A Brief Explanation of Witchcraft and Paganism
By R. Michel Lankford
In America, commercial trends in Halloween show a new repackaging of old paganism. The huge display of Halloween paraphernalia in malls, offices, parks, and public schools in America and the extensive Internet activities on paganism testify to a great revival of pagan tradition in the U.S. The Halloween celebration has tremendous influence upon the socio-economic and political life in America.
Technology has spawned new forms of paganism. There are presently about 970,000 Internet sites on paganism and 50,000 on Halloween. It has been observed that the next generation of children in America will be inclined to the occult due to the current proselytizing of children into occultism through the Internet and the Harry Potter series on witchcraft in American schools. These are major doorways for trapping children into Satanism. The trend towards globalization, where commercial activities lead the way with speed through the Internet, indicates that the repackaged paganism has been globalized.
What Qualifies as Witchcraft and Paganism?
That question is extremely far ranging. It's a bit like asking someone to describe all of the many different ways people have counterfeited money throughout history. It's a lot harder to describe all of the possible counterfeits than it is to describe the real thing. A short but important list of witchcraft would include:
Passing through fire (fire walking or child sacrifice through fire)
Divination; which is casting a spell, reading omens and signs from nature.
Fortune telling; sorcery. This includes tarot card reading or divining rods
Conversing with the dead or departed
A medium; one who channels spirits through their body
What does God's Word say about such practices?
God's Word is extremely clear on the subject of witchcraft, paganism and spiritualism. He considers that detestable. We'll discuss why later in this document, but for now, less concern ourselves with what Scripture specifically says.
Deuteronomy 18:9-13 “When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. "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, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. "For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you. "You shall be blameless before the LORD your God. (NASB77)
The Lord God overthrew cities nations and even empires who practice such detestable things.
Leviticus 19:31 Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God. (NIV)
1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, (HCSB)
1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (NKJV)
1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NKJV) Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.
Isaiah 8:19-22 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished; they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness. (NIV)
Micah 5:10-15 At that same time," says the LORD, "I will destroy all your weapons—your horses and chariots. I will tear down your walls and demolish the defenses of your cities. I will put an end to all witchcraft; there will be no more fortune-tellers to consult. I will destroy all your idols and sacred pillars, so you will never again worship the work of your own hands. I will abolish your pagan shrines with their Asherah poles and destroy the cities where your idol temples stand. I will pour out my vengeance on all the nations that refuse to obey me." (NLT)
1 Samuel 15:22-23 Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. “For rebellion is as the sin of divination, And insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.”(NASB) Amazingly enough, the sin of witchcraft and rebellion against God are so closely linked to each other that they are virtually considered the same thing in God's sight.
Revelation 21:7-8 (NKJV) He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."--- Jesus Christ.
Those who choose to get involved in witchcraft need to understand what they are doing. They are purposefully flying in (coming against) the face of God. At the same time they are coming against Moses, three prophets, two apostles and the Son of the living God Himself.
Using witchcraft may seem powerful, but it's ultimately not. Spiritually speaking, witchcraft is like bringing a Swiss Army knife against an M-16 rifle. You’re not going to win, and you’ll do yourself great injury in the process. Don’t be deceived.
Why Does Witchcraft and Paganism Offend God So Severely?
- It’s part the devil’s attempt to overthrow God
We've just seen some scriptures describing what God thinks of witchcraft paganism and sorcery. The question is, why do these things offend God so badly? Isn't it just a matter of personal choice anyway? Not at all! To answer that question, one must understand the origin and goals of Satan. The devil, also known as Satan was one of two arc Angels. He was then known as Lucifer and in charge of worship in heaven. Ezekiel 28 draws a parallel between the fall of an evil king and the fall of Lucifer who became Satan. Isaiah 14 gives a further description. In his pride, Lucifer who became "the dragon" attempted to overthrow the God of heaven.
Isaiah 14:12-15 (NRSV) How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, "I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit on the mount of assembly on the heights of Zaphon; I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High." But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit. Scripture describes that Satan the dragon recruited a third of the Angels in rebellion against God (See Luke 10:18, Revelation 12:3-4).
Because of his rebellion Lucifer (Satan) was thrown out of heaven together with those fallen angels who rebelled against God. Ever since that time, the devil has had few objectives
Satan wants to trick us into joining his rebellion against God, because he lusts and covets after the worship that only rightly belongs to God.
So why does the devil hate those who believe in and want to obey God?
The answer to that is simple. People who want to love and obey God by living their lives for God are the biggest threat to the devil. Why? Because people who've decided to obey God, are living proofs that God's way works. People who choose to follow God are making a willful choice to do what the devil refuses to do. They are choosing to willingly submit to God. If we mere human beings make a choice to obey God, it will destroy the pride of the fallen angel. It will be living proof that obeying God can be done, and that God’s principles are true and effective.
2. Witchcraft is part of the devil’s plan to destroy people and make them ineffective in God’s Kingdom
If the enemy can't steal us completely away from God, he wants to steal our potential and our ability to become what God meant us to be when God created us.
He wants to destroy us. So great is this hatred for God and human beings who are the crown jewel of God's creation, that the enemy is desperate to destroy it.
Jesus Christ said, “The thief [which is satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10 NRSV)
Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 (RSV- bold type used for emphasis). The devil has only one desire. He wants to steal to kill and to destroy your relationships with God, your relationships with your families, and your ability to have a positive impact on God’s eternal kingdom. Don’t fall for the lie!