1. In the trends he promotes. Witchcraft, spiritism, fortune-telling, astrology—things of the ancient Dark Ages past—right? Thirty years ago, right! but today? Wrong! far from it! For the masses of people deny the doctrine of divine revelation and providence, turning, instead, to these occult “sciences,” so that a revival of them appears under the guise and euphemism of para-psychology. The latter claims to be a new science, but it deals in the old field of the psychic, the metaphysical in the sense of supernatural phenomena. This includes necromancy, although that term is not used any more. It also includes interest in clairvoyance, another defunct term, or prediction of the future, as in astrology’s horoscope (the Devil’s horror-scope). Para-psychology claims that all these occult “sciences” have prophetic and practical possibilities. This is, indeed, a remarkable switch and trend in human interests. For three decades ago, this entire area of esoteric dalliance was regarded by men of education, intellect, and science with contempt as the cheapest ignorant superstition. But now their thinking is undoubtedly, “Yesterday’s superstition is today’s science.” So now, with revived interest in questions of “immortality,” how to deal with the shock of death, and what happens to man in and after death, para-psychology, by-passing the revelation and providence of God in reaching out to the other side of the grave, delves into the occult to come with answers to these pressing questions.¹ Today it is a well-known fact that a popular scientific institute has been established in Duke University² for purposes of studies in para-psychological research. This means that the universities are increasingly acquiring a sensitivity for communication with the supernatural and for spirit manifestations, hence special university course divisions for the study of ESP (extra-sensory perception) and psychic research, that is, meddling in the divinely forbidden sphere of spirits.
2. In the arts he develops. No less than Satanismhas invaded the highest institutions of learning. The dominating university outlook may still be said to be a rationalistic one, yet there is a definite trend to the metarational, bordering close to the superstitious masses of Asia, Africa, and, to a great extent, South America where the peoples are governed by a mediumistic philosophy.³ Among the superstitions and demon worship in West Africa and Haiti, this evil worship is known as Voodoo; in Africa and Jamaica it is known as Obeah. The Hebrew Old Testament prophets called it Obh. Involved in this occult morass is all fortune-telling, spiritism, use of the Ouija (perhaps from the Fr. oui and the Ger, ja, yes; the devil’s yes to God’s no) board, the divining rod, fortune-cards, astrology, palmistry, telekinesis (the causing of objects to move by some mental or supernatural powers, as in table-lifting, glass moving and levitation), automatic writing, spiritistic seances and mental telepathy. All these works of Black Art, spiritist mediums, witches, wizards, and the demons (I Cor. 10:20) behind them are under the terrible curse of God (please read Lev. 19:31; Lev. 20:6) and are worthy of death (Ex. 22:18; Deut. 18:10-12). The people of God must not dare to touch any of these things, not even with the proverbial ten foot pole and from behind a foot-thick lead barrier. The only safe refuge from these deadly evils and their deathly effects is in the sacrifice and precious blood of our covenant God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
3. In the powers he controls. So Satan and his dark minions are the principalities, powers, the world-rulers df the darkness of this world and the cause of so much spiritual wickedness in high places (Eph. 6:12). The Devil is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name is also Abaddon (Heb.), or Appollyon (Gk.), i.e., Destroyer. He is king over hordes of demons, two hundred million in number, which, in huge clouds, smoke up out of the pit to obscure the Word of God with the wraths of hell (Rev. 9:2). They, like hellish grasshoppers with scorpion power, turn the atmosphere to a black murk, revealing God’s curse on the current polluted atmosphere of modern education, human wisdom, the vagaries of philosophy, on the riches and luxuries of men, their art, politics, business management, and government. All this is ravaged and brought to a shambles by irresistible demonic activity stirring up lust, greed, and war.
The actually unimaginable picture presented in this chapter of Revelation is that of a black pall from hell hanging over the earth, the darkness of the pit overspreading the world, a tidal wave of hell’s vomit sweeping, over both heathendom and civilization in the demonic delusion of the cults and heresies, and in terrorism and war, war, endless war (v. 7, 9). Our end-time wars culminate in the war which finally ends all wars, the great war of Armageddon. Reference is made here to war decreed and to the devilish modern war machines (v. 13-17). So Satan heads vile, seducing spirits spreading delusive propaganda, deceiving rulers of the earth and the whole world to plunge themselves pell-me11 into the madness of that last battle (Rev. 16:13-14). Here we see what evil spirits in this modern age are doing.
We also need to know more about what spirits can do. To this end, consider that a spirit: (1) can lift and hurl down a human body (Luke 9:42; Matt. 17:15), (2) move aside a heavy stone (Matt. 28:2), (3) agitate the waters of a pool (John 5:4), (4) poke a man in the ribs (Acts 12:7), (5) open locked doors (Acts 5:19; 12:10), (6) shut lions’ mouths (Dan. 6:22), (7) shut a man’s mouth (Luke 11:14), (8) trick and deceive men, succeeding with lies to do so (I Kings 22:19-23; I Tim. 4:1), (9) drive a pig insane (Luke 8:33), (10) overpower seven men, wound, strip, and leave them naked (Acts 19:16), (11) catch, possess, and strengthen a man to break heavy chains (Luke 8:29 and parallel passages), and they are, although wrongly, worshiped (Rev. 9:20; I Cor. 10:20).
But it is Christ Who opposes the Dragon and his black diabolonians, fighting victoriously for His Church throughout this entire age (Rev. 6:2). The heathen nations oppose Christ and His Church, as controlled, severally, by demonic powers. Persia, for example, has a prince, not the king, not the shah, but a contending spirit, the supernatural power behind the Persian idols and gods. Just as the holy angels are sent forth in behalf of the heirs of salvation, so demons are active in behalf of the world-kingdom of Satan (Dan. 11:13, 20). But in the great day of the Lord, He shall punish both the demonic hosts behind the world rulers and those rulers themselves (Isaiah 24:21; Jer. 46:25).
4. In the proximity of his operations. All this being true, it cannot well be maintained that all demonic activity is either a thing of the past, something evanescent in the time of our Lord’s earthly ministry, or that such machinations today are fraudulent. We are inclined to believe the reports heard from many missionaries, of intense demonism on the foreign mission field, of which Japan is said to be the most difficult. Here at home, spiritism is more widespread than ever, and it would seem not only naive, but dangerous to shrug it all off as a form of cultic and heretical fraud. The heresies, cults, and sects are but ingredient mixtures in Satan’s brew. Besides, the bookstore on the mall is loaded with volumes on witchcraft, Satan-worship, and all the related works of darkness. Shall we then say that demonism may be a horrifying reality in the Gog-and-Magog fringe nations of heathendom, but not here in our land of churches? Wasn’t it the devil who was behind “the murder of the innocents,” perpetrated by the monster Herod; and isn’t it the devil and his evil spirits who deceive and ensnare souls today into the covenant-breaking wickedness and mass-murder of abortion? Isn’t it the prince of this world who increasingly fosters the insidious idea that our children are wards of the state? With this ideology in force, we stand to be restrained from teaching our covenant seed the religion of Jehovah, only to have our children taken from us to be programmed by the state to serve the god of this world.
5. In the blinding policy he employs. It is the god of this world who in our day blinds the minds of unbelievers, “lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:4). Satan is that god, for one reason, because so much homage and allegiance are paid him by the multitudes in the world, and, for another reason, that God has given him power to rule in the world with the scepter and bondage of death (Heb. 2:14). Increasingly, in these evil times, men become his willing slaves, and more and more openly worship him as Satan (Rev. 13:4a). Men love darkness, not light, because their deeds are evil. Satan is the prince of darkness, for he darkens their understandings, keeping them in the dark, blinding their minds with hatred, ignorance, superstition, the black errors of the occult, keeping the light of the glorious gospel from dawning upon them, that there never should be a dawning for them (Isaiah 8:20, margin). This is not so much Satan’s activity in heathendom keeping the gospel light out of the world, but more his malicious operations in keeping it out of the churches. Where the churches have departed from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons which is that wisdom James calls not from above, but earthly, sensual, and demoniacal—in those churches you have Satan’s kingdom. “From such withdraw thyself.”
Finally, tie briefly outline the history of God’s arch-enemy. For his original majesty and sinless state, see Ezek. 28:12-15; his original rebellion against God,Isaiah 14:12-14; his present kingdom, Eph. 6:12; his part in the Fall of man, Gen. 3:1-7; his present wicked activity, I Pet. 5:8; his followers’ final lot, Matt. 25:41; his own final lot, Rev. 20:10.4
¹ The Providence of God, by G. C. Berkouwer, Eerdmans, 1952, pp. 2527.
² The Kingdom of the Cults, by Walter R. Martin, Bethany Fellowship Publishers, 1977, p. 200; Occult Bondage and Deliverance, by Kurt Koch, Kregel, 1976, p. 26.
³ Ibid., pp. 9, 17.
4 The Standard Bearer, Vol. 52, p. 537.