I remember being 18 years old drinking at the bar on New Year’s Eve. The publican hired a magician to come in and entertain everyone with magic. He walked around the bar for an hour showing tricks to everyone. He came to us and impressed us with a trick that stopped a watch from ticking. I like magicians and in 2013 hired one for my sons birthday. I dragged in every child off the street to come and join in on the show.
Some magicians tricks are impressive for children while others make it to T.V with the sole objective of entertaining adults. There are magicians who hypnotize others, play mind games and there are others whose entertainment is spooky and dark in content. Then there is the spiritual kind of magic that is completely out of bounds for Christians to entertain because of its demonic origins.
In the Bible, magicians play a role in the book of Exodus and another in the New Testament. In the book of Exodus Moses performs miracles. The Pharaoh having a desire to disprove these miracles employs his magicians to perform the same. In The New Testament, a magician asks the Apostles for the same gifts they have and he’s willing to offer them money for it. He’s rebuked for this behaviour and told it’s all free and of God.
Simon the magician probably meant no harm. He most likely had bought his way to the status as a magician he enjoyed at the time. Nobody becomes a magician without first being instructed on how to do it, right? Simon in his innocent ignorance didn’t realize what was taking place through the apostles came from something supernatural and couldn’t be “learned”.
It appears Simon may not have been able to allow this obsession with learning and knowledge to go. After having been baptized he joined the Gnostic heretical sect (according to some Fathers) which taught that the more one “Knows” or “learns” about the faith, the more one is “saved”.
The world today is still playing the magician and there are some who try to use magic to imitate certain Christian miracles. It is true there are fake Christians out there who are themselves a bit of a magician. They pull the wool over the eyes of many unsuspecting sheep with their fake healings. One such magician Derren Brown televised his exposure of this fakery. The program really meant to give Christianity a kick in the teeth because he himself had a great dislike for the religion.
However, he could not imitate the Miracles of the Holy Eucharist east and west. He did not investigate the icons that cry Holy oil and blood nor did he examine the genuine healings of those with lifelong illnesses examined by unbiased atheist doctors.
To this day the world is constantly trying to disprove God by using magic and science. Magic employs the use of an illusion and the Devil never ceases in applying the use of it through the ignorance of humans that wear the white coat and call themselves scientists.
There are many worldly illusions and scientific theories packaged in such a way that gives us the impression we are getting the truth. Whenever I read about the ancient Greeks all the way back to the time of Pharaoh, I can see a steady timeline of this behaviour which only increases with the progress of the age and technology. The sales pitch used by these scientific magicians is so Good that it can fool even the Patriarch, the highest form of authority in the Church on earth.
When I was younger I hung out with my friends in the shopping mall. We were very high up but somehow a wasp made its way up and stung me on the hand. I felt the pain but as time went on the area in which received the sting grew bigger. By the time I got home, it was swelling into a big blister.
That’s what the world looked like from the beginning of the fall. Creation has been stung by the wasp of original sin. As time progresses so too does the wound which only grows bigger and more gruesome and painful. As the planet grows in population and technology so too does it grow in sin and evil.
The magicians in scripture represent the worlds best attempt at mimicking the miracles of God and explaining them away with a few tricks. To the untrained eye (such as Pharaohs when his magicians satisfied him with their work) they can appear to be a legitimate explanation. But for the one whose spirit has been resurrected from the ground of worldliness and now sees the whole of creation through the eyes of the Spirit, they’re not as easily fooled.
This is what we must become, children of the Holy Spirit. If we maintain a good spiritual relationship with Christ then the world will have a hard time fooling us with their scientific, psychological and magical trickery. They’re the ones that are living the illusion not the other way around. For us Christ is the reality, Orthodoxy is the reality, not this illusory world which only exhibits a need for Christ to come and put an end to its hypnotic state.
Yes, when it comes to the power of the world verses the superpower of God, there is no contest. Try as he may with all his tricks and magicians the Pharaoh could not get the best of God.
As Moses serpent swallowed the two magicians serpents (conjured via trickery) God will come and swallow this illusion of the world whole one day. You can’t win. . . there is no contest here and you’ve already lost the war.
Come Lord Jesus!