Updated: Mar 4
You might be surprised to discover, the Bible has a plethora of stories about actual sorcerers, mediums, necromancers, witches, diviners, and practitioners of the magical arts. Throughout the Bible, they’re never seen in a positive light. Never, ever.
“You must not allow a sorceress to live.” -Exodus 22:18 Yikes!
“Kehshef” is the Hebrew word for sorcery. It’s an all-encompassing and “broad-spectrum” term. Sorcery conveys the idea of manipulation of either the natural or the supernatural. At the heart of “kehshef” (sorcery) is the rejection of God's sovereignty. Sorcerers are those who manipulate, exploit, influence, employ and wield power for their own agenda in an effort to seize control and circumvent God for personal profit or gain.
Sorcery taps into God’s creation without recognition, thanksgiving, praise, or credit to the Creator. It is any version, variety, or permutation of selfishness for personal benefit rather than the glorification of Jesus Christ.
"In these last days God has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed Heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His nature, upholding all things by His powerful word. After Christ had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." -Hebrews 1:2-3
Throughout Scripture, there are nefarious characters like Pharaoh’s magicians (Exodus 7-9), soothsayers like Balaam (Numbers 22-24), mediums and witches (such as the Witch of Endor 1 Samuel 28), necromancers (Daniel 2), false prophets (like Hananiah Jeremiah 28), and sorcerers like Simon (Acts 8) and Bar-Jesus (Acts 13).
In the New Testament, the Greek word “pharmekos” is used numerous times to describe “sorcerers,” those who would “poison” minds, hearts, and lives using herbal cocktails, mind-altering drugs, philosophies, false religions, and a multitude of means to lead people astray. Sorcerers choose for themselves (and entice others as the crafty serpent of Genesis 3 did) to stray far from the Way, the Truth, and the Life - King Jesus. Their illusions, manipulations, and persuasions are crafty and tempting traps, which seduce fools into pitfalls and destruction.
The final book of Scripture, Revelation, is very clear about the permanent residence of sorcerers.
“But... those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars-- they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." -Revelation 22:8, and "...thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur... tormented day and night forever and ever." -Revelation 20:10
When we envision sorcerers, false prophets, witches, mediums, fortune tellers, necromancers, soothsayers, and those who practice magic arts, our minds might not typically picture the likes of Oprah, Tony Robbins, Joel Osteen, Stephen Hawking, Isaac Asimov, L. Ron Hubbard, or Steven Covey. Instead, we likely conjure up "harmless" fantastical images of characters like Merlin, Zoltar, Harry Potter, Gandalf, Maleficent, Queen Grimhilde, or Dr. Strange.
So when we don’t see any fairytale or Hollywood version of a “sorcerer” in our mirrors glancing back at us, we wrongly conclude, "I'm no sorcerer." The catastrophic and erroneous conclusion of our misguided perception is that we convince ourselves we have nothing to do with actual sorcery. But what does Scripture say?
In his abandon unto King Jesus, the Apostle Paul endured prison, beatings, starvation, persecution, and countless sufferings. Paul planted numerous churches across the Middle East, Asia, and into modern-day Europe. He demonstrated the surrender, obedience, and fidelity of a slave of Christ. Paul didn’t want followers of King Jesus to be deceived. In one of his letters to the church in Corinth Paul wrote, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves! Can’t you see for yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you—unless you actually fail the test?”
The test of sorcery or surrender is exposed in the now. Are we living and sharing the reality of the Gospel for Christ's glory today? Are we surrendered, obedient, and faithfully living the truth and grace of the Gospel for the glory of King Jesus?
Peter had a superficial relationship with Jesus prior to Christ’s resurrection. Then Jesus told him, “Feed my sheep.” Peter didn’t want Christians to be consumed by superficial religious garbage or misguided spiritual endeavors. Peter had a first-hand awareness of the adversary’s schemes; schemes that would have completely devoured him had it not been for the unrelenting and extravagant love of Jesus. Therefore, Peter wrote, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion ever seeking someone to devour!” The test is surrender, obedience, and fidelity that serves others via the Gospel.
When King Jesus explained the parable of the soils He said, “Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop-- a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” The evidence of Christ alive in us is our harvest. The fruit of the Spirit to supply nutrition and sustenance to the lost, deluded, and disillusioned.
Are we expanding the kingdom of Christ with the Gospel or just making ourselves feel better with a "personal" or "private" religious experience? Are you the end-user or does the Gospel cause you to consider others more important than self?
The point of Paul, Peter, King Jesus, and the whole of Scripture, is this: if the end-users of Scripture desire nothing more than a self-centered, self-serving religion... if the Gospel never radiates grace and truth from us... if our lives aren’t producing a tangible harvest leading the lost, deluded, and disillusioned from the darkness of gloom and iron into the light of Christ… then we're failing the test! Like the Pharisees, we’re caught in the jaws of the enemy and the seed of the Gospel has fallen on the hardpacked soil of stone hearts if there's no evidence of a harvest produced in and through us.
Paul died spreading the Gospel. Peter died spreading the Gospel. King Jesus died as the Gospel. Jesus arose on the third day and sent the Holy Spirit of God to empower us - regular people redeemed, gathered, and delivered from the adversary - to serve as His ambassadors, evangelists, and heralds - as joyful witnesses of His redemption!
Are you living the reality of the Gospel today or are you merely gleaning, extracting, excavating, milking, and consuming the Word for a hit of self-confidence, a boost of self-esteem or self-worth? Is the goal personal bliss, spiritual positivity, or a feel-good fix? If so, we have far more in common with the selfish spiritists, narcissistic necromancers, manipulating mediums and magicians, warped witches, and scheming sorcerers than we do with King Jesus and those surrender to and serving Him.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” -Hebrews 4:12
Invite King Jesus to examine and test the intentions of your heart today. What will He expose, sorcery or surrender?
Grace and Peace,