Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Fresh Perspective On The Age-Old Religion Of Fallen Man

Once upon a time, not so long ago, in a land called America,
eager little children not only attended Sunday school at church,
but looked forward to attending summer Bible camps where
counselors would read from the Scriptures and teach the Word
of God and the children would learn the words to hymns while toasting
marshmallows over a campfire and contemplating the open
 invitation to invite Jesus into their hearts.

Vintage church flyer for Sunday School classes

Although there are still vacation Bible schools sponsored
by many churches, their numbers have dwindled significantly
over the years along with regular church attendance by Americans.
As our society has become more and more secularized over the
years, the once sacred observance of the Sabbath Day is no more.

I can remember when I was a little girl in the late 1960's going to church
 services on quiet Sunday mornings in the town were I grew up.
Afterward, my parents often would stop at the local bakery
and buy a box of freshly baked cookies as a treat before we
headed back home again.   The town bakery was only one of
the few businesses that kept Sunday hours, however, their
patrons had to get there before noon when they would
close their doors again until Monday morning.

Today we have sporting events, and different festivals and
celebrations scheduled all seven days of the week which have
become more inviting to people over the years than attending
a service at church.  Many of the fairs and other celebrations
held in towns and cities across America have become more
popular these days due to a renewed interest in the
supernatural and the occult.

I well remember the "angel craze" of the early 1990's,
followed by the enormous success of the wildly popular
 Harry Potter series of books and movies, which took
off in 1997 with the publication of J.K. Rowling's 
"Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone".

I have often wondered why, out of all the many children's
books published in the world, that the "Harry Potter" series
has so completely captivated the minds and imaginations of
both kids and adults like no other book series before.

I have always felt "Pottermania" is more than just an over-hyped
weird fad. In fact, it reminds me of the refrain from a one hit wonder
song from the 1970's, which is now being used on a television
commercial promoting a new medicine for Type II Diabetes.

 "It's magic... you know...Never believe it's not so..."

The spectacular success of Harry Potter only confirms to
me what I already know. Witchcraft is for real.

Over twenty years  since the first book was published
the popularity of the bespectacled boy witch has never waned,
and now his books, movies, costumes, toys, games, etc. are
being joined by annual Harry Potter festivals held in
many communities across America today. This year,
a town near me will be holding it's annual Harry Potter
festival in mid-September on a date which coincides
with the observance of Mabon, a pagan harvest festival
which centers around the time of the autumn equinox
and is celebrated around the world by Wiccans,
or pagan witches.  Is the timing of this local event
with this observance just mere coincidence?
It really makes me wonder...

This local event will undoubtedly attract hundreds of
Harry Potter fans, both adults and children alike, 
and not only encourage participants to dress up like a
witch or wizard or their favorite character from the series,
but will offer some rather interesting and disturbing
activities like learning how to cast a spell and concoct potions,
how to make a magic wand, and even classes on how to
replant a Mandrake root.

The Mandrake, a plant which has been known and used
by herbalists for centuries, and which is even mentioned in the Bible,
is also a particular favorite of witches to use in their rituals of
magic due to the root's powerful hallucinogenic properties.

A flowering Mandrake plant in Israel

According to an old legend, when dug up from the
earth, the roots of the Mandrake plant-which resemble a demon
or evil spirit pulled up from the dirt-emits a piercing shriek,
so powerful that anyone within earshot will drop dead.

A Mandrake Root displayed in a
science museum in England dates
back to the Middle Ages
(c. 1501-1700)

Witchcraft is not only a recognized religion in America today,
complete with a tax-exempted status from the IRS, but, has
been allowed to infiltrate our nation's public school and libraries
through the venue of self-empowerment and primarily
targets the impressionable and innocent minds of children
who are taught to believe through books like the Harry Potter series:
I am in control of my own destiny. I am a god unto myself.
Through the power of my will I can control others and
make them do what I want.

Controlling the mind and emotions, or the will of another person
is one of the core tenets of the religion of fallen mankind, or witchcraft.

Christian churches in America have even debated whether
children in their congregations should be encouraged to read
Harry Potter books or watch the movies.

Why would a professing believer in the Lord Jesus Christ want
their children to participate in or be influenced by witchcraft 
which is clearly condemned in the Bible as an abomination?

"And when the people, instead of putting their trust in God, shall
say to you, Consult for direction mediums and wizards who chirp and 
mutter, should not a people seek and consult their God?
Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?
Direct such people to the teaching and to the testimony!
If their teachings are not in accord with this word, it is surely
because there is no dawn and no morning for them.
And they who consult mediums and wizards shall pass
through the land sorely distressed and hungry; and when they
are hungry, they will fret, and will curse by their king and
their God; and whether they look upward or look to
the earth they will behold only distress and darkness,
the gloom of anguish, and into thick darkness and
widespread obscure night, they shall be driven away."
Isaiah 8:19-22

I have often heard comparisons being made between
the Harry Potter movies and the classic 1939 movie,
"The Wizard Of Oz".

"The Wizard Of Oz"
 Movie Poster

However, I think there is a notable distinction between Harry, who discovers
he is a witch and pursues a rather dark destiny of secretive occult practices
and the charming tale of Kansas farm girl, Dorothy Gale and her
little dog, Toto, swept away over the rainbow to the
whimsical and wonderful Land of Oz.

Although "the great and powerful Oz"  really turned out to be a con man
who landed in Emerald City after being blown off course in a storm,
and in spite of the erroneous statement made by Glinda, the Good Witch
when she told Dorothy, "Only bad witches are ugly" the theme of
this movie, unlike the Harry Potter films, is clearly not about
the glorification and practice of witchcraft.

Instead, the one who did the spell casting, namely, the nasty Wicked Witch
of the West, was soundly defeated after Dorothy liquidated her with a
conveniently placed bucket of water while trying to the save the Scarecrow,
who had been set on fire by the cruel and heartless witch.

Thus good triumphed over evil in the end in this movie.

Dorothy douses the Wicked Witch
"The Wizard Of Oz"

But I have always felt that the real message of "The Wizard Of Oz" is
that like many people, Dorothy was yearning for a place to escape from her problems.
She finds herself suddenly whisked away by a tornado to the strange Land of Oz
where she meets up with a trio of comical sidekicks, a Scarecrow who can't
think too well but loves to dance and sing,  a starry-eyed Tin Man with an
aversion to rust, and a really-not-so-scary, Oh, My! Cowardly Lion, who
become her friends and guardians against the schemes of the 
Wicked Witch of the West.

Throughout the movie, Dorothy finds herself longing to go back home and yet,
we learn that she had the ability to go home again all along, not through the use
of magic wands and ruby slippers, but through her own determination to
no longer run away from facing her problems, by using her brain to think
(Scarecrow), her heart to love and to caution in times of decision (Tin Man)
and her courage (Cowardly Lion) when confronted by the storms of life.
 All wonderful qualities given to human beings by their loving Creator.
All God asks of us in return is to have love and faith
and to be obedient to Him.

Through the power of the Holy Spirit,
Paul confronts the wicked sorcerer, Elymas

In the  sixth chapter of the Book of Acts, the
 apostles Paul and Barnabas, while traveling across the
Mediterranean island of Cyprus, encountered a certain 
Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, or
Elymas, whose name translates as "wise man".

He was closely associated with the proconsul of the island,
a man named Sergius Paulus, who was known as an
intelligent and sensible person of sound understanding.
The proconsul summoned the two apostles to come and
speak to him concerning salvation in the kingdom of God
attained through the Lord Jesus Christ.

This incensed the wise man Elymas, who sought to keep
the proconsul from accepting faith in Jesus Christ.

However, the apostle Paul looked steadily at Elymas and said,
 "You master in every form of deception and recklessness,
 unscrupulousness, and wickedness!

You son of the devil, you are the enemy of everything
that is upright and good!  Will you never stop perverting and
making crooked the straight paths of the Lord and plotting
against His saving purposes?

And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, Elymas,
and you will be blind, so blinded that you will be unable to see
the sun for a time."

And instantly there fell upon the wicked sorcerer a mist and
a darkness as he groped about frantically trying to find someone
to lead him by the hand.  

After witnessing this, the proconsul was astonished and
deeply touched at the teaching concerning the Lord.
He became a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ that very day.
(Acts 13:6-12)

What a testimony to the power of faith!  This story clearly
illustrates to the believer that the Holy Spirit will never compromise 
 nor contend with the dark forces of Satan's kingdom here on earth,
nor excuse professed believers from engaging in the "harmless fun"
of witchcraft and other occult practices.

No comments:

Post a Comment