Also See The Message of the Bible and The Warning of The Bible
Far from being outdated, out of touch, and largely irrelevant to modern society, the Kingdom of God Jesus was sent to earth to proclaim (No, His main message wasn’t about ‘love’) is exactly the utopian world most men and women can only dream of. However, there is also a warning. The Bible very clearly tells us that we all have a choice to make in this life - the most important decision we will ever make. And, if the Bible is indeed the word of God, as it claims to be, and Jesus is the Son of God as He said He was, the consequences for the individual who chooses to ignore, or counter the evidence with clever arguments, will be fatal.
The word 'occult' is directly derived from the Latin occultus - "hidden, concealed, secret". Occultists believe that certain secret, mysterious, or supernatural agencies exist and that human beings may communicate with or be assisted by them. Witchcraft, divination, magic, sorcery, satanism etc. are all considered to be part of the occult.
The three primary categories of the occult world are Divination, Magick, and Spiritism.
Divination. The attempt to foretell the future and thereby shape our lives accordingly. The divination arts include astrology, zodiac charts, crystal balls, I Ching, psychometry, runes, tarot cards, palm reading, psychics, numerology, dowsing and horoscopes.
Magick or Paganism. Those in magick attempt to control the present by ceremonies, charms, and spells. The magick arts include Wicca, witchcraft, white magic, black magic, sorcery, satanism, black mass, voodoo/witch doctors and psychic healing.
Spiritism. Those involved in spiritism attempt to communicate with the dead and receive information or help from them. Spiritism involves ouija boards, reiki, channeling, séances, necromancy, shamanism etc.
Some other religions, alternative medicine therapies, and martial arts practices can also involve occult elements. See section on Alternative Medicine. It would be safe to say that the entire New Age - a multi-cultural, multi-religious spiritual and consciousness-raising movement has its roots in Eastern religions and unholy forces in the occult that oppose both God and man, and is anything but new.
See the New Age Movement - Roots, Expansion & Diversification, Goals, and Dangers
The Rise in Popularity
During the 16th and 17th centuries English law prescribed serious penalties for witchcraft. Henry VIII's Act of 1542 was the first to define witchcraft as a felony, a crime punishable by death and the forfeiture of the convicted felon's goods and chattels.
We have come a long way since.
Western interest in the paranormal has risen to a phenomenal level. Bearing witness to this is the enormous volume of literature - both online and print - available on the subject. Perhaps it is an overwhelming temptation to reach out beyond human ability to the unknown 'something' or 'someone' out there that can offer hope, comfort, answers and assurances in a world that offers little. That can answer their questions such as where we are going? What will happen tomorrow, next week? How do we know we are making the right decision? etc.
This never ending quest to have something to hold on to has spawned thousands of psychics, spiritual leaders ... and prophets.
The Father has given us very clear guidelines by which to judge what is from Him and what is not...
You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?' "When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22 NASB)
And very clearly warned us that false prophets speak lies and deceive people. Their so called 'knowledge' is foolishness and they cannot even deliver themselves.
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, "I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, Stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone, Causing the omens of boasters to fail, Making fools out of diviners, Causing wise men to draw back And turning their knowledge into foolishness, (Isaiah 44:24-25 NASB)
"You are wearied with your many counsels; Let now the astrologers, Those who prophesy by the stars, Those who predict by the new moons, Stand up and save you from what will come upon you. "Behold, they have become like stubble, Fire burns them; They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame; There will be no coal to warm by Nor a fire to sit before! (Isaiah 47:13-14 NASB)
For the teraphim speak iniquity, And the diviners see lying visions And tell false dreams; They comfort in vain. Therefore the people wander like sheep, They are afflicted, because there is no shepherd. (Zechariah 10:2 NASB)
Yet, false prophets abound in today's professed Christian world - whether in churches around the country, on national television, or on one or another stage somewhere. People like Mike Bickle, Benny Hinn, Kim Clement, Kenneth Copeland, Pat Robertson etc. have all, at one time or another, made statements - some of which were pretty outrageous, others just plain daft. However, what they all had in common was that none of them came to pass. See False Prophecy
Which stands to reason. The God who created this universe cannot possibly be wrong or mistaken, therefore any prophecy that is anything less than 100% accurate should clearly tell us that it was not of God and that we should put as much distance as possible between ourselves and the false prophet.
Sources of Power
But who are these people and where does their power or ability come from. It is naive to claim that there is no paranormal ability involved - that Jeanne Dixon's predictions which actually came true were 'lucky guesses'. (In any case I have seen psychic feats by Indian so-called 'holy men' that would make Ms. Dixon and James Van Praagh look like rank amateurs).
Perhaps at this point it would be well to remember that there are ONLY two sources of supernatural powers in this universe... God and Satan thus all paranormal ability has to originate with one or the other. Acts 16 irrefutably ties the power of divination to demons. In this chapter a slave-girl was described as "having a spirit of divination ... who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune telling." In other words she was possessed by a spirit until Paul cast it out of her. This made her 'masters' very angry as their source of income had dried up. (Acts 16:16-18).
And believing false prophets is far from the only problem.
Tragically, the church that should have been a bulwark against evil has, thanks to apostate leadership and a Biblically illiterate population, has latched on to the coat tails of the world and come up with 'Christianized' versions of practices strictly forbidden in Scripture. The number of Christians involved in paranormal practices such as contemplative prayer, labyrinths, yoga grows by the hour. We have endorsed the invitations and are along for the ride - and what a ride it's going to be. See Section Doctrines of Demons
What The Bible Says
'You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. (Leviticus 19:26 NASB)
'Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God. (Leviticus 19:31 NASB)
"When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. "For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. "You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 18:9-13 NASB)
Ignoring the Prohibitions Carried Very Serious Consequences
'As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. (Leviticus 20:6 NASB)
So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the Lord, because of the word of the Lord which he did not keep; and also because he asked counsel of a medium, making inquiry of it, (1 Chronicles 10:13 NASB)
Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. (Revelation 22:15 NASB)
"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8 NASB)
Definitions of Terms used in Deuteronomy 18:9-14 and Leviticus 19:26-28,31
1. Cast a spell: The act of bewitching a person through magic; To induce the effects of a magic spell on someone or something .
2. Divination: The act of foretelling future events or revealing occult knowledge by means of a supernatural agency.
3. Interpret omens: Seeking insight or knowledge through signs or events.
4. Mediums or psychics: People thought to have the power to communicate with the spirits of the dead or with agents of another world or dimension.
5. Necromancy: The practice of supposedly communicating with the spirits of the dead in order to predict the future
6. Spiritism: The belief that the dead communicate with the living;
7. Soothsaying: The art or practice of foretelling events.
8. Sorcerer: One who practices sorcery and black magic, by which it is sought to harness occult forces or evil spirits in order to produce preternatural effects in the world
9. Witchcraft: The belief in magical spells that harness occult forces or evil spirits to produce unnatural effects in the world