Continued from yesterday’s post:
Jesus said, “False messiahs and false prophets will come and do great miracles and wonders, trying to fool the people God has chosen, if that is possible. Now I have warned you about this before it happens.” Matthew 24:24,25 Easy-to-read Version
Today it’s time to learn about “magicians” in the Bible.
The first and last mentions of magicians are really interesting (Genesis 41:8; Daniel 5:9-11), both tell about how magicians were expected to interpret dreams and couldn’t do it for real.
The strongest magicians in the Bible were those who mimicked Moses before Pharaoh. They were able to:
- Turn rods into snakes (Exodus 7:11,12)
- Turn water into blood (Exodus 7:22)
- Brought frogs up on the land (Exodus 8:7)
That last one is highly questionable since God was doing the same thing all over the land. How would you know whether it was the magicians or God? After that, they had to give up. Only God could produce lice, hail and all the other terrible plagues.
The other magicians in the Bible served the Babylonian king. Their job seems to have been to tell the king what his dreams meant. But, when God really did send a dream, these men were helpless to respond.
Next, we have the word “sorcerer.” This word is used to describe the magicians, is also mentioned in the law and here:
[King Manasseh] caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. II Chronicles 33:6 KJV
This is almost an exact quote from Moses’ command to never do these things in Deuteronomy 18:10. King Manasseh’s willingness to kill his own children was directly tied to the rest. What do they mean?
- Observed times: remember all those observatories the ancients made? They believed that when the stars and planets were in special places it was very bad/good to do certain things. It also can mean to watch for shapes in clouds or other nebulous things (crystal balls?)
- Enchantments: augury: to observe signs and omens. Black cats, comets, and other stuff would be in this catagory
- Witchcraft: the Bible doesn’t really tell us what this means except that it is bad enough to earn you the death penalty under the law. All dealings with unholy spirits would be included along with drug/poison use (Revelation 9:21)
- Dealing with a Familiar Spirit: we have one clear example of this with Saul and the woman of Endor (I Samuel 28:7-25). This tells us that people would try to talk to the dead through such people. The amazing thing is, when the dead Samuel actually showed up, she was shocked and realized what was going on right away. This shows that whatever usually happened, real humans weren’t involved.
- Wizards: those who practice all of these things
All of these in themselves are a big pile of nonsense, but there is a power behind them.
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Revelation 9:20
The idols couldn’t walk, but there was something else there: demons. Get yourself some good missionary stories and find out what’s going on here. I highly recommend Otto Koning’s CD series where he came from a denomination that didn’t even believe in demons, but he learned better (and the power of Jesus over them in the 20th century). My kids and I just finished reading Joanne Shetler’s story of translating the New Testament for the Balagao people of the Philippines, powerful and encouraging stuff.
Notice, these magical arts never helped anyone. The best people could hope for was to be left alone so bad things wouldn’t happen. Demons want you scared, weak, poor and eventually dead. God is the one who loves you enough to help you in big and small things.
Parents, you aren’t doing your kids any favors pretending there isn’t a war going on in the unseen realm. If you don’t prepare them, the Enemy will still do all he can to entice them. Knowing that there is real power lined up against us, but our God is far stronger is the best protection we can have. It’s how the Bible deals with these things!
“The one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” I John 4:4 EtrV