The Bible and the
Wizards, Wicca, Sorcery, Magic, Spiritualism, Paganism,
Psychics, Mediums, Spiritualistic Séances, Divination,
Necromancy, Soothsaying, Enchantments, Spiritism, Augury
and sorcery: Witchcraft, magic, Satanism, wizards,
mediums, fortune-tellers, psychics paganism.
a Christian practice divination, necromancy,
soothsaying, enchantments, spiritualism?
The occult is increasingly
accepted. We frequently hear about sorcery, witchcraft,
magic, Wicca, Satanism, wizards, mediums,
fortune-tellers, spiritualism, psychics, and paganism.
The New Age Movement popularizes all these. What does
the Bible say about them? Should a Christian practice
divination, necromancy, soothsaying, enchantments,
spiritism, augury, and other aspects of the occult? Can
pagan practices be harmonized with Christianity?
significance of the occult
Sometimes people wonder whether or not various aspects
of the occult are religious in nature or should be of
concern to Christians. Consider these quotations
For many, Witchcraft is more than just a religion ...
it's a way of life ... When witchcraft is practiced
[sic] as a religion, it is called by the Old English
term for witch, Wicca. This term is used to counter all
the negative stereotypes that society has given
witchcraft. Wicca is primarily a religion that worships
nature, and sees all creation as sacred. ... Wicca also
worships both a male and female deity, a female Goddess
and a male God, who had together created the world and
everything in it. ... Spells ... [are] ... rituals and
prayers that are conducted in witchcraft to ask for
divine help in a certain aspect of life. - Quoted from
witchcraft [dot] com [dot] au
Witchcraft is a pagan religion. Pagan religions worship
multiple deities rather than a single god. Paganism is
one of the oldest religions and includes all religions
that are not Christian, Muslim or Jewish, meaning
Paganism includes the Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian
and American Indian religions as well as all other
Wicca, a modern Pagan religion that worships the Earth
and nature ... The central Wiccan theme is, "if it does
no harm, do your own will" - from
So witchcraft is practiced by many as a religion. Many
other aspects of the occult are admittedly religious in
The purpose of this study is to example what the Bible
says about occult practices. Whether or not the
practitioners admit the religious aspects, we will see
that all aspects of the occult should be of concern to
Current popularity of the
Through the mid-1900’s, no one took witches and magic
seriously. Today it is different. Many people would be
surprised to find how commonly the occult is practiced
in our society, and they may find it is closer to home
than they realize.
Books - Nearly every bookstore has a major
section on the occult. Some bookstores and book clubs
are devoted entirely to the occult.
Magazines and tabloids, such as the National
Enquirer, sold at every grocery store check-out lane,
promote psychics and all kinds of occult practices.
Games - Toy or game sections in stores often sell
occult games such as Ouija boards or Dungeons and
Dragons and similar “fantasy games.” Still more popular
are computer games involving witches, sorcerers, demons,
and occult powers of all kinds. Often players role-play
or pretend they are these occult characters.
Stores - Some stores specialize in selling
paraphernalia used in various occult activities. We have
such a store called “Sacred Earth” in Antioch, IL. Their
web site says:
Sacred Earth brings you a diverse selection of
spiritual and magical [sic] supplies, including an
extensive collection of herbs, stones, jewelry, ritual
tools, books, herbal smudge sticks, tarot cards and
Television & Movies - Many programs and movies
have major occult themes, beginning years ago with
“Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Exorcist,” etc. Many children’s
cartoons now feature occult powers, with witches,
sorcerers, demons, etc.
Music - Many popular recording artists are
personally involved in sorcery, witchcraft, and
Satanism. Popular songs often involve aspects of the
occult, and album covers often portray occult and
Education - Many colleges and universities teach
courses discussing the occult, and even high school and
grade school texts may contain references to witchcraft
and the occult. An honors student at a Ft. Wayne high
school once called me to express concern about the
number of students involved in Dungeons and Dragons at
The New Age movement consists largely of people
involved in the occult and pagan religions.
Satanic Rituals - News often mentions crimes
which police suspect are the result of Satanic worship
Halloween is a holy day in witchcraft.
The Wiccan year begins on the sabbat (holy day) of Yule,
when the Goddess gives birth to the God. The God grows
strong through spring and summer, and then in fall, the
God and Goddess unite. At this time, the Goddess becomes
pregnant with the new God. The old God dies on Samhain
(Halloween) to be reborn at Yule ... on [the sabbat of
Samhain] Halloween ... the dead are said to be able to
communicate with the living in order to be with and
celebrate with their families. - from
The Women’s Liberation
Movement - Given the predominance of female
goddesses in the occult, especially Wicca, it should be
no surprise that many feminists practice various aspects
of the occult.
many are surprised to learn how serious a problem this
is in our society, many more are surprised to learn how
much the Bible has to say about it.
We will consider Bible teaching regarding two general
areas of occult activity.
Attempts to Perform Supernatural Events
A. A Description of
Some occult concepts are hard to define.
Many terms overlap in meaning or are used by different
people in different ways. We will use terms as follows:
"Witchcraft": sorcery, the attempt to exercise
supernatural powers by means of magic rituals or
techniques (incantations, spells, drugs, potions,
curses, charms, etc.).
"Magic": efforts to exercise supernatural powers or to
appeal to spirit beings (other than God) to produce some
event considered unattainable by natural means.
Note that we refer here to appeals to supernatural and
spirit powers to influence the course of events on
earth: powers which are beyond the laws of nature and
the natural course of events.
What supernatural powers may be appealed to?
Those involved may believe they are appealing to various
- Pagan or heathen deities (as in the earlier quotations
- Spirit of some dead person (“ghost,” or “spirit”)
- Satan and demons - some people knowingly attempt to
appeal to demonic forces to work in their lives (others,
such as in Wicca, do not believe Satan even exists).
- Many people ignore who or what the power is. They
simply learn certain rituals that they believe summon
spirit forces to produce some end result. If they think
they can obtain the desired goal, they do not care who
the force is.
Regardless of who or what
force people believe they are appealing to, whenever
people appeal to any spirit or supernatural power other
than the God of the Bible to work in their lives, that
is the occult as we use it in this study.
The occult does not include events that are understood
to occur by natural law.
We do not include in the occult attempts to produce even
some amazing result beyond our comprehension, yet it is
understood to be done by the power of natural law.
- "Magic" as sleight of hand tricks done for social
entertainment is not under consideration. These involve
illusions and techniques completely within the realm of
natural law, if we only understood the trick. Those who
practice such know that this is simply a natural skill
they have learned by practice (like playing a musical
instrument or swinging on a trapeze).
- Physicians may use drugs or treatments to produce a
healing effect. The intent is to use natural laws to
benefit the body (whether or not we understand the law).
In none of these cases are
people appealing to supernatural spirit forces.
The occult includes these supernatural powers whether
done for helpful or harmful goals.
Some people think a “witch”
is an ugly hag who rides a broomstick with a black cat
on Halloween, casting spells, or sticking pins in voodoo
dolls. That is witchcraft, but there is much more.
Witches may be men or women, pretty or ugly. They may
distinguish “white magic” from “black magic.” Black
magic means spells, incantations, curses, etc., intended
to bring harm to someone (like the evil witch in Snow
White). This is viewed as bad, even by some witches.
White magic uses spells, etc., to try to bring good
fortune, such as producing rain, finding some lost
object, bringing success in war or business, producing a
good crop, etc. (like the fairy godmother in
Some would tell us that white magic is good because it
helps people, but only black magic is wrong because it
harms people. We will see, however, that all sorcery and
occult practices are wrong, because they come from the
wrong source. The source of the power is what makes them
inherently evil, regardless of the intended goal.
B. Bible Teaching about
These Supernatural Powers
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc., are condemned without
qualification in both the Old and New Testaments.
Deuteronomy 18:9-14 - Every aspect of the occult
is here itemized and forbidden as an “abomination.”
Specifically forbidden are: one who practices
“witchcraft” (NKJV; “divination” - ASV; KJV) or a
"sorcerer" (NKJV and ASV; “witch” - KJV), or a
“spiritist” (NKJV; “wizard”- ASV, KJV).
Leviticus 19:31- Give
no regard to mediums and familiar spirits (“wizards” -
ASV, KJV); do not seek after them, to be defiled by them
Leviticus 20:6 - And the person who turns after
mediums and familiar spirits (“wizards” - ASV, KJV), to
prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against
that person and cut him off from his people. (NKJV)
Leviticus 20:27 - A man or a woman who is a
medium, or who has a familiar spirit (“wizard” - ASV,
KJV), shall surely be put to death (NKJV).
Revelation 21:8 - But the cowardly, unbelieving,
abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers,
idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the
lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the
Revelation 22:15 - But outside [heaven] are dogs
and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and
idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
Acts 13:8-10 - Elymas the sorcerer tried to keep
Sergius Paulus from accepting the gospel. Paul rebuked
him saying: “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son
of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you
not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?”
Note that the Bible does
not distinguish whether the witchcraft is intended to
achieve a beneficial goal or a harmful one. It is all
inherently wrong because it is an appeal to a forbidden
source of power.
[2 Chron. 33:6; 2 Kings 9:22; Ex. 22:18; 1 Sam.
15:23; Mic. 5:12; Nahum 3:4; Jer. 27:9; Mal. 3:5; Isa.
2:6; 2 Kings. 21:6; 23:24; Isa. 19:3]
Specific powers of witchcraft and sorcery are named and
Exodus 7:11,22; 8:7 - Using their “enchantments,”
Pharaoh’s magicians tried to duplicate the miracles done
by Moses and Aaron. “Enchantments” refer to the
ceremonies or rituals sorcerers and magicians use to
accomplish their ends: incantations, spells, magic words
(“hocus-pocus”), wearing of charms (amulets), etc.
As the witchcraft website says: “Spells are used by
Wiccans, and are a series of rituals and prayers that
are conducted in witchcraft to ask for divine help in a
certain aspect of life.” But God forbids them all.
Deuteronomy 18:10 also mentions these
“enchantments” as part of that which is forbidden
(“enchanters” - ASV, KJV).
Isaiah 8:19,20 - When they say to you, “Seek
those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and
mutter,” should not a people seek their God? ... To the
law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according
to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
“Whisper and mutter” refers to the incantations and
spells of magicians. These words are supposed to give
the user power to induce the spirit beings to accomplish
the desired result. If you know the words, you can lead
the spirit to do your bidding.
Note that God’s objection is that such practices are a
failure to seek after the true God.
Galatians 5:20,21 - Those who will not inherit
the kingdom of God include those who practice “sorcery”
(“witchcraft” - KJV). This includes the occult in
general, but refers especially to the use of drugs and
potions brewed by witches in their cauldrons, etc.
(Movies and books often refer to the witches’ books of
spells and recipes for potions, etc. “Bubble, bubble,
toil and trouble...”)
God condemns, not only the whole practice of the occult,
but also the specific methods, rituals, and mumbo-jumbo
[Lev. 19:26; 2 Kings 17:17; Isa. 47:9,12; Jer. 27:9;
2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chron. 33:6; Isa. 3:20; Rev. 9:21]
Witches and sorcerers
cannot duplicate the powers and miracles God did through
The Bible often warns us to avoid being deceived by
lying wonders [2 Thess. 2:9; Matt. 24:24; Deut.
13:1-5]. Many Bible events involved confrontations
between those who did true miracles from God and those
who practiced forms of sorcery or magic.
Exodus 7-9; read 8:18,19 - Pharaoh’s magicians
and sorcerers tried to duplicate the signs and plagues
God caused through Moses and Aaron [7:11,22; 8:7,8,18;
9:11]. For a while they seemed to succeed, but soon they
failed and admitted Moses had the power of God.
Daniel 1:20 - In all matters of wisdom and
understanding the king found Daniel and his friends ten
times better than all the magicians and astrologers.
Daniel 2:1-13,27,28 - None of the magicians in
Babylon could tell the king his dream and interpret it.
But by the power of God, Daniel could both state and
interpret the dream accurately [cf. 4:7,9]. Later he
likewise interpreted the handwriting on the wall that
predicted the downfall of Belshazzar (5:7,11). [Cf.
Acts 8:9-13 - When Simon used sorcery to amaze
the Samaritans, they believed he had great power from
God. But when Philip preached Jesus and did true
miracles by the power of God, both the people and Simon
himself believed and were converted [cf. vv 5-7].
Acts 13:6-11 - Elymas the sorcerer was powerless
to resist the superior power God worked through Paul.
I do not know whether the power of sorcerers can be
explained through trickery, which pretends supernatural
power but can really be explained naturally, or whether
Satan really does possess some supernatural power. But
what is sure is that Satan can never duplicate God’s
true miracles. By comparing sorcery to the miracles of
the Bible, we have proof witchcraft is inferior, so we
should not put our faith in it.
Witchcraft, magic, etc., are the occult substitutes for
Bible miracles. Where God has done miracles for His
people, believers in the occult seek supernatural works
by means of spells, incantations, etc. that appeal to
other spirit powers.
As stated on the witchcraft website:
Wicca also worships both a male and female deity, a
female Goddess and a male God, who had together created
the world and everything in it. Spells are used by
Wiccans, and are a series of rituals and prayers that
are conducted in witchcraft to ask for divine help in a
certain aspect of life.
While many in the occult may not think they are
appealing to gods, nevertheless God forbids all such
because it is an appeal to supernatural powers other
than His. God will never allow His people to follow that
which counterfeits His true works.
[Isaiah 47:9,12-14; 1 Kings 18; Acts 16:16; 19:13ff]
Attempts to Obtain Supernatural Knowledge
A different form of
witchcraft and sorcery is “divination” or “soothsaying.”
This involves supernatural methods used to seek
information that cannot be obtained by natural processes
of study and investigation. Especially, it seeks to
foretell the future.
Just as magic is the occult substitute for God’s
miracles, so divination is the occult substitute for
the Bible teaching regarding various forms of divination
A. Divination in General
Deuteronomy 18:10,14 - "Divination" (ASV, KJV;
"soothsayer" - NKJV) and "diviners" are specifically
listed among the aspects of the occult that were
forbidden as abomination among God's people. A
soothsayer is a fortune-teller: one who attempts to
predict the future by occult methods. These things were
practiced by the evil nations that God cast out of
2 Kings 17:17,18 - God later sent Israel into
captivity because they practiced sins including
“divination” (ASV, KJV) or "soothsaying" (NKJV).
Many of us may not be familiar with these terms, but
such practices were well-known in Bible times and are
becoming more common today. The Bible plainly condemns
B. Augury (Interpretation of
Deuteronomy 18:10,14 - The list of occult practices that
are an abomination to God includes "one who interprets
omens" (NKJV; KJV - “observer of times”; ASV - one who
2 Kings 21:6 - King Manasseh of Israel did much
evil before God, including the practice of "soothsaying"
(NKJV; "augury" - ASV; "observed times" - KJV). [2
This practice involved the belief that the activities of
the gods could be predicted by observing events in
nature (weather, animals, movement of stars), or by
chance ritual ceremonies (casting lots, tossing arrows,
etc.). Astrology is augury based on observation of the
stars and planets. By observing such events, people
attempted to predict the future.
Again, such practices are evil and an abomination to
C. Psychics and
This includes all those who attempt to predict the
future by supernatural, spirit powers: fortune-tellers,
crystal ball readers, palm readers, mind readers,
reading tarot cards [silent “t” in tarot], reading tea
leaves, or Ouija board [reading animal livers - Ezek.
Bible says: Only God can read the minds of men
1 Corinthians 2:11 -
For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit
of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the
things of God except the Spirit of God.
John 2:25 - Jesus had no need that anyone should
testify of man, for He knew what was in man.
1 Kings 8:39 - Only God knows the hearts of man
Psychics and mind readers pretend to read men’s minds,
but only God has this power, and He no longer gives it
to men (see 1 Cor. 13 below). When men claim
supernatural power to read the minds of others, they are
involved in a form of witchcraft and divination,
condemned in the passages above.
God can predict the future
James 4:14 - You do
not know what will happen tomorrow.
Proverbs 27:1 - Do not boast about tomorrow, for
you do not know what a day may bring forth. So, no human
can predict the future by natural law. Any effort to
predict the future must be based on supernatural powers.
Isaiah 41:21-23; 42:8,9 - God challenged the
idols to prove they are gods by predicting the future.
He rested His claim to Deity on His ability to predict
So, God says no power but His can really predict the
future. When people claim to be able to do it by occult
means, they are claiming the power of God (regardless of
1 Corinthians 13:8-10 - God did miracles in the
age when His written word was not complete. By God’s
supernatural power, men revealed His will and confirmed
by miracles that it was from God (Mark 16:20; Acts 14:3;
Heb. 2:3,4). Since the written word (that which is
perfect - James 1:25) has come, God no longer gives men
the power of prophecy.
So, no one today can predict the future by the power of
God. Anyone who claims such a power is not doing it by
God’s power. Whatever power he claims, it must be a form
of occult divination, condemned by God.
[Cf. Acts 8:14ff; 1:22; Jude 3 etc. See notes on
work of Holy Spirit.]
A test for impostors is to see if their predictions ever
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 - After rebuking all forms
of the occult (vv 9-14), God predicted the coming of the
true prophet (Jesus) in whom people should trust (vv
15-19). Then He explained some ways people could
recognize false prophets. A prophet is not from God if
he claims to speak in the name of some other god or if
his predictions of the future do not come true.
diviners, psychics and fortune tellers often speak in
the name of supernatural beings other than the God of
the Bible. All who do so are false prophets.
Other occult prognosticators
are proven to be false teachers when their predictions
fail to come true. Here are some examples:
She became famous by predicting the death of John
Kennedy. But one rarely hears about her predictions that
failed. These include:
- World War III would begin in 1958. (Did it?)
- Russia would put the first man on the moon. (A good
guess since they led the space race at the time. But
America was first; Russia still has not done it.)
- Lyndon Johnson would be the Democratic candidate for
president in 1968. (Since he was president at the time,
he was the logical choice. But he refused to run.)
- President Ford would resign and Rockefeller would
replace him. (Ford never resigned; Rockefeller was never
- Reagan would be the Republican candidate for president
in 1976. (Ford won the nomination instead).
- Others: Red China would enter the UN in 1958 - it
didn’t happen till much later. Vietnam war would end
within 90 days of May 7, 1966 - it did not happen till
much later. All quotes via: Halbrook, 1974 Florida
College lectures; O’Neal, Searching the Scriptures,
People have recorded the results of their predictions as
- 22 false predictions in 1975 (R. Harris, Contender,
- 14 misses in the second half of 1977 (O’Neal,
Searching the Scriptures, 6/78).
- Of 58 predictions, only two were right, and these were
easy guesses (Bob Craig, Gospel Anchor, 5/79).
The track records of the psychics proves they are false
teachers. We should not be afraid of them.
D. Spiritism and Necromancy
Necromancy (NECK-re-man-see) is the alleged power to
communicate with the spirits of dead people (“ghosts”).
Other terms for those who claim this power are:
“medium,” having a “familiar spirit,” “spiritist,” or
Literally hundreds of thousands of people claim this
power in the US, many of whom are members of
spiritualist or spiritist churches (Kingdom of the
Cults, Martin, p. 199). Many “Christians” claim this is
approved of God. I had a former sister-in-law who
attended meetings of such a group.
does the Bible say?
Deuteronomy 18:11 -
The occult practices that are an abomination to God
include mediums, spiritists and those who call up the
dead (NKJV; “consulter with a familiar spirit …
necromancer” - ASV, KJV).
Leviticus 19:31; 20:6,27 - God’s people must not
seek out mediums or familiar spirits. If they do, they
should be cut off. Those who are mediums or have a
familiar spirit should be stoned.
Ecclesiastes 9:6 - Those who are dead have no
more portion in anything done under the son forever.
Luke 16:27-31 - Abraham refused to let Lazarus go
back from the dead to warn the rich man’s brothers. Why?
Because God had already sufficiently revealed His will
through prophets in the Scriptures.
God’s inspired prophets have provided all the Divine
revelation people need. When people seek further
information through people who return from the dead,
they are wicked like the rich man in Hades. Those who
trust the Bible know that they do not need people to
return from the dead to give them supernatural
1 Samuel 28:3-14 - Saul consulted a woman from
Endor who had a familiar spirit, to get her to call up
Samuel. Some think this proves the practice is valid.
But note verse 12 - When the woman saw Samuel she cried
out with a loud voice. Why? She had agreed to call him
up. If she had expected him to come, why be surprised
when he came?
1 Chronicles 10:13,14 - Saul died because he was
unfaithful and because he consulted with this familiar
spirit. However one explains the means by which the
woman called Samuel back, the fact is that God
disapproved of Saul for appealing to a medium, and it
led to Saul’s death.
[2 Kings 21:6; 2 Chron. 33:6; Isa. 8:19,20; 2 Kings
23:24; Isa. 19:3; 29:4]
Why is God so opposed to
Witchcraft and every
aspect of the occult are plainly condemned by God. But
why? Because they are a counterfeit substitute for the
power of God.
Remember the statements
quoted in our introduction:
Wicca is primarily a religion that worships nature, and
sees all creation as sacred. ... Wicca also worships
both a male and female deity, a female Goddess and a
male God, who had together created the world and
everything in it. ... Spells are used by Wiccans and are
a series of rituals and prayers that are conducted in
witchcraft to ask for divine help in a certain aspect of
Witchcraft is a pagan religion. Pagan religions worship
multiple deities rather than a single god.
Whether or not they acknowledge it (as in these
quotations), occult practitioners serve gods other than
the God of the Bible. They appeal to other spirit powers
to provide “divine help,” which they ought to trust in
God to provide.
They “worship and serve the creature (‘nature,’ ‘all
creation’), rather than the Creator” - Romans 1:25.
People who need
supernatural power, should turn to the one true, living
- God has done great miracles to prove His power. Magic
is the occult counterfeit for miracles. It is an attempt
to achieve supernatural events by spirit power other
than that of God. [Isaiah 8:19,20]
- God has revealed His will and predicted the future in
prophecy. Divination is the occult counterfeit for
prophecy. It is an attempt to obtain supernatural
knowledge by spirit powers other than the power of God.
Colossians 2:8-10 -
Christians are complete in Christ. We have all the
supernatural knowledge from God that we need and all He
will ever give in the Scriptures [2 Timothy 3:16,17;
2 Peter 1:3]. We have the record of miracles to
confirm that message [John 20:30,31]. God meets
our daily needs in answer to prayer [Philippians
4:6,7]. To turn to the occult is to belittle our
completeness in Christ and to seek supernatural help
somewhere other than in God.
Acts 19:18-20 - When
God’s word prevails in the lives of people today, they
renounce their involvement in magic or sorcery. They
remove and destroy all aspects of it in their lives.
gospel of Christ cannot coexist with the occult in our
lives. Either the occult will drive out faithfulness to
Christ, leading to eternal condemnation, or else the
gospel will drive out the occult, leading to salvation.
Are you involved
in the occult, or are you a faithful servant of God?
© David E. Pratte -