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Bible verses about Spirit of Divination
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Leviticus 19:31

The Bible is not in the least ambiguous about what God thinks on the subject of the occult. It plainly condemns the practice of witchcraft and similar sorceries. Notice Leviticus 19:31, for instance, which condemns consulting mediums: “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.” A few verses later, God adds, “And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people” (Leviticus 20:6). This is as good as a prophecy of Saul's demise. See also Deuteronomy 18:9-14, which names practitioners of witchcraft, soothsayers, interpreters of omens, sorcerers, conjurors, mediums, spiritists, necromancers, and diviners as abominations to the Lord.

The New Testament is just as condemnatory as the Old. However, instead of legislating against sorcery and the like—except where Paul lists sorcery as a work of the flesh, mentioned between “idolatry” and “hatred” (Galatians 5:20; see I Samuel 15:23)—the writers recount experiences of Jesus and the apostles battling against it. For instance, on the island of Paphos, the apostle Paul stood against Elymas the sorcerer, really a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus, saying, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?” (Acts 13:10). The episode in Acts 16:16-18 reveals that a slave girl diviner, who greatly annoyed Paul by following him around for many days, was in fact possessed by a demon, “a spirit of divination.” The second-to-last chapter of Revelation states plainly that sorcerers will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 21:8; see also 22:15).

This is sufficient proof that God considers the practice of all forms of occultism to be a moral outrage. He is not by any means involved in them and wants His people to avoid them, forbidding them to consult them or dabble in them in any way. This most important point indicates that God had nothing to do with the events at En Dor, except to allow them to move His purpose along, removing Saul to place David on Israel's throne.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
What Happened at En Dor?


 

1 Samuel 28:14-20

The internal evidence from the narrative reveals a number of significant details to conclude that the spirit the medium saw was not Samuel but a demon impersonating him. One of the most obvious clues is that the text tells the reader outright—twice!—that the Lord would not answer Saul (I Samuel 28:6, 15-16), and there is no way that God would answer him through a lying spirit during an abominable séance! One of the points of the story is to show what desperate people will do when they are cut off from God, in fear for their lives, and without hope.

Yet, this does not mean that the demon does not give Saul a truthful answer. Acting as if it were Samuel, the demon wounds the king with the cruelest words it can use, complaining about being disturbed in his rest, mocking Saul for seeking him, and rubbing it in that God had left him and become his enemy. It reminds him of one of Samuel's prophecies—given when Saul had disobeyed God's instruction about the punishment of Amalek and its king, Agag (see I Samuel 15)—foretelling that the kingdom would be torn from him and given to another, David (I Samuel 15:23, 26-28). Finally, it predicts that both he and his sons would die in the next day's battle against the Philistines, a reasonable assumption considering how overmatched Saul's forces were.

The demon's words have the desired effect: “Immediately, Saul fell full length on the ground, and was dreadfully afraid because of the words of Samuel. And there was no strength in him, for he had eaten no food all day or all night” (I Samuel 28:20). Playing on Saul's fears and weakness, the demon succeeds in bringing the big man low, destroying any remnant of hope. Later, after finally eating and resting (verses 21-25), he leaves the medium's house a completely broken man.

So, what happened at En Dor?

1. At the end of his rope and highly susceptible to suggestion, Saul was ready to clutch at any straw of hope for a better outcome.

2. The medium was a fraud, bilking people of their money by preying on their superstitions. The spirit's appearance shocked her.

3. At most God allowed a demon to impersonate Samuel and pronounce Saul's doom to him, to give him the truth from the only source he had ever trusted to speak straight to him.

In the end, the story of Saul and the medium at En Dor is a morality play of sorts, an object lesson to teach how dangerous it is to forsake God and turn to the counsels of demons through sorcery and divination. It is a path of fear, despair, lies, curses, and death. It records the sad and tragic end of a man who had shown such great potential but who had allowed jealousy and pride to bring him and his house to ruin.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
What Happened at En Dor?


 

Mark 1:25-28

Jesus commands the demon to leave, giving it a short, direct order backed by God's authority. He does not rebuke the man, because the unclean spirit had possessed him, yet each of us must resist the influence of demons (I Peter 5:8-9). Jesus tells the demon, "Hold your peace," which actually means "be gagged or muzzled," a phrase He also uses to calm the storm in Mark 4:39. The unclean spirit does not speak again, but obeys in rage and anguish.

By his own power or authority, no man can cast out demons. Even the archangel Michael, not daring to revile Satan, called on the power and authority of God to rebuke him (Jude 9), setting a right example for us. Similarly, in rebuking the "spirit of divination" at Philippi, Paul says, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her" (Acts 16:18).

Because of Christ's authority in performing this miracle, the people in the synagogue are "amazed," a word meaning "to stupefy" and "to dumbfound or flabbergast." They express their astonishment in questions: "What is this? What new doctrine is this?" (Mark 1:27), as well as by immediately rushing away to tell everyone they can. The word translated "amazed" also can mean "to terrify" and "to be frightened." The people are not only astounded but also fearful of God's power through Jesus.

The focus of the testimony is on how Jesus exorcises the demon: simply by His command, which shows the power of God's Word. Contemporary Jewish doctrine for casting out demons was much different, as exorcists among them sometimes appeared to cast out demons by prayers or chants. Christ, however, does not cajole or request demons to leave, but authoritatively commands them to come out. The world has its weak and useless methods to appease evil and entice it to surrender, but Christ commands its defeat.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcism in the Synagogue


 

 




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