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The Occult: What Does God Say?
The Occult: What Does God Say?
The occult: Any practice, activity or entity serving the role of tapping into the spirit world outside the biblical recognized spirit realm. The occult is all around us. The word “occult” is derived from the Latin word “occultus,” meaning secret, mystery, clandestine, or hidden knowledge.
Occultism is the study of occult practices, including (but not limited to) magic, alchemy, extrasensory perception, astrology, spiritualism, and divination. Interpretation of occultism and its concepts can be found in the belief structures of philosophies and religions such as Chaos, magic, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Wicca, and the like.
Occultism has its basis in a religious way of thinking, the roots of which stretch back into antiquity. But let's look at the occult from a Christian viewpoint.
The Christian Perspective
The bible is the only source for distinguishing the occult. It's not somebody claiming, “The Lord told me…” The bible is the only true standard. The occult world has numerous symbols fundamental to their spiritual practices. There are many general symbols that can represent different purposes to different occult groups.
The heavens, or the spirit world, are forbidden territory to humans. God has prohibited us from accessing them. When it comes to earthly matters He works through us.
"The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men) (Psalm 115:16).
Thus, our primary business is on earth and the above scripture above should be clear. Yet it’s not. In the body of Christ there are those claiming to have fellowship with the Virgin Mary, angels, saints, the dead, and so on. From a Christian perspective, occult practitioners are those attempting to gain knowledge and power from the spiritual world by forbidden means outside of God’s biblical authority in a way beyond ordinary human means.
There are several events recorded in the Bible, one being when God gave the land of Canaan to Israel. Before they entered into it God warned them not to imitate the ways of the Canaanites, who were steeped in the occult.
Involvement in the occult is swiftly growing. Many are deliberately becoming involved in it with malicious intent to harm others.
Satan can tempt us, but he can't gain entrance unless we open the door. Anyone venturing into the occult exposes themselves to diabolic influence and demonic attacks. Demonic attacks can affect our mental and physical health. They can also dangerously expose our family, business, relationships, and spiritual well-being.
Cult and Occult: What's the Difference?
Many often confuse these terms, although both have common aspects. Most organizations classified as cults, usually have a charismatic leader, whose authority is unquestioned. The term "occult" is often used as a reference to some sort of secret, satanic practice or organization, such as: Wicca, Satan worship, especially those rejecting the authority of God's Holy Word, the Bible.
Frequently cults will exploit their followers through the abuse of religious authority, forms of mind control, or psychological abuse, often in the name of Christ. Occult organizations, however, seldom claim to be Christian churches.
Basically there are three types of occultism.
These practitioners attempt to gain hidden knowledge about the future through psychic readings sometimes enhanced by the use of props. These can include astrology, fortune telling, tarot cards, crystal balls etc.
These occult groups participate in more accent forms of worship such as self worship, Earth, or a supreme "Mother Goddess." It also involves the belief in animism. Animism is the belief living spirits reside in an animate objects, including plants. Other forms can be witchcraft, magic, native American spiritualism and shamanism. Contrary to popular belief most of these pagan groups don't claim to believe in or worship Satan.
spiritualism is an occult activity defined as an attempt to contact or communicate with a deceased person, or spirit entity. This can include trance-mediums and Ouija boards. This is the category that does include Satan worship.
We are attacked daily, with such innocent and harmless sounding forms of occultism. For example, the daily newspaper horoscopes and calling psychics from the comfort of your own home. It comes as no surprise interest in the occult rises dramatically with the coming of Halloween. Many regard this holiday as an invitation to practice witchcraft, divination, and Satanism.
"And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?" (Isaiah8:19).
Can dead ancestors help or harm the living? According to to the Bible the dead know nothing and have no knowledge or feelings concerning the events of the world. A demonic spirit however, could be a counterfeit of a deceased person. These demons can possess people, as shown by Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus.
"And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly" (John 13:27).
But what about Christians, can they be demon possessed? Apparently not, as the Bible never mentions even one believer as being possessed by a demon. Satan can however, tempt a person to do evil things.
Many psychics say their power comes from God. If one of their prophecies comes true does it prove their claim? Absolutely not. True prophecies must be 100% accurate, 100% of the time.
Today, many dabble in the mystical, occult arts. Is there anything wrong this? The Bible takes a strong stand on this subject, denouncing these practices. God’s Word tells us these practices are part of Satan's strategy of deception designed to lead us astray.
Various studies have proven occult magic to be a fraudulent and deceitful allusion. However, in some instances occult magic can be attributed to a manifestation of demonic powers.
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:(Acts 16:16).
A good example of this was the evil Queen Jezebel who practice witchcraft and brought catastrophe of on herself and all Israel.
God denounces those who "conjure spells" and practice witchcraft and sorcery. The Bible warns us anyone doing these things is detestable to the Lord. Those who became Christians realized the error of their ways and burned their books of magic. We are not to look to omens or signs to guide us. God rebukes those who do.
Many occultists practice varying aspects occultism. This makes defining the occult exceedingly difficult. Additionally, not all label themselves occultists, and those not familiar with these practices should be aware of differences in definition.
Hermeticism: A system of theological and mystical philosophy developed around the second century once attributed to Hermes Trismegistus in a collection of his texts. But now it's thought to be the work of many anonymous writers.
Neoplatonism:Theological and mystical philosophies founded in the third century by Plotinus. His works are founded on the philosophical works of Plato particularly those relating to his theories on forms and absolute and perceived reality. Newer forms are the ones now commonly labeled as occult.
Kabbalah:Much of Kabbalah, especially within Judaism, deals with the discovery of deeper meanings within Jewish holy texts. New-Jewish forms of Kabbalah are the ones most commonly labeled as occult.
Gnosticism:A broad range of beliefs depicting reality as perfect souls created by a perfect god. It also strongly emphasizes the search for hidden knowledge of humanity's conditions and ways of escaping it.
Alchemy:The study of transmutation on both physical and spiritual levels. The most commonly known goal of alchemy is the transmutation of lead into gold.
Numerology: The manipulation of numbers to discover information and meeting.
Thelema: Religion and philosophy concerning the seeking and expression of one's true will or destiny.
Wicca: a neopagan religion having its basis in the beliefs and ceremonies of the hermetic order of the Golden Dawn stressing esoteric and personal spiritual experience.
Satanism: Not all Satanic practices can be labeled as occult. However, many Satanists use occult practices in their rituals.
Theosophy:Theosphits seek knowledge of their higher, more spiritual selves.
Divination:A variety of methods used to predict potential outcomes of predicting potential outcomes or reading influences surrounding a person, time or event.
Deuteronomy 18: 9-12 contains the most powerful biblical passage concerning the occult.
"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 any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,
Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee" (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).