|DEMONOLOGY AND RELIGION
John A. MacMillan
I AM REVEALED
Feb 20 2012
Demons are behind all heathen gods and image worship. The heathen does not worship the idol but the spirit which
indwells it. Everywhere in heathendom this is encountered. Old trees are in many cases supposed to be the home of
demons; altars are at their bases and incense smokes continually; some mountains or hills are specially holy as the
abode of spirits; the banks of streams are often the resort of spirits, and the cross is marked by sheaves of incense; the
air is the abode of spirits, and in China high places are crowned with pagodas for the control of the fung-shui of the
Many of the religions can be traced directly to demon sources, their authors having been possessed to a greater or
The religions of China are today corrupted greatly from their original form. Confucianism and Mohammedanism have
retained their first simplicity more than the others, but their popular forms are altered notably. Confucianism, originally a
system of ethics, has become mingled with idolatry and - with Buddhism and Taoism - is somewhat of a jumble in the
minds of the common people.
Taoism is, however, recognized as a system of demonism. Originally it was a setting forth of the Tao, the Way or the
Doctrine. Its originator was a philosopher, named Lao-tse, who lived before Confucius. The Taoist priest is in most
cases nothing but an impostor who plays upon the superstitions. But he recognizes the existence of evil spirits and has
a certain amount of influence through the worship which he secures for them. He also makes use of professional
mediums. The priest writes a charm for the medium, who takes an incense stick in his or her hand and remains
absolutely still, inviting the entrance of the spirit. The charm is burned, incense is offered, and the priest chants his
incantations. After a time the spirit seems to descend upon the medium, who begins to tremble, and then announces
which spirit has descended and asks that is desired of him or her. Whoever has requests to make takes incense sticks,
worships and prostrates and asks for response concerning whatever matter is troubling him. Similar performances are
carried on by gambling companies, who make a profit out of the performance. There is naturally much fraud. At fairs
such things are often seen. Shrines are established, sacrifices offered and opportunities given for consulting the
demon. People come from every quarter.
The planchette is also used. A pencil is attached to the branch of a willow tree. Two persons take hold of the branch
which is forked, charms are burned, worship is offered, the pencil begins to move and to trace characters in the sand in
a tray placed below. The Ouija board is a Western method of the same thing.
In Taoism and Spiritism we see not so much the efforts of spirits to possess men, but the desire of men to be possessed
by spirits, and the yielding of their bodies to them voluntarily as their instruments.
A medium is a person who thus submits his or her body for the entrance of the evil spirit. When possession takes
place, various manifestations may occur. The speaking appears to come from another personality distinct from the
individual whose lips are being used. When consciousness returns to the medium there may be entire ignorance of
what has been said.
What is known as fung-shui is met with in every part of China. It is closely connected with Taoism. The expression
refers to the spirits of the air and the water, those who preside over those elements. Pagodas are built in elevated
places for the control of these spirits. Lucky days, lucky spots for burial or for building, etc., are determined by the
priests in accord with certain methods of testing the fung-shui of a district. Much of the local feeling manifested against
innovations like the railroad, the telegraph, mining, etc., was due to the fear of these spirits.
That form of Buddhism in Tibet known as Lamaism, is peculiarly demonistic. William Christie, missionary to the Kansu-
Tibetan border, told me that he has been at festivals where numbers of men and women come under the power of the
demons and are strangely affected. Some jump up and down, others are shaken violently, some do themselves harm,
some go into trances. He has seen several strong priests holding down by main force a man who was foaming. Some
are simply hysterical and laugh and cry. Some speak messages, which may be rational or simply a jargon of tongues.
A case in his knowledge was that of one woman, the wife of a Christian, who refused to submit herself to her father-in-
law. He cursed her by the gods. Afterward, she would be often seized and thrown down violently while carrying water or
doing other work. She died, and the man married another, who received the same curse, with the same results, and
also died. Later, the Christian took a pagan wife, and forsook Christianity, when the trouble at once ceased.
Both in Japan and China there are notions concerning the superhuman power of the fox and the badger, which are
supposed to possess people so that they are said to be "possessed by a fox."
The devil dancers of southern India are said to be as truly possessed as the man with the legion of demons in the days
Fetishism and witchcraft are unquestionably connected with demon possession. It is true that in the case of witchcraft,
by which alone about four million people are annually murdered, there is much deception and false accusations by the
priests and witch doctors.
No country can be said to be free from these evil manifestations.
The founder of Christian Science (Mrs. Eddy) was subject to trances, and there is little doubt that this false cult is due to
demonism. Mrs. White, the real founder of Seventh Day Adventism, received some of her revelations in trances. When
one reads the weird ideas of Mormonism, Russellism (in The Finished Mystery), etc., there seems little difficulty in
seeking for their origin in those "doctrines of demons," concerning which Paul warned Timothy.
Spriritualism is not a correct term for the doctrines which are taught under its name. It is a philosophic term opposed to
materialism. The correct name is Spiritism, which embraces the doctrine of spirits and the various practices which have
grown up in the cult so called. Its central teaching is that the spirits of the dead can and do communicate and hold
intercourse with the living. Because of this idea, the First World War gave a tremendous impetus to the cult, multitudes
of people desiring to come again in touch with their departed loved ones who had died at the front. Outstanding men,
such as Sir Oliver Lodge, the well-known scientist; Sir William Crookes, the greatest chemist of his day; Sir Conan
Doyle, the novelist; William T. Stead, the journalist, and many others embraced the teachings and became exponents of
The rise of Spiritism in modern times can be traced to a meeting on the 31st of March, 1848, when a group of seventy
or eighty persons assembled in the house of a farmer named Fox of Hydesville in the state of New York. They had
come together for the purpose of investigating certain unaccountable rappings and disturbances in the sleeping room
of Margaret and Kate Fox, girls of twelve and nine years of age. These children had devised a means of
communication with the authors of the noises, who would reply by a correct number of raps to numerical questions and
would answer other questions by a rap for an affirmative, and silence for a negative. The younger girl had also
discovered that she could obtain a response to dumb signs, indicating that the spirit could see as well as hear.
Proceeding on this experience, the group elicited the following communication. The spirit claimed to be that of a
peddler who had been murdered in the house five years previously by the tenant, a blacksmith named Bell, and that his
remains were buried in the middle of the cellar. This information, on investigation, proved correct, and many others
became interested. Other manifestations took place, and, as one said, "It soon became evident that an organized
attempt was being made by the denizens of the spirit world to establish a method of communication with mankind." A
suggestion was made that the alphabet be called out, and the unseen intelligences invited to respond to the letters and
spell out sentences. This was greeted by a shower of raps, which was taken as indicating assent. Accordingly, the first
sentence was received with quite a measure of awe. It read, "We are all your dear friends and relatives." A code was
established for future communications.
It became clear soon that the power of communication was not confined to the Fox sisters and that other spirits were
ready to communicate. The excitement became intense. So rapidly did the new doctrine spread that it was estimated
in 1871, twenty-three years later, that the number of adherents had reached ten million. It crossed the Atlantic and
reckoned its followers by myriads in England and the continent.
Some leading scientists have investigated the reality of spiritistic manifestations and have been convinced of their
genuineness. Among these, in addition to the names above mentioned, are Professor Alfred Russel Wallace; Professor
James, the most eminent of American psychologists; Professor Hyslop of Columbia University; Professor Abbott,
professor of philosophy in Toronto University; Caesar Lombroso, the chief of the Paris police; Camille Flammarion, the
great French astronomer, who said, "Any scientific man who declares spiritualistic phenomena to be impossible, is one
who speaks without knowing what he is talking about."
The Phenomena of Spiritism
The Danger of the Cults
In first Timothy 4, the apostle Paul makes a clear and emphatic prophetic statement. He says, "Now the Spirit speaketh
expressly, that in the latter times" - during the closing part of the church age - "some shall depart from the faith, giving
heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (4:1). We have entered into these latter times and are seeing about
us what the writer mentions. Numerous cults have arisen or have split off from the churches which hold to the
fundamental truths of the Word of God.
These cults have departed from the faith and have given heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. There is in
many of them a foundation of scriptural truth, to which has been added a superstructure of human reason, which adds
to or takes away from the divine original. This is what constitutes a "doctrine of demons" - divine truth attracting and
giving confidence to the new disciple; but this truth is vitiated by skillfully propounded error. Multitudes have been
drawn away, sincere seekers many of them, with desires after something deeper than they have received. Often these
new disciples become more zealous than their teachers in the propagation of false teaching, as the power of the enemy
gains control. Subtly and powerfully the mind becomes impregnated; earnest Christians being often deceived by the
keen propaganda which presents darkness as light.
The literature of these cults is exceedingly dangerous. Just as the Word of God is charged with spiritual energy, and
works on the heart with transforming power, so the literature of every cult contains satanic power that unconsciously
influences the minds of readers, and quickly and quietly produces a deadness of the spiritual senses. The truth as it is
in Jesus gradually loses its hold and is replaced by false ideas. The falsities of the cult, impressed on the hearer by
repeated addresses, and by reading of the literature, gain a stranglehold on the mind, until only the Spirit of God can
bring light once more to the darkened understanding. And this unfortunately, does not often take place; the disciple,
wrought open by the power that underlies the teaching, becomes cocksure of himself, and is almost impossible to
approach with pure doctrine.
The case cited in chapter 7 illustrates the inherent danger of reading cult literature. The person had been possessed
from her childhood, and had apparently become infected by almost constant reading of the literature of a number of
such heterodox bodies. Her grandmother, an ardent devotee, whose eyesight was failing, had used the child to read to
her various books and pamphlets. When the demon was challenged, and had responded, thus giving indisputable
evidence of his presence, he was asked to name himself, and immediately responded "Cults." Later, a succession of
evil spirits came forth from their victim, each calling as its name that of some well-known cult.
We need not wonder about the connection of these cults with demonism. Their founders have been themselves demon-
possessed persons and have been subject to spirit seizures. During these times the enemy has spoken his doctrines
through them. In studying the lives of the founders of several of our modern cults, it will be observed that they were
troubled with trances and visions in the beginnings of their ventures in religious leadership. Their teachings have been
received from evil spirit sources, which is the cause most probably of their declension from the truth, and the
acceptance of teachings which bear the mark of demon leadership.
Without commenting on the experiences of those who have more recently established such organizations, the history of
Mohammed, the founder of the mighty sect which bears his name, is of interest. He became a sincere reformer and
religious enthusiast. He retired for meditation and prayer to a lonely mountain. There a most vivid sense of the being
of one Almighty God - Allah - entered his soul. At the same time some strange power descended on him, under the
influence of which he would foam at the mouth and roar like a bull. To those in any way familiar with the action of evil
spirits on the bodies and minds of men, there can be no doubt that these seizures were the work of demons. Less
violent have been the reported actions of others, but the same result has followed - the origination of teachings which
are contrary to the Bible.
The fact that such teachings are inspired by demons - of which there is no reasonable doubt, though they seem to be
the product of human minds - means that the reader is unconsciously absorbing what is designed to influence him
hellward. That it has this effect has been proven time and again by the gradual acceptance of what is contrary to the
truth of God's Word. Untrue propositions are taken one after another into the mind and assimilated until the individual
becomes a supporter of the cult and often a firmer one than older members. Almost invariably the final result is a
turning away from the fundamental positions of the deity of Christ and His substitutionary atonement for sin to those of
denial that He is the Son of God and of self-righteousness.
There is no safety for any believer except in an absolute acceptance of the inerrancy of God's Word. A doctrine that
compromises in the slightest degree can be at once declared to be a "doctrine of demons" and should be turned from
without delay. Apparent holiness of life is not to be accepted as a credential where there is the slightest departure from
the divine standards. Subtle and shrewd are the methods of demons; after the slightest doubts are inserted into the
mind, there is a swift but hidden following up of the advantage gained. Quickly, but unhurriedly, they pursue their
advantage until the mind is under their control. Once this is gained, the recapture of the mind for truth is often
We have more than once seen persons of intelligence, who had begun to go forward in Christ, diverted to the following
of some heterodox cult. Before long there came a complete loss of the heavenly vision and an absorption in the new
teachings until nothing else could be spoken of. Views of the Bible were perverted and forced into channels which were
strained and false. Desire for the salvation of souls was lost, the aim being to prove to others that the ideas now held
were the ones which must be accepted. To make proselytes to these ideas all the powers were devoted. More and
more the purpose of the gospel was lost sight of, and that which had taken its place became the objective of the soul. It
need not be stated that God's salvation was no longer a thing to be sought after.
A keen spiritual writer has said:
second verse of Genesis and who at the time of that great destruction were disembodied by God and left still
under the power, and ultimately to share the fate, of the leader in whose sin they acquiesced? Certainly one
often recorded fact seems to confirm such a theory for we read that the demons are continually seizing on the
bodies of men and endeavoring to use them as their own. And may not this propensity indicate a wearisome lack
of ease, a wandering unrest, arising from a sense of incompleteness; a longing to escape the intolerable
condition of being unclothed - so intense that, if they can satisfy its cravings in no other way they will even enter
into the filthy bodies of swine?" (See Matthew 8:31).
missionary from the interior of Mindanao in the Philippine Islands stated to the writer that in the area where she labored
almost every person had his or her controlling demon. Among the Taoists of China every device of modern spiritism is
found; and the same is true in other lands where darkness prevails.
THE AUTHORITY OF THE BELIEVER, by John A. MacMillan, Copyright 2007, WingSpread Publishers.
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