Sorcery

by Ethan R. Longhenry

  1. Introduction
    1. Sorcery!
    2. When the word is spoken, images of witches and wizards come to
      mind
    3. Harry Potter and his adventures have put sorcery back in the
      news today
    4. Nevertheless, sorcery reckoned as sin in the Bible
      1. Galatians 5:19-20
      2. Revelation 9:21, 18:23
    5. So what is sorcery?
    6. Why is it sinful?
    7. What would it have to do with me?
    8. Let us consider the matter from the Scriptures
  2. What is Sorcery?
    1. Sorcery not a word that we hear every day!
    2. Sorcery: Magic; enchantment; witchcraft; divination be the
      assistance of evil spirits, or the power of commanding evil
      spirits (Webster's)
    3. Sorcery, therefore, is the reliance on black arts or other
      forms of supernatural insight or ability, and not a reliance
      on God
      1. Magic tricks, which generally involve illusion but not
        substance, are not really under discussion here (although
        it is a form of deception)
      2. What is under consideration is anything involving other
        forces
      3. Voodoo, magic spells, witchcraft in any form
      4. Tarot card reading, psychic readings, sťances also represent
        sorcery
      5. Astrological readings also, including horoscopes, also
        involve reliance on forces other than God
    4. What is the big deal?
      1. Some people might find such things to be incredulous
      2. What's the harm, after all, in a "little fun", with
        horoscopes and psychic readings?
      3. These are valid questions; let us consider them
  3. Why is Sorcery Wrong?
    1. From the beginning, God has sought to be the spiritual power to
      whom people should turn
      1. Exodus 20:3-5
      2. Exodus 34:14
      3. Colossians 2:6-7, 9-10
    2. Many believe that since there is only one God (Ephesians 4:5-6),
      that there can only be one power in the universe
      1. Many believe that there is no power in any form of sorcery,
        and that it is mere delusion
      2. If that were the case, we would expect God to make that clear!
    3. Yet we read that there is conflict with "spiritual forces of
      darkness" (Ephesians 6:12)!
      1. If Satan can appear "as an angel of light"
        (2 Corinthians 11:14), and is the "god of this world"
        (2 Corinthians 4:4), should we believe that he is entirely
        without spiritual power (cf. Acts 26:18)?
      2. This does not correlate with the reality concerning which we
        read in the Scriptures!
    4. The Bible does indicate that "spiritual forces of darkness" have
      power
      1. Exodus 7:11-12, Exodus 7:22, Exodus 8:7: the sorcerers in
        Pharaoh's palace were able to turn their staffs into snakes,
        turn the Nile to blood, and brought forth a plague of frogs
        by their "secret arts"
      2. Granted, they were not able to create a plague of gnats, and
        declared such to be the "finger of God" (Exodus 8:16-19)
      3. Their ability to replicate some of God's plagues, however,
        does indicate that there was power in their sorcery
      4. 1 Samuel 28:7-20: the witch of En-dor conjures up the soul
        of Samuel for Saul
      5. Acts 19:18-19: burning of books of magic arts as repentance
    5. Black arts do represent a concern and a threat, and should not
      be taken as lightly as they often are!
    6. The Bible makes it clear that our trust and confidence is to be
      in God alone
      1. Hebrews 11:6, Romans 1:17
      2. Acts 26:18
      3. 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
    7. If our trust and confidence is in God, we have no reason to turn to forces of darkness!
      1. Consider Ephesians 6:10-13
      2. Why would we turn to that which is against what is good and
        holy?
      3. Why seek psychics when we can pray to God?
      4. Why look to the stars for guidance in horoscopes when we can commune with their Creator (Genesis 1)?
      5. Why tinker with magic and witchcraft when we could do good
        and obtain eternal life?
      6. How can we fight on the Lord's side while using powers of
        darkness?
    8. Sorcery, therefore, is no light matter, and is to be thoroughly avoided!
  4. Another Dimension to Sorcery
    1. The English concept of "sorcery" involves the matters we have
      described, and as we have seen, they are sinful
    2. The Greek word provides an additional concept we should consider
    3. Galatians 5:20: Greek pharmakeia (pharmacy)
    4. "the use or the administering of drugs; poisoning; sorcery,
      magical arts" (Thayer's)
    5. How do drugs fit into sorcery?
      1. We must consider the medical profession in the ancient world
      2. While we today would separate the scientific study of medicine from the black arts practices of "witch doctors", that
        distinction was not kept in the ancient world
      3. The same doctor who would perform surgeries or give out
        medicine would also make incantations to various gods or use
        magic or other black arts to effect a cure!
    6. Does this mean, then, that the entire medical establishment is
      sinful?
      1. Are we sinning by taking Tylenol or antibiotics or some other
        such thing?
      2. The Scriptures do not indicate as much
      3. 1 Timothy 5:23: when Timothy has some stomach problems, Paul tells him to use some wine-- a medical prescription of sorts
      4. Luke is called the "beloved physician" in Colossians 4:14,
        without any hint of condemnation of his occupation
    7. The medical profession, therefore, is not condemned entirely
      under the idea of pharmakeia
    8. Nevertheless, there is much that is condemned under that heading
      1. As is well known, many drugs are consumed not for medical
        benefit but for recreational purposes
      2. Most use of marijuana, cocaine, heroin, PCP, methamphetamines, crystal methadone, LSD, ecstasy, opium, and abuse of prescription medications fit this concept
      3. The drugs are enjoyed for "highs" and the ability to escape
        from the problems of life
      4. Such is indeed sorcery-- it is a trust or enjoyment in powers
        and forces other than God!
      5. Such drugs do not lead to sobriety and self-control (1 Peter 4:7)
      6. Many such drugs are illegal, and such is sufficient to
        condemn them (Romans 13:1-7)
      7. Most such drugs become your master, and end up being your
        idol, for it is the drug whom you now serve (cf. Galatians 5:19-20, Matthew 6:21-24)
    9. As Christians, therefore, we must think soberly about drugs and
      their use
      1. Are we using them to get well or are we abusing them, thus
        committing sorcery?
      2. Do we always remember to put our confidence in God and only secondarily trust in medicine and other such things?
      3. Who is in control, us or the medication?
    10. Let us avoid committing sorcery by drug use or abuse!
  5. Conclusion
    1. While the word sorcery is not often used, what it represents
      is quite devastating to society
    2. We should never participate with the forces of darkness, and
      thus reliance on astrology, alchemy, black arts, psychics, and
      other such things ought not be named among us!
    3. Likewise, we should avoid recreational drug use and keep
      medicine in its proper place!
    4. In all things let us put our trust in God and in Him alone
      (Matthew 6:33)
    5. The powers of darkness cannot save us; drugs cannot really help
      us escape!
    6. Let us instead lean on the Creator of all things, He who can heal
      us and see us through (1 Peter 2:24)!
    7. Invitation/songbook