A practitioner involved in the real occult (if she/he is not a simple fraud) has allowed himself/herself to be brought under the influence of demons. The magic gadgets, talisman, potions, divining rods, ouija boards, crystal balls, wooden wands, and the like, are pretty much there for showmanship to razzmatazz the spectator.

The occultist claims to wield a truly ‘supernatural’ power, a power beyond the reach of most people. He’s correct in labeling it supernatural. This power can demonstrate itself in speaking to or for the dead (but it’s really masquerading demons, Deut. 18:1, Ezek. 13:3), performing minor miracles (limited demonic power, Ex. 7:11-13), divining the future (think false prophets with demonic sources, 1 Kings 22:19-23), interpreting dreams (with the aid of demons, Dan. 4:7), or cursing enemies (with Balaam they actually thought his curses worked, Num. 22, 23).

More Examples from the Bible

Witchcraft: Jezebel, 2 Kings 9:22.
Necromancy: Isa. 8:19-22.
Familiar spirits: 1 Sam. 28:7-25.
Sorcery: Acts 8:9-25, 13:6 & 8
Divination: Acts 16:16

Some Modern Examples: witch doctors, the Wicca, devil worshipers, druids, and modern forms of paganism. (The kid wearing the witch costume during Halloween is probably not a genuine practitioner. She’s just a kid out to get some candy! )

Some Media Examples: The Blair Witch Project, Harry Potter, The Exorcist. I’m sure you could come up with many examples of your own. I’ve chosen these examples because they’re a clear parallel to the Biblical definition of the real occult. I make this distinction because everything Hollywood presents as the occult is not, strictly speaking, the occult. Although Hollywood does not blatantly tell you to go out and worship demons, or to put yourself under demonic influence (usually) there is often a common theme in occultist movies. This theme preaches the desirability and availability of unseen (evil) power. They package it and sell it at Wal-Mart. The Bible reveals the true source of this unseen evil. It comes in order to master and manipulate! It rules through false teaching, bullying and if possible possession.

The demon possessed man at the tombs had great power (he could break chains, and over come many men) but it came at great cost (banishment, poverty, loss of self control, untold sorrow and agony). Jesus easily vanquished the demons of the Gospels!

What was God’s attitude toward the occult in both the Old and New Testaments?

God to Pharaoh: “I am far greater than your gods and magicians!”

Exodus 8:18-19 “And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. 19 Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.”

God to Israel: “No & Stop!”

1) God prohibited the occult in the Law of Moses.

Deuteronomy 18:9-14 “When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, 11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. 14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”

2) God condemned the occult through the voice of His prophets.

Isaiah 8:19-22 “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? 20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. 21 And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22 And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.”

Jeremiah 27:9-10 “Therefore hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, which speak unto you, saying, Ye shall not serve the king of Babylon: 10 For they prophesy a lie unto you, to remove you far from your land; and that I should drive you out, and ye should perish.”

God to the world: “My Son will have first place!”

1) Jesus demonstrated absolute authority and power over the demonic kingdom.

Mark 1:25-26 “And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.”

Mark 3:27 “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.”

2) Jesus triumphed over all the unseen forces of wickedness on the cross.

Col. 2:13-15 “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

3) The occult could not stop the Apostles as they took the message to the world.

Peter rebuked Simon the sorcerer.

Acts 8:9-25 “But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. 24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. 25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.”

Paul rebuked Elymas the sorcerer.

Acts 13:6-12 “And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: 7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.”

Converts burned their magic books.

Acts 19:13-20 “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. 18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. 19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.”

Paul condemned the occult as one of the works of the flesh.

Gal. 5:19-21 (ESV) (In the KJV it’s translated “witchcraft”) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

What should we do?

1) Keep the Bible definition. The Bible always associates the occult with demons and deception. There is not a single example of a good witch or wizard in the Bible! (Sorry Glenda and Harry.) We should take the occult as seriously as the Bible does. Just make sure you understand the definition so that you don’t end up blasting something that is not really occultism.

2) Draw the right parallels between the Bible and life. I make this point to caution you not to over-react or under-react. Is “My Little Pony” really demonic?

3) Screen “Witchy” Media. (This is where everyone usually thumps the preacher.) While no one is going to go to a séance there are many who would watch one on TV. I think this is inconsistent.  Will the media attract your child to the real occult (per Biblical definition)? This is where having a solid understanding of the Bible is important. Compare the characteristics of true witchcraft and magic as defined in the Bible with the media you are watching. If you aren’t really sure don’t watch it! (When in doubt- don’t!) In all honesty, if my kids never saw another film, or played another video game from now until the day the universe burned up I think they would survive! How about your kids? (It won’t hurt your kids if you tell them no.)

4) Don’t be afraid. Join the “witness to witches” movement. Yes, you may actually meet a real self proclaimed witch. Apparently they are very popular in Britain and there are some in the U.S. They call themselves wiccans. The devil wants you to think he is more powerful than God. Obviously, he is self deluded.

5) Do not participate! (Yes, this is ‘no brainer’, or is it?)

If you get nothing else from this summary get this: Sorcery is listed as one of the works of the flesh!

Gal. 5:19-21 (ESV) (In the KJV it’s translated “witchcraft”) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Therefore under no circumstances should a Christian dabble in the occult. Would you dabble in sexual immorality or uncontrolled passions? Would you dabble in drunkenness of jealousy?

Clearly we would not want our kids to play at being sexually immoral or drunk; we wouldn’t want them to buy toys that encouraged them to be jealous or hateful, so why buy them toys where they pretend to be witches or wizards? Can you imagine buying your child an “Angry Mean Decal Set” the whole point of which is to encourage your child to be mean to her brothers and sisters?

I realize I’ve just cut across the grain of your expectations. But the Word of God is the Word of God and ‘sorcery’ is listed as one of the works of the flesh. So consider carefully the family decisions you make in the years ahead.