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by Brian Flewelling on October 17, 2023
I know there is a long-standing debate within Christian communities about the origin of Halloween and whether it’s okay for your children to dress up in innocent costumes and go trick-or-treating. Beyond the Halloween pageantry—and what it may stand for—there are certainly evil practices that the Lord expressly forbids his people from participating in. When you hear the stories that pastors and counselors hear from people who have been harmed or abused by the occult, you become keenly aware of the enslavement to evil that comes through witchcraft, cultic practices, or magic.
Toying around with these things is like running to a poisoned well to drink water. You may think that dabbling with darkness sounds fun or innocent at first, but opening the door to evil is real. Here's a list of scriptural “no-gos” I’d suggest you stay away from unless you want to become enslaved to fear, calamity, curses, temptation, and weakness.
1. Spiritism, Water Witching
God instructed the Israelites not to “consult” with mediums and spiritists; “‘Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them” (Leviticus 19:31). The practice of conjuring up the souls of dead people or “spirits” from the unseen realm was used to attain wisdom that you would not have access to naturally speaking. Water witching is a common practice today.
God is described as the All-Wise One. He desires to be the one we consult with. He is the Advocate. Why be “defiled” by demons and unclean spirits when we can turn to our “Wonderful Counselor” to lead us? Isaiah 48:17 says, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go."
2. Future Telling, Astrology, Tarot Cards, Palm Reading, Oiji Boards
People will turn to palm readers, tarot cards, astrology, or Oiji boards because they think they can discover something about the future to help them prepare for it. Or maybe they believe it's a harmless trick or a harmless omen intended to help them find their path. Leviticus 19:26 says, “‘Do not practice divination or seek omens.”
As with spiritism, God tells us not to turn to these. Pursuing other means of supernatural wisdom leads to dependence on an authority source outside of our Heavenly Father. We are to meditate on God’s Word and not on the suggestive power of fortune tellers or spirits. God’s Word fills us with power. His Word fills us with wisdom. His Word is our manna-bread and provision for today. His Word connects us to His heart. Jesus gives us this beautiful promise: “When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13).
3. Magic Spells, Pow-wow, Sorcery
Satanism is built on the foundation of humanism; it is life without God. It promotes an increased dependence on “self” and “unlocking what is within you.” It teaches us to expand our “self-awareness” and “self-reliance.” The occult often nurtures a craving for authority and control without all of God’s rules and restrictions. It subtly coaxes you into expanding your domain of power through spells and incantations. Deuteronomy 18:10 says, “Let no one be found among you who…practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells.”
Some people think they can practice an innocent kind of magic like Wicca, Pow-wow, or healing magic. Yet, God doesn’t differentiate between “white” magic and “black” magic, or "innocent magic" used for good purposes and "savage witchcraft" such as Voodoo dolls and sorcery. All of it is resourced by the dark kingdom and opens your life to demonic control and torment.
Jesus Christ taught his followers to die to self and embrace humility. Live dependent on your Father in Heaven. Abide in Christ. He alone is our source of power and strength. True authority only comes in dying to self and living in Christ.
The Bible warns, “Those who practice magic arts” (Revelation 22:15) will not make it inside his holy city. You don’t want to be tinkering around with casting spells and get yourself cast out of heaven because your spirit was aligned with falsehood. Magic essentially utilizes a power other than God, and that leads to eternal separation.
4. Dream Catchers, Spirit Boxes, or (certain) Hex Signs
It’s not uncommon in the U.S. to see “dream catchers” hanging from people’s car mirrors or in other parts of the world to see “spirit boxes.” These objects supposedly ward off evil or catch evil spirits and keep them from bothering you. The opposite is true. They indicate you are afraid of evil spirits and that you are relying on something other than the power of the Holy Spirit to protect your house. They attract rather than repel unclean spirits. In animistic cultures, you often partner with more powerful spirits to ward off lesser powerful spirits. And when that spirit isn’t strong enough or begins to oppress you, you seek an even stronger spirit to do the job. The end result is bondage, harassment, and torment from evil spirits.
Using an object, such as a cross or a hex sign, to ward off evil spirits is a misunderstanding of spiritual authority. God’s authority is not vested in objects but in people. Christ possesses all authority in heaven and on earth. Why not run immediately to Christ and his Holy Spirit? He is the most powerful Spirit. The scriptures call him El Elyon—God Most High; and Adonai T’sevaot—Lord of Hosts. God wants to be your protector. He doesn't want you beholden to some low-level pimping spirit who will take advantage of you and leave you exposed to spiritual harassment.
5. Celebration of Fear, Death, Demons and Darkness
Everywhere we look during this October season, there are skeletons, zombies, vampires, and demons. Somehow, these have become normal in our fantasy movies, in our literature, and in our cultural imagination. I used to have friends in High School who talked about mirror gazing (looking for spirits). We’ve become fascinated with the mystical, the gruesome, with horror, and with evil. This isn’t new to humanity, but it isn’t good.
The eye of our attention and the focus of our imaginations are like powerful telescopes that heighten our fears, our sexuality, our creativity, or our worship to God. Be careful what you pay attention to; your gaze is a form of worship. Our culture is quite literally being captivated by pornography and horror and cruel imagination. What you fill your mind with becomes the script you will act out.
The scriptures teach us to “lift our eyes,” to “set your eyes on things above,” “to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord,” to think about “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.”
Living in the Light and in Freedom
Most people I know don’t have intentions of actually promoting evil during Halloween, and many probably have no clue of the dark reality underneath the Halloween festivities. But I’ve seen enough evil in my lifetime that I don’t want anything to do with celebrating it or paying attention to it.
If you’ve participated in any of these cultic activities, it's important you understand that you’ve given permission for lies and evil spirits to come into your life. Repetitious use gives darkness greater control over your mind, heart, and health. You can be set free from that power, but you must repent! and break the power of agreement with darkness. Call out to God and ask forgiveness for playing with forbidden things and for running to idols instead of him. Ask Jesus to be your source of protection, your source of wisdom, your source of love, and your source of strength. Change your habits and fill your life with truth.
The blood of Jesus Christ is the strongest power in the universe. His blood redeems all, conquers all evil, and breaks all partnership with demons and darkness. The scriptures tell us that Jesus will destroy “the Destroyer” (Revelation 9) and will put to death “Death” itself (1 Corinthians 15). Jesus is the Life-Giver, and apart from him, everything perishes. He is the light; the persona of magnetic beauty. He is Prince of Peace. He is God of Angel armies. He is the center of all worship. All of heaven adores him as the source of attractive goodness and love. Lift your gaze and look to your true King.
Tags: truth, jesus, freedom, power, joy, darkness, authority, demons, king, repentance, light, spiritual warfare, lies, bondage, demonic, magic, sorcery, occult, harassment, cultic
Brian serves as the Equipping Pastor at Petra. Brian also serves as part of the Sunday morning teaching team. You may also hear him teaching in various other ministry settings, using his Bible study and teaching gifts to bless others.
Before coming on staff at Petra in 2010, Brian and his wife Kristina served as missionaries for four years with Eagles’ Wings Ministry in Clarence, NY. Brian has a BA in Biblical Studies and studied at Jerusalem University College in Israel for a semester.
The Flewellings are thrilled with their three children: Ariana, Sophia, and Elliot. When not involved in ministry or family life, Brian enjoys hiking, reading, and relaxing with friends.
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