Magic, mediums, spiritists, witchcraft & Halloween: What does the the Bible have to say about these things? What about Christians and our participation in Halloween? How is any of this a conscience issue? How does your family handle this holiday and why?
Jeremiah 15 & 16
1 Thessalonians 2.1-20
Witchcraft, Halloween & Conscious Issues
Magic, Mediums, Witchcraft & Spiritists
Today’s reading in Jeremiah is pretty shocking in some ways. God declared judgment on His people. He said some would die “gruesome deaths,” that some would be “consumed by the sword” and others would be “meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth” (16.4). He said this would happen because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem” (15.4) and “… you have done worse than your fathers, for behold, each one follows the dictates of his own evil heart, so that no one listens to Me” (16.12).
“Each one,” so while Manasseh was singled out because of his leadership in doing evil, they weren’t being judged just because of something he had done, but because they had done the same things and even worse. If you go back to 2 Kings 21 you can read just what the sins of Manasseh were. It says:
3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; he raised up altars for Baal, and made a wooden image, as Ahab king of Israel had done; and he worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 He also built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. 6 Also he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger.
11 “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations (he has acted more wickedly than all the Amorites who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols),
16 Moreover Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides his sin by which he made Judah sin, in doing evil in the sight of the LORD.
It was bad enough that the people had returned again and again to their idolatry, but Manasseh brought the worship of false gods right into the house of the true and living God! This would be like a husband bringing his lover right into his wife’s bed and then setting up a permanent place in their house for him to go and commit adultery with her.
He “also made his son pass through the fire.” He sacrificed his own son as a burnt offering to one of these demonic gods.
If all that wasn’t bad enough, he “practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft, and consulted spiritists and mediums.”
We read something like that and think, “Wow, those people were really horrible!” But does a passage like this have any application to us?
Ephesians 5 says:
8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), 10 finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.
We’re to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Look at that list again in 2 Kings 21.6 above: soothsaying, witchcraft, spiritists and mediums.
Soothsaying is the use of supernatural spirits to affect this world or predict the future. Witchcraft is the practice of magic, the use of spells, or the invocation of spirits. Spiritism is the belief that the dead communicate with us in some way. A medium is someone used to communicate in some of these ways.
That would include palm reading, horoscopes, so-called white magic, crystals, new age religion, or spiritism of any kind.
In our part of the country, I have heard things like this numerous times, “Well, my mother says it’s OK to go to this lady who removes curses. She says she believes in Jesus.” She may believe in Jesus, but James said, “… even the demons believe …” (Jas. 2.19). We’re to have no fellowship with those things.
Maybe like me, you’ve heard people say, “I read my horoscope for fun, but I don’t really believe it.” Again we should have no fellowship, no involvement with, those things!
Why would we want to play around with anything that would be displeasing to God? Genesis 3 says that the serpent was more subtle than all the beasts of the field. His question to Eve was “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” (Gen. 3.1). In other words, “Did God really say …?” He’s still asking the same question in various ways today.
Christians & Halloween
At this time of year, Christians sometimes wonder whether or not it’s OK to dress up or participate in Halloween activities. I think there’s some gray area here and needs to be considered prayerfully.
Some churches provide alternative events where children dress up, play games and get candy and treats. Some families participate in Halloween, but are careful about the costumes they wear. Other believers refuse to participate at all.
I believe costumes that are focused on the things of darkness (witches, goblins, death, etc.) would fall under “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” But there is nothing inherently sinful about dressing up in another kind of costume.
When our children were young we took them to church events rather than participate in activities that were questionable.
In recent years, my husband and I have decided to buy candy and pass it out along with gospel material as our outreach to our neighbors, though if I had children at home, I probably wouldn’t. It’s not a matter of approving Halloween, but of being a light in the darkness.
I recently heard a man speak who has been involved in preaching the gospel and helping people grow in Christ for over 40 years. He told us about attending a protest between Christians and gay-rights activists. While many of the Christians were screaming and warning people they were going to hell, he was walking among the gay crowd, introducing himself, talking to them, asking them questions, and sharing the gospel. His Christianity was winsome and he had numerous opportunities for real dialog. I believe that seeds were planted that may bear fruit in God’s timing.
If you’ve read my blog for any time at all, you know I’m not afraid to take a stand on these issues and others, but I would hope that what ever we do, the love of Christ would shine through, whether toward the world or toward other believers.
These are serious conscience issues. James 4.17 says: Continue reading