What Does Scripture Say About Sorcery?
Magic. Everyone loves it nowadays! It's on TV, it's in the movies, it's all over the music industry, there's basically no way to escape magic nowadays! Kids are being trained that it's all good, teens and adults accept it as it is and are even enticed by it, and many parts of the world are trained in it (whether "realists" believe in spirits or not). Whether it's Harry Potter or even just Mickey Mouse, God has a very clear perspective on magic, sorcery, warlocks, wizards, and witches, all seen in the Holy Scriptures. So, let's take a look, shall we?
"When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughters as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquiers of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you." - Deuteronomy 18:9-12Now, I think God is being pretty clear here, sorcery, like any other sin, is a rebellion against God and is using the power of demons to accomplish your will (thus not surrendering to His). Now I'm not saying card tricks or special effects are inherently sinful (though there is a certain amount of deception in them), but using magic and the Enemy's spiritual power certainly is.
Leviticus 20:27 tells the Israelites to put people who practice sorcery to death. Now, this is tricky because obviously we aren't supposed to kill people. Remember when the Pharisees wanted to stone an adulteress, Jesus told them that the only one worthy to do so is the one with no sin at all (John 8:1-11). What Leviticus is showing us as believers is that death is punishment for sin, ALL sin! Every sin out there is mentioned in Leviticus and every one of them results in death being the punishment. In fact, James 2:10 says that whoever keeps the whole law but breaks just ONE point is guilty of all of it and deserves death. Why? Because it's rebellion against God.
For more on Old Testament law and how it translates to the New Testament, check out Voddie Baucham's sermon from Moody Founders Week 2015, it's really, really good.
But going back to sorcery, if you would ask people what they thought about magic, most would be fairly receptive and totally okay with it. After all, the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella isn't evil, neither is Glinda from the Wizard of Oz, or Harry Potter, or Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (except for that one time she actually was). Here's the deal, that's all fiction, and if we know anything about the world we live in we know that it glorifies evil all the time! James tells us that friendship with the world is enmity with God while 1 John says that whoever loves the world is an enemy of the Father. Essentially, as Christians, if the world loves it, we should flee from it, and honestly, that's SUPER hard! I know I haven't reached that level of obedience in every aspect of my life, thank God for his grace, mercy, and patience!
So here's my question for you, if the world loves magic, if magic is super-popular in today's society, why is that?
I think the answer's pretty simple honestly, it's because Satan wants to distract you from Christ and put you in a mindset where you believe that you can be in control and wield supernatural power for yourself, even if it's in a video game or through watching a movie. Not to mention, his "magic tricks" distract you from Christ's sacrifice on the cross!
You see, the idea of magic as the world sees it, the entire concept, is so anti-God it's not even funny. If you look at Star Wars (the Original Trilogy specifically), the Force is the magical energy that surrounds everything and gives power to those who are force-sensitive. Now, I love Star Wars as much as the next guy, but think about this for a second, Darth Vader can use the Force, Luke Skywalker can use the Force, Obi-Wan and Yoda can use it, and the Emperor can use it. Both good and evil can use the Force because the Force is neutral, so here's my question for you, how does that work?
In Mark 3:25, Jesus says that "a house divided against itself cannot stand". The next verse talks about how if Satan was divided against Satan, it wouldn't work because he'd immediately be defeated! And if using magic is a sin, then how is it that the good guys in Star Wars beat the Empire at all? The philosophy of the Force in Star Wars and even how magic is based in Harry Potter, is called dualism, and in the movies it works, but it shouldn't, especially not according to Scripture.
There are a few specific times in the Bible where we see magic being used, but it's always by those who are enemies of God and/or who worship demonic gods. In 1 Samuel 28, King Saul, after the death of the Prophet Samuel and the anointing of David as the new King of Israel, went to a witch in a town called Endor (all you Star Wars fans are going nuts aren't you?) and had her raise the spirit of the dead Samuel. Bare in mind, this was not Samuel, this was a demon who know exactly what had occurred in Saul's life up until this point. Here we see a medium channel a demonic spirit into herself to give Saul information, not only is this sorcery in and of itself, but she also commits necromancy and divination here, both sins which God condemned back in that Deuteronomy passage we had just looked up before.
Another famous example is when Moses and Aaron go to Pharaoh to talk in Exodus 7 and God, through Moses, makes Aaron's staff into a snake. Now, using the powers/energies/spirits of their gods, Pharaoh's sorcerers do the same and actually make not one, but TWO snakes! Obviously, sorcery is something that can be done, and like Satan does with EVERYTHING else, he does it as a counterfeit to the miracles that God has already performed. Then, just to show Pharaoh how worthless his gods are, God has Moses' snake eat the other two right in front of them. Good stuff. Also, the Prince of Egypt version of this is great (Exodus: Gods and Kings really missed an opportunity there...)!
I want to make this clear too, just so that I don't mislead anyone or so that people don't get confused, God DOESN'T use magic. Truly, He doesn't need it! He's already infinite, already all powerful, not to mention He's already won! Magic is something the Devil created to imitate God, it's funny because once Satan rebelled against Heaven, any creativity he had before just turned into one big counterfeit operation. Magic and sorcery is simply Satan's reaction to the miracles of God.
Here's the thing about magic, it's evil. Period. I'm sorry if you love magic-based things, but it is. There are things I really like that have sinful qualities to them too, I get it, it sucks! But if we are called to be like Christ then we are to put away the old things, the evil things of this world, sin, and run to the things of God! I'm not going to tell you that you're going to Hell because you read Harry Potter or play Wizards 101 (those commercials are terrible by the way...), but I can tell you that regardless of the stories and their themes, God still doesn't like the magic part of it, to Him, a Holy God, it's all evil.