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Some things that the Bible has to say about mediums, psychics and witchcraft

Some things that the Bible has to say about mediums,

Some things that the Bible has to say about mediums, psychics and witchcraft

By John Chopores


The Old Testament

Deuteronomy 18:9 ¶ "When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.

Deuteronomy 18:10  "There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer,

Deuteronomy 18:11  "or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead.

The Hebrew word used here for “one who conjures spells”, is “chabar”, it means: “to tie magic charms,  charm”.    

The Hebrew word used here for “spiritist” is “yid-deh-o-nee' ”, it means:  “one that has a familiar spirit”. 


Comments by others:

“#9-14 Was it possible that a people so blessed with Divine institutions,  should ever be in any danger of making those their teachers whom God had made their captives? They were in danger; therefore,  after many like cautions,  they are charged not to do after the abominations of the nations of Canaan. All reckoning of lucky or unlucky days,  all charms for diseases,  all amulets or spells to prevent evil,  fortune-telling,  &c. are here forbidden. These are so wicked as to be a chief cause of the rooting out of the Canaanites. It is amazing to think that there should be any pretenders of this kind in such a land,  and day of light,  as we live in. They are mere impostors who blind and cheat their followers.” [MATTHEW HENRY].       


The New Testament

Acts 16:16 ¶ Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling.

“Ver. 16.


Paul and his companions,  though they were for some time buried in obscurity at Philippi,  yet now begin to be taken notice of.


I. A damsel that had a spirit of divination caused them to be taken notice of,  by proclaiming them to be the servants of God. Observe,


1. The account that is given of this damsel: She was pythonissa,  possessed with such a spirit of divination as that damsel was by whom the oracles of Apollo at Delphos were delivered; she was actuated by an evil spirit,  that dictated ambiguous answers to those who consulted her,  which served to gratify their vain desire of knowing things to come,  but often deceived them. In those times of ignorance,  infidelity, and idolatry,  the devil,  by the divine permission,  thus led men captive at his will; and he could not have gained such adoration from them as he had,  if he had not pretended to give oracles to them,  for by both his usurpation is maintained as the god of this world. This damsel brought her masters much gain by soothsaying; many came to consult this witch for the discovery of robberies,  the finding of things lost,  and especially to be told their fortune,  and none came but with the rewards of divination in their hands,  according to the quality of the person and the importance of the case. Probably there were many that were thus kept for fortune-tellers,  but,  it should seem,  this was more in repute than any of them; for,  while others brought some gain,  this brought much gain to her masters, being consulted more than any other.


2. The testimony which this damsel gave to Paul and his companions: She met them in the street,  as they were going to prayer,  to the house of prayer,  or rather to the work of prayer there,  #Ac 16:16. They went thither publicly,  every body knew whither they were going,  and what they were going to do.  ” [MATTHEW HENRY].


18  And this she did for many days. But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And he came out that very hour.

You will notice, that Paul cast an evil spirit out of her.


Comments by others:

“Being grieved; at her debased and wretched condition,  and the evil she might occasion. In the name of Jesus Christ; this showed that the author of this miracle was not Paul,  but Christ.” [FAMILY].  

“{She did} (epoiei). Imperfect active,  kept it up for many days. The strange conduct gave Paul and the rest an unpleasant prominence in the community. {Being sore troubled} (diaponhyeiv). First aorist passive of diaponew,  old verb, to work laboriously,  then in passive to be "worked up, " displeased,  worn out. In the N.T. only here and #4:2 which see (there of the Sadducees about Peter's preaching). Paul was grieved,  annoyed,  indignant. He wanted no testimony from a source like this any more than he did the homage of the people of Lystra (#14:14). {That very hour} (auth th wra). Locative case of time and familiar Lukan idiom in his Gospel,  "at the hour itself." The cure was instantaneous. Paul,  like Jesus, distinguished between the demon and the individual.” [RWP]. 

“And this she did many days,  &c.] As the apostle and his company passed to and from the oratory,  being for that time at Lydia's house; she followed them,  and repeated the above words. This she was suffered to do,  time after time; not that the apostle and his friends wanted such a testimony,  or that it was of any use to them; but that the expulsion of the evil spirit might be more manliest,  and more taken notice of:


but Paul being grieved; at the unhappy condition the maid was in, being possessed with such a spirit: and that the people were so imposed upon and deluded by it; and that it should be thought that there was any combination and agreement between that and him:


turned; himself to her,  who was behind him,  she following him,  as is said in the preceding verse;

and said to the spirit; or to that spirit, … I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her,  and he came out the same hour; this is an instance of that power which Christ gave to his apostles to cast out devils in his name, #Mt 10:1, Mr 16:17 ” [JOHN GILL].