First posted: May 2004
This article is the first in a series of 7 articles on the 7 "categories" of evil spirits that the Scriptures describe. This article will focus on the "Girgashites", the most common type of evil spirit. It is very important to understand how each of these evil spirits operates in order to recognize if our hearts are currently "infected" with any of them, and to recognize them in the hearts of others. These spirits are real, and their effects in people's lives are devastatingly real, so it is important to recognize their modus operandi.
Since entire books could be written on each type of evil spirit, we could not possibly cover each type completely in a single article. Each article in this series, therefore, will serve as a brief overview of each type of spirit. God willing, we will post future articles that will expand on each of these types of spirits.
Throughout this series, whenever we refer to a "Girgashite", for example, we may be referring to a Girgashite spirit or to a person "infected" with that type of spirit.
Since this is the first article dealing with these 7 types of evil spirits, we will take time first to list them:
"1When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; 2And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them" (Deuteronomy 7:1-2)
This is part of God's instructions to the people of Israel before they could take the Promised Land. This means that, in order for each one of us, and for the Church as a whole, to enter into our spiritual inheritance, we must be able to overtake 7 nations: the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. These nations, which were literal people in the past, now represent 7 "varieties" of evil spirits, which are the evil counterparts of the 7 Spirits of God (Revelation 3:1, Revelation 5:6, Zechariah 4:10). God willing, we will also study the 7 Spirits of God in future articles.
When we look at the meaning of these nations' names, we can begin to infer the types of spirits they represent:
We will be studying the "Girgashites" in this article.
A great deal can be inferred directly from the meaning of the word "Girgashite". As we saw in the section above, "Girgashite" means, "clay dweller", which refers to "dwelling on earthliness". This type of spirit promotes a focus on earthly, temporal, things, and produces a disdain for things that are "spiritual" and eternal, thereby denying the truth of the following passage:
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." (2 Corinthians 5:1)
Notice how the verse above does the opposite of the Girgashite spirit. It recognizes the temporality of our earthly tabernacle and sets its sights on things that are eternal in the heavens. The verse before 2 Corinthians 5:1 reveals an interesting trait of the Girgashite spirit:
"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:18)
Girgashites (i.e.- people infected with this type of spirit) tend to focus on things that are visible. The Greek word translated as "seen" in the passage above is blepo, which means, "to discern mentally, to understand, to set the mind's thoughts on a thing, to consider". Girgashites are very analytical people who base their life's decisions on the pros and cons that their minds are able to perceive. For example, when they have to decide between two job opportunities, they consider factors such as salary, distance from home, opportunities for promotion, dental plans, and work schedule. When a believer allows Girgashite spirits to take root in his or her heart, he or she rarely considers whether God wants him or her to take the job with the lower salary, longer working hours, and no life insurance. God always has a higher plan in mind. He might want you to take the less appealing job because He wants to use you in a mighty way to influence the lives of the people at that job. God might be looking ahead and warning you that satan is trying to entice you to the other job because he wants to lure you away from your calling in Christ through a job that looks good at the beginning but will slowly envelop you and eat you up alive.
Non-Girgashite believers are not easily distracted by what their minds can see, but, instead, focus on what God wants for their lives. When choosing between two jobs, the non-Girgashite believer goes to God in prayer and asks Him, "Lord, which job do you want me to take? Which one is in your will?". God might respond that He wants the believer to take the lower-salary job, the higher-salary job, or neither! Non-Girgashite believers are focused on the things that can't be seen, i.e.- the things that can't be discerned with the natural mind, and, at times, they might make decisions that sound completely illogical and nonsensical to fellow believers and family members who are Girgashite in their hearts:
"12Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:12-16)
As the passage above shows, the non-Girgashite does not rely on human wisdom, preferring to depend on the voice of the Holy Spirit (v13). The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit, because they sound foolish to him (v14); this is why God eventually stops talking to Girgashite believers, because, every time He does, they simply brush off His words as nonsense and proceed to do their own will, based on what their natural mind perceives. If you prefer to rely on the voice of the Spirit instead of relying on your natural mind, you will begin to act according to the mind of Christ (v16), and you will be able to perceive things that others don't. You will perceive real dangers where others don't see them. You will begin to see spiritual doors that others don't see, and, according to verse 15, no one will have authority to "judge" you. In other words, when you begin to operate in the Spirit, you stand above the jurisdiction of anyone's criticism, so don't worry about what your brothers and sisters at church are saying about you. Don't worry about what your wife, kids, brothers, or sisters are saying. You do what God has called you to do. As long as you are sure in your spirit that you are doing God's will, just obey Him and let the chips fall where they may.
So far, we have talked about how Girgashites live out their lives relying mostly on the perceptions of their natural mind, undermining the voice of the Spirit. God gives us some guidelines to ensure that we really are hearing the voice of God on a given matter:
"13Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. 14But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. 15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. 16For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace." (James 3:13-18)
The guidelines are
Learning to hear God's voice is a growth process, and it's a growth that no one can do for you. If you have willingly become dependent on others (such as the pastor at your congregation), where you always have to go to them to know what God wants to say to you, you will never enter into spiritual maturity and will never be all that God wants you to be:
"12For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Hebrews 5:12-14)
Notice how verse 13 talks about being skillful in the word of righteousness, i.e.- the word of justice. A lack of zeal for the justice of God is a sign of spiritual immaturity.
As you continue to seek His kingdom and His righteousness in your life, your soul will become more and more synchronized with God's will. There will be times when God will ask you to do things that will in fact be pleasant to your soul, but satan will come and tell you that what you are hearing is not from God because your soul agrees with it. In other words, what you hear from God may or may not be pleasant to your soul, but, as long as you maintain your predisposition to do His will and to abide in His word of justice and judgment, you will continue to hear God and stay in His plan.
"4Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
When trying to do God's will, you must take these three questions into consideration. Sometimes, we may want to do the right thing (we have the "what"), but we are trying to do it the wrong way (we don't have the "how"). Sometimes we are trying to do something at the right time (we have the "when"), but we are trying to do the wrong thing (we don't have the "what"). We must learn to hear the answer to all three questions. The Lord Jesus will tell you what to do, and He will impress this in your mind; the Holy Spirit will tell you how to do it, and He will impress this in your emotions; the Father will tell you when to do it, and He will impress this in your heart.
When in doubt about God's will, you can always resort to fervent prayer. Cry out and plead unto God that He reveal His will to you, and He will respond, but you must be willing to accept anything He tells you to do:
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3)
"5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed." (James 1:5-6)
The word translated as "wavering" is the word diakrino, which comes from dia, meaning "between", and krino, meaning "to judge". In other words, diakrino means to "judge between", which, as we explained above, refers to choosing to believe only what you want to hear from God and rejecting what you don't want to hear. You must always discern what you read and hear to judge whether or not it is from God, including every sermon you hear at church or anything you read (like this article, for example). James 1:6, however, refers to judging something that your innermost being already knows as coming from God.
There is an interesting show called "Joan of Arcadia" that airs on the United States TV network CBS. If you have access to this program, I recommend that you watch it. It is interesting to observe how the main character, a teenager called Joan Girardi, is constantly being asked by God to perform tasks that are contrary to her soul's desires and to her natural thinking, and how, after a temper tantrum, she generally gets herself to do what God told her to do, finding out, as always, that God was right. This program is a perfect example of how a Christian should learn to submit his or her will to the voice of God, not relying on human reason, as the Girgashites do, or on soulish judgment. (By the way, some conservative Christians might object to God speaking to Joan through human form, sometimes as a young man, sometimes as an older woman, sometimes as an older man, but, to the prophetic remnant, this makes complete sense. God wants to manifest Himself through us. God wants to manifest Himself in our flesh, the same way He manifested Himself through the Lord Jesus while He was here in the flesh.)
Believe it or not, the New Testament does make a little-known reference to the Girgashites:
"And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way." (Matthew 8:28)
Some Greek manuscripts say "Gadarenes" instead of "Gergesenes" in the verse above, while others say "Gerasenes". Even though the region referred to in this passage is "Gadara" (and it's referred to as such in Mark 5:1), I am convinced in my being that, when Matthew wrote this verse in the original manuscript, he wrote "Gergesenes", which refers to the "Girgashite" people of Deuteronomy 7:1 quoted at the beginning of this article. Matthew 8:28, therefore, refers to a territory dominated by Girgashite spirits.
"28And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. 29And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? 30And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding. 31So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. 32And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. 33And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. 34And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts." (Matthew 8:28-34)
Notice that, in this territory, "pig herding" seemed to be an important local industry. Pigs, as we all know, love to roll around in the mud, so they are a perfect representation of the Girgashite spirit, since "Girgashite" means "clay dweller". Girgashites are constantly focused on earthly things, the same way pigs are always looking towards the ground to find something to eat. I have heard that it is physically impossible for pigs to look up at the sky (I have never asked a pig if this is true, but it sounds true to me); this makes sense since the Girgashite spirit leads people away from focusing on heavenly things, on things of eternal nature, on the things above.
When the spirits in the possessed men left their bodies, they went into the pigs, and the whole herd ran violently down a steep incline into the sea, drowning in the waters (v32). This happened as a prophetic figure of what happens to people who allow their hearts to be dominated by Girgashite spirits, as we will see in the next paragraphs.
Much like the pigs, Girgashite people are "violent runners". Since they rarely take the time to ask God what He wants, they usually make impulsive decisions based on a short-sighted vision that is completely focused on the ground. Girgashites make decisions the way a bull charges towards the bullfighter's cape.
Like the pigs of Matthew 8:32, Girgashites die by "drowning". Drowned animals were declared an abomination in Scripture (Genesis 9:4, Leviticus 17:10-16, Acts 15:19) because they died with the blood inside of them. Why is that an abomination to God? Because the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11); in other words, the "blood" represents our soul life (our psyche, as is called in Greek). This means that a drowned animal represents a person who died without shedding his or her blood, without pouring out his or her life for the sake of others. The Lord Jesus shed His blood, He poured out His soul existence so that we might have spiritual life, and God calls us all to do the same thing for the sake of others. Girgashites are selfish people. "Me", "myself", and "I" are the Girgashite's best friends, and he is interested in blessing no one but himself and his closest family members. Since Girgashites assign so much importance to temporal life, they are unwilling to shed it in sacrifice, because they don't believe that you can reap eternity when you sow in temporality. They might say with their lips that they believe in "eternal life", but in their hearts they really don't really live out that belief. When push comes to shove, they don't believe the following words:
"42So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption." (1 Corinthians 15:42-50)
[Notice how Paul uses the words "earthy", making an implicit reference to the Girgashite spirit]
When you meet the Lord on that fateful day, will He find you with blood inside of you, or will He see that you shed your blood as a living sacrifice so that others might have life? If He finds blood in you, you will be an abomination to Him, and He will cast you away from Him. He abhors selfishness, so He cannot make Himself One with a person who lived in self-centeredness. His nature is one of selflessness, so He cannot be One with a person who is not selfless. God wants you to dwell in Him for eternity. God Himself wants to be your tabernacle, your house for eternity:
"1For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7(For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 9Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. 11Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences." (2 Corinthians 5:1-11)
[Notice how verse 7 refers to walking by faith, not by sight. Girgashites are sight-oriented walkers. They act solely on what their natural minds perceive.]
"22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. 25And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. 26And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. 27And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life." (Revelation 21:22-27)
As we have said on previous articles, the "Lamb's book of life" referred to in verse 27 above is not the list of those who were saved from going to hell. Instead, it is the book of those who will be made One with God for eternity, because they were willing to sow what was temporary to reap what is eternal. There are many believers who will not be made One with Him. Many will live outside the New Jerusalem and regret having lived a life that proved to be an abomination to God. Notice how verse 27 clearly declares that nothing that "works abomination" will enter the New Jerusalem, and as we mentioned above, God will consider a believer to be an "abomination" if he or she dies with his or her blood inside, on account of having lived a selfish life that was never willing to shed itself in loving sacrifice for the sake of God's plans in the lives of others.
As 2 Corinthians 5:2-4, quoted above, shows, we are called to "groan" to be clothed in God's eternity. "Groaning" is produced by a soul that deeply desires and yearns for something without which it feels incomplete. This means that our souls should feel incomplete in our temporality, deeply longing and fervently striving towards being enveloped in God's eternity. Groaners have set their hopes on a higher vision, on a higher calling.
As we saw in the previous section, people dominated by Girgashite spirits are like pigs violently running down a steep incline, on their way to drowning in the sea. Girgashites are not groaners. They have relinquished living for a higher vision, deciding in their hearts that they can be complete in their temporality. This turns them into greedy pigs that grunt all day, devouring everything in sight in order to prove to themselves that temporary things can really make them complete. But, since it is completely impossible for a human being to find completeness in temporary things, the Girgashite's devouring becomes an ever increasing hunger that will never be satisfied. In Numbers 11, a people possessed by Girgashite spirits demanded flesh from God:
"4And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: 6But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes." (Numbers 11:4-6)
Notice how the children of Israel allowed themselves to be led by their natural perceptions of the food they used to eat in Egypt. They showed utter disdain for the manna that fell from heaven, just like Girgashites disdain the things from above, the things of the Spirit. Their cry for flesh is a figure of a hunger for earthly things, since our flesh represents the clay from which we were made. Towards the end of Numbers 11, God sends them the flesh they so strongly grunted for, but look at the consequences:
"31And there went forth a wind from the LORD, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. 32And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. 33And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague. 34And he called the name of that place Kibrothhattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted." (Numbers 11:31-34)
The word "Kibrothhattaavah" in verse 34 means "graves of desire" or "graves of covetousness". The people went after the quails with the same greed that a hungry pig goes after food on the ground. Notice how hard they worked to gather the quails. They worked all that day, all that night, and all the next day (v32). Because of their focus on earthliness, Girgashites are generally sleep-deprived workaholics who never seem to be able to relax. I would dare to say that insomnia is a condition of the mind provoked by the presence of Girgashite spirits in a person's heart. Girgashites diligently work to find completeness in their temporary endeavors, envisioning the day when they will have saved enough money to retire, move to Hawaii, and play golf all day. Unfortunately for them, Girgashites generally never get to enjoy the possessions they work so long and hard for. Just like the children of Israel in Numbers 11:33, they seem to die just before they start chewing their hard-earned quails:
"13And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me. 14And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you? 15And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:13-21)
It is interesting to note that the passage above starts with a person concerned about receiving a temporary inheritance. For the Girgashite, this world is his inheritance. Even though Girgashite believers may say they believe in an eternal inheritance, they live as if it did not exist. Instead of groaning for that eternal inheritance, they keep grunting for more temporary possessions.
The answer to this question can be found in the verses prior to some passages we have already quoted in this article:
"16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
The Girgashite prefers to anchor his/her vision to the ground because he/she understands that raising his/her vision implies the willingness to pay a price. This is why verse 17 speaks of a light and temporary affliction that is insignificant in comparison to the "eternal weight of glory" that we will reap if we are only willing to make the temporary sacrifice. Living for a higher vision, living for a higher calling, implies making sacrifices which become avoidable if we just lower our vision to the ground and pretend like the higher calling doesn't exist. Imagine all the trouble that Martin Luther the Reformer would have saved himself if he had just been willing to work within the system and pretend like everything was OK. He was a respected monk with a nice teaching position at the University of Wittenberg. Why did he have to nail those 95 theses on that church door on October 31, 1517, and start the Protestant Reformation? He would have saved himself from much condemnation and isolation if he had just kept his mouth shut. Imagine all the trouble Martin Luther King, Jr. would have saved himself if he had resigned himself to be a "nice" Southern pastor of a small congregation. He would have lived a nice quiet life, and he might even be alive today! But, instead, he decided to stand up for what he believed; he decided to follow God's calling for his life; he decided to suffer imprisonment, physical aggression, and even assassination in order to pursue God's calling for his life. To this day, the lives of these men are still blessing countless numbers of people, because they were not willing to live as selfish pigs, choosing instead to shed their lives as living sacrifices so that God's purposes could be fulfilled in the lives of others.
There is a great deal more to say about the Girgashites. God willing, we will be posting a future article describing how the Girgashite spirit is related to diseases like cancer and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). We will also discuss the prophetic word of judgment that God has declared against the Girgashite spirit inside the Church.
"1If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 5Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry" (Colossians 3:1-5)
"8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. 9For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:8-9)
[We discuss the Jebusite spirit in the next article of this series...]