Exposing The Occult--by Kimberly B. Southall

All scripture references are linked to The WWW Bible Gateway. Therefore, if you click on a scripture reference, it may take a few moments for it to load. Once you are finished reading the scripture reference, click "back" on your browser to return to this article.
Participation in "the occult" is on the rise. Sadly, this is indicative of the world's rebellion against God. Even worse, many Christians (or those who claim to be) sometimes get caught up in the occult before they realize what they are doing. The purpose of this study is to assist Christians in this regard--to point out some of the areas of occult activity and to review the pertinent scriptures.

Occult Practices

Pinpointing a definition for the word "occult" proved to be an difficult task. Each dictionary consulted seemed to contain a different definition or combination of definitions which seemed inconclusive. Perhaps one of the better definitions is "of the nature of, or pertaining to, certain reputed sciences, as magic, astrology, etc., involving the alleged knowledge or employment of secret or mysterious agencies."

There are as many ways of practicing the occult as there are minds of imaginative individuals. It would be impossible to list all of the different forms of occult practices. However, the table below lists some of the more popular forms of the occult today. The list is not, by any means, all-inclusive. Christians should take special care to not only avoid participating in the occult but also to look for opportunities to possibly lead others out of the occult and into the saving grace of Jesus Christ.

Popular Occult Practices

Involvement in, belief in, or use of any of the following
can constitute being involved in the occult:

astral projection or travel
blood letting
communication with the dead
crystal balls
crystal healing
crystal gazing
divination of any sort
divining or dowsing rods
Dungeons and Dragons
fortune telling
Goth or Goth movement
holistic health practices

interpretation of omens
"light as a feather" game
mind control
New Age
Ouija boards
out of body experiences
psychic readings
rune stones

snake charming
summoning demons/spirits
tarot cards
tea leaf reading
transcendental meditation (TM)
UFO cults
visualization techniques


The Bible And The Occult

Specific commands. God never intended for His people to be "left in the dark" concerning occult practices. In no less than six specific scripture passages, He specifically forbade His people from participation in occult activities (Leviticus 19:26; Leviticus 19:31; Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Deuteronomy 18:9-11; Jeremiah 27:9; Jeremiah 29:8).

Power. When one compares the power of the occult to that of our God of all creation, it is hard to imagine why one would wish to rely upon the occult. There are several biblical accounts in which occult power was no match for God's power or for His people (Exodus 7:11-13, Exodus 8:18; Numbers 22:7-19; Numbers 23:23; Daniel 2:2-28; Daniel 5:7-17; Acts 8:9-13).

Characteristics. Participation in the occult is an act of the sinful nature (Galatians 5:19-21) and is a sin (1 Samuel 15:23). It is evil and wickedness (2 Chronicles 33:6; Acts 19:17-20; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10). It is rebellion against God (Ezekiel 12:24-25; Ezekiel 21:21-24). It defiles (Leviticus 19:31).  The occult is deceiving (Matthew 24:24; Acts 13:8-10; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10) and troubling (Acts 16:16-18). It ensnares (Ezekiel 13:20). There is no peace where the occult is concerned (2 Kings 23:24). The occult is used to cover evil deeds (Ezekiel 13:9-12; Ezekiel 22:28). Those involved in the occult are unfaithful to God (Hosea 4:12) and are rejecting the Word of the Lord (1 Samuel 15:23). In fact, those involved in the occult are of Satan, are an enemy of everything that is right, and pervert the right way of the Lord (Acts 13:8-10; 2 Thessalonians 2:9). The occult is detestable (Deuteronomy 18:10-12) and provokes the Lord to anger (2 Chronicles 33:6). Worst of all, those who continue to participate in the occult will not inherit the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21)!

Penalties. As if the above scriptural information weren't enough to convince a person that involvement in the occult is something to be avoided, the Bible gives plenty of penalties for it as a warning for us. The penalties include loss of occult power (Ezekiel 13:20-23; Micah 5:12), shame and disgrace (Micah 3:7), calamity (Jeremiah 14:14-16), distress, hunger, gloom, and darkness (Isaiah 8:19-22), futility and delusion (Isaiah 19:3; Isaiah 44:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12), national dispossession, captivity and enslavement (Deuteronomy 18:14; Isaiah 19:3; Ezekiel 21:21-24; Nahum 3:3-4), banishment, being cut off and wandering (Leviticus 20:6; 1 Samuel 15:23; Jeremiah 27:9-10; Zechariah 10:2), woe, punishment, condemnation, judgment and God's wrath (Ezekiel 13:1-16, 20-23; Ezekiel 21:29; Malachi 3:5; Acts 13:8-11), and death (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 1 Chronicles 10:13-14 with 1 Samuel 28:3-8; Isaiah 47:8; Jeremiah 14:14-15; Jeremiah 27:9-10; Ezekiel 21:29; Nahum 3:3-4).


Fortunately, all is not lost for those who are or have been involved in occult practices. Our God is One of hope. He is loving and forgiving. Escape from the occult is possible:

8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: "Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." 15Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. (Ephesians 5:8-17 NIV)

Copyright © 1999 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.