This essay is part one of a two-part series responding to a meme. The meme in question suggests that since supernatural and ritualistic elements are in the bible, magic and witchcraft can’t be sinful and that the bible is contradictory. Part 2–>
God was completely against people using gemstones as charms because it was deceptive. Deuteronomy 18:9-12 makes it clear that God was against, fortune-telling, sorcery, looking for omens, witchcraft, casting spells, or functioning as mediums or psychics calling forth the spirits of the dead. In Ezekiel 13:18-21 God curses those who use these things to deceive his people. Revelation 21:8 and 22:14-15 both have a list of sins that will prohibit people from inheriting the kingdom and among them are sorcery, witchcraft, and such. Most of the other things listed are completely out of context or the result of bad denominational theology.
The bible says there are dark spiritual forces at work behind the scenes and even implies these spirits are what the various polytheist cultures around the world worship as gods. In the book of Titus, Paul quotes Epimenides describing Cretans as untrustworthy and corrupt, and if we look closely we may see the spiritual source of their behavior.
Jesus said to preach the gospel to everyone (Matt 18:18-20). The word Gospel comes from the Greek Euangelion (εὐαγγέλιον) or Evangelium in Latin, which in Old English becomes “gōdspel” (gōd “good” + spel “news”), all of which means good news. Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ) which means “anointed one” and the good news is about him saving us. However, the Bible says there will be an Antichrist or false Messiah and this false Messiah will have his own false gospel.
In Matt 22:34-40, Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to, “love God with all of your heart, soul, and strength” (Deut 6:4-5), and “love your neighbor as yourself (Lev 19:18). 1 Tim 2:1-8 says to pray for all people and give thanks for them, including those in governmental authority. In verse 8 Paul says to do this “free from anger and controversy”. The government itself is an institution from God that exists to keep peace in order and it’s for our benefit according to Romans 13:1-7. However, it is made up of fallible and corrupt humans so we must pray for them.
People often talk about how much God loves them, but do they ever love him back? If you don’t have time for him, then you don’t love him, because we make time for the people we love. If you don’t keep his commandments then you don’t love him, because we will do anything for the ones we love. Jesus even said, “if you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Often people want vengeance and revenge for injustices and wrongs done by other people to them, but they themselves want mercy when they wrong others. If you are not willing to show mercy, then you should not expect mercy in your life (Lev 19:18, Matt 6:14-15, Col 3:13). True justice is given out by God (Deut 32:35, Prov 20:22, Prov 24:29), so people should only respond in love, their enemies can be humbled into shame for how they treated others and repent. If they refuse then God will condemn them. In the meantime, we must love our enemies (Prov 25:21-22, Matt 5:43-48, Luke 6:27-28, Rom 12:14-21).
The Gospel is supposed to be presented as good news. It is supposed to be a sign of relief from the desert that is the world. Living Water (John 7:38) for a world of people who are dying of thirst. Or the Bread of Life (John 6:35) for those who are scavenging for scraps to eat. The gospel is that Jesus is the oasis in the desert and the source of the Living Water and the Bread of Life. Believers are those who have already “tasted and seen that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Believers are to carry that bread and water with them to share with others and point them to the source. Believers cannot force anyone to eat or drink, but only give them the option. One cannot threaten someone with good news (the gospel), if they reject it then they miss out.
The gospels demonstrate that many of the Torah’s holidays point to Jesus. Let’s look at Sabbath, Passover (Pesach), Festival of Weeks (Shavuot), the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot), and even Hanukkah which is not even from the Torah. Jesus says to the Sanhedrin Council that they search the Scriptures because they think it gives them eternal life, but the Scriptures actually point to Jesus himself, however, the Jewish leaders refused to receive eternal life by believing him (John 5:39-40). Later in John 5:45-47, Jesus said that it will be Moses, through the Law, that will judge them for not believing in him because he [Jesus] is the one in whom the law is about.
What is speaking in tongues? Is it demonic? What does it look like? What is its purpose? Some people are against it because they don’t understand it but it is in the bible and listed as one of the gifts of the spirit. There is a debate about whether or not it is just a supernatural translation of foreign languages or a purely spiritual language that must be interpreted by the spirit for an assembly when spoken in public. One question is, why would there be a separate gift of interpretation if it was just the ability to speak any language?
What is the rapture? Is it even in the bible? If so when does it happen? The Tribulation period is the last seven years before the messiah’s conquest of the earth, and during that time the Antichrist has power over part of the world. There are many different views on this but this is my attempt at making sense of it.