What is Occultism?
According to Webster’s Dictionary, it is a belief in or study of supernatural powers or secret knowledge. Stated concisely, it is participation or involvement in any manner with fortune-telling, magic practices, spiritism (communication with the dead), or false religious cults and teachings.
The Scriptures warn that there will be a great increase in occult activity in the last days:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1).
There has never been a time in history when the warnings against the dangers of occultism were more necessary than in this present age. Multitudes of people, Christian, and non-Chris- tian alike, find themselves suffering physical, mental, and spiritual oppressions, few realizing that it is because they have allowed themselves to become ensnared in the diabolical web of occultism, which is under the influence and control of the powers of darkness.
Vital Questions to Consider
If you have ever been involved in any way in the following activities, whether innocently or not, are you aware that the Scriptures condemn these practices without exception, and that you have opened the door to oppression or bondage to the powers of darkness?
Have you ever visited a fortune-teller? Have you ever had your palm read or been told your future by the use of Tarot cards, tea leaves, or a crystal ball? Have you ever consulted or played with an Ouija board?
Have you ever consulted a medium or phoned a psychic? Have you ever attended a seance or attempted to communicate with the dead or a spirit guide?
Have you practiced or experimented with yoga (Hindu mind/body control), crystals, channeling, ESP, telepathy, numerology, automatic writing, table-tipping, levitation, or hypnosis?
When ill, have you sought (or were you subjected to as a child) diagnosis, treatment, or healing through chakras, magic charming, Pow- wow (Indian medicine man), spiritualism, hypnosis, the pendulum, or trance?
Do you read the horoscope column or follow astrology? Do you read or possess books on Kabbalah, Runes, ESP, reincarnation, dreams, fortune-telling, astrology, self-realization, magic, clairvoyance, hypnosis, yoga, yin-yang, or works by Edgar Cayce, J.K. Rowling, John Edwards, Sylvia Browne, or James Van Praagh?
Have you, as a member of law enforcement, called or consulted a psychic to solve a crime, or have you approved of doing so?
Have you, or has anyone on your behalf, divined for water, oil, minerals, or underground water lines by using a forked stick (water witching or dowsing)?
Finally, and most deceptively, have you been lured by one of the many “churches,” religions, orders, or fraternities that offer beautiful and seductive traditions, rituals, rites, or idols as a pathway to God’s acceptance, other than the Word of God, which is the Bible? Many such “churches” and organizations substitute doctrines and traditions for salvation through belief in Jesus Christ and true repentance, and because of that, the soul is left vulnerable to oppression by the powers of darkness – since the Rock of Ages (Christ) is not the cornerstone of the faith. These “churches” must print books other than the Bible to guide their millions of followers in their deception.
Occult Involvement is in Disobedience to God’s Word
All forms of fortune-telling, spiritism, magic practices, and involvement in the cults and their teachings are absolutely forbidden by the Scriptures:
“When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone… that useth divination (fortune-telling), or an observer of times (soothsayer), or an enchanter (magician), or a witch. Or a charmer (hypnotist), or a consulter with familiar spirits (medium possessed by a spirit guide), or a wizard (clairvoyant or psychic), or a necromancer (medium who consults the dead). For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord… ”(Deut. 18:9-12).
The Scriptures condemn all forms of occultism as sorcery and warn that, as works of the flesh, “…they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God’’ (Gal. 5:19-21), and “… shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone… ” (Rev. 21:8). From earliest times, God forbade occultism as spiritually defiling and made participation in it punishable by death (Lev. 19:31; 20:27) and cause for rejection of that soul by God (Lev. 20:6).
Occult Involvement Breaks the First Commandment and Invokes God’s Curse
There are only two sources of hidden information and knowledge or supernatural help, guidance, and healing – God or Satan. One may, through prayer in Jesus’ Name, seek such help from God. But there is another way to obtain the desired guidance – occultism. Behind this door stand Satan and the powers of darkness who work through the occult media of fortune-telling, magic, spiritism, and false religious cults. The Scriptures forbid a man to seek help from or contact these sources, for it is the same as calling upon another god (Exodus 20:3-5). Satan is called the “god of this world” (2 Cor. 4:4). Although Satan often accommodates one with hidden knowledge or help through these sources, this individual has opened a door of access to him and becomes prey to the forces of darkness to oppress in many ways.
The seriousness of occult participation is seen in the judgment of God which fell upon King Saul, who died the day after seeking help from a medium! (Read 1 Samuel 28, 31, and 1 Chronicles 10:13, 14).
Characteristics of Occult Oppression and Subjection
The following are a few of the evidences of occult oppression or bondage, although some of these symptoms may stem from other causes. Usually, when one or more of these manifestations are present it is an indication of the presence and activity of demonic spirits, as well as the need for deliverance:
A prolonged depression or gloominess; indifference; irresponsibility; unpredictable behavior; delusions; uncontrollable passions, appetites, temper; sexual perversions; enslavement to drugs, alcohol, or tobacco; hatred in the heart.
Chronic fear or anxiety; nervousness or neurotic behavior; feelings of inadequacy or self-pity; abnormal desire for attention; extremely negative personality; compulsions (lying, stealing, gambling) or obsessions (fear of dying, acute jealousy); thoughts of self-destruction.
An abnormal talkativeness or loudness; muttering to oneself; shunning others; unkempt appearance; abnormally bright or glazed eyes; sullen, perverse, or defiant facial expression.
Chronic physical ailments that do not respond to prayer or treatment; serious marital or parental problems; strife and discord in the church.
Indifference to spiritual things – the Scriptures or prayer; chronic doubts and difficulty in exercising faith; unscriptural religious beliefs; inability to receive Christ or the Holy Spirit; hatred of the Blood Atonement; blasphemous thoughts against God.
Supernatural experiences; possession of psychic or extrasensory powers (none of which are to be confused with the genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit); seeing apparitions; hearing voices; poltergeist phenomena.
Method of Liberation from Occult Oppression and Subjection
If the oppressed are to be set free, Christians must rid themselves of the naive and unscriptural notion that believers cannot be oppressed by Satan. On the contrary, many have been oppressed, depressed, deceived, bound and afflicted, especially when there has been occult involvement, whether before or after conversion (See Lk. 13:11; 22:31-32; 2 Cor. 12:7; 1 Thess. 2:18; 1 Tim. 4:1; 1 Pet. 5:8- 9; Eph. 6:11-13).
Three Steps to Deliverance
1. Confession of faith in Christ and repentance of sin.
Without such a confession and repentance, there can be no permanent liberation, for where no sincere commitment to Christ is made, there is no secure basis for such an individual to make continued resistance to the powers of darkness.
2. Confession of occult sins.
All occult involvement must be recognized as disobedience to God, repudiated, and confessed as sin. The oppressed one should name each form of occult participation which can be recalled (such as visiting fortune tellers, playing the Ouija board, following astrology, etc.), confessing it as sin, and asking forgiveness in Jesus’ Name. It is well to ask pardon also for any occult involvement you may have forgotten.
3. Renunciation of Satan and command for him to depart in the Name of Jesus.
This is not to be a prayer or request, but a direct command to Satan himself, by the person seeking deliverance. At this point, Satan will only heed a command to depart permanently from the individual who granted him access in the first place through occult involvement. In faith, renounce him and all his work in your life and command him to depart in Jesus’ Name.
In exceptional cases where oppression is severe and faith is weak, it may be advisable to have the assistance of a strong believer to cast out these powers of darkness after the first three steps have been taken on the part of the oppressed.
Accept the fact of your liberation by faith. Do not rely on feelings or appearances at this point. Stand on the Word of God – the evidence and assurance will follow. Satan knows that he must release his victim when commanded to do so in Jesus’ Name, but the evidence may not always be seen immediately. Boldly confess your deliverance by faith and, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded” (James 4:7,8).
Matthew 24:24 and Mark 13:22 tell us “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” So, it is important to heed the warning given to us in 1 John 4:14:
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is the spirit of anti-christ…Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. ”
Reprinted with Permission from the Gospel Tract Society
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