By Femi Aruibisala
There was a recurring nightmare I had been having ever since I was a little child. I would wake up in the middle of the night and discover that someone, some invisible person, was pressing me down on the bed. I would struggle, but no matter how hard I fought, I would not be able to overcome him.
Initially, I was afraid he would someday choke me to death. But after some time, I realised it was simply oppressive and not life-threatening; so, I stopped struggling. My thinking was that after it had finished, it would let me go. This proved to be true. After a while, my tormentor would leave me alone, but only to revisit me some other time again and again.
This continued for the better part of thirty years. There was neither rhyme nor reason behind these attacks. My oppressor might leave me alone for weeks or torment me night after night. Then one day, after I had just received Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, he attacked me again.
I was reading a book by Matthew Ashimolowo on spiritual warfare. I read it far into the night. So as not to disturb my wife, I stayed in the spare bedroom. When I became sleepy, I simply switched off the bedside lamp and dozed off. I could not have slept for more than ten or fifteen minutes when I heard someone open the door. I opened my eyes to see who it was and was shocked.
The person who opened my door was a demon.
I did not believe in the existence of demons. As far as I was concerned, the devil himself was one big joke. I used to make fun of my Christian colleagues at work. They attributed all kinds of things to the devil, which I thought was nonsensical. But then there I was, on my bed in my flat. I was not asleep and I was not dreaming. My eyes were wide open.
Somebody physically opened my door. He did not pass through the wall. And when I looked to see who it was, I discovered it was a demon; the very person I insisted was non-existent.
How then did I know it was a demon?
Everything about it was exactly how I had been led to believe a demon would look like. If I could put my finger on it, I would say it bore striking resemblance to the Darth Vader of the Star Wars film series. It was tall; the head practically touched the lintel of the door. It was all black, with a head but without a face or eyes. It was covered in what seemed to be like shredded rags. And, wait for it; it had an acrid body odour, reminiscent of rotten eggs.
Does a spirit smell? Does it have body odour? Don’t ask me because I don’t know.
When Jesus opened the eyes of a blind man, the Pharisees were convinced it was a ruse. They even went as far as to interrogate his parents about his true identity. When they confirmed that he was their son and had indeed been blind from birth, the Jewish leaders were still dissatisfied. They wondered how this Jesus, who they considered to be a sinner, could perform such outstanding miracle.
But the man whose eyes were opened was soon irritated by their doubts and queries. He said to them: “One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (John 9:25).
Therefore, just in case my readers are cast in the same mould as those doubting Pharisees, I repeat this question on their behalf: “Does a spirit smell?”
Don’t ask me because I don’t know. One thing I know; the one I saw did. “Does a spirit have to open a door in order to enter a room?” I have absolutely no idea. But one thing I know, the one I saw opened the door in order to enter my room. Indeed, it was in his opening of the door that I was awakened.
“Can you see a spirit in an open vision with your naked eyes?” I don’t know. What I know is that, according to the grace given to me, I did.
Spirit of fear
As a matter of fact, so did Job in the scriptures: “Now a word was secretly brought to me, and my ear received a whisper of it. In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair on my body stood up.” (Job 4:12-15).
The demon I saw had no legs but seemed to glide on hidden wheels. I was completely mesmerised on my bed as I watched it come towards me. I was so scared; I couldn’t even move my lips. It came slowly until it got to my bedside table. Then it started to shrink in height gradually until it disappeared completely into the floor.
Once it disappeared, I noticed a familiar scene. Somebody started pressing me down on the bed. Naturally, I concluded it was the demon I had just been privileged to see. Then I decided to cry out for help. But who could possibly help me is such unnatural situation? Only one person came to mind: the person who rescued me from armed-robbers; my Saviour Jesus Christ.
The first mistake I made was in trying to form a complete sentence with the name of Jesus. Instead of just shouting “Jesus,” I tried to say “in the name of Jesus.” But I discovered that something or someone was also impeding my tongue. By the time I struggled to get through “in the name,” I found I could not continue.
The second mistake I made was to start all over again instead of continuing from where I had been impeded. But this time I succeeded. On getting to “in the name of Je..,” I heard a loud whoosh, and for the very first time, my oppressor quickly released me and literally ran away.
I became momentarily insane on my bed. I started shouting. I started boasting. Never you mind that I was addressing someone invisible: “You can’t do me anything. You can’t touch me. I have Jesus.” Then I started laughing hysterically. I had suddenly discovered practically the formidable power that is in the name of Jesus at the late age of 41.
It was like boasting because you realise you have now been assigned a fearsome bodyguard. Or you discovered your brother is the new heavyweight-boxing champion, so nobody dares threaten you again in the school-yard.
Thus, the Lord opened my eyes to see my long-standing tormentor. He then used this to demonstrate to me that Jesus is: “a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” (Philippians 2:9-10).
As the psalmist says: “the name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10).