Magic & Sorcery


This post is meant to introduce the Bible’s teaching on magic and sorcery. 

Many people feel that magic and sorcery is fantasy, and, therefore, totally harmless, however, I believe this is both short-sighted and naive; in some countries entire tribes are held under the cruel control of witch-doctors, while here in America there is not only an undeniably explosive growth within the occult movement in America’s youth, but drugs and other things have a very extensive reach here.

So we are going to take this chance to provide an overview of the scriptures teaching about magic and sorcery.


First we should address the words used for magic and sorcery: the New Testament Greek word for Witchcraft is “Pharmakia“, and references the use of drugs that can be used to alter the mind and hold the body in captivity to the flesh.

This word appears five times in the New Testament (Gal 5:20, Rev 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15).  It is worth noting that Galatians calls sorcery a work of the flesh, and thus establishes the underlying principle of what sorcery is (a portrait far from what Hollywood has painted).

In the Old Testament there are two words: the most common word is is Kashaph and means to “enchant”.

Kashaph appears in the OT five times (Ex 22:18, Deut 18:10, 2 Kings 9:22, Micah 5:12, and Nahum 3:4).  The clear theme in these passages is how opposed to sorcery God is; Exodus 22:18 orders sorcerers to be put to death, and Deuteronomy 18:10 demands our total separation from anyone involved in sorcery;

10 ‘There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

The second word used for divination is “qesem”, which is used  in Leviticus 19:26, 31, Numbers 17:1-11, Deuteronomy 18:14-15, 1 Samuel 6:7-12, 15:23, 2nd Kings 18:14-19, 2 Chronicles 33:6, Ezekiel 13:4-7 & 22:28, Hosea 4:2 (along with a number of other passages) and refers to “the art of determining the future or ascertaining the divine will”.   This practice was heavily integrated as a “sophisticated science” that guided Babylonian and Assyrian monarchs in determining internal and foreign affairs (Myers, A. C. [1987]. In The Eerdmans Bible dictionary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.).


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

In this passage God reveals the sin behind what we would commonly label as magic.  These practices that have a variety of forms share a common root of sin: rebellion.   The New Testament gives us even greater revelation in showing us that magic is a work of the flesh that enhances the flesh and brings it even deeper into iniquity.

I believe humans are so drawn towards sorcery because it feeds our carnal desire to take power for ourselves.

Hollywood has painted a picture of what magic is that has blinded most people to the reality of magic in the world today; this portrait paints it as innocent, even fantastic, but ultimately harmless.  But God’s word gives us a very different picture that we should study and be aware of.


This post only addressed a brief overview of this issue; we did not address Harry Potter or the other movies that have innundated our society with a Satanic view of sorcery, so, I would encourage you to watch the following video that actually does address magic in movies like Harry Potter:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s