I was walking by the guys with the crystal balls in New Orleans many years ago. One called out, “Hey you want to ask me a question?” I smiled and replied, “No I get all my answers from Jesus.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if the enemy was always SO blatant? I had to learn through a hard season in my early days in South Sudan, divination is not always the purview of crystal balls, witch doctors and tarot cards. It can be alive and well even in the church. The most dangerous lies are the ones cloaked in 99% “truth”. And as I have heard some very rightly say recently, “All truth is not created equal.”
Truth is not just getting the facts or information straight. It is presenting them in a way that allows the hearers to draw the right conclusions. If partially right information is being presented only in half-tones and nuances, but leads people to believe something other than the truth, bluntly that is called deception.
Divination is more than a practice, it is actually a demonic spirit.
The first time we find mention directly of the spirit of divination is in the book of Acts.
Acts 16:16-19 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.
Divination is the root word in Greek puthon. It is where we get our term python from. Python, or Pythios, was one of the names of Apollo, the Grecian god of the fine arts, of music, poetry, medicine, healing of disease; and eloquence. Of these he was esteemed to have been the inventor. (Barnes Notes on the Bible). We now use the term python to describe a genus of large snakes.
I think it is very interesting that what this spirit cried out through the slave girl was TRUE information. It was right information in this case, with a wrong motive and source.
It is important that we don’t just discern the accuracy of prophetic words based on the quality of information they give, but based on source they are rooted in and the fruit accompanying them.
Mostly right information from the wrong source is deadly.
Jer. 23:25-32 “I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart, who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal?
“The prophet who has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has aMy word speak My word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?” declares the LORD.
“Is not My word like fire?” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock? Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who steal My words from each other.
“Behold, I am against the prophets,” declares the LORD, “who use their tongues and declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ “Behold, I am against those who have prophesied false dreams,” declares the LORD, “and related them and led My people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest benefit,” declares the LORD.
Matt. 7:15-20 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.”
Let me straight up say, I love the prophetic. I love revelations and dreams and supernatural encounters. I have been a seer since I was little. I met Jesus in a visitation. I believe God wants to give us eyes to see like never before. I am just also keenly aware in a season of time where Jesus wants to release TRUE vision, the enemy would like to release false or deceptive sight as well. And it is really really important that we can tell the difference.
The accuracy of the information alone is not enough always to discern the truth or source of the word. Deception is by its nature is often very subtle especially in the beginning. So how do we tell the difference? Pretty much: look at the fruit.
Pythons in the natural are a type of large, non venomous snakes that kill their prey by suffocation and constriction. Each time the prey exhales to take another breath, the snake tightens its death grip. It has been said the process is a slow one and the only way of escape is to cut off the snakes head. The pressure applied is very cautiously increased because the cause of deaths of the victims of python attacks are not those of a rapid crushing, but rather of methodical suffocation. (Encyclopedia Britannica)
In ancient times, a python was also believed to be a spirit that seized a person and caused “prophetic” utterance unknown to them through their own mouths. It is the counterfeit of true ecstatic revelation and prophecy that God has been and is continuing to restore to His Bride, the Church in increasing measure.
Given all of that, what is some of the fruit or signs of influence from a python-like spirit or spirit of divination?
- Control, often through misleading prophetic words, word curses, accusations, condemnation, fear and unbelief
- Confusion and disorientation
- An onset of spiritual apathy or hopelessness like a slow suffocation of your dreams, hopes and visions, often with a depression, discouragement and despair
- A slow constant constricting, weighing down even to the point of wanting to die
- The spirit of python/divination is closely linked with the spirit of infirmity and a spirit of death. Apollo was the god of medicine and healing disease. The goal of python attacks is to ultimately kill the prey.
- Manipulation especially spiritual or religious in nature
- Long term infirmity: often seen in chronic fatigue and pain or unexplained lingering ailments that come and go and are hard to pin down; even chronic “syndromes” with little to no known medical explanations
- Nighttime attacks of choking/difficulty breathing
- Drained of all spiritual and physical strength
- Can be released to operate even in the church through slander, intimidation, judgement and criticism: life and death are in the power of the tongue
- Often this is seen in those who operate in intimidation and manipulation, even while being strong in things of the Spirit gifting wise– when the atmosphere around them swirls in a fear that quenches the life of God in others and leaves others afraid to speak anything that challenges their authority or perspective, causing everyone to walk in eggshells in their presence
- Can be given legal right to attack and strengthen its grip when we believe its lies, especially under the guise of manipulative prophetic words
- Even right information, mostly accurate prophetic revelation on an informational level but with the motive of personal gain, self aggrandizement or even innocently gaining identity from the spiritual operation of such giftings- that is shaky ground and can slip into divination.
- Can be very calculating and subtle, starting almost at an annoyance level before it constricts life out of its victims- Paul and Silas cut it off before it got there!
- Often attacks creative and spiritually sensitive people as well as leaders, especially those with creative calls in the arts and revelatory giftings.
- Prophesies the deceptions of its own heart
- The intention/motive (known or hidden) is to cause the focus of the hearers to be on the person and the revelation given itself (WHAT an amazing visitation) instead of the revelation drawing people’s gazes to Jesus
- Competition and stealing words from one another. (Jesus has been teaching me to steward my pearls and be careful whom I let play with them. I really had to learn this one the good ol’ fashioned HARD way though!)
- People led astray… through falsehoods (deceptions, disappointments, false hope, lies, lying visions, perjury, vanities, untruths, sham) and reckless boasting (boasting as extravagance, frivolity, unimportant lightness that bubbles up or froths as boiling water)
- Not sent or commanded and they furnish the people no benefit
- Come in mantles of deception- wear sheep’s clothing looking harmless. They may even believe their own “sheepskin” and be unaware of the deeper motives or dynamics at play.
- Are inwardly ravenous wolves- ravenous: snatch away, take by force, seize
- Known, recognized, known exactly, be made aware of, ascertained, perceived by their fruits: no good tree bears bad fruit. Can’t always be seen immediately in the words themselves as they are often subtly deceptive but CAN be seen in the overall fruit of the person’s life and character.
God’s word must be spoken in TRUTH. Not just right information or accurate content but truth… in the person of Truth Who is Jesus and with the end of the hearer being led into greater relationship with One Who is Truth Himself.
So what happens if you realize some of this might describe things that have been affecting you? One or two could be a bad week. But if you have several of them together, especially over a prolonged season, you very well might be having an issue with this spirit trying to squeeze His life out of you.
In my own journey, the biggest thing was recognizing it for what it was. Then came shutting any doors of spiritual access or agreement and setting relational boundaries of love and truth. On to reclaiming stolen ground and flying in freedom!
Very simply. Light displaces darkness.
- Recognize the lie: Hmmmm that is not true, that is a lie or that is leading me down a wrong path away from Jesus.
- Repent of the lie: Go the opposite direction and forgive any person that was associated with operating in it… our battle is never against flesh and blood, but flesh and blood often needs to be released through forgiveness in the midst of the battle, especially when they are being “borrowed” by the enemy!
- Refuse the lie and the associated oppression. Kick the spirits off and out in Jesus name. They’re done. Bye bye don’t come back. Cut off the serpents head.
- Receive the Truth of who Jesus is and what HE says in place of the lie. Breathe in His breath of life.
- Renew your mind, which is where much of the battle takes place, in the Truth of the Person of Jesus as He is revealed in His Word.
Depending on how deeply you have been affected, you might want to seek some trusted leaders/friends to pray with you. After walking through a season of some nasty dealings with this dynamic relationally, prayer made all the difference. I am so grateful to Jesus for the spiritual family He has placed around me.
It has taken me several years to finally understand all that was involved. And I am so grateful for the lessons learned! I just wanted to share some of what I have gained through the journey that perhaps it might be of some help. At the end of the day, I refuse to be impressed with the enemy or to focus on him. But I do want to be aware of his schemes. And at the end of the day, the battle is NEVER against flesh and blood. It is always our choice to walk in Love and Truth even in the middle of fear and deception. I will not be impressed with the enemy or his schemes. But I will seek to dismantle them and see all who I am in relationship with fully empowered to be free in Jesus through my choices to set healthy relational boundaries and walk in freedom myself.
So praise Jesus: having our senses trained by use and exercise to discern good and evil (even when it is a very subtle mixture thereof), may we ever walk in the love and freedom He paid such a high price for.