Week 2, “Tearing Down Lies”
Sometimes, that which we consider harmless fantasy isn’t harmless or fantasy.
Around 10 years old, my parents decided to purchase our dream home in the country. The home rested on a hill surrounded by a white picket fence, and each of us kids had our own bedrooms for the first time. The biggest incentive, however, was we were finally going to get that dog and cat we’d asked for. It was idyllic!
However, soon after moving in, each of us began to notice frightening phenomenon that couldn’t be explained. We were just an ordinary Midwestern family from an ordinary local Baptist church. We’d never heard of nor experienced supernatural activity before. All we knew–it was frightening. My parents contacted church family. They came to the house and prayed through each room, acknowledging the authority given us in Christ. Immediately the frightening activity ceased, and we were able to live in our dream home for several years without any more difficulty.
Some time after the “unexplained” activities ceased, my parents were talking with a neighbor, and she mentioned the previous owner’s daughter had gotten involved with witchcraft. She ended the conversation stating the teenager had eventually committed suicide in the room I was occupying.
Origins of Witchcraft and the Occult…
(from Genesis 1-3) God created mankind to live within his kingdom, and designed us to experience only his goodness. Mankind was given authority to rule God’s world and take dominion of all God had made within the garden.
God also created angels who were given limited superhuman power to accomplish their intended role. One of these was named Lucifer. He’d been created to rule under God, but rather than do so, longed to have supreme authority over God. He was no match for God, and so when he revolted, he was kicked out of heaven. (Isaiah 14:12-17)
After God created Adam and Eve, Lucifer (Satan) showed up in the garden in the form of a serpent, with the intended purpose of deceiving them. He thought that if he captured the hearts and minds of God’s stewards, he could steal their rule, and gain the power for which he longed.
His deceptions involved “power”. You can “be like God,” i.e. you don’t really need God to have power. He succeeded in deceiving them, but failed to understand the outcome. God always wins. (Luke 10:17-19)
Throughout the Old Testament, God warned his people against pursuing power through the occult, as the nations around them had. If they failed to listen, they too would eventually be destroyed as he was destroying the nations they would overtake.
“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there.10 For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, 11 or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. 13 But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things.” Deuteronomy 18:9-14 (NLT)
Warnings From Other Cultures…
The stories of many missionaries in jungle cultures tell of the fear enslaving whole tribes because of the evil power of the witch doctors and medicine men. And yet the greater power of the cross to deliver them, as the tribes came to Christ, and Satan was defeated. Two very encouraging and enlightening reads are:
“And the Word Came With Power“, by Joanne Shetler. A riveting story of Wyckliffe Bible Translator to remote tribal people of the Philippines, Joanne Shetler, September 2002.
“Eternity In Their Hearts“, by Don Richardson. Stories of how God prepared pagan cultures to understand and receive the gospel long before missionaries arrived.
Witchcraft and the occult are very real dangers to any society.
Concerns for Our Culture…
Our world may not be new to the ravages of Satan’s tactics of promoting power through witchcraft and the occult, but our culture certainly is. At one time, the Bible and Christianity had a major influence on the shaping of Western Culture. With the demise of a biblically based foundation, deception becomes easier. The Millennials have been raised with thinking both “good and evil” are relative terms. On TV, Satan is designed to look like a handsome man sharing a dance and romantic conversation with the beautiful “good” witch. Even many in the church have lauded such books as “Harry Potter” as wonderful literature where “good and evil” witches spar. Cards and video games offer “magic” as a means of holding great power, even if only for a couple of hours. We assume that because this is all “fantasy” anyone partaking will walk away unscathed. It’s part of the ruse.
10 The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10
The Church’s Responsibility…
The church needs to stand for truth and life in all realms, sounding an alarm rather than succumbing to societal norms. God’s word is clear. If we choose to remain silent, we will carry the responsibility for the outcome.
With love and prayers,
p.s. I would gladly accept comments and thoughts, but because of the nature of this topic will carefully screen all comments before posting.