Witchcraft in the Modern Day Church
The spirit of Baal is only one of the many manifestations of witchcraft. While witchcraft is openly acknowledged in many third world countries, in the western world it goes largely undiagnosed and therefore untreated, especially in the modern day church. Like any virus left in its undiagnosed and untreated state, the spirit of witchcraft continues to spread from host to host, until entire families, congregations, provinces and nations are infected. Israel sadly became such a nation and remains in its grasp to this day. Though God sent the Israelites into the promised land to possess it and to remove all that was not of Him, many times instead they rebelled; embracing the witchcraft of other nations, ignoring the warnings of God, bringing cursing and bondage on themselves, instead of the freedom and blessing that God had intended.
Like any illness, the spirit of Baal is diagnosed by the ‘symptoms of deceit’ and false prophecies it produces.
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits”.(Matthew 7:15 & 16)
This Scripture is true of false prophets, and true of anyone operating through a counterfeit spirit instead of by the Spirit of God.
Become a True Follower of Christ
At the end of Matthew Chapter Twenty, Jesus met two blind men and asked them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” These blind men replied, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” When Jesus touched their eyes, “immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him” (see Matthew 20: 30 – 34).
There are many in the world today who believe they are followers of Jesus, but who have been deceived into believing another Jesus, having received another spirit and a different gospel to that of the bible. In reality they are following after a false christ.
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received or a different gospel which you have not accepted — you may well put up with it!”.(2 Corinthians 11:3 & 4)
The result of having the spiritual eyes of our understanding opened is that we become true followers of the one true Jesus Christ.
Are You Believing a Lie?
After Jesus had entered into Jerusalem, He went into the temple of God.
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.'”.(Matthew 21: 12 & 13)
Jesus’ use of the words ‘den of thieves’ when describing what His house had been made into was no coincidence. Jesus was making a direct reference to Jeremiah chapter seven and the worship of Baal and other gods. In the Old Testament, God told the prophet Jeremiah to confront the people of Judah saying;
“Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter in at these gates to worship the Lord!” Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place.” Do not trust in these lying words, saying, ‘The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these.'”.(Jeremiah 7:2-4)
The people of Judah, who God sent Jeremiah to confront, believed they were true worshippers of God! Yet Jeremiah describes them as those who were trusting in lying words. Though they entered in at the gates to worship the Lord saying, “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these” God was warning them that these were lying words. He was warning them to amend their ways! These people of Judah proclaimed to be entering into the temple of the Lord to worship God, when in reality they were living unholy lives, falsely burning incense to Baal and walking after other gods.
The Deception of Walking After Other gods
Chapter seven of Jeremiah describes some of the life patterns of these people who were walking after other gods. Jeremiah describes them as those who needed to thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour. By this Jeremiah was telling them to make right and accurate judgments of others and to treat other people in a right way!
“For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour…”.(Jeremiah 7:5)
- Who or what we worship determines how we treat other people.
- A true worshipper of Christ will treat others as Christ would treat them.
God told this same people who were “trusting in lying words that cannot profit,” that if they amended their ways from doing these things, then God would cause them to dwell in the place of their inheritance that he gave to their fathers forever and ever. This also means that if they did not amend their ways, to stop doing these things, they would not dwell in the place of their inheritance.
“…then I will cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.” Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit”.(Jeremiah 7:7 & 8)
Symptoms of Deceit in the House of the Lord
Jeremiah describes those things that should not take place in the house of the Lord.
“If you do not oppress the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, or walk after other gods to your hurt”.(Jeremiah 7:6)
What does oppressing the stranger, the fatherless and widow represent in the house of the Lord? It could mean lacking to care for the needs of orphans, widows and strangers or taking advantage of those who are vulnerable; but could it also mean failing to meet the needs of those who feel like strangers in the Body of Christ, or those in need of the care of a spiritual father and mother? What does the shedding of innocent blood represent in the house of the Lord? Could it mean speaking or acting against the leadership, or a brother or sister in Christ? What does walking after other gods to your own hurt represent in the house of the Lord? Could it mean the seeking after money, or pursuing a counterfeit power? These are all things God declared should not happen in His place of worship: the temple of the Lord.
“Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, “and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are delivered to do all these abominations’? “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” says the Lord”.(Jeremiah 7:9 — 11)
What do stealing, murder, committing adultery and swearing falsely in the house of the Lord represent? Could stealing mean taking the glory that belongs to God; blocking the purposes of God; or stealing the spiritual inheritance that belongs to another? Could murder mean the misrepresentation of Christ or the assassination of another’s reputation or character? Could adultery just be an act of physical adultery or sinning with the mind; or an act of spiritual adultery, exchanging the love of Christ for the love of something else? Could swearing falsely mean making vows to God that you no longer keep, saying one thing but doing another; or telling lies and half- truths to others?
God asks the people if they think they can stand before Him and say that He has delivered them to do all these abominable things? He asks: “Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of thieves in your eyes?” because in doing these things they were robbing the very purposes of God!
Confronting the spirit of Baal
When the Lord God sent the prophet Elijah to confront King Ahab, there were four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal who ate at his wife Jezebel’s table.
“Then it happened, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said to him, “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?” And he answered, “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals.” Now therefore, send and gather all Israel to me on Mount Carmel, the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal, and the four hundred prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table. So Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the prophets together on Mount Carmel”.(1 King 18:17-20)
Elijah then challenged the Israelites: “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word” (1 Kings 18:21).
Perhaps the people of Israel were afraid to confront the spirit of Baal? Queen Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, had already massacred most of the prophets of the Lord. Apart from Elijah, only one hundred remained, hidden in caves. So Elijah instructed them:
“Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it. Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God”.(1 Kings 18:23 & 24)
The spirit of Baal Overthrown!
Despite the performances and customs of these prophets of Baal, all their false prophecies and all their crying out, no response came to them.
“So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied (these were false prophecies) until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered; no one paid attention”.(1 Kings 18:26-29)
Elijah then drew the people near him and repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. “And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, israel shall be your name” (1 Kings 18:31).
Elijah then built an altar in the Name of the Lord. He made a large trench around the altar and placed the bull on the wood of the altar. Twelve water pots were filled with water and poured on the altar until the water ran all around, filling the trench with water.
“And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, “Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. “Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to you again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench”.(1 Kings 18:36-38)
The People’s Hearts are Turned to the Lord
Seeing that the prophets of Baal had received no answer gave courage to the people of God. When Elijah drew those near to him he reassured them that they were the Lord’s and that the Lord had given them their name. Elijah wanted the people to know that their God was the only God in Israel and that Elijah was only His servant. Elijah obeyed God’s word so that the people’s hearts would be turned back to the lord.
“Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!.”(1 Kings 18:39)
When the people saw what the Lord had done, they had courage to go up against the prophets of Baal.
“And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there”.(1 Kings 18:40)
Preparing Your Own Heart for Battle
Confronting the spirit of Baal, or any of witchcraft’s counterparts in their own territory, without dealing with its manifestations operating in your own life first, is neither a wise nor advisable thing to do. It is like stepping foot onto someone else’s property whilst holding some possession of theirs in your hands. The enemy has every legal right to reclaim possession of what belongs to him. If you do not deal with its operation in your own life first, when you encroach upon its spiritual territory, you will be vulnerable to spiritual attack in the very place that you have granted it access by operating according to its ways.
There is a trustworthy principle of God found in Matthew Chapter Seven.
“And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?” Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? “Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” .(Matthew 7:3-5)
First submit yourself to God; allowing Him to deal with your own heart first, even if the area is small. When you have exercised the authority of Christ given to you, expelling it from your own life first, you will then be able to confront its operation in others. Witchcraft is a powerful and destructive force that should not be left undealt with in the followers of Christ, or tolerated in the house of God. God has given every believer in Christ the authority to overthrow it.
“And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority (by using the name of Jesus) to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you’”.(Luke 10: 18 & 19)
The Weapons of our Warfare are Mighty
We should think of ourselves as Christ thinks of us. Christ in us is always more powerful than anything we may face. Christ never thinks “I can’t do this” or “this is bigger than Me.”
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”.(Ephesians 6:10 & 11)
We do not battle against people, but against principalities and powers in the spiritual realm. Therefore we should not view other people as enemies, but either as those who are in need of salvation, or as co-labourers in the Kingdom of God and brothers and sisters in Christ.
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”.(Ephesians 6:12 & 13 – Read also through verses 14 – 18)
God has given us the precious blood of Christ and the very name of Jesus to overcome the enemy, and powerful spiritual weapons that are mighty. These are always at our disposal, but the enemy will try to blind us to the authority we have in Christ.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death”.(Revelation 12:11)
The Apostle Paul also gives this vital key.
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled”.(2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
Casting down imaginations and strongholds in our thinking is a vital necessity.
Speaking the Word of God, the Bible, is a powerful force (see my previous article ‘Addressing the issues of your heart’). Casting down every argument the enemy brings to your mind and making it obedient to the words of Christ will pull down all strongholds of wrong thinking. But to be able to do that, you must know and read the Word of God. Praying in the spirit (in other spiritual tongues) is also a vital key. When we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit we receive the powerful spiritual gift of speaking in other tongues. When we pray in other tongues in the spirit, the Holy Spirit prays through us with acts of spiritual warfare, praying exactly the right thing, for every situation, every time.
Speak the Word of God and Pray in Spiritual Tongues Often.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication In the spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints”.(Ephesians 6:18)
PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, I come to You today to ask for Your forgiveness for any way in which I have participated in turning Your house into a ‘den of thieves’ through my attitudes, thoughts, words or deeds. Please show me any ways in which I have allowed a wrong spirit access into my life, and teach me how to treat others according to the ways of Christ. Where there are strongholds of these wrong things operating in or through my life, help me to find others experienced in the things of the Lord, who will help me to be set free. I ask these things in Jesus’ name, Amen”.
Some highly recommended reading for help with spiritual warfare: “The walk of the spirit the walk of power — The vital role of praying in tongues”, by Dave Roberson.