FORMS OF ATTACK AND HARASSMENT
Demon activity appears to be on the increase, varying in degree and form from place to place. The more prevalent that spiritistic practices are in a certain area, the more problems there are likely to be with demon afflictions and harassment.
The attack by wicked spirit forces can take many forms. From actual cases, we know there may be physical attack, as well as mental attack. There may be a bodily blow, a slap in the face, a throwing of one to the ground (Mark 9:17, 18), bodily illness and pain, doctors being unable to find a cause. (Luke 11:14; Mark 1:26; 9:25; Matt. 12:22) One may be disturbed while trying to sleep, due to the prevalence of abnormal noises in the house. There may be a tugging of bed covers, a shaking of the bed, an apparition such as a face or a pair of vicious eyes. Often a “voice” is heard that harasses and terrorizes. The voice usually suggests or commands a certain course of action, which, if followed, can lead to spiritual collapse, violence, insanity or suicide.
HOW THEY GET INVOLVED
But how does one get involved, so as to come under such demon attack? One may be dabbling in practices associated with spiritism, such as astrology, Yoga, extrasensory perception, water witching, hypnotism, using a ouija board or a pendulum device for divining. The Bible clearly condemns divination of any kind, magical arts, sorcery, binding others with a spell, fortune-telling, consulting a spirit medium or inquiring of the dead and ‘looking for omens.’ (Deut. 18:10, 11; Isa. 8:19) Hence, if one engages in these practices involving “uncanny power” or associates with persons who do, he is putting himself in a dangerous situation.—1 Sam. 15:23; 1 Cor. 15:33; Rev. 22:15.
Some may “look for omens” in their dreams and in other incidents in their lives and then endeavor to relate these to the future. This is highly dangerous. Also, by showing undue interest in occult matters and absorbing oneself in such books, one may come under demon attack.
Others become vulnerable to demonic thinking by filling their mind with this world’s spirit of violence. One may be regularly reading mystery or detective books or watching TV shows that feature violence and killing. One Christian woman made a hobby of reading such books despite the counsel at Philippians 4:8, and in time was so disastrously affected that she appealed for help, fearing she would kill her own beloved husband and children. Some do not seek help but yield to the compulsion to kill, as we so often read in the newspapers. For example, the New York Times of November 18, 1965, told about a youth who shot four persons, killing three in a bank robbery:
“He was driven, he said, by a compulsion that took visual form in his mind last May, a ‘picture’ of himself shooting four persons, including a woman, as they lay on a floor. In June, he said, ‘it seemed there was nothing else’ in his mind. . . . [He] said his pistol jammed with the first shot and ‘I wanted to run out of the bank.’ [But] ‘it seemed like someone was pulling on me,’ the youth responded. ‘I couldn’t go. I had to shoot them.’”
Others get in trouble by going to one who heals by spiritistic means. Consulting witch doctors, psychic healers, psychic diagnosticians, Spiritualists or one who uses any kind of therapy involving extrasensory perception can bring one into contact with the demons. The book Evidence of Satan in the Modern World tells of a woman who went to a magnetic healer for treatment, but when she resisted his advances, he cast a spell on her, causing many kinds of attacks by the demons.
Yet others unknowingly move into a house long haunted by demons and then, when they come under attack, instead of moving out, they try to defy the demons on their “home ground” or even dare them in some way or other, bringing trouble upon themselves.
It is very frequently found that one who is having difficulty with the demons has a relative or acquaintance engaged in spiritism. Further investigation usually reveals that such a one has received a gift from the one who is under influence by the demons. Soon after the object or article was brought into one’s house, trouble followed. Sometimes, after a spiritist dies, a surviving relative unwisely takes the household effects of the spiritist into his own home, with tragic consequences. False religious pictures and symbols have also been implicated.
DO NOT LISTEN TO DEMON VOICES, NOISES
One of the most common forms of demon attack is a mental one, the wicked spirit speaking out loud. One clearly hears a “voice.” What if you hear such a voice? Should you panic or feel you are falling away from the Christian faith? By no means! The Devil has long used such verbal attacks, starting with Eve. But you do not need to heed a demon’s voice, as Eve did! (Gen. 3:1-6) Remember, the Lord Jesus Christ was spiritually the strongest person on earth, yet he came under attack. (Matt. 4:1-10) If Jesus was so attacked, are we to think that none of his followers would have a wicked spirit voice speak to them? By no means!—Matt. 10:24, 25.
The thing to do if one is harassed by a demon voice is to follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, who refused to consider the Devil’s suggestions for a moment. So do not heed anything the “voice” says. Do what God says. If the voice tells you to stay home from Christian meetings, obey God, who says go to such meetings.—Heb. 10:25.
The voice may pretend to be a good spirit, flattering one’s vanity, but it is a lying spirit. Reject demon suggestions or teachings! (1 Tim. 4:1; 2 Thess. 2:9, 10; John 8:44) God is not bypassing his own Holy Word and giving individuals special communication today.
Demon voices may try to break up Christian marriages. In one case, when the husband had to work late, he would phone his wife; afterward, a “voice” would stir up doubts in the wife’s mind by saying audibly to her: “You see, he is going away with some other woman; he has no love for you.” Believing any demon voice will cause havoc in one’s marriage and spiritual life; believe God and you will have success.—Josh. 1:8; Eph. 5:21-33.
Sometimes a demon does not speak audibly but tries to force his wicked suggestions upon one’s mind. One may hear an authoritative statement in his mind. It is persistent and foreign to one’s Bible-based beliefs. The suggestions are always opposed to God’s truth.
If you hear voices or demon-caused noises, what can you do? Turn your attention to the things of God! Refuse to listen to the demons! Dull your ear to them, mentally speaking, and immediately appeal to Jehovah God in prayer for deliverance. Proverbs 18:10 says that the name of Jehovah “is a strong tower” and the righteous will run into it and be protected. So if demons make attacks upon you mentally, the thing to do is to exert yourself mentally in the opposite direction and forcefully brush aside these demonized impressions and actively start one’s mind working with the things of God’s Word, even quoting scriptures out loud, or in a subdued tone. (Phil. 4:6-8, 13) Do not weaken in this course of action, but pray to God for strength to become more powerful as a Christian personality.
INVESTIGATING HOUSE AND HOUSEHOLD OBJECTS
One under demon attack should calmly, not in hysteria, investigate his house and household articles. In some few cases the house may be the cause of trouble and the best thing to do is move out. Some demons delight in haunting a place. So if you experience trouble shortly after moving into a house, investigate. Was the house unoccupied for a long time? Why? Did people frequently move in and out? Why? Does it have a history of being haunted? Neighbors usually know, though the seller of a house almost always keeps the fact concealed.*
But if a house has a clean history, instead of moving out, investigate objects in the house. If you at one time practiced black magic, witchcraft or other form of spiritism, did you burn up all articles relating to demonism upon learning of God’s truth? Get rid of every vestige of demonism. What did the early Christians in Ephesus do? On learning true Christianity they burned up all their magic books, even though their value was an astounding 50,000 pieces of silver! (Acts 19:18, 19) It would have been exceedingly dangerous to keep such works on how to perform the magical arts; in fact, to keep any appendage of demonism is perilous. One must be absolutely free of any relics of spiritism, so as to allow the demons no beachhead.
A vital question to ask if one experiences trouble with the demons is: Have you accepted any gifts from relatives or persons who dabble in spiritism? Any kind of article from such a person can cause trouble. In some actual cases it has been a radio, a sewing machine, a pair of shoes, jewelry, a “good luck” charm, a bathrobe, a blanket, a book. One woman had her bed tipped up at night when she tried to sleep on a mattress given her by her Spiritualist mother. A young woman had a fever of 106 degrees when wearing a garment given her by a Spiritualist.
Another Christian woman kept a handbag given her by an aunt who was a fortune-teller. Using the handbag in the ministry, she experienced powerful thoughts of “Go home!” Bad thoughts rushed into her mind almost audibly, all of them anti-kingdom. She could not understand herself, as these negative thoughts entered her mind as if by telephone, so that she complained of “hearing herself think.” Only after getting rid of the handbag did she get relief.
Sometimes keeping a letter from a spiritistic relative has brought trouble. Some persons have reported gaining relief by burning letters from relatives who dabble in spiritism. Even if an article from a spiritist is an expensive one, is keeping it worth the danger? One woman was tormented for years by the demons; finally she got rid of many household effects that came from a spiritistic relative. “The material loss,” she wrote, “was worth the peaceful calm that came over our house and family.”
That objects from spiritists are implicated is clearly evident because relief almost invariably follows getting rid of them. The principle is similar to that used in sorcery, in which the demonist wishing to cast a spell will transfer an object into the possession of the intended victim.
However, sometimes objects through which demons make contact resist burning, indicating demonic anger at efforts to destroy them. Some persons have found it difficult to burn up ouija boards or books on occultism. Others have reported experiences similar to that of the woman who had much distress at home after wearing a dress originally belonging to a witch. Learning of the source of trouble, she set out to burn it. “We poured gasoline on it, so it would burn quickly; but what amazed us very much was the fact that the dress did not want to burn.” Persist in your efforts to get rid of suspicious objects and relief in some measure usually follows.
When investigating objects, be reasonable, however. Do not burn up everything in fearful panic. Pray for Jehovah’s direction in your investigation, and he will deliver you from the wicked one.
KEEPING ON THE SUIT OF ARMOR FROM GOD
Every Christian is in a fight against “wicked spirit forces.” So the apostle Paul counsels you to “put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil.” Anyone under demon attack should check his spiritual armor. Is it weak in any place?—Eph. 6:10-18.
First, are your “loins girded about with truth”? Are you holding close to God’s Word of truth, the Bible, living closely in harmony with its teachings? Do you always have on “the breastplate of righteousness”? Any who disobey Jehovah’s commandments and turn to unrighteousness lay themselves open to attack. (1 Sam. 15:22, 23) Further, are your feet shod “with the equipment of the good news of peace”? Do you regularly engage in the ministry of the good news, in harmony with Matthew 24:14? If one does not have his feet so shod he is not doing as James 4:7 says: “Subject yourselves, therefore, to God; but oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you.” It is a matter, not only of opposing the Devil, but also of submitting to God! If we do both of these things, the Devil will flee from us.
Then there is the “large shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the wicked one’s burning missiles.” One under attack should examine his faith, asking: Is the trouble with me? Do I have works to back up my faith? Or is my faith weak?
Also check your mental attitude, for we must “accept the helmet of salvation.” Such helmet protects our mind, our hope. (1 Thess. 5:8) But if we feed our mind on the Devil’s propaganda that infuses one with the spirit of the world, we may lose our hope, our helmet of protection. Is your mind “fixed on the things above”? (Col. 3:2) Or are you filling it with the spirit of this world, which is really what makes one God’s enemy and unworthy of his protection? (Jas. 4:4) If under attack, keep on the “helmet” by calling to mind the promises of God’s Word and his assurances that give us basis for hoping in our ultimate triumph.
You need also “the sword of the spirit,” God’s Word. Do you study the Bible regularly, making Bible reading a daily practice?
Finally, it has been found that many under demon attack are not “vigilant with a view to prayers.” (1 Pet. 4:7) They are not carrying on prayer “on every occasion in spirit.” (Eph. 6:18; Rom. 12:12) Pray for God’s deliverance, even out loud if under attack, calling upon Jehovah’s name. (Ps. 121:1-3) Avoid anything that would destroy your faith, your righteousness, your service to God, your hope. Keep on your suit of armor.
WHEN TROUBLE PERSISTS
If trouble persists, remember that we do not expect exemption from all forms of demon attack; that is why we must wear the suit of armor until the demons are put out of operation by God. But even long-standing cases are being cleared up by making careful investigations. One woman troubled for twenty-four years with demons finally had books on occultism cleared out and reported: “There have been no more attacks.”
Keep in mind that with most cases improvement is gradual. Jesus did not get instant relief after one attack; he had to face up to three of them! In warfare, does an enemy attack only once? Keep repelling the attacks! Never give in one inch to the demons! Never say, “If I can hold out,” but be determined to resist in God’s strength. If we put on the suit of armor, we can expect to “resist in the wicked day” and to do so successfully.—Eph. 6:10-18.
AID FROM MATURE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS
Do not try to fight this warfare alone. Seek aid, never from any spiritist, but from your mature Christian brothers. Do not hold back, feeling they will not believe what is happening. They know the demons are more active than ever before and these brothers will understand and give you help.
Not only will they pray for and with you but they will study this and other articles with you, helping you to analyze your suit of spiritual armor to see if it is “complete.” (Jas. 5:13-15) Be frank with them. Probing questions may help you to locate possible causes of trouble. They may ask about gifts received about the time the trouble began, also about your house, relatives, associations and morals. They may explore, too, your motives. Are you sincerely resisting, or is there a trace of pride due to the attention the demons are giving you? Is one resisting only in a half-hearted way? So your brothers will make a diligent effort to determine the cause of the problem.
Then apply their counsel. If you are too busy to put on the suit of armor, how can you expect protection? If you do not go out in the ministry, nobody else can do it for you. If you do not take in the counsel from the Bible, nobody can do it for you. So if trouble persists, it may be that you are not applying the good counsel given you.
Finally, be sure your real fear is Jehovah, not the demons. (1 Chron. 16:25) Jehovah is the all-powerful One, the Sustainer of the whole universe; and he can sustain you to repel attacks. (Pss. 16:8; 46:1; 55:22) Reflect on the reassuring statement: “He has not looked upon any uncanny power against Jacob, and no trouble has he seen against Israel. Jehovah his God is with him . . . For there is no unlucky spell against Jacob.”—Num. 23:21, 23.
That means, if we are really faithful to Jehovah, the attacks of wicked spirits will be repelled. The “wicked one” and his demons may cause trouble or tests, as they did with Job and Jesus, but they cannot win out over us. Victory is assured if we keep on resisting. Be strong in faith, letting your prayer be: “Deliver us from the wicked one.”
A recent case, advertised on the front page of The Saturday Evening Post of July 2, 1966, was “The Haunted House of Elke Sommer.” A check made with previous owners of the house showed a history of its being haunted. See the article “Are Haunted Houses Hoaxes?” in Awake! of June 22, 1965.