It’s the hottest internet, smartphone, gaming sensation in history. The game, launched this past week, is played on-the-go with iPhone or Android devices. By the time you read this blog, in excess of 10 million downloads will have occurred. Nearly $2 million a day in revenue is pouring in to Nintendo Corporation, the developer. Stock shares jumped in value from $12 billion to $30 billion overnight. Apple and Google are in on this, downloading apps worth many more millions. Most folks will remember Pokemon from the 80s and 90s when the Japanese franchise was played with trading cards, video games, and so-called “manga” Japanese comics Pokemon is a shortened version for “pocket monsters,” fictional animals who need to be captured. Pokemon characters (scores of them) may possess supernatural powers and appear as ghosts or orbs.
In the latest gaming version, players use a GPS map to locate Pokemon characters in real time in the real world. Apps use “augmented reality” to simulate capturing a Pokemon in real life. The demonic-looking creatures seem to be moving about in the real world. Police are alarmed that people in pursuit of their Pokemon are trespassing, invading landmarks, businesses, even entering churches, to retrieve “virtual” items in their quest. In Missouri, four teens used the app to lure robbery victims. An apparently bogus “interview” with Time magazine has been circulating the internet in which the Japanese creator says the game was devised as a backlash against Christian parents. Worse yet, he supposedly says the game is directed against Christianity and in favor of Satanism. In the presumably hoaxed interview, the gamer says, “Pokemon is essentially the correct answer towards life, not Christianity. Everything presented in the game is the opposite of what Christians believe.” Hoax or not, the fact that anti-Christian sentiment would be punked is by itself interesting.
So what’s the danger? The characters are taken from demonic mythology, including gods from Hawaii and Scandinavia. Alchemy and black magic sources are also used. That in itself should urge caution. Hogwash, says one Christian game developer. He defends the game by saying, “It is a fun pastime. A totally harmless one.” As to the occult overtones, he adds, “It does nothing to a saved Christian. It has no power.” This misguided man even suggests using Pokemon for evangelism. What’s next? Runes for Jesus? Holy yoga? (Oops, we already have that abomination.)
There you have it. Consorting via virtual reality with Pele or Thor won’t get you demons. I differ. The assumption is a false one, that Christians who tamper with the occult won’t suffer real spiritual oppression. Christians can be demonized. Almost every day I minister to real Believers who messed with the New Age or occult practices and picked up hideous demons by such apparently harmless pursuits. If you are a believer, any contact with crystals, consultation of one’s horoscope, indulging in yoga, cultivating energy fields, may lead to real demonic possession. And yes, it can and does happen to genuinely saved Christians. Stay away from Pokemon lest that little virtual demon on your iPhone lures you in pursuit of more than you bargained for.
An encouraging word: GOD HEARD HIS SON’S CRIES
The messianic Psalm 22 makes a remarkable statement: “For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted . . . but when He cried to Him, He heard” (verse 24). These words apply to all of us who are afflicted, but they were prophetically directed to Christ on the cross. God himself witnessed the pain and emotional torment put on his Son. He heard His own Son’s cries of agony. All because of sin. But the Almighty didn’t pull back. God knew it was all necessary. Jesus had to suffer if you and I were to escape hell and live forever. Today, be grateful that He didn’t deny Jesus the suffering of Calvary.
Bob Larson has trained healing and deliverance teams all over the world to set the captives free and Do What Jesus Did® (Luke 4:18). You can partner with Bob and support this vision to demonstrate God’s power in action by calling 303-980-1511 or clicking here to donate online.