ESP Ministries


Satanism and the Occult

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. --1 Timothy 4:1

Jesus warned us about the last days. He said that in the last days we would see the coming of many false prophets and false Christs—and we are seeing this on an unprecedented scale today.

The Bible also warns us that in the last days before Christ's return we will see many people follow after the doctrine of demons and deceitful spirits—and we are seeing this, too, as never before.

It is estimated that more than 50 million Americans are involved in some form of the occult. A recent survey estimated that more than 50 million Americans read their horoscopes every morning to see what they should do that day.

A daily horoscope is found in virtually every newspaper across this country. People are involved in all types of the occult: fortune-telling, the use of tarot cards, palmistry, and numerology. People are openly involved in witchcraft, Satanism, and spiritualism. Others are going to New Age channelers, playing with the Ouija board, and attending séances to communicate with the dead.

When troops invaded the home of Manuel Noriega during the liberation of Panama, they found three voodoo witches from Brazil practicing sacrifices to the devil to protect him. When they took him onto the plane in Panama, they found that he was wearing red underwear. In South America, red underwear is a magic, satanic undergarment worn to ward off the evil third eye. Noriega was wearing occult underwear that he believed would keep him from being captured.

The Common People Too
You can't even go to the checkout counter of your local grocery store without confronting the world of the occult. Newspapers and magazines have glaring headlines like "Demons Terrorize Family" or "Horror of the Devil Cults."

People are keenly interested in all kinds of ghosts and poltergeists. They are wrapped up in things like parapsychology, telepathy, clairvoyance, precognition, and extra sensory perception. We hear about shamans, spiritualism, voodoo, witchcraft, aliens, and UFOs. Hollywood has certainly popularized the world of the occult with movies like The Exorcist, The Omen, Heretic, Amityville Horror, and the Poltergeist series.

Over 75 percent of the cartoons on television today are of an occult nature. Look at the cute Smurfs. The whole basis of the Smurfs is that they are a group of little blue characters practicing the occult. They are usually busy creating caldrons of potions of witchcraft, casting spells, and putting hexes on people. We have become so saturated with the world of the occult that many of us have become numb to the reality of what is happening.

In the last days, many people will follow after the doctrine of demons and deceitful spirits. Satan does not come to people today dressed up in a red union suit with horns and a pitchfork and a tail. That's mythology. Second Corinthians 11:14 says, "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." He comes seeking whom he may deceive. He comes offering wisdom and knowledge and power, if you only offer up your soul to him.

Many people are drawn in by the power and never realize that Satan has taken their souls. Certainly Satanism has gained great notoriety over the last few years. There were the murders in Matamoras, Mexico, south of Brownsville, Texas, where 16 people had literally been sacrificed to Satan by a drug dealer who hoped that this would gain him protection.

Geraldo Rivera did a major special entitled "Satanism in America" several years ago that showed the tremendous pull that Satanism has, especially among young people. It is as if Satan has simply taken off the mask and is no longer trying to hide himself. He’s simply saying. "Here I am, follow me."

Even the Young
Young people are getting more involved in satanic activity than ever before. With the increase of dysfunctional families, many young people are into alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and sexual abuse, and are also seeking new kinds of energy and personal control through satanic activity. They believe that Satan will give them power or dominion over their lives and over the lives of those around them. Many kids go from the dabbling aspect into becoming obsessed with the world of the occult. Soon they begin to take on the characteristics of occult influence, such as wearing occult and satanic jewelry, buying occult books, dressing in black, and wearing white makeup.

They begin to practice the occult rituals they read about or are shown by their friends. They begin to play fantasy role-playing games, such as Dungeons and Dragons. They begin to watch occult movies and videos. They immerse themselves in heavy metal and acid rock music. They openly go into the occult, seeking to take charge somehow in a world they feel alienated from. They step through a veil of darkness, not knowing the evil awaiting them. Some knowingly open themselves up to demonic activity and possession, delving so far into the demonic realm that all hell breaks loose.

What are some of the outward signs of a teenager getting involved in such activity? One evidence is a deep involvement with heavy metal music. We are not talking about rock and roll or Elvis Presley, but satanic lyrics that promote the evil side of life.

What are some of these groups? AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Merciful Fate, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Motley Criie, Anthrax, Danzig, Exodus, Grim Reaper, Helloween, Megadeth, Metal Church, Metallica, Celtic Force, Satan, Sodom, and Possessed. All you have to do is look at the CD covers to see the incredible satanic influence, let alone listen to the lyrics.

For example, look at Slayer, which is very popular among young people. Some of the typical lyrics include the following lines from the song "Altar of Sacrifice" on the album "Reign in Blood": ...waiting the hour destined to die here on the table of hell, a figure in white unknown by man approaching the altar of death. High priest awaiting, dagger in hand, spilling the pure virgin blood. Satan slaughters ceremonial death, answer his every command.... Learn the sacred words of praise, hail Satan, hail Satan, hail Satan.

These are typical lyrics that young people are listening to in the popular metal groups today. They are not about fun and games, love and romance. They deal with death and terrible evil. Slayer's album "South of Heaven" has a song in it entitled "Mandatory Suicide,” which promotes self-destruction. There are cases of teenagers committing suicide believing that this is the way to gain power.

Black metal music is not just ordinary music. Rather, it is an all-encompassing format that mixes the lyrics with the artist's antics, where groups like KISS dressed up in satanic outfits. MTV videos are showing things that would have caused performers to be arrested a few years ago.

Satan's Roots
Satan's roots go back into rock music. The contemporary seeds of it come from Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. You can go back to some of the early Stones albums in the 1970s and see them posing as witches on the cover of their album entitled "Their Satanic Majesty's Request." Or consider their album "Goat's Head Soup," which shows on the cover a boiling caldron with a floating goat's head in it, which is a satanic symbol. Groups like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Ozzy Ozborne from the 70s promoted Satanism and became part of our everyday pop culture.

It is incredible what occult jewelry young people are wearing, such as earrings or medallions of the inverted pentagram, the upside-down five-pointed star with the goat's head in the center. It is truly a satanic symbol. The peace symbol, the inverted broken cross, has become a symbol that Satanists are now wearing. For them it represents the upside-down cross of Christ with broken arms, signifying the defeat of Christianity.

Dungeons and Dragons was one of the biggest selling games in this country for high school and college students. It is a fantasy role-playing game that allows the players to live out, in a fantasy world, all the immoral and perverted desires his mind can conjure up. This is done partly by visualization and partly by calling upon a whole warehouse of occult characters—witches, wizards, demons, and demigods—to aid in living out the immoral behavior within that fantasy world without having to face the responsibility of doing these things in the real world.

Yet sometimes it is hard to separate the reality from the imaginary, and horrible things happen. Dr. Thomas Radke, a practicing psychiatrist and a professor at the University of Denver, documented 123 cases where Dungeons and Dragons had played a specific role in either murder or suicide among young people.

What Is the Occult?
How do we respond to all this? It is important that we first understand exactly what the occult is. The term "occult" comes from the Latin term occultus, which refers to hidden or secret things. It refers specifically to the incursion of a fourth dimension, a spirit realm, into our three-dimensional world.

In prior times the occult referred to knowledge which was available only by going through some sort of secret initiation rites and which could therefore be obtained by only a select few initiates. Therefore, in the broad sense of the word, even groups like the Freemasons or the Odd Fellows are occult.

But today the word has lost some of that original meaning, since you can walk into any mall bookstore and find an entire shelf on occult books which any kid can purchase. Nevertheless, the idea still remains that occultism is available only to those willing to work for it. Thus we have different types of people being appealed to by occult concepts:

1) Un-churched people, or those who have little interest in organized religion. The occult often appeals to those raised in churches but who had a bad experience in them.

2) Misfits, those who feel alienated from society and seek to know why they feel that way. The occult gives them apparent answers.

3) People whose lives are humdrum and who need some sort of glamorous fantasy. They can say to themselves, "These people may think that I'm a mere checkout teller, but actually I am Prater Honorius, arch-adept of the cosmos!"

4) People who feel lonely or powerless. The occult promises the power to change the universe and to control the minds and wills of other people. Thus, it appeals to those who feel at a loss in their world.

5) People who need to feel elite and exclusive, far above the mundane world. This is why we see so many highly educated, intelligent people get into the occult and the New Age movement. They feel they are on the cutting edge of a new step in human evolution and are far beyond "mere humans."

For the most part these are people who really cannot afford to have their minds any more messed up than they already are. Most of these people are very marginally integrated into society. Thus their involvement with the occult brings them new but different dangers.

Beyond the First Step
Beyond the spiritual dangers of both the cults and the occult, working with occult power invariably introduces the person to the use of psychotropic drugs or consciousness-expanding techniques such as Yoga and TM. This can open the person to psychotic experiences at best, and demon possession at worst!

Advanced occultists believe they can manipulate their own and other people's bodies and minds for "their own good." This frequently leads to highly questionable ethical practices, seduction, rape, physical abuse, and torture and mutilation of animals (and even of people in some of the most extreme cases).

It is sad but true that the pursuit of power (which is what the occult is, in its most blatant sense) leads to megalomania and the desire for yet more power. Sooner or later the occultist must "integrate his dark side" and come to terms with Satan. At this point all bets are off, and criminal or sociopathic behavior frequently results from this alliance. Unquestioning obedience is demanded from such a person; he must be obedient to his own inner demons who tell him to pillage and destroy.

Thus we get the "Son of Sam" types and the Charles Mansons, who are only the tip of a much larger occultic iceberg. They are the ones who slipped and got caught, or who were sacrificed by their merciless spiritual masters. The "smart ones" are still out there, and for them it is still open season.

Mantic Behavior
One major area of the occult is known as mantic behavior. This is the practice of divination, which is seeking to foretell the future through the use of astrology, tarot cards, palmistry, numerology, crystal balls, and tea leaves.

Modern psychics are on television every night with 900 numbers you can call to get your latest fortune or horoscope read.

Black and White Magic
A second area of the occult is magic. We are not talking about sleight-of-hand, illusion, or parlor tricks, but magic in its classical definition. Occultists refer to both white magic and black magic. The difference is that white magic, which is also known as white witchcraft, teaches that there is only one universal source of power, while black magic refers to both a good source and a bad source. Both types of practitioners seek to tap into their source of power to gain power in their own lives and over the lives of other people.

It's very much like the force in Star Wars—the force that Luke Skywalker was always trying to tap into. This kind of universal power source has been picked up by the New Age movement; Shirley MacLaine and others claim that there is some spiritual force out there. And of course they are right, but they have denied the reality of the true God. When they go after "the force," they are tapping into the world of demons and deceitful spirits.

Any Saturday morning you can see cartoon characters tapping into the force and thereby gaining spiritual power. Young viewers are led to believe that if they can only tap into that force, they will have the same powers.

Some people say that this existed many years ago in movies like The Wizard of Oz and The Wicked Witch of the East. But the difference is that the Wizard of Oz and the Wicked Witch of the East were presented as evil beings.

Today's young people are being told that the Wicked Witch of the East is basically good, that witchcraft and the force are something good that we can tap into in order to gain power in our lives.

A third area of the occult is Satanism itself. It is important to understand what we mean when we talk about demons and deceitful spirits. The Bible says that there is a very real personage of spirit called Satan. It says that he is the serpent of old and that he is out to deceive the whole world.

The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him (Revelation 12:9).

The devil is real and he has a strategy to bring each of us to destruction. The Bible warns us:

Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:11,12).

Satan was once known as Lucifer, the most beautiful angel, created by God to serve in the very courts of heaven. Yet he sought to exalt himself instead of glorifying God.

How you have fallen from heaven, 0 morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit (Isaiah 14:12-15).

When we talk about demons or evil spirits, we are referring to fallen angels, finite created beings. They were created by God and once served in the very courts of heaven. But because of their rebellion they were cast out of heaven and out of the presence of God.

Adam and Eve, through their rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden, gave Satan access to us. God has temporarily allowed him to have partial influence and control here on this earth, but ultimately God has condemned him and his cohorts to hell for eternity.

God Alone Is Sovereign
Do not ever make the mistake of considering God and Satan as equal or almost equal. Satan is not equal with God. God alone is sovereign. God alone is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, holy, and righteous. Satan is a finite created being, a mere fallen angel. He is neither omnipotent nor omniscient. Yet his purpose is to deceive the whole world. Jesus said this about him while rebuking the Pharisees:

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44).

Satan is a liar. When he came to Adam and Eve in the Garden, he said this:

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:4,5).

That is the same lie that got Lucifer cast out of heaven. But Adam and Eve believed it and were cast out of the Garden of Eden. In the last days people will follow similar doctrines of demons and deceitful spirits.

What does the New Age movement say? You can be God yourself. What do the Mormons say? You can be God yourself. Satan hasn't changed; he simply dresses up his lie in new terms and pawns it off as a new revelation.

Here is what God says about the world of the occult.

When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritualist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so (Deuteronomy 18:9-14).

God says very clearly that we, as His people, should have nothing to do with all three categories of the world of the occult.

The largest area of the occult today is astrology. It is based upon the supposed 12 houses of the zodiac. Astrological signs are supposedly

based upon the time of your birth. The position of the planets, the stars, the sun, and the moon at the time of your birth are used to calculate future events and cycles of good and bad, based upon an astrologist's interpretation of the position of the stars and the planets.

Not only is there no scientific validity to astrology, but it is also one of the oldest pagan practices that God has condemned throughout history. One of the exciting things about God's Word is that it is more relevant than today's newspaper. All these things which we confront in contemporary society God has already dealt with specifically in His Word. Look at these two Scriptures:

When you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven (Deuteronomy 4:19).

If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death (Deuteronomy 17:2-5).

It was such an abomination for Israel to practice astrology—to follow the sun. moon, and stars—that God commanded that people be put to death for doing so.

We do not put people to death today for the practice of astrology because we do not live in a theocracy. But the principle is still the same: God says that these things are an abomination to Him.

Another area of the occult that has gained great popularity is that of spiritualism. It is also called channeling, in which a channeler is taken over by a controlled spirit bringing some New Age wisdom. What does God say about this?

Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritualists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.... I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritualists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people....A man or woman who is a medium or spiritualist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6,27).

Although we don't stone people to death in the church these days, God still considers these things worth His own sentence of death.

God speaks clearly about the area of fortune-telling. Modern-day prophets and prophetesses claim to predict the events to come in your life and in the nation. But God in His Word gives us two tests to determine a true prophet. The first test is found in Deuteronomy 18:20-22.

A prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death. You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. So first we must test the prophecy. Does the prophecy come true or not? If it does not come true, you know that the prophet is not of God.

The Hebrew prophets of the Old Testament were 100 percent accurate when they spoke from God, or they were stoned to death. It is a very dangerous thing to go around claiming you are a prophet of God. You had better be sure that God is speaking and that you are not speaking from your own mind or imagination. God warns us of this in Ezekiel 13:3,6-9.

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing! "...Their visions are false and their divinations a lie. They say, "The LORD declares," when the LORD has not sent them; yet they expect their words to be fulfilled. Have you not seen false visions and uttered lying divinations when you say, “The LORD declares," though I have not spoken? Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "Because of your false words and lying visions, I am against you, declares the Sovereign LORD. My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people...."

The second test that God gives us to determine a true prophet is found in Deuteronomy 13:1-5.

If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

First, you must test the prophecy, and second, you must test the teaching. Are these prophets leading you to the worship of the true and living God, or are they leading you to false gods and a teaching contrary to God's Word? Even if the prophecy comes true, you must test the teaching by the Word of God, as 2 Timothy 3:16,17 instructs.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.



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