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SCRIPTURAL WARNINGS AGAINST OCCULT PRACTICES (PART 2)


In the previous article an attempt was made to glean lessons from the story of Balaam a professional curser par excellence. 1Samuel 28:6-8 introduces us to a female occult practitioner which the Bible calls the Witch of Endor and some scholars call her the Mistress of Necromancy. In this story we find King Saul who had fallen from grace consulting a necromancer after fruitless attempts to consult Yahweh without getting an answer through dreams, Urim and Thummim (a form of casting sacred lots) or a prophetic word. King Saul was desperate for supernatural intervention against the Philistine threat. At this juncture Prophet Samuel had died. Could it be that a lot of believers succumb to the temptation of consulting the occult in their darkest hour? Could it be that to some believers, the death of a prophet in their lives is equal to the death of God. Could it be that believers are prepared to cross the biblical and theological boundaries in times of desperation for the supernatural? Could it be that the occult practices we condemn in broad daylight, we necodimusly consult at night?
Occult practices were strongly condemned in Israel and King Saul had solidified laws against these practices to the point that occult practitioners had to operate in secret and usually at night in fear of the death penalty. This accounts for why the king had to disguise himself as a commoner when he went to consult the Witch of Endor. By so doing the king stripped himself of royal dignity. Could it be that preachers or prophets who consult the occult are stripping themselves of God’s anointing and the integrity to lead God’s Church? Whilst the king was busy trying to disguise himself as well as assuring the mistress of necromancy, sad to say that this witch was more sober than the king. She was suspicious, cautious and fearful. Furthermore she quoted the law and was unwilling to disobey the law unless she had her back covered. Could it be that those believers who indulge in occult practices are exposing the Church big time because occult practitioners do not expect to see us there? Could it be that some occult practitioners are more conscious of God’s law than Church folks? 
Finally the witch gave in to the demands of her client hence the drama of the appearance of the spirit of the dead Samuel. From an occult point of view, a necromancer specialised in communicating with dead including bring the spirits of the dead.  Thank God that the Bible does not give us a clue of what actually took place lest some people misinterpret this event. I subscribe to the view that what subsequently happened was divine intervention leading to the pronouncement of king Saul’s tragic end. Could it be that this story is a reminder that departed spirits are not a source of revelation? Could it be that those who ask for the future from the dead are at the bring of joining them? Peter Miscall rightfully says, ‘He who speaks to the dead soon joins them’. We have dead people walking among us. They are dead spiritually and are awaiting physical death and subsequent hellfire. The Bible is very good at irony. Saul was anointed to be king at Prophet Samuel’s residence. This event was accompanied with a delicious meal. The witch similarly hosted the end of Saul’s kingship with the last meal. This is a story of rebellion and arrogance with its siblings namely witchcraft and idolatry. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. 

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Posted by on September 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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SCRIPTURAL WARNINGS AGAINST OCCULT PRACTICES (PART 1)


If you are an ardent reader of the bible, you might have come across those portions of scripture you wish were excluded from the canon because of the controversy and confusion they attract. Three of the most baffling stories involve occult practitioners like Balaam the professional Diviner and Curser (Numbers 22-23), the Witch of Endor (1Samuel 28) and Simon Magus or Simon the Magician (Acts 8:9-24). Why did God allow such stories to be part of his inspired word bearing in mind God’s declared displeasure to these abominations. God said, ‘When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead’ (Deuteronomy 18:9-11). These practices are interconnected because they tap from one source i.e. the spirit world. What lessons or warnings can be gleaned from the stories of these occult practitioners?
Balaam was a prominent entrepreneur in soothsaying, sorcery and divination with a speciality in cursing and blessing using omens and auguries. He was also a practising Polytheist (Greek POLYTHEOS meaning worship of many gods) hence his acclimatisation to Yahweh worship. Could it be that African religiosity also has this polytheistic temperament whereby they see no friction between ancestral worship and Christian worship? It takes radical conversion for a lot of my African brothers and sisters to solely embrace the Christian God without resorting to ancestors in times of crisis. In the biblical narrative, we see Balak the Moabite king sending his messengers to travel more than five hundred miles to hire Balaam to curse the Israelites who were camped across the Jordan river and ready to possess their promised land. The main purpose of the curse was to block the Israelites from entering the promised land thus render the promises of God null and void. Balaam was offered a high fee for this exercise but this time around he embarked on a mission in failure. He had several encounters with Yahweh who aborted his mandate to curse. Out of desperation Balak raised the divination fee but to no avail. Could it be that the charging of professional fees originates from Occult Practitioners and that true Prophets of God cannot afford to cross the line which differentiates true and false prophets. 
From this story comes one of the most quoted bible verses, being the confession of Balaam the professional curser. He says, ‘God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil? There is no divination against Jacob, no evil omens against Israel’ (Numbers 23:19,23). Could it be that those preachers and believers who curse others can only do so by tapping into the occult? From this passage of scripture we glean a few aspects of God’s attributes and the unchangeable nature of his decrees and promises. Check out some of these:
# God’s divine decrees, blessings and promises cannot be altered by the words of mortals be it by professional cursers or by commoners

# People are prone to change their positions, loyalties and their love but God is immutable i.e. God is consistently the same in his eternal being. He does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17)

# God can change his INTENTIONS as he did with the people of Nineveh when they repented and the Israelites when Moses interceded

# God does not lie like Satan the father of lies because he is a covenant keeping or promise keeping God

# Only God has the power to bless or curse

# A believer cannot be cursed by mortals because there is no sorcery or divination against God’s people

# God is omniscient i.e. he is all knowing hence there is nothing new he has to learn

# God is omnipotent i.e. He is all-powerful 

# God is omnipresent i.e. He is present everywhere at the same time

# God does not have mood swings or mood disorders. He is the same yesterday, the same today and forever. He is the ancient of days and the Rock of ages

# God does not grow or develop e.g. from a vicious and capricious God in the Old Testament to a loving and caring God in the New Testament (MARCIONISM)
In the next article we will look at Simon Magus and how he influenced modern SIMONY i.e. religious exploitation through sale of ecclesiastical positions or consecrated objects like holy water, holy oil and the like. Furthermore we will also look at the Witch of Endor to demonstrate how desperation for the supernatural can tempt believers to consult Mistresses of Necromancy whilst only those who are anchored on the unchanging God will experience the genuine visitation of God in our times. For now I rest my case. 

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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OCCULTISM: A NEW RELIGIOUS NORMAL IN THE PROPHETIC MOVEMENT IN AFRICA (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)


In recent years there has been a global shift of Christianity from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere, from the west to the east. This migration has left former Christian communities like Europe secularised whilst the former mission field of the third world has become the centre of Christianity. The Pentecostal and Charismatic brand of Christianity has greatly impacted the African Church. This global shift of Christianity is an opportunity for the African Church to add the African flavour to the global Christian expression. It is true to say that the vibrancy of African Christian expression is vital to global Christianity. 
However this writer is concerned with the way in which the Prophetic Movement within Pentecostalism in general is altering the character of Christianity in significant ways. This movement is subtly bringing OCCULTISM into the Church. This is shameful, shocking and shuttering because sooner or later occultism will be a new religious normal in the Church. Occult practices are slowly being introduced into the Church through the psychological processes of LEGITIMATION, DIGNIFICATION & GLAMORISATION. 
Occultism has to do with connecting oneself with the world of spirits through divination, soothsaying, augury, necromancy, sorcery, use of charms, mediums and wizardry or witchcraft. God clearly warns us against indulging in these abominable practices. Practitioners of occultism do so to gain knowledge which allows them to exert power and control over people or events. They use psychic powers to control people by casting a spell over them. Scriptures clearly instruct us not to learn, experiment, follow or do these abominable practices. In Biblical times occult practitioners were excluded from the community of God’s people. This spiritual harlotry costed Saul his kingship when he consulted the Witch of Endor. The New Testament warns us against the madness of the fee charging occultist Balaam (2Peter 2:15-16). Balaam was an occultist whose specialty was blessing and cursing. He attracted high fees for his trade. His attempt to curse the people of Israel was a total fiasco because according to his confession later, “There is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel” (Numbers 23:23). These modern false prophets and false teachers are bringing respectability to occultism through syncretism and polytheism. I refuse to be complicit to the spread of occultism in the Church of God. Those who practise occultism in the name of God should be named and shamed because in their rebellion, they belittle God and exalt humans. They view God as inadequate in revealing mysteries hence pilgrimages to shrines in secret locations. The Global Church deserves something better from Africa. This return to primitive occult practices must stop. May the Church in Africa maintain its vibrancy from which the global Church may glean handfuls of purpose. 

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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