Throughout the old testament, God would speak to His people through the prophets and call them harlots because they followed after or worshiped other gods of neighboring heathen nations. In the Book of Revelation, when Jesus addresses the church at Thyatira, He expresses indignation at a local false prophetess that he surnamed “Jezebel.”
I believe the Lord is saying to the church at Thyatira, “you have created a goddess out of a woman to worship her. In this way you have committed fornication or idolatry and have broken My commandment which says that you shall have no other gods but Me!” Along these same lines, I believe that Roman Catholicism has created “a Jezebel” out of the Lord’s mother Mary.
Therefore, in keeping with the spirit of Mary, another synonym for the religious demon is “the spirit of Jezebel,” imputed by the Lord with both an old and a new testament influence. (Revelation 2:20)
The spirit of Jezebel will be defined in more detail in later chapters, but simply and generally defined, the spirit of Jezebel is a demon with two interconnected facets: religion and witchcraft. As a false prophetess and a religious goddess, these two demons also function separately but they work together in the spirit of Jezebel.
I also believe that unseen force behind old testament Babylon, the building of the tower of Babel and several other forms of pre-Christian idolatry are in themselves “religious.” The first time I personally heard the term “religious spirit” or “religious demon” was in a prophecy that I received in 1983.
In this word, I was given a spiritual warfare assignment against 7 high ranking demons that I began to refer to as “the Seven Walls”, with the religious demon as wall number 5 in the list: alcohol and drugs, homosexuality, prostitution, witchcraft, the religious demon, prejudice and poverty. Years later, I was surprised to learn that the term “religious demon” was actually being used by well known Christian writers like Derek Prince, Rick Joyner and others.
What has astounded and simultaneously humbled me the most in my personal contact with the deception of the religious demon is that like Jesus, religious demons were assigned to me from the very foundation of my ministry. As Jesus was driven into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan at the beginning of His ministry, I too was confronted on the day that I preached my first sermon. To memorialize the occasion, a picture was taken of me on October 25, 1981 at the conclusion of the worship service. To my amazement, the face of a gargoyle is quite distinguishable in the background, outlined in green on the photograph, with its green eyebrow positioned slightly across the forefinger of my left hand. The religious demon has been my unseen watchdog for decades,— sending me false dreams, false healing, ministerial enemies and counterfeits of all kinds, particularly pretenders sent to befriend me as ministerial helpers.
In the final analysis, my love for the Lord Jesus Christ is upheld in my relentless search for and commitment to truth. Therefore, I can look back over almost 3 decades in the Lord and declare that no weapon that the enemy formed against me prospered. From members in churches that I have pastored to church leaders of all ranks and positions, to friends and even men who became my husbands, the religious demon either in the form of the spirit of Judas, Jezebel or the Anti-Christ was each exposed before major damage was inflicted upon me. What was covered has been uncovered, and what was hid has been made known. What I have learned in the dark, is now manifested in the light.
Birthed out of much trial, tribulation and trouble, the persecution, the wiles and the strategies of this many faceted demonic trio of the spirits of Judas, Jezebel and the Anti-Christ have been progressively unmasked over time. In truth, I am a rebel with a cause—my cause is complete deliverance for the captives in spirit, soul and body. As a revolutionary, I personally concur with the words of George Barna in his book entitled “Revolution”:
Moreover, I believe that the deception surrounding whether or not demons can possess a Christian,— spirit, soul and body— is caused by the fact that there are many professing believers in the organized church who are not really saved and therefore any apparent possession is rooted in a counterfeit salvation experience.
A deeper treatment of this subject can be found in Chapter 4 entitled “Counterfeit Births. ”Sister Jessie maintained that any ground obtained by a demon, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, is “ground possessed,” even though the captive himself may have no obvious manifestation of total possession. I myself happen to agree with her point of view.
It is important to note that a powerful tool of the enemy is to cause believers to argue and contend over the concept of Christian possession, a clever device to divert attention away from the real issues. In my mind, even though the term “possessed Christian” is an oxymoron, even the slightest of ground claimed by the enemy can be so debilitating and even toxic to spiritual growth and empowerment, that “what’s the point of quibbling over terms and inches?!!”
I have found that if a demon has only one inch of territory, it will seem like a mile to a tormented captive. Once the Body of Christ clearly “gets the picture” of the existence of an unseen host of evil spirit-beings actively engaged in deceiving and misleading every human being, only then will we be able to trace and track their operations in the lives of others and especially within our own lives.
The subtle inroads of passivity are hard to travel. However, once the captive commits himself to walk in the light as opposed to continued darkness, the counterfeits become progressively clearer to the open-minded believer in Christ Jesus. The many devices of the religious demon become clear once the searchlight of truth begins to shine on those areas that the captive’s pride system had trained him to ignore, justify or minimize.
For example, as the captive learns the difference between the presence of God and the Person of God, he will understand the counterfeits of the religious demon. When the captive learns that both the Father and the Holy Spirit will never usurp or even minimize the Son’s place within the godhead, the captive will begin to see how counterfeits were able to fool him once he began to pray directly to the Holy Spirit or to the Father without mentioning the name of Jesus.
Spirit And Soul Are Not The Same!
Various strategies of the religious demon are presented in these pages so as to prepare the elect not to fall to deception in the latter days. Therefore, in order to understand how a person becomes demonized, it is important that the reader understands himself as a triune being: spirit, soul and body. In summary, the spirit is that part of man’s nature that receives communication from God and learns to understand Him.
The soul acts as the conductor or mediator to the spirit. Man’s soul includes his personality, his intellect, his emotions and his will. All people have such a soul, and the different elements of the soul can either serve God or be yielded to sin. Man’s spirit is a higher faculty in man that comes alive when a person becomes a Christian, as Paul had written in Romans 8:10, “If Christ is in you, although your bodies are dead because of sin, your spirits are alive because of righteousness.”
Just as the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are One, so too is the trinity of each human being who is also “one”— yet with separate and distinct functions, abilities and manifestations. The soul is the agent that links the spirit world and the body. Man could not exist without the soul. The spirit can leave the body and travel a certain distance and return. However, once the soul has left, the body is “brain dead” or deceased. The soul also receives, evaluates, discards and or accepts messages between the spirit and the body, as it makes decisions through human will power.
Besides man’s will, the soul consists of the mind, the emotions, feelings, perceptions, and personality. The body is only aware of earth consciousness—-what it can sense in the physical world. It cannot communicate to the spirit directly without the help of the mind, located not only in the brain, but within the human soul. The soul within the body is aware of the physical world. For example, the mind knows when the body is in pain.
To project a more precise picture of how the 3 parts interact with each other, consider the example of feeling the sensation to urinate. While you are awake, the sensation tells the brain who enlightens the mind that you need to find a bathroom. No problem. Yet, just go to sleep. Upon receiving the same sensation, while the soul is sleeping, the spirit will create a bathroom in your dream in a rather imaginative way. You will actually see yourself going to the bathroom, yet since your soul has been inactive, your body has not taken any action.
As you continue to sleep, your spirit caused your mind to believe that you have already urinated but your body is still having the sensation. Ultimately, the body will take charge by increasing the sensation, wake up the soul, and then you will get up out of the bed and find the bathroom. In some cases, the body will override the soul as in the case of bed-wetters. However, most often, it is the soul who supervised the entire action. Without the soul’s involvement, no action will take place. In this particular example, while the soul was asleep, the spirit tried to help out, but any bathroom that the spirit created was only imaginary. The soul is the glue that connects two different planes of existence.
Furthermore, the soul is immortal. As such, after death, the soul will not only store emotional memory, but the souls of those who do not die in Jesus will have memory of pain beyond the grave.(Luke 16: 19-31) Therefore, the soul is connected to both the physical and spiritual realms. It has the power of free will and is responsible for the eternal welfare of the person. Before Adamic sin, I believe the spirit controlled the whole person as Adam and Eve spoke with God face to face. After the fall, the soul became dominant, often yielding to the pressures of the body. As it now stands, for the spirit to govern, the soul must give its consent.
In the bible, man is compared to a building. In fact, Jesus referred to man as a house in Matthew 12. Man is also called “a temple.” As the temple of God, we are like the tabernacle of the children of Israel in the Old Testament. The courtyard is akin to our body, the holy place is like our soul. The Holy of Holies is compared to our spirit, where God in the person of the HOLY SPIRIT resides, once we are born again.
Furthermore, the soul is immortal. As such, after death, the soul will not only store emotional memory, but the souls of those who do not die in Jesus will have memory of pain beyond the grave.(Luke 16: 19-31) Therefore, the soul is connected to both the physical and spiritual realms. It has the power of free will and is responsible for the eternal welfare of the person. Before Adamic sin, I believe the spirit controlled the whole person as Adam and Eve spoke with God face to face. After the fall, the soul became dominant, often yielding to the pressures of the body.
As it now stands, for the spirit to govern, the soul must give its consent. In the Bible, man is compared to a building. In fact, Jesus referred to man as a house in Matthew 12. Man is also called “a temple.” As the temple of God, we are like the tabernacle of the children of Israel in the Old Testament. The courtyard is akin to our body, the holy place is like our soul. The Holy of Holies is compared to our spirit, where God in the person of the HOLY SPIRIT resides, once we are born again.
A part of the soul’s renewal is brokenness followed by restoration. Brokenness is extremely important to deliverance because the Lord requires us to be “crucified” before we can be used. Brokenness is that time in life when we are emptied of self, ready for nothing but the Lord. It is the time when God can make us who He wants us to be. Brokenness often feels like someone came into the room of our lives and suddenly turned the light switch off.
Jesus revealed that unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it cannot become what it was destined to be. ( John 12:24) The same thing is true for us. Unless we are willing to humble ourselves and walk through the valley of brokenness, we are too rigid and hard to be molded in the hand of God. But once we’ve walked through the corridors of loneliness, heartache, insecurity and helplessness, we become like clay in the hand of God,— ready to be shaped, formed and used for His great purpose in the fulfillment of His high calling.
Consider Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit”. This scripture suggests that brokenness is the essential condition for deliverance. Being broken requires us to surrender. Once surrendered, there is no longer any rebellion to the works of God in our lives. More than just simply being powerless before God, being broken means also being made to see our sins as God sees them. No more adopting the standard that society uses to measure sins.
Instead, we come to the realization that our sins hurt God as much as or even more than they will eventually hurt us. Only then, can God’s deliverance take place. Brokenness often involves a series of failures in life where everything we lay our hands on turns to dust. It was as if God wants us to learn to rely and depend only on Him, not on our own strength and intelligence, our financial resources, our networking contacts, or our talents. Through brokenness, God may actually expose us to ridicule, isolation and contempt from those in the world.
As in the case of Job, the Lord will often use the enemy to cause it to seem like there is no light at the end of the tunnel, where everything seems to be rising around us, or something is causing us to sink, causing us to drown. A time of darkness, a time of turmoil, a time of despair. In both of my previous books, I call the breaking “the dark night of the soul.”
Through this process of brokenness, the Holy Spirit refines us to be vessels ready for His purposes. Through the dark corridors of failure, rejection, insecurity and helplessness, we become like clay in the hand of God— ready to be shaped, formed and used as a vessel of honor. The work of brokenness is complete when we come to the place where we no longer fear death, where to die is gain and to live is to no longer be an obstacle to the work of the Lord, fully dedicated to the coming of the Lord’s kingdom. A broken vessel is detached from the pleasures and the seductions of the world.
The handwriting of ordinances that were against all sinners was nailed to the cross of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Therefore, I believe that once we become “born again” or “saved,” our victory over demons is possible, probable, but decidedly not automatic. Clearly, Satan was defeated at the cross by Jesus Himself so we are not called to defeat Satan. What we are called to do is to unmask Satan’s unseen army where they are under cover, set captives free as we rescue the perishing. Consequently, victory over deception is our daily challenge in spiritual warfare and deliverance.
Moreover, it has been my experience as a disciple of Jesus Christ and as a professional therapist that victory over deception can be substantially assured. Once bona fide believers become self-educated to the wiles, methods and strategies of the demonic system, and learn how not to give the enemy any additional ground, the spiritual foe is defeated.
The reality is that even though a saved person has been translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, spiritual ignorance can serve as a dark cloud that blocks out the light of the Holy Ghost from penetrating our spirits. If we do not learn how to walk in the light as He is in the light, we give the demonic army an advantage. In this regard, even though our position in Christ is of one of light, it is a huge mistake to think that focusing on light alone is sufficient. Therefore, my goal is to enlighten and to expose darkness, particularly as it operates within a religious system. As such, it is crucial for the reader of these pages to understand that darkness is not always gross despicable sin.
For those who know Christ, darkness can be vague, obscure, gloomy and confusing—a wisdom that does not come from the Father of lights—a folly that is sensual, yet subtly demonic. (James 3:15) Darkness can also be suggestive of concealment, like a cloud that blocks the sunlight and creates a gloomy day, or a thick curtain that keeps a room dark, even though the sun is shining right outside in all of its brightness.
To walk in darkness is to give the religious demon an unholy advantage where he will enter into both spiritual and man-made temples, and through a blasphemous masquerade, attempt to exalt himself as God. When the religious demon has been able to enter into a Christian temple of either flesh or brick and subsequently obtain worship for itself through fraudulence and deceit, this is truly an abomination of desolation. (Daniel 11:36)
As an obstruction to truth, darkness can also manifest itself within the lives of Christians as hidden obstacles and hindrances, where all of the religious demons’ wiles, tricks and devices are set in motion to keep us in the dark, even about our own spiritual condition.
Walking in darkness after Jesus Christ has translated us into His kingdom is certainly a spiritual affront to the Holy Ghost. Particularly, if we say that we have fellowship with Jesus yet we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and we do not practice the truth, ignorantly making ourselves collaborators with the father of lies. (I John 1:5,6)
Almost a century ago, Jessie Penn-Lewis succinctly described this dilemma faced by the ignorant believer:
“When a counterfeit presence, or influence, is accepted, then they go on to counterfeit a ‘Person’ as one of the Persons of the Trinity, adapted to the ideals or desires of the victim…Here lies the danger point which first opens the door to Satan. The working upon the senses in the religious realm, has long been Satan’s special mode of deceiving men throughout the whole world, of which he is the god and prince. He knows how to soothe and move, and work in every possible way, and in every form of religion ever known, deceiving unregenerate men with the form of godliness whilst denying the power.
Among the truly converted, and even sanctified believers, the senses are still his way of approach. Let the soul admit a craving for beautiful emotions, happy feelings, overwhelming joy, and the conception that manifestations, or ‘signs’ are necessary to prove the presence of God, especially in the Baptism of the Spirit, and the way is open for Satan’s lying spirits to deceive.”(War on the Saints, 9th Edition, pg. 105-106)
In truth, I do not believe that Jesus intended for anyone who follows Him to lower their spiritual guard by relying on others to watch on his behalf. Just as we don’t need a weather man to tell us that spring is coming, we also don’t need people to complicate the obvious. Case in point. If the Anti-Christ is actually a human being, then it is clear to me that he shall come forth out of Christianity for a very simple reason. Satan has had a seat in the organized church for centuries. There is no better place for the devil to conceal, prepare and empower his son of evil and destruction than within a worldly Christian system.
The independent churches that can be very dangerous include those that call themselves “deliverance churches.” In some of these assemblies, the religious demon and the witchcraft spirit are running rampant with counterfeits in worship, doctrine, prayer and other strange practices including a heavy emphasis on being slain in the spirit.
However, the crucial factors of your assessment of a local church actually relate to the security of your eternal life, which is truly where the rubber meets the road. Why go to church if, in the final analysis, you do not escape damnation by traveling the narrow way to eternal life? Assuredly, you should examine how and with what regularity the doctrines of repentance, resurrection and rebirth are being preached and taught? A church with a Jezebel influence will minimize or overlook the importance of these “3 R’s” through excessive tradition, polity and other less important priorities of doctrine.
If a local church minimizes the need to learn the devices of the devil or does not even recognize the existence and the workings of demonic forces in these times, then it is in a low condition of spiritual life and power. I believe that such a church should be avoided like the plague. In fact, such ignorance on the part of a congregation’s leadership is an indication to demons of the leaders’ accommodation to them through fear, an open door to demonic influence. According to Jessie Penn-Lewis:
“A perspective view of the ages covered by the history in Bible records, shows that the rise and fall in spiritual power of the people of God, was marked by the recognition of the existence of the demoniacal host of evil. When the Church of God in the old and new dispensations was at the highest point of spiritual power, the leaders recognized, and drastically dealt with, the invisible forces of Satan and when at the lowest, they were ignored, or allowed to have free course, among the people.” (War on the Saints, 9th edition, pg.27)
Consequently, if there is no emphasis in the local church on spiritual warfare and deliverance, that church is without spiritual power.
The emphasis upon the Word of God in a church should and could be a good sign; Nevertheless, it is misleading and immaterial to base your assessment of a church solely upon evidence that all its members carry bibles, yellow markers and recite scriptures. For when leadership does not rightly divide the word, then heresies posing as revelation truths give place to the doctrines of devils that Paul warned Timothy about (I Timothy 4:1): the prosperity gospel, dominion teaching, “name it and claim it”, pre-tribulation rapture, submission to authority, eternal security, no ordination for women, and other doctrines too numerous to mention even in one book.
False doctrines of this kind are skillfully birthed by teaching demons to deceive and exploit the people. If the devil had nerve enough to get “religious” by reciting scripture out of its context to tempt the Lord Jesus Himself, then he has trained his demonic army to do likewise to us. (Matthew 4:1-11) “Out of context” preaching tends to draw those who have not truly repented and nor been converted, but who are enticed to come to church by the excitement that scriptural hype can produce. Such preaching and teaching draws people, places and things to the building.—those who seek blessings to get their needs met or to fulfill their dreams—but they have not really been drawn to Christ.
A church after the Lord’s heart is the church of Philadelphia: those who do not deny His name and who have kept His word.(Revelation 3:7-13) This is a church that will not compromise the truth, either for the favor of the world or for unity with other churches. Since we all see through a glass darkly, a good pastor is one who continually examines if he is rightly dividing the word. When errors and contradictions are uncovered, then a good pastor openly and publicly admits to his or her mistakes, correcting any inaccurate teachings without hesitation.
The Lord declared that the church of Philadelphia was of little strength, so it is clear that His assessment was not based upon numbers of members, wealth or resources. I believe that a major part of keeping His word is to go forth and cast out demons. A good church is about building people so that they can confront the demonic influences to expel the darkness in their own environment, equipping the sheep to be living stones, holy vessels for the Spirit of the Lord to dwell in.
In this regard, without reservation, I share deliverance counseling methods that have worked for me as well as my mistakes, so that you can gain a more comprehensive grasp of the complex issues associated with the religious demon’s wiles and deceptions. Various strategies have been designed to uncover the cause, apply the blood of Jesus against it, and to fortify the captives’ salvation with faith, truth, righteousness, peace and the word of God. My goal is to ensure that the unction of the Holy Ghost will be released to flow with ease.
Various fictionalized cases studies derived from my own personal, pastoral and professional experience are presented throughout the book in order to expose the faces of the religious demon. I have also included samples from the SEW Program, my training model for deliverance counselors and workers in the Appendix. Also sharing from various intimate details of the manifestations of the religious demon in my own personal life, I have left no holds barred.
Where general deliverance is concerned, I have found that once Christian captives have been armed with self-knowledge, with clear understanding as to who they are in Christ and finally with the wiles and tricks that the enemy generally employs on their own particular brand of carnality, virtually all demons have left on their own accord, without the need to even cast them out in some cases. Some personal testimonies from captives who were set free are also presented in the Appendix.
Predominately, I have been able to conduct deliverance counseling by telephone all over the country and even abroad. Divided into four stages, the average length of counseling is about 4 months. Labeled “a brief therapy,” Spiritual Bootcamp Sessions (SBS) fall under 4 stages: ASSESSMENT, PRE-DELIVERANCE, DELIVERANCE AND POST DELIVERANCE.
Emphasis is placed on two inter-connected demons that work together as the spirit of Jezebel: the religious demon and the witchcraft demon. In comparison to other demons, this duo puts up a formidable fight. Where the religious demon is concerned, my hands have been tied unless through counseling, the captives have been brought to a place where they have humbled themselves to the fact that their spiritual experience has been filled with deception.
Unless their pride is broken in this area, the religious demon will keep them bound. For this very reason, faces or profiles of this demon are presented throughout this book. Therefore, in the ensuing chapters, you will find an inter-connected experience taken from several chapters of my life interacting with the lives of others. We wrestle not against flesh and blood and so it is not my intent to reveal the faces of people but of the unseen demonic forces that secretly entrap all susceptible human beings.
It is my personal view that the deliverance counselor should serve as a front line intercessor— a corner man in a spiritual boxing ring of combat where the captive and the demons go to blows. As “a corner man”, I have carefully examined specific cases mentioned in the word of God as well. Studying the opponent, finding his weaknesses, and developing new strategies and techniques are but a few of the responsibilities of “the corner man.” Like a fighter in a boxing ring, ultimately it is the captive’s responsibility to stand and fight the good fight of faith, armored with weapons that are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. (II Corinthians 10:4-6)
by Pam Sheppard
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