Are You Spellbound? A Biblical Look at Witchcraft

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October is in full-swing, which means many of us are jonesin’ for cooler weather and anything pumpkin spice related. We’re also gearing up for the biggest family events of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But what about Halloween?

It’s everywhere. Stores are selling decorations like coffins and animated, life-size grim reapers. Magazines and social media are quick to recommend ideas on decorating your home, hosting scary parties, and fun crafts for kids. Then there are the TV shows and movies that seem to take over our screens until Thanksgiving Day (if not longer). And let’s not forget about the big event itself: trick-or-treat.

Christians have wondered for awhile how we should respond to the world’s promotion of Halloween. Some ignore the day all together. Others have attempted to replace its darker leanings with more faith-filled—if not just safer—activities, such as indoor trick-or-treating or trunk-or-treat.

Still, some wonder where to draw the line. At what point is celebrating Halloween actually celebrating evil? That was my question for a long time, and it’s certainly not one I can answer for you.

However, I think there’s a better question:

Do my actions glorify the Lord? This should always be our goal, regardless of the situation.

Before we can answer that question, though, we need to know more about what we’re dealing with. In this post, I’ll tackle one of the biggest aspects of Halloween: witchcraft.

Witchcraft: The manipulation of oneself, other people, animals, natural elements, or events.

Many people believe that witchcraft and those who practice it don’t exist. They argue that dressing up as a witch and pretending to use spells is a healthy way for children to exert self-control, use their imaginations, and be creative. But what does the Bible say?

 

Real or Fake?

Witches, magicians, conjurers, sorcerers, and mediums (whom I’ll refer to collectively as witches) appear throughout the Bible, including the following passages.

  • Genesis 41 – Pharaoh’s witches fail to interpret his dream, but Joseph is able to through the power of God.
  • Exodus 7-9 – Moses obeys God’s commands and performs a series of events that set off the 10 Plagues. Pharaoh’s witches use their “secret arts” to mimic those events and are successful in several attempts. When they fail to conjure gnats even they realize that Moses is working on behalf of God.
  • Book of Daniel – The kings all sought counsel from witches to interpret their dreams. However, only Daniel—by seeking God’s knowledge—was able to provide accurate interpretations.
  • 1 Samuel – Saul was so desperate to know the outcome of his battle with the Philistines that he used a medium to conjure the spirit of Samuel to ask him what he should do. Saul paid for this trespass with his own life, and his kingdom was handed to David.
  • 2 Kings 21 – King Manasseh practiced every form of witchcraft imaginable and even erected idols in the house of the Lord, provoking Him to anger.

Clearly, witchcraft was a real, established practice among the nations in the Old Testament. This carries over into the New Testament, as well, as we’re instructed in Galatians 5 that “sorcery” is a deed of the flesh that should be avoided if we want to enter the Kingdom of God.

 

How Does it “Work”?

All Christians have access to the power of God through the Holy Spirit. That power can be manifest in many ways, from answered prayers to divine healing. However, in every instance, it is the power of God at work through man.

When you think of witchcraft, you might imagine someone using a spell or incantation to call upon the power of the devil. While that is certainly one form, today’s imagery (and practice) is much less obvious. In fact, many practitioners may not even think they’re performing witchcraft but, instead, that they’re drawing upon “inner power” or tapping into the “power of nature” or the “great divine.” Whatever terminology or form this takes, it lacks one thing: God.

So what power are these people actually drawing from? The Enemy.

Just like the false prophets and witches of the Bible, these folks are accessing a power outside themselves, but it’s counterfeit. It’s destructive. And it’s evil.

 

Permissible or Not?

With all this talk about witchcraft in the Bible, why isn’t there a commandment against it? Well, actually, there is:

“Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them” (Leviticus 20:27 NAS).

In the Book of Deuteronomy, in which Moses reminds the Israelites of God’s Law before they pass over to the Promised Land, he expands on what this commandment means to them:

“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you.

You shall be blameless before the LORD your God.

For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do so” (Deuteronomy 18:10-14 NAS).

This passage couldn’t be any plainer. Yes, the Israelites were surrounded by nations that practiced witchcraft, but God found it “detestable.” Not only was He calling the Israelites to avoid such practices, He would go on to use the Israelites to drive out the nations that practiced witchcraft. In effect, God was cleaning house.

As Christians today, we are no longer under the Levitical Law that commands witches to be put to death. However, the reasoning behind the law—and the fact that God found it detestable—still stands. We are called to be dependent on God alone. He is the One who provides for us, protects us, and works through us to advance His Kingdom.

Witchcraft, on the other hand, is dependence on the Enemy. Instead of seeking God’s will, those who practice witchcraft in any form use it to bring about their own will through the power of the Enemy. No wonder God finds it so detestable and forbids it among His people.

 

Are You Spellbound?

Has God convicted you of something but you just couldn’t let it go? Maybe it seemed benign (like a kid’s movie), or you rationalized that everyone else was doing it. Or maybe it was a book that you found so engrossing that you refused to put it down. Whatever it was, if God told you to set it aside and you couldn’t, then it may already be an idol in your life.

Don’t live spellbound and dependent on the Enemy!

Repent now and either get rid of the offending item or stop the activity.

On the other hand, you may have dabbled in witchcraft by trying to manipulate things that are outside your control, such as your mental and spiritual abilities or your bodily functions. Or maybe you tried to manipulate other people, natural elements, or events. Perhaps you’ve glorified evil unwittingly by participating in evil activities. If you’re not sure if God finds something “detestable,” you can ask Him through a simple prayer like the one below.

“Lord, please forgive me if I’ve used witchcraft in any form. Convict my spirit of anything unclean in my life that I need to get rid of and give me the strength to do so. I want to walk blamelessly before you, and I can’t do that if I seek my own will. Help me to seek your will from now on. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

[Click to Tweet: Don’t live spellbound and dependent on the Enemy! Avoid witchcraft in all its forms and seek God’s will for your life.]


If you find this content a bit disturbing, I understand. Many churches don’t talk about such things. However, this has left many believers ignorant of important biblical passages, making them susceptible to the tactics of the Enemy. In fact, the Enemy has become so bold that he doesn’t even hide his attempts any more. If you don’t believe me, just turn on the TV or look for the “hottest” new movies. The Enemy is out there, and he’s seeking whom he shall devour (see 1 Peter 5:8). Don’t be destroyed due to lack of knowledge (see Hosea 4:6).

However, if you’re looking for the lighter, usual fair here at BigSisterKnows.com, don’t worry. I’ll be more than happy to switch gears and focus more on God’s goodness in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

5 responses »

  1. On Instagram, a friend asked me if Deut 18:10 meant that trick-or-treating was evil and should be avoided. I thought it was a valid question and wanted to share my response here for you:

    “It’s a tough question. A lot of people point to the origin of Halloween and trick-and-treating, which is definitely pagan. However, many churches have attempted to redeem it through more faith-based activities. The big thing is to pray about it and see if God convicts you to not participate at all or to find an alternative activity for the kids.

    Other considerations: 1) Do your kids understand your beliefs and why it’s ok or not ok to participate in this (or any) activity? It’s our job as parents to explain these things in the best way we can and to not be hypocritical in what we say vs. what we do. 2) What do the neighbors think? Seriously. If you put out ghoulish decorations one week and a nativity the next, you might find it harder to witness to your non-believing neighbors. We’re called to be salt and light, but if we look like everybody else, we lose our opportunity to witness.

    Honestly, these are things we all struggle with. It’s important to remember that God gives us grace when we mess up, but He calls us to a deeper relationship with Him every day, one marked by a more righteous life than we’ve lived before. So what we felt was ok last year may not be ok this year. That’s not hypocrisy; that’s spiritual growth.

    Prayers for you and your family that you have peace about this season! :)”

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  2. Hi Ashley!
    I appreciate your thoughts on this topic! I’ve been asking myself questions about Halloween a lot lately, because I have a lot of friends who want me to celebrate with them in one way or another, but I come from a family that never celebrated Halloween. I don’t want my beliefs to be based simply on “the way we always did it,” but I also don’t want to go along with the crowd, so thank you for your thought-provoking post.
    I’m curious what your thoughts are on the Harry Potter books and movies. I recently made the decision to (guardedly) watch the movies with a friend, and while I didn’t see anything inherently evil and Satanic about it, I have Christian friends who feel very strongly that Christians should not read or watch Harry Potter. To an extent, I can understand why, but at the same time, I don’t think we should blindly condemn something if it isn’t actually wrong. I’ve been gathering others’ opinions about this topic on both sides of the argument, because whatever I decide, I want to be well-informed and able to give a good reason for what I ultimately believe. Would you mind sharing your thoughts with me?
    Thanks so much!

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    • Hi, Hannah! It’s good to hear from you! I’m glad to hear you’re seeking God’s will on these things. The question you raise is, “Is it wrong to read or participate in something that isn’t inherently evil?” The trick is that the Church doesn’t really talk about what’s evil anymore, so sometimes we think something is fine when it really isn’t. I was friends with a girl in high school who was trying to come out of a witchcraft group, and she helped to open my eyes as to what the different symbols and practices mean to them. While it may look harmless to have movies in which children (or adults) ride around on broomsticks, wield little sticks, turn into animals, talk with animals, etc., those things have very deep, dark roots. The premise is also that individuals can and should manipulate things that God has purposefully put out of our reach. A clear dividing line for me is incantations. I don’t want evil spells spoken over my home and family, so I always turn the channel, fast-forward, or press mute if incantations are spoken in a movie (and I try to avoid those shows and movies in advance if I know they’ll include that kind of content). I even go so far as to rebuke those words out loud in Jesus’ name. We want to be students of God’s Word, not the Enemy, but we should also be aware that ignorance is no real excuse. That being said, I think the safest thing to do is pray: “Lord, is this okay with You? If it’s not, then it’s not okay with me.” It shouldn’t have to be overtly evil for us to be willing to turn aside. I hope that helps to arm you as you seek to make godly decisions.

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  3. My family personally rejects Halloween because I think it has a grooming effect on our children. It presents witches, warlocks, the undead as not real and fun.
    When in fact the enemy is quite real and seeking those he can devour. slippery slope and not worth the ride

    Like

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