Our species has always had a curious fascination with the mystery of the occult. Sometimes we have toyed with it. Who could forget the antics of Samantha, Endora, and Uncle Arthur? Poor Darrin never stood a chance in his spell-bound suburban life. Maybe that’s why Dick York was replaced by Dick Sargent after five years of Bewitched. We have had teenage witches named Sabrina. We’ve had witch project named Blair. We’ve had green-faced witches that lived in the west. We are all very aware of the latest dose of pop culture witchcraft that comes to us from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as shared in the Harry Potter books and movies.
Whether or not this is all fun and games is a question that parents need to answer for their children. Parents should note the difference between the computer-generated imagery of Harry Potter and the simple twinkle of Samantha’s nose. In other words, the world of reality and fiction is much easier to skew in today’s graphic-intensive entertainment – especially for small children. At the same time, it is worth noting that some of our most beloved Christian literature includes witchcraft in the story line. The main antagonist in The Chronicles of Narnia, written by literary giant C.S. Lewis, is the White Witch.
The question that we must answer is a serious one. Is it all just fiction, smoke and mirrors? Are we really just talking about the fancy of an author’s imagination or is there some element of truth to this whole matter?
The Scriptures give us an answer that we may be somewhat uncomfortable with. The Bible deals with the occult as if it is real, and as if it is a legitimate threat. Participating in anything like the occult is forbidden in the Law, as revealed in Deuteronomy 18:9-13. Likewise, the New Testament makes it clear that those who practice “sorcery” are destined for hell (see Galatians 5:20-21, Revelation 21:8).
1 Samuel 28 gives us one of the most realistic pictures of the reality of the occult. The deposed king of Israel found himself looking for answers and had no one to talk to. As many do in this situation, he turned to the occult. He snuck out under the cover of darkness and went to the lair of a real-life witch. By doing so, Saul not only broke his own law against such practices – he broke God’s laws. He asked the witch to speak to what amounted to the “Ghost of Samuel.” In what is one of the spookiest scenes in the Bible, Samuel showed up, bearing less than glorious news for the King, informing him that he had less than one day to live.
Did God do this to scare an old witch and a detestable king, or did the Devil stir up a spook? We may not know this side of eternity, but the reality of it cannot be denied. My advice to you this Halloween is to beware of how bewitched you are over these dark mysteries. Remember, Paul cautioned us about these things in Ephesians 6:11-12, “Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” It is important to remember, you may be playing with fiction, or you may be playing with fire. Saul found out the hard way.
Our God is Greater,