“I was in a restaurant and a man was witnessing to a group of people at a table near us. I was grateful that he had the boldness to witness until I heard what he was telling them. He was saying that you can’t really understand the Gospel until you experience it. He said that the reason John was a close friend of Jesus and had more revelation than any other disciple was that he laid on Jesus’ breast at the Last Supper. He got some kind of Gnostic special revelation ability from being in physical contact with the Lord.”
(Sandy Simpson – Deception in the Church) The Bible is quite clear about occult practices. Neither Israel nor the Church is to have anything to do with the way the world tries to gain secret knowledge. The Gnostics were and are known for promoting new revelation that is either loosely tied to Scripture taken out of context or not at all. The Israelites seeking information from the dead or in omens were judged harshly by the Lord who had warned them numerous times to stay away from that stuff.
Yet due to the influences of heretical teachers in the New Apostolic Reformation, Word of Faith, Emergent Church, and the New Age many have been successful in getting lots of churches and denominations into occult practices that have been thinly disguised as “Christian”. Many of those who follow these people, I’m sure, have no idea how far they have strayed into the occult.
First I want to give the dictionary definitions and then Biblical warnings against these practices. Then I will give examples in the churches taken mainly from the ElijahList e-newsletter.
List of Practices Detestable To God
Deuteronomy 18:9-12 “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.
Isaiah 8:19 When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?
Using the above list from Deuteronomy and Isaiah, let’s take a look at each individual practice.
Divination is defined as:
“the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divination)
Divination generally refers to attempts to learn “hidden things” that cannot be known by normal means. Divination falls into two broad categories: mechanical and internal. Mechanical divination uses physical means to acquire hidden knowledge. Examples of this include such things as gazing into crystal balls, examining the livers or other internal organs of animals, interpreting the way arrows land after being thrown into the air, and reading Tarot cards. The internal category, sometimes called “soothsaying,” involves conjuring up a spiritual entity during a trance or an altered state of consciousness. Sometimes this spirit entity will appear as a person, no longer living, who returns and speaks words of wisdom. Sometimes the spirit who is “called up” speaks “through” a medium. In Acts 16:16 the slave girl had a “spirit of divination.” (It is interesting to note that, because there was often trickery involved, in the first century the word used for divination was also broadly used for the act of ventriloquism.) (Divination Finds Further Expression in The Evangelical Church by Orrel Steinkamp, The Plumbline, Volume 9, No. 3, June/July http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/divinationfindsfurtherexpression.html)
1 Samuel 15:23 “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.”
Leviticus 19:26 ‘You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying.
2 Kings 17:17 Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him.
2 Chronicles 33:6 He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger.
Jeremiah 14:14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds.
Ezekiel 13:9 “So My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will have no place in the council of My people, nor will they be written down in the register of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel, that you may know that I am the Lord God.
Acts 16:16 It happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling.
Witchcraft is defined as:
a : the use of sorcery or magic
b : communication with the devil or with a familiar (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/witchcraft)
Deuteronomy 18:14For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practicewitchcraftand to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed youto do so.
2 Chronicles 33:6 He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practicedwitchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Himto anger.