|WITCHCRAFT IN THE CHURCH|
I. RECOGNIZING WITCHCRAFT IN YOUR LIFE
Is it possible for witchcraft to have power over Christians? Yes. Many Christians discard witchcraft as superstition or fantasy without any real power behind it. People say, “If you don’t believe it will do anything to you, it won’t.”Witchcraft is anything but harmless fun. It is about using unseen supernatural demonic powers to control your soul, mind, and body. Since God is against witchcraft (Galatians 5:19-21), then He is not the power behind it. Any supernatural power that is not of God is of Satan.
Millions of Christians go through life each day and miss out on what God desires for them because they do not realize the subtle influence of witchcraft in their lives. Below is a list of characteristics that can indicate the presence of witchcraft in a person’s life.
A. Emotional Manipulation – Influence with the intent to deceive; dishonesty. When people work underhandedly and deceitfully using misleading methods to work their way to the top and influence people away from God and/or godly leadership. Watch people who try to approach you and probe you in a particular area of your life. For example, someone may say something like, “I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there. Always know I am here for you if you ever want to talk.” Or they may say, “God gave me a word for you that you have been hurtingand going through, and He wants me to pray for you.” People will use the name of God for manipulative purposes because they know that others cannot say “No” to anything God says. Men, beware when a woman says that God told her that you were going to be her husband. If she trusts in God, she should want to wait until God shows you. Emotional manipulation is a form of witchcraft.
B. Super-Spiritual – “God told me this...” ‘God told me that...” “God had me up all night praying for you.” They’ll pray in tongues and praise God all the time. Everything they say starts with, the Lord.” It’s like nothing ever comes from them. They take credit for knowing everything God is doing.
C. Intimidation – This occurs when threats or statements of possible harm or evil are made to control things. For instance, “If you don’t do this, pastor, we will stop giving or leave the church.”
D. Encouragement to Sin – Witches work in the church to tempt people to sin, commit immorality, or participate in idol worship. Many men of God have been pulled down by women operating under the influence of a witchcraft spirit. They gain spiritual and leadership influence; then they deceive others into thinking it is alright to sin. This can happen with both pastors and/or laymen.
E. Uprooting People from Where God Has Placed Them – Witchcraft, through fiery darts to the mind, will seek to uproot people from their marriage, family, church, and even their job or business. It will try to substitute something inferior for something superior or something less for the best. Satan wants them to compromise rather than commit.
Witchcraft always works to make people think it looks better on the other side.
F. Flattery – Flattery usually leads to people trusting those who are complimenting them. Everyone wants to have someone around who makes them feel good about themselves. Flattering someone about how anointed or awesome they are or how well they preach, sing, or pray, opens that door (Proverbs 29:5). Beware of statements like, “Nobody is as anointed as you are.” “Nobody preaches like you.” Or “There is no other pastor or church like this one.”
G. Discouragement – There is no one living who has never been discouraged at some point in life. However, if you sense increasing discouragement for no apparent reason, witchcraft may be a possible source. Beware when you want to give up, even when things are no worse than they have been. This urge to quit is intended to weaken you spiritually.
H. Mood Swings – Nervous conditions or not having the ability to get a handle on one’s emotions; experiencing extreme mood swings, sometimes plunging into deep depression and anxiety, could mean that a person is under a spell.
I. Confusion/Loss of Sense of Calling - When witches bring confusion, people lose clarity about their calling and grow spiritually weak. Like Elijah (1 Kings 19:1-5), people wonder who they are and doubt their purpose and call in life. They lose their identity, feel they are out of place, and feel that their ministries are insignificant.
J. Disorientation or Depression – This happens when people experience an unshakeable dread about life, when they neglect spiritual disciplines like prayer, the word, fasting, serving God, worshipping God, going to church, etc. The scriptures no longer speak to them. They struggle to trust the Lord’s voice, or they don’t receive much encouragement from even the most anointed teachers and preachers.
K. Isolation and Separation – Witchcraft works hard to pull people away from their godly friends and their church. Witches are afraid of anyone who has an influence on a person and can speak truth into their lives. They will tell everything negative about a person’s friends or church leaders to make them perceive these people as enemies. They will do whatever it takes to control the environment. They like to be the apple of a person’s eye and want all his/her attention on them.
L. Withdrawal – This is the temptation to withdraw or retreat from our purpose in ministry or fellowship with the rest of the church, even from families or other people whom we are close to.
M. Despair – Once people withdraw from the battle and lose hope, the enemy is able to come in through temptation, sickness, or death. That’s when they are defeated.
N. Throwing a Rock, Hiding the Hand – Many people are fighting someone else’s battle in the church. Witches often get people to sympathize with their cause and use them to do their dirty work.
O. Making Insinuations and Planting Seeds in People’s Minds Through Prayer - “The pastor just does not understand and see it the way we do. Let’s pray that God will open his eyes.” “I heard that Deacon So-and-So’s marriage is not doing too well. We need to pray for them.”
P. Making Threats – Witches will threaten to hold back money or leave the church if they cannot have their way. If they don’t like who the pastor places in leadership, they will say, “Either he goes or I go.” Witchcraft wants control.
Q. Torment of the Mind – Witchcraft will cause leaders to be tormented in their minds when things go wrong and they try to figure out what happened. Why is this person leaving, acting different, or leaving the church? A person will wonder what they did wrong, when, in reality, they did not do anything.
R. Scripture states that in the last days, many people will be offended and will betray one another (Matthew 24:10). It’s not the pastor so much as it is that people get angry, offended, or influenced over all kinds of stupid things. They end up getting cheated out of God’s plan and blessing for their lives.
S. Sickness – Severe headaches, choking, a sudden inability to breathe, or even the feeling of oppression on the face, can indicate that witchcraft is in operation. Intercessors especially must watch out for these signs that will distract them from praying.
T. Soul Ties – If witches can hook a person emotionally, then they can form a soul tie with him/her. If they can form an emotional soul tie, then they can control them. They will spew false, counterfeit prophecies into a person, cause him/her to agree with them or accept them as true, which opens the door to a spirit. Witchcraft can even use this channel as a way of cursing and ultimately bringing death to a person.
II. RECOGNIZING WITCHCRAFT IN THE CHURCH
1O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth,[a] before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you[b] as crucified? (Galatians 3:1 NKJV) There is a form of witchcraft that operates in the church. It is not necessarily an occultic-type witchcraft. Instead, it is a religious spiritual form of witchcraft that still seeks to control and cause rebellion.
Paul asked the church at Galatia to identify the person(s) who had cast a spell on them. Paul did not ask them if they had been bewitched. Instead, he asked who had done this to them. He could tell that they had a completely different mindset and had deviated from the truth. Yes, it can work on or against Christians. An evil spiritual power had come upon them, blinding them from the truth.
Acts 13:8-10 summarizes the purpose of witchcraft in the church. Elymas, also known as Bar-jesus, a sorcerer (one who practices witchcraft) came to turn people away from the faith. He is called a child of the devil, an enemy of righteousness, perverting the right ways of the Lord.
If you sense the following things going on in your church, it could mean that witchcraft is present: accusations, discord, division, strife, slander, slothfulness, gossip, greed, apathy, early deaths, miscarriages (particularly with leaders or their families), control, backbiting, sicknesses, legalism, jealousy, confusion, immorality, financial attacks, deception, attacks against authority, backsliding, betrayal, compromise, destruction, covetousness, confusion, rebellion, pride, lukewarmness, idolatry, carnality, disorder, doctrines of devils, false teaching not backed up by the Word, false prophecies, etc. If these things are going on frequently or in abundance, or if several of these activities are occurring at the same time, it could mean that witchcraft is working behind the scenes.
A. Rebellion - Witchcraft is synonymous with rebellion. One indicator of witchcraft in a church is rebellion against God (1 Samuel 15:23). A believer who comes under witchcraft always ends up in rebellion. Satan/Lucifer is the power behind witchcraft, and he uses his powers to call man to rebel against God (Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:12-18).
B. Witches Assigned – Witches are assigned and attend churches in order to emit the powers of the evil one over the congregation. They often target the leadership of the church in order to bring the whole ministry down. In their covens or their homes, they attempt to cast spells on the various people they target.
C. Promotion of Immorality in the Church – Witchcraft will try to target the leadership to be seduced sexually. Women witches are assigned to churches with the intent of bringing down the pastor through sex. They will work to start a scandal or work to move the pastor’s wife out of the way so they can step into that place of influence in the church. They will befriend and establish a soul tie with the pastor’s wife that will ultimately divide her from her husband so she can step in (Proverbs 6:26).
Sexual immorality in the church, especially through the pastors and/or leaders, will cause Ichabod to be written across the door, as it was when Eli’s sons laid with the women at the church door (1 Samuel 2:22-24; 4:11, 21-22).Ichabod means, “The glory of the Lord has departed.” A church can have good preaching, good singing, and even a lot of people. Yet, the glory and presence of God is absent. If adultery, homosexuality, or other perversions are occurring in the church, it is a sign that witchcraft is present. The anointing is destroyed if the musicians and music leaders are all gay. Sinning intentionally or habitually is different with God than sinning unintentionally. Everyone sins unintentionally, but we do not have to sin habitually.
D. Planting Cursed Objects on Church Property to Draw Spirits to Hinder God’s Work – Witches will plant occult objects, fetishes, dead animals as sacrifices, idols, or witchcraft items on church property to bring evil, block blessings, or stop the progression and momentum of the church’s goals. Hell from out of nowhere can even start disrupting homes because of the presence of curse objects in the home (Deuteronomy 7:25-26).
E. Excessive Control – This occurs when leaders attempt to exercise too much authority over others, hold them back to an extreme degree, and keep them down beyond reason. Sometimes leaders get into a wrong spirit and actually work to remove the personal Lordship of Christ over a believer.
F. Problems With Authority – Witchcraft hates godly authority and will seek to usurp it. Witchcraft will always challenge governmental authority, usually through unsubmitted women. When a person in leadership passes judgment against the pastor, undermines his leadership, and teaches contrary to his teaching, then that person is being influenced by the witch’s spell. Signs of passing judgment include: “I don’t like the pastor’s new rule or program.” “The pastor doesn’t love us. He doesn’t have time for us.” “I’m leaving this church because there is no more love in here.” “Pastor can’t tell me what to do.” People who make these statements in church are drinking the witch’s potion.
G. Using Money to Procure Spiritual Favors – Beware when someone says, “If you give such and such amount of money, God will get your son out of that gang.” We cannot use money to purchase the gift of God (Acts 8:20).
H. Making Accusations of Money Being Stolen – Nothing troubles people more than accusations of leadership stealing money. “I wonder what is happening with our money.” “We need a business meeting to give an account of where our money is going?” Witches will do anything to disrupt the peace in a church and cause confusion and strife.
I. Opposing Marriage – Witchcraft always opposes anything that operates under the authority of God such as marriage. Beware of any church or pastor that does not promote marriage and its survival. If you are in a church where the pastor does not work to keep a couple together, you may be in the wrong place.
If a couple is going through some things, and the pastor says, “Leave your spouse because he is not the right one,”if he encourages the other spouse to do the same, it is not consistent with the Word of God (Matthew 19:6; 1 Corinthians 7:9-14). When a pastor says that the wife should leave the husband because he is not on her spiritual level, this is not in line with Scripture (1 Peter 3:1-2). Beware of churches with female pastors who have either been hurt by men or divorced. They will usually spread that hurt to the women in church who are having problems in their marriages. She will encourage couples to be apart rather than be together. The witchcraft spirit loves to gather other hurt women. The Spirit of God always encourages marriages to stay together.
J. Disillusionment to Men of God – Just as Jezebel used her witchcraft against the prophet Elijah and caused him to lose confidence about his call, so the Jezebel/witchcraft spirit does today. Many men and women of God have been suppressed, controlled, and driven from the center of God’s will. One’s confidence can be shattered.
K. Confusion – Those in witchcraft are sometimes involved in some form of strife and confusion with people in the church. They get along well with the pastor and his wife because they do not want him to see their true heart. However, around others, particularly other leaders, they fight to bring to pass their hidden agenda to the top (James 3:14-17). When church hostesses or ushers try to give seating direction, correction, etc., witches feel they are being mean and unkind. They always feel it is someone else’s fault or someone mistreating them. “They are always picking on me.”
L. False Prophecy – Many involved in witchcraft in the church use false prophecy to deceive people (especially baby Christians who do not know how to discern). Elymas or Barjesus the sorcerer (one who uses witchcraft) was also called a false prophet. Many in the church are victims of parking lot or restroom prophecies that will not submit to the church’s authority.
They will tell innocent, vulnerable Christians, “God says that it is time for you to move from this church and go to another one.” “God is going to give you a husband or $20,000.” When they are not fulfilled, many leave God and church. Across the nation, thousands end up leaving churches where God planted them because of the effects of witchcraft and false prophecy.
M. Spreading Lies – Witchcraft practitioners will spread lies to a local body for the purpose of breaking down the faith, trust, and confidence in the hearts of God’s people toward the men and women of God. Once the devil can bring doubt, then he can bring unbelief.
N. Find Fault in Leadership – Witchcraft seeks to find fault in the pastor or other church leaders, church policies, and rules in hopes of causing dissension, strife and offense among church members. They will find the person who has been hurt or offended in the church to plant and spread their poison among the people.
O. Supporting the Offended – Witchcraft will always side with those in the church who are hurt or offended instead of showing support of church leadership. To those who are bent on bringing down leadership, leaders cannot do anything right in their eyes.
P. Pastors Taking Advantage of Women (2 Timothy 3:6) – Many women are led astray by pastors who act as if they are counseling them with the intent of taking advantage of them sexually. Beware of statements like, “You are lonely, but I’m here for you. God understands if we have sex because this is a part of counseling.” Or they may say, “God says that you are my wife and that I am to leave the one I have,” or “God wants me to be happy, and I am not happy at home” or “Men in the Bible had several wives, so it is alright with God. They needed a wife who understood and was by his side to take care of his needs.” Scripture states that the man of God is to be the husband of one wife (1Timothy 3:2). If someone is speaking by the Spirit of God, they will never say anything that is contrary to the Word of God (Isaiah 8:20).
Q. A Pastor Saying That He Is In Your Bedroom – If a pastor says he is in your bedroom at night, if he stands in the pulpit and openly reveals what you were wearing or saying in the privacy of your bedroom, or if he says he has a third eye and sees and knows everything, then this is witchcraft. It is called astral projection. Only God sees and knows everything. These are statements of idolatry by an individual placing himself on equal level with God. If a pastor seeks to control who you are allowed to marry or even reassign people’s marriages, this is witchcraft. Telling people that God told them to divorce this person or that they are not allowed to sleep with their mates is not of God.
R. A Pastor Wanting to Be Worshipped – When a pastor asks for members to bow down and kiss his feet, this is an act of worship.
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. (Revelation 19:10)
John tried to worship the angel whom God had sent to him, but the angel would not allow it and instead told him to direct his attention and worship to God. Whenever a pastor desires worship or wants to be glorified by having people to bow down and kiss their feet, that pastor is being inspired by Satan. Satan wanted to be worshipped and steal the glory that only belonged to the Lord (Matthew 4:9; Isaiah 14:12-14). It is a form of controlling people and turning them away from their faith in God. It is witchcraft.
S. Fear (2 Timothy 1:7) – When you are told you will die or that you will be cursed if you leave this church, this is witchcraft. Control and the spirit of fear are in operation. This is nothing short of spiritual abuse.
T. Draining the Life out of a Church – People feel drained, burnt out, spiritually suffocated. Just like a python squeezes the life out of its prey, witchcraft squeezes the spiritual life out of people. They don’t want to come to church, read the Bible, or have anything to do with the things of God.
U. Using Legalism to Control Members – Witchcraft is about control and forcing a person’s will on another. Beware of churches that always focus on what you cannot do: “You can’t go here, play this, or do that.” Every Sunday there is a message about hellfire and brimstone that instills fear in people’s hearts to control them. Watch out when pastors claim they can sit in on private meetings of church members (“in the Spirit,” they say). Yes, it is in the spirit alright: a familiar spirit. They claim to know what everyone in the church is doing and discussing relative to him and the church. When they hit the nail on the head, it strikes great fear in people. They are now controlled by the pastor, afraid to go anywhere else. When a member falls short and sins, his/her prayer is not, “Lord, forgive me.”Instead, it is, “Lord, please don’t let my pastor find out.” These pastors control by fear and false prophecies.