We come now to the most important point as far as Christian counseling is
concerned. How can people who suffer occult oppression or are possessed by
demons be delivered?
2. The number of people who find freedom is always smaller than the number of the oppressed. Jesus says at the end of the Sermon on the Mount that there are many who go the broad way and only a few who find the narrow way. Salvation, healing, and deliverance is offered to all in Christ. But there are only a few who grasp the outstretched hand of the Lord by faith.
This is no reason for discouragement. We know of the victory. We know that God will make all the enemies of His Son a footstool for His feet. We can therefore be of good cheer, however dark and full of demons the world may seem.On the very day I sat down to write this chapter, the Lord gave me a wonderful experience, as it were, a kind of prelude to what I am to write.
Ex 317: This morning a woman came for counseling. She comes from the East, from an area where there are no doctors, only magic charmers. She has had many kinds of oppression in her life, stemming from the time when as a little child she was taken to a charmed by her parents. She came to see me during one of my most recent missions. She confessed her sins, and received deliverance by faith. Now, a few months later, she has come to tell me that everything in her life has changed. Here we see the power of Jesus, not the routine work of an evangelist.
In part C of this book, I want to bear witness to two things. The first is the blindness of many Christian workers. I refer the reader to what I said in my introduction and to the statement of Brother Gilgen that there is no occultism in Switzerland. I have met great numbers of Christian workers on every continent who take this view. During various evangelistic campaigns in Vancouver, Canada, brother Gebauer has told me of many instances where he has counseled people in Vancouver suffering from occult oppression. The pastor of another church said, on the other hand, that such things did not take place in Vancouver. Another incident that really shocked me was in another Canadian city. The church elders of a Lutheran church there asked me to come and speak in their church. “I cannot do so,” I replied, “unless I am invited by the pastor of your church.” The brethren discussed the matter with their pastor and then came back with his reply, “We do not need Dr. Koch to speak to us, for there is nothing of that sort in our church.” One of the elders who brought the message remarked with bitter sarcasm, “Even though our pastor’s wife practices table-tapping with the women’s fellowship and the organist is involved in astrology!” Blindness upon blindness! I have experienced worse things still. It was in a city in which I also preached the gospel years ago.
Ex 318: A woman came to me for counseling and told me that as a girl she had felt an inward desire to join a certain Christian youth group. She attended several meetings of this youth group. One evening she had a nosebleed. The leader of the group gave her a prescription. She must take a piece of paper on which was written a spell from the Sixth and Seventh Book of Moses and put it under her tongue. The bleeding stopped at once. When she one day had a nosebleed again, she tried the spell once more. Again it worked. The woman said that since that time she had lost her inward hunger for the Word of God and for prayer. She did not join that Christian youth movement. “I had thought up until then,” she said, “that people in that group would know what sorcery is. I was disappointed beyond measure.”
Ex 319: The young wife of a pastor grew up in East Prussia. Her father was a member of the Christian Fellowship movement and belonged to the East Prussian prayer fellowship. It was his custom during the night before Easter Day to bring the so-called “Eastern water,” which is used for sorcery in many areas. The water has to be taken from a flowing stream. Nothing must be said while this is being done. Then the water is used to sprinkle the sick and to bless children. The pastor’s wife also did this to her own children. Later, it became clear that all her children had developed some kind of abnormality. This custom of bringing “Easter water” belongs to the realm of white magic, a form of sorcery. That a member of the Christian Fellowship movement should be unaware of this is another sign of terrible spiritual confusion and inadequate teaching.
Ex 320: A certain pastor is a water diviner. He uses a rod to search for water. He is still a young man but is already given to dreadful attacks of rage, at which time he beats his own wife. At the age of thirty-eight, he had two strokes. His six-year-old child is not normal. This man maintains that his gift is from God and that it is his duty to use it for the benefit of his parishioners. A counseling session revealed that his grandfather was a cattle charmer.
Ex 321: The superior of a deaconesses’ house was in the habit of saying toitoitoi (a German phrase used rather like the English expression touch wood — translator). The new chaplain to the house was a believer and pointed out to the superior and the other sisters how superstitious this was. The word toiis a medieval abbreviation for Teufel (devil). Thereupon the superior became angry and said, “You are confusing my sisters.” She did not become calm again until the chaplain had gone.
Ex 322: A woman missionary in South Africa was driving across the country with four Bantu pastors. At one point, the pastors asked her to stop. The missionary asked why. The men explained that this was the place where a chief magician was buried. “If we do not show respect to this man, we shall have an accident later today.” The missionary rejected their demand but the pastors insisted. So they stopped. The missionary stayed in the car, while the four men went to the magician’s grave, bowed their heads, and said a prayer. Then they drove on. An hour later they did have an accident. The Bantu pastors blamed the missionary, “It is your fault that we have had this accident, because you refused to pay the proper respect to this chief magician.”
There are also people who have made a stand against this false spirit of sorcery. I would mention an old, believing pastor in the Werra valley in Germany. One day he discovered there was a man in his parish who was a magic charmer. He visited him and tried to show him the error of his ways, warning him that he might exclude him from the communion. The charmer replied, “What do you want, Pastor? I have made charms not only over every house and family in this village, but also over all the villages in the neighborhood.” The pastor reported the situation to his church council. He thought that something ought to be done against it. The elders replied that they themselves and their families had been charmed by this man. There was nothing that the pastor could do. Nevertheless he said, “When this man is buried I will make my witness at the graveside against the evil of magic charming.” The charmer was at this time already in his late eighties. The pastor kept his word. When he tried to introduce a Bible study meeting in his parish, the parishioners said, “We will not go to the pastor’s sect.” Three men who have worked in the Werra valley as pastors and preachers have told me that the villages in that area are very ungodly; there is scarcely any spiritual life. It is no wonder, if a charmer has for decades been putting people under a spell.
Ex 323: One of my friends in South Germany, after reading my book Christian Counselling and Occultism, preached a series of sermons against sorcery in his church. The result was pandemonium in the village. The village had a charmer who had made charms over about seventy-five percent of all the farms and the families living there. There were many suicides and murders in this farming community. The farmers attacked the pastor so vigorously that, in the end, he had to leave this church. Those who make their witness against sins of sorcery must expect counterattacks from Satan and his helpers.
In evangelistic campaigns, one sometimes finds that no one comes forward for counseling until an address has been given attacking sins of sorcery. Wolfgang Heiner, leader of the “Frohe Botschaft” mission team, once told me, “The barriers in an evangelistic campaign are not usually broken down until one has spoken about the occult.”
Ex 324: One more example, this time from an Australian evangelist, with whom I traveled for about three years. He was conducting a mission in Newcastle, England. Next to the mission tent was the annual fair with its sideshows. As the evangelist was passing a fortuneteller’s tent, the fortuneteller called out to him; “I can tell you what your future holds.” “I know my future,” he replied, “I do not need your help.” “You will speak to thousands of people,” she cried, “and make long journeys.” “I can tell you your future, too,” replied Tony, “from this Book.” He held out his Bible. The fortuneteller asked, “What is my future, then?” “If you do not repent of your sorcery,” answered the evangelist, “and receive Jesus as your Lord, you will be lost.” “What kind of book is that?” she asked.“The Bible.” She shook herself and expressed her disgust. After this introduction, we must now go on to the question, how does one find deliverance?
I will answer this question by giving twenty suggestions. To avoid misunderstanding, I will say at once that these twenty suggestions are not a system, a method, or a template. We must simply bring together all the help
which the New Testament offers us. It occasionally happens that the exalted Lord reaches down with His mighty hand into a human life and frees someone without the necessity that all twenty points be observed. Twentyfive
years ago, in my first book Christian Counselling and Occultism, I emphasized that in the field of the occult, one cannot work according to a preconceived pattern. My opponents often raise objections against me. These
objections have already been answered in my books. The pastoral suggestions I make in the following paragraphs are of great importance to me, and I have therefore numbered them and given them headings in bold type.
1. Come to Christ.
If people are suffering from occult oppression, they will get no help from a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or an adherent of modern theology. Nor is help to be found in yoga, meditation, or in autogenic training. In this situation only Christ can help. This exclusive claim is made in Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other [than Jesus Christ]: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” In Matthew 11:28, Jesus calls all those who are burdened to come to Him. The Greek text of this verse is a lovely invitation, deute pros me kopiontes kai pephortismenoi. Freely translated it means, “Come to me all you who are wearing yourselves out and who bear heavy burdens.” Not only has Jesus given us the command to come to Him, but He also gives us the promise of John 6:37, “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
He who tries to shake himself free of his burdens without Christ will be bitterly disappointed. Years ago, I held a mission in the Bergkirche in Marburg. After one of my addresses, a woman came into the vestry. “I suffer
from all those things you have been talking about,” she said, “please help me.” “Are you willing,” I asked in reply, “to commit your life to Christ?” She flew into a rage. “Leave me alone with your Jesus!” she cried. “I want to become well and free.” “Without Jesus, neither you nor I can do it,” I replied calmly. She left the vestry quite angry. He who would be free must be willing to commit his life completely to Christ. Otherwise there is no way of deliverance from these bonds.
2. Destroy all occult objects.
Occult objects like amulets, talismans, fetishes, mascots, letters from heaven, lucky charms, threatening letters, figures of gods and cultic objects belonging to non-Christian religions are crystallization points for demonic powers. Rationalists who pour scorn on such things are doing the devil’s work for him. How often missionary wives have told me that from the moment that their husbands hung up a devil’s mask in their living room, there was strife and discord in the family! It is extremely foolish and shows a great lack of experience
for missionaries in their collector’s zeal to bring home devil’s masks and other cultic objects and to keep them in their homes.
Ex 325: A minister’s wife on Prince Edward Island had collected a whole table-full of figures of gods and cultic objects from the mission field. Today she is in a mental institution. It is remarkable how pagans who come to Christ often know, at once, that they must destroy their idols. Only Christians are without this elementary Christian knowledge. When a small revival broke out in Liberia in 1913 under Mr. Harris, the local inhabitants immediately threw away their idols. In the last five years, when revival came to the island of Rote through the ministry of Pastor Zacharias, the natives destroyed their idols and even burned the houses in which there had been idols. They said that the atmosphere of these houses had been evilly influenced by the idols. In Africa, it sometimes happens that children are born with a kind of outer skin. This skin is known as a cowl. The native inhabitants believe that these children have special psychic powers. The cowl is usually made into an amulet by the midwife, and it is worn by the child throughout his life. Missionaries say that these amulets present a great barrier to conversion. Only those natives who destroy the cowl are able to come to Christ.
Ex 236a: Following a mission in the Hamburg area, a preacher burned his copies of the books of Lorber. He said that now at last he had discovered why he experienced such strange attacks when praying or reading his Bible. The trouble ceased after the spiritualist books had been burned.
Ex 326b: Another young man had exactly the opposite experience. He came to faith in Christ and burned all the things he had which were occult. But he kept his Lorber books, a leather bound edition of the Greater Gospel of John. This was a precious possession for the young man. He had paid several hundred marks for it. He was not at first willing to destroy these books because of their great value. He could not, however, find a real faith. He had one illness after another, and terrible struggles and temptations. The Christians who were counseling him told him, “As long as you are not willing to burn your Lorber books, we will not come to your house to pray anymore.” It was several months before the young man was willing to burn them. Then at last
he was freed from his occult bondage.
Ex 327: Some years ago I preached in Leith Samuel’s church in Southampton, South England. Brother Leith told me how he had led a young girl to faith in Christ. But afterward she still suffered from depression and could not get free from her bondage. In the end, it came to light that she still possessed two magic books and still met with her spiritist friends. The pastor told her that she would not be free until she burned the books by Edwards and Cayce and broke contact with her spiritist friends. She did so and became free.
Ex 328: In Hawaii, a native woman came to a missionary named Birkey. The woman complained not only of depression and anxiety, but also of poltergeists during the night. Her husband had died several months previously as an unbeliever. The missionary counseled the woman and then visited her a few days later in her home. She noticed a little hut for the spirits up on the proof. The missionary asked her to take it down at once. She did so. Only then did this troubled and oppressed woman find freedom.
Ex 329: As already mentioned, a minister had to teach a class at a high school. The pupils asked him to teach them something about the occult. He ordered a copy of the Sixth and Seventh Book of Moses from a German publishing firm. His wife came to me for counseling and said, “Since we have had that devil’s book in our house, there has been strife and discord in our family.” She had often asked her husband to get rid of the horrible book, but without success. Those who would be free must destroy not only all occult objects but
also all books written by occultists. It is, however, all right to have books written by men of God which warn against the occult.
Ex 330: It made a great impression on me when King Kusa Nope, on the island of Timor, destroyed his precious amulets. They were jewels set in gold and were of very high value. Nevertheless, he smashed them with a hammer
and threw them into a rubbish pit. I heard his testimony in the church of Soe, during a great missionary conference. I have often been asked if it is advisable to take figures carved in wood home from the mission field as souvenirs. Objects carved from new wood and those which were not consecrated to any deity are not dangerous. Unfortunately, it is the custom in some areas, like the island of Bali, to consecrate even the newly carved figures of gods to some demon. I have been to Bali five times. I have taken home no objects from this island. But one should not go to extremes of exaggerated caution.
3. Break off all mediumistic contacts and friendships.
It is not enough to destroy all occult objects. We must also give up contact with people who are consciously practicing sorcery and are not willing tocease such practices. I will give some examples to illustrate this in various ways.
Ex 331: During my speaking tour of South Africa, a Baptist pastor came to me to talk things out. He had a revival in his church. Then he became ill. Hewent to see a healer. This man took some of his blood to use it for psychometricclairvoyance. The pastor went to this healer four times. At exactly thesame time, the revival stopped abruptly. The pastor could not understand why it had stopped so suddenly. By going to this healer, he had caused aspell to be cast over the revival in his church. When he read my book Between Christ and Satan his eyes were opened, as he told me personallyand later publicly stated at a gathering of ministers. This example shows thatit is possible to come under a ban even though acting in ignorance. The excuse “I didn’t know” does not protect us from the consequences.
Ex 332: When I was traveling around Peru and preaching at Pucallpa and Lima, I met Dr. Money who told me of his experiences with Christians who had done yoga exercises. His judg-ment was backed up by many examples.
He said to me, “He who goes in for yoga loses his Christian faith.” This should be said to all who think that yoga is a harmless activity which can also be practiced by Christians.
Ex 333: In Colombo, Sri Lanka, I gave several addresses in the church of the Rev. Fernando. I also met there Dr. Niles, a member of the World Council of Churches. It was Dr. Niles who told me the story which follows. A missionary in Sri Lanka was working in a village whose inhabitants were fire worshippers. The remarkable thing was that this village was often the scene of serious fires. The missionary told the villagers that these mysterious fire disasters would not stop until they stopped worshipping the fire devil. So heavy were their losses that the inhabitants were willing to stop offering sacrifices to the fire devil. Then the frequent fires in the village also ceased. A few weeks later, however, another fire occurred. The missionary called the villagers together again. It turned out that one man had again offered sacrifice to the fire devil.
Ex 334: In South Africa there are about 1.1 million Indian immigrants. These immigrants brought their Hindu gods with them. I have visited a number of communities where they live. An evangelist who works among them told me the following story. A certain Hindu family had a daughter who had been dumb for years. Since the Hindu gods were unable to help, the parents came one day to the missionary asking for his help and prayers. Brother N. visited the family and prayed with them. The first day there was no reaction to be seen in the girl. She only uttered an inarticulate cry. Brother N. went the next day, and the day after. On the third day, the girl suddenly asked a question. Everyone was filled with joy. The events of the next days, however, showed that the girl was not completely free. One evening she started to writhe around on the ground like a snake. The father sent her to bed. The next morning he called in the missionary again. Brother N. visited the family once more and asked them to bring out all their gods. The family had some sacred Hindu nails, used to ward off the spirits. The nails were handed over. Then the missionary prayed again for the girl. She still didn’t have complete deliverance. “Have you brought out everything?” the missionary asked the parents. The parents said
they had. The daughter however interrupted and said: “Mother, what have you hidden in the bath?” It was a beautiful idol which the mother was very loath to part with. Nevertheless she resolved to give up this idol, too. Then the girl was freed. The child’s dumbness was not organic, but the effect of a ban resulting from sorcery.
Ex 335: In Port Elizabeth, South Africa, I spoke at a ministers’ meeting as well as at several meetings in the churches. A minister’s wife told me of a friend of theirs who read the Bible, prayed, and was seeking Christ, but could not break through to real faith. This man is a Rosicrucian and unwilling to break with that organization.
Ex 336: In Pretoria, South Africa, a young man came to see me after I had spoken. He said that as a result of yoga exercises he had become lukewarm and slack in his Christian Life. Three of his friends had had the same experience. He added that the atmosphere of yoga was dangerous for believing Christians.
In counseling, one meets far more serious problems than these. I have often been told of situations like the following. The parents belong to a spiritist group and take their son or daughter with them to the seance. Then the son or daughter comes to faith in Christ. He must immediately stop going to the spiritist meeting. The problem then, however, is that it is very dangerous to the faith of these children who have become Christians to continue living with their parents. One often finds that these young, converted people fall
away. Sometimes I advise them to find a room to rent and stop living at home with their parents. Caution must be exercised by young believers in such situations even in praying for their parents. It is best if they pray for them only when together with others. In bad cases I even advise them, “Stop praying for your parents as long as they are unwilling to give up going to the spiritist meeting.” Intercession for people under occult influence who are not willing to come to Christ can be a source of continual struggle for young Christians. I pray only for people who wish to become free, and not for those who show no such willingness.
4. Recognize and confess your guilt.
Ex 337: A pastor in Schleswig-Holstein told me that in his women’s group, six out of eight women have been magically charmed. A neighboring pastor has three women in his group who have been charmed. Neither pastor dares to enlighten his church or women’s group for fear of hurting their feelings. How are members of a church to recognize their occult bondage and oppression for what it is, if their pastors do not point out these things to them? Here it is not only the church members who have been charmed who are guilty, but also the pastors.
Ex 338: A girl in Hamburg had her warts charmed. As a result, she was rid of these ugly growths. During a mission, she came to faith in Christ. There too she heard for the first time of the evil effects of magic charms. She confessed her guilt in the presence of a counselor and then prayed, “Lord Jesus, if it was wrong, let me have my warts return and be free of the ban.” The next day her warts reappeared. The hard rule is, Better warts on earth and no warts in Heaven than no warts on earth and warts in hell.
Ex 339: An epileptic girl went regularly to a Christian youth group. Then her mother, in ignorance, allowed her daughter to be charmed. The epilepsy disappeared. But after being charmed, the girl stopped coming under the Word of God. The pastor noticed this, visited the family concerned, and asked why she was not coming any more. The facts of the matter came out. After being told about the charming, the girl handed over an amulet, which upon examination, to her horror, contained a paper signing her to the devil. Both the mother and the daughter repented and confessed their guilt. They both started attending church. They were both able once more to read the Bible and pray. The epilepsy also reappeared.
1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” No one is delivered from occult bondage without recognizing and confessing his sin. This confession concerns not only occult sins, but everything that we recognize as sinful and which comes
between ourselves and God. If the person concerned has already made such a confession, there is no need for him to repeat it. It is a basic rule that confession of sin does not need to be repeated. There are, however,
some believing Christians who suffer from occult bondage because they have not recognized it. They must confess the things of which they have never repented to a counselor in the presence of God. In my many years’ experience of counseling, I have never known a person who was bound as a result of occult activities, or who was demon-possessed, to be freed without first recognizing and confessing his guilt. The apostle James wrote, “Confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another” (James 5:16).