All These Things - Part 5

All These Things - Part 5

Scripture: 1 Timothy 4:1, Matthew 24:24, 2 Corinthians 11:14
There is an interest in our society in the occult and witchcraft. The Bible teaches that in the last days men would give heed to seducing spirits. Four facets of this are spoken in this talk: Satanism, spiritualism, psychic prophecy, and witchcraft.
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The hour is midnight. On the front door of the house is an orange emblem showing black pitchforks. Downstairs, the party is gathered solemnly before a black draped altar. Facing them on the wall is a chartreuse goat-image super-imposed on a purple pentagram. "Tonight there is one among us elected to the priesthood," intoned one of the men, "Satan, thou has seen fit to charge Warlock Shai with thy priesthood on earth...the deification of the human race." Someone pours flash powder on the altar flame and woosh! Fire leaps toward the ceiling.

This bizarre, blasphemous scene, and many a similar one, is being reenacted all across the United States these days. In Oakland, California, when the moon is full, a group of college-educated people gather in a house in a middle class neighborhood, remove their clothes and whirl through the double spiral of a witches' dance. In southern New Jersey, a thirty-year old receptionist winds thread around a voodoo doll and sticks steel pins into it in a determined effort to harass a rival at the office into resigning. In Chicago, from seventy-five to one hundred otherwise ordinary people, mostly professionals, such as office managers, nurses, social workers and chemists, meet weekly in the Temple of the Pagan Way to take instruction in ancient witchcraft and ceremonial magic from a high priest and priestess.

One of the most weird phenomena of our enlightened, sophisticated age is a growing fascination with the occult. Psychologists look in vain for a consistent answer as to why educated people will become so involved in arts that for so long have been relegated to the realm of the foolish, ignorant, or superstitious.

But the Bible is not caught by surprise by the occult revolution. God's word spelled out long ago that in the last days, just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, men would give heed to "seducing spirits" and "doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1); and Jesus warned that at the end there would be "false christs and false prophets." Matthew 24:24. And Paul predicted that the Devil would be transformed "into an angel of light" for the purpose of deception. 2 Corinthians 11:14.

What other explanation could be given, except that a generation has rejected or at least neglected God for so long that now it turns to the most sordid forms of worship in history?

The occult is big business now. Scientists are studying such branches of it as extrasensory perception and psychic phenomena. Astrology, which started it all, is consulted by thousands for help in making decisions, even by some top leaders in government. Book stores now specialize in occult books. One of the busiest is the Metaphysicsl Center in San Francisco. Its book department sells out sixty-five percent of its $25,000 stock every month. The center also presents tarot-card readings, day long crash courses in palmistry, reincarnation workshops and classes in several other occult practices. There is even a gift shop that sells ritual robes, amulets, special incense and crystal balls.

England is experiencing such a resurgence of witchcraft and other occult dabblings that an ecumenical commission of Anglicans and Roman Catholics recommended that each diocese appoint an official exorcist to drive out demons. In France a popular seer named Madame Soleil gives weekly advice on radio, and rumors say that the Black Masses are being performed in Paris and Lyons.

German journalist Horst Knaut estimates that at least three million West Germans subscribe to some form of the occult and perhaps seven million more "sympathize with the secret societies." Staid Switzerland abounds with oddball sects; including one in which a supposedly "possessed" girl was tortured to death a few years ago. In Italy, it is not so much the quantity as the quality of occultism that has changed. Long a part of Italy's superstitutious southern peasant culture, occultism has moved north to the industrialists, the doctors and lawyers of the affluent upper class.

The occult has a seemingly endless number of manifestations, but it has roughly four main categories, Satanism, witchcraft, psychic prophecy and spiritualism. Let us look at them briefly.

"Blessed are the strong, for they shall possess the earth." If a man smite you on one cheek, SMASH him on the other!" This blasphemous gospel from Anton LaVey's "The Satanic Bible" sets the tone for today's leading brand of Satanism, the San Francisco-based Church of Satan.

Although LaVey's "church" is organized, incorporated, and protected under the laws of California, it is really not a belief in the supernatural so much as a worship of self, Satan being used as a symbol of man's desire for self-gratification at any expense to others. It is man's oldest hangup, a desire to play God.

LaVey stopped counting when his membership reached ten thousand, but beyond this his malevolent doctrine reached hundreds of thousands more through the black gospel of The Satanic Bible and his second book, The Compleated Witch. in which his advice reaches the downright sordid.

But the darker, more evil Satanists give only rare and tantalizing hints of their existence, and none at all of their numbers. One variety of the underground Satanism consists primarily of sex clubs that embellish their orgies with Satanist rituals. A larger variety are the drug-oriented cults, whose members improvise their Satanism as they go along. In this group falls the murderous "family" of ritual killer Charles Manson.

The second branch is witchcraft. It too is a godless substitute faith in which the so-called good or white witches derive their presumed power from nature to do benevolent acts, except when they are in combat with a black witch where they show their darker power. The black witch claims Satan as the source of their power.

The one who seems to benefit most by witchcraft are the witches whose books and services have made some of them millionaires. The rituals of witchcraft are a sordid rite of sex and sadism.

The third branch of occultism is also its link to Christianity, its most palatable, therefore most dangerous form. It is psychic prophecy, the ability to predict the future.

Astrology has long been the favorite method of divining the future, but now occultists are going in for other ancient fortune telling methods such as the I Cheng, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes, an elaborate and complicated casting of sticks or coins to form patterns of future events. Tarot-cards are another, similar favorite.

The most dramatic prophecies are made by individual psychics who claim the ability to foresee the future. The 16th century physician and astrologer, Nostradamus is perhaps the most famous of all time. Nostradamus knew the trick: his writings were cryptic, and interpreters can read any number of different predictions into a single passage. Modern seers like Jeanne Dixon are also generally vague, and they bolster their visions by keeping an observant eye on human nature and events. God strictly forbids His people to seek the aid of astrology, sorcerers, fortune tellers and all such. They are to depend on Him, the true source. He also condemned another practice, necromancy, consulting the dead. This is one of Satan's most fearsome deceptions of the last days, and it is our fourth form of occultism, spiritualism.

From its simple beginning just over one hundred years ago, spiritualism has grown into a world-wide force, a movement that must be reckoned with. Its blasphemous teachings hold that it is the only true religion, that Jesus was the greatest medium and that His miracles were psychic phenomena. They claim to be able to contact the dead whom the Bible says specifically are "asleep" and "know not anything." The book of Revelation explains that in the last days "spirits of devils working miracles" would go out to deceive the whole world.

Friend, how clearer could it possibly be? We are living in the last days. The return of Jesus Christ is soon indeed.

This broadcast brings to a close the series we have been conducting for some time now on specific signs in our world today that Jesus is coming back soon. We hope you have enjoyed them, but more than that, we hope you are more seriously than ever before planning to be ready when Jesus comes. It isn't really that hard, you know. All you have to do is surrender to Him and let Him guide your life, be willing to do what He says, and not what your own nature or intellect tells you to.

Now what does the message of God reveal about the dead? Do the dead come back? "As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more." Job 7:9,10.

Evidently there has been a mistake.

Now follow me carefully. The great hope which the Scriptures hold out to the human heart is that on the resurrection morning, not at death, loved ones torn from us will be united with us again. In fact, the entire structure of Christianity rests upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and the final resurrection of His followers in the last days. Job himself said, "For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth." Job 19:25. And he adds this triumphant note: "Yet in my flesh shall I see God." Verse 26.

But as to the dead coming out at the bidding of the curious, or returning to their household to see how loved ones are getting along, the Word says, "He shall return no more to his house." They are not to be recalled until that grand and final day when Jesus Himself shall return. In that day, and not until that day, death will give way to eternal life.

The Bible goes still further. It says that at death man's power to think ceases. "Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." Psalms 146:3,4.

There need be no mistake here. The Creator knows what happens at death. And He tells us that the dead do not think. Let me read another scripture. "For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing.... Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished." Ecclesiastes 9:5,6.

There we have it! The dead know nothing. They cannot remember. They cannot love or hate or envy.

Do you see? The dead do not return to their house. Their power to think ceases. They know nothing until Jesus calls them forth to everlasting life in that glorious reunion day.

An intelligent lady was studying the Bible on this subject. She had been very much interested in communication with the dead. But when she came to this particular point in her study, she exclaimed, "Then who is writing on my slate?"

Do you understand her dilemma? If what we have read from the Bible is true, and it is, then who gives the messages in the darkened room? Who is masquerading in the disguise of those loved and lost? What are the powers that are unquestionably operating in the psychic world? We have seen what they are not. Then what are they? Who are they?

God tells us who the real powers are. The Scriptures clearly identify those powers that parade in the garb of others as the followers of Lucifer, the fallen angels.

I fully realize how difficult it is to grasp the idea that evil angels can actually work miracles. But that fact is the key to understanding the psychic phenomena with which we are bombarded today. Please forever settle one thing in your mind. The supernatural, the miraculous, does not necessarily come from God. When that fact is fully established in your thinking you are safeguarded from many a deception.

"For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles." Revelation 16:114. You see, the fallen angels, the followers of Lucifer, the devils the Bible talks about, are superior intelligences. They can work miracles, miracles which will deceive all who are not guarded by a knowledge of Scripture.

Satan can actually transform himself into an angel of light. "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." 2 Corinthians 11:13,14.

You understand now that it is altogether possible for a fallen angel to masquerade as another being, to actually transform himself into form of a loved one.

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