October 22, 2013

Witchcraft and Necromancy In The Bible, Part I

The Sorceress
Georges Merle
Oil on Canvas
In keeping with the Halloween theme of my posts recently I will post more on the unholy haranguing and harassings of some of the more unsavory types outlined in the Bible. The Bible is quite vocal about the black arts as God is negatively vocal about witches and their ilk. God is clear about what happens when a person deals in the pagan practices rooted in Babylon and other ancient pagan cultures.

The Law of Moses and some of the later narratives of the kings and prophets are explicit. The Bible clearly and ardently forbids and condemns witchcraft along with other forms of necromancy and future-telling. To me it seems that the primary reason these things are forbidden is because of their extremely close link to idolatry and worshiping or pursuing knowledge based in the created rather than the Creator. They are just another false source of truth (deception/lies). This dependence on the pagan things of the world or the things of the world itself are blatant and obnoxious idolatry. They are therefore a slap in the face of a Holy God who was clear when He said that man shall have no other God’s before Him.

“‘I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums [mumbler / ventriloquist] and spiritists [conjurer of spirits] to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people. Leviticus 20:6

“A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist [conjurer] among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.’” Leviticus 20:27

Along the same lines Exodus mentions witches or those that to whisper a spell, enchant or practice magic/black arts

“Do not allow a sorceress [witch] to live. Exodus 22:18

In Deuteronomy we see a more explicit statement and clarification. One must be blameless or undefiled.

“When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable (abominable) ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire [Molech worship], who practices divination [witchcraft or future telling through demonic means] or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. You must be blameless before the LORD your God. Deuteronomy 18:9-13

“And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?" Isaiah 8:19

Wherever witchcraft, sorcery, mediums, divination, etc. are mentioned in Scripture it is absolutely condemned in no uncertain terms because of what it forces people to trust in and what it does to them spiritually. These demonic practices turn a person to sin and the demonic away from God…exactly what the Bible was written to help people prevent. We must never forget the Bible is a book written to bring people back into a right relationship with God through repentance. In repenting and believing in God we are saved. When we turn our back to God and apostatize we are in a dangerous godless place. It is a place infested with demons and the demonic. Things like witches and witchcraft set themselves up against God to do just the opposite of what God wills. In so doing they make themselves the sworn enemy of God and the ally of the Devil. Poor company if you ask me. As we will see, all these instances pertaining to the black arts have people on the wrong side opposing God. In some cases like Pharaoh, they (sorcerers, magicians) are being used by people that are also against God.

So…on with some examples of witches, sorcerers and their ilk from the Bible

Exodus 7:11-12 ~ “Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast down his staff, and they became serpents. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs.”

The sorcerers of Pharaoh’s court to all appearances conjured serpents from staffs. This is just like the satanic to mimic and try to emulate (albeit poorly) the works of God through Moses and Aaron. Where the supernatural work from Aaron’ staff was a supernatural work that was the doings of God, the mimicry of the sorcerer’s is illusion at best, purely demonic at worst.

What Christians should see here is not so much the trickery of the practitioners of the black arts so much as we need to see the divinely ordained mission of Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh to set His people free. Moses and Aaron are there to facilitate the release of God’s people out from under the bondage of Pharaoh. This attestation comes in the form of God intervening supernaturally.

Even though God has worked supernaturally through Moses and Aaron…Pharaoh and his accompanying Egyptians pay them no mind and use satanic means to undermine the work of God. Should we expect any less in today’s battles against the same satanic scumbag?

2 Thessalonians 2:8-10 ~ “…and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 

Having been given over to their wickedness, God will even allow them to be deceived by removing His covering of mercy and grace.

In 1 Samuel 28:7-25 we see the most prominent witch in the Bible.

1 Samuel 28:8-11 ~ “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.

The Bible clearly and ardently forbids and condemns witchcraft along with other forms of necromancy [attempts to contact the departed]. The reason contacting the dead is forbidden isn't so much because God is worried about the dead revealing His secrets about the afterlife...it is because spirits or ghosts as we understand them from the culture don't exist. What we would be seeing if we really did conjure a ghost is in reality a demonic spirit impersonating a dead person (except in the case of Saul here as it seems God directly intervened to pass judgement on Saul). 
It is all about demonic smoke and mirrors not actual contact with the dead. The Bible is clear...people die once and then face judgment. They do not come back from the dead except when God resurrects everyone on the day of Judgement. The righteous will be resurrected to the Kingdom and eternal salvation and the unrighteous will be resurrected to eternal judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
As for those that would dare practice witchcraft and necromancy or consult with these types of people we read the following...

Leviticus 20:6 ~ “‘I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.

Based on the later deadly repercussions for Saul for having consulting a medium I would have to say that Saul did have God’s face set against him in the end and was cut off from his people as was his son Jonathan…in death…this is in spite of the fact that Saul was one of God’s anointed.

Even though Saul drove the mediums out of the land he consults with the witch of Endor anyway. This is an obvious case of willful disobedience by both Saul and the witch. Much to the amazement of Saul and even the witch herself (1 Sam 28:12 she cried out with a loud voice) …she actually pulls off this summoning, or so it appears. This is a successful violation of a capital offense in the Old Testament.

Regardless of whom/Whom this entity is, one of the spiritual points of this passage is often missed. Saul’s failure lies in his inability to trust God and go to God for help rather than rely on his own devices and the devices and methods of mankind which are flawed at their core. His failure also lies in his disobedient heart. The truth is Saul had little or no faith in his God even though he may have said so or alluded to as much. His faith and main source of disobedience resided in his belief in himself or those around Him instead of God. He violates God time after time in disobedience or partial disobedience. As we know from Saul, God considers even partial disobedience…full disobedience and failure to obey is viewed the same. Sin is sin no matter how you cut it. Failure to obey is sin. Sin is worthy of condemnation and judgment and that judgment inevitably is death.
[continued in Part II]

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