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  1. Passing Through Fire
  2. Divination
  3. Observer Of Times
  4. Enchanter
  5. Witch
  6. Charmer
  7. Consulter With Familiar Spirits
  8. Wizard
  9. Necromancer

Now there are two passages of Scripture I want us to read first of all, both from Ephesians - so if you can turn to Paul's epistle to the Ephesians. Let me just say, if you're in our meeting and you're not a believer in Christ or the Word of God, I would ask you if you have any questions or any comments to make, don't make them please while we're going through this study tonight, because most of the people here do want to listen to what's being said. You have an opportunity to challenge me at the end, if you like, and have any discussion that is necessary, and ask any questions - but please do abide, please, the tranquillity of this meeting, if we can call it such, and do not interrupt as we go through tonight.

Ephesians 2, and we just want to read a couple of verses - Paul is looking back to what we, as believers, were before we were converted - that's applicable to those in the meeting who are Christians. Sometimes it's good not to drag up the dirt and dig up old memories that we're meant to forget, and press on towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ; but sometimes it is good to remember where we come from, and where the Lord has brought us from and where He has brought us to in His marvellous grace. That's what Paul was just doing for the Ephesians as he reminds them in verse 1: "You hath God quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins" - now mark this verse please - "Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world", and all of us can identify with that, can't we? We did not walk in the light, as Christ is in the light, but we walked in darkness - he goes on, defining it more specifically: "according to the prince of the power of the air" - now, if you don't know this, the prince of the power of the air is Satan. When Satan was cast from heaven because of his pride - he was Lucifer of course, that angel, perhaps probably the greatest angel that was ever created - but his pride caused him to want to usurp God, and God cast him from glory down to the outer parts of this earth, and he still inhabits the air - of course, he inhabits the earth as well, but the air is chiefly his domain. Satan is the god of this world - small 'g' - not Jehovah. Jehovah is the God of the universe in the sovereign sense, but the god who is worshipped is the god in whom lies this world. It says in the word of God that this world lies in the lap of the wicked one.

SpiritismPaul goes on: "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience". Now some translations translate the word 'spirit' as 'spirits', the Amplified Version puts it like this: 'the demonic spirit power that now works in the children of disobedience'. Now this is profound, and we don't have time to look into this, but you may or may not know that before you were saved - I'm not saying that you were demon possessed, every one of you, of course that couldn't be the truth - but demonic powers had their sway over you in this world system. That is where we have come from. Now I want you to remember that text as we go through our study tonight, but I want you to turn now to Ephesians 6 - and now that we are in Christ there's a great transformation that has taken place, because the Lord Jesus, on Calvary's cross, has defeated sin, death, hell and the devil. Although the devil has not finally been put down yet in a practical sense, his doom is sealed - and because of that we Christians in Christ have the victory - isn't that marvellous?

In verse 10 we read this: "Finally, my brethren, be strong" - not in yourself, there's nothing in ourselves that can defeat the devil, in fact in the book of Jude we find that the great archangel Michael dared not bring a railing accusation against the devil over the matter of the bones of Moses, but he simply said: 'The Lord rebuke thee'. He had no power himself over Satan at that time face-to-face in combat, the only power that the archangel Michael had was in the strength of the Lord, and that's the only power that we have tonight. "And in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand".

Now let me say, in this series 'Strongholds of Satan' my goal is far from bringing glory or in any way shedding light on evil things for your titillation, or just to satisfy your curiosity. The fact of the matter is: I have to deal with certain things, and will have to tonight - but I would ask every believer in this place that, if you've never done it before, that you'll do it now - by faith that you will allow the Holy Spirit to put on you the whole armour of God. Take by faith the helmet of salvation to cover your mind; take by faith the breastplate of righteousness to cover your vitals, your emotions, and the seat of your affections; take the girdle of truth and make sure that you go out of this place believing the truth and not the lie of the devil; put on your feet the gospel of peace - that is why we're preaching this message tonight, that if you don't know Christ you should be saved by the gospel - but believers, make sure that after tonight you are more than ever firmly grounded on the victory ground that Christ has bought with His own blood. Take unto you the shield of faith that you may quench the fiery darts of the evil one, that is God - God is round about us, why should we be afraid? Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, let that be our defence as it was for Christ, as He said, face-to-face with Satan: 'It is written, it is written, it is written'. Don't forget 'all-prayer' - all-prayer is so important.

That is just a warning shot that I fly out to you believers this evening, to be careful as we look at this subject tonight, to make sure that at the forefront of all your adoration and your attention there is Christ and Christ alone. So we're looking this evening at this subject of 'Spiritism', or as it is commonly called often today 'Spiritualism' - there's not a great difference between the two now, although there may have been on one occasion. They all stem from the one source, and the reason why I gave that warning to you just as preface at the beginning of this message is that all men, as well as redeemed men, have a desire after supernatural things - and it isn't always the supernatural things of the kingdom of light. If we're honest, at times as believers, we get curious with evil things. We know and believe, at least intellectually, that there is an unseen world of spirits out there, and sometimes we would long to peek, as it were, past the supernatural curtain and see things as we believe they really are. But Spiritism, or Spiritualism, is when that curiosity goes too far and crosses a transgression line whereby it desires to communicate with the dead - spirits that have gone into the spirit world. We transgress the line that is laid down in Holy Scripture when we desire to obtain hidden information that God has not declared in revelation to humanity. In other words, when we desire to have knowledge of the future, knowledge that God has not given to us.

Walter Martin, who has written on many of the cults that we've dealt with already in this series, in his book 'Kingdom of the Cults' calls Spiritism or Spiritualism 'The Cult of Antiquity'. In other words, it is an ancient religion, in fact he says it is by far the oldest religious cult extant today, and certainly one of the most deadliest. In fact, if you were to trace its origins - which we're not going to do this evening - you would find, probably, that one of the first places that we see it coming to the fore is in ancient Babylon. From that day in ancient Babylon right to now, it has been found in every culture, ancient and modern. We see it in the book of Exodus in the magicians of Pharaoh there in ancient Egypt, their false gods; but we see it today in our world in modern society even in Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom in the 21st century - Spiritism is alive and well.

The Fox FamilyNow the revival of Spiritism in modern times as an organised religion, if you like, began in 1848. It started in a place called Hydesville in New York, with the Fox family. The mother and father and the three girls moved into a new house in Hydesville, New York, and the two girls Margaret and Kate claimed that during the night they heard rappings around the home. They believed that those rappings were supernatural phenomenon. Later, when they moved from Hydesville to Rochester, they testified to the same thing in their new home. They believed that these noises were communications and sounds from the unseen spirit world, and they decided that they would devise a method of communication in order to converse with the dead.

Now news of this phenomenon in Hydesville, New York, and later in Rochester, spread rapidly right throughout the States. Soon seances were being held, and there was a great interest in Spiritism that was spreading like a wildfire right throughout the United States, England, and the whole of the continent of Europe. The Fox sisters, unlike many of the founders of other religious cults that we have mentioned in these bygone weeks, did not die with great riches in their will - in fact, both of them died as paupers, and their lives were extremely painful, they went through a great deal of suffering. In fact, one biographer put it like this: 'In time', I quote, 'they became victims of the drink menace, nothing could satisfy their craving for alcohol, and they lost all sense of moral responsibility'. Later on in Margaret's life, in the presence of her sister Kate, at an anti-spiritualist gathering in 1888, she declared and testified - whether true or false, I do not know - 'I am here tonight as one of the founders of Spiritualism to denounce it as absolute falsehood, the most wicked blasphemy the world has ever known'.

The fact of the matter is, whatever she has said, there are some in our gathering tonight who believe in it, who believe in Spiritism and the ability to contact the dead in the spirit world, and other things. Then there is perhaps another camp, I wouldn't like to divide you all into two, but you're completely sceptical about the matter. You've written it off as pure fantasy and fairytale - to a large extent many are justified in that conclusion. A couple of weeks ago I was reading the Daily Mail, it was Thursday September 23rd this year, and the headline on this particular article was 'Is There Anybody There?'. There's a picture of a seance down here, and the answer comes back in capitals in bold 'No!' - the subtitle is: 'Messages From The Spirit World Are Based on Guesswork Says Professor'. It was Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Herefordshire, and he had done many tests and concluded that people are not particularly deceitful as Spiritists, but to a large extent, as far as he could find with experimentation, much of what passes as Spiritism today is hoax and has been exposed by many competent professionals as being fraudulent.

Walter Martin, in his book that I mentioned, he cites some classic exposes of Spiritism in our modern age. One by Houdini and Dunninger, called 'Magic and Mystery' in 1967, others by a former psychic M. Lamar Keene called 'The Psychic Mafia' in 1976, and a joint investigation this time by two Christians - a Christian physician called Paul Meier, and a Christian magician, so-called, probably parading himself as a magician, Danny Korem - it's called 'Fakers', in 1980. They concluded, all these three exposes, that there is a large amount of what passes today as Spiritualism that is a hoax. Now I want to say today that perhaps the vast majority of what we see today on our television screens, at the back of your women's magazines and so on, William Gladstonethe adverts that you see, is hoax and deceit. However, let me say categorically that all spiritistic phenomenon is not fraudulent - far from it. Although a lot of what goes on today is simply making a fast buck at the expense of some very simple souls, there is a spiritual realm - and perhaps one of the greatest deceits of the devil is this: that behind the facade of what can often be false, there is a very real spiritual world.

Walter Martin, also in this book, gives some independently verified instances of spiritistic phenomenon which have been proven. In fact, universities all around our world are setting up faculties to study things like ESP, Extra-Sensory Perception, supernatural phenomenon that cannot be rationally and scientifically explained. But apart from all that, we as believers must believe in the spiritistic phenomenon and existence that is a reality in our world today - why? Because the Bible tells us so. We've read enough passages already to prove that, that we wrestle not, our struggle as believers is not with people in other nationalities or political ideologies; but our wrestling, our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, spiritual wickedness in high places.

Arthur Conan DoyleWhat I want to do tonight is first of all look at Spiritism in a general sense, then I want us to broaden to consider other related occultic subjects that the same Scriptures that we apply to Spiritism will also conclude in doom upon these other subjects. If we turn to the next slide, we will see that among some of the most famous spiritists that you may know are people like Arthur Conan Doyle - who knows what Arthur Conan Doyle was the author of? Sherlock Holmes, that's right. Over here on the left, William E. Gladstone - who was he? Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland at the time. Then there is Daniel Webster, who was a writer and US statesman. Then there's Harriet Beecher Stowe, some of you will have heard of the novel 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' - well, she was the woman who wrote it. There are many others apart from these four famous people who class themselves as 'Spiritists', and it is astounding when you begin to read up on the subject to find that people consider themselves at times both Christian and Spiritist. Numbered among some well-known Spiritists are not just clergymen, but Bishops in the Church of England - men who feel that on one hand they can hold their Christianity, and on the other they can dabble in this secret spirit world.

Daniel WebsterIn fact, as we study the Spiritist movement and the Spiritist church, you see that they're almost Christian-esque - if I can use that expression - in the way that they do things. In fact someone handed me a bit of paper from the Telegraph on Saturday night on the way into the meeting this evening, testifying of the first ordained female minister in the Spiritist church here in Ulster, she comes from Newtownards. If you look down the announcements in the Belfast Telegraph and in other newspapers, you'll find on the Churches page the Spiritualist Church announcing their meetings and get-togethers. Some of them have their services in homes, some in halls, some in churches that just look like this church building this evening - no different, only the sign says 'The Spiritualist Church'. In fact, they have their own hymnbook - and it's fascinating to flick through it. They use many of the tunes that you and I would use around the Lord's Table and in our Sunday morning and Sunday evening services. Here is a hymn that you'll recognise right away, but as you look closely you'll find that it is very different - we know the hymn so well:

Harriet Beecher Stowe'Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee,
O Lamb of God, I come'.

Well, this is the Spiritist version:

'Just as I am, without one plea,
But that, O God, Thou madest me' - look at the difference,
'And that my life is found in Thee
O God of Love, I come, I come'.

The idea of this transcendent 'God of Love', this power in the whole universe that wouldn't damn anyone, but eventually will save everyone. The second verse goes like this, quite different:

'Just as I am, nor poor, nor blind' - in other words, you can see something that no one else can see,
'Nor bound by chains in soul or mind;
For all of Thee within I find
O God of Love, I come, I come'.

And the third verse:

'Just as I am, Thou wilt receive' - mark this,
'Tho' dogmas I may ne'er believe' - doctrine is not important!...apart from theirs...,
'Nor heights of holiness achieve' - you don't have to be holy, even though the scripture says that without holiness no man shall see the Lord - not in this church!
'O God of Love, I come, I come'.

They have a pulpit just like this, and they'll stand and pray to God. They'll lecture in a religious sense, there will be healing messages that will come from so-called deceased persons, there will be other psychic phenomenon that will be displayed in these meetings - but the fact of the matter is: with all the Christian-esque facade of acceptability, this Spiritism is from the occult! It is occult in its origins, and it is occult in its practices.

Now you've probably heard the word 'occult' a lot in Christian circles, maybe not so much a lot today, but the fact of the matter is you may not know what it means. 'Occult' simply means 'something that is hidden', something that is secret knowledge that you or I may not have, but a select few have been party to, and they've got it through special ways. It's the opposite of 'overt', 'occult' is something that is hidden, 'overt' is something that is open to all. This Spiritistic Church is an occult movement that believes that they have the secret to eternal realities, and that you can only get it by tapping into the hidden spiritual world. So they do it through occultic means: seances, communication with the dead; telepathy, which is simply communicating thoughts and ideas and pictures from one mind to another without verbal communication; astrology, the study of the stars; clairvoyance, which is perceiving the future by a sight that is a sixth sense, if you like, not your physical eyesight. Then there is audiovoyance, which is simply listening and being able to hear spirits speaking to you. You're familiar, I'm sure, with fortune-telling, looking into a crystal ball. There's automatic writing, table rapping that the Fox's believed they heard; there's the use of the Ouiji board, which is simply a kind of alphabet or circle of symbols, and when you contact the spirit world the dead spell things out for you and communicate whatever you need to know. There's also the pendulum, another thing used within the Spiritist church, and they divine the future through the pendulum - they'll maybe tell whether you're going to have a baby boy or a baby girl, or they find something that you've lost by the use of this pendulum.

Now all of these things, all of them, are condemned in Holy Scripture. God does not use them, God does not even condone them by silence, but God says - now mark this please - that they are all an abomination in His sight. No stronger words could be used by Almighty God than that - an abomination! Now let me show you this, and I want to spend some time as we look at Deuteronomy 18. The children of Israel were about to enter into the promised land, and of course they had to drive out all the false nations with their cultures and religions out of the promised land, so that they would not be contaminated with the religions of idolatry and devil worship that the people adhered to. So in order that the Jews were not tainted by it, in verse 9 of chapter 18 God says to the prophet Moses: 'When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations' - there's the word abomination. These are the abominations, nine in all, that are mentioned: 'There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth 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: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee'.

Now let me say this very clearly tonight, if you don't understand what an abomination is: it is something that the Lord God of heaven hates, He detests! It is something that to a child of God, in fact I would go as far as to say to every creature, is forbidden. You're not to look into these things, these hidden things - God hates them, and He doesn't want His children to have anything to do with them! Don't think that God is some kind of party-popper and spoilsport, and He wants to keep all the secrets to Himself - God is not trying to hinder our intelligence, God is not wanting us to be harmed by these things, because ultimately that is what this hidden knowledge does to men and women. In the Garden of Eden, we go back further even than Babylon, this is where Spiritism really began, I believe - Satan said to Eve: 'God hath not said that ye shall surely die - you will live on!'. That's what the spiritists believe, that death is nothing, that you just go to another world, another realm - 'We don't die, you need not fear death, we will be as gods and have a knowledge that God would not have you have, but Spiritism and the devil will give you'.

Well, let's look at these abominations individually - I want to take time over this, for I believe that we will learn a great deal for our help this evening. The first abomination is 'passing through the fire'. 'There shall not be found', verse 10, 'among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire'. Now this has been traditionally known as the worship of many gods, one of whom is the god 'Molech'. This was the human sacrifice of feeding your little boy or your little girl to the fires as a pecuniary sacrifice to an angry God. Now you may not believe that that still goes on in our world today, but the fact of the matter is it does. We're not going to spend too much time on that, but the fact of the matter is that even this is real in our present day. But if you think of this in a metaphorical sense, putting your son or daughter in the fire is trying to earn your own salvation with God, it is strange fire before God, it is a strange sacrifice and a strange offering that the Lord our God has not prescribed. It is like every cult, every false faith that is not found within the word of God, that tries to achieve godhood or salvation on their own. If we take it even more literally today, the millions upon millions upon millions of abortions that have been performed in our world, little children being slaughtered by the knife of the surgeons who should be saving them - that is a way to see how our children are being fed to the fire, and sacrificed for self and for sin.

But more applicable to our subject tonight is the second abomination: 'or that useth divination'. Now 'divination', to give you a simple definition, is the practice - or the art, as some see it - of discovering hidden knowledge. Remember that hidden knowledge that I was talking about, occult, hidden things - well, you divine that knowledge, and you get that knowledge, and you're able to foretell that knowledge in the future, by divination. Now that means to us today, in the 21st century, applying that principle, we need to say categorically tonight as believers in the word of God and Jesus Christ, that we should be avoiding psychic phenomenon. Psychics; fortunetellers; the ouiji board; discerning the future through a crystal ball or through various crystals; tarot cards, setting them out and discerning the future. Let me also say that the cutting of cards is another way of foretelling and discerning the future, and it's not using tarot cards, it's using playing cards. They will cut the cards in a certain way, and ordinary playing cards that you might play poker with or whatever else, those cards are used and have symbolism of the devil in order to foretell things and divine - that's why a believer, one of the reasons at least, should have nothing to do with playing cards.

Others believe they can divine the future through reading your tea leaves. Others believe that through the pendulum, that we have mentioned, you can find lost things, or you can maybe even find water and a well. Others, and some people here from the country would know this well, that there are folk who believe they have the gift of water divination - they can take a 'Y'-shaped hazel twig, put it in their hands and walk, and whenever they come to a place where there is water, all of a sudden that twig begins to turn up - and those who know what this is like, testify that the force would almost at times break your arm. Many a farmer has found it hard to get water on his farm, and he has brought in the man who can divine the water - this is divination in the biblical sense. Whether you divine for water, you divine for minerals, it's all the same! Incidentally, Joseph Smith of the Mormons, he was a crystal-gazer. He was a man - and you find that many of the founders of these other cults were into this occult, secret hidden knowledge.

The third abomination after divination is: 'observer of times', verse 10 still. Now an observer of times is someone who is interested in astrology - not astronomy, astrology! - and is a star-gazer. They use the signs of horoscopes; they divine, from how the planets relate to one another, the future, knowledge of the future - they have the stars of the sky as their guide to the future. Now do I need to say tonight - and I feel I do! - that a Christian should not be reading the horoscopes, and I don't care if it's for a laugh or not! It's divination, so beware of horoscopes! Beware of any attempt to tell the future - it doesn't matter what kind of trouble you're in, or predicament you may face, you're not to go to a diviner or to a star-gazer or to an observer of times. I was thinking of other ways you could be an observer of times, not in the chronological sense, but superstition I believe comes under this abomination. You might think this is very simplistic, or even innocent, but we all know the rhyme about the magpie. Some people believe that if you see two magpies, that's going to be bad luck. Maybe you're one of these people who don't like to walk underneath a ladder - I'm one of these pains-in-the-neck that likes to walk under a ladder, just to defy all this stuff! You might be one of these people who says 'Don't put the umbrella up in the house, you know that's bad luck!'. I even heard someone the other day who said: 'Don't buy a man socks or shoes' - have you heard that one? 'Because he might walk away in them!'.

The fact of the matter is: these superstitions, although they are laughable at times, they can bring you into mental and even spiritual bondage and slavery - and I know people who have got to that extent, where they can hardly move for fear of superstition. With some people it's Friday the 13th, they won't take a flight on that day. Others won't travel with red and white pyjamas in case they die on the flight or something like that. There are other people and they believe in luck, they believe in fatalism, and really all of this is simply a belief and faith that other things, apart from God's divine sovereignty and providence, are determining our lives - forces, and rules, and principles that are foreign to our God. We take it out of His hands and put it into the hands of these 'times'. You see, God doesn't want us looking into occult things, hidden things - do you know why? Because God wants us to trust Him, the One who knows the end from the beginning - you cannot know that, no matter how much of a diviner or an observer of times you may be, you can never know all that there is to know about everything. God is the only one who has that knowledge, and He wants you to put your life in His hands.

We must move on, fourthly, to those abominators who are called 'enchanters'. Now more specifically, an enchanter is a magician or a sorcerer - this is a person who casts spells, who bewitches people. Basically it's someone who works magic, literal magic. What we have to say tonight is this, on God's word: a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ should avoid anything that has to do with magic, anything! Now the problem today is this: our young people and our children are being spoon-fed magic every day in school, out of school, at home, through magazines. Harry Potter is a case in point, I've dealt with this in more detail on another occasion if you want to get the tape on that, but not just through film, through computer games and video games, role-playing games that are sold and require players to get involved with witchcraft, sorcery, casting spells and conjuring up spirits - like Dungeons & Dragons and many more. All of them are opening up hidden things to our children!

Even consider, as someone has called it, the Hollywoodisation of the occult. Think of the films that have been brought out, apart from the horror flicks that are just humorous in one sense - and I'm not condoning them by saying that - but there are more serious films like 'The Exorcist', 'Carrie', 'Devil's Advocate', 'The Craft', 'The Sixth Sense', 'The Blair Witch Project', 'Halloween', 'Friday The Thirteenth', and 'Nightmare on Elm Street'. And it's moved from the film screen in the cinema to our own TV screens at home: 'Buffy The Vampire Slayer', 'Angel', 'Dark Angel', 'Charmed', 'The X-Files', 'The Dead Zone', 'Millennium', 'The Witchblade'. Now listen to me tonight: it doesn't matter whether you think that this is all innocent fun, and you'll say about reading Harry Potter 'As long as they're reading a book, well, I'm encouraged' - this is opening up hidden things to children! I heard of a ministry recently that looks into these things and exposes them, and a child rang in thinking that they were actually propounding witchcraft and, after reading Harry Potter, asked them could they teach her how to ride a broomstick! You can laugh that off if you want, but magic - God's word says - is something that God detests, and that's why we ought to beware of it.

ReikiYou know, I believe under 'enchanting' comes these two things: yoga and reiki, which you may not have heard of, it is an awful phenomenon. Yoga encourages you to empty your mind of everything, but open your mind to anything. Reiki is, I think, perhaps more sinister - I have heard of cases that may be possible demon possession escalating from this practice. It comes from Japan, I believe, but it encourages you not just to empty your mind but to contact the great force outside of you that pervades all of humanity, and allow it to come into your being. Meditation is another enchantment; mantras, quoting them over and over again in vain repetition, as the Saviour says that the heathen do; hypnotism - these things like subliminal tapes, which are actually encouraging you to empty your mind when you are unconscious to self, but be conscious to other things and open to other phenomenon. These are not of God, these are enchantments. In fact, I remember hearing about a programme not so long ago by Paul McKenna - you may have heard of him, he's an entertainer and a hypnotist. The fact of the matter is, he actually produced much of the phenomenon that you see in the charismatic movement today, and he did it through hypnosis. I'm not condoning that, it proves a lot about the charismatic movement, but nevertheless this is what I want you to know - he said at the end of that programme: 'The purpose of me doing this is to assure you and to encourage you to be careful what you open your mind to'. He said that!

Martial arts is something that is practiced probably in every Leisure Centre in our land, but the fact of the matter is: some of the techniques in martial arts regarding the mind and the heart, I believe, are enchantment. There are many other things that I wish I had time, and maybe I'll take them up on another day, and I'm sure you'll be interested in them: new-age medicine - now mark what I'm saying here tonight - the origins of some practices of aromatherapy, homeopathy, feng shui, you've heard of that, you read about it in the magazines, they are enchantment. If you want information on that, I can give it to you - but God's people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. You reach out onto a shelf and you buy anything, and you don't ask where it comes from, who made it, what philosophy they believe that is behind it!

Fifthly the abomination that is mentioned is 'the witch'. This obviously is a person, again, that practices magic - but she deals with demonic spirits. You've heard of black and white magic, they're both from the devil, one is not any better than the other - but we hear of witches called 'wicca' today, 'white witchcraft' that's meant to be acceptable. Paganism is a religion now, it seems, they use spells and they have seances themselves.

Then the next abomination is the 'charmer', that's what the verse says - this is a person who puts a spell on someone. In other words, they put a spell to change things, and they maybe chant magical mantras and verses or formulae in order to get things done. Now do I need to tell you folk - maybe I do here in the city - that this is very popular here in Ireland. Charms: 'There's a wee woman down the road in that cottage, and if you've got a big wart on your toe or on your hand, she has a charm, something that she'll say over it, and your wart will be gone in a couple of days, or maybe even in the morning'. The child has got whooping cough, there's a charm - there's a charm for this, that, and the other - and believe it or not, there are even charms that use the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and people think that it's alright because they're using the Trinity. People say: 'Well, if it heals you does it really matter? If my crop is good this year, what does it matter? Surely God wouldn't not do something good, if this is not from Himself?' - but you need to realise, and especially if you're a believer, that the devil is an angel of light, he transforms himself into something that is appealing, something that is acceptable, he's a master masquerader! Just because something works doesn't mean it's right. Objects that are often used by charmers are crystals, pieces of jewellery that are used for magical purposes, and that's why we as believers need to beware of occult symbols, talismans, amulets, crystals and all these things.

Seventhly, the next abomination is 'a consulter with familiar spirits'. This is a person who actually asks the assistance of an evil spirit, desires a demon or a spirit - we can hardly imagine this. They're called, I believe, those of them that are genuine today, 'mediums' - people who contact the dead. Now in reality, and I'll prove this to you, I hope, later on, they're not contacting the dead. Just put your mind at ease - many poor, mourning bereaved people are drawn into this cult because they believe there's hope of hearing from a loved one and finding out that they're OK - when really, what is happening is that this medium, who is in cahoots with the devil and an evil spirit, that spirit is counterfeiting and impersonating the person that they love. Hopefully I'll be able to have time to show you that this evening. You might say: 'Well, how do they do it?'. Well, they're corroborating with what I believe Paul in 1 Timothy 4 verse 1 calls 'seducing spirits'. Beware, therefore, of channelling, of mediums, of ouiji boards, of automatic writing, seances and all such like - we have nothing to do with them.

The next abomination is the wizard, you could say that this is the male version of the witch - but this is someone, again, who knows a great deal about these hidden things, and he's in touch with the demonic spirit realm. He uses magic to control other persons, and you can go on the Internet - not that I'm encouraging you to do this, I'm just making you aware - and you can get potions and spells for this, that and the other. They encourage visualisation, sorcery, mantras, astral travel and projection, levitation, clairvoyance, audiovoyance - seeing and hearing the things in the unseen realm.

Then finally, ninth, there is necromancy, a necromancer - this is a person, again, who has claimed to speak with the dead mainly for the purpose of fortune-telling, telling you something that's going to happen in the future. Again they're in league, not with the dead, but with evil spirits who pretend to be that deceased person. We need to beware of these things!

You know God's people were dabbling in this in the Old Testament, and God said through Isaiah the prophet in Isaiah 8:19: 'When they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God?'. Now God's word condemns you tonight, even if you're a believer, if you've dabbled in these things - there's a God in heaven whom you ought to seek! God hates Spiritism, surely I've made that clear to you tonight - the secret things belong unto our God, the things that are revealed are for us and our children's children. Jesus said the devil and those spirits from that spirit realm are like their father the devil, a liar from the beginning, a murderer who obeyed not the truth.

Now I hope you'll give me time to deal with all this tonight - don't look at your watch now! And that's not the gift of seeing out of the corner of my eye! - but you're maybe saying: 'What about Saul? What about Saul in the Old Testament?'. First Samuel, isn't it, 28 - what about him? Didn't he contact a medium? Didn't that medium, on his request, contact Samuel in the dead spirit world? And did Samuel not appear, and did Samuel not give him a message from the Lord? Now some may or may not agree with what I'm going to say tonight, but the fact that this happened in Scripture is by no means a condoning of this practice. What you have to realise is that Saul is in disobedience at this moment in time. He did not slay all the Amalekites as God told him to, he kept the King and he kept some of the cattle, and he disobeyed God so God took away His blessing and anointing from him as king, and Samuel pronounced doom upon him. Where we find him here in 1 Samuel 28, the Philistines are coming, Saul is cut off from God, Samuel in the interim has died - there's no prophet of the Lord speaking into Saul's life, and he doesn't know what to do. So in desperation he decides: 'I'm going to try and contact the dead Samuel' - so he goes to the Witch of Endor, or the Medium of Endor.

Now there are two views about this Scripture, the first is this: that this was a hoax, like many hoaxes today; and that Saul didn't contact the dead Samuel, and the woman was bluffing him - because God, how could He allow Saul to do something that His word forbade? That would seem to be contradictory, and I can understand that in a way. I personally believe that God allowed this, this was not medium-ship, no it was not. I'll show you why it wasn't - but I believe that God allowed this incident to put further judgment and condemnation on Saul. If you read this passage, we don't have time to look at it tonight, but we will see that Samuel came to the fore here not by the conjuring or in response to the witch - if you look at these verses you will see that clearly. 'Then', verse 11 of 1 Samuel 28, 'said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice' - there's no room, in the Scripture at least, between verse 11 and verse 12 for any of the incantations of this witch, for any of her medium's seance to be used properly. It seems immediately that Samuel appeared to her, and in verse 12 you see that she is obviously shocked, this is not something that often happened: 'And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul'. She talks later about seeing gods and spirits coming out of the earth and going into the earth, obviously she never really went into this realm, perhaps, in her everyday existence - but there's something real happening here! It's before she has even used her chants and incantations, and what I believe is this: God allowed Samuel to appear for Saul's judgment. Of course, Samuel carried a message from the Lord, more condemnation - you read of Samuel, not an impostor spirit, but Samuel six times in this passage. But God's response, and this is what I want you to see tonight, God's response to Saul was to curse him for being involved in such an activity! Doom was upon his head!

Now, we don't need to look into that any more, I can discuss that with you afterwards - but what I do want to say is this: the hidden things, these occultic things are not to be looked into by Christians. In fact, my friend, if you're not a Christian tonight, you ought not to be looking into them either - but especially the child of God, because God's word that we read tonight at the beginning says that we are children of light! We have been delivered from the darkness! Now can I say this, and I make it more applicable - and I'll maybe die at the stake metaphorically, or maybe literally for saying this - but the Christian ought not to be involved in hidden things at all, secret things. I don't care whether that secret thing is masonic, or that secret thing is orange, purple, black - it's wrong if you're a Christian and you're looking into hidden things! If some of you knew what some of the symbols that you wear around your breast mean, you would have a fit! I know of men who have come out of these movements, and they have experienced a liberation in the spirit that they did not have! Take it or leave it, you can't have your cake and eat it, you can't apply all this to all these other things and not apply it to these institutions. God's word said, when the apostle preached, that the gospel was for the purpose to open the eyes of the blind, to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God! Why would you dabble in dark things when you've seen the light?

Which path will you choose? Which? God's way, or Satan's? I want to ask you tonight: are you bound in this sin? Are you? Have you dabbled in this thing, and it has been brought into every area of your life? It's almost like there's a curse upon your whole environment, your whole life and home and existence? You're maybe sitting here tonight, and you realise: 'I have gone into these things, they're an abomination in the eyes of God, and I'm bound in them - but I don't know how to get out of them! Is there an answer?' - praise God, there's an answer! Christ is the answer! First Peter 1:18-19 says: 'Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers' - the past darkness, maybe the darkness that you're in tonight, do you know what can buy you back and save you from it? The precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot! The blood of Christ that He shed for you to defeat sin, hell, death and Satan at Calvary can deliver you tonight! Oh, my dear friend, He is able to deliver thee! What you must do is come to Jesus. You see, there's a power in Jesus, the Lord and Christ, that there is not in any other realm, in any other solar system, in any other place to be found - for He has all power in heaven and on earth, for He is God!

Satan is very powerful, and you know in and of myself I fear his power a great deal - but Jesus is stronger than Satan, and Satan to Jesus must bow. When the name of Jesus Christ the Lord is spoken, he must bow, and you can see the great power in Mark's gospel chapter 5, the demoniac possessed with perhaps up to 6000 demons. He came and fell at the feet of Christ, and Christ had the power to cast them all away - and there he was, sitting clothed and in his right mind because he came to Jesus. My friend tonight, if the Son sets you free, you shall be free indeed.

Is there someone here tonight who needs to be free? You need to come to Christ, it's as simple as that. I'll tell you, I don't care who you go to, if you don't come to Christ you might end up in a worse state than you are now, because the Lord Jesus said that if you cast devils out of a man, and Christ does not come in to reside in the man, those devils will go out and metaphorically get some of their pals and bring them all back to have a new home in that swept out house. Is that what you want? My friend, you need Christ, you need to come to Christ - if you want to be delivered, that's what you need to do.

But here's a second thing you need to do: you need to confess those sins that you have been dabbling in, like every believer, you must confess your sin. But if you want to be shot of these things, you've got to bring these things of darkness into the light. That's why a Christian shouldn't be involved in anything dark and hidden and secret, for we walk in the light as He is in the light, and when the light shows up our faults and our sins - hallelujah, the blood of Jesus Christ God's Son cleanseth us from all sin. You need to hear tonight that no matter what your deepest, darkest transgression is: if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

You need to come to Jesus, you need to confess your sin - but there's a third thing, and this is added on as an appendix to confession - it is renunciation. You might confess a thing as wrong with your mouth, but some day when you're in a fix, a Catch-22, between a rock and a hard place, and you don't know what to do, you don't know where to turn to - you might think of going back to your old ways and finding out the way from it. But renunciation is simply this: that you cut it all off, 'I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back'.

Can I show you this as we close tonight? Turn with me to Acts 19 verse 13, Paul is preaching, the apostle: 'Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the LORD Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus'. My friend, do you see this? They were trying to cast out demons in their own power, Christ wasn't in their life. Now this is what I want you to see: 'the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds'. Notice: believed first, then confessed, thirdly showed their deeds - how did they show their deeds? They brought the curious things that they used in the arts of occult, they brought their books together, 'and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed'. That's what renunciation is: taking it all and burning it - and do you know what will happen? If you burn your bridges for Christ, you will prevail! But if you don't, you will be hindered.

There might be someone here tonight and you need help, well first you need the Lord Jesus - but if you want to talk to somebody, please stay behind. If you want to be saved, or you're a backslider dabbling in all this stuff, wait behind and talk to someone.

Lord, we thank Thee tonight that the victory is in Jesus, our Saviour forever. Lord, we thank You that we can have nothing but Jesus for victory, for He alone has died for us, He alone has suffered our sins upon Himself, and rose again; and He alone ever lives to make intercession. Lord, would You please by Thy Spirit reveal that truth to some bound, lost heart tonight, and may the Lord Jesus have the victory and the devil lose a prisoner. To the glory of the name of Christ we pray, Amen.

Don't miss part 6 of “Strongholds Shaken”: 'Church Of Christ'

Transcribed by:
Preach The Word.
November 2004

This sermon was delivered at The Iron Hall Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland, by Pastor David Legge. It was transcribed from the fifth recording in his Strongholds Shaken series, titled "Spiritism" - Transcribed by Preach The Word. The inclusion of Images and diagrams in this transcript is done without intention to breach any copyright restrictions. If this has been done in any instance, please contact us and we will willingly remove the offending item.

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