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Refreshment in Refuge

    by Gina Burgess

Ghosties and Hobgoblins
Date Posted: October 30, 2016

I have a writing friend, Kristine McGuire, who wrote an enlightening book about her experiences as a ghost hunter. Escaping the Cauldren is quite frightening because she became a Christian when she was younger, but she definitely fell into a pit when she allowed herself to be sucked into hunting ghosts. She had a gift of being able to tell people things about themselves that were true. The longer she hunted ghosts, the more she opened herself to these demonic forces, the more accurate she became at this "discernment" into other people's lives. She could tell them where an item was that was lost; she thought it was cool. It was her story that made me want to study this phenonomon of ghost hunting. The terrifying thing is that without much prayer, I could have fallen into that pit just a easily.

It is addictive.

Even after 3 years after my study was over, I still feel compelled sometimes to watch one of those shows. I resist because I know no good comes from it. In fact, in one of those shows where a priest was performing an exorcism, when the girl lifted up from her chair snarling some expletivies, he pushed her back down and muttered, "Just parlor tricks, only parlor tricks." That is when I knew my study was over. The influence of Satan is a very real thing. Opening our hearts and minds to that blurs our good, godly judgment, and we fall prey to evil even when it seems harmless.

The hours spent viewing several different programs where teams are in hot pursuit of paranormal activities from the netherworld have been heartbreaking. These teams are in earnest, yet have enormous nerve in that they taunt the entities of whom they are hoping to get physical evidence that paranormal entities exist.

They do exist. They are not ghosts as in human souls, but are spirits as in either angels or demons.

The commonalities of paranormal experiences within these shows are:

1. Heavy air, like swimming through water.

2. Swift temperature changes (both cold and hot)

3. Smells

4. Sounds - popping, foot steps, voices

5. Floating light orbs in photos and on video

6. Shadow people

Extremely rare is the photo with a transparent person, or even rarer is the video with an apparition in motion.

Every ghost hunter has this mistaken belief that humans who are distressed before they die, or if they die untimely, or die violently are somehow locked here on earth to give trouble to others until their business is finished or just until... Very few of these ghost hunters have a deep, intrinsic biblical knowledge. One or two take the time and precaution to have a priest pray over them and their ventures. Most of them have demons that follow them home.

If they did have intrinsic biblical knowledge, they would know absolutely that God is the King of the Universe and He has stated flatly that no spirit shall linger here on earth after death. If they had a living relationship with God, they would know that just wearing a t-shirt with a cross on it doesn't protect a person from a demon. If they did, they wouldn't taunt or challenge the spirits they are chasing.

That fact hit home with King Saul when he consulted the witch at Endor. In fact, the witch was just as shocked when Samuel rose up to meet Saul. I imagine her screeching could be heard a mile away. (The story is in 1 Samuel 28).

God was adamant to Israel about not allowing that kind of wickedness in the land, about cleansing it from their presence because it was demon-based, not God-based.

Leviticus 20:27

"A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them."'

This doesn’t leave room for witchcraft, séances, Ouija boards, channeling or sorcery, does it?

The term translated "familiar spirits" is fascinating because the Hebrew is obe -- (apparently through the idea of prattling a father’s name); properly a mumble, that is, a water skin (from its hollow sound); hence a necromancer (ventriloquist, as from a jar): - bottle, familiar spirit. We can understand that as being something that is faked, or that demons use the possessed oracle as a ventriloquist uses a dummy.

Interestingly, God had Moses use such a word for general description with sorcery. He was illustrating the chicanery of the necromancy (the practice of attempting to communicate wit hthe spirits of the dead in order to predict or influence the future). In essence parlor tricks. The medium's shocked shriek at Samuel's actual appearance proves this wasn't her usual "show". Therefore, she had not truly been raising dead souls, but only pretending to for a fee.

The idols worshiped were demon-based religions, and the gods were demons. (Deuteronomy 32:17 which Paul quotes in 1 Corinthians 10:21 and Psalm 106:37) Therefore we know that God explained why idolatry was so abhorrent to Him so the Children of Israel had no excuse. Other blatant examples are King Manasseh, and his son King Amon; their stories are found in 2 Kings 21:1ff.

What about psychics? What did Paul do about a girl with a divining or necromantic spirit in Acts 16:16-18? She is described as having a Pythonic spirit which in Greek is Puthōn (poo'-thone) and comes from Πυθώ Puthō (the name of the region where Delphi, the seat of the famous oracle, was located); and this is the same as a demon ventriloquist using her as a dummy.

He was deeply distressed that the girl kept following him around shouting, "These men are from the most high God and show us a way of salvation." The Greek translated "a way" is hodos which is by implication a road or a progress. The other implication is that there are other ways, these men just point one way. Your translation may read, “the way”. In either case, the Greek term denotes a true statement from this girl. Can the devil’s house be divided like this? More likely a conversation went like this:

Satan: “When my servants speak the truth, Paul will leave them alone.”

God replied, “Paul will see the distress of the girl being possessed by a demon. He will cast the demon out.”

Satan: “We shall see with Your permission.”

God: “No. I already know. You shall see, Satan.”

The girl knew, either by demonic recognition or from over hearing the people talk, who Paul was and she shouted it to the crowds. This does not mean demons can foretell the future.

The only prophets that are 100% correct are the ones that come from God. Satan is a diviner in the way that he has piles of files about each person and he is crafty enough to use those files against us. He knows our weaknesses better than we do, and he knows our motivations therefore he can be ambiguous while the receivers read of the fortunetelling into it whatever serves and gratifies their vain desires; and his servants profit from it. The men who owned the girl profited much by her soothsaying; and it was profit from gullible people who wanted to know what was coming next. Satan had divine permission to lead these ignorant idolaters captive, but unless he offered oracles such as at Delphi, he would not have garnered such adoration and awe.

The demons knew Paul. They knew his mission, thus the girl's following behind them and shouting the truth. Why would Paul be so distressed? There are lots of reasons such as giving credibility to other oracles uttered by the girl, and being followed by demons, or more likely he was deeply distressed to see this girl day after day be used by demonic possession and by her owners.

Another example of demonic possession is the story of the Jewish itinerant exorcists. These men profanely used Jesus' name to command demons. Specifically, the seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish priest wandered about the land using Jesus' name whom Paul preaches. Acts 19 describes what happened to them. The demons answered back saying, "Jesus we know. Paul we know of, but who are you?" Then the man who housed the demon jumped on these seven, tore off their clothes and mauled them. They scrabbled from the house defeated. This story became well known throughout Ephesus and caused great fear to come upon the people. It also caused many who practiced the occult to pile up their occultist books and burn them. The value was counted to be fifty thousand silver pieces.

The man that inhabited the grave yard which Jesus and His disciples passed was so violent, no one could contain him, nor could chains lock him down. His strength was of ten men. There were many demons in this man and they called themselves Legion. They begged Jesus to cast them into the swine rather than into the Pit. That story is told in Mark 5 and Luke 8.

What does this tell us about demons? Actually Mark 5 and Mark 9 tell us a lot about demons and demon possession.

They like being around grave yards which indicates an affiliation with dead bodies.

Demons give humans supernatural strength.

They invade the brain making a human insensible to reason.

They cause crying, and sadistic/masochistic behavior.

They have names. More than one can possess one person and they work in concert to torment.

They love heights.

They recognize Jesus as God's Son and obey Him absolutely.

They are territorial, desiring to stay in the same region/country.

They would rather indwell animal bodies than no body at all or to be cast into the Pit (Revelation 20:3).

Demons can cause animals to kill themselves, and they like being in a body when it dies therefore they cause suicidal behavior.

They can cause sickness, deafness, muteness, and rabid animal type behavior.

Demons can indwell from childhood. Mark 9:21

They use any means to usurp God's glory and worship.

They possess people who are not sealed by the Holy Spirit.

They use them like dummies to capture others into the occult.

They oppress, not possess, Christians and torment them as in the case of Kristine McGuire.

Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that Satan's demonic forces have a definite hierarchy. Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. We can conclude from this that some demons have more power and authority than others.

I can't help but think Peter was talking about ignorant, foolhardy people who go about challenging things of which they know nothing in 2 Peter 2:10-11 10 and specially those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise lordship. Bold are they, self-willed; they do not fear speaking injuriously of dignities: 11 when angels, who are greater in might and power, do not bring against them, before the Lord, an injurious charge.

I am heartbroken that these young men and women chase after demons thinking they are harmless spirits of the departed dead. They are deceived, and are being used by Satan and his henchmen just like that young girl who had the familiar spirit.

(Parts of this column were reprinted from November 2012)

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Biography Information:
Gina Burgess has taught Sunday School and Discipleship Training for almost three decades. (Don't tell her that makes her old.) She earned her Master's in Communication in 2013.

She is the author of several books including: When Christians Hurt Christians, The Crowns of the Believers and others available in online bookstores. She authors several columns, using her God-given talent to shine a light in a dark world. You can browse her blog at Refreshment In Refuge.

If you'd like to take a look at some Christian fiction and Christian non-fiction book reviews before the books hit the book store shelves, check out Gina's book reviews at Upon Reflection

Gina is a partner and COO of Common Sense Marketing Strategies, LLC that owns Authors Community and eBookChristian.com
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