Let’s define what a cult is.  It is defined as: a great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work; a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious.  A cult can normally be identified by their allegiance and following of one man, such as the Jim Jones cult or the David Koresh cult.  Other more familiar cults would include the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, Christian Science, etc.

The Bible warns Christians against other people or groups that have cultish behaviors.  These are people who try to influence others away from Christ in order to gather people to themselves.  Galatians 1:6-10 says, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.”

Let us also look at Romans 16:17-20, “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.”  (Also read Matthew 7:14-18 and 1 John 4:1-4). 

Many times in the Bible, we are warned to stay away from cults and their leaders.  They only live to serve themselves and draw followers to themselves for selfish gain.  Many of their lies come upon the tail end of a truth.  They use just enough truth to obtain followers, yet there is so much error in their teachings, they are no less than ungodly leaders of the weak and blind.

Now, let’s define what the occult is.  It is defined as: supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs, practices, or phenomena.  The occult is identified by its fixation on the supernatural and things that cannot be explained or proven.  Groups such as witchcraft, fortune tellers, magicians, Ouija boards, etc. 

In the Bible, the Lord repeatedly warns against the occult and its activities.  We are warned in Leviticus 20:6, “And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.”  Those with ‘familiar spirits’ are more generally known as witches or soothsayers.  What a harsh warning against such people who practice these things.  We may sometimes think of this as harmless, but it is a door inviting Satanism into our lives. 

We are warned in 1 Timothy 4:1-2 that as time goes by, many more people will be involved with occult-like behavior.  That says, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” 

We read in Acts 13:5-8, “And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister. And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.”  Paul, the apostle here encountered one in the occult, Elymas the sorcerer.  We see that his intent was to “turn away the deputy from the faith.”  Paul rebuked him harshly and caused this man to go blind for a season. We read Paul’s words in verses 10-11, “And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.”

Although very different, cults and the occult are enemies of God.  We need to study and learn our Bibles so we are equipped and know God’s truths so we can recognize anything that is contrary to God’s Word.  May we all take this very seriously and not be taken in by either.  (CC)  (557.4)