Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. We’re glad you could tune in! In today’s program, we continue a series of classics from our Search the Scriptures Daily archives first broadcast in 1999 with the late founder of The Berean Call, Dave Hunt, and TBC executive director Tom McMahon. This week, they address the question: Should Christians Use Divination? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: The topic for this week’s program is Dave’s book Occult Invasion: The Subtle Seduction of the World and the Church. We’ve been talking for the past couple of weeks about a relationship between evolution and the occult, and today I thought, Dave, that we’d zero in more on what occultism actually is. To many of our listeners the term may make them think of magic or witchcraft, but certainly not anything that would touch their everyday life – or would it?
Dave: Maybe we ought to define it first of all.
Dave: “Occult” comes from the Latin occultis, which means “concealed” or “hidden.” If you look it up in Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary, it defines the occult as “hidden, concealed, secret, esoteric, beyond human understanding, mysterious, and designating of certain mystical arts or studies such as magic, alchemy, astrology, and so forth.” It’s a wide range. Basically, what it is is some kind of a power that is not physical and cannot be explained by human science. And I quote Archie Fire Lame Deer, a Lakota medicine man (it’s medicine men, witchdoctors, [and] so forth that claim to have these occult powers), and he says, “A medicine man has spiritual powers to do something supernatural.” Now it’s not supernatural, and somewhere we’ve got to deal with the difference…
Tom: We will. We’re going to talk about…
Dave: Naturalism and supernaturalism. Right.
Tom: …naturalism and supernaturalism.
Dave: But he says, “Which cannot be explained by the white man’s science.”
Now you say, “Well, does that impact our lives?” Well, a lot of people play the Ouija board, for example. Ouija boards, in case people are not aware of it, were originally designed to contact the spirits of the dead soldiers who died in World War I over there in France. And it wasn’t long before it became the most popular parlor game, past Monopoly. And they’ve done experiments with Ouija boards where they have scrambled the alphabet, they blindfolded the persons playing it – they don’t even know where the letters are: under those conditions, it moves faster than ever, spelling out meaningful messages. You’re in contact with something going on out there. Or dousing, water witching – over half a million wells have been discovered in the United States.
Tom: Some people would say, “Well, if I’m contacting entities out there, you know, I want nothing to do with that.” Some people wouldn’t even believe in it. But there still is an interest in things like that, but there are different rationales. Now the reason I…
Dave: ESP, psychic power, and so forth.
Tom: Right, but when you talk about dousing, that doesn’t seem to be anything in which you’d be contacting spirits.
Dave: It’s called “divination” in the Bible. Ouija board is a divination device. Divination uses any physical object that allows you to tune into the spirit world. Well, are we really tuning in to the spirit world in dousing? Yes, and we can prove it very simply: people say…well, originally it used to be you took a green willow wand and walk across the ground, and suddenly the thing goes down, and they would say, “Well, it’s the moisture in the green twig that’s attracted to the water in the ground,” and therefore, you know, some magnetic attraction.
However, for a good douser, that wand will bob up and down and tell you how deep you have to drill. It will also bob up and down and tell you how many gallons per minute the well will produce. If you are dousing in France, it will tell you how many liters per minute and how many meters deep you have to drill. So information…
Tom: Information, right.
Dave: …is being communicated. Now furthermore, we now know you can douse for anything. You can douse for buried treasure, for oil. A douser dousing in Kennebunkport, Maine – his name was Henry Gross….
Tom: Now, this was documented right?
Dave: Oh, this is documented. You go to – well, go to Kennebunkport, Maine, and you will find a plaque that says, “In this room October 22nd, 1949, Henry Gross doused three fresh water domes,” and he gives you the names of them. On a map of Bermuda, an island on which no potable spring water supposedly existed – in Bermuda, December 7th, 1949, Henry found the domes as doused in Kennebunkport. It tells you the water they produced and so forth.
Actually, ground water geologists had gone over Bermuda and had said, “There’s no water there,” and they had to bring it in by ship, or they had to catch it in rain. And here’s a man dousing over a map of Bermuda, I don’t know, 1500 miles away or so. Now, tell me the relationship between lines drawn on a piece of paper as a map of Bermuda and what is actually under the ground over there. I mean, there’s no scientific explanation…
Tom: No physiological connection, there’s no scientific rationale that could explain that.
Dave: No. Well, Tom, on the one hand, you would say, “Wow, it would be really easy to slip into this sort of thing.”
You know, I can remember when I was in the Army many, many years ago, we played around with hypnosis. We could do amazing things with hypnosis. You could get a guy as stiff as a board and put his head on one bunk and his heels on the other one, and you could sit on it. Now, you couldn’t possibly accomplish that unless you were in a hypnotic state. All kinds of amazing things have happened. So then you have ask yourself, “What is behind this?” It doesn’t seem to be normal.
By the way, all these things are referred to in Scripture (Deuteronomy 18, for example), and they’re absolutely forbidden in the Bible.
So it is so easy: you get involved in positive mental attitude seminars, success motivation training…
For example, I’ve talked to – here’s a high school kid who comes up to me and says, “Mr. Hunt, I’m taking a business course in high school, and the instructor tells me [to] write on a piece of paper my ambition. Do I want to be chief executive officer, or chairman of the board – what do I want to be? Sales manager? How much do I want to earn? Write it on a piece of paper, put it under my pillow and sleep on it, and this will bring it to pass.
Well now, wait a minute! What power is doing this? So what happens is you begin to believe that there’s some kind of a power in your subconscious mind. They have all kinds of explanations: some universal mind out there, and you can tune into this. This is how religious science, science of the mind, and so forth, these things work. And the next thing you know, you have begun to believe that there is some force, or some power, some spirit – it doesn’t matter what you want to call it – some higher power. It’s not the God of the Bible, but something that you want now to commit yourself to and you want to become in tune with this thing so that you can use it to your own ends. That’s the lie of the serpent in the Garden. And then next thing you know, I’m a regular little god. I can use what I think are supernatural powers. So it’s very easily – a person is very easily drawn into this.
Now, how would they protect themselves from this? Well, of course, if they know the Bible, they would know that it’s not biblical and they’re warned against it. But even if you don’t know the Bible, you would realize, “Wait a minute, this isn’t normal. There’s something going on here.”
I go to a palm reader – “Come on! You’re telling me that lines in my palm are there, and they’re going tell me what going to…”
Astrology: “You mean the stars are going to determine my fate and so forth?”
Or reading in a crystal ball – you mean…
Now, wait a minute, where is this…
We’ve got a scientist today, and he’s teaching people how to see their relatives in a mirror. They did this on TV. They actually demonstrated it, and suddenly here comes your dead relative. Their image is in a mirror: mirror-gazing. So when you start to get involved in these things you realize a) it’s not normal; b) there’s some real power here; c) you ask yourself, “What is it? Maybe I better not get involved, because maybe this power has some intelligence, and it’s drawing me into this for some reason, and I would be a fool to think I can use this power. No, it’s sucking me in so that it can use me. I better back up fast and get some facts on this.” And that’s what we’re trying to do in this program.
Tom: Certainly skepticism – I mean, nonbelievers have a healthy skepticism even to the point of denying the spiritual realm, which we’re certainly not doing here today. But is there a criterion for deciding if something is of the occult? And how can we best discern whether or not, you know, things that are not so obvious are really of the occult?
Dave: You know, a lot of our young people got involved (and older ones as well, unfortunately) in psychedelic drugs. I’ve talked to so many of them, and I’ve interviewed, and we deal with it quite a bit in this book and other books. But here’s half a dozen guys or gals in mixed company. They’ve dropped acid, they’re sitting in a room together – suddenly they are all experiencing the same adventure in the same landscape. They’re all there together. Now, you tell me, how does that come about?
Furthermore, there is a philosophy that comes through, and it comes through all around this world, whether it’s under hypnosis, in yoga, on drugs…the whole idea of drugs is called “sorcery” in the Bible. The idea is to contact spirit beings. And the Native American, the First Nation People, the Aborigines (or whatever you want to call them) who occupied America and now their descendants living here today, they have the right under the laws of America to use peyote…
Tom: Right. We’ve talked about that on a previous show.
Dave: Yes, as a religious ritual, and they contact spirit beings. So the world of the occult – we have to understand it doesn’t involve some “force” that’s innate in the universe, it involves spirit beings, because information is being communicated and there is a purpose behind this.
Tom: Now, Dave, back to this criterion though. For example, you use dousing and you took us through just logic, just reason, that there had to be something behind this that was not just some kind of physics…
Tom: …or chemistry that we didn’t understand, there’s something more involved information. So is that what you’re saying? The Bible condemns this. I want to go over some scriptures in a minute, but my point is to recognize that we’ve got to use our head.
Tom: We’ve got to search the Scriptures, but we also have to check things out reasonably and rationally. Correct?
Dave: Right, right, absolutely. So if you go to a fortune teller and they tell you – give you some secret information or something, you’re going have to ask yourself, Where does this come from? They’re telling you what’s going to happen. Well, how do they know? Is my fate all determined? And if it is, how come they know this and I don’t? And where does this information come from? You better ask yourself some hard questions, because you can then be enslaved. “Well, I want to keep going back to the fortune teller. I want to find out more,” and the next thing you know, you are drawn into dependence upon this power, and that’s exactly what it wants. And then you don’t need God. You don’t need the Bible. But now you have a substitute, and this is Satan himself, and he’s the one who is behind it. And I don’t think rationally, as you study this, you can come to any other conclusion.
Tom: Most of the condemnations of this we find in the Old Testament. But it’s also supported by the New Testament. But let me go over some of these scriptures. Deuteronomy:18:10-14: “There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire….” A contemporary example of that is this fire walking business. We haven’t seen too much of it lately, but for a while it was a big trend. And people who went through those experiences, they would say, “Wow, you know, this experience! If I can do this, I can do anything! Everything is open to me!”
Tom: Well, it’s not exactly the same, but there is a connection, don’t you think? So to continue with this scripture: “…or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations which you will dispossess listen to soothsayers and diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.”
Other commandments – Leviticus: “Give no regard to mediums or familiar spirits, do not seek after them to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.”
Now, those are Old Testament. Somebody would say, “Well, yeah, but that was under the law and that was the Old Testament.” But we find in the New Testament in Galatians:5:20: “…idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies….” These are all condemned.
Acts:19:19: “Also many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all, and they counted up the value of them, in the total 50,000 pieces of silver.” Well, why would they do that if it was okay? If God in the New Testament was saying, “Oh, well, don’t worry about it. It was just an Old Testament thing.”
Dave: Well, God said, “You will have no other gods. I am the Lord your God.” So the occult is dealing with some power that is god-like. It’s not a normal human trait, and when they try to say that this is a potential that we all have… “Well, wait a minute, come on. This is natural.” No! If it were natural, why doesn’t everyone naturally exhibit this? No, you have to get involved in this. You have to give yourself to this power, and it can come to you in many forms. I can tell you that the witchdoctors, the medicine men, they recognize that there is a spirit world, and that there are spirits out there who are guiding and who are empowering them. You cannot explain it as some kind of a force. A force doesn’t have intelligence; a force doesn’t communicate information. Information is communicated over a telephone wire, but somebody is talking on one end and someone’s listening. It doesn’t come about by electrical current in and of itself. That’s one of the ludicrous parts of the Star Wars force with the dark side and the light side and so forth. No, that’s not rational. So you’ve got to come to the conclusion that there is some entity, some being, some spirit that is non-physical. Psychic power is nonphysical that is behind this, and it is certainly not the God of the Bible who warns us against this.
Tom: Now, Dave, some people would say, “Well, I played around with Ouija boards and nothing ever happened. I got involved with this, and, you know, I mean it was a little waste of time and money.” But there are plenty of testimonies out there to people who have not only been entrapped, but the bondage, the destruction in their lives is – you know, for some who haven’t come to Christ, it’s ongoing today, isn’t it?
Dave: The Exorcist was based upon a true story, and actually that person got involved with this through a Ouija board. So if a Ouija board is nothing, what’s the point? If it has some power, then you better find out what this power is. What is the point of asking a Ouija board questions or looking to it for guidance? I mean, that’s ludicrous. So the person who even begins to play the game is suspecting at least [that] maybe there is something there, and you better stay away from it because God warned you to stay away from it.
Now, the reason for that is because there is an enemy of the human soul, an enemy of God, and his name is Satan, Lucifer, the devil – he’s called by a number of names, and he wants to damn men’s souls, and he is intent upon deceiving them with the same lies with which he deceived Eve. And the major lie was, “You can be like the gods.” So this is what psychic power is all about: “You can gain control of your life. You can heal yourself. You can become wealthy. You can get what you want. You can find things, or locate wells,” or, you know, whatever. You would think this is wonderful a man would douse over the map of Bermuda and find three wells. Isn’t that terrific? Yes, but wait a minute: that causes a person then to believe in this power, and to become the servant, really, eventually of this power instead of the servant of God.
Tom: And “servant” underscored here – really bondage, really entrapped, really…people get into this because of a power trip, but they become the victim.
Dave: You look to it for guidance. You look to it for help instead of looking to God.
Tom: Dave, you know, again, there are people who pooh-pooh this or say, “Well, it’s no big deal,” or they dabble a little here, a little there, and so on. And certainly they may not be affected to the way that some are – I mean, lives destroyed. But isn’t this a conditioning effect? Isn’t this leading up to something? If I recognize…and maybe I was sort of skeptical about this, but all of a sudden I see a new variation of it, something that I’m attracted to, isn’t this conditioning me, if I buy into it, for some big payoff down the line?
Dave: Well, what the person is look to is the magic effect. This seems to validate itself as being something desirable, something I want to tune into, or something I want to look to. And the Bible does say that there is a man coming, Antichrist, who will be the ultimate demonstrator of all this power. It says he comes with all deceivableness of unrighteousness, with all the power of Satan, to deceive the world. So if a person is impressed by magic, you know, by the seemingly supernatural, but it’s not, and we still have to get to the difference between supernatural and natural – actually, this is naturalism, but it seems to be supernatural – then when some man arises who can do the ultimate in this, he’s going to fall, following him. So yes, the world, I think, is being set up for something.
And it’s amazing how many movie actors and actresses, how many celebrities, athletes, and so forth… I mean, look, just to be superstitious about the number 13, and there are many hotels and you go up the elevator it goes from 11 to – I’m sorry, from 12 to 14. There are people who wouldn’t walk under a ladder. Some star athletes, they have a certain shirt that they think if they wear that…or, you know, a rabbit’s foot, or all kinds of ways that you can be drawn into trusting or fearing…
Tom: Fearing, right.
Dave: …some power out there that is not of God. And then when this man that is the ultimate demonstrator of it arises, wow! he’s got the world’s attention.
Tom: Mm-hmm. You know, you would think if this was legitimate – I mean, it’s been around forever – but something would have developed here. There would be an individual, whether it be somebody with psychic powers that would have developed that to the point of stability, of being able to control it. We have no examples of that. We have some people who have been touted as having this power, or that power, or whatever. But we never see consistency. We never see something that’s really controlled. But we do see lives destroyed.
Dave: We’re working on it in the laboratories from Harvard to Stanford. They’re trying very hard, and they can demonstrate some amazing powers, but you’re right, it is very capricious. You don’t control it, it controls you.
Gary: You’ve been listening to a special edition of Search the Scriptures 24/7 with Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. The complete radio discussion of Dave’s Occult Invasion is available from The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708. Call us at 800-937-6638, or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in, and we hope you can join us again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.