October 24, 2013

Witchcraft and Necromancy In The Bible, Part II

Magic Circle
John William Waterhouse
[Continued from Part I]

Next up, that witch Jezebel…and yes, she was really a witch according to Scripture.

2 Kings 9:22 ~ “…and when Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” He answered, “What peace can there be, so long as the whorings and the sorceries of your mother Jezebel are so many?”

What do we need to take away from this? Joram sees Jehu and asks a simple but biting question. Can there really be peace with a woman who whores after things that are not of God. Her transgressions have been allowed for so long they have become commonplace or even accepted. Few see them for the evil that they are. The real question that should be asked here is later answered by the prophet Isaiah

The question? What peace can sinners have with God? The definitive biblical answer is no peace as long as sin is pursued with reckless abandon. On the other had, when sin is repented of and forsaken, there is peace in Jesus Christ. It is the old Christian cliche: 

Know God, Know Peace. No God, No Peace. 

So Isaiah 57:20-21 tells us....

But the wicked are like the tossing sea, which cannot rest, whose waves cast up mire and mud. "There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

Joram ends up dying as a criminal, under the sentence of the law (as did Ahaziah and Jezebel). Ahaziah was essentially one-and-the-same as the  house of Ahab. He was one of them and he had made himself one of them by his sin. It is dangerous to join those that enjoy and relish their sins. We end up entangled in guilt and misery by it. (2 Kings 9:30-37). As anyone that has have a drug addiction or habitual sin that they were unable to break free from until they came to the cross of Christ.

Primarily what we see in this verse and its surrounding contexts is a false peace to maintain the status quo even though that peace and status quo is maintained at the cost of a horribly sinful charade. This is the evil that has infiltrated the evangelical mind and church today. In an effort to not make waves we remain silent to maintain a false peace with errant brethren. Some are so errant that they are no longer brethren. Based in what they believe they are literally pagan in some instances. Silence is fine but never at the cost of compromising the truth of Scripture. Then, like now, we see people willing to tolerate known lies and untruths in the name of politically correct ecumenicalism instead of laying it on the line and telling the world the truth in in fear of "offending" someone.

So the question needs to be asked: Is peace really peace when it is made at the cost of accepting a known evil? I think not.  We do this exact same thing today when we allow the premise of abortion, homosexuality, prostitution and other sins that we try to legislate in our government. In some cases in liberal denominations...they are openly accepted and even promoted. Many will try to vote those out that would attempt to push these immoral issues but they inevitably remain totally silent otherwise. When we have evils and depravity this bad openly accepted in society we cannot just sit idly and passively by as millions more are murdered or corrupted. If we remain silent...we are exactly the same as Joram in this verse. Silence in these types of situations flirts with outright complicity in the sins being allowed through our silence.

Moving on to Daniel 2 we read that Nebuchadnezzar's magicians, astrologers, soothsayers, and sorcerers couldn’t interpret nor tell him his dream

Daniel 2:10 ~ “The astrologers answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. 

Here we see that the pagan pretenders cannot really interpret dreams let alone retell them. They are caught utterly flatfooted and off balance here. They essentially make a blanket statement about all magicians, astrologers, soothsayers, and sorcerers. From their own mouths they condemn themselves and invalidate their abilities. There admission is to save themselves from the known punishment for not producing and answer to matters like this for a despot king. It would mean a death by being cut to pieces or dismemberment.

I am not so much concerned with the king and his kingdom's significance in this story (and God’s sovereignty) as I am with the total ineptitude and inability of these charlatans versus a true man or prophet of God. It is a striking parallel that these types of New Age charlatans still exist in our day and some even go under the moniker of “Christian”. Those that attempt to tell you how great your future will be based on the positive thoughts and feelings you have about yourself. How you will be rich if only you would pray harder and send more money to this or that guru or ministry. This is an ages old story and these quacks could do no more with positive thinking and the black arts then, then they can do now. The bible is clear here…they are incompetent and unqualified. They are powerless to either recall or interpret dreams. They are frauds.

But God can interpret dreams and know the unknowable. He not only allows us to dream, He is often the Creator and/or Sender of them. Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar are just a later version of the Joseph and Pharaoh. A dream sent by God to a king. The dream is going to effect the king and entire kingdom. One of God’s own people interprets it and is in a position of power when they do it or are put in a position of power because they interpret the dream. Above and beyond both stories we see God lofty on His throne in sovereign and omnipotent/omniscient control. So much so He actually sends messages of the future to His people both in dream and later in prophets. Yet we also see God not-so-lofty but rather near us working through kings and the common man to move kingdoms and history forward.

My last biblical citation ends us in Acts 13. It is the story of Elymas of Bar-Jesus.

Acts 13:6-8 ~ "When they [Paul and Barnabas] had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 

In this demonic man we see a special tool of the Devil strategically placed to try and circumvent the plans of God. Of course this is not possible and he is essentially verbally smacked around by Paul and sent on his way but the confrontation is of interest for Christians today. Why? We need to recognize when we're being detoured from our proper tasks. We need to give the “how-to and the what-for” to those that would attempt to withstand or actively repress our proclamation of the word of God or the Gospel.

As in the case of Bar-Jesus, some of Satan’s tools will be those right within a public gathering to proclaim the truth of God’s word, or in this case, a synagogue. Also in this case it is a new area that had never been evangelized before. The probability of elevated demonic activity is always higher in places where the Gospel has not been heard. We see the same in Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8. What is the godly man’s response? A gentle conversation? No. Paul flames this guy! It is a scathing unrelenting rebuke of (dare I say it?) biblical proportion. Why does Paul do this? It is mainly because of the overt and obvious biblical denunciation of sin. In particular, the biblical denunciation of occultism in which Bar-Jesus appears proficient, hence the fact he is called a μάγος or magician/sorcerer.

These people and tools of Satan will literally walk boldly right in our front doors. A person needs to ask how this would be possible if we are vigilant and on the lookout for dorks such as this and the answer should be obvious. We apparently are not as vigilant as we believe we are or worse…we too will have turned away from sound teaching. How? Perhaps the infiltration occurs because we are not rebuking those clearly in error and accepting their heresies and lies directly into our homes and places of worship? In other words this could also be a call to the biblically educated laity to politely bring error to leaderships attention.

We need to realize this passage very much speaks to us today on a few different levels. One, the forces of evil will stop at nothing to subvert the will and purposes of God. They will even infiltrate our places of worship and gatherings in an attempt to shut us down and silence us. This should only embolden us even more to do what we’ve been called to do by the Lord.

It is the old saying, “Stand for what you believe.” If you are not encountering resistance and trials…there is an incredibly high probability you are not doing what you were called to.There needs to be a place, a line where you will say, "This far, and no farther!" That line for me is the truth of Scripture, the truth of the Gospel, the truth of Jesus Christ. Where is your line? Do you even have one?  As for Paul, Scripture tells us he fought the good fight. He had not compromised the truth…he had not compromised the Gospel to tickle people’s ears with false teachings and a false gospel. He had driven his sword in the ground and not given an inch. He had stood his ground fearlessly.

So should you. Stand for what you believe even if it means standing face-to-face with witches, warlocks, sorcerers, conjurers of the demons and those that dabble in the black arts…so they can proceed no further. Be assured, you will probably encounter some of these deluded people this coming week. Why not try and preach the Gospel to them?

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