(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:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
Do pagans really have access to magic power?
The answer from Scripture, to the surprise of many, is YES.
Indeed, the Bible is clear that pagans draw this power from demonic forces.
One of the passages of Scripture which clearly demonstrates this to us is from the account of the Exodus. Jannes and Jambres were the two primary wizards who opposed Moses and Aaron. The Bible says:
2 Timothy 3:8-Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith;
We will search through the Old Testament in vain looking for Jannes and Jambres, but it is from the book of Jasher (a “recommended reading” book of the Bible) that we are told:
Jasher 79:27, 36-“And when they had gone Pharaoh sent for Balaam the magician and to Jannes and Jambres his sons, and to all the magicians and conjurors and counsellors which belonged to the king, and they all came and sat before the king… And Aaron hastened and threw the rod out of his hand before Pharaoh and before his servants, and the rod turned into a serpent.”
After several of the miracles which Moses performed, we are told that Jannes and Jambres were able to duplicate some of them:
Exodus 7:11-But Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; so the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.
Exodus 7:22-Then the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments; and Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, as the LORD had said.
Exodus 8:7-And the magicians did so with their enchantments, and brought up frogs on the land of Egypt.
Some would suggest that the sorcerers were simply tricksters and illusionists, but the Bible seems to suggest that they were drawing on real power of some kind. Indeed, that was certainly the understanding of the ancient Jews, as shown by the references in the ancient book of Jubilees:
Jubilees 48:9-12-9. And the prince of the Mastêmâ stood up against thee, and sought to cast thee into the hands of Pharaoh, and he helped the Egyptian sorcerers, and they stood up and wrought before thee. 10. The evils indeed we permitted them to work, but the remedies we did not allow to be wrought by their hands. 11. And the Lord smote them with malignant ulcers, and they were not able to stand for we destroyed them so that they could not perform a single sign. 12. And notwithstanding all (these) signs and wonders the prince of the Mastêmâ was not put to shame because he took courage and cried to the Egyptians to pursue after thee with all the powers of the Egyptians, with their chariots, and with their horses, and with all the hosts of the peoples of Egypt.
Another excellent resource on Jewish occult history tells us:
“Jochnes and Mamres (alternately, Jannes and Mambres): The chief magicians of Pharaoh who battled Moses in Egypt (Ex. 7–8). They foresaw the coming of Moses by means of divination and so instructed Pharaoh to kill the Israelite firstborn sons. As the two sons of Balaam, they were true witches; they could fly and make themselves invisible (Gen. R. 86.15; Kid. 49b). Later they joined the Israelites in the Exodus as agent provocateurs and they were that “mixed multitude” that incited the people to construct the golden calf (Zohar II:191a–2: 191b). They also assisted Balaam in his efforts to curse Israel. Eventually they were slain using the power of the divine name (Men. 85a; Tanh. Ki Tissa 19; Yalkut Ex. 168). They derived their power from the Sefirah of Gevurah (Zohar I:83a, 249a–b; Zohar II:28a).” (Geoffrey W. Dennis, The Encyclopedia Of Jewish Myth, Magic, & Mysticism, 10309-10319 (Kindle Edition); Woodbury, Minnesota; Llewellyn Publications)
While the sorcerers were able to duplicate some of the miracles of God to a degree, the power of the Lord was always shown to be greater.
Exodus 7:12-12 For every man threw down his rod, and they became serpents. But Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.
Exodus 8:18-19-18 Now the magicians so worked with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not. So there were lice on man and beast. 19 Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh’s heart grew hard, and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had said.
Exodus 9:11-And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians.
In our next lesson, we will study more about these important topics.