We will examine the occult and explain why it is wrong for any follower of God to be involved in it. We have cited scripture references from the Bible to support each idea presented.

“The occult” is a term that encompasses people’s attempts to gain power or knowledge from evil sources. People are often snagged by seemingly harmless curiosities that give place to evil in their lives.

An explanation of the occult: “Somewhere in every one of us is a deep longing to make contact with the unknown, with some “higher power” – something greater or wiser or more powerful than ourselves. This is true at all levels, from the teenage girl reading her horoscope, to the witch doctor in some remote tribe who has never seen a white man, to the scientist probing outer space and seeking to discover the secrets of the universe.

It was God who placed this longing within us, but His archenemy, Satan, has devised a way to divert seekers into deceptive, evil systems that bring them into bondage to himself. These deceptive systems can take countless different forms, but the generic name for them all is “the occult.”

The word occult is derived from a Latin word that means “concealed” or “covered over.” The power operating through occult practices or system derives from Satan and is evil. But most people caught up in them do not know this. They have been enticed by labels or claims that make them appear highly desirable.” (They Shall Expel Demons, p.113-114, by Derek Prince)

What is “of the occult”? Determining what is of the occult can be tricky, as the occult by nature is hidden and deceptive. To begin, please consider some definitions of “Occult” from Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary:

  • “Not revealed; secret”
  • “Not easily apprehended or understood”
  • “Matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them” (American Heritage Dictionary)

In general, if an activity or object is used to seek knowledge or power from sources other than God, then it most likely is of the occult. 3 main categories of the occult:-

1. Seeking carnal knowledge / sins of the flesh and eyes: includes all forms of sex sin, including pornography

  • Adultery: Sex outside of one’s marriage (Galatians 5:19; Hebrews 13:4)
  • Bestiality: Sex with animals (Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 18:23)
  • Coveting: To desire what belongs to another (Exodus 20:17; Matthew 5:28)
  • Fornication: Sex between two unmarried persons (1 Corinthians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19; Hebrews 13:4; Colossians 3:5)
  • Homosexuality: Sex with member of same sex (1 Corinthians 6:9; Leviticus 20:13, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:26-32)
  • Incest: Sex between family members (Leviticus 18:6,7,10,22)
  • Lust: Intense and unbridled sexual desire, often for something forbidden (Matthew 5:28; Romans 6:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 1 Peter 2:11)
  • Rape: Sex forced against the will (Deuteronomy 22:24-25, 2 Samuel 13:12-22)
  • Sexual immorality in general (1 Corinthians 6:13,18-20; Galatians 5:16-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8)
  • Voyeurism/viewing pornography: Obtaining sexual gratification from seeing sex organs and sexual acts; habitually seeking sexual stimulation by visual means (Ezekiel 23:14-16,19-21; Habakkuk 2:14-16; Genesis 9:21-25)

2. Seeking Knowledge Of The Future:

  • Astrology: foretelling the future using the influence and position of the stars and planets. A common example of modern day astrology is the horoscope. A horoscope is a diagram of the relative positions of planets and signs of the zodiac at a specific time. Astrologers use this to infer individual character and personality traits and to foretell events in a person’s life (astrological forecast) (2 Kings 23:1-25; Isaiah 47:10-15).
  • Divination: the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 18:9-16; 2 Kings 17:17; 2 Kings 21:6). Examples of divination devices/activities include seer stones, tarot cards, reading tea leaves, eight balls, water witching, water dousing, Ouija boards, table tipping, palmistry and automatic writing.
  • Interpreting omens: An omen is an occurrence or phenomenon believed to portend a future event. (Deuteronomy 18:9-16)
  • Necromancy: Necromancy attempts to reveal the future by communicating with the dead and/or familiar spirits. A séance is a meeting where people attempt to communicate with the dead. Mediums attempt to communicate with familiar spirits (evil spirits) and spirits of the dead. (Deuteronomy 18:9-16; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14; 1 Samuel 28:7-11)
  • Soothsaying: act of foretelling events (Leviticus 19:26)
  • Visiting fortunetellers: typical examples include palm readers (palmistry) and psychics (Isaiah 65:11; Acts 16:16; Micah 5:12)
  • Visiting mediums/psychics/spiritists: persons supposedly having access to supernatural agencies and knowledge or power derived from them (Deuteronomy 18:9-16; Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 20:6; 2 Kings 21:6; 2 Kings 23:1-25; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14; Isaiah 8:19-22)
  • 3. Seeking supernatural power:
  • Charm: the chanting or reciting of a magic spell; an act or expression believed to have magic power; something worn about the person to ward off evil or ensure good fortune (amulets, talismans, hex signs, etc.) (Isaiah 3:16-24; Isaiah 47:9-15; Ezekiel 13:18-23)
  • Curse: a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon a person; to call upon divine or supernatural power to send injury upon (Exodus 21:17; Exodus 22:28; Leviticus 19:14; Ezekiel 13:17-23; Romans 12:14)
  • Enchant: to use magic words or charms to place (another) under a spell. A spell (or incantation) is a spoken word or form of words held to have magic power; a strong compelling influence or attraction. (Isaiah 47:9-15; Ezekiel 13:17-23)
  • Idolatry: any person, place or thing that comes before God in your life. There are many forms of idolatry and it’s possible to argue that every occult activity is a form of idolatry. The Bible has many references to idolatry that identify it as sin (Exodus 20:3-6). Some specific examples include worshiping demons/angels (Deuteronomy 32:16-17; Leviticus 17:7; 2 Kings 23:1-25; Psalm 106:37; 1 Corinthians 10:20-22; Revelation 9:20-21), worshiping celestial bodies (2 Kings 21:3,7; 2 Kings 23:1-25; Ezekiel 8:16) and consulting household idols (Genesis 31:19,30,34; Genesis 35:2; Judges 17:5; 1 Samuel 19:13).
  • Seeking or using familiar spirits: A familiar spirit is believed to attend, serve or guard a person. Familiar spirits can be sought for information, protection and guidance. They can be “passed down” from the person’s ancestry. Familiar spirits are demonic, although not all exhibit markedly evil behavior. (Leviticus 19:31; Leviticus 20:6,27; Deuteronomy 18:11; 2 Kings 21:6; 1 Chronicles 10:13; 2 Chronicles 33:6; 1 Samuel 28:3-23)
  • Magic: The use of means (as charms or spells) believed to have supernatural power over natural forces; magic rites or incantations; an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source; something that seems to cast a spell (Isaiah 47:9-15; Ezekiel 13:17-23; Acts 8:9-24; Acts 19:19-20; Revelation 9:20-21; Revelation 18:23; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15)
  • Sorcery: The use of power gained from the assistance or control of evil spirits especially for divining; A wizard is a sorcerer – one possessing magical influence. (Exodus 22:18; Deuteronomy 18:9-16; Leviticus 19:26; Isaiah 47:9-15; 2 Kings 17:17; 2 Kings 21:6; Malachi 3:5; Micah 5:12; Galatians 5:19-21; Acts 8:9-24; Acts 13:4-12)
  • Talisman: A talisman is an object held to act as a charm to avert evil and bring good fortune. Examples of talismans include healing crystals, rabbit’s foot, Indian dream-catchers, good luck charms, and hex signs. Household idols in the Bible are possibly examples of talismans. (Genesis 35:2; Judges 17:5; 1 Samuel 19:13; Hosea 3:4).
  • Witchcraft: The use of sorcery, magic, or communication with spirits to influence persons and/or events. A witch/warlock is one thought to have supernatural powers through contact with Satan; one credited with usually malignant supernatural powers (Deuteronomy 18:9-16; 1 Samuel 15:22-23; Ezekiel 13:17-23; Galatians 5:19-21; Acts 19:19-20)

How the occult works: The occult appeals to our natural tendency toward pride of life (1 John 2:16). Pride of life is revealed when we set aside God’s commands and seek knowledge or power to master our own destiny and control our environment according to our desires. This is a type of rebellion (1 Samuel 15:22-23). Eve demonstrated this rebellion in Genesis 3:5-6 when she sought knowledge that would cause her to be like God.

Why Occult Activity Is Wrong

  • It seeks and uses an evil power source: Occult power originates from Satan, his angels or the souls or spirits of people who participate. Satan and his angels are fallen spiritual beings who have used their God-given powers to foster rebellion against God. The scriptures state that only God has all knowledge and he alone is more powerful than any other being (Psalm 139:1-6,16-18; Philippians 2:9-11; Isaiah 14:27; Psalm 2; 1 Chronicles 16:26; Psalm 96). If we believe the scriptures, then we have no reason to look for knowledge or power from any other source but God. As soon as we seek it outside of God, we sin by placing our faith in something other than God. Romans 14:23 says, “Everything that does not come from faith [in God] is sin.”
  • It gives us a means to sin by pride of life: The occult appeals to our natural desire for power and knowledge. We usually want to be in control of the situations we are in and/or be able to influence the outcome so that we will benefit. Our sinful nature is to attempt to work things out on our own without submitting ourselves to the authority of God or depending on God for our provision. John identified this as the “pride of life” sin in 1 John 2:16. The occult offers a variety of means by which we may be deceived into thinking that we can be in control. The truth is that we are not in control. By giving heed to the occult, we let evil control over us.
  • God commands us not to be involved in the occult: He commands us to be separate from the occult so that we can be his people (Leviticus 20:24-26) without distraction. Seeking occult power/knowledge is essentially soliciting the help of demons or false gods. This disobeys God’s command “You shall have no other gods before Me” in Exodus 20:3. God has told us to seek him for everything in life. Jesus explained, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Matthew 22:37 ). This leaves no room for other “gods.” Part of God’s nature is that he desires people’s full devotion and attention – he is a “jealous” God and a “consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24).

A note about false religions: Involvement in a non-Christian religion can be regarded as occult activity for many of the above reasons. Jesus said that he is the only way for people to attain peace with God: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6 ). Any religion that rejects Jesus’ claim and/or teaches another way to peace with God will be a “false” religion. Consider the test that John wrote about for detecting false teaching/false religions:

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:1-3

Additional references to consider on false teaching/religions: Ezekiel 13:9, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-13,1 Timothy 6:3-5, 2 Peter 2:1

Consequences of occult activity: Occult activity has a variety of consequences. These may include:

  • Spiritual confusion (Isaiah 45:15-16; Isaiah 41:29; 1 Kings 11:1-14; Romans 1:18-32; Numbers 25:1-3; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14)
  • A “deluded heart” which leads you astray (Isaiah 44:20)
  • Ensnarement in other forms of evil (Exodus 23:33)
  • Generational curses (Exodus 20:4-5)
  • A root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood in your life (Deuteronomy 29:17-18)
  • An open door for increased evils and troubles in your life (Deuteronomy 31:17)
  • Bondage and oppression from evil spirits (Isaiah 19:3-4).
  • A foothold for a spirit of harlotry to destroy your life and family (Leviticus 19:29; Hosea 4:11-12)
  • Judgment (Malachi 3:5; Revelation 2:20-24)
  • Repenting from occult sin: If you have been involved in occult sin, it is important for you to take these actions in returning to God:
  • Recognize the serious nature of occult sin
  • Humble yourself and seek amends with God (Leviticus 26:40-42; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Hosea 14:1-4)
  • Confess your sin (Acts 19:18-19; 1 John 1:9)
  • Confess your family’s sin (forefathers) (Leviticus 26:40-42)
  • Destroy any occult objects you own (Deuteronomy 7:4-6,25-26; Deuteronomy 12:2-3; 2 Kings 23:1-25; Acts 19:19-20). Don’t try to sell them or give them to someone else, as that could render you guilty of greed and/or leading someone astray.
  • Commit to following God in purity and love God with all your heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37). Do not return to practicing any former occult activities you were involved in.

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