Many of the people that I work with in Hazard believe that there is a difference between “good witchcraft” and “bad witchcraft,” or as the common terminology goes, “white magic” and “dark magic.” This belief is not confined to the Kentucky area, of course: there are many who believe in this distinction.
In fact, there is a growing religious practice in America known as “Christian witchcraft,” which invites practitioners to combine elements of Christianity and sorcery. One of the attitudes which has bred this belief system is a disregard of the Bible as the Word of God. One former Wiccan explains it like this:
“Eventually I grew tired of it all. I wanted my Christian beliefs without restrictions. I wanted magick without feeling judged. Above all I wanted to end the relentless feelings of guilt. I decided to create a spiritual path that would incorporate the best of both worlds. I began practicing Christian witchcraft. I know what you’re thinking right about now. “Hang on, back the truck up. Christian witchcraft? Impossible!” You think so? Friend, we live in a world that has declared absolute truth to be “offensive.” People have created a mantra out of the phrase “I’m spiritual but not religious.” The Bible holds little to no authority in many of our churches today, let alone in individual lives. The fear of God is absent from our society. There is nothing that prevents people from practicing witchcraft and being completely comfortable in calling themselves a Christian while doing so. So how is it possible to be a Christian and a witch? I can speak only for myself, but I had a deconstructionist view of the Bible. This means I left Scripture open to my own interpretation or disregarded what I believed pertained to its time period or particular audience….As a Christian witch I incorporated my faith and church symbolism I liked into the Craft. I worshipped Father, Son, and Holy (Mother/ Sophia) Spirit. When I cast a sacred circle for ritual or spellcraft, I invited angels to join me as guardians of north, south, east, and west. I used passages from the Book of Psalms for incantations. I believed God was above all things and in all things—plants, trees, earth, animals. Witchcraft became the lens through which I viewed the world and expressed my beliefs as a Christian. Christian witchcraft is not only possible, but it is also a growing phenomenon. More people are practicing spirituality without restrictions, so they glean whatever beliefs appeal to them and mash them together…In the end it was evidence caught during a ghost hunt that brought me up short. I came face-to-face with the truth about the spirits I’d been communicating with daily and that empowered all I ever did as a witch. The Holy Spirit pulled the veil of (self) deception from my eyes. For the first time in eight years I read the Bible without a personal agenda. I wanted to (re) discover the truth about the occult, salvation, and who Jesus is….Witchcraft and mysticism have been gaining acceptance in our society over the past forty years. The church has been hiding its face as roots of disobedience and idolatry have taken hold in every corner. Today there is a staggering number of people who call themselves Christian but have no idea what the Bible says. Young people are leaving church as they graduate from high school without looking back. Goddess worship in the form of “feminist spirituality,” Eastern meditation, and mystical encounters are replacing Scripture as the authority upon which some Christians are basing their spiritual future. My question is this: What are you going to do about it?” (Kristine McGuire, ‘The Reality Of Christian Witchcraft,’ in Jeff Harshbarger, Dancing With The Devil: An Honest Look Into The Occult From Former Followers, 90-93 (Kindle Edition); Lake Mary, Florida; Charisma House)
Because so many of our occultist friends have been taught that the Bible is simply “another good book,” and that we can’t really base our lives on its’ teachings, they cannot comprehend why we appeal to it as authoritative. Therefore, when we study with our friends from pagan backgrounds, we must establish that the Bible is the Word of God through the use of reason and evidence. After all, Christianity is based upon words of truth and reason (Acts 26:25). We are commanded by God to give a logical and rational l defense of Christianity to those who are unbelievers (1 Peter 3:15).
Often, when I study with witches and pagans of different backgrounds, we will notice that the Bible claims to be the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:3; Psalm 19:7; Jeremiah 1:9-10; 2 Samuel 23:2). Then, I share with them several evidences that document and confirm this claim (such as evidences from prophecy and fulfillment, the supernatural unity of the Bible, the scientific foreknowledge of the Bible writers, miraculous and archaeological attestation, equidistant letter skipping, etc.).
After doing this, we are in a position to carefully examine what the Bible teaches about witchcraft.
Here we need to make an important distinction between “magic” and “magic tricks.” Unfortunately, many in our culture have confused traditional magic with the “magic trickery” of magicians like David Houdini and others. They do not realize that magic in the days when the Bible was written was a very different thing altogether. Clinton Arnold explains to us:
“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)
Witchcraft and sorcery are well-known and documented in Scripture. As one example, consider the “power encounters” between Moses and the Egyptian magicians (i.e., sorcerers):
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.
Yet it is also very important to point out that the power of God 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.
Not only does the Bible teach that witchcraft was very real and known in the land of Egypt, it shows us that the Egyptian magicians were able to duplicate SOME of the miracles of God (although there were limits to this, and God was shown to be greater and stronger then all the gods of the Egyptians).
We also learn from this the origin of such magic: the ‘gods” of Egypt and the pagan lands introduced such sorcery to the people. Not only is this made clear in the accounts in Exodus (notice the close connection between the “gods” of Egypt, and the magicians and their powers), but it is attested in other Hebrew history books outside of the Bible. For example:
Book of 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.
Some may object that the Bible teaches there are no other gods besides the one true God, Jehovah. However, we learn from Scripture that the “gods” of the other religions are very real (at least, some of them). For example:
Exodus 12:12-For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
Exodus 15:11-“Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?
Exodus 18:11-Now I know that the LORD is greater than all the gods; for in the very thing in which they behaved proudly, He was above them.”
Psalm 86:8-Among the gods there is none like You, O Lord; Nor are there any works like Your works.
1 Corinthians 8:4-6-Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.
The Bible teaches us that these “gods” are actually fallen angels who rebelled against God and deceive humans into worshiping them. So the Psalmist declares:
Psalm 82:1, 6-God stands in the congregation of the mighty; He judges among the gods….I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.
Notice that God calls these “gods” (verse 1) “children of the Most High” (verse 6). The Hebrew phrase used here is bene Elohim, and when used in the Old Testament often had reference to angels (cf. Genesis 6:1-4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:4-7).
So in Scripture, witchcraft has its’ origin with Satan and the fallen angels, not with God. Indeed, this is also the testimony of other ancient Hebrew history books. One such example is from the book of Enoch:
Enoch 7:1-6-Each of the two hundred chose a wife for himself and they began to go in unto them and to mate with them, and they taught them sorcery and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants. 2 These women became pregnant and gave birth to great giants, whose height reached up to three thousand ells . 3 These giants consumed all the food ; and when men could no longer sustain them, 4 the giants turned against them and devoured mankind. 5 They also began to sin against birds, and beasts, and reptiles, and fish, and to devour one another’s flesh, and drink the blood. 6 Then the earth laid accusation against the lawless ones.
In the Word of God, all forms of sorcery and witchcraft are shown to be against the Lord.
Deuteronomy 18:10-11-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,
Ken Johnson has provided excellent material regarding these forms of witchcraft:
“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 t o 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 protect 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 burned 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 religions of Hinduism and Wicca….One with a Familiar Spirit –“ Ob ” Ob ’s conjured 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…Th e 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 caused spirits to appear. This same practice of casting magic circles on the ground for ritual purposes is still used today by modern witches. 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 especially 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)
The Apostle Paul lists witchcraft along with other sins which will lead a person to damnation:
Galatians 5:19-21-Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, SORCERY, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, AND THE LIKE; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Friends, there is no “white magic.” All witchcraft has its’ origin-not with God-but with Satan. Magic (not illusionism or magic trickery) in its’ most basic form is the attempt to control deceased human and non-human spirits to try and do the bidding of the practitioner. God has demonstrated His power over all of the gods of the earth, and on the cross of Calvary Jesus disarmed them and defeated them (Colossians 2:14-15). Dying for our sins on the cross, Jesus paid the debt that we couldn’t pay (Isaiah 53). He was buried, and arose from the dead on the third day, with the promise that He will return one Day for the salvation of His people and judgment on the world (1 Corinthians 15:1-8; John 12:48; 14:1-6).
Why not turn away from all of the sin of this world and give yourself fully to Jesus?
Make Jesus your Lord and Savior by believing in Him as the Son of God (John 8:24), repenting of your sin (Luke 13:3), and being buried with Him in baptism as you confess your faith in Him (Acts 2:37-47; 8:35-39).
If you are a Christian who has turned away from the Lord, why not repent of your sin today and confess it to the Lord in prayer (Acts 8:22)? He promises peace and forgiveness when we repent (1 John 1:8-2:2).
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.