(NOTE: Some of the themes of these articles may not be appropriate for young readers. Please keep that in mind when sharing this information).
It is written:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.” (Deuteronomy 18:10-11)
Pagans practice different forms of witchcraft or magic.
Witchcraft is something which is often misunderstood in our day and age. When people think of witchcraft, they may envision a woman with a large black cat stirring a cauldron. Personally, my mind goes to the wicked witch of the Wizard Of Oz.
Likewise, when people think of the word magic, they often conjure up images of magicians at parties, making rabbits appear out of a hat. Or perhaps to David Houdini, and some of his amazing feats of illusionism.
However, these are not an adequate descriptions of magic and witchcraft in the primary sense of the words.
When we approach the ancient definitions of magic, for example, Arnold has well documented:
“In Western culture we have come to think of magic as harmless trickery in the context of entertainment. When we speak of magic during the period of the New Testament, however, we must realize it was not the art of illusion. Magic represented a method of manipulating good and evil spirits to lend help or bring harm. Magical formulas could be used for such things as attracting a lover or winning a chariot race. Black magic, or sorcery, involved summoning spirits to accomplish all kinds of evil deeds. Curses could be placed, competitors subdued, and enemies restrained.” (Clinton Arnold, Powers Of Darkness: Principalities & Powers In Paul’s Letters, 21 (Kindle Edition); Downers Grove, Illinois; InterVarsity Press)
A witch is someone who practices a form of magic.
The ancient Canaanites had nine different forms of magic:
“From Deuteronomy we can create a list of nine separate forms of Paganism. Once we identify these and learn exactly what the practices are, we will be able to see the form they occur in today….The Canaanites worshiped a god called Moloch with human sacrifices . Children, (mainly their firstborn sons) were burned alive in their sacrifices to this god….“Tophet is Moloch, an idol which was made of brass . The Canaanites heated him from his lower parts; and his outstretched hands were made hot. They put the child in his hands, and it was burnt alive. When the child vehemently cried out the priests beat a drum, so the father would not hear the voice of his son, and move his heart.” Rabbi Rashi’s Commentary on Jeremiah 7:31…Diviner –“Kesem” “ Kesem” is the practice where one gazes at an object until he becomes transfixed by it and forgets the world around him. Once he achieves this great level of concentration, he can predict future events. By this definition, some form of meditation is required to achieve an altered state of consciousness….Observer of Times –“Me’onen” “Me’onen” is Chaldean Astrology. In later times it was confused with the cloud reader and those who divine by observing the flights of birds…The enchanter sees omens in animals. An enchanter uses something to charm/control animals (serpents and scorpions) to be passive or to attack. Burning incense is one way of charming…“Sorcerer” is a general term for any occult practice. It m ay include drug use , meditation , or both, but it always has some method to cause an altered state of consciousness . Compare this to Shamanism. The ancient church fathers used the terms “magician” and “sorcerer” interchangeably….A charmer is one who makes charms. A charm is a piece of jewelry worn for protection or to cause something to happen , such as attract love or money . A protective charm is called an amulet. Other charms are called talismans. In Acts 19:19 , Paul ’s new Christian converts in the city o f Ephesus burn ed their magic books. Archeology has unearthed some of these texts. The magic rites of Diana included spells, amulets, and talismans invoking her for aid. This is exactly the same thing found today inside the religion s of Hinduism and Wicca….One with a Familiar Spirit –“ Ob ” Ob ’s conjur ed up ghosts and spirits and made them materialize and speak. One kind used a skull ( teraphim) and the other kind use d soothsaying. Some rabbis taught that the Ob would see the spirit but not hear it speaking; the inquirer would hear the voice but not see the spirit, while bystanders would not hear or see anything…The Ob was the kind of Canaanite Sorcerer used by King Saul to conjure the spirit of the prophet Samuel….So the Ob created what is commonly called a necronomic pit. By use of a teraphim, (her familiar spirit) she cause d spirits to appear. This same practice of casting magic circle s on the ground for ritual purposes is still used today by modern w itches. See the chapter on Wicca for details….The Talmud states that the name for a wizard, Yidde’oni, comes from a word loosely translated as an extinct animal. It also states that no one remembers exactly what kind of animal it was. The name carried over to mean those who used a bone of this extinct animal by placing it in their mouths and through some incantations can have the dead speak through this bone. This has been translated as a ventriloquist or a medium. It is quite possible that the term in this ancient passage means, instead of “extinct animal,” a bone from the deceased. Mediums today often ask for an artifact of the deceased in order to try to make some sort of contact with them….A necromancer is a little different from the wizard. According to this passage in the Talmud, necromancers were said to spend nights in cemeteries in order to invoke the spirits of the dead. They would wear special clothing designed e specially for this purpose and burn incense to attract the spirits. Once the ritual was thought to be complete, the necromancer would go to sleep on the grave of the deceased , expecting them to appear in their dreams and answer their questions….Magician and Soothsayer are general terms for any of the previous practices. A sorcerer uses more ceremonial magic (calling on spirits for aid) , while a magician uses more non-ceremonial magic (relying on the power of the human spirit without asking other spirits for aid.) Biblically, whether the occultist thinks he or she is contacting a spirit or using their own power, it is exactly the same demonic manifestation.” (Ken Johnson, Th.D., Ancient Paganism: The Sorcery Of The Fallen Angels, 59-63 (Kindle Edition)
Magic represented, not trickery or harmless entertainment, but conjuring of demonic and occult forces to aid a person in some way.
Several of the former witches that I have been blessed to baptize into Christ have told me that they were taught their particular form of witchcraft was “white magic.” However, that is a lie that the evil one propagates: all witchcraft is condemned by God (Galatians 5:19-21).