And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. (Numbers 11:17)
In this chapter you will study one of the most powerful and influential strategies used by Satan. Recognition of this strategy will answer many questions you have had in the past as you witnessed negative changes in your family, friends, and church fellowship…perhaps even in yourself. The strategy of which we speak is called “transference of spirits.”
SOME EXAMPLES FROM LIFE
First, consider the following examples from life:
Your youngest son was raised to be part of a closely knit family with good communication. He respected your rules and you attended church together. Suddenly he does not want to be with the family or attend church. He becomes sullen, withdrawn, and rebellious. He defies your instructions and stays out late at night. You cannot understand the sudden change. You did not have this problem with your older son. You have given them both the same love and guidance. What caused this situation?
An assistant pastor, who was formerly a great spiritual blessing to the church, becomes discontent, critical, and refuses to submit to the leadership of the pastor. He gathers a group of people around him. They develop similar attitudes. The assistant pastor sows discord and splits the fellowship.
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?
Examine the problem with your son and you will find the change came about after someone else came into his life who he respected and admired. He began to associate closely with this person. He began to tell you what they thought or said and what their parents allowed and he began to pattern himself after their style of behavior and dress. In the case of the associate pastor, you will find a similar situation. Because families in the church loved and respected him as a spiritual leader, they listened as he sowed the seeds of discord. His critical and rebellious spirit soon spread to others in the church.
TRANSFERENCE OF SPIRITS
Both of these situations occurred because of a strategy of Satan called “transference of spirits.” To “transfer” means to convey from one person to another. The word “spirit” as used in this lesson refers to the “character, attitude, or motive behind an action,” not a demon.
The actions of each person exhibit a certain “spirit.” For example, a person can demonstrate a gentle spirit, a boisterous spirit, or a rebellious spirit by his actions. A person’s spirit can be influenced by the spiritual forces of good or evil and he can transfer his spirit to others on a personal or group basis.
IMPORTANCE OF THE SPIRIT
Before you study some Biblical examples of transference of spirits, it is important to understand your own spirit and why it is an important target of Satan’s attack. God created your spirit:
The burden of the word of the Lord for Israel, saith the Lord, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. (Zechariah 12:1)
Thus saith God the Lord, He that created the heavens, and stretched them out; He that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it: He that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein. (Isaiah 42:5)
It is the spirit that gives life:
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)
At death, the spirit returns to God:
Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth. (Ecclesiastes 3:21)
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:7)
God is the Lord of your spirit:
Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation. (Numbers 27:16)
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? (Hebrews 12:9)
God weighs or judges your spirit:
All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits. (Proverbs 16:2)
God wants to put His spirit (the Holy Spirit) within you so you will be able to live for Him. This is why Satan attacks your spirit:
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:27)
God wants to preserve your spirit in holiness until the return of Jesus Christ:
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Thessalonians 5:23)
One important reason Satan attacks the spirit of man is because it is the spirit that bears witness with the Holy Spirit and gives assurance of salvation:
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. (Romans 8:16)
Another reason is that God uses your spirit to guide your life. In the natural world a candle gives light so that one has guidance. This is the function of the spirit in the spiritual world:
The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly. (Proverbs 20:27)
Satan also attacks the spirit because he knows it is a man of right spirit that God uses for His Kingdom:
…but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. (Isaiah 66:2)
Satan attacks the spirit because God dwells with a man of right spirit. He also sends revival through and to a man of right spirit:
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15)
When Satan causes wrong spirits in a church fellowship, he prevents revival. Satan combines his attacks on your spirit with his attack on your tongue. As you previously learned, the tongue is used by Satan to cause a breach in the spirit. A breach is an open place, a hole that provides entrance for the enemy:
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit. (Proverbs 15:4)
When Satan causes you to sin with your tongue, he has created a breach which provides access to your spirit.
IS TRANSFERENCE OF SPIRITS SCRIPTURAL?
It is possible to receive “another spirit”. Paul mentions transference of “another spirit”:
For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached,
or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received…
(II Corinthians 11:4 )
Biblical examples also support the concept of transference of spirits. An example of the transference of a good spirit is found in Numbers 11:16-17:
And the Lord said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee.
And I will come down and talk with thee there: And I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone. (Numbers 11:16-17)
The powerful anointing of God upon Moses was transferred from him to these selected elders. They came under the influence of Moses. Their spirits were in unity with and submission to his.
SATAN’S STRATEGY: TRANSFERENCE OF AN EVIL SPIRIT
Satan is an imitator, not an originator. He uses the pattern established by God for transferring a good spirit to transfer wrong spirits between men. One example of this is the story of the twelve spies sent by Moses to spy out the land promised by God to Israel. Read the account in Numbers 13:17-14:39. Ten of these spies returned with a negative report. They told of the great walled cities and the powerful enemy forces in the land. They transferred a spirit of fear and unbelief to God’s people:
…We are not able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we. And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants, and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight. (Numbers 13:31, 33)
But two of the twelve spies had a different spirit:
But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land where into he went; and his seed shall possess it. (Numbers 14:24)
And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes;
And they spake unto the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then He will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. (Numbers 14:6-8)
Here were two contrary spirits seeking to control the people. One was the spirit of unbelief. The other was the spirit of belief:
And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. (Numbers 13:30)
Look how the negative spirit of the ten spies affected the people:
And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried; and the people wept that night.
And all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron; and the whole congregation said unto them, Would God that we had died in the land of Egypt! Or would God we had died in this wilderness!
And wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt?
And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. (Numbers 14:1-4)
There were spirits of despair, murmuring, and rebellion transferred by the ten spies to God’s people. Israel was not kept out of the Promised Land because of an inferior army. They were kept out because of a wrong spirit. Why were the people affected by the evil spirit instead of the good? Because of the basic sin nature people tend to immediately accept and believe an evil report. There is also a tendency to “follow the crowd” and accept the decision of the majority as the will of God. Also, if Israel had accepted the positive report, it would have meant putting their lives on the line. They would have to expose themselves to great danger. Our human nature always wants to take the easy way out.
This powerful strategy of transference of spirits accounts for many of the spiritual battles fought by believers today. It accounts for the abrupt changes from positive to negative behavior which we witness in those around us. It explains why two children, raised in the same home, who receive the same Christian training, can turn out so differently. It is the reason behind divisions in homes, friendships, and church fellowships. When you maintain close association with or come under the influence of a person with a spirit more powerful than yours, you are open to the transference of that spirit to your own spirit. You are influenced by that spirit and it is transferred to you.
COUNTERSTRATEGIES: PREVENTING TRANSFERENCE OF AN EVIL SPIRIT
God has given spiritual counter strategies to prevent the transference of an evil spirit:
CONTROL YOUR OWN SPIRIT:
Control your own spirit. Be sure you do not develop a wrong spirit which you can transfer to others:
He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. (Proverbs 25:28)
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (Proverbs 16:32)
…therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. (Malachi 2:16)
GUARD YOUR TONGUE:
As you have learned, the tongue can be used to create a breach in the spirit and provide access to the enemy. Watch what you say!
GUARD YOUR AFFECTIONS:
Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:23)
Guard your affections. Do not give your respect and love to just everyone. You open yourself up emotionally to those you love and respect and this makes you receptive to their spirit.
CAREFULLY SELECT YOUR ASSOCIATES:
The book of Proverbs warns repeatedly of the danger of association with those who have wrong spirits. For examples read Proverbs 1:10-19 and 2:11-22. We are warned:
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go; Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. (Proverbs 4:14-15)
Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge. (Proverbs 14:7)
Be not among winebibbers (drunkards)…(Proverbs 23:20)
Whoso is a partner with a thief hateth his own soul… (Proverbs 29:24)
If you walk with wise men their spirits will be transferred to you:
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20)
Choose your close associates carefully. If you are a parent, carefully monitor the associates of your children.
GUARD YOUR PHYSICAL SENSES:
You will remember from the study of the flesh that your physical senses are important. Protect your hearing from reports of gossip, accusations, slander, and criticism. They can cause you to develop a wrong spirit. Guard your eyes from violent and pornographic movies or reading materials which can transfer spirits of adultery, lust, and violence.
USE CAUTION IN “LAYING ON OF HANDS”:
The “laying on of hands” is one of the foundations of the Christian faith spoken of by Paul in Hebrews 6:1-3.
What is important to recognize here is that, as demonstrated in the story of Moses and the seventy elders, a spirit can be transferred by the “laying on of hands.” If a good spirit can be transferred by the laying on of hands, it is probable that an evil spirit can be also. Be careful about who you allow to “lay hands” on you for the purpose of spiritual impartation.