God Forbids Magic
Practitioners of various forms of animism are sometimes nothing but frauds; however, the Bible does warn us that there can be very real demonic power at work in magical practices. The magicians in Pharaoh’s court were able to produce miracles similar to those performed by Moses (Ex 7:11, 22; 8:7). However, the demonic forces that empowered Pharaoh’s magicians were no match for the absolute authority and power of God. Nor were the magicians and conjurers in the Babylonian court any match for the power of God wrought through Daniel (Dan 1:20; 2:2, 27-30; 4:7-9; 5:11, 12).
On this the Bible is very clear: ALL forms of witchcraft, divination, sorcery, communication with the dead, magic, etc., are condemned and forbidden by God. Such activity is directly linked to the demonic realm.
Scripture equates sorcery and witchcraft with Spiritism (2 Ki 23:24), spiritual harlotry (Nah 3:4), and idolatry(Mic 5:12-14). Involvement with these occult practices is rebellion against God – an attempt to replace His rightful rule with human effort and demonic power (Isa 8: 19). God clearly forbids such practices. Remember: the goal of the demonic realm is to attempt to overthrow the Kingdom of God, which is ruling in believer’s hearts and through them in the world. This continual attack by Satan and his demons upon God’s Kingdom is seen throughout the Bible.
Magic Forbidden And Condemned: The Old Testament
God’s warnings against involvement in demonic practices are certain and severe.
In the Old Testament, God commanded Israel, “nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying” (Lev 19:26; see also Leviticus 20:6). God gave clear and strict instruction to Israel: “When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations ” (Deut 18:9).
God specifically prohibited every occultic practice of the Canaanites: child sacrifice; witchcraft; soothsaying; interpretation of omens; astrology; sorcery; conjuring and spells; mediums; spiritists; attempting to contact spirits of the dead (Deut 18:10- 14). God forbade ALL these activities, and God’s judgment was brought upon the Canaanite people for such practices (vs.12-14).
God promised the same severe judgment upon His own people, the Israelites, if they engaged in these demonic practices (Ex 34:12-17; Lev 18:24-28; 2 Ki 17:13-18; 21:1-15; Isa 2:6-9; Jer 27:9,10; 29:8,9; Mic 5:12-15; Zech 10:12).
Magic Forbidden And Condemned: The New Testament
The history of the early Church as recorded in the Book of Acts reveals numerous encounters with those practicing witchcraft, sorcery, divination and idolatry:
- Simon the sorcerer was rebuked by Peter and commanded to repent (Acts 8:9-24);
Elymas, a sorcerer and false prophet, was called “son of the devil” and “enemy of all righteousness” by Paul (Acts 13:6-12);
- The Apostle Paul delivered a demon-possessed slave girl who practiced divination (Acts 16:16- 19);
- Those practicing magic of all forms in Ephesus, after receiving Christ, brought their charms, books of spells, and other items of magic and burned them (Acts 19:18,19).
The New Testament cites additional mystical powers and those who participate in them:
- Sorcery is listed among the works of the flesh, and is linked with idolatry (Gal 5:20);
- Sorcery is a cause for God’s wrath to be poured out on mankind in the end times (Rev 9:20,21);
- Sorcerers are forbidden and excluded from the holy city, the New Jerusalem, and from the tree of life (Rev 21:8; 22:15).
These passages, and many others throughout the Bible, make it clear that God condemns and forbids the use of any form of magic, witchcraft, sorcery, divination, attempts to contact the dead, and all other animistic practices. Whether these forms of magic are considered harmful, or are thought of as “helpful”, does not matter. What does matter is this: ALL forms of magic have the same source – demon spirits working through rebellious humanity – and participating in ANY form of magic is forbidden by God.