The word occult means ‘hidden’ or ‘concealed.’ It is the opposite meaning of God’s revelation, which opens things up. The Bible warns us that there is a counterfeit supernatural power, that can perform wonders such as moving or locating objects. Being aware of the root of the power at work, is vital. We should not be surprised that the devil can counterfeit, to a degree, what God does because for instance we have the changing of Aaron’s rod before Pharaoh. The Egyptian magicians could counterfeit that part; however, God showed He was supreme in the events that followed and the magicians lost their magic rods for good! [See Exodus 7:8-13].
The occult contains a large spectrum of practices. Some, at the lower end of the scale, may seem harmless but they could be a doorway that leads down a progressive path. Whatever the situation we must remember that Satan does not play games, if we dabble or play with areas that are his, then there must be a confrontation at some point.
Know our enemy
If we are not to be tricked by Satan we need to know his schemes – 2 Corinthians 2:11. If Satan cannot stop us being saved, he will seek to contain us, often by fear. This is helpful to know, so that we are aware of what is happening in our own life, but also to understand how others are drawn in. Satan’s character is described in the Bible as, a deceiver, a causer of doubt in God, a liar, a tempter and, if he can, a devourer.
In occultic situations we must first deal with fear. This is what Jehoshaphat had to do before his great victory [2 Chronicles 20:3 & 15]. We cannot face the enemy if we are afraid.
We should build on Biblical teaching, not just the experience of others. If we try to do something that is second hand we can be in danger. If we read about a technique in a book, we must first ask the question is it Biblical? If the answer to that is, yes, we must then ask but can I move in faith and confidence in doing the same thing? Only if we can answer yes to both questions should we move ahead.
The Greek word found in the four Gospels is damonzomai, which literally means ‘demonisation’, that is, the way we are affected by demonic or satanic forces. We need to underline here that Satan, although a supernatural being, cannot be everywhere, as God can be. That is why he has such a well-run army [Ephesians 6:12]. In addition, in order for any of these beings to affect us inwardly they need a doorway through which to enter. Satan was looking for such a doorway when he tempted Jesus [Luke 4:1-13]. He tempted Jesus on every level – body, soul and spirit – but no doorway was found and he had to leave and wait for a more opportune time.
We usually talk about oppression or possession but Scripture shows simply that it is being affected by the satanic realm, albeit some more than others. Luke 4:28 also shows that Satan can sometimes use a temporary foothold that we give him. The people were enraged with Jesus, and Satan used that to get them to attack Him. Just because we lose our temper from time to time, it does not mean we have a ‘spirit of rage’. It may be comforting for us to be able to blame someone else, but it is not true, and no amount of deliverance will solve the problem. To solve our temper we would need a fresh understanding of being crucified with Christ.
We can further see from Luke 4:39-41 that not every sickness is a demonic problem. Although demons were coming out of many it was not all, some were cured of their illnesses. Do not fall into the trap of believing that everything is a demon – there is the world, and flesh, to be considered too. Each case must be taken on its own merit. If the flesh is the problem then a Biblical understanding of ‘death to self’ is the answer, not a demon being cast out. If it is the world, then we must again learn what to ‘lay down our lives’ means in Scripture.
Can a Christian be possessed?
Some will say the answer must be ‘yes’, because of the number of people that we read of in the Bible who were ‘possessed’. But this leaves out the important fact that these ones were not born again. The answer actually depends on what the enquirer means by ‘possessed’. If I am a Christian then the Holy Spirit must fill my spirit, at least in measure, and as such I cannot be totally ‘possessed’. However, if the question is, can a Christian be afflicted by a demon then the answer is yes. I can open up a doorway and allow my life to be affected and some measure of deliverance may be needed.
A perfect illustration of this is found in Peter’s life in Matthew 16:23 where he allowed Satan to impose his will on him and he needed Jesus’ rebuke. This had an even greater fulfilment when Peter denied the Lord at the crucifixion.
The doorways into the occult are various, and not all will lead to permanent demonisation, but always there is the potential to be seriously affected by Satan’s lies and bondage. Just as the Holy Spirit, who can do great things in peoples lives, releasing them from bondage, healing, etc.; there are evil spirits who want to do just the opposite. The difference is that God is eternal and unlimited, whereas Satan has limits, he is not eternal. He is, however, greater than man by himself, because he is a heavenly creation. Therefore, if we do not have and use the protection of the Lord Jesus, Satan can affect us in supernatural ways.
Certainly we must not blame everything on Satan, but he can do much in an unprotected life. We should never be surprised at the foothold he has, or the effects he has on people that we meet and pray for. We should also understand that not everyone who is involved in these things, or who uses the term ‘witch’, is a “nasty, horrible person”. Some of them have unwittingly stumbled into these practices or maybe have learnt them in the family, and therefore feel they are okay. Others would have entered at a vulnerable time of their lives, and still others may have been ‘spiritually’ affected from the past. We will want to build bridges of love to these people, but still being aware that it is necessary to deal with any evil spirit that they may have allowed to influence their life.
We list below some of the most common doorways. Further information is available elsewhere on this site, with regard to some of these issues. If you cannot find what you are looking for, do contact us.
Horoscopes: Not everyone involved will have an occult ‘gift’, and it is possible that some people are fakes. There is a clear illustration of this in both Jeremiah 14:14 and Ezekiel 13:2-6, where there were two types, those who had a spirit of divination and those who worked out of their own minds. But even if we take notice of a prediction from someone’s ‘mind’ we are allowing outside forces of superstition to bind our lives and even this can be a doorway for Satan.
The witches of olden times, too, were popularly supposed to make use of some occult mode of locomotion in their nocturnal travels… As a spiritualistic phenomenon levitation of the human body became known at an early stage of the movement, being recorded in connection with the medium Gordon so early as 1851. But the most important of levitated mediums was D.D. Horne – The Encyclopedia of the Occult, (around 1900) 1994 edition, by Lewis Spence, p.250.
Pendulum divination: The Encyclopedia of the Occult informs us that divination is,
The method of obtaining knowledge of the unknown or the future by means of omens… The derivation of the word supposes a direct message from the gods to the diviner… The methods of divination are many and various, and strangely enough in their variety are confined to no one corner of the globe. – Spence, pp.125/126.
Into this same category would come the dowsing rod. Many would feel that this is a harmless activity and that the power to move the rod to find water, minerals etc., is a latent power within man. The history of the subject would not give one that confidence.
This ancient divining rod was a form of rhabdomancy or divination by means of little pieces of stick. In Germany it was known as the “wishing-rod” and was used just as fortune tellers use cards, coffee or tea-grounds at the present day… As to theory for these movements… A modern scientist gives his opinion that very possibly it is due to a faculty in the “dowser” akin to that possessed by a medium: “some transcendental perceptive power unconsciously possessed by certain persons, a faculty analogous to what is called clairvoyance. – Spence, p.128.
Ouija Boards: Seven million boards were sold in the 1970’s alone. The letters of the alphabet and usually the words, ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are placed in a circle. One person then puts their hand on the glass, and calls on the spirit of the glass. Questions are then asked, and the glass moves by a force, outside the natural realm, and spells out the answer. Some answers given when Christians are present clearly show the force to be evil.
In 1996 we received an e-mail via our pages on the World Wide Web from two girls in Ontario Canada. They read as follows;
My house is being haunted by several ghosts I contacted with the ouija and I have seen them twice. They walk down our hallway and we have pictures of them. I know their names and know confidential info on the afterlife, aliens doomsday. My friend Bridget and I have contacted many ghosts through the ouija board. Their names are Acad, Michael, Mama, Dart, Ben, Mak… We know more than we should do about this.
What started out as a simple game turned into a nightmare that will literally haunt these girls until they are ready to deal with the basic problem. Notice the ‘carrot’ held out by these demonic beings of imparting confidential information that no other human being can know. The lies and deception of Satan know no bounds.
Dungeons & Dragons: This is the original of many fantasy games. Fantasy games are not necessarily wrong; they indeed might be part of our growing-up process. There certainly can be a problem, though, with any game that becomes an obsession. However, another major problem is that many open the awareness to the occult and are therefore not harmless. Letters to a national Games Magazine a few years ago, after we had written an article for them, showed that some gamers were aware of the dangers of the occult, whereas others simply wanted to dismiss the whole idea as nonsense. I am sure that the situation is the same today.
The following quotations are taken from one such fantasy game the Warhammer Battle Book, Games Workshop, 1996, and I believe show why we are concerned for the potential opening up to the occult.
Their technical skills were unthinkably advanced, their command of sorcery unparalleled. Indeed, such was their knowledge that to them magic and science were as one, blended into a single galaxy-spanning arcane technology. Their polar gateway was a device crafted from this technology, a portal between dimensions… their gateway, the source of all their arcane power, collapsed onto the northern pole creating a region of seething energy, a wasteland saturated in magical power, an open door into the dimension of daemons and gods. This disaster initiated the Time of Chaos and unleashed new and horrifying gods into the world. It made the Realm of Chaos where dwell to this day the daemons of men and other things too mind-destroying to consider. – p.65.
Armies of the Witch King… they choose victims to sacrifice to Khaine and bathe in cauldrons of blood, renewing their dark pact with the Lord of Murder. Witch Elves eat only the flesh of sacrifices and drink blood to which they add strong poisonous herbs, which cause nightmarish hallucinations and send them into frenzied dancing and obscene revelries… On Death Night the Hag Queens bathe in blood to restore themselves, at which time they are the most enchanting and voluptuous of all Elves, their strangely cadaverous beauty more powerful and captivating than any magic. – pp.83, 84.
The Realm of Chaos is inhabited by creatures formed from magical energy rather than physical matter. These gods and daemons require a magically saturated environment in which to live, and for this reason are imprisoned within the boundaries of the Realm of Chaos. They can be brought into the world by means of a spell which creates a short-lived magical field for them to inhabit. At times the Realm of Chaos itself expands like a great tidal wave, enabling daemons to move south. There are daemons of many kinds both great and small. It is said that daemons take form from dreams, and in this way mortal nightmares have created both daemons and gods. If all gods exist in Chaos Gods: Khorne, Nurgle, Slaanesh and Tzeentch… There are those amongst mankind who have been given potent gifts by the random mutating effects of Chaos. Outwardly they are normal, but within their bodies they harbour a secret power. Some have ordinary human abilities magnified to an incredible degree, possessing extraordinary intelligence, ambition, strength of mind or charismatic powers of leadership. Others have hidden powers of perception, strength, or resilience. A few have abilities even stranger, and can breathe flame or are able to mesmerise or kill with a gaze. Men of such power must conceal themselves or be driven out by the witch hunters and priests… There are men who make a binding pact with the Chaos Gods and in doing so open up a channel of energy between their own minds and the power that resides in the Realm of Chaos. By this means these Champions of Chaos hope to develop their own powers further, to become great leaders, warriors or sorcerers. Some willingly join the conquering armies of Chaos and hope to one day sit amongst the gods and rule a world of shadow and sorcery. There are many now who see the triumph of Chaos as inevitable. Amongst the cities of the Empire hidden cultists recruit new followers. In the wastes Champion gather mutants to their cause. – pp.95, 96.
Throughout mankind’s history there have been Necromancers, Vampires and Liches who have called to arms great armies of Undead. There is none more powerful than Nagash the Supreme Lord of the Undead who rest today within his sarcophagus in Nagashizzar, the deadly master of an evil empire that stretches into the Old World and beyond. It was Nagash whose great spell of awakening brought many foul creatures from their graves, including the dread Tomb Kings of Khemri. But there are others who have striven to overthrow the living world and make themselves its undisputed lord in death. Lichmaster Heinrich Kemmler led a horde of Skeletons, Zombies, Ghouls and Wraiths that poured down from the highlands of the Grey Mountains destroying all in their wake. Arkhan the Black rose from his tomb to crush the enemies of his master Nagash, and for many long years harried the Southlands in the Wars of Death… Zombies are rotting corpses brought to life by foul sorceries. Their flesh hangs in strips from their bodies and their clothes are caked with blood and filth. They are animated by magical power and defeat destroys them, breaking the magic that animates them… Ghouls are shambling and cowardly creatures, the descendants of cannibals driven mad by tainted flesh and the terrible knowledge of their own evil deeds. Ghouls live amongst the dead, feeding upon corpses, sometimes attacking the living for the warm flesh that they crave. – p.107.
Fortune telling: This also includes other forms of divination, such as Palm Reading, Tarot Cards, Reading Tea Cups, etc. These are clearly forbidden in Micah 5:12. They are also contrasted with seeking God in 1 Chronicles 10: 13-14. The same spirit is behind the practice whatever means of divination is being used. Normally the means used is simply an aid to the supernatural power that the person possesses. In such a case we are allowing ‘Satan’ to prophecy directly into our life.
Many people in this field will openly confess that they do not know where the power comes from. Often they appear not to even care, as long as it works. The question to ask however, is not, “does it work?” But, “what is its source of supernatural power?”
National Federation of Spiritual Healers: The Federation’s own literature, records that it is a registered charity with at present some 7,000 registered Spiritual Healers in Great Britain. They do not always charge for their services but they do expect a voluntary donation. The movement was founded in 1955 by Gordon Turner and Harry Edwards. They saw a need to have an organisation that would win public respect and credibility for the way it was organised, because until then people had worked as individuals. Some ‘healers’, by their bizarre methods, had bought the whole area into disrepute. We are not given the details of these methods but apparently one of the less bizarre methods was going into a trance. The federation states that the potential spiritual healer does not have to be religious or ‘good’ in anyway whatsoever. In fact in one of their books on healing it infers that being religious can impeded your healing powers! To take this to the extreme, a mass-murderer or a devil worshipper could be a healer. They also say that no faith is necessary for the healing work.
The Federation do not encourage praying aloud because they claim it creates barriers, perhaps triggering off theological arguments in the patients mind. A potential healer has to spend at least a year learning with a qualified healer. Seminars and various courses are all part of the training and a three day course could set you back £195.
Many of the healers in the Federation are also involved in New Age therapies and so much of their philosophy is based on the belief that ‘man’ is in control and ‘man’ is his own divine source of healing. In one of their leaflets they state that although they see the source of healing as divine, they respect the rights of each individual to their own interpretation of the source.
Crystals: There is nothing wrong or inherently occult about a crystal. Today, however, powers are being transferred via crystals and they can take on supernatural properties if the person buying the crystal accepts that they have them. Crystal have been associated with the occult for many years with, of course, the proverbial crystal ball.
Paganism: Pagans have often been identified with what they do not believe, but today they are making it clear that they have a positive belief. They are looking for acceptance as a religion and understanding that they hold a belief system. They have made large strides in this direction already.
Paganism like Christianity has many ‘denominations’ but the worship is clearly of ‘man-made’ pagan gods and not the true God of evangelical Christianity.
Witchcraft, Black Magic: First we must note that there is a major difference between white witchcraft (wicca) and Satanism. Having established this, it is true that some coming in the latter group appear to be fully aware of what they are doing and are calling on Satan’s power. Some even appear to be seeking to curse Christians.