Satan loves it when we stupid humans joke about him, sing songs about hell, dress up in black clothing with skulls and other symbols of death and horror, and mock him as a mischievous little imp dressed in red, with a forked tail, and carrying a pitchfork.  By so doing we blind ourselves to the reality of his existence, which suits him, because despite their power, the demons’ main weapon against humanity is deception.  And while we have this deadly fascination with the occult, demons, ghosts, séances, psychics, mediums, witchcraft, wizards, necromancers, tarot cards, gory and terrifying horror stories and movies, and so on, we remain susceptible to his deceptions and even make ourselves vulnerable to demon possession.

Destroyed by “harmless” practices

We also play into his hand when we practice Yoga, meditation and other New Age practices.  These are not benign, but are powerful tools that Satan uses to gain control over people.  Meditation is particularly dangerous and practitioners of it really do make contact with evil and powerful spirits.  Yoga, too, is an occult practice and those who do it place themselves in danger.  This is not to say that every person who practices meditation and Yoga will become possessed; but the possibility is very strong.  And it is certain that one or more demons will attach themselves to you because occult practices open a person to such demonic take-overs; the degree of the severity of that take-over will vary from person to person.  This also applies to Ouija boards and séances, tarot cards, horoscopes, numerology, even “harmless” practices as palm and tea cup readings.  Although they seem harmless and even fun, there are spirits behind them waiting for those whom they can destroy.  Those who play with these things are like flies buzzing around a spider’s web – their destruction is sure.

Destroyed by a Horror Movie

I knew of a young boy from a lovely Christian family; he was a delightful child and a joy to his parents.  When he was 13 years old he went to sleep over at his friend’s house.  During the time he was there, the friend wanted them to watch the movie “The Exorcist”.  The movie was so powerful in its effect upon the boy’s innocent mind that it opened him to the invasion of and possession by evil spirits.  He came home from his friend’s house depressed and fearful, and over time became increasingly difficult and hostile and violent.  He remained like this for the rest of his short life; and when he was just 21 years old, he was driven to suicide.  I’m not saying that everyone who watches this movie and others like it will become possessed; but we do expose ourselves to that possibility when we involve ourselves with anything occult or horror.

The Reality of Demons

In the book of The Acts of the Apostles, after the account of Paul working miracles and healing people in Ephesus by the power of God and the name of Jesus, we’re told of how this made such an impression on the city that some tried to emulate him.  The account says Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.’  Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.  But the evil spirit said to them in reply, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?  Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered them all, and so overpowered them that they fled out of the house naked and wounded.  When this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, everyone was awestruck; and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised (Acts 19:13-17 NRSV).  These exorcists mistakenly thought that the use of the name of Jesus was just another magic spell.

Here we see that demons are real beings, spirits, who can speak, and who can inhabit and possess people; and that this demon gave his host such strength that he was able to beat the daylight out of seven strong young men at once.  We also see that when a person is authorised by God and given the power, they can cast these demons out of a person (exorcism); but when the name of Jesus is used by those who are not authorised by him and who do not know him, there is no power or authority, and their attempted exorcism has no effect; in fact, as we see from this story, it can have adverse effects on the user.  We therefore deduce that it is not magic and incantations and spells and names that have power over evil spirits, but only the name of Jesus used by an agent of Jesus.  Jesus has already defeated these enemies of his by his death and resurrection: “…disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it (Col 2:15).  Thus, God “…has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col 1:13); “For in him dwells bodily the whole fullness of the Godhead” (Col 2:9).

This event made such a powerful impression on the people of Ephesus that “….many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices.  A number of those who practiced magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coinsSo the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed” (Acts 19:18-20).

“These books were filled with formulas, spells, and astrological forecasts.  The volumes were expensive; fifty thousand pieces of silver would have taken 10 laborers 20 years to earn.  Burning the books indicated real repentance on the part of those who had practiced magic” (From “The NKJV Study Bible”, copyright 1997, 2007 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.  Used by permission).

So these practitioners of magic and the occult saw the genuine power of God and understood that what they had been involved with up until this moment was a counterfeit of the power of God; and, in spite of the enormous cost of their magic manuals, they consigned them to the flames as being worthless and to be repented of. 

Mediums Who Fooled the People

The bible has many examples of people who were sorcerers, mediums, witches, and the like.  They all opposed God and some of them were punished on the spot, others were left to continue their deception, God waiting until they stand before him in death at the Judgment when he will punish them for their sins.  Some of these people were fakes who could deceive using trickery (Dan 2:1-13); while others seemed to have had genuine spiritual power from the realm of darkness. 

One example of a person apparently having such dark power is a man named Simon, in Acts 8:5-24: “Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and proclaimed the Messiah to them…..Now a certain man named Simon had previously practiced magic and the people of Samaria, saying that he was someone great.  All of them, from the least to the greatest, listened to him eagerly….” (Acts 8:5, 9-10).

This man, Simon, was a sorcerer; he seems to have possessed genuine spiritual power, but it was an occult, demonic power.  And he used it to gain power over people and to exalt himself.  He used sorceries (magic) to bewitch people.  All such involvement will only bring a person into bondage and destruction.  Satan does give spiritual power to people he chooses and who are foolish enough to seek it, but it is a baited hook, and he only seeks to destroy (1 Pet 5:8; Jn 8:44).  The people to whom he gives his power are those with psychic abilities, because they act as his agents as he seeks to enslave and destroy as many people as he can in the time he has left before his own destruction.  These psychics are often ignorant themselves and don’t realise that the source of their power is malicious; and while they think they are helping people by using their powers, they are making those whom they seek to help vulnerable to hostile demonic take-over, because the seekers open themselves up to receive what the psychic gives them.

Philip demonstrated the power of God by miracles of healing and casting out demons (perhaps many of those who were demon-possessed had become so through involvement with Simon’s power).  The power that Philip had was given by God and brought freedom, healing and, consequently, joy.  Just as Philip’s power was the opposite to Simon’s, so Christians today oppose mediums, psychics and shamans with the same power as Philip’s, because we worship and serve the same God; and God still sets people free from demon possession, bondage to sins, afflictions and sickness. 

Where Simon sought to gain power and prestige using sorcery, Christians point people away from themselves (or ought to) in humility and dependence on God, and to Christ, not claiming the power as their own but as a received power.  Spiritual power is spiritual power, no matter what the source; it is the source of this power that determines its results.  God has delegated power to the Church to set people free and bring them into a relationship with his beloved Son, Jesus; Satan gives power to his slaves to bring as many people as possible into bondage, misery, and death, even though the initial contact with it may be heady and exciting. 

We Get What We Deserve

The reason for the proliferation of mediums and psychics today is that as a civilisation the West has rejected God.  But that void must be filled with something because humankind is innately religious and knows there is someone “out there”.  So we replace God with that which he replaced i.e. paganism, superstition, witchcraft, the occult, black magic, Satan worship etc.; while many others have turned to atheism, another blight on humanity, which is also a religion because it is faith-based.  Thus, we are reaping what we’ve sown, and God hasn’t finished with us yet.

The Occult, Pagan Revival, and New Age Religions are Evil

We also see the essence of New Age religion displayed before our eyes as people claim to be gods; not just blatantly pagan Hindu gurus but “ordinary” people like the actress Shirley MacLaine and others who have been fed the same lies by the gurus who guide them. 

When the people of Israel entered the land of Canaan as their new “Promised Land”, they were given laws directly from God which were to be obeyed for their well-being.  One of those laws concerned mediums and the spirit world: No one shall be found among you who makes a son or daughter pass through fire, or who practices divination, or is a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, or one who casts spells, or who consults ghosts or spirits, or who seeks oracles from the dead. For whoever does these things is abhorrent to the Lord; it is because of such abhorrent practices that the Lord your God is driving them out before you (Deut 18:10-12).

God hates all occult practices, one reason being that at the centre of any occult activity is seeking counsel, guidance, revelation or anything else, from demons.  The world of fallen spirits is totally, utterly, and intrinsically evil and in rebellion against God; therefore, God has prepared the lake of fire for them (Matt 25:41).  He also refuses the right to live for those who consult demons and mediums.  So the modern psychic revival is not harmless or benign but brings people into bondage and misery, even though most psychics are frauds; demons can gain a foothold in a person’s mind and body simply because those who seek a medium’s advice have opened themselves up to the occult world.

“And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming.  The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (2 Thess 2:8-12 RSV 1971).

“The Scripture quotations contained herein are made from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright, 1989, by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.”