THE TRUTH ABOUT ANCESTRAL TRADITIONS
Pastor Jannie Viljoen
In the African context of spiritual matters, the honoring of dead ancestors play a vital role throughout a person's life. Not only are the dead honored by the living relatives, but the departed dead are seen as directing events from beyond the grave in the everyday life of the family. The dead are consulted concerning important matters in the family and the living must be careful not to offend the spirits of the ancestors. The spirits of the ancestors must also be appeased regularly by certain rituals and offerings. The ancestral spirits are seen as protectors of the family members and can bring good fortune to the family if they are kept happy by honoring them. For some in the African context of worship, the dead ancestors are seen as those who are near to God.
"Africans believe in a supreme God, whom the Zulus call 'UNkulunkulu.' However, they do not understand him. To them he is far away. He sends thunder on people for unknown reasons and sometimes does bad things. It is impossible for living people to communicate with him. But when a person dies his spirit goes to that land where NKulunkulu lives. That spirit then can have some influence with him and can have influence on the lives of people living on the earth."
(Guardian of the Truth, XXXV: pp. 300-301, May 16, 1991).
The ancestors can also be used to put curses on others. In the African context, the witch doctor, or "sangoma," has the power to connect directly with the spirits of the departed ancestors and acts as a "go-between" between the living family members and their departed ancestors. The ancestral spirits are also seen as mediators between the living and the "Great Spirit," or God.
In the light of this, we need to ask some important question:
· Can one marry Christianity and the ancestral traditions as it is practiced today?
· Can one be a Christian and be involved with the ancestral spirits at the same time?
· Are the ancestral spirits really the spirits of those who have died?
· Is it possible for the dead to communicate with the living?
· Who really mediates between the living and God?
· What does God say in His Word, the Bible, about all this?
If we want to understand spiritual matters or have an understanding of the spiritual world, we need to hear from the One who is Spirit and who had created the spiritual world and who lives in the spiritual world. The Bible calls Him God and tells us that He is a Spirit [John 4:24].
Jesus, who is God, has created everything: "In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… All things were made through Him … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:1,2 and 14).
And so, if we want to know the truth concerning the spiritual dimension, or what happens to people when they die, where they go to after death, or whether the living can communicate with the spirits of the dead, we need to hear what God says about it. Everything that God wants us to know about life and death, the physical world and the spiritual world, He has revealed to us in the Book He has given, namely the Bible:
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work [2 Tim. 3:16].
The Bible, which is the Word of God, is so important in understanding spiritual matters that David says in Psalm 138:2, "For You have magnified your Word above all Your name."
God, who is a Spirit, not only lives in the spirit world, but He has also created the spirit world and He controls what is happening in the spirit world:
"For by Him [Jesus Christ] all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible [the spiritual world], whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him"
Not only has God created the visible and invisible [or spiritual] world, He also controls it: "And He [Christ] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together"[Col. 1:17].
Because God has created the visible and invisible world, and because He controls it, we can believe what He tells us about it in His Word, the Bible.
WHAT DOES GOD SAY IN HIS WORD ABOUT THE LIVING COMMUNICATING WITH THE DEAD?
To understand whether the spirits of the dead can communicate with the living, we need to see what God tells us about the place where the spirit of a person goes when he dies.
1. WHERE ARE THE DEAD?
What happens to a person we he dies? To answer this question we need to understand how God created a human being. Just as God is "Three yet One," (God the Father, God the Spirit, and God the Son), so God created man in three parts. In Genesis 1:26 God says, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness."
How did God do that? In Genesis 2 verse 7 we read that, "The Lord God formed man (1)of the dust of the ground, and (2)breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and (3)man became a living being."
We see in the above Scripture:
(1) First, God gave man a physical body created from the dust of the ground. When a person dies, his physical body returns to dust: "All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust" (Ecclesiastes 3:20).
(2) Secondly, God breathed into man the breath of life, which is the spirit of man. When a man dies, his spirit returns to God: "And the spirit will return to God who gave it"(Ecclesiastes 12:7).
(3) Thirdly, man became a living being. Because man has a body and a spirit, God gave man life. Man is able to communicate, to think, to reason, to plan and worship his Creator. Man can do this because God gave man a mind, feelings and emotions. The Bible calls this the soul.
The following picture shows the 3 dimensions of man:
1 Thessalonians 5 verse 23 gives a clear teaching that man consists of three distinct parts: "And may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
We have seen that the Scriptures tell us that when a person dies, his physical body returns to dust: "All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust" (Ecclesiastes 3:20). However, when a person dies, his spirit leaves his body and returns to the Lord who gave it: "Then the dust (his body) will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it" (Ecclesiastes 12:7).
But what about the soul?
In the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:20 – 31, the rich man died and found himself in hell. His body was in the grave where it will eventually turn to dust. Yet he was conscious of what was happening to him. His spirit and soul continued to live on in the afterlife. He could feel. He says, "I am tormented in this flame." (Luke 1624). He could see: "He lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off." (Luke 16:23). He had emotions: "He cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me" (Luke 16:24).
Lazarus' spirit, on the other hand, was in a place of comfort, peace and rest, called "Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:23). Jesus calls this place "Paradise." In Luke 23 verse 43, the crucified Jesus said to the penitent thief on the cross: "Today you will be with Me in Paradise."
The Bible therefore tells us, that when a person dies, his body goes to the grave where it will rot and return to dust, but his soul and spirit continues to live on and returns to one of two places: either heaven or hell.
Who goes to heaven and who goes to hell?
A person who has accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior goes to heaven: "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and that life is in His Son [Jesus Christ]. He who has the Son [Jesus Christ] has life [eternal]" (1 John 5:11 – 12).
A person who has rejected Jesus Christ as his Savior goes to hell: "He who does not have the Son of God [Jesus Christ] does not have life [eternal]" (1 John 5:12).
We therefore see that the Bible teaches that the departed spirits of the dead are either in heaven or in hell.
2. CAN THE DEAD COMMUNICATE WITH THE LIVING?
The next important matter is whether those who are dead can leave the confines of their place in heaven or in hell? In other words, can their spirits freely move from either of these two places?
In the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, when the rich man was suffering in the flames, he asked whether Lazarus could bring him some water to cool his tongue (Luke 16:24). But Abraham said to him: "And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us"(Luke 16:26). This shows us that the spirits of the dead are confined to either heaven or hell, and that they cannot move out of the boundaries of either these two places.
Furthermore, the rich man was concerned about his 5 living brothers. Yet, he could not go to them and communicate with them and asked Abraham to send Lazarus to go and warn them about this place of torment. (Luke 16:27). Abraham's answer was that it was not possible for Lazarus to communicate with the living brothers and that the living brothers have the testimony of the Scriptures [Moses and the Prophets] that warns about this place of torment (Luke 16:29).
The rich man then tells Abraham that if Lazarus can be sent from the dead and go to them, they might listen (Luke 16:30). The rich man did not here mean that Lazarus' spirit must go and talk to his brothers, for we have already seen that the Bible says that is not possible, but rather that Lazarus must physically come back to life again so that he can go and talk to his brothers. Abraham said that not even that was possible: "If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31).
In speaking of the place where the spirits of the dead go, the book of Job tells us that, "They go down to the bars of sheol" (Job 17:16). The word "sheol" means the abode of the spirits of the dead. Job tells us that the abode of the dead is a place of "bars" or "confinement." Just like a prison with bars would stop a person from freedom of movement, so too the place of the dead [sheol] is a place where the spirits of the dead are confined to their spiritual abode so that they cannot communicate or have access to the world of the living.
The book of Ecclesiastes says the following in chapter 9 verses 5 to 6:
"The dead know nothing … Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun."
The key verse to understand the above Scripture, is: "under the sun"(verse 6), or to put it another way – "In the land of the living." The writer of the above verse means that the spirits of the dead have no knowledge of what is happening in the land of the living: "The dead know nothing." In other words, they have no more access to this physical world. Their love, or hatred, or their envy is now something of the past because they are now separated from the living. They cannot share anything with the living anymore because their spirits are now permanently separated from the living: "Nevermore will they have a share in anything done under the sun."
The Word of God makes it clear that the living cannot communicate with the spirits of the dead and that the spirits of departed dead people cannot communicate with the living. If the dead cannot communicate with the living and the living cannot communicate with the dead, who then are these spirits that can be contacted by the living and who appear as the ancestors?
3. WHO ARE THE ANCESTRAL SPIRITS?
The Bible teaches that there are only 2 types of spirit beings that can communicate with the living. The one group is called "angels" (Psalm 104:4), or God's messengers (Hebrews 1:14), and the other group is called "demons," from the Greek word "daimonon."
Demons are evil angels that follow their master, Satan. In his original rebellion against God, Satan drew after him a third of the angels in this rebellion against God (Ezekiel 28:13 – 17; Revelation 12:4).
In Revelation 12:9 we read:
"The great dragon was cast out (of heaven), that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels (demons) were cast out with him."
What are the nature and activities of these fallen angels or demons? They have strength (Mark 5:2 – 4). They are wicked and unclean (Matthew 10:1; 12:43 – 45), although they will often appear as good and benevolent to humankind (2 Corinthians 11:14). They oppose God's work and the believers ((Ephesians 6:12). They lead people away from God (1 Timothy 4:1). They are behind all false religion and idol worship (1 Corinthians 10:19 – 21; Revelation 9:20).
These evil angels have been expelled from heaven and now reside in the spiritual realm above the earth from where they try to deceive people.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12).
The Christian, who belongs to God and walks in obedience to God and His Word, does not have to fear these demons, for they are powers of darkness and the Christian is of the light: "You (the Christian) are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness" (1 Thessalonians 5:5). The Christian who has the Spirit of God in his or her life is protected against these spiritual evil angels: "You (the Christian) are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He (the Spirit of God) who is in you is greater than he (the spirit of the devil) that is in the world" (1 John 4:4). The born-again Believer has been given the following assurance: "He (God) has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Jesus)" (Colossians 1:13).
Although God's angels can communicate with the living, they will do so only on the command of God. God forbids the living to communicate with angels, whether they are "good" angels or "evil" angels. The only person that God allows the living to communicate with is God Himself:
"And when they say to you, 'Seek those who are mediums and wizards (sangomas), who whisper and mutter,' should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?"
Here God tells a person that he is not to seek out a medium who communicates with the "dead" or "ancestors," because it is not really the spirits of the dead that are being contacted, but demons that pretend to be the spirits of the dead. God does not want us to have any contact with demons. A person should only communicate with God.
This is because, as we have already discussed, the dead (ancestors) cannot communicate with the living and the living cannot communicate with the dead (ancestors). These so-called "spirits of the dead," or "ancestors," are actually demons or fallen evil angels who imitate the dead and in this way deceive people!
Because these demons have been in existence since the beginning of the creation, they have vast knowledge of every event and person on this earth. It is therefore easy for them to imitate and take on the character of a deceased family member. Their purpose is to deceive people and keep them in bondage to Satan. They keep people in bondage to Satan by deceiving them through taking on the character, and imitating the voice and mannerisms of a deceased relative.
Remember,it is important to understand that the dead relative (ancestor) is not a demon or evil spirit. Their spirits are either in heaven or hell from where they cannot escape or communicate with the living. The so-called "ancestral spirit" is a demon who takes on the character of a deceased family member so as to deceive the relatives into believing that it is the spirit of their deceased ancestor. God's Word warns us of this trickery of Satan and his demons.
"The working of Satan, with all power, signs and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception"
(2 Thessalonians 2:9).
Satan and his demons desire the worship that is only reserved for God.They trick people into honoring and relying on them by imitating and taking on the form of the ancestors.
God's Word is clear. We are to honor and worship God alone!
""You shall not bow down to them not serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children …"
When Jesus was confronted by Satan and he tried to trick Jesus into worshipping him, Jesus said to the Devil: "Away with you, Satan! For it is written: 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve" (Matthew 410). When an angel, who was sent by God, spoke to the apostle John, he "fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, 'See that you do not do that! Worship God!'" (Revelation 19:10).
We are to worship only God. We cannot worship God and the devil at the same time! God will not protect you if you give the devil a place in your life. You either serve God and Him alone, or, if you continue to serve the devil through the deceiving demons that masquerade as the ancestral spirits, you open your life and the lives of your family members to evil and destruction.
If you are a Christian, yet continue to honor the traditions of the ancestors, God will not hear your prayers. Many things will go wrong in your life and you will continue to live in fear.
You need to ask God's forgiveness and completely break with the ancestral traditions if you want to be set free and have peace in your life.
There are many pastors who preach God's Word yet hold on to the ancestral ceremonies and traditions. They are deceived by the devil. You cannot serve God and the devil.
"What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Trevor Vosloo, in his book, "Speaking to the Dead?" reveals the following:
"If these spirits are truly our ancestors and here for our good, why do (some) people who honor and consult them … suffer from one or more of these ailments: material loss, poverty, depression, skin disease, nervous complaints, suicidal thoughts, fits of temper (anger), unable to understand the Bible, have sexual perversions, wet their beds, fall asleep when things of God are discussed and almost always have nightmares and bad thoughts? Is that not the work of Satan?"
(Speaking to the Dead? by T. Vosloo, Multi Ministries, S.A.) [Word in bracket added for clarity].
The Bible says that Satan is a liar and a murderer (John 8:44). In John 10:10 Jesus compares the devil to a thief who comes to "steal, kill and destroy." Isn't this what these "ancestral spirits" are doing? Why do they get angry so that people live in fear of them and why do they continually have to be appeased by sacrifices? It is because they are evil spirits that want to keep people in bondage to themselves.
In the Gospels of the Bible, Jesus tells the pastors (the Pharisees), who were leading the people astray with their false teachings, "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father (the devil) you want to do … (He) does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."
According to this passage of Scripture, any pastor who preaches the Gospel and also preaches and practices the ancestral traditions, is doing the devil's work! Such a pastor needs to repent, break with this practice and ask God's forgiveness. This will not be easy, but it can be done if the person is honest enough before God to confess this sin.
Many of these pastors who preach the Word of God but also continue with the ancestral traditions, will try and justify it by using the following incidents from the Bible:
The witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28:3 – 19).
Here we have an incident in the Old Testament where king Saul goes to the witch of Endor with the request that she calls up the spirit of the prophet Samuel, so that Saul can ask him for advice. This incident is used by many to justify Christianity plus the ancestral traditions as legitimate from a Biblical perspective.
If one studies this incident carefully, we will see that it cannot be used to justify seeking advice from the dead departed ancestors. It actually teaches the opposite and is a serious warning of the dire consequences of trying to contact the dead.
There are two possible explanations for this event. The one is that God supernaturally enabled Samuel's spirit to be brought up from the place of the departed spirits. This is testified by the witch's surprise and shock when she saw the spirit of Samuel: "When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice" (1 Samuel 28:12). The fact that God allowed Samuel's spirit to appear, was not to communicate with Saul, but to pronounce judgment on him. To use this once-off, God enabled appearance of Samuel's spirit to justify contact with the "ancestral spirits," is to misuse the Word of God.
The second interpretation is that it was not Samuel's spirit that appeared, but a deceiving demonic spirit. First of all, we see that the Lord had departed from Saul. "And when Saul enquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not … God is departed from me" (1 Samuel 28:6 and 15). Saul no longer had a relationship with God and could no longer find answers from God. He therefore did what God had forbidden – he consulted a medium (sangoma). If God was not going to speak to Saul directly, because He had departed from Saul, He most certainly was not going to speak to Saul through occult means. For God to make use of a witch to bring Samuel's spirit from the dead would make God complicit in witchcraft.
Because of Saul's sin, God had rejected Saul and was not going to answer him. Why would God now answer Saul through a medium? God always condemned talking through mediums: "Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them.: I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 19:31).
Those who do not know God will always seek answers somewhere else. But we have already seen that the Bible tells us that the spirits of the dead cannot leave their place of confinement and we cannot communicate with them.
Was it then really the spirit of Samuel that appeared to Saul? The answer is found in verse 13:
"And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth."
Take note: The Hebrew word "Elohim," meaning "mighty ones" or "gods" is used here. The modifying participle, translated "ascending" is plural, suggesting that underworld spirits (demons) are referred to here. There was more than just one "spirit" that appeared. These were spirit beings other than human spirits. Satan is called the "god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4). Angels and human spirits are never called "gods." These were demonic spirits. One of them took on the form and characteristics of Samuel.
Also remember that Saul no longer had a relationship with God and that God had departed from Saul. It stands to reason then that at death Saul's spirit would not go to God, but rather go to hell. This deceiving spirit said that Saul would end up with him in death the next day (verse 19). Samuel's spirit was with God and Saul's spirit would not end up with God. This indicates that this was not Samuel's spirit but a demonic and deceiving spirit.
Finally, we see that this deceiving spirit's prediction was false. In verse 19 this spirit predicted that Saul would be delivered into the hands of the Philistines. This did not happen, as Saul was not killed by his enemies, but he killed himself by falling on his sword (1 Samuel 31:4).
To use this incident to justify contact with the spirits of departed ancestors is to misuse Scripture. There are ample other Scriptures that show that God detests those who would try and contact the spirits of the deceased (See point 5).
Another incident that is used to justify contact with the spirits of the dead is found in the New Testament in Matthew 17: 1 – 3.
"Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother,led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him" (Matthew 17:1-3).
We cannot use this incident to justify communicating with the dead. First of all, Moses and Elijah did not communicate with the disciples, but only with Jesus (verse 3). And Jesus never told the disciples what was said. Secondly, the disciples saw this whole incident in a vision: "Jesus commanded them, saying, 'Tell the vision to no one." (verse 9). Also, when Peter wanted to interact with them, God hid Jesus, Moses and Elijah from the eyes of the disciples by covering them with a cloud (verse 5). The only voice that the disciples heard was when God spoke out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 17:5).There is nothing in this incident to suggest that the living can communicate with the dead.
5. GOD'S WARNINGS ABOUT CONTACTING THE SPIRITS OF THE DEAD.
There are a number of Scriptures that clearly warn of the evil of trying to contact the "spirits" of the dead. Just a few will be sufficient to show that any such activity is an abomination to the Lord.
"Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God."
"And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person."
Deuteronomy 18: 10 – 12
"There shall not be found among you anyone … who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord."
6. WHY DO THE "ANCESTORS" REQUIRE A GOAT AS A SACRIFICE?
We have seen that the "ancestral spirits" are not the departed spirits of the dead, but are in fact deceiving demonic spirits. These "ancestral" spirits are a special class of demonic spirits that desire to be worshipped with animal sacrifices – especially the sacrifice of a goat. The Scriptures reveal these spirits as "goat demons."
"The people of Israel must no longer be unfaithful to the Lord by killing their animals as a sacrifice to the goat demons."
2 Kings 23:8
"He also tore down the altars dedicated to the goat demons."
There are two practices during the initiation ceremony for sangomas that are closely related to these "goat demons." The first one is where the candidate and a goat are covered with a single animal skin that serves as a blanket. The candidate must then simulate sex with the animal. If the animal responds positively, it means that the "ancestral spirits" have accepted the candidate.
The second is the drinking of the goat's blood. This is meant to seal the bond between the candidate and the ancestors. The goat is placed on its back, and either its heart is pierced or its neck is cut. The initiate then drinks the blood directly from the animal (See picture on page 26).
The person who drinks the blood of the goat may think he is doing it to seal and commit himself to the "ancestors." What he is actually doing is committing and giving him- or herself over to the goat demons! Both these practices, the drinking blood and simulating sex with an animal, are an abomination to God and are forbidden by Him.
"No man or woman is to have sexual relations (simulated or real) with an animal; it is a perversion."
"If a man mates (have sexual intercourse – simulated or real) with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. If a woman approaches an animal and mates (have sexual intercourse – simulated or real) with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal."
"Eat no food that has been offered to idols (demons), and drink no blood."
"You must not drink the blood of an animal."
Initiate drinking blood from a goat whose heart was pierced.
These Scriptures show what an abomination these two practices are! And it becomes more evil in God's sight because it is done in honor of the "goat demons."
7. JESUS IS THE ONLY MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD THE FATHER AND THE LIVING.
If we belong to Jesus, we can pray directly to God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ. We don't need the "spirits" of the ancestors to act on our behalf. And anyway, we have seen that the spirits of the ancestors cannot communicate or interact with the living. Jesus Christ is the only mediator between man and God.
1 Timothy 2:5
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus."
Jesus clearly said that no other person or "spirit" can be a contact between the living and God. It is only through Jesus Himself that the living can have contact with God the father.
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes the father except through Me."
8. JESUS WAS NOT A WHITE MAN.
Often those who are of African descent will argue that the Christian religion is a "white" man's religion, and therefore, by implication, will reject the teachings of the Bible concerning the Ancestral Traditions.
It may surprise those who reason like that to learn that Jesus was not a "white" man. Jesus was of Middle Eastern descent. Also, some of the first Christians were Africans:
The Ethiopian who accepted Christ was an African (Acts 8:27 – 37).
The man who carried Jesus' cross as Jesus was led away to be crucified, was from Cyrene, a Libyan city in North Africa (Matthew 27:32).
Two other early African Christians were Lucius of Cyrene and Simeon, called Niger or "Black." (Acts 13:1 – 3). They were members of the group who, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, sent out the first Christian missionaries, namely Paul and Silas.
The Ethiopian treasurer of Candice, queen of Ethiopia, was an early convert to Christianity and was one of the first to carry the Christian message into Africa.
It is also interesting to know that Africa had the Bible translated into the Ethiopian language long before the white man could read the Bible in his own language.
Jesus did not just die for the white man. He died on the cross to bring salvation to all men, regardless of the color of their skin:
"For God so loved the world (all people) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever (regardless of race) believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life."
Jesus wants to be your Savior. He wants to free you from the fear of these demons who pose as the "ancestral spirits." These demons want to keep you in their power through fear so that you will continue in bondage to them.
Jesus said that He came to set us free from these demonic spirits:
Hebrews 2:14 – 15
"Jesus, through His death on the cross, destroyed the devil and his powers (demons), and to set free those who were held captive by the devil."
7. THE "ANCESTRAL TRADITIONS" IS A RELIGION OF FEAR!
Those who follow these traditions are always in fear of angering the "ancestors." These demons, who pose as the "ancestral spirits," use this fear to keep people in bondage to Satan. But God loves people and want to free them from this fear and bondage.
The Bible tells us that "God is love" (1 John 4:7), and that God takes away our fear:
"God delivers us from the hand of our enemies (demons), so that we might serve Him without fear."
1 Peter 5:7
"Leave all your worries with God, for He cares for you."
8. CHRISTIANITY AND THE "ANCESTRAL TRADITIONS" CANNOT BE MIXED.
A young African girl writes a letter to a radio station. In the letter she states that she is a "born-again" Christian. However, she keeps feeling that the "ancestors" are calling her to become a "sangoma." There is something terribly wrong with this. Either she is not truly a "born-again" Christian, or she is being deceived by demons who pose as "ancestral spirits." There are many ministers and pastors in the African churches who think they can serve both Jesus and the "ancestral spirits." These pastors are either deceived or not really "born-again" believers. The Bible is clear that God does not want us to have anything to do with demons.
2 Corinthians 6 verse 14
"How can right and wrong be partners? How can light and darkness live together?"
1 Cor. 10:20 – 21
"The things which they sacrifice (animals) they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I (God) do not want you to have fellowship with demons."
If you are a church minister or a pastor, and still involved with the "ancestors," you are under the judgment of God and need to repent and completely break with these demons who pose as the "ancestors."
This will not be easy because these demons would want to keep you in bondage and will try all they can to keep you in fear and submission.
The good news is that Jesus is stronger and will be able to set you free if you earnestly seek Him to help you.
1 John 4:4
"You are of God, little children (those who belong to God), and have overcome them (Satan and his demons), because greater is He (Jesus) who is in you than he (Satan and his demons) who is in the world."
9. CAN DEMONS DO MIRACLES?
Those who are involved in the "ancestral traditions" will tell you that the "ancestral spirits" have power to make things happen, whether good or bad. That does not prove that these so-called "ancestral spirits" are not demons. The Bible is clear that the devil and his demons can perform miracles.
"For they are spirits of demons, performing miracles."
2 Thessalonians 2:9
"The working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying miracles."
Although demons can do miracles, they do it for the purpose to deceive people in believing in them. Their miracles do not have power over God or even over the children of God.
"They brought to Jesus many who were demon- possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick."
Acts 16:16 – 18
"Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, 'These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.' And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, 'I command you in the Name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.' And he came out that very hour."
Demons and evil spirits are powerless against the authority and power of Jesus Christ!
7. HOW TO BE SAVED AND DELIVERED FROM ANCESTRAL SPIRIT BONDAGE AND FEAR.
1. Understand that Jesus is God.
Jesus was also called "Emmanuel," which means: "God with us" (Matthew 1:23). When one of Jesus' disciples asked Him to show them God the Father, Jesus said:
"Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known me, Phillip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father (God).
"The Father (God) and I (Jesus) are one (the same)" (John 10:30).
By these Scriptures Jesus revealed that He is God.Therefore, to be delivered from sin and bondage we must first believe that Jesus is God.
2. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins.
To understand why Jesus died on the cross, we first have to know that God is holy and just. He cannot overlook sin. He has to punish sin and evil. God will punish those who sin and do evil by throwing them into hell: "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of Fire (hell)" Rev. 20:15).
But God does not want to throw people in hell: "God does not want anyone to perish (be thrown in hell), but that all should come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). This shows that God is love (1 John 4:8).
God has to punish sin, yet the Bible says that He is love. How does God then reconcile His justice and His love? He does it by taking the punishment that our sins deserve upon Himself!
"He (Jesus) was pierced through (crucified) for our transgressions (sins), And the Lord has placed on Him (Jesus) all our sins" (Isaiah 53:5-6).
When Jesus died on the cross, He took the punishment for all our sins upon Himself.
It is not enough to just know this. God tells us in His Word, the Bible, that there are two things we must do if we want to become His child and be set free from the powers of the devil.
a. First, youneed to repent.
That means you need to acknowledge to God that you have sinned. You must tell God that all the wrong things you have done has placed you under His judgment. You must confess to God one by one your involvement in the occult practices of "ancestor worship" and verbally renounce each activity as evil and ask God's forgiveness. You must ask God to forgive you for practicing witchcraft by consulting and listening to the sangomas. You must tell God that you are willing to completely forsake the "ancestral traditions." You must burn every and all articles on or in your possession that has to do with the "ancestral traditions" because if they are left in your possession, they will be a contact point for the demons to return and attack and interfere with your life.
It will be good for those who want to be delivered from these demonic spirits to seek the help of a godly pastor who is not involved in "ancestor worship" and who knows about these things.
The word "repentance" means to turn away from all evil, and to turn towards God for salvation and cleansing from all sin.
"If we confess our sins, He (Jesus) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
b. Then you need to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
"But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).
You receive Jesus through a prayer of faith, asking Him to come into your life to be your only Lord and Savior. If you are honest and serious with God to save you, He WILL hear and answer your prayer!