|Did God Create a Devil?
The Bible pictures the whole world under the sway of an invisible devil. Where did he come from? Did God create a devil to tempt us and to lead us astray? Here are the answers from God's Word!
Chapter One Is THERE a devil? Many people talk about the devil and Satan. Others scoff and say it's just superstition and imagination.
DID GOD CREATE A DEVIL?
But is there a devil? According to knowledgeable Christians the Bible is supposed to teach that the devil is "the god of this world."
Did God create a devil? What does the Bible actually teach?
To find out let's look back to the very beginning. Open your Bible to Genesis 1:1. "In the beginning God...." God was before all. The next word in the Authorized Version is "created." "God created." He created the heaven and the earth.
But the very next verse of the first chapter of Genesis says this: "The earth was without form, and void." The Hebrew words for "without form, and void" are tohu and bohu. Translated into English they mean chaotic, in confusion, waste, and empty.
World NOT Created in Chaos When God created the heaven and the earth, did he create this earth originally in a state of confusion? Did he create it all topsy-turvy and chaotic?
We read in I Corinthians 14:33 that "God is NOT the author of confusion." God is the author of peace. God is the author of order and of law.
Why would he create the earth in disorder and then have to straighten it out? That doesn't make sense! One scholar points out that the Hebrew word for "created," bara, used in Genesis 1:1, "implies that the creation was a perfect work." That very word "created" implies, according to this scholar, a perfect and a beautiful order and system, not chaos or confusion!
The book of Job shows God talking with Job about the creation. God is saying to Job, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?" There is the implication here that Job had directed the building of some great edifice. Job was righteous and somewhat proud of his accomplishments. God was whittling him down to humility by a comparison of accomplishments.
God continues, "Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened [margin, "sunk"]? or who laid the corner stone thereof; when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:4-7.)
The "morning stars" are light — (truth — ) bringing angels and archangels, according to biblical interpretation of symbols. As creations of God, they also are referred to as "all the sons of God." So this, too, implies a perfect and glorious creation of the earth.
Then how did it become chaotic?
The Earth BECAME Chaotic In Genesis 19:26, the same Hebrew root word hayah is used that is translated "was" in Genesis 1:2. (See also Genesis 2:7 and 9:15.) And there it is translated into the English word "became." In the first three chapters of the Bible, and many other places where you find the Hebrew word hayah, in almost every case it denotes a condition that was different from a former condition. In other words, the earth "BECAME" chaotic. It had not always been that way.
Plainly the word "was" (hayah) here has the meaning of "became." The Rotherham translation of Genesis 1:2, out of the original Hebrew language, is this: "Now the earth HAD BECOME waste and empty." It hadn't always been that way.
In Jeremiah 4:23, Isaiah 34:11, and in other places in the Bible, you find the same words, tohu and bohu, meaning "chaotic" and "in confusion." In every case that condition is a result of sin.
No Chaos Originally Notice Isaiah 45:18. "Thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain." "In vain" is an inappropriate translation. In your Bible, if you have the marginal references, you may find in the margin a preferable translation, "waste."
The demons, and the devil who is their head, rule this present earth and sway its inhabitants. The original Hebrew word there is tohu. This Hebrew word is the identical word used in Genesis 1:2, meaning "confusion," or "emptiness," or "waste" — a result of disorder, a result of violation of law. In Isaiah 45:18 we have the plain statement that God created the earth NOT tohu, that is, not in confusion, not in disorder. But in Genesis 1:2, the earth was (because it had become) chaotic and in confusion!
Then it became that way after it was created. Now, what could have caused that confusion — that disorder? What sin could have wrecked the earth and brought it into the condition in which it was found in Genesis 1:2?
Life Before Adam? The sin that caused this physical destruction to the earth was not a sin caused by humanity, because there had been no one of the present human family on the earth until the sixth day of that re-creation or that remaking. So it was not a sin of the present human family, descended from Adam. We find in I Corinthians 15:45 that Adam is called the first man on this earth. In Genesis, Eve is called the mother of all living human beings. There was no other race of modern humans prior to Adam and Eve.
So the sin which brought chaos was not caused by man. And yet life must have populated the earth because a sin had occurred on the earth that brought it into a condition of chaos and confusion by breaking the laws of God.
What kind of life could it have been? It wasn't human life. Then what kind of life had populated the earth prior to Adam, prior to the week called "creation week"?
Next, let's turn to II Peter 2:4: "For if God spared not the angels that sinned.... " Here is the sin of angels mentioned.
Sin of Angels! Now read the next verse: "And spared not the old world," between Adam and Noah, "but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." There it mentions the sins from Adam to Noah, and it mentions the physical destruction to the earth as a result of the flood, a chaotic, physical condition brought about on the earth by the sins of those men.
Was there a chaotic condition brought about on the earth as a result of the sins of angels? The sin of the angels is mentioned first, and it occurred first! There was a devil already there in existence by the time Adam was created. So the sin of the angels happened before the creation of man.
Now read II Peter 2:6. "Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes [God] condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly."
Universal sin was in those two Canaanite cities. Physical destruction as a result of that sin came to the entire part of the surface of the earth that those people occupied. Then didn't such a destruction come to the earth as a result of the sins of the angels that occurred before Adam?
Now turn to the book of Jude. In the sixth verse, you read this: "And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation [they had a place where they lived, a habitation, an estate, and they left it], he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." Notice! It is the sinning angels who are reserved in those chains under darkness, restrained from light and truth until the judgment of the great day.
Angels Possess the Earth! How plain! They had an estate which they didn't keep. In Hebrews 2:5 we read this: "For unto the angels hath God not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak." In other words, the world tomorrow, the kingdom of God, will not be under subjection to angels. The present one is under subjection of fallen angels. The demons, and the devil who is their head, rule this present earth and sway its inhabitants. The Bible everywhere indicates and affirms that very fact.
How did they obtain their dominion? How did they acquire their power? How did they maintain their control? Where did the devil get the power to control and to lead and to rule this world?
The devil is the leader of fallen angels, as you will find in a number of places (John 12:31; Matt. 12:36; 25:41; Rev. 12:9). He is called "the god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4). He is the king or the prince of the evil world that we live in today. Let's see something about the origin of the devil.
Turn to Isaiah 14, beginning with verse 4, "Thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!"
Here is a king of Babylon.
This account continues to tell how he had disrupted the earth. He was an invader, a conqueror. He was a warmonger, trying to take away from others and trying to acquire all he could. He had just the opposite philosophy from that of God. In other words, he had the philosophy of the devil.
He represented the devil. The king of Babylon was the devil's instrument and tool.
Rebellion of Lucifer This "king of Babylon" is a type of the future ruler over the prophesied "union of Europe" — the coming resurrected "Holy Roman Empire," described in prophecies of Revelation 17 and 18. It is a system described in Revelation 13 which was given its power and seat by Satan.
Then in verse 12, the type — this human king of Babylon — lifts to the arch-antitype, Satan. Satan is to be removed and bound after the Messiah's coming. Ezekiel's prophecy, to be described later, reveals that he is a former archangel or cherub.
So continue, verse 12: "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer [the Latin name of this mighty cherub. In Hebrew he is called heylel], son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High" (Isa. 14:12-14).
The 15th verse returns to speaking about the human king of Babylon.
Notice, this former archangel had been placed as ruler over the angels who followed him into sin. He had a throne. He said he would exalt his throne above the stars (angels) of God. It already was exalted above the angels on earth — the angels that sinned with him. Now he was going to exalt it over Gon's ANGELS in heaven. He was going to invade God's heaven, knock God off the throne of the universe, and rule the whole universe!
In six days, God remade the earth, reshaped, refashioned it, and created human beings upon it. We learn much more about this cherub who became Satan in Ezekiel 28. Here, beginning verse 1, the human prince of Tyre is referred to, wealthy (chapter 27), surrounded by perfect beauty, saying in his vain heart, "I am a God," — "I sit in the seat of God" (verse 2) — compare with II Thessalonians 2:3-4.
Compare also Ezekiel 27:7 with Revelation 18:16. All these refer to the same system. However, Ezekiel 26 refers to the ancient Tyre, as a forerunner or type of the present and yet future system. Then, as in Isaiah 14, the human type lifts to the satanic antitype in Ezekiel 28:12:
"Son of man, take up a lamentation [dirge] upon the king of Tyrus [Tyre].... " The whole prophecy of chapters 27 and 28 refers, not to the ruler of the ancient city of Tyre (as does chapter 26), but to an important personage, in Satan's hand, of our time — and immediate future — just before the coming of the Messiah to remove Satan and bring in world peace. Therefore the prophecy points to the END of this great personage ruling spiritually over nations — as well as to Satan's removal from swaying mankind on earth. Now, beginning with verse 12, and on to the middle of verse 17, it speaks of Satan himself.
So, continue: "... And say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering... the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes [music] was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created."
A Created Being Notice, this is not speaking of a human, but a CREATED being. God would never say of a human that he seals up the sum total of wisdom, perfection and beauty. Then who was this great created being, originally?
"Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so," answers God. In Exodus 25:17-20, you will find the description of the very throne of God in heaven, from which he rules the entire vast limitless universe. About this throne are two cherubim — super archangels — whose wings spread out and cover the throne. This personage, then, is the former Lucifer, who was at the very throne of the universe, thoroughly experienced in the Government of God over the universe. Now he is pictured as being on earth. But he had been, formerly, at the very throne of God, as the next words plainly say: "... Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity [lawlessness] wast found in thee."
Then God attributes to him violence, sin, corruption of wisdom, perversion, saying he became proud — his heart lifted up because of his beauty. Then, in verse 17, the immortal spirit antitype descends again to the human type, who will be a chief instrument in Satan's hands in the tremendous world events just prior to, and leading to the coming of the Messiah to establish the GOVERNMENT OF GOD over all earth's nations.
This human personage, claiming to be God, sitting in his sanctuary (verse 18) showing that he is God (II Thess. 2:3-4), is to be destroyed by FIRE, brought to ashes (verse 18). Compare with Revelation 19:20. In the latter, two human personages, instruments of Satan, are pictured — one a civil ruler over ten kings and their nations, the other called a great "False Prophet" (Rev. 19:20). The prophecy of Isaiah 14 pictures the king of Babylon as the civil ruler.
Lucifer Becomes the Devil So now, let's recapitulate thus far. The earth was a perfect creation. The angels shouted for joy. From creation, it was populated by angels.
There was a throne, on which sat the one whom we now call Lucifer, a super archangel, a cherub. He had been thoroughly experienced in the administration of the government of God, having been at the very throne of God in heaven. God had placed Lucifer on the throne on earth to administer THE GOVERNMENT OF GOD over earth's angels.
There was happiness, peace, joy on earth. Of Lucifer, the Moffatt translation reads: "From the day you were created, you lived a perfect life, till you were discovered doing wrong" (Ezek. 28:15). GOD DID NOT CREATE A DEVIL, but a beautiful, perfect superangel. But God did give to his angels free moral agency — minds that were free to think and reason — the right of free choice.
Lucifer had allowed his beauty and perfection to fill him with vanity — with SELF-glory, SELF-desire. He became envious of God's power, resented authority over him. He plotted with his angels to marshal them into an invading army, to invade the heaven of God, to knock God off the throne of the universe.
Lucifer was going to BE God. It is his deceptive sway over the "Prince of Tyre" that will yet cause this personage to claim that HE, a man, is God.
So Lucifer was no longer "Light-bringer" but now an ADVERSARY — an aggressor, a competitor, an enemy. The name Satan means "Adversary." His angels now became DEMONS.
How the Earth Became Chaotic A third of the angels united with Satan in the rebellion. That is what caused the chaos of this earth. The sin of angels reached into the heavens and brought chaos on earth. What the geologists and astronomers see is not an evolving universe, but the wreckage of a titanic battle waged by spirits throughout space — a battle fought before man's creation.
The earth was created perfect. Then it BECAME chaotic as a result of rebellion. And in six days, God remade the earth, reshaped, refashioned it, and created human beings upon it (Ps. 104:30).
He gave Adam a chance to take the place of Satan the devil, sit on earth's throne, and restore the government of God on earth. Adam rejected the tremendous opportunity, yielded to Satan who to this day remains on earth's throne as the god of this world. Christ, the second Adam, will soon come to sit on that throne and restore the government of God (Acts 3:19-21). Remember, Lucifer had been placed in ruler-ship.
God placed the great cherub, Lucifer, to carry out his government on the earth, but Lucifer refused to carry out God's will, God's commands, God's government. He wanted to substitute his own. So he disqualified himself.
Adam had the chance to supplant him. In the contest to see if Adam would conquer, if he would obey God, he failed. He obeyed the devil instead, and man became the property of the devil, and the whole human race has been held captive by the devil ever since.
Jesus Christ came 4,000 years later and he entered the great contest — the contest of the temptation on the Mount. He REFUSED to obey the devil. He quoted scripture correctly. He obeyed God. Finally, he turned to the devil, and he gave Satan a command. He said, "Get away from me," and the devil obeyed!
From that time on, the successor of Satan has been qualified to take over the rule of the earth. But Jesus went to heaven for 1,900 years. He is soon coming again, and when he does, the devil will be DISPLACED. Christ will rule the earth, God's laws will be restored. Order and peace will come at last!
So God did NOT create a devil. He created a cherub, Lucifer — perfect in his ways, but with the power of free choice — and Lucifer transformed himself into a devil by rebellion against the government of God!
Adam's World Sentenced Adam and Eve took of the tree of "the knowledge of good and evil." Taking of its fruit was taking to themselves the knowledge of what is good, and what is evil — deciding for themselves what is right and what is sin. This, of course, meant rejection of GOD'S LAW, which defined for them the right and the wrong.
The glorious archangel Lucifer, as God originally created him, was the pinnacle of God's creative power in a single being. Few today remotely realize how great is the power, now turned to cunning deception, possessed by Satan. Apparently Adam completely underestimated him.
The wily Satan got to Adam through his wife Eve. He did not say, "CHOOSE MY WAY!" He appeared as a subtile serpent. He cleverly deceived her.
He put DOUBTS in her mind about God's veracity. He put a sense of injustice and resentment within her. He deceived her into believing God had been unfair — selfish. He subtilely injected vanity of mind. He misled her into thinking it was right to take of the forbidden fruit.
Adam, not deceived, nevertheless went along with his wife. With her, he took to himself the determination of what is right and what is wrong — thus DISBELIEVING what his Maker had said, REJECTING God as Savior and Ruler-rejecting God as the source of revealed BASIC KNOWLEDGE. He believed and followed Satan's WAY!
When God "drove out the man" from the Garden of Eden, and barred reentrance — lest he go back and receive eternal life in sin (Gen. 3:22-24) — God PRONOUNCED SENTENCE!
God had placed Lucifer on the throne on earth to administer the government of God over earth's angels. God said, in effect: "You have made the decision for yourself and the world that shall spring from you. You have rejected me as the basic source of knowledge — you have rejected power from me through my Spirit to live the righteous way — you have rebelled against my command and my government — you have chosen the 'GETTING,' 'TAKING' way of Satan. Therefore I sentence you and the world you shall beget to 6,000 years of being cut off from access to me and my Spirit — except for the exceedingly FEW I shall specially call. And that FEW shall be called for special service preparatory for the kingdom of God. They shall be required to do what you have failed to do — reject, resist and overcome Satan and his WAYS, and follow the ways of my spiritual LAW.
"Go, therefore, Adam, and all your progeny that shall form the world, produce your own fund of knowledge. Decide for yourself what is good and what is evil. Produce your own educational systems and means of disseminating knowledge, as your god Satan shall mislead you. Form your own concepts of what is god, your own religions, your own governments, your own life-styles and forms of society and civilization. In all this Satan will deceive your world with his attitude of SELF-centeredness — with vanity, lust and greed, jealousy and envy, competition and strife and violence and wars, rebellion against me and my law of LOVE.
"After the world of your descendants has written the lesson in 6,000 years of human suffering, anguish, frustration, defeat and death — after the world that shall spring from you shall have been brought to confess the utter hopelessness of the way of life you have chosen — I will supernaturally intervene. By supernatural divine power I shall then take over the government of the whole world. With reeducation, I will produce a happy world of PEACE. And on repentance, I shall then offer eternal salvation to all. After a thousand years of that happy world to come, I will resurrect from death to mortal life all who have died uncalled during this present 6,000 years. Their judgment shall then come. And on repentance and faith, eternal life shall be offered them.
"During this 6,000 years, when I myself shall cut them off from me, they shall not be eternally judged. Only, as they sow during their lifetimes, they shall reap. But when I open eternal salvation to them, there shall be no Satan to hinder or deceive them — no Satan for them to overcome. Those few called during this first 6,000 years shall have to reject and resist Satan's pulls and overcome. But those who do overcome shall sit with me in my throne, and have power under me to rule all nations under my Supreme Rule."
Upon Adam's making this fateful and fatal decision, God CLOSED OFF THE TREE OF LIFE (Gen. 3:22-24) from the world sired by Adam, for 6,000 years. That is, except in the case of chosen prophets for the writing of the Bible, and of the Church called out of this world by Jesus Christ. But even Jesus said plainly: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him" (John 6:44). (Read our free eye-opening booklet: Is God Trying to Save the World Now?)
When God closed off the tree of life, he closed off the redemption and salvation of mankind for 6,000 years, until the second Adam, Jesus Christ, after 6,000 years should return to earth in supreme power and glory to unseat Satan from his throne and to rule all nations of mankind.
Chapter Two Is THERE a world of spirits or spirit beings? Is there a devil?
IS THERE A REAL SPIRIT WORLD?
How do we account for so many areas of extrasensory experience that physical scientists are at a loss to explain?
Not so long ago a major British newspaper reported: "Increasing numbers of people who believe themselves to be possessed by an evil spirit are being given exorcism by Church of England clergy."
This — in the 20th century?
And in the United States a popular newspaper headlined an article: "Transcendental Meditation Is Dangerous." "Once the movement gets a hold on you, life is a constant struggle for sanity," a former TM teacher warned. "I've seen meditators who were thrown across the room by invisible forces."
In this mixed-up society, many people are bored and frustrated. They become "seekers." They involve themselves with astrology and psychic activities of various kinds. They want to "experience" a spirit world out there. But they forget — or may never have realized — that many who give themselves over to powers they do not understand have not come out the same again!
It is time we come to understand the truth about this much misunderstood unseen world — the world of spirit forces behind certain manifestations of physically unexplainable events, certain forms of mental illness, horrifying and unnatural acts of violence masquerading as insanity — and even religious miracles that masquerade as acts of God.
The "now" generation is so engulfed in materialism that it is unaware of unseen evil forces that have seduced today's hedonistic society.
The ONE Source of Knowledge Physical scientists cannot explain what has gone wrong in human civilization. Psychologists and psychiatrists are puzzled. Religions have speculated about the causes of evils. Isn't it time we looked at the only reliable source of knowledge about spirit and spiritual matters — the revelation of the Creator God to mankind? Of course you can reject this revelation — which we know as the Holy Bible — but then what answer do you have to the very questions that have puzzled thoughtful scientists?
God reveals in his written revelations of essential spiritual knowledge that he is spirit (John 4:24). He is the Supreme Creator Spirit Being. He is called the "Father of spirits" (Heb. 12:9). He is spoken of in this way in the Holy Bible.
The "now" generation is so engulfed in materialism that it is unaware of unseen evil forces. The Bible claims to be the revealed Word of God — a revelation of essential knowledge not other-wise accessible to men. Jesus of Nazareth said that man should live by its every word (Matt. 4:4). Jesus also said that the Bible cannot be broken — cannot be disproved either by internal or external evidence (John 10:35). It is inspired directly by the Creator (II Tim. 3:16). It is God's "handbook" wherein he reveals understanding to man that could not be obtained any other way. The Holy Bible is the final authority on questions of origins, purposes, and whether there is a devil and demons.
The Source Speaks The earliest part of the Bible was originally written in Hebrew. It reveals the origin of the devil. He did not begin as the devil, but as a superpowerful spirit being — an angel of light. But he let vanity enter his mind and rebelled against his Maker (see Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:11-17). He became Satan.
In Hebrew the word Satan means "Obstructor" or "Opposer." This should give us a clue as to Satan's attitude, which he has infused into human civilization.
In the Greek New Testament, Satan is defined as the "tempter," the "evil one," the "accuser," the "prince of the power of the air," the "father of lies," the "ruler of this world."
So there is an unseen world of spirits — good and evil. There is not only a Creator God, but there are lesser spirit beings, two thirds of whom administer God's government in obedience, and another third who are in a state of rebellion.
Let's notice the very first encounter of a human being with the world of spirit. God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion... " (Gen. 1:26). God had created man to be like him — to develop character and ultimately share eternity with God in the very Family of God.
Shortly after this relationship was established, Satan appeared to our first parents as a cunning serpent. Notice his approach: "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Gen. 3:1).
Immediately, Satan began putting questions and doubts in the first woman's mind: "Has God really withheld something from you? Perhaps God is not fair."
Then after hearing the woman tell of the death penalty for sin, Satan told the woman: "Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil" (verses 4-6).
So now, Satan was in effect calling God a liar — accusing God of withholding the forbidden fruit in order to keep man down and prevent him from becoming "as gods."
Satan is the accuser. He is also the "father of lies." So he will often accuse God or God's true servants — whom Satan hates — of being guilty of the very things that he, Satan, is guilty of.
In his deceptive approach to the first human beings, Satan lied. He accused God. And he also appealed to physical lusts — the tree looked appealing. Satan appealed to intellectual and spiritual vanity: "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." The devil very often tries to impart the feeling that you are justified in trying to "get" what you want right now. "Get" sex without real love, commitment, preparation and marriage. "Get" material things by stealing them, buying them on time payments you can't really afford. Borrow money to buy them, but "get" them and get them now. "You owe it to yourself," Satan says. "You deserve this vacation."
Ever hear that kind of advertising before? Who do you think really started this philosophy?
But most of all, Satan wants to oppose God's plan for mankind. The devil thinks he can defeat God's plan for man if he can deceive man into believing that he is the true God and that the devil and demons don't exist.
The Devil and Job In the first two chapters of the book of Job we have a remarkable account of Satan's activities and method of operation.
Notice! When God pointed out to Satan that the patriarch Job was a good and upright man, what did Satan do?
Satan wanted to tear down and destroy Job and all that he had. Satan resented Job's character and therefore his promised destiny to rule under God over the earth and to "judge" the angels and Satan's demons (I Cor. 6:3).
So he immediately started to accuse God's servant Job. Satan implied that Job had wrong motives. Satan challenged God: "But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face" (Job 1:11).
God responded: "Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand." Then follows the account of how Satan smote and destroyed virtually all that Job had. No wonder one of Satan's names is "the destroyer"!
Later, Satan gained permission and began to destroy Job's health — bringing him to despair and to the brink of death. Yet, notice that Satan can only go as far as God allows him. He can do nothing without God's permission (Job 1:12 and 2:6).
But how did Satan become what he is — satanic?
Long Ago... This brilliant, powerful, superarchangel, commonly called Lucifer, long ago rebelled against his Creator and led off one third of the hundreds of millions of angels in a gigantic battle in space (see Isaiah 14:12-15 and Revelation 12:3-4). This gargantuan battle — and there is another one coming up just before the end of this age — defies imagination, nevertheless, conflicts in an unseen world were and are real — they affect your life, your ultimate destiny and the future of whole nations (see Daniel 12:1 for an example).
In Daniel 10:10-14, God gives us a brief glimpse into behind-the-scenes spirit battles that determine the well-being and destiny of entire nations and peoples. Here, an angel or messenger from God to Daniel was obstructed by the power of Satan for three weeks until the archangel Michael came to his aid!
In Revelation 12:12-14, it is revealed that after Satan's second final massive assault against God's throne, the devil himself will be cast to earth with his total fury concentrated against the true Church of God — the Church that keeps God's commandments and has the testimony of Jesus Christ (verse 17).
"God of This World" Satan is called the "god of this world" in II Corinthians 4:4. He is the invisible spirit ruler who influences and sways this world's society, educational and religious systems and governments. Since many scoff at his very existence, it is easy for him to get under their guard, deceive them, arouse irrational and even unnatural lusts, hates and jealousies in people and nations he wants to use in destroying others.
Satan is called "the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2). Satan is in charge of this earth and its atmosphere, and broadcasts wrong attitudes and moods. In this way, he influences people and nations, stirs them up and blinds them to the true Creator God and his purpose.
Jesus Christ acknowledged that Satan has a kingdom (Matt. 12:26). But it is a misguided and confused kingdom, for Satan's system is called "Babylon the Great," which literally means "great confusion" (Rev. 17:5).
When accused by the hypocritical Pharisees of being illegitimate, Jes us sharply responded: "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44).
Here the Son of God revealed to us Satan's real character. He is essentially a murderer and a liar. He hates and wants to destroy any who pose a threat to him and his demons. So he will plot and scheme to hurt, to discredit and to overthrow the true servants of God in this age — as he has in every age.
Satan hates the preaching of the true Gospel — the "good news" of the soon-coming kingdom or government of God. For this message spells out Satan's doom — the END of his invisible control over this world's society. As in the case of Job, Daniel and Jesus himself, Satan will try to vilify, accuse, discredit, hurt and destroy any who preach this true Gospel to the world!
And the devil is like a "roaring lion" (I Pet. 5:8) trying to upset and overthrow all true Christians. There really is a spiritual war raging with Satan and his demons trying to overthrow all who truly seek to know, to serve and obey the Creator God. In this spiritual war, we need to understand the steps we must take in our own self-defense!
God Is Our Fortress Paul writes in Ephesians 6:10-20, telling us to put on the "whole armour" of God to withstand the "wiles" of a cunning devil. "For," he says, "we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against... [wicked spirits, margin] in high places" (verse 12, KJV). There is a spirit world around us! We need to understand that and be sure we search out and obey the truth, build the faith, wield properly the sword of the Spirit the Holy Bible — and in every way protect ourselves with the spiritual armor Paul describes in this passage.
Since many scoff at his very existence, it is easy for Satan to get under their guard... You need to understand the Bible's message and the meaning of the time in which we are living. Then you will not be deceived by satanic miracles: "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect" (Matt. 24:24).
The apostle James tells us: "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. RESIST the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:6-7).
Learn to do what God says! Learn to follow Jesus' example, to keep God's commandments as he instructed — see Matthew 19:17 — and read our free booklet The Ten Commandments. Resist Satan and any and all wrong impulses of vanity, lust, hate, malice, resentment. In any temptation, as you resist, ask the great God for the extra spiritual strength, faith, love and understanding that you need. If you do your part victory will be yours!
DIVINATION: Beware of Shortcuts to Making Decisions!
What's a rewarding occupation for me? Where should I live? What can I make of my future? These can be tough personal questions. They demand we make choices.
A significant number of people find life a confusing and frustrating process of steering the right course of action through a dangerous and uncertain world.
They seek shortcuts to end fears, doubts, frustrations and responsibilities that come with making a decision, taking action or overcoming difficulties. People in every age and culture seek shortcuts in the mystical services of oracles, wizards and shamans; those claiming magical arts, special devices, or secret knowledge for interpreting natural signs.
Such activities are called "divination." Divination replaces the essential need and duty of every man and woman to make wise decisions that develop character.
Divination involves attempting to consult sources, such as humans, spirits, the dead — or things such as objects, elements or nature — in order to obtain knowlege about people, events, the future and other matters that is not normally or easily available.
People in various ages and cultures have placed their faith in divination instead of learning to make sound and wise decisions themselves. Major techniques include:
The core belief of astrology is that an active relationship exists between man and the natural universe and that this relationship may be interpreted to direct the lives of men. Astrology proposes that the relationships of the celestial bodies influence human fate, human affairs, and human character.
Very thorough research has found no correlation between character traits and the zodiac signs of thousands of successful people.
Yet astrology continues to be so popular that in some areas surveyed 9 out of 10 know their zodiac signs, while less than half know their blood types. The fastest selling books in some large bookstore chains are the astrology books.
Astrology usually reaches peak popularity before or during wars or crises. During World War II, leaders of opposing armies sought astrology to secure victory over each other.
Today many nations have astrologers in official governmental offices to guide affairs of state.
By contrast, the instruction in the Bible is this: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him" (James 1 :5). Wisdom comes through prayer to God and the study of his revealed will — the Bible.
Michel de Nostredame, better known as Nostradamus, a French medical doctor of the 16th-century, claimed to have received visions from gazing into a bowl of water supported on a tripod.
He used hydromancy (or lecanomancy), divination employing water or other liquids or objects by means of which visions supposedly appear.
Nostradamus claimed his visions came from God. Nostradamus overlooked the fact that the true God does not use divination to reveal his will (Deut. 18:10-11).
A few of the many obscure predictions in his book True Centuries have been interpreted by diviners as accurate after the event.
Necromany is consultation of the dead or of a spirit to answer questions, solve problems or to obtain secret knowledge. This is done usually through a medium or channel who contacts the spirit.
Of special note along this line are the biblical accounts of King Saul's consultation with the witch at Ender (I Sam. 28) and the slave girl encountered by Paul (Acts 16:16).
The Bible clearly reveals the futility of necromancy. "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?" (Isa. 8:19, NIV.) "For... the dead know nothing... never again will they have a part in anything that happens under the sun" (Eccl. 9:5-6, NIV).
Rhabdomancy is the interpretation of the position of rods, arrows, or staffs for the purpose of divination.
Rods and staffs were commonly used in ancient daily life, but the use of a rod or staff for the purpose of divination was condemned in the Bible. "My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, and their staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, and they have played the harlot against their God" (Hos. 4:12, NKJ).
This type of divination, as all divination techniques, originated as a way to learn the will of the gods. Divination, by its very nature, is a spiritual activity that interferes with a person's ability to develop character and to have a right relationship with the true God.
Man is to use and build his mind. God provides ways to sharpen the mind. God's Spirit, not a false spirit or a stick, gives discernment. It alone develops a sound mind (I Tim. 1:7).
Also, God provides true counsel through his servants who are skilled in the application of his love and his law. They are equipped to help guide decision making when there is a need.
The final responsibility to make a decision or take an action belongs to each of us, though. We must choose the way we shall live. Above all we must not let a diviner do so. God commands each of us in Deuteronomy 30:19 to choose the way that leads to life as revealed in the pages of the Bible — which is the foundation of all knowledge.
COMMUNICATION WITH THE DEAD?
FEW questions are as vitally important as that of man's ultimate destiny. What happens after death? Is there a life beyond the grave? If so, is it possible to communicate with those who have "passed over"? Can a person "make contact" with dead relatives and friends?
Virtually all civilizations since the beginning of history have possessed some form of belief in an afterlife. And not surprisingly, attempts to communicate with the dead go back to earliest antiquity.
The belief that the spirits of those who have "passed over" can make contact with the living is known today as spiritualism or spiritism. Modern spiritism had its birth in Hydesville, New York, in the middle of the last century — specifically, March 31, 1848.
It is an interesting story. For several nights, mysterious rappings and strange noises had kept the Fox family awake. As far as John Fox could determine, the disturbing sounds could not be attributed to mice, rats or the wind. History is full of "haunted houses" of this type. But in this case, events took a unique turn.
On March 31, John Fox's two young daughters playfully issued a challenge to the noises — a challenge to repeat their own patterns of raps. Remarkably, their exact patterns were repeated — seemingly tapped out by invisible hands! The Fox sisters had established a dialogue with the unseen presence causing the noises!
News of the goings — on in the Fox house spread rapidly, creating considerable stir. Neighbors were invited in to hear the "conversations." Many became convinced that the Fox sisters were in actual contact with the dead.
Modern spiritism was born.
Within a few decades, the controversial movement had gained millions of followers around the globe. Among them were many famous personages, such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle — creator of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes and Sir William Crookes, the English physicist.
Messages from the "Other Side" Death, the spiritists declared, is merely a door to continuing life — in the "spirit world." Moreover, they said, we can contact, that is to say establish communication with those on the "other side."
This contact is usually attempted through the agency of a medium at a seance. A seance (French for "a sitting") is a meeting for the purpose of producing or witnessing spiritistic phenomena. The medium (usually a woman) is the focal point of a seance and acts as the organ of communication with "departed spirits."
Seances became the rage in fashionable society throughout Europe and America in the last century. In brief, a seance is conducted as follows:
A small group of people sit in a circle around a table, usually holding or at least touching hands. The room is quiet and dark. The medium then goes into a trance or semitrance, a state resembling deep hypnosis.
While in the trance, the medium purports to convey messages from the spirit world to those around the table. The messages often come by way of a "control," a departed spirit that associates itself with the medium and passes on messages from other spirits.
Sometimes the medium simply repeats to the participants around the table what she is told by her "control" — or describes what she sees in the spirit world. At other times, the control spirit or another spirit speaks directly through the medium.
On occasion, the participants themselves hear spirit voices coming from outside the medium, often from somewhere overhead. In rare instances, a spirit creates a vague visible form for itself and partially materializes — creating a ghostly apparition for all to see!
Many have come away from seances convinced of the authenticity of the phenomena. Others have suspected fraud. What is the truth?
Is communication between the "two worlds" possible?
The famous stage magician Harry Houdini (1874-1926) sought an answer to this question. He threw out challenges to mediums to prove to his satisfaction the authenticity of their activities. He claimed he could duplicate by purely physical means any effect they produced in the course of a seance.
During the course of 30 years of witnessing alleged examples of communications with the "next world," Houdini declared he had not "found one incident that savored of the genuine."
What Houdini often did uncover were extremely clever frauds and skillful illusions perpetrated by charlatans and unscrupulous mediums on trusting victims.
Darkened rooms provided the perfect setting for fraud. Concealed microphones, wires, mirrors, projectors, ventriloquism, sleight of hand and other ingenious techniques combined to produce a variety of spectacular effects convincing to the gullible. Houdini caught scores of embarrassed mediums red-handed in such frauds.
Based on his investigations, Houdini concluded that spiritism was riddled with trickery, deceit and fraud. Other investigators have agreed with him that the percentage of fraud is high.
But are all mediums fakes?
By no means!
There are many serious mediums who have stood up under the most rigorous scrutiny of investigators. Despite meticulous testing, they have given no evidence of any type of fraud.
Are these mediums, then, really in contact — as they believe — with the dead?
Spirit Photographs The art of photography — in its infancy when modern spiritism was born — soon came to the aid of spiritists in convincing the public of life beyond the grave.
Hundreds of photographs have been taken over the decades purporting to show vaguely materialized spirits actually caught by the camera! Many spiritists consider such photos to be the outstanding proof of their beliefs.
A large percentage of these photos, however, have been shown to be bogus — the results of "doctored" or retouched negatives, double exposures, trick lighting effects or other deceptions.
But others have stood up to the tests of investigators. The author has personally examined scores of these photographs and is satisfied as to their overall genuineness.
But again — are these photos proof of life after death?
Electronic Communication And now — a spectacular further development in the world of spiritism.
Experimentation by a group of scientists and psychic investigators has reportedly produced an electronic device enabling the operator to engage in two-way, telephone-like conversations with the dead — a type of Ouija board with a voice! You may have seen newspaper articles about this alleged "breakthrough."
It was the great inventor Thomas Edison who first conceived the possibility of instrumental communication with the dead. But experimenters had to admit failure in establishing an electronic link with the spirit world — until the late 1950s.
In 1959, the Swedish filmmaker and painter Friedrich Jurgenson played back tapes of bird calls he had recorded in a Swedish forest. To his astonishment, he heard what he believed to be his dead mother's voice on the tape! This began a series of experiments to record spirit voices. Hundreds of voices have appeared on his tapes.
Other researchers have claimed to have recorded the spirit voices of Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, Tolstoy and many other famous men and women of history.
Many years of such research and experimentation have now produced the two-way machine previously mentioned. The device tunes in on certain radio frequencies that provide a channel over which "those in the higher planes" — the reputed dead — can convey their messages.
There is no apparent reason to doubt the sincerity or the integrity of those who have worked on this project or of other researchers in the field of EVP (electronic voice phenomena). It is unlikely that the voices have been faked in any way. There are no indications of fraud or hoax. It is apparent that the researchers are in actual voice contact with spirit entities.
By what means does the device work? "It does work," remarks one of its inventors, "but we don't fully know those underlying laws yet." He also admits that mediumship is involved to some degree. "It [the device] requires an operator with a very special type of psychic energy."
Are these the voices of the dead?
Some investigators have suggested that these reputed "messages from the dead" might actually be coming somehow from the subconscious of the machine's operator himself, and not from the "other side." The same explanation has often been put forward to account for the messages of mediums in seances.
Researchers have claimed to have recorded the spirit voices of Churchill, Hitler, Stalin, Tolstoy... Many other explanations have been suggested for this and other spirit phenomena — all of which at times have probably played a role. But again, not all spirit phenomena can be adequately explained away by such theories. There remain certain manifestations for which no entirely satisfactory explanation has been offered — other than actual spirit contact.
But has contact been made with the dead? Or might there be another explanation?
No Immortal Soul We have through the years published articles and booklets challenging the widely held belief in an "immortal soul." The age-old belief in the separate existences of the body and the soul was proved to be without support in the Bible!
These articles have explained the true scriptural definition of the word soul, demonstrating that "soul" designates man's physical life — that a soul is what man is, not something spiritual he has. Man has no inherent immortality. The soul is mortal and can die (Ezek. 18:4, 20).
The Bible clearly teaches that the dead "sleep" in insensibility in their graves until a future resurrection — a rising from the dead.
Many readers have written to us inquiring how one can explain "ghosts," seances, spirit photography and related phenomena. If these are not the spirits of the dead — what are they?
The explanation is found in the Bible!
World of Spirits The Bible reveals that there is indeed a world of spirits! But they are not the spirits of the dead — though some may masquerade as spirits of the dead! This spirit world is the world of angels — and demons (fallen angels).
Satan and his demons have, for millennia, been turning mankind from truth into spiritual darkness, falsely calling that darkness "light." The Bible warns of the dangers of humans dabbling in the world of spirits. For example:
"Regard not them that have familiar spirits [the "control" or "guide" that associates itself with a witch or medium], neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them... " (Lev. 19:31).
"There shall not be found among you any one... that useth divination [obtaining secret knowledge by supernatural means], 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 [one who enquires of the dead]. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord... " (Deut. 18:10-12).
Again: "They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination... " (Ezek. 13:6-7).
In the New Testament — in Acts 16 — the apostle Paul exorcised a spirit of divination from a young woman.
Now notice another biblical example of just how seriously God takes spiritism!
In I Samuel 28, we find an account of an ancient "seance" involving King Saul of Israel. Saul desired to know about the outcome of a great battle with the Philistines in which he was about to engage. He inquired of God, but received no answer (verse 6). God refused to listen to Saul because of his rebellious attitude.
Saul then defied God's clear commands in the law and ordered his servants: "Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her" (verse 7).
Saul was told that there was a woman at Endor that had a familiar spirit. She is referred to as a witch in some translations, as a medium in others.
So Saul disguised himself and went to the woman by night and said: "I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee" (verse 8). The practice of "consulting the dead" was rife among ancient Israel's heathen neighbors. Saul had been influenced by their practices.
Now notice what happened:
The medium asked whom she should bring up. Saul said: "Bring me up Samuel" (verse 11).
The woman then saw a form that she believed to be Samuel. Saul himself did not see the spirit, for he asked the woman to describe it to him. As a result of the description, Saul "perceived that it was Samuel" (verse 14).
The spirit — still invisible to Saul — then spoke directly to Saul and prophesied of his impending defeat at the hands of the Philistines (verses 18-19).
The spirit that appeared was not Samuel. Samuel was dead (verse 3), and "the dead know not any thing" (Eccl. 9:5, 10). At death, one's thoughts perish — as the Bible plainly teaches (Ps. 146:4).
Moreover, Scripture tells us that God refused to answer Saul by prophets (I Sam. 28:6). But Samuel was a prophet (Acts 13:20). The spirit that spoke to Saul thus could not have really been Samuel.
Virtually all civilizations since the beginning of history have possessed some form of belief in an afterlife. What had appeared to the medium and spoke to Saul was simply a form that looked like Samuel — a demon impersonating Samuel! It was deception, however sincere the medium may have been. There is no other explanation within the teachings of the Bible!
Saul assumed the demon was Samuel — just as spiritists assume they are contacting the spirits of the dead. Spiritists would all do well to ask themselves the question posed by Hamlet in the play by William Shakespeare. Upon encountering a form claiming to be the ghost of his father, Hamlet thought to himself:
"The spirit that I have seen
May be a devil, and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape."
Saul sinned by seeking a witch. God takes the sin of spiritism very seriously. "So Saul died for his transgression..." (I Chron. 10:13).
Works of Darkness Demons are spirits of darkness. Spiritism is a work of darkness. Little wonder that it is normal spiritist practice to conduct seances in a darkened room. Strong light, say spiritists, hinders communications with the spirits. This fact in itself should tell them something about what kind of spirits they are dealing with!
One might also ask of spiritists why the "afterlife" is apparently so concerned with such trivia as is often manifested in seances and "hauntings": knocks and rappings, eerie noises, screams, table levitating and the like. Is there not more to this alleged afterlife than the playing of childish pranks and usually trivial conversation?
The answer should be clear! It is not the dead with whom spiritists are dealing!
The dead cannot communicate with the living! The reason? They're DEAD — not alive in some sort of "spirit world." No such survival is taught anywhere in the Bible! (Read our free booklet Lazarus and the Rich Man for the explanation to one of the most misunderstood biblical passages in this regard.)
It is the world of demons — seeking to perpetuate the false doctrine of the immortal soul — that is behind spirit manifestations in seances, spirit photographs and electronic voice phenomena. Masquerading as "spirits of the dead," they deceive the biblically unlearned — just as King Saul was deceived at Endor!
Such manifestations are accomplished by demon power — not by the Spirit of God! Most spiritists refuse to admit this possibility.
Man's True Destiny There is only one mediator between God and man — Jesus Christ (I Tim. 2:5-6). Mediums and their familiar spirits are not the source of reliable spiritual knowledge, but rather perpetuate a false concept of man's destiny.
The Bible has much to say about eternal life — and how one can receive it as a gift. But this truth is much different than what many have been led to believe!
If you would know the TRUTH about man's destiny, go to the TRUE SOURCE of such knowledge — the Bible — and read our free booklet is there Life After Death? Do not risk the dangers of dabbling in the spirit world. Follow the example of the Ephesians, who burned their books of sorcery, magic and divination when they heard the truth! (Acts 19:19.)
VIEW AT YOUR OWN RISK
Audience reaction to what may be called "devil movies" can be profound. Viewers, in many cases, take them very seriously. Interviews with patrons leaving the theater allow little doubt about the films' impact. Some have been literally terrified, shivering with fright. A few have been sick physically, some having actually fainted or thrown up in the theater. Many have spoken about the reinforcement of their belief in the supernatural, and demons in particular. Some have said they want to study further into the mysteries of the occult and the spirit world. And some, of course, have attempted to laugh it off.
Psychological reactions are not the only potential effect of devil films. While there has been considerable interest in the "pop religions" of mysticism and occultism, large segments of society remain biblically illiterate. For all they know, the pseudo-biblical pretentions of some of these films are pure biblical truth, when in fact they are riddled with biblical inaccuracies, and misconceptions. So there can be adverse spiritual as well as psychological consequences in viewing devil movies.
Some theologians, consequently, have accused the writers and producers of these films of unwittingly playing into the hands of the very devil whose existence they in most cases deny. By perverting and fictionalizing the Bible — popularizing a false picture of Satan and his intentions — Hollywood, these critics charge, may be rendering Satan's real activities unrecognizable. What more could Satan want than a distorted popular image?
These charges may indeed be valid, though many theologians themselves are confused on the subject.
There are much more immediate personal dangers in devil movies, however, than mere scriptural inaccuracies. Despite the unfounded assertions of "enlightened" modern-day psychologists and philosophers, there is a spirit world. There are such things as demons. There is a devil.
The Bible calls him "the god of this world [or age]" (II Cor. 4:4) and "the prince of devils [demons]" (Mark 3:22), who has "deceived the whole world" (Rev. 12:9). He is pictured as "a roaring lion, walking about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Pet. 5:8).
What more could Satan want than a distorted popular image?
Satan's power, however, is limited. He can do only what God allows him to do, as is clearly seen in the book of Job. The movie industry's portrayal of a great conflict between God and Satan — which God, on occasion, loses — is clearly unbiblical.
Numerous cases of demonic possession are found in the Scriptures, as well as cases of "exorcisms" — casting out of demons by the servants of God. In nearly all cases, God's servants (such as Paul in Acts 16) simply rebuked the evil spirit in the name of Jesus Christ, "and he came out in the same hour." The elaborate Latin incantations and arduous "rites of exorcism" depicted in some of the recent films are not based on Scripture.
Demonic influence and, in some cases, actual possession still occur — yes, even in our modern, sophisticated world of the twentieth century. Opening one's mind to demonic influence through a preoccupation with occultism and interest in the supernatural is therefore fraught with potential dangers.
Nearly 2000 years ago, the apostle Paul admonished: "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness... " (Eph. 5:11). The apostle James warned: " Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
We must guard the doors to our minds!
"CHANNELING": WHAT IS IT?
Channeling" is, say those who have experienced it, essentially contact between a person and a spirit being.
Channeling is a popular phenomenon worldwide. Many books, magazines, movies, and TV shows promote channeling. Celebrities, politicians and educators are advocating it.
Interest has grown to the extent that some public schools are teaching preliminary meditative and self-esteem techniques just in case some children discover inner abilities which could lead to channeling and other psychic activity.
Why is channeling gaining so much interest? Because it claims to be a personal ticket to a new and improved self, a mental evolutionary step to a new age.
"Channeling" has been applied to many different activities of the mind in recent years, including techniques to build the conscious mind. However, "trance channeling" is the popular form of channeling now in vogue.
Let's examine a typical channel (one who practices channeling). He or she gathers an audience, chants a few lines or in some meditative way puts his or her conscious mind into a neutral state that is receptive to a particular "spirit guide." The channel may go limp for a moment. Then the extraordinary happens.
The person suddenly seems filled with an entirely different personality. The "familiar" spirit "guide" is now allegedly working in the individual.
The spirit usually claims to be some exotic being, often from the past, although some spirits claim to be "from the future," from another planet, or even to be the voice of a plant or animal.
The "channel" will engage in a captivating dialog with the audience. It may personally give a message to each listener, make a diagnosis of illness, or deliver eloquent "wisdom" and fantasy.
According to Dr. Thelma Moss, a University of California parapsychologist, trance channeling is just "a new name for old activity." She says that "it goes back to the mediums and way back to the oracles at Delphi." Channeling then, is twentieth century mediumship or spiritism.
Dr. Moss explains channeling as "the exact opposite of developing the conscious mind... [it] means putting aside the conscious mind while bringing forward the unconscious mind."
Many hypnosis sessions, meditative "higher consciousness" techniques and therapeutically assisted methods in the "human potential movement" may be considered a form of channeling.
Being a part of a channeling experience can, for some people, be persuasive. Some have spent large sums of money, given up homes, moved across country or abandoned loved ones to pursue the advice of channels.
Dr. Moss, who has studied many channels, says, "The chief danger of channeling is you come to believe the messages are true. You rely on them because they seem to come from a higher source, a personal contact with the gods."
Channelers, and those who heed their message, inevitably restructure their lives to conform to the message brought from this "higher consciousness."
"The impressive sensation of channeling causes people to rely on it more and more, turning them inward, and making them crazy, causing dissociation — they are no longer in touch with reality or in control of themselves," continues Dr. Moss.
We asked Dr. Moss about the quality of the information that comes from channels. She replied: "Most channeling material is in the person's unconscious mind, I've never received information that appeared to be helpful and genuine, most answers are vague or nonsense, simply fabrications of the person's mind... the person shapes the knowledge."
Some cases such as past-life recall, out-of-body experience and new knowledge or abilities seem to defy adequate scientific explanation.
Are these a deeper type of channeling that goes beyond the subconscious mind?
God reveals the origins of similar phenomena in the Bible. There is an angelic world, with two types of angels. One type is loyal to the Creator, and the other type has rebelled against the Creator. Both types, on occasion, have influenced and do influence human beings.
Although some people realize the existence of such outside forces, either good or evil, the main question that channelers, and all who claim spirit contact, fail to answer with proof is how can they be sure which influence they are yielding to?
And what would indicate that a channel is being spirit influenced? They might acquire extra knowledge and abilities not natural to them. They may become capable of super physical or mental feats. Or relate visions or knowledge seemingly outside time and space, such as astral visions or time travel.
How should channeling, certainly its deeper levels, be evaluated?
A public warning to beware of "channeling" is being issued by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP).
CSICOP is alarmed that channelers are allowed to make unverified claims and give questionable advice, while charging their clients hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Citing that many people have been misled, CSICOP challenges channelers to offer proof of their abilities. Coupled with the challenge, is a generous offer to assist in scientifically controlled testing.
One wonders, however, why channelers are not accepting the challenge in droves!
The Bible warns us to "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God" (I John 4:1). Don't be fooled! Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44). If a message in any way contains a lie, then it is not from God because God cannot lie (Heb. 6:18). One lie to beware of in channeled messages is that humans are immortal. Channeling teaches that people are spirits that reincarnate in physical bodies throughout eternal cycles of nature.
Immortality is something that God alone has, but immortality is — in the future — to be given by him as a gift to others through his Son Jesus Christ (I Tim. 6:16; Rom. 6:23).
One must ask whether a message is true to God's word or does it bend the truth, especially in the area of God's law? Concerning "familiar spirits," Isaiah wrote: "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word [the Bible], it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20).
Is the fact that they speak of "love," "light" and "goodness" a good reason to believe their message? Perhaps the channeler is in a church. Evil spirits working through channeling may seek an unsuspecting religion in order to associate their activity with "good works." Compare this with Acts 16 where a girl channeling inside financial facts regularly associated herself with Paul.
Satan is a master counterfeiter, and pretends to be an "enlightener." As Paul said, "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (II Cor. 11:13-14).
Would the ability to correctly foretell the future be sure proof that a spirit is of God? Not at all! God sometimes makes known to evil spirits what is to happen. Examine I Kings 22:22-23 and II Chronicles 18:21-22. God permitted "lying spirits" to know his plans and influence people.
The most important criterion to satisfy, as in all things, is the question, "Does the word of God sanction this practice?"
Regarding the practice of channeling, Leviticus 19:31 states: "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither be defiled by them; I am the Lord your God."
Chapter Five SATAN the devil is very clever.
WHAT SATAN DOESN'T WANT YOU TO KNOW
No wonder. Before he became the devil, he was a resplendent spiritual being — an archangel. At that time he was "full of wisdom" (Ezek. 28:12).
When Satan rebelled against God's government, however, all of that wisdom became perverted (verse 17). It became tricky and deceitful. That is one of the reasons he has been able to fool all humanity (Rev. 12:9). He has deceived the whole world, as the Bible clearly states.
When you think about it, that is no small accomplishment. You've heard the saying: "You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time." But don't you believe it — Satan has done it. Starting with Eve and, through her, Adam, Satan has fooled all humanity in every generation.
How does he do this? He doesn't appear personally to every individual and lie to each one, as he did to Eve. He doesn't have to. He has a more effective method.
In the same way media broadcasting has at times been misused by human propagandists, Satan "broadcasts" his deceptive message. He is the "prince of the power of the air" (Eph. 2:2). He emits an attitude of rebellion. He radiates a spirit of defiance, of disobedience. Some of his message consists of outright lies; some of it is disinformation — a mixture of truth and deceit.
But the thrust of his message is always the same: Do not totally submit to the government of God!
Though Satan has fallen, God has not yet removed him from his position of being "the ruler of this world," as Jesus acknowledged him to be (John 14:30). The devil has authority over the kingdoms on earth (Luke 4:5-6).
Jesus himself, at his fast-approaching return to this earth, will take the rulership of the world from the devil. Satan will then be bound, not allowed to deceive the nations for 1,000 years (Rev. 20:3).
Until then, his work of deceiving all humanity continues.
The Whole World? "Well," some will exclaim, "I can agree that Satan has deceived many people. I'm sure he has the atheists in his camp. And there are certain tribes of people that openly claim to be devil-worshipers. And then there are individuals in every nation who are just plain evil. I'm sure Satan has deceived those people.
"But the whole world? Come now, what about all those churches that teach professing Christians that Satan is the wicked one, that he is the enemy of God and man? How can it be said all those organizations are deceived?"
What about that? It is a fact that vast numbers of people simply do what they believe is right. They would never knowingly choose to have anything to do with Satan. Many are, by any of the world's standards, exceptionally "good" people. Can such be deceived?
There are sincere theologians who teach against the works of the devil and his demons, some of them eloquently, even going so far as to try casting demons out. Is it possible for such to be deluded by the very devil they preach against?
And if you are one of those who have come out of Satan's world, spiritually speaking, as all true Christians have, does that mean you are now immune to being misled by Satan's evil influence?
Can Satan fool you?
It is vital that we understand, that we not be "ignorant of his devices," lest he get the advantage over us (II Cor. 2:11). Here is one of Satan's most important devices. Here is something the devil for sure does not want you to know.
Satan Compromises Satan is a compromiser. He is flexible. He will bend. He will engage in give and take as long as — and this is the ultra-important point — as long as he gets his way in the end. That is to say, as long as those he is dealing with stop short of fully submitting to God's government.
The Bible clearly states, as we have seen, that Satan has deceived the whole world (Rev. 12:9). How has he accomplished this? By compromising.
The devil has something for everybody. The broad highway leading to destruction — the highway humanity is following — is broader than perhaps you realized. It is divided into innumerable lanes. Everybody is sure to find at least one of these lanes appealing. But they all lead to the same destination: perdition.
If the devil had his preference, he no doubt would want everybody to be God-hating, atheistic anarchists bent only on doing evil. But he hasn't succeeded in bringing about such a condition.
True, there are a few individuals in the world who are like that. But most are not. There are devil-worshipers. They, too, are small in number. But they do exist. There are those who deny Satan is real and those who have no opinion in the matter. Satan doesn't really care, though. As long as they don't obey God.
You've seen the pictures of Satan as a funny-looking, red-faced personality with a goatee, little horns growing out of the top of his head and a long, pointed tail. He is portrayed cavorting amidst flame and smoke, brandishing his pitchfork and emitting gleefully evil peals of laughter. This concept is accurate to some, ridiculous to others. Satan doesn't care either way. If people want to poke fun at the devil, to think of him as a superstition, a fable, it makes no difference to him, as long as he has them going his direction.
Do you know that, if he must, Satan is even willing to allow you to obey many of God's laws? As long as there is at least one point of the law — whichever one it may be for you — that you refuse to keep!
The reason is that Satan knows God has ordained that to break one point of his law of love is to break it all (James 2:10-11). Therefore, to refuse to submit to one point is to rebel against God's entire divine code of behavior. Anyone guilty of such an attitude of rebellion obviously is not totally submitted to God.
That's good enough for Satan.
Do you know that, if he must, Satan is even willing to allow you to obey many of God's laws? God's Law in Force
There are those in the world who may preach powerfully against Satan and his evil works. They may condemn his ways as corrupt. They may accurately show how he gets to people through much of today's music and entertainment. They may urge their listeners to resist the devil. They may even promote acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior.
Believe it or not, all this, too, can fit into the parameters of Satan's scheme. How? It can be possible if church denominations, however eloquent the sermons may be, stop short of teaching that we must obey all of God's holy laws — if, instead, they say God's laws have been done away with, that they are no longer binding upon Christians.
Listen to what Jesus taught! He declared: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matt. 5:17). Yes, Jesus showed how to fulfill God's royal law. In this he set Christians an example that they are to follow, because they also are expected to fulfill the law (James 2:8-12). It is a question of law — of government, of obedience to God's way of life as revealed in his Word — and don't ever let anyone tell you any differently.
Total submission to God's law is what makes the difference between Satan's broad, all-encompassing, something-for-everybody way to destruction and God's "narrow" way that leads to life (verses 13-14).
But the devil doesn't want you to know that. He wants you to think that what makes the difference is whether or not a church "preaches Christ" and believes Christ is the Savior. He doesn't want you to know you can believe Jesus Christ is the Savior, even worship him, all in vain (Matt. 7:21-23, Mark 7:7)!
Don't Trust Appearances Satan is an expert in making evil look good. By compromising he can take something that is evil and combine it with enough good to make it look perfectly innocent. His strategy is to use disguise (Matt. 7:15). He made Eve believe that the innocent-looking but forbidden fruit was good for her (Gen. 3:1-6). When he tried to get Jesus to disobey God, he quoted good, valid scriptures (Matt. 4:6).
But beware: A glass of good water with a few drops of cyanide in it still looks like an innocent, perfectly good glass of water.
Satan is deceitful. Your only hope of not being fooled by him is to study and believe God's Word and obey God's laws. You need to ask for God's Holy Spirit to give you light and understanding.
Do what Satan doesn't want you to do: Surrender to God. Then "resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
That's how to get rid of Satan's influence in your life. That's how to come to the place where you can make the same victorious statement Jesus made when he declared concerning the devil, "He has nothing in Me" (John 14:30)!
The Worldwide Church of God produces many informative and interesting publications on a wide range of biblical topics. Four are listed below.
The Plain Truth
The bewildering tempo of today's news is greater than one person can keep pace with and digest. The Plain Truth spotlights trends, important developments, problems, and tells its readers what is behind the news and where it is leading.
What Do You Mean... Salvation?
What is salvation? Is it a place, destination, condition, or reward? Not one in a hundred knows what salvation is or how to receive it. Do you?
Human Nature — Did God Create It?
Here is a bombshell of a truth almost no one has understood! The world's evils are attributed to human nature. But are babies born with this selfish, evil nature? If not, what is its origin?
Bible Correspondence Course
The Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course is unique. Each of the scintillating lessons makes the Bible relevant and meaningful to today's world conditions. Life's most important questions are researched as you are directed, step by step, to the clear answers in your own Bible.