Symbolic Representations (Symbolics)
One of the things various people have tried to say about those of us in the deliverance ministry, is that we practice unbiblical or extra-biblical principals when ministering deliverance or coming up against evil spirits. The more I understand God's Word on these matters, the more I can confidently say that they are the ones who don't really know their Bibles!
Did you know that there is spiritual value in using symbolism, and it is a perfectly sound principal found in the Bible? For example, when you anoint a person with oil (which is found in the Bible), it symbolically represents the Holy Spirit. One tactic that I've seen in action, is when a minister holds the Bible upto somebody's body, and uses it to symbolically represent the Sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) against the demonic spirits. I've seen demons take off screaming and go ballistic when the Bible is used to symbolically represent the Sword of the Spirit, and is touched against that person's body in faith! I love to watch as unspeakable terror rips across the person's face, as the demon manifests and responds to the Word of God as it is used against them! Does this mean we aren't to speak the Word against them? Not at all! But this is one tactic I've seen that has been very effective in driving out stubborn evil spirits.
You might say, "That sounds great, but where does the Bible speak of taking something physical, and using it to symbolically represent something spiritual? There are many cases of this in the Bible that we find in both the old and new testaments.
Biblical examples of demonic symbolic representation
An idol is basically a symbolic representation of a demonic spirit. The Bible tells us that when a person worships and sacrifices to an idol (a physical object used to represent something spiritual), they are actually offering their sacrifice to a demon:
1 Corinthians 10:19-20, "What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils."
I have actually heard that many idols meant to be worshiped will have a small hole in the back of them where the spirits come in when a person worships them and leaves when they are done.
God didn't want those symbolic idols even in the land of Israel at all, because they represented demonic spirits, and they were cursed objects... they carried demonic spiritual value:
Deuteronomy 7:25-26, "The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God. Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing."
Did you know that even water can carry a curse? It's true. Even something like water can have the ability to hold spiritual value and actually carry a curse with it. It was actually used to determine whether a woman was defiled in the OT:
Numbers 5:27-28, "And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed."
Biblical examples of holy symbolic representation
Perhaps one of the most well-known practices of symbolism is water baptism. Does the water itself cleanse the person of their sins? No, it is an outward sign of an inward change. Water baptism of symbolic of what is taking place in that person's heart.
Mark 1:5, "And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins."
Acts 8:38, "And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him."
In the Old Testament, there was a very strong and obvious use of symbolics to represent spiritual cleansing, as we can see here in Leviticus:
Leviticus 14:49-53, "And he shall take to cleanse the house two birds, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: And he shall kill the one of the birds in an earthen vessel over running water: And he shall take the cedar wood, and the hyssop, and the scarlet, and the living bird, and dip them in the blood of the slain bird, and in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times: And he shall cleanse the house with the blood of the bird, and with the running water, and with the living bird, and with the cedar wood, and with the hyssop, and with the scarlet: But he shall let go the living bird out of the city into the open fields, and make an atonement for the house: and it shall be clean."
For the Passover, God spoke clearly to His people to put the blood of a lamb upon their door posts, as it will be a symbol or signal that the angel of death would recognize and pass over their home and not kill the firstborn therein:
Exodus 12:7-13, "And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it... And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt."
The angel of death recognized the blood on the door posts and did not enter those homes!
In the OT, oil was used as a symbolic representation that was used to anoint people and places:
Exodus 29:7, "Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him."
Exodus 40:9, "And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy."
In the NT, there are various symbolic representations used as well. For example, when praying over a person, it was a common practice to anoint the person with oil as a symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit:
James 5:14, "Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord."
Then there's also communion, where Jesus' body is symbolically represented with bread, and His blood is symbolically represented by wine (or juice):
1 Corinthians 11:24-30, "And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep."
This passage clearly shows us that many today are sick because they did not properly take communion as the Bible prescribes. There's a tremendous amount of value in symbolic representation, and the Bible is not shy to admit it.
I have a friend in the ministry who found that during sincere communion, people present began to actually manifest demons! They couldn't handle the power of the Holy Ghost that the people were coming into as they practiced communion as the early church used to. This person ended up teaching on communion and how many today are not practicing it as the early church practiced it. This same friend encountered demons during deliverances, and they have told him how much they bitterly hate communion when it is practiced as the early church practiced it!
Did you also know that pieces of cloth were used to aid in deliverances and healings in the early church? It is true! Paul was praying over handkerchiefs and aprons and sending them out to those who had demons and needed healings, and the demons departed and the people were healed!
Acts 19:12, "So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them."
If mere pieces of cloth can be used to aid in deliverances and healings, then how much more can we use the Bible to represent the Sword of the Spirit to aid in driving out unclean spirits? If I didn't see it work with my own two eyes, I wouldn't be here telling you this today!
Some closing thoughts
I have seen people pray over water, ask the Lord to bless it to symbolize the blood of Jesus, then sprinkle it around a room to cleanse it. Why not? Oil was sprinkled around the tabernacle in the OT to cleanse it! Oil was used in the early church to anoint people for prayer! A friend of mine in the ministry told me that fiery heat was felt as anointing oil was placed upon some heads in his ministry! One time water that was prayed over was sprinkled on somebody I knew, and they said they instantly felt the power and presence of God come all over them!
One time earlier this year, I was in a deliverance with a friend, and the two of us men stood there fiddling with a little bottle of anointing oil, because we could NOT get the oil to come out so we could put it on this person for prayer! We could see plenty of oil in there, but no matter how hard we tried to get it out, it wasn't budging! I take it those demons didn't want us to use physical oil to symbolically represent the Holy Spirit when anointing a person for prayer.
One time there was a minister who was praying over a young girl who came out of I believe Satanism, and when the pastor tried to take a ring off the girl's finger, the demon spirit cried out and screamed because it represented a covenant between the young girl and Satan!
A relative of mine one time shared a story with me about somebody he knew in the army that had a Ouija board. When the man tried to get rid of it, it kept coming back....it kept showing up in the man's closet regardless of what they tried to do with it! They tried burning it, throwing it in the trash, and cutting it into pieces!
There's definitely spiritual value in symbolics, the Bible is very clear about this matter. If we have any occult rings, idols, false religion artifacts, or even books, then I recommend getting rid of them and cleaning our homes from such pollution! This isn't a new concept, not only was it practiced in the OT, but this same kind of housecleaning was practiced in the early church as well:
Acts 19:18-19, "And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver."
We can use symbolic representation to bring glory to God as well! We can anoint people with oil before praying over them, we can use the Bible (the Word of God, which is the Sword of the Spirit - Ephesians 6:17) to aid in deliverances, we can pray over water and ask the Lord to allow the water to symbolically represent the blood of Jesus... I've seen these things in action, and it's beautiful!
Disclaimer: Before anybody misunderstands me, I'm not trying to worship the water, the oil or any physical object for that matter, but I'm merely pointing out how God honors our efforts when we use physical things to represent spiritual things. Such as using oil to represent the Holy Spirit while praying over somebody. Occultist are well aware of the power of symbolic representations, and there are millions of demonic symbols used in the occult world. The Bible also speaks clearly about how physical things can represent spiritual things and can be used for both good and bad purposes.