Just this past week I was teaching a Bible study, addressing various trends in our culture. One of these trends is the prevalence of the occult. We are a society beguiled and fascinated with witchcraft, sorcery, vampires, ghosts, zombies, paranormal powers and psychic phenomena. This is a very perilous trend. The Bible is explicit in its condemnation of all forms of the occult belief and practice. There are scores of verses that address this matter. The most comprehensive is found in Deuteronomy 18:9-14. Here God expressly forbids His people from any involvement in the occult.
After my lesson was over, a lady came up to talk to me. She was very concerned about a friend. Her friend is an elderly woman who is a devout Christian believer, and has served the Lord for many years. However, she has begun experiencing a new kind of spiritual experience. This woman claims that the spirits of dead people have been visiting her, and communicating with her on a regular basis. She talks with them, and they relay all sorts of information to her. Indeed, in this woman’s neighborhood she has become somewhat of a celebrity because of this. Someone loses their keys, they consult her—and she asks some spirit to reveal the keys’ whereabouts. Someone has a problem, the spirits give counsel and advice through their matronly channel. The woman has become the resident local medium for all sorts of help from the spirit world. Continue reading →
You may not have heard of Emmanuel Swedenborg, but in his lifetime and for quite some time afterwards he was a man of renown. He was an 18th century genius, likely on par with Leonardo da Vinci. He was born in Sweden in 1688, the son of a Lutheran pastor. Early in life he was noted for great achievements in math, science and engineering. In 1724 he was appointed to a prominent government position on the Swedish Board of Mines.
But then in 1743 things began to change. Swedenborg began to have strange dreams and visions. He believed that ancient sages and religious figures were appearing to him. He supposedly had conversations with Jesus, Moses and other biblical figures. He went on spiritual journeys to heaven and hell. Angels reportedly showed him great spiritual truths. He also developed psychic powers, especially clairvoyance. Out of these visions he developed a unique brand of religious philosophy. This included a prophecy that there was coming a new era of universal spiritual understanding, which he called the New Jerusalem. Continue reading →
It all officially began in 1848 in a small town called Hydesville, New York. It was there that three sisters of the Fox family began to experience unusual things. They heard strange rappings, which the Fox sisters believed were the manifestations of a departed spirit. They called this spirit “Mr. Splitfoot,” and believed that it was the ghost of a man who had been murdered in the house. Soon neighbors heard about the ghostly encounters and came to see what was going on. Within a short time an entire movement was born. It was called Spiritualism and its main focus was on communication with the dead. Continue reading →
You would think that any group whose name means “divine wisdom” would be a pretty good thing. Unfortunately, this is not so. Instead, the Theosophical Society is a hodge-podge of Eastern mysticism, occult philosophy, evolutionary theory, and spiritualistic practice. And it is not something good for the Christian, or anyone else for that matter.
Theosophy, as it is often called, is the brainchild of a rather deceived mind, that of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, or H.P.B. as she was known to her admirers. Blavatsky began her spiritual journey in one of the most popular spiritual movements of the 19th century—Spiritualism. She demonstrated quite a knack for spiritual communication and psychic phenomena. She supposedly was quite adept at being a medium, and was the channel for a number of spirits “on the higher plane.” She also traveled extensively throughout Europe and Asia, visiting many holy sites from various religions, and allegedly communing with the great spiritual leaders of the age. Continue reading →