I often get this question from Mahikari kumite: “What’s wrong with the ancestor altar? It’s a privilege to have one and it has brought many blessings into my life. I’m just feeding them, I’m not worshipping them!”
First of all, let’s clarify that what happens at the ancestor altar is worship, whether you like to admit it or not. Whenever you erect an altar to something, whatever that may be, you are worshipping that thing. Kumites who have an altar in their home bow and make reverence before the altar. When you bring food and drink to an altar, you are making an offering. This is another form or rite of worship.
When you do these things, you are clearly not worshipping the only true and living God, the God of the Bible, the God of Israel. You are therefore in violation of the First Commandment of the Law of God “You shall have no other god before me”.
The Mahikari teachings at the first level of initiation are that ancestor spirits need to receive light to cleanse their spiritual impurities and to bring them into harmony with the Mahikari god. They also teach that these spirits of the dead may receive work assignments as a form of spiritual discipline to purge impurities and that they experience thirst and hunger and need to be fed and given water.
The first response to this is that the Bible is very clear about the state of the dead. When a soul dies, that’s it. It’s over. The dead are in a state of “sleep” or “unconsciousness”. Ecclesiastes 9:5-6,10 states: For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; nevermore will they have a share
In anything done under the sun. … Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”
We all have until our death to come to God and to “clean up our spiritual act”. Once we die, the game is over. No amount of prayer, chanting or okiyome can remove that person’s spiritual impurities that they committed during their lifetime as we learn from Ecclesiastes 12:6: “Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the well. Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”
Remember that in the Book of Genesis God formed man from the dust of the earth, and breathed His spirit into man to give him life. When a man dies, his body becomes dust again and his spirit returns to God according to Ecclesiastes 12:7: “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”
Any repentance or reconciliation with our Creator and any good works must be done before we die, afterwards it’ll be too late. Our works that we did while we were living have been recorded in the books. The books shall be opened at the end of time when we come before God in judgment (as described in Daniel 7:9-10). Jesus is coming back soon to reward each one according to his works (Revelation 22:12).
It is a false teaching – completely unbiblical – that the human soul is immortal and goes through successive reincarnations to attain higher levels of spiritual evolution. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 6:15-16 that God alone is immortal. “The soul that sins it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). We’re all sinners; therefore we all die. The teaching that the soul is immortal is one of the oldest lies, told by Satan to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden when he said to them “You shall not surely die” after God had told them “You will surely die”.
Initially this teaching about man’s mortal soul was one of the hardest for me to accept because the lie was so deeply ingrained in me. But now I understand that this one deception has opened the way for many abominations before God, such as necromancy or the calling upon the dead for guidance, ancestor worship, and others. The immortality of the soul is a basic tenet of all pagan or heathen religions that do not worship the God of Israel. False prophets and false teachers who teach spiritual deception shall come before God in judgment.
The question then becomes, if the ancestor altar is not being visited by ancestor spirits, who then is visiting it? The answer is, Satan’s fallen angels, demons who like Satan are thirsty for worship and can only secure it through deception. When you erect an ancestor altar in your home, you are worshipping demons and inviting them into your home and your life.