on the basis of my name that will quickly be able to revile me.” Therefore Jesus ordered that they not try to prevent him, “for he that is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:38-40) Not all who believed in Jesus personally accompanied him and his apostles in their ministry. During this time the Law covenant was in force, by God’s will, and God through Jesus Christ had not yet inaugurated the new covenant and the beginning of the Christian congregation of called ones. Only at Pentecost of 33 C.E., after Jesus by his sacrifice had brought about the removal of the Law, was it necessary for anyone serving in the name of Christ to associate with this congregation, the members of which were baptized into Christ. (Acts 2:38-42, 47; Rom. 6:3) Then, instead of dealing with the fleshly nation of Israel as he had done until that time, God recognized the Christian congregation as his “holy nation.”—1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Cor. 12:13.
A WORK OF THE FLESH
While it might be thought by the practicers of spiritism that it is a ‘spiritual practice,’ God’s Word calls it, not a work of the spirit or part of its fruitage, but a work of the flesh. Note the detestable things with which it is classified: “fornication, uncleanness loose conduct, idolatry, practice of spiritism [literally, “druggery”], enmities, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, divisions, sects, envies, drunken bouts, revelries, and things like these.” It appeals to the desires of the sinful flesh, not to the things of the spirit, and the apostle warns that “those who practice such things will not inherit God’s kingdom.”—Gal. 5:19-21, Kingdom Interlinear Translation.
Will bring its practicers everlasting destruction
As for Babylon the Great, which is to be hurled into the sea, never to be found again, one of the sins charged against her is stated in the Revelation: “By your spiritistic practice all the nations were misled.” (Rev. 18:23) Concerning the everlasting destruction of those who practice spiritism, the Revelation says: “As for the cowards and those without faith and those who are disgusting in their filth and murderers and fornicators and those practicing spiritism [literally, “druggers”] and idolaters and all the liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This means the second death.”—Rev. 21:8, Kingdom Interlinear Translation.
MAGICAL ART A RELATED PRACTICE
Related to spiritism is magical art. In Ephesus many believed the preaching of Paul, and “quite a number of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them up before everybody.” (Acts 19:19) The Greek word for ‘magical art’ is pe·riʹer·gos, “curiosity,” literally, “things that are around work,” and thus superfluous, that is, the arts of those who pry into forbidden things, with the aid of evil spirits.—Kingdom Interlinear Translation; Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vol. I, p. 261.
A PROPHECY AGAINST JERUSALEM
In a pronouncement against Jerusalem for her unfaithfulness, Jehovah said: “And you must become low so that you will speak from the very earth, and as from the dust your saying will sound low. And like a spirit medium your voice must become even from the earth, and from the dust your own saying will chirp.” (Isa. 29:4) This pointed to the time when enemies would come up against Jerusalem and reduce her to a very low state, crushed to the earth, as it were. Accordingly, what utterance Jerusalem’s inhabitants made would come from low down in their abasement. It would be as if a spirit medium were talking in such a way as to make it appear that a soft, dull, low, hushed and weak sound was coming from the dust of the earth. However, as Isaiah 29:5-8 shows, Jerusalem was to be delivered.
Spitting one’s saliva upon a person or in his face was an act of extreme contempt, enmity or indignation, bringing humiliation upon the victim. (Num. 12:14) Job, in his adversity, was the object of such a display of detestation. (Job 17:6; 30:10) As a public humiliation of a man in Israel who refused to perform brother-in-law marriage under the Mosaic law, the rejected widow was to draw the man’s sandal off his foot and spit in his face in the presence of the older men of his city.—Deut. 25:7-10.
Jesus Christ was spat upon during his appearance before the Sanhedrin (Matt. 26:59-68; Mark 14:65) and by the Roman soldiers after his trial by Pilate. (Matt. 27:27-30; Mark 15:19) Jesus had predicted that he would experience such contemptuous treatment (Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31, 32), and it fulfilled the prophetic words: “My face I did not conceal from humiliating things and spit.”—Isa. 50:6.
In contrast, on three occasions of Bible record, Jesus Christ used his saliva when miraculously healing persons. (Mark 7:31-37; 8:22-26; John 9:1-7) Since the results Jesus effected were miraculous and Jesus’ miracles were performed under the power of God’s spirit, Christ’s use of his own saliva in these cases was not the mere effective application of a natural healing agent.
Plunder or booty taken from a defeated enemy as customarily belonging to the victors in war, or, less frequently, that seized by bandits or robbers.
Though spoil was taken by Israel in its victories, the acquiring of spoil was not the motive for their battles, but constituted a part of Jehovah’s reward to them for carrying out his will, as his executioners. Their forefather Abraham, when he rescued Lot from Chedorlaomer’s forces, refused to accept from the king of Sodom any of the spoil for himself, so that no one could say that he, not Jehovah, had made Abraham rich.—Gen. 14:1-24; Heb. 7:4.
DIVISION OF SPOIL
When vengeance was taken upon the Midianites for their causing the sin and destruction of many of Israel (Num. chap. 25), much spoil was taken. This was divided so that the 12,000 fighting men received half, and those remaining home, the other half. Then one part out of five hundred from the fighting men’s share went to the priests, and one-fiftieth of the other half to the Levites. The soldiers voluntarily gave much spoil of gold, particularly in the form of jewelry and ornaments, to the sanctuary in appreciation for Jehovah’s protection in the fight, in which they did not lose one man.—Num. 31:3-5, 21-54.
This formula may not have been followed exactly in later cases, but it seems to have established a general basis for division of spoil. (1 Sam. 30:16-20, 22-25; Ps. 68:12) Later, under the kingdom, a portion of the spoil was set aside for the king or for the sanctuary.—2 Sam. 8:7, 8, 11, 12; 2 Ki. 14:14; 1 Chron. 18:7, 11.
IN THE CONQUEST OF CANAAN
Cities of the seven nations of Canaan were to be devoted to destruction; all the inhabitants were to be killed; only cattle and other items could be taken. (Deut. 20:16-18; 7:1, 2; Josh. 11:14) Jericho, as the firstfruits of the conquest of Canaan, was an exception; only the metals were kept and devoted to the sanctuary. (Josh. 6:21, 24) Rahab’s household was spared because of her faith. (Josh. 6:25) In cities belonging to people of other nations, if they had to be taken by warfare, the virgin women and the children were saved. (Deut. 20:10-15) All spoil in the form of goods or other items had to be cleansed: if of fabric, skin or wood, it was to be washed; if metal, it was to be processed with fire.—Num. 31:20-23.