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What does the Bible say about enchantment?

Bible enchantment audio

In modern usage, the word enchantment can refer to the feeling of being attracted by something interesting, pretty, or exciting. But in the Bible enchantment usually refers the practice of the magic arts. Enchantment, as a part of witchcraft and sorcery, was clearly forbidden in God’s Law (Leviticus 19:26; 2 Kings 21:6). An enchanter was one who cast spells or put “curses” on someone. Some English translations use the words diviner, magician, fortune-teller, necromancer, or astrologer to identify someone who practiced enchantment.

Only two sources of power exist in the universe: those that originate with God, and those that God has allowed Satan to control (Job 1:12). Since time began, God has commanded us to listen and obey Him alone (Genesis 2:16–17). Although He gives us the freedom to choose our master, God has always had strong words for human beings who dabble in Satan’s territory (Deuteronomy 18:14; Isaiah 2:6; Revelation 9:21). He will not tolerate our idolatry or our fascination with enchantment (Exodus 22:18).

It is also interesting to note that the Greek word pharmakeia, translated in Galatians 5:20 as “witchcraft” or “sorcery,” is also a word that implies the use of magic potions and mind-altering substances as part of a sorcerer’s enchantment. From this Greek word we get the English word pharmacy, associated with the manufacture and dispensing of drugs. This word is used again in Revelation 18:23 by an angel executing God’s judgments upon Babylon, in part because of her refusal to repent from her “magic spell”—pharmakeia—or enchantments of every sort.

With this deeper understanding of all that enchantment encompasses, the Bible’s prohibition of it becomes even more relevant for our day. Our world’s out-of-control abuse of mind-altering substances has its roots in satanic enchantment. The very demons of hell thrive in environments where drugs, witchcraft, necromancy, and psychics are celebrated (2 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Chronicles 10:13; Leviticus 20:27; Acts 13:6–11). What our sinful flesh finds enchanting, God knows will destroy us. So He prohibits involvement with sorcery and enchantment on any level.

For a Christian, the prohibition against enchantment goes one step further. Ephesians 5:18 warns us that we cannot be controlled by both alcohol and the Holy Spirit. Alcoholic liquor, which is often dubbed “spirits,” controls us in a way that only God’s Spirit should control us. When we transfer ownership of our lives to Jesus (Luke 9:23), the Holy Spirit comes to live inside our hearts (Acts 2:38). He comes with the intention of transforming us into the image of Christ by directing our lives through our voluntary surrender and obedience to His Word (Romans 8:29; Galatians 5:16). This transformation cannot happen when we choose to be controlled by something other than Him. When we seek enchantments, through drugs, alcohol, horoscopes, fortune-telling, or any number of other satanic controls, we forfeit the fruit that God desires to produce in our lives (Galatians 5:22; John 15:1–4).

The only “enchantment” believers seek is found in the presence of God Himself. Paul uses the Greek word huperbolé, which means “surpassing excellence,” to put into words the experience of intimate fellowship with Jesus (2 Corinthians 4:7, 17; 12:7). In Philippians 3:8, Paul describes His “enchantment” with Jesus this way: “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” David was similarly enthralled: “I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’ . . . You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand” (Psalm 16:2, 11). To be caught up in the Holy Spirit, enraptured in the worship of Almighty God, is the highest form of enchantment and the only form we should ever pursue.

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This page last updated: October 3, 2022