Bizarre and False Spiritual Manifestations
By Derek Prince
(Excerpted from: Protection From Deception)
There are many features of purported moves of the Holy Spirit that I could pick out and hold up as examples of things that are not holy. But I will only deal with one, and that is: animal behavior in human beings attributed to the Holy Spirit. There are many such examples, some I have witnessed and some have been reported.
First of all, there is no passage in Scripture that I know of where the Holy Spirit causes any human being to behave like an animal. There is the example of Balaam, but that is a strong contrast. God caused Balaams donkey to speak like a man but He never caused Balaam to bray like a donkey!
There was one man whom God caused to behave like an animal: Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles feathers and his nails like birds claws. (Daniel 4:33) But that was Gods judgment, not His blessing! Revelation 4:6-8 depicts four living creatures that surround the throne of God. Three are there as representatives of the animal kingdom: a lion, a calf and an eagle. But none of them make noises that express their animal nature. All of them alike proclaim the holiness of God in pure and beautiful speech. It is important to understand that there is an order in Gods creation.
Man was created in the image and likeness of God to exercise authority over the animal kingdom (see Genesis 1:26). Man is, in fact, the highest order of the creation described in the opening chapters of Genesis. This has a bearing on the way the Holy Spirit blesses us. He uplifts those whom He blesses. He will at times cause an animal to act in some ways like a human being. But He will never degrade a human being by causing him to act like an animal.
I have a certain amount of experience in this area because I have encountered animal spirits many times in Africa. I recall one particular deliverance service that I held in Zambia with about 7,000 Africans present. When I had finished the teaching and began to command the evil spirits to manifest themselves and come out of the people, there were all sorts of animal spirits that were let loose. By animal spirits I mean evil, demonic spirits that enter human beings and cause them to behave like animals. The first thing that happened was that a man with a lion spirit tried to charge me. But someone tripped him up and he did not reach me. You need to know that the reason these Africans in this part of Africa have so many animal spirits is because many of them are hunters of animals. They have this superstition that in order to hunt an animal successfully, you have to get the spirit of the animal in you. So a man tends to have the spirit of the animal which he seeks to hunt. For instance, the man who is hunting a lion, will get a lion spirit.
There are many others. We dealt with spirits of wild boars that caused people to burrow in the earth with their noses like a wild boar rooting for something. Then there were many snake spirits. These were mainly in women, and when they were manifested, the women were flat on their bellies slithering around like snakes. All these I actually witnessed myself.
There was one other spirit that I did not witness, but heard about from the missionary couple who organized the meeting. Later I met the lady concerned. She was a very sweet Christian lady a school teacher but her husband was an elephant hunter. When she came to the missionary couple for deliverance, they commanded the elephant spirit to come out. Immediately she dropped on her hands and knees, crawled out through an open door, put her forehead up against a small tree, and began to try to push it down. Wasnt that remarkable? Perhaps some well-meaning Western Christian might have said, Our sister is pushing a tree down for Jesus, but that was not the explanation. The elephant spirit in her was causing her to do what elephants regularly do, which is push down trees with their foreheads. As soon as she was delivered from that spirit, she no longer had any urge to push trees down with her forehead. In the West, we sometimes tend to speak about the people in Africa as unsophisticated and to consider ourselves more sophisticated. However, I think in this realm of animal spirits it is we, in the West, who are unsophisticated and the Africans who are sophisticated. They have lived for generations with such spirits, but until the gospel came, with the power of the name of Jesus and the Word of God, they had no way to deal with them. Thank God that many of them now know how to deal with them!
Another example of which various reports have been given is people behaving like dogs. I am a dog lover, but I think dogs should be kept in their rightful place. I do not believe that the Holy Spirit ever causes anybody to bark or to run around like a dog.
Where such manifestations of animal spirits have occurred, there are certain steps that we need to take. We cannot tolerate or encourage such manifestations. Nor can we merely sweep all this under the carpet and go on as if nothing had happened.
In Matthew 12:33, Jesus instructs us: Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Wherever there is bad fruit, it comes from a bad tree. It is not enough to get rid of the bad fruit. We must also cut down the bad tree that produced it. If we fail to do this, the bad tree will go on producing more bad fruit. Undoubtedly the tree that produces animal behavior of this kind is some form of occult or pagan practice. For instance, there are frequent manifestations of animal behavior in some parts of Africa and India.
To cut down the tree requires that the leaders responsible identify the problem, confess it as sin and repent of it.