Good meaty nuggets here:
Confronting Familiar Spirits
unread,9/19/05to Timms Chapel Church of God”Familiar spirit” is the designation of a specific type of evil spirit.
It is so classified because of its chief characteristic: namely,
familiarity. It is a relationship, a familiarity, with a person or
personality. For example, a woman, whom Paul encountered in Macedonia,
had a familiar spirit which gave her powers of divination. (Acts
Familiar spirits are common amid the practices of spiritism and
witchcraft, but their activity is by no means limited to persons and
practices so obviously occult. Evil spirits are personalities. They can
reason, decide, express emotions and communicate. Personalities have
the capacity to relate to one another. Two human personalities can form
a relationship; and, through communication and communion, that
relationship can be enhanced. Likewise, a person can form and develop a
close relationship with an evil spirit. When a person forms a
relationship with an evil spirit (which can be done either willfully or
through ignorance), he then has a familiar spirit.
Communication is the chief characteristic of a familiar spirit. The
spirit responds quickly to the summons of the medium. A medium, such as
the witch of Endor whom Saul consulted (I Sam. 28:7), is a go-between
which forms a communication link between the earthly world and the
demonic realm. Thus, anyone who becomes a channel of communication for
an evil spirit is a medium. He has a familiar spirit.
A familiar spirit is something that a person has, because it is a
personality identified with a certain individual. In the same sense
that one has a book, a friend or a cold, one can be personally
identified with a demon spirit.
“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after
wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God.” Lev. 19:31,
KJV, (emphasis mine)
The Hebrew word for “familiar spirit” is ob, meaning “a leathern
bottle.” To the ears of the ancient Hebrews, the hollow sound of a
familiar spirit, speaking through a medium, sounded as though it were
coming out of a skin bottle. A skin bottle is a vessel; and, a person
who has a familiar spirit, serves as the vessel which contains the
spirit. The spirit indwells the person. Thus, a person who has a
familiar spirit is demonized.
The seriousness of entertaining familiar spirits is plainly set forth
in God’s Word. Under the Old Testament law, involvement with familiar
spirits was punishable by death.
“A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall
surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood
shall be upon them.” Lev. 20:27
Familiar spirits are counterfeits of the Holy Spirit’s work. As with
anything occult, involvement with familiar spirits constitutes idolatry
and creates spiritual defilement: “Regard not them that have familiar
spirits…to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God” Lev. 19:31.
Anyone who has fellowship with God, and who is led by the Holy Spirit,
does not need a familiar spirit, for God provides him with all that he
needs. The sin of adultery is committed when a man or woman goes
outside of his or her marriage relationship to gratify sexual
appetites. Likewise, a child of God commits spiritual adultery when he
goes outside his relationship with God to gain supernatural knowledge,
wisdom, guidance or power.
King Saul sought out a woman who had a familiar spirit, and because
Saul sought help from the witch of Endor, God’s judgment came upon
“So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the
Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he
consulted a medium for guidance. But he did not inquire of the LORD;
therefore He killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son
of Jesse.” I Chr. 10:13-14.
God brought judgment upon the Canaanite nations because of their occult
practices, and He gave their lands to the Israelites. Then, God warned
the Israelites that He would drive them from the land if they ever
turned to the occult:
“When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,
thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.
There shall not be found among you…a consulter with familiar
spirits…for all that do these things are an abomination unto the
Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive
them out from before thee.” Deut. 18:9,11,12, KJV
Deception is always present in one’s relationship with a familiar
spirit. Usually, the one having a familiar spirit believes that his
spirit-companion is good rather than evil, or thinks that something
beneficial will come out of that relationship. He erroneously believes
that the spirit is a true benefactor who will provide him with helpful
information. He may even believe that the familiar spirit is the Holy
Spirit. He will; therefore, be reluctant to part with something he
believes is beneficial or that is of God.
The person having a familiar spirit may not recognize that it is a
spirit entity with whom he is having a relationship. He may think that
his experiences are only within his imaginations and fantasies. Or, he
may believe that he has contacted God’s spiritual realm through his
mind rather than through his spirit. Thus, he may be ensnared, not
because he is seeking something evil, but because he is seeking
something good in a wrong way .
Necromancy, a supposed communication with the dead, is a facet of the
familiar spirit’s operation. Necromancy is an outright deception.
Rather than communicating with a particular person, the medium is in
contact with a spirit which is familiar with that dead person. The
spirit is able to give information and produce manifestations which
lead the necromancer to suppose that he has contacted the spirit of a
certain dead person.
What draws a person into involvement with familiar spirits? The appeal
of the occult is usually either curiosity or a desire for that which is
hidden. One may have fascination with the supernatural, but may not
know how to differentiate between the supernatural realm of God and
that of Satan. Almost everyone wants to know what the future holds in
store. It is easy, therefore, to be drawn into a scheme that claims to
hold the key to knowing the unknown.
Many, it seems, have been enticed by the desire to communicate with
departed loved ones. A woman overheard my wife and me discussing
familiar spirits. She thought that she was being visited by her
deceased husband. She said that the spirit of her dead husband would
come into her bedroom, sit on the edge of her bed and talk with her.
She decided to test the phenomenon. When the spirit returned, she
touched him on the nose and said, “You are nothing but a demon. I
rebuke you in the name of Jesus. Do not come back anymore.” The
familiar spirit never returned.
Christians, especially those suffering from rejection, inferiority and
insecurity, are prone to crave an intimacy with the Lord which can draw
them into unscriptural ways of achieving such closeness. For example, a
Christian woman who had an unloving husband, was encouraged by a
counselor to visualize Jesus as being her husband. She was to imagine
Jesus coming through the door, hugging her and kissing her. Her
visualized Jesus became very real to her, and she found this fantasy
very satisfying. But one day her visualized Jesus became so intimate
that he made sexual advances toward her. She was frightened enough to
seek counsel which lead to her deliverance from a familiar spirit, the
spirit of “another Jesus” II Cor. 11:4.
An interesting experience involving a familiar spirit occurred while we
were teaching in Europe. The church there had been organized by an
anointed woman pastor, who had been deceased for several years. One
night, the Lord revealed to Ida Mae, by means of a spiritual dream,
that several in the church were being visited by an apparition of the
former pastor. In the dream, Ida Mae was shown the apparition. It
appeared very beautiful. When Ida Mae identified it as an apparition,
the face became hideously demonic.
The present pastor of the church, a young man, confirmed that
everything Ida Mae was shown was true. Several older women in the
fellowship were resisting the new, young leader and wanted everything
to continue as it was before. These women, who had been closely related
to their former pastor, so desired to stay in communication with her
that they opened themselves up to being visited by the deceptive
apparition. The sad part of the story is that the deceived women
refused to believe that they were communicating with a familiar spirit
rather than their deceased pastor.
Satan is a sly deceiver. When forbidden things are sought; or when good
things are sought in wrong ways, the devil is quick to take advantage.
There are many avenues through which familiar spirits can be acquired.
The following list is suggestive rather than exhaustive.
1. Divination. Divination is broadly defined as an attempt to discern
future events or to discover that which cannot be known by normal
methods. The familiar spirit is sought to assist a person in his quest
for hidden knowledge, guidance and power. There are many expressions of
divination. Divination includes the practices of occultists, spiritist
mediums, witches, Haitian voodoo priests, American medicine men and
Water witching is a form of divination. In some communities there will
be a particular person who is proficient in finding underground streams
of water with a forked stick. As he holds the “Y” of his divining rod,
the stick will turn forcibly downward when he walks over a spot that
has underground water. The familiar spirit communicates with the
diviner through his rod. One might reason that such a benefit could not
be wrong, but God has judged it to be wrong. He calls divination an
“abomination,” and pronounces a curse upon anyone who practices it:
“Thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those [Canaanite]
nations. There shall not be found among you any one that…useth
divination Deut. 18:9-10. You shall not…practice divination or
soothsaying” Lev. 19:26
As a young man, I learned to play with the Ouija Board. Years later, I
discovered that Ouija was no mere game! I could ask Ouija a question,
and he would communicate. I asked him many questions concerning my
life’s future, and Ouija had ready answers. I did not know that I was
talking with a demon and becoming familiar with the devil’s emissary.
2. Transcendental Meditation. TM, a practice associated with Hindu
worship, is accepted widely throughout western culture today. It is
being taught in some colleges and even in some churches. Contrary to
Christian meditation, which is an active reflection upon God and His
Word; Eastern meditation is passive. Passive meditation coupled with
trance-producing techniques and the chanting of a mantra, open a person
directly to the demonic realm. In his attempt to discover true
enlightenment, the TM practitioner empties himself of all self-
identity and willpower. He opens himself to deceiving spirits who
impersonate Deity and divulge false revelations of secret and hidden
3. Imaginary Playmates. It is not unusual to find a child who has an
imaginary playmate. The invisible companion is very real to the child.
In fact, the playmate may be invisible to others but appear visibly to
the child. The imaginary playmate becomes a companion and a teacher of
What begins, in the child’s imagination, as a technique to offset
loneliness, evolves into a relationship with a familiar spirit. A four-
year-old-boy, to whom we ministered, had an imaginary playmate whom he
called Charcoal. We asked why he called his playmate “Charcoal,” and he
insisted that the playmate told him that his name was Charcoal. In
order to be set free, the boy first had to fall out of agreement with
the familiar spirit and, command him to go. Although he was normally an
obedient child, he was so threatened by the prospect of losing his
companion that he stubbornly resisted his father’s coercion to renounce
the demonic presence. After a successful deliverance, there was a
marked improvement in the child’s personality and behavior.
In another case, my wife and I ministered to a young woman who was
plagued by extreme supernatural phenomena. Poltergeists manifested
themselves in her house; she experienced unsought astral travel, and
possessed undesired psychic insights. The root cause for all the
supernatural phenomena was, in her particular case, an early childhood
relationship with an imaginary playmate. Her parents had divorced when
she was four- years of age. Rejection and insecurity resulted because
she was passed around for different ones to raise. She began to play
with an imaginary friend, a familiar spirit, named “Genie.”
Interestingly, Genie (a derivation of jinn) is one of a class of
spirits which assumes various forms, exercises supernatural power, and
serves his summoner. The familiar spirit, Genie, was responsible for
the occult phenomena.
4. Visualization. Visualization is not a valid spiritual tool, although
it is a common technique employed by some practitioners of inner
healing and healing of the memories. Visualization is a method used for
centuries by sorcerers to contact demonic powers. Some proponents of
visualization contend that their Christian use of it represents the
true counterpart of an occult counterfeit; but in Scripture, however,
there is no basis for the use of visualization as a way of contacting
God or of receiving spiritual benefits. Therefore, so-called Christian
visualization is not a true counterpart to a counterfeit visualization,
but rather is itself a counterfeit of faith. Faith has spiritual eyes
which enable one to see the invisible. “Faith is the evidence of things
not seen” Heb. 11:1. Visualization is an attempt to see, by the
function of the natural mind, that which can only be seen by the
spiritual eye of faith.
A friend of ours became involved in visualizing Jesus. When she prayed,
the presence she felt was so real that she would sit at his feet and
place her head in his lap. She was shocked by the testimony of a
prominent Christian leader who had herself discovered that the “Jesus”
contacted through visualization was indeed “another Jesus” II Cor.
Our friend was brought to the realization that her “Jesus” was a
familiar spirit, and she called for help. She was delivered from her
bondage to the familiar spirit and now openly shares her testimony, so
that others can be brought to the light of truth.
Sometimes these familiar spirits of “another Jesus” become so familiar
that they actually manifest their presence by speaking audibly and by
touching the person.
5. Drugs. Drugs, especially the hallucinatory drugs, provide a straight
corridor into the demonic realm. This is true of all sorts of drugs
ranging from the ancient peyote to modern drugs known as LSD and PCP.
Such drugs alter the function of brain cells, and pave the way for an
infinite variety of supposed revelations which are fostered by familiar
spirits that were contacted via the drug-induced hallucinations.
6. Rock Music. Those who are hooked on rock music are usually very
defensive and unteachable. This rejection of truth is because rock
music is a “religion” to the devotee, and to suggest that someone
should give up his religion is a serious threat. Rock music requires as
definite a commitment as does Christianity.
Edward was a Christian teenager. He loved the Lord and was growing
spiritually. Suddenly, Edward changed. He completely turned away from
his Christian convictions. His parents were dismayed, and nothing they
said or did had any effect on their son. Edward had a dramatic change
in his personality. We asked his mother if he had become involved with
rock music. The answer was “yes.” His love for God and the Holy Spirit
had been usurped by “another spirit” with whom Edward had become
7. Games and toys. The devil is blatantly making his bid to control the
lives of our nation’s youth. Games and toys are a powerful influence in
the training of children. Parents, the spiritual guardians of children,
must be especially alert and vigilant today in order to protect their
offspring from Satan’s wiles.
As we ministered to a five-year-old-boy, we discovered that he was
emotionally attached to the hideous looking little creature known as
ET, an extraterrestrial being. ET had ceased to be a mere fictional
character in this young boy’s experience. ET had become a living
companion and friend who visited his bedroom and talked with him. He
was conversing with a demon: a familiar spirit. In such ways the devil
is conditioning children to relate to demons as friends. The child
becomes accustomed to these demonic creatures to the extent that he is
even comfortable with them when they materialize.
Tom, a young man in his late teens, was controlled by a false
personality. The alter ego was acquired through his involvement with
the game “Dungeons & Dragons.” The game requires role playing, and the
player becomes totally identified with a fictional character. Often,
the players dress in identifying costumes which portray the character
they are to represent. Tom had gradually lost his own identity and had
taken on the identity of his familiar spirit.
8. Conversing with demons during deliverance. When demons are
challenged, they sometimes speak through the person they indwell. A
deliverance worker may cultivate a relationship with a demon by
interrogating such spirits. In so doing, the deliverance minister
becomes a medium through whom the familiar spirit imparts secret
knowledge. If the information acquired through demons is accepted as
truth, then testimony to what demons have said becomes a doctrine of
“Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will
depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines
of demons.” I Tim. 4:1, (emphasis mine.)
A man sent me a manuscript that he had written. He asked me to critique
the material before publication. He had obtained supposed “top-secret”
information on the hierarchy of spirits in Satan’s kingdom by
conversing with a demon in a person who had been involved in
witchcraft. The book was dedicated, by name, to the demon who had given
him the information. He thus allowed himself to become a spiritist
medium communicating with a familiar spirit.
A deliverance minister was sharing with one of our staff members his
experiences in conversing with demons during deliverance. He said that
he saw no need for giving up the practice of interrogating evil
spirits. In fact, he found them to be entertaining. There was one that
he especially enjoyed talking with because what this demon said always
“seemed so cute.” How could anything out of the mouth of a deceiving
demon ever be considered “cute?”
Conversing with demons can easily lead to the forbidden role of being a
“consulter with familiar spirits” Deut. 18:11, KJV. If one becomes a
communication link with the demonic realm, he becomes a spiritist
medium; and the information he transmits is a “doctrine that demons
teach” I Tim. 4:1, NIV. Thus, interrogation of demons, and conversation
with them, is not only foolish but exceedingly dangerous. “Reasons Why
We Should Not Converse With Demons,” Demons and Deliverance In The
Ministry of Jesus, by Frank Hammond; Impact Christian Books, Inc.,
Kirkwood, MO, pp. 20-25.
9. Necromancy. God’s Word clearly forbids communication with spirits of
the dead. “There shall not be found among you anyone who…calls up the
dead” Deut. 18:10,11.
Some, whose loved ones have died, are tempted to communicate with them.
Instead of contacting the spirit of their loved ones, they come into
contact with familiar spirits who impersonate deceased friends or
Teraphim, or household gods, are mentioned several times in the Bible.
These were human figures and statues from which oracles were sought.
These household images were made in the likeness of deceased ancestors.
When Jacob separated himself from his uncle, Laban; Rachel stole her
father’s Teraphim. (Gen. 31). This passage reveals that Laban and his
family were involved in idolatry. They believed that they could be
helped by the spirits of the departed dead.
When God told Jacob to return to Bethel (The house of God), Jacob said
to his family; “Put away the foreign gods that are among you” Gen.
35:2, and the Teraphim were buried and left behind. Thereupon, the
curse was avoided; and the blessings of God came to Jacob and his
family, for, “The terror of God was upon the cities that were all
around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob” Gen. 35:5.
Sometimes, displayed pictures of deceased parents, brothers, sisters,
grandparents or other dead persons can attract familiar spirits. At one
time, my wife kept pictures of her deceased parents and other family
members in our bedroom. It gave her a sense of their continued presence
in her life. The Holy Spirit convicted her that her dead parents were
not her source of comfort, security or help. The pictures were put
In a church which I pastored, the aged grandmother of one of our
members died. Shortly afterward, I received a plea for help from the
family . I was told that the grandmother was making appearances in the
house, and that one member of the family was bitten on her thighs when
she sat in her grandmother’s favorite chair. The grandmother had been
involved in witchcraft. It was necessary to remove all witchcraft
paraphernalia from the house and to command the familiar spirit of the
grandmother to leave. The procedure proved effective, and there were no
The Scripture says, “There is one God and one Mediator between God and
men, the Man Christ Jesus” I Tim. 2:5. Also, Jesus declared, “No one
comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6. Jesus is the ONLY
mediator and the ONLY way through whom we have access to the Heavenly
There are some people; however, who have been taught to pray to Mary,
the mother of Jesus, or to other departed saints, as mediators. When
men pray to the spirits of the dead, they are practicing necromancy and
courting familiar spirits. Therefore, it is easy to understand why
there are so many reported visitations by these forbidden mediators.
For example, there is the “Virgin of Guadalupe” and the “Virgin of
Medjugore”, because familiar spirits manifested themselves when people
prayed to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
10. Incubus and Succubus. An incubus (from the Latin: to lie upon)
spirit, is an evil male spirit that lies upon women in their sleep,
ostensibly to have intercourse with them. The succubus (from the Latin:
to lie under) is a female spirit that comes at night to have a sexual
relationship with men. Definitions of incubus and succubus are given in
These unclean familiar spirits are found to have been acquired through
sexual promiscuity. Fornication, adultery and any sort of sexual
deviation will give opportunity to spirits of sexual lust.
One day, we invited a woman to come for deliverance. She met us at the
home where we were staying. My wife and I took her into a bedroom where
we could have privacy. The woman sat on the side of the bed, while we
sat on chairs. During the course of the ministry, as we were commanding
spirits of sexual lust and perversity to leave, a spirit of incubus
manifested itself. It threw the woman backward onto the bed with her
knees flexed and her thighs spread, and her bodily movements gave the
appearance that she was having sex with an unseen being. This is a good
example of why a man should not minister deliverance to a woman when he
She said that this spirit of incubus came to her frequently while she
slept. It was cast out by the authority of Jesus’ name.
Other deliverance experiences have led us to believe that involvement
in the occult can open the door for spirits of incubus and succubus to
enter. For example, we ministered to a Jamaican man who, along with
relatives, had been deeply involved in voodoo. He was being tormented
nightly by a succubus spirit. Not knowing the ways of God, he, in his
desperation for help, had sought the help of a witch. After going
through a witchcraft ritual, the problem was even worse than before.
This man required deliverance from occult spirits in addition to a
spirit of succubus.
What could be more familiar than a spirit who comes to have sex with a
person? It is understandable that people are often embarrassed to admit
that they are having night visitations from incubus and succubus
spirits, but it is the devil who makes people feel ashamed and afraid.
We must expose the devil by bringing secret things into the light.
“Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that
you may be healed” Jas. 5:16.
Apply this teaching on familiar spirits to your own life. Has any door
of opportunity been opened to familiar spirits? Is there any evidence
of the presence of familiar spirits?
Repent of each sin that has given opportunities for relationships with
familiar spirits. God’s Word warns that it is a sin to have a familiar
spirit. A familiar spirit is not judged by whether or not it appears to
be of benefit, but by what God has said about it.
Renounce the familiar spirits. (Note: An individual can have more than
one familiar spirit operating in his life.) Fall out of agreement with
the familiar spirits. Destroy any thing that you have in your
possession that would give a legal right for such a spirit to remain.
Tell it that it is not needed or wanted.
Resist and cast out the demonic spirits, using your spiritual authority
as a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Employ the spiritual weapons of
the blood of the Lamb, the name of Jesus and the Word of God, for these
weapons “are mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” II Cor. 10:5 .
Prayer and Warfare
(Read aloud the following prayer)
“Lord Jesus, I belong to You. You have saved me and redeemed me by Your
blood. I have need of no spirit other than The Holy Spirit. Forgive me
for having sought from other spirits that which should only come from
You. I renounce and separate myself from all familiar spirits, however
acquired. I call upon You, Lord, to deliver me from the lies and
deceptions of familiar spirits. Teach me Your truth and Your ways. It
is my earnest desire to walk in Your will and to glorify Your name.
“Satan, I renounce you, and I take back all the ground that I ever
yielded to you. God is my source of wisdom, knowledge, guidance and
power. You familiar spirit, leave me, in the name of Jesus.”
“Thank you Lord Jesus for delivering me and cleansing me from all
unrighteousness by Your precious blood. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”