WITCHCRAFT, ASTROLOGY & MAGIC in the Bible
Assembled by www.coptics.info
A growing number of people are becoming engrossed in various forms of Spiritualism, and its varied forms such as magic, astrology, sorcery and astrology. From as apparently innocent sources such as Disney studios with all its animated withcraft and scorceries, to cartoons depicting the Smurf dad being a wizard, children have been drawn into the occult at an amazing speed. The Ouija board, a game of communication with the dark spirit realm has now outstripped Monopoly as the leading board game. A quick glance at games in a software shop will lead to the horrifying conclusion that most games involve wizards, witches, spells, violence, killing, and the outright presence of demonic spirits and characters.
Witches, as they used to be known, have taken on the guise of New Age channelers, acting as intermediaries and mediums between the spirit realm and the tangible world. The higher levels of most secret societies such as the Masons, Illuminati and their front organizations, actively, and perhaps ignorantly, practice forms of demonic worship, preparing the world for the coming of Lucifer as the "light bearer," Satan, the beast from the Abyss as he attempts to impersonate Jesus Christ. The New World Order falls neatly into the plans of these organizations.
Astrology is everywhere today. Millions of people follow the teachings of various astrologers. Many will not go to work in the morning unless they have read their horoscope in the morning paper. Tabloids are full of the predictions of various psychics which have a miserable success rate in their predictions of less than 5%. A child could do better.
Soon after the Flood, and accelerating with Nimrod's empire at Babylon, teachings of various demonic agencies began to permeate culture and religion. These Babylonian mysteries were passed down from generation to generation and have arrived in today's society as strong as ever. From ancient Babylon, the implements of spirit worship were passed on to Pergamum and then Rome where they remain in the hands of the Vatican (see list at end for sources of evidence for this). God so detested the practices of demon worship through the various idolatrous religions that He brought Israel back to Canaan to wipe out the nations there because their cup of iniquity was full. Pathetically, the Israelites were seduced by these gods and began worshipping them, even to the point of sacrificing their children to them. How sad that God's image and plan for His people had become so distorted. On account of their prostitution to these foreign gods, the Lord ended up punishing the Israelites and uprooting them from the Land. In a modern parallel, as mankind continues to worship idols of various forms through channelers, astrologers and false prophets, God again will uproot and cleanse the world. For the world's cup of iniquity has just about full.
To really understand the attitude with which God views these practices, a compilation of all the texts in the Bible pertaining to these subjects was done. The words and terms that were searched for are listed below.
In the following stories involving astrologers, wise men and magicians, note that they were unable to absolutely tell the future. Only God can do so, and He was glorified and honored in every case. Watch for this contrast as you study.
LIST OF WORDS SEARCHED FOR
Parentheses ( ) enclose the various suffixes used.
burned incense [to false gods]
consult the dead
omen(s) sacrifices of children (sons/daughters)
seers [only false seers]
starry hosts [worship of]
stars of the heavens [worship of]
sun, moon & stars [worship of]
Additionally, references describing the detestable practices associated with false god worship were located using the various names for these idolatrous gods.
Ashtoreth(s) [Canaanite goddess of love, fertility, also known as Astarte]
Baal(s) [Canaanite god of rain]
Bel [chief god of Babylon]
Chemosh [Maobite god of war]
Dagon [Philistine god of grain]
Marduk [another name for Bel]
Molech [Ammonite god]
Nebo [son of Bel]
Rephan [a god who's roots lie near Sodom]
Queen of Heaven [Egytian goddess]
Tammuz [illegitimate son of Semiramis, the queen of ancient Babylon who had been married to Nimrod, the founder and builder of Babylon (see Gen. 10:8-12). Semiramis claimed that Nimrod became the sun god at his death, and that Tammuz was Nimrod reincarnated. Hence, Tammuz was considered the son of the sun god, or god on earth. Tammuz was born on Dec. 25th. He was killed by a boar in the spring. The 40 days of mourning for Tammuz became the 40 days of Lent. The letter "T" of Tammuz stood for the sun. Human sacrifices to the sun god were hung on a cross, the symbol of the sun. Jesus was crucified this way.]
Gen. 30:25 After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, "Send me on my way so I can go back to my own homeland. 26Give me my wives and children, for whom I have served you, and I will be on my way. You know how much work I've done for you." 27But Laban said to him, "If I have found favor in your eyes, please stay. I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you." 28He added, "Name your wages, and I will pay them."
Pharoah's magicians and wise men could not interpret his dream, but God through Joseph could
Gen. 41:1 When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, 2when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. 3After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. 4And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.
5He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. 6After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted --thin and scorched by the east wind. 7The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.
8In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.
9Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, "Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. 10Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. 11Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. 12Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. 13And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was hanged. "
14So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.
15Pharaoh said to Joseph, "I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it."
16"I cannot do it," Joseph replied to Pharaoh, "but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires."
God gives Pharoah a glimpse of the future
Gen. 41:23 After them, seven other heads sprouted --withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. 24The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none could explain it to me."
25Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, "The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. 26The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. 27The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.
28"It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. 29Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, 30but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. 31The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. 32The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.
Gen. 44:1 Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: "Fill the men's sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man's silver in the mouth of his sack. 2Then put my cup, the silver one, in the mouth of the youngest one's sack, along with the silver for his grain." And he did as Joseph said.
3As morning dawned, the men were sent on their way with their donkeys. 4They had not gone far from the city when Joseph said to his steward, "Go after those men at once, and when you catch up with them, say to them, `Why have you repaid good with evil? 5Isn't this the cup my master drinks from and also uses for divination? This is a wicked thing you have done.'"
6When he caught up with them, he repeated these words to them. 7But they said to him, "Why does my lord say such things? Far be it from your servants to do anything like that! 8We even brought back to you from the land of Canaan the silver we found inside the mouths of our sacks. So why would we steal silver or gold from your master's house? 9If any of your servants is found to have it, he will die; and the rest of us will become my lord's slaves."
10"Very well, then," he said, "let it be as you say. Whoever is found to have it will become my slave; the rest of you will be free from blame."
11Each of them quickly lowered his sack to the ground and opened it. 12Then the steward proceeded to search, beginning with the oldest and ending with the youngest. And the cup was found in Benjamin's sack. 13At this, they tore their clothes. Then they all loaded their donkeys and returned to the city.
14Joseph was still in the house when Judah and his brothers came in, and they threw themselves to the ground before him. 15Joseph said to them, "What is this you have done? Don't you know that a man like me can find things out by divination?"
16"What can we say to my lord?" Judah replied. "What can we say? How can we prove our innocence? God has uncovered your servants' guilt. We are now my lord's slaves --we ourselves and the one who was found to have the cup."
17But Joseph said, "Far be it from me to do such a thing! Only the man who was found to have the cup will become my slave. The rest of you, go back to your father in peace."
Commentary: The reader will recognize that Joseph, a man true to God, clearly recognized what he was doing when he had the cup put into his brother's bag. There was no divination needed to determine what had been done. However, the brothers were probably acceptive of this superstitious custom of the Egyptians and didn't question this explanation.
God sends several plagues on Egypt, yet the magicians and sorcerers appeared to be able to do the some of the same things
Exod. 7:10 So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the LORD commanded. Aaron threw his staff down in front of Pharaoh and his officials, and it became a snake. 11Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts: 12Each one threw down his staff and it became a snake. But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs. 13Yet Pharaoh's heart became hard and he would not listen to them, just as the LORD had said.
Exod. 7:20 Moses and Aaron did just as the LORD had commanded. He raised his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his officials and struck the water of the Nile, and all the water was changed into blood. 21The fish in the Nile died, and the river smelled so bad that the Egyptians could not drink its water. Blood was everywhere in Egypt. 22But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh's heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said. 23Instead, he turned and went into his palace, and did not take even this to heart.
Exod. 8:5 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell Aaron, `Stretch out your hand with your staff over the streams and canals and ponds, and make frogs come up on the land of Egypt.'" 6So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt, and the frogs came up and covered the land. 7But the magicians did the same things by their secret arts; they also made frogs come up on the land of Egypt. 8Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, "Pray to the LORD to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go to offer sacrifices to the LORD."
The sorcerers and magicians finally recognize the hand of God
Exod. 8:17 They did this, and when Aaron stretched out his hand with the staff and struck the dust of the ground, gnats came upon men and animals. All the dust throughout the land of Egypt became gnats. 18But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not. And the gnats were on men and animals. 19The magicians said to Pharaoh, "This is the finger of God." But Pharaoh's heart was hard and he would not listen, just as the LORD had said.
Exod. 9:8 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Take handfuls of soot from a furnace and have Moses toss it into the air in the presence of Pharaoh. 9It will become fine dust over the whole land of Egypt, and festering boils will break out on men and animals throughout the land." 10So they took soot from a furnace and stood before Pharaoh. Moses tossed it into the air, and festering boils broke out on men and animals. 11The magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils that were on them and on all the Egyptians. 12But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said to Moses.
Do not allow a sorceress to live. Do not serve any other god
Exod. 22:18 "Do not allow a sorceress to live. 19"Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death. 20"Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the LORD must be destroyed.
Lev. 18:20 "`Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor's wife and defile yourself with her. 21"`Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. 22"`Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.
Do not practice divination or sorcery - Do not turn to mediums or spiritists for they will defile you
Lev. 19:26 "`Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. "`Do not practice divination or sorcery. 27"`Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard [similar to the men from the pagan nations]. 28"`Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. 29"`Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness. 30"`Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD. 31"`Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God. 32"`Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.
Human sacrifices to demonic gods is not permitted and must be stopped
Lev. 20:1 The LORD said to Moses, 2"Say to the Israelites: `Any Israelite or any alien living in Israel who gives any of his children to Molech must be put to death. The people of the community are to stone him. 3I will set my face against that man and I will cut him off from his people; for by giving his children to Molech, he has defiled my sanctuary and profaned my holy name. 4If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech and they fail to put him to death, 5I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molech. 6"`I will set my face against the person who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute himself by following them, and I will cut him off from his people. 7"`Consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am the LORD your God.
Lev. 20:26 You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. 27"`A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads.'"
Num. 21:28 "Fire went out from Heshbon, a blaze from the city of Sihon. It consumed Ar of Moab, the citizens of Arnon's heights. 29Woe to you, O Moab! You are destroyed, O people of Chemosh! He has given up his sons as fugitives and his daughters as captives to Sihon king of the Amorites. 30"But we have overthrown them; Heshbon is destroyed all the way to Dibon. We have demolished them as far as Nophah, which extends to Medeba."
Introduction: In the following account, the Moabites called Balaam, who used to be a prophet of God and who had turned to divination, to come and curse Israel. He responded, but indicated that he could not cast a spell on Israel or curse them if God would not allow it. Eventually, he ended up blessing Israel. Unfortunately, he recognized that Israel's protection came from obedience to God. At Balaam's recommendation, the Moabites successfully seduced the Israelites to sexual immorality and God withdrew His protection from them. Balaam was eventually slain by the Israelite army, but his notoriety for this fiendish act finds its way even into the book of Revelation (see Rev. 2:14 as well as 2 Peter 2:15).
Num. 22:4 The Moabites said to the elders of Midian, "This horde is going to lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field." So Balak son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, 5sent messengers to summon Balaam son of Beor, who was at Pethor, near the River, in his native land. Balak said: "A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. 6Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the country. For I know that those you bless are blessed, and those you curse are cursed." 7The elders of Moab and Midian left, taking with them the fee for divination. When they came to Balaam, they told him what Balak had said. 8"Spend the night here," Balaam said to them, "and I will bring you back the answer the LORD gives me." So the Moabite princes stayed with him.
Balaam cannot do sorcery or divination against Israel
Num. 23:15 Balaam said to Balak, "Stay here beside your offering while I meet with him over there." 16The LORD met with Balaam and put a message in his mouth and said, "Go back to Balak and give him this message." 17So he went to him and found him standing beside his offering, with the princes of Moab. Balak asked him, "What did the LORD say?" 18Then he uttered his oracle: "Arise, Balak, and listen; hear me, son of Zippor. 19God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? 20I have received a command to bless; he has blessed, and I cannot change it. 21"No misfortune is seen in Jacob, no misery observed in Israel. The LORD their God is with them; the shout of the King is among them. 22God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox. 23There is no sorcery against Jacob, no divination against Israel. It will now be said of Jacob and of Israel, `See what God has done!' 24The people rise like a lioness; they rouse themselves like a lion that does not rest till he devours his prey and drinks the blood of his victims." 25Then Balak said to Balaam, "Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all!" 26Balaam answered, "Did I not tell you I must do whatever the LORD says?"
Balaam utters a blessing rather than a curse on Israel
Num. 24:1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he did not resort to sorcery as at other times, but turned his face toward the desert. 2When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came upon him 3and he uttered his oracle: "The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of one whose eye sees clearly, 4the oracle of one who hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:
5"How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel! 6"Like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by the LORD, like cedars beside the waters. 7Water will flow from their buckets; their seed will have abundant water. "Their king will be greater than Agag; their kingdom will be exalted. 8"God brought them out of Egypt; they have the strength of a wild ox. They devour hostile nations and break their bones in pieces; with their arrows they pierce them. 9Like a lion they crouch and lie down, like a lioness --who dares to rouse them? "May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed!"
10Then Balak's anger burned against Balaam. He struck his hands together and said to him, "I summoned you to curse my enemies, but you have blessed them these three times. 11Now leave at once and go home! I said I would reward you handsomely, but the LORD has kept you from being rewarded."
12Balaam answered Balak, "Did I not tell the messengers you sent me, 13`Even if Balak gave me his palace filled with silver and gold, I could not do anything of my own accord, good or bad, to go beyond the command of the LORD --and I must say only what the LORD says'? 14Now I am going back to my people, but come, let me warn you of what this people will do to your people in days to come."
15Then he uttered his oracle: "The oracle of Balaam son of Beor, the oracle of one whose eye sees clearly, 16the oracle of one who hears the words of God, who has knowledge from the Most High, who sees a vision from the Almighty, who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened: 17"I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the sons of Sheth. 18Edom will be conquered; Seir, his enemy, will be conquered, but Israel will grow strong. 19A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city." 20Then Balaam saw Amalek and uttered his oracle: "Amalek was first among the nations, but he will come to ruin at last." 21Then he saw the Kenites and uttered his oracle: "Your dwelling place is secure, your nest is set in a rock; 22yet you Kenites will be destroyed when Asshur takes you captive." 23Then he uttered his oracle: "Ah, who can live when God does this? 24Ships will come from the shores of Kittim; they will subdue Asshur and Eber, but they too will come to ruin."
25Then Balaam got up and returned home and Balak went his own way.
Do not bow down to the sun, moon or stars
Deut. 4:19 And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars --all the heavenly array --do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.
Deut. 12:29 The LORD your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess. But when you have driven them out and settled in their land, 30and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, "How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same." 31You must not worship the LORD your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the LORD hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. 32See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.
Anyone worshipping the sun, moon or stars is to be put to death
Deut. 17:2 If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the LORD gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the LORD your God in violation of his covenant, 3and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars of the sky, 4and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, 5take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. 6On the testimony of two or three witnesses a man shall be put to death, but no one shall be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. 7The hands of the witnesses must be the first in putting him to death, and then the hands of all the people. You must purge the evil from among you.
Child sacrifices, divination, sorcery, consulting the dead, etc. are detestable to God
Deut. 18:9 When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. 10Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, 11or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. 12Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD, and because of these detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. 13You must be blameless before the LORD your God. 14The nations you will dispossess listen to those who practice sorcery or divination. But as for you, the LORD your God has not permitted you to do so. 15The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him.
Josh. 13:22 In addition to those slain in battle, the Israelites had put to the sword Balaam son of Beor, who practiced divination. 23The boundary of the Reubenites was the bank of the Jordan. These towns and their villages were the inheritance of the Reubenites, clan by clan.
Worshipping other gods provokes our God to anger
Judg. 2:12 They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of Egypt. They followed and worshiped various gods of the peoples around them. They provoked the LORD to anger 13because they forsook him and served Baal and the Ashtoreths. 14In his anger against Israel the LORD handed them over to raiders who plundered them. He sold them to their enemies all around, whom they were no longer able to resist.
Judg. 6:22 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, "Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!" 23 But the LORD said to him, "Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die." 24 So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
25 That same night the LORD said to him, "Take the second bull from your father's herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father's altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. 26 Then build a proper kind of altar to the LORD your God on the top of this height. Using the wood of the Asherah pole that you cut down, offer the second bull as a burnt offering." 27 So Gideon took ten of his servants and did as the LORD told him. But because he was afraid of his family and the men of the town, he did it at night rather than in the daytime. 28 In the morning when the men of the town got up, there was Baal's altar, demolished, with the Asherah pole beside it cut down and the second bull sacrificed on the newly built altar! 29 They asked each other, "Who did this?" When they carefully investigated, they were told, "Gideon son of Joash did it." 30 The men of the town demanded of Joash, "Bring out your son. He must die, because he has broken down Baal's altar and cut down the Asherah pole beside it." 31 But Joash replied to the hostile crowd around him, "Are you going to plead Baal's cause? Are you trying to save him? Whoever fights for him shall be put to death by morning! If Baal really is a god, he can defend himself when someone breaks down his altar." 32 So that day they called Gideon "Jerub-baal, " saying, "Let Baal contend with him," because he broke down Baal's altar.
Judg. 10:5 When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon. 6Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD. They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites and the gods of the Philistines. And because the Israelites forsook the LORD and no longer served him, 7he became angry with them. He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, 8who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead, the land of the Amorites.
Judg. 11:23 "Now since the LORD, the God of Israel, has driven the Amorites out before his people Israel, what right have you to take it over? 24Will you not take what your god Chemosh gives you? Likewise, whatever the LORD our God has given us, we will possess. 25Are you better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel or fight with them?
If you will turn from these detestable things, the Lord will save you
1Sam. 7:2 It was a long time, twenty years in all, that the ark remained at Kiriath Jearim, and all the people of Israel mourned and sought after the LORD. 3And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, "If you are returning to the LORD with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines." 4So the Israelites put away their Baals and Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only. 5Then Samuel said, "Assemble all Israel at Mizpah and I will intercede with the LORD for you."
1Sam. 12:9 "But they forgot the LORD their God; so he sold them into the hand of Sisera, the commander of the army of Hazor, and into the hands of the Philistines and the king of Moab, who fought against them. 10They cried out to the LORD and said, `We have sinned; we have forsaken the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths. But now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve you.' 11Then the LORD sent Jerub-baal, Barak, Jephthah and Samuel, and he delivered you from the hands of your enemies on every side, so that you lived securely.
Rebellion is like the sin of divination and arrogance like the evil of idolatry
1Sam. 15:22 But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king." 24Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the LORD's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them.
King Saul consults the dead via a medium
1Sam. 28:3 Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had mourned for him and buried him in his own town of Ramah. Saul had expelled the mediums and spiritists from the land. 4The Philistines assembled and came and set up camp at Shunem, while Saul gathered all the Israelites and set up camp at Gilboa. 5When Saul saw the Philistine army, he was afraid; terror filled his heart. 6He inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer him by dreams or Urim or prophets. 7Saul then said to his attendants, "Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her." "There is one in Endor," they said.
8So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. "Consult a spirit for me," he said, "and bring up for me the one I name." 9But the woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?" 10Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As surely as the LORD lives, you will not be punished for this."
11Then the woman asked, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" "Bring up Samuel," he said. 12When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!" 13The king said to her, "Don't be afraid. What do you see?" The woman said, "I see a spirit coming up out of the ground." 14"What does he look like?" he asked. "An old man wearing a robe is coming up," she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground.
15Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?"
"I am in great distress," Saul said. "The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has turned away from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do."
16Samuel said, "Why do you consult me, now that the LORD has turned away from you and become your enemy? 17The LORD has done what he predicted through me. The LORD has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors --to David. 18Because you did not obey the LORD or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the LORD has done this to you today. 19The LORD will hand over both Israel and you to the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The LORD will also hand over the army of Israel to the Philistines."
20Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel's words. His strength was gone, for he had eaten nothing all that day and night.
21When the woman came to Saul and saw that he was greatly shaken, she said, "Look, your maidservant has obeyed you. I took my life in my hands and did what you told me to do. 22Now please listen to your servant and let me give you some food so you may eat and have the strength to go on your way."
23He refused and said, "I will not eat." But his men joined the woman in urging him, and he listened to them. He got up from the ground and sat on the couch. 24The woman had a fattened calf at the house, which she butchered at once. She took some flour, kneaded it and baked bread without yeast. 25Then she set it before Saul and his men, and they ate. That same night they got up and left.
Commentary: In this most tragic story, Saul, the king who had been previously God's anointed, turned toward the spirit realm for guidance. Demonic agencies cannot foretell the future. However, they know what God has prophesied in the past, and can repeat it with modifications if they desire. God had told Saul that He was withdrawing His Spirit from him due to Saul's continual rejection of God. 1Chr. 10:13, 14 says "Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, and did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse." Demonic agencies will always try to discourage, decimate, destroy and encourage death or suicide. The spirit posing as Samuel did just that, as we see that Saul lost all of his courage and strength. Subsequently, he did die in the battle with Philistines that ensued. How much different it would have been if he had turn with whole heart and soul to God, in repentance and humility. God may have responded and let Saul's kingdom continue on for a few more years.
1Sam. 31:6 So Saul and his three sons and his armor-bearer and all his men died together that same day. 7When the Israelites along the valley and those across the Jordan saw that the Israelite army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them. 8The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9They cut off his head and stripped off his armor, and they sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news in the temple of their idols and among their people. 10They put his armor in the temple of the Ashtoreths and fastened his body to the wall of Beth Shan.
1Kgs. 11:4 As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God, as the heart of David his father had been. 5He followed Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 6So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the LORD; he did not follow the LORD completely, as David his father had done. 7On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the detestable god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the Ammonites. 8He did the same for all his foreign wives, who burned incense and offered sacrifices to their gods.
Commentary: This is probably one of the saddest accounts of the Bible. It was the sins of this wise king that brought Israel into some of its closest contact with demon worship and idolatry. King Solomon is known in occultic groups as one of the chief occultists. The 6 pointed star commonly used as a symbol of Israel today is called the Star of David or the Magen Dawid. In occultic groups, this symbol is known as the Seal or Shield of Solomon, or the hexagram. Close examination of this symbol reveals its 6 legs in the clockwise direction, 6 legs in the counterclockwise direction and the 6 legs forming the inner hexagon. 666, the number representative of Satan and his agencies. "This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666." (Rev. 13:18).
God tears away part of the kingdom because of their idolatrous sins
1Kgs. 11:32 But for the sake of my servant David and the city of Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, he will have one tribe. 33I will do this because they have forsaken me and worshiped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Molech the god of the Ammonites, and have not walked in my ways, nor done what is right in my eyes, nor kept my statutes and laws as David, Solomon's father, did. 34"But I will not take the whole kingdom out of Solomon's hand; I have made him ruler all the days of his life for the sake of David my servant, whom I chose and who observed my commands and statutes.
2Kgs. 3:26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed. 27Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.
Peace cannot exist when idolatry and witchcraft are present
2Kgs. 9:19 So the king [Joram] sent out a second horseman. When he came to them he said, "This is what the king says: `Do you come in peace?'" Jehu replied, "What do you have to do with peace? Fall in behind me." 20The lookout reported, "He has reached them, but he isn't coming back either. The driving is like that of Jehu son of Nimshi --he drives like a madman." 21"Hitch up my chariot," Joram ordered. And when it was hitched up, Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah rode out, each in his own chariot, to meet Jehu. They met him at the plot of ground that had belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. 22When Joram saw Jehu he asked, "Have you come in peace, Jehu?" "How can there be peace," Jehu replied, "as long as all the idolatry and witchcraft of your mother Jezebel abound?" 23Joram turned about and fled, calling out to Ahaziah, "Treachery, Ahaziah!" 24Then Jehu drew his bow and shot Joram between the shoulders. The arrow pierced his heart and he slumped down in his chariot. 25Jehu said to Bidkar, his chariot officer, "Pick him up and throw him on the field that belonged to Naboth the Jezreelite. Remember how you and I were riding together in chariots behind Ahab his father when the LORD made this prophecy about him: 26`Yesterday I saw the blood of Naboth and the blood of his sons, declares the LORD, and I will surely make you pay for it on this plot of ground, declares the LORD.' Now then, pick him up and throw him on that plot, in accordance with the word of the LORD."
2Kgs. 16:2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD his God. 3He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and even sacrificed his son in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 4He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree.
2Kgs. 17:15 They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things the LORD had forbidden them to do. 16They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal. 17They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire. They practiced divination and sorcery and sold themselves to do evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 18So the LORD was very angry with Israel and removed them from his presence. Only the tribe of Judah was left, 19and even Judah did not keep the commands of the LORD their God. They followed the practices Israel had introduced. 20Therefore the LORD rejected all the people of Israel; he afflicted them and gave them into the hands of plunderers, until he thrust them from his presence.
Manasseh follows foreign gods wholeheartedly
2Kgs. 21:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother's name was Hephzibah. 2He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 3He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had destroyed; he also erected altars to Baal and made an Asherah pole, as Ahab king of Israel had done. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4He built altars in the temple of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, "In Jerusalem I will put my Name." 5In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6He sacrificed his own son in the fire, practiced sorcery and divination, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 7He took the carved Asherah pole he had made and put it in the temple, of which the LORD had said to David and to his son Solomon, "In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever.
King Josiah leads a great revival
2Kgs. 23:3 The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD --to follow the LORD and keep his commands, regulations and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.
4The king ordered Hilkiah the high priest, the priests next in rank and the doorkeepers to remove from the temple of the LORD all the articles made for Baal and Asherah and all the starry hosts. He burned them outside Jerusalem in the fields of the Kidron Valley and took the ashes to Bethel. 5He did away with the pagan priests appointed by the kings of Judah to burn incense on the high places of the towns of Judah and on those around Jerusalem --those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and moon, to the constellations and to all the starry hosts. 6He took the Asherah pole from the temple of the LORD to the Kidron Valley outside Jerusalem and burned it there. He ground it to powder and scattered the dust over the graves of the common people. 7He also tore down the quarters of the male shrine prostitutes, which were in the temple of the LORD and where women did weaving for Asherah.
8Josiah brought all the priests from the towns of Judah and desecrated the high places, from Geba to Beersheba, where the priests had burned incense. He broke down the shrines at the gates --at the entrance to the Gate of Joshua, the city governor, which is on the left of the city gate. 9Although the priests of the high places did not serve at the altar of the LORD in Jerusalem, they ate unleavened bread with their fellow priests. 10He desecrated Topheth, which was in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, so no one could use it to sacrifice his son or daughter in the fire to Molech. 11He removed from the entrance to the temple of the LORD the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were in the court near the room of an official named Nathan-melech. Josiah then burned the chariots dedicated to the sun.
12He pulled down the altars the kings of Judah had erected on the roof near the upper room of Ahaz, and the altars Manasseh had built in the two courts of the temple of the LORD. He removed them from there, smashed them to pieces and threw the rubble into the Kidron Valley. 13The king also desecrated the high places that were east of Jerusalem on the south of the Hill of Corruption --the ones Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the vile goddess of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the vile god of Moab, and for Molech the detestable god of the people of Ammon. 14Josiah smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones.
15Even the altar at Bethel, the high place made by Jeroboam son of Nebat, who had caused Israel to sin --even that altar and high place he demolished. He burned the high place and ground it to powder, and burned the Asherah pole also. 16Then Josiah looked around, and when he saw the tombs that were there on the hillside, he had the bones removed from them and burned on the altar to defile it, in accordance with the word of the LORD proclaimed by the man of God who foretold these things.
17The king asked, "What is that tombstone I see?" The men of the city said, "It marks the tomb of the man of God who came from Judah and pronounced against the altar of Bethel the very things you have done to it."
18"Leave it alone," he said. "Don't let anyone disturb his bones." So they spared his bones and those of the prophet who had come from Samaria.
19Just as he had done at Bethel, Josiah removed and defiled all the shrines at the high places that the kings of Israel had built in the towns of Samaria that had provoked the LORD to anger. 20Josiah slaughtered all the priests of those high places on the altars and burned human bones on them. Then he went back to Jerusalem.
21The king gave this order to all the people: "Celebrate the Passover to the LORD your God, as it is written in this Book of the Covenant." 22Not since the days of the judges who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed. 23But in the eighteenth year of King Josiah, this Passover was celebrated to the LORD in Jerusalem.
24Furthermore, Josiah got rid of the mediums and spiritists, the household gods, the idols and all the other detestable things seen in Judah and Jerusalem. This he did to fulfill the requirements of the law written in the book that Hilkiah the priest had discovered in the temple of the LORD. 25Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did --with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.
Commentary: Note the long list of items that King Josiah had to remove from his country. Priests, altars, high places, temples, sacred stones, Asherah poles, chariots and horses dedicated to the sun, mediums, spiritists, household gods, idols, etc., anything at all that could come between his people and the true God. Do our houses need cleansing from pagan symbols and items that stand between us and God?
Saul dies because of his unfaithfulness
1Chr. 10:6 So Saul and his three sons died, and all his house died together. 7When all the Israelites in the valley saw that the army had fled and that Saul and his sons had died, they abandoned their towns and fled. And the Philistines came and occupied them. 8The next day, when the Philistines came to strip the dead, they found Saul and his sons fallen on Mount Gilboa. 9They stripped him and took his head and his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines to proclaim the news among their idols and their people. 10They put his armor in the temple of their gods and hung up his head in the temple of Dagon. 11When all the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead heard of everything the Philistines had done to Saul, 12all their valiant men went and took the bodies of Saul and his sons and brought them to Jabesh. Then they buried their bones under the great tree in Jabesh, and they fasted seven days. 13Saul died because he was unfaithful to the LORD; he did not keep the word of the LORD and even consulted a medium for guidance, 14and did not inquire of the LORD. So the LORD put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.
2Chr. 28:1 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem sixteen years. Unlike David his father, he did not do what was right in the eyes of the LORD. 2He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel and also made cast idols for worshiping the Baals. 3He burned sacrifices in the Valley of Ben Hinnom and sacrificed his sons in the fire, following the detestable ways of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 4He offered sacrifices and burned incense at the high places, on the hilltops and under every spreading tree. 5Therefore the LORD his God handed him over to the king of Aram. The Arameans defeated him and took many of his people as prisoners and brought them to Damascus. He was also given into the hands of the king of Israel, who inflicted heavy casualties on him.
The evils of Manasseh
2Chr. 33:1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. 2He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, following the detestable practices of the nations the LORD had driven out before the Israelites. 3He rebuilt the high places his father Hezekiah had demolished; he also erected altars to the Baals and made Asherah poles. He bowed down to all the starry hosts and worshiped them. 4He built altars in the temple of the LORD, of which the LORD had said, "My Name will remain in Jerusalem forever." 5In both courts of the temple of the LORD, he built altars to all the starry hosts. 6He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. 7He took the carved image he had made and put it in God's temple, of which God had said to David and to his son Solomon, "In this temple and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my Name forever.
A sacrifice to Molech is a sacrifice to demons
Ps. 106:32 By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them; 33for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses' lips. 34They did not destroy the peoples as the LORD had commanded them, 35but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. 36They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them. 37They sacrificed their sons and their daughters to demons. 38They shed innocent blood, the blood of their sons and daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of Canaan, and the land was desecrated by their blood. 39They defiled themselves by what they did; by their deeds they prostituted themselves. 40Therefore the LORD was angry with his people and abhorred his inheritance. 41He handed them over to the nations, and their foes ruled over them.
Prov. 2:12 Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. 16It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, 17who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. 18For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 19None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.
Isa. 2:5 Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the LORD. 6You have abandoned your people, the house of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and clasp hands with pagans. 7Their land is full of silver and gold; there is no end to their treasures. Their land is full of horses; there is no end to their chariots.
Isa. 3:1 See now, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water, 2the hero and warrior, the judge and prophet, the soothsayer and elder, 3the captain of fifty and man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter. 4I will make boys their officials; mere children will govern them.
Why consult the dead for the living?
Isa. 8:18 Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion. 19When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.
Commentary: Not all information or signs given supernaturally are from God. The evil one, through signs, wonders and lying spirits speaks deceptive words. Ignorant or uninformed people are amazed and accept the information spoken or signs given. But as Christians, we are not to accept the information given if it does not meet the Biblical test. God gives us this test, "When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. " (Isa. 8:19 , 20)
1John 4:1-3 says, "Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.
We must compare the information or signs given against the Bible, comparing rule upon rule, line upon line, (Isa. 28:10 KJV), else the very elect might be deceived. "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect --if that were possible" (Matt. 24:24). See the compilations on "Miracles, Signs and Wonders" and the "Holy Spirit" for more Biblical information on this topic.
Isa. 19:2 "I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian-- brother will fight against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom. 3The Egyptians will lose heart, and I will bring their plans to nothing; they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead, the mediums and the spiritists. 4I will hand the Egyptians over to the power of a cruel master, and a fierce king will rule over them," declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
God stretched out the heavens and the earth
Isa. 44:24 "This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb: I am the LORD, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, 25who foils the signs of false prophets and makes fools of diviners, who overthrows the learning of the wise and turns it into nonsense, 26who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messengers, who says of Jerusalem, `It shall be inhabited,' of the towns of Judah, `They shall be built,' and of their ruins, `I will restore them,' 27who says to the watery deep, `Be dry, and I will dry up your streams,' 28who says of Cyrus, `He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, "Let it be rebuilt," and of the temple, "Let its foundations be laid." '
Isa. 45:11 "This is what the LORD says-- the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? 12It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts. 13I will raise up Cyrus in my righteousness: I will make all his ways straight. He will rebuild my city and set my exiles free, but not for a price or reward, says the LORD Almighty."
The gods of Babylon shall go into exile
Isa. 46:1 Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary. 2They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity.
Isa. 47:8 "Now then, listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, `I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.' 9Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells. 10You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, `No one sees me.' Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, `I am, and there is none besides me.' 11Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you. 12"Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror. 13All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. 14Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by.
Pagan symbols behind doors - Adultery with other gods
Isa. 57:1 The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. 2Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death. 3"But you --come here, you sons of a sorceress, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes! 4Whom are you mocking? At whom do you sneer and stick out your tongue? Are you not a brood of rebels, the offspring of liars? 5You burn with lust among the oaks and under every spreading tree; you sacrifice your children in the ravines and under the overhanging crags. 6[The idols] among the smooth stones of the ravines are your portion; they, they are your lot. Yes, to them you have poured out drink offerings and offered grain offerings. In the light of these things, should I relent? 7You have made your bed on a high and lofty hill; there you went up to offer your sacrifices. 8Behind your doors and your doorposts you have put your pagan symbols. Forsaking me, you uncovered your bed, you climbed into it and opened it wide; you made a pact with those whose beds you love, and you looked on their nakedness. 9You went to Molech with olive oil and increased your perfumes. You sent your ambassadors far away; you descended to the grave itself! 10You were wearied by all your ways, but you would not say, `It is hopeless.' You found renewal of your strength, and so you did not faint.
Jer. 7:17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. 19But am I the one they are provoking? declares the LORD. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?
Those who worship the sun, moon and stars will be exposed to them
Jer. 8:1 "`At that time, declares the LORD, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves. 2They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like refuse lying on the ground. 3Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the LORD Almighty.'
Commentary: Those who worship the sun, moon and stars will be exposed to the sun in the ultimate sense in the fourth of the seven last plagues. In this plague recorded in Rev. 16:8, 9, the sun is given power to scorch those who have not received the seal of God. Men, by observing worship on the day of the sun, while defiling the seventh day, rebel against God's commandments and the institution of worship on the seventh day of the week, His Sabbath, which is the Seal of God. For more information on this subject, see the Scripture compilation on the subject of the "Sabbath and the Lord's Day."
Jer. 19:12 This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here, declares the LORD. I will make this city like Topheth. 13The houses in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled like this place, Topheth --all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs to all the starry hosts and poured out drink offerings to other gods.'"
Jer. 27:8 "`"If, however, any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or bow its neck under his yoke, I will punish that nation with the sword, famine and plague, declares the LORD, until I destroy it by his hand. 9So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers who tell you, `You will not serve the king of Babylon.' 10They prophesy lies to you that will only serve to remove you far from your lands; I will banish you and you will perish.
Jer. 32:34 They set up their abominable idols in the house that bears my Name and defiled it. 35They built high places for Baal in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded, nor did it enter my mind, that they should do such a detestable thing and so make Judah sin.
God uses the Babylonian army to desecrate the gods of Egypt
Jer. 43:10 Then say to them, `This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and I will set his throne over these stones I have buried here; he will spread his royal canopy above them. 11He will come and attack Egypt, bringing death to those destined for death, captivity to those destined for captivity, and the sword to those destined for the sword. 12He will set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt; he will burn their temples and take their gods captive. As a shepherd wraps his garment around him, so will he wrap Egypt around himself and depart from there unscathed. 13There in the temple of the sun in Egypt he will demolish the sacred pillars and will burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt.'"
The remnant of Israel rebels against God by burning incense to the Queen of Heaven
Jer. 44:15 Then all the men who knew that their wives were burning incense to other gods, along with all the women who were present --a large assembly --and all the people living in Lower and Upper Egypt, said to Jeremiah, 16"We will not listen to the message you have spoken to us in the name of the LORD! 17We will certainly do everything we said we would: We will burn incense to the Queen of Heaven and will pour out drink offerings to her just as we and our fathers, our kings and our officials did in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. At that time we had plenty of food and were well off and suffered no harm. 18But ever since we stopped burning incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have had nothing and have been perishing by sword and famine."
19The women added, "When we burned incense to the Queen of Heaven and poured out drink offerings to her, did not our husbands know that we were making cakes like her image and pouring out drink offerings to her?"
20Then Jeremiah said to all the people, both men and women, who were answering him, 21"Did not the LORD remember and think about the incense burned in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem by you and your fathers, your kings and your officials and the people of the land? 22When the LORD could no longer endure your wicked actions and the detestable things you did, your land became an object of cursing and a desolate waste without inhabitants, as it is today. 23Because you have burned incense and have sinned against the LORD and have not obeyed him or followed his law or his decrees or his stipulations, this disaster has come upon you, as you now see."
24Then Jeremiah said to all the people, including the women, "Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah in Egypt. 25This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: You and your wives have shown by your actions what you promised when you said, `We will certainly carry out the vows we made to burn incense and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven.' "Go ahead then, do what you promised! Keep your vows! 26But hear the word of the LORD, all Jews living in Egypt: `I swear by my great name,' says the LORD, `that no one from Judah living anywhere in Egypt will ever again invoke my name or swear, "As surely as the Sovereign LORD lives." 27For I am watching over them for harm, not for good; the Jews in Egypt will perish by sword and famine until they are all destroyed. 28Those who escape the sword and return to the land of Judah from Egypt will be very few. Then the whole remnant of Judah who came to live in Egypt will know whose word will stand --mine or theirs.
God will send the pagan gods and their people into exile
Jer. 48:4 Moab will be broken; her little ones will cry out. 5They go up the way to Luhith, weeping bitterly as they go; on the road down to Horonaim anguished cries over the destruction are heard. 6Flee! Run for your lives; become like a bush in the desert. 7Since you trust in your deeds and riches, you too will be taken captive, and Chemosh will go into exile, together with his priests and officials. 8The destroyer will come against every town, and not a town will escape. The valley will be ruined and the plateau destroyed, because the LORD has spoken. 9Put salt on Moab, for she will be laid waste; her towns will become desolate, with no one to live in them. 10"A curse on him who is lax in doing the LORD's work! A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed! 11"Moab has been at rest from youth, like wine left on its dregs, not poured from one jar to another-- she has not gone into exile. So she tastes as she did, and her aroma is unchanged. 12But days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will send men who pour from jars, and they will pour her out; they will empty her jars and smash her jugs. 13Then Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed when they trusted in Bethel. . . . 45"In the shadow of Heshbon the fugitives stand helpless, for a fire has gone out from Heshbon, a blaze from the midst of Sihon; it burns the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of the noisy boasters. 46Woe to you, O Moab! The people of Chemosh are destroyed; your sons are taken into exile and your daughters into captivity. 47"Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in days to come," declares the LORD. Here ends the judgment on Moab.
Jer. 49:1 Concerning the Ammonites: This is what the LORD says: "Has Israel no sons? Has she no heirs? Why then has Molech taken possession of Gad? Why do his people live in its towns? 2But the days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will sound the battle cry against Rabbah of the Ammonites; it will become a mound of ruins, and its surrounding villages will be set on fire. Then Israel will drive out those who drove her out," says the LORD. 3"Wail, O Heshbon, for Ai is destroyed! Cry out, O inhabitants of Rabbah! Put on sackcloth and mourn; rush here and there inside the walls, for Molech will go into exile, together with his priests and officials.
Jer. 50:1 This is the word the LORD spoke through Jeremiah the prophet concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians: 2"Announce and proclaim among the nations, lift up a banner and proclaim it; keep nothing back, but say, `Babylon will be captured; Bel will be put to shame, Marduk filled with terror. Her images will be put to shame and her idols filled with terror.' 3A nation from the north will attack her and lay waste her land. No one will live in it; both men and animals will flee away. . . .
35"A sword against the Babylonians!" declares the LORD-- "against those who live in Babylon and against her officials and wise men! 36A sword against her false prophets! They will become fools. A sword against her warriors! They will be filled with terror. 37A sword against her horses and chariots and all the foreigners in her ranks! They will become women. A sword against her treasures! They will be plundered.
Jer. 51:43 Her towns will be desolate, a dry and desert land, a land where no one lives, through which no man travels. 44I will punish Bel in Babylon and make him spew out what he has swallowed. The nations will no longer stream to him. And the wall of Babylon will fall. 45"Come out of her, my people! Run for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the LORD.
The Lord shows Ezekiel the detestable practices of his people
Ezek. 8:8 [The Lord] said to me, "Son of man, now dig into the wall." So I dug into the wall and saw a doorway there. 9And he said to me, "Go in and see the wicked and detestable things they are doing here." 10So I went in and looked, and I saw portrayed all over the walls all kinds of crawling things and detestable animals and all the idols of the house of Israel. 11In front of them stood seventy elders of the house of Israel, and Jaazaniah son of Shaphan was standing among them. Each had a censer in his hand, and a fragrant cloud of incense was rising. 12He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen what the elders of the house of Israel are doing in the darkness, each at the shrine of his own idol? They say, `The LORD does not see us; the LORD has forsaken the land.'" 13Again, he said, "You will see them doing things that are even more detestable." 14Then he brought me to the entrance to the north gate of the house of the LORD, and I saw women sitting there, mourning for Tammuz. 15He said to me, "Do you see this, son of man? You will see things that are even more detestable than this." 16He then brought me into the inner court of the house of the LORD, and there at the entrance to the temple, between the portico and the altar, were about twenty-five men. With their backs toward the temple of the LORD and their faces toward the east, they were bowing down to the sun in the east. 17He said to me, "Have you seen this, son of man? Is it a trivial matter for the house of Judah to do the detestable things they are doing here? Must they also fill the land with violence and continually provoke me to anger? Look at them putting the branch to their nose! 18Therefore I will deal with them in anger; I will not look on them with pity or spare them. Although they shout in my ears, I will not listen to them."
Ezek. 13:17 "Now, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who prophesy out of their own imagination. Prophesy against them 18and say, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the women who sew magic charms on all their wrists and make veils of various lengths for their heads in order to ensnare people. Will you ensnare the lives of my people but preserve your own? 19You have profaned me among my people for a few handfuls of barley and scraps of bread. By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live. 20"`Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds. 21I will tear off your veils and save my people from your hands, and they will no longer fall prey to your power. Then you will know that I am the LORD. 22Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, 23therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the LORD.'"
Commentary: The description of the women in the previous paragraph reminds me of the way a number of gypsies or fortunetellers dress, with magic charms, veil type headdresses, practicing divination via their crystal balls, reading palms, tea leaves or tarot cards, and casting spells for their clients.
When the Israelites sacrificed their children, they sacrificed God's children
Ezek. 16:19 Also the food I provided for you --the fine flour, olive oil and honey I gave you to eat --you offered as fragrant incense before them. That is what happened, declares the Sovereign LORD. 20"`And you took your sons and daughters whom you bore to me and sacrificed them as food to the idols. Was your prostitution not enough? 21You slaughtered my children and sacrificed them to the idols.
God will not hear those who defile themselves
Ezek. 20:30 "Therefore say to the house of Israel: `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Will you defile yourselves the way your fathers did and lust after their vile images? 31When you offer your gifts --the sacrifice of your sons in the fire --you continue to defile yourselves with all your idols to this day. Am I to let you inquire of me, O house of Israel? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will not let you inquire of me. 32"`You say, "We want to be like the nations, like the peoples of the world, who serve wood and stone." But what you have in mind will never happen.
Ezek. 21:20 Mark out one road for the sword to come against Rabbah of the Ammonites and another against Judah and fortified Jerusalem. 21For the king of Babylon will stop at the fork in the road, at the junction of the two roads, to seek an omen: He will cast lots with arrows, he will consult his idols, he will examine the liver. 22Into his right hand will come the lot for Jerusalem, where he is to set up battering rams, to give the command to slaughter, to sound the battle cry, to set battering rams against the gates, to build a ramp and to erect siege works. 23It will seem like a false omen to those who have sworn allegiance to him, but he will remind them of their guilt and take them captive. 24"Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: `Because you people have brought to mind your guilt by your open rebellion, revealing your sins in all that you do --because you have done this, you will be taken captive.
Ezek. 23:36 The LORD said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then confront them with their detestable practices, 37for they have committed adultery and blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols; they even sacrificed their children, whom they bore to me, as food for them.
Dan. 1:19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service. 20In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. 21And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
Magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers cannot know the future, nor what another man dreams, but God can!
Dan. 2:1 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. 2So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, 3he said to them, "I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means. "
4Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it."
5The king replied to the astrologers, "This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. 6But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me."
7Once more they replied, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it."
8Then the king answered, "I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: 9If you do not tell me the dream, there is just one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me."
10The astrologers answered the king, "There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. 11What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men."
12This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. 13So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.
14When Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. 15He asked the king's officer, "Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?" Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.
17Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 18He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision.
Then Daniel praised the God of heaven 20and said: "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. 21He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king."
24Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, "Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him."
25Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, "I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means."
26The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), "Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?"
27Daniel replied, "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come.
Dan. 3:7 Therefore, as soon as they heard the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and men of every language fell down and worshiped the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 8At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! 10You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon --Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego --who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up."
Daniel has the gift of interpretation from God
Dan. 4:6 So I commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be brought before me to interpret the dream for me. 7When the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners came, I told them the dream, but they could not interpret it for me. 8Finally, Daniel came into my presence and I told him the dream. (He is called Belteshazzar, after the name of my god, and the spirit of the holy gods is in him.) 9I said, "Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no mystery is too difficult for you. Here is my dream; interpret it for me.
Commentary: You may remember from the word list that one of the main Babylonian gods was named Bel. The name given to Daniel by the king was "Bel-teshazzar, after the name of my god".
A declaration against Babylon
Dan. 5:1 King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. 2While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them. 3So they brought in the gold goblets that had been taken from the temple of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines drank from them. 4As they drank the wine, they praised the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, wood and stone.
5Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. 6His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.
7The king called out for the enchanters, astrologers and diviners to be brought and said to these wise men of Babylon, "Whoever reads this writing and tells me what it means will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around his neck, and he will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom."
8Then all the king's wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king what it meant. 9So King Belshazzar became even more terrified and his face grew more pale. His nobles were baffled.
10The queen [possibly the queen mother], hearing the voices of the king and his nobles, came into the banquet hall. "O king, live forever!" she said. "Don't be alarmed! Don't look so pale! 11There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the time of your father he was found to have insight and intelligence and wisdom like that of the gods. King Nebuchadnezzar your father --your father the king, I say --appointed him chief of the magicians, enchanters, astrologers and diviners. 12This man Daniel, whom the king called Belteshazzar, was found to have a keen mind and knowledge and understanding, and also the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles and solve difficult problems. Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means."
13So Daniel was brought before the king, and the king said to him, "Are you Daniel, one of the exiles my father the king brought from Judah? 14I have heard that the spirit of the gods is in you and that you have insight, intelligence and outstanding wisdom. 15The wise men and enchanters were brought before me to read this writing and tell me what it means, but they could not explain it. 16Now I have heard that you are able to give interpretations and to solve difficult problems. If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom."
17Then Daniel answered the king, "You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.
18"O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar sovereignty and greatness and glory and splendor. 19Because of the high position he gave him, all the peoples and nations and men of every language dreaded and feared him. Those the king wanted to put to death, he put to death; those he wanted to spare, he spared; those he wanted to promote, he promoted; and those he wanted to humble, he humbled. 20But when his heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. 21He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like cattle; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes.
22"But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this. 23Instead, you have set yourself up against the Lord of heaven. You had the goblets from his temple brought to you, and you and your nobles, your wives and your concubines drank wine from them. You praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which cannot see or hear or understand. But you did not honor the God who holds in his hand your life and all your ways. 24Therefore he sent the hand that wrote the inscription.
25"This is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN 26"This is what these words mean: Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. 27Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. 28Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."
29Then at Belshazzar's command, Daniel was clothed in purple, a gold chain was placed around his neck, and he was proclaimed the third highest ruler in the kingdom.
30That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, 31and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.
Commentary: For a prophecy of God regarding the take over of Babylon, see Jeremiah 50 and 51. Note especially Jer. 51, verses 11, 39 and 57.
The Israelites prostituted themselves to other gods
Hosea 4:10 "They will eat but not have enough; they will engage in prostitution but not increase, because they have deserted the LORD to give themselves 11to prostitution, to old wine and new, which take away the understanding 12of my people. They consult a wooden idol and are answered by a stick of wood. A spirit of prostitution leads them astray; they are unfaithful to their God. 13They sacrifice on the mountaintops and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar and terebinth, where the shade is pleasant. Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution and your daughters-in-law to adultery. 14"I will not punish your daughters when they turn to prostitution, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery, because the men themselves consort with harlots and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes-- a people without understanding will come to ruin! 15"Though you commit adultery, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty. "Do not go to Gilgal; do not go up to Beth Aven. And do not swear, `As surely as the LORD lives!' 16The Israelites are stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. How then can the LORD pasture them like lambs in a meadow? 17Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone!
Micah 3:5 This is what the LORD says: "As for the prophets who lead my people astray, if one feeds them, they proclaim `peace'; if he does not, they prepare to wage war against him. 6Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them. 7The seers will be ashamed and the diviners disgraced. They will all cover their faces because there is no answer from God."
God prophecies the destruction of Judah because of her wickedness
Micah 5:11 I will destroy the cities of your land and tear down all your strongholds. 12I will destroy your witchcraft and you will no longer cast spells. 13I will destroy your carved images and your sacred stones from among you; you will no longer bow down to the work of your hands.
Nahum 3:1 Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims! 2The crack of whips, the clatter of wheels, galloping horses and jolting chariots! 3Charging cavalry, flashing swords and glittering spears! Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses-- 4all because of the wanton lust of a harlot, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft. 5"I am against you," declares the LORD Almighty. "I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame. 6I will pelt you with filth, I will treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle. 7All who see you will flee from you and say, `Nineveh is in ruins --who will mourn for her?' Where can I find anyone to comfort you?"
Zeph. 1:4 "I will stretch out my hand against Judah and against all who live in Jerusalem. I will cut off from this place every remnant of Baal, the names of the pagan and the idolatrous priests-- 5those who bow down on the roofs to worship the starry host, those who bow down and swear by the LORD and who also swear by Molech, 6those who turn back from following the LORD and neither seek the LORD nor inquire of him. 7Be silent before the Sovereign LORD, for the day of the LORD is near. The LORD has prepared a sacrifice; he has consecrated those he has invited. 8On the day of the LORD's sacrifice I will punish the princes and the king's sons and all those clad in foreign clothes. 9On that day I will punish all who avoid stepping on the threshold, who fill the temple of their gods with violence and deceit.
The Lord will testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers
Mal. 3:1 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. 2But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. 3He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, 4and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years. 5"So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty. 6"I the LORD do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.
Watch out for false prophets!
Matt. 7:14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. 15"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them. 21"Not everyone who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22Many will say to me on that day, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' 23Then I will tell them plainly, `I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
Matt. 24:10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. . . . 23At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!' or, `There he is!' do not believe it. 24For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect --if that were possible. 25See, I have told you ahead of time. 26"So if anyone tells you, `There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, `Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. 27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Do not be deceived by false prophets
Mark 13:21 At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!' or, `Look, there he is!' do not believe it. 22For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect --if that were possible. 23So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time. 24"But in those days, following that distress, "`the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.' 26"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens.
Luke 6:25 Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. 26Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets. 27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Stephan's discourse before the Sanhedrin
Acts 7:42 But God turned away and gave them over to the worship of the heavenly bodies. This agrees with what is written in the book of the prophets: "`Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? 43You have lifted up the shrine of Molech and the star of your god Rephan, the idols you made to worship. Therefore I will send you into exile' beyond Babylon.
Commentary: Stephan was quoting the Septuagint version of Amos 5, verses 25 and 26 here. "Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the desert, O house of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of Molech, the star of your god Rephan, their idols, -- which you made for yourselves." (verse 26 per NIV marginal reference). The marginal reference also gives another translation based on other manuscripts as: You have lifted up Sukkuth your king, Kaiwan your idols, your star-gods-- which you made for yourselves." The body of the NIV text reads: "You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god-- which you made for yourselves."
Acts 8:9 Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power." 11They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw. 14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money 19and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." 20Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin." 24Then Simon answered, "Pray to the Lord for me so that nothing you have said may happen to me."
God's power overcomes a sorcerer and a soul is won
Acts 13:5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper. 6They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-jesus, 7who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10"You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun." Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
Acts 19:18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. 19A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
Gal. 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
True prophecy comes through the Holy Spirit
2Pet. 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2Pet. 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them --bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute.
Test the spirits
1John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.
Mankind will continue worshipping demons in spite of God's trumpeting events
Rev. 9:20 The rest of mankind that were not killed by these plagues still did not repent of the work of their hands; they did not stop worshiping demons, and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood --idols that cannot see or hear or walk. 21Nor did they repent of their murders, their magic arts, their sexual immorality or their thefts.
Rev. 16:12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East. 13Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.
Rev. 18:22 The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No workman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again. 23The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world's great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray. 24In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth."
Rev. 19:19 Then I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies gathered together to make war against the rider on the horse and his army. 20But the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who had performed the miraculous signs on his behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. The two of them were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. 21The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
Rev. 20:7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth --Gog and Magog --to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
Those who practice magic arts or idolatry will have no place in heaven
Rev. 21:6 He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars --their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death."
Rev. 22:14 "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. 16"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
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