In short, the counterfeit manifestations of the Divine presence in the body, in agreeable and heavenly feelings, can be followed by counterfeit feelings of sinful things,note 23 wholly repugnant to the volition and central purity of the believer--who is as faithful to God now in his hatred to sin, as in the days when he reveled in the sense of purity given consciously to his bodily frame.
The deceiving spirit in possession of the body, may now reveal his malignity in attacks of apparent disease, or acute pain without physical cause, counterfeiting or producing (1) consumption, (2) fever, (3) nerve breakdown, and other illnesses, under which the lifenote 24 of the victim may be lost, unless the workings of the "murderers" acting under Satan are discerned, and dealt with by prayer against them, as well as the bodily frame cared for in the natural way.
Counterfeit guidance is one of the fruits of the possession of the body which the deceiver obtains through guile. Many believers think the "guidance" or "leading" of God, to be only by a voice saying "Do this," or "Do that;" or by a compulsory movement or impulse, apart from the action or volition of the man. They point to the expression used about the Lord, "the Spirit driveth Him into the wilderness"; but this was abnormal in the life of Christ, for the statement implies intense spirit conflict wherein the Holy Spirit departed from His ordinary guidance. We have a glimpse into a similar intense movement in the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, in John 11: 38, when "groaning with indignation in His spirit" He moved to the grave of Lazarus. In both instances He was moving forward to direct conflict with Satan--in the case of Lazarus, with Satan as the prince of death. The Gethsemane agony was of the same character.
But normally the Lord was guided, or led, in simple fellowship with the Father; deciding, acting, reasoning, thinking, as One who knew the will of God, and intelligently--speaking reverently--carried it out. The "voice" from heaven was rare, and, as the Lord Himself said, was for the sake of others, and not for Himself. He knew the Father's will, and with every faculty of His being as Man, He did it. (See John 12: 30, 5: 30, 6: 38).
As Christ was a pattern or example for His followers, guidance or "leading" in its perfect and true form is shown in His life, and believers can only expect the co-working of the Holy Spirit when they walk after the pattern of their Example. Out of line with the Pattern they cease to have the working of the Holy Spirit, and become open to the deceptive counterfeit workings of evil spirits.
If the believer ceases to use mind, reason, will, and all his other faculties as a person, and depends upon voices, and impulses for guidancenote 25 in every detail of life, he will be "led" or guided by evil spirits, feigning to be God.
At first, after the Baptism of the Spirit, the believer knows to a great extent the true guidance of the Spirit of God. He knows true inward constraint to act, and restraint from action in like manner; such as when to speak to another about his soul, when to rise and testify in a meeting, etc., but after a time he ceases to watch for this pure inward moving of the Spirit; often through ignorance of how to read the monitions of his spirit; and begins to wait for some other incentive or manifestation to guide him in action. This is the time for which the deceiving spirits have been watching. Because at this point the believer has ceased, unknown to himself, to co-operate with the inward spirit action; to use his volition, and to decide for himself,note 26 he is now watching for some other supernatural indication of the way to go, or the course to take. Hence he must have "guidance" somehow, some "text," some "indication," some "providential circumstance," etc., etc. This is the moment of opportunity for a deceiving spirit to gain his faith and confidence: and so some word or words are whispered softly, that are exactly in accordance with the inward drawing that he has had, but which he has not recognized as from another source than the Holy Spirit, Who acted by the deep inner constraining and restraining of the spirit .note 27 The soft whisper of the deceiving spirit is so delicate and gentle, that the believer listens to, and receives the words without question, and begins to obey this soft whisper, yielding more and more to it, without any thought of exercising mind, judgment, reason, or volition.
The "feelings" are now in the body, but the believer is unconscious that he is ceasing to act from his spirit, and by the pure unfettered action of his will and his mind, which, under the illumination of the Spirit, is always in accord with the spirit. This is a time of great danger if the believer fails to discriminate the source of his "drawing" feelings, and yields to them before finding out their source. He should examine his basic principle of decision, especially when it has to do with feeling, lest he should be led away by any feeling without being able to say where it comes from, or whether it is safe for him to go by it. He should know there are physical feelings, soulish feelings, and feelings in the spirit, either of which can be Divine or Satanic in their source, therefore reliance on "feelings"--feeling drawn, etc.--is a source of great mischief in the Christian life.
From this point deceiving spirits can increase their control, for the believer has begun the listening attitude,note 28 which can be developed acutely, until he is always watching for an "inner voice," or a voice in the ear, which is an exact counterfeit of the voice of God in the spirit; and thus the believer moves, and acts as a passive slave to "supernatural guidance."note 29
Evil spirits are able to counterfeit the voice of God, because of the ignorance of believers that they can do so, and of the true principle of God's way of communication with His children. The Lord said: "My sheep know My voice . . " i.e., My way of speaking to My sheep. He did not say this voice was an audible voice; nor a voice giving directions which were to be obeyed apart from the intelligence of the believer, but, on the contrary, the word "know," indicates the use of the mind, for although there is knowledge in the spirit, it must reach the intelligence of the man, so that spirit and mind become of one accord.
The question whether God now speaks by his direct voice audibly to men, needs consideration at this point. A careful study of the epistles of Paul--which contain an exhaustive epitome of God's will for the Church, the Body of Christ, as the books of Moses contained God's will and laws for Israel--seems to make it clear that God, having "spoken to us in His Son," no longer speaks by His own direct voice to His people. Nor does it appear that since the coming of the Holy Spirit to guide the Church of Christ into all truth, does He frequently employ angels to speak, or to guide His children.
The angels are "sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation" (Heb. 1: 14), but not to take the place of Christ or the Holy Spirit. The Apocalypse seems to show that this ministration of angels to the saints on earth, is a ministration of war in the spiritual realm, against the forces of Satan;note 30 but there is little indication given of ministry in any other way. After the first Advent, when there was great angelic activity over the wondrous event of the Father bringing the "Firstborn" of the new race (Rom. 8: 29) into the inhabited earth (Heb. 1: 6, R.V.); and again at the Advent of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to begin His work of forming a Body like unto the Risen Head--and during the early years of the Church--the employment of angels in direct and visible communication with believers, seems to give way to the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit.
The entire work of witnessing to Christ, and leading the Church into all truth, has been committed to the Holy Spirit. Therefore all intervention of "angels," or audible voices from the spiritual realm, purporting to be from God, may be taken as counterfeits of Satan, whose supreme object is to substitute the working of his own wicked spirits in the place of God. In any case, it is best and safest in these days of peril to keep in the path of faith and reliance upon the Holy Spirit of God, working through the word of God.
In order to detect which is the "voice of God," and which is the "voice of the devil," we need to understand that the Holy Spirit alone is charged to communicate the will of God to the believer, and that He works from within the spirit of the man enlightening the understanding (Eph. 1: 17-18), so as to bring him into intelligent co-working with the mind of God.
The purpose of the Holy Spirit is, briefly, the entire renewal of the redeemed one, in spirit, soul and body, He therefore directs all His working to the liberation of every faculty, and never in any way seeks to direct a man as a passive machine, even into good. He works in him to enable him to choose the good, and strengthens him to act, but never--even for "good"--dulls him, or renders him incapable of free action, otherwise He would nullify the very purpose of Christ's redemption on Calvary, and the purpose of His own coming.
When believers understand these principles, the "voice of the devil" is recognizable, i.e., (1) when it comes from outside the man, or within the sphere of his circumference, and not from the central depth of his spirit, where the Holy Spirit abides; (2) when it is imperative and persistent, urging sudden action without time to reason, or intelligently weigh the issues; (3) when it is confusing and clamorous, so that the man is hindered from thinking; for the Holy Spirit desires the believer to be intelligent, as a responsible being with a choice, and will not confuse him so as to make him incapable of coming to a decision.
The speaking of evil spirits can also be a counterfeit of the apparent inner speaking of the man himself, as if he were himself "thinking," and yet with no concentrated action of the mind; e.g., a persistent and ceaseless "commentary" going on somewhere within, apart from volition or mind action, commenting on the man's own actions or the actions of others, such as "you are wrong," "you are never right ..... God has cast you off ….. you must not do that," etc., etc.
The "voice of the devil" as an angel of light is more difficult to detect, especially when it comes with wonderful strings of texts which makes it appear like the voice of the Holy Spirit. Voices from without, either as from God or angels, may be rejected, yet the believer may be deceived by "floods of texts" which he thinks are from God. In this case the detection needs more knowledge, i.e.,
(1) Does the believer rely upon these "texts" apart from the use of his mind or reason? This indicates passivity.
(2) Are these texts a prop to him? (a) undermining his reliance on God Himself; (b) weakening his power of decision, and (right) self- reliance.
(3) Do these texts influence him? and (a) make him elated and puffed up as "specially guided by God," or (b ) crush and condemn him, and throw him into despair and condemnation, instead of leading him to sober dealing with God Himself, over the course of his life, with a keen and increasing knowledge of right and wrong obtained from the written Word by the light of the Holy Spirit?
If these, and other such like results, are the fruit of the "texts" given, they may be rejected as from the Deceiver, or at least an attitude of neutrality taken to them, until further proof of their source is given.
The voice of the devil as distinguishable from the voice of God may also be known by its purpose and outcome. Obviously if God speaks direct to a man, that man must be infallibly correct in regard to the specific matter in question. e.g ., A believer may say he is "led" to ask another to a meeting. The one asked must accept, or else give the lie to the other's "leading." If the one who believed he was "led" still holds to that position, he considers the one who declined as deceived, or else puts the matter aside without consideration, not realizing that failure in guidance means that he has deceived himself, or else become deceived by deceiving spirits.
Deceiving spirits carefully adapt their suggestions and leadings to the idiosyncrasies of the believer, so that they do not get found out; i.e., no "leading" will be suggested contrary to any strong truth of God firmly rooted in the mind, or contrary to any special bias of the mind. If the mind has a "practical" bent, no visibly foolish "leading" will be given; if the Scriptures are well-known, nothing contrary to Scripture will be said; if the believer feels strongly on any point, the "leadings" will be harmonized to suit that point; and, wherever possible, will be so adapted to previously true guidance from God, as to appear to be the continuance of that same guidance.
Here we see clearly the way of the enemy's working. The soul begins in God's will, but the purpose of the evil spirit is to draw it off into the carrying out of his will by counterfeiting the guidance of God. Satanic guidance alters the points of the life, and misdirects the energies of the man, and lessens his service value. To frustrate this artifice of the enemy, the believer should know that there are two distinct attitudes for guidance, which have serious results if their difference is not understood, i.e., (1) Trusting God to guide, and (2) trust that God is guiding.
The first means reliance upon God Himself, and the second is an assumption of being guided which can be taken advantage of by deceiving spirits. In the first, God does guide in response to definite trust in Him, and He guides through the spirit of the man who continues to co-operate with His Spirit; leaving every faculty free to act, and the will to choose intelligently the right step in the path before him.
In the second, when evil spirits take advantage of an assumption that God "is guiding," independently of momentarily watchful co-operation with the Holy Spirit, a slight compulsion may be noticed, slowly increasing in force, until presently the believer says "I was compelled" to do so-and-so, and "I was afraid to resist,"--the compulsion being taken as an evidence of the guiding of God, instead of recognized as contrary to God's principle of dealing with His children.
If yielded to, and believed to be of God, the result is that the believer becomes a slave to a supernatural powernote 31 which destroys all freedom of volition and judgment. He begins to be afraid to act himself, lest he should not fulfil, what he believes to be, a minute obedience to the "will of God." He asks "permission"note 32 to do the most obviously simple duties of life, and fears to take a step without "permission." As soon as the deceiving spirits have obtained perfect control, and the believer is so passively automatic that he is incapable of realizing his condition, they do not need to work so much under cover. They insidiously commence to direct him to do the most absurd or foolish things, carefully working inside the range of his passive obedience to their will, so as to avoid the danger of awakening his reasoning powers. As a matter of "obedience," and not from any true conviction, or true principle, he is bidden to let his hair grow long, so as to be like Samson, a Nazarite; to go without his cap, to prove his willingness to obey in the smallest matters; he must wear faded clothes as a "test" of "no pride," or as a "crucifixion of self," or as a mark of "implicit obedience to God."
These things may seem trifles to others, who use their reasoning powers, but they have great issues in the purpose of the deceiving spirits, who, by these directions, aim at making the believer a passive, unthinking, or unreasoning medium, pliable to their will; in obedience to which--even in these trivial matters--their hold deepens upon him.
When these foolish and absurd actions are publicly visible, the lying spirits know that they have destroyed the testimony of the deceived man in the eyes of sober people; but there are vast numbers of devoted believers, known to the Church at large, who are not pushed to such "extremes" of exterior action; but who are equally misled, or in bondage to "supernatural" commands concerning matters of food, dress, manner, etc., which they think they have received from God. The spirit of judgment of others, and the secret self-esteem for their "consecration to God" which accompanies their "obedience," betrays the subtle workings of the enemy.
As long as the believer thinks it is God who is directing him, so long the deceiving spirits are safe from exposure, and they can lead him on into more and more deception. When the man reaches a very high degree of Satanic deception, and possession, he finds himself unable to act unless the spirits in control allow him, so that he no longer even asks for "permission" to do this or that. In some cases they even establish communication with him from within his own bodily frame. If he desires to know whether he shall go here or there, he turns inward for guidance to the inner voice--supposed to be the "voice of God"--the answer "Yes," being by a movement of his head,note 33 caused by the spirit in possession, or "No" by no action at all; evil spirits making use of the body of the man in the same way as they reply to those who consult them through a "planchette" in other cases;note 34 showing their complete control over the nerves of the body and the whole being of the victim, who now believes that every supernatural movement in his body has signification since it may be originated by "God" in possession.
The possession by deceiving spirits at this stage is so great, that no arguments, reasonings, or outward considerations of any kind, influence the actions of the believer thus deceived; or turn him from obeying the "guidance," or "permission" of the inner voice, which he fully believes is of God. In truth should he endeavour to go against it in the smallest matter, the condemnation and suffering are so great, that he becomes terrified at any "disobedience," and would rather be condemned and misjudged by the whole world than go against it. His great horror is "disobeying the Holy Ghost," and the evil spirits deceiving him take every occasion to deepen this fear, so as to retain their hold upon him.
As the believer thus minutely obeys the spirit in control, he relies more and more upon supernatural help, for the moment he does something apart from it he is accused--apparently by the "Holy Spirit"--of "working apart from God."
It is at this stage that all the faculties fall into deepening passivity, as the man lets go entirely to the voice of guidance, and into a reliance upon the divine (?) speakings, which keep the brain in complete inaction.
Here also counterfeit manifestations in "miraculous gifts," prophecy, tongues, healings, visions, and supernatural experiences of every kind possible to the Satanic powers, may be given to the believer, with abundant "texts" and "proofs" to confirm their "Divine origin." He experiences a lightness of the body which makes it appear as if he were carried by invisible hands; he is lifted off his bed in what spiritists know as "levitation";note 35 he can sing and speak, and do what he has never been capable of doing before. Constant contact with spirit forces gives the man a "mystical" look, but all lines of strength, which come from strenuous conflict and self-mastery, go out of the face,note 36 for the sense-life is being fed and indulged in a spiritual way as much as by fleshly habits, yet these, such as smoking, etc., have for a time no power.