What does the BIBLE say about Witchcraft and the Occult
With respect to the evil kind Manasseh who reigned in Jerusalem fifty five years the Bible states:
He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, followed the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites. . .He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 2 Chronicles 33:2, 6 (NIV)(verse 2) But did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.
(verse 6) And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.2 Chronicles 33 (KJV) verses 2, 6
When Samuel reproved King Saul, he compared rebellion to the sin of divination and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king. 1 Samuel 15:23 (NIV)For rebellion [is as] the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [is as] iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from [being] king.1 Samuel 15 (KJV) verse 23
If Saul was rejected by God for rebellion and arrogance so will a modern day person who practices or permits himself or herself to be entertained by witchcraft and idolatry.
The Living Bible clearly addresses the fate of those who delve or as C. S. Lewis labeled "lust" for the occult:
The Lord has rejected you because you welcome foreigners from the East who practice magic and communicate with evil spirits. Isaiah 2:6 (NLT)Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and [are] soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.Isaiah 2 (KJV) verse 6
Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts [shall be] upon every [one that is] proud and lofty, and upon every [one that is] lifted up; and he shall be brought low: And upon all the cedars of Lebanon, [that are] high and lifted up, and upon all the oaks of Bashan, And upon all the high mountains, and upon all the hills [that are] lifted up, And upon every high tower, and upon every fenced wall, And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. Isaiah 2:10-18
Paul in Galatians 5:19-21 ascribes witchcraft as a deed of the flesh.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
It is interesting to note that Paul's warning is to the churches of Galatia whose members are already Christians. They are warned that by engaging in sinful conduct they would not inherit the kingdom of God. The warning is to those who have accepted Christ. The modern day Christian who is entertained or allows his or her children to be entertained and/or participate in the works of the flesh, which includes witchcraft, should give serious heed to this warning.
One cannot rationalize that one is not engaged in witchcraft but merely being entertained by books or movies whose characters participate in witchcraft, even though the protagonists are "good" witches.
The protagonist Harry Potter in the best selling Harry Potter series of books and current movie attends Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to become a wizard. Harry and his friends are taking classes in casting spells, magical drafts and potions, transfiguration, history of magic, magical theory etc. They are learning to become "good" wizards and witches. Evil is represented by the "Dark Side," reminiscent of the "Dark Side" of the Force in "Star Wars," and embodied (or disembodied and seeking to re-embody) in Voldemort, the evil wizard who killed Harry's parents.
Harry is characterized as an average boy who has been oppressed by his very normal aunt and uncle and his cousin, reminiscent of Cinderella's oppression at home. The very normal family members are exaggeratedly oppressive.
From a Christian paradigm the problem with Harry is that salvation from his predicament comes from leaving home learning witchcraft, a condemned practice. Children interact with ghosts such as the Friar and Professor Binns, a ghost who teaches the History of Magic. Professor Binns was a very old professor who had fallen asleep by a staff room fire and went to teach the next morning, leaving his body behind.
In Christianity, salvation does not come through witchcraft but by accepting the Son of God. Good is what is of God and comes from worshiping Him. "Innocent" or "mechanical" witchcraft is still witchcraft and as such dark. Exposing one's children to a heavy dose of the supernatural, even if portrayed through the activities of appealing characters, is not acceptable. The siren call of the occult in children's movies and cartoons can be appealing. Poltergeists, ghosts, flying broomsticks, werewolves, vampires, witches, giants, bats, goblins, haunted hallways may be captivating but they can instill a spirit of fear. They can certainly be "dark and heavy" and exposure to the occult can be addictive. This writer is a case in point having been involved in séances, palmistry, astrology and eastern meditation prior to accepting Jesus Christ. Interest in the occult started with late night "Chiller" movies and supernatural comic books.
Aside from a dark supernatural dimension there is the good supernatural dimension represented by the Heavenly Kingdom (God, His cherubim and the angelic host). For the most part this good supernatural dimension is rarely portrayed in children's cartoons or recent popular literature. How often do we see angels on Saturday morning cartoons? The elves in the "Lord of the Rings" are such angelic type beings who frighten Sauron's Black Riders pursuing Frodo.
Parents have a responsibility to screen what their children watch. Studies have shown that children and adults who watch regular violence on the screen become desensitized to it. The same applies with intensive exposure to the occult. Jesus said,
Temptations to sin are sure to come; but woe to him by whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung round his neck and he were cast into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Luke 17:1-2 (RSV)(verse 1) Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe [unto him], through whom they come!
(verse 2) It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.Luke 17 (KJV) verses 1-2