Evil can have a beautiful side. The result, of course, is always darkness and demonic devastation. However, when the evil of the occult initially presents itself it can be shrouded in a compelling type of allure that defies description. Just as the serpent in the Garden of Eden beguiled Eve through his false light and subtlety, so too can sincere Christians be deluded by a spirit of seduction.

This spirit of seduction is not to be taken lightly. Any believer who thinks that he or she cannot be deceived in the spiritual realm is deceived already because pride has set him or her up for a fall. The enemy of our souls knows us well. He knows exactly how to draw us into his web of deception through that which not only appeals to the flesh, but through that which tantalizes the spirit.

There are those who, believing themselves to be wiser than most, bury themselves in esoteric items, such as books or ancient scripts. Others may flirt with the dangers of hidden knowledge because it provides them with a personal image that they can hide behind. There are some people who see themselves as infallible and disregard the clear warnings of scripture concerning the pursuit of forbidden knowledge and practices. After all, being part of an inner circle of initiated people can appeal to a person’s need to feel important or superior to others. Finally, there are those who are sincere, naïve, and overly curious. These types of people can be seduced through their emotional makeup, and this is exactly where I found myself over thirty years ago.

At that time I was a Christian who, along with all of the other “normal” Christians, knew the plan of salvation forwards and backwards and attended church. That’s all it takes for a person to get to heaven, right? WRONG! No one ever defined for me what the Christian life entailed. I had no clue that Jesus must be Lord of my life, that I was to work out my salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12)), and that if I loved Jesus then I was to obey Him. I was the typical churchite who had been taught next to nothing and didn’t have a clue about separation, paying the price, taking up my cross through self-denial, and following Christ. No one ever outlined the dangers of the occult and what it entailed. I figured I was saved and that nothing could interfere with my salvation, including living a life that was far from pleasing to God.

And so it was that I found myself in a terrible personal pit, living in a lonely place and having only one friend, an elderly lady who lived across the street. She belonged to a book club and began loaning me certain books to read. There were books by Edgar Cayce, Ruth Montgomery, Jean Dixon, and other authors whose names I cannot recall. There were books about reincarnation, metaphysics, ghosts, the paranormal, automatic writing, palmistry, numerology, astrology, and other occult topics. These books appealed to my insatiable curiosity because of the many psychic experiences I had in my teen years and afterwards a brief involvement with a metaphysical healer who had somehow instantaneously “cured” me of painful muscle spasms in my back.

I devoured those books, but then the contents of those books began to “devour me” as I taxed my brain as to how to fit all of this esoteric information into what I knew of the Bible. In other words, I was trying to take all of the confusing pieces of the mystical puzzle along with scripture and compile them into one comprehensive whole. Of course, it is impossible to combine darkness and light, good and evil, truth and error. Meanwhile, Satan began playing clever tricks with my mind and emotions by causing bigger-than-life scenarios of supposed “past incarnations” to surface. Confusion and conflict was the inevitable result.

Even though these brief brushes with the occult took place over three decades ago, I will never forget the night of the demonic visitation. As I sat alone on the couch, suddenly, out of the air I saw a frantic flurry of vividly colorful activity streaking toward my head. I needed no formal introduction to know that these were hordes of demons, determined to push my mind into a total state of insanity. Loud shrieking, chirping, and an indescribable screeching assaulted my spiritual ears. I fell to the floor and cried out to God to save me, and they immediately disappeared. I cleaned out every occult book, and shortly thereafter major changes in my life took me out of the bad situation I was in and moved me away from my bookworm neighbor.

 In the course of time I found myself teaching an oil painting class to a group of seniors. One day I met a very petite young woman who was visiting the senior center to discuss the health benefits of Yoga with the group. Even though at the time I had misgivings which were, I know now, warnings from the Holy Spirit, I decided to join her class in the hope of regaining a more youthful figure. (Yeah, right!) My very first visit to this Yoga class gave me the creeps. It was held in a Unity church, and I knew without a doubt that Unity was satanic through and through. That entire class from start to finish made me extremely uncomfortable, and I could hardly wait to get out of there. (Since that time, I’ve learned to simply get up and walk out of situations where the wrong spirit is present, and this includes churches.) By the time I got home, one of my legs was so swollen from jumping rope that it looked like a watermelon. I got the message loud and clear. God wanted me to say away from Yoga. Later I learned that Hinduism is the origin of any type of Yoga, and Christians should have no part in it whatsoever for any reason.

I wish I could say that I was never spiritually seduced again, but such is not the case. A year or so later I was faced with another challenge. This time a retired Christian minister whom I trusted looked at me one day and said, “There is life on other planets, you know.” Well, since my endless curiosity about everything under the sun in particular and in the universe in general was still unchecked, I took the bait. “How do you know that I am interested in that?” I asked. “The Lord just told me,” he said. I was hooked. Then he proceeded to tell me that he had a book that told all about the secrets and mysteries that only those who were “ready” could understand. “It’s just for the initiated,” he said. Oozing with curiosity, I begged him to sell me this rare book. And that is how I came to be the proud owner of “Urantia.”

In less than fifteen minutes of reading into my newly-acquired treasure, I realized that there was something very bizarre and not a little frightening about these unusual writings. My mind spun as I flipped through the pages trying to locate the author. Finally I contacted the retired minister and quizzed him as to just who the illusive author was. I became agitated with his nonsensical, fragmented ramblings and gave up. One thing I knew—no human being had composed this book.

Every time I opened “Urantia” and began reading, the presence of very tall, evil beings presented themselves. Although invisible to the natural eye, I knew they were there. They were more “real” than the furniture in that room. There was only one thing to do, and that was to find out what the book had to say about who Jesus was and the salvation He offered through His blood. I turned towards the back of the book, read the blasphemous teachings about Christ along with a diatribe of hatred against the Apostle Paul, closed the book and marched it straight to the garbage can. Of course now I know that “Urantia” was written by demons posing as “Masters of Wisdom” who channeled blasphemous “mysteries” through mediums familiar with automatic writing. “Urantia” can be classified as the New Age “bible” along with “A Course in Miracles,” a book which, by the way, many unsuspecting Christians view as a harmless “Christian” book! I might add another demonically inspired popular book amongst Christians is “God Calling.” In fact, any book other than the Holy Bible that is written in the first person, purporting to be written “by God” is dangerous and should be destroyed. Never forget that Satan is very adept at counterfeiting. He counterfeits the scriptures, counterfeits the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and especially counterfeits the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Beware! Not everything that is “spiritual” is of God! Satan is a fallen angel. “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds)” 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4.

Satan, when he appears to the gullible, vulnerable, ignorant, and unsuspecting seekers of “spiritual experiences” as an “angel of light”( 2 Corinthians 11:14) offers a beauty that transfixes, mesmerizes, and deludes. Make no mistake—it is superhuman, compelling, seductive, and exceedingly powerful! No man or woman can stand against this great enemy of God in their own flesh and win. The Bible is very clear: Only those who are in Christ, who have been washed by His blood, who know Him as their Lord, love Him above all else (including their own lives), who have a relationship with Him, and who walk in the Spirit in true humility and reverence can resist the devil so that he must flee. Jesus said to His disciples, in Luke 10:19, “Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (For further study: Mark 8:33; 16:17; Luke 14:26, 27; Acts 19:13-16; Romans 8:5; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; 11:3, 4, 14, 15; Galatians 2:20; 5:25; Ephesians 6:11-18; Philippians 2:9-11; 3:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 2 Timothy 2:15; Hebrews 5:14; James 4:6-7; Revelation 12:11.)

  How I was set free from the influences of the occult may be controversial to some, but this is how it happened in my life. One day I listened to a series of tapes by Gene Aven, a committed Christian evangelist who, before he was saved, was involved in just about every area of the occult imaginable including Transcendental Meditation and extensive training by a witch in the black arts. Gene was now a Spirit-filled believer with a powerful ministry of warning Christians, especially young people, of the dangers of the occult. As I listened to these tapes, I began to realize that I needed deliverance from my past involvement, brief as it was, with anything occult in nature. I immediately phoned up an evangelist friend and told him that if what I had just listened to was true, then I was in trouble. I invited both he and his wife to dinner. Two other witnesses to what occurred were also present that night, and I shall never forget it. Everything was peaceful and calm, and we enjoyed a wonderful time of food and fellowship. Finally he turned to me and said, “Are you ready?” When he said those words, something inside of me began to tremble uncontrollably. I knew that it wasn’t me, for I felt a great calm and peace in my spirit. I stood for prayer and renounced any and all involvement with the occult. He anointed me with oil, prayed for me, and commanded the spirit to leave. The terrified spirit immediately left my body; I felt it go, knew it was gone, and so did the evangelist. The interesting thing is, the metaphysical “healing” I had experienced years earlier lifted, and the muscle spasms resumed. I began to understand this phenomenon after reading Johanna Michaelsen’s wonderful book, “The Beautiful Side of Evil.”

Other avenues through which the “beauty of evil” gains inroads into the soul are music, metaphysical healings and other lying signs and wonders, and vain philosophies that appeal to man’s intellect. Mystical and/or hypnotic music is powerful as it can totally open up a person to other spirits, as can movies steeped in the occult such as “Harry Potter” and “Star Wars.” Healings of a metaphysical nature appear to be a wonderful and good thing because suffering in the body is alleviated. High and lofty philosophical thoughts originating from the “Masters of Wisdom” open up the mind to “doctrines of demons” through the vain imagination and conceit of man. Christians must also be especially wary of extreme teachings that spiritualize the Word of God to the point of “mysticism.” Jesus is not a mystical, New Age “avatar,” but the only begotten Son of God—God Incarnate.

It is absolutely essential that we, as Christians, seek godly character and integrity. Our hearts must be upright and pure before God so that the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) can gain no entrance into our lives. The keeping power of God was dramatically demonstrated to me one night when a group of artists that I met when participating in a four-day art exhibit insisted that I join them in one of their RV’s. After much pressure, I relented. I regretted my decision as soon as I walked through the door, for they were intensely focused on one of the artists reading their fortunes from a deck of cards. I positioned myself in a corner and prayed to be invisible as one after the other exclaimed in surprise and delight at how accurate the readings were. Finally, she singled me out and insisted I was next. I heard myself flatly tell her that it “wouldn’t work for me.” I inwardly prayed for help. Every eye was glued to this woman and me. She placed the deck in front of me and said, “Cut the deck and turn over the card.” The card was a Jack. “Okay, take the card off the top then,” she instructed. I complied, and again the card was a Jack. She visibly stiffened in her chair, and in a terse voice said, “Take the card off the bottom!” When I pulled out another Jack, she became noticeably agitated, jumped to her feet and said, “Let’s all go out for coffee and desert.” For the remainder of the art exhibit she deliberately avoided me. Afterwards, as I related this in a Bible study, one of the men said, “That is the only card they cannot read.” I stand amazed to this day at the power of God to protect us once we determine to walk in accordance with His Word and will. (However, wouldn’t it have been better just to leave as soon as you knew what was going on?)

Several years later I had another experience that graphically demonstrates that neither time nor space exists in the spirit realm. I was living in Idaho at the time, and the Lord impressed upon me to go to Arizona and give the Gospel and plan of salvation to a certain individual whom I had met when I lived there. It took a couple of weeks to arrive in Phoenix because we pulled our trailer by way of Washington for some ministry before heading south. Once in Phoenix I walked into the RV Park where this man worked and stated that God told me to come to Phoenix to talk to him about his salvation. Needless to say, he was taken aback but eager to hear what God had to say. We met the following morning for breakfast, and after I presented the Gospel to him, he said, “Anna mentioned your name just the other day.” I was startled because I knew that he was in the habit of consulting a medium by the name of Anna. He went on, “She was reading my palm, and suddenly she spelled out your name and said, ‘Do you know this woman?’ I told her, ‘Yes, I do.’” I asked him, “What else did she say?” and watched a flicker of bewilderment pass over his face. “Nothing…it’s as if she just couldn’t see anymore about you.” After this exchange I went on to explain to him that there is only one right spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit, and the difference between the Holy Spirit and familiar spirits, demons, and so forth.

What I learned from this encounter is that a familiar spirit knew that we were going to Phoenix so that I could, first and foremost, share the Gospel with this individual. Not being bound by time or space, it immediately informed the medium so that she could warn my friend against me. But God intervened and stopped her from receiving any more information from that familiar spirit. I would love to report that this man received Christ that day, but he did not. There definitely was a battle going on in the spirit realm over his soul, and I can only pray that in the ensuing years he did become a born-again believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is my sincere prayer that if you have opened yourself up to the demonic realm through occult practices of any kind, this brief testimony will be used by God to turn your heart in repentance to the Lord Jesus Christ who is the “way, the truth, and the life”. If you are a sincere Christian who would never deliberately expose yourself to the realm of darkness, but you attend a church or group that practices inner healing methods involving “visualization” (as opposed to seeking the Lord for His direction), you have partaken of witchcraft. If you are accustomed to visualizing or picturing in your mind something you want to happen, and then maintain that mental image as you concentrate on it in prayer, this is also the practice of witchcraft known as psychic prayer. If you get emotionally caught up in repetitious choruses or chanting, then you have partaken in hypnotic paganism which is derived from demon worship, and you need to repent. If you have practiced “positive affirmations” and “positive confession” for the purpose of control and power in your life, you are guilty of the occult practice of mind-science, which is based in Hinduism, and you need to repent. If you have been or are involved in a sign-seeking church that emphasizes the supernatural you need to separate yourself from it and pray for the Lord to cleanse you from spiritual perversion and delusion. If you are, or have been, involved with any person or group who deliberately curses discerning Christians or ministries, you must renounce such, or find that you yourself are cursed. If you are experiencing any type of bondage and loss of liberty in Christ from a controlling leader, church, or legalistic system you are in a cult and need to flee.

The Bible is clear that there are many other doors and avenues not discussed here that one can open to the enemy. However, if you have any concerns, questions, or need help in this area, Gentle Shepherd Ministries is available to help you in any way that we can.

I leave you with this beautiful portion of scripture: “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, not things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Romans 8:37-39.