|In the past few years we
have witnessed a growing trend toward and interest in witchcraft, astrology, spiritism,
fortune telling and Satanism. The trappings of occultism have been big business. Motion
picture and television industries have turned out numerous films dealing with occult
themes - witchcraft, exorcism and the like. Great numbers of people become innocent
participants in the occult movement by buying books, charms and games that emphasize
various elements of the occult. And some whose interest began from curiosity have become
seriously involved in the spiritually, morally debilitating activities of occultism.
This movement toward occultism and mystical superstition can no longer be regarded as innocent fun and games. It must be regarded for what it is in truth ... a threat to Christian faith and sane society, The Bible - God's word has much to say about matters of the occult. And it condemns this sort of activity as godless behaviour that is sin. Consider briefly some of the facets of occultism.
Hardly a week goes by that we do not read a newspaper article or hear a news report of the activity of the growing movement of witchcraft. The strange cattle mutilations, which were, so widely reported in recent years have been attributed by some to the eerie, mystical rites of witchcraft. Most large cities have the dubious "honour" of being the home of at least one coven of witches (a coven is a group of witches comprised of six male and six female witches). One self-proclaimed witch claims there are about eight million witches in the world today!
Witchcraft is a system of religion, which promotes immorality and behaviour contrary to the high calling of Christ Jesus. It is a return to godless paganism, which emphasizes the sensual, materialistic elements of humankind and scoffs at that which Christians consider spiritual. Witchcraft ignores or distorts God's word and offers no deliverance from sin - it rather plunges its adherents more deeply into a life of degradation.
And the word of God labels witchcraft as a work of the flesh, which will bar its practitioners from heaven; "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these . . . witchcraft . . . they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21). The fruit of witchcraft is evil. No person concerned about wholesome, righteous living and eternity can be involved with this form of godlessness! Rather, it must be combated and labelled for the sin it is.
Perhaps the best known prong of occultism is astrology. Vast numbers of people playfully read their horoscopes to see what the stars have decreed for their day. Astrologers claim that by observing the position of celestial bodies they can predict events which will take place on earth. The providing of personal horoscopes based on the pseudo-science of astrology has become a big business.
However, we need to be aware that astrology (not to be confused with the legitimate science of astronomy) has its roots in heathenism and is not compatible with a right relationship with God. Astrology is just another form of fortune telling which is undependable and which leads enlightened people back into heathenism.
When Moses gave God's directives to Israel, there was included this statement: "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 18:10-12). Israel was not to "learn to do after the abominations of those nations" (Deuteronomy 18:9).The prophet Jeremiah revealed, "Thus saith the Lord, learn not the way of the nations, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the nations are dismayed at them" (Jeremiah 10:2).
Isaiah said of astrologers, they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame" (Isaiah 47:12-14). They most assuredly could not save Babylon from doom by their stargazing and astrology.
Astrology is a system in which Christians must have no part. Christians are people who trust in God's will and who "walk by faith" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Inordinate concerns for the future induce anxiety which should be not part of the Christian's experiential living. Jesus said, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own" (Matthew 6:34 N.I.V.). Astrology does not add confidence. It weakens faith.
Closely linked to astrology is fortune telling. Human beings are inclined to worry about the next day, the next week, the next year crossing birdges mentally which may never have to be crossed. Yet, this inclination provides fertile soil for modern day soothsayers.
Among such contemporary soothsayers, is Mrs. Jeane Dixon. Her prognostications are widely printed, widely read and widely believed by throngs of people around the world. She claims to be a prophet and to thus prophecy of, future event. While Mrs. Dixon does predict some events with accuracy, it must be noted that she does not always predict accurately. Within her prognostications are numerous glaring mistakes and failures. Such failures indicate she is not a, prophet of God!
Listen to God's word: "And if thou say in thine heart, how shall we know the word which the Lord hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him" (Deuteronorny 18:21-22). We are urged to "try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4: 1).
The gift of prophecy ceased with the other miraculous workings of the Holy Spirit when the word of God had been revealed and confirmed (see 1 Corinthians 13:8-13). We do not need fortune-tellers, and must not consult with them. All we need to live successfully is the word of God. The scriptures are sufficient to make "the man of God perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:17).
Would you believe there is now a Church of Satan? Well, there is. This religion(?) seems to have had its American origin in San Francisco, California, and its "high priest of Satan" declares that his organization is dedicated to "complete sexual permissiveness, unbridled vengeance, and unrestrained greed" (Satan, Satanism and Witchcraft, De Haan, P. 94). While devil worship is really not new, it does seem to be coming out of the -underground- to be blatantly displayed in full view. Satanism has as its purpose the exact opposite of all for which Christ and His word stand. This Is a
Godless, immoral, decadent movement with no redeeming factors. Its members will be among those who will be cast into "everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).
Let us give no comfort to such godless and destructive beliefs and practices as occultism!
Cecil A. Hutson