“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day [of Jesus’ Second Coming] will not come unless the falling away [from faith and belief in Jesus] comes first”
2 Thessalonians 2:3
THE CIVILIZATIONS OF EUROPE and countries of the Western world have been described by many commentators as now being “post-Christian.” The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, gave this bleak assessment of Christianity in the United Kingdom: “Christ is being replaced by music, New Age beliefs, the environmental movement, the occult, and the free-market economy.”85
In Jesus’ discourse about the signs that would precede His return, three times He told His disciples that numerous false prophets would arise on the world scene, and that they would attract large followings. “Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many” (Matthew 24:11).86
Paganism is flourishing. The BBC reports: “A study in 1997 suggested there were 100,000 practicing pagans in the UK, an increase of 95,000 since 1990.”87
Would-be witches are being offered government grants to learn how to cast spells. … Now they can take up home study courses in the ancient art of Wicca run by the British School of Yoga, which qualify for the government’s individual learning accounts, where students get a discount towards course fees. The subject list [includes] Spell Casting, Divination, Spirits, Gods and Goddesses, The Book of Shadows, and Moon Magic. Successful students are awarded a Diploma in Wicca/Witchcraft of the New Age Foundation.88
“Let the little children come to Me,” said Jesus. He did not add “...but only after they have been encouraged to question their faith and made aware of the arguments for atheism.” That is the proposal from the Institute for Public Policy Research [in the United Kingdom], the New Labour think tank that is attempting to refashion Religious Education lessons along progressive lines.
The IPPR report, entitled “What Is Religious Education For?” wants children to be “actively encouraged to question the religious beliefs they bring with them into the classroom,” and taught about fashionable alternatives such as paganism and environmentalism.89
“Pagan power” is similarly on the increase in North America.
Helen Berger, a professor of sociology at Westchester University, [and] the editor of “Witchcraft and Magic: Contemporary North America,” published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, estimates there are at least 200,000 practicing pagans in [the USA]. Other academics put the number as high as 700,000.90
According to the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, based on data from the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) conducted in 2001, Wiccans and pagans constitute the seventh largest religious grouping in the U.S.
The ARIS survey of the American adult population indicates a growth in the Wiccan community of 17-fold between 1990 and 2001—the highest of any faith group monitored. This would indicate a doubling in numbers of adherents about every 2.5 years. If the latter growth rate is accurate and if it continues, then Wicca would be the third largest religious group in the U.S. by about 2012, behind Christianity and Judaism.91
The Santeria, Candomblé, Macumba, and Vodou religions that are popular in areas of Latin America and Africa can also be included in this pagan revival.
Although the Bible and prayer were officially banned and removed from U.S. public schools in 1962, many of these same schools now offer their pupils accredited courses in witchcraft and the occult.
The Bible tells us that if people willfully reject God’s truth, they will be given “strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10–11). When we refuse the truth, there is nothing left to believe but a lie. This is why much of the world today is wide open for deceivers and false prophets. Of course, the Devil doesn’t always show himself to be the evil and destructive spiritual force that he is. Quite the contrary. He and his agents frequently portray themselves as messengers of light and goodness. The apostle Paul explains, “Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:14–15). He is the arch-deceiver.
Unfortunately, one reason a lot of people get caught up in the dark side of the spirit world is because they’ve been disillusioned by the apparent absence of spiritual reality in traditional religions. A South African expert on Satanism attributes youth involvement in the occult to spiritually dead churches. Reuters reports,
“Satanism is increasing, especially the serious cases; murder, assaults,” Colonel Kobus Jonker, head of the police’s Occult Investigations Unit in Pretoria, said in an interview.
Jonker blamed what he calls the spiritual bankruptcy of establishment churches in South Africa for the tendency of teenagers to dabble in the occult. “You can actually feel the deadness in many of our churches. There’s nothing going on. I don’t want to sit in a church like that.”92
- The Future Foretold
- A World at War
- “Mommy, I’m Hungry!”
- A Plagued Planet
- The Big Shake-up
- Our Violent World
- The “Me” Generation
- The Good News Goes Global
- Globetrotters and Jetsetters
- Information Overload
- The Pagan Revival
- The Beast That Is to Come
- The “Mark of the Beast”
- The Second Coming
- Faith to Face the Future