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“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” Ephesians 5:11
This is an important testimony especially from those who experience oppression after being involved in false teachings.
by Hope Wingo
My story involves the New Apostolic Reformation and GOD TV.
The following is an excerpt from Man: The Dwelling Place of God by A.W. Tozer:
How to Try the Spirits
THESE ARE THE TIMES that try men’s souls. The Spirit has spoken expressly that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron. Those days are upon us and we cannot escape them; we must triumph in the midst of them, for such is the will of God concerning us.
Strange as it may seem, the danger today is greater for the fervent Christian than for the lukewarm and the self-satisfied. The seeker after God’s best things is eager to hear anyone who offers a way by which he can obtain them. He longs for some new experience, some elevated view of truth, some operation of the Spirit that will raise him above the dead level of religious mediocrity he sees all around him, and for this reason he is ready to give a sympathetic ear to the new and the wonderful in religion, particularly if it is presented by someone with an attractive personality and a reputation for superior godliness.
Now our Lord Jesus. that great Shepherd of the sheep, has not left His flock to the mercy of the wolves. He has given us the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and natural powers of observation, and He expects us to avail ourselves of their help constantly. “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good,” said Paul (I Thess. 5:21) . “Beloved, believe not every spirit,” wrote John, “but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1) . “Beware of false prophets,” our Lord warned, “which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Then He added the word by which they may be tested, “Ye shall know them by their fruits.”
I discovered this classic book by A.W. Tozer shortly after my ordeal ended. With the encounter still so fresh in my mind, I comprehended Tozer’s words with full discernment and a new understanding.
In light of my story, you need to know that I did not have a computer until the end of 2011. As far as Christian programming, I was at the mercy of cable TV with TBN, Daystar, and a few other channels. Whenever I discerned a red flag in one of the programs, I’d just switch the channel to another pastor with another sermon. That was all just part of watching Christian TV. I didn’t know the term Word of Faith, much less the New Apostolic Reformation. I only knew that I loved the Lord and craved all of Him that I could get. What I did not realize was that I was the perfect candidate to fall into deception… I matched Tozer’s qualifications perfectly, in that I fervently craved more of God and would not settle for lukewarm Christianity! I wanted everything that I could get!
In 2008 I was introduced to GOD TV (a New Apostolic Reformation channel) and I quickly became addicted to it. The programming, the worship music, and the pastors were completely different from the others that I had become accustomed to. They were fascinating and spiritually enticing! Even the channel’s music leading up to their commercial breaks was intriguing… Quite frankly, I couldn’t get enough of it. Their worship music seduced the viewers into a deep spiritual experience with captivating repetitions. The pastors spoke of deep, prophetic things that they had heard from God. It wasn’t long before I had completely abandoned the other channels for GOD TV. I was totally blind to its influence.
The red flags were there from the start… I noticed that spiritual experiences seemed to dominate most of the sermons while repentance and the importance of a personal relationship with Jesus were not being mentioned at all. There were stories of angelic encounters, oil dripping from the speaker’s feet, feathers and gold dust falling on the worshipers, rain falling inside of the buildings, and supernatural gems being found all over the church. Due to my strong Christian upbringing, I knew that those things were not coming from God, but I was so intrigued with it all that I kept watching it. It was exciting compared to the money-grabbers and fake healers that were on the other Christian channels.
One night on my way home from work, I heard a sermon on the radio that spoke of *****. (I don’t remember what it was about.) However, when I got home and turned on the TV, the first thing out of the pastor’s mouth was, “if you just heard *****, you are a part of us!” Hey, how could I resist a confirmation like that? It made me feel so accepted!
Let me pause here to say that, by allowing this programming to continue, I gave satanic deception an open door. When I initially noticed the red flags, I should have rejected this false doctrine. However, I chose to ignore the warnings, so…
Another night after work, I turned on the TV to find a woman introducing a special training program that was available through her ministry. As she spoke, I watched the television disappear from around her, leaving only her face in the room. She continued to explain how we could order this program. I was not afraid of her. Having surrounded myself with deception for months, I thought, “Surely this must be from God”. I ordered the series. A few days later it arrived in the mail and I began to listen to the CDs. When I got to the middle of the series and realized what it was all about, I was literally shocked. It was demonic. It was angel worship. It was astral projection in the name of praying for others. Yep, we could go to them! We could also hover over other countries as we prayed for them. We could leave our bodies and enter into the “third heaven“. (The link is this actual teaching.) It was purely satanic.
Instead of throwing the garbage away, I decided to listen to the CDs again. Then I listened to them again; then over and over… I had become intrigued by them. A few weeks later, having gone through the lesson several times, I tried to do what they suggested, by inviting an angel to appear in the room, even though I knew that the Bible warned against it. I listened to the music that they had provided as I tried to experience “going to heaven” with them. I also imagined my spirit going into another person’s house to pray for them.
Shortly thereafter, I began to experience many vivid dreams and daytime flash-visions. I saw angels. I heard voices. Even though I knew better, I tried to convince myself that these were Godly manifestations that I had somehow missed in my earlier Christian walk.
On the physical side, flocks of vultures began to hover over my house. If I stood outside, they would circle over me and cast their shadow on me, one by one. One day, when returning from town, while I was still about 1/2 of a mile away from my house, I saw a flock of about 100 of these birds hovering directly over my house. Another time, I heard a crash outside of my back window as an entire flock crashed a tree limb in my back yard. I later learned that birds often represent demonic spirits.
One day, as I was about to enter my front door, I felt a swat on my back side as if a parent had just swatted a child. This frightened me terribly as I realized that I had just entered a realm that I didn’t want to be in. Demonic spirits had actually been allowed to touch me. At that point, I knew that it was only going to get worse, so that very day, I threw away all of the materials that I had received from that ministry. I also cleaned house and threw away most of my contemporary Christian music CDs.
At that point, I knew that the games I had been playing with God were over and that I was being forced to make a decision as to whom I was going to follow. In doing so, I desperately called on the Jesus that I had known as a child. Even so, it took months… and I mean months… to get back into a right relationship with the Lord. It still frightens me when I think about how I allowed this deception into my life. After all, I had been grounded in biblical truth since childhood.
Let me backtrack a little to add that when I threw the CD lessons in the trash, it sparked an attack of satanic rage that lasted for the next several months. I started seeing demonic faces in clouds, in trees, in bushes, in reflections, and in almost everything else…. all day long, day after day. These were harassing spirits. They were relentless and tormenting, and they robbed my mind of all peace. I learned to keep music on all the time to block out the mental noise, especially when I attempted to fall asleep. I was worn down to my wit’s end, both mentally and physically.
The torment eventually began to subside through the process of fully submitting myself to Jesus again. I could do nothing else but to throw myself into the verse, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) In my efforts to make that happen, I made a conscious decision to resist the devil by literally ignoring the harassment. During that time, I stopped looking up at the sky and simply would not acknowledge the images. I turned away whenever I noticed one of them. At the same time, I acknowledged that I had brought this upon myself by allowing the witchcraft to remain in my house. I read the Bible and filled my mind with the Word every chance I got. I prayed constantly. Then, finally… one day it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen them for a while. It had taken months, but they were gone… Completely gone!
Today, I’m aware of many forms of deception that I knew nothing about a few years ago. I recognize the Emergent, the NAR, the Seeker-Friendly, the Word of Faith, the Purpose Driven, and on and on. Jesus wasn’t kidding… We must “test the spirits”. Deception is everywhere these days! …and what did He tell us in Matthew 24 concerning our day? BE NOT DECEIVED!!!
I will also say that I cannot prove that all of the NAR teachers allow training to this extent in their churches. Even so, it speaks volumes that GOD TV airs both NAR and witchcraft, and I have yet to hear the pastors on that channel argue against it. Obviously, when signs, wonders, and experienced-based doctrines are preached in place of biblical doctrine, other forms of deception are tolerated as well.
I realize that I’ve opened myself to ridicule by telling my story, but I also know that we are living in the end-times, and that many other Christians have been tempted to fall for this same deception. Hopefully, my story will spare someone else from having to go through this same thing. You need to know that God WILL let you be intrigued to death… even to eternal death. It’s up to you to keep yourself from being deceived.
You’ll find the Truth in His Word… just where it has always been.
To repeat Tozer’s words, “…He expects us to avail ourselves”. (See 1 John 5:18 below.)
Matthew 7:15 – Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Matthew 24:24 – For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
1 John 4:1 – Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
2 Timothy 3:13 – But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
1 John 5:18 – .We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
In writing our book Entertaining Spirits Unaware: The End-Time Occult Invasion, David Benoit and I drew from nearly 50 years of combined ministry experience often dealing with New Age spiritualism, witchcraft and overt occultism. These are issues that occasionally make the most alert Christian uncomfortable and the unaware simply cringe. It may seem like overkill to some that David and I write such a book, for after all, the occult and those who purvey it are certainly nothing for Christians to concern ourselves with…or are they? How we wish that the occult was indeed just a moot point in our society. However, in actuality the occult is thriving in America and around the world, gaining acceptance and followers in unparalleled numbers. Today there is a spiritual war going on for the lives and souls of men, women, teens and yes, children; and without the Church lighting up and exposing this darkness it continues unabated, overtaking the unsuspecting around us.
Several years ago I was speaking at a Christian conference at Houston’s (TX) Second Baptist Church. While there, a gentleman happened by our display booth and noticed the title of my new book. He backed up slightly and exclaimed, “Ohhhh, the occult. That scares me!” I happened to hear him and was able to respond saying, “Brother, the only reason the word ‘occult’ has the ability to frighten you is because you don’t understand it which is exactly what Satan wants.”
Ignorance invites misunderstanding, fear, complacency and deception. This is why considering the enemy’s vast deployment of occult traps which range from an array of New Age self-help seminars and numerous kids’ cartoons, to the world of adult and children’s literature and the occult laced lineup offered by Hollywood as entertainment today, it is of ultimate importance that we have at least a basic understanding of what God’s Word declares on the issue.
Derived from the Latin word Occultus, the occult by definition means “things hidden, things in darkness, the practices of divination and sorcery”. Make no mistake – God is not confused in the least about the realm of occultism, its practices and adherents. His Word is crystal-clear and God’s position must also become our position if we expect His blessing, protection and providential power to be evident in our lives and homes.
THE NINE FORBIDDEN PRACTICES
Deuteronomy 18 contains the most powerful biblical passage outlining the occult. In verses ten and eleven we find the Nine Forbidden Practices of the occult:
When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
In my Take A Stand! Seminar “The End-Time Occult Invasion”, I use the following to illustrate how it is absolutely imperative that we avoid all forms of occultism and teach others the same.
The word “abomination” (v.9, 12) is the Hebrew word “Tow`ebah”
(Strong’s number 08441, pronounced “to-ay-baw”)
It means: “a disgusting thing,” “an abomination,” “unclean” (as in idolatry), “wickedness”
This is the strongest condemnatory language used by God in the entire Bible!
Let that sink in. In the strongest terms used in the entire Bible, God condemns and forbids the occult as He warns the Israelites to avoid and abhor it. Pronouncing it as “towebah,” God, in His wisdom, lays out the Nine Forbidden Practices. They are:
1) Human Sacrifice – We call that abortion today!
2) Divination – The Heart of the occult. Manipulation from demonic sources.
3) Astrology – We either trust God or the Zodiac but not both!
4) Enchanter – Someone satanically endowed to produce seductive spells.
5) Witchcraft and Witches – Includes its modern, organized counterpart, Wicca.
6) Charmer – One who manipulates objects or beings via demonic power.
7) Consulter with Familiar Spirits – One who gleans knowledge from demonic contact.
8) Wizards – Practitioners of magical arts
9) Necromancers – Those who claim to be in contact with the dead.
Please note that nine is also the biblical number of Judgment & Rebellion !!!
Once we see and understand God’s standard on the occult, several more Scriptures immediately come to mind that give direction, warning and clarity concerning the various deceptions.
Ephesians 5:10-11 instruct what we must do concerning evil in any form.
Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
II Corinthians 6:14-18 leaves no doubt that God wants His children to steer clear of any fascination or involvement with the occult.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 serves as God’s warning to His own that those who endear themselves to false teachings and false teachers (that includes the occult) are indeed “returning to “Egypt” – entering again into satanic bondage!
If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
Notice verse three, which relates that our acceptance or rejection of these false teachers and their works will be a test of our allegiance to God!
No wonder the Scripture very clearly and concisely instructs and warns of God’s will (blessings or judgment) concerning the occult and related issues. Make no mistake: when we fail to reject and expose any and all of the occult practices and various entertainment modes that now endorse them the Bible clearly says that we have failed the test and have commenced to following “other gods.”
Furthermore, Romans 1:32 declares that those who entertain themselves with the images of evil, including the many brands of occult-based entertainment, are under the same judgment and curse as those who actually perform the occult deeds! Wow!
Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
Doesn’t that sound exactly like our culture today; having pleasure in or being entertained by the very things that God condemns?
IGNORANCE IS NEVER BLISS!
Many would be content to stay ignorant of the seriousness of the occult in the sight and mind of God. However, to do so is to invite curses and demonic activity to infest our homes, families and land. At very least we cannot expect God to bless and enrich our lives and loved ones if we persist in walking in darkness, making acceptable what He disdains.
Hosea 4:6 speaks to those who walk in ignorance and also to us who know the truth that we must herald it clearly!
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
It is a sad and tragic fact of these end-days that many in the Church – THE CHURCH – have followed “strange gods” entertaining themselves and their families with movies, books, television programs and more that do nothing more than glorify the Nine Forbidden Practices of the Occult!
Need we wonder why God doesn’t answer our prayers, save our families, anoint our worship services and fill our lives with boldness, power and miraculous authority? We may only need to look as far as the entertainment that many Saints so willingly allow to rob them of not only precious time, but of their sensitivity to God’s Word and standards for His children. As we continually implant Satanic occultism into our minds and lives through “harmless” entertainment venues it won’t be long before we accept what God calls evil as good and reject what He calls good as evil, pridefully becoming wise in our own eyes.
If what I have described here hits a nerve in your life then the good news is that God’s word clearly lays out the remedy. I highly suggest you follow the pattern of the Saints at Ephesus from twenty centuries ago after they heard the Apostles message on this very issue. Acts 19:18-20 reads:
And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts (sorcery) brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. Or “Then the word of God grew and spread in power.”
Isn’t that what we all want?