SPIRITUAL WARFARE:  Living Under The Influence...
George Bloomer

HIS GLORY REIGNS
B. Childress
Jun 27 2008 08:00AM

Witchcraft

Normally, when we think of witchcraft, we envision black cats and old hags dressed in black with pointy hats and riding
on broomsticks.  In reality, however, witchcraft is an attempt to influence someone by ungodly spiritual  means.  It is the
calling forth of spiritual influences with the goal of causing someone or something to perform in a certain way.  Witchcraft
is bringing a person or a thing under the influence of the demonic.

What exactly are demons?  Demons are those angels who were cast out of heaven with Lucifer.  Demonology is the
understanding of how these evil influences work and act.  In short, demonic forces operate according to a deliberate
satanic strategy to influence people and events, diverting  worship and devotion away from God. Witchcraft was a factor
in the Bible, and it is a factor that operates all around us today, though we are scarcely aware of it.  

In order to deal with the reality of witchcraft, we first must understand some basic truths.  The first truth is that we are not
just dealing with human weakness and peculiarity. We are dealing with spiritual forces bent on our destruction.

"
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness
of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
"  Ephesians 6:12

We are a nation living under the influence of witchcraft: the witchcraft of the occult, the witchcraft of drugs, the witchcraft
of religious spirits, and the witchcraft of rebellion.  Regardless of the method or the venue, evil influences stem from the
same source: Satan.  And all have the same motive, which is to divert people from God and His truth.  Now, I am not
saying that all of the evil things that happen can be ascribed to Satan; that would give him too much power and glory.  
Nonetheless, witchcraft influences us in many forms and guises.

The Witchcraft of the Occult

There are many gateways through which deliberate satanic influence enters into our world.  One of them is the occult.  
For example,  there are advertisements everywhere for psychic hot lines, where desperate people consult demonically
controlled counselors over the telephone.

Both the Old and the New Testaments in the Bible contain examples of occult witchcraft.  In fact, God was very clear
about avoiding divination of any sort:

    "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your
    God."  Leviticus 19:31

    and,

    "And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will
    even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people."  Leviticus 20:6

    and,

    "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or
    that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with
    familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.  For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD:
    and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee."  Deuteronomy 18:
    10-12

The central issue in the prohibition of sorcery in the Old Testament was that it led people away from God and attempted
to control future events through spells and evil spirits.  Again, the result was separation from God.  God warned Israel
about taking up the gods and altars of the people they were to displace in the Promised Land.  

    "When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many
    nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and Perizzites, and
    the Hivites and the Jubusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall
    deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt  make no covenant with
    them, nor shew mercy unto them: Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give
    unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son For they will turn away thy son from following me, that
    they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.  But
    thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves,
    and burn their graven images with fire."  Deuteronomy 7:1-5

The people of God were warned not to get involved in any way with those who did not serve God.  They were to tear
down and destroy the enemy influences among them.  We know from reading the rest of the Scriptures that the
Israelites did not do so.  The nations that God displaced served false gods of every sort, and some of their occult
practices crept unnoticed into the everyday lives of God's people.

The Israelites had been desert wanderers and shepherds for many years, and slaves before that.  But when they came
into the land of promise, they had to become farmers.  Being unfamiliar with the ways of farming, they probably picked
up pagan practices by observation.  Perhaps a pagan farmer placed a small idol at the end of his field to ensure a good
crop.  The Israelites then saw that idol as just something everybody did to get good crops, so they set up idols too.  In
doing so, though, they placed themselves under the legal control of demonic influence.  Thus, little by little, they took up
pagan practices until God became just one god among many.  Second Kings 17 says, "
They feared the LORD, and
served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence.
"

Superstition, New Age, and occult practices have crept into the church as well.  Though some may be offended at what
I'm about to say, I must caution some African-American churches that have taken up the celebration of Kwanza.  This
holiday is supposed to be a celebration of African culture and is filled with color and ritual.  But it also is filled with
demonic influence.  Kwanza is rooted in an African religion that is polluted with spiritism.  The name Kwanza comes from
the Swahili words for "firstfruits," and it is a harvest celebration that dates back as far as ancient Egypt.  Kwanza does
not glorify Yahweh God in any way.  Those who celebrate this holiday unknowingly serve pagan false gods.  There can
be no mixture in the kingdom of God.  God alone is worthy to be worshipped and adored.  We cannot fear the Lord and
at the same time serve other gods in any form or to any extent.

Similarly, in very subtle ways, the church has taken up the gods of materialism from the world that we are supposed to
be claiming for Christ.  Celebrity preachers wear thousand-dollar suits and drive sixty-thousand-dollar cars.  We have
placed ourselves under the demonic influence of materialism and have learned to measure our success in terms of
facilities and dollars.  How are we different from drug dealers?  Jesus set a different standard for His disciples.

"
Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.  And a certain
scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee withersoever thou goest.  And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes
have holes; but the Son of man hath no where to lay his head.
"  Matthew 8:18-20

In the New Testament there are a few notable examples of witchcraft.  In Acts 16:16 we read of a slave girl who was
controlled by a spirit of divination.  Not only did the spirit that oppressed her control her life, this same spirit sought to
control or influence others through her.

    "And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which
    brought her master much gain by soothsaying:  The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men
    are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.  And this did she many days.  But
    Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her
    .  And he came out the same hour.  And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught
    Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers..."  Acts 16:16-19

Notice that this spirit began its harassment as Paul and the others went to prayer, that place of fellowship with God.  
Divination is the counterfeit of God's truth.  It involves using the stars and evil spirits to foretell or control the future.  The
girl followed them proclaiming the truth, but in a mocking manner.  Finally Paul had enough and "dispossessed" the
demonic spirit in the name of Jesus Christ.  We see in the following verse that not only did the spirit influence the girl,
but it also brought her masters under the influence of a spirit of greed as they profited by her lying divination.  One spirit
opened the way for the other.  All, however, were living under the influence of the witchcraft of the occult.

In Acts 13:8 Paul had another power encounter with a sorcerer named Elymas.

    "But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy
    from the faith.  Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, And said, O full
    of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to
    pervert the right ways of the Lord?"  Acts 13:8-10

Note that the man was guilty of diverting others from "the straight ways of the Lord."  He was employing Satan's old habit
of seeking to deflect and distort the true worship of God.  Paul also called him a "son of the devil"' literally, one who does
what the devil does.

In an even earlier account, Peter encountered a sorcerer named Simon who amazed a city of 70,000 people through the
power of Satan.  But when the people came to Christ, his powers were no longer impressive.  So he became a "believer"
as well.  But did he really?  Later, when Simon witnessed the true power of God flowing through Peter, he offered to pay
the apostles so that he could have this same power.

    "And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them
    money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost."  Acts 8:
    18-19

What was it that Simon offered to purchase?  It was power, pure and simple.  He had no desire to see the Holy Spirit
come upon people to empower them and set them free.  It was all about control.  Nothing had changed in him; he still
wanted to influence and impress.  This time it was just through what he saw as a greater power.  But the same demonic
motive was in operation.  

This same spirit is active in the psychic hot lines of today.  In many instances these modern soothsayers/witches are
there to tell people what they think they want to hear, while their 900-number meters rack up $3.99 a minute.  In all
cases the callers are giving legal ground to the enemy to draw them even deeper into the influence of the demonic.

Our nation is living under the influence of the occult in many ways.  It is even true that our nation's capitol was designed
in the form of the Masonic symbol.  The exercises and practices of the Freemasons are filled with the symbols and rites
of an ancient Arabic religion, which in some cases glorified the murder of Christians.  Its symbols include the inverted
pentagram that is also found in witchcraft and Satanism.  The Masonic Lodge has been home to many presidents,
judges, members of Congress, and other government officials.  Nevertheless, the Masonic Lodge, with its secret rites
and orders, is an occult organization whose influence is felt throughout every part of the country - even in the church of
Jesus Christ.

Whatever the source or description, we are living under the influence of the witchcraft of the occult.

The Witchcraft of Drugs

Drugs are another tool of the enemy to influence those who use them.  Galatians 5:20, in the King James Version, lists
witchcraft among the deeds of the flesh.

    "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
    Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders,
    drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they
    which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."  (verses 19-21)

The Greek word used for "
witchcraft" here is pharmakeia, from which we get the word pharmacy, the place where
prescription drugs are available.  In ancient times the pharmacist was one who mixed potions and poisons with which to
influence or kill people.  Today, illegal drugs enslave us and make us dependent.  They waste our lives and our money.

Illegal drugs plague our neighborhoods and families, robbing us of the next generations.  At the same time, we must
realize that we are also the most medicated people on earth.  Never have so many people used prescription drugs.  We
have drugs to bring us out of depression and drugs to calm our stress.  Antidepressant drugs are prescribed almost
automatically today.  Although in some cases prescription drugs are helpful in correcting chemical imbalances in the
brain, that is not the only cause of depression.  Depression also can be the result of demonic influence.  Drugs may
treat the symptoms, but they fail to address the source of the depression.  It is comparable to seeing someone with an
arrow stuck in his chest and handing him an aspirin instead of removing the arrow.  In any event, drugs of any kind
represent a powerful means of influence.

The Witchcraft of Religion

Paul asked an interesting question in his epistle to the Galatians.  Many in the Galatian church were falling back into a
mind-set of works and rituals in order to please those who sought to bind them to religion again.  He asked them, "
O
foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been
evidently set forth, crucified among you?
" (Galatians 3:1).  It appears that religion itself can be an influencing factor to
bring fear into the lives of believers and separate them from the true and living God.

What do I mean by
religion?  Religion, in the broadest sense, refers to a system of beliefs about God.  But religion itself
can become an obstacle if we begin to relate to our system of beliefs or doctrine and forget about our personal
relationship with God.  For the ancient Jewish people, religion became a mechanical following of rules, done by rote,
rather than being motivated by a personal relationship with their God.  God Himself told them that, while they practiced
religion, their hearts were not in it.

    "Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour
    me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:"  Isaiah
    29:13

The Galatians had begun to fall back into the religious pattern.  They put aside the truth of the Gospel of grace through
Jesus Christ and began trying to earn their way to fellowship with God through legalistic religion.  If it were possible for
us to save ourselves, who would be in control?  We would! Man would "
be like God" (Genesis 3:5).  It's the oldest lie in
the cosmos.  God is God, and He alone saves through His Son Jesus Christ.

Throughout the history of the church, various leaders have tried to exert control over the people they were called to
serve.  In the Middle Ages, a hierarchy of church leaders evolved that took control of every phase of the people's lives.  
The church became a political force with the power of life or death.  The result was corruption throughout the church to
the point of selling forgiveness to those with enough money.  Again, those in the church assumed a place that was not
theirs.  They took their eyes off God and said to themselves, "
We can be like God" and issue forgiveness.  Thankfully,
Luther and other Reformers came along, and the church was redirected to its original purpose: worship of God, not a
form of religion.  (Unfortunately, these Reformers themselves eventually persecuted those who participated in
subsequent reforms.)

It is still a fact, however, that, from time to time, movements and individuals rise up and assume a place of control.  
Leaders must remain diligent to examine their hearts in areas of leadership.  Leaders serve the Lord by caring for, not
dominating, the church.  Jesus talked about this issue:

"
But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and
they that are great exercise authority upon them.  But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among
you, let him be your minister;
"  Matthew 20:25-26

The Witchcraft of Rebellion

    "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the
    LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.  For rebellion is as the sin of
    witchcraft, and stubborness is as iniquity and idolatry.  Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath
    also rejected thee from being king."  I Samuel 15:22-23

Saul was anointed to be king of Israel.  He was given clear instructions to destroy the Amalekites, who were a great
offense to God.  But Saul disobeyed.  He rebelled against God and saved some of the loot for himself and the people.  
Saul was afraid of the murmuring of the people; thus, he disregarded God's word.  Although he retained a religious
appearance, he was diverted from the worship of God and took some of the glory of the conquest for himself.  Does the
idea of taking glory that belongs to God sound familiar?  Shortly thereafter, an evil spirit came upon Saul to torment him
(See I Samuel 16:14.)

There is an atmosphere of rebellion in our own time.  Children rebel against parents; parents rebel against their
employers; people rebel against the authority God has established over them in government; and government has
rebelled against God by passing laws that permit all kinds of shameful and godless activities.  Those who are openly
homosexual dare God to condemn them.  They demand equal rights and flout the laws of God.  We have become a
rebellious nation of individuals who think only of ourselves.

The witchcraft of rebellion in every form and flavor has overtaken our generation.  Why are we surprised that children
and teachers are shot down and killed when we have torn the laws of God off the walls of our schools?  We permit
"health organizations" to pass out condoms in public schools, giving tacit blessing to premarital sex among teens.  We
have served at a different altar and turned away from God.  Humanism reigns in government and public schools, and
God has been asked to leave.  The witchcraft of rebellion has infected our nation at every level.  The result will be what
it always has been - separation from God.

None of this is by coincidence.  Witchcraft is part of a deliberate strategy to undermine our worship and fellowship with
God.

Satan Has a Strategy

Satan has a strategy.  He isn't sitting around hell throwing darts at a dartboard to determine his next move.  He knows
exactly what he wants to do and to whom he wants to do it.  
So should we.

Satan's strategy is applied through three basic means: intimidation, manipulation, and domination.  Satan tries to
influence us and divert us from fellowship with God by scaring us, managing us, or overpowering us.  His strategies are
applied not only directly on us, but also through us.  We try to intimidate or impress one another, manage what others
think, or lift ourselves above them in pride.  We must understand that there is an active plot against our families, the
church, and every one of us individually.  From the corporate CEO's office to the pastor's study, Satan employees his
scheme through unwitting players.  There are many "Simons" among us who are accepted and revered by many as
community leaders and even representatives of God.  The trappings are different, but domination and manipulative
control are still the undercurrent.

THIS IS WAR!

This is war!  And Satan's strategy is to wage war by using terrorism, psychological warfare, and overwhelming force.  
Many born-again believers are robbed and rendered ineffective because they are unaware of the devices that the
enemy employs for their destruction.




Source:

Spiritual Warfare, by George Bloomer, Copyright 2004, Whitaker House.
2010 - HIS GLORY REIGNS
LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES