Exo 22:18; Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
This scripture many a times seems to be the pillar on which many Christians carry on a prayer campaign against witches and wizards (a phenomenon especially popular in African churches), I thought to share some insight on the text and the topic as a whole.
First of all, we must note that this commandment was given to Israelites for Israelites, just like all the other commandments and laws in that chapter and the rest of the books, the rules applied to the chosen people of God under the covenant of the law.
In context, even before mentioning that this was under the law and we (Christians are under grace) are not under the law, we note that the witch referred to was an Israelite witch. I.e. an Israelite who practised sorcery, witchcraft or wizardry.
No commandment is given for the Israelite people to wage wars against the witchcraft practises of other nations, rather they were instructed to avoid the nations by not intermarrying with them lest they begin to worship their gods.
So the witch in context was any Jew who practised witchcraft, i.e. a person who is under God’s covenant yet practises sorcery, this is significant in that that person was a deviator from the law, a pretender of sorts, just the same way the law commanded Israelites to kill Israelites found in adultery(lev 20:10). This is somewhat synonymous to Christ’s instruction concerning a brother who offends or acts continuously in like manner as unbelievers (matt 18:17) and yet insists he is a Christian even though he refuses to repent; consider him as a pagan. This principle is shown in 1 cor 5:11-13; we don’t judge the world for being sinful, it is their nature but we can judge one who claims to be a Christian yet works unrepentantly like the world (e.g. an unbeliever who is a homosexual, we wont judge but one who claims to believe and yet does not want to repent and continues in homosexuality we should judge).
The point is this: if we as believer’s are supposed (which we are not by the way) to spend our time praying against witches, the witches we should be praying against are the ones in church, who parade as believers, not the ones in a shrine in some village or on a poll hovering over and monitoring everyone. But alas, we are seated with Christ far above principality and powers and they are under our feet, we should pray for witches and wizards; that they should repent and know the love of Christ, just as we are to pray for Muslims, Buddhists, atheists and unbelievers in general, because a witch is just another human who practises witchcraft, just like a Muslim is a man who practises Islam and a thief is a man who practises stealing, all are subject (and potential objects of and) to God’s mercy and forgiveness.
If we consider witches our enemies then we should love them,
If we consider them to hate us then we should do good to them,
If we consider them to place curses on us then we should bless them,
If we consider them to ill-treat us then we should pray for them. (Luke 6:27, 28)
These are not new or radical ideas, no. Jesus had said these thousands of years ago, we just seem to prefer not to hear, so that we can blame our problems on someone, channel our aggressions on somebody and tag our hurts to something. For a believer, there is no curse (ancestral or Morden) that can prevail in his or her life, for your life is hid in Christ and Christ in God (Col 3:3), no weapon (that means weapons of devils, witches or demons) formed against you shall prosper for this is the heritage of the saints of God, for they derive their righteousness (blamelessness) from God (Isa 54:17). The fight we fight is the good fight of faith (1 tim 6:12).
Check this out;
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (KJV)
Eph 6:11 Take up God’s instruments of war, so that you may be able to keep your position against all the deceits of the Evil One. (BBE)
Eph 6:12 For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against authorities and powers, against the world-rulers of this dark night, against the spirits of evil in the heavens. (BBE)
These scriptures point out sweet truths we have taken and interpreted to our cultural settings (instead of interpreting our experiences and cultures by scriptures), we see in verse 11 that the ‘wiles’ of the devil we are to stand against are deceits (not lightning strikes, names on altars, evil pendants buried in the ground, trees that look like shrines etc.), for God’s people perish for lack of knowledge (Hos 4:6), not because of plenty devils. Reading and understanding in context vs 12 points that our fight is not against physical things like those mentioned above, not against people or trees but against spirits who work by deception, propagation of lies and maligning of truth. This is further shown in verses 13-17 where we see the armour with which we are to fight the good fight; Truth, Righteousness, gospel of peace, faith, salvation and word of God (notice no ‘Holy Ghost fire’).
So the bible says fight the good fight of faith, the only fight you are called to fight, with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the word. Interestingly all these are virtues for you as an individual and none for the ‘enemy’; live by the Truth, walk in righteousness in your daily life, maintain peace in your soul, have and exhibit faith in your daily walk, receive the salvation of God and let the word of God richly dwell in you. Be and do all these and you will be fruitful in life, live your life so, and a million demons from a thousand province with all the powers of hell will not be able to hurt even you shadow. For Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us (Gal 3:13).
I believe to a great extent the reason why this misguided habit of attacking evil spirits and blaming them for our woes is nothing but an agenda of the devils to keep believers distracted, when we spend our time handling the irrelevant, we let the relevant go to ruin, we become so busy ‘killing’ demons (which by the way does not work because spirits don’t die, even evil spirits initially came from God and the undying element of God lives in all spirits, what you can do though is cast them out and maybe even untimely send them to eternal torment (matt 8:29), where they will eventually spend eternity) that we don’t have time to pray for the things that really matter, no time to pray for perishing souls, no time to pray for the perfecting work of God’s spirit on our lives, no time to pray for the expansion of God’s kingdom, no time to pray that the spoken word may prevail in the hearts of men, no time to pray that God would send labourers into his harvest, no time to make intercessions that really matter, we are busy shooting at targets that don’t exist. We have ministries, daily devotionals, prayer camps, warfare books dedicated to demons, demonology, witches and devils. We are wasting too much time, we are being too easily distracted. You do not look at your opponent to win, you keep your eyes on your Jesus. I am not against learning about these things, but we should never build our lives around it. (Rom 16:19 … but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.) It is not our job to know the depths, heights and details of evils, no! be basic to the details of wickedness and be fully grounded in God and His word, knowing more about them does not guarantee power over them, no! But knowing who you are in Christ secures manifest victory over every evil.
Please these things are real, wicked spirits, witches and the like, they indeed want to harm you as a believer but your position in Christ is too high for them, you need to step down by joining your hands to evil for them to have a foothold. Also, when we pray against witches, it works, people die because men of God and children of God spoke a word of judgement against them, the word in our mouth has power and that power can kill. The fact that it works is not a license to use it to kill, it is power, the power in a gun to shoot an animal for food is the same power in a gun to shoot a human being, yet the latter is illegal. In 2 kings 2:23-24, Elisha cursed some children by the power of God and bears came and mauled them all to death, was that the will of God; that a man of God kill 42 kids because they made fun of him? No! it wasn’t, it isn’t but Elisha had the power and he used it so. In 2 kings 1:10-12, Elijah called fire from heaven against over a hundred men by the power of God in his mouth, was that the will of God that all those men; fathers, husbands and sons die like that? No! it wasn’t, the anointing can be a deadly tool in the hand of the anointed, this is why God seldom pours forth His anointing on a babe in faith, yet there is anointing residual in every believer (1 John 2:27) which can be grown and matured by practise and use. The fact that it is not the will of God for men to die like this is further shown in Luke 9:53-56; where certain of the disciples of Jesus tried to pattern their response like Elijah by calling fire to devour an entire village for their refusal to accept Jesus (hindering His purpose), Jesus rebuked them for such a thought and emphasized that we have a different spirit. How did Jesus respond, He simply (as we would say in popular pidgin); ‘walka pass’, i.e. He simply continued with other things, He knew no person or people could ‘hold His destiny’ or stop His purpose. N
Furthermore no scripture gives the New covenant believer the mandate or right to take the life of the vilest witch by prayer, in Acts 13:8-11: Paul was being resisted by a sorcerer (modern day wizard, or witch if it was a woman) and he commanded blindness on him and that for a season, that the word of God may prevail. We have the right and mandate to bind principalities and powers, and even bind men who work under their influence trying to spoil the work of God in our lives or through our lives, besides he who has the power to kill (a greater manifestation of power) also has the power to bound and declare powerless any witch (a lesser manifestation of power) who tries to obstruct the working of God through a man. God Himself is judge, we don’t have the right to even give a witch a timeframe to repent as thought we had inside information of heaven’s calendar on the salvation of men. By focusing on Jesus, we naturally loose focus on witches, our worship are great warships making waves without us even knowing.
In conclusion, as a believer you might permit the workings of demons, witches and the like to surface in your life when you put forth your hand into iniquity i.e you stretch forth your hands to do evil deeds, you give a cause for the curse (prov 26:2). When you stretch your hand to kill a man, when you walk in sexual immorality, when you do business with unjust weights (bribery, cheating, lies), when you practise the demonic practises of your ancestors and live by their laws which contradict the word, you give the devil room in your family, business, life etc. because these are the works of the devil and you are partnering with him (the devil becomes a shareholder in that evil venture). So God commands His children; come out and be ye separate (2 cor 6:17). For the believer who walks in such a manner repent and cast off the works of the sinful nature, renounce the works of the devil and walk in the righteousness of Christ whose you are, walk in the righteousness of God and the devils hold will be broken and that permanently.
Walk in the freedom for which Christ has set you free, for who the son of Man has set free, He is free indeed.