“Love is strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave.” Song of Solomon 8:6.
I made my first of a dozen trips to Jerusalem in 1964 and stayed in the American Colony Hotel. This lovely old building had originally been the private family estate of Horatio Spafford and his wife. It was he, who, in 1873, wrote the famous Christian hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” after his four daughters were lost in a shipwreck at sea. Earlier, the Spafford's home, business, and investments, were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This was followed by the death of their son Horatio to Scarlet Fever. Though committed Christians, their church compounded their grief by insisting that these tragedies were God's punishment for their secret sins. Bathed in agony, the couple moved to Jerusalem, converted a large house into a hostelry, and became missionaries to those in need. They called it "The American Colony." It was here that Bertha was born. My visit to this house was before the Six Days War when Jerusalem's walled city was still in Muslim control. Bertha lived in a private section of the estate where I saw her only once. She was then a white-haired grand-motherly figure whose life in the Middle East had left a permanent mark of greatness.
National Geographic Magazine did a full-length feature story of her service to Jerusalem’s under-privileged. For years she maintained an orphanage and school for homeless girls–Jewish, Christian, Muslim. During the First World War when Jerusalem was under attack she converted her home into a hospital and once removed a soldier’s eye on her dining room table. It was in that same room I had my meals. Bertha is the only woman to whom the Kingdom of Jordan awarded its highest Medal of Honor. To them, she was “Sit Afifi,” the “Mother of us all.” What I remember most about “Sit Afifi” was a story she told of her trying to deliver superstitious Moslems from belief in the dreaded “Evil-Eye.” This superstition claimed that if you did anything to draw attention to yourself, you incurred the jealousy of others. When jealousy reached a significant level, the evil-eye released disaster upon you and those you loved. Anyone traveling in the Middle East today sees the emblem of the “evil eye” attached to the dashboard of every Islamic automobile or bus. It is in homes, businesses, or hanging from key-chains. The insignia is not only a warning about the deadly nature of jealousy but actually fortifies the power of its curse. With that fear deeply interwoven into their religious life, the girls in Bertha’s school were fearful to do anything that brought personal attention to themselves. Probably, no other force has done more to paralyze initiative, originality, creativity, among Muslim believers than the “Eye.”
In the early years of the school, Bertha faced a problem: A dignitary was coming to visit them and she wanted one of the girls to present a gift to the visitor: A simple, hand-embroidered handkerchief was to be given in a public ceremony. In the beginning, none of the parents were willing. They feared the evil eye. Finally, a couple consented and allowed their daughter to make the presentation. Amid applause, with all eyes upon her, the child gave the handkerchief to the visitor and sat down. That was all she did. Later, that same day, the child's dress caught fire and she burned to death. In agony, her parents blamed Bertha for deceiving them about the evil-eye. More than ever before, they knew it was real. Not only they, but every other person connected to the school had the superstition powerfully re-enforced in them. In all probability, Bertha had been taught nothing about her having power over demons or her responsibility to defend the child.
I do not fear the superstition of the evil eye. Absolutely not. “Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world.” At the same time, I also know, if left unresisted, there is power in a Moslem curse and in the demon of jealousy. And I have no doubt it was the release of that devilish power that killed the unsuspecting child. Like many other Christians today, Bertha did not realize she needed to do more than merely deny the evil-eye. The students needed protection from powers of darkness. That child and her parents lived in an area totally saturated in its belief. Five times daily, Mosques in Jerusalem shook the spiritual atmosphere with the window-rattling announcement, “There is no god but Allah ...” The curse did exist. It was real. More importantly, it was dangerous. Jealousy is much, much more than a bad attitude. Like witchcraft or other forms of Satanism, jealousy is a spirit. Numbers 5:14. Americans may know nothing of the “evil eye” but they are just as vulnerable as Moslems to the spirit of jealousy. Through many years of pastoral work I have seen jealousy first-hand in its attack against the innocent. I too became its victim and suffered incredible grief which most others never knew. Tragically, we Christians ignore the New Testament’s warning that we are fighting “Principalities, Powers, Rulers of the darkness of this age, Spiritual Hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12.
Let me explain how jealousy works in our society: If a wife becomes jealous of her husband's business partners, friends, or relatives, and allows that spirit to express itself through her, she can saturate her home and the area around it with its’ dark power. Her family, work place, even her children, become its target. While she never meant for them to be victimized, once released, the spirit has indiscriminate power. That destruction can be physical, emotional, spiritual, financial, domestic, or manifest in a number of ways. It may attack a child at school through teachers or other students who are vulnerable to its’ influence; all these may remain totally ignorant of its purpose in manipulating them. It may affect the husband’s business trip many miles away and ruin an otherwise successful opportunity. Observe this: When one comes under attack from the spirit of jealousy there will be a series of simultaneous strikes from other sources. You have had days when “everything went wrong.” This is the type of assault of which I speak. These secondary attacks appear to be unrelated. Actually, they are the “follow-up” of the enemy’s well-disciplined invasion. What I am saying is this: Jealousy does not confine itself to its’ original situation. Like a rock thrown in a pond, the ripple-effect of jealousy will touch situations totally unrelated to the initial cause.
Another example: Jealousy may begin when a father becomes envious that the neighbor’s children have more expensive toys, better vacations, more friends, than his own. Where love was his motivation for providing for his children in the past, that changes, and the motivation of love is replaced by one of resentment and bitterness. Outwardly, everything appears the same. He continues to provide for the children but the internal difference is catastrophic. In changing his basic motivation he has changed the controlling influence in the home from love to bitterness. If left uncorrected, he will become possessive, controlling, selfish, in his children’s behalf. Love no longer reigns. Jealousy rules. Soon, no one in the family can please him. Ultimately, jealousy even destroys those who cooperate with it. For someone to realize they have a spirit of jealousy and do nothing about it is to wilfully harm those they love.
South Florida had a tragedy in which a young man murdered the girl he devotedly loved. I later realized, he did not love her. Love never kills. Jealousy kills. God is love--Satan is jealousy. Jesus gives “life more abundantly.” Satan came to “kill, steal, and destroy.” John 10:10. It was not long after that, while praying early one morning, the Lord interrupted my thoughts with this explanation: “Jealousy is Satan’s imitation of love.” The thought was arresting and for a long while I sat with the concept going through my mind. It came again clearly: “Jealousy is Satan’s imitation of love.” As I meditated on the message, I realized that outwardly, love and jealousy share many similarities. So many, in fact, that people sometimes confuse the two. They do not realize that the devil is silently substituting his deadly imitation for true love; this subtle change is extremely dangerous.
Years ago, I was called to the hospital room of a woman dying from a series of severe–but seemingly–unrelated attacks against her health. She was a committed Christian who for a long period of years battled strange illnesses, accidents, and medical mix-ups. She was now in an unconscious, dying-state. Driving alone to the hospital I suddenly had a powerful “word of knowledge” in which I knew the source of her strange crises: She was the victim of jealousy. When I arrived at the family room where relatives had gathered, I blurted-out what the Holy Spirit had told me. Looking at the husband I said, “Your wife is the victim of a curse of jealousy!” My words were met with incredulous stares. The family was Christian but one which carefully distanced itself from what they considered my strange, “charismatic claims about the Holy Spirit.” But I didn’t wait on their response–not did I sit down. “In the Name of Jesus Christ!,” I half-shouted, “We take total, absolute, unconditional command over the curse of jealousy and cancel it in Julianna’s life. We do this in the Name of Jesus Christ!” When I finished, the woman’s sister (a full-gospel believer) darted from the room and rushed to the bedside. Instantly, Julianna opened her eyes and in an incredibly short time went home. Later, a family member took me aside privately and told me what everyone else in the room already knew: Years of intense, angered jealousy against the victim and the relative from whom it came. The woman's health issue was not physical; it was wholly spiritual.
Not long afterward I was in a meeting that ended with the congregation experiencing a spontaneous baptism of love. People around the building hugged each other, rejoicing in the joy of the Lord, and weeping tears of happiness. It was a scene where “Heaven came down our souls to greet and glory crowned the Mercy Seat.” I was probably embraced a hundred times by both men and women--few of whom I knew. Later, I went to my car alone in the dark, when suddenly a man stepped out of the shadow and in a very threatening voice said, “I don’t like the way you hugged my wife!!” I was frightened and quickly apologized, saying, “–I don’t know which one is your wife.” “She’s the one over there in that truck!,” he snapped back, indicating he had put her there as punishment. I attempted to explain that the hug had been fatherly. But he didn’t understand what I meant and continued his tirade. To him, all hugs were erotic. He knew of no other kind. After a while he stalked away. Few times have I been more frightened.
What I saw was not a man’s love for his wife but his jealousy. While I felt remorse for him, and pity for his wife, I felt an especially deep concern for his children. A man whose only expression of love is an erotic one cannot show affection to his sons and daughters. His children will grow up without ever feeling their father’s embrace. That is the way jealousy replaces true love with its own confusing counterfeit. In the past 70 years of ministry I have had numbers of victims weep out their stories to me. Middle aged men sat in my office, weeping, and explaining, “In my entire life my father never hugged me.” How sad! God designed us to be hugged. Hugs release endorphin and serotonin in the brain; these promote a sense of happiness and well-being. That in turn, produces better mental and physical health. Children, particularly, need to be hugged.
What should you do if you recognize jealousy is working through you? First of all, realize that in its intense form, jealousy is a demon-spirit. The only successful resistance is to have someone minister deliverance to you and cast it out. That must be done in the Name of Jesus. Until jealousy has been destroyed by the power of the Holy Spirit it will continue to inflict its devilish program against you and those you love. In the end you will discover, it is “cruel as the grave.” Perhaps you are not the source of jealousy but the one whom it has attacked. What can you do to protect yourself? First of all, Jesus said, “Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you.” Don’t fight on their level. If you do, you too will become as jealous as they are. You must rise above their earthly plateau and battle in the spiritual-realm. Recognize that the other person is not your problem. The demon is the problem.
Paul said, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” Instead, we wrestle against “Powers, Principalities, Rulers of darkness, Spiritual hosts in high place.” To win, you must put on the “whole armor of God.” That includes girding yourself with “truth,” wearing the “breast plate of righteousness,” protecting your feet with the “gospel of peace,” off-setting the attack by the “shield of faith,” protecting your mind by the “helmet of salvation,” and finally use the “sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Finally, you must pray with “all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Ephesians 6:13-18. Jesus said, “I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions and over all the power of the enemy.” Luke 10:19. The Apostle John declared, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” I John 4:4. Finally, wage all-out spiritual war. Take authority in Jesus’ Name. Bind, rebuke, banish, the enemy by the power of the Cross. Win! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking jealousy can be ignored. It cannot. Bertha Vester and the parents of a little girl in Jerusalem learned the hard way. You do not need to be afraid of jealously or any other spirit. But you absolutely must realize they are real--and dangerous. You must drive them from your life!
If your pastor is not teaching the congregation about demons, deliverance, and the full New Testament message, go to him, pray for him, and encourage him to teach everything Jesus commanded. Be patient with him. Hopefully he will change. He already understands the danger of jealousy but may not realize it can be demonic. If he continuously refuses your plea, leave the church. Find a congregation being taught the complete New Testament. Your life depends on it. Chas
Are Demons real? Can Modern Believers Cast Them Out?
Demons are spiritual parasites who desperately want a physical host in which to live. Having no body of their own they can only fulfill their lust by expressing it through the body of another. They dread the "dry places" which is their only option. ( Matthew 12:43. Luke 11:24.) Like leeches, they can even anesthetize the place of their wound so that their invasion goes undetected. In many cases, a demon will mentally mesmerize his prey to the degree that the victim believes the spirit’s will is his own. Once established, the demon considers the person’s body as “his house.” (Matthew 17:44.) Worse still, such dominating control can be passed from one generation to the next. These are called family “strongholds.” (2 Corinthians 10:4.) This includes undesirable physical, mental, moral, emotional, religious traits. These, in turn, can open their victim to addiction, explosive anger, self abuse, depression, repeated failure, jealousy, adultery, and a wide variety of other perversity. Demons hate God and find pleasure in defacing those who are created in His image and likeness.
The Bible gives us much detailed information about demons but does not tell us how or when they originated. We only know that Satan, their ruler, appeared early in the Genesis account as a serpent and that demons existed at the same time. (Genesis 3:1.) The prophet Isaiah described Satan’s fall and the Book of Revelations indicates that he took one-third of the angels with him. (Isaiah 14:12. Revelation 12:3.) At this point we cannot form doctrinal opinions; we only know demons are real, they are dangerous, and whose greatest power is deception. With it, they are very successful. When confronted, they defend themselves desperately. The good news is they can be bound and banished from believers by the authority of Jesus. (Matthew 28:18-29. Luke 10:19. II Corinthians 10:4.) Jesus never sent disciples to preach but that He gave them His same authority and power. (Matt. 10:8.) Once the disciples returned with great joy to Jesus, shouting, laughing, and saying “Even the demons are subject to us in Your name!” (Luke 10:17.) Of future believers, Jesus said: "In my name they will cast out demons." Mark 16:17. Thirty percent of Jesus’ recorded ministry was spent in direct conflict with unclean spirits. Casting them out of their victims was a cardinal part of His ministry. (Mark 5:1-18. John 5:5. Mark 1:26.) Apparently, demons are indestructible and will even remain alive with Satan in the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:10.). CC