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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.