Table of Spiritual Counterfeits
by R. Davis
Biblical and Occult Beliefs, Practices Contrasted & Explained
- There is a world of differences between what the Bible teaches about spiritual gifts and what Charismatic Christians teach. This table highlights the differences with clarity. Similar problems exist with contemplatives and mystics.
- Charismatic teachings and beliefs are
essentially occult. The slide from biblical to occult happens
point-by-point. This table explains some essential points.
- Charismatics understand in theory that there are biblical gifts and satanic counterfeits. But in practice they have swallowed occult bait hook, line and sinker. This table shows it.
Biblical view - Sanctification comes through the godly practices of prayer, learning (being
washed by) the Word, obedience (walking in the will of God and saying "no"
to the desires of the flesh), and, also, confession of sin. In these ways
we grow in understanding and in the likeness of Jesus.
-These are true and precious spiritual practices that require practice,
reasoning and thought.
Occult view - Sanctification comes by casting out spirits of pride, gossip, etc. and also
by the action - fire, washing, working or digging - of manifest spirit in
or upon the heart, which changes us to be like Jesus. Practices such as
soaking in the spirit are considered necessary to allow the "spirit" to dig
in your heart and "wash" you as if by magic. (Indeed, this is magic
-Occultists believe study and obedience are for legalists, and reason and
thinking get in the way of being spiritual.
demonic oppression or possession
Biblical view - Deliverance is an answer to prayer and, sometimes, fasting. The victim
recognizes his utter helplessness in the grip of Satan and turns to the
Lord. God miraculously sets a victim free without personal combat against
demons. Afterwards the victim experiences complete & lasting freedom
and peace. Deliverance may accompany salvation.
-Ed. note: having personally experienced deliverance about 11 months after
salvation I can speak with authority on this. The reality of the dominion
of demons in a soul and the power of God to set a man totally free is
something to which I can confidently witness. My deliverance was powerful
Occult view - Deliverance comes by personal combat against
demons (i.e., exorcism). An elder challenges and casts out demons "in name
of Jesus" and gives God the glory. There may be
manifestations such as screaming, roaring, vomiting or writhing like a
serpent, which are interpreted as the demons fighting back. The victim
tries to believe for freedom, understand who he is in Jesus, &
strengthen his faith. The victim experiences no release, or partial or
temporary release. He may be taught how to rebuke demons. Alas, he may
later get worse; for the reality is that by engaging in this sort of occult
spiritual warfare the victim has opened himself even more to attack and
-This sort of "spiritual warfare" is disturbingly prevalent among otherwise
orthodox believers, who may not understand why they are experiencing
spiritual difficulties. The reason is that they have unwittingly become
involved in the occult.
Biblical view -
"Light" in Scripture means the Word of God - His objective truth, His
wisdom and His moral law as revealed in Scripture. To preach His Word is to
spread the kingdom. Those who come to the light are saved. Understanding God's Word brings knowledge of sin which in turn leads
to genuine humility & loving forbearance of others. By His light we
grow in wisdom. Bible verse: "The entrance of Your Word brings light"
Occult view - Spreading the "light" of
God means being loving toward others, considered
as spreading His kingdom. This is a mystic gospel. It involves empty words
- that is, words devoid of Scriptural truth. It is a false gospel that
promises peace where there is no peace - that is, where there is no peace
with God. Loving behaviors may be referred to as the "fragrance of
Christ" but the true light - the light of His Word - is largely or totally
Receiving God's love
Biblical view - We
receive the love of God when we walk in obedience to His will - i.e., on a
practical level, when we walk in obedience to His moral & ceremonial
commands. Ceremonial commands are those spiritual practice:
occultism is forbidden. Moral commands are those contained in the Ten
Commandments as expounded by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount and are the believer's code of conduct regarding morality. If we
obey God's commands He will love us and come to
be with us wherever we may be, and we will possess His love in our hearts.
-Bible verse: "Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will
keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make
Our home with him" (John 14:23).
Occult view - We receive the love of God when we open
ourselves to the inner working and raptures of manifest spirit. Charismatics mistakenly call this receiving the Father's love. To receive this love often requires
invocation and gathering together with others who are like-minded.
Practitioners need to soak in the spirit or "tap into the river" and then
think they have to lay under the influence of this spirit and let it work
in their hearts.
- But this is occult communion with the angel of light who knows both how
to SIMULATE Jesus' love and STIMULATE a love response in the human heart.
The spirit that manifests during occult spiritual practices is always
Satanic, for Satan is the god of the occult. The occult is his domain, and
in the course of ensnaring people in it, Satan wreaks havoc upon unwitting
men. Bible verse: "Their sorrows shall be multiplied who hasten after
another god" (Psalm 16:4).
Biblical view - Trusting
God means obeying His commands - that is, His commands for moral and
spiritual practices - even when we don't fully
understand the reason for them. We trust that His commands are faithful and
we trust Him for the outcome, whatever it may be. Among the children of
God, those who obey commands against occultism will avoid Charismatic
practices and will discover complete freedom from poltergeist experiences
and protection from demonic attacks. (Protection from demonic attack does
not mean freedom from temptation, for it is by temptation that we are tried
Occult view - Trusting
God means opening oneself to manifest spirit without worrying if it might
be evil. Occultists are forever saying "don't worry, just open up to receive the spirit and trust God", or, "It is far
healthier to focus attention on the wheat, and not the chaff, nor on the
enemy sowing seeds". "Don't worry," they say, "God won't send a
scorpion if you ask for an egg".
-But if you are involved in occult spirituality you are NOT asking for an
egg, no matter what you think. And the scorpion is at hand, just waiting to
sting. Bible verse: "Be sober, be vigilant;
because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking
whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
How God's truth is revealed
Biblical view - God's truth is revealed in His Word and by biblical preaching and teaching, with
the spiritual sense thereof revealed to the minds and hearts of God's children by the Holy Spirit. Good works glorify
God but do not reveal His truth. God may sometimes use dreams to edify
believers but He does not use dreams to reveal new truth. God's truth was progressively revealed in the words
inspired by the Holy Spirit and through the prophets and apostles over the
centuries that the Bible was being written, but the canon is now closed.
-With time may come greater illumination of existing Scriptures, but the
Word of God - that is, His truth and His mind - has now been finally
revealed to mankind in the Scriptures, and so it will remain until the end
of the age.
Occult view - While it may be acknowledged that God's truth is revealed in His Word, the emphasis is on
a mystic Jesus and/or upon good works and loving others to reveal Him.
Contemplative prayer is a large movement toward a mystic, mindless "truth"
revealed through entering a sacred space, the divine within, etc. The use
of reason and the mind to understand spiritual truth is disparaged.
-Charismatics believe new truth is still being
revealed through the visions, dreams and prophecies of false prophets.
How God's truth is received
Biblical view - People
receive God's truth as they hear and believe the
truth about Jesus and His amazing work of salvation, and His sacrifice for
mankind on the Cross; but genuine, saving faith only comes by and through
the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart of a man or woman. The Holy Spirit
also teaches truth to God's children as they
study the Scriptures.
Occult view - People not only through the Word receive God's truth, but we can give it to them through our
love. Also, they can receive a mystic truth through such practices as
soaking and contemplative prayer and hear so-called new truth by giving
heed to occult prophets.
Submission to God
Biblical view - Submission to God means exercising our mind and wills to understand and
obey God's Will.
Occult view - Submission to God means opening up to
manifest spirit so it can have its way with us.
What is the occult?
Biblical view - Occultism
involves seeking and communing with God through subjective experience and
rituals. Well-meaning people often make the mistake of getting involved in
the occult. Occult practices can be used to further good or selfish
purposes, but always end badly.
Occult view - Occultism is evil, selfish religion. If you
are wielding the power of God for good purposes, then you are a good
Christian. But if you are using the power of God for evil or selfish
purposes, then you are a sorcerer.
The Power of God
Biblical view -
The power of God is His creation power, His sovereignty over life and
death, His control over all creatures, and His awesomeness as displayed in
manifold ways in the creation of the universe and the unfolding of all
history. He is the alpha and omega whose purposes will always be
accomplished and who bows to no creature.
Occult view - The power of God means an energy, force or
spirit available for use by men and angels, whether for good or for evil
purposes. Some believe the power of God is a neutral force that becomes
either good or evil in the hands of the practitioner. In this view, the
purposes of the creature are supposedly in control.
role of the mind
Biblical view - The
mind IS THE WAY the Holy Spirit reveals God's truth
to the heart or spirit of man.
Occult view - The mind GETS IN THE WAY of receiving the
Holy Spirit and the truth of God.
Deceptions and Surprises
Biblical view - Many - the disobedient and those who do not treasure the truth - will be
deceived. God will send them a strong delusion because they do not receive
His truth (2 Thess 2:11). God is only found in His truth as revealed
through His Word. And He is faithful to His truth - no surprises.
Occult view - Don't believe
Christian legalists who emphasize truth; they are unloving Pharisees who don't understand God's love.
You can't put God in a box: He blesses whom He
will. He likes to surprise us.
Tolerance for falsehood and
Biblical view - A
little leaven leavens the whole lump - 1 Cor 5:6,
Occult view - Don't throw out
the baby with the bathwater - no biblical support.
Biblical view - God opens the eyes of blind, lost souls to understand and believe His Word
- that is, His truth. In Scripture, this is also referred to as the opening
of the heart.
Occult view - God opens eyes to see into the spiritual
realm - especially to see angels and demons. In some religions this is
called the opening of the third eye.
Biblical view - Spiritual
warfare involves resisting temptation and the desires of the flesh. We
battle covetousness, lust, despondency, pride, malice, mercilessness,
ambition, self-righteousness, etc., being manifold wicked thoughts that
arise in our hearts or temptations thrown at us by Satan. We protect
ourselves through constant prayer, reminding ourselves of biblical truths
and exhortations, maintaining an obedient walk, and staying in the Word.
Occult view - Spiritual warfare involves resisting and
rebuking Satan and demons, and even casting them out from people or from
places. We battle the demon Jezebel, or other demons that have supposedly
gained control over a person, a church or a territory. We need to identify
the demons, and their characteristics and territories (in Charismatic
circles called spiritual mapping. In ancient magic, called demonology.) -We
protect ourselves through such means as realizing who we are in Christ,
trying to strengthen our faith, repeating certain prayers to gain control
over evil spirits or muster our faith, anointing people or places with oil
to ward off spirits, and/or consulting people with deliverance ministries.
The presence of the Holy Spirit
Biblical view - The
Holy Spirit indwells God's children who have been
called by Him and responded in faith to the Word of God. The Spirit is not
given in measure but once for all eternity, through the Word, to those who
have truly been saved to keep and guide them in truth. We may lose a sense
of His presence (the peace and love of the Spirit of God in our hearts)
during times of testing or trials of disobedience, but nothing can separate
us from Him.
-Bible verse: "neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor
powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth,
nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of
God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39). Jesus is the
living Word and those who are in Him have believed through the Word.
Occult view - The Holy Spirit comes when called. To sense
His presence it is necessary to call the spirit down, soak in the spirit,
enter a sacred space through contemplative prayer, or "soak in the river"
to receive a blessing. (In fact, the loving presence sometimes felt at
these times is nothing less than the presence of the Angel of Light that
the Bible warns against.) Charismatics often ask
for "more, Lord, more", because they think the Spirit is given in measure
and do not understand that He comes through the Word.
-Bible verse: "For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God
does not give the Spirit by measure" (John 3:34).
The Word of God - the Bible
Biblical view - The
Bible contains the words of God, and they are life giving and spiritual.
Those who love the Word and obey it receive life, joy and peace through it.
Bible verse: "The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life"
Occult view - The Word is okay, but to be really spiritual
you need something more: a subjective "spiritual" experience, contemplative
prayer, seeing angels, etc. People who focus too much on truth and the
Bible are religious, not spiritual.
Dealing with past hurts and
Biblical view - Emotional
wounds suffered by us are of little account when we come to the Lord: He raises up the new man (or woman) in the newness of the
Spirit. In fact, like the Psalmist we might say," It is good that I
was afflicted, for before I was afflicted, I went astray"! To focus on
old hurts distracts us from what really matters (learning God's truth) and tends to re-build the old man, the
very self we need to destroy. We need the Word and the Holy Spirit to
crucify the old man and pour the wine of new life into new wineskins.
Occult view - Our emotional wounds need to be healed
before we can really know God. They are blockages that prevent us from
forgiving and going on to spiritual maturity. Try to remember your old
hurts, every detail, even back to the womb! Dig up repressed memories so
Jesus can heal them and help you forgive. Let manifest spirit enter and
work on old wounds. We need the power of Jesus to heal past hurts before we
can progress in victorious living.
The book True to His Ways: Purity & Safety in Christian Spiritual Practice, more fully deals with these issues and provides clear guidance on how to avoid occult practices. To order, click here�
� Baruch House Publishing 2008, www.truetohisways.com
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�Thank you for your interest. Avoid occultism and know the peace and protection of God.