BROTHER GRAHAM

WITCHCRAFT

In order to understand Witchcraft, you must first consider this: Everything that happens has a source of power behind it, no exceptions!

In order to understand Witchcraft, you must first consider this: Everything that happens has a source of power behind it, no exceptions!

 

In order to generate electric power, the force of gravity is harnessed in a hydroelectric dam.   Gravity exerts pressure on the water contained in the dam.   The water is released through  turbines that turn electric generators that produce electricity.   When you flip a light switch on, you are indirectly using the power of gravity.    In order to use electricity, you don't have to understand electrical theory or how and why turbines and generators work.    The only thing you have to understand is when you flip the light switch, the light will come on.

 

People who practice or dabble in Witchcraft don't understand the source of power behind it.    They claim to believe in a god and a goddess.    They dont believe in such a thing or person as Satan.     Most of the over 750,000 witches and pagans in the U. S. (year 2001) claim that witchcraft is their "religion".    Others get into it because it's fun, interesting, and out of the "box" of their everyday life.    Most believe that it's totally harmless.    The general public believes that it's a total fantasy that only bored housewives, nonconformists, and kids can develop an interest in.    That is changing  at a rapid pace because witchcraft adherents are growing in the U. S.     Well, the general public is wrong!    Witchcraft is very real and it does work

 

In Webster's Dictionary a Witch is defined as;  "A woman supposed to have supernatural power by a compact with the devil or evil spirits;  a sorceress;  the term was formerly also applied to men."    Witchcraft is defined as;  "The power or practices of witches;  sorcery;  black magic."    Sorcery is defined as;  "The supposed use of an evil supernatural power over people and their affairs;  witchcraft;  black magic."    The word "supposed" is the reason why the general public doesn't believe in Witchcraft and does not take it seriously.    Other terms and names that are included in the general term Witchcraft are;  Divination, the act or practice of trying to foretell future events or the unknown by occult means;  Mediums, persons through whom communications are supposedly sent to the living from the spirits of the dead;  Spiritists, people who can communicate with spirits.    The last term is "Magic";  "The pretended art of producing effects or controlling events by charms, spells, and rituals supposed to govern certain natural or supernatural forces;  sorcery;  witchcraft."  (note the inclusion of the words trying and supposedly and pretended - obviously Mr. Webster didnt believe in Witchcraft either)

 

 Definitions and context are very important when it comes to understanding what the Bible can teach you in the here and now.    The words Witch and Witchcraft carry a lot of cultural baggage for Americans as well as Europeans.    Misunderstandings abound when it comes to witchcraft.    In the early days of Christianity, many European communities had various healers and midwives that used herbal folk remedies for various ailments.    These remedies were improved over the years by trial and error.    It was a very natural thing for these people to protect the knowledge of their methods because it was the source of their livelihood.   

 

It was also natural for them to increase their influence over their neighbors by attributing the power of these healing remedies to their various pagan deities, their gods.    When Christian missionaries came into these areas they didn't understand why the heathen people were getting good results from their spells and potions, so they wrongly attributed this to witchcraft, and Satan's power.   The herbal potions used for healing became a witches brew.     The so called potions were actually a primitive form of holistic medicine.    The so called spells were just window dressing for the potions and served to convince the recipients of this treatment that they were going to get better.    We know today that your attitude can affect your health.    As Christian civilization spread, these healers, and to an extent midwives, were supplanted by doctors, who were also very jealous of their positions in society.    Again, what they didn't understand, many of them attributed to witchcraft.    Any knowledge that didn't come from within the Christian church membership was attributed to the works of Satan.    No doubt, a lot of folk medicine remedies were lost because of this attitude.    Of course, some of these healers could have been practicing some form of witchcraft, but I suspect that most of them were just practicing the folk medicine passed down to them from the previous generations.

 

If you had an enemy in the middle ages and wanted to do him or her harm, all you needed to do was get a couple of friends to join you in accusing your enemy of witchcraft.    The authorities would seize the person and torture them until they got a confession.    One of the earlier recorded cases was a man named Johannes Junius in Germany.    Accused by someone of witchcraft, he was thrown in jail and tortured for weeks until he finally confessed to witchcraft to stop them from torturing him any further.    They finally beheaded him.    But before that happened, he was able to write a letter to his family and smuggle it out to them before he died.    In the letter he professed his innocence and described the torture.    In our country, the good old U. S. of A., the Salem witch trials claimed nineteen lives.    It is highly unlikely that any of those women were actually witches.    They were a part of a puritan community, brought up by very strict standards and had no opportunity to learn anything about occult practices.  

 

 In the Biblical account of the time period when the Jewish people were moving into and occupying the promised land; God made it very clear that they were not to mix and mingle with the peoples that they found there.    The reason was that He is a very jealous God and didn't want His people to acquire the heathen practices of idol worship and/or witchcraft and sorcery, which was part and parcel with idol worship.    That's also the reason He forbid them to marry foreign wives.    Normally, knowledge of occult practices must be acquired from someone else who is a practitioner and the "Salem witches" had no such opportunities to my knowledge.    Some historians believe that the main reason for the Salem witch trials was simple voyeurism.    The accused witches were stripped naked and publicly inspected for any blemishes that would indicate Satan worship and witchcraft.    A mole anywhere in the vicinity of the heart would have probably been enough for them to feel justified that she was a witch.    No doubt, there were some not so public inspections and handling of the victims as well.

 

The vast majority of these "Witch Hunt" victims were probably innocent and had nothing to do with actual occult practices.    It was all a big hoax perpetrated by a bunch of very evil people and supported by other very ignorant fools.    That's why people these days think "phony and hoax and make-believe" when they hear the term "witch".   

 

It is inaccurate and inappropriate to think in these terms when you read about witchcraft and sorcery in the Bible.    Forget your cultural notions of make-believe when it comes to Biblical witchcraft and sorcery.   That is the wrong context.    God's Word does not deal in make-believe.    From the first page to the last you are reading about the reality of things past, present, and future.    In the following paragraphs you will read about actual accounts of people using occult powers in the Bible.    Keep an open mind and learn.

 

Wicca

 

 Nobody thinks of themselves as a bad person, that consorts with the devil/Satan/Lucifer.    As a matter of fact, many people believe that the whole concept of Satan is a silly myth that only the gullible and weak-minded religious nuts fall for.    In fact, many Christians don't believe that there is such a being as Satan.    It logically follows that if there is no Satan, then there's probably no evil spirits, so dabbling in Witchcraft is OK for you because a compact with the devil or his evil spirits is not possible.    Right?     Another idea that soothes the conscience is the concept of Black Magic and White Magic.    Only bad people get into black magic and only good people get into white magic.    You're a good person and you wouldn't want to ever hurt anyone, so of course, the Witchcraft that you might practice would only be "white magic".    For people who think that the word Witch has a negative connotation, there is a more harmless sounding name - "Wicca".    This is a real old term that means "to bend or shape."    Like homosexuals who had to come up with a better name to describe themselves (Gay), Wicca is a harmless sounding name and doesn't carry the negative baggage that the name "Witch" does.   But, like "gay's", changing the name to Wicca doesn't change a thing.

 

So the big questions are:  Are there any such things as Satan, Witches, evil spirits, Mediums, Spiritists or Sorcerers?    Can ordinary human beings study Witchcraft and actually make things happen through charms, spells and rituals?    How about those women that you see on television that try to get you to call in so they can tell your fortune and in the process make some money for themselves?    Are they for real?    Is there any substance to the whole idea of Witchcraft?    The answer to all of these questions is a definite YES!    This doesn't mean that all women that claim to be Witches are Witches, and that any of their apparent acts of witchcraft aren't just tricks to fool the gullible.    Charlatans abound in all areas of human endeavor, and witchcraft is no exception to this.    Most likely, the majority of people who claim supernatural powers in one form or the other, are not genuine.    Every time one of these people are exposed and their so-called powers are shown to be just tricks, the real Witches are pleased because their activities will continue to be considered just harmless fun and not real at all.    I had a young girl tell me once that she didn't believe in Satan and therefore he didn't exist for her.    Years ago most people believed that the world was flat.   Men of science, religion, industry, government and men of the sea all believed that the world was flat.    Obviously their adamant belief didn't change the fact that the world is round and so it is with Satan!    Satan is the power behind witchcraft and sorcery.

 

The entire basis for my belief that there are people that can practice the various aspects of witchcraft, rests in my belief in the Bible, God's word.   The Bible is my proof that such things exist.    In the book of Proverbs (30: 5,6) it says:  "Every word of God is flawless;  He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.    Do not add to His words or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar."    The following is a review of what the Bible says about sorcery and witchcraft.    It is given in the order that it appears in the Bible.    The comments and conclusions given are based on logic and straight forward deductive reasoning.    Due care has been taken to avoid "adding to His Word".    What God's Word has to say on this subject is quite conclusive and doesn't need any help from the peanut gallery! 

 

THE LAW

 

The first five books of the Bible are called the Torah, or the Books of Moses.    The second to the fifth books contain what is known as the Mosaic Law, the Law given to the prophet Moses.    The following passages are taken from these books of law:

 

"Do not allow a sorceress to live." (Exodus 22: 18) (other translations use the word "Witch")

 

The verses before and after this bold statement do not supply any context that is relevant to this statement.    It is part of a list of "do's and don'ts".    It stands by itself!  

 

If the people who lived their lives according to these laws discovered a woman practicing sorcery, their instructions are clear;  She is to be put to death.    This is the first reference in the Bible to sorcery (or witchcraft or any other people using supernatural/occult power).    The statement acknowledges the existence of sorcery and the fact that there were people that practiced it.    This one passage was misused to a very great extent by the religious leaders of the middle- ages right up to the time of the Salem witchcraft trials.    Thousands of innocent people were put to death for witchcraft with no real proof of such.

 

"The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods"  (Psalms 16:4)

 

"Do not practice divination or sorcery." (Leviticus 19: 26)

 

This is another "stand alone" statement.  It doesn't say that anyone is to be put to death here but, it is a clear warning against the practice of divination or sorcery.    This warning puts fortune telling together with sorcery for they both are involved with the occult.  

 

As the people of Israel moved about during their nomadic life, they came into contact with many communities of people that worshiped idols and practiced things that God's people were not allowed to do.    Sorcery and fortune telling were a part of idol worship and was considered harmful and destructive to God's people.    For this reason they were warned away from it and punished when they disobeyed.

 

"I hate those who cling to worthless idols; I trust in the Lord." (Psalms 31: 6)

 

"Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them.    I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19: 31)

 

This again is a warning against going to fortune tellers or people who can communicate with spirits.    It also clearly states that people who do "will be defiled by them".    (Defile: To make filthy; to dirty; to make impure; to pollute; to make ceremonially unclean.)    Then God reminded them that He is their Lord and God.    A very graphic comparison is being made here.    God on the one side is the One and only God they are to worship, the source of all the miracles that brought them out of slavery in Egypt.    On the other side are mediums and spiritists that defile the people that go to them, and that God obviously rejects and doesn't want his people to have anything to do with.    To disobey was to worship other gods because in those days these mediums and spiritists claimed that their power came from these various idols, their so-called gods.    The occult and idol worship went hand in hand.  

 

"Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods." (Psalms 40: 4) 

  

"I will set My face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people." (Leviticus 20: 6)

 

To properly understand the term "set My face against" it will help to refer to another scripture to put this in perspective.   In Psalms 34: 16  it says "the face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth."  

 

This is also a stand alone statement, not taken out of context.    Taken together, God is clearly rejecting people who do evil by turning to mediums and spiritists.    When they participate in these practices, God is saying that these people are prostituting themselves by following them.    To "cut him off from his people" and "cut off the memory of them from the earth" is much the same thing.    Remember, this is part of the law.    All of the priests were knowledgeable of God's attitude toward sorcery, mediums, spiritists, and other forms of witchcraft.    God didn't have to personally intervene here.    When anyone was caught violating this particular law they were dealt with immediately.    The ones that weren't put to death, were at a minimum banished from their nation.    They were "cut off from their people" and forgotten.

 

"How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame?     How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?" (Psalms 4: 2)

 

"A man or a woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death.    You are to stone them;  their blood will be on their own heads." (Leviticus 20: 27)

 

This is no warning but a command just like the one that says "Do not allow a sorceress to live".    If you make use of those who practice the occult, you are defiled and are prostituting yourself and will be banished or worse.    If you are a person that practices the occult then you are to be stoned to death.    No joke here, they mean to throw rocks at you until you die from the damage.    One description of a person being stoned to death is the account of Stephen  (Acts 7: 57-60).    They began stoning Stephen while he was standing.    After he said a short prayer, he fell to his knees.    On his knees he said another prayer and then died.    The message here is that to die by stoning is not real fast like the electric chair.    How fast would depend on how many people were administering this punishment and how they felt about the person they were stoning to death.    If they were careful to not hit him (or her) in the head early on, the punishment could last quite a while before death occurred.    There is at least one account in the Bible where a man was left for dead after stoning, but later regained consciousness and lived to tell the tale.    Death by stoning is a very cruel way to die.    There are three major views of the death penalty; The first is that it should never happen; The second is that it's social revenge; The third is that it is an effective deterrent.    God is not obligated to follow any of these points of view.   

 

God did say in this scripture that the death penalty will be implemented (period).    This is not optional or negotiable.    Revenge is vengeance.    This is what the prophet Nahum said about God's anger toward the city of Nineveh:   "The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath.    The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies.    The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; The Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished."    This statement is not directed at anything to do with witchcraft, however it is a great example of God's attitude toward His enemies.    The words "foes, enemies and the guilty" are not selective here.    Any foe, any enemy and any guilty party is at great risk when opposing God.    The concept of social revenge against a practitioner of the occult does not apply here.    If God wants to avenge Himself against someone who chose to disobey his laws about idol worship and practicing the occult, then who can say that He is wrong?    Who is greater than He?     The last view, the effective deterrent, is the one that I prefer.    What motivates people?     Many things, of course, but when we're talking about the motivation it takes to prevent people from breaking the law, nothing is more effective than fear, pure and simple!    Stoning a person to death is horrible.   Because it's horrible it will generate a lot more fear than something quick, like chopping off a head.    The more fear generated, the less likely that someone who has observed a stoning will disobey God's law and be tempted to dabble in the occult.    Our present society would never accept this attitude because of the constitutional mandate against "cruel and unusual punishment".   

 

Cruel and unusual punishment is, of course, anything that is not quick and painless.    An end to life that is quick and painless is not a cause to fear for many criminals.    Therefore it is not an effective deterrent to crime for these criminals.     Another aspect to this is dealt with in the last sentence; "their blood will be on their own heads".    Many people in our society also believe that they, the individuals in society, bear a personal responsibility when a criminal is put to death, that they somehow share the fault of that end to life.    This is a very fuzzy way of looking at the law.    If you're standing next to a busy freeway, and you very well know that it is against the law to cross the freeway, and you make the choice to cross it anyway, what happens is obvious.    The next truck that comes along gives you a little bump and you're instant road-kill.   You broke the law and the price you paid was your death.    Who is at fault here, the truck driver?    The truck?    The freeway?    The law?    Of course, YOU ARE AT FAULT!    Your blood is on your own head.    Nobody is responsible for your death except you yourself.    This was no accident.   You made a bad choice.    Nobody else is responsible for the results of the choice that you made.    Your death is on your own head, nobody else.    In the case of the persons being stoned for witchcraft, they are responsible for their own death, not the people throwing the stones.    They are but obeying and implementing the law.

 

Hear O my people, and I will warn you - If you would but listen to me, O Israel!    You shall have no foreign god among you; You shall not bow down to an alien god."

 (Psalms 81: 8)

 

"If a man or a woman living among you - - is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God - - has worshipped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky,  - - and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done - - , take the man or the woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death."

(Deuteronomy 17: 2-5)

 

 What has this to do with witchcraft or sorcery?    People who put faith in their horoscope, which is based on the positions of the sun, moon and stars are guilty of idol worship. 

 

What's your sign?    How many times have you been asked that?    Do you believe that the attributes of your character are determined by your sign?    Are you a Leo or a Virgo or a Pisces?    All are based on star patterns.   People who believe in these things and put faith in their horoscope (or Tarot cards) are in opposition to God's will and are practicing a form of witchcraft.    God Himself is saying that this is evil in His eyes, and that it is a detestable thing that you are doing, and that you should be taken to the gate of the city and stoned to death.    There is no room for a different interpretation here.    This is very cut and dried.

 

"He will repay them for their sins and destroy them for their wickedness; the Lord our God will destroy them." (Psalms 94:23)

 

"When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there.    Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or a spiritist, or who consults the dead.  

 

 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you." (Deuteronomy 18: 9-12)

 

Through the prophet Moses, God is giving instructions here to his people as a warning.    The land that God promised them was full of people who practiced all of these things that were detestable to God.    Many times God instructed his people to destroy whole nations.    It is hard for people of our age to understand the destruction of men, women, children, livestock, and all their property.    This seems to be very cruel to us.    However, if God had allowed these people to live with the nation of Israel, He knew that His people would become polluted by their evil practices.    They were not to imitate or have anything to do with these practices.    Anyone caught disobeying these warnings would be punished as previously described.

 

The biggest lesson in this scripture is that we, in our day and age, should disassociate ourselves from anyone or anything that has to do with the occult in any way, shape, form or fashion.    If we disobey, we won't be stoned to death, but we can't expect God to bless our lives.

 

Another practice of some heathen nations who worshipped foreign gods is to tattoo their bodies and ritually cut their bodies for the dead.    "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.    I am the Lord". (Leviticus 19:28)    This is a stand-alone verse that tells what we are not to do.    I believe that excessive body-piercing comes within the general intent of this instruction from God.    It is a heathen practice that originated in primitive cultures that worship false gods.    We are not to "learn to imitate the detestable ways" of these cultures.

   

  

"Why do the nations say, Where is their god? 

  Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him.

  But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.

  They have mouths , but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see,

  They have ears, but cannot hear, noses but they cannot smell,

  They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk,   

  Nor can they utter a sound with their throats.

  Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them."

  (Psalms 115: 2-8)

 

   

 The following accounts are from the portions of the Bible called the "Prophets" (NEVI'IM) and the "Writings" (KETHUBIM) according to the traditional Hebrew text.    Quotes in italics are from the NIV translation.

 

  

The Witch of Endor

 

 This looks like the title of a Walt Disney movie, but it's not.    During the time of Saul, the very first king of Israel, there was a witch (a medium) that lived in the town of Endor, which was part of the territory of Manassah.    The tribe of Manassah was having a hard time driving out the original inhabitants of the area who were Canaanites (Joshua 17:11-13).    For this reason there were still Canaanite towns in the region.    Early in his reign King Saul obeyed the law and drove out and killed people who practiced witchcraft in all areas under his control, including these Canaanite towns.    The surviving practitioners of the occult kept a very low profile in order to stay alive.    King Saul and his army were up against the powerful Philistine army.    He couldn't ask the famous prophet Samuel for advice because he was dead.    Also King Saul had not been doing what was right in God's sight for quite some time, so he decided to do what he was forbidden by God.

  

"Saul said - - Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her.    There is one in Endor, they said.    So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman.    Consult a spirit for me, he said, and bring up for me the one I name.    But the woman said to him, Surely you know what Saul has done.    He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land.    Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?    Saul swore to her by the Lord, As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.    Then the woman asked, Whom shall I bring up for you?    Bring up Samuel, he said.    When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, Why have you deceived me?    You are Saul!    The king said to her, Don't be afraid.    What do you see?    - - (the spirit of) Samuel said to Saul, Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?    I am in great distress, Saul said.    The Philistines are fighting against me, God has turned away from me.    He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams.   So I have called on you to tell me what to do." (1 Samuel 28:7-25)

 

The account goes on to tell how Samuel told Saul that the next day he would lose the battle to the Philistines and that he and his sons would die also.    Saul kept his word and did not harm the woman.    She fed him a good meal and he and his men left.    In 1 Chronicles 10: 13,14 it says of this episode:  "Saul died because he was unfaithful to the Lord; he did not keep the Word of the Lord and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the Lord.    So the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David, son of Jesse."  

        

Nothing more is ever told about this woman from the town of Endor.    Needless to say she sure got the scare of her life.    When she realized that it was Saul himself in her home, she was sure that she was about to die.    She knew what the law of Moses said about witches, even though she was probably a Canaanite and not an Israelite.    She was just plain lucky in this instance.    The bottom line is that King Saul broke the law here and paid the price for it.   It cost him his life, the lives of two of his sons, and his kingdom for his descendents.   So even kings must obey God's law concerning occult practices.

 

"He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble, gives birth to disillusionment."   (Psalms 7: 14)

 

Manasseh, King of Judah

 

During the time that Israel was divided into two kingdoms, Manasseh became king of Judah when he was twelve years old.    His father before him, Hezekiah, "trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel.    There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him." (2 Kings 18: 5).    Manasseh did not follow in his father's footsteps.   

 

He led the kingdom of Judah for fifty-five years and "He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, following the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites."

 

(2 Kings 21: 2).    He was appropriately named Manasseh which means "one who causes to forget".    The people of Judah turned their backs on the Lord and forgot him, and Manasseh was the one who caused this to happen.    It says that Manasseh  "In both courts of the temple of the Lord, he built altars to all the starry hosts.    He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists (some translations say that Manasseh passed his children through the fire and others say he passed his sons through the fire, implying that they did not perish).    He did much evil in the eyes of the lord, provoking Him to anger" (2 Kings 21: 5,6).    The word depraved  comes to mind when you read that a king would have his own son burned in order to worship an imaginary god.  

 

 God evidently decided to put an end to Manasseh's evil ways "So the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the king of Assyria, who took Manasseh prisoner, put a hook in his nose, bound him with bronze shackles and took him to Babylon.    In his distress he sought the favor of the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.    And when he prayed to him, the Lord was moved by his entreaty and listened to his plea; so He brought him back to Jerusalem and to his kingdom.    Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is God." (2 Chronicles 33: 11-13).    Manasseh cleaned up his act after that and got rid of all the idols and altars that were dedicated to foreign gods.    He cleansed the temple of God and built up the walls of Jerusalem.   

  

The main message here is that sorcery, divination, mediums, spiritists (the occult, witchcraft) was all a part of this evil kings agenda, and it almost cost him his life and his kingdom.   

 

In spite of the change of heart, God's wrath still burned against Judah for the evil that they had done in the early part of Manasseh's reign.    When he died his son, Amon, succeeded him.    Amon did evil in God's sight and was assassinated by his own officials.    He didn't last very long, thank God!

 

The fool says in his heart, There is no God.

  They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

  The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men

  to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

  All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt;

  There is no one who does good, not even one.

  (Psalms 14: 1-3)

 

Josiah, King of Judah

 

Josiah was only eight years old when he became the king of Judah.    It seems that his father, Amon, died sort of early in his reign.    His mother, Jedidah, must have been a wonderful woman because her sweet son Josiah, the eight year old king "did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the ways of his father (ancestor) David, not turning to the right or to the left." (2 Kings 22:2)    For many years, the books of the law of Moses had been lost, probably shortly after Manasseh became king and started using the temple for evil purposes.  

 

When Josiah was twenty-six years old, the Book of Moses, the Law, was found again.    When Josiah and the priests of God read what was in the book, Josiah immediately started to undo everything that his evil father and grandfather had done during their reign.    He destroyed all the shrines, alters, sacred stones and high places of worship dedicated to idols and foreign gods.    He slaughtered all of the false priests that served these false gods.     Obviously he eradicated totally everything that was not dedicated to the worship of the one true God.    It also says "Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem.    This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the Lord.    Neither before or after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the Lord as he did - with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with the Law of Moses." (2 Kings 23: 25)

 

 Josiah was the last good king of Judah.    There were a few more kings after him and they were all bad ones.   The kingdom of Judah was destroyed and the people were carried off into captivity.    In spite of the good work that King Josiah did, it was already too late.    In the very next verse of this scripture; 2 Kings 23: 26,27  it says "Nevertheless, the Lord did not turn away from the heat of his fierce anger, which burned against Judah because of all that Manasseh had done to provoke him to anger.    So the Lord said, I will remove Judah from my presence as I removed (the kingdom of) Israel, and I will reject Jerusalem, the city I chose, and this temple, - -."     Josiah was killed in a battle with Pharaoh Neco, the king of Egypt and passed on into history.    The nation of Judah paid a bitter price for their disobedience to God's law.    The worship of idols and the practice of sorcery and witchcraft to worship these false gods is the sole reason that the nation of Judah was destroyed and its people carried off into captivity for many years.    The peak years of these evil practices occurred during the reign of Manasseh and the Lord God did not forgive or forget what he and all of Judah did during the early years of his reign.

 

A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom.  (Proverbs 10: 23)

 

 

The New Testament Period

 

During the time of Jesus, all of Israel was occupied by Roman legions.    Roman law took precedence in all things.    The Jewish leaders of that day had to be very cautious in how and when they applied the Law of Moses to their people in order to avoid conflict with Roman law.    Roman law did not forbid occult practices, most likely because it was used in the worship of the Roman gods.    Therefore sorcery and the various forms of witchcraft were not uncommon during New Testament times.    The source of power for all sorcery and witchcraft is Satan!    Many intelligent people believe that Satan is a myth that is only good for scaring little kids.    "The Boogie Man in the dark" is something that "mature adults" smile at and never take seriously.    Some of these same people have had first hand experience with the power of the occult, or have friends that they trust who have had such experiences.    Something happened that they can't explain other than it must be a manifestation of some occult power.   

 

 All power comes from somewhere!    Remember?   "Every thing that happens must have a source of power behind it."    There is no such thing as something for nothing, as the old saying goes.    More to the point here;  There is no such thing as something from nothing.    In order for practitioners of the occult to do anything or to make something happen, they must utilize a force or a source of power that already exists.    I believe that it's very clear by now that God is not the source of this power.    It is painfully clear that the Lord our God is vehemently opposed to any and all forms of sorcery and witchcraft, and anyone who practices such is pitting him/herself against God.        Sorcery and witchcraft is part and parcel to the worship of false gods which puts it in direct opposition to the one true God.    Again, the source of power for all sorcery and witchcraft is Satan.    Those who practice it are Satan worshipers or supporters, whether they know it or not, and all magic is black, not white.    There is no middle ground here.

 

"He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters".   (Matthew 12:30) 

 

This is a good place to explain "Psy-Ops"!     If you had an enemy that wanted to make your life as unhappy as possible, and was very clever at getting people to even hurt themselves without understanding what was going on, wouldn't you want to know about it?    In the military this is called PsyOps, psychological (warfare) operations.    If you're the aggressor in PsyOps, you want to encourage your enemy to go in certain directions and do things that will eventually be destructive to them.    You must be very careful to not reveal your intentions toward them, or even the fact that you exist.    The more invisible you are to them, the greater your success will be against them.    It's hard, or sometimes impossible, to defend yourself against something or someone that you are totally unaware of.    Satan is called the "Great Deceiver" because he is the master of PsyOps.    He is highly effective against people who don't believe that he exists.   

 

Satan is not alone in his efforts with mankind.    The great majority of spirits that mediums and spiritists  and others who practice some form of witchcraft communicate with belong to Satan.    They are individual entities that do exist and work under the direction of Satan.    The exceptions to this are the spirits of the dead.    In the account of the Witch of Endor, the spirit of the prophet Samuel was contacted and he certainly didn't belong to Satan.    These spirits are sometimes called "demons" or "evil spirits" or other things, but they all come from the same source, Satan.    They all belong to him.   

 

Because the Law of Moses was restricted by Roman law, the power of Satan was stronger during these times in Israel.    This is why there are so many accounts of demon possessed people during New Testament times.    Old Testament occurrences are between few and none.     Whether or not you believe in the possibility of a person being demon possessed is irrelevant.    This is an account of what the Bible says that actually happened during the time of Jesus.    Because mediums and spiritists communicate with spirits and demons, it is appropriate to include a few accounts of demon possession in this narrative.   

  

Two demon possessed men

 

 "When He (Jesus) arrived - - two demon possessed men coming from the tombs met Him.    They were so violent that no one could pass that way.    What do you want with us Son of God? They shouted.    Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?    Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding.    The demons begged Jesus, If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.    He said to them - Go!   So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water." (Matthew 8: 28-32)

 

If there were only two individual demons possessing the two men, it would seem logical that they would enter only two pigs.    The fact that all of the demons entered the "whole herd" tells us that many demons were in possession of the two men and that would explain why they were so violent and powerful.    Evidently where one demon or evil spirit gains a foothold in a person, that serves as a gateway for others to come (Matthew 12: 43-45)    That's something that I wouldn't want to communicate with directly, or through a medium.   

 

 The Boy with a Demon

 

"... a man approached Jesus and knelt before him.    Lord have mercy on my son, he said.    He has seizures and is suffering greatly.    He often falls into the fire or into the water. - - (Jesus said) Bring the boy here to me.    Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment." (Matthew 17: 14-18)

 

The difference between Jesus' method of using his power, which comes from God, and the power of Satan that the practitioners of the occult use is dramatic.    There is no mumbo-jumbo or mystical paraphernalia or incantations or sacred signs in the stars.    Jesus spoke, and it happened.

 

The man in the Synagogue

 

"In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit.    He cried out at the top of his voice;  Ha!    What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth?    Have you come to destroy us?    I know who you are - the Holy One of God!    Be quiet!    Jesus said sternly.   (and) Come out of him!    The demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him.    All the people were amazed and said to each other, What is this teaching?    With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out." (Luke 4: 33-37)

 

Implied is that there was more than one demon that this man was possessed by when he said; "What do you want with us?    Again, Jesus spoke with power and authority and it happened.

 

Judas Iscariot

 

 Here is an account where Satan did not want to trust any of his minions on a particular assignment.    Anybody that has been a supervisor of any kind knows that when you delegate your authority, you are running the risk of the job getting botched. 

 

Sometimes it's best to handle the job yourself.  "...Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the twelve.    And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.   They were delighted and agreed to give him money. (Luke 22:1-5)

 

Satan didn't botch this job.    Judas betrayed Jesus and got his thirty pieces of silver and the rest is history.    That Judas was receptive to the power of Satan is very apparent.    If he truly believed that Jesus was God's Son and therefore also God, then Satan would not have been able to use him.    Some people will reject what is clearly the truth in spite of anything that they personally see and hear (or read).

  

Simon the Sorcerer

 

 "Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria.    He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed; This man is the divine power known as the Great Power.    They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic.    But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.    Simon himself believed and was baptized.    And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.    (This is very unusual for a famous sorcerer to believe in Jesus and accept Him.    Nevertheless, his heart was still not right as you will see in the following): 

 

When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles hands, he offered them money and said, Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.    Peter answered:  May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!" (Acts 8:9-19)   Simon apologized and asked them to pray for him.    Nothing more is told of Simon the sorcerer.    Evidently Simon thought that what he was seeing was some form of superior white magic.    It was obviously far superior to what he could do with his (black?) magic.    His was the common mistake of believing that a manifestation of God's power is some kind of magic, or maybe a superior trick.    Magic, as used by sorcerers or others using the power of the occult, comes from Satan.    God, the creator of the universe, doesn't need any magic used by Satan and his followers.    He has the raw power to do anything, to create anything, to change anything that He wants.    There's no Hocus-Pokus involved!

 

The Jewish Sorcerer

 

"(Barnabas, Saul, and John) - - traveled through the whole island (of Cyprus) until they came to Paphos.    There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus.    The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.    But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.    Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right!   

 

You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery.    Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?    Now the hand of the Lord is against you.    You are going to be blind and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.    Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.    When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord." (Acts 13: 6-12).    The Roman proconsul Sergius Paulus was indeed an intelligent man for he believed the evidence of what he personally saw and heard.    Paul didn't pull any punches here; He told it like he saw it and took action accordingly.    This is a firm indictment of sorcery;" Child of the devil;  Enemy of everything that is right;  Full of all kinds of trickery and deceit; Never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord."    It can't get any clearer than this!   

 

The Fortune-Telling Girl

 

"Once (Paul and Silas) were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future.    She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.    This girl followed Paul and the rest of (them), shouting, These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.    She kept this up for many days.    Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!    At that moment the spirit left her." (Acts 16: 16-18)

 

The account goes on to tell how the owners of this girl, seeing that their meal-ticket had just disappeared, seized Paul and Silas and took them before the authorities where they were stripped, beaten (flogged), and then thrown into jail.    About midnight God caused a violent earthquake to occur (but that's another story).    What about the exciting television commercials that try to get you to call in so that one of their mediums can tell your fortune and maybe predict some important future event in your life?    Are they for real?    According to this account of the slave girl, they can be for real.    Such a thing does exist!    Do they know that they are being used by Satan to trap you in their schemes?    Of course not!    Remember, Satan is the master of PsyOps.    You and they are not supposed to know that this is destructive to your life.    How is this destructive?    Any use of Satan's power leads you away from God's love and care.    You cannot have both.    Satan is most effective when you don't know that he is behind this, and he's really got you if you don't believe that he's real.    In all good conscience, I must add that all of these mediums that you see on TV, are not necessarily possessed by evil spirits.    Charlatans abound in all areas of human endeavor and some of these folks are just petty crooks with some very effective tricks.    They also serve Satan, but to a lesser degree.

 

Seven sons of a Jewish chief priest take a beating

 

 "Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon possessed.    They would say; In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.    Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this.    One day the evil spirit answered them; Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?    Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all.    He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.    When this became known - - they were all seized with fear, and the name of the lord Jesus was held in high honor. - - A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly.    When they calculated the value of these scrolls, the total came to fifty-thousand drachmas. (Acts 19: 13-20)    (A drachma was a silver coin worth about a day's wages.)

 

When this story got back to Sceva, the Jewish chief priest, I can very well imagine that he had a fit.    That his seven sons were trying to use the name of Jesus like some magical incantation, and then got thoroughly thrashed, can't have helped his self-esteem or his standing in the Jewish community.    You would think that a high priest and his family would be expected to set the example for propriety in their community.    What a joke!   

 

"You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone  guiltless who misuses His name."  (Exodus 20:7)

 

 In conclusion

 

What about you?     All of these accounts are presented to you as evidence of what the Bible, God's Word, has to say about the subject of witchcraft.   (The term witchcraft is used here in a general sense and includes all of the many occult practices.)    If you believe in God and believe that the Bible is His word, then you must take these accounts at face value.    I have purposely avoided the word "story" because to some people, that implies that it is a fictitious account, and not necessarily a true account.    All of the quotes in italics are true accounts from the NIV version of the Bible (this is not intended to be an endorsement if the NIV translation) .    I welcome anyone to read these accounts in the translation of the Bible that they prefer and trust.    Book, chapter, and verse references are given with each quote from the Bible.    I leave you with three more quotes from the Bible:

 

  

"- - the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons.    You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too;  you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons."  (1 Corinthians 10: 20, 21)

 

"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." 

(2 Timothy 2: 15)

 

 

"- - if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourself this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.    But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24: 15).  

 

 

Addendum:    Someone raised the question of pharmacology and Witchcraft.    The reason that  drugs and Witchcraft have not been included so far is that it is not specifically mentioned in the bible.    Certainly heathen cultures have been using and abusing drugs, including alcohol, and any other method for supposedly entering a "higher state of consciousness" to worship their gods or communicate with spirits.    This definitely comes under the heading of "avoiding any heathen practices"!    Christians are not to participate in such things under any circumstances.    There are many other things that are a part of today's world that are not mentioned in the bible like smoking, inhaling various chemicals, etc.    The bottom line is that anything that harms the body is the wrong thing to do.    Anything that harms your witness (good example) as a Christian is the wrong thing to do.    Many things that are not specifically prohibited in the bible that are just too obviously bad for you, are things to avoid, if not totally abstain from.

 

      What is your choice?