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Engaging the spirits: 
An Adventist's Perspective on Fighting Spiritual Battles

by Yvon Caza

Chapter 5: Ministering to the Demon-Afflicted

Ministering to the Demon-Harassed

No doubt there is a place for ministry to those who are tempted and controlled by Satanic agencies. As Christians, we "may be called upon to participate, or even to lead out, in prayer services for victims of Satanic harassment or possession. An important work of personal preparation is spelled out in Scripture and in Ellen White’s writings which includes close self-examination to discover the possible presence of sin which needs to be repented of, confessed, and forsaken before confrontation with the supernatural forces of evil. Fasting and prayer may be an important part of this preparatory work. There is a place for this kind of ministry, conducted properly."104

How should this ministry be conducted? John Nevius, a Presbyterian missionary to China in the nineteenth century, wrote a book entitled Demon Possession and Allied Themes. In it he reported healings of hundreds of cases of demon possession among the Chinese. How was this accomplished? Not by attempting to cast out the demons, but by the preaching of the gospel and all that that entails— stressing [what is known in theological circles as the "classic-mode of spiritual warfare"] individual responsibility for sin and the need to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and power to overcome that sin, surrendering to Christ, and maintaining our union with Him, moment by moment. The solution and therapy for those afflicted with demons is the preaching of the Gospel. This is the emphasis of the New Testament Epistles and of the writings of E. G. White.


Ellen White’s Ministry to the Demon-possessed

Repeatedly Ellen White appeals to those in bondage to Satan to break away themselves from the evil one, through God’s power. The victims alone can do this.105 No one else can do this for them. It must be their desire.

The following is but one example106 of a few107 that could be drawn from the writings of E. G. White. It is entitled, "Message to a Sinner: Look to Jesus and Live:"

Dear Brother:

I cannot forbear writing to you. I knew your countenance as you were seated in the tent at my right hand on the Sabbath [Sept. 13, 1891] at Colorado Springs. The Lord has presented your case before me as one who was in need of that help which God alone could give you. I heard words of hopelessness and despair coming from your lips. I heard wicked words, blasphemous words. Said Jesus, as He looked upon you piteously, "These are not the words of the man, but the words of the spirit that has possessed him. God will heal him. He has gone far in resisting the Spirit of God, but Jesus is drawing him by the tender cords of His love. He has separated from God, but God has not separated from him. Through a train of circumstances he has lost confidence in himself, in his best friends, and turned from light to darkness, from truth to error, and has been left to feel his own weakness."

You were the very one I was shown who was under the power of demons. "When this young man gives himself to Christ, the victory is gained." Said the heavenly voice, "Break with the deceiver. He is deluding your soul to your ruin. He will not let you go; only the power of the Mighty Deliverer can save you." Charge not my precious loving Saviour with your unhappiness and your ruin. The storm of temptation has swayed you like a reed in the wind, and through these bitter and almost overwhelming storms you have clung to your mantle of pride, hugging it closer about you. Prostrated in the dust, you are apparently devoid of willpower, without strength to rise. No earthly friend is powerful enough to raise you. You still cling to your pride; you utter the words of Satan abiding in your heart. Said Christ, "It is not he but a demon that speaks. I will save him if he will trust in me as a little child trusts in his father, his mother."

Lay your pride at the feet of One who owns you, who loves with a love that is infinite. Stand in your God-given manhood, in the strength of Him who can save to the uttermost all who come unto Him. Then your purposes will not be like ropes of sand. In His presence, standing under the shadow of the cross, His mercy, His love, His forgiveness, cover the blackest stains of sin. The Holy Spirit helpeth your infirmities. The Master has work for you to do, to speak words of hope, of comfort, of love, of Christ’s forgiveness, pardon, to the helpless, the wandering, the lost. You have no will that leads you to Jesus, but a will that leads you away from Him. With open arms He will receive you.

The Lord has made provision for your simple necessities. While you need not despise money, you will appreciate it in a different light than you have hitherto done. You will say, "It is all the Lord’s. My skill, my aptness and ability, I have misapplied. I will now let Jesus elevate me by the golden chain of truth that will bind me to His eternal throne."

I ask you to work and walk out on my faith, if you cannot on your own. Answer the drawings of the Holy Spirit of God. Accept the prayers of the people of God in your behalf. Poor, tempest-tossed soul, only believe in Jesus’ willingness to save you. Let not Satan be your spokesman any longer. Jesus has work for you to do. Satan will speak for you if you will let him, but tell him "No; let my lips utter only words of faith and hope and truth." Keep talking faith, rebuke the enemy, and the great black cloud of despair will arise and roll back and disappear.

You cannot make yourself any better; Jesus can do all this. When the Israelites were bitten by the fiery poisonous serpents whose sting was certain death, the brazen serpent was lifted up on a pole, and Jesus, enshrouded in the cloudy pillar, bade Moses tell them, "Look and live." The same Jesus has bidden me tell you, Look and live. Do not climb the pole, but only look. I present Christ to you. Look and live. There is hope, comfort, and peace for you. There is even joy in the Holy Ghost for you. Now I bid you in the name of Jesus, Look and live.

You may say, "Oh, I am a great sinner." I admit it; Jesus is well acquainted with all this, and He says, "I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" [Mark 2:17]. He has paid the ransom money for your soul, and the price was His own flesh and blood. The badness of your heart should not keep you away from Christ, but bring you closer to your only Hope, your only Helper. Will you allow Satan to triumph? He has unbalanced your mind, so that you are not able to reason calmly and sensibly. Oh, the marvels of the grace of Christ for you! Behold, how Jesus loves you! Satan is pleased to have you look upon God as a tyrant. There is no wrath in God except for the hateful character of sin. Lay your sin on Jesus; leave it to Him; then do what He tells you to do, as a little child, irrespective of consequences.

Satan is playing the game of life for your soul. Shall he conquer? I say No, a thousand times No. God has a work for you to do, but all you have now to do is to look to Jesus, who was lifted up, and live.

It is the love of Christ for your soul that constrains me. Shall Christ have died for you in vain? You are unconsciously groping after the heavenly light. Satan shall not conquer; he shall be expelled through prayer and faith. When you come to Jesus, you find He comes to you and clasps you in His everlasting arms.

In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, I rebuke108 the foul and wicked spirit that has acted for you.109 Jesus is the conqueror. You may exert all your powers, were they not under the bewitching power of Satan and you echo his sentiments; but Christ will break his power for his work. He testifies [He] is to break every yoke and set the oppressed free. You have been bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ. You feel and see only wrath and condemnation, that you may hate God and all who lead you to Jesus. In Christ you may find all you need. The loving Saviour is already drawing nigh to heal you.

Satan would have your soul; shall he have it? Say, No, never; it is Christ’s property. Satan says, "Curse God and die." Will you do it? He curses God for you, that you may repeat his wicked blasphemy. Will you do it? No, for Jesus has died; He has purchased your life. Your soul is His property, and He will take you by the hand; He will draw you away from perdition; He will make you, as John, His beloved disciple, to win the crown of eternal life. He bids you, through me, His humble servant, "Look and live." He opens His loving heart to you that you may hide in the cleft of the Rock. Say not, "There is no hope for me." Satan triumphs every time you say it. Let these thoughts be in your heart, "Thou, O Lord, hast created me for Thyself." He has permitted you to live that you might become acquainted with Jesus and be willing to follow Him.—Letter 85, 1891. (Written to J. A. Starr, Sept. 22, 1891, from Healdsburg, California.)

A Modern Example of Possession 110

My daughter Sharon and her husband were in need of someone to help with the house chores. They were apprehensive about having just anyone and did not quite know how to go about finding the right person. Since we have several SDA gospel outreach programs, I thought maybe some poor girl was out there needing employment and we could sure use her help with the new born baby. So I contacted Mr. Subramaniam who is one of our laymen in the Maskeliya area. He inquired around and found a young girl and brought her to Colombo which is a four hours bus journey.

When she arrived, I discovered she was only 10 years old. I was a bit concerned about her age, but Mr. Subramaniam reassured me that she had some experience in working in homes and would be easy to teach and cooperative. So we accepted her as our future helper in our daughter’s house.

Shortly after her arrival, my daughter called for her mother to come over to the house in an intent and concerned voice. Of course my wife went to see what was the. problem. Because my wife did not return right away, I was wondering what had happened to her. After some time, I went dashing to Sharon’s house to find out what was the matter. When I arrived, Sharon met me with a fearfully expression and explained that she feared that this little girl was possessed of evil spirits.

The girl had indicated to Sharon that she was possessed of a spirit and told how she was able to walk on hot coal fires without any signs of burns, and was able to have her cheeks pierced with spikes, and how she would begin shivering when she was really possessed.

The Hindus think that it was not an evil spirit that possessed them but it was their gods that took possession of their human souls. They considered it a blessing to themselves.

My wife and Sharon’s question to me as to what shall we do? Shall we send the girl back home? No, I said, we are going to pray to our God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

We then gathered around and began singing gospel songs and earnestly praying for God’s intervention on her behalf. After finishing praying, the little girl appeared normal and said that she felt very healthy and was quite happy. I then taught the little girl a simple prayer by asking her to repeat it after me several times.

Dear Jesus, please protect me from all harm and danger and from the evil spirits. The little girl learned the prayer very quickly and she went to bed that night after kneeling by her bed-side saying this little prayer out loud to God.

The next morning the little girl explained that during the night, she had a very bad and frightening dream that hundreds of snakes surrounded her to harm her. The little girl got up from bed in fear and trembling. However, she had not forgotten the advice I had given her and she prayed the simple prayer to Jesus. Immediately all fear left her. She crawled back into bed and slept peacefully the rest of the night. Surly the Lord has answered that little prayer of faith by granting her that night a peaceful sleep. Thereafter, the little girl was not disturbed at all by the evil spirits.

Because of sickness and being the child was so small, Sharon thought that this girl was too small to be employed in her home and the girl needed to be with her parents. Before, leaving the house, the little girl told us that she will never forget the prayer she has learned. She would always pray that prayer when going to bed, and in the morning when she gets up from the bed. She also said that she would tell her parents and her neighbors that there is a person called Jesus who will protect us from evil spirits, if a person prays to Him.

We feel that God had a plan in sending this little girl to us although this little girl stayed in the home only for 7 days. Praise God for His mysterious ways. Do pray with us for this little girl (Manimegala).

Written by Pastor J. Gnanasekeran, Secretary of Sri Lanka Mission.



104 "Spiritual Warfare and Deliverance Ministry" and Seventh-Day Adventists: A report of the Biblical Research Institute, General Conference of Seventh-Day Adventists, 1983, p. 59-60.

105 E. G. White, Manuscript Releases, Vol. 4, p. 237.

106 E. G. White, Manuscript Releases, Vol. 13, p. 148-152, Manuscript #1020 in its entirety.

107 E. G. White, Manuscript Releases, Vol. 15; TSB p. 77.

108 Notice that this wicked spirit is being rebuked— by appealing to the possessed one to turn to Jesus and live. Repeatedly when E. G. White uses this expression she appeals to prayer, faith and conversion as the means— see chapters 16 & 32 in L. & L. Rosenvold, The Battle for the Mind: Spiritual Warfare— False and True, 1987, Hope International; for more examples of overcoming demonic control, see chapter 14 of the same book. In her experience with Daniel Bourdeau, she states: "I prayed again and again, with strong crying and tears, for God to cast out the devil" (15MR, p. 368).

109 Note that she is not addressing herself to the spirit but to the person. Paul commanded the evil spirit only under inspiration (see AA p. 212-213). Jesus addressed demons. The question remains, should we? The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy writings uniformly forbid human communication with the evil supernatural world of Satan and his demons (see Lev 19:31; Is 8:19; 1T p. 428-429; 3T p. 482-483; MR #1058). "Bear in mind that it is none but God that can hold an argument with Satan (Letter 206, 1906)" (5SDABC p. 1083). For further study see L. & L. Rosenvold, The Battle for the Mind: Spiritual Warfare— False and True, 1987, Hope International.

110 This true story in its entirety was related on Sabbath School Net, Friday March 21, 1997 by, who heard it from Pastor J. Gnanasekaran and asked him to put it in writing.

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