My life (put) alongside God's word. Important Issues for Christians to understand section.
by Moses Angupale
The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is in danger of evil in these last days. Deception has taken root in the churches. Unfortunately shepherds who take care of the churches sometimes lack the gift of discernment needed to recognise
these spirits and flush them out. So cultism and occultism are being practiced in the church of Christ, concurrently devaluing the sound doctrine of the Bible. The two words, cult and occult," sound similar. But while different, they
both pose a similar spiritual threat to people, by appearing to be something they are not. Both can cause victims to miss God's loving and free provision for salvation through Christ, and cause folk to face a tragic hell in eternity. Our enemy is Satan, together with his deceiving spirits.
The Church must have knowledge of these two vices and of the harm they do. Church denominations have always had their differences, with variations in practice and statements of faith. Some of these differences may not be on core scriptural doctrines, but they still make the adherents point fingers accusing others with different beliefs and traditions of being cults. Confusion among the denominations will be overcome if we have sound doctrine, especially the core doctrines required of Christianity. But cults and the occult are not simply “other Christian denominations”. Dangerously not!
Perils of cults being in and near the Church
The word “cult” has at least six meanings:
(a) A religion or religious sect generally considered being extremist or false, with its followers often living in an unconventional manner, under the guidance of an authoritarian, charismatic leader. (b) The followers of such a religion or sect.
A system or community of religious worship and ritual.
The formal means of expressing religious reverence; religious ceremony and ritual.
A usually nonscientific method or regimen claimed by its originator to have exclusive or exceptional power in curing a particular disease.
(a) Obsessive, especially faddish, devotion to or veneration for a person, principle, or thing. (b) The object of such devotion.
An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest. (www.thefreedictionary.com/cult).
The term is confusing because it is ambiguous, infused with a variety of meanings depending on who uses it and for which purpose it is used. For example, the term “cult” can be used in a theological and/or a sociological sense. The word takes on different meanings depending on the context in which it is used. The theological sense is used when discussing religious differences. A group or movement is theologically a cult if it identifies itself as belonging to a mainstream, recognised religion, and yet rejects or
otherwise violates one or more of the essential central teachings of that religion. Essential teachings are those doctrines that define a given religion’s basic essence. Here we talk about what the Bible teaches rather than what the traditions of different churches teach. The sociological sense is used when discussing behaviour or other society aspects. A group or movement may be a cult if it acts in ways that are illegal or otherwise unacceptable in a civilised society. It may not observe acceptable society norms.
The writer of this article thinks “cult”, in theological sense we will discuss here, means “churches which destroy basic Christian faith doctrines from Scripture, for the purpose of
creating worship for the founder of their sect”. Any system of belief that desires to call itself by the name of a religion, yet by its own beliefs, taught and promoted, either
explicitly or implicitly, goes against the core beliefs of that religion whose name they desire to associate with, is rightly termed a "cult" of that religion. For instance, a cult of
Christianity would be:
“A group of people which, claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders or organisation, which system denies either explicitly or implicitly one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible (See Alan Gomes, 'Unmasking the Cults'). The Scripture foretold these people and termed them false prophets. Notice they would
arise from among God’s genuine people. “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce
destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord (Jesus Christ) who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves”, 2 Peter 2:1. There have arisen many false messiahs and false prophets in these last days we are living in. Our Lord Jesus warned, “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and show great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible”, Matthew 24:24. The local and national church shepherds must take care to discern those secret and destructive teachings in order to save the elect from the jaws of wolves. Some cults are offshoots of ancient pagan religions that have no similarity to Christianity and therefore are easy to identify. Others falsely try to imitate Christianity, often quoting the Bible and using other Christian terminology. They are much more difficult to distinguish. These latter cults typically exhibit one or more of the traits explained below.
Common characteristics of cults
For abusive cults the key word is control, control and control! There must be submission to their leadership. Leaders tend to be the absolute end, looked to as prophets of God, as specially anointed apostles. Alternatively, they can be strong, controlling and manipulative personalities, who demand submission, even when they change their
views, or if conflicts occur over their own doctrine or behaviour. Sometimes the leader can be looked on as God Himself. Often to obey a leader and follow their teaching is
equal to obeying God.
Seven characteristics of a cult
A church which is “a group that deviates from the doctrines and practices of historic Christianity and has an inordinate loyalty to one leader, whose beliefs are not found in
Scripture (as affirmed by historic Christianity)” and which has “leaders or false teachers who often believe that they alone possess the truth”, is “a cult or has cultish tendencies”, even if it only has one of the seven characteristics of a cult quoted by an article in Charisma magazine. (www.charismamag.com/blogs/the-plumb-line/15953) Looking for these signs will help you discern.
Cults will often:
1. Oppose critical thinking, versus demanding that people think for themselves.
Cult members must accept what the cult leader believes, without ever challenging the
doctrines. They do not want their members to think critically for themselves.
2. Dishonour the family unit, versus insisting on the biblical priority of the family unit. Children are taught to be more loyal to the cult leaders than to their parents. Women are taught to be more loyal to the leaders than to their husbands, and husbands are taught to accept this as normal behaviour.
3. Isolate members and penalise them for leaving, versus helping them to do God’s will.
Cults isolate their people from their families, the church and society. They reject any who leave and warn them, saying that they will be judged by God or will lose God’s best if they do. People are taught to make lifelong commitments to the group. Some groups teach that their members must get permission before joining another ministry.
4. Seek inappropriate loyalty to their leaders, versus loyalty to and connecting people with Jesus Christ.
Cults seek to connect their members to the cult leader. Loyalty is defined as not questioning the leader. It is very dangerous, when the leader cannot be questioned.
5. Cross biblical boundaries of behaviour, versus walking in moral purity and financial integrity.
Cults stray across the Bible’s boundaries for Christian living, especially in the areas of sexual immorality and finance. False teachers can be detected by their covetousness and
immorality, 2 Peter 2:3-22.
6. Separate from the wider church, versus a culture of honour towards all true believers.
Cults operate with an elite spirit, believing that they alone have a special status with God. They have a polarised mentality of “us versus them.” They criticise the larger body of Christ and often claim to be the only ones truly saved. They view all other ministry and Christian denominations as being in error.
7. Emphasise special revelations that contradict Scripture, versus loyalty to Scripture. Cults emphasise the revelations, visions, dreams, prophecies and writings of their leaders, even when they clearly contradict Scripture.
Saints, please hear me. I’ve been very close to two cults and escaped both before falling into a deception headlong. It’s not always easy to recognise the fruit of cults at the surface.You have to dig down to the roots. Sometimes their cultish behaviours don’t manifest until you become integrated into their community. At that point, it’s harder to escape—but Jesus can set you free if you set your heart to go out through the door into true Christianity. Amen.
Five characteristics of cults’ doctrinal beliefs as far as the Bible is concerned
1. Cults may consider Jesus Christ as not equal to God the Father, rather as someone inferior or less. But Jesus said, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father", John 14:9. Paul said that Christ is the "image of the invisible God", Colossians 1:15. The Bible is
repeatedly clear that Jesus is deity, and when on the earth He was God in human form. We can be redeemed from our sins only because God's own perfect blood (in Christ) was shed for our perfect cleansing, Matthew 26:28, 1 John 1:7.
2. Cults may typically reject the clear biblical revelation of a triune God, sometimes called the (Holy) Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit – one God not three gods, but one God manifest in three Persons. The Bible refers to all three as Persons, yet as one God. A mystery, but vital Gospel truth.
3. Cults may have their own "sacred" book in addition to the Bible. Although they usually deny it, these books conflict with and are often given precedence over the Bible.
4. Cults typically reject the wonderful biblical truth that salvation is a "free gift" from God, by grace through faith alone (this truth glorifies God and not man). Instead, cults and all other "religions", falsely say that people must "earn" their own salvation by doing certain works and deeds, often works that will perpetuate the cult (which glorifies man rather than God).
5. Cults are often exclusive, centring on a strong leader (or late founder) who has or had the only "true" interpretation of Scripture. Whereas Christ came to give us freedom, Galatians 5:1, cult members are in bondage to that cult or leader, with the threat that leaving the cult will cause a loss of salvation.
Thousands of these cults exist in the world. Those especially on African soil have nothing written about them. Only the world’s major ones are listed in cult reference books: including Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, The Unity School of Christianity, The Way International, The Children of God, Scientology, The Unification Church, Unitarianism and the New Age Movement.
A test kit for recognising cults
Within any particular system of belief there are core
doctrines and secondary doctrines. Secondary are those upon which people in the belief system may disagree but still be considered part of the real faith in Jesus Christ and not a cult of that religion. For instance, in Christianity, I may be a Pentecostal who believes in speaking in other tongues. As a result of this, I may consider those not speaking in tongues as cults! In this view I would be in the wrong because tongues speaking is a secondary doctrine. I am actually a Pentecostal and that is my personal view. May be not all Pentecostals believe like that. Dear brother and sister, my conviction from the Bible is that a believer may not speak in other tongues yet still go to heaven and be called a born again Christian. These secondary doctrines are evident throughout all church denominations, not only in the Pentecostal churches. In each of the denominations of Christianity, there are secondary doctrines, many making up traditions in mainline churches. Should they take the traditions as core doctrines of the Bible and then use them to judge others as “cults” or “occults”? That is absolutely wrong. Jesus warned the Pharisees and teachers of the law, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?” Matthew 15:3. Please dear friend, you will do better if you avoid emphasising these secondary doctrines that you may have been using as a yardstick with which to judge other denominations.
The following are the four core doctrines I use as a measure to find out the cults:
The Trinity, "Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, with each possessing all the attributes of Deity and personality.
The person of Jesus Christ, where Jesus is 100% God and 100% man, for all eternity.
The second coming, when Jesus Christ is coming bodily to earth, to rule and to judge. (Notice, not the particular timetable, just the fact of His coming).
Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone inChrist alone.
Any church or Christian contradicting these core doctrines of the Bible is a cult or a member of one. Those who disagree with the core doctrines of Christianity, in their
teaching and/or by their actions are, by definition, a cult of historic biblical Christianity. The use of the word "cult" is not a way to slander other people, but to strongly point out
the deceiver, Satan, who is behind all the confusion.
The perils of the occult in the Church
The word "occult" refers to what is hidden, concealed, or secret. The term, "occult" comes from the Latin occultus or "hidden." The occult involves the spirit world, but the spirit world of darkness. The occult is particularly deceptive because the spirit world is very real. Practitioners are dealing with reality – but a dark, forbidden and evil reality. Generally the word is used of secret or mysterious supernatural powers or magical, religious rituals. The word "occult" in this publication is used to describe any attempt to gain supernatural power or knowledge apart from the God of the Bible. Generally it refers to witchcraft, satanism, neo-paganism, or various forms of psychic discernment (astrology, seances, palm reading, etc.). (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/occult) . Dear believer friend, occultism is very
effective in church rather than in other systems of the world. This is Satan’s plan to destroy believers in the church. Is it absurd that many pastors leading mega churches, with their churches packed by adherents who follow the supernatural power of miracles, could posses these occult spirits? Since it is a secret practice, many genuine believers have no knowledge of what their pastors are doing and so think they are anointed of God. These people follow their pastors blindly because they do not have the gift of discernment that would have made them wise as to who they follow.
The Scripture warns us about following blindly. “Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit”, Matthew 15:14. These leaders
are blind guides and we should take note of them seriously. Although these pastors perform miracles and you hear them praying in the name of Jesus Christ, do not be
confused. Not all who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Christ talked about true and false disciples who are both in today’s church. “Not everyone who says to Me,
‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he
who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven”, Matthew 7:21. Dear friend, be warned that not all the miracles you see are from God. Some are, but others entice you away
from the truth so that your faith for following the will of God fails. “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one … to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues”, 1Corinthians 12:7-11. Be wise and pray for the gift of discernment.
Defining the occult
We have seen that a cult is a group of people polarised around an individual with a magnetic personality, who deviates from orthodox Christianity by distorting the
central message of the Bible with additional revelation or by introducing their own personal understanding of primary biblical doctrines such as the person of Jesus
Christ, heaven, hell, salvation, atonement, the virgin birth, etc. The occult is more particularly secret or hidden knowledge not discerned by the five senses but
supernaturally received through the practice of divination.
Witchcraft, the use of scripturally forbidden supernatural powers to manipulate people and events. Commonly known as the “craft of the wise” or “wicca”, the worship of nature and feminine energies mother nature. Witchcraft shows in two opposing views: white magic and black magic, see Deuteronomy 18:10-13.
White magic, the use of supernatural power to manipulate a person or an event to bring about good. The practice of divination is used to bring about "positive" results such as knowledge, healing, etc.
Black magic, the use of supernatural power to manipulate a person or an event to bring about evil or destruction. Manipulation is achieved by the use of rituals and the casting of spells.
Satanism, unlike witchcraft, satanism is the worship of Satan, formerly known as Lucifer, and the practice of black magic. Satanism is a reaction against the Christian Church and the Word of God in particular. Satanism promotes a do-what-you-want attitude and is ultimately the worship of oneself.
(See Russ Wise at www.probe.org/)
The growing problem
The occult is on the rise with some pastors and ministers in Roman Catholic churches and various Protestant church denominations. These people seek their spiritual identity
through Satanism in Africa and the rest of the world, in order to curb the prevalent looming poverty situation. The quest for riches is at an alarming rate, especially in African
churches. There is great competition among some pastors in Africa for riches, which they wrongly term as an anointing of God. To these pastors anointing of God is measured by how much luxury is in your life. They compare among themselves the types of houses lived in and cars driven. They sinfully measure God’s blessing by material wealth. The more expensive the house and car are, the more powerful that man or woman of God is. He (or she) is either called an Apostle or Prophet, Bishop or Doctor (PhD). These people have fallen into the trap of the temptation that once came to Jesus. Satan wanted to give
Him all worldly pleasures with one condition. Worship him. “The devil led Him up to a high place and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give You all their authority and splendour, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if You worship me, it will all be Yours”, Luke 4:5-7. Christ Jesus overcame by correctly quoting and applying the Scripture in context. Many genuine believers overcome along with Christ today. Sadly others have fallen prey to the devil, worshipping him in exchange for the kingdom of God.
They do anything directed by Satan, breaking scripture regardless. These people today practice homosexuality, lesbianism, human sacrifice and frequently visit the under world and principality of the kingdom of darkness. They even do this in church in order to perform the counterfeit satanic miracles. Dear friend, the Bible is clear about God’s impending judgement that will start in the house of the Lord. “For it is time for judgement to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17.
Satanism has become an issue of great concern in our society. It is a phenomenon that crosses the city limits into the rural areas of our nations in Africa. Satanism is not just a big city problem. The newswires carry story after story about young children being kidnapped, only to be found later as victims of some bizarre ritualistic crime. To help us gain a balanced perspective of the subject, see what C. S. Lewis says about Satan in his 'Screwtape Letters', “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
As satanic involvement among the pastors increases, we begin to see many introduce their colleagues into their affair. Care must be taken not to follow man and his mischievous works while wrongly thinking these are God’s doings. The Bible says in situations like this do not easily believe everybody, do not touch what they touch or taste
what they taste. True disciples dare to be different. “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its
rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. Such regulations
indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence”, Colossians 2:20-23.
There is a great difference between cults and the occult. The term “cult” refers to a group of people polarised around one individual who is often a magnetic personality. This individual has his or her own understanding of truth. In most cases they incorporate some degree of biblical truth into their teachings in order to gain a certain amount of credibility and deceive people who are careless about their faith. Dear friend, guard your faith zealously. Leave no opened window in your life for the devil to enter and outwit you.
Satanism and the occult challenge biblical teaching regarding man's relationship to other people. We are to esteem others better than ourselves and be team players. Whereas Satanism esteems the "self" over others, genuine Christians are urged to see ourselves as part of the whole body of Christ, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31.
Satanists believe that the strong will rule with Satan. Once they are sufficiently involved, followers often make a pact with Satan. They commit themselves to a future date when
they will take their own lives by suicide. They believe that if they submit themselves to Satan in death, they will come back in another life as a stronger being and rule with him
forever. It is imperative for the Church as a corporate body, and each Christian individually, to share the message that a proper living relationship with Jesus Christ is the only possible solution to all of our emotional and spiritual needs.
Seeking for power entices believers into the occult
Power has become an obsession with believers today. They seek power on the physical, mental and spiritual levels. According to one former occultist, the greatest lures into the occult are "power" and "knowledge." Not just corporate power but personal power. Gaining knowledge that others do not possess is another aspect of the occult. When an individual has more knowledge it affords them a degree of power over those who do not have access to it. Likewise, Satanism offers its lure to the pastors and all who seek him for power, knowledge and money. Drugs and sex have become the bait that so often ensnares the unsuspecting. With the increase of satanic activity, the profile of those involved in Satanism has increased greatly among pastors and those seeking to be rich in Africa. Each one of these people seeks prestige and self-glorification. They often have problems at home and in relating to people around them. They use drugs and are sexually promiscuous. It is a rare occasion when these last two elements are not present in a Satanist’s lifestyle. Abuse both physical and emotional is another aspect of the lifestyle. People involved in the occult have often been abused themselves and have not known any other way to relate to people. They are normally involved in worshiping
Satan as ‘saviour’.
Dear friend, you must be aware of satanic ways. Occultists actually worship Satan and have taken him as their personal saviour. The work of Satan is taking care of mundane, fleshly and carnal things. Satan has attempted to usurp the place of Christ in redeeming mankind. He has endeavoured to establish himself as a god who is equal to, or greater than, Jehovah and in a sense tried to render the one true God ineffective.
Dear friend, Satanism leads a person into bondage through mind-control and fear, whereas Christianity allows the individual freedom of choice. Everyone has the
opportunity to either accept God's free gift of life, or reject Him and simply exist separate from God's love.
The destruction of the occult
The Old Testament tells the tragic story of Saul. “Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord. So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse”, 1 Chronicles 10:13-14. The Bible condemns any
involvement in the occult. “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God”, Leviticus 19:31. “I will set my face against
the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people”, Leviticus 20:6. See also Deuteronomy 18:9-13.
1 Samuel 28 relates the tragic experience of Saul involving a medium when his sin blocked him going to God for the guidance he needed. Today messages received are often false, misleading, sometimes obscene and frequently contrary to biblical teaching.
The following passages in Scripture give us who would seek God's perspective, where to go for truth. “When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn”, Isaiah 8:19-20. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him”, James 1:5.
Dear friend, I see no reason why people think to become Satanists in order to get things they need, while the Most High God gives us everything we need when we ask Him
sincerely. Unbelief is the major problem of believers who turn to such practices. Unbelief is a sin that we must repent of before destruction overtakes us.
Jesus is our great deliverer
God is able to deliver those who seek Him. Victory is ours, but first we must receive God's power. We have been discussing the problems of satanic involvement. Whether we become deceived by the use of the spirits, witchcraft and demons, or we have been in occult bondage, seek God Himself and He will free you. Basic to all victories for the
believer over Satan, as he attempts to infiltrate our lives, is the absolute truth of biblical doctrine. There is nosubstitute. The greatest key in warfare against Satan is recognising that God's truth is our best offence and only defence.
Prayer is also an effective tool to use in spiritual warfare. “Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”,
Ephesians 6:11-12. Dear friend, we cannot effectively engage Satan in warfare on the natural level. We must enter the spiritual dimension to adequately challenge Satan and defeat him and his host. Effective prayer presupposes that we have a deep understanding of the Scriptures. Bible memorisation is a must for this type of prayer, because God’s word must be quoted against the devil just as Jesus demonstrated. “The devil said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread’. Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone’”, Luke 4:3-4, quoting part of Deuteronomy 8:3.
Another aspect of spiritual warfare is that of resistance. We are called to resist the devil, James 4:7, 1 Peter 5:8-9. “Resist” means to stand firm, to stand invincibly or successfully. We can stand and remain too strong to be defeated because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. There Jesus was victorious over Satan. As God's people, we are victorious over Satan because of Jesus. We can successfully resist Satan as we stand in right relationship with Christ. Since we are in Christ, and He has all authority in heaven and earth, we are in the only unbeatable place.
Dear friend, we have the victory over Satan in Christ Jesus. Satan has been defeated at the cross, see Colossians 2:13-15, and made powerless, see Hebrews 2:14-15. The
believer needs to stand in his rightful position in Christ as victor. Jesus has already won the war. The Holy Spirit of God shows us the way to righteousness and restoration.
Satan attempts to convince us that we are so bad that God wouldn't want anything to do with us. He seeks to convince us that there is no forgiveness for whatever we have done. He tells us we have committed the unpardonable sin.
Satanism is a growing concern in our culture. With this growth comes a great deal of confusion and a lack of understanding. Dear friend, you must understand the problems occult worship can bring to the society that you are mandated to transform by God’s word. Please know clearly the concise information on occultism so that you can use it to reverse this creeping vice affecting our society. Of larger concern is not the number of people and pastors involved in satanic activity, but what they become capable of doing when absorbed in the worship of Satan. They can be involved in animal sacrifice, blood rituals, sexual immorality, homosexuality, the use of drugs and even murder. Most Satanism revolves around a drug and alcohol dependent lifestyle that glorifies violence, hate, lying, stealing, deceit and life-vandalism. Drug abuse is the common denominator in all levels of Satanism. Drugs have become the primary source of mind-altering experiences for the Satanist, thereby, giving him a false sense of power and spiritual potency.
According to Scripture “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God”,
2 Corinthians 4:4. This god is Satan. “The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to
the earth, and his angels with him”, Revelation 12:9. Satan's goal is always to deceive man by blinding him to the truth of the gospel and to receive worship for himself. “How you have fallen from heaven morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High’”, Isaiah 14:12-14. On a very practical level Satan desires to change an individual's values and turn people against themselves, their beliefs, family, God and society.
Anton Szandor LaVey formed the Church of Satan in 1966. He was the author of ‘The Satanic Bible’, perhaps the most common source of satanic ritual and understanding
available to people today. One of his cardinal messages is, The devil is alive and highly popular with a great many people’. Dear brother and sister, the availability of Satanists in our society and churches is a reality we must try to be discerningly aware of, or else face the holy wrath of God.
Personal initiation to occultism
Initiation to occultism is usually by the senior leader who is required to bring up followers. By participation in initiation an individual is given a chance to declare total allegiance to Satan. Other acts include taking part in rituals where the mutilation of an animal or human being happens. Homosexuality and lesbianism can be parts of the activity. In today’s world videos are made of these ceremonies to be used as evidence for the power of
miracles. In some cases a criminal act is perpetrated where the initiate has a key role. A sort of unholy communion is taken during initiatory rituals where the works of Satan are glorified. Other initiations include body markings. An inverted cross may be burned into the forearm or chest, etc. Dear friend be warned against befriending people whose background you do not know. Even when you hear of miraculous manifestations in the
church be suspicious about their ways of life. The Scripture warns do not associate with them. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night”, Psalm 1:1-2.
Dear friend, as I conclude you must know that such a study of cults and the occult paves the way for you to be wise in keeping your salvation holy. Therefore, note that there are
two kinds of spiritual reality. The first reality is God's spiritual kingdom of truth and light, where Christ is King and the nature of the kingdom is "righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit", Romans 14:17, and where God's holy angels dwell, worship and serve Him. The second reality is the world of Satan, a fallen angel, a world of darkness and
hopelessness, void of God, where other fallen angels, called demons who hate God, work to advance this evil kingdom under their leader, Satan. Satan’s world of spiritual
darkness is the one experienced through the sinister practices of cults and the occult.
The Bible does not reveal a "dualism," or co-equal forces of good (represented by God) and evil (represented by Satan). Satan is totally subject to the sovereign, omnipotent
Creator. But God has given Satan certain authority to operate on the earth as a result of man's fall into sin. He operates through the minds and wills of fallen humanity. He has constructed a complex web of many evil schemes, including occult practices, even counterfeit religions, to deceive and snare people. The appearances of such deception will increase in "the last days" before Christ returns. “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons”, 1Timothy 4:1. But the Bible also says, “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work”, 1 John 3:8. Those who trust and obey Jesus Christ have a protection and victory through the God-provided Saviour.
Dear believers in Christ, you must know and understand that any degree of cult and occult involvement can produce problems of oppression, depression, despair, hopelessness and many physical problems. Sometimes it can bring death, even self-destruction and finally death in spirit. Demonic influence can produce obsessions, phobias, bizarre behaviour, violence, homicide and sexual perversion in its victims. Worse, it can deceive a person into eternal darkness.
Sisters and brethren in the Lord Jesus Christ, if you are now, or have ever been in your life, involved with any cult or occult practice, you can be set free of it and any symptoms it may have brought by doing the following:
Confess sincere faith in and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ;
Confess the specific cult and occult sins to God, naming and forsaking every one;
Renounce Satan, in Jesus' name, and command him and his demons to depart into the place prepared for them by the Lord Jesus; and
Receive and claim your liberation by faith, without doubting, trusting in the authority and total faithfulness of God and His Word.
Endeavour to read scriptures faithfully and prayerfully. Understand the distinctions of rhema (the spoken word) and logos (the written word) in a sound manner and come to a secure doctrine of the Scriptures. If you do this, Satan must obey God. He will and release you by the authority of both Jesus' Name and God's Word. Any symptoms that Satan has put on you must disappear in God’s proper time. May God bless you.
1. The term “Cult” “is confusing because it is ambiguous, infused with a variety of meanings depending on who uses it and for which purpose”.
Of the seven or eight definitions given, which best fits your understanding?
2. Which cult characteristics have you most noticed in those locally active?
3. Are there any applicable lessons to learn from chapters 31 and 32 in this book, discerning false prophets and teachers from true?
4. The devil likes to be the centre of attention, or he likes to make people think he doesn’t exist. Which is worse?
5. How can a Christian successfully “resist the devil”? 1 Peter 5:8-9.