Sunday, April 22, 2018

Torah Portion - April 22-28, 2018

This week we are continuing the health laws, found in the Statues... 

WEEK OF April 22-28, 2018: Overview of this week's Statutes (#362-382):

STATUTE #362-363:

(#362) All fish or water creatures which do not have fins and scales are not to be eaten. (#363) The carcasses of all fish or water creatures which do not have fins and scales are to be an abomination. This means that YHWH’s people are not to touch the carcasses of such water creatures. And if YHWH’s people do come in contact with their carcasses, we are to wash thoroughly with water and be unclean until the evening (Leviticus 11:23-25).

Leviticus 11:10-12 “And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you: They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcasses in abomination. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.”

STATUTE #364-366:

(#364) YHWH commands His people to abstain from eating all unclean birds. Not only does He list certain kinds of birds as unclean, but YHWH also mentions that all birds of THIS KIND are also unclean. (#365) The kinds of birds that are unclean are scavengers, carrion eaters, and meat eaters. (#366) Such unclean birds are an abomination. This means that their carcasses are not to be touched. Accidental contact requires that the person wash immediately and be unclean until the evening (Leviticus 11:23-25).

Leviticus 11:13-19 “And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the osprey, And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;  Every raven after his kind;  And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckoo, and the hawk after his kind,  And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,  And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.”

STATUTE #367-370:

(#367) Flying creatures which swarm are unclean and must not be eaten. (#368) Flightless birds are unclean. (#369) Locusts, beetles, and grasshoppers are clean and may be eaten. (#370) All other creatures, like insects, which have multiple legs and can jump are unclean and are an abomination. (#370) Accidental contact requires that the person wash immediately and be unclean until the evening (Leviticus 11:23-25). Many believe that the statutes about unclean foods are set aside because of Peter’s vision. But, Peter’s vision (Acts 10:9-19 & 28) was not about foods, but people. Peter had viewed Gentiles as “unclean.” The Bible itself tells that the vision was to open Peter’s mind to ministering to the Gentiles. This how Peter and the Jewish Christians interpreted this vision (Acts 11:1-18).

Leviticus 11:20-23 “All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you. Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth; Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind. But all other flying creeping things, which have four feet, shall be an abomination unto you.  

STATUTE #371-374:

(#371) YHWH’s people are not to eat anything that wriggles, crawling upon the ground on its belly (like a snake, worm, or slug) (#372) YHWH’s people are not to eat anything that creeps along the ground with multiple feet (like a centipede, etc…) (#373) Eating unclean creeping things makes a person loathsome and filthy in YHWH’s Sight.  (#374) Accidental contact requires that the person wash immediately and be unclean until the evening (Leviticus 11:23-25).

Leviticus 11:41-43 “And every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth shall be an abomination; it shall not be eaten. Whatsoever goeth upon the belly, and whatsoever goeth upon all four, or whatsoever hath more feet among all creeping things that creep upon the earth, them ye shall not eat; for they are an abomination. Ye shall not make yourselves abominable with any creeping thing that creepeth, neither shall ye make yourselves unclean with them, that ye should be defiled thereby.”

STATUTE #375-379:

(#375) YHWH’s people are to be sanctified and holy in diet. (#376) YHWH’s people are not to defile themselves with unclean creeping creatures. (#377) Choosing to eat only clean things is one way we honor YHWH for deliverance from Egypt (a symbol of bondage to sin). (#378) YHWH wants His children to make a distinction between clean and unclean foods, severing from eating practices involving unclean meats. (#379) YHWH’s people are not to eat any creature that moves about on the ground (no reptiles).

Leviticus 11:44-47 “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I Am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I Am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I Am holy. This is the law of the beasts, and of the fowl, and of every living creature that moveth in the waters, and of every creature that creepeth upon the earth: To make a difference between the unclean and the clean, and between the beast that may be eaten and the beast that may not be eaten.”  

WEEK OF April 22-28, 2018

Torah Reading for the week: Exodus 18:1-20:23

Statute Studies for the week: 

Daily Bible Reading - April 22, 2018

Today's Reading:

Acts 9:1-25

Joshua 3:1-5:1

Job 22

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

After yesterday's jaunt into history, today, I thought it would be fun to do a bit more, along with some biblical archaeology. In our day's reading from Job, we find a reference to the gold of Ophir

Job 22:23-25 "If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver."

Have you ever wondered about the gold of Ophir? It's mentioned 11 times in Scripture. Plainly from the context, the Gold of Ophir was exceedingly special, plenteous, and rich. It was believed to be the best gold in all the world, in the time of Solomon. But, as I research Ophir a bit more, I found that actually it was renowned as the biblical El Dorado! Some have gone so far as to speculate that the land of Ophir may well have been the basis for the legend of Atlantis!

Ophir in Genesis 10 (the Table of Nations) is said to be the name of one of the sons of Joktan.[Note 1] The Books of Kings and Chronicles tell of a joint expedition to Ophir by King Solomon and the Tyrian king Hiram I from Ezion-Geber, a port on the Red Sea, that brought back large amounts of gold, precious stones and 'algum wood' and of a later failed expedition by king Jehoshaphat of Judah.[Note 2] The famous 'gold of Ophir' is referenced in several other books of the Hebrew Bible.[Note 3] In Jewish tradition, Ophir is often associated with a place in India, named for one of the sons of Joktan.[2] The 10th-century lexicographer, David ben Abraham al-Fasi, identified Ophir with Serendip, the old Persian name for Sri Lanka (aka Ceylon).[3]

Details about the three of Joktan's sons, Sheba, Ophir and Havilah, were preserved in a tradition known in divergent forms from three early Christian (pre-Islamic) sources: the Arabic Kitab al-Magall (part of Clementine literature), the Syriac Cave of Treasures, and the Ethiopic Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan.[citation needed]

The Kitab al-Magall states that in the days of Reu, a king of Saba (Sheba) named "Pharaoh" annexed Ophir and Havilah to his kingdom, and "built Ophir with stones of gold, for the stones of its mountains are pure gold."[citation needed]

In the Cave of Treasures, this appears as: "And the children of Ophir, that is, Send, appointed to be their king Lophoron, who built Ophir with stones of gold; now, all the stones that are in Ophir are of gold."[4]
The version in the Conflict of Adam and Eve says: "Phar’an reigned over the children of Saphir [Ophir], and built the city of Saphir with stones of gold; and that is the land of Sarania, and because of these stones of gold, they say that the mountains of that country and the stones thereof are all of gold."

No one knows the exact location of Ophir anymore. It is lost in the dusty pages of history. Some speculate that Ophir was located north-west of Sri Lanka and the that it now lies beneath the Indian Ocean, having been flooded in ages past.

Solomon certainly knew where Ophir was located. In fact, his gold was known to have come from Ophir.

As Bible History Online reported:

This fragment of an ancient pottery jar was discovered at Tel Qasile near Jaffa in Israel. It contains an inscription which mentions "Ophir gold" and the temple of Horon, a Canaanite deity. The Gold of Ophir Inscription is important in the study of Biblical archaeology. It corresponds with what the Bible says about the gold at Solomon's Temple.

"Gold of Ophir to Beth-Horon...30 shekels"
"Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal." - I Chronicles 29:3-4 
The gold of Ophir was mentioned in the Bible in connection to Solomon's Temple. Ophir was a region probably located on the southwestern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is quite possible that Ophir was on the opposite of the Red Sea, on the eastern coast of Africa. According to the Bible it could be reached by ship from Ezion-geber (I Kings 9:28). King Solomon joined with the Phoenician king Hiram and uniting a fleet of ships to bring out the gold of Ophir.  
Ophir was a port or region mentioned in the Bible, famous for its wealth. King Solomon is supposed to have received a cargo of gold, silver, sandalwood, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks from Ophir, every three years. [Wikipedia]

Solomon's great wealth was largely attributed to his gold mines located in Ophir. As Historic Mysteries reported:

Having ruled on or around 970BC, the legendary King Solomon is arguably one of the most recognizable characters within the pages of the Old Testament. The third King of Israel, Solomon was a renowned ruler that oversaw a growth from a single state into a venerable superpower of the Middle East in biblical times. During his near four decade regency, the King had a reputation not too dissimilar to that of a certain James Bond. King Solomon had another aspect to his legend. That was his immense wealth from gold that historians say came from the lost mine of Ophir somewhere in the Middle East.

By today’s standards, Solomon was reputed to have a personal fortune in excess of $60 trillion. Much of this came in the form of pure gold. By the end of his sovereignty, estimations indicated that he owned 500 tons of gold. Modern gold usually comes in the form of bullion. But King Solomon used a portion of his gold to fashion items such as shields, cups and plates. King Solomon’s temple, built in the mid 10th century BC, was bedecked in gold. 

At his palace, builders constructed his throne from a combination of gold and another precious material, ivory. A gold footstool rested at its base. Leading up to his golden throne, a dozen life size replicas of lions formed a guard of honor on six steps.

But there is more to our study of Ophir's gold than just a treasure hunt, or the legend of lost Atlantis. The gold of Ophir bears spiritual meaning as well. And it is in the spiritual meaning that we may find the true treasure of this gold, even today.

Kethem is the Hebrew word which has been translated into the English word gold, in reference to the gold of Ophir. Kethem is a word which references the following:

1) The gold of Ophir represents wisdom and understanding.

2) The Bride of Christ, His queen, is decked with kethem.

4) God's Word fitly spoken is said to be "an ornament of "fine gold [kethem] in the mouth of  a wise reprover."

5) Only God Himself can make "light be darkness" and "change and dim fine gold" [kethem].

6) Christ's Word and His Truth "gird our loins in fine gold [kethem]." 

7) In judgment "in the day of the Lord" that man is to be made "more precious than the golden wedge [kethem] of Ophir." 

And it is in these seven spiritual references to the deeper significance of the gold of Ophir that we find our real treasure hunt. This is the gold that we must daily seek from our Heavenly King:

Revelation 3:18  "I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." 

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Torah Portion - April 21, 2018

This week's Statutes are about circumcision and some of the health laws...

WEEK OF April 15-21, 2018: Overview of this week's Statutes (#344-361):


(#344) YHWH commands His people (who are the seed of Abraham – Galatians 3:16 & 29) to keep His Covenant. The Covenant of YHWH involves the shedding of blood and the entering into a bonded relationship. In the Abrahamic Covenant (which all the righteous enter) both YAH (Calvary) and Abraham (circumcision) shed blood. (#345) YHWH not only commanded Abraham to keep His Covenant, He also commanded all of Abraham’s seed to keep it in every generation. (#346) Every male child, who is a partaker of YHWH’s Covenant, is to be circumcised. (#347) Circumcision means that we are to cut away the foreskin, or the fold of skin surrounding the male organ. (#348) Circumcision is the sign, or physical evidence, that we belong to YHWH and are partakers of His Abrahamic Covenant. (#349) Male children, born in our homes, are to be circumcised on the eighth day. (#350) Servants or people brought into the household, that are not born in the house, still were to be circumcised. Every male in the house of Abraham’s seed is to be circumcised. (Judgment) Failure to circumcise as YHWH has commanded means that one has broken the Covenant and is no longer numbered among YHWH’s people.

Genesis 17:9-14 “And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep My Covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.  This is My Covenant, which ye shall keep, between Me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.  And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the Covenant betwixt Me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.  He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and My Covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.  And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken My Covenant.”  

STATUTES #351-353:

(#351) YHWH commands His people to be circumcised in our hearts. This means that the innermost person, our thinking and understanding, out of which flows our actions and words, is to have the “old man” of sin, cut away and removed (see Colossians 2:11-13). (#352) YHWH commands us not to be hardened in sin nor dense in understanding spiritual Truth. (#353) Our motivation for having circumcised hearts is to be our awareness that YHWH is THE ALMIGHTY.

Deuteronomy 10:16-17Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward.”

STATUTES #354-355:

(#354) YHWH not only commands His people to be circumcised, He promises to perform this spiritual surgery, if we seek it of Him (James 4:2). Not only does YHWH promise to circumcise our hearts, but also the hearts of our children. (#355) YHWH’s people are to love Him with our whole hearts, vitality, and breath. We are to love Him in choosing Him over appetite. His pleasure is to be our own. When we love YHWH and are fully given to Him, we are fully alive and made strong.

Deuteronomy 30:6 “The LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”

STATUTES #356-361:

(#356) YHWH commands His people to take care in choosing foods to eat. We are never to eat any flesh He has deemed “abominable.” (#357) We may only eat meats of animals which chew the cud and have a divided hoof. (#358) An animal which chews the cud but doesn’t have a divided hoof is unclean. (#359) An animal which has a divided hoof, but doesn’t chew the cud is unclean. (#360) YHWH’s people are not to eat the flesh of any unclean animal. (#361) YHWH’s people are not to touch the dead carcass of any unclean animal.

Deuteronomy 14:3-8 “Thou shalt not eat any abominable thing. These are the beasts which ye shall eat: the ox, the sheep, and the goat, the hart, and the roebuck, and the fallow deer, and the wild goat, and the pygarg, and the wild ox, and the chamois. And every beast that parteth the hoof, and cleaveth the cleft into two claws, and cheweth the cud among the beasts, that ye shall eat.  Nevertheless these ye shall not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the cloven hoof; as the camel, and the hare, and the coney: for they chew the cud, but divide not the hoof; therefore they are unclean unto you. And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcass.”

WEEK OF April 15-21, 2018

Torah Reading for the week: Exodus 13:17-17:16

Statute Studies for the week: 

Daily Bible Reading - April 21, 2018

Today's Reading:

Acts 8:26-40

Joshua 1-2

Job 21

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

In Acts, we read about the amazing encounter between Philip and the Ethiopian eunuchWhat an experience! Philip is instructed to go to this roadway where he has no idea what to expect. There he sees a chariot with a dignitary from Ethiopia (the eunuch served the queen). And the story of how Philip was used to lead the eunuch to Christ goes on from there. Beautiful!

But, we don't often hear the rest of the story. What happened afterwards? We know that Philip was taken up in whirlwind, like the original (and true) Pecos Bill. But what happened to the eunuch? Did he stay true to his new baptism and commitment to ChristI had always wondered... Today, I thought I would share with you some exciting history about eunuch and how Philip's missionary work that day actually impacted the whole country of Ethiopia!

Candace of Ethiopia

According to the research of D.A. Hubbard, in his New Bible Dictionary, the eunuch was a treasury official in the court of Candace of Ethiopia (Hubbard, D. A. (1962). "Ethiopian eunuch". In Douglas, J. D. New Bible Dictionary. IVF. p. 398.) 

Ancient historian, Pliny,  writes that the "Queen of the Ethiopians" bore the title Candace, and indicates that the Ethiopians had conquered ancient Syria and the Mediterranean (Turner, Sharon (1834). The Sacred History of the World, as Displayed in the Creation and Subsequent Events to the Deluge: Attempted to be Philosophically Considered, in a Series of Letters to a Son, Volume 2. Longman. pp. 480–482.) 

The eunuch was powerful, being the chief treasurer of a kingdom wealthy from its iron smelting, gold mining and trading position. At the time, Ethiopia was a conduit for goods from the rest of the continent. Candace, queen of the Ethiopians (better "Queen Mother, ruling monarch of the Ethiopians," since candace is a title, not a proper name), cared for the duties of state. The candace in this instance was Amanitare (A.D. 25-41; Wead 1982:197; Crocker 1986:67)

When the Ethiopian eunuch returned to his homeland and queen after being baptized by Philip that day, he brought the Torah, Sabbath-keeping, and the worship of Yahweh to Ethiopia. The whole country changed from worshiping false gods to the worship of the one, true Almighty God. How can we know this? Because, in 1410, the reigning queen of Ethiopia wrote it in her testimony to the papacy!

After Constantine began working to paganize Christianity in 325 AD, he changed the Sabbath to Sunday and replaced the annual Sabbaths with Babylonian days of worship. From this point onward, the papal power began to apply increasing pressure on the nations of the world to bring them into alignment with the teachings of papal Rome.

Ethiopia was resistant to Rome's increasing pressure. And by 1410, Pope John XXIII was writing some very threatening letters to the Queen of Ethiopia, demanding that she bring her country under the leadership of the Mother Church and that she command her people to abide by the doctrines of papal Rome.

The Queen of Ethiopia wrote a powerful letter back to the pope. Her letter is found in the book, The Church History of Habassia or Ethiopia, p 62. In her letter to the pope, the Queen of Ethiopia stated that she would not recant the beliefs of her nation. She stated that her nation's worship of Yahweh, their keeping of Sabbath, the annual Sabbaths, and their other Biblical doctrines had been learned from the apostle Philip himself. From this letter, we can learn that Philip's missionary work with the eunuch not only bore fruit but converted a country! And that conversion and faithfulness to God continued some 1300 years after the eunuch's baptism!

The following beliefs were listed in the Queen's letter to the pope. All of these beliefs she credited Philip with having taught them:

  • "We observe nothing but what we find in the Law and the Prophets" (The Church History of Habassia or Ethiopia, p 62)... which included (as she stated in her letter):

    •  baptism by immersion

    • Ethiopia worshiped on the Seventh-day Sabbath.
    • In Ethiopia, confession of sins was made only to God.
    • Ethiopia believed that "exhorting to alms" (strong-arming people into giving money to the church) was wrong.
    • Ethiopia believed that both the Old and New Testaments were in effect and should be obeyed.
    • Ethiopia kept all of God's feasts and refused to keep the Papal holy days.
And that is the amazing result from one day's work in the life of the apostle Philip! And now you know the rest of the story...

Friday, April 20, 2018

Daily Bible Reading - April 20, 2018

Today's Reading:

Acts 8:2-25

Deuteronomy 33-34

Job 20

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Thoughts and Commentary on Today's Reading:

Today, the story of Simon caught my attention. Simon was a "Christianized" sorcerer. Having just written a book about Christianized witchcraft, there were several elements in the story which reminded me that there's nothing new under the sun. And I thought it appropriate to point a few key points, many of which are excerpted from my newest book Escaping from the Dragon's Jaws:


Writing this story is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It is a story I never intended to fully tell. My plan to keep it to myself was defensive. I was protecting myself from having to “rehash” powerful or painful memories. I was also guarding the reputations of those involved. And honestly, my silence was even accommodating the sensitivities of my fellow Christians, most of whom refuse to believe that committed followers of Messiah can be demonized, attacked, or deceived, to the degree which I was. 

This belief is often voiced in a question, “Can the devil really get someone who prays, loves the Heavenly Father, and desires to serve Him wholeheartedly?” The very idea breeds deep fear in even the most stalwart of souls. For it leads us to worry that if the devil can get the truly committed Christians, no one is safe! 

Now let me say up front that, of course, our Heavenly King is stronger than the devil! And there is no question that He can set the captives free (Isaiah 49:24-25). The truth of this promise is amply demonstrated in this book. But because many Christians have serious misconceptions about witchcraft, it is very possible, even commonplace for them to become the deceived “prey of the terrible.”

In order to keep Christians vulnerable to “Christianized” witchcraft, the enemy has fed God’s people a deep lie: “the devil can’t ‘get’ fully committed Christians. Only people who are hypocrites can be spiritually taken down by his deceptions.” But, this belief goes against Scripture, thus exposing it as a demonic deception. Consider the Saviour’s warning about how overmastering would be the devil’s deception—Matthew 24:24. Deception of this magnitude did overtake me, and it wasn’t due to a lack of commitment to God. I became deceived because I was expecting witchcraft to look like chicken bones, tarot cards and Ouija boards—but it came to me in deceptive ways which appeared “righteous” at the time.

Where would you most expect to encounter the devil? If someone were to ask you to pinpoint the most likely location for a spiritual warfare confrontation with the forces of Hell, where would it be? Of all the dark and seedy dives most likely coming to your mind just now, does a Christian church or fellowship group even make the list?  Yet the enemy of souls does come after the spiritual “flock” of believers from within

Simon was inside the Early Christian church, having been baptized. Yet, he was moving under the unction of the spirits of darkness. This is why the apostle Peter warned us to be sober and vigilant, because our adversary the devil is like a roaring lion, seeking to devour us:
1 Peter 5:8   "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour."
Whether we like it or not - are aware of it or not - we are at war. The devil is at war with every child of God.
Revelation 12:17    "And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the Commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
One of the first keys to effective spiritual warfare is discernment. Our Saviour warned us that the wolves of darkness would creep into the Fold masquerading as converted sheep. But the nature and intent of the wolf is not less threatening because it appears sheep-like. Rather it is made all the more dangerous by its effective deception.

What about you? Are you prepared to recognize and rightly identify wolves in sheep's clothing? Can you discern witchcraft after its been repackaged and covered over with "Christianized" wrapping paper? Discerning witchcraft is possible and rightly identifying wolves is important. God tells us to do this with two key aids to help us:

1) We are to seek His Heavenly eyesalve in order to have spiritual discernment - Revelation 3:18

2) We are to discern the spirits at work by the fruits they manifest - Matthew 7:15-20

So what are fruits of witchcraft, which identify it and make it discernible, no matter what packaging surrounds it? At its essence, witchcraft is based on trust in the “gods” and in their direct guidance. The basis for this trust is not some over-arching book of truth, nor anyone else’s say-so, rather it is based upon one’s own past experiences, gained through supernatural sensory confirmation, as witch Patti Wigginton explains in the quote below:
A key part of many NeoWiccan paths today is the concept of… perfect trust… It not only means trust in those around us, but also in our gods and in ourselves. Trust is not blind, but it does involve faith. For example, we may know that the gods walk with us and guide us; we trust them to do so because of past experience, not because someone has told us to believe this. Trust is being willing to close your eyes and fall, knowing that the person waiting to catch you will do so. (
Demons know better than to come to Christians as “gods”. Christians are savvy enough to recognize that they should not honor any “god,” but the Almighty. So, Christianized witch-craft repackages the pagan spirit guides as Heavenly angels. These “Heaven-sent” “angels” appear, or speak to, Christians, especially those in leadership, giving counsel and guidance, seemingly from God Himself.
Gradually however, the Christian is weaned away from his Scriptural foundation, growing more and more accustomed to “God” communicating more dramatically through supernatural visions or angelic encounters. In spite of the obvious supernatural element in these angelic manifestations, the Christian is lulled into a false sense of security, trusting the messages to be divinely inspired. 

The basis for this trust is twofold. First, being deemed “important” enough in the spirit realm to warrant angels’ visits is very flattering to our human pride. It’s exciting and a major ego boost to be able to tell our church flock of our latest vision or angelic visit. Perhaps this is why the Bible warns us against pride and self-exaltation.

The second reason Christians can be led to blindly trust in the guidance of supernatural beings is because, while they begin with Scriptural backing, they gradually leave this foundation. At first, every concept given by the demonic guides appears totally Scriptural.

How powerful is the deception? It is so overmastering, that Scripture warns, "if possible" it would threaten to deceive even the most "elect" of God's followers!
Matthew 24:24  "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
So we mustn't think that we're safe from the threat of deception by our sincerity in wholeheartedly belonging to God! Rather, we need to soberly and seriously understand how vitally important it is to have spiritual discernment to perceive the fruits of the wolves even beneath the most "holy" of sheepskin coverings.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15  "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
To demonstrate how deceptive Christianized witchcraft really is, consider the sad case of Sharon Lee Halstead, which took place right here in Oregon, in the late 1990's:

Sharon was a 4th generation Seventh-day Adventist Christian. She loved the Word of God and was a committed Christian. But Sharon was taken out by Christianized Witchcraft. She gradually left worshiping God and traded Him in for New Age demon spirit-guides, which she thought were holy angels at the time. She was so deeply deceived that Sharon believed she was doing God's Will when she ultimately committed murder! 

In the end, Sharon was sentenced to up to life in prison for killing a ranchman during a shooting spree in which victims were selected by a 9-year-old boy who said they were possessed by demons. 

Sharon Lee Halstead, 36, received a mandatory life term with a minimum of 30 years after pleading guilty to aggravated murder in the Nov. 2, 1988, shooting death of Marston Lemke, a 59-year-old wrangler on a Newberg ranch. She is awaiting sentencing in a second killing. 

According to court documents, Halstead was acting on the instructions of her 9-year-old son, Leo Shively, when she killed Lemke and Lynnann Green. 

Green was killed and her husband and 2-year-old son were wounded in a shooting in Grants Pass three days after the Lemke killing. The boy was shot as he sat in his high chair and is paralyzed from the chest down. 

How could a committed Christian person do such a thing? The devil had taken her down a bread-crumb strewn pathway of deception, which took her into darkness - all while believing she was still a child of the Light. Court documents showed Halstead believed Leo spoke for God. The killer believed her victims were ''totaled,'' a term used to describe someone whose body was occupied by evil spirits or demons. 

Halstead feared she, her sons and her sister would be ''totaled'' if she failed to carry out the killings.  At her sentencing hearing, Halstead told Circuit Judge Donald Blensly she had nothing to say. 

In his book, beware of angels, author Roger Morneau quoted Halstead and gave the details in her sad story. The following is a quote from Sharon, recorded by Morneau:
“For a period of five years, I was affiliated with a small group of people… They believed that they had evolved into a higher degree of standing with God and hadreceived the ability to see and hear angels. During that time we had heard that the time would come when God would require that we do many difficult things for Him. I told God that I would do anything for Him, anything He wanted. But I never thought that the day would come when He would send an angel to tell me to destroy six individuals who had become possessed with demons.”
Roger went on to explain:
As we talked in a relaxed way about those years that had molded her and prepared her to kill for God, it deeply impressed me how Satan’s angels had cleverly impersonated God’s angels, convincing Lynn Greene and the others that they brought special messages from God Himself to that little group. And the day came when by that very same means the demons were able to decree murder. Murder of someone who had been their own spokesperson.

Many individuals had come to consider Lynn Greene as some kind of prophet, because for a number of years she had claimed to see and hear angels. She supposedly had had numerous conversations with Jesus, Who declared the little group to be His very special people on earth, and told them that He would use them to accomplish wonders on behalf of His commandment-keeping people during the closing period of earth’s history.

During one prayer meeting, Lynn received, from what she believed was God’s angel, a message that was supposedly designed to encourage some of her followers. “You are saddened because you wish not to remain here for so long a time,” she said the being had told her. “I will brighten your time here with these thoughts of the future. You, Joseph, with your bare hands will hold back the greatest wave from the sea for many to pass under. And Rachel will not burn as the flames rise above… and when the fire goes out all will be amazed in that not a hair from her head will be scorched… And you, Sharon (Halstead), the shout of your voice will cause the greatest mountain to crumble on your enemies to protect Yahweh’s people. I see you in the future doing miraculous deeds by yourself. But yes, He that waits for you will draw near when you have been made new. Your angel that stands by you will faithfully give you the strength, knowledge, and wisdom for these things.”

Then the angel closed his visit by appealing to the group’s pride: “You here in this room know more of the future than any man, woman, or child in this world.”

As I listened to Sharon Halstead recount her bizarre tale, I realized that the whole experience of bright and beautiful angels telling them they were God’s elite on the face of the earth had been intended to have an intoxicating effect upon their minds. It blinded them to the errors Satan gradually used to lead them to disregard or totally reject such fundamental truths of the Bible as the state of human beings in death… or that we can leave the body while we live on this planet and then travel to other worlds.

These men and women were Seventh-day Adventists, but a fascination with angels had caused them to abandon much of their faith. Angels tricked them into accepting such fantastic accounts as this one Sharon told me:

“Dave Green Jr., went to his own planet that God gave him…  it had miniature people and his favorite bonsai trees. The people on the planet were smaller than the bonsai trees. Dave told us that he talked and visited with these little people, and they were taking care of his bonsai trees for him… We were told that after Jesus took us to Heaven and we had the chance to visit our own planets and other worlds … we were informed that each of us could have whatever plants, trees, or animals we wanted on our planet.”

On my birthday, November 4, 1984,” Sharon said, “we went to the home of some friends to pray and ask the angels questions. After lunch we all went into the living room, and most of us sat on the floor around Lynn. Then we talked to the angels one at a time as they showed up. The week before, an angel had told Lynn that we were to meet here , and that I would receive my birthday gifts from heaven, something that some in the group had prayed that I would get. A girl named Cheryl had received a large cat that when you looked at it one way it appeared to have stripes, but when it moved and you saw it from another angle, it looked like it had shimmering spots…

One person received a gift that turned out to be too much for him. In 1984, Sharon said, a member of the group named Charles was given the gift of reading minds. One time he sensed what someone was thinking about him, and he didn’t like it. Upset, he asked God to remove the ability.”

During the winter of 1984, the Greenes went skiing at Bend, Oregon. “They told me,” Sharon said, “that while skiing down the slopes, a young boy angel went skiing with them. He was the youngest angel Lynn said she had ever seen or talked to.”

Who could resist wanting to know such unusual things? Surely to have God reveal them to you meant that you were someone special. Sharon Halstead told me how in 1984 “the angel of truth” had supposedly come to Lynn during a prayer and question session. Lynn started smiling and said to the being, “Truth, what do you have on your head?” He said he had just returned from a youth rally in Mexico in which he had taken human form and had been a guest speaker. The people had given him a Mexican sombrero. He had it on so that Lynn could see his gift from the people of Mexico.

During my research for this book I read the 175 page black notebook David and Lynn Green had kept about their experiences. The police had removed it from their home after Lynn’s murder. It stated that during a period of about four years, the Greenes entertained in their home what they believed to be many angels. Angels that flattered and impressed – and deceived. Satan led them step-by-step to accept the most bizarre things – thing contrary to everything they had been taught from the Bible. Here are David’s own words:

“We have met and talked to many (angels) and have made many friends whom we love very much – to date, 160.”
David Greene Jr received the gift of space travel, better known to most people as out-of-body-experiences, and he referred to it as ‘spiritual travel.’ One evening we were all sitting on the floor. David stretched out and went to sleep. After a while Lynn asked him, ‘Where have you been, Dave?’ His reply was ‘Oh, I went through the roof and was taken to another planet, where I saw many beautiful things.”

The Halstead family observed that at times when David was having one of his spiritual exercises, he would sit in the middle of the living room floor and talk in tongues.

For about five years those visiting angels charmed the people in Oregon with promises of wonderful things to come, winning their confidence and love. Then they began to lead them into activities forbidden by the Word of God.

This is how an unwary Christian can be lured away from God’s Word and Will, into the dangerous realm of a sensual religion. As time progresses, this supernatural guidance increasingly deviates from the sure foundation of Scripture. Yet, the Christian follows along, often unaware that his changing doctrines are growing more decidedly contrary to the Word of God with each “breadcrumb” step. His basis for belief in the continued visions and supernatural guidance is the “blessings” of his past experiences from following the angelic counsel. This is a sensual religion, at its best. And sensuality and faith are polar opposites.

In fact, faith has absolutely nothing to do with our senses at all. The Bible is clear that our senses are not the basis upon which to determine truth.

For we walk by faith, not by sight, 2 Corinthians 5:7.

Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things we hope for, being the proof of things we do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]. [Prompted] by faith Noah, being forewarned by God concerning events of which as yet there was no visible sign, took heed and diligently and reverently constructed and prepared an ark for the deliverance of his own family... [Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know… where he was to go, Hebrews 11:1 & 7-8 (AMP).
Like I was, many Christians today are led down a “rose-lined” path to Hell because they want instant gratification and desire to experience God in a more “real” way, through their senses. They aren’t content to know God through real faith. They want something more physically tangible.

Deception creeps in when we use our own private interpretation to understand the meaning of a verse. Through the Holy Spirit, Scripture is to be used to interpret Scripture. This is why a minimum of two witnesses is always required to have true Biblical backing for any doctrine or belief. 

Revivalist, Henry Blackaby, states this concept very clearly in his workbook, Experiencing God:

  • …Throughout your life, you will have times when you want to respond to situations based on your own experiences or your own wisdom. Such an approach will get you in trouble. This should be your guideline: always go to the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of your situation to you. Look to see what God says and how He works in the Scriptures. Make your decisions and evaluate your experiences based on biblical truths.

…When you study the Scriptures, do not base your decision on one isolated verse or story. Look to see how God generally works throughout the Scriptures. When you learn how God has consistently related to people throughout history, you can expect Him to work in a similar way with you. Your experience is valid only as it is confirmed in the Scriptures. I never deny anyone’s personal experience. I always reserve the right, however, to interpret it according to what I understand from Scripture. At times individuals get upset with me and say, “I don’t care what you say. I’ve experienced this.” I kindly respond, “I do not deny your experience, but I question your interpretation of what happened because it is contrary to what I see in God’s Word. Our experiences cannot be our guide. Every event in your life must be understood and interpreted by the Scriptures, for the God revealed in Scripture does not change,” (p 14).
 Allowing our senses and good feelings to determine what is "good" and what is "of God" is the very essence of witchcraft. Truth is found in the Word of God. And whatever is stated in the Word is True, no matter what our senses or feelings tell us at the time. Remember, the devil is a master magician. And in a magic show, the closer you look, the less you see - with you natural eyes.

Let's pray today for Heavenly eye-salve and stand firmly upon the foundation of the sure Word of Scripture. Then and only then are we protected from the dangerous deceptions of Christianized witchcraft, and from the infiltration of Satan's agents, who come to us as wolves in sheep's clothing.

For much more on this vital subject, check out my newest book, Escaping from the Dragon's Jaws, available now on