What does the word occult mean in the Bible?

Author: BibleAsk Team


The dictionary defines the word occult as “hidden, secret and mysterious, particularly pertaining to the supernatural.” Occult practices include astrology, witchcraft (Wicca), the black arts, fortune telling, magic, Ouija boards, Tarot cards, spiritism, parapsychology, and Satanism.

The Old Testament

In the Old Testament, God strictly warned the Israelites against being involved with the occult:

“And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people” (Leviticus 20:6).

“When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire [an ancient occult practice], or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination [detestable] to the LORD” (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).

These Occult Practices Were Condemned:

-Astrology (Jeremiah 10:2; 27:9-10; Daniel 2:1-4; 4:7; 5:7-9).

-Witchcraft and sorcery (Deuteronomy 18:10-12; 2 Kings 21:6; Micah 5:12; Isaiah 47:12; Ezekiel 13:18, 20; Acts 8:11-24; Leviticus 20:27; Exodus 7:11; Revelation 9:21; 22:15).

-Divination, fortune-telling, mediums, necromancy, wizardry, clairvoyance, (Deuteronomy 18:9-14; Isaiah 44:25; Jeremiah 27:9; 2 Kings 21:6; 23:24).

The New Testament

And in the New Testament, believers were also warned that the occult will be one of the signs of the end, “The [Holy] 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 prominent example of the “doctrines of devils,” is basically a revival of the demon worship and witchcraft of the past. Its enchanting influence will finally sweep the world, believers and non-believers alike, and lead the way for Satan’s last great delusion – the impersonation of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Matthew 24:24).

In addition to impersonating Christ, Satan will magically perform great “signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9) of apparent healing, outwardly identical in character with those performed by Christ.  As he has the power to afflict people with physical infirmities (Luke 13:16), he has power to release them when it suits his plans.

Therefore, Christians today are exhorted to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). They are to put on the “full armor of God” to reject all occult practices and be holy people (Ephesians 6:10–18).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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