“As we were on our way to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination [claiming to foretell future events and to discover hidden knowledge], and she brought her owners much gain by her fortunetelling. She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly, These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation! And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment (Ac 16:16-18; AMP)
Paul was attacked by an evil spirit of Python as he was going to the place of prayer. This evil spirit possessed a slave girl who met him on the way. This slave girl was a false prophetess who spoke under the inspiration of the Python spirit. Her master made money from other men who benefited from her prophetic gift. She was initiated at the famous Oracle at Delphi. To better understand the evil spirit that possessed her please read the following information about the legend of this shrine.
The Delphic Oracle was the most famous pagan oracle among the Greeks. The site of Delphi was located in central Greece on the slope of Mount Parnassus. It was not easy to climb there to meet with its ‘god’. This is the story:
The Greek god Apollo killed the serpent Pytho, who was a snake-god guarding that spot. To atone for the murder Apollo was forced to run away and spend eight years in menial service before he could return forgiven. A festival was held every year reminding the worshippers of this story of courage, humiliation and final glory.
The spirit of Apollo spoke through the priestess of the oracle. She had to be a woman of blameless life chosen from among the natives of the area. She sat on a tripod seat over an opening of the earth. When Apollo killed Python, its body fell into this crack. According to the legend gas arose from the decomposing body of the snake. Intoxicated by the vapors coming from below the earth the priestess would fall into a trance, allowing Apollo’s spirit to possess her. Then she will dance wildly or she will faint. In this state she will prophesy. The sessions were exhausting for the priestess affecting her health. Because of that many of them died young.
God’s judgment came upon this shrine. Barbarian invasions burned the Temple, which had been severely damaged by an earthquake in 83 BC. The surrounding area became impoverished. The sparse local population led to difficulties in filling the posts for priestesses. The Oracle’s credibility fell due to doubtful predictions.
The site is now an archaeological site and a very popular tourist destination. It is easily accessible from Athens as a day trip. The site is also protected as a site of extraordinary natural beauty.
The slave girl was able to correctly identify Paul and his companions as servants of the Most High God. She could not hide that Paul’s God is greater than her own. The demon in her could not resist the name of Jesus that Paul was preaching. The fearful python god proved to be a coward and ran away disgraced, abandoning its prey. The girl was delivered! ‘The knee’ of the python bowed at the name of Jesus! What a mighty God we serve!
Later there was a backlash. The girl’s master, under the influence of the same python god influenced the whole city to attack Paul and Silas. They beat them and threw them into prison. But God was with them and miraculously saved them. Against all odds, the Word of God, the Gospel of Christ crucified, spread in the whole area.
“Jesus is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power]. [God] disarmed the principalities and powers that were ranged against us and made a bold display and public example of them, in triumphing over them in Him and in it [the cross]” (Col 2:10, 15; AMP)
In Christ I declare:
I am a child of God!
I repent of all idolatry!
The python-god is dead!
All glory to God!
In Jesus name