Out of This World
Compiled from the writings of David Brandt Berg
A LOT OF PEOPLE TODAY ARE WAKING UP to the fact that the spirit world is real, that there is something beyond our four-dimensional world of height, breadth, depth, and time. Many sincere seekers are looking for the truth and true spirituality, but sadly many of the people they turn to for enlightenment are in the dark themselves. So in their quest for spiritual reality, many of these seekers begin to look elsewhere for a means to connect with the spirit world.
Little do most of these people realize what they’re getting into. There are two sides to the spirit world, good and evil, and very powerful forces are at work there, so anyone who ventures into the spirit world without the Lord’s guidance and protection is playing with fire! That’s why so many people “flip out” when they dabble in the occult or take hallucinogenic drugs. They get a glimpse into the dark side of the spirit world but aren’t prepared for or protected from what they see.
The same goes for some scientists and others who study the paranormal—ESP, telepathic communication, hypnosis, and so on. What most of these people who delve into the paranormal don’t realize is that they are dealing with spiritual forces that operate in the spiritual realm.
A number of popular movies in recent years have also rekindled people’s interest in the spirit world. Unfortunately, most of these movies have dwelt on the dark side—the horror of the Devil and his dirty work—and these are not all figments of some screenwriter’s imagination, either. Demons are very real and active today, as they have been in all ages.
The spiritual warfare
As the apostle Paul explained, our battle is “not against flesh and blood, but against … the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12 KJV). Our daily lives, events, and ultimately the world’s future are being influenced by battles in the spirit world between God and His angels on the one hand, and the Devil and his demons on the other. What’s happening on the surface is only a physical manifestation of the real action. The real action is in the spirit world.
Many people today are plagued by demons and need deliverance, but they either don’t understand that their problems are spiritual, or they don’t know how to avail themselves of the Lord’s help. For example, most doctors and psychiatrists diagnose such things as schizophrenia as purely psychological or physiological problems and try to counter them with drugs, when actually the cause is often spiritual.
We also play an important part in the spiritual warfare because we can help determine the outcome through our choices and prayers. We can exercise authority over all the demons of Hell and the Devil himself through the power Jesus promised His followers (Luke 10:19). In the case of a person being troubled mentally or emotionally by evil spirits, for example, we can command that spirit to leave and stop influencing the person they are afflicting.
The dark side
What about devil worship, demonism, black magic, and the like? Can people use spiritual powers to influence or cast spells on other people? Well, just as God has His means of communication in the spirit world, so does the imitator, the Devil. Just as God has His children, the Devil has his captives. God can possess His children, and the Devil can possess his.
God has seen fit to allow the Devil some power and control in the spiritual realm, within limits. Black magic, demonism, and so on are real, and those who practice them can wield real power. Just as God’s people can pray to the Lord and ask Him to affect people and situations for good, so can the Devil’s people communicate with him and curse others.
God has given the Devil certain powers, particularly over his own people—those who have rejected Christ and therefore aren’t protected by the Spirit of God. The Lord gives everyone a degree of immunity or merciful protection from the Devil’s influence up to the point of decision, when they must either accept or reject Jesus, but those who choose to reject leave themselves wide open for the Devil’s lies (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11).
The right side—God’s side
Of course there is also a good side to the spirit world—the side of light and right in which God Himself dwells with His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit, as well as many other good spirits. These include the seven spirits of God of Revelation 4:5, the seven stars or angels or spirits of the seven churches of Revelation 1:20, the four spirits of the heavens of Zechariah 6:5, and the multitudes of other celestial messengers, angels, or spirits of God mentioned in the Bible, as well as the spirits of all the millions of departed saints—all of whom are obviously good spirits.
The apostle Paul referred to these heavenly hosts as a “great cloud of witnesses” that surrounds us here and now (Hebrews 12:1). Like a cloud is composed of millions of tiny particles of moisture, this cloud is composed of millions of good spirits.
In another place Paul asks rhetorically, “Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14). So they are not only watching us, they are watching over us, protecting us, and trying to influence us for good. All throughout the Bible there are many promises of spiritual protection, such as, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them” (Psalm 34:7), and, “He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:11).
Knowing who’s who
How do we tell the difference between God’s good spiritual forces and the Devil’s evil spirits?—The Bible tells us to “test the spirits, whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1). The difference is usually quite clear: God’s power is creative and loving; the Devil’s power is destructive and hateful. God’s Spirit ministers love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—all good things (Galatians 5:22-23). The Devil and his evil spirits minister fear, hatred, bitterness, strife, misery, confusion, and torment—all bad things.
The same goes for the thoughts that form our attitudes and direct our actions. If a thought is not according to God’s Word or causes us to be unloving, discontent, bitter, dissatisfied, or critical of others, that thought is not from the Lord but from the enemy of our souls, the Devil.
Our best protection
The Lord protects His own. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27-28). Once we receive Jesus as our Savior, we are His property and the Devil can’t get us back.
We can still get ourselves into a lot of trouble, however, if we stray from the Lord’s protection by being careless and unprayerful, willfully disobeying His Word, or not heeding His warnings. So be obedient to God’s laws of love, and don’t give the Devil any place in your life (Ephesians 4:27). “Submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
We who know and love the Lord don’t have to fear the Devil, because we have a greater power that protects us. “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). In other words, God is saying, “My power in you is greater than the Devil’s power in his people—much greater!” The Lord’s protection is like a force field around us, which the Devil and his forces cannot penetrate, whereas God’s power is like light that penetrates and destroys the Devil’s darkness. Darkness can’t exist in the presence of light.
The Devil can’t touch us if we are the Lord’s and in His will. So when the Devil is able to give us trouble, it’s nearly always because we’ve strayed from the Lord’s protection through disobedience, carelessness, or sin, and the Lord is trying to teach us a lesson and get us running back to Him. When we do, He is always there to deliver and protect us.
Wonders await you!
Even though the Bible has so much to say about the spirit world and the spiritual warfare, some Christians choose to ignore it or act like it doesn’t exist. They are afraid of the subject because they feel it borders on spiritism and that talking about appearances of angels or departed saints sounds too much like having to do with “familiar spirits”—evil spirits and devils—which God’s Word clearly condemns.
But this does not mean that we are supposed to ignore or shut ourselves off completely to the realities of the spiritual world in which God Himself dwells with His Son Jesus, the Holy Spirit, all His ministering spirits, the angels, as well as the spirits of all the millions of departed saints. We shouldn’t condemn the entire spirit world just because the Devil also dwells and operates there. That would be like refusing to listen to any music just because the Devil uses music. If we stopped using everything the Devil uses, there wouldn’t be much left for God and us to use for His good purposes!
We don’t have to wait till we die to get a glimpse of the world to come. “As it is written, ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10). God wants to awaken us to the realities of the spirit world so we can enjoy the good, avail ourselves of the help He has put there for us, and more effectively combat the evil.
If you have received Jesus into your heart and have thereby been “born again of the Spirit” (John 3:5), you can safely explore the wonders of God’s good spirit world. You don’t need to fear or worry about demons or even Satan himself! God, His loving Holy Spirit, and His hosts of mighty angels are with you, surrounding, protecting, and delivering you from all evil (Psalm 34:7; 91:10-13).
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