SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (November 3, 2013)
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God” Galatians 5:19-21.
“I WARN YOU, AS I DID BEFORE, THAT THOSE WHO LIVE LIKE THIS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD” Galatians 5:21b (NIV).
One of the acts of the sinful nature mentioned by the Apostle Paul is WITCHCRAFT. It is very connected to idolatry because of its nature. It looks like Paul arranged the acts of the sinful nature in a certain order. I am saying this because the first two were related to sexual sins, idolatry is also closely related to witchcraft which we want to consider today. As we study about witchcraft, we shall also notice why it is a violation of the first and second commandment just as idolatry is. It is also very common among Christians though many Christians will deny any connection with it. Let us begin as usual by finding out what witchcraft is.
When I was growing up in a my small city, I learnt that witchcraft is an evil spiritual practice which is associated with old women and some few old men. The fact is that witches and wizards cause sicknesses, loss of jobs, barrenness, and financial problems among others but they cannot harm any true child of God unless the Lord takes them through Job’s experience. Because of its association with old age, almost every old woman was accused of witchcraft in the event of anyone encountering any of the misfortunes listed above. Later I learnt that not only old people possessed witchcraft but even little children because they inherit from the old people. They could even cause more harm than the old ones. So generally speaking, almost everybody knows that witchcraft is evil practice. It is not of God, it is the use of Satanic power to cause harm to people or other creatures of God. It is idolatry because it is an alliance with other spirits other than the Spirit of God. Anybody who possesses or practices witchcraft is a servant of the devil and therefore has no inheritance in the Kingdom of God unless such a person repents. By looking at witchcraft this way, it will be very hard to associate any believer with it. But is that all what witchcraft is about?
The Greek word farmakeia used for witchcraft is the same word from which ‘pharmacy’ is derived. It means medication, magic arts, sorcery, soothsaying as well as the seductions and deceptions of idolatry. This is broader than the traditional understanding of witchcraft which has got to do with the evil practices which happen only in the night. It includes the use of evil powers to conjure miracles, heal sicknesses, and seduce people into doing things they would not have wished to do or to acquire certain things wrongfully. According to John Gill’s Bible Commentary on the New Testament, witchcraft is “any real or pretended league and association with the devil, seeking to converse with familiar spirits, to gain unlawful knowledge, or to do harm to fellow creatures; which, as it is doing honor to Satan, detracts from the glory of God, and rightly follows idolatry; conjuration, soothsaying, necromancy, and all kind of magic are included and condemned hereby.” By this definition it becomes clearer that many Christians have fallen into witchcraft in one way or the other.
There are many people in the church today who practice witchcraft though their association with spirits of the dead. I know a church where the pastor could ask people to bring the names of dead relatives for him to tell them the causes of their deaths and many people trooped to that church because they wanted to know who killed their relatives. In this case both the pastors and the members can be said to be practicing witchcraft. How about soothsaying? Many Christians of our day want to determine the future before it comes. So they troop to so-called prophets and prophetesses to find out about their future. Some do not even go to prophets or prophetesses but to traditional priests and magicians to tell them about their future. They are willing to pay as much as they will be asked to pay just to know what the future holds for them. They end up entering into spiritual covenant with evil spirits. This idea of knowing what the future holds is now very common in many churches where people go just to be told what will happen to them and they call that ‘prophesy’. Some people will just go to a pastor and ask “pastor, what do you see about me?” Such pastors, in trying to show they are ‘anointed’ would also find something to tell them.
Sometimes it so happens that some Christians go for some special kinds of oils, and liquids which they claim are used to drive away evil spirits and bring successes or heal sicknesses. They end up putting their trust in those oils or other things they are given, expecting to be saved or blessed by those items. I am not against the use of any oil the Lord genuinely asked a true son or daughter to use for a special purpose. My question is, “where does the power come from, God or those items, or other spirits behind them?” Is your trust in those items or in God? In the absence of those items, do you still believe the Lord can save you or not?
Many Christians now put their trust in several items such as oils, sugar, handkerchiefs, water from the sea, salt etc, which are ‘blessed’ by their pastors and prophets/prophetesses for healing, financial breakthrough, marriages, childbearing, admission to schools, successes in exams, opportunities to travel abroad and what have you. How about those who cry to the spirits of the dead or consult them for help? This is necromancy and it is also part of witchcraft. The dead have no power to do anything good or bad for us. When you contact spirits of the dead, you get into contact with evil spirits who disguise themselves as spirits of your dead relatives and come to deceive you. They also enter into spiritual covenant with them which makes your later years worst than before contacting them. I know by now many are beginning to know whether they have been involved in any witchcraft practices or not.
I want to point out categorically that any Christian who puts his or her trust in any item given by any pastor, prophet/prophetess in order to receive healing, gain success, marriage, and financial breakthrough etc is practicing witchcraft. Our trust must always be in Christ and not in any other item. Those who make you put your trust in those items are also practicing witchcraft. My beloved pastor, ‘prophet’ or prophetess, I want to remind you that, the handkerchief you use to clean your face with and the ring you wear before stepping into the pulpit to conduct healing and miracle services is witchcraft practice. Where did you get them from? What is the spirit behind that? Please, desist from that practice to avoid the wrath of God! Jesus can use you to perform miracles without them if you will put your trust in him. I want to remind you that any contact with any other spirits apart from the Holy Spirit as the means of acquiring anything wrongly or quickly constitute witchcraft practice. Let us therefore put our whole trust in God and not in evil spirits or powers for anything. Our God is greater and able to do abundantly and exceeding more than we can ask for. Let us therefore put our whole trust in him and wait patiently for his proper timing!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.