What does the Bible say about magic? 

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Magic

The Bible condemns all forms of magic (white or black) and witchcraft. Magic comes from Satan who uses “lying wonders” to deceive the world (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:2). He disguises himself as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). But the truth is that he “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Old Testament

The practice of magic was a clear violation of God’s will in the Old Testament as shown in the following passages:

“Let no one be found among you . . . who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft” (Deuteronomy 18:10).

“‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor shall you practice divination or soothsaying…Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:26, 31).

“A man or a woman who is a medium, or who has familiar spirits, shall surely be put to death; they shall stone them with stones. Their blood shall be upon them’” (Leviticus 20:27).

When Pharaoh’s magicians tried to use their magic to turn their sticks into serpents to imitate the miracle of Moses, they failed because neither the magicians nor Satan himself could create life (Exodus 7:11; 8:7).

The Bible declares that those that practice magic and witchcraft will be abased (Micah 3:7; 5:12; 2 Kings 21:6). And according to the Lord’s instructions, the penalty for being a witch was death (Exodus 22:18).

New Testament

The Bible states that witchcraft and magic are one of the works of the flesh: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: . . . witchcraft… Those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19–21).

The apostle Paul rebuked Elymas the sorcerer under the guidance of the Holy Spirit saying “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:8–10). In like manner, the apostle Peter also condemned Simon the magician as being “bound by iniquity” by his magic (Acts 8:20–23).

When many Ephesians accepted the Lord through the preaching of Paul and Silas, they destroyed their books of witchcraft: “many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver” (Acts 19:19). The believers sensed clearly that the power of Christianity was superior to their old “curious arts.” Charms, mystic names, formulas, and “letters” were merely empty pretenses.

End-time warning

Paul warned that “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). Modern spiritualism, a notable example of the “doctrines of devils,” is simply another form of the demon worship and witchcraft of the past. Its alluring influence will finally spread in to all the world, Christian and non-Christian alike, and usher the path for Satan’s last deception.

The enemy of the church will use signs and apparent miracles to lead the world into accepting the great delusion (2 Thessalonians 2: 9–11). Hence, God’s children should be on guard of being led astray. Their faith must stand upon the plain statements of God’s Word. “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2: 3).

Finally, John the Revelator includes magic and sorcery among the sins of those who will be eventually shut out from God’s kingdom. “Those who practice magic arts . . . will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Revelation 21:8; also 9:21; 18:23). May we all heed the warnings of the Bible that we may be found ready at His coming.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

This answer is also available in: Español

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