Tarot Card Reader

Adis K.

11 Critical Warnings About Witchcraft & Occult Practices

Faith, Mysticism, Spiritism, Supernatural

The realm of the supernatural has always captivated human curiosity. From tales of sorcerers wielding dark powers to modern-day practices like tarot readings and seances, the allure of the unknown is undeniable. But how does the Bible, one of the world’s most influential religious texts, view these practices?

Witchcraft, sorcery, divination, and related activities appear throughout the Old and New Testaments. The Bible provides a comprehensive perspective through stories of confrontation, commandments, and cautions.

This article explores the Biblical stance on witchcraft and the occult, delving into specific scriptures, stories of individuals who grappled with supernatural practices, and the more profound theological implications behind these teachings.

Whether you’re a believer seeking clarity or simply curious about the Biblical perspective, read on to understand the intersection between faith and the supernatural.

Introduction: The Bible’s Take on Supernatural Practices

  1. Historical Narratives: The Bible recounts various episodes where central figures encounter or grapple with the world of the occult. For instance, King Saul’s desperate consultation with the Witch of Endor (1 Samuel 28) paints a vivid picture of the dangers of seeking supernatural insight outside God’s guidance.
  2. Mosaic Law: The Torah, especially the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy, contains explicit commandments prohibiting the Israelites from engaging in occult practices. Verses like Exodus 22:18 (“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”) and Leviticus 20:6 (“I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists”) leave little room for ambiguity.
  3. Prophetic Warnings: Prophets like Micah and Isaiah sounded alarms about the people’s dalliances with sorcery and divination. Their warnings underscored the theological and moral dangers of these practices. Micah 5:12, for instance, talks about God cutting off witchcraft and soothsayers from among the people.
  4. New Testament Caution: The New Testament continues this stance, emphasizing the spiritual pitfalls of engaging with the occult. Paul’s letter to the Galatians (Galatians 5:19-21) includes “witchcraft” in a list of “works of the flesh” that are incongruent with the life of the Spirit.
  5. Transformative Encounters: In the New Testament, we also see individuals formerly involved in the occult having transformative encounters with the message of Christ. Acts 19:19 recounts believers in Ephesus burning their scrolls of magic, signifying a total renunciation of their old ways.
Tarot cards and candles

At its core, the Bible’s perspective on witchcraft and sorcery is rooted in its commitment to monotheism and the importance of seeking guidance from God.

It views these practices as diversions that can lead individuals away from a genuine relationship with the Divine, emphasizing the importance of trust, faith, and reliance solely on God’s wisdom.

Direct Encounters: When Biblical Figures Crossed Paths with the Occult

Simon the Sorcerer: From Magic to Faith

“But there was a certain man, called Simon, which before time in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard because he had bewitched them with sorceries for a long time.”

Acts 8:9-11 (KJV)
Simon the Sorcerer

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. Simon’s Sorcery: Simon is described as practising “sorcery,” which would have included various forms of magic or supernatural arts. The exact nature of these practices isn’t detailed in the text. Still, they would have been understood in the ancient context as manipulations or invocations of spiritual powers apart from God.
  2. Influence on the People: Simon had “bewitched” the people of Samaria, suggesting that they were heavily influenced or even entranced by his abilities. The term “bewitched” here implies more than just a casual admiration—it suggests a deep and captivating hold on the populace.
  3. Self-Promotion: Simon proclaimed himself as “some great one,” indicating that he had positioned himself as a significant spiritual figure or authority in Samaria. The people’s response, referring to him as “the great power of God,” shows that they saw his abilities as divine origin or endorsement.
  4. Long-standing Reputation: The passage notes that Simon’s influence wasn’t a recent development. The people had been under his sway for “a long time,” indicating that his reputation and influence were well-established.

The story of Simon serves as an introduction to a larger narrative in Acts 8. As the chapter progresses, Philip (one of the early Christian evangelists) arrives in Samaria and begins performing miracles and preaching about Jesus Christ.

Many Samaritans, including Simon, believe in Philip’s message and are baptized. The chapter further delves into Simon’s flawed understanding of the Holy Spirit’s power, leading to a rebuke from the Apostle Peter.

Overall, the account underscores the transformative power of the gospel message and serves as both a cautionary tale about the dangers of misguided spiritual pursuits and the possibility of redemption.

The Ephesian Believers: Turning Away from Magical Arts

“Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”

Acts 19:19 (KJV)

Context: In Acts 19, the Apostle Paul is in Ephesus, known for its temple to the goddess Artemis (or Diana in the Roman pantheon) and its strong pagan influences. As Paul preached the Gospel, many in Ephesus believed in Jesus Christ. This had a significant impact on the city, both spiritually and economically. Mainly, it affected those who profited from worshipping Artemis, leading to a considerable uproar in the town.

Apostle Paul preaching in Ephesus

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. “Many of them also which used curious arts.”: The term “curious arts” refers to magical practices, spells, and occult arts. Ephesus was a hub for such practices, and many individuals in the city were involved in these arts either as practitioners or consumers.
  2. “brought their books together, and burned them before all men”: This public act of burning their books was a way for these new believers to renounce their former practices openly and to show their sincere conversion to Christianity. Burning the books, which were likely scrolls or other written materials containing spells, incantations, or other magical knowledge, symbolized a definitive break from their past.
  3. “they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver”: This indicates the significant value of these books. The mention of the cost underscores the sacrifice these individuals made in their commitment to Christ. Fifty thousand pieces of silver was a huge sum, highlighting how lucrative the magic business was in Ephesus and the profound impact of the Gospel on the city.

In summary, Acts 19:19 depicts a decisive moment in the early Christian church where new converts in Ephesus took a public and costly stand against their former occult practices, symbolizing their wholehearted commitment to Jesus Christ. This act demonstrated the Gospel’s transformative power in individual lives and entire communities.

King Saul’s Desperate Consultation with the Witch of Endor

1 Samuel 28 (KJV) This chapter tells the story of King Saul consulting a witch at Endor to summon the spirit of the prophet Samuel.

Here’s a breakdown of the chapter:

  1. Verses 1-6: The chapter begins by setting the scene. The Philistines gather their forces to fight Israel. Saul sees their camp and becomes very afraid. He seeks guidance from the Lord but does not answer him through dreams or prophets. This leaves Saul in a position of deep desperation.
  2. Verses 7-10: In his desperation, Saul seeks out a medium, even though he had previously expelled all such individuals from the land. His attendants tell him of a woman at Endor who can communicate with the dead. Saul disguises himself and visits her at night. The woman is initially hesitant, noting that Saul has cut off all who practice such arts. Saul assures her that no punishment will come to her.
  3. Verses 11-14: The woman asks whom she should bring up, and Saul requests Samuel. When she sees Samuel, she recognizes that her client is King Saul. Samuel’s appearance frightens her, and Saul reassures her, asking her to describe what she sees. She describes an old man wearing a robe, and Saul realizes it’s Samuel and bows down in respect.
  4. Verses 15-19: Samuel questions why Saul has disturbed him. Saul explains his dire situation with the Philistines and the fact that God is not speaking to him. Samuel reminds Saul that God has turned away from him and has become his enemy. He reiterates that the kingdom will be given to David. Samuel then delivers a bleak prophecy: Saul and his sons will be with Samuel (in the realm of the dead) the next day, implying they will die in the upcoming battle.
  5. Verses 20-25: The news deeply distresses Saul, and he falls to the ground, paralyzed with fear. The medium and Saul’s attendants encourage him to eat, but he initially refuses. Eventually, he does eat a meal provided by the medium and then leaves to meet his fate.
King Saul consulting the cloaked witch of Endo

Significance and Themes:

  • Desperation and Spiritual Desolation: Saul’s desperation is palpable in this chapter. It highlights the spiritual desolation that can come from turning away from God. Despite his position as king, Saul is desperate, isolated, and fearful.
  • Consequences of Disobedience: Saul’s visit to the medium of Endor is an act of disobedience. He had banned such practices, and turning to the dead instead of God directly contradicts God’s commands in the Torah.
  • The Reality of the Afterlife: Samuel’s appearance from the realm of the dead indicates a belief in the continuation of existence after death, a topic on which the Old Testament is often seen as more implicit than the New Testament.
  • The Immutability of God’s Decree: Despite his attempts to alter his fate, Saul’s destiny remains unchanged. Samuel’s prophecy underscores the finality of God’s decisions.
  • This chapter is a tragic moment in the downfall of Saul, Israel’s first king, and is a cautionary tale about the consequences of disobedience and the perils of seeking guidance outside of God’s will.

Scriptural Warnings and Commandments

The Mosaic Law on Witchcraft and Divination

Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10-12

“Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

Exodus 22:18 (KJV)

Context: Exodus 22 contains various laws addressing moral and social matters in the life of the Israelites. These include how to handle cases of theft, damage, and social responsibilities, among others.

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live“: The verse is a prohibition against witchcraft and those who practice it. The term translated as “witch” in the KJV is the Hebrew word. 
  2. kashaph,” which refers to someone who practices sorcery or witchcraft. As stated in this verse, the punishment for such practices is quite severe – death. This underscores the gravity with which God viewed such practices.

Significance: Witchcraft and sorcery were viewed as practices that sought power and knowledge apart from God and often in direct opposition to Him. In many ancient cultures, these practices were associated with invoking spirits or deities other than the one true God of Israel.

By prohibiting these practices and mandating such a severe punishment, God emphasised the importance of purity in worship and the dangers of turning to other spiritual sources. This was particularly significant for a people who were to represent God to the surrounding nations and maintain a unique relationship with Him.

It’s important to note that interpretations and applications of biblical passages like this have varied over time and across cultures. In some historical periods, this verse and others were used to justify witch hunts and the persecution of individuals accused of witchcraft.

Modern readers must approach such verses with an understanding of their historical and cultural context and awareness of the broader themes and teachings of the Bible.

“Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.”

Leviticus 19:31 (KJV)

Context: Leviticus 19 contains moral, ceremonial, and civil laws, often called the Holiness Code. These laws are a reflection of God’s holiness and are given to guide the Israelites in living a life set apart to God. The chapter covers various topics, from honouring parents and the Sabbath to farming guidelines and fair business dealings.

  1. “Regard not them that have familiar spirits”: The term “familiar spirits” translates the Hebrew word “ʾôb,” which refers to spirits of the dead or to the necromancers who claimed to communicate with these spirits. It speaks against those who practice necromancy or attempt to communicate with the dead.
  2. “neither seek after wizards”: The word translated “wizards” comes from the Hebrew “yiddeʿonî,” which refers to people who claim to have knowledge or powers through occult means. In the ancient Near Eastern context, these individuals claimed to have special knowledge or divining abilities.
  3. “to be defiled by them”: Engaging with those who have familiar spirits or wizards was seen as defiling or making oneself unclean. In the broader biblical context, turning to these sources for guidance or power was considered a departure from reliance on God and was associated with idolatrous practices.
  4. “I am the LORD your God”: This refrain is found multiple times in Leviticus and serves as a reminder of God’s authority and the reason for the commandments. It’s a reminder of God’s sovereignty, the covenant relationship He has with Israel, and His role as their sanctifier.

In essence, Leviticus 19:31 warns the Israelites against seeking spiritual guidance or power from sources other than God. It’s a call to trust in God alone and to avoid practices common among other nations but incompatible with the worship of the one true God.

The command, set in the broader context of the Holiness Code, emphasizes the need for the Israelites to be distinct in their practices and devoted solely to God.

“And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.”

Leviticus 20:6 (KJV)

Context: Leviticus 20 is a chapter detailing the penalties for various offences, particularly those related to religious and sexual practices. Many of these offences were considered especially grievous because they involved spiritual unfaithfulness to God or actions that would defile the community.

New Age practice centered around conjuring spirits

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. “And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards”: This refers to individuals who seek out or follow those who claim to communicate with the spirits of the dead (familiar spirits) or practice sorcery (wizards). The prohibition against consulting with such individuals is a recurring theme in the Old Testament.
  2. “to go a whoring after them”: The phrase “to go a whoring” is figurative language that denotes spiritual adultery or idolatry. Just as a spouse is expected to be faithful in a marriage relationship, the Israelites were expected to be faithful to God and not seek spiritual insight or power from prohibited sources. Turning to wizards or those with familiar spirits was seen as unfaithfulness or spiritual harlotry.
  3. “I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people”: This is a stern warning. “Setting my face against” conveys God’s direct opposition and displeasure. The penalty of being “cut off” is severe. Depending on the context, it can mean a range of punishments, from excommunication from the community to physical death. In this context, the exact nature of the sentence is not explicitly stated, but it underscores the seriousness of the offence.

In summary, Leviticus 20:6 emphasizes the gravity of seeking guidance or intervention from prohibited spiritual sources. It’s a stern warning about the consequences of spiritual unfaithfulness, highlighting the need for the Israelites to maintain their distinct identity and remain faithful to their covenant with God.

“A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.”

Leviticus 20:27 (KJV)

Context: Leviticus 20 sets forth a series of laws along with their corresponding penalties, especially those related to religious and sexual practices. This chapter emphasizes the seriousness of transgressions and the resulting consequences.

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. “A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard”: The verse addresses both men and women who either have a “familiar spirit” or are considered “wizards”. Having a “familiar spirit” typically refers to individuals who claim to communicate or channel the spirits of the dead. “Wizards” would be those practising forbidden forms of magic or divination.
  2. “shall surely be put to death”: The penalty for being involved in these practices is explicitly stated here: death. This underscores how gravely these offences were viewed in the context of ancient Israelite society and law.
  3. “they shall stone them with stones”: Stoning was a common method of capital punishment in ancient Israel. It was a communal act where members of the community participated in executing the judgment, emphasizing collective responsibility in upholding the law.
  4. “their blood shall be upon them” indicates that the guilty parties are responsible for their actions. In essence, they brought the judgment upon themselves due to their actions.

In summary, Leviticus 20:27 emphasizes the severe consequences for those involved in practices related to communicating with the dead or forbidden magic within the Israelite community.

The verse reflects the broader theme of the chapter, which is to ensure that the Israelites maintain their holiness, purity, and distinct identity by observing God’s commandments and avoiding prohibited practices.

“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.”

Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (KJV)

Context: The book of Deuteronomy is a series of sermons delivered by Moses to the Israelites before they enter the Promised Land. In this chapter, God provides guidance on who should be considered a true prophet and contrasts this with prohibited occult practices of the surrounding nations.

Here’s a breakdown of the chapter:

Verse 10:

  1. “maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire” refers to a ritual, possibly associated with worshipping the Canaanite god Molech, where children were sacrificed by fire.
  2. “useth divination”: Divination seeks knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means outside of God’s revelation.
  3. “observer of times”: This likely refers to astrology or interpreting omens based on certain times or seasons.
  4. “enchanter”: This term suggests someone who uses spells or chants.
  5. “witch”: Refers to someone who practices witchcraft or sorcery.

Verse 11:

  1. “charmer“: Someone who uses spells or magic, possibly to control or harm others.
  2. “consulter with familiar spirits”: Refers to mediums who claim to communicate with the spirits of the dead.
  3. “wizard” is similar to a sorcerer who practices forbidden magic.
  4. “necromancer”: Someone who seeks to communicate with the dead to predict the future.

Verse 12:

Here, God declares that all these practices are “an abomination,” which means they are profoundly detestable and offensive to Him.

The Israelites are reminded that it’s because of such practices that the Canaanites, the land’s previous inhabitants, are being driven out. This underscores the need for the Israelites to maintain purity and avoid the idolatrous and forbidden practices of the nations around them.

In summary, Deuteronomy 18:10-12 provides a clear and comprehensive list of prohibited occult practices, emphasizing the need for the Israelites to be distinct in their worship and practices, focusing solely on the Lord and avoiding the abominable rituals of the neighbouring cultures.

Prophetic Condemnations: Micah and Nahum Speak Out

Micah 5:12; Nahum 3:4

“And I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand, and thou shalt have no more soothsayers.”

Micah 5:12 (KJV)

Context: Micah 5 is a chapter famous for prophesying the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). The larger context of the chapter speaks of the future restoration and purification of Israel. After facing judgment due to their sins, there’s a promise of renewal and restoration where the nation will be purged from its sinful practices.

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. “I will cut off witchcrafts out of thine hand”: This speaks to the purging of idolatrous and occult practices among the people. Witchcraft, as it’s referenced in the Old Testament, typically refers to various forms of sorcery or divination, which were prohibited by Mosaic law.
  2. “thou shalt have no more soothsayers”: Soothsayers claimed to predict the future or discern the will of the gods. Again, seeking guidance from such individuals instead of the Lord was considered a form of idolatry and strictly forbidden.
  • The verse emphasizes God’s intent to cleanse and purify His people from idolatry and unfaithfulness. It’s a testament to God’s commitment to sanctify Israel, drawing them away from pagan influences and practices and back to pure worship and trust in Him.

“Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.”

Nahum 3:4 (KJV)

Context: Chapter 3 of Nahum describes the forthcoming destruction of Nineveh. The chapter begins with woe against the city, depicting its violent and treacherous nature.

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. “the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot”: Nineveh is symbolically described as a “wellfavoured harlot” to illustrate the seductive nature of the city and its influence. The “whoredoms” here might refer to the city’s treacherous alliances, idolatries, or immoral practices.
  2. “the mistress of witchcrafts”: This is another symbolic description emphasizing the deceitful and manipulative nature of Nineveh. The term suggests that Nineveh used all means, both political and spiritual, to maintain its power and control.
  3. “that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts”: This suggests that Nineveh’s influence and manipulation led to the subjugation and downfall of entire nations and families. The city’s tactics, whether through deceptive alliances (“whoredoms”) or other treacherous means (“witchcrafts”), brought many under its sway and led to their destruction.
  • In this verse, Nahum poetically underscores the reasons for Nineveh’s impending judgment. The city’s treachery, violence, and deceptive practices would lead to its downfall, as prophesied by Nahum. The eventual destruction of Nineveh by the Babylonians in 612 B.C. fulfilled Nahum’s prophecies.

The New Testament’s Admonitions: Paul and John Weigh In

Galatians 5:19-21; Revelation 21:8, 22:15

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV)

Context: Paul contrasts the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit in this part of Galatians 5. While the “works of the flesh” are destructive behaviors and attitudes that distance individuals from God and each other, the “fruit of the Spirit” (described in Galatians 5:22-23) represents the virtues and characteristics that should be evident in the lives of those led by the Holy Spirit.

Apostle Paul and Apostle John

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  • “Now the works of the flesh are manifest.”: Paul begins by saying that the sinful behaviours he’s about to list are obvious or evident manifestations of fleshly, unspiritual desires.

The List: Paul provides a list that is not exhaustive but represents a range of sinful behaviours:

  1. Adultery and fornication: Sexual sins.
  2. Uncleanness: Moral impurity.
  3. Lasciviousness: Indecency or wantonness.
  4. Idolatry: Worship of idols or anything other than God.
  5. Witchcraft: The Greek word used here is “pharmakeia,” which can mean sorcery or the use of drugs. In the ancient world, drugs were often used in pagan rituals.
  6. Hatred, variance (contentions), emulations (jealousy), wrath, strife, seditions, heresies: These terms describe various forms of discord, rivalry, and division.
  7. Envyings: Jealousy of others.
  8. Murders: Taking another’s life.
  9. Drunkenness and revellings: Excessive indulgence in alcohol and wild parties.
  • “they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”: Paul emphasizes the severe consequences of living according to the flesh. He warns the Galatians (and, by extension, all believers) that a life characterized by these sinful behaviours is incompatible with the kingdom of God.

Paul’s message here is not just about avoiding specific sins but about the larger issue of living by the Spirit’s guidance and not being led by unspiritual desires.

He continues the passage by contrasting these negative behaviours with the positive attributes of the fruit of the Spirit.

“But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Revelation 21:8 (KJV)

Context: Revelation 21 provides a vision of the New Jerusalem, representing God’s eternal kingdom where God dwells with His people. This chapter contrasts the blessings and joy of those who are part of this kingdom with the fate of those who are excluded.

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. “But the fearful”: Refers to those who, out of fear, did not stand firm in their faith or did not trust in God.
  2. “and unbelieving”: This denotes individuals who did not place their faith in Jesus Christ and His redemptive work.
  3. “and the abominable”: Those who committed actions that are detestable and offensive to God.
  4. “murderers”: Those who unlawfully take another person’s life.
  5. “whoremongers”: This term refers to those involved in sexual immorality.
  6. “sorcerers”: Refers to individuals involved in magical practices, potentially including drug use (the Greek word used here, “pharmakeus,” can refer to the use of drugs for magical or sorcerous purposes).
  7. “idolaters”: Individuals who worship false gods or anything other than the one true God.
  8. “all liars”: This encompasses everyone who speaks falsehoods or deceives.
  9. “shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone”: This describes the final judgment and eternal separation from God, often called Hell.
  10. “which is the second death”: The “second death” is a term used in Revelation to describe the eternal separation from God and the final judgment for the wicked, as opposed to the physical death everyone experiences.

In summary, Revelation 21:8 provides a list of sins and behaviours that result in eternal separation from God. It contrasts the glorious vision of the New Jerusalem with the sobering reality of judgment, underscoring the gravity of sin and the dire need for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

“For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”

Revelation 22:15 (KJV)
  • Context: Revelation 22 provides a closing vision of the New Jerusalem and the eternal state of the righteous. The chapter emphasizes the promise of Jesus’ return and the blessings awaiting those who obey God’s commandments. Conversely, it mentions those who are excluded from this blessed state.

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. “For without are dogs”: In biblical times, “dogs” was sometimes used in a derogatory manner to refer to those who were considered impure or morally compromised. It does not literally refer to the animal but is symbolic of a certain type of person.
  2. “sorcerers” refers to individuals who practice magic or sorcery, similar to some of the forbidden practices mentioned in the Old Testament.
  3. “whoremongers”: This term typically refers to those engaged in sexual immorality.
  4. “murderers”: Those who unlawfully take the life of another.
  5. “idolaters”: Individuals who worship idols or false gods or anyone who puts something else in the place of God in their lives.
  6. “whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” encompasses those who delight in falsehood and actively promote or create lies.

The verse lists sins and behaviours that exclude individuals from the blessings of the New Jerusalem. This exclusion signifies spiritual separation and judgment. The broader context emphasizes the importance of faithfulness to God and His commandments to partake in the eternal blessings He offers.

In summary, Revelation 22:15 emphasizes the precise boundary between those who will enjoy the blessings of eternity with God and those who will be excluded because of their sins and rejection of God’s ways. It serves as a sobering reminder of the consequences of sin and the urgent call for repentance and faithfulness.

The Theological Underpinnings: Why Does the Bible Oppose These Practices?

Idolatry and Rebellion: Going Beyond the Surface

“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”

1 Samuel 15:23 (KJV)

Context: God commanded Saul to completely destroy the Amalekites – a longstanding enemy of Israel – including all their livestock. However, Saul spares Agag, the king of the Amalekites, and keeps some of the best livestock, ostensibly to sacrifice them to God. When Samuel confronts Saul, the king at first tries to justify his actions, but Samuel delivers God’s judgment and the reasons for it.

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft”: Samuel equates Saul’s disobedience (rebellion) with witchcraft. In the Israelite context, as seen in other verses we’ve discussed, witchcraft is a grave sin. The comparison here underscores how seriously God takes disobedience to His commands.
  2. “and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry”: Samuel compares Saul’s stubbornness (his refusal to obey God’s command fully) with iniquity and idolatry. Idolatry, worshipping other gods or making anything more important than God, was one of the most severe offences in ancient Israel. This further emphasizes the gravity of Saul’s actions.
  3. “Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king”: This is the crux of Samuel’s message. Saul’s disobedience is seen as rejecting God’s word and authority. As a result, God rejects Saul’s future as the king of Israel. This sets the stage for the eventual rise of David, Israel’s next and most celebrated king.

The overarching theme of this passage is the paramount importance of obedience to God, especially for those in leadership positions. Saul’s failures serve as a cautionary tale about the consequences of placing one’s judgment or desires above God’s commands.

The All-Sufficiency of God: Seeking Divine Guidance

“And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?”

Isaiah 8:19 (KJV)

Context: The prophet Isaiah addresses the people of Judah during political turmoil and impending invasion. The northern kingdom of Israel had allied with Syria to resist the Assyrians, and they tried to force Judah into joining them. Ahaz, the king of Judah, was considering seeking help from the Assyrians against Israel and Syria, which would also lead to Assyria’s eventual invasion of Judah. Many in Judah turned to idols, false gods, and occult practices for guidance and protection during this time.

Pprophet Isaiah

Here’s a breakdown of the passage:

  1. “Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter”: This is a description of those who claimed to communicate with the dead or engage in occult practices. “peep” and “mutter” describe the sounds or noises these mediums or wizards would make, presumably as part of their rituals or as they purportedly communicated with spirits.
  2. “should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?”Isaiah is posing a rhetorical question here. He’s asking: Why would you, the living, seek guidance from the dead through these mediums and wizards when you can seek advice from the living God? It’s a rebuke against the people’s reliance on occult practices and a call to return to God.

This verse underscores a central theme in Isaiah: the folly of seeking help or guidance from any source other than the Lord. Throughout the book, Isaiah continually calls the people back to trust in and rely upon God, warning of the dangers and futility of looking elsewhere.

A Balanced Approach: Addressing Modern Occult Practices with Sensitivity

  1. Validating Personal Experiences: It’s essential to recognize that every spiritual journey is unique. While many are drawn to witchcraft or tarot for personal, spiritual, or cultural reasons, pausing to reflect on these choices in light of biblical teachings can provide a deeper understanding of one’s spiritual path.
  2. Seeking Knowledge Over Judgment: While the Bible clearly views practices like witchcraft, the goal is not to condemn but to inform. Delving into these scriptures with an open heart can reveal insights into why these practices are viewed in a particular light.
  3. Encourage Questions and Dialogue: If doubts or questions arise while exploring these practices, seeking answers is essential. Open conversations with knowledgeable individuals about faith and the Bible can provide clarity.
  4. The Power of Personal Transformation: Stories like that of Simon the Sorcerer underscore the idea of personal growth and transformation. Reflecting on these narratives can inspire us to reassess and realign our practices with our spiritual goals.
  5. Understanding Historical and Cultural Context: Recognizing that many occult practices have ancient roots can be enlightening. While they hold historical significance, it’s crucial to weigh them against current spiritual objectives and the teachings of the Bible.
  6. Creating a Space for Spiritual Exploration: It’s essential to have a safe environment to explore, question, and reassess one’s beliefs. Finding supportive communities or groups that prioritize understanding the Bible can be beneficial.
  7. Prioritize Love, Understanding, and Spiritual Integrity: Love, empathy, and integrity should be the core of any spiritual journey. By ensuring that our practices align with these values and the teachings of the Bible, we can walk a path that is both fulfilling and aligned with God’s word.

Conclusion: Emphasizing Transformation and Redemption

At the heart of the Bible’s narrative is a message that transcends time, culture, and individual practices: the transformative power of grace and faith. This message, deeply rooted in stories of redemption, is both a beacon and an invitation.

Grace: Throughout the scriptures, God’s grace is an enduring testament to His unconditional love for humanity. It isn’t based on human merit or worthiness but on God’s inherent nature of love. This grace seeks out every individual, irrespective of past choices or practices, offering a fresh start and a renewed relationship with the Divine.

Repentance: While grace offers a hand of reconciliation, repentance is the heart’s response. It isn’t just about feeling remorse but represents a genuine change of heart and direction. Reflecting on one’s practices and beliefs in light of Biblical wisdom allows one to turn towards God’s truth and embrace His path.

The Transformative Power of Faith: The Bible is replete with stories of individuals from all walks of life undergoing profound transformations through faith. From Saul becoming Paul on the road to Damascus to Simon the Sorcerer’s encounter with the Gospel in Samaria, these narratives underscore faith’s unparalleled power to change hearts, renew minds, and reshape lives.

In closing, the invitation is transparent and open to all: to step into the redemptive arc of the biblical narrative. It’s an invitation to experience transformation, to embrace grace, and to let faith chart a new course. As we contemplate practices like witchcraft or tarot in our modern context, the timeless message of the Bible offers a compass, guiding us toward a journey that culminates in redemption and profound spiritual fulfilment.

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