Esoteric Knowledge

The craving for esoteric or “extra” knowledge has led many people to seek out mediums and spiritists, which God strictly forbids. “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 19:31). God is not restricting us from having knowledge that we need; He has made Himself and His ways known so that we can live productive lives. Sadly, some people don’t want to take the time to seek God and study His Word.

Isaiah wrote, “When someone tells you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn” (Isaiah 8:19-20). Not much is known about the biblical terms “medium” and “spiritist.” Because “medium” (taken from ob, meaning “witch” or “necromancer”) is feminine, and “spiritist” (taken from yidd oni, from the root “to know”) is masculine, some scholars think they are the male and female counterparts of the same role, which is to introduce false guidance.

The Lord does not take lightly those who give false guidance or those who seek it out. “I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people” (Leviticus 20:6). God takes an even tougher stand against those who would lead his people astray: “A man or woman who is a medium or spiritist among you must be put to death. You are to stone them; their blood will be on their own heads” (verse 27).

We don’t stone mediums today because we no longer live under Old Testament theocratic law – we are under Christ’s New Covenant. However, our culture tends to make them celebrities, put them on talk shows, and schedule them for entertainment. Late-night television is loaded with psychic hotlines promising divine guidance and spiritual help. Many people – including gullible Christians – have sought their false guidance and found themselves in spiritual bondage. God doesn’t want such false guidance to pollute the Church, so He cuts them off. This is not what you want!

Younger Christians naively participate in what they think are just harmless parlor games. So they ask the Magic 8-Ball questions or play with the Ouija board, but such games are not harmless. A mother and daughter attended a Discipleship Counseling conference and the mother said on the way home, “I don’t think people in our church people have these kinds of spiritual problems.” The daughter replied, “Mom, when I had a slumber party in our home for my birthday, we were upstairs trying to have a séance. I have been plagued by a voice in my head ever since.”

To resolve spiritual conflicts arising from false guidance, it is necessary to renounce all involvement and association with false teachers, false prophets, and any and all cult and occult practices. That includes all vows or pledges made to anyone or anything other than Christ. The need to do this also applies to the children and grandchildren whose ancestors participated in any type of idolatry or false guidance (see Exodus 20:4-5). Paul says, “We have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

Dr. Neil

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