14. Unseen Spirits?

What Can We Know About the Unseen World of Spirits?

The Holy Scriptures teach that an unseen world of spirits surrounds us. It is both real and powerful. The magic of Pharaoh's servants was genuine, but the power Allah gave Prophet Musa was greater (Exodus 7:1–8:19). While various people, some with and some without Allah's consent, may actively engage this invisible world, no one's authority can compare to that of Isa al-Masih.

When Isa went to Peter's home, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying ill with fever. Isa touched her hand and the fever left. Then she got up and made him a meal. When evening came, people brought him many individuals who were possessed by demons. He cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. In this way, what Prophet Isaiah said was fulfilled: “He took away our sicknesses, and carried off our diseases.” (Matthew 8:14-17; see also Luke 11:14-26)

Isa gave similar power to his twelve emissaries (Matthew 10:1). After he was killed, came back to life, and had gone into heaven, his power was available not only to the twelve apostles (e.g., Acts 3:1-10), but also to other disciples (e.g., Acts 6:8; 8:4-13; 13:4-12; 19:11-20; 1 Corinthians 12:27-31). More damaging than physical ills are the false teachings promoted by demons through people (1 Timothy 4:1). While there are bad spirits, there are also good spirits known as angels. They sometimes assist and even visit Allah's people (Acts 12:1-19; Hebrews 1:13-14; 13:2). This whole topic is a large one and deserves careful study. A few more key concepts will have to suffice here. Specifically, Allah gives his people clear warnings, assistance, instructions, and encouragement.

A warning:

Stay alert and attentive. Your enemy Iblis prowls around like a roaring lion looking for prey to devour. Resist him by standing strong in your faith. And remember that your brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world are enduring the same kinds of sufferings. Allah, the source of all kindness, called you through Isa al-Masih to experience his eternal glory. So after you have suffered a little while, Allah himself will restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. (1 Peter 5:8-10)

Divine assistance:

Finally, be mighty in the Lord through his great power. Gird yourselves with all the battle gear from Allah so you can stand strong against Iblis' schemes. For the combat we face is not against mere flesh-and-blood humans, but against celestial forces—rulers, authorities, cosmic leaders of this dark place, and malicious spiritual beings in the heavens. Therefore, to stand firm in evil times, equip yourself with all Allah's battle gear. Then, having been fully prepared, you will be able to stand firm. So stand firm! Know the truth, buckled on like a soldier's belt. Live a righteous life, for it will guard you like a breastplate. March forth with the good news of peace, as on well-shod feet. Always carry faith as your shield, for it will extinguish all the evil one's flaming arrows. Don your salvation like a helmet. In your hand carry the word of Allah, the sword granted you by his Spirit. Pray in every situation, always appealing through his Spirit. And devote yourselves diligently to prayer as you petition for all Allah's people. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

Instructions and encouragement:

Dear ones, don't believe every spirit-inspired message. Instead, test every spirit to determine if it is from Allah. For many false prophets have gone out into the world. Here's how you can know the Spirit of Allah. Whenever a spirit professes that Isa Al-Masih has come as a man, that is the Spirit come from Allah. But any spirit which does not profess Isa is not from Allah. That is an anti-Masih spirit. You've heard that such a thing is coming, and in fact it's already in the world. You, dear children, are from Allah. And you've overcome the false prophets because greater is the One in you than the one in the world. The others belong to this world, so they speak of worldly things, and the world heeds them. We are from Allah. Anyone who knows him listens to us. Anyone not from Allah does not listen to us. So this is how we distinguish the Spirit which speaks truth from a spirit which deceives. (1 John 4:1-6)

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