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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

They Saw the Devil...and the Glory

I exhaust a lot of words in this blog trying to convince people to pull their heads out of the sand and realize that we live in a complex universe where just of much of what exists is invisible to us. That goes far beyond germs and molecules of air. Paul the Apostle wrote, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12).

Call them what you will, they are inter-dimensional, they have amazing abilities that seem magical to us, they are sentient beings that can think and connive exactly as we can, and they can manipulate us in ways that would make the CIA proud. Like germs, if the protective aura around us is compromised in any number of ways, they can get through it and live in our bodies like a subversive virus. But there is a defense! We don’t have to be their victims or patsies.

Martin Luther, 1521

By 1521, Luther had already laid a torch to the dry religious tinder in central Europe, and the whole land was aflame with new ideas. He was holed up in a castle in Wartburg, squirreled away from the wrath of the Emperor, Charles V. During his year there, he translated the New Testament into the German language.

The castle was comfortable but haunted. Or perhaps it was Luther who was haunted, since bringing the Scriptures to the common people was not only an offense to the Catholic Church, but to the Devil himself. Luther describes hearing strange noises. One might think he simply needed to switch to decaf or pop a valium, but in fact, his description of the devil is a very familiar and sophisticated review of modern poltergeist activity, as well as the spiritual warfare experienced by some of today’s Christian ministries.

Philip Schaff, in Vol. 7 of History of the Christian Church, 1888, wrote: “He heard noises at night, in a chest, in a bag of nuts, and on the staircase ‘as if a hundred barrels were rolled from top to bottom.’ Once he saw him in the shape of a big black dog lying in his bed; he threw the creature out of the window; but it did not bark, and disappeared. Sometimes he resorted to jokes. The Devil, he said, will bear anything better than to be despised and laughed at, (335-337).

According to Luther, “[The devil] is the direct antipode of God, and the archfiend of Christ and of men. As God is pure love, so the Devil is pure selfishness, hatred, and envy. He is endowed with high intellectual gifts, as bad men often surpass good men in prudence and understanding….

“He is the ape of God. He is most busy where the Word of God is preached…” (Remember, Judas was one of the twelve disciples.)

“He hates matrimony, mirth, and music. He cannot bear singing, least of all ‘spiritual songs.’” (For a direct comparison of just how relevant that statement is, see my post on Linette’s little black blob and my review of Barbara Bartholic’s biography. Just plug key words into the search box above.)

He holds the human will captive, and rides it as his donkey.” I couldn’t help but flash back to an image in Robert Monroe’s (guru of out-of-body experiences) book where he awoke one day to find a creepy entity clinging to his back. It took the form of a child, but it was clearly not anything sweet. Whitley Strieber once described a grey alien jumping onto his back and causing a flash of erotic arousal. Luther’s intent is not that literal, but those same entities were clearly looking for a way into the will and mind of those modern day authors.

These malicious entities will taunt us humans and plant negative thoughts about ourselves and others. We need to recognize the source. “Once the Devil told him that he was a great sinner. ‘I knew that long ago,’ replied Luther, ‘tell me something new. Christ has taken my sins upon himself, and forgiven them long ago. Now grind your teeth.’”

“The Devil assumes visible forms, and appears as a dog or a hog or a goat, or as a flame or star, or as a man with horns.” Does ‘flame or star’ sound like it could be a UFO? As for a man with horns, I recall an episode of Paranormal State in which a home was haunted by a shadow man with rams horns. This dark entity induced one of the occupants of the home to walk into a river and drown herself. It’s no Halloween joke. Most people don’t need to focus on this dark matter, but those who are being threatened by it and have no defense are in serious danger. Pastors who can’t deal with it are doing only half their job.

“But, after all, the Devil has no real power over believers. He hates prayer, and flees from the cross and from the Word of God as from a flaming fire.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Smith Wigglesworth, British apostle, 1860-1947

Albert Hibbert was a close friend of the Wigglesworth family and was thus in a good position to write a brief survey of his life called Smith Wigglesworth, The Secret of His Power. He heard the stories firsthand of healing the sick, raising the dead, and deliverances. His power over the enemy is demonstrated in the following anecdote:

“Wigglesworth saw something he would never forget: three strong men trying to hold down a lovely girl about seventeen years of age who was totally naked. The men could not hold her; she was a raging demoniac. The girl’s father, being a wealthy man, did not want his daughter locked away in a padded cell. Rather than institutionalize her, he kept her at home and employed these men to see that she did not destroy herself.”

After some sinister exchange between Wigglesworth and the girl, he commanded the devil to leave. With a loud scream, twelve demons came out. “Immediately, the girl became aware that she was unclothed and, crying out, fled from the room…Ten minutes later he heard a bedroom door open and close, and the sound of light footsteps tripping down the stairs. Wigglesworth then went downstairs and joined for tea a father, a mother, and one of the sweetest girls one could ever imagine--a girl who fifteen minutes before had been a raving maniac,” (39, 40).

He never felt threatened by the devil. “On one occasion Wigglesworth awoke during the night aware of a satanic presence. Looking across the room, he saw the Devil himself standing there. Wigglesworth said to Satan, ‘Oh, it’s only you.’ Then he turned over and went back to sleep,” (51).

Darla W., the daughter of a friend, told me this story

When she was a child, her mother was attending a Pentecostal church that was nothing other than a vile cult, a sham ministry that kept people in line with false doctrines and fear. Every woman and girl in the church was in danger of being seduced or molested. One night Darla awoke in her bedroom to find a half-man, half-goat entity staring at her. I don’t recall the whole description except that it had hair that was pulled to a point in front over the forehead, and it had hooves for feet. She leaped out of bed and ran to the living room, but it followed and chased her around the table. The creature assured that the church had special plans for her. (She was an exceptionally pretty girl.) When she crawled into bed with her clueless mother, she was told she had just had a nightmare.

Fortunately, her mom let her stay there that night. In the morning, the family saw woodchips all over the house, similar to the ones in their yard. Happily, the enemy’s plans for Darla never came to fruition, because her mother came under the sway of my spiritual mentor just in time. Darlene S. was also taken in for a time, but when she realized what the church was really doing, she created such a stink that it had to close. Had Darlene not been able to recognize a cult and firmly confront it, is no telling what would have happened to G. and her 3 children.

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he encouraged every Christian to gird themselves like a warrior for spiritual warfare. Laugh at Paul and the Christians if you will, but in my next post I will review the book by Bill Bean called Dark Force, in which a defenseless family is torn apart by powerful entities because they no idea how to deal with forces that were destroying their lives. Bean’s book will be a movie soon, and no true tale better deserves it.