BEWARE THE OCCULT
Occult practices, such as fortune-telling and witchcraft, were common among the pagan nations of the ancient world, and unfortunately are widely practiced around the world to this day. Such attempts to control evil spirits were expressly forbidden by God. Deuteronomy 18:10-11 mentions specific occult practices which were forbidden by the law of Moses.
The practice of witchcraft, or divination, was a means for extracting information or guidance from a pagan god. The word describes the activity of Balaam the soothsayer, or professional prophet, who was hired to curse Israel Num. 22:7; 23:23; Josh. 13:22. It also describes the woman at En-dor who brought up the spirit of Samuel. All the major prophets condemned divination Is. 44:25; Jer. 27:9; 29:8; Ezek. 13:9.
The only places where information is given on the actual methods people used in divination are in Genesis 44:5 and Ezekiel 21:21-23. In the case of Joseph's divining cup, the diviner apparently interpreted the shape of a puddle of oil floating on the water in the cup Gen. 44:5.
Ezekiel 21 describes the king of Babylon as he tried to decide which way to approach Jerusalem. It portrays him as throwing down a handful of arrows, hoping that a certain one will point to a route which he believes is the will of his god. It also records that "he consults the images, he looks at the liver" Ezek. 21:2. Reading and interpreting the livers of sacrificial animals was another form of determining the will of the gods. All these forms of superstition, of course were forbidden among the Hebrew people.
Soothsaying is a relatively rare word in the Bible which describes some form of divination, the practitioner of which is also described by the KJV as "observer of times" Deut. 18:10. Because it sounds like a Hebrew word for cloud, some scholars believe it refers to cloud reading. This may have been similar to tea leaf reading or astrology, which is a reading of the stars. God forbids the practice Deut. 18:10,14; Lev. 19:26. Wicked King Manasseh was also guilty of this sin 2 Kin. 21:6; 2 Chr. 33:6. The prophets of the Old Testament also condemned this occult practice Is. 2:6; 57:3; Jer. 27:9; Mic. 5:12.
Behind the phrase enchantments (KJV), lie four different Hebrew words. The most common of the four occurs in Genesis 30:27, in reference to Laban's "experience"; in Genesis 44:5- 15, referring to Joseph's cup; and in Numbers 23:23 and 24:1, describing Balaam's activity. Leviticus 19:26 and Deuteronomy 18:10 specifically outlawed this practice as well. Another of the words used for the practice seems to mean "whisper," and it may indicate the way the enchanter lowered his voice. In Ecclesiastes 10:11 interpreting omens is connected with snake charming.
Consulting Mediums may refer to the same thing as practicing wizardry. The word describes the witch at En-dor whom Saul engaged to conduct a seance and bring up the spirit of Samuel 1 Sam. 28:3,9; (familiar spirits, KJV). The woman succeeded, whether by the power of God or the power of the Devil. As with other practices in this list, it was forbidden by the law of God, practiced by bad kings, and condemned by the prophets.
Most occult practices described in the Bible are observed in one form or another in the world today. God's warnings are just as relevant now - shun occultism, or pay horrible consequences.
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Heb.11:6 Rom.10:9 Acts 3:19 John 1:12
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