Recognising Christians under witchcraft spells
Witchcraft does not come with warning labels. In fact, it has infiltrated so much of everyday society that we probably don’t take it as seriously as we need to. The Bible clearly states that anyone who has dabbled in sorcery will not go to heaven. God hates witchcraft. Therefore, it pays for any believer to be alert and recognise the many disguises of witchcraft before it costs us our souls. For King Saul, consulting a medium meant that he lost his life, his kingdom, and his legacy.
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Revelation 22:14-15 ESV Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
1 Chronicles 10:13-14 ESV So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.
The bigger picture
Witchcraft is not just about consulting fortune-tellers, casting spells, or drinking magic potions. The Bible describes it more broadly as “rebellion”. It is about seeking any means to control our own destiny through rituals, objects, and superstitious beliefs that are apart from God. When viewed through this perspective, we see that witchcraft encompasses a wide range of activities.
1 Samuel 15:22-23 NLT But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.”
Have we ever worn any accessory or consulted any mobile app that claimed to improve our luck, fortunes, or love life? Witchcraft targets our deepest anxieties and lures us away from seeking God for everything in our lives with all our heart, mind, strength and soul – which is the prerequisite to gain eternal life.
Luke 10:26-28 ESV And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
Witchcraft gives us a false sense of control over our lives, and hardens our hearts against submitting to God completely. Witchcraft subtly teaches us that we can be the masters of our own fate. It is manipulative, self-seeking, and controlling like Satan is, rather than patient, loving and trusting like Jesus is. This is the basis for our rebellion against our Heavenly Father.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Ask any Christian if they have ever participated directly in witchcraft and they are likely to deny it outright or dismiss it as “only for fun,” “out of curiousity,” “just cultural,” or “nothing serious.” Satan doesn’t care for the reasons we have for participating in witchcraft. The devil will readily use our participation as a means to gain a foothold in our lives to steal, kill, and destroy our souls – even if we were ignorant of his schemes. A thief or scammer will never tell us their true intentions or goals. They tell us whatever we want to hear. This is how we are easily deceived and attacked.
John 10:10 ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…
This is why it is crucial that we grow in our relationship with the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of Truth. He will convict us and keep us from falling for Satan’s lies.
John 16:13 ESV When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
What then, does witchcraft include?
Witchcraft includes spells and enchantments, trances and hypnotism, horoscopes, zodiac and astrology, dream interpretation, superstitions, and calling on the dead, to name a few. Those who practice it are called fortune tellers, psychics, mediums, monks, elders, wizards, spiritual masters, gurus, witchdoctors, and so forth.
Daniel 4:7 ESV Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 NLT … And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord…
Isaiah 2:6 NIV You, LORD, have abandoned your people, the descendants of Jacob. They are full of superstitions from the East; they practice divination like the Philistines and embrace pagan customs.
We are warned to not even have any association with those who practice witchcraft, because we will become spiritually defiled by their activities. We cannot bring our bodies, temples of the Holy Spirit, into places where Satan’s works are sought after and glorified, and assume that God won’t mind. (In 2 Corinthians, the apostle Paul uses Belial as another name for Satan. Belial personifies evil.) We only invite His grief, wrath, and subsequently, judgment.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 ESV Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Ephesians 4:30 ESV And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
To get a sense of how God feels about those who entice others into witchcraft, we can refer to Nahum 3:4-6.
Nahum 3:4-6 NLT All this because Nineveh, the beautiful and faithless city, mistress of deadly charms, enticed the nations with her beauty. She taught them all her magic, enchanting people everywhere. “I am your enemy!” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “And now I will lift your skirts and show all the earth your nakedness and shame. I will cover you with filth and show the world how vile you really are.
We are called to be wholeheartedly loyal to God, just as we are to expect husbands and wives to stay 100% faithful to one another. As followers of Jesus, we too cannot waver between following God and following Satan. We cannot consult other spiritual masters or spirits and expect God to welcome us.
1 Kings 18:20-21 NLT So Ahab summoned all the people of Israel and the prophets to Mount Carmel. Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.
Isaiah 8:19 NLT Someone may say to you, “Let’s ask the mediums and those who consult the spirits of the dead. With their whisperings and mutterings, they will tell us what to do.” But shouldn’t people ask God for guidance? Should the living seek guidance from the dead?
Deuteronomy 18:13-14 NLT You must be blameless before the LORD your God. The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the LORD your God forbids you to do such things.”
Satan disguises witchcraft in many ways. It is embedded in many aspects of fleshly entertainment, from games to shows to parties. One does not need to consult a witch, psychic, or medium to have fallen for witchcraft in one form or another. Here are some examples.
- We admired cartoons or shows about child wizards or witches, or children who learnt to call upon spirits to become “heroes”.
- We gave ourselves the same name as a magic character we admire, whether as a real name or as a nickname.
- We played games where we chased spirits or monsters for points. We traded magic spells and weapons in online games.
- We called up spirits or creatures while “playing” ouija board (sometimes using a pencil or a coin), Bloody Mary, magic cards, video games, online games for the sake of a prophecy, knowledge, or power.
- We had/have an “imaginary friend” whom we go to for comfort or help (instead of going to the Holy Spirit).
- We played tarot cards or horoscope games to get a sense of what our future or identity may be like.
- We turned to fengshui to control the “energy flow” in our homes or workplaces so that good fortune would “flow” to us.
- We referred to a good fortune book for lucky dates and omens.
- We decorate our home with objects used for sorcery or superstitious rituals, such as dreamcatchers, symbols, badges, knives, scrolls, masks, books, urns or vases etc.
- We dressed up as a witch, wizard, sorcerer, or enchanter for a party.
- We were “entertained” by a live show, movie, or television programme about magic, hypnotism, wizards, witches, or mediums.
- We allowed someone to hypnotise us.
- We paid respects to the spirits of our ancestors or other dead people in the hope they will help us.
- We believe in the power of objects, lucky charms, or accessories to give us some control over our health or prosperity. We feel anxious when we don’t have them on hand.
- We chanted something for good luck or blessing. We learnt to repeat some words over ourselves in an effort to get out of an emotional or mental state.
- As tourists, we watched cultural shows that celebrated local rituals and sorcery without understanding their spiritual significance.
- We believe people’s personalities are determined by their horoscopes and seek to get along with them accordingly.
- We have sung along with secular or pagan songs about magic or the power of magic.
Witchcraft is mainstream and dangerous
What is your horoscope?
Recognising superstitions, both secular and Christian
Chanting dulls the mind
Hypnotism hijacks our mind
Ways we unknowingly call up unclean spirits
Why feng shui is unprofitable
What Christians suffer as a result of witchcraft
One sure sign that we have been affected by witchcraft is if we:
- Can’t focus on reading the Bible for long
- Have difficulty understanding God’s Word
- Tend to forget God’s Word almost instantly
- Find God’s Word dull because it can’t seem to enter our hearts
- Fall asleep when God’s Word is being preached
- Pray repetitive, meaningless prayers
- Cannot seem to break free from addictive sinful habits
- Sense an invisible block between God and us
It is as if there is a veil that blinds our minds from seeing and experiencing the power of the gospel in our lives firsthand.
2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
In Ezekiel 13, God warned His people that He was against their magic charms and divination (fortune telling), which had ensnared them and created “veils” that prevented them from being saved. They had fallen under Satan’s power and were being disheartened by the devil’s lies. Instead of turning away from evil, they became stuck in sinful patterns. Later, Jesus also explained that the devil can rob God’s Word from our hearts, to prevent us from fully believing God’s Word and being saved. Witchcraft, therefore, cannot be “only for fun,” “just cultural,” or “nothing serious.” The costs are too high to pay for a bit of frivolity or clairvoyance.
Ezekiel 13:20-23 NIV “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against your magic charms with which you ensnare people like birds and I will tear them from your arms; I will set free the people that you ensnare like birds. I will tear off your veils and save my people from your hands, and they will no longer fall prey to your power. Then you will know that I am the LORD. Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies, when I had brought them no grief, and because you encouraged the wicked not to turn from their evil ways and so save their lives, therefore you will no longer see false visions or practice divination. I will save my people from your hands. And then you will know that I am the LORD.'”
Luke 8:4-5, 11-12 NIV While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up… “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.
When we are still ensnared to Satan and are not yet walking in complete spiritual freedom, we typically begin to justify ourselves through our own good works and efforts. This is the beginning of becoming religious and legalistic. It is little wonder the apostle Paul lamented to the Galatian church, “Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you?” They were trying to become perfect in Christ through their own efforts because something had blinded them to the real meaning of Jesus’ death on the cross for their sins.
Galatians 3:1-3 NLT Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ. How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?
It is likely that the Galatians had not yet repented of their past involvement with witchcraft or destroyed any related objects in their possession – like the Ephesians did. The Ephesians confessed whatever practices they had done in the past and openly destroyed their magic scrolls in public. They did this in honour of Jesus. They turned away from their allegiance to Satan and demonic spirits and submitted fully to Jesus, at whose name demons are cast out.
Acts 19:18-20 ESV Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
Acts 19:14-17 ESV Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.
Other than a “blinded mind,” witchcraft has other consequences.
|Head||Sharp pains and headaches, mind fogginess, memory loss, thoughts that keep racing with no rest, sharp pain in the eyes and throat, a torrent of suicidal thoughts or violent ideas, lots of accusing and bitter thoughts towards God, hearing voices, an ungodly fascination and attraction towards horror stories, paranormal activities etc. Unbelief. Paranoia.|
|Rest of body||Aches and pains, a tight chest, heavy shoulders, a gassy stomach, feeling bloated, being accident prone, uncontrollable shaking, addictions of various kinds. Untimely deaths.|
|Emotions||Unexplainable fear, depression, hopelessness. Lots of jealousy and comparison. Many accusing thoughts. Alternatively, feeling numb and emotionless.|
|Sleep||Nightmares, strange dreams. Night paralysis. Feeling watched at night and other sensations. Hearing sounds. Difficulty in getting out of bed.|
|Sex life||Uncontrollable lusts and compulsive sexual urges. Dreaming of sex with random strangers that one cannot stop, except in the name of Jesus Christ.|
|Relationships||Chaotic broken families. Constant fighting and bitterness. No peace. Physical, verbal, emotional or sexual abuse. Estranged relationships, frightened and isolated children. Broken promises, constant lying.|
|Finances||Inability to hold on to money for long, being swindled or bankrupted.|
|Spiritual gifts||Spiritual gifts are blocked|
These consequences can come about because:
- We participated in witchcraft before, or after, we turned to Christ. If we have not yet repented, Satan will still have a foothold to destroy us. | Acts 17:30-31 ESV The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
- Our family engages in witchcraft. If we have not confessed this, forgiven family members who indulge in witchcraft, cut ungodly soul ties with them, blessed them, we will continue to be yoked to them and suffer the same consequences as theirs. | Leviticus 20:5-6 NLT I myself will turn against them and their families and will cut them off from the community. This will happen to all who commit spiritual prostitution by worshiping Molech. “I will also turn against those who commit spiritual prostitution by putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will cut them off from the community.
- We hold on to some witchcraft related objects. If we have not confessed, repented, and destroyed such objects, we provide a foothold for Satan and witchcraft spirits to enter and attack us and our relationships. | Deuteronomy 7:26 NLT Do not bring any detestable objects into your home, for then you will be set apart for destruction just like them. You must utterly detest such things, for they are set apart for destruction.
- Someone has placed a spell or a curse (also called a hex) on us. This may be done out of jealousy, ambition, hatred and so forth. If we have given them good reason to, or failed to forgive them and cut ungodly soul ties with them, we will suffer the consequences of a “deserved” curse. | Proverbs 26:2 NIV Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest.
Witchcraft in church communities
The effects of witchcraft do not just affect individuals but also entire church communities.
The apostle Paul was shocked that the “bewitched” Galatians were “turning away so soon from God” and “following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all.”
Galatians 1:6-7 NLT I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
The Galatians had not held on to the truth 100 percent. Sadly, the same can still be said of many church groups today. Bewitched churches will look like they preach Jesus on the outside but they will be recognised by their bad fruit, not their words.
Matthew 7:19-23 ESV Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
A “bewitched” church community will display some of the following syndromes:
- Loving rules (legalism, religiosity, judgmentalism), rather than loving God and loving one another | Mark 7:5-9 ESV And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!
- A focus on good works, rather than practising personal repentance, forgiveness, and obedience to God through faith. | Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
- Constant bickering, fighting, jealousy, and disunity, rather than loving one another | Galatians 5:13-15 ESV For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
- Sexual immorality, rather than purity | Revelation 21:8 NIV But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”
- Showy and hollow gatherings, rather than humble reverent worship of God | Matthew 15:8 NLT ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
- Exaltation of high profile personalities, rather than Jesus Christ | Matthew 23:8-10 NLT “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah.
- Pursuit of signs and wonders, rather than submitting to God’s will | Matthew 12:38-39 ESV Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.
- Pursuit of worldly ideals mixed in with God’s Word | James 4:4 ESV You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
Also, see A prayer over Christian conflict
Breaking the effects of witchcraft
It only takes a quick search online to find various Christian resources and prayers on how to break the effects and curses of witchcraft. While these are certainly helpful, we need to keep in mind that the root of witchcraft is an attitude of rebellion against God. We want to control our lives and are tempted to consult other sources that claim to be able to give us what we want. Sooner or later, Satan will simply find another way to lure us back to him and we will be back at square one.
Breaking the effects of witchcraft begins with first submitting fully to God and purifying our own hearts.
James 4:7-10 ESV Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
God hates witchcraft. At the same time, He is faithful and gracious, and will forgive us when we truly repent from our hearts and not just with our words. For more resources, please refer to the links below.
Understanding demonic oppression
Breaking off from the occult
Choosing to obey God
Testing our hearts for a healthy fear of God
Cleansing ourselves to qualify for heaven
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