Spiritual fragrances can help us to grow in the gift of the discernment of spirits. This ability to smell works even when we are dreaming. The Bible speaks of the fragrances of life, death, prayer, and the Knowledge of Christ. In this post, we will discuss:
- A Dog Really Knows (Nose) Fragrances
- Seeing Spiritual Fragrances with the Nose
- Dream: The Fragrance of Nations
- Encountering Scent Clouds
- Spiritual Fragrances of Life and Death
- Smelling the Fragrance of the Knowledge of Christ
- Smelling Spiritual Fragrances
A Dog Really Knows (Nose) Fragrances
Canine scientists tout that a dog’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times more acute than that of humans. However, they know very little about the ability to smell during sleep. For example, my Norwegian Elkhound (a breed that excels in tracking scents) could sleep undisturbed through television noise. Still, the minute I unwrapped something fragrant that he liked, such as baked chicken, he was up faster than a recoiled spring!
Professionals can train dogs to detect and warn their humans of epilepsy. Dogs can also sense fear, cancer, and changes in blood sugars. According to Dr. Cattet, an expert in this field, canine neuroscientists recently discovered that untrained dogs have the same ability. In addition, their experiments found that dogs detect changes in “scents” (confirming what I long suspected). Cheers to man’s favorite pet! (No offense intended to you cat-lovers).
The Bible speaks of spirits of epilepsy, fear, and infirmity. So, could science be demonstrating that the dogs are discerning spiritual fragrances behind these conditions? (Matthew 17:15-17, 2 Timothy 1:7, Luke 13:11)
Seeing Spiritual Fragrances with the Nose
While images and sounds are known light waves, most people do not think of fragrances as light. Still, the physiology of smell is that odor molecules stimulate chemical changes in olfactory neurons. These specialized neurons send electrical impulses to the brain. Our brains interpret these impulses as scents and maintain a database so that we can memorize and recognize fragrances.
How we smell has yet to be discovered. However, in a 2020 published study, scientists were able to incept smell in mice by stimulating the brain’s olfactory bulb with light.
John 1:3-9 tells us: “All things were made through Him…In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… [He is] the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (Square brackets added for clarity).
In other words, though we are light from the Light (the Lord), we reject what we do not comprehend. That is, until God reveals it to us. Since the Bible describes Believers as the light of the world, the salt of the earth, and the fragrance of Christ, does it disclose that we can also see, taste, and smell this light? (Matthew 5:13, 14; 2 Cor 2:15)
Smelling spiritual fragrances (to “see” with the nose) is one of several gifts from the Holy Spirit. This particular gift helps us to “discern” our spiritual environments. Isaiah 29:10 suggests that seers use all the senses. And whatever is pleasing to God (the aroma of Christ) will smell pleasant in the spirit. (Ephesians 5:2, Philippians 4:18)
Dream: The Fragrance of Nations
There were many different bottles of perfume on display in all shapes and sizes, and I did not know which one to choose. The kind store owner (perfumer) noticed my dilemma and set down a tray full of little glass vials in front of me; each vial was a sample poured from a larger bottle. He suggested that I buy all the samples for $120, try them out, and then come back to get more of the ones that I liked. He included a little booklet containing a description of each fragrance and its source nation. A perfect solution!
Later, at a small group meeting, I asked a lady sitting nearby if she could smell my perfume. Surprisingly, she said no, she smelled nothing at all!
The last scene of this dream has reoccurred in real life more times than I can remember. For instance, someone can be beside me yet cannot smell what I can (Read more about this dream in Part Two of this post).
Encountering Scent Clouds
In my book Parables, Dreams & Encounters, I described how I came to understand this gift, which I have had since childhood, and how helpful it is for discerning spirits in dreams and supernatural encounters.
To be clear, I am not psychic and cannot turn the gift on and off at will. However, a key difference is that Christian seers do not entertain the paranormal. Instead, we “encounter” the supernatural – the Kingdom of Heaven (Light) versus the kingdom of darkness – in the course of pursuing the Giver of the gift (not the gift itself). Therefore, I must stay closely connected to the Holy Spirit to discern what He is drawing to my attention.
Spiritual Fragrances of Life vs Death
Who is this coming out of the wilderness Like pillars of smoke, Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, With all the merchant’s fragrant powders? (Song of Solomon 3:6)
At unexpected times and in unusual places, I began to encounter recurring “scent clouds” of what quickly became my favorite fragrance, a mixture of frankincense and myrrh, and other pleasant scents that I learned to associate with the Lord. Sometimes others near me would smell the aroma, reassuring evidence of the Lord’s Presence! (Matthew 18:20)
Later, God allowed me to have encounters with the kingdom of darkness. There is no other way to describe these scents. They truly stink, far more putrid and disgusting than any unpleasant body odor (BO) I have ever experienced as a clinician. Perhaps this is because death and decay are the polar opposite of Light and Life (God).
The Fragrance of the Knowledge of Christ
Second Corinthians 2:14 -16 reveals that: through us in Christ, God diffuses the Fragrance of His knowledge in every place. We are to God the Fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.
The Knowledge of God is a spirit (Isaiah 11:2) with a Fragrance. I believe that the Holy Spirit will draw many to the Fragrance of Christ. Including those who may have initially rejected Him because of some tragedy, trauma, or abuse inflicted by others. In contrast, to those who have consciously decided to worship Satan and the darkness, the Fragrance of Christ will be repulsive (the aroma of death).
Approximately eleven years after the Lord prophesied through a dream that He would train me to discern spirits, He used a friend to introduce me to a church that exercises spiritual gifts, spiritual warfare, and deliverance ministry. And the location is far from home, almost 100 highway miles round trip!
(Have you noticed that God’s schooling can take years and is not always convenient? Therefore, we each must embrace and pass the test of patience on our prophetic journeys.)
When deliverance ministry is in progress, I sometimes “smell” evil or unclean spirits before they manifest. They have an acutely intolerable stench. I have detected them in other places too. Discerning spiritual fragrances and unseen dimensions is a valuable gift.
For example, three months ago, while in the Emergency Room with my mom, something invisible that reeked entered her room. When she told me she could not smell it, I realized what it was and rebuked it in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. It vanished almost immediately.
Can you imagine how many of its kind hang around places with sickness and death? I can hardly wait for the day of God’s Power when the saints walk down the hallways of hospitals, and every person is raised off their sickbed wholly healed in Jesus’ Name. That day is coming!