What is Sorcery? Is it forbidden in the Bible?

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Sorcery is the use of magic, witchcraft, wizardry, enchantment, spells, incantation, thaumaturgy, divination, and contacting the spirits of the dead. The Bible clearly condemns and forbids all these activities and what is related to them because they rely on supernatural power that is not from God. It is the work of Satan who can change himself into an angel of light to deceive people (2 Corinthians 11:14). The Bible records that the heathen nations practiced sorcery including ancient Egypt (Exodus 7:11; Isaiah 19:3) and Babylon (Jeremiah 27:9; Daniel 2:2). And God warned His children from adopting these practices.

In the Old Testament, the Lord clearly lists sorcery as one of the forbidden sins, “You shall not … practice divination or soothsaying” (Leviticus 19:26). “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 or 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” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12). All occult activities are included. There is no such thing as “white magic.”

In 2 Chronicles 33:6, King Manasseh is condemned for his many evil practices, including sorcery: “And he burned his sons as an offering in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, and used fortune-telling and omens and sorcery, and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking him to anger.”

Isaiah warns against contacting the dead, “And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?” (Isaiah 8:19). Since “the dead know not any thing” (Ecclesiastes 9:5), this must mean that evil spirits masquerade as the spirits of the dead to deceive the living. Malachi also speaks of God’s judgment on those that practiced sorcery: “Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers” (Malachi 3:5).

In the New Testament, Paul lists sorcery as one of sins of unbelievers: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife . . . and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). And at the end of time, spiritual Babylon, that opposes the truth, will deceive “all nations” using sorcery (Revelation 18:23). But God’s judgments will fall on it and it “will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8 also Revelation 22:15).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team


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