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As a young girl I was always interested in the occult. Many times, those gifted in the prophetic are. Tarot cards and Ouija boards were forbidden in my home growing up. Our home was more Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best unless one of my mother’s eight brothers came to our house for a duration in order to detox and get right with the Lord. Growing up I was raised in an Assembly of God, charismatic “church.” We went to the building every time the doors were open.
Once in middle school or first year of high school, the church had a 21-day “revival” and I went each night. Homework involved watching the spectacle of women getting a touch of the Spirit and running laps around the outside perimeter of the sanctuary. Hands floundering about and men and women shouting Hallelujah. It almost makes me sad that the body of Messiah lacks the excitement I once witnessed as a youth. However, many believers have gained knowledge along the way, even discerning what is emotionalism or the real thing. Instead of homework or studying, my siblings and I were focused on men and women who came to speak at the congregation.
These larger-than-life prophetic evangelists would walk up and down the aisles until their eyes would rest on one specific person. The evangelist would mosey over, ask them to stand up, request their name, and then proceed with “I hear the Lord say or thus sayeth the Lord.” It looked and sounded something like this: Speaker: “Are you enjoying this? God is good, isn’t He? God is good all the time! Now, Sister, who do you have here with you? Is this your mother? Yes, yes, well, I just walked by, and I heard the Holy Spirit say, “tell her, her pain is ending. Sister, you’ve been in pain a very long time. And not just physical suffering, but you’ve been hurt by someone who you truly honored. But tonight, I hear the Father saying, “Rise up, daughter of the highest!” Women and men would raise their hands up, shaking them around. Shouting praises to the Lord. Tears the size of Texas would run down their cheeks. My young brain would think, “How do they know all these things? Were they truly hearing from God?”
Soon, I was old enough to make friends and spend the night at a sleepover. I learned that my friend’s mother bought a Ouija board. One night we began to take it out of the box and look at it. I was raised this was witchcraft and not to dabble with such things, but my young 12-year-old mind was curious. I recalled the church evangelist who seemed to bring words of affirmation or exhortations and rebuking shouts at Satan. They told the enemy he better flee, but now my friends were telling me that a board could predict my future. My young mind spun out of control. “Could I learn secrets about my life? What career or person would I be when I grew up? How many children would I have? Would I get cancer and die young?” We often get involved in things because Satan even appears as an angel of light. My friend said it was just a game, but I warned her it was evil. In order to test this, one night my friend placed a Bible on the Ouija board, and it flew across the room. We were shaken up and fled upstairs. In using this example, I want you to see how our own sins can happen due to our curiosity–dabbling in things and opening doors we were never meant to open. When sitting in front of the board, users hold a device known as a planchette and allow the “spirit” to move it around the board. Ouija boards are believed to allow spirits of the dead, usually a condemned soul or a demon, to communicate with the living; but we are warned against this throughout the Torah:
Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the LORD your God.
–Exodus 19:31, ESV
Later in my 20s, I was persuaded to see a fortune-teller who came to my job and set up a table in a restaurant/nightclub where I was working. Sin was crouching at my door, but I did not have the strength to defeat it. My fellow co-workers were telling me about how the fortune teller knew everything about them, but I could hear my mother’s voice in my head warning me; however, the enticement was so great, I sat at the table and had my cards read, then convinced my husband to as well. At 3 am, I walked through the door of my house from work, and my phone (before cell phones) was ringing. I picked it up, and my mother was on the line. She said, “I don’t know what you been doing, but the Holy Spirit woke me up to pray for you. And I was given a dream that you were lying by a dumpster with a bunch of trash.” My heart sunk. I was so ashamed. I was going through so many traumatic things that my mother knew nothing about, nor anyone else, and I had been drifting away from the Lord gradually over time and in an abusive marriage. The fortune teller had refused to read the last card she flipped over until I told her I had paid her to read every card and she would tell me what it said even if it were death. She then flipped the last card over, and I will never forget what happened next. The woman with the crystal ball and tarot cards looked at me with her jet-black hair, long flowing robe, and headscarf and said, “This card represents your mother. She is a very powerful woman!” Even the Tarot card reader knew how powerful my mother was.
Many times, due to our upbringing or perhaps being raised in a home with drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse, verbal abuse, adding witchcraft or Tarot cards, crystals, tea leaves, Ouija boards, etc., we can become trapped in asking everyone but the Creator of all for advice and direction for our lives. Instead, we seek the darkness and not the light. Suppose a person were raised with a verbally abusive parent, a sexually abusive parent, stepparent, witchcraft, etc. In that case, they might have a great deal of fear concerning Satan, when in all actuality, it is unhealed trauma and abuse that has been carried into the next generation. Yes, there is a spirit realm and many who have dabbled in it have become oppressed or even possessed by demons.
For a year I was involved in deliverance ministry. I have witnessed people throwing up, foaming, making guttural noises, hissing, and more. In Book One of this Series, Satan Unmasked, I wanted to show another side of our adversary in order to bring balance to an area that often is unbalanced. The concept of Satan has evolved over time and has become larger than life in many Christian circles. The adversary is known as the lying serpent, the prince and power of the air, as well as a dragon and devil. This concept of an evil fallen angel has grown into a fearful deity whose main job description is to wreak havoc on those trying to live righteously. In certain circles, Satan is a main topic met with remedies and formulas for how to deal with him. In the more charismatic arenas, Satan is commanded through prayer and authority to flee, bow, and be reminded that he has no power to touch their bloodline through Yeshua Messiah. Other Christians rally on the side of James chapter 4: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7, BSB). However, when James 4 is read in full, the “devil” or adversary is the person staring back at us in the mirror:
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
–James 4:1-4, ESV
Back in the 1970s, a variety show called Flip Wilson brought humor to the desires of our flesh by coining the term “the devil made me do it.” Geraldine (one of the characters Wilson often portrayed) was forever getting into trouble for gossip, flirting with a married man, or some type of sinful nature. Comic Wilson while dressed as Geraldine and playing the part would yell with great conviction that the devil had made her do whatever it was, she knew was wrong. While in stand-up comedy this can be humorous, it’s not humorous in real life. Satan and his minions have been picking up speed and girth like a snowball headed down hill for centuries. Many in leadership believe that Satan and his cohorts are bent on destroying the righteous by attacking them and their seed. In fact, in most Christian circles Satan is often treated as a being almost equal to God in power. In Christianity, Satan has evolved into God’s adversary, a fallen angel. However, in Psalms and the Book of Job, Satan is liken to a prosecuting attorney in the Heavenly Court. The writers of the Bible were Hebrews. Judaism is monotheistic. There is only one God with authority. As Isaiah proclaims, the Holy One is the creator of both good and evil, and man is given freedom to choose which path he will follow.
“I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil. I am Jehovah, that doeth all these things” (Isaiah 45:7, ASV).
Paul’s letter to the Colossians declares that there is only One Elohim and by Him all things were made. In Isaiah 54, the Holy One states that He “created the waster to destroy.”
See, I Myself have created the blacksmith who blows the coals in the fire, who brings forth an instrument for his work. And I have created the waster to destroy. –Isaiah 54:16, ISR
Who is the likeness of the invisible Elohim, the first-born of all creation. Because in Him were created all that are in the heavens and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or rulership’s or principalities or authorities – all have been created through Him and for Him. And He is before all, and in Him all hold together.
–Colossians 1:15-17, ISR
Countless theologians and scholars have written about this larger-than-life enemy. Satan Unmasked will cover multiple passages of the Bible concerning Satan and the origins of how he crept into our doctrines and belief systems. I have included the passages of scripture from both the Older Testament (Tanakh) and the Newer Testament where the word Satan is used and the context of each passage as bookends. The Old Testament passages using Satan appear before chapter one, and the New Testament mentions of Satan with commentary are listed at the end of the book before the closing.
Also, in Hebrew there is no such concept of Satan being the embodiment of evil. If this concept is true, when and how did these dogmas creep into Christianity, and why do we at times feel as if the hounds of hell are on our trail? I will cover these questions and more in Book One Satan Unmasked and Book Two, Spirits Unveiled. And further in Book Three and Four concerning generational curses. Read the whole Series for a full meal. Let’s dig in, shall we?