No, this isn’t a Lord of the Rings post (darn it), but in that classic work, there are good (Gandalf) and evil (Saruman) wizards and necromancers (Sauron). It’s an epic fantasy tale that sparks the imagination concerning unseen powers and abilities mere mortals don’t possess. In fiction, such tales show the struggle good has against evil before finally becoming victorious. Fiction follows the themes we find in scripture. There are powers of good and evil wielded by God and Satan’s servants.
However, there are a number of dark practices mentioned in scripture that in our modern day lives, we tend to ignore. People think they can’t be real anymore because we are in an “enlightened” age that has “science” and such things have vanished from the world. Obviously, people with such beliefs haven’t watched David Blaine perform magic tricks because I’m pretty sure he’s got dark magic at work… 😉But seriously, in today’s so called “age of enlightenment” we aren’t very enlightened. We ignore the powers of the very real unseen world and embrace only the tangible.
In a prior post on gifts of the Unholy Spirit, I showed that for every good gift, there was an evil gift to match it. Satan is the great counterfeiter and concealer. It’s like celestial chess, for every move God makes, Satan tries to counter it with a dark equivalent. Satan will lose the game, but while it’s played, he’s pitting every resource and power available to him against God and his work.
In scripture, we know God has prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers, priests, high priests, elders, deacons, evangelists, seventies, and so forth.
What does Satan counter those chess pieces with?
There are a number of dark callings mentioned in scripture.
Instead of priests that sacrifice animals symbolic of the atonement of Jesus Christ, priests of Baal and Moloch engage in human sacrifice, drinking blood, and horrific practices to false gods.
Instead of prophets, he uses soothsayers, and so on.
God doesn’t use magic, though to the uninitiated, it may seem as such.
Satan’s power operates by force, while God’s is manifest by persuasion.
Below is a list of the names of workers of evil mentioned in scripture, and the Hebrew or Greek meanings behind the words using the Blue Letter Bible link in Scripture Notes.
Wizard: Heb: (yiḏʿōnî) “a conjurer; (by implication) a ghost.” It’s interesting that the Hebrew word looks and sounds similar to Adonai, the word for “Lord.”
Witch: Heb: (kāšap̄) “to whisper a spell, i.e. to inchant or practise magic”
Verb Bewitch 1: (Greek: existēmi) means “to put (stand) out of wits, i.e. astound, or (reflexively) become astounded, insane:—amaze, be (make) astonished, be beside self (selves), bewitch, wonder.” From Thayer’s Greek Lexicon: “to throw out of position, to displace…to throw one out of his mind, drive one out of his senses.”
Verb Bewitch 2: (Greek: baskainō) means “to maline…bring evil on one by feigned praise or an evil eye, to charm, bewitch…lead away others into error by wicked arts.”
Consulter (with familiar spirits): Heb: (šā’al): means “to inquire…to demand…”
Necromancer: Heb: two words (dāraš mûṯ), meaning to seek, consult, enquire, require, or search, for second word, the dead.
Soothsayer: Heb: (qāsam) meaning to determine by divination, used as a verb with false prophets
Enchanter: Heb (nāḥaš) meaning “to hiss (i.e. whisper a magic spell), to prognosticate”, observe signs, practice fortunetelling.
Diviner: Heb (qāsam) meaning determine by lot or magical scroll; by implication, to divine… soothsayer.
Charmer: Heb: (ḥāḇar ḥeḇer): two words coming together. Means “to unite, be joined, tie a magic knot or spell, charm.” Charming serpents, joining together with an enchantment.
Astrologer: Heb: (hāḇar šāmayim) to divide the heavens, a horoscopist
Interesting sidenote: The “habar” of charmer and astrologer look identical in the English pronunciation. However, in Hebrew, the “H” sound in charmer comes from the Hebrew letter Chet (8) while the sound in astrologer comes from the Hey (5). The letters look identical except while Chet is continuous, there is a gap in Hey. That’s fascinating because while astrologers divide the heavens (creating gaps), charmers bring things together in a continuous fashion which these characters illustrate.
Stargazers: Heb (ḥōzê kôḵāḇ) Seer of stars (foretold the doom of states and kingdoms from the stars)
Monthly prognosticators: Heb (ḥōḏeš yāḏaʿ) almanac makers that foretold the weather and other events
Observer of Times: a superstitious practice of observing the clouds and foretelling good or bad fortune (Robert Jamieson commentary)
Magician: Heb (ḥarṭōm) one who writes occult knowledge. Also diviner, magician, astrologer.
Sorcerer/Sorceress/Sorcery/Sorceries: This is the most complex of the translated words. There are many different words in Hebrew and Greek that are translated into a variation of this word. Anything from witchcraft to drug use, perhaps to induce visions by hallucination or other effects. Here are the variations:
ʿānan: to cloud over, act covertly, practice magic, enchanter, soothsayer, sorcerer
kāšap̄: see Witch above
kaššāp̄: a magician, sorcerer
kešep̄: sorcery, witchcraft, mention of seductive and corrupting influences (ex. Jezebel’s witchcrafts)
Magos: a magician: sorcerer (false prophet), wise man (as in the 3 wise men that visited the baby Jesus)
mageuō: a magician, to practice magical arts
mageia: magic, sorcery
pharmakeus: a drug, spell-giving potion, a pharmacist or poisoner, a magician: sorcerer (Rev. 21:8)
pharmakos: same as previous (Rev. 22:15)
pharmakeia: “medication (‘pharmacy’), i.e. (by extension) magic (literally or figuratively):—sorcery, witchcraft.” (Rev. 18:23)
As far as basic classifications go, one person I know grouped them this way:
It’s clear in the law of Moses that those among the people who go and listen to these dark followers, are to be cut off from the people (Lev. 20:6) and any that engage in this practice are to be put to death (Lev. 20:27). Why? Because to follow these counterfeit paths destroys faith and leads souls to eternal death.
The dark arts require less effort to obtain than to receive God’s gifts. The reason is because God’s gifts require humility and sacrifice of the carnal man to bless us and others in positive ways. They lead to eternal life.
Satan’s gifts enhance the carnal man instead of suppressing it and equip people to satisfy their greed and lust. Thus, they are more easily obtained. These lead to eternal death.
Pharaoh had his sorcerers and magicians performing enchantments to try and counter the miracles Moses was performing through God’s power (Exo. 7:11, etc…).
We know Saul fell after consulting with the witch of Endor (1 Sam 28:7).
Acts 8:11, a man named Simon had “used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria.”
How do we detect and counter these evil practices that happen in our day? Pay attention when you feel stymied in some way or when something seems off. Pray for guidance. The real realm is not the visible, but the invisible. Believe in miracles and unseen help. Seek for the gift of discerning of spirits. Seek for the gift of revelation. Ask for angels to clear away the evil influences surrounding you or preventing the accomplishment of your purposes. Ask for angels to attend you and teach you.
President Russell M. Nelson has said:
“In coming days, it will not be possible to survive spiritually without the guiding, directing, comforting, and constant influence of the Holy Ghost.”
The darkness is upon us. Without a guiding light we will not see the way through.
I’ll close with this verse. Speaking of the destruction of Babylon which will happen in “one hour” (Rev. 18:17), John wrote:
Rev. 18:23 “And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”
The word for sorceries in this verse is pharmakeia: meaning “medication (‘pharmacy’)”. Read that verse again… Do you think John saw our day of Big Sorcery? There is a massive spell over the nations of the world, bewitching the people to believe deceptions. The love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim 6:10) and Big Sorcery is big money.
(Featured image by shaiith @ 123rf.com)
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