Witchcraft in the Church: Divination, Curses, and Rebellion Session 4

Session 3

Then there is for example Jezebel’s witchcraft. In 2 Kings 9:22, right before the wicked queen’s demise, Jehu offered insight into an open door for the Jezebel spirit when he told her son, “What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” Jezebel is essentially a form of seduction that works to escort believers into immorality and idolatry (see Revelation 2:20). And such people use witchcraft against its enemies. Just look around you and notice all the idolatry and immorality in the church, including sexual immorality. All of this is a form of rebellion against God and choosing a path of lawlessness and carnality. And so we continue to mock God.

We read the following: “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time” (1 Kings 19:2, KJV). Jezebel’s witchcraft was rooted in rebellion, but the type of witchcraft in this verse refers to incantations and spells. In the modern church world, we call them word curses. Jezebel released a word curse against Elijah that carried a spirit of fear when she sent him this message. One will be surprised how easy it is to curse someone by speaking a negative or false word over or against them. Yet, no weapon, thus no curse, will prosper against those who abide in God (Isaiah 54:17). People even speak destructive words over people in the form of false prophecies with the intent to curse.

Regarding curses, it is interesting that the Mosaic Law forbade the cursing of parents (Exodus 21:17; Proverbs 20:20; Matthew 15:4), the ruler (Exodus 22:28), and the deaf (Leviticus 19:14). Cursing God was punishable by death (Leviticus 24:10–16; cf. Exodus 22:28; Isaiah 8:21–22). Cursing (not in the form of swearing) has always been a serious matter, Yet these days it seems that for some children of God it has become easy to curse people, even their parents, by speaking negative words over them. Granted in the OT, there were several instances of His people cursing their enemies. The prophet Jeremiah had several times asked God to bring doom and destruction upon those who were coming after Israel.

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In some of the different Bible Dictionaries and Commentaries, the word “curse” or “cursing” means the following: to call down evil upon others violently, a call for evil to rest on someone and invocation of evil against one’s enemies. Notice in all three of these definitions, you are asking “evil” to come upon another for what they are trying to do against someone. Yes, cursing (and not in the form of foul language) is part and parcel of the Old Testament. Some of the divine curses recorded in the Bible are those that God pronounced on the serpent, on Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:14–19), on Cain (4:11– 12), and on those who might curse Abraham and his descents (12:3), as well as those who put their trust in human strength (Jeremiah 17:5). More divine curses are recorded in the New Testament as well. When God pronounces a curse, it is usually a denunciation of sin (Numbers 5:21, 23; Deuteronomy 29:19–20) and his judgment on sin (Numbers 5:22, 24, 27; Isaiah 24:6). Deuteronomy 27:14–26 stipulates human practices that would predispose individuals to become recipients of divine curses in the Old Testament: idolatry, dishonoring parents, treachery against neighbours, injustice, incest, adultery, bestiality, bribery, and perjury and disobeying God.

The entry of sin into the world that resulted from the disobedience of Adam and Eve brought all the suffering and death that we experience today. As a consequence of Adam and Eve’s disobedience, God pronounced curses upon the serpent. While sin introduced increasing conflict, suffering, and fear of death, within the divine curses pronounced in Eden, God promised to send a Saviour who would destroy the devil (Genesis 3:15). Thus, God, even when He pronounced a curse, His word gives life (Deuteronomy 8:3; 32:46, 47). Even though under the New Covenant we are no longer under the curse, we have to remember that we still serve the same God who rebukes those whom he loves—thus those who are in a covenant relationship with him (Revelations 3:19). He wants all to repent (2 Peter 3:9), to confess their sins, and receive forgiveness (1 John 1:8–9).

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Reality is that we have been set free from the curse as a result of sin, as so how can we then expect to curse others? It is by grace and mercy that we have been set free, and so we need to exercise such grace and mercy as well. Human words, like divine words, have the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). Reality is that with our tongues we praise God, and also curse people (James 3:9, 10). How can this be possible? It is expected for those still in the world to act in such a manner, after all human words void of God hurt because they come out of evil hearts (Mark 7:20–23). But this should not be the case for believers. A curse does not only hurt the intended victim, but it also does more harm to the one who pronounces the curse. Evil speaking is a twofold curse, falling more heavily upon the speaker than upon the hearer. He who scatters the seeds of dissension and strife reaps in his own soul the deadly fruits. The very act of looking for the evil in others develops evil in those who look. This is why God warns that he will bring into judgment every word that is carelessly uttered (Matthew 12:36, 37).

Remember, in his mercy God provided a way of removing the curse of suffering and death. The Bible says, “God made him [Christ] who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Christ took the place of the cursed humanity. The apostle Paul says, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” when he hung on the cross (Galatians 3:13). By his death on the cross, Christ not only saved us but also defeated the devil that kept us enslaved by the fear of death (Hebrews 2:14–15). Thus, when Christ announced the new covenant, there was no reference to curses (Matt 26:26–30). Yet we need to remain in Christ, and thus in the act of repentance, it is important to break away from any evil practice. The Christian men of Ephesus who had practiced sorcery eventually repented by handing over their scrolls to be burnt (Acts 19:18–19). Cursing someone surely cannot be part of the nature of a new-born Christian.

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Witchcraft in the Church: Divination, Curses, and Rebellion Session 3

In fact, if we study Scripture, Jesus is telling us to love our enemies, along with blessing them and praying for them. He is not telling us to ask God to bring down any kind of death, doom, and destruction on those who are trying to hurt us. This is a form of evil behaviour, and a form of witchcraft when we invoke the help of demonic powers to harm someone. God does have a war side to His personality and He will not hesitate to go into battle for His children if we need Him to do it – but we need to let God decide how He will want to handle each individual matter we may be dealing with. We surely cannot ask God to kill or bring down any kind of bodily harm or major calamity on our enemies. How can this be an action of love, of forgiveness or mercy?

Granted, God did strike and kill some of Israel’s enemies back in the Old Testament, but we need to let Him decide how He will fight each battle and what kinds of judgments He will want to render against anyone who is trying to unjustly hurt us or confront His Kingdom. This is His territory, not ours. God’s will shall prevail is also evident in Acts 13: 6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.”

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It should be noted based in Acts 13 that Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit. This is important, for surely God prompted Paul to speak out because Elymas the sorcerer was hindering the work of the Kingdom. Take note, Paul said the following: “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?” Paul was addressing the demon, not the person. It is a similar case in Matthew 16:23 we read: “Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” The sorcerer was also a stumbling block, deceiving and lying for this is the nature of the devil. Granted, the sorcerer was also a pawn in the hands of the devil, and was acting as a “son of the devil” but ultimately he was under a demonic influence.

It is interesting that as the Lord struck Paul with temporary blindness in order to “see” the truth of Jesus, just so the sorcerer was temporarily blinded. Who knows, the sorcerer might have also realised the spiritual truth once his sight has been restored. We also read that following Paul’s action that the proconsul believed them. So you see God’s action was not devious, cruel, or even out of anger, but for a specific reason and a purpose. It caused the proconsul that first turned away from the faith now to turn back to the faith. And one has to believe it caused the sorcerer – now blinded for a while like Paul – to enjoy a spiritual reawakening. Thus, we cannot act in the flesh or by our own will or by our own emotions, but only as God leads and commands.

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It says in “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Romans 12:14). Simple right? This verse is coming from the apostle Paul, who suffered much pain and anguish at the hands of man. This verse is a very simple one-liner, but it is a direct command from the Lord not to curse those who are trying to persecute us in any way. Instead we are to bless them. When Paul is telling us not to curse those who are trying to hurt us, it surely must be in the manner of intentionally seeking their harm or for evil to fall down upon someone else. It also says the following:

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? … Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44-48)

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:27-36)

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In addition to Paul telling us to bless those who will try and persecute us and not to curse them, Jesus says to actually love our enemies. He is telling us in these two verses that we are to: love them, bless them, pray for them, and do good to those who hate you. Certainly not curse anyone! If Jesus is telling us to love and bless our enemies, and to still continue to do good for them, this does not leave room for any type of cursing. If God wants us to pray for our enemies, I do not think He will want us to pray that He bring down any kind of major misfortune or calamity on them, all just so we can get some kind of personal revenge for what they may have just done to us.

Also remember, any kind of vengeance in this life belongs to the Lord, not to us. Take these Scriptures for example:

“Repay no one evil for evil … live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves … for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy hungers, feed him; if he thirsts, give him a drink … Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21) and also “God is jealous, and the Lord avenges; the Lord avenges and is furious. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, and reserves wrath for His enemies; the Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked.” (Nahum 1:2-3)

It is thus important for us when people curse us, to love them, forgive them, pray for them, and bless them (Matthew 5:44; Luke 23:34; Romans 12:14). The Bible even shows that curses can be reversed by blessing (Exodus 12:32; Judges 17:1–2; 2 Samuel 21:1–3; Nehemiah 13:2). And what if people curse us? Well, we do not need to go to any medicine man to seek their protection or to break a curse (Isaiah 8:19). Believers can effectively fortify themselves against evil forces by putting on the full armour of God and obtaining victory through constant, fervent prayers (Ephesians 6:10–20). In addition to and beyond his deliverance, the Lord provides protection for his children. Those who follow Christ are ever safe under His watch care. As long as we remain under God’s protection, “an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim” (Proverbs 26:2). When enemies curse us, God will bless us (Psalm 109:28). After all, no curse pronounced against those whom God has blessed will prevail because they are blessed (Numbers 22:12; 23:20–21).

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Session 5

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