Phenomenon of Resistance

Have you ever wondered and asked yourself why the Jehovah Witnesses don’t like the Cross? They say Jesus died on a Stake. Or in exorcism, demon(s) scream when you put a Cross in front of them? Is there magic or power in the Cross? Should we use religious item(s) to scare them away? Read on and find out.

Demons and those that are demonically possessed or under its influence tend to react negatively toward anything that is Christianity in nature. The name for this is called “Phenomenon of Resistance” and I first heard about it in the book “Demonology: Past and Present” by Kurt E. Koch. Let me give a few excerpts and then share some of my thoughts afterward:

“…the possessed person who reacts strongly whenever he is faced with genuine spiritual counsel. This reaction, called the phenomenon of resistance, is illustrated in the following example.

I knew of one possessed woman who could not even look at a Bible or crucifix during the occasions of her attacks. It is true that anti-religious complexes are known to exist in the medical world — these often result from an atheistic or an over-religious upbringing — but in cases of possession, the phenomenon of resistance is so clearly defined that it is insufficient to merely label it as just a complex.

For example, in Berne in Switzerland, I once had to counsel another woman with the marked characteristics of possession. She told me that whenever she entered a Christian home she always began to feel sick. In the same way, if she was traveling through an unfamiliar town after dark, she would always begin to feel sick on passing a church, even if at first unaware of its presence. A feeling of loathing would also come over her if a Christian got on the same tram, and she did not have to recognize the person for this to take place. She went on to describe that because of this she could tell the difference between nominal and genuine Christians, and this was particularly true in the case of ministers!

The phenomenon of resistance is not known among the mentally ill. In people like the Gadarene demoniac on the other hand, it is clearly visible. When he saw Jesus he began to shout out, ‘What do you want with me? I adjure you not to torment me.’ This is the typical reaction of one possessed. In the Roman Catholic Missal one of the symptoms of possession is described as an aversion towards the things of God.”

“A few years ago I was counselling a possessed theological student. As I was praying for him, he suddenly fell into a trance and we heard strange voices speaking out of him in foreign languages…”

“…possessed people always react in this way. Whenever they come into contact with the kingdom of God, be it through counselling or spiritual care, the resistance is always the same. Let it be noted that the reaction occurs even if the possessed person is unaware that he is being prayed for, when for example the people praying for him are in another room. He will begin to rave and fume just as if the people were present. The forces at work may be invisible to us but their effects can be clearly seen.”

And here’s an excellent article by John Piper, “Dismiss the Devil with a Song”

I’ll tell you a story why I’m so convinced of that: four years ago I got a phone call — 10:30 at night — and the person on the other end said, “There is a woman in this apartment who is demon possessed. Would you come over?” “Alright, I’ll come over.” I called Tom Steller on the phone. “Tom, would you go with me?” “Sure.” We go; our wives stay home and pray. We don’t know what we’ll find.

What we find is an apartment with about five young women and one young man who will not let this woman out of this apartment. She had glazed eyes, was bitter, and had a little penknife in her hand, threatening. For two hours I talk to this woman: I read Scripture and read prayers of deliverance. It comes to a head where she starts getting very violent. She knocks the Bible out of my hand, she rips the paper out of my hand, she pounds on my back. About 1:00 in the morning, when the word of God and the force of evil were at their fever pitch, one of those young women started to sing. And what they sang was the little phrase “Alleluia.”

And she became vicious, threatened everyone if we wouldn’t stop singing. She fell on the ground, screamed for Satan not to leave her, went into convulsions, and then went limp. When she came to, she didn’t have any idea what had happened. She was willing to take the Bible, read Romans 8, and pray with us.

So, if you tell Tom and me that battle with Satan in song is a kind of pious pill, we’ll say that, for us that night, it felt like life and death. And it has ever since had that quality about it, and it ought to have that quality about it in the church. I believe that when God moves us to sing from the Holy Spirit, Satan is frustrated in our midst. But ten minutes of song at the beginning of a time of prayer banishes Satan. It has great power.

Throughout our lives, I’m sure we have done things we’re proud of (good memories), and things we’re not so proud of (bad memories). Looking back and relive old memories that are tied to negative experiences, it can embarrass us and make us feel cringey, so much so that we scream, make noises or do whatever we can to not think about it. To put it another way: we shudder at memories of negative and very embarrassing experiences. That’s why people commit suicide when their secrets are exposed, because of the shame. I believe the same is true of demons, “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” (James 2:19 ESV), or “tremble!” (KJV) Not because of embarrassment but terror. The Cross reminds them of their defeat, and their end certain.

I put a hardcover Bible under my pillow, and cover myself with a blanket that has the names and titles of Jesus all over when I sleep, not because I believe that these things in and of themselves have the power to drive out demons… that would be superstitious! And I don’t believe in superstition. But because it reminds them of who Jesus is. Sure, they can still attack me if they wanted to, even with a Bible under my pillow, but doing so they’re also being reminded of their end and who it is that they’re coming up against, visually and vividly as they see the Bible under my head. I can tell you from experience that since I got this blanket, they stopped harassing me.

Now, if this is true of demons and those under its influence—how they react negatively toward the things of God and dont’ want to be near it, what does that say about Christians who are filled with the Spirit of the living God? It should be the same of us! Filled with the Spirit, we should not find things of the occult entertaining. In fact, it should grieve us, and the Spirit that is in us whenever we come in contact with the world and its demonic influences. A lot more to be said, but let me end it with this: Decorate your room/house and fill it with the things of God, create an atmosphere that makes it uncomfortable for demons to be around. Pray and sing often. Watch and listen to godly movies / musics. God extra Bibles? Have one in the kitchen, living room, bedroom etc…

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