This may seem like a strange place to start when dealing with the supernatural/paranormal, but it in fact is the most important place to begin. Many unbelievers/non-Christians do not understand the purpose behind God’s providing humanity with a written record of His interactions with His people. They don’t see the logic in the Creator of the Universe providing humanity with a written tome at all. But there is one major, primary, fundamental reason why God inspired men to write the things which we read bound within the pages of our Bibles - TO PROVIDE A FOUNDATION UPON WHICH TO BUILD AND A MEASURE BY WHICH ALL THINGS MAY BE MEASURED. What exactly do I mean by this? Let me explain.
When one is dealing with the supernatural or paranormal, for instance, the Bible provides a tape measure by which all things might be measured, thus allowing us to know when something is indeed of God, or not. The Scriptures allow us to test that which we see or hear in an effort to determine it’s source. If what we see or hear contradicts the manual, created by the manufacturer (so to speak), then we know that what we have seen or heard is incorrect. After all, the manufacturer is not going to contradict himself by saying something within the manual that is completely contrary to His product or device.
A manufacturer will print instructions as to the proper use and benefit of the product or device he has manufactured. But, He may also include warnings in his manual relative to the improper use of the device or product which you have purchased. If you follow His printed instructions, you can be reasonably certain of proper enjoyment and use of your product. If you do exactly what the manufacturer has warned you NOT to do, you can be pretty sure that you will experience the negative repercussions outlined by the manufacturer.
I have said all that to say this - The Bible provides us with a firm foundation upon which to understand God and those things relative to Him. IF WE EXPERIENCE SOMETHING WITH OUR SENSES THAT CONTRADICT WHAT GOD HAS SET FORTH IN HIS WORD, THEN YOU CAN KNOW THAT THE SOURCE OF THAT EXPERIENCE, INFORMATION, OR SENSATION IS NOT GOD.
Even the church is admonished to test or “try” the spirits associated with any man who prophecies, so as to determine whether or not that man is speaking under the authority and unction of God, or another source. (1 John 4:1-3) How would the church be able to test or try any spirit, unless it has some established, solid, trustworthy rule which it is able to use in comparing what one may say with what God might say? We have God’s Word. Does what the individual is saying glorify Christ and warn, rebuke, chastise, edify, uplift, inspire, or encourage His church? Or does it contradict what is written in God’s Word and cause doubt, fear, pain, panic, etc?
Demons/unclean spirits have one primary purpose and function. That being to debunk the Word of God. To cause human beings to disbelieve or disavow that which God has said in His Word. Sometimes what man may interpret as being what God has said in His Word and what the Lord has genuinely said may be in conflict. But the most fundamental truths set forth in Scripture are generally set forth in such a manner as to make them immutable. For example:
The Bible clearly teaches that
“It is appointed unto man ONCE to die, and then the judgment.” HEBREWS 9:27
Ecclesiastes 9:5 KJV
For the living know that they shall die : but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
Psalms 115:17 KJV
The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
Isaiah 8:19 KJV
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?
This one singular statement immediately puts to rest the notion of reincarnation. According to the Apostle Paul, man only dies once. He then is judged according to that one life that he has lived. There is no mention of levels or graduating from one existence to another based upon good or bad behavior. It’s pretty clear cut. When Jesus spoke of a man named Lazarus and a rich man who cared little for Lazarus’ poor estate, He spoke of both men dying. Immediately upon death, the Lord said that “the rich man was in Hell, and Lazarus was in Abraham’s bosom.” Luke 16:19-31
Here again we see that one reaps the rewards of their conduct in this life, immediately upon exiting this earthly stage. No mention is made of anyone being given a second chance to redeem themselves after they had died. In fact, Abraham even went so far as to tell the rich man in Hell that “even if one were to rise from the dead, the living would still not believe.” He Didn’t say, “when the dead have risen and told the living,” he said, If it were to happen…
Man’s spiritual nature exists far beyond his natural. While superstitious beliefs concerning ghosts and ghouls have existed since almost the beginning of humanity, the truth is that after death, we have no more say or influence in this life. All of our opportunities to learn, grow, benefit, or bless are ended at the moment we breathe our last breath.
Satan wants to make people believe that death is not the end of their opportunities to redeem themselves. He wants to make people believe that after death one may yet have the opportunity to finish business which they left undone. In a nutshell, he wants to make people believe that what God has said in His Word is incorrect, invalid, and therefore, not trustworthy.
He will even, at times, twist and pervert Scripture to try and support his false claims. For instance, the transfiguration experience. Jesus was on the mountain praying when suddenly His divine nature began to shine like the sun and according to the three eye witnesses who were ere there with Him; Peter, James, and John; Moses and Elijah appeared before Him. Some spiritualists and new age theologians will try to suggest that this was a meeting between the dead and the living. But according to the Lord, it was a meeting between the living and the living. Moses, representing the law, and Elijah, representing the prophets. These two areas were to be fully fulfilled in Jesus Christ before His death at Calvary.
So the Lord conferred with the law giver (Moses) and the chief prophet (Elijah). But according to Scripture, Elijah departed this earthly plain without ever having tasted of death. He was, according to the Old Testament, carried by God to heaven in a flaming chariot. So while Moses was in fact dead in this life, Elijah was not. The fact that these two men appeared with Jesus boar witness to the divinity of Christ. He was able to have an audience with both the living and the dead simultaneously. There is no record or suggestion that He sought to conjure these men up. They appeared at the will and discretion of God. Nowhere else in the entire life of the Lord do we see a similar experience. So it can hardly be said that Jesus engaged in the practice of conjuring the dead, as some might try to suggest. Interestingly enough, the Lord spoke at one point of His relationship with three men who were long since dead, saying, “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…” implying that these three men yet lived. Because in God’s eternal, supernatural economy, they do indeed continue to live. But do we read anywhere of the Hebrew people being called upon to seek out an audience with any of these great men of faith? Are they ever encouraged to seek an audience with Moses? No. They are instructed to always revert to the writings of these men. The manufacturer has provided a detailed manual, so it is not necessary to speak with those who penned the Book. He (God) does provide humanity, however, with a living, breathing customer service department which is designed to help us understand the manual where the language may be a bit technical or difficult for us to understand. That customer service department is comprised of five offices: Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers. In the Apostolic-Pentecostal church we call this the five fold ministry. (1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Corinthians 12:29, Ephesians 2:20, Ephesians 4:11, 2 Peter 3:2)
Not only then do we have the manual, but we also have God Himself, the inventor and manufacturer, working with us, by His invisible Spirit, through the five fold ministry to disseminate and apply that which He has committed to paper in the form of the Holy Bible. This is why then that the writings of the apostles are counted every bit as important as the writings of the Old Testament record. For the apostles were given the unique and singular authority to establish the church of Jesus Christ in the earth. So their teachings, as expounded in the New Testament better help us to understand and apply all that we have read in the Old Testament concerning the accomplished work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
Demonic spirits will do everything in their power to appeal to our five senses in such a way as to cause us to call into question that which God has established as immutable fact and truth. Humanity, confined at this time to a flesh and blood existence of matter and substance, will believe what we hear, see, touch, feel, or taste long before we will embrace as fact that which we have read. If someone writes that strawberries taste terrible, we are inclined to taste them for ourselves before embracing the same conclusion. We are also inclined to believe our senses first and that which is written last. But when the principals and precepts of God’s Word are actually employed, and we then see the promised result, suddenly our senses are satisfied and we lean less on the notion of faith and more on the notion of experience. The same can be said of the most basic human experiences. Mom or dad may tell us that if we flip the switch on the wall by the door, the ceiling lights will come on, but it is not until we have actually flipped the switch and seen the lights come on for ourselves that we are necessarily convinced of this fact. Now, every time we see a switch, we assume that it will affect some electrical fixture or appliance in some way or another. We can’t even imagine that a switch would exist without a purpose. Every switch we see, we assume is connected to and operates some electrical fixture or appliance nearby.
The same is true of God’s Word. While at first it is much like reading a manual that simply articulates the mechanics or dynamics of a device or product, once we have had the opportunity to test and try the precepts or principles set forth therein, we soon discover that they do indeed deliver the desired result. For instance, the Word of God teaches that a “soft answer turns away wrath.” So, when someone comes at us foaming at the mouth in a state of rage, we employ the principle expounded in God’s Word and respond with a soft, low key, non-threatening tone of voice. Immediately the other individual begins to calm down some. The more we speak calmly, the more they calm down. Believe it or not, this Biblical principle is taught in any number of secular schools. For instance, people studying to become customer service representatives, or even police men, are taught these very things. Why? Because they work. You may not feel as though they will work when faced with an angry or livid individual, but once you have employed this tactic and seen it work, you will be far more likely to continue to use it in the future.
I have said all this to simply lay this important foundation. The spirit world is in the business of contradicting what God has commit to paper. They will do, say, appear, or suggest anything that will cause you to question, doubt, or flat reject what God has said in His Word. That is their function. They are enemies of faith. Your faith, or potential faith, is their target. If they can make you believe what you see, hear, taste, feel, or smell rather than what God has spoken through His Word, they have won! But if you approach them with a solid understanding of and confidence in the Word of God, they will be rendered powerless. This is why it is so dangerous for people to attempt to deal with spiritual entities who do not have a solid faith foundation. How can you measure whether the invisible entity is telling you the truth or deceiving you? You can’t. You have no solid, absolute rule by which to compare or measure what it is they are trying to make you believe! There is no more dangerous place in the world to be than in this faithless and curious position. Demons/Unclean spirits know well that a person who is in this place is an ideal candidate for providing them a warm and cozy home.
The most paramount truth by which any spirit may be measured is in the identity of Jesus Christ. According to the Word of God ANY SPIRIT THAT DOES NOT CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS GOD MANIFEST IN THE FLESH is NOT OF GOD! This is the easiest test by which to measure the validity or counterfeit nature of any spirit. Read the next few paragraphs for a clear understanding of what I have said here!
1 Corinthians 12:3
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
1 John 4:2
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:
1 John 4:3
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.
2 John 1:7
For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.
Our senses deceive us every single day, even in matters which have nothing to do with the spirit realm. How many people wind up buying a piece of junk car and later will be heard to say, “But he sounded like such an honest guy.” “He looked like he was trustworthy.” “But he had a firm handshake that suggested he was on the up and up.” The Bible tells us plainly, that Satan is so unscrupulous in his efforts to deceive that he is even able to appear as an “angel of light!” (II Corinthians 11:14)
The entire Mormon organization is built upon the story of a man who claims to have been visited by an angel of God who then proceeded to contradict every single fundamental teaching of Christianity and annihilated the Word of God! This fact alone should have revealed that this angel was NOT OF GOD! (If in fact an angel genuinely did appear to Joseph Smith, who by the way, identified as a seer, and was a frequent user of tools of divination. These are historically accurate facts that even the Mormon church does not shy away from or try to hide!) His message contradicted the manual point after point after point! The first truth that Joseph Smith’s “angel” revealed to him was that of God the Father and Jesus Christ being two entirely separate entities (gods). BTW - According to Joseph Smith’s revelations, Jesus and Satan are brothers!
Even the name of the angel that he claimed appeared to Him is nowhere found in the Bible! In fact, the angel’s name has no Hebrew equivalent. Whereas angels mentioned in Scripture, like Michael and Gabriel, clearly have names which are recorded in both the old and new testaments. Maroni sounds like an Italian angel, certainly not Hebrew. But an entire organization and religion has been built upon this Satanic deception, so that Christ is reduced and the man Joseph Smith is exalted. So what was wrong with Mr. Smith’s demonic revelations?
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God.
6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. 7 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. 8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.
Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.
1 Samuel 2:2
There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
2 Samuel 7:22
Wherefore thou art great, O LORD God: for there is none like thee, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.
1 Kings 8:60
That all the people of the earth may know that the LORD is God, and that there is none else.
And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord,
we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also:
and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
Why is it then so imperative that you have a clear understanding of the Word of God when dealing with the spirit realm? So that you can have a solid, measurable, absolute rule by which you are able to compare and measure that which you see, hear, smell, taste, or feel.
Now we understand that everything experience with our senses must first be tested against Scripture. You may think that a bike you assembled is able to carry a man weighing 300lbs, but if the manual says that you should not attempt to ride the bike if you weigh more than 200lbs, it would behoove you to believe the manual. You may wind up being briefly successful riding the bike as a 300lb man, but when it finally succumbs to the weight and collapses beneath you, you may get very hurt! And you won’t be able to sue the manufacturer as He is without fault. He issued and printed a warning for your benefit. The fact that you chose to ignore it places the responsibility for your injuries, and all associated costs and repercussions, squarely upon you!
The Lord has given us clear instructions relative to the spirit world and the afterlife. If we chose to ignore these instructions and wind up experiencing negative or destructive repercussions, we have no one to blame or hold accountable but ourselves.