“The [Holy] Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).
THIS PREDICTION ABOUT the Endtime accurately describes the upsurge and interest in the occult, psychic phenomena, spiritism, demonology and witchcraft that the world is experiencing today.
In Jesus’ discourse about the signs that would precede His return, three times He told His disciples that numerous false prophets would arise on the world scene, and that they would attract huge followings. “Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:11).
The Bible tells us that if people willfully reject God’s truth, they will be given “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-11). When we refuse the truth, there is nothing left to believe but a lie. This is why much of the world today is wide open for deceivers and false prophets. An abandoning of true faith frequently precedes “following deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”
Of course, the Devil doesn’t always show himself to be the evil and destructive spiritual force that he is. Quite the contrary. He and his agents frequently portray themselves as messengers of light and goodness: “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15). He is the arch-deceiver.
Not only are many people unknowingly falling for Satan’s deceptions, increasing numbers are following rank Satanism. Rick Hatfield, director of BryLin Hospitals’ adult and adolescent inpatient chemical dependency treatment facility near Buffalo, New York, warns, “Satanism is one of the greatest and most prevalent threats facing kids today.” Hatfield, who has worked in drug treatment programs throughout the United States, said during the last six years he has seen a dramatic increase in the number of adolescents lured into Satanism.
Unfortunately, one reason a lot of people get caught up in the “dark side” of the spirit world is because they’ve been disillusioned by the apparent absence of spiritual reality in traditional religions. A South African expert on Satanism attributes youth involvement in the occult to spiritually dead churches. Reuter reports,
“Satanism is increasing, especially the serious cases; murder, assaults,” Colonel Kobus Jonker, head of the police’s Occult Investigations Unit in Pretoria, said in an interview.
Jonker blamed what he calls the spiritual bankruptcy of establishment churches in South Africa for the tendency of teenagers to dabble in the occult. “You can actually feel the deadness in many of our churches. There’s nothing going on. I don’t want to sit in a church like that.”
Witchcraft is also flourishing. The Manchester [England] Guardian Weekly reported: “Five years ago, there were thought to be some 60,000 witches in Britain; today the number is estimated to have grown to 80,000.” The growth has been called a “renaissance in witchcraft,” and there are now open schools in witchcraft that teach “psychic self-defense” and the history of witchcraft.
“Pagan power” is similarly on the increase in the U.S. AP reports,
The witches of the ’90s aren’t so scary, with pagan beliefs turned into full-blown religions, complete with services and holidays.
There are about 2 million Americans who adhere to some form of paganism, said Leo Martello, director of the New York City-based Witches’ Anti-Discrimination Lobby, an organization that fights for the rights of pagans to gather in public places and receive holiday benefits for such days as Halloween.
Although the Bible and prayer were officially banned and removed from U.S. public schools in 1962, many of these same schools now offer their pupils accredited courses in witchcraft and the occult.
Another field in which witchcraft and Satanism have made tremendous inroads is the popular music business. Just take a look at the number of album covers and rock videos that come complete with all the symbols, liturgies, and rituals of witchcraft and the occult. Many display an open worship of Satan and the netherworld. The sounds of Hell have seduced and driven countless people into lifestyles of drugs, perversion, violence and sometimes even suicide. The most shameless acts of blasphemy and desecration are now socially acceptable in the name of audio-visual entertainment and “freedom of expression.”