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105: Works of the Flesh; Witchcraft

Witchcraft and the Mark of the Beast Defined

When taken down to its most basic foundation; true godliness is to become like God!  To learn and to keep the whole Word of God, to follow Christ and God the Father wherever they lead and to dedicate ourselves to passionately doing the will of and to pleasing God on ALL things!

On the other hand to fail to keep the Word of God; to fail to seek out and do the will of God; to seek to please ourselves rather than to submit ourselves to and seek to please God: is rebellion against God and his word!

Remember that when you break one point of law, you have broken the whole law!

Therefore a lack of zeal to keep the whole law, and a refusal to become like God, by doing our own thing and not being zealous to  internalize God’s nature as codified in his law and will; is rebellion against God.

Some say that rejecting the biblical Sabbath is the mark of the beast; yet these same people call the Sabbath holy and then routinely pollute it; taking the mark of the beast upon themselves by their own words.

When Satan rebelled against God and became the adversary; was it over the Sabbath day [which did not exist at that time]? Can we sin without breaking the Sabbath day? Can we keep the Sabbath perfectly and still sin in other things, becoming an adversary to God?

Of course we can! We can lie, cheat or steal, commit adultery or engage in other sins and still keep the Sabbath perfectly! We can be separated from God and become God’s adversary by ANY sin.

Isaiah 1:13 Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.

1:14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 

The reason:  Our sins have separated us from God.

1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 1:16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 1:17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 1:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

The Sabbath is only one point of the whole law, and breaking the Sabbath breaks the whole law; just as breaking any other point of the law is exactly the same as breaking the Sabbath!  For they are all points of the same law!

Therefore the breaking of any law, the refusal to seek and do the will of God, the rejection of any truth in order to remain steadfast to error; is rebellion against God and is the Mark of the Beast!

We say that the Beast is the Babylonian church state system and its leader, yet today’s church of God openly follows the Beast Babylonian system in most of their church governance, by placing a man, or a board between the people and God to bind and loose the Word of God as they see fit!

The physical Beast man or system, is only a physical replica of Satan and Satan’s system!  This physical man and the false prophet and their system; are following Satan in rebellion against keeping the whole Word of God! Leading humanity to follow them in rebellion against God and the whole Word of God!

Which is exactly what most church of God leaders are doing today!  Lying by saying: “Follow me, or follow our Council; for doing so is following the leaders that God ordained, and disagreeing with us is the same as rebellion against God!”  In this they lead the brethren to follow them in their errors and sins, regardless of what the Word of God says.

They reject truth and cleave to well established errors and sins, and lead the brethren to follow them away from God!  Therefore almost all of today’s COG groups are indelibly marked with the Mark of the Beast!

 

Witchcraft?

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion [against the Word of God] is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [for our own ways, and our  refusal to submit to the Word of God] is as iniquity and idolatry. [Idolatry because we make an idol of our own ways and of allowing men to come between us and God;  exalting the words of men,  above the Word of God.]

Then God defines witchcraft as rejecting the Word of God for sin, and rebellion against the Word of God.

Because thou hast rejected the Word of the LORD, he has also rejected us.
 
Galations 5:19-21 ~ Witchcraft, a Work of the Flesh

Today the study is about the sixth manifestation of the “works of the flesh” as listed in Galatians 5:19-21, and that is “witchcraft”, also known as sorcery.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

This is a very dark topic to have to think about and write about, but we live in a world that is immersed in this type of “work of darkness”. It is everywhere and it behooves us to be able to discern it when we encounter it.

The Greek word for sorcery, witchcraft is pharmakeía  (Strong’s # 5331)  rom pharmakeus; medication (“pharmacy”), i.e. (by extension) magic (literally or figuratively) — sorcery, witchcraft. see GREEK pharmakeus (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

HELPS Word-studies

5331 pharmakeía (from pharmakeuō, “administer drugs”) – properly, drug-related sorcery, like the practice of magical-arts, etc.

Today, witches are also known as followers of Wicca, a pagan nature religion with roots in  pre-Christian western Europe. There is much evidence that Wicca is now undergoing  a revival, especially in the United States and Great Britain. Also, we know from experience and living in these modern times that witchcraft and sorcery is growing more prevalent in all our media. We hear reports of horrific ritualistic rites being done all around the world.

We need to be Biblically educated enough to recognize what we are dealing with and come away from it as quickly as possible when we spot anything having to do with sorcery. And this includes ridding out anything to do with these influences from our homes and from our minds as well.

Witchcraft comes in many forms and we need to be on guard against of all the varieties of sorcery that can come packaged to us in many ways; whether its movies, music, books, video games, vampire themes, Harry Potter books and videos, astrology, tara cards, Ouija, boards, the occult, even children’s cartoons are saturated with themes of witchcraft in our modern day world.

Paul tells us that we are not to be ignorant of these kind of devices that are used by Satan, who is the author of sorcery, lest he get an advantage over us and our children who are under our care.

2 Corinthians 2:11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

One of the best ways to understand this topic is to look to the Scriptures to see what God’s perspective is of this subject and how He inspired the men of the Bible to deal with it. The Bible is very clear about its condemnation of witchcraft in all of its many varied forms; and warns His people to avoid it and stay far from those who practice such things.

Hebrew word for sorceress, sorcerer, or magician (as is often interpreted) is kashaph (Strong’s #3784) properly, to whisper a spell, i.e. To inchant or practise magic — sorcerer, (use) witch(-craft).

The first place the word magician (which comes from the Hebrew word for witchcraft or sorcery) is used is in Genesis 41, and used in the account of Pharaoh’s dream of the fat and lean cattle and the healthy and dried up wheat stalks that could not be interpreted by any of the practicing magicians [sorcerers] in the land.

Genesis 41:8 And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh.

But God used Joseph (a man of God) to interpret the very meaning by giving him the knowledge and insight he needed to tell Pharaoh what to anticipate in the coming years for the nation of Egypt.

This subject and these different names for sorcerers are mentioned throughout the Bible and would be a good Bible study to see how many times the men of God had to do battle against this kind of evil as manifested in these spiritualists.

When the Israelites were about to come into the land of Canaan, the Lord explicitly warned them to NOT learn the ways of the heathen people and NOT to do the things that they were so notorious for doing. God plainly tells them that all of these things are abominations, and it was for these abominations that God was driving them out from before the children of Israel.

Note the list of the kind of things that pertain to the practice of sorcery:

1. sacrificing children to the fires of false deities

2. divination – looking to omens to give directions, signs, guidance

3. observer of times – a type of divination, looking to various types of omens

4. enchanter – casting of spells and fascinations with enchantments

5. witches – women who practiced sorcery or divination, acquainted with secrets of unseen world

6. charmers –  to whisper; by implication, to mumble a spell

7. consulter of familiar spirits – seeking otherwise unattainable knowledge from demonic sources

8. wizards – name for male witches who practiced sorcery and are acquainted with secrets of the unseen world

9. necromancer – form of magic involving communication with the deceased – by summoning their spirit as an apparition, worship of the dead,

The ancient Israelites were commanded to have no part in such activities. But these Scriptures are also a warning for all God’s people including the spiritual nation of Israel [God’s Ekklesia] to not have any thing to do with those who practice such things.

Deuteronomy 18:9 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 18:13 Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. 18:14 For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

Simon Magnus and Elymus: Two Sorcerers In The New Testament

In the New Testament we have several accounts of these kinds of people who tried to cause trouble for those that God was calling, one of which is Simon the Sorcerer, sometimes referred to as Simon Magus.

Acts 8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: 8:10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. 8:11 And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.

Simon had the people fooled about his magic tricks until they saw God’s power working in the apostles. Even Simon was amazed at the real thing, to the point of believing. He was baptized but it appears that he did not really repent, for the account goes on to say that he lusted for the power of the Holy Spirit and offered to buy it with money, rather than obtaining it by seeking God’s righteousness.

Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. 8:14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: 8:15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: 8:16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) 8:17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

8:18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 8:19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 8:21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.

Even after professing that he believed and after he had been baptized, Simon showed the fruits of his rebellion against God, which is really at the heart of witchcraft and sorcery. When King Saul refused to follow the Lord’s commandments, the Lord finally sent Samuel to rebuke him and told him, that to be in rebellion against the Lord is the same as the sin of witchcraft.

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

Acts 9:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. 9:23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.

God’s people can learn a lesson from this account of Simon Magnus. This incident could very well be showing us an example of a “tare” that had become a part of the assembly of believers, but had not really become a true believer. His subsequent behavior of trying to buy the Holy Spirit showed that he still had a spirit of rebellion and the fruit was shown to Peter, who rebuked him sharply; yet in his rebuke, Peter exhorted him to repent and to pray for forgiveness.

In our assemblies there are those who say that they believe in God and in His Word, have become baptized, yet inwardly they still have a “heart that is not right before God”. These people are what the Bible calls tares and can be “supposed” members within the assemblies for many years but are not truly converted. They will seek to subvert the sincerely repentant into compromising with God’s Word in some way. And we must be careful of those who claim to possess supernatural powers in addition to claiming that they are some “great one”.

Another example of a sorcerer in the New Testament was Bar-Jesus, a Jew that opposed the apostles when they were given the opportunity to speak to a deputy of the country, who requested to hear the message of the gospel.

When Paul and Barnabus were sent out from the church at Antioch to preach the Gospel they went to Seluica and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they came to the town of Paphos, they met a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus. This man was a false prophet (a sorcerer) and he was also called Elymus, which the King James Bible translates as a “sorcerer”.

He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, who called for Banabus and Saul to hear what they had to say about the word of God. But this Elymas, a sorcerer, [who like Simon Magnus was full of the “gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity”] opposed them and tried to turn Serius Paulus away from believing the words of Paul.

Acts 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister. 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: 13:7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul could discern exactly the spirit that Elymus was of and what he was up to; he looked directly at him, rebuked him and told him flat out who he was and what he was about. Then he pronounced that God would cause him to become blind for a while, which happened as soon as Paul had spoken the words. What he accuses Barjesus [Elymus] of, provides us with more clues as to what this work of the flesh is like by showing us some of the fruits and how we can recognize it when we encounter it.

Acts 13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him. 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 13:11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

This incident actually worked in Paul’s favor, for instead of the deputy being turned away, he became even more convicted when he saw the divine power of God intervening to punish this false prophet for his attempt to influence him against believing the apostles’ message.

Acts 13:12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

These two situations show that those who are under the power of witchcraft are used as direct instruments of Satan to oppose God’s truth and the work of God’s servants. They are usually open worshipers of Satan and have no shame in the fact that they worship him. They are filled with all kinds of deceit and mischief! God calls them the children of the devil, they are God’s enemies and they hate His righteousness and His pure doctrines. They hate God and all that He stands for and they also hate God’s children.  They are typically sarcastic; they love to mock everything about God’s ways, everything that is holy and true, and they love to twist God’s words to mean perverse things.

These worshipers of Satan, or sorcerers, are commonly so hardened that they will not repent or cease to do their evil works. We as Christians must be vigilant in not letting them beguile us, lead us astray or influence us to take on their mindset of bitterness and rebellion toward God. We must not allow them one toehold into our lives thinking that no harm can be done if we allow a little bit of their poison into our entertainment or fellowship.

The following proverb is talking about the dangers of adultery but witchcraft is about blatant spiritual adultery and the same principle applies.

Proverbs 6:27 Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? 6:28 Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?

Some may think that there is no harm in having some “innocent” fun playing around with Ouija boards or tara cards, reading horoscopes, or allowing their children to dabble in these things. But when we allow even a little, we do so at our own peril; as we can be unwittingly opening the door for demonic oppression that leads to moral corruption and eventually to our destruction if not repented of.

1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners [good conduct] .

Just like it is today in our culture, the culture that Jesus and the apostles lived in were full of people who were under this kind of control. Here is another incident that Paul dealt with as he was working to bring the gospel to Philippi.

Acts 16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. 16:19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

A Coming Man of Sorcery

In the end times, the Bible tells us that there will be a very powerful false prophet, a type of sorcerer, that will come to power. He is described as one that will be given certain powers that are of the “works of the flesh”, especially the spirit of witchcraft. He will also be very deceptive and his lying wonders and miracles will bewitch people into thinking he is a “great one”, somewhat like Simon the Sorcerer.

2 Thessalonians 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

Revelation 13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast;….

Matthew 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

How Do We Combat this Wickedness in Our Midst and Protect Ourselves?

The prophet Isaiah tells us what we are to do when we are tempted to seek counsel  from those who have familiar spirits or are encouraged to look to them as being great leaders. He says that we must seek only our God and that if prophets or teachers do not speak according to His Word, there is no light [truth] in them.

A prophet, teacher, or religious type leader may be a very articulate, charismatic, smooth sounding, sophisticated, and seem very convincing; but if he in any way tries to lead the people away from keeping all of God’s commandments and the whole Word of God, then that person has no light [truth], and is therefore automatically walking in darkness and is trying to get you to join him in his darkness.

Isaiah 8:19 And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? 8:20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Our first line of defense is to have a very close relationship with our Lord and Savior, walking with Him, being constant in prayer, and seeking to obey Him always in all things; and we must love God’s truth!

2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

We will be protected if we are full of God’s Word, the Beatitudes qalities, and the Fruits of the Spirit as then there is no room for darkness to enter. We are to be so repelled by this sort of thing, that we naturally would avoid all movies, books, music, or any type of media or person that portrays the works of the flesh, including witchcraft/sorcery.

Witchcraft is so insidious and seductive that it is like a spiritual poison that seeks to contaminate our whole being and defile our character, destroying our souls. Satan wants to supplant our love and devotion to our Lord and Savior to himself, so that we forfeit our opportunity to be a child of God and to inherit all things with Christ.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

The apostle James tells us to submit to God and to the things of God, to resist Satan and if we are keeping away from all of his devices, he will flee from us.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

The apostle John gives us comfort by telling us that God is much greater than the spirit that is in the world; He is all powerful against any of the the demonic forces, including their leader, Satan.

1 John 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

And in Numbers when Balaam tried to put a curse on the children of Israel, he realized that as long as Israel [and now spiritual Israel] was faithful to God, living according to all God’s commandments, that there could not be any enchantment or divination practiced against her.

Numbers 23:23 Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel…

Paul gives us counsel on overcoming the works of darkness in all of his letters. These are just a few of them.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. 5:7 Be not ye therefore partakers with them. 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 5:10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 5:12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 5:13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

Colossians 1:10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 1:11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 1:12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

1 Thessalonians 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

2 Corinthians 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Colossians 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Colossians 3 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

Paul tells us that we are not fighting against humans really, but against the principalities, and the rulers of the darkness of this world, and he gives us the analogy of having putting on the full armor of a soldier in dealing against the invisible but real enemies of God.

If the Word of God is our offensive weapon and the other pieces of armor are for our defense, then prayer can be thought of as our secret weapon. And it is by prayer that we gain the necessary strength and courage to stand forth and fight in our battles against the forces of evil. Without this necessary component we are doomed to failure, but with it, and with the other pieces of God’s armor firmly fixed in their places, we can overcome the works of darkness with the help that God gives to us.

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Again, we are to pray to God for help in combating the works of the flesh and to withstand the dark forces that surround us and which seems to be so much a part of this modern day Babylon that we are living in.

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing;  [Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything,] but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus [garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus].

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Be not afraid of this wickedness; God is with us if we are staying close to Him and trusting Him to protect us from the forces of darkness. We have nothing to fear if we have the Almighty One on our side and if we are following Him withersoever He goes.

 
Deuteronomy 4:15-20
4:15 Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:

4:16 Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,

4:17 The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,

4:18 The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth:

4:19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which theLord thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.

4:20 But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day.

 
Deuteronomy 4:15-20 Commentary

Astrology

Deuteronomy 4:19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God hath divided unto all nations [has caused all people to see in the heavens] under the whole heaven.

The Bible gives us serious warnings in regard to the worship of the stars and the heavenly host, which is what astrology is about. Even though the word astrology does not appear in the Bible, the practice of worshiping the sun, moon, and stars is mentioned along with stargazers and is condemned in the Scriptures. But the word “astrologer” is mentioned in Isaiah 47:13 and seven times in the Book of Daniel.

True Christians need to understand the dangers of becoming involved with this demonic belief system in which one consults an astrological chart for guidance in making life’s decisions. This chart is also known as a horoscope which supposedly determines one’s character traits from birth. The practice of astrology consists of consulting on a daily basis one’s horoscope by those who are looking to their “sign” to supposedly give them advice, wisdom and insights as to their destiny in life.

What is Astrology?

The definition of astrology is: The study of the positions and aspects of celestial  bodies in the belief  that  they have an  influence on the course of natural earthly occurrences and human affairs. astrology – a pseudoscience claiming divination  by the  positions of the planets and sun and moon star divination.

Astrology is the the study of the positions of the sun, moon, and other planets in the belief that their motions directly and powerfully influence human beings and their lives and all other earthly events.  (Astrology is not the same as astronomy, which is simply the study of the universe.) (Online Dictionary)                                                                                                    

Astrologers use an astrological chart, called a natal [birth] horoscope based upon the Zodiac which is divided into 12 signs each corresponding to a certain month of the year. Astrologers and their followers believe that a child is assigned a “Zodiac sign” based upon a particular month in which he is born, and that the sign that it comes under (supposedly) determines that child’s future character and ultimately his destiny.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             There are other charts that astrologers claim help a person to make decisions in all areas of life such as: love and relationships, family situations, financial matters, deciding on a particular vocation, health issues, success or failure, etc. etc.

Also, additional information supposedly guides one as to how they are likely to respond in certain situations according to their “Zodiac sign”. Since astrologers say that they can predict where the heavenly bodies will be positioned in the future (by calculating their orbits), they claim they can predict the future for any person if they know their birth date.

They also claim that they can predict if one will have a good day or a bad day, a good week or a bad week, a successful year or a year of failure; or for any area of life that the one consulting them wants insight into. These people believe that if a person makes decisions based upon their chart in their day to day lives, they can find greater success and happiness, and even true love.

Brethren, as we know, this is rubbish and nonsense, but is also dangerous because it is, in reality, consulting false gods which are actually demons. It is amazing how many people fall for this kind of deception.

This is particularly dangerous because astrology is packaged as innocent fun and is such a common practice among so many, that it can almost seem normal if we don’t’ really take the time to think about it. It is a spiritual seduction that can ensnare even the people of God into believing that there is no harm in reading their daily horoscopes in the newspapers or on the Internet to see what their horoscope has to say for that particular day.

Astrology is a type of sorcery, one of the works of the flesh, as it that involves seeking guidance and knowledge by means other than by seeking God for His divine guidance and direction. Astrology is the worship of the stars and planets by making them into idols; therefore making the practice of this false religion is very much idolatry. It is a form of divination, for one is looking to omens or supernatural signs that one thinks are occurring in the heavenly bodies.

The Practice of Astrology in our Modern Times

Statistics show that about ten million Americans are devoted followers of astrology and that roughly 40 million occasionally read their horoscopes. Just about every newspaper and many magazines have a daily horoscope section. A recent survey of 2,000 adults, conducted by the Public Opinion Laboratory of Northern Illinois University, found that two-thirds were regular or occasional readers of their horoscopes. Other surveys indicate that a large percentage of teens believe that horoscopes are true. One Gallup poll indicated that at least 10 percent of so-called evangelical Christians also believe in astrology to some degree. Many who profess themselves to be Christians, read their horoscope in the newspaper or magazines and believe in the validity of what it has to say.

Astrology Is Sin

Astrology is a direct violation of the first two of the ten commandments that we are to not have other gods before the true God, nor are we to worship things that are created and bow down to them (Exodus 20:2-6, Deuteronomy 5:6-10).                                                                                                                                             

God specifically commanded the Israelites to have nothing to do with the practices of the heathen nations around them, including “divination” and “interpreting omens.”

Deuteronomy 18:9 When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. 18:11 Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 18:12 For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee.

God warned the Israelites that they were not to adopt the practices of the heathen nations surrounding them. Even though astrology is not specifically mentioned in these verses, it is included under the terms “divination” and “interpreting omens.” And God says that those who do such things are an abomination unto Him.

Astrology is a Type of Divination and Observation of Times

The definition of divination  is: (from Latin divinare “to foresee, to be inspired by a god”, [2] related to divinus, divine) is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic, standardized process or ritual.[3] Used in various forms throughout history, diviners ascertain their interpretations of how a querent should proceed by reading signs, events, or omens, or through alleged contact with a supernatural agency.” (Online Dictionary)

Astrology is a type of divination as it attempts to seek help or guidance from another spiritual source rather than looking to God for divine direction. It is a form of interpreting omens or the “observing of times” because it involves seeking guidance and knowledge by looking to the positions of the heavenly bodies and interpreting their movements as omens or the forecasting of future events. It is the worship of the stars and planets, mere created celestial bodies, and therefore it is abominable idolatry.

In Isaiah, God challenges those who practice such things to see if the things they worship in the heavens will really save them in their time of tribulation.

Isaiah 47:13 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.

Astrology is of Satan and is practiced by occultists in secret societies, by leaders and rulers of nations, as well as by the general public. God does not want us to seek special or secret knowledge and guidance outside of what He has revealed in His Word.

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Whatever information about our lives or the future that God has not to revealed to His people in the past or at this time, are not to be sought by dubious means and going around Him. The things that God has already revealed to us, in His Word, are sufficient to furnish us with enough guidance to secure happiness and success in life. When the time comes for Him to reveal even more, He will do so through ways that are consistent with what He says in His Word, and to those who He calls His friends. And He tells us that it is He that will lead us into all truth. (John 16:13)

John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.

Astrology IS Idolatry

We need to recognize that astrology is a false religion because it is worshiping and serving the sun, moon, stars, and planets, making mere object into idols that are worshiped. When we seek instruction and guidance from astrological charts or horoscopes, we are bowing-down and serving these false idols. When we make decisions in our lives based on advice we receive by consulting a horoscope and allow it to control our decisions and actions, we are not placing our faith and hope in God. We break the first and second commandments by having another god before the true God and by bowing down to a created thing rather than the God who created all things.

Deuteronomy 4:19, And beware, lest you lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

Deuteronomy 17:2 If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his covenant, 17:3 And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:

Astrology is in direct opposition to the true religion of God and is God’s enemy. It serves as a false god that teaches men utter lies. It tries to tell them that the heavenly hosts determine their personalities and traits and that they have no control over the kind of person they ought to be.

Astrology tells us that our future and path in life is already determined by the “gods” of the heavenly host. If the sun, moon, stars have already determined our character traits then there is no need to work at developing the Fruits of the Spirit or to strive have the mind of God and becoming like Him.

Astrology is a religion made up long ago in the minds of perverse humans that are influenced by Satan and his demons. It is an idolatrous and pagan religion, for it diverts men from the truth of God’s Word, and from keeping them from seeking to obey all of His commandments. The belief in this false ideology keeps men from having a true relationship with the true God that created us, died for us and loves us.

Astrologers and their followers reject the sovereignty and providence of God in the universe because they say that their gods are sovereign and that they control the universe including everyone’s lives and their destinies. As God’s children we should avoid this type of “sorcery” and “divination” like the plague and have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

 God’s Real Purpose for the Heavenly Bodies

What does the Bible have to say about the real purpose for which God created the heavenly hosts? How do they serve the needs of mankind and how do they motivate us to be in awe of our Almighty God?

1. They were created to provide light to the earth; the sun to give us light for the day and the moon to give us lesser light at night.

Genesis 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

1:15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

1:16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. 1:17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, 1:18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

God created the lights to give light upon the earth, the sun (greater light) to give us light in the day time and the moon (lessor light) to rule the night time. In ancient times before clocks were invented, these lights served as the people’s clocks as they could determine the time of day by looking at the sun and it’s position in the sky. By the sun going down at night and it’s rising in the morning, it therefore divided the day from the night.

The light and the warmth from the sun make it possible for men to have life, for without the sun mankind could not live. Almost every living thing on earth needs sunshine to grow and survive. But that is not a good reason to worship the sun itself, but rather to give God thanks and worship Him for being the giver of all good things and for His divine providence. He tells us that:

James 1:7 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

2. They are the means to measure the passing of time and to determine the months and years 

Genesis 1:14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

The heavenly bodies are used to determine days, weeks, months, years with plain clear-cut “signs”.

Calendar definition: System, for dividing time over extended periods, such as days, weeks, months, or years, and arranging these divisions in a definite order. A calendar is essential for the study of chronology, which reckons time by regular divisions, or periods, and uses these to date events. It is also vital for any civilization that needs to measure periods for agricultural, business, domestic, or other reasons. The lunation, or period in which the moon completes a cycle of its phases (29-30 days), is the basis for the month; most ancient calendars were collections of months. Days and seasons, which are a solar phenomena, do not have periods that evenly divide, so ancient calendars employed various means, such as the periodic insertion of an intercalary month, to reconcile the months with the seasons. ( Concise Encyclopedia)

The sun and moon cycles are to used to determine day and night. The “seasons” which is a word meaning appointed time or meeting, is to let us know what dates are appointed for God’s festivals and Holy Days.

The Hebrew word for seasons is moed ( Strong’s #4150) and means: appointed time, place, or meeting, appointed sign, time, place of, solemn assembly, congregation, set, solemn feast. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

In Psalms we are told that God “appointed the moon for seasons…” Psalm 104:19

God made the moon and its cycles as a visual means to show us in the sky the beginning of months (new moons) and from sightings of the new moon crest (in Jerusalem: God’s chosen city) it is easy to find out the specific dates to keep the right days for the festivals and times of assembling on God’s Holy Feast Days.

Once we know when a new month begins, we can go to God’s written Word that tells us exactly when a festival or Holy Day is to be held by counting a certain number of days from the new moon day, or as in the case of Pentecost, to count 50 days from the Sabbath that occurs within the Days of Unleavened Bread.

The sun determines when the day ends and when another one begins. From sunset to sunset is a full day and after six days we are to keep the seventh as a Sabbath unto the Lord.

We do not worship these entities in the sky, but we do worship God on the days that He commands us to from His written Word. And they are determined by the evidence He has provided with the lights in the heavens.

God commands us to keep His sacred festivals and His Holy Days and He has provided His children the method of calculating which days we are to keep with this simple way of determining when a day or when a month begins by use of the lights He has placed in the sky.

The Old Testament nation of Israel observed the new moons when they were following God. The Ekklesia observed the new moons in the New Testament and the prophet Isaiah tells us that the new moon will be kept in the millennium Kingdom. Why would it be any different for the modern day Ekklesia that exists today; just before the coming of the Kingdom, in which after it is set up; the whole world will be observing these days?

Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Isaiah 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. 

The heavenly bodies were given to mankind as a gifts, not to be worshiped but as tools to help us to know the special times that we are to come together to worship the Great King who created them.

The Bible shows us that God has a calendar and that there is a clear-cut method outlined in Scriptures as to how we are to determine when days, nights, weeks, months, years begin. We are given many guidelines in God’s Word and in combination with the signs of the heavenly bodies, they give us a proper Biblical calendar. Once His method of calculating His calendar is understood from the teachings in the Bible, it is very simple.

God’s ways are understandable and not complicated. The Biblical calendar method is so simple that even a child can understand it. It is men and their twisting of the Scriptures, intermingled with the traditions of men that make the calendar so complicated and hard to understand.

3. They reveal the Greatness of God the Creator and set the Festivals revealing God’s plan

The wonder and beauty of the stars, sun, and moon show forth God’s glory as manifested in the magnificence of the heavens. In many of the psalms, the writers speak of the glory of God in the heavens. Psalm 8 goes on to compare those things in relevance to the creation of mankind in which men and women will eventually reflect God’s glory, as they fulfill their part in His Master Plan for their spiritual development becoming formed into His image.

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 19:2 Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 19:3 There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. 19:4 Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle [the heavens] for the sun.

Psalm 8:1  O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. 8:2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. 8:3 When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; 8:4 What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? 8:5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. 8:6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:

The heavenly bodies are a grand display of God’s creation of which we are to acknowledge Him as the Creator that made all things; We are to acknowledge that He is the All Mighty Creator of heaven and earth; the sun, moon, and stars witness to the power and the glory of our Great God and attest to the fact He and He alone could have made such things; they demonstrate that He is the Sovereign Ruler of the whole Universe and worthy of our worship and awe of Him.

In Romans 1, Paul goes into much detail about how mankind has rejected the knowledge of God even though the natural world reveals the attributes of God and the fact that there must be a Creator for the things we can see.

Romans 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

God and His Word, the Bible: Our Guide Through Life!

When we study the Bible and let it teach us; and if we are eagerly incorporating all His Word into our hearts, it will be like a light that goes on over our lives and we will begin to see clearly the direction that God wants us to take.

Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

If we will look to God to tell us how we should live, and we believe Him and His Word with all our heart, enough that we want to obey Him; He will continue to teach us in all of His ways, and it is He who then guides us. He says “My sheep hear my voice!”

John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye [my eye upon you].

Mark 7:16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear

Our wisdom comes from God, (not the stars) and the apostle James tells us that all we have to do is ask God for His wisdom and He will give it to us.

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Sometimes we come to a place when we have to make a certain decision in life, we come to a fork in the road, and it appears that one direction will produce a set of results if we decide for that route; but if we take the other route it appears that it will produce a different set of results. We know a decision has to be made so we must weigh our options and make a decision as to the way we will go. We pray for God’s guidance and look to His Word to show us His laws, statutes, judgments, and ordinances that may apply in our decision making.

The best decision is to take the direction that most adheres to the ways of God and in the keeping of His commandments, even if it looks like it could result in personal lost or more suffering.

Lets say we have to decide whether or not to take a certain job that might involve a little compromising in some of God’s laws. If we lean on God’s understanding, which is the whole Word of God, then we will go in the direction that acknowledges His laws; and He will reward us for doing so in His own way. It may not be in monetary blessings (but it could be, only God decides what is best) or He could reward us with rich spiritual blessings instead. This is a way that God directs our paths, not by looking to the stars or to a horoscope.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Jesus made the promise to His disciples on the last Passover just before His death, that the Spirit of Truth would guide them. It was recorded in God’s Word for all the other disciples (followers of Christ) that would come after. We can pray and ask God to guide us into all truth, and especially when we are struggling to know what is truth and what is misinformation.

Many of us have or are struggling to understand such things as the calendar issue, or a deeper understanding of the meanings of the Holy Days, and/or other things that God is opening to us; but God says that if we are seeking Him and persevering in proving all things, He will lead us to understand (if we are obeying Him in the things that He has already given understanding of – Acts 5:32).

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

The more we imbibe of God’s Word and His Spirit, the more we will imprint or ingrain it into our hearts. So as we go through life and have to make decisions or speak up in regard to what is truth or what may not be truth, the Holy Spirit will bring certain things to mind (to remembrance) and we will have the Word of God come to our thoughts that can instantly direct us as to what to do or what to say.

John 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

In the following psalm, David prays for God to teach Him and to lead Him in God’s truth, for only God has the keys to salvation. Then he concludes by saying that He looks to God expectantly all day long. Idols, such as astrology, do not teach us the truth and do not lead to salvation but only to destruction and misery.

Psalm 25:4 Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. 5 Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God [You only and altogether] of my salvation; on thee do I wait [expectantly] all the day.

Those who fear the Lord enough to reverence Him and honor Him by obeying His whole Word will experience and come to know even more fully the terms of God’s covenant that they have entered into with Him.

Psalm 25:14 The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

The steps of a good man (one that is seeking to obey God wholeheartedly) are directed and established by the Lord if we are living our lives to please Him and He delights in us. And if that man falls or finds himself in trials but perseveres to keep seeking God for direction and forgiveness, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord will grasp his hand in support and will uphold him.

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way 37:24 Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

Those who trust the Lord with their whole hearts, have entrusted their lives to His care, who are contrite and meek [gentle], who are childlike and are teachable; God will guide them into the paths of goodness, mercy and truth and they will be with Him throughout eternity. (Psalm 23)

Psalm 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. 25:10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Astrology is a Perversion of God’s Intended Purpose for the Heavenly Bodies

We should be very careful that we do not take astrology lightly. We should never refer to ourselves as being a particular “sign” i.e. a Scorpio, or a Pisces or a Gemini, or a Taurus, etc. When we do this, we are associating ourselves with and promoting something that is very dark and is detestable to our God. We give credence to pagan idolatry and endorse it when we participate in this way.

Astrology perverts the whole meaning for the sun, moon, stars and planets and diverts the world’s attention from God’s divine teachings and purposes for them, by making them into idols. Followers of astrology make them into mere objects to be worshiped as false gods that serve as misleading guides that take men away from their Creator and His whole Word.

Let us seek God as our Guide for life and He will lead us to life everlasting!

Psalm 48:14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

Constance Belanger

Scripture Summary
1 Samuel 15:23

 For rebellion [against the Word of God] is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness [For our own ways, and our refusal to submit to the Word of God.] is as iniquity and idolatry [Idolatry because we make an idol of men and our own ways to exalt them above the word of  God.]

God defines witchcraft as rejecting the word of God, for sin and rebellion against the word of God.

Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord,

he hath also rejected thee from being king[s].

 
Jeremiah 31:35

31:35 Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day,

and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night,

which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar;

The Lord of hosts is his name:

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