The Bible and the Occult

Rarely in modern churches have I ever heard anything in either the preaching or teaching ministry about what the Bible says about the occult. I think that this is partially due to many pastors coming from Christian homes where they never had any contact with occult practices. Yet many believers who attend churches remain in bondage to past occult sins, many professed believers continue in occult practices, and many professed believers may become involved in occult practices due to ignorance of the danger. I would myself consider it appropriate for a pastor to preach on Deuteronomy 18:9-11 at every church where he serves. Here is a short summary of the Biblical teaching, and links to further resources.

God forbids the use of the occult.

Deuteronomy 18:9-11: "When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you."

"But . . . those who practice magic arts . . . — their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." — Revelation 21:8

What is forbidden:

  • Human sacrifice (practiced by some Satanic cults)
  • Divination (fortunetelling by cards, pendulum, etc.) sorcery, witchcraft, casting spells ("white" or "black" magic of any kind)
  • Interpretation of omens (astrology, tea leaf reading, crystal gazing, palm reading, etc.)
  • Mediumism or spiritism of any kind, to consult the "dead" (seances, channeling, the Ouija board)

The demonic connection.

Acts 16:16-18: "Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave gir who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.’ She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit,’In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her.’ At that moment the spirit left her."

  • The way that this girl did her fortunetelling was by insight given through a demon.
  • The demon responded to the authority of the name of Jesus (Luke 10:19)
  • Satan will attempt to make the occult appear appealing and useful so that it will become a snare to the dabbler and practitioner(II Corinthians 11:14: " . . . Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light").
  • Though all without Christ have some deceit upon their minds to seek to keep them from the gospel, occult practice tends to deepen such blindness and resistance to the gospel of Christ (II Corinthians 4:4: "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.")

The response of the believer in Christ

Confession and renunciation, where there has been the commission of occult sins, and avoidance of all occult sins.

Acts 19:18-19: "Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas."

  • There should be open confession to God of all occult sins and complete renunciation of all such practices and influences (I John 1:9).
  • Whatever occult objects a person has should be destroyed without regard to its monetary value because of the spiritual danger involved.

All scripture references taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, copyright 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society and used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

Further Resources:

Corrie ten Boom, Defeated Enemies.

Walter Martin, The Kingdom of the Occult.

Kurt E. Koch, Occult Bondage and Deliverance.

Kurt E. Koch, Occult ABC.

C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters.

Jessie Penn-Lewis and Evan Roberts, War on the Saints

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