Word Study: Sorcery

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WORD STUDY – SORCERY – כשׁפ

Exodus 7:11-12: “Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.”

Exodus 22:18: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.”

We tend to lump all these a mystical practices in one lump. We mix the words sorcerers and witches up as if they were the same thing, they are not. Exodus 22:18 often uses the English word witch in saying we must not suffer a witch to live but it is really the word kashaph or sorcerer. The Bible condemns magicians, enchanters, mediums, astrologers, witches, wizards and sorcerers. These are all different practices that the Bible calls an abomination. They all involve the spirit world, specifically evil or demonic spirits.

All these Hebrew words for these practices have English equivalents which are very close to the original. All except one, kashaph in the Hebrew. We render that as sorcerer. Really what is a sorcerer? Is it someone like Mickey Mouse with a pointed hat and waving a magic wand? Ever notice what happens when he waves that wand? Egypt was a hot bed of sorcery a few thousand years ago. Actually the sorcerers were the Scientist of their day.

You look up sorcery in your English dictionary and you are told it means the art and practice of casting spells on people or things. It is often called black magic or witchery. That is our modern definition of kashaph or sorcery. Yet, the word kashaph is not so well defined in our lexicons. They just simply say it means sorcery. But is it really our modern idea of sorcery?

When Mickey Mouse waved his magic wand, things, people and animals changed into something else. Living things changed and took on a new appearance. In fact tracing this word to its Middle Egyptian origins we find it has the idea of deception through the change in imagery or appearance. The classic example of the work of a sorcerer is found in Exodus 7 where the magicians threw down there rods and they turned into snakes. The magicians worked hand in hand with the sorcerers. The magicians were the front men and the sorcerers were the ones working behind the scenes. It was really the enchantments of the sorcerers who changed the rod into snakes.

Sorcerers in the Greek is the word pharmakeia where we get the word pharmacy. When our scientist use genetic engineering on various drugs to mass produce them, it is called pharming or sorcery. It is called that because in its very root it means to alter or change the essence of something. This is the root meaning of the word kashaph to alter or change the very essence of a plant, animal or person. These sorcerers were actually in the business of using satanic or supernatural powers to alter God’s creation and this was profoundly forbidden by God.

In various extra Biblical literature I ran across the phrase sorcerer of men. These are sorcerers who do not depend upon the supernatural. They are traditionally considered to be like showmen who use slight of the hand. Like your stage magicians today. But I question this interpretation. To the ancient Egyptians sorcery was serious business and not entertainment as it is today.

To alter the very essence of a plant, animal or person to be something different means you have to go to the very genetic makeup and alter the genes. We call that today genetic modification. Could the ancient Egyptians have been involved with genetic modification? Look how much our medical science has advanced in just 100 years. They were still blood letting a hundred years ago, Physicians were becoming doctors through correspondence courses and/or mentoring by another physicians. I have my PhD in Biblical Archaeology and I can say we have only scratched the surface of our understanding of ancient Egyptians. What were these secrets arts practiced by sorcerers? Could they have developed genetic modification over a thousand years where we did it in 100 years. They had intelligence like we do today. I don’t know, it is a wild thought.

The Bible however, declares that a kashaph, one who alters the very essence of life should not be allowed to live. Am I saying it is wrong to eat seedless grapes, seedless watermelon or any other GMO product? Should we purchase only organic foods? That is not what I am saying because I cannot say for sure that we can apply the word genetic modification to kashaph. There is still so much of the Hebrew language and Archaeology that have yet to explored.

However, I have met many Christians who feel something in their spirit is not right about GMOs and will stay away from them. Even our own United States President will eat only organic foods. One thing I do know, the old farmer’s practice of holding back certain portions of his crop to harvest seeds for his next year planting is quickly coming to an end as they turn to the giant corporations who produce the GMOs seeds, which produce crops that do not have seeds or enough seeds for another planting making them dependent upon the major corporations to supply their seeds. I am not a student of prophecy but I can see how the Anti-Christ will be able to control the food of the world if he controls the giant corporations that produce the GMO seeds.

Is it possible to say that the production of our world food supply through GMOs and our supply of drugs through pharming or genetic modification is really kashaph – sorcery? I cannot say for sure, that is quite a jump. It is best you just do what the Spirit inside of you guides you to do. But what is so wrong with eating only food that God created and not what man created. Maybe that is why God took the Hebrews out of Egypt and put them on a steady diet of manna for forty years. Oh well, I am need to find my tin hat, where did I put that?

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