What does Scripture say about "magic" and other "dark arts"?
Magic, according to Wikipedia, "is sometimes known as sorcery, is the practice of consciousness manipulation and/or autosuggestion to achieve a desired result, usually by techniques described in various conceptual systems. The practice is often influenced by ideas of religion, mysticism, occultism, science, and psychology." The Bible has a few things to say about the practice of "magic" in any form:
Deuteronomy 18: 10 There must not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through fire, a diviner, a soothsayer, an enchanter, a sorcerer, 11 a spell-caster, a consulter of ghosts or spirits, or a necromancer. 12 For whoever does these things is detestable to ADONAI, and because of these abominations ADONAI your God is driving them out ahead of you. 13 You must be wholehearted with ADONAI your God. 14 For these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to soothsayers and diviners; but you, ADONAI your God does not allow you to do this.
If you are a believer in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you must stay away from magic! While some would argue that the above referred only to the ancient Hebrews, the fact remains, YHWH does not change; He is the same yesterday, today and for ever (Hebrews 13:8). His Torah (divine Instructions for righteousness) doesn't change, and ALL who believe in Him MUST obey. Yeshua (Jesus) reiterated this:
Matthew 5: 17 Don't think that I have come to abolish the Torah or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete. 18 Yes indeed! I tell you that until heaven and earth pass away, not so much as a yud or a stroke will pass from the Torah - not until everything that must happen has happened. 19 So whoever disobeys the least of these mitzvot and teaches others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But whoever obeys them and so teaches will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven. 20 For I tell you that unless your righteousness is far greater than that of the Torah-teachers and P'rushim, you will certainly not enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Has everything that "must happen" happened yet? Have "heaven and earth passed away? If not, then it seems believers are supposed to be Torah observant today! ("Fulfil" did not suggest "put an end to." It means, Yeshua came to do His Father's will and to fulfill "the next thing on the agenda"....) This includes the command to stay away from magic!
According to French sociologist Marcel Mauss (10 May 1872 - 10 February 1950), "Magic remains a social phenomenon distinct from religion and science with its own characteristic rules, acts and aims." This is exactly why YHWH warned people to stay away from it.
Enchanting, sorcery, spell-casting, and necromancy all involve "magic". The modern meaning of necromancy involves the "art of death" but even today, still calls upon magic. In ancient times, necromancy involved all forms of magic spells to conjure up the dead. The ancient Hebrews allowed themselves to become enchanted with magic of all sorts, and today, the entire world is entrenched in magic, in one way or another - including many Christians who have allowed themselves to become involved in demonic activities such as Voodoo, holy laughter and snake handling.
YHWH was so unhappy with his people over their involvement in sorcery and paganism in general that, at one point, He "threw them out of his sight"....
2 Kings 17: 7 This came about because the people of Isra'el had sinned against ADONAI their God, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, out from under the domination of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They feared other gods 8 and lived by the customs of the nations that ADONAI had expelled ahead of the people of Isra'el and by those of the kings of Isra'el. 9 The people of Isra'el secretly did things that were not right, according to ADONAI their God. They built high places for themselves wherever they lived, from the watchtower to the fortified city.
10 They set up standing-stones and sacred poles for themselves on any high hill and under any green tree. 11 Then they would make offerings on all the high places, like the nations ADONAI had expelled ahead of them, and would do wicked things to provoke the anger of ADONAI; 12 moreover, they served idols, something ADONAI had expressly told them not to do. 13 ADONAI had warned Isra'el and Y'hudah in advance through every prophet and seer, "Turn from your evil ways; and obey my mitzvot and regulations, in accordance with the entire Torah which I ordered your ancestors to keep and which I sent to you through my servants the prophets." 14 Nevertheless, they refused to listen but made themselves as stubborn as their ancestors, who did not put their trust in ADONAI their God.
15 Thus they rejected his laws; his covenant, which he had made with their ancestors; and the solemn warnings he had given them. Instead they pursued worthless things and became worthless themselves, imitating the nations around them, whom ADONAI had ordered them not to emulate. 16 They abandoned all the mitzvot of ADONAI their God. They made cast metal images for themselves, two calves. They made an asherah. They worshipped the whole army of heaven. They served Ba'al.
17 They had their sons and daughters pass through fire [as a sacrifice]. They used divination and magic spells. And they gave themselves over to do what was evil from ADONAI's perspective, thereby provoking him; 18 so that ADONAI, by now very angry with Isra'el, removed them from his sight. None was left except the tribe of Y'hudah alone. 19 (However, neither did Y'hudah obey the mitzvot of ADONAI their God; rather they lived according to the customs of Isra'el.) 20 Yes, ADONAI came to despise all the descendants of Isra'el. He caused them trouble and handed them over to plunderers, until finally he threw them out of his sight.
All YHWH ever expected of His people was that they obey Him. But, throughout history, mankind has continually strayed, and this holds true today where "good" is now considered "bad" and vice-versa. Most of the world is guilty of ignoring YHWH altogether....
Acts 8: 4 However, those who were scattered announced the Good News of the Word wherever they went. 5 Now Philip went down to a city in Shomron and was proclaiming the Messiah to them; 6 and the crowds were paying close attention to what Philip said, as they heard and saw the miraculous signs he was doing. 7 For many people were having unclean spirits driven out of them, shrieking; also many paralytics and crippled persons were being healed; 8 so that there was great joy in that city.
9 But there was a man named Shim'on in the city who for some time had been practicing magic and astonishing the nation of Shomron, claiming to be somebody great. 10 Everyone gave heed to him, from the lowest to the highest, saying, "This man is the power of God called 'The Great Power'." 11 They followed him because for a considerable time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they came to believe Philip, as he announced the Good News concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Yeshua the Messiah, they were immersed, both men and women.
13 Moreover, Shim'on himself came to believe; and after being immersed, he attached himself closely to Philip; and he was amazed as he saw the miraculous signs and great works of power that kept taking place. 14 When the emissaries in Yerushalayim heard that Shomron had received the Word of God, they sent them Kefa and Yochanan, 15 who came down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Ruach HaKodesh. 16 For until then he had not come upon any of them; they had only been immersed into the name of the Lord Yeshua. 17 Then, as Kefa and Yochanan placed their hands on them, they received the Ruach HaKodesh. 18 Shim'on saw that the Spirit was given when the emissaries placed their hands on them, and he offered them money.
19 "Give this power to me, too," he said, "so that whoever I place my hands on will receive the Ruach HaKodesh." 20 But Kefa said to him, "Your silver go to ruin - and you with it, for thinking the free gift of God can be bought! 21 You have no part at all in this matter; because in the eyes of God, your heart is crooked. 22 So repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord. Perhaps you will yet be forgiven for holding such a thought in your heart. 23 For I see that you are extremely bitter and completely under the control of sin!" 24 Shim'on answered, "Pray to the Lord for me, so that none of the things you have spoken about will happen to me."
This passage in Acts reveals many things. The Kingdom is open to all, and the act of "coming to believe" includes a commitment to be whole-hearted. This implies you will be desirous and willing to obey the Word - not just "believe" because you have seen it. Here Shim'on was a magician - one who was great in the eyes of the nation (vs 9-11). But when Shim'on saw Philip's power of the Ruach, he liked it! The Scriptures tell us Shim'on "came to believe" (vs 13), and that he was immersed! But where one would expect Shi'mon's new-found faith to sow seeds of knowledge, we instead find that his heart was not "in it".
After Kefa and Yochanan placed their hands on those of Shomron who had been immersed, and saw them become filled with the Ruach - he tried to buy this power! (Please re-read Deuteronomy 18:10-13 above.) Whoever does the things Shi'mon was doing is detestable to YHWH! Shi'mon was promptly rebuked (vs 21-23) and told he is completely under control of sin. This shows us not only that Shim'on was unworthy of receiving the Ruach (Holy Spirit) because of his magic, but that even he still retained the choice to repent of his wickedness (vs 22) and sin.
YHWH is in charge, and He knows all that we do! All He has ever asked of mankind was our willingness to obey Him! Yet, we keep failing miserably. Through Yeshua, however, we have the choice to "start all over again" by simply "believing in Him." Through belief in the shed blood at the cross (as Yeshua was our Final SIN Sacrifice), we will be forgiven our past sins, and then; after which He expects us to stop sinning on purpose.
The bottom line is, if you wish to belong to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you MUST stop sinning! It is clear that all forms of the dark arts are an abomination to YHWH - and this includes magic, astrology that supposedly "foretells your future" (which means you don't trust God) and deceitful tactics of any kind!
Deuteronomy 4: 15 Therefore, watch out for yourselves! Since you did not see a shape of any kind on the day ADONAI spoke to you in Horev from the fire, 16 do not become corrupt and make yourselves a carved image having the shape of any figure - not a representation of a human being, male or female, 17 or a representation of any animal on earth, or a representation of any bird that flies in the air, 18 or a representation of anything that creeps along on the ground, or a representation of any fish in the water below the shoreline. 19 For the same reason, do not look up at the sky, at the sun, moon, stars and everything in the sky, and be drawn away to worship and serve them; ADONAI your God has allotted these to all the peoples under the entire sky.
Isaiah 47: 10 You were at ease in your wickedness, you thought, "No one sees me." Your "wisdom" and "knowledge" perverted you, as you thought to yourself, "I am important, and no one else." 11 Yet disaster will befall you, and you won't know how to charm it away; calamity will come upon you, and you won't be able to turn it aside; ruin will overcome you, suddenly, before you know it. 12 So for now, keep on with your powerful spells and your many occult practices; from childhood you have been working at them; maybe they will do you some good, maybe you will inspire terror! 13 You are worn out with all your consultations - so let the astrologers and stargazers, the monthly horoscope-makers, come forward now and save you from the things that will come upon you! 14 Look, they will be like straw! The fire will consume them. They will not save even themselves from the power of the flame. It will not be coals for warming oneself, not a fire to sit beside!
Acts 19: 18. And many of them that believed, came and narrated their faults, and confessed what they had done. 19. Additionally, many magicians collected their books, and brought and burned them before every body: and they computed the cost of them, and it amounted to fifty thousand (pieces) of silver. 20. And thus with great power was the faith of Elohim strengthened and increased.