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What is the difference between miracles and magic?

Although some people confuse magic and miracles, there is a significant difference between the two terms. It is correct to state that Jesus performed miracles, but it is incorrect to attribute them to magic. Essentially, the source of magic and miracles differs: magic can come from either a human or a demonic source, whereas miracles are a supernatural work of God.

There are two types of "magic," and it's important to understand the differences. Entertainers who use sleight-of-hand and illusions in their performances are often referred to as "magicians," but most of them prefer to be called illusionists. The audience of an illusionist does not believe what they are seeing is "genuine" magic; they understand it is a trick, and they enjoy the fact that they cannot figure out how it is done. The other type of magic, which some refer to as "true" magic, is based on occult, demonic forces. In 2 Thessalonians 2:9, the Bible mentions "false miracles." The arrival of the Antichrist "will be in conformity with Satan's methods." He'll utilise all kinds of power displays, including miracles and wonders, to further the deception." This sort of magic, which is sometimes spelt magick to differentiate it from sleight-of-hand, is linked to divination, conjuring, and sorcery, and is forbidden in the Bible (see Deuteronomy 18:10–12). Of course, the Antichrist will claim divine authority, but that, too, is a lie (see Revelation 13:2).

Magic differs from miracles in that it draws on power that isn't directly from God, whereas miracles are the consequence of God's might acting in the universe. Magic is an attempt to gain knowledge or power without consulting God. Ephesus was a battleground where magic and miracles clashed. The pagan population of Ephesus was deep in idolatry and involved in sorcery, but when Paul delivered the gospel to the city, it brought actual power via the apostle: "God worked great wonders through Paul" (Acts 19:11). Some exorcists (the seven sons of Sceva) sought to mimic Paul's miracles after seeing what he performed, but they failed miserably and publicly (verses 13–16). "A number of those who had practised magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all." When a large number of Ephesians were saved through the preaching of Paul and Silas, the new believers destroyed their witchcraft books: "A number of those who had practised magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all." They counted the value of them and discovered it was fifty thousand silver pieces" (Acts 19:19, ESV). So there was a distinct difference in Ephesus between God's miracles and the devil's magic, which is sorcery.


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