It has happened to me more than once: I will guest-speak on a podcast or be teaching a class when I reveal that I am a master in the Order, a magician, and a Christian. As soon as those three concepts are heard together, there always seems to be a collective gasp from my audience. A flurry of questions follows intermixed with a hail of biblical references to indicate that magick is forbidden.
Everyone, it seems, was taught in their Sunday school class that magick is merely an illusion or work of the devil. To justify any form of sorcery or alchemy, one must leave Christianity behind.
“The two are mutually exclusive,” my questioners tell me. The prevailing notion is that traditional belief in the Logos and magick cannot co-exist without compromising something of one or the other. This idea is the unfortunate side-effect of two forces that have conspired to force most modern Christians; or even those brought up in Christian homes; to believe that to be a follower of Christ, one cannot be a magician, and vice versa.
The two forces that cause these beliefs are bad catechesis and biblical illiteracy.
It is true that the Judeo-Christian belief in magick and magical practice is limited and obscure. It is not; however; at all accurate to say that it is non-existent. Nor should we assume that it is a manipulation of biblical history or tradition. In other words: one need not be a Christian heretic to believe in Christian magick. This has been the case since long before Christ.
The world that was created in Genesis 1 and 2 was a uniquely magical world. It was one where angels flew through the sky, and where trees that bestowed eternal life grew out of the soil. This mystical universe was more varied than any pagan pantheon and was simply bustling with metaphysical happenings. This was a universe in which the gods and men could marry (Genesis 6:1-2), where men could live to be 1000 years old, and where God walked and spoke with men without the use of a mediator. It is inconceivable that in this universe, biblical authors would expect the world to calm down into the orderly and predictable materialistic patterns of modern science (save for the odd intervention by God Himself).
In this world, Man was made in God’s image. He, therefore, had something of a divine essence about him. Mankind had a kind of power all its own. It was consistent with their eternal soul and material body, it made sense that some of these powers could extend beyond the merely physical or intellectual.
It turns out that the traditions and records of these powers do exist and a great many of them are neither apocryphal nor hidden. They are found in the very place you would expect: the Bible. The only thing one needs to uncover these records is knowledge of ancient Hebrew language, culture, and world-views.
In this blog, we will be addressing at some length why magick and Christianity can coexist and why most Christians believe they can’t. It is my hope that by the end of the article, people will discover in their Christian faith a mystical heart. One that will expand their mind to the possibility of the divine and will flower into practice and exploration of their spiritual abilities. Potentially even leading them to walk the White Road for themselves, one day.
The Bible Forbids Sorcery
In the interest of completeness, any discussion that seeks as its goal the debunking of the myth that magick is forbidden in the Bible must first begin by acknowledging the origins of the myth. There are multiple allusions in the Bible to the forbidden-ness of magick but there are two places in particular in which the Bible is explicit in this supposed prohibition.
It will become clear that magick in ancient Israel was like guns today: weapons that needed heavy regulation. God acting as king and supreme legislator ensured that laws were erected to see that magick was used by the right authorities, at the right times, and for the right reasons.
Kabbalistic Magick: Israel’s best-kept secret
While not the oldest form of Jewish magical practice, kabbalistic magick does find its roots in deep antiquity. It is often helpful for Christians exploring this topic today, to remember as their first principle that Christ was a fully Jewish Messiah. One that participated in Jewish festivals and its sacrificial tradition (Matthew 26: 17-19, Mark 14:12-16, Luke 2:41-43, 22: 7-15, John 2: 13 John 13:1, Matthew 5:18-19, Luke 16:17).
This detail is crucial because it is the chief determiner as to whether Christ sanctioned any kind of sorcery or magick. It seems that Christ’s policy and moral standing equaled, to a large extent, the moral standing of Judaism as it existed in the 1st Century AD. Without dispute, this is a magical Judaism, steeped at the time in kabbalistic ideals with Enochian and Solomonic traditions.
Some of the strongest magical traditions in Judaism that Christ would’ve known was concerned with the magick of King Solomon. A magick which preserves its tradition in the Judaism of today in its adoption of the Star of David, or the Seal of Solomon.
Not all of the Jewish tradition was written down, if it was written down at all. When it was, it was often in commentaries represented in different texts other than the texts upon which they commented. One such text is the Tractate Gittin.
In Chapter 7 of the Tractate Gittin, we find a story dealing with Solomon and Benayahu, and how together they conspired through magical means to capture and control Ashmedai, a demon who was portrayed as the king of the demons. The story is summarized as follows:
“Solomon sent for Benayahu, son of Jehoiada, a member of the royal entourage, and gave him a chain onto which a sacred name of God was carved, and a ring onto which a sacred name of God was carved, and fleeces of wool and wineskins of wine…When Ashmedai awoke he struggled to remove the chain. Benayahu said to him: The name of your Master is upon you, the name of your Master is upon you, do not tear the chain. God’s name is written on this chain, and it is forbidden to destroy it.”– The Tractate Gittin (fol. 68)
The chain and ring referenced here are very important as the Ring of Solomon was so heavily believed in the Judaism of the 2nd Temple Period that it would later lead to the creation of an apocryphal book which sought to expand and explain the tradition of Solomon controlling demons: The Testament of Solomon.
While earliest known copies can be traced to two centuries after Christ, the verbal tradition clearly existed long before the writing of this testament. All the major elements of The Testament exist in the Tractate Gittin: the giving of magical wisdom to Solomon by God, the sealing of metal objects with the name of God, and the belief that Solomon used these objects to control demons to build the Temple of God.
For all of this, the Jewish belief that Solomon was also some form of wizard goes beyond simply enchanting metal objects. The Talmud is clear that it was the belief of ancient rabbis that Solomon was given the ability to speak with animals as well.
“When the Lord appeared to Solomon in Gibon, and said to him in a dream, “What shall I give to thee?” Solomon reflected, “If I ask for gold, silver, or jewels, the Lord will give them to me; I will ask, however, for wisdom; if that is granted me, all other good things are included.’ Therefore, he replied, ‘Give to thy servant an understanding heart.’
Then said the Lord:
‘Because thou hast asked for wisdom, and requested not wealth or dominion over thy enemies; by thy life, wisdom and knowledge shall be thine, and through them thou shalt obtain wealth and power.’
‘And Solomon awoke, and behold it was a dream.” He wandered into the fields, and he heard the voices of the animals; the ass brayed, the lion roared, the dog barked, the rooster crowed, and behold he understood what they said, one to the other.’”– The Talmud: Selections, H. Polanopage, page 195-96
The traditions of speaking with animals should not seem that alien to Christians of a Catholic or Orthodox bent. Even deep into the Christian era, Saints were said to possess the same magical ability. An argument could be made that this was not truly magick; that this was a specialized ability bestowed by the Holy Spirit to individuals and that this knowledge could neither be learned nor passed down.
Contemporaries of Christ would’ve disagreed with this idea, especially in the case of the magical Solomonic Rings which helped the king to control demons. Flavius Josephus was a Jewish historian and contemporary of Christ. He was a prolific writer and wrote not only about Jewish history of the era but also about Jewish tradition and theology. Josephus 8:5 testifies to the fact that Solomon’s magical arts to control and cast out demons by way of metal engravings and sigils were preserved far into the 2nd Temple Period. In fact, its power was performed for no less an audience than Vespasian, the Emperor of Rome.
“For he [Solomon] spake a parable upon every sort of tree, from the hyssop to the cedar: and in like manner also about beasts, about all sorts of living creatures, whether upon the earth, or in the seas, or in the air. For he was not unacquainted with any of their natures; nor omitted enquiries about them; but described them all like a philosopher; and demonstrated his exquisite knowledge of their several properties. God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons: (6) which is a science useful, and sanative to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms; by which they drive away demons; so that they never return: and this method of cure is of great force unto this day. For I have seen a certain man of my own countrey, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his Captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers: the manner of the cure was this: he put a ring that had a root of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniack: after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils: and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more: making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or bason full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it; and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man. And when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shewed very manifestly. For which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon’s abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this King was endowed, may not be unknown to any people under the sun; for this reason, I say, it is, that we have proceeded to speak so largely of these matters.”– Josephus, 8:5
The above quote is especially important for our study of Solomonic magick and Jewish tradition in the age of Christ. Eleazar was not said to be a true prophet of God. Eleazar possessed none of the authority which comes with the office of prophet. Josephus, not being a Christian himself, meant that Eleazar was a proper Jewish exorcist. Josephus is not making a connection to Eleazar’s power to command demons with any authority working in him from God, save that the exorcist was using symbols and methods first learned in Israel through God’s private revelation to Solomon mentioned in the Tractate Gittin.
The Validity of Oral Tradition
At this point, many Christians are apt to stop me in my tracks, pointing out that there are zero true biblical references in the foregoing section. This is to say nothing regarding 1st Century Jewish belief or of Christ’s approval with Solomonic power over demons. They may argue that all of the foregoing are ultimately verbal traditions, circulating in Israel around the time of Christ, but certainly not accepted by him or the apostles. But that is simply not the way Judaism thought about oral traditions. These verbal traditions which are themselves extra-biblical were considered just as canonical as the Tanakh and the proof is in the Bible itself.
“There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, “He will be called a Nazorean.”– Matthew 2:23
The above quote from Matthew, as one example, cannot be found anywhere in the Old Testament and yet the writers of Matthew seemed to indicate that this wisdom was “spoken through the prophets.” If the prophets had spoken this, it is quite self-evident that they had not bothered to write it down.
Matthew is considered to be the most Jewish among the Gospels, both in its love for the law (see Matthew 5) and its desire to preserve Hebrew tradition. The writer of Matthew was very knowledgeable and probably a Jewish convert himself. Therefore, knowledge of this extra-biblical prophecy was something that he and most Jews would have known about. Most scholars agree that Matthew was written by a jew and was probably addressed to a Jewish-Christian audience as well.
Therefore, the fact that the Tractate Gittin and Talmud are primarily oral traditions should not dissuade the Christian away from accepting them. To do so would be to adhere to a kind of universal Christian Sola Scriptura which is ultimately self-defeating. Not only, because it is not itself spelled out in the Bible, but also, because Christ referenced extra-biblical traditions himself (see Matthew 23:1-3, extra-biblical tradition of Moses’ seat).
Without oral traditions, the Christian tradition wouldn’t have existed at all. The story of Christ’s life and passion would’ve had to, in a primarily illiterate society, been preserved first verbally and only later written down. More than this, the Bible itself alludes to the fact that much more was believed, taught, and done by Christ than could’ve ever been written down.
“But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”– John 21:25
Jesus Christ, The Apostles, and The Enochian Traditions of Angels and Metamorphosis
Solomonic magicks and traditions were most likely believed and approved of by Christ if, for no other reason, it was a part of the approved Jewish tradition of Judaism of his time. There was another group of extra-biblical sources which were not only believed in by Christ and the early Church but taught directly by the Apostles. No less than the star Apostles: Peter, Paul, and Jude.
The Book of Enoch is a tradition that existed in writing long before the era of Christ. Scholars think that sometime between 300 and 100 BCE was when this text was first put to parchment. In a primarily illiterate society, the amount of skill and labor it would take to write anything down meant that it would’ve either had to be something of great utility or cultural importance.
This makes it extremely unlikely that Enoch was a fictional work or a one-off by some apocryphal writer. We can safely assume, therefore, that the oral traditions of Enoch exist in the Jewish community of the levant far before it was first written down.
If all of this circumstantial evidence does not move you, then one need only cross-reference traditions found in the Book of Enoch with some of the earliest works of the Hebrew Bible itself.
In Enoch 7:1, we find the following:
“And all the others together with them [all the fallen watcher angels] took unto themselves wives, and each chose for himself one, and they began to go in unto them and to defile themselves with them, and they taught them charms and enchantments, and the cutting of roots, and made them acquainted with plants.”– book of Enoch, 7: 1
The above quote matches up nicely to the traditional Jewish narrative of Genesis 6:
“When people began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that they were fair; and they took wives for themselves of all that they chose. Then the Lord said, “My spirit shall not abide in mortals forever, for they are flesh; their days shall be one hundred twenty years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went in to the daughters of humans, who bore children to them. These were the heroes that were of old, warriors of renown.”– Genesis 6: 1-4
Which itself speaks to magical happenings in the world (half-angel men with super strength and magical powers).
The ultimate story of Enoch finds the servant of God for which the book was named being transfigured into the highest of all angels (See 1 Enoch). This matches up nicely with a short but telling reference in Genesis where it says that Enoch was taken by God (Genesis 5:24). The reference here seems to indicate something different happened to Enoch than the other patriarchs mentioned around him. It seems to be saying that Enoch was taken into Heaven, body, and soul, and therefore technically, he did not die.
Despite the references to the Enochian narrative in Genesis, many Christians will not find this compelling. They will argue that the Book of Enoch was written after Genesis as a work of fiction attempting to create a new theology around the scant references in the Genesis narrative. If that was the case, it was certainly not the opinions of Peter, Paul, or Jude.
The case of Paul can easily be explained by cross-referencing the above quote from Enoch 7:1 with the below warning to Christians about angels becoming tempted with the beauty of uncovered women.
“That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels.”– 1 Corinthian 11:10
However, Peter and Jude are even more direct in their acceptance of the Enochian narrative. As described best by Dave Armstrong:
Peter, in describing Christ’s journey to Sheol/Hades, draws directly from the Jewish apocryphal book of first Enoch (12 – 16).
Jude 9: ‘when the Archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, did he not presume to pronounce a revealing judgment upon him, but said,”The Lord rebuke you.”’
Jude 14 – 15:’It was of these also that Enoch in the seventh generation from Adam prophesied, saying, “behold, the Lord came with his holy myriads, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness which they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”’
Here Jude directly sites first Enoch 1:9, and even asserts that Enoch prophesied.”– 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura, Dave Armstrong, page 34
So the opinions of both Peter, Paul, and Jude were that Enoch was just as canonical as references to the story found in Genesis. Calling Enoch a prophet and making warnings on current Christian behavior based on its narratives. Given that Peter realigned his theological beliefs based on Christ after his death and resurrection, it stands to reason and is certainly traditional to assume, that if Peter taught it formally, then he learned it first either from Christ or through revelation by the Holy Spirit. Not only that, but given the above references in Jude 2 to the Enochian tradition, it stands to reason that the Church Fathers who created the cannon after Peter also concurred. In either event, if we are to attribute the authorship of Jude, 1 Peter, and 1 Corinthians to their traditional writers, we must conclude that the Enochian rebellion is canonical and that Enoch himself was a validly inspired prophet. Accepting this creates a possibility of a deeply magical universe, one where people can invoke angels, and even, under the right circumstances, become one.
Different Divisions of Magick: An Angel Teaches Alchemy
So far we have seen that the cosmology of ancient Judaism and Christianity was much more varied than we would traditionally hear in our churches or Sunday schools. What we have not seen is a thoroughly biblical work teaching a form of magick which is explicitly approved by God. As it turns out, we can easily find that by turning to the pages of the Book of Tobit. Tobit is a canonical book for the majority of the world’s Christians, being accepted by all major Orthodox churches, not to mention the Roman Catholic Church.
While protestants don’t accept the book, many of them still study it and understand what it says. We will discuss the reference of Tobit in question, but in order to fully understand its reference, we must first understand that “magick” is not a homogenous series of practices. Within magical practice, there are sub-categories and different schools of thought. Like with any of the great ancient sciences, magical practice can be sub-divided. High ritual magick, for instance, is different from alchemy. Divination is different from astral projection. In respect to these different magical schools, one needs to understand that definitely not all magical practice was accepted by God.
Alchemy, however, was obviously not one of these forbidden arts. For in Tobit, we find the following:
Now as they proceeded on their way they came at evening to the Tigris river and camped there. Then the young man went down to wash himself. A fish leaped up from the river and would have swallowed the young man; and the angel said to him, “Catch the fish.” So the young man seized the fish and threw it up on the land. 4 Then the angel said to him, “Cut open the fish and take the heart and liver and gall and put them away safely.” So the young man did as the angel told him; and they roasted and ate the fish.
And they both continued on their way until they came near to Ecbat′ana. Then the young man said to the angel, “Brother Azari′as, of what use is the liver and heart and gall of the fish?” He replied, “As for the heart and the liver, if a demon or evil spirit gives trouble to any one, you make a smoke from these before the man or woman, and that person will never be troubled again. And as for the gall, anoint with it a man who has white films in his eyes, and he will be cured.”– Tobit 6: 1-8
Alchemy is what the Order calls “a substantial magick.” It starts with the belief that all physical substance derives from a spiritual substance which binds all things together. This could mean a host of powerful magical principles. The most famous one is that any substance can be transformed into any other substance. Lesser known is that physical substance, by virtue of its spiritual elements, can influence spiritual matters as well. In the above Tobit reference, we see two distinct treatments for the various fish parts. One having to do with the spirit, and the other with the body. The former could be said to be a purely magical remedy: exorcism by medicine. The latter is a treatment for cataracts.
While we are not here concerning ourselves with the scientific basis for ancient medical treatments, the point of the story is that; anyone, who prepares the fish parts in the same way as instructed by the angel Azarias, could exorcise from an afflicted person evil magical entities. The very essence of magick is that it is a knowledge of the world that enables (seemingly) miraculous things to happen.
In this case, an angel not only instructs a human being on how to perform a magical act, but gives them the means to do it. The angel was not a demon, but acting in conformity with the will of God. There is no better example than this that some magick was sanctioned by the Most High.
Divination and Jewish Priests
The revelation that God sanctioned a form of magical science may be a surprise to some, but Christians may still assert that the magical arts having to do with the supernatural ascertaining of future events or the reading of people’s minds were surely forbidden by the God of Israel. This form of magick is called divining or divination. Christians may be surprised to know that it was not only permitted by God (in limited circumstances) but also demanded.
In Exodus 28, we see God detailing the makeup of the garb of the priestly class of Israel. One majorly important bit demanded by God was the ephod. Attached to it was something called the breastplate of judgment. Inside of the breastplate were two stones called the Urim and the Thummim, signs for the priests to judge both innocence and guilt regarding a crime. As Hebraic experts note, this was not merely a symbol of power. The root of Urim is traditionally taken to mean guilt while Thummim was taken to mean innocence.
In the context of Exodus 28:30, Urim and Thummim seemed to be divination devices. The stones would be cast before the Ark of the Covenant and would magically reveal the guilt or innocence of the accused.
A more direct example of divination in the Bible, is the example of the Magi who came to see Christ. In this case, the Magi are wise men from the east that used astrological divination to gain an awareness of future events. The events had to be a foretelling of the future because at the time crossing the desert from Babylon (the land to the east where astrology was widely practiced) to Jerusalem would’ve taken weeks or months. The magi had to be aware of Christ’s birth far enough in advance to get there in time for his birth and to prepare for their journey.
In Matthew 2: 1-12, we find the following:
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:
‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will govern my people Israel.’”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Lest the above reference be misconstrued to mean that the wise men were a group of pagans who were using forbidden magicks, it should be pointed out that the wise men had come to worship the messiah in the first place. Beyond this, God also warned them in a dream of Herod’s trap. Nowhere does the Bible pronounce these wise men to have the office of prophet. It simply identifies them as wise men.
This meant that the same preternatural knowledge that they had used to predict the coming of the messiah could’ve been reproduced by anyone else who possessed the right kind of education. This indicates a discipline or science which is capable of conveying future and otherworldly events. By reference to God’s protection of the men, God approved of this discipline’s use.
The narrative of the magi plays another role as well. As Matthew is not simply calling attention to the fact that educated men came to see Christ. He was stating that all the spiritual magi of the world would recognize God made manifest. Not because, like Israel, they had been given a divine revelation, but merely because they knew enough about the spiritual phenomenon of the world to recognize the otherness of the messianic arrival.
The Magick Yet to Come
Up to this point, we have managed to establish both with extra-biblical and biblical sources that various forms of magick were accepted and sanctioned by God. However, all of these events took place before and up to the time of the Apostles. I assure you that magick took place and was recorded by Church Fathers and Christians deep into the latter Christian era. Length does not permit us to go into detail about those (perhaps we will in later blogs). For now, it is enough to say that the Bible reports that magick was once sanctioned by God and that it will be again.
In Revelation 11: 1-7, we find the following:
Then I was given a measuring rod like a staff, and I was told: “Rise and measure the temple of God and the altar and those who worship there, but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample over the holy city for forty-two months. And I will grant my two witnesses power to prophesy for one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands which stand before the Lord of the earth. And if any one would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes; if any one would harm them, thus he is doomed to be killed. They have power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends from the bottomless pit will make war upon them and conquer them and kill them.
The two witnesses spoken about in the above reference are interesting because the miracles that they are able to perform are performed specifically “as often as they wish.” These otherworldly powers are delegated by God directly to the witnesses and are themselves not actually performed by God. It could easily be seen then that these witnesses have seemingly magical powers. Namely, the ability to command nature itself and to curse whoever may hurt them. This ability to command their own powers at their own will separates them from many of the prophets and apostles of the Old Testament. Prophets like Daniel, Ezekiel, and apostles like Peter were all able to perform miracles but not necessarily at the time of their own choosing. Rather, God did something to or through the prophet or apostle.
The ability of these witnesses to perform miraculous events whenever they choose puts them on par with prophets like Moses, Elijah, and (though not exactly a prophet), Jesus Christ. In many ways, one can see how a form of very powerful magick will rest with these two witnesses. If one believes that revelation itself is a prophecy of things to come, then one must also accept that magick was in the biblical era and that it will be again.
Conclusion: It’s a Matter of Law
Bringing all of this knowledge together may establish that magick is a reality in the universe that God created and was at times sanctioned by Him. It does leave us with some questions, however. If God agrees with the practice of magick and permits it to exist, then why do we have biblical verses that seem to condemn it in the harshest possible ways? Even requiring the death penalty for its use?
The answer is that it is a matter of law.
Christians in the modern era are apt to think about God as their father. It is true that this principle of divine familiarity is biblical, but in the attempt to create the feeling of an emotional relationship with God, modern Christianity has lost much of the other way the ancients thought about God: as king.
As the king and supreme judge, God was the ultimate legislator. His laws did not merely preserve order in a nation-state but in all of nature. Magick was primarily forbidden by God in most cases because it disrupted the natural order. However, being a crime does not make something ineffective. For instance, one may buy a gun illegally but this makes its bullets no less deadly.
Cases like 1 Samuel 28: 8-19 and the events with Pharoah’s wizards in Exodus 7 show that supernatural magick could rest with more than just the saints of God. In fact, it could be dangerous in the wrong hands, not just to God’s prophets, but also to God’s plans.
The reference above to 1 Samuel 28 is the witch of Endor. In the story, the sorceress is able to resurrect the soul of the prophet Samuel. It does not seem to matter if the prophet was the servant of the Most High. The Bible portrays the witch’s power as both real and effective. Resurrecting the souls of the dead gives power to the sorceress over life and death. In other words, this was a form of forbidden magick known as necromancy. This power was reserved for God alone because death is the wage of sin. The witch’s ability to call up the spirits of the dead was forbidden for two reasons.
First, the resurrection was not a true one. Samuel was awakened in a nightmarish state, one where intellect and will were without a body. In this state, the soul would be practically blind and deaf, held artificially in a mode between life and death. A nightmarish torture which, as the story reports, was performed for no other reason than Saul’s sense of wellbeing. This would be akin to torturing others to make yourself feel better.
In Exodus 7, the magicks of the false gods that fueled the power of Pharaoh’s wizards set itself up in opposition to the Most High. It was Man presuming to war with the Lord of Hosts. In this sense, this magick was also forbidden because it was based on idolatry and it stood opposed to God’s plan to deliver His people.
Biblical magick is neither the rejection of the reality of preternatural powers nor is it the belief that all such powers come from the devil. Rather it is the idea that such power should only be used to preserve divine order and in ways which are limited, well defined, and not for your own personal gain.
If one is a Christian, one already believes in a magical universe. One filled with angels and demons. One with the apparent self-contradiction that God was so powerful that he forsook himself, sending himself to die at the hands of Roman steel. This is clearly magical thinking by any stretch of the imagination.
In such a universe, with so much canonical evidence behind it, it should not be so hard for the Christian to see that there is some knowledge, some set of words or symbols, some practices, or rituals, which have a connection with and power over otherworldly things. With humans being made in the image of God, being able to use or possess such knowledge should also be of no surprise.
What’s left is asking ourselves if we have a license to carry. If we don’t, we should let go and let God. However, if we do, we shouldn’t be afraid to use that power to conform the world more readily to the will of the Highest.