Spiritual pollution of homes, districts and territories
Our Creator has given us the privilege to care for and have dominion over His earth. He also promises to bless us in the land He gives us when we obey His commandments. Yet as we know, mankind has been polluting our environment at alarming rates. More than that, the Bible points out that we can unknowingly destroy the spiritual inheritance of our land through idol worship, murder and sexual immorality.
Psalm 24:1 ESV The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein,
Genesis 1:28 ESV And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Deuteronomy 28:1,8 ESV “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today… And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you
As we can see, the first time the earth was cursed was after Adam and Eve bowed down to Satan, by believing the devil’s words over God’s words and eating the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden.
Genesis 3:17 ESV And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
When God set down His spiritual laws, He graciously warned us about the things that would defile a place spiritually so we do not repeat their mistake. They are namely:
- Idol worship | Jeremiah 16:18 ESV … they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and have filled my inheritance with their abominations.”
- Sexual immorality and perversion | Leviticus 18:20,22,23,26-28 ESV And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her. You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion… But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you.
- Bloodletting and murder | Numbers 35:33 ESV You shall not pollute the land in which you live, for blood pollutes the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed in it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.
These principles still apply to us today. The apostles and elders of the first-century church set down similar requirements after much prayer and deliberation; that we should abstain from things polluted by idol worship, sexual immorality, murder, and bloodshed.
Acts 15:19-20 ESV … we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.
These are the things that give Satan a foothold into our homes, villages, commercial districts, countries, schools, workplaces, healthcare centres, and so forth. It is not by accident that certain areas around us have become strongholds for idol worship, debauchery, prostitution, death, violence etc. It appears as if “spiritual forces of evil” have taken dominion over our land.
Ephesians 6:12 ESV For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
This is one reason Jesus came to die for our sins; so that by confessing and praying in His name, we can cleanse ourselves and take dominion back from any spiritual force of evil.
Jude 1:24-25 ESV Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, To the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
Examples of spiritually polluted places
1. Idol worship
Historically, mankind has created many idols, faiths, beliefs and superstitions in our search for God, meaning and protection. In the book of Isaiah, God laments over our inability to see that these things can’t save us, only He can.
Isaiah 44:13,19-20 ESV The carpenter measures with a line and makes an outline with a marker; he roughs it out with chisels and marks it with compasses. He shapes it in human form, human form in all its glory, that it may dwell in a shrine… No one stops to think, no one has the knowledge or understanding to say, “Half of it I used for fuel; I even baked bread over its coals, I roasted meat and I ate. Shall I make a detestable thing from what is left? Shall I bow down to a block of wood?” Such a person feeds on ashes; a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, “Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?”
In Southern China alone, there are numerous land-related idols that are worshipped.
Village or city
Earth and nature
Regional and local festivals
Leviticus 26:1-2 ESV “You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God. You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.
2. Impure sexual activities
We can also pollute a place spiritually through impure sexual activities.
Once such activities spread and become commonplace in an area, they form spiritual strongholds for spiritual forces of evil. Like Sodom and Gomorrah, certain districts can become well-known for sexual promiscuity, sex shows, prostitution, strip clubs, as well as sex slavery, pornography, pedophilia etc. The Bible warns that our wayward ways and deeds will defile a place.
Jude 1:4,7 NIV … They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
Ezekiel 36:17 ESV “Son of man, when the house of Israel lived in their own land, they defiled it by their ways and their deeds…
3. Bloodletting and murder
Murder and the shedding of innocent blood also defile places. We may not witness the bloodshed but the blood that is “crying from the ground” will never escape God. Besides murder and violence, abortion and the murder of innocent babies also pollute the land they are done on.
Genesis 4:10-11 ESV And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.
Psalm 106:37-38 ESV … they poured out innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters… and the land was polluted with blood.
As a summary, here are some modern-day examples of places we can consider to be potentially spiritually defiled:
- Places with idols: acupuncture clinics, ancestral halls, antique shops, casinos, Chinese opera houses, gambling clubs, massage spas, memorial halls, monasteries, tattoo parlours, temples, village shrines etc.
- Places promoting idolatry: shops selling idolatrous objects, full moon parties, costume shops i.e. Halloween, yoga studios etc.
- Places dedicated to idols: Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, India etc.
- Places with new age and superstitious practices: feng shui, yoga studios, new age chanting and meditation
- Sites dedicated to spirits for protection: public services, construction sites, triad territories, commercial kitchens etc.
- Places with ungodly activities: brothels, casinos, drug dens, racecourses etc.
- Places that practise ancestor worship: homes, cemeteries, columbarium, funeral homes, graveyards, memorial, tombs etc.
- Places where innocent blood has been shed: abortion clinics, torture chambers, places with genocide and mass shootings etc.
We are told to not be polluted by this world
Visiting or living in places that are spiritually polluted will not necessarily defile us. But we might give the spiritual forces of evil in them a foothold in our lives if we neglect to pray to be cleansed from our associations with them. How do we keep ourselves unstained by this world?
James 1:27 ESV Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Some examples of spiritual defilement from territorial worship include:
- Being placed under the “guardianship” of village or city gods by ancestors who dedicated all their descendants to them
- Working in a place where the employers have dedicated their staff to spirits or fengshui
- Working in places where abortion is done
- Staying in hotels well known for sexual promiscuity
- Living in districts that are dedicated to territorial spirits
- Visiting funeral homes where spiritual powers are called upon to protect visitors
- Patronising Chinese medical halls that dedicate their business to occupational deities and spirits
If we feel convicted of having been associated with spiritually defiled places, thank God we can pray to cut all ungodly spiritual ties with those we have visited, lived in, or been dedicated to. We just need to ask to be cleansed in Jesus’ name after each visit, so that no spiritual forces of evil can gain a foothold in our lives. It is a very simple but vital step in separating ourselves spiritually from them so that God will welcome our prayers.
2 Corinthians 6:14,16-17 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,
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