Ask Your Preacher
I have a very interesting question, and I'm hoping you can help. I know the Bible says you shouldn't mess with spirits, and fortune telling is sinful. However, what if someone didn't ask for this gift? I know it says no one knows the future but God, but what if He gave a gift to someone, and they were using it for good? And what about Ouija boards? I've always been taught they are of the devil. One last thing, I'm from the south, and I've heard a lot about conjurers. In fact, as a child, my grandfather visited one to get a growth removed, and it worked. This woman was a christian and claimed it was a gift from God and not sinful. Is this sinful and of the devil? I am, by the way, very superstitious; however, I do believe the Bible is clear on the boundaries that should not be crossed. Sorry for being so lengthy, but I believe there's a lot of people asking the same things.
Dear Magically Minded,
The dictionary defines ‘superstition’ as ‘a widely held but unjustified belief in supernatural causation leading to certain consequences of an action or event, or a practice based on such a belief’. Superstition means that you are placing trust in the supernatural power of a rabbit’s foot, not walking under ladders, four-leaf clovers, Ouija boards, etc. This is always wrong. We are supposed to place our trust in God (Ps 56:11), and God has clearly said that He doesn’t give people the gifts of fortune telling; all these things are of the devil. Even if a conjurer removed your grandfather’s growth, being a conjurer is still sinful. There are lots of sinful things that have short-term benefits… but long-term consequences.
Superstition is a mild and socially acceptable form of witchcraft or divining. There is no difference between trusting in a lucky coin and trusting in the astrological tables. Astrology and horoscopes are wrong (Deut 4:19, 2 Kgs 23:5); witchcraft and magical arts are wrong (Acts 19:19). Superstition falls into the same category as those practices.
Do you know why the medium freaked out after seeing the ghostly Samuel (1 Sam 28:12)?
Dear Surprise Me,
One reason she was so scared was because once she realized that the man who had hired her to conjure up a ghost was King Saul, she feared for her life. Saul had previously cast out all the mediums from the land (1 Sam 28:3). The other likely reason was that she had never actually seen a ghost! Mediums and sorcerors were charlatans back then just as much as they are today.
I am having an issue with the last piece of my Wiccan past – my tarot cards. I know that I need to get rid of them, but it is becoming painful physically and mentally to even think about getting rid of them. I got past the part of where they are a crutch because of loneliness (having "someone" to talk to and respond back), but I still am hanging on. Any suggestions?
Burn them. Do exactly what the christians in Ephesus did. In Acts 19:19, there were people just like you that had once practiced magical arts. When they converted to Christ, they stopped their practices and burned their books. That is exactly what you should do. You’ll have a fresh start and the relief that only a clean break from evil can give.
Leviticus 19:28 said, “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Why don't I hear too many churches preaching against putting tattoos on your body?
The Old Testament strictly forbade tattoos (Lev 19:28). God was so adamant about it because cutting your flesh and tattooing were common practices of pagan cultures (1 Kgs 18:26-28). Tattooing was a religious practice closely tied to Baal and other idols.
In the New Testament, we are given no specific command against tattoos. It is valuable, however, to see that for a very long time tattoos have had a negative connotation. As a christian, there are many things that we can do but should think carefully about beforehand. Just because I can do something, doesn’t mean it is a good idea (1 Cor 10:23). Tattoos are permanent, and the decision to get one shouldn’t be taken lightly.
In American culture, tattoos can give a negative impression – especially if the tattoo is large or in a highly visible area. Some things to consider:
- Tattoos are a deterrent for some employers. Are you willing to get passed over in a job application?
- People will automatically form judgments about you based upon their first impression of a tattoo. Are you comfortable with being thought of as ‘the weird tatted-up guy’?
- You must also consider what effects it will have long-term. Will you still want Tweety Bird on your shoulder when you are in the nursing home?
- Are you ready to explain to your three-year-old why you have song lyrics on your bicep? Are you okay with your children wanting tattoos themselves?
- Many tattoos change their shape, size, and even location with weight loss and gain. Are you ready for that “cute” bellybutton butterfly to become a condor when you get pregnant?
- Many tattoos are of things that exude evil. Snakes, skulls, demonic signs, bad words, etc. are to be avoided at all costs.
We must always consider our influence and how it will affect others. This is not a right or wrong issue, but simply one of wisdom. God tells us to be wise and seek wisdom in our decisions (Pr 8:33). Whatever decision an individual makes, I recommend seeking outside counsel before getting something as permanent as a tattoo (Pr 11:14). It is not wrong for a christian to get a tattoo, but it certainly isn’t a decision to make lightly.
In both 1 Samuel 28:3 and 2 Kings 23:24, did kings Saul and Josiah execute the mediums, or did they just throw them out of the land? Many versions say "got rid", "put away", "removed", etc., so I'm not sure whether this means they were put to death or were just expelled.
Dead Or Alive
Dear Dead Or Alive,
When Saul removed the mediums from the land in 1 Sam 28:3, the word used means “put away or removed”. Saul cast them out of the land but didn’t necessarily destroy them. The word is ambiguous and leaves room for either expulsion or destruction. The witch of Endor believed that Saul would kill her for practicing her dark arts (1 Sam 28:9).
However, when Josiah removed the occult practitioners from the land, the word used in 2 Kgs 23:24 is a different Hebrew word that means ‘burn up or destroy’. This language is backed up by the Greek Septuagint, which translates the word as ‘to parch, wither’. The stronger language used seems to imply that Josiah put to death all the mediums and spiritists.