When Demons Worship
Deeper Insights into the Struggle between True and False Worship
As the age culminates, worship is becoming the clearly defining issue of all being. What or Who one worships and how one worships are the central issues of our time. We have seen this clearly over the last generation both in the church and in the world. In the church, worship has become a front and center point of teaching and experiential reality. And in the world, competing philosophies in science, politics and religion reveal the centrality of the human worship consciousness—whether it be the worship of the state, or of a nation, or of man, or of Allah, or of the cosmic universal force of Brahman.
Discerning Idolatry and True Worship
In our apprehension of worship, we have always drawn a childlike black and white line between worship of the one true God and idolatry. The scriptures seem to present us the choice between true worship and idolatry in simple terms. We either worship God, or we worship “idols”—whatever or however such idols may be defined religiously, materialistically or philosophically.
The command seems simple and clear enough: “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
But because of the spiritual nature of idolatry, the black and white line is not so easy to discern as the choice appears. This is most evident in Elijah’s showdown at
Mount Carmel, and the historic conflict between the worship of Jehovah and “Baal” which meant “Lord.” Everywhere in men claimed to worship “the Lord,” yet they were not worshipping the same Lord. Paul carries this idea through when he speaks of worshipping “another Jesus.” The deceptiveness of the satanic nature behind idolatry is responsible for clouding the simplicity of distinction between idolatry of false gods and the true worship of God. Israel
Between true worship and idolatry is a cloudy “no man’s land” that confuses true worship with some form of false worship of what is otherwise true. The object of our worship—the one God through His Son—is true, but the spirit behind our worship of Him is false. Thus on the surface, true worship appears to be in force and is defended as such by today’s prophets of Baal. But in spirit, the worship is false and is rejected as such by the Lord just as Cain’s worship was rejected.
As worship has become so central to human consciousness the last few generations, two particular manifestations of false worship of the true God have risen to the fore. The first involves the attempt to sanctify idolatry by “co-opting” it with the worship of Christ. The second and more difficult to discern is the worship of Christ by demonic spirit.
Co-opting of Idolatry by the Worship of Christ
The co-opting of idolatry by the worship of Christ occurs everywhere and anywhere that Christians try to “sanctify” enterprises of the world by adding the worship of Christ to them, attempting thereby to “convert” such enterprises by redefining them in “Christian” terms. It’s the idea that, rather than converting men out of the world, the church can somehow convert the spirit of world culture itself into holiness by the participation of Christ in it, thus leaving in tact men’s relationship to the world.
All enterprises in the world are enterprises of idolatry. Outside of Christ, all men are idolaters under the spirit of the world. Thus all their enterprises in the world are idolatrous. It matters not whether the enterprises are “good” or “bad.” They are nevertheless idolatrous. The spirit of the world under which all the enterprises of human culture transpire is a spirit of idolatry. Human enterprise (culture), the spirit of the world, and idolatry are inseparably linked.
One cannot add the worship of Christ to idolatrous cultural enterprises driven by the spirit of the world in expectation of “converting” the culture. Idolatrous enterprises are by nature unconvertible because the spirit of the world behind human culture is unconvertible. The spirit of the world is as unconvertible as satan himself.
This is hard to discern though where world enterprises are ostensibly “good” or even “neutral.” In the case of satan and of obvious sins, few would argue that one could add the worship of Christ to the worship of satan or the practice of sin and still have true worship. Only the most reprobate mind would defend the idea for example that one may run a “Christian whorehouse.” (Yet what should surprise us anymore seeing as many now even believe in a concept of “Christian homosexuality.”) But on the whole, few contend that one can sanctify open perversion.
Nevertheless, unless open perversion is advocated, Christians routinely believe they can co-opt the enterprises of fleshly culture empowered by the world spirit. They believe they can “christianize” the culture by adding their worship of Christ to it. This goes beyond acting as legitimate influences of salt and light. In the name of such temporal influence, many Christians feel that their call is to sanctify the world’s idolatry-driven enterprises. This has even led to the redefinition of “evangelism” from calling men out of the world’s systems to converting world culture itself. This has produced a “christianesque” idolatry of the world—an idolatry with a Christian face. But it is not the true worship of Christ. It is still idolatry.
The Example of Christmas
Throughout church history, the Roman Catholic Church has been the master operative force in putting a “Christian” face on world idolatry. In its zenith of power, the Catholic system put such a face on every religion and enterprise known to man. Virtually anything good or sinful could be advanced “in the name of Christ” if it was for the advancement of the church. In religion, this advancement took the form of what is called “syncretism,”—the blending of the worship of Christ with the various idolatries of the world’s peoples wherever Catholicism came to land.
Today, the most enduring legacy of catholic co-opting of human idolatry is the celebration of “Christmas,” an attempt to “convert” the spirit of the world behind the feast of saturnalia by assigning to it instead the “birth of Christ.” But as already noted, the spirit of the world is not convertible. Therefore, despite all the guilt-laden protestations about the supposedly true “reason for the season,” Christians worldwide are enveloped every December by the descending world spirit that coerces them to switch gears from whatever the Spirit is saying to the churches to justify binge eating, partying, materialism, merchandizing of ministry and submission to vain traditions, becoming lost in a soulish fog of nostalgia far removed from any immediate prophetic reality.
Contemporary Christian Idolization of Culture
But adapting to human idolatry is not at all limited to the historic Catholic Church. It is in fact the practice of the modern prophetic, intercessory worship movement itself. The prophetic and intercessory movements have been seduced into worshipping world systems and cultures by means of various “dominionist” theologies that see as their job to convert world systems to Christ, christianizing everything from the movie industry to political parties. National idolatry is most prominent among those who try to hitch the worship of Christ to the idolization of
Americaand/or of modern . And in no case is any distinction made between the world and the church, nor ever a word spoken against the spirit of the world. Israel
Similarly, the worship movement itself has been seduced into imitating the world’s idolatrous spirit to the point that little genuine worship is occurring anywhere on the surface of society. This is most evident through what has come to be known as the “worship industry”—an enterprise in which the church’s “leading” worship artists have refashioned the inherent vainglory of the music industry into one with the name of Christ on it, promoted through slick merchandizing magazines, websites, radio and other media—leading to the elevated prostitution of the personalities of the worship artists.
In recent years, the worship industry has further bowed to the idol of human entertainment, seeking to promote “true worship” through copying venues such as TV’s American Idol program. The false worship of the true God through the medium of human idolatry cannot be any more blatant than it is through a website actually called ChrisitanIdol.org.
In the end, all attempts to co-opt the inherently idolatrous enterprises of men with the worship of Christ leads not to the conversion of men out of the world, but the conversion of the church and the true worship of Christ into a christianized but still worldly idolatry.
The Worship of Christ by Demons
6 Seeing Jesus from a distance, he ran up and bowed down before Him; 7 and shouting with a loud voice, he said, "What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God ? I implore You by God, do not torment me!" Mark 5
10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2
The co-opting of human idolatry by Christian worship is not new to us, though not usually well described. It is very familiar to every true prophet, and every “Elijah” struggles with how to exposit its truth.
But there is an even lesser perceived false worship that occurs within the church itself that is hardly understood for what it is and I don’t know if I have ever heard exposited. This is the direct worship of Christ by demons.
In the former case, false worship is generated by the church’s attempt to co-opt human idolatry outside the church by adding a Christian name to it. But in this case, false worship is generated when demons within the church are aroused and evoked to co-opt the true worship of God’s people. Demonic forces rise up within the church to take over the worship. Christ is still worshipped, but the spirit and force and medium by which He is worshipped is false. It is demonic in origin and manifestation.
The Nature of Demonic Worship
To understand this, we have to first get a hold of the concept of demonic worship. We are not talking about demons as the objects of worship by people. We are talking about the worship of the Lord by demons within and upon people.
In general, we are blind to any concept of demonic worship of the Lord. But demonic worship is a reality that must be embraced within our understanding of worship especially today if we are to cope with what is happening in many churches and the worship movement at large. There are numerous displays of worship within the church and within revival movements that have not “sat well” with our innermost spirits, and we have not known why. We are about to learn why.
The scriptures tell us that the demons and hell itself ultimately tremble at the contemplation of the Lord (James 2:19). Fallen spirits and angels know their ultimate fate; even though they carry out everything they can to destroy the Lord and His Anointed. They are afraid of the Lord. This is a non-redemptive fear that offers no beginning to wisdom or knowledge of the Holy One.
At the end of time, we are told that every creature will bow the knee in worship to the Creator. This includes those that are “under the earth.” This is speaking of all the fallen hosts of satan and the unredeemed of satan’s seed among men in hell. This is critically important to understand. All beings will eventually worship the Lord, but not all worship is redemptive!
Forced Non-Redemptive Worship
There is a common misconception among saints that all worship of the Lord is a positive redemptive exercise of the free will by creatures which have come into union with God and His purposes. While this is true for all that are redeemed, it is not true for all creatures, that is, for the non-redeemed. A Universalist concept of loving worship is not scripturally supportable. Isaiah 45 in fact—the passage from which Paul’s declaration of “every knee shall bow” is derived, makes clear that the worship of the Lord by His enemies and their submission to His people will be forced worship:
14 Thus says the LORD, "The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush And the Sabeans, men of stature, Will come over to you and will be yours; They will walk behind you, they will come over in chains And will bow down to you; They will make supplication to you: 'Surely, God is with you, and there is none else, No other God.' " 15 Truly, You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, Savior ! 16 They will be put to shame and even humiliated, all of them; The manufacturers of idols will go away together in humiliation. 17 Israel has been saved by the LORD With an everlasting salvation ; You will not be put to shame or humiliated To all eternity….23 "I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance. 24 "They will say of Me, 'Only in the LORD are righteousness and strength.' Men will come to Him, And all who were angry at Him will be put to shame. 25 "In the LORD all the offspring of Israel Will be justified and will glory."
However, even before the end of time, demons are sometimes brought to an open place of non-redemptive worship. This is demonstrated by the demoniac of Mark 5 who, the indwelling demon knowing his ultimate fate, nevertheless was compelled by nature to run and bow down to Jesus in a clear act of worship.
Again, it must be made clear. While this worship is “real” from the demonic point of view, it is non-redemptive. It is not “true” worship from the church’s point of view. From the point of view of the redeemed, forced demonic worship is false worship and ought not to be entertained in our midst. Worship of the Lord origined by demons or in demonic practices is not acceptable worship.
Demonic Worship in the Age of Rebellion
To connect now how this means anything to us, we need to understand what has been happening to mankind over the last couple of generations and realize its implications for our modern worship. At this time, we are near to the very end of the last days. In these last days, as was prophesied, has been released a worldwide spirit of rebellion, especially in the West.
In the 1960s and forward, Western civilization began to pass through a huge moral and spiritual shift. The up and coming generation of those years became seized upon by a great power of rebellion—rebellion against societal order, against authority, against parents, you name it. Lawlessness prevailed at many levels and was expressed through many mediums. Sexual promiscuity, drugs, long hair on men, women’s liberation, homosexuality, acid rock music, protests of every kind, came out into the open. The nuclear family began to disintegrate. Divorce skyrocketed. Men abandoned God in favor of agnostic and atheistic post-modern and cosmic humanist philosophies. This yielded still more fragmented generations marked by all of the above plus body piercings, tattoos, bizarre hair cuttings and shavings and colorings, vulgar rap and other “music,” with drugs and premarital sex reaching into the middle school ages. All of these “new” practices reflected the ancient world spirit previously identified with openly heathen cultures.
In the course of this rebellion shift, the Lord nevertheless continued to work to save men, even though the levels to which He has had to descend to reach people have continued to sink lower and lower. What is of import to note however is that in the course of these salvations, many have never become cleansed of the evil effects of certain inherently demonic practices and influences. Much deliverance has remained unaccomplished. This has resulted in many coming to know the Lord that have ignorantly imported demonic effects and influences into their newfound worship of the Lord. Such demons have had to come along “by force” as it were because the saints in question now belong to God. Nevertheless, these demons have in the Presence of the Lord and under the effects of the spirit of worship voiced their own false worship to the Lord.
Demonic Worship Music
An outstanding arena that highlights the spiritual battle over true worship is music. Music is intrinsic to worship. God is a musical God. But satan is also musical as portrayed in Ezekiel 28:13 KJV. Music conducts a spirit. And without falling into the trap of debating musical “tastes,” suffice it to say that there is indeed satanically “inspired” music that by the nature of its electronic distortions of instrumental timbre, sensuality of rhythms, harmonic clashes and unbridled volume pointedly voices and transmits the spirit of rebellion.
This may seem like a shock for one to say in print, but the truth is that a significant segment of music offered throughout the contemporary worship movement is purely demonic in its utterance. Certain distorted sounds found in contemporary worship have intonations and qualities imported directly from the spirit of lawlessness now ruling the earth and have come to commandeer an entire generation. Consequently, much of what is being offered today through today’s worship bands is demons singing and playing before the Lord. But as long as the “words are good,” no one is willing to identify the spirit of such music for its true source.
Demonic Worship in Revivals
Another area in which demonic worship appears is in revivals and spiritual outpourings. Again this too is hard to understand and has been a cause of mass confusion. But in the same way that the Presence of Jesus forced the bowing and exclamation of worship from demons, so does the Holy Spirit in revivals and outpourings today.
One of the most notable demonstrations of demonic worship in recent times was seen in the Toronto Blessing of 1994. Peppered in and among the touching of people by the Holy Spirit was a plethora of emanating sounds and utterances reported to be that of “animals braying.” The reports of animal noises were used to discredit the validity of the outpouring. This is where discernment was lacking.
In the same way that the Lord tended to quickly shut down demonic displays of attention, discerning leadership would have brought governmental order to the utterances of demons barking like dogs. They would not have been taken as the utterances of true worship. Deliverance ministry rather would have been the order of the day. It was not. Nevertheless, the animal noises were the evoked worship of the Lord by demons. They were forced into manifestation by the overflowing power of His Presence in the midst of His people.
One of the remaining unresolved offenses from the Lakeland Outpouring of 2008 was the issue of Todd Bentley’s tattoos. Tattooing and body piercing comes from an ancient legacy associated with heathen practices of idol worship. One website devoted to tattooing says it this way: “Tattooing in the ancient world had many things in common with modern tattooing, and tattooing around the world has profound and universal psychic origins.”
Understanding the truth about demonic worship of the Lord however helps put the tattoo issue into perspective. The rise in tattooing and body piercing throughout western culture over the last generation tracks with the resurgence of the spirit of lawlessness in all its other manifestations as already described. There is no need to prove this. It is self-evident to the spiritually aware. The practice is of demonic origin. And the Old Testament plainly forbade the practice in that context (Lev. 19:28).
Bentley’s subjection to “Christian tattooing” however reflected a trend already in place among young believers tattooing themselves with Christian symbols and scriptures. This now widespread practice origined in demonic influences on the body is precisely an example of demonic worship of the Lord. It is the expressing of worship through a demonically-inspired medium. And so by his prominent role under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Todd Bentley demonstrated for all the world to see the prevalence of unacceptable demonic worship in the church.
We can see that whether manifested through “body piercing for Jesus,” or by howling like animals in a revival, or by the now commonplace demonic intonations of distortion guitars and electronic effects found throughout contemporary worship music, demonic worship of the Lord is a very present though unwelcome phenomenon evoked out of the soulish pit of man in conjunction with the Holy Spirit’s power. The perception of this goes a long way to explain the seemingly unexplainable about corrupt worship within the Spirit-empowered church today.
The Lord calls us to worship “in spirit and in truth.” We are not to succumb to false worship by seeking to adapt to the idolatry of the world in the name of Christ. Nor are we to succumb to serving as vessels for demonic worship of the Lord by importing demonically origined mediums into our worship practices and expressions. Again, such worship is akin to the offering of Cain. The Lord will not accept it.
At the same time, the Lord understands the extent of the deception regarding worship to which the latest generation is subject and under the influence of which most are being born into the kingdom today. To remedy this, He raises up standard bearing ministries of spiritual truth to provide light in the darkness so that His people need not remain mired in ignorance.
As an appeal to younger and newer believers in the faith of Christ, take this article as a challenge to allow the Lord to examine the true purity of your worship before Him. You already know that He has saved you from your sins. But you may not realize what you may be yet importing into your worship from your former life in the world. Let the Spirit speak to you from His Truth regarding the seductions of cultural idolatry and demonically-based practices of worship that have an ostentation of “worship” of the Lord, but are not acceptable from those who aspire to be found “without spot or blemish” before Him.
To those of you older who are yet caught up in the religiously crowned traditions of the culture and the fleshly christianizing of its systems, let this challenge be to you as well.
Blessings to all the saints as we seek to “keep our garments” by “keeping ourselves from idols” at this season.