Last week, in Righteousness, Blessing, Salvation, we saw how salvation, justification, and blessing are inseparable. We continue in salvation and in God’s blessing in the same way that we were first saved, through grace. Today, we’re continuing to examine how people who practice witchcraft for decades can sometimes go to Christian churches and find the same mindsets there that they learned through witchcraft.
The Law And Witchcraft
I have a friend who was once a Satanist. I mentioned him in part one of “Supernatural Rain In My House.” In one of our conversations, he remarked that when he first read the Jewish law in the Old Testament, he was surprised at how close it seemed to the magic practices he had learned. They even sacrificed animals!
I was talking about Macumba (a Brazilian form of witchcraft) with my wife yesterday. She remarked about how closely “Macumbeiros” adhere to the Old Testament in the Bible. Several other forms of witchcraft also use the Old Testament.
Don’t get me wrong. I encourage you to read the Old Testament! It’s full of wonderful teaching and promises, and it points to Jesus. I’ve read through it many times. But we must realize that the Old Covenant and the Jewish law were fulfilled in Christ. Animal sacrifices, the temple, and many other things were shadows of Christ. The book of Hebrews is clear that these were imperfect and could never actually deal with sin. They couldn’t perfect the conscience or set things right. Jesus is the only perfect atonement.
Hebrews 10:1 (NRSV) Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach.
Offering animal sacrifices was right in the Old Covenant. But today, to offer animal sacrifices is witchcraft. Why? It’s putting trust in something that’s far inferior to Christ and the perfect New Covenant, now that Christ has come. These old things were fulfilled in Jesus and have now passed away. Any trust we put in them is misplaced trust and obscures our revelation of Jesus, who is the only way of perfect redemption. Now that Jesus has come, those who continue to sacrifice animals are no longer sacrificing them to God, but to demons.
In Part 3 of our articles about Reiki and Spiritism, we saw that these work according to the “elemental spirits of the universe” or “basic principles of this world” (as different translations of Colossians say) and not according to Christ. It’s interesting that some Bible scholars interpret this phrase as speaking of the Old Covenant law. Why? Because the Old Covenant law, like Reiki and Spiritism, operated according to the basic principles of this world. It was far inferior to Christ. When we read the Old Covenant law, we must look at the more perfect realities which it points to, found in Christ.
Paul used the strongest of language to warn the Galatians when they wanted to return to relying on the Old Covenant law. In fact, he asked who had bewitched them! Why? Because compelling believers to return to relying on the imperfect things which were meant to point to Jesus, is witchcraft.
Galatians 3:1-5 (NRSV) You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?—if it really was for nothing. Well then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?
When a Macumba priest slaughters a chicken and pours its blood on somebody, it’s an affront to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. When Christians try to attain that which was was provided for in Jesus’ sacrifice by another way, they aren’t doing much better than sacrificing a chicken and pouring out it’s blood.
Do supernatural things happen by sacrificing chickens? Sometimes. But as we have seen, practices such as these eventually lead to greater bondage and bring the practitioner under the influence of a curse. They are anti-Christ in that they obscure the revelation of Christ by causing people to misplace their trust.
In the same way, relying on the works of the law brings a curse. Jesus bought forgiveness, deliverance, supernatural healing, freedom, peace, and wholeness through his blood. He is the only way. When we try to attain these things through other means, we subject ourselves to the curse of the law.
Galatians 3:10 (NRSV) For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the things written in the book of the law.”
This also relates to last week’s blog post. How many times have I heard suggested that people might be able to attain their healing, freedom, the salvation of a loved one, or something else by “sowing a seed,” or “tithing?” I often wonder if this is really so much different than giving money to a witch doctor so he can slaughter a chicken and pour its blood over your head.
I recently heard a pastor in Brazil teaching that we must “sacrifice” so that God’s presence comes and fills the temple. (He was referring to the church building.) His teaching isn’t much better than that of the Spiritists, practitioners of Reiki, or shamans. Why? Like all of these things, his teaching obscures the truth and thus is in opposition to the gospel. The truth is that our bodies are God’s temple and they can be filled with the presence of God because of the sacrifice of Jesus. God doesn’t live in temples made by human hands, but he lives in us.
Most of my readers have probably never sacrificed a chicken. However, many of us have heard subtle suggestions in church that we can relate to God through some way other than Jesus. They come in the form of insinuating we must do something more to continue in our salvation and in God’s blessing, than what we did to first receive salvation. If we aren’t approaching God through Jesus but are trying to access him in some other way, is what we’re doing really much different than slaughtering a chicken?
Next week, we’ll continue to discuss how the mindset of a Christian should be different than the mindset of Spiritists or those who sacrifice chickens and do magic rituals to obtain their wishes.