Weaponising your gift of discerning spirits

Marko Joensuu         2 comments
There is an area of ministry related to the gift of discerning spirits that I have been extremely reluctant to write about, mainly as writing about it can so easily lead to heresy and misunderstandings. Also, many try to offer this kind of teaching as a method when it can only be used when authorised and guided by the Holy Spirit. So, generally I teach it on the need to know basis to Christians who are absolutely in the need of a breakthrough in this area. But in recent days I have been challenged to write about how the gift of discerning spirits can be used as a weapon.

It is because of the weaponising of the gift of discerning spirits that I have survived the last ten years of ministry, as we have expanded the work we are doing in the Middle East. So, what comes next is a mixture of Bible teachings and my battle notes, and my battle notes should always be subject to the authority of the Scripture and not the other way around. Our experiences are always subjective and in this area they can be often misleading, but the eternal truth of the Word stands forever.
My first experience of weaponising the gift of discerning spirits came in the late 1990s after I had moved to London from Finland. I had a friend in Finland with whom I hadn't spoken with for around two years. One evening I was in prayer when I felt led by the Holy Spirit to cast out demons of suicide and depression from his environment into the pits of hell. It didn't quite fit in with my theology at the time, but as the anointing of the Holy Spirit was so strong, I obliged.

I spoke with him around six months later and asked him what had been going on in his life at the time. Indeed, he had been contemplating suicide at the time but found the strength to pull through. Also, God had turned his life around, as he had met his future wife and they were about to get married.

This episode left me with a theological dilemma: I couldn't find a singular verse in the Bible about casting demons into hell, although when Jesus encountered the man who had been possessed by a legion of demons, the demons tell Him: "What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?" The implication of the story was that Jesus indeed had the power to cast demons to hell, but in other versions they only ask not to be thrown out of their country (which could well have been a deceptive tactic by the demons not to be thrown into hell but only out of the country – even when the devil tells a truth, he usually spins in a lie).

But if you study the Bible carefully you see that there are clear references to demons that have been cast into the abyss. (This section comes from my book Five Movements: Winning the Battle for Your Prophetic Gift).

Satan and his angels were cast to earth in a heavenly battle between God’s angels and the fallen angels who became Satan’s demonic army. Revelation 9:1-3 says,  "And I saw a star fallen from heaven to the earth. To him was given the key to the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit, and smoke arose out of the pit like the smoke of a great furnace. So the sun and the air were darkened because of the smoke of the pit. Then out of the smoke locusts came upon the earth. And to them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power."

In the end times, a demonic army will be released by Satan, the fallen star. He will be given the key to the bottomless bit. But right now, Satan doesn’t even have the keys to hell in his possession.

The Bible says that when God’s angels defeated Lucifer and his rebelling angels they were only thrown to earth and not to hell. How did these demons end up in the pit?

In Revelation 9:15 an angel of God releases four demonic angels that have been bound by the River Euphrates. They go on to kill one third of mankind. They must be some powerful dark angels. Who bound them? And how have they been bound?

In Revelation 11:7 two sack-clothed witnesses are killed by “the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit.” This beast must be yet another powerful demonic spirit. Who cast that spirit into hell?

I believe these demons were thrown to the bottomless pit first by Jesus and then by His disciples, and then by us. Satan himself has an exception clause from this early judgment given to him by God Himself. It is noteworthy that according to the Bible he never was the most powerful of angels; he only got the rebellion up and running through deception. If he was a cherub, then he would have been lower in rank than the archangels. 

Nowhere does it say that you can’t cast the demons into the pit, unless they possess a human being. Paul said, "Do you not know that we shall judge angels?" (1 Corinthians 6:3) We have been called to judge fallen angels with Jesus, and torment them ‘before the time’.

On surface, 2 Peter 2:4 seems to contradict this: "For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment."

It seems that in Peter’s mind all the fallen angels had already been shut down to hell. But the Bible never contradicts itself, and the key to the interpretation of this verse is found in Peter’s choice of the word ‘hell’. He uses the Greek word tartaroo which means ‘throw to Tartarus’. This is the only occurrence of this expression or reference to Tartarus in the Bible.

In Greek mythology, Tartarus was both a deity and a place in the underworld. But while Hades was the place for the dead, Tartarus was the place where the enemies of Greek gods were sent. Later on, it became a place for punishment.

Tartarus was used as a prison for the worst of villains but not all villains ended up there. This fits the biblical image of some fallen angels roaming the earth and some being bound in chains.

Now, I want you to consider this. How would God who is just bring punishment to the spiritual forces that caused man to fall?

Through man.

First He did it through Jesus and then through the disciples and now through us. Jesus had the power to throw demons into the abyss through the Holy Spirit. So have we. Jesus said to Peter,

"And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:18-19)

Read in context, it seems clear that Jesus has delegated to the Church His authority to bind the powers of Satan on earth and to set people free from the bondage to him. This is spiritual authority that can be used against demonic principalities.

God doesn’t only want to defeat His enemies; He wants to defeat His enemies through us. We can see this principle clearly in Paul's theology.

Ephesians 4:7-11 says, "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says: 'When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts to men.” (Now this, “He ascended”—what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers..."

The Book of Ephesians is all about the authority that Jesus has given to His Church, and these verses give theological justification for the work of the Body of Christ on earth. Because Jesus has descended before He has ascended, He fills all, and He is able to give gifts to all men. The fivefold ministry is one of the gifts that He has given to the Church, as it releases spiritual authority into the Body of Christ.

As a side note, we must say that this doesn't lead to any level of submission to the fivefold ministry at all, as the task of the fivefold ministry is to teach the Body of Christ to operate in this spiritual authority, which effectively means releasing Christians rather than asking them to submit to anyone else but Jesus. So, the Body of Christ doesn't need the spiritual authority of the fivefold ministry: what they need is the spiritual authority of Christ.

In Ephesians 6:12 Paul says: "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."

What is this wrestling but a close combat against demonic forces: a battle where one party will end up on top and the other defeated? And this is a real and not imaginary battle in which the gift of discerning spirits plays a vital part. For how will you even know where the enemy is if you can't discern it? 

The only way to overcome in the wrestling match against an invisible enemy is to use the gift that makes the invisible enemy visible. And this gift is the gift of discerning spirits. I have written a lot more about this gift in my book Supernatural Love: Releasing the Compassion of Jesus Through the Gifts of the Spirit. 

I had only occasional experiences about this until I began to write The Red Scorpion: A True Russian Mafia Story with Rami Kivisalo. He is a former gangster who used to work with the Russian mafia  before he found Christ. He also became demon-possessed during his criminal career. Writing the book with him took me to two years of experiencing the power of hell, as to write for two hours I had to pray for two hours - every day for two years. It was two years of extreme intimidation and Poltergeist phenomena. During that time I saw many strange things manifested in the physical world, things which are impossible to explain through science.

It was during this time that I began to weaponise the gift of discerning spirits in a more serious manner, simply because that was the only way to survive spiritually and mentally.

How does weaponising the gift work?

When Jesus casts out demons He names the spirit by their specific manifestation. When he casts out a mute or deaf spirit, these spirits haven't caused physical deafness or muteness as sickness, it is only that muteness and deafness were the manifestations or side products of demon possession.

It is important to understand that these sicknesses aren't physical states and not to confuse demon possession with sickness. Most times Jesus simply seemed to know what kind of spirit He was dealing with, but in the case of the man possessed by a legion of demons He asks for their name. This is probably because the demonic horde created a cacophony of spiritual 'noise', and there was no clear impression of what He was dealing with. In this instance only Jesus asks for the demons' name, but in all cases He seems to know what kinds of spirits He is dealing with.

When I operate in the gift of discerning spirits, I am able to 'scan' the spiritual environment of situations, relations, people, projects and so on. It gives you accurate information about what kind of spiritual oppression or disturbance you are dealing with.

If I am full of the Holy Spirit I will probably sense the spiritual forces more as force fields that I can simply push away. If I am feeling spiritually weak, I will probably feel the depression or fear that a demonic spirit carries; if my spiritual discernment level is even lower, I will probably be bombarded by the negative thoughts and ideas that these demonic beings emanate.

Genesis 2:19-20 says: "Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field."

This shouldn't be taken the wrong way, but the task of naming gave man the responsibility or authority over the animals. We can see this principle still at work in our life: it is through the way we define things that we perceive them and order them. Through naming things we take control over them.

Part of the gift of discerning spirits is the ability to name the spirits that you are dealing with. The devil is hiding behind deception, and the gift of discerning spirits attacks that deception revealing what demonic forces are operating behind deception. That discerning consumes an enormous amount of power. In one sense, the battle is over the revelation, for the moment we can see we can be freed from oppression. We can see this in the Book of Daniel 9 where Daniel had to wage spiritual warfare for 21 days before he could see.

Often, the moment of revelation is also the moment of liberation, as God's revelation carries enormous power.

Put simply, weaponising the gift of discerning spirits consists of naming what you perceive and asking that demonic power to leave: whether they leave to another country or hell might make us very little difference: the important thing is that these forces are cast out. But this can't be done methodically but in the power of the Holy Spirit. But over the last ten years I have done this a lot, but never without the prompting of the Holy Spirit. And it has helped me out of impossible-looking situations and demonic traps.

If you want to know how this can operate in a longer period rather than an instant, please read this true story about a magician in the mirror.

It is noteworthy that we see very little of casting out demons in the Old Testament, but the New Testament stories are full of them. This is because of the finished work of Jesus.

1 John 3:8 says: "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil."

We are part of this work to destroy the works of the devil. And sometimes we need to weaponise the gift of discerning spirits to achieve that.

In Matthew 10:8 Jesus tells the twelve apostles: "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."

It is debatable how much of this an individual believer is meant to do today. But the Body of Christ as a whole has definitely been called to do this.

But it is noteworthy that what we know about wrestling with principalities and demons comes mostly from the prophets in the Old Testament and apostles in the New Testament.

I wish I could write about this in greater detail, but it is not useful. For unless the Holy Spirit Himself guides you in this war, trying to wage it will only lead to destruction. For this is not a method that you can apply but a life filled with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit.

It is good to conclude with the words from Jude 1:5-10: "But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!' But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah."

So, in this post I have tried to share only as much as is necessary, in order not to encourage any false doctrine but to help those who find themselves in the midst of the fierce battle.

It is good to remember that this can also apply to our spiritual weapons: "Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." (Ephesians 4:20-21)

To go any further, you must go in the strength of the Word and the Holy Spirit.

Developing the gift of discerning spirits
Ministering in the gift of discerning spirits

You can connect with Marko on Twitter @markojoensuu and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mpjoensuu/ or by visiting markojoensuu.com. 

Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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  1. Wonderful insight! Not sure about this though: "We can see this in the Book of Daniel 9 where Daniel had to wage spiritual warfare for 21 days before he could see."

    Do you mean chapter 10? In both 9 and 10 Daniel "mourned" and petitioned and then was given messages with insight from Gabriel.

    This might be splitting hairs but I don't recognize Daniel's actions as spiritual warfare, but rather intercession. In chapter 10, he had a dream about a future war and hardship, then began mourning which lasted 3 weeks, and when Gabriel gets to him he mentions the spiritual battle he had been detained in, and in the first verse of chapter 11 we see Daniel now decides to support him and Michael in this battle. It seems he didn't know about this spiritual battle before Gabriel's mentioning it.

  2. I need to correct myself here ^, it doesn't say this is Gabriel, and it appears 11:1 is still the same angel speaking.

    But my point being it was Daniel's humility which caused God to grant him a message of explanation. We do get a look into spiritual warfare here though.




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