Sorcery at the Right Hand of Power
John C. Rankin
In the biblical contest between light and dark, there are three domains – physics, ethics and spiritual warfare. In the former, light exists atomically, and darkness has no such existence, thus by definition, darkness flees the presence of light. In the middle category, when we live openly and with accountability, those who hide their intentions and action flee our presence. And in the latter, Jesus is the Light of the world, Satan is the prince of darkness, thus the devil flees the presence of Jesus.
Yet the devil is able to take opportunity of any and every sphere where we allow any measure of ethical and spiritual darkness into our lives.
Throughout the Bible, Satan’s agenda is to pervert political power so that it can subvert the Messianic promise, seeking to find darkness in the human soul in which to establish a beachhead. Accordingly, “sorcery at the right hand of power” reflects a reality where demonic counsel seeks access to political power in order shut down unalienable rights for all people equally, to shut down religious, political and economic liberty. Such liberty is uniquely the gift God, revealed fully in the Bible; wherever such liberty flourishes, the Gospel flourishes, and vice versa.
For example, we see this with:
- the Egyptian sorcerers advising Pharaoh against Moses and Aaron;
- the pagan prophet Bala’am’s hired opposition to the Israelites during the Exodus;
- the Sidonian queen and witch Jezebel’s influence over King Ahab against Elijah, and against the other prophets whom she killed or sought to kill;
- the witch at Endor being sought out for counsel by King Saul;
- the Babylonian sorcerers in their counsel to Nebuchadnezzar in opposing Daniel;
- the Amalekite and political opportunist Haman’s advice to King Xerxes, in opposing Mordecai and Esther, in the plot to kill all the Jews in the Medo-Persian empire;
- the high priest Caiaphas in his counsel to the Sanhedrin to seek and have King Herod kill Jesus;
- the other religious and political enemies of Jesus behaving as children of the devil and “sons of hell” in their plots to kill Jesus;
- the Jewish sorcerer Elymas in his counsel to the governor of Cyprus, seeking to turn him away from the apostle Paul’s preaching; and
- in the Book of Revelation, the spirit of Bala’am against the church at Pergamum, alongside the false prophetess Jezebel in the church at Thyatira.
In contrast, we see the redemptive theme of “godly counsel at the right hand of power,” that for which we should pray. For example:
- Joseph becoming second in power under the Pharaoh of Egypt;
- Jehoiada the priest advising and instructing King Joash of Judah;
- Isaiah the priest and prophet advising King Hezekiah of Judah;
- Hilkiah the priest advising and instructing King Josiah of Judah;
- Daniel becoming prime minister under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
- Queen Esther approaching King Artaxerxes to save the Jews.
- Mordecai becoming being second in power to King Artaxerxes.