Culture

Halloween, Sorcery & the Appeal of Magical Powers

Reading Time: 9 minutes

 

With Spooktober in full swing and Halloween around the corner, there’s an entire industry in full bloom. From candy to Halloween TV to popup stores, there are witches and jack-o-lanterns, graveyards and creepy faces all over the place.

There’s an appeal to magic and to things associated with sorcery, controlling nature and talking to animals. Much of that desire comes from what was lost in Eden: the fact that we could communicate and interact with nature in a very raw and pure way.

Unnatural supernatural power beckons back to that time.

 

What does the bible say about sorcery?

There shall not be found with you anyone who makes his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices sorcery, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whoever does these things is an abomination to Yahweh: and because of these abominations Yahweh your God does drive them out from before you.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (WEB)

“‘Don’t turn to those who are mediums, nor to the wizards. Don’t seek them out, to be defiled by them. I am Yahweh your God.
Leviticus 19:31 (WEB)

Ouija boards, psychic readings and other spiritual cultural phenoma may seem harmless but if anything has spiritual elements, you might want to steer clear, be it during Halloween or otherwise.

Supernatural Magic & Sorcery

According to Dictionary.com, Sorcery is:

the art, practices, or spells of a person who is supposed to exercise supernatural powers through the aid of evil spirits; black magic; witchery;

the art, practices, or spells of magic, esp black magic, by which it is sought to harness occult forces or evil spirits in order to produce preternatural effects in the world

What are “preternatural effects”? Basically, anything that’s not normal or ordinary. Author Daphne Shadows did some research into the differences between supernatural, preternatural and paranormal, and concluded they loosely mean the same thing.

Magic, according to the Webster’s 1913 dictionary, is

 

  • Pertaining to the hidden wisdom supposed to be possessed by the Magi; relating to the occult powers of nature, and the producing of effects by their agency.
  • Performed by, or proceeding from, occult and superhuman agencies; done by, or seemingly done by, enchantment or sorcery. Hence: Seemingly requiring more than human power; imposing or startling in performance; producing effects which seem supernatural or very extraordinary; having extraordinary properties; as, a magic lantern; a magic square or circle.

 

In this post, I’m talking more about the activities that claim to harness (spiritual) powers beyond human capabilities – we’re not talking about sleight of hand, which is the use of fine motor skills and clever hand movements by performing artists in entertainment and such.

While I’m sure there are many, many reasons why God does not want us to tap into demonic supernatural powers, today however I’m only talking about two main points in particular.

 

Tainted Power (read the fine print!)

Firstly, when we tap into supernatural powers from a source that isn’t God, we open ourselves to destructive and malevolent forces. When the devil gives power, he gives tainted power: power that corrupts; power that rots the heart of those who use the power and those over whom that power is exerted.

This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic.
James 3:15 (WEB)

Think of Eden, and the devil’s temptation to tap into a new source of power and knowledge: the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The desire that Satan sneakily used was to tap into a hidden wisdom, instead of trusting that God is the source of all knowledge and wisdom, and at the right time, He reveals what is hidden.

Therefore, while it’s true that mankind’s eyes were opened, it came at a great cost – the loss of intimacy with God, as well as shame and nakedness, adverse effects that Satan conveniently didn’t mention as part of the fine print.

Seriously, the point here is that anything the devil gives away comes with strings attached.

It doesn’t lift, build up or contribute to the good of God perfect will in the same way that God’s power does.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

James 3:17 (WEB)

Power Wielded as a Weapon

Secondly, human hubris is a ravenous monster, willing to sacrifice anything at it’s altar.

Whether in politics or business, we’ve all seen people who are willing to pay any price to get more power. Once obtained, the power is ascribed to oneself as the source of the power, and if not, there’s a belief that whoever wields such power is strong enough to control it and contain it.

Above all, in many depictions of occult practices, human life and basic decency are sacrificed in this dangerous pursuit.

And of course if you’re willing to kill to get power, you’re certainly willing to kill to keep it. Such power then, is often wielded as a weapon, rather than as a force for good.

Manasseh, one of the Old testament Israelite kings, sacrificed his own son. The powers of the occult and other such supernatural powers and forces is all the more dangerous because of human sin and brokenness. 

 

He made his son to pass through the fire, and practiced sorcery, and used enchantments, and dealt with those who had familiar spirits, and with wizards: he worked much evil in the sight of Yahweh, to provoke him to anger.
 2 Kings 21:6 WEB

This isn’t just an Old Testament problem.

 

The Curious Tale of the Seven Sons of Sceva

There’s a bizarre story in Acts 19:11-20, where Paul, in the power of God, was doing incredible miracles. Others, seeing and admiring the power of God in Paul, sought to tap into that power. The story unfolds with the 7 sons of Sceva finding a demon-possessed man, and imitating what they’d seen Paul doing. They tell the demon, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!”

Curiously, the demon responds, telling them that it knows the names they’re using – Paul and Jesus. But it also recognizes that they haven’t been granted the authority to use the name of Jesus… Therefore demon promptly pounces and attacks them. Overwhelmed by the possessed man’s superhuman strength, they make it out alive but naked and wounded.

Everyone who hears this story starts to realize that the power of the name of Jesus doesn’t just come from saying the name. 

 

The Power Of Relational Covenant

Christianity isn’t about religious rites and spiritual incantations.

The power of the name comes from being granted the accompanying authority to use the name of Jesus.

 

But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in his name: who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13 WEB

 

It’s about relationship.

It’s about becoming a child of God, and recognizing that there are rights and privileges that arise out of adoption into the family of God.

 

Most certainly I tell you, he who believes in me, the works that I do, he will do also; and he will do greater works than these, because I am going to my Father. Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. John 14:12-13 WEB

 

Therefore, as children of God, we should neither seek out nor fear demonic forces. We are from God, and He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

 

Creation Awaits Your Destiny

Throughout the bible, both God and people speak directly to the heavens and the earth at various times about the children of God:

 

Hear, heavens, and listen, earth; for Yahweh has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. Isaiah 1:2 WEB

O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of Yahweh. Jeremiah 22:29 WEB

 

And, the earth has a vested interest in the outcome:

 

Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Matthew 5:5 WEB

 

The created world knows and understands the nature of the relationship between itself, God and man, and is waiting in eager expectation for the revealing of the children of God.

 

For the creation waits with eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. Romans 8:19 WEB

 

Since the fall, creation has been held back, reined in not of its own doing, but God has reined in nature, in pursuance of the sovereign purpose and counsel of God. At this time, creation is fulfilling an unworthy instead of a worthy and noble end. (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers)

 

For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of decay into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. Romans 8:20-21 WEB

 

Why? Because due to sin, humanity lost dominion. And with it, the capacity to have authority over nature at its fullest.

 

We’re at war with nature, enemies of the very resource we are meant to steward.

In our sin and brokenness, we’re at war with nature, battling it as an opposing force. Looking at our track record over the past right now, we’re not doing dominion well.  We are enemies of the very resource we are meant to steward. Imagine the greater damage humanity could do if we had full reign over nature in our broken nature!

What does this mean? The fact that nature is longing for the revealing of the children of God means that when humanity comes into alignment with God’s will…When we become the true representation and image of God in human flesh, modelling how Jesus walked the earth… When we become who we are designed to be, the effect on everything is… good, positive, and optimal.

The result is something that God can bless and can say, it is good. That’s why nature and all of creation eagerly awaits.

God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good…  Gen 1:31 WEB

Man stepped out of the role and identity God designed, and God wants to bring us back. Like Paul, in Christ we have access to incredible supernatural power.

What’s exciting is that in the meantime, God has given us a training ground filled with opportunities to exercise faith. This means that we have opportunities to speak things into being, to begin to exercise the kingship that we inherit in Christ.

 

Childlike Faith

If you’ve ever seen kids play, they don’t fear failure. They are willing and happy to do the same thing again and again and again and again. We need to go back to that childlike faith. Similarly, we must be willing to speak in faith again, and again, and again, until we see God’s kingdom come; His will done on earth as it is in heaven.

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)

One day, when the veil is torn, when when we no longer see through a mirror dimly, there will come a time when God takes the training wheels off of nature and we rule alongside him in fulfillment of His purpose and eternal plan. When God takes the training wheels off, we’ll be able to really fulfill what God has made and called us to do in an incredible partnership with nature.

We Have Power In Christ

For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.

1 Cor 4:20 NLT 

In Christ, and in the name of Christ, we are able to tap into and get a glimpse of what that looks like that when we are fully restored in our identity and purpose. Jesus makes that possible.

Jesus opens the door. Jesus restores us into right relationship with God and restores God’s desired identity for who we’re made to be. 

 

When they tell you, “Consult with those who have familiar spirits and with the wizards, who chirp and who mutter:” shouldn’t a people consult with their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! if they don’t speak according to this word, surely there is no morning for them. Isaiah 8:19 WEB

 

In other words, we don’t need to seek for alternate sources of hidden and power and wisdom because we have everything we need in Christ.

In conclusion, because of our relationship with Christ, we discover all of those promises about what we can do – and who we can be – when we step into who God really made us to be – His representatives on earth.

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations in English are taken from the Web Bible (World English Bible) available from http://ebible.org/bible/web

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. 
Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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