Witchcraft is the exercise or invocation of alleged supernatural powers to control people or events. Witches seek to get some dark powers and use them to gain control of people’s lives. It relates to encounters with and attempts to control the supernatural. In numerous countries, witchcraft-related beliefs and practices have resulted in severe human rights violations, including beatings, banishment, cutting of body parts, amputation of limbs, torture and murder. As a result, women, children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities, particularly albinism, are vulnerable.
What does the Bible say about witchcraft? First, Christians affirm the historical reality of witchcraft in the past and its presence today. The Bible admonishes Christians to expect the devil to work today as he did in the Old and New Testaments (1 Pet. 5:6–11). In living out the Christian faith, one may experience real spiritual battles with the devil and his agents, such as witch doctors. Instructions in the New Testament Epistles on conducting spiritual warfare were not limited to the first century (Eph. 6:10–20). The enemy of our soul still prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, and we must resist him (1 Peter 5:8).
Bible on Witchcraft
In Scripture, Satan and demons are involved with spiritual darkness (Eph. 6:12), deception (2 Cor. 11:13–15), and death (John 8:44). They thrive in these kinds of environments. The worship and seeking of supernatural powers other than God have been around since the beginning. There are only two sources of spiritual power: God and Satan. Satan has only the power that God allows him to have, but it is considerable yet inferior to that of God (Job 1:12; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 20:2). Therefore, don’t fear the works of witchcraft if you’re a Christian because God is way more powerful than the devil (1 John 4:4, John 1:5).
To seek spirituality, knowledge, or power apart from God is idolatry, closely related to witchcraft (2 Chronicles 33:6, Leviticus 19:31). Satan has used witchcraft to prevent people from finding holy spirituality in God alone. He uses witchcraft to entice people away from God. In the Bible, the idea of “witchcraft” is similar to “divination.” It’s an attempt to communicate with evil spirits so they’ll provide information or insight. The Bible says that Saul died for his breach of faith (1 Chronicles 10:13). He broke faith with the LORD in that he did not keep the command of the LORD, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance (1 Chronicles 10:13). The Bible expressly condemns all forms of witchcraft. To express this, the penalty for practising witchcraft under the Mosaic Law was death (Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:27).
The Fear of Witchcraft
People’s fear of witchcraft makes them vulnerable to evil. For example, the fear of witchcraft can make you vulnerable to not be sober-minded as commanded in the scriptures (1 Peter 1:13). It leads to lacking faith in the Lord’s power to deliver and protect you (Psalm 34:4, Joshua 1:9). Fear in general causes you to forget your Heavenly Father who is there to provide and give you peace (John 14:27, Romans 8:15, 2 Timothy 1:7). This is precisely Satan’s desire to cause you to fear him and witchcraft in general because people can be easily led astray while in fear.
Witchcraft, especially in the African context, is greatly feared. Fear is a means of control by those who subscribe to demonic powers, including false preachers. Many false preachers claim that any misfortune results from demons and witchcraft, but they have the power to overwhelm those things. To get them to use their power to overcome witchcraft, you, of course, pay them. False preachers use the fear of witchcraft to enrich themselves. It shows the desperateness of God’s people to find answers to their life’s problems.
Unfortunately, the act of fear shows distrust of the promise of God about his protection for his people (Job 1:10). Fear elevates the power of Satan above the power of God (1 Peter 5:8-11). Many people lose their faith in God as a result. We don’t need to fear Satan’s power. 1 John 4:4 says, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” Satan will not hesitate to attack God’s people (1 Thessalonians 2:18; Job 1:12–18; 1 Corinthians 5:5). However, we are overcomers (1 John 5:4) when we “put on the whole armour of God…” (Ephesians 6:11).
Witchcraft in the Church
Sadly witches have entered the church congregations in the guise of super-spiritual Christians. Their purpose is to deceive and shipwreck pastors and to lead multitudes of naive believers into occult worship. A Christian or a pastor who a witch can entice is the one who indulges in sin, is driven by greed or success, or has betrayed the Lord through unbelief or neglect. Ministers of the gospel who fall into deep sin don’t exactly have a demon “leap” upon them; a witch doesn’t seduce them. They are led astray by their lusts and desires! They have gotten off the holy ground and begun cruising the devil’s territory!
Servants of God should pray for discernment of any trap from the wicked one. For example, a slave girl possessed by the devil — a practising witch with a spirit of divination — sought to infiltrate Paul’s ministry! She followed after Paul and his companions, crying out, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us the way of salvation” (Acts 16:17). But Paul’s spirit was disturbed and perceived a trap. He discerned that the girl was not converted and that she had no right to touch holy things. So he turned and said to the evil spirit in her, “I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And (the demon) came out the same hour” (Acts 16:18). Discernment was Paul’s friend in this instance, and even a wicked plan by the evil one was not able to overcome the power of God.
Remember that the devil had to report to God what he was doing on earth in the book of Job (Job 1:6-). The Lord then told Satan after his boasting, “have you considered my servant Job?” as a way to ultimately disgrace the devil (Job 1:8). The devil inferred that he couldn’t touch Job because of God’s hedge of protection and blessing around him (Job 1:9-11). God then allowed the devil to hurt Job, but he limited the extent of what he could do, saying, touch his possession, but not him (Job 1:11). Later on, God allowed the devil to touch Job personally but not kill him (Job 2:5-6). The book of Job shows us that the devil is limited in what he can do to believers because God is stronger than him. He puts up hedges of defence and blessing and limits the extent of the evil one’s touch. Remember that whenever you’re tempted to live in fear of witchcraft. The devil has power, but God has greater power. If you, your family, or your friends are affected by the impact of the evil one, remember that just as with Job, God will turn Satan’s work to be his disgrace, a blessing to you, and for His glory. This is, of course, assuming that we resist the evil one firm in our faith.