Recently I was asked what the Bible says about psychics. It seems that our society is becoming more and more infatuated with the spirit world. Anyone who claims they can communicate with the dead won’t lack for business. It’s even come to television with The Long Island Medium, one of TLC’s highest rated programs. But what does God have to say about things like psychics, fortune tellers and (I would include) horoscopes?
God’s instruction to Israel was very specific, give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them (Leviticus 19:31). Mediums and familiar spirits refer to people who act as mediators between the living and the dead (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol 3 pg 306). Later God told Israel 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).
Just as Israel prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses told them, when you come into the land which the Lord God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire (human sacrifices) or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 18:9-13). The one thing that these terms have in common is that they deal with the spirit world apart from Jesus Christ.
As Israel grew into a mighty nation they were often tempted to mimic the pagan practices of the Canaanites they had displaced. Even some of their kings began to get involved in spiritualistic practices. King Manasseh, one of the wickedest Kings in Judah was condemned by God because he made his son pass through the fire, practiced soothsaying, used witchcraft and consulted spiritists and mediums (2 Kings 21:6).
The prophet Isaiah posed a penetrating question to those who consult with psychics: when they say to you, “seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? (Isaiah 8:19).
It’s not just the Old Testament that condemns occult practices, the New Testament does as well. The Apostle Paul liberated a slave girl who was able to tell people’s fortune by the power of the demons that possessed her (Acts 16:16). In the city of Ephesus many who were saved out of a life of spiritism brought their books of magic spells and burned them in a public rejection of that lifestyle (Acts 19:19). Sorcery, which includes the occult, witchcraft and magic, is listed as a work of sin as opposed to a work of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:20).
When we combine these passages together we can draw several conclusions:
1. Spiritualistic practices are an abomination to God and He condemns them.
2. As followers of God we are to have nothing to do with such practices.
3. Those who are involved in spiritualistic practices come under God’s judgment.
4. We are to seek and communicate with the living God not dead people.
It is clear that any dealing with the spirit world apart from Jesus Christ is a serious violation of the Word of God. Spiritism is satanic in its origin and contrary to everything God has for His children. Dr. John Piper states the situation clearly when he says when the word of Christ captures a person’s mind and heart, all involvement with magical arts goes. It is Jesus versus the occult; you cannot have both.
Stay in the Word