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The Armor of God and the War on Our Emotions

Image by Nadine Doerlé from Pixabay

I was originally going to title this post “The War on Frequencies and the Armor of God,” in response to the video I’ll share below. The first part of this post is going to focus on why I made the change.

I’ve become something of a fan of Dr. Laura Sanger, who is featured in the video, from her appearances on the Blurry Creatures podcast (possibly, weirdly, one of the most important podcasts of our time, and I’m not being hyperbolic). I have an enormous amount of respect for her abilities as a researcher and the way her mind works to put things together — not to mention her courage in sharing the things she finds that could get her into heap big trouble.

So when I first heard her on Blurry Creatures discussing the topic of the below video, I did a lot of nodding along. It all made sense, and I was intrigued enough to visit her YouTube channel and hear more on the subject. And based on that video, I was inspired with a lot of thoughts on how it all related to the armor of God in Ephesians 6. I outlined my thoughts in my journal, but before I could get around to turning said outline into an article, I got what I can only define as a check in my spirit that I needed to do my due diligence and “test the spirits” by taking a more careful look at some of her claims and where they were sourced from.

In both her video and blog post, she makes this claim:

“Thanks to the growing field of quantum physics, we know that all matter has frequency. In fact, every cell in our body carries a frequency, it’s the vibration of life. But not only does matter have frequency, emotions have frequencies as well.”

Even the first time I heard her on the podcast, I had some reservations about her use of frequencies and vibrations, which struck me as New Age concepts. The supposed tie to quantum physics seemed to give this concept some legitimacy, though, and I wanted to keep an open mind and not be knee-jerk dismissive. But then I almost went too far the other way and let myself believe that since a knowledgeable Christian whom I respect was saying this, then it must be true and spiritually safe. I’m glad I decided to listen to that check in my spirit, instead.

In support of this claim, she cites a video by Dr. Joe Dispenza, a supposed expert in the quantum vibrations created by our emotions and their impact on our overall health and wellbeing.

A bit of digging turned up that Dr. Dispenza is, in fact, a New Age chiropractor and self-help author of such books as “Becoming Supernatural,” which is all about how we can combine principles of quantum theory with “ancient wisdom” and New Age practices to step outside our physical reality and transcend our physical limitations.

Yikes.

So I decided to see if there was some actual scientific research out there regarding quantum theory, emotions, and vibrational frequencies.

The best I could do was several studies showing that frequency of positive and negative emotions — as in, how often they occur — impact both our mental and physical health. FrequentLY occuring negative emotions can have lasting negative impact on our health, and vice versa. Negative emotions cause stress that has both physiological and neurological impacts on our hormones and biological systems. That’s an established scientific fact. It’s also common sense.

But try as I might, I couldn’t dig up any actual studies regarding emotional frequency in the vibrational sense. And when I went spelunking for some scientific evidence tying quantum theory to emotions and to frequencies and vibrations in the human body, all I landed on were New Age websites and sources — and this Quora thread of actual physicists and experts on quantum mechanics saying that these claims are pseudoscientific nonsense that have nothing to do with actual quantum physics. So take that as you will.

I’m pointing all of this out by way of disclaimer, because despite the fact that Dr. Sanger unfortunately, and unnecessarily (and probably also unwittingly), felt the need to reach for unscientific New Age explanations to support her point, I still agree with her point, and think that just about everything else she’s saying in this video is spot on. Which is why I’m still sharing it and encouraging you to watch it.

But I’m also highlighting all of this to make my own point, which is how crucial it is in this day and age to be a Berean and to test everything. We can’t just stop at, “I like this person and what they’re saying sounds plausible, so I’m going to just trust them and go with it.” Where are they getting their information? What’s the primary source? What’s the motivation or agenda behind that source? Is this easily debunked? And etc. Not to mention, “How does this line up with scripture?” But as I’ve learned the hard way, that last question can’t be the only criterion, because the Enemy knows scripture, and knows how to use it to deceive us into believing his lies. And it is SO easy right now for even the most Biblically literate and spirit-led Christian to unknowingly walk right into this kind of trap if we’re not careful.

With all of that said, here’s the video.

What she’s calling a war on frequencies is what I would instead call a war on our emotions — and I 100 percent agree that this is, in fact, a war that’s being waged on us by both our spiritual enemies and the human agents aligned with their agenda. Vibrational frequencies aside, she’s absolutely correct that keeping us perpetually locked in a state of fear and/or outrage is wearing us down, damaging our health, and making us easier to manipulate and control, as well as easier to kill.

I heard another podcast recently — the exact show and episode escapes me at the moment — in which they were talking about how spiritual warfare is a war of attrition, in which the enemy’s aim is to wear us down until we give up and surrender. What better or more effective way to do that than to keep us confused, angry and afraid?

And that’s where the armor of God comes in.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. – Ephesians 6:10-13

In those studies I mentioned above, as would make sense, the reverse is also true: frequently-experienced positive emotions, like love, joy, peace, gratitude, and so on, have healing effects on both our minds and bodies and a positive impact on our overall health. In light of that, it’s interesting that the armor and weapons we’re given in scripture to combat spiritual attacks seem designed to pull us out of negative thought spirals and get us into a more positive and hopeful frame of mind. Let’s look at what the armor of God entails:

The belt of truth – with ancient Roman armor, which was undoubtedly Paul’s model, the belt fastened around the waist and provided support for the heavy breastplate and the shield, as well as holding the sheath for the sword. Without this belt, the rest of the armor wouldn’t function. What is the belt? It’s the unchanging, unwavering, objective truth of God’s word.

Elsewhere, in Philippians 4:8, Paul provides a list of positive attributes to set our minds on in order to maintain internal peace. The first of these is “whatever is true.” The Enemy’s favorite mode of attack is to hurl lies at us — often very convincing lies. In order to effectively fight off such attacks, it’s imperative that we seek out the truth and saturate our minds with God’s word, which combats anxiety-inducing lies, replaces them with peace, and without which the rest of our armor will fail.

The breastplate of righteousness – There’s a corollary to this in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, where Paul instructs us to put on the breastplate of faith and love. “Faith” is the Greek word pistis, which can mean faith as in belief or trust, but can also mean faithfulness, as in fidelity or loyalty. So our breastplate, which guards our hearts, is our righteousness in Christ, which consists of trust in God, loyalty to him, and love for him and for others.

It’s hard to be angry and outraged all the time when you’re trusting God and walking in love.

The shoes of the readiness given by the gospel of peace – This is generally seen as being in a state of readiness to share the gospel, and sure, it can mean that. But sharing the gospel is an offensive move against the enemy, and armor is defensive equipment. I think this is more about the stability we receive from the peace brought by the gospel, the confidence we have in Christ, which makes us ready to stand and fight. God’s supernatural peace gives us stability that keeps us from being knocked back or blown over by the Enemy’s attacks.

How do we get that peace? Phillipians 4:4-7:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 rdo not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication twith thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

It’s also important to note the verb tense regarding these items of armor:

14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace.

In the Greek, it’s even more clear that the verb communicates a state of having already done something. As far as these first three items go, these are things we are to maintain and keep fitted on at all times so that we’re always ready for battle.

But then we’re told to take up the shield of faith and to take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, implying that these are things we grab hold of and make use of in the time of need. Let’s look at each of them.

The shield of faith – Again, this is pistis, which can mean both believing faith and faithfulness. Another way to look at faithfulness is obedience. So we take up our shield, which can extinguish every fiery arrow the enemy launches at us, by trusting and obeying God and his word. Which we’re told to do in every circumstance.

Funny thing — fear propaganda doesn’t really work on you when you’re trusting God with your whole heart and walking in obedience to Him.

The helmet of salvation – Again, 1 Thessalonians 5:8 fleshes this out a little bit — there Paul says the helmet is the hope of our salvation. Being secure in your salvation in Christ produces an unwavering sense of hope that guards your mind from the despair the Enemy keeps trying to put on you.

Looking around right now, in early May of 2022, this world looks really freakin’ hopeless. It would be so easy to fall into despair and be riddled with anxiety and depression — which is just what the Enemy wants. But we know our hope is not in this life. We know all of this has been prophesied and we know how it will end. We know our ultimate destiny, and that our lives are in God’s hands, and nothing and nobody can snatch us out of them. We know Jesus is coming. And we will not lose hope.

Finally, we’re given an offensive weapon:

The sword of the Spirit – The full line reads, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.”

When the Bible mentions the word of God, it tends to use two different words: Logos and Rhema. It’s often taught that “logos” means the written word and “rhema” means the spoken word, but that’s not actually correct. More accurately, rhema is the words themselves, and logos is the meaning or message that they convey.

The Greek word used here is rhema. The sword of the Spirit — the weapon He wields on our behalf when we lean on Him in the battle — is scripture. Any part of the totality of God’s logos is an effective weapon against the attacks of the Enemy.

Just look at how Jesus fought off Satan when he was tempted in the wilderness. How did he respond to Satan’s attacks? “It is written,” followed by scripture. Again and again and again.

But then it goes on to say, “praying at all times in the spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” So our sword is two-fold: scripture and prayer. Citing scripture–speaking the truth of God’s word into the Enemy’s lies–and praying are both offensive moves against the Enemy, which put him/them on the defensive and make them flee.

What does it mean to pray “in the Spirit”? Some will say this means praying in tongues. I reject that teaching. Regardless of what you believe about the gift of tongues, Paul makes it clear in 1 Corinthians that not all believers receive the gift of tongues. If praying in the Spirit meant praying in tongues, then that would mean only those gifted with tongues, or languages, would be able to access and wield the sword of the Spirit.

I believe instead that praying in the Spirit means to check ourselves before we pray to make sure we’re not quenching the Spirit’s ability to work in and through us because of unconfessed sin or unforgiveness–both of which can hinder our prayers. Prayer’s not a very effective weapon if it’s not even reaching God because we’re all up in our flesh instead of walking in the Spirit.

Taken all together, what we have is a highly effective set of tools for combating this barrage of attacks on our emotions that’s so clearly intended to keep us angry, divided, fearful, sick, worn down and exhausted. Putting on the armor of God means walking in His truth, abiding in His love, laying hold of His peace, and basking in His hope. And let’s not forget thanksgiving, which brings us supernatural peace and contentment in the midst of even the most dire circumstances.

Or as Paul put it more succinctly to the Thessalonians (1 Thess 5:16-18), “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances.”

This is how we lay hold of victory in this spiritual war against our emotions, our health, our freedom, and our very lives.

Three Rebellions, Two Babies, and One Ultimate Solution

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I felt moved to write this a while back. It’s my understanding of the overarching narrative of the Bible, centered around the gospel, and why the gospel–why Jesus–is so needed. This Good Friday seemed like an appropriate time to post it. If you’re reading this, I hope it ministers to you.

And remember as you read–however much the darkness currently seems to be winning, Sunday’s on the way.

***

Eons ago, in the eternal past, the eternal God, Yahweh, the great I Am, for reasons known only to himself, decided to make a family for himself. He created a race of beings that we know by different names – angels, watchers, elohim, sons of God – and he created a universe for them to inhabit and have stewardship over. Like any good parent, Yahweh involved his children in his work and plans and delegated power and authority and responsibilities to them.

But he wasn’t done. He decided to create a second set of children, different from the first, crafted out of the dust of the earth, made in his image and filled with the breath of his Spirit. He first prepared a planet just for them – or rather, for us – and within that planet he prepared a special place. A garden, set upon a holy mountain that intersected with his abode in Heaven, where his human and angelic children could co-exist and have fellowship with him. He gave his new kids dominion over the earth, charging them with its stewardship and with governing it.

But there was a problem. It was a problem that Yahweh had foreseen and planned for before his first creation. In order to be made in his image and have true fellowship with him, his children must all be given free will and agency. The problem is that free will can’t exist without the potential for disobedience, rebellion and sin.

Sure enough, one of his chief angels became full of himself and grew jealous of God and his newest creation, and he rebelled. And when he saw God’s new children and the special place we’d been given, he hatched a scheme to spoil it by tempting these new children to disobey the one command they’d been given.

Sin entered the world, and with it violence and corruption and death and destruction and decay. Generations later, more angels grew jealous and rebelled by coming to earth and further corrupting humanity, not content just to lead us into sinful, destructive practices but corrupting our very DNA by mixing it with their own. Their hybrid offspring, giants, called the Nephilim, overran the earth, committing atrocities against humans and nature and further corrupting Yahweh’s creation.

Yahweh looked down on what had been done and knew it couldn’t be allowed to continue. He chose one man who hadn’t been genetically corrupted, along with his sons and their wives, and preserved them as he flooded the earth to destroy the giants and cleanse it of evil.

But cleansing the earth didn’t cleanse the hearts of the human survivors. Sin was still a part of their genetic makeup. Within a few generations, humanity once again rebelled and rejected their Father. So he disinherited them and handed them over to his angelic sons to govern, while he set one couple apart for himself. An elderly, childless couple from whom he would create a nation of people belonging exclusively to him.

Again, some of these sons of God rebelled against Yahweh and set themselves up as gods over the people, demanding worship and leading them into idolatry and exceedingly corrupt and depraved practices.

Meanwhile, God gave that elderly, infertile couple a miracle baby. And from that son of their old age, he grew his own nation and raised up a leader for them from their own people. He gave them a Law to help them remain set apart and to keep them from straying into the ways of the rebellious nations and their imitation gods, and he gave them a land to call their own.

But the Law, with all its rituals, still couldn’t cleanse their hearts. It provided outward righteousness, but it couldn’t make them inwardly righteous, and again and again, Yahweh’s own special people rejected him and rebelled, wanting to be like the nations around them. So he gave them a king to rule over them. Generations and generations of kings. But the kings themselves rebelled, and led the people in worshiping the imitation gods of the nations instead of worshiping Yahweh.

And so, after centuries of wooing them, pleading with them, warning them, and giving them every opportunity to turn back to him, he gave them up to their enemies, exiled them from the land he’d set apart for them, and sent them into bondage and slavery.

At every turn, this whole human experiment seemed like a failure.

But really, it was all going according to plan.

Because Yahweh is God–omniscient, all-knowing and, well, a lot smarter than we are. A lot smarter than the beings he created who try to pass themselves off as gods, too.

You see, way back in the eternal past, when they, we, and all of this was still being conceived in the mind of God, he was well aware of the problem of free will and that creatures possessed of such an attribute would inevitably fall into sin and corruption and wreak havoc on his creation, and on each other.

And he already had a plan to deal with it.

Besides being the creator of everything, another thing that sets Yahweh apart from the other so-called gods is that he’s one unified being made up of three distinct persons–Father, Son and Spirit, or what we call the Trinity. These are all in perfect union and of one mind and one accord–and they were in agreement that the answer to the problem of free will would be none other than the second person of the Trinity, the Son, also known as the Word of God.

Another miracle baby entered the world. The Word made flesh, the Son of God in a manger, the second person of Yahweh himself come down, not just to interact with us on the mountain top, but all the way down into our suffering and muck, to live, suffer and die as one of us, so that we could live forever with him.

Let this sink in: before he ever created a single being, Father, Son and Spirit all knew that their created children would rebel and fall into bondage to sin and death, that they would by and large spurn and reject him. And they knew and agreed that the Son would enter this world as God incarnate, Jesus the Messiah, and give his life to save us.

And they thought it was worth it to make us anyway, free will and all.

God loved us so much, even then, that he gave us the freedom to rebel and reject him. And though it pained him to let us live with the consequences, he allowed it to show us how dark, painful and meaningless life is apart from him. He allowed his own special nation to fail to keep the law, to turn away from him again and again. He allowed it in order to show them their need for a savior, for a better mediator than the human high priest who made sacrifices for them year after year–for a perfect Lamb of God who is also our Great High Priest, who gave himself as the once and final sacrifice to satisfy the requirement of the law, cleanse us of our sins, and restore not just God’s chosen nation, but all of the disinherited nations as well–all humanity–to eternal fellowship with our creator.

And still, even now, he gives us the freedom to choose. We can choose Jesus and eternal life in his Kingdom and accept the free gift of salvation, bought and paid for with his blood.

Or we can refuse it and remain in our sins, in bondage and slavery to the darkness and the imitation gods of the world.

Those of us who choose Jesus will one day enter into his Father’s eternal Kingdom, after he does away with the old creation and makes all things new. And we will enter with our free will intact. But there will no longer be a danger that we’ll rebel and reintroduce sin into this new creation, because like an obstinate child who’s allowed to touch a hot stove, we’ll have learned our lesson the hard way. All these long millennia of human history, of death and decay, of evil and corruption, of suffering and oppression and hardship and sorrow, will have effectively inoculated us against using our freedom to defy God and his infinite wisdom.

And those who don’t learn that lesson? Who refuse to give their lives to Christ? Who believe they know better than God? Who choose to remain in their sin? They won’t be allowed to continue. Like a cancerous tumor, they’ll be rooted out and eradicated at the final judgment, cast into the Lake of Fire to perish along with their progenitor, Satan, that first prideful, rebellious elohim who started it all, where their corruption won’t be allowed to touch God’s new creation or his faithful children.

And even in that final act of judgment is mercy, because he won’t force you to spend eternity with him if you don’t want to.

The choice is yours.

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” –Joshua 24:15

 

Goat demons in the Bible

Goat Demons? Azazel? Are We in the Days of Noah? I Have Questions About Leviticus.

This was not the post I was planning (that one’s still in draft mode, about halfway done), but in the vein of exploring spiritual beings of the Bible, a new one caught my attention this morning as I was reading through Leviticus: goat demons.

What now?

Here is Leviticus 17:7, which is in the context of forbidding the Israelites to kill animals outside the camp unless they then bring the animal to the Tabernacle and present it to the Lord as a peace offering. Emphasis mine:

So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.

So apparently there was a problem with people sneaking off to sacrifice animals to goat demons?

What’s really interesting is that this passage immediately follows the instructions for the Day of Atonement, in which the Jews were instructed to bring two goats before the Lord. One was to be sacrificed for a sin offering. As for the other, the priest would symbolically place upon its head all the sins of the people, and then they would take it outside the camp and release it into the wilderness, “to Azazel.”

Nobody really knows for sure what, or who, Azazel is. Some say it’s a name for Satan. Some say it’s the name of a demon. Others say it’s just a word that means scapegoat. Now I’m wondering — could it be the name of a goat demon? Perhaps the one the Israelites were making sacrifices to?

The phrase “goat demon” also puts me in mind of Pan, a half-goat, half-man pagan deity and nature spirit, as well as Baphomet, the goat-headed hermaphrodite who is a symbol for Satan in all kinds of devil worship.

So goat demons definitely seem to be a thing that exists. My question is, where did they come from?

If demons are the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim, the offspring of humans and fallen angels, then how on earth did we get goat demons?

Jesus said the last days would be as it was in the days of Noah — the days when fallen angels were mixing their DNA with humans and, according to Enoch, also instructing us in effective and creative ways to defile and destroy ourselves. It’s the DNA tampering that springs to my mind. In our own time, as I write this there are labs both here in the US and around the world that are combining human and animal DNA. In Arizona they’ve created humanized mice. In China they’ve been experimenting with humanizing the brains of monkeys, because they either haven’t seen Planet of the Apes, or it struck them as a brilliant idea.

It makes sense, in light of both the moral and genetic corruption wrought by the Watchers, why God had to wipe out humanity in the flood and start over. But why the animals? Could it be that the fallen Sons of God also played around with animal DNA? Could some of the Nephilim also have been part animal?

And could that be how we got goat demons?

And could this explain certain cryptid sightings?

Or maybe these all fall under the category of elemental spirits and have nothing to do with the Nephilim?

These are just some thoughts and observations from this morning’s Bible study, and I thought I’d submit it to you for discussion. So what do you think? Am I onto something? Am I overthinking this and taking it all way too literally? What’s your theory? Let’s hash this weirdness out together in the comments.

We’re Not Alone: Deuteronomy 32 and a Unified Theory of the Paranormal

Note: This post is a little different from what you’re used to, but it’s a taste of things to come. This has been on my mind a lot lately and I wanted to lay it all out and fully articulate it in my own words. This is all background for things I’ll be talking about here in the future. It’s an extra-long post, so if you’re on a computer, you might want to bookmark it and then come back and get comfortable and read it on your phone. If you enjoy this sort of thing, whether or not you agree with it, I’d really love it if you’d drop a note in the comments to let me know.

Also, this post contains affiliate links to Amazon. Using those links to purchase the items mentioned, or any other items you could use, will also help support this site and make more content like this possible. Thanks and happy reading!


Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

If you’re new around here, you probably don’t know this about me: that I’m a weirdo who’s into weird stuff. By that I mean that I’m the odd Christian who enjoys horror and tales of the paranormal, folklore, Big Foot and Mothman, urban legends, conspiracy theories, and just generally weird and unexplained phenomena.

Except that this stuff does have an explanation. The Bible gives us a solid one. A lot of people realize this, but they don’t really know the full extent of it–that the supernatural worldview presented to us in the Bible goes beyond simply angels and demons.

In his book The Unseen Realm, Bible scholar and ancient Hebrew expert Dr. Michael Heiser lays the foundation of understanding this worldview. He points out that the First Century Jews and Christians would tell you that there was not one great Fall that corrupted humanity, but three. The first is, of course, THE Fall, when the Serpent tempted Adam and Eve to rebel against God’s only commandment in the Garden of Eden and sin first entered the world as a result.

The second is one that a lot of people really struggle to wrap their heads around and accept as reality — the events described in Genesis 6, when the Sons of God–i.e., angelic beings–left their heavenly abode to take human wives and father children with them, producing the Nephilim–a half-breed race of giants.

This one was a doozy. This story is expanded upon in the Book of Enoch. Although that book is not viewed as inspired scripture, Dr. Heiser points out that it records a lot of Jewish tradition and that it was a popular work in the first century that helped to shape the worldview of the New Testament writers. Some validity is lent to Enoch by its being quoted as fact in the epistle of Jude, and Peter also refers to it in his epistle. The Enochian writers tell us that the great sin of the “angels who kept not their first estate” is that they wanted to be like God by creating a race of their own, and that they also taught humanity a range of self-destructive knowledge, such as the art of warfare, seduction, sorcery and drug use, in the hopes that we would wipe ourselves out.

As punishment, God imprisoned these rebellious Sons of God under the earth and sentenced their offspring to die in the Great Flood, along with corrupted humanity. He preserved for himself a small remnant, Noah and his family, who kept themselves righteous by not mixing with the angels or participating in their dark arts (apparently, however, one or two of Noah’s daughters-in-law must have had Nephilim DNA, because a remnant of them managed to somehow survive the flood [there’s also the possibility that it was a local flood, but I’m not here for that debate right now]; these were subsequently wiped out during the Canaanite conquest and, later, by David and his armies).

Again, a lot of people just can’t accept the idea that angels produced offspring with humans, and they explain this away by insisting that “Sons of God” refers to the godly line of Adam’s third son, Seth, despite the fact that the term is used throughout the old testament exclusively to refer to heavenly beings. According to this theory, the “Daughters of Men” are in the line of Cain, and the Nephilim are simply warriors and influential people, and have nothing to do with giants (this theory and the people who hold to it can’t explain where the giants, like Goliath, came from — I guess they just think he was an abnormally tall guy).

Before I get to the third fall, we need to spend a little time on the Sons of God. For the full background on this, I highly recommend that you read The Unseen Realm (or read Dr. Heiser’s alternative book, Supernatural, which is a less scholarly version for people who don’t like footnotes). You can also get the gist of it by watching his Supernatural seminar on YouTube. The quick and dirty version is that these Sons of God are depicted in places like Psalm 82 and Daniel 10, among others, and they are members of God’s Divine Council. Passages in Job and 1 Kings show God involving these entities in decisions and in carrying out assignments on the earth. Lest you have palpitations over the thought of our sovereign God needing angelic beings to help him make decisions, relax — he doesn’t, any more than you need your kids to help make household decisions. But you still involve them, because they’re your kids, and they can learn and grow from it. Anyway.

Psalm 82 pulls something shocking by not just referring to these beings as Sons of Gods, but as gods themselves. This is because the Hebrew word for these beings is elohim, a term that’s often used to refer to God Himself. But elohim is actually a generic categorical term encompassing all supernatural beings. God is an elohim, but he is the only elohim who is God. He’s unique among the elohim and there are none like him or beside him. He created them, and he’s sovereign over them, just as he is over us. Got it? Good, because this is important.

This brings us to the third and final Fall — the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11 tells us how, when humans once again multiplied after the flood, they did not disperse and fill the earth as God commanded, but instead rebelled and decided to band together in the area that would eventually be known as Babylon (modern day Iraq), where they built a tower, a ziggurat that would allow them access to the heavens to reach God. Again, this is where ancient Jewish tradition can fill in some gaps. According to such, humanity was led in this effort by Nimrod, who we meet in Genesis 10, which tells us he was “a mighty hunter before the Lord” who founded and built many cities, including Babylon. Tradition also holds that he was himself a Nephilim (he also appears to pre-figure the Antichrist, but that’s a topic for another post). And their intention in building the tower was not simply to reach God and be close to Him, but to overthrow Him and set themselves up as their own gods.

How did God respond? Genesis 11 goes on to tell us that he struck them and confused their languages, removing their ability to communicate and organize and forcing them to disperse and fill the earth as He had originally commanded. This, according to scripture, is how we got different nations.

But the story doesn’t end there.

Deuteronomy 32 sheds more light on this strange episode. Again, you can get all of the details from Dr. Heiser’s material, but in short, this passage informs us that when God divided the nations at Babel, he also disinherited them and turned them over to the Sons of God. Apparently, these Divine Council members were supposed to benignly steward the nations while God created a new nation for himself–Israel. But some, possibly all, of these lesser elohim grew jealous and rebelled, threw their lot in with the original rebel, the Serpent, aka Satan, and convinced the humans entrusted to their care to worship them instead of God. Psalm 82 further tells us how they abused their delegated authority, and how they have been judged by God and sentenced to die like men.

The implications of all of this is that there are real, intelligent spiritual entities behind idols and other so-called gods, going by different names throughout history, who are hostile to God and who oppose Him. And that they hate our guts and want to subjugate and/or destroy us. Not only that, but they wield a certain amount of power, authority and influence over our culture, governments and world affairs. These are the powers and principalities Paul talks about in Ephesians 6. This is where you get the Prince of Greece and the Prince of Persia spoken of in Daniel. These are the beings who God’s loyal angels, like Michael and Gabriel, stand in opposition to. These are primarily who and what our spiritual warfare is directed against.

And whether you worship them or not, whether you believe in them or not, if you don’t belong to Christ, you belong to them.

Angels and Demons

Notice that I’ve mostly avoided referring to these beings as angels. That’s because our English word “angel” comes from the Greek word “angelos,” which simply means “messenger.” So angel is more of a job description than it is the name of a race or species. That word really doesn’t tell us much about them, other than how God has used some of them to interact with humanity. The Bible tells us that there is a variety of beings within this classification, including cherubim, seraphim, and archangels (or perhaps just one of those — Michael is the only one with that designation in the canon of scripture). There are angelic armies that include chariot drivers and soldiers. It also tells us that there are rankings among them. It tells us that they can take on human appearance and even become corporeal.

What about demons and fallen angels? The traditional Christian belief is that demons are fallen angels. But–and this is a huge but–while Revelation 12 describes a celestial battle in which Satan and a third of the angels who followed him were cast out of Heaven and banished to the earth, it doesn’t describe that event as taking place until sometime after the birth, death and resurrection of Christ–and it might not have even happened yet. Depending on how you read that passage, this event might not take place until the Tribulation.

So then, what are demons, and where do they come from?

We don’t see a lot of references to demons until Jesus begins his ministry and starts casting them out of people left and right. The Gospels often refer to them as “unclean spirits.” In the Old Testament, what makes something unclean? There are a few things: coming into contact with a dead or diseased body, coming into contact with blood and other bodily fluids… and mixing things that don’t belong together.

Let’s look at Isaiah 14:9 (ESV):

Sheol beneath is stirred up to meet you when you come; it rouses the shades to greet you, all who were leaders of the earth; it raises from their thrones all who were kings of the nations.

The Hebrew word for “shades” — rendered in other translations as either “the dead” or “departed spirits” — is Rephaim. The Rephaim appear elsewhere in the Old Testament as a race of giants, descendents of the Nephilim, who were indeed leaders of the earth before they were destroyed. That’s not exactly conclusive, but it’s highly suggestive. Besides, Jewish tradition at the time of Christ held that demons were, in fact, the disembodied spirits of the Nephilim, which actually makes a lot of sense, if you think about it. It certainly explains why they’re so hell-bent (no pun intended) on possessing human bodies. Again, Dr. Heiser’s materials go a lot more in-depth into all of this.

Elemental Spirits

So we have Elohim, consisting of various types and ranks of angelic and spiritual beings, many of whom are in rebellion and led by Satan, who have power and influence over the world and have their own agenda that’s antithetical to God’s. We have the fallen angels who fathered the Nephilim, but they’re bound in chains and off the playing board. We have the Nephilim, who were wiped out long ago but are apparently still active and generally menacing people and wreaking havoc as disembodied spirits, known as demons.

But wait, there’s more!

In both Galatians 4 and Colossians 2, Paul talks about the “elementary principles” of the world. In some translations, however, this Greek word, stoicheion, is translated as “elemental spirits.” Naturally, most modern scholars who are heavily influenced by modernity and materialism–often the same people who reject the supernatural reading of Genesis Six, Deuteronomy 32 and Psalm 82– say that the first translation is correct, because Paul is talking about philosophical principles.

Looking up that word in the concordances and lexicons (which you can do on Biblehub) seems to support that… at first. Stoicheion means something along the lines of rudimentary knowledge, or basic, fundamental principles. But it’s also used in Greek writings outside of scripture to refer to heavenly bodies. And then there’s this note in HELPS Word-studies:

The RSV however renders stoixeia as “elemental spirits,” i.e. spiritual powers or “cosmic spirits.” This views stoixeion (“elements”) as ancient astral beings associated with the very beginning (make-up) of the earth.

Honestly, it seems to me that Paul could be using this word both ways. For example, in Galatians 4:3, the first meaning seems to make more sense. But a little further down in verse 9, the second meaning better fits the context. And in Colossians, it seems like it could go either way (FWIW, the ESV translates it as “elementary principles” both times in Galatians, and as “elemental spirits” in Colossians).

At any rate, it seems highly suggestive that this is yet another class of supernatural beings, which would explain a lot. It would handily explain things like faeries, goblins, sightings of mysterious little people and the like, as well as ghost lights and at least some UFOs. It might even explain cryptids like Big Foot and Mothman. Things that many Christians are quick to either chalk up to demons or to hallucinations, fakery or some other material or scientific explanation.

What About Ghosts?

The Bible does mention ghosts, but only vaguely and in passing. For example, Jesus’ disciples first thought they were seeing a ghost when they spotted him walking on the Sea of Galilee, and after his resurrection he had them touch him and give him food to prove to them that he wasn’t a ghost.

The best argument for ghosts is found in 1 Samuel 28, when King Saul has the Witch of Endor, a known medium, summon the spirit of the recently deceased prophet Samuel to ask him for advice. Samuel’s spirit does indeed appear, not to advise Saul, but to proclaim judgment upon him. But the reaction of the Witch of Endor when Samuel appears is very telling. She’s completely freaked out, which suggests that successfully summoning a human spirit was a brand new and frightening experience for her. The implication is that either she was a con woman, or she was used to having another type of spiritual entity appear to her.

At any rate, while the oft-misquoted 2 Corinthians 5:8 doesn’t actually say “absent from the body, present with the Lord,” it does imply the principle, at least for Believers. More convincingly, the many OT passages about Sheol make it clear that it’s not a place where the dead even have consciousness, let alone are able to leave (the departed Rephaim, on the other hand, appear to be an exception to both those rules). Based on all of this, I believe the most likely explanation for ghosts is that they’re demons impersonating human spirits. As for poltergeists, apparitions and other types of hauntings, this could be either demons or elemental spirits.

A Unified Theory of the Paranormal

As you can see, the Bible offers us an unambiguously supernatural worldview with a wide range of supernatural beings operating both in the spirit realm and in the world. Apparently famed paranormal researcher John Keel, author of The Mothman Prophecies, was putting together a sort of “Unified Theory of the Paranormal,” in which he postulated that everything from ghosts to UFOs and alien abductions to cryptids had a common source, some kind of interdimensional race of intelligent beings operating in our world. He was very close to the truth. The Bible fills in the gaps and provides a way to explain all kinds of paranormal phenomena.

More importantly, it also warns us that these things are not out for our good and that we should refrain from attempting to contact them or have anything to do with them. It warns us that these entities are capable of appearing as benevolent angels and beings of light, and of speaking very convincing half-truths, even quoting scripture out of context in order to deceive us. But their end is our destruction, and to lead us away from the truth of the Gospel that has the power to deliver us from their domain and reconcile us permanently to God through his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

I think this worldview can also explain a lot of conspiracy theories and a lot of what’s happening in the world right now. I’ll be exploring all of this more in future posts, as well as philosophical implications and what all of this should mean for the Church at large. In the meantime, in addition to Dr. Heiser’s work, I also recommend checking out the Sword and Staff podcast, especially everything from June 24, 2021 onward, which covers a lot of this same ground.

Thanks for sticking around to the end of this ridiculously long post. I hope you enjoyed it, and I would LOVE for you to share your thoughts in the comments. And don’t forget to like and share!

 

What Inspires J.K. Bovi?

Note from Jean: I’m on a blogging break to focus on revising and editing my stockpile of finished first drafts. In the mean time, here’s supernatural comedy author JK Bovi to answer the question, “What inspires you?”

Disclosure: this post contains Amazon affiliate links that will provide me with a small commission that will help support this website.

Take it away, JK…

JK BoviI never intended to be an author of young adult humorous paranormal books, but when the wicked inspiration to write about ghosts came to me, I couldn’t ignore it.

As a child I always had stories in my head and as I grew older I put many of them into written words. But the inspiration for my first book, Wicked Haints, came unexpected and literally ‘out of the blue’.

I live in Savannah, Georgia, and one day I took a tour trolley around town. The guide talked about how people accented their porches with ‘haint blue’ paint to keep unwanted spirits away. After the tour I sat on a park bench and thought ‘what would happen if the haint blue paint was taken off a house and ghosts moved in?’ I took out my I-pod and began to write.

The characters and story came so fast and so easy that I was surprised I’d written it at all! I sent it to one publisher, they loved it and I was published! I decided that perhaps, being a ‘ghost writer’ might be fun.

The inspiration for my second book, Dead Man’s Fingers, came as unexpectedly as the first. I walked past an old Savannah building and thought ‘this looks like a perfect place to find an old skeleton hidden in the basement.’ And Brandon-Jack came back from the dead to have the best time of his deceased life.

My third book, Zombies Y’all!, came from my husband who said, “Ghosts are boring. Do a Zombie book”. I created ghost zombies and the story turned into a wild crazy Zombie Apocalypse with a collection of zany characters trying to save Savannah from becoming a ghost town without any ghosts.

My fourth book, Heels & Souls, was inspired by a woman who passed me on the sidewalk, pointed at my shoes, and said, “Hey girl take those shoes off! Don’t you know you can’t wear white after Labor Day?” The story I wrote about a jitterbugging ghost in search of her white dancing shoes kicked up some hilarious graveyard dust!

I was inspired to write Claire Buoyant when I saw an old tug boat being pushed down the Intercoastal Waterway to the Ships Graveyard. There was no way I was going to let that boat stay dead-n-buried.

The idea for my book, Coffin Droppings, came when a friend of mine purchased an old Savannah home and when I looked up at the attic. I thought, ‘there’s definitely bats up there, maybe even a vampire’. And so… there was!

I get my inspiration from people and places. To find a good story just keep your eyes and ears open, and it will come to you. But most when the inspiration hits, wicked or not, grab it and run!

JK Bovi Books

***
JK Bovi is a published author of humorous paranormal books that take place in Savannah. Her books are fun, easy-to-read fiction for teens and adults. For more information about JK Bovi and her books please visit: www.wickedhaints.com.

Are you an author with a good story about what inspires you? Check out my guest post guidelines here.

Character Inspiration: Aleksandr Konstantin

It was 2012. I had recently seen The Rite, featuring a certain dark-haired Irish actor playing a super-serious priest-in-training of Eastern European descent. I was writing Dominion of the Damned, which featured a super-serious vampire doctor of Czech origins. While I tried to match a number of different faces and voices to Aleksandr Konstantin as I worked my way through the book, it was Colin O’Donoghue’s face that kept resurfacing any time I tried to summon a vision of Alek. And it stuck.

Of course, by the time I finally got around to writing the soon-to-be-released sequel last year, I had several seasons of Once Upon a Time under my belt. All that exposure to Captain Hook did nothing to interfere with my vision of O’Donoghue as my Alek — on the contrary, it made him more fun to write.

A lot of research went into the character of Alek Konstantin, particularly when choosing his name. I settled on an Eastern European spelling of both Alexander, which means defender or protector, and Constantine, which means steadfast and constant. Taken together, his name means steadfast protector, a perfect name for this vampire doctor with a tortured past who still believes in his Hippocratic oath and has made it his personal mission to free humanity from both their vulnerability to the zombie virus and their oppression at the hands of his own race.

You can read all about that mission, the motivations behind it, and how a young nursing student named Hannah Jordan plays into it in Dominion of the Damned, available in both paperback and ebook. And you’ll get to see how that mission is going once Deliverance of the Damned hits stores in a few months!

Dominion of the Damned by Jean Marie Bauhaus

Cover Reveal: Dominion of the Damned (New Edition)

As you may or may not be aware, Dominion of the Damned has been getting an update to bring it more in line with the writing of the sequels (because six years is a long time for one’s writing style to evolve), and the new revised edition will be back on virtual book store shelves very soon (in the meantime you can read the revised-but-not-actually-finalized version for free on Wattpad).

And it’s getting a new outside to go with it’s new insides.

Here’s your first look at the brand new cover for the new-and-improved Dominion of the Damned:

Dominion of the Damned by Jean Marie Bauhaus

For a Limited Time: Read the COMPLETE Dominion of the Damned on Wattpad!

Now you can read the ENTIRE updated edition of Dominion of the Damned FREE on Wattpad! It won’t be up there for long — when I re-release the new edition on Kindle I’ll have to take it down.

If you haven’t read it, now’s your chance to get a free introduction to this trilogy, the second book of which is coming later this fall. And if you have read it? This is a perfect time to get your friends hooked on this series!

Still here? Well go on! Click here to read Dominion!

Bound Spirits Restless Spirits Book 3 Jean Marie Bauhaus

Happy Bound Spirits Launch Day!

Bound Spirits Restless Spirits Book 3 Jean Marie Bauhaus

 

It’s here! It’s here! At long last, book 3 of the Restless Spirits saga, Bound Spirits, in which the Wilson sisters battle an angry poltergeist, a weeping woman who woos people to a watery grave, mistaken beliefs about their parents, and–worst of all–wedding fever, is now available in e-book and trade paperback formats wherever books are sold online. Head here for all the links!

Or head here to read reviews!

Have you already read it? Head here to leave a review (pretty please with all the sugar on top?)

Yaaaaaaay!

 

News and Progress for Halloween Week, 2012

  • First of all, if you’re visiting from the Halloween Blog Hop, hi! Please enjoy my little blog, and click here to read about my top 5 scariest film monsters, and tell us who your scariest monster is in the comments.
  • Speaking of Halloween, if you’re looking for a fun and spooky read to get you into the holiday mood, my paranormal fantasy novel, Restless Spirits, is FREE for the Kindle from now until midnight on Halloween. Get it here.
  • It’s been a while since I’ve made a progress report for Dominion of the Damned. I edited Chapter 38 this morning, and I’ve got about a dozen chapters left to go. I have now shorn up all of the plot holes and character inconsistencies, and there’s only one major thing left to fix that caused all of my beta readers to raise their eyebrows. So the rest of the edits should go pretty quickly. I’m hoping to be done with it by the end of this week.

    After that, I still want to set it aside for a week or so and then give it one more read-through to make sure I caught all of the errors and typos, and that I didn’t create any new ones during my revisions. Once that’s done, I’m thinking of offering free ARCs to a handful of volunteers who are willing to give it an honest review in a public place (as opposed to just telling me what they think) and to tell me if they catch any errors that I missed. So I think we’re looking at an early-to-mid December release (I don’t want to release it in the middle of NaNoWriMo, anyway).

    And in the mean time, I think I’m going to experiment with pre-selling it on Kickstarter. Mostly, I want to have experience with Kickstarter so I can teach others how to use it, but if I can pre-sell enough copies to raise the funds I need to finalize the cover, that would be awesome.

  • In other news, I thought I knew what my next book was going to be, but my actual next book came and whapped me upside the head the other day and told me to write it instead. I’ll tell you more about it when I’m closer to actually starting it, but for now I’ll tell you this–it’s a real departure from anything I’ve written before, and my most ambitious story yet in terms of world-building and the prep-work and research that I’ll have to do. That’s why I usually write contemporary and urban fantasy and horror–I tend to be really lazy in the research and world-building areas, and it’s so much easier to write in an era and setting that I’m already familiar with, and just make up the fantastical parts.

    But this… it’s steampunk, for one thing, and historical (well, alternate history, but you have to know something about history in the first place in order to alter it convincingly), and it’s going to be a lot of work. But I’m really excited about it, and I can’t wait to get started, and I really can’t wait to tell you what it’s all about.

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