In the O.T., the devil copied parts of the true faith, into a religion of his own.
He used demons to make it seem powerful and appealing. These ‘religious spirits’ still operate today.
"And shall no more offer their sacrifice unto devils, after whom they have gone a whoring..."
"They sacrifice unto devils, not to God, to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not."
"Yea, they sacrificed their sons, and their daughters unto devils."
I Cor. 10:20-21
"But I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God, and I would not that ye should have fellowship (koinonos, partnership) with devils. Ye cannot drink of the cup of the Lord, and of the cup of devils, ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils."
Religious demons come to churches, to message boards, and obsess some there, to speak a message that sounds religious, sounds godly, sounds at times loving. But the intent is to disrupt, to hinder revival, to promote false doctrine, to hinder true doctrine.
Religious demons may vary with which religious doctrines they promote, but you will notice that they will not attack the other doctrines, but only the truth of the Lord will be attacked.
Foretelling, prophetic spirits
The girl of Acts 16:16, had a spirit of ‘divination’ (python). Pytho was, according to legend, a huge serpent on Mt. Parnasus, which was a place people went to seek knowledge of the future. Apollos slew the serpent, and was called "Pythius’. From that time, those who predicted future events, were supposed to have the spirit of Apollo Pythius.
Here, in the book of Acts, Luke tells us this girl had that divination spirit. Today, some prophesy things, and the prophecy does not come from the Lord. Satan himself tried to prophesy in the garden of Eden, Saul prophesied from the inspiration given him by a demon (I Sam. 18:8-10),
A familiar spirit imitated Samuel (I Sam. 28:7-25). Lying spirits used false prophets in the time of Ahab (I Kings 22:6-28). False prophets prophesied in Jeremiah’s time (Jer. 23:15-19, 32, 27:9-11, 28:1-17). False prophets inspired of demons prophesied in Ezekiel’s time (Ezekiel 13:1-21). False prophets are to come, inspired of these foretelling spirits in the last days.
(I Tim. 4, Matt. 24:1-14, II Thess. 2:8-12, II Pet. 2, Rev. 13:11-18,. 16:13-15, 19:20, 20:10)
Betrayal, Lying, and Discord spirits
The devil likes to put lying and discord into congregations of believers. It may be in a local church, a Bible study, a Christian college, or a Christian message board. For years, witchcraft and satanists have been targeting message boards and churches, with the goal of infiltrating, and stay un-discerned, unrecognized. They have come, and sometimes are discerned, and revealed. They come to offend, and do iniquity.
To stay undetected, they lie, and deceive. They sow dissension, and create debate against the truth. Some will pretend to be of one persuasion, and some of another, but all will attack truth. The discord they sow, seeks to have the harvest of costing souls from the kingdom of the Lord.
Matthew 13:39, 41
"The enemy that sowed them (the tares) is the devil... They (the angels of God) shall gather out of His kingdom, all things (or ones) that offend and that do iniquity."
The ones who allow this obsession of demons to lie, sow discord, and betray, will someday soon be judged, and taken from the church for they hinder the revival of the last days. We call this judgment the ‘harvest of the tares’ and it is the judgment of the church that Peter spoke of, saying that even the ‘righteous shall scarcely be saved."
"And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Ischariot, Simon’s son, to betray Him."
Lies, deceit, betrayal and the stirring up of discord is common among the demon possessed, and demon obsessed. They justify it, and do not see such as wrong.
Many times these are caught in lies, of their names, of their professions, of their words, of their relationships. And each time, they justify it, and do not repent. For they see it as all right. The demons convince them that lying and deceit are ‘holy’ for them.
Jealous demon spirits
I Samuel 16:14
"But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him."
This evil spirit was from God in the sense that God allowed the spirit to trouble Saul in a way that it could not before the Lord withdrew His Spirit.
Evil spirits want to trouble persons. And the way that they do, is often to create jealousy. Jealousy troubles the one with it, much more than it troubles the other person. Saul was engulfed with jealousy of David.
I Samuel 18:8-10
‘the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, and he prophesied..."
Saul prophesied against David, given the inspiration to do so, from the demon, with the prophecy falsely claiming to be of God.
Jealous spirits tell some that a message was from God, but it was not. They have prophesied death, insanity, and evil upon children of God. The prophecies did not happen, and some who are sure that it was God Who gave them such prophecy, still await, and wait, and those evil prophecies remain unfulfilled. For the instigator of the prophecies, was not the One we know to be Truth, nor from His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth.
Jealousy demons abound in religious circles today. Many ministries are attacked, many churches are attacked, for no better reason than jealousy.
The evil spirits know that this is an easy sin with which they can lure the carnal Christian.
Jezebel, wife of Ahab, controlled Ahab, controlled the nation, controlled the prophets of Baal, that she brought into the country, had Naboth killed when she could not control him, and tried her best to control Elijah. She was the one who mixed heathenism with the true faith, and this is the area wherein the spirit that influenced Jezebel works today yet.
Trying to mix Christian doctrine with the ideas and doctrines of devils brings that spirit and the person it is obsessing into conflict and opposition from prophets, pastors, etc.
The jezebel spirit will plot, plan, scheme, work diabolically to control the people, and even the prophets and pastors.
Critical attacking, said and unsaid (but implied threats), intimidation, gossip, rumor, false accusation, and deceit are common tactics of this spirit.
Many are found in the times of pre-judgment from God, and of revival time.
For the devil gets more concerned with stopping what God is doing.
Revelation 2:20-23 shows that the church of Thyatira had a ‘woman’ who was obsessed with a ‘Jezebel’ spirit. Jesus speaks to the woman, and to the spirit that is like unto jezebel. This woman was being permitted to ‘Teach and seduce’ the people to allow fornication, eat things offered to idols. These evil things, that this woman wanted to bring into the church, brought her into a battle for control.
Thyatira was criticized for ‘suffering her’... or permitting her the control she sought. When this spirit works, the people they use may not be possessed by the demon. Often, and most of the time, they are Christians, who are into some error of doctrine, and the jezebel spirit sits on their shoulder, so to speak, and suggests evil ideas, and need of control of the prophet or pastor.
The prophet, if he/she recognizes this identity who is using this person, will often speak to the ‘spirit’, and call to the jezebel spirit. It is not the obsessed one to whom he/she speaks, but the spirit obsessing the other. Jesus does that here, and Jesus did the same kind of thing, when a ‘spirit of fear’ obsessed (not possessed) Peter, and Jesus spoke directly to the ‘satan’ afflicting Peter’s mind.
II Chronicles 33:6 tells us that Manasseh, "Used witchcraft and dealt with a familiar spirit." Witchcraft spirits seek to use demons to help carnal saints who pray for things that God would never do. For instance, if a ‘so called saint’ prayed for a person of God to be slain, harmed, plagued, etc... God would not answer that prayer. For it is against His will. But demons would love to attempt to do so, and with the prayer of the carnal saint, acting like a battering ram against the hedge about the child of God they are praying against, the demons seek to do what the carnal saint has prayed.
The witchcraft spirits seek to get carnal saints to pray such prayers, and then get demons, themself included, to attack the person. Doing such is ‘witchcraft’, and we are warned of God of witchcraft being active in churches, and in some who think themselves to be ‘saints’.
In Galatians 5:19-21, we find ‘witchcraft’ listed as one of the works of the flesh. Spirits of witchcraft seek to encourage this in people. But those ‘saints’ who get involved in this sin, succumbing to the obsession of the witchcraft evil, are told they ‘shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Spirits of fear...
II Timothy 1:7
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
The spirits of fear, destroy with their obsessing ideas given to saints, the power, the love, and the sound mind, saints should have. To destroy the faith, hope, assurance, and peace of persons of God, the spirits of fear often obsess saints.
They whisper fears, concerns, potential troubles , to the minds of the saints, and let fear grow within them.
Peter was not possessed of a devil, when Jesus said to him, "Get thee behind Me, satan." (Matthew 16:21-23). Rather, Jesus was speaking to the spirit of fear, that was putting into Peter’s mind, fear of what Jesus had just told him of. Jesus had just told him that He was going to Jerusalem, to ‘suffer’, and ‘to be killed." Peter rebuked Jesus, and did not want to allow that to happen. The spirit of fear was beginning to get a grip on Peter’s mind, and kept doing such, that in a short while, had Peter so fearful, that Peter denied knowing the Lord, three times, fearful of a maid who pointed her finger.
Later, this same Peter, could stand boldly before thousands, and preach Jesus, or before ‘tribunals’ which were threatening Peter, and still Peter did not fear. But here, a demon obsessed Peter was fearful. Jesus rebuked this demon, and Peter for allowing that fear to grip him.
Rebuking Christians for demons that obsess them from time to time, is not a popular job. But we are to discern, to rebuke, to hinder the workings of devils.
Jannes and Jambres spirits...
II Timothy 3:8-9
"now as Jannes and Jambres withstood (Greek, anthistemi, meaning ‘to place against’)Moses, so do these also resist (same word, ‘anathistemi) the truth, men of corrupt minds, reprobate (Greek, adokimos, disapproved, castaway, rejected) concerning the faith, but they shall proceed no further, for their folly (Greek, anoia, senselessness) shall be manifest, unto all men, as theirs was also.
Some who are ‘castaway’, i.e. backslidden, or ones who never were truly in the faith, but are in the church, planted there as tares by the devil, will be obsessed, perhaps even possessed by these demons like unto Jannes and Jambres.
Jannes and Jambres, were the two sons of Balaam, and were the magicians who through demonic powers turned their rods to snakes, and did other miracles. When disgraced by the plagues, and their inability to stop them, they pretended a conversion, and left Egypt with the Israelites.
Ancient writings tell us more about them, for by name, we only know of them by this verse in Timothy. But obviously, Paul knew more about them, and if he had been the only one to know about them, he would have told more. But many knew of these two ‘opposers’ of Moses.
The devils use such ones, down through the ages, to oppose ministries. They battle, hate, despise, berate, curse, hinder, attack, and even seek to kill the ministers of the Lord. We see some who have this evil spirits of jannes and jambres, doing a constant work of attacking and opposing.
Like Jannes and Jambres, sometimes, for a short time, they will try to look harmonious with the person they attack. But shortly, their evil nature of opposing is seen. They may want others to think them ‘spiritual’ and ‘holy’, but they have a hard time justifying their constant barrage of hatred, evil, and vengeance on the persons of God.
There are other kinds of evil spirits at work, and we have looked at some of the main ones. But we must learn how to rebuke, bind, send away, and abyss these evil spirits. We are coming to a time, when the devils will unleash every bit of force they have to hinder, and overcome. But we are to be the overcomers, not the overcomees.