Question #1: I just want to say thank you for your comforting replies, and I know that the Lord uses you to help comfort and aid those who are growing and maturing in the Spirit. My question is on the passage of 1 Samuel 28. I've read several commentaries from popular theologians of the past and present bible teachers and they all vary with different interpretations. My bible states that God, not the spiritist witch of Endor controlled the circumstances and utilized them to announce Saul's fate and the hands of the Philistines (cf. v.19). However, one of my commentaries states this:
"1Sa 28:15 - And Samuel said to Saul, why hast thou disquieted me to bring me up?.... This makes it a clear case that this was not the true Samuel; his soul was at rest in Abraham's bosom, in the state of bliss and happiness in heaven, and it was not in the power of men and devils to disquiet it; nor would he have talked of his being brought up, but rather of his coming down, had it been really he; much less would he have acknowledged that he was brought up by Saul, by means of a witch, and through the help of the devil:"
Why would this be the true spirit of Samuel the prophet if 1 Sam 28:15 says that neither God nor the prophets would answer him (Saul)? But then I find it interesting how in verse 13 the witch of Endor was afraid when she saw the vision, unless it was the devil himself as the commentary states? But if it was an evil spirit, then how can an evil spirit know the future or give a true prophecy? I understand that only God Himself can give true prophecies through His prophets, so this would seem odd if it weren't the true spirit of Samuel. Was this the genuine spirit of Samuel or just trickery?
This really was Samuel. I see no other way to read the passage. The devil had no idea what was awaiting Saul as Samuel correctly predicts it, nor does the devil have any way of manufacturing this sort of apparition as far as scripture relates. No one who was present doubted this was Samuel, and your commentary which casts doubt on it still has to concede that the episode is controlled by God for His own purposes. The objection seems to be based upon the supposition that Samuel would have come "down" not "up", but in fact at this point in history, that is, before Christ's ascension to the third heaven and His "leading of captivity captive" (Eph.4:8; cf. Ps.68:18; see the link in BB 4A: "The Transfer of Believers from the Subterranean Paradise to the Third Heaven at the Ascension"), "below" is precisely where all departed believers would be. Before the cross, Old Testament believers who departed life abode in the temporary paradise below the earth ("Abraham's bosom": Lk.16:19-31), because before the atonement they could not enter God's holy presence (Rom.3:25). That is why even our Lord Jesus "descended into 'hell'" during the three days of His physical death, that is, into the paradise below, not above (Lk.23:43; cf. 1Pet.3:19-20); His appearance before the Father followed the resurrection, the demonstration of the power of God in bringing life out of death based upon the sacrifice of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is only after this realization of the washing away of sin that believers now find themselves in the third heaven after death, justified in fact through faith in what Jesus did for us all.
So, yes, God was in control of the circumstances, and allowed Samuel to appear (unprecedented elsewhere in scripture!), so that this was not a séance of the sort the witch expected, that is, a phony one under Satan's control where some demon pretended to be the party in question – this was the real thing. In addition to the link above, please see the following for more information:
Did the witch of Endor really conjure up the spirit of Samuel?
Demon Possession (in SR #4)
The Demon Possessed Girl in Acts 16:16.
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic in the Bible.
Drugs and Witchcraft
Spiritual Warfare I
Satan's World System
In our dear Lord Jesus,
Hi Dr. Luginbill!
I was watching a Christian program where the host had emphatically said that the spirit in 1 Samuel 28 was NOT Samuel and supposedly proved it. He first said that God cannot contradict His own words and that God Himself said that contacting spirits of the dead is an abomination/forbidden (Deut. 18:9-14). The second reason the host mentioned is that Saul bowed down before "Samuel" (1 Sam.25:14) and that if the spirit was truly Samuel...Samuel would have told Saul to get up as in the book of Revelation where John bows before the angel. When I heard this I disagreed. I believe that Saul bowed down in reverence or obeisance and not in the sense of worship. I also found it odd that if the spirit was not Samuel, how did the spirit prophecy about Saul's death to the exact detail? Could evil spirits prophecy this accurately? I also heard the argument that it couldn't possibly be Samuel if God refused to answer Saul nor by any prophet, therefore that would exclude Samuel. Can it be determined exegetically from the passage whether or not this was truly Samuel? I agree that contacting spirits should never be done, but is it possible that this was the spirit of Samuel? Thanks!
Good to hear from you. In my analysis of this passage this really is Samuel. We are told twice by scripture, in verses 15 and 16, "Samuel said". Notice, not "the image said" or "the ghost said", but Samuel said. Also we are told in verse 20 that Saul was "filled with fear because of Samuel's words". No matter how much this passage might bother people (and it bothers many people for a variety of reasons), I don't see any way to get around what the scripture says so unequivocally. The statement by this host to the effect that this would be "God contradicting His own words" I do not see as correct. It is an abomination to do what Saul did. God did not do it; Saul did it. The fact that God often allows people to do things He prohibits is nothing new. By this person's logic, Eve could never have taken the fruit of the tree of knowing good and evil, since that was against God's will. But we human beings have been defying the will of the Almighty ever since – to our great harm. Saul would have been much better off of course if he had spent the night repenting in ashes and sackcloth of his prior rebellions against the Lord instead of adding this new abomination to his list of offenses.
In my view it is most likely the case that this is the only time in human history that a séance of this sort actually contacted the person it was supposed to reach. And it is true that this would never have happened unless God had specifically allowed the exception. In the account, the witch is visibly shaken by the appearance of Samuel, and I imagine that whatever she had "seen" in previous such experiences had always been demon-induced fakery. But here the Lord allowed Samuel to speak with Saul . . . in order to rebuke him for his behavior and make crystal clear the reason for his coming defeat and death in battle (and for our benefit as much as for his: Rom.15:4).
Your analysis of the passage is quite good. I agree with your understanding of the "bowing" objection, and also with your point about the precise knowledge of the future which only God could possibly convey. That is a wonderful application of scripture, and for me proves conclusively that this was indeed Samuel. God did answer Saul this one last time, but only to predict his death. For more on this, please see the following link:
Did the witch of Endor really conjure up the spirit of Samuel?
Spiritual Warfare I
Satan's World System
In Jesus our dear Lord,
Hi Dr. Luginbill!
I actually forwarded your response to the host of the program and his pastoral consultant wrote back. He wrote the following...
I invite you to consider the following:
The apostle Paul wrote (2 Corinthians 11:13,14) that it is altogether possible for Satan to masquerade and actually to transform himself into an angel of light.
Let us also ask the question, What does the message of God reveal about the dead? Do the dead come back in any form? Job 7:9 -- "As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so he who goes down to the grave does not return." Now follow me carefully. The great hope which the Scriptures hold out to the human heart is that on the resurrection morning--not at death--loved ones torn from us will be united with us again. In fact, the entire structure of Christianity rests upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and the final resurrection of His followers when Jesus comes again. In that day, and not until that day, death will give way to eternal life.
The Bible goes still further. It says that at death man's power to think ceases. Ps. 146:3,4. Further along it says: "For the living know that they shall die; but the dead know not any thing. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished." Ecclesiastes 9:5,6.
So there you have it! The dead know nothing. They cannot remember. They cannot love or hate or envy. They remain in the grave until either the resurrection of life or the resurrection of damnation. See Jesus' own words in John 5:28,29.
With these Scriptural facts fresh in mind we turn to the story of Saul's visit to the witch of Endor--something God had forbidden in no uncertain terms. We shall see that it was not Samuel at all who came at the witch's bidding, but an evil spirit.
If this had been a genuine appearance of Samuel, Saul would have seen him. Instead, he asked the witch, "What do you see? The woman said, I see a spirit coming up out of the ground." Saul asked, "What does he look like?" She answered, "An old man wearing a robe is coming up." Saul saw nothing, but from the witch's description he "perceived that it was Samuel." What he "perceived" was purely in his distraught imagination. He had fallen under the spell of the evil spirit.
Though the record says the witch "saw" Samuel and that Samuel spoke, it does not follow that Samuel was actually there, either in a resurrected body or by his spirit. The writer merely tells from the viewpoint of the woman and the deceived king what they thought they saw and heard.
In summary, the devil deceived the dissolute old woman, the she deceived Saul. It was nothing more than a devil-generated séance. God bless in your study of His Word!
What is your analysis of his exegesis? I'm fairly certain that his interpretation of Ps. 146:3,4 does not refer to the dead having no consciousness until the resurrection, but I wanted to read your take on it. Thanks!
I hope things are going well with you in your situation and for your continuing witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Even if there were some truth to the objections you report here, your comments made to me in the previous email along with the points I brought up are in my view decisive on this issue – and none of your points or mine are adequately responded to in this email. Moreover, there is in fact very little of substance to these objections listed by your correspondent:
para 1: Fallen angels imitating elect angels does not equal to angels ever imitating human beings; the latter is unprecedented for fallen angels in scripture, and would seem to fall outside of either their capability or what they are allowed by God to do.
para 2-4: Elijah and Moses will return from the dead (see the link: in CT 3A "The Two Witnesses"); after the crucifixion many were revived (Matt.27:53); Lazarus and the widow of Nain's son were raised by Jesus; and there is ample evidence to show that after we depart this earth we are most definitely not asleep or unconscious (cf. Lk.16:19-31; 2Cor.5:3 [in Greek]; Rev.6:9-11; 7:9-17). Jesus tells Martha at John 11:26, "whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (NIV); the only way this can be true is if after "death" we are not "dead" but alive in the presence of the Lord (as all believers are ever "alive to Him": Lk.20:38). As you discern, the false doctrine of "soul sleep" is a dangerous heresy and entirely untrue. Please see the links:
The False Doctrine of "Soul Sleep"
Sleep as a Euphemism for Death.
The False Doctrine of 'Soul Sleep' II
Our Heavenly, Pre-Resurrection, Interim State.
para 5: As you point out, an evil spirit could not know the future; and as I point out, the Bible calls this person "Samuel".
para 6: The text is clear. The Bible says that Saul talks to Samuel (not some spirit), and that Samuel (not some spirit) talks to Saul (1Sam.28:15; 28:16; 28:20); the Bible calls the apparition "Samuel" (1Sam.28:12; 20:14). There is no getting around these facts – for those who pay close heed to scripture.
para 7: Saul had already turned aside to follow Satan, and his descent into apostasy climaxes with this visit to a demon-possessed woman; however, God turned the tables on all expectations and did provide an interview with Samuel – in order to prophesy Saul's death and the death of his sons, things about which no demon or evil spirit could have any clear idea, since they do not know the future any more than any other creature, apart from what God reveals.
In Jesus our dear Lord,
Hi Dr. Luginbill!
I've always been taught that believers have the ability to cast out demons through the power of God until I heard a Pastor (John MacArthur) tell his readers that we can't and shouldn't attempt to. He said that only Jesus has power over the kingdom of darkness and granted the ability to cast out demons to his apostles as proof that the apostles were indeed genuine representatives of the Lord (being able to do what the Lord did such as physical healing, casting out demons, etc.). He also stated that the bible says that casting out demons were a sign of an apostle, not believers. The pastor said that believers should never dabble with trying to "bind" demons or even satan because that's silly since Satan is walking about seeking who he may devour. He said the best thing to do when confronted with demon possessed people or activity is to hand it over to the Lord in prayer or fasting. Do you agree with this Pastor? Thanks!
John MacArthur is, in general, a good source of doctrinal information. I am not saying that we would mutually endorse all of each others' teachings by any means (he is pre-trib, for example), but he represents some of the best of what conservative evangelicalism has to offer.
On this point, I would agree with his position as you report it. My position on "sign gifts" is a little less emphatic (not much). I try to be careful not to limit what God may do, or to pronounce upon what He is doing, in that dogmatic a way. I would imagine that in a very few years we will see many such gifts begin legitimate operation again as the end times begin (of course his school of teaching assumes believers will not be present for the Tribulation). I do think that staying away from such things as "binding" (in my view Matt.16:19 and 18:18 are actually talking about giving the gospel to "set free" by the truth those who accept it, rather than having anything to do with demons; see the link: "Binding"), or such as exorcism, at least without very specific, personal divine guidance, is a very salutary thing. If not all, then at least somewhere around 99% of what passes today for exorcism or any sort of interference with demons and activities of the like is not genuine, so that the potential for a believer being snagged into playing the devil's game by getting involved in such pseudo-miraculous activities is far greater than any potential benefit. Generally speaking, I am from Missouri, as we say, when it comes to these sorts of powers and gifts and ministries; if God really is giving them, then demonstrating them in an unmistakable way would be very easy to do, and I have never seen this personally for any of the hyper-miraculous gifts which operational in apostolic days.
Another point that weighs against the legitimacy of present day exorcism and similar gifts is the fact that the "ground rules" seem different than they were in Jesus' and the apostles' day. In those times, it was apparently very obvious when a person was demon possessed. Nowadays, well, we have access to all sorts of media and I have never observed a person whom I could say with assurance must be demon possessed. It seems that the evil one and his minions, while they no doubt are indeed continuing to possess unbelievers who open the door of their hearts to them, are manipulating them in much more subtle ways today. Whether that is a strategic decision on the devil's part (possible), or whether (as I see as much more likely) it is the result of the present restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit (see the links: The Restraining Ministry of the Holy Spirit in SR2; and in CT 2B: The Restraining Ministry of the Holy Spirit), in any case it begs the question of why we would need a gift to address a problem that is either under control or invisible to us. Much has changed since the days of the apostles – by God's design. Believers who are fixated on special gifts, miracles, and "spiritual warfare" are not only pursuing a false path since these gifts, miracles, and special powers are not presently being given by God, but they are also usually "falling down on the job" of what they have been put here to do as a result of that false emphasis. We are here to glorify Jesus Christ through spiritual growth, spiritual progress, and spiritual production. Mismanaging our time and spiritual resources to wander away after such fantasies does the Church no good and can only compromise our eternal reward.
You can find what I have written about this these at the following links:
Exorcism, et al.
Satan's Tactical Methodology (in SR 4)
Are Miraculous Spiritual Gifts still in Operation Today?
Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Growth
Spiritual Warfare I
Satan's World System
Yours in our dear Lord Jesus who is King of all Kings, and Lord of all Lords.
Hi! I have a question; last night John Paul was talking about his vision. He was sharing good intentional Christians are not praying Biblically when it comes to intercession/ spiritual warfare/ and praying over land.
He was sharing that we do not pray Satan we bind you. That is praying in the 2 heaven. That was just one of many examples he gave. He was speaking on Joni live on Daystar tv. He was sharing that we are to pray to God; 3 rd. heaven. I just did not understand what he was saying. It is like he was saying we are to leave Satan out of prayer and only keep God in it. If I am making any sense to you.
I did not see the show, and I am not clear about what this person was saying. If he was saying we should not be focusing on the devil in our prayers, that is certainly something with which I would heartily agree (although the "second" vs. "third" heaven "prayer" is definitely not a proper interpretation of what the scriptures have to say either about prayer or the three heavens; see the links). If this person is saying that we should pray for "binding" – and there are plenty of people out there who make this claim – then I would have to disagree. It is very typical in the contemporary church-visible for so-called authorities to make some esoteric interpretation of a difficult passage and then build a "doctrine" on their misunderstanding (or twisting) of scripture. The saying of our Lord to Peter, "whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven" (Matt.16:19; cf. Matt.18:18), is frequently misunderstood. Our Lord is speaking about the power of the Gospel (cf. Rom.1:16-17), to which if a person responds they are saved ("loosed" from condemnation), but are lost if they reject it ("bound" in their condemnation). The apostles were entrusted with this mighty power, a divisive power which determines the eternal destinies of all. We are all here on this earth for the truth, that is, to respond to God's truth . . . or not. The truth is the sharp sword which divides everything utterly as in this example (cf. Heb.4:12). Just prior to speaking of binding, Jesus has told Peter that He will give him "the keys to the kingdom", and, very clearly, the truths of the Gospel are what open up the kingdom of heaven to us (see the link: "The Keys of the Kingdom and Binding"), in contrast to the false teaching of the contemporary legalistic Pharisees which "shut off the kingdom of heaven from people" (Matt.23:13 NASB).
The only "binding" of Satan which takes place in the New Testament takes place in Revelation where he is bound by "an angel with a great chain" (Rev.21:1-3). Telling Christians to focus on the devil in this way (if that is what this person is advocating) is very dangerous. The Bible tells us that if we resist the evil one, he will flee from us (Jas.4:7), but it never encourages us to imagine that we should be taking the devil on in a direct fashion. By doing what Christ wants us to do, we are indeed opposing Satan. We are foot-soldiers in this war; but we are not running the strategy. We should therefore avoid getting involved with things that are "above our rank and pay-grade" and should concentrate instead on what Jesus has actually told us to do: grow up spiritually, walk with Him, and help others do likewise.
Apologies in advance if I misunderstood anything!
In our dear Lord Jesus,
No he did not say we were to take on the devil. Because you were not able to see the program to fully understand what he was saying; I realize it would be hard to give me a direct answer. I do appreciate your response and I feel what you said will help me a lot. I will print out what you have shared and I did tape what he was saying that night. He interprets dreams. People mail him their dreams and he interprets them. Again thank you for your insight from God and sharing scripture that I can read and go over and study.
Thanks for clearing that up. Good to hear the response was somewhat helpful in any case. I have my reservations about interpretations of dreams. Clearly, there are instances of this in scripture, but Joseph, for example, was, like all the patriarchs, a prophet of God. Since in my view the gift of prophecy and certainly the office of prophet are not currently being given by God (as we have the "perfect" Bible at present; cf. 1Cor.13:9-10), it seems unlikely to me that anyone would presently have any special power to interpret dreams (see the link: Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Growth). That is not to say that the Lord does not use or control everything that happens in our lives: clearly He does. But I am not convinced that our dreams – when they are not unequivocally communications from Him (as the vast majority of them do not appear to be) – are open to interpretation by others in what would be a helpful way. Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia beckoning him and his party to come over to Greece; Peter had a vision of a table cloth filled with otherwise unclean food descending from heaven, followed by audible communication from the Holy Spirit. Normal dreams do not seem to fit this category of dramatic visions at all, and I don't find any New Testament instance of the interpretation of regular dreams by third parties.
Please also see the links:
The Interpretation of Dreams and Visions I
The Interpretation of Dreams and Visions II
Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,
That is the way I feel. We have the Holy Spirit in our lives. Yet we live on earth and our minds are bombarded by news , life, things around us. Our mind was created by God. Yet when we go to sleep we do not know at times how things will play out when we dream. There are times when people do not dream or just not aware they have because the dream might not as been so vivid or even nightmare. I have only watched John Paul a few times as I am waiting for something else to come on daystar.
I noticed on the web search pages you had written an article for the Seattle Post; are you from the Pacific Northwest? I realize for privacy and security people opt to not disclose any info about themselves. I am that way also. Very careful what I say or put on e-mail etc. So if you feel you need not address that I fully understand.
Yes, dreams are a very interesting subject, and not just for Bible students and practitioners of modern psychoanalysis. Antiphon the sophist (ca. 5th cent. B.C.) had a "dream interpretation shop" in Athens. Job tells us that God does talk to us in dreams (Job 4:13; 33:15), but scriptural examples usually leave no doubt whatsoever when it is really God who is deliberately communicating with us (e.g., Gen.20:3-6; Matt.1:20; 2:12-13; 2:19; 2:22). The Lord says that He speaks to prophets "in dreams" (Num.12:6), but in Deuteronomy 13, the dreams of those who are not from God are an occasion for their execution to prevent them leading the people astray. No doubt there is a middle ground where God uses dreams to guide us, but, obviously, unless it is very clear that this is what is going on (I would imagine it to be very rare even among dedicated Christians), we should be extremely careful about putting any weight on them. As I usually say, if it agrees with the Bible, then perhaps we can accept it; but if it is telling us what we already know from scripture, then such a dream will not be a primary source of guidance, only a reinforcement of the truth we already knew. I think that is really the issue. We now have the complete Bible; that is the manner in which God is now communicating His truth to us. For the Word has now become flesh, and it is to Him and all He has given us in His New Testament that we are now to give our primary attention.
On the Seattle thing, I did find what you were referencing. Like many newspapers, this one too has a blog section where readers can discuss just about anything. Someone posted one of my email responses to their site (which is fine by me). Since everything posted at Ichthys is done anonymously, there would never be any danger of something being inadvertently attributed.
Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,
Hi Dr. Luginbill!
God bless you and your ministry! Someone invited me to Halloween and I declined because the bible says to abstain from all appearances of evil, and Halloween has its origins in paganism. He responded by saying:
In regards as to it being a Paganism act, kids never think that way, they just see it as candy day. We all thought of it as kids, we don't think about it as celebrating Paganism, kids aren't going to listen about how it's Paganism, they could care less, they just want to be happy and get candy. Halloween for the majority has never been celebrated for Paganism, it's just a day to have fun with your kids or a day to party for adults, heck, I never saw it that way when I was trick or treating. Let the kids have their fun and when they grow older they can understand and learn how Halloween is brought up you know what I mean. If Halloween made kids into night stalkers and murderers then yes you would want your kids to know about it. We don't have kids like you so it's easy to stay away from Halloween but try to do that when you have kids, they'll end up growing up hating you. I look at it this way, if I was planning to do something on Halloween weather it's getting candy or partying, it's only for fun, it's only how your thoughts are in how you are celebrating it.
I disagree with him. It's not MY thoughts or opinions, it's what God's word says. I believe God's word trumps anyone's opinion or belief if it contradicts scripture. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks again!
Good to hear from you. I enjoyed Halloween as a kid, but like you am leery of having anything to do with it now personally because of what I believe. It's not the origins that matter to me as much as what I and others think about it now or what we may invest in it now. There are no ghosts or monsters, and anything that even approaches reality behind any of these things has rather to do with the demonic. Of course, demonism is at the heart of paganism, and paganism is not only mounting a comeback in the west today (having never left other parts of the world) but will be a major issue in antichrist's world religion. To the extent that anyone sees a demonic element in anything, to that extent the mandate to "stay away from anything with the appearance of evil" is advice which it is wise and spiritually salutary to heed.
In a lot of ways, Halloween is the flip-side of Christmas – cultural holidays which most people consider "fun" without considering what they might mean. Just as Christmas trees having nothing to do with Christ and probably never have led a single person to salvation, so dressing up as an astronaut and asking for candy probably isn't going to be particularly harmful. The secular world view doesn't really see much or any spiritual significance in either holiday. We who are of Christ look at the world in different way.
So I think your attitude is perfectly defensible. If you have purposed in your heart not to compromise on this point, more power to you. Your friend's sentiments are his sentiments. How he feels about any holiday I suppose we should take to be true as to how he feels. My prayer is that by your refraining from celebration he will be led to consider that you are moved by a deeper purpose, and will come to seek that purpose himself. For until a person embraces Jesus Christ, spiritual things cannot be understood and will remain "foolish to him" – until his eyes are opened to the gospel and his heart cleansed by the Spirit so as to follow the truth of Jesus Christ.
In the One whom we love more than life itself, our dear Lord Jesus.
I encountered a woman on the bus once that had me thinking of just what the enemy and his demons are capable of. She was a short and somewhat stout woman who didn't say a word and sat in a position where she barely moved. Her facial expression was serene in appearance and also sad in a strange way. I've never seen her before in my life. What surprised me is that she called out my name. At first I ignored her thinking that maybe I misheard her, but then she had called out my name again very clearly. I was surprised but I didn't say anything or reply for some reason. She got off the bus at the next stop and I've never seen her again. Was she demon possessed???
Thanks in advance and happy new year!
I don't see how someone you've never met before would know your name, and what you ask is certainly possible (and if not demon possession, then possibly demon influence). Still, on the one hand, generally speaking we can only guess by inference if these things are so, and on the other there are all sorts of "strange" things that happen in the world the causes of which we can never fully discern. Had I been there, I'm not sure I could give you any better answer. One thing is for sure though, the evil one is ever making use of all sorts of devices to intimidate believers, and especially those who are committed to growing closer to Jesus. So I would take this as a compliment, even as I attempted to walk quietly and humbly with my Lord. One other thing I would say is that, in terms of anything related to demonism, we Christians need to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves. We need to know everything the Bible tells us, and stay as far away from all such things in this life as possible. The best thing in my view when confronted with anything satanic is to keep one's head down and plow forward without giving the evil one or his minions a second thought or the time of day. We have our job in the Plan of God, and that job is to grow up and advance spiritually and then help our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ do the same thing – that is not going to be accomplished by allowing ourselves to become overly concerned about the spirit realm. We know the invisible enemy is out there, but our battlefield is right here and visible. We need to keep our eye on the objective. That is the way to glorify Christ and earn a good reward.
Have a happy new year in Jesus Christ!
Hello Dr. Luginbill!
How are you doing? I have little strength and need all the prayers I can get. I hope you won't think I'm crazy because I feel like I can confide in you. I have a few things to say and I will say it with the utmost honesty. I woke up in the middle of the night to find what looked like a red force field encircling my couch where I sleep. It was grid like and almost looked like something straight out of a science fiction movie. I was clearly not dreaming when I saw this. There are also times where I can sense a spiritual force as if coming through from a portal. I would be lying in my couch trying to sleep when I can physically feel something trying to enter in as if from another dimension. Later on I would hear noises in my apartment and odd sounds. I will write a long email to my friend about God and minister to him and the entire email will disappear when I hit send. This never happens when I write other emails that don't include God. I don't know if this is coincidence, but every time I expose Satan's deceptions (how he deceives with false doctrines, demon possessed men in the pulpit, conditioning people through the media such as video games, movies, etc.) to other people, weird things happen to me. Just the other day a man on a bike came towards me and began cussing me out and calling me racial names. I was in a large crowd and he came towards me as to single me out. I've had a dream where my friend tried to feed me vomit and I couldn't leave his presence no matter how hard I tried. I wasn't afraid, I just couldn't leave for some strange reason. This is a friend who I am witnessing to and is coming closer to God. He loves to eat and talks about food all the time. What was also odd was that he turned into a demon with glowing red eyes in the dream. Sometimes when I see things that get me upset (commercials with things that try to entice people with lusts of the eyes, or women with skimpy clothing, gambling commercials with people drinking champagne) I get extremely angry and say things like, "I hate you Satan for what you're doing, I can't wait to you burn in the lake of fire, etc." and that's when the strange things begin to happen to me. I know what I said sounds very difficult to believe and I haven't told anyone this because they will accuse me of being evil and that's why this is happening. I hate sin and it angers me, and I hate Satan with a passion along with all his demons. The Lord told me that He has plans for me when I first got saved and I didn't know what it was until it began unfolding. I am trying to get all my friends and family saved and come to the knowledge of the Lord. I know that Satan and his demons are trying to stop me. I am writing you to ask you what do you think of these strange occurrences? and how do I deal with them? I know one thing is for sure, I know that this battle can only be won on my knees before the Lord. I would like some feedback from you. Thank you!
Paul says to the Thessalonians that as believers we are "destined for tribulations" (1Thes.3:3-4), and in my observation and experience the only question is the form these will take, different, it seems, for different believers at different times. Paul also tells Timothy that "everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2Tim.3:12). I am sorry to hear that you are proving the truth of these scriptures, but cannot say I am surprised as this is the case in one way or another for every believer who wants to please Jesus Christ and who is actually taking proper measures to do so.
I honestly have no experience of direct, visible, perceptible contact with the things you relate (and cannot say I am sorry for it). I do know that whatever you are going through, Jesus Christ is all-sufficient to carry you through it unharmed and victorious. What I have written about these matters comes strictly from scripture (you will find most of it at the link in section V of part 4 of the Satanic Rebellion series, "Satan's World System: Tactical Methodology").
The Lord never places on us anything we are not capable of taking. Though it may seem so at times, we have it from Him that we can indeed bear up under anything He allows to come our way (1Cor.10:13). So from the divine point of view, exceptional testing is really a compliment (as it was in the case of Job). Our part is to respond to the test in faith.
I do have a couple of points of further "feedback" in the form of advice as you request.
1. Be wary of putting any stock in dreams. I know that God has talked to believers in dreams in the past and may well still be doing so. However, in my observation and experience it is well for believers to avoid becoming fixated on dreams for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that the New Testament has virtually nothing to say about the subject. If God communicates something to us in a dream, I think we can be confident that He will do so in such an unmistakably clear way that there will be little doubt about the fact that it was from Him. On the other hand, if the evil one is influencing our dreams, the best thing to do is to forget about them as fast as possible.
2. Have nothing to do with the devil. The Bible tells us everything we need to know about Satan and how he figures in God's plan for us. Beyond all argument, he is of very little account when it comes to the "nuts and bolts" of how we are to live our lives. We cannot see him or his demons; we cannot influence or otherwise affect him or his demons; we therefore are completely dependent upon God and God's resources to be protected from him and his demons. Since God is all-sufficient in this as in every other way, and since we could do nothing further about the unseen nature of the conflict that surrounds us anyway, our role is to continue to fight the fight on our own battlefield without any care or concern for things beyond our ken. That is to say, we are to keep our focus here, not on the devil. So I counsel you and all my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ not to attempt to engage with the devil on the devil's turf and terms. Do not curse the devil; do not address the devil; as far as it is possible, do not even be concerned about the devil. After all, we have our hands full here on earth dealing with his lies and the opposition of his earthly minions. That is where our fight is, right here with things we can actually see.
3. Keep fighting the fight on the Lord's terms. Prayer is important, and it may well be that your particular gift and calling is indeed to do battle in this fight first and foremost by means of prayer. If that is the case, then I commend you to it doubly. Please do keep in mind, however, that all effective ministry is a function of prior spiritual growth and spiritual progress. The more we dedicate ourselves to growing up spiritually through hearing and believing and applying the truth of the Word of God, the more effective our personal ministries will be. Whatever happens, let nothing keep you from your own Bible reading and from accessing whatever teaching ministry you have been led to. The truth is the ammunition the Spirit uses in this fight (Eph.6:17), and He does not use what is not there (in our hearts). Spiritual growth is the prerequisite for spiritual progress and test-passing, and together these forms the foundation for all effective ministry which is in turn the basis for our eternal rewards. Let nothing dissuade you from the daily, consistent, determined, joyful prosecution of this fundamental part of our "fight" here in the devil's world.
You have been and will continue to be in my prayers. Put your head down and keep pushing forward, and, as far as it is possible, don't even give the evil one the satisfaction of a second thought.
In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior who has overcome this evil world.