Demonic manifestations vs. Holy Spirit manifestations

supernatural manifestationsWe can conclude that a manifestation results from a demonic presence if it begins when a preacher or member of the ministry team starts praying against demonic oppression. However, the opposite is true when the minister or team member prays for a blessing, direction, or endowment of a spiritual gift. Any manifestation under these conditions is probably of the Holy Spirit.

There may be occasions when the circumstances of a particular ministry time do not indicate if a physical manifestation is an effect of the Holy Spirit or if a demon is manifesting. In such cases, observe the following:

If the person through their physical manifestation is physically hurting himself, herself, or anyone else close by or if they attempt to bite or scratch it is clearly a demonic manifestation. Self-flagellation is a clear indication of demonic manifestation.

The physical appearance or semblance of a person can indicate a demonic presence. These signs include bodily or facial contortions, sudden or strange changes of voice; refusal to look the minister in the eye, rolling back of the eyes so that only the white part is visible, yelling, screaming or hostile behavior.

Other things that suggest demonic presence are:

  • Sudden headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sudden violent actions
  • Destructive movements like kicking or breaking furniture
  • Whistling, mocking
  • Scratching or tearing movements
  • Uncharacteristically obscene language

However, if a manifestation appears when you are ministering to a sick person, it could be a sign that the Holy Spirit is working in his or her body. Such manifestations are generally smaller, like feelings of heat, tingling or electricity pulsing through part of the body, fluttering eyelids, falling on the floor or a quiet ceasing of any movement, or sometimes laughter.

In situations where there is any doubt, ask the person whether they are feeling good or bad. If the person feels peace then the Lord is speaking and the Holy Spirit is working. If the person feels afraid and hopeless or under a spiritual attack, or if he does not answer in his normal voice, it is probably a demonic manifestation. The gift of discerning of spirits and the leading of the Holy Spirit are very valuable tools at these times. Pray for the gift and ask the Holy Spirit to come with his direction in your ministry times.

Your personal preparation

1. Above all, this should be a ministry of love

Behind all deliverance, there must be a loving heart from God for suffering souls. Pray daily for grace to manifest more of the love of God that has been poured into your heart and to be a channel of His love for others. When the ministry of the Holy Spirit becomes evident, pray specifically for His love for those to whom you minister. The principal objective of the ministry is not to punish demons, but to help people who God loves.

2. The key to deliverance is to use the authority of the name of Jesus

Demons respect authority. If another person “dilutes” the authority of the leader during the ministry time, assuming any self-authority, he or she will complicate the situation and prevent the leader from effectively dealing with the demon that is involved.

Limitations of a deliverance ministry

It is useless to cast out a demon . . .

  • Against the will of the person who is oppressed
  • If the person isn’t willing to change the lifestyle that caused the oppression
  • When it is contrary to a pact that the person has with Satan, unless he specifically and audibly renounces the specific pact

Under these circumstances, the demon will return, bringing several others with him.

When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation. (Matthew 12:43-45)

The minister must keep in mind that a demon cannot oppress anyone unless in some way he gains legal access provided through the person’s lack of forgiveness, hate, abuse, sin, illicit sex, sickness, trauma or other type of circumstance that gives place to evil spirits. We call this type of access “open doors”.

Demons are very legalistic, generally refusing to leave a person unless the victim verbally renounces the demonic access points. There is a double objective in deliverance ministry:

  • Cast out or send the demons away
  • Close all doors of legality to evil spirits to enable the person receiving prayer to maintain his or her deliverance.

When to begin ministering

Ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you before the ministry time. The Holy Spirit takes great pleasure in helping you to minister to people. Ask for his help and wait for his direction during each step of the way. He will help you!

Remember that the person that is receiving prayer is probably a hurting person. He or she may have gone through several verbal and physical abuses, traumas, frustrations, conflicts, satanic rituals, or extended sicknesses. The person may cry excessively or may suppress their grief and sadness. Do not hesitate to suspend the 10-step prayer model in order to heal these wounds. You may need to do this several times during the ministry time.

Generally, it is more effective to work with a team of two or three people with one person leading and the others offering prayer support, discerning, note taking, etc. However, to avoid diluting the authority of the leader, generally the others should refrain from speaking directly to or touching the person receiving ministry and should communicate with the leader through written notes or by speaking softly. The leader will then decide what to do with each suggestion of the support team. In a long period of ministry, the ministry team members can take turns leading one after another.

The precaution of not allowing more than one team member to touch the person who is receiving prayer does not apply to periods of prayer ministry for inner healing. On these occasions, the possible dilution of the authority of the leader is not an issue.

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