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            Once demons gain entrance into a human body, they establish various strongholds.  Each stronghold contains a nest of spirits that work together to torment and eventually bring about the destruction of that person, or render the person ineffective or stunted in his or her development.  For instance, one stronghold may be labeled “infirmity.”  The victim is constantly sick and eventually becomes drastically or terminally ill with a myriad of ailments.  Often, it takes a period of time to bring about a manifestation of a particular disease.  Demons of high blood pressure, heart trouble or kidney failure could all work at the same time in a nest. 

            Before we go any further, we need to point out that not all strongholds, especially those in the mind, are caused by demons.  Even if demons were completely cast out of a person, he still has the lusts of the flesh to contend with.  Demons can gain entrance through gates opened by sins perpetrated by the lusts of the flesh.  Sexual lust, for instance, may have gained entranced because of a person’s surrender to the flesh’s desires regarding sex.  Once the door is opened, other spirits follow soon thereafter. 

            Another stronghold could be “unforgiveness.” or “fear,” or “rebellion.”  Unforgiveness brings in spirits of hatred, resentment, anger, murder, suicide, revenge and so forth.  Sexual lust can bring in a nest that includes sexual fantasy, masturbation, homosexuality, lesbianism, fornication, adultery, exhibition, incest, rape, molestation, prostitution, infant sacrifice, and the like. 

A demon’s name usually fits or matches their job or function, but not always.  A spirit of fear causes a person to be controlled by unreasonable fear and a spirit of rejection works on a person’s mind in various ways related to rejection.  Sometimes, a spirit has a name not directly linked to their job.  For instance, Dakuwaga, is a shark god in Fiji whose function is witchcraft.  However, the natives of Fiji consider this demon as the giant guardian of the sea who protects Fijians from sharks and other sea creatures.  We have had many encounters with this demon. 

            Many fail to realize that their thoughts and emotions may not actually be their own, but from other entities.  The Holy Spirit can place a thought in a Christian’s mind, or an emotion or urging.  But, so can the devil and his evil spirits.  Demons constantly bombard the human mind and Christians need to discern the source.  People with schizophrenia, for instance, may hear voices and engage in loud conversation with these voices.  They fail to discern that these are demons talking. 

The apostle John says, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.  Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”  1 Jn. 4:1-3.  This presupposes that one can hear a voice speaking to him from either the outside or in your mind and you know it is not from your own mind.  Test such a spirit.  Often you know its demonic because it says something against the Word of God, such as, “Kill yourself.  Kill your mother.  Steal that car.  God hates you and He knows that you are a failure.”

            Most of the time, however, we may just have a feeling or thought.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will give you discernment.  “Is it you, Holy Spirit?”  If I have a good feeling in my spirit, I will listen further; if I don’t have a good feeling and there are doubts, confusion or a bad feeling, I rebuke it in Jesus’ name and demand that it leave.  You are not sinning against the Holy Spirit because the apostle John instructed us to test every spirit. 

            As Dr. Rebecca Brown stated in her book entitled He Came to Set the Captives Free, God will not stop demons from counterfeiting His voice and acting as ministers of righteousness, but He will stop you from being hurt in the end.  Once, she heard a beautiful voice telling her to drive to a certain place.  It sounded like God.  On her way, however, she suddenly heard a voice say, “Stop!”  It turned out that a group of Satanists had planned to kill her when she arrived at her intended destination.  She asked God to prevent the devil from counterfeiting God’s voice.  God said words to this effect, “My precious child, I will not stop Satan from pretending to be Me, but I will protect you from harm.”

            Coming back to the subject of strongholds, a person needs to honestly judge himself and identify areas where he has succumbed to: fear, bitterness, rejection, rebellion, unforgiveness, sexual lust, anger, and so forth.  When spirits are exposed, it weakens them.  They love to hide in darkness, but once a person confesses that he has a stronghold, the demons become fearful of discovery. 

            If the deliverance worker is experienced enough, he can demand that the demon identify itself.  “In the name of Jesus, I command you to name yourself.”  Keep repeating it until the demon starts to whimper or show signs of nervousness.  “I’m talking to you, demon.  I’m not talking to this woman.  I’ll talking to you.  Name yourself now, in Jesus’ name.”  It will. 

            The second question is:  “In the name of Jesus, I command you to tell me how you came in.”  Persist until it reveals how it came in.  It may say, “She hates her mother,” or “she was raped.” 

            Some writers claim that we should not talk to demons on two grounds: (1) they are all liars; and (2) Jesus told the demons in Mark 1:25, “Hold thy peace, and come out of him.”  It is true that demons are liars, but my experience is they will tell the truth when commanded in Jesus’ name.  In Mark 1:23-26, Jesus was just embarking on His ministry and the evil spirit had said, “I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.”  It was simply not the time for Jesus to be revealed as the Holy One of God.  In the incident of the Gadarean man, however, Jesus spoke to the demons and asked them their name.  The demon answered and said, “My name is Legions: for we are many.”  Mk. 5:9.  Many demons can inhabit one person.  A Roman legion had anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 soldiers.  Notice also these demons continued to argue with Jesus ever after He commanded them to leave.  It often takes persistence to cast demons out.  They will argue, throw a person around, spit and scream.  But in the end, they will go.  It took one hour for Paul and Silas to cast the spirit of Python out of a fortune-telling girl.  Ac. 16:18.  Don’t give up.

            The Bible indicates that complete deliverance of an individual may take place over a period of time and perhaps over days and even months.  Exodus 23:29, 30 says, “I will not drive them out from before thee in one year: lest the land become desolate: and the beast of the field multiply against thee.  By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased.”  Because demons seldom operate individually, but work through a nest of related spirits, one may need to attack one spirit at a time, although in some cases, if you cast out the ruler spirit or the highest ranking spirit, the rest will follow and come out soon thereafter.  Another reason we sometimes need time is to allow the person time to recover from being set free from the last demons.  Sometimes, his whole mind set changes and he has to get used to it before he can move on.

            Cases involving schizophrenia may take months and even years as each individual stronghold or fortress is dismantled and destroyed piece by piece.  Both the worker and the victim must be of one mind and cooperate transparently.  Don’t miss reading Frank and Ida Mae Hammond’s book entitled Pigs in the Parlor, which contains a wonderful chapter on schizophrenia.

            More next time.

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