Teaching Notes: On The Occult

Though I was involved in Hinduism, Taoism and Buddhism prior to becoming an atheist, I didn’t think of that as being part of the occult. However, the definition of the word might lead you to think of Eastern religions as being part of the occult –

Definition of “occult” (Dictionary.com, Merriam-Webster, Oxford Dictionary, Cambridge English Dictionary)

  • of or relating to magic, astrology, or any system claiming use or knowledge of secret or supernatural powers or agencies
  • Mystical, supernatural, or magical powers, practices, or phenomena
  • relating to mysterious or supernaturalpowers and activities
  • beyond the range of ordinary knowledge or understanding; mysterious
  • Communicated only to the initiated; esoteric
  • not revealed
  • hidden from view

I saw the connection between Eastern mystical religions and the occult soon after becoming a Christian. As I learned more about that connection, I shared my findings in Bible studies and other speaking opportunities.

[These notes are from a Bible study I taught 40 years ago. Keep in mind that the problem with the occult is larger now than in the 1970’s. The notes are in outline form.]

  • Question 1 – Why are hundreds of thousands of people across America turning to some form of the occult?
  • Question 2 – How should Christians face this surge in revived interest in Satan?
  • Question 3 – Is Satan a real force in the universe or just a tale of the uneducated?
  • Question 4 – Are demons for real?
  • Question 5 – Can demons possess a human body?
  • Question 6 – Can dabbling in astrology or the Ouija board lead to hard core witchcraft?

Answer 1 – Why are hundreds of thousands of people across America turning to some form of the occult?

1 Timothy 4:1 – “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”

Romans 1:28-32 – “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

When God is accepted as Creator and Controller of the universe, the moral absolutes governing it find their reference point in Him. When God is rejected by man, standards become relative according to man’s personal and varying opinions. However, a rejection of belief in God brings about a basic problem.

Romans 1:18-21 – “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

We are fighting against an inward and outward knowledge of God when we try to forget His existence. I used to be an atheist, so I have some insight into how they think. Whenever I meet someone who denies the existence of God I ask them, “When did you stop believing in God?”

Answer 2 – How should Christians face this surge in revived interest in Satan?

Which option do you prefer?

  1. These influences in our contemporary culture are inevitable and here to stay and there is nothing to worry about.
  2. There is everything to worry about, so we should shut our eyes and ears, bury our heads, and, probably, communicate nothing.
  3. It is all highly intriguing and we should learn as much as possible, even by having a little dabble ourselves.
  4. These things are likely to increase, must be taken seriously, and are part of Satan’s desperate attempt to invalidate Christ’s victory.

Answer 3 – Is Satan a real force in the universe or just a tale of the uneducated?

Let’s take a quick quiz to see how much we know and believe about Satan.

  1. Who is he?
  2. Where did he come from?
  3. What has he done in the past?
  4. What is he doing in the present?
  5. What will he do in the future?
  6. How does he affect Christians?
  7. How does he affect non-Christians?
  8. What is his basic intention?
  9. What is his destiny throughout eternity?

Answer 4 – Are demons for real?

  1. Are demons for real?
  2. Do they have personality and intelligence? (Yes … Mark 5:10; Luke 4:34)
  3. What is their basic moral nature? (Wicked … Matthew 10:1; Mark 1:27)

Answer 5 – Can demons possess a human body?

There are three basic areas of demonic control:

  1. Oppression
  2. Obsession
  3. Possession

Oppression – moodiness, fear, pain, nervousness, emotional trauma, mental anguish

Obsession – amplified oppression

Possession – three basic areas

  • Possession of animals – Matthew 8:29-32
  • Possession of parts of the human body – Matthew 9:32-33
  • Possession of a human’s body and mind – eight basic marks of complete demonic possession
  1. The demons are actually resident in the possessed person
  2. The unusual strength exhibited by the possessed person
  3. The visible conflict within the possessed person
  4. An opposition or resistance to the things of God by the possessed person
  5. Clairvoyance exhibited by the possessed person – an ability to tell things secret or hidden
  6. The ability to speak with voice not their own and often in languages not known to the possessed person
  7. The sudden deliverance which is possible for the possessed person
  8. The transference of demons from the possessed person to another body

NEVER GIVE CONTROL OF YOURSELF TO ANYONE OR ANYTHING!

Answer 6 – Can dabbling in astrology or the Ouija board lead to hard core witchcraft?

There are three basic areas in the Occult:

  1. Mantic (fortune telling)
  2. Magic
  3. Spiritism

Astrology is included in the area of fortune telling. Included in this area are –

  • cartomancy
  • palmistry
  • divining
  • mirror mantic
  • psychometry

Astrology is the prediction of human character and destiny from the stars and their constellations. At first horoscopes were only cast for kings and nations. We see the use of astrology in Genesis 11:4. The human race built themselves a tower to reach toward Heaven and be a place of prediction. A close study of the Tower of Babel shows that it was used in astrological charting. The word for “tower” in Hebrew men speaks of the place of the zodiac. Man’s desire was to make himself like God and therefore God destroyed their plans.

God told the people of Israel, prior to their going into the land of Promise, that “there shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that Seth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

The Ouija board is thought by many to be harmless, but the method of finding answers is to communicate with a demon (familiar) spirit.

Some other popular practices that deal in the area of the occult are –

  • Tarot
  • I-Ching
  • Clairvoyant
  • Horoscope
  • Mystic Eye
  • Kabala
  • Voodoo

In the second area of the occult we have magic. There are several forms of magic –

  • hypnosis
  • suggestion
  • mesmerism
  • black magic
  • white magic

Some areas of applied magic include –

  • healing
  • disease
  • love magic
  • hate magic
  • persecution magic
  • defense magic
  • spells magic
  • curse magic
  • death magic

Magic rites include –

  • liturgy
  • symbolism
  • charms
  • rituals

The third area of the occult is spiritism. There are several areas of phenomena –

  • psychical phenomena (including visions, table-lifting, glass-moving, automatic writing, speaking in trance, materializations, and excursion of the soul *soul travel)
  • physical phenomena (tele-kinesis, levitation, apports)
  • spiritistic-magic phenomena which is broken into two parts –
  1. persecution magic
  2. defense magic

These include –

  • metaphysical phenomena (apparitions and ghosts)
  • spiritistic religious phenomena (spiritism and spiritualism)

[Thank you for reading these teaching notes from 40 years ago. My prayer is they will be a blessing to you and your ministry.]

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