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Demystifying the Spirit Realm

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Demystifying the Spirit Realm

Demonic activity is on the rise. You can understand evil spirits, why they exist—and their ultimate fate.

Learn the why behind the headlines.

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In a small rented house in Gary, Indiana, swarms of large black flies continuously invaded the front porch of a family of four—a mother and her three children. The insects would not relent despite the winter weather. Late at night, the basement door creaked mysteriously. Footsteps could be heard climbing the stairs when no one else was home. A child levitated on a bed. The three children’s eyes sometimes bulged, their voices became unusually deep, and their faces had eerie smiles.

One child, age 7, growled like an animal, baring his teeth and threatening to kill. During one episode, five men could barely hold him down. In front of a nurse and the family’s case worker, his older brother climbed the wall backward and then walked upside down across the ceiling before flipping back onto the ground.

At first the family was categorized as “delusional,” afflicted with psychiatric disorders, The Indianapolis Star reported. Very few listened to them, including local churches the woman called. After a family doctor reviewed the case, his medical notes recorded: “delusions of ghost in home…hallucinations.” The mother even temporarily lost custody of her children.

But when the freakish events spread to others in contact with the family, including police officers, the case was taken seriously. For instance, an officer leaving the family’s home after a visit reported the seat in his car moving backward and forward by itself.

Around 800 pages of documents outlined the incredible true story that convinced even the highly skeptical: “Gary police Capt. Charles Austin said it was the strangest story he had ever heard.

“Austin, a 36-year veteran of the Gary Police Department, said he initially thought…her family concocted an elaborate tale as a way to make money. But after several visits to their home and interviews with witnesses, Austin said simply, ‘I am a believer’…

“He later told The Star he believed in ghosts and the supernatural but said he didn’t believe in demons. Austin said he changed his mind after visiting the Carolina Street house” (ibid.).

The family’s landlord, once doubtful, also admitted that something unusual was taking place.

“‘I thought I heard it all,’ said Reed, who’s been a landlord for 33 years. ‘This was a new one to me. My belief system has a hard time jumping over that bridge’” (ibid.).

A Catholic priest performed rituals meant to rid the family of evil spirits, but some activity still continued.

Eventually, the family’s trial ended. The demons finally stopped manifesting themselves.

The woman who was influenced stated, “Demons can actually possess you. Use you, so you can give them souls…and they make you take your own life. So…it’s real. And a lot of people don’t think about it. They live their lives day to day and you never think that it would be you” (ibid.).

In this increasingly dark world, these stories are becoming more frequent.

Growing Trend

Spiritism is spreading like wildfire. Through books, magazines, television and movies, witchcraft, demonism and the occult reach into virtually every facet of life. Increasingly, people are even turning to spiritism for answers to their problems.

Does the spirit realm exist?—and should people communicate with it? Do witchcraft and the occult reveal “ancient wisdom” to life’s big questions? Are astrology, Tarot cards, Ouija boards, and crystals harmless fun—or is there something more to them?

Societies around the world are full of the influence of evil spirits—and in many forms. Since the famous 1973 movie “The Exorcist” was released, scores of movies, television series, and video games have dealt with demonic possession. Consider the “Hollywood-ization” of the occult: “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” “The Possession of Michael King,” “Evil Dead,” “Paranormal Activity,” “Deliver Us from Evil,” “Carrie,” “Devil’s Advocate,” and “The Craft.” These films tantalize and ultimately desensitize viewers to demonism, witchcraft and magic, many times with excessive blood and gore.

In addition, the minds of young and old alike have been entertained by television series such as American Horror Story, Psychic Kids: Children of the Paranormal, and My Haunted House.

NBC is developing a prime-time show that delves into demonic possession, as news tabloid The Hollywood Reporter detailed: “The network has handed out a script commitment to drama The Possession of Maggie GillMaggie centers on the Gills, a loving a middle-class family in Eugene, Ore., who find themselves in the midst of crisis when paranormal occurrences begin to affect the everyday fabric of their home. At the same time, a series of brutal murders is being investigated by two local detectives. The storylines converge as those involved slowly realize that the murders and hauntings may have a common link: Maggie Gill, 15-year-old daughter of the Gill family, who might be possessed by demonic attachments.”

There was a time when television shows, movies and books about demons were few and far between. Now their popularity is running wild. The article concluded with a description of this trend: “Exorcism dramas are a hot subject matter this development season. The Walking Dead [the zombie graphic novel series turned TV show] creator Robert Kirkman is adapting his exorcism comic, Outcast, as a pilot at Cinemax; and former Walking Dead showrunner Glen Mazzara’s Damien, a follow-up to The Omen, received a straight-to-series six-episode order at Lifetime” (ibid.).

Many argue that this entertainment is nothing more than harmless fun—a way to get a quick scare and learn about something that seems mysterious. But modern society’s focus on the dark spirit world is leading to real violence. For instance, after a 13-year-old girl became infatuated with the fictional horror character “Slenderman,” she stabbed her mother, who reported, “I came home one night from work and she was in the kitchen waiting for me and she was wearing a mask, a white mask…She was someone else during the attack…” (

Two Wisconsin girls, also reportedly influenced by Slenderman, were charged with stabbing their friend in a violent attack. A Telegraph headline said it all: “Two 12-Year-Old Girls Charged with Trying to Murder Friend to Please Internet Demon.”

Regular readers of this magazine understand that mankind has reached the period of time called the “end of the age” or the “time of the end.” This unprecedented period in history brings with it an increase in demonic activity.

Rise of Exorcists

The Catholic Church has taken note and called up more exorcists. The Telegraph reported on the trend: “Dioceses across Italy, as well as in countries such as Spain, are increasing the number of priests schooled in administering the rite of exorcism, fabled to rid people of possession by the Devil.

“The rise in demonic cases is a result of more people dabbling in practices such as black magic, paganism, Satanic rites and Ouija boards, often exploring the dark arts with the help of information readily found on the internet, the Church said.

GianluigI Guercia/AFP/Getty Images
Exorcism: A coptic priest allegedly performs an exorcism on an Egyptian woman at the St. Samaans Church in the Mokattam village near Cairo, Egypt (July 26, 2012).

“The increase in the number of priests being trained to tackle the phenomenon is also an effort by the Church to sideline unauthorised, self-proclaimed exorcists, and its tacit recognition that belief in Satan, once regarded by Catholic progressives as an embarrassment, is still very much alive.”

The article continued, “In Spain, Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, the archbishop of Madrid, chose eight priests to undergo special training in May to confront what he described as ‘an unprecedented rise’ in cases of ‘demonic possession.’ The Church in Spain was coming across many cases that ‘go beyond the competence of psychologists’ and they were occurring with ‘a striking frequency,’ the archbishop said.

“‘Diabolical possessions are on the increase as a result of people subscribing to occultism,’ said…Francesco Bamonte, the president of the Italy-based International Association for Exorcists. ‘The few exorcists that we have in the dioceses are often not able to handle the enormous number of requests for help,’ he told La Repubblica last month.”

The International Association of Exorcists, which was formally recognized in July 2014 by the Vatican, consists of 250 priests scattered across 30 countries who can perform exorcisms.

Pope Francis apparently even publicly “cast out” a demon from a man in May 2013. Video of the event was posted and widely shared on the Internet.

Here is a description of what happened. While Francis was in Vatican City greeting people in a line, he came to a wheelchair-bound man. Francis shook the man’s hand and placed his other hand on the man’s head. The man, with eyes slightly bulging, looked up at Francis. The pope then put both hands on the man’s head and the man’s mouth opened wide. After slightly convulsing, he slumped down in his chair.

While on the surface it appeared to be some kind of exorcism, The Christian Post reported that a few weeks later, the man said that he was still possessed by a demon: “The wheelchair-bound man that Pope Francis blessed in a controversial prayer many billed as a public exorcism earlier this month in St. Peter’s Square, says the demons are still inside him.

“Identified in a recent report only as Angel V., the 43-year-old Mexican father of two reportedly told Spanish-language newspaper El Mundo that the demons have withstood 30 exorcism attempts by 10 exorcists, including the Vatican’s leading exorcist, Rev. Gabriel Amorth, who claims to have sent 160,000 demons to hell.

“‘I still have the demons inside me, they have not gone away,’ said Angel…”

Why the Appeal?

In May 2014, a six-day conference in Rome titled “Exorcism and Prayers of Liberation” concluded that the rise of demon possession is due to a lack of religious involvement.

The Telegraph reported, “The decline of religious belief in the West and the growth of secularism has ‘opened the window’ to black magic, Satanism and belief in the occult, the organisers of a conference on exorcism have said.”

Yet humanity’s fascination with the spirit realm is nothing new. Man has always been curious to know if there is more to this life than just the physical, material world.

Whatever the tool of divination used, people want to know the future. They want to know the past. They want to understand the world in which they live. This is why, throughout history, men have turned (in one degree or another) to witchcraft and the occult. They open their minds, sometimes unwittingly, to the influence of spirits.

Crucial History

Understanding the spiritual world starts with turning to one book that describes all things spiritual—the Bible. God’s recorded Word presents the history of these evil spirits. Yet most, even professing Christians, have never understood the truth. Some do not even believe in them at all.

Yet demons do exist, and after reading the above news accounts, this should be obvious. How they came to be, however, is less apparent—unless one knows where to look.

The story behind the existence of demons begins in the book of Ezekiel. Even before God put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, He placed Earth under the authority of one of three mighty cherubim—Lucifer (which means “light bringer”).

Notice the description of Satan’s original form and role in Ezekiel. Although he was once a perfect, righteous angel, over time, the devil became twisted and power-hungry. He attempted to overtake God’s throne and was cast down to Earth as a result. The context shows that the “king of Tyrus” is obviously a description of the devil.

The account states: “Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus says the Lord God; You seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering…the workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I [God] have set you so: you were upon the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you. By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the midst of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire” (28:12-16).

The chapter continues, showing Satan was lifted up with pride: “Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground…you have defiled your sanctuaries by the multitude of your iniquities…” (vs. 17-18).

Jesus Christ confirmed this account in Luke 10, when 70 of His disciples reported to Him in astonishment that they were able to cast out demons. Notice Christ’s fascinating answer: “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through Your name. And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power…over all the power of the enemy…” (vs. 17-19).

The book of Job makes clear that Satan has dominion over this Earth: “Now there was a day when the sons of God [angels] came to present themselves before the Lord [in heaven], and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence come you? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (1:6-7).

Contrary to what most believe, Satan still resides on Earth today—not in an ever-burning hell as is supposed. And he takes an active role in influencing the thoughts and minds of human beings.

Notice in I Peter the warning for true Christians not to fall prey to the devil, who, “as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour” (5:8). The book of Revelation even describes “Satan’s seat” and “where Satan dwells” (2:13).

God’s Word reveals that the devil was given authority to reign over Earth, and that he still holds this power, if only for a little while longer.

“God of This World”

Most do not understand the incredible knowledge about the origin of Satan—and religionists, theologians, priests and professing Christian leaders fail to recognize it. God is not directly running the affairs of this world. All societies, governments, empires and kingdoms are being ruled by “the god of this world”—Satan the devil. All of the pain and suffering experienced today is the result his rule.

Notice what the apostle Paul wrote the Corinthian congregation in what is one of the most important verses in the Bible: “In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not…” (II Cor. 4:4).

This is why man’s history has been rampant with all kinds of evil, suffering and turmoil!

It is unpopular to admit that the devil exists—let alone that he is “the god of this world.” Most scoff at the thought. It has been said that the greatest seduction the devil has pulled off is convincing the world that he does not exist. But this disbelief falls right into Satan’s scheme. By blinding “the minds of them which believe not,” Satan deceives people into believing he is a fairy tale. He does not want humanity to be alerted to his world-ruling presence. Even God describes Satan as “the great dragon…that old serpent, called the devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world…” (Rev. 12:9).

During Jesus Christ’s time on Earth, Satan challenged Him in a tremendous battle of wills. The devil took Christ to a high mountain and, in a vision, instantly showed Him all the kingdoms and powers of the world (Luke 4:5). Then Satan said to Him, “I will give You all their power and grandeur, for it has been made over to me and I can give it to anyone I choose” (vs. 6-7, Moffatt translation).

How did Christ respond? Did He dispute or deny the devil’s claim of possessing world-ruling authority? Did He say, “What are you talking about, Satan? You can’t give Me what doesn’t belong to you! God rules this world, not you”?

No. Christ simply said, “Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve” (Matt. 4:10).

Clearly, the Bible shows that the devil has the authority to grant world-ruling power—Christ did not dispute or deny this! In fact, several times Jesus described Satan as “the prince of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).

Satan does rule the governments of this world—and he is not alone. Why does God permit this to occur?

Fallen Angels

Satan’s deception is not limited to humanity. He also influenced one-third of the angels to follow him during his rebellion against God. Notice the account in Revelation 12: “There appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon [Satan]…and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven [angels], and did cast them to the earth…” (vs. 3-4).

Demons are fallen angels. By contrast, the remaining two-thirds of the angels were obedient and still serve God. Part of the faithful angels’ purpose is to help God’s people achieve their awesome human potential. Hebrews 1:14 calls them “ministering spirits.”

Fallen angels serve their own selfish lusts and roam the Earth under the world-ruling authority of Satan, “the prince of the devils [demons]” (Mark 3:22). They are the “unfruitful works of darkness” that Paul warns about in Ephesians 5: “…have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them” (vs. 11).

In Ephesians 6:12, Paul wrote that Christians “wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness [or wicked spirits] in high places.”

Because a matter weighed heavily upon his mind, the prophet Daniel fasted so that he could draw closer to God, and perhaps receive an answer (Dan. 10:3-4). The fast was “three full weeks” before an answer from heaven arrived.

Finally, an angel appeared to Daniel (vs. 10-11) and said: “Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that you did set your heart to understand, and to chasten yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I am come for your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia” (vs. 12-13).

Were Michael and the other angel “withstood” by mortal men 21 days? Of course not! The above verses are about a conflict between angels (servants of God) and demons (servants of the devil). Satan has a kingdom with servants and Christ said this kingdom is not divided (Mark 3:23-26). Although it is based on competition, strife, hatred, selfishness, it is organized and structured.

All of what has occurred with Satan and his demons has been allowed for a reason. In God’s infinite wisdom, He has permitted them to play a role in His Plan for mankind.

Ever since Adam and Eve were deceived by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, humanity has taken to itself the knowledge of how to live. Man has not heeded God’s commands and instead has followed his own path. As a result, he has reaped the fruits of the wrong way of life, and the devil and his agents have taken advantage of the fact that human beings have been cut off from God.

Yet God has a marvelous plan to free all mankind from Satan’s influence and give all people an opportunity for salvation. To learn even more about the history of Satan and his demons, you may wish to study the booklets A World in Captivity, Who Is the Devil?, and The Truth About Hell. These delve further into this topic and explain it in much greater detail than this article can.

Ultimate Fate

Demons, as the devil’s agents, always seek to confuse, blind and destroy. Among their tools are witchcraft, spiritism, paganism and the occult. These fallen angels do have limited power. They understand certain things and work to make humans follow them. However, they will not be free to torment mankind for much longer.

II Peter 2:4 describes how demons are being “reserved” for a future judgment: “…God spared not the angels that sinned [demons], but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.”

The Greek word for “hell” is tartaros, and means a “place of restraint” or a “prison.” Piecing this together with scriptures used earlier, this clearly describes Earth.

Editor-in-chief of The Real Truth magazine and voice of The World to Come program, David C. Pack, wrote in his booklet Who Is the Devil? under the subhead “Satan’s Fate”: “But what happens to the devil after Christ’s Return? Will he be left free to roam the earth, continuing to ‘deceive’ (Rev. 12:9) and ‘weaken’ (Isa. 14:12) the nations? Will he be allowed to remain the ‘god of this world’ (II Cor. 4:4) forever? What is his final fate?

Revelation 20 describes Christ setting up a 1,000-year millennial rule (vs. 4) and bringing the ‘last chapter’ in Satan’s story. Verse 2 states that a mighty angel (vs. 1) actually binds him ‘a thousand years’ by ‘casting him into the bottomless pit,’ where he is ‘shut…up.’ This angel then ‘set[s] a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.’

“Paul mentioned the time of Satan being bound when he said, ‘the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly’ (Rom. 16:20). This is God’s promise to all true Christians and all mankind, because Satan has persecuted the former and deceived the latter for thousands of years!

“The apostle Jude stated that Satan and his demons will be cast out of the universe into a place where the Bible explains there is no light. Verse 13 describes these wretched beings as ‘wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.’ The ‘prince of darkness’ and his angels will get what they deserve—what they brought on themselves. The one who was once known as the ‘light bringer’ chose darkness. God will give him complete darkness for the rest of time!”

As world conditions speed toward the day when God must intervene in world affairs, the time is coming when Satan and his angels will be banished from Earth.

No longer will demons possess human beings and commit murderous and violent acts. Children will not be tormented any longer and seek to kill. All vile demon-influenced media will be gone forever. With it, mankind’s fascination with these evil spirits will disappear—and be replaced with a desire to seek the true God. 

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