Yes, we live in perilous times for the church is practicing witchcraft! These are indeed days of great deception, of false signs and wonders to seduce and to mislead. It says in “2 Thessalonians 2: 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Here it is made very clear that we will see power, signs, and lying wonders in accordance to the working of the devil. It is already upon us, and it is has been happening for some time! We have thus been warned, yet we fail it seems to heed the warning. Again, this is perilous times and more than ever we need to receive the love of the truth, thus hold onto God’s truth lest we perish because of a lack of knowledge. This is not the time to be playing church. To be asleep. This is the time to be alert, sober and awake. For deception speaks of presenting something which looks real and true, yet it is not. More than ever we need to pray for discernment, so that we do not fall for the delusions of this age. Those who believe the lie indeed seek after unrighteousness. Remember, Matthew 6 urges us to first seek His Kingdom and righteousness, thus His truth, His wisdom, His Kingdom and ways. The devil seeks to draw us away from such a reality, to rather pursue lies, and thus fall into a cloud of confusion.
Paul supported what he wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2 in Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.”
Crux of the matter is we are foolish to believe the lie and to thus fall into delusion. It is foolishness to deny the cross, the truth of the Kingdom and the eternity of His Word (see 1 Corinthians 1). For indeed, the cross remains the stumbling block for so many, as it counters the humanistic and secular philosophy of the world, and the carnal delights and pleasures that man seeks. Jesus said in Matthew 10:16: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” So yes, in such perilous times of witchcraft and deception, we need to remain humble and full of love, but we need to keep our wits, be observant, be alert and realise that the devil prowls looking to devour.
As another example of witchcraft and deception in the church, there was testimony of how a believer of the Lord said there is nothing wrong to serve God and to use tarot cards for a reading or to practise cartomancy (this is the same with those of the faith who says there is nothing wrong to speak to the dead) . Such practises, which is another form of the occult, is for the purpose of fortune telling and divination. The last few years have seen a definite resurgence in interest in all things relating to the occult, tarot cards among them. For some, tarot is a handy party trick, but for those who know the occult it is a sacred and powerful tool to connect with the demonic realm. Ironically, tarot cards like the Ouija Board (through which you also connect to the realm of the demonic) were originally intended as more of a parlor game. Yet both the cards and the board should not be treated as a game, and it is not a trick to entertain. It is real, and certainly has no business in the church.
We read in Revelations 2: 8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, ‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: 9 “I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” And also “Revelations 3: 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” The term synagogue of Satan Is quite harsh, but the Lord labels these churches so because they are deceptive and treacherous in their dealings. Satan after all is well-known as being the father of lies, and all that he does is to deceive and act treacherously. The fact that Christians think it is alright to dabble in the occult and to openly practise it without shame or fear of God shows the levels of deception and how they themselves have been duped into believing a lie.
As children of God we can certainly not entertain in any way or form treachery, deception or lying, for then we are merely hypocrites and setting up a pretence. Paul writes in “2 Corinthians 6: For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols?” In churches these days you will find things are certainly not what they appear, as deception and trickery is rife in the effort for man to pursue selfish desires and agendas. Demonic practises lurk, even in the use of hypnotherapy. We need to either walk in the light or in darkness, for we can surely not walk in God’s power and the devil’s power, or we can surely not speak lies while praising God.
So why talk about hypnosis? Yes, some Christians even think it is alright to practise it. According to Britannica Encyclopaedia, the history of hypnosis is as ancient as that of sorcery, magic, and medicine. The English physician James Braid coined the terms hypnotism and hypnosis, after the Greek god of sleep, Hypnos. Hypnotism is simply the means of bringing on an artificial state of sleep to the participant, more accurately described as a state of reduced consciousness while one is awake. The hypnotized person comes under the will and bidding of the hypnotizer. How then can this be Biblical, when we are called to submit only our lives to God and our will to His will?
Hypnosis is nothing new. It has been used for thousands of years by witchdoctors, and shaman spirit mediums alike. Hypnosis has always been a powerful tool of the occult. Ways to get in touch with the spiritual realm quickly for example is by hypnosis, drugs, meditation, and visualization (when tapping into the demonic realm and not by submitting to the Holy Spirit). Anytime we interfere and change the normal brain pattern we bring ourselves into an altered state of consciousness, and if radical enough in touch with the spiritual realm. Granted, most hypnotists do not believe in the occult and are neither open to considering this phenomena being from a spiritual (demonic) source. They feel it is either latent human power or something undiscovered as yet. No matter how you look at it, if one surrenders oneself to a doorway into the occult, under the disguise of “science” or “medicine,” one opens oneself to the powers of demons, and probable deception.
Indeed, we are warned by God not to practice sorcery, divination, or enchantment. We are not to follow after mediums, wizards, enchanters, charmers, and those who have a familiar spirit. Hypnosis, as practiced today, may be related to what is identified in the Old Testament as “enchantment” (Leviticus 19:26). It is thus an abomination, allowing for doorways of demonic oppression and possession, yet some within the Christian fold do not frown upon it yet advocate it. These are perilous times.
Reality of our state of churches is that some are calling themselves men or women of God, but are deceiving people by using demonic or occult powers. The Bible has warned that many false prophets will rise in the last days working diverse signs and wonders to lead people astray, if possible, even the elect (Matthew 24:24). Yes, do not believe that every sign or wonder is from God. Test all things. And use plenty of discernment. The challenge for true Christians is to properly figure out who is genuine and who is false. We need to be awake, alert and realise these are perilous times of great deception. Yes, deception is on the rise in church! These are the days of the great falling away. So be alert.
A prominent worship leader recently said, when prompted to speak on her experiences with the Holy Spirit, that she regarded the Spirit as the famous genie in a bottle. Anyone who knows the history of the “genie” knows this is directly connected to the demonic realm. Why then compare the Holy Spirit to something demonic? Genies, or jinn as the Arabic word is Romanized, come from a long line of mythological creatures dating back thousands of years. According to the Qur’an, God created jinn out of the “fire of a scorching wind” (yes, of course this is deception for a jinn is simply a demon). According to the Arabic tradition, the jinn are much more than demons or spirits. They’re intelligent, free-willed creatures who live close to nature and are endowed with magical powers. Very much like humans, only more supernatural. Some of them are good, some are evil, and still more are somewhere in-between. Again, all deception. Demons are never good. They are wicked and follow their master, the devil.
The genie eventually became not so demonic with the tale of Aladdin. In the story, Aladdin is recruited by a sorcerer to retrieve an oil lamp from a magic cave filled with traps. The sorcerer gives Aladdin a magic ring that’s supposed to protect him in this cave. Far into his journey, Aladdin starts to fret and rubs his hands together. A genie pops out of the ring and whisks Aladdin back home, magic lamp in tow. Aladdin’s mother sees the lamp is dirty and decides to clean it. After she rubs it, another genie appears, and this one is bound to do the bidding of whoever holds the lamp. Aladdin eventually becomes rich and powerful. At the end of the day, the wish granting genie tale was out of the bottle, and 18th century Europe loved it more than Harry Potter. And so a demon became popular, and in one of the latest Hollywood movies a demon turns into a blue guy singing songs about friendship. Can we see how we have popularised demons, just as we have popularised witchcraft among the youth with the Harry Potter movies and we have popularised vampires and werewolves with movies such as Twilight?
So yes, according to this very prominent worship leader, our beloved Holy Spirit is now compared to a nasty demon that pops out of a bottle through the art of sorcery to grant wishes. Yip, sounds like Satan popping out nowhere to seduce Jesus in the wilderness to grant the Lord technically three wishes. And yes, believe it or not, the genie offered Aladdin also three wishes. And three is significant, for the devil will always mock and taunt the Trinity. Thus you also find the unholy alliance of the devil, the antichrist and the false prophet. How on earth did the Church land in a situation where we are comparing the Holy Spirit to a demon?
In 1 Corinthians 1 we read “22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness.” The devil wants to paint the cross and the Gospel in such a manner that it seems foolish and a stumbling block to one’s spiritual fulfilment and enrichment. Reality is that some in churches see God’s will as a stumbling block on their path to wealth and fame. The devil presents different attractive alternatives, promising a different wisdom which does not seem like foolishness and a spiritual power without hindrance or the need for self-sacrifice. For this reason the work of the devil seems so enticing, because it is the law of the Self, and the flesh is allowed to roam free and truly the devil acts like the genie in the bottle. The devil promises to make one’s wishes come true, and many fall for his tricks because there is no need to die to the Self or carry any cross. Yet the devil is no genie in a bottle – he is very dangerous and eventually destroys the pawns that bows to his mastery.
Let us talk about the practise of raising the dead. Yes, Jesus for example raised Lazarus from the dead to prove He is the resurrection and the life. In Acts, we see Peter and Paul doing the same thing: Peter raises Dorcas (Acts 9), and Paul does the same with Eutychus (Acts 20), though neither had been dead four days. What about Christians today, though? Can we raise the dead like Jesus and certain apostles did? One church has spawned a ministry called “The Dead Raising Team.” They are apparently fulfilling Jesus’s commission to raise the dead (Matthew. 10:8). It is, however, dangerous to expect that every Christian should be raising the dead. The New Testament only provides two accounts of people, besides Jesus, raising the dead (Peter and Paul), and church tradition indicates that while there were examples of resurrection in the early church, they were rare. Raising the dead is not like baptising someone in water or the Spirit, for it deals directly with lie and death and thus it is about God’s will, His Sovereignty and purpose.
Yet to raise the dead these days of perilous times is it seems a quick ticket to stardom and fame in the church. God raises the dead, and not man, for man is but the vessel. So if God does not want to raise the dead, yet one still wants to obtain this ticket, what then is the next step? Yes, the occult! Necromancy is the practice of magic involving communication with the dead – either by summoning their spirits as apparitions, visions or raising them bodily – for the purpose of divination, imparting the means to foretell future events, discover hidden knowledge, to bring someone back from the dead, or to use the dead as a weapon. Some view King Saul summoning the prophet Samuel from his grave as necromancy, but really if you view the passage closely it was most likely a demon posing as the prophet to mislead Saul. Either way, wanting to play god is very dangerous, and shouldn’t be a surprise if some might entertain the occult to bring people back to life. If it even works is another question, and more than likely you will find trickery involved rather than a real resurrection.