“…idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies…”
The Greek word for “sorcery” is pharmakia, from which we get our English word “pharmacy.” Priests in the ancient world administered medicine, drugs, and poison to exercise sorcery in their religion. They accompanied their use of drugs with incantations and cultic systems of potions, spells, charms, and amulets.
Sorcery is the use of magical arts, often in connection with idolatry. This sin attempts to do something that normal means cannot accomplish. It steps into the domain of mysteries and exploits occult powers to enter the supernatural.
“Sorcery” may be “black” or “white” magic. Black magic tries to impose evil upon people through curses and spells. This frequently takes the shape of witchcraft. White magic attempts to undo curses and spells. All magicians try to manipulate the power of a god or demon to work on their behalf.
Sorcery was one of the sins that destroyed Babylon (Isaiah 47:9,12).
At heart, sorcery is rebellion against God.
The essence of sorcery is rebellion against God by seeking to manipulate the supernatural. God pronounces judgment on magicians and magic because it is rebellion against His truth.
“For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
He also has rejected you from being king” (1 Samuel 15:23).
Scripture always condemns sorcery in Scripture. God views it as opposed to His sovereign plan. People who wear charms violate that plan.
Some people think that their involvement with Ouija boards, palm readers, and séances is innocent toying with the supernatural. From God’s viewpoint, reading one’s horoscope and the Zodiac signs is involvement with satanic powers. From God’s standpoint, necromancy and astrology are also sin, not fun.
Some folk believe that sorcery is old-fashioned, yet people today would not consummate a business deal without consulting the zodiac. Others will not marry unless their signs are right.
“You shall not permit a sorceress to live” (Exodus 22:18).
“When you come into the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God. For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you” (Deuteronomy 18:9-14).
“Also he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom; he practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger” (2 Chronicles 33:6).
Fortune-tellers supposedly tell the future. Everyone wants to know the future. We want to know what tomorrow holds. But God has our future in His hand and wants us to trust him.
Sorcerers and spiritists are in the same crowd. The Bible condemns contact with the spirit world because it is not all hokum or fake. Not all of it is quackery. Much of it is pure trickery, but not all. Contact with your ancestors may put you into contact with demons. Many mediums that contact the spirit world are demon-possessed. That is why the Bible condemns it.
Astrology has taken the place of psychology for many today as their personality decoder. Even a well-known Episcopal bishop supposedly contacted his dead son a half dozen times through séances. Many seek career guidance through the charting of their horoscopes or tarot cards. Movie stars wear zodiacal signs embroidered on their clothing. High Schools and universities offer courses in witchcraft. Preoccupation with UFOs leads many into exploring the world of sorcery.
All of this is a sin against God’s revelation. Amazingly, some Christians buy into this.