Spiritual Experiences in the Philippines
Lemuel Leong—Sabah, Malaysia
It is the experience of the
True Jesus Church in many places that, as the church grows, Satan will use
every wile to hinder and destroy the work of the church. Between 2005 and 2008,
a series of spiritual battles took place in the True Jesus Church of the
Philippines. Preacher Lemuel Leong from Sabah recounts a personal experience of
one of these, which took place in July 2005.
My fellow preacher and I were on a
pastoral trip to Manila, the capital of the Philippines located in Northern
Philippines when we received very disturbing news. Influenced by churches of
other denominations, one of the Filipino church workers of our church in Samar
Island in the Eastern Philippines had started teaching the believers that the
name of God was the Hebrew Yehoshua. He
expressly forbade the use of Jesus
as he claimed that all translations of God’s name were ineffective.
We were extremely concerned about
this heresy and the deep unease it was causing the members, so we made a
last-minute change to our original pastoral visit plan to include a detour to
Samar. We also asked God to personally guide us in addressing this heresy
Our first stop, Laoang church, was
in the north of Samar Island, located on a small island just across the
northeastern tip of the main island. As we were waiting to cross the strait to
Laoang, both of us suddenly felt an urge to visit newly-baptized Sister A.
Since she lived in a nearby village, we thought she would be able to shed some
light on the events in Samar Island.
Sister A had once been a pastor in
another church. We knew her to be diligent in studying the Bible as well as
zealous in serving God and receiving guests. But on that occasion, when we
arrived at her house, we found her uncharacteristically burdened, gloomy and
extremely weary. Entering her house, we saw a young lady—Sister A’s
daughter—pinned to the ground by three men; screaming, struggling and glaring
balefully at us. This had been going on for about a month, leaving the family
extremely distressed and exhausted.
Devil’s Foothold #1: Leaving the Fold of God
We knelt down to pray and cast out
the evil spirit in Jesus’ name. But why did the devil possess this young
believer? Realizing that it was critical for us to get to the root of the
problem, I stopped the prayer and questioned the family. Sister A confessed
that she had lost faith and had left the church with great disappointment
because the believers had been forced to use the name Yehoshua instead of Jesus. On the first Sabbath after she stopped attending
church, the evil spirit began to disturb her daughter.
So this was the breach that had
allowed Satan’s invasion! Leaving the church—God’s fold—is tantamount to
leaving the scope of God’s grace. We then become highly vulnerable to the
devil’s wiles and fiery arrows. So we admonished the sister to defend the truth
courageously instead of leaving the church in times of crisis. We then encouraged
her to repent in prayer.
Devil’s Foothold #2: Sorcery
During the second prayer, both my
co-worker and I inexplicably opened our eyes at the same time. To our
astonishment, we saw the father of the possessed girl surreptitiously take some
unknown objects from her and pass them to his wife. Immediately, I stopped the
prayer again to find out what they were trying to hide. It turned out to be
amulets that the non-believer father had obtained to try to cure his daughter.
Sister A was aware of his actions but had—in her despair—consented to such use
of sorcery. So we sternly told the family that light has no communion with
darkness, Christ has no accord with Belial and that believers must keep
themselves holy. Consequently, we burnt all these charms in Jesus’ name.
Devil’s Foothold #3: Impurity
After our third prayer, we
inquired about the identity of the man who had been standing next to the
possessed lady all the time. Sister A introduced him as her son-in-law; she
added that the couple had yet to register their marriage but it was evident
that they were already cohabiting. We had found yet another loophole for the
devil to enter because such impurity before marriage constituted disrespect
towards God and His commandments. We exhorted this family with biblical
principles on marriage and asked them to repent. We also instructed the young
couple to register their marriage as soon as possible.
The fourth prayer was an earnest
prayer of repentance by the whole family. We entreated the heavenly Father to
set the possessed girl free from her bondage to the evil spirit. Amazingly,
after this prayer, she got up from the ground where she had been writhing on;
she cleaned herself and was even able to go into the kitchen to prepare a light
meal for us.
God’s compassion is truly great,
especially when we humbly turn back to Him. Very importantly, the entire
incident allowed the unbelieving father in this family to experience God for
himself. He personally witnessed how the demon was cast out through the wondrous
power of Jesus’ name. Hence, when we went back to visit the family the next
day, he requested to be baptized into the true church. So we decided to conduct
baptism on the following Sabbath day.
Satan’s Final Attempts
However, Satan is a patient and persistent
foe. On the Sabbath morning of the baptism, just as Sister A and family were
setting off for church, the evil spirit started to work again. But the family
persevered. And it was an amazing effort: a group of people carried the
possessed girl all the way through the paddy fields, took the trishaw to the
jetty, took the ferry to the other shore and finally sent her to church on another
When they finally arrived at the
church, the whole congregation interceded for the possessed sister with one
accord. Subsequently, a group of believers went to the baptismal site, while
another group remained in church to pray earnestly for the sister, relying on
the Holy Spirit to fight this battle.
Our God is a faithful God. He soon
personally stepped in. As the believers prayed, the possessed sister saw a
vision of a river. The river water was foul and fetid; an evil spirit dressed
completely in black and covered with maggots stood on the other bank beckoning
her to join him. Then, a man in a shining white garment called out to her to
stop her from following the evil spirit. He also informed her that there were
still charms in their family home, which had to be destroyed before she could
be completely healed.
The sister’s family quickly
returned home and followed the directions of the man dressed in white. Another
amulet was found and brought back to church to be burnt by the preachers.
Consequently, the sister was completely freed.
did not give up. Days later, the evil spirit returned to try to convince the
family that he would leave them if they offered a chicken to him. My
co-worker encouraged them to resist the devil with steadfast faith, as well as
to watch and pray (1 Pet 5:9). Moreover, he told them emphatically not to fear
the devil’s threats and never to compromise with him.
Thank God, the series of spiritual
battles finally came to a close after these events.
Work Together For Good
In retrospect, it is clear that
church growth in the Philippines had drawn Satan’s attention, and inevitably,
his attacks. Unfortunately, some of the members were hurt and a considerable
number were even taken captive by the evil one and lost.
The Bible tells us that, “all
things work together for good to those who love God” (Rom 8:28). In fact, God
often turns Satan’s attacks into a testimony of His power and glory. The Holy
Spirit led us to this family to show them His timely care and concern. He then
restored their faith and also strengthened the faith of the whole congregation
on Samar Island.
At the same time, the events were
an effective refutation of the heresy regarding the name of Jesus. The fact
that we had cast out the evil spirit in Jesus’ name proved to the factious
worker that there is power in the name Jesus. There is no added power from using the Hebrew rendition! After all,
Revelation 14:6 tells us that the everlasting gospel will be preached to every
nation, tribe, tongue and people. It stands to reason then that God would
definitely allow nations all over the world to call on His name and worship Him
in their local language.
In addition, although the vigorous
spiritual battles were disquieting experiences, there is much to be thankful to
First, His wondrous guidance and
protection: the Holy Spirit guided and protected our workers through this, and
many other, trials.
Second, the members themselves
gained precious spiritual experiences and received warnings to enhance their
In all, “He restores my soul; He
leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me”
May the Lord, our God, continue to
guide and build up His flock in the Philippines, and may all glory, honor and
praise be given to Him. Amen!