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The Holy Spirit Not spirits - Shepherd of Hope

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” – 1 Timothy 4:1

 

Halloween is one of the biggest money-making holidays in our country. Costumes, candy, parties, movies, and a host of scary paraphernalia are a bonanza to stores and merchants throughout the land. Merchants begin promoting Halloween in August and it seems they are pushing it earlier and earlier each year. What’s the attraction? Why is Halloween so successful?

Some people say that Halloween, even though it promotes dark images of the occult, witchcraft and sorcery, is harmless. But is it so harmless? More importantly, is the occult something God wants the Christian to take lightly or be involved in? What does God say in His word (i.e. the Bible) about the occult, witchcraft and sorcery? There are a number of reasons why people should think twice about exposing themselves to the occult, witchcraft and sorcery by participating in a “holiday” such as Halloween. That is what we are going to consider in this teaching.

What else does the Bible say about the practices so prevalent during Halloween?

Seven Reasons to Stay Away from the Occult, Witchcraft and Sorcery

Below are seven reasons from the Bible that we should refrain from the occult, witchcraft and sorcery. We will let the Lord speak through His word on this account.  There are seven reasons God gives in His word to not take the occult, witchcraft or sorcery lightly and indeed to stay away from such things.

 First, occult, witchcraft and sorcery are forbidden by God.  

  • Exodus 22:18 – “You shall not permit a sorceress to live.
  • Leviticus 19:26 – 26 ‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying.
  • Deuteronomy 18:9-14 – 9 “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. 12 For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. 13 You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.

God loves us and like the holy Parent He is, He wants what is best for His children. If our Holy loving Father forbids our involvement in something we should be obedient children and obey what He says and trust that He knows what is best for us. When my children were very young they used to enjoy watching me shave. I’d put some shaving cream on their noses (and toes at times) and we had some fun. But when they asked to use the shaver that had a very sharp razor blade in it, I drew the line and forbid them to use it. Why? Because I didn’t want them to have any fun? No, but because I knew they could cut the soft beautiful skin on their face if I let them use the shaver. The occult, witchcraft and sorcery are like sharp razorblades that will cut us if we play with them.

Second, occult, witchcraft and sorcery are EVIL in the sight of God.

  • 2 Kings 21:1-6 – Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 He also built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.
  • 2 Chronicles 33:6 – 6 Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.

Manasseh, like many other kings of God’s people, “did evil in the sight of the LORD” and that evil was directly associated with “imitating the detestable practices of the pagan nations” which led to practicing, “sorcery and divination, and he consulted with mediums and psychics. He did much that was evil in the Lord’s sight, arousing his anger.” His downfall began with taking the occult lightly, with considering it, with dabbling in it, with disobeying God’s clear forbidding of it. And why did he do this? Maybe because his relationship with the Lord was casual, superficial and he had no sensitivity to the holiness and spiritual life of God. Maybe he thought to himself, “This isn’t so bad, I don’t know why God has forbidden it.” Maybe he thought he could handle the occult. But he couldn’t and he fell and failed terribly before God. Don’t lower your standards! Don’t let your guard down!

Third, occult, witchcraft and sorcery are an act of REBELLION against God because it is an attempt to control the world (by spells and curses) putting the practitioner in the place godhood. God is in control, not people.

  • 1 Samuel 15:23 – For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,  He also has rejected you from being king.”
  • 2 Kings 17:14-17 – 14 Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God. 15 And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them; they followed idols, became idolaters, and went after the nations who were all around them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them that they should not do like them. 16 So they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. 17 And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger.

Ask yourself, “Why do I have such an allure to Halloween and such scary dark things?” It may be the excitement of it or the thrill, but because God forbids such things, the deeper reason for your attraction is rebellion toward God. Where will you draw the line? How much will be enough until you say, “Okay, I’ll stop now.” If you rebel and ignore God’s warnings in His word, you will find that as you lower your standards and give in to the worldly pressure to go along with the crowd, you will become more and more insensitive to the Spirit’s voice and you will become more and weaker in your walk with the Lord. You’ll become like King Saul who ignored the instructions of God thinking he knew a better way only to find God put him on the shelf because of his rebellion against His word.

Fourth, occult, witchcraft and sorcery will ROB YOU of your peace.

  • 2 Kings 9:22 – 22 Now it happened, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” So he answered, “What peace, as long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft are so many?”

Nothing will rob you of your peace with God more than the static of Satan. Involvement with the occult will fog your mind, callous your heart, and cloud your lines of communication with God. It will ultimately rob you of your peace with God. Is it worth it; is your peace with God worth dabbling in the occult, no matter how harmless you think it may be? No never!

Fifth, occult, witchcraft and sorcery are WORKS OF THE FLESH (Flesh = sinful nature; man’s efforts to manipulate and control their own fate).

  • Galatians 5:19-21 – “ Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies,21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Whether it is the scantily dressed Morticia or Buffy the Vampire Slayer; whether it is the temptation to your sweet tooth; or the thrill you get from being frightened or frightening others, it is all an incitement of your flesh, an allure to self and spiritually deadening. Walk in the Spirit, seek the Spirit’s direction and fullness and you will not fulfill the lusts of your flesh (Galatians 5:16, 24-25).

Sixth, occult, witchcraft and sorcery can give SATAN A FOOTHOLD (a beach head; a hold on you; his foot is in the door) in your life.

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 – Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. 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? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them.  I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”7 Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”  “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”7     Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
  • Ephesians 4:27 – “nor give place to the devil.”
  • Ephesians 6:10-18 – 10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—
  • 1 Peter 5:8-9 – 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
  • 2 John 8-11 – 8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

Satan is powerful and smarter than you. He’s quick and cunning. He’s not someone you want to mess with friend. Playing with him or on his field will lead to great loss. When Satan comes knocking, don’t even open the door a little, don’t give him a foothold, ask Jesus to answer your door.

Seventh, occult, witchcraft and sorcery can keep you out of heaven.

  • Revelation 21:8 – 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Why risk being drawn into something that keeps people out of heaven and that can greatly hinder and disrupt the spiritual life of the believer? Don’t have an exalted view of yourself and assume you are spiritually strong enough to handle dabbling in and associating with the occult, witchcraft and sorcery types of things. Steer clear of such things and speak out against them.

In light of these verses it doesn’t seem as though the occult, witchcraft, and sorcery are things that God takes lightly. Therefore, do you think those who follow God should take the occult, witchcraft, and sorcery more lightly than God does? God doesn’t seem to think that the occult, witchcraft and sorcery are harmless, should we?

Many get into witchcraft and sorcery because they want power over their lives and other people in their lives. But where is the real power?

Where’s the Real Power and Why Does God Give It to Us?

People have a desire and lust for power, a desire to control their lives and destinies. Is there such a power? Is such power found in the occult, witchcraft and sorcery? There is power in the occult; no one denies that. But the power that is found in the occult is like the power of the ring in Lord of the Rings, it destroys you, it destroys your soul as you use it. Jesus said:

  • Matthew 16:26 – “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”  (See also Luke 9:25).

There is nothing in this world worth your eternal soul. No power is worth giving up your eternal soul. And that is exactly the price Satan is seeking when he draws and lures people into the occult. To gain the power to manipulate and misuse people in the occult, you have to pay with your soul as you disobediently and rebelliously turn from God to Satan in the process. That is what we have seen God’s word bear witness to in the above verses.

Is there a power greater than the power found in the occult? Yes, indeed there is. There is a greater power provided by God and what is gloriously great about the power of God is that it builds and blesses your eternal soul rather than rob you of it. God does not give us power to manipulate people according to our will, but He does give us power to do His will. He knows all and is all-powerful, and the wise person submits and surrenders to Him rather than rebels against Him.

Occult, witchcraft and sorcery are powerless against God. The Bible says:

  • Isaiah 47:8-11 – “Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures,  Who dwell securely,  Who say in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me;  I shall not sit as a widow,  Nor shall I know the loss of children’;9     But these two things shall come to you  In a moment, in one day: The loss of children, and widowhood. They shall come upon you in their fullness Because of the multitude of your sorceries, For the great abundance of your enchantments.10  “For you have trusted in your wickedness; You have said, ‘No one sees me’; Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; And you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’11  Therefore evil shall come upon you;  You shall not know from where it arises. And trouble shall fall upon you; You will not be able to put it off.  And desolation shall come upon you suddenly, which you shall not know.   

There is no power in this world or the netherworld that can match up or even be in the same ballpark with the power of God Almighty!

Occult, witchcraft and sorcery are powerless against the holy disciple of God.

  • Numbers 23:23 – “For there is no sorcery against Jacob, Nor any divination against Israel.     It now must be said of Jacob And of Israel, ‘Oh, what God has done!’     
  • Romans 16:20 – And the God of peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
  • James 4:7 – 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
  • 1 John 4:4 – 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

There is no power in this world or the netherworld that can match up or even be in the same ballpark with the power of God that is manifested and worked in and through the disciple of God.

The Holy Spirit, Not spirits?

Let’s look again at 1 Timothy 4:1-2:

  • 1 Timothy 4:1-2 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,”

It is the expressed definite warning of the Holy Spirit that as we draw closer to the return of Christ we will see a rise in people departing from the truth of God’s word (i.e. “the faith”) and a succumbing to the lure of demonically authored teachings that are opposed to God and His word. That is what we are called to watch out for in the “latter times.” Is that what we are seeing today? Yes, indeed we are. We need to make a decision. We need to decide whether or not we are going to pay heed to and obey accordingly the warning of the Holy Spirit, or to disregard and follow dark ways to our own peril. What are you going to do?

Now are we being prudish in our denunciation of Halloween and related occultic things? If taking God’s word seriously is “prudish” then let me be prudish to the max! I would rather err on the side of safely living within Biblical boundaries than recklessly cross the lines of God’s word and warnings. Is it wrong to associate with what some call “harmless” (e.g. Halloween) when the Bible associates it with, “doctrines of demons”? The answer to that should be obvious. We know that Satan is a liar. According to Jesus He is the Father of lies and those who follow him or are used by him are liars and deceivers as well (John 8:44).  We are told in the Bible that Satan and his agents present themselves as “angels of light,” in other words as harmless and helpful (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). What more insidious and deceptive strategy is there to get a foothold in people’s lives than to present the occult, witchcraft and sorcery in a way that is associated with yummy candy (an appeal to our body and flesh), and fun (an appeal to our carnal nature to disregard God’s word and think we know better)? There is nothing wrong with “fun.” Jesus frequently had children around Him. Children do not gravitate to prudes or fun-less people; they gravitate to fun-loving people. I believe Jesus was fun loving, but His fun was holy loving fun, not dark and devilish fun. Could Halloween and other things such as occultic oriented movies and TV programs be a Satanic Trojan Horse in these latter days? Hmmm, that’s something to consider prayerfully in the Spirit.

Our Responsibility to be a Restraining Force

In 2 Thessalonians 2 it states:

2 Thessalonians 2:5–10 (NKJV) – Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 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.

The restrainer mentioned here is the Holy Spirit restraining evil through the Church. The Holy Spirit is in us and empowers us for the express purpose of retraining evil in this world. That is our responsibility and calling until Jesus raptures us out of this world. When the Church is raptured out of this world by Jesus, then the Antichrist will be revealed.

Paul tells us that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” There are forces of evil in the world that are already at work, preparing for the revealing of Satan’s evil counterfeit incarnation of Antichrist. This Antichrist is destined for defeat. “The Lord will consume [him] with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.” But right now in the world, the “lawless one,” who is powered by Satan, if he is in the world, is paving the way for his darkness to flood into the world, “with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”

In light of that, can you see how wrong it is to associate and partake in things God so clearly in scripture describes as evil? Indeed, the Bible speaks with crystal clarity when it warns, “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship had righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). The path to pleasing God in this area couldn’t be clearer.

Leave the spirits behind

Today more and more the occult and darkness, lies and deception are being presented as light. How? There are television programs portraying “Lucifer” in a favorable light. Vampirism is a popular them. It’s not so long ago that movies like Harry Potter and others that present the occult in a positive light were readily accepted and promoted by secular as well as “sacred” or church groups. There are TV programs on almost every channel that present the occult and ghosts as a fascinating frightfully fun things to play with. There are unholy days like Halloween which present the gory, dark, and occult in a fun and happy way. All of these things are a means to bring sorcery, witchcraft and the occult into our lives. They serve to desensitize us from what God calls evil. (Do people even see anything as inherently evil today, other than people with an alternative political view?) All of this lowers our defenses against Satan’s dark devices and is a supreme setup for evil infiltration in the Last Days. To some it seems harmless, but God’s word says different (Romans 13:11-2). To others it all seems overwhelming. But God has given us a promise:

  • Isaiah 59:19 – “So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, And His glory from the rising of the sun; When the enemy comes in like a flood, The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him.”

God promises that when the enemy comes flooding in, He will raise up a standard, a banner, and a wall that will thwart the enemy. That standard is you and me empowered by God’s Spirit. God is in control and none of this has taken Him by surprise.

Trust Him, follow Him, walk in the Spirit and leave Halloween, the occult, witchcraft, sorcery and all things related to them, including the demonic spirits behind such activities, leave it behind.

Instead, draw close to Jesus. Focus on getting to know Him better, Live your life in a way that pleases and glorifies Him. And, if you haven’t already done so, consider a personal eternal saving relationship with Jesus. Jesus said it was possible to know Him and His Father personally, eternally (John 17:3). Sin has separated humanity from Him (Isaiah 59:1-2). On our own we are helpless to remove the barrier of sin between us and God (Romans 3:10-23). But God, because He loves us and is rich in mercy, has made a way for the sin barrier between us and Him to be removed (Ephesians 2:1-9). The consequence, the penalty for our sins is death. But Jesus has paid our death penalty on the cross (Romans 6:23). And God offers forgiveness for our sins, freely, to anyone who is willing to turn from their sins and ask His forgiveness based on believing in what Jesus has done for us on the cross (John 1:12; Romans 3:21-26; cf. also Isaiah 53). Jesus took all our sin and unrighteousness on Himself on the cross. And when we believe in Him, He transfers His righteousness to us. It’s a wonderful, freely offered, gracious loving gift of God to the sinner. This beautiful transaction is summed up in the words, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). God does this all because He loves us (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). And when you do this, God will give you spiritual life, a second spiritual birth, you will be born again and suited for eternal life with Him (cf. John 3; Romans 8).

If that is something you would like to do, if you would like your sins to be forgiven and to enter into an eternal personal relationship with God in Christ, you can pray to God from your heart and ask Him just for that to happen in you. Here’s a suggested prayer for you to have that happen:

Father in heaven, I come to You in Jesus’ name. I admit and confess my sin. I want to leave my sins behind. Please forgiven my sins. I ask You not because of any efforts of my own, but because I believe Jesus died for me on the cross, to pay my debt of sin, and so that my sins could be forgiven. I believe in Him as My Savior. Please fill me Holy Spirit. Help me to live a holy life that is pleasing for You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

If you’ve done that or would like to share some experience or opinion related to this article, I welcome and encourage you to add your comments in the comment section. And I’d love to pray for you. May God fill you with the Holy Spirit. And may you leave the spirits behind. In Jesus’ name. Amen!

 

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