The resurgence of demonic activity has taken a new turn. A woman in England recently claimed to have a relationship with a ghost. She says she has gone on a hike with him; now she loves him and wants to marry him. Preposterous? Perhaps. Nevertheless, Bristol resident Amethyst Realm says it’s real and she wants to go through with the marriage.1
The absurdity of this incident is undeniable. But the pervasiveness of cavorting with demonic influences isn’t. Demonic activity started in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1-5); emerged in the post-Flood period (Gen. 10; 11); and had a consistent presence throughout the Old Testament (Lev. 19:31; Isa. 8:19). Devilish activity assumed a new intensity during the time of Christ (Mark 5:1-20) and the early church (Acts 5:1-11; 19:11-20).
Demonic activity continues today. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Tim. 4:1).
The apostle Paul encountered demonic power on his second missionary journey when he was confronted with a demon-possessed woman (Acts 16:16-18). She was doubly enslaved, to her human master and to a demon master. The original language conveys that she had a python spirit (verse 16), a spirit of divination. It had its origin in Greek mythology: a python serpent guarded the Delphic oracle. The python, and the snake in general, symbolize the varied techniques and activities of evil spirits. This woman persistently followed Paul and his team claiming to support their gospel message, while simultaneously bringing attention to herself. Two helpful truths emerge.
First, whenever God’s work progresses it will be countered by satanic resistance. Though demonic activity may take various forms, it is evident in every habitable corner of the world.
Second, this evil spirit continues today but takes different forms, as when the devil uses people, especially professed believers, to impersonate those who apparently believe and support the gospel and its truth but are actually agents of unrighteousness through their allegiances, practices, or influences. They can be aware of their hypocrisy, or they may be deceived and unconscious that they are being used as mediums for darkness.
Today’s python agents, in or out of the church, often assume a benign and supportive posture. Ellen White wrote: “Satan has many in his employ, but is most successful when he can use professed Christians for his satanic work. And the greater their influence, the more elevated their position, the more knowledge they profess of God and His service, the more successfully can he use them.”
But the divine solution for lurking pythons is not complicated. Three suggestions:
Delbert W Baker is vice chancellor of Adventist University of Africa, near Nairobi, Kenya.