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Spiritual Warfare - Strongholds


The possibility of the presence of witchcraft in the church:

Ps 74:3-4, 7
"Lift up thy feet unto the perpetual desolations; even all that the enemy hath done wickedly in the sanctuary. Thine enemies roar in the midst of thy congregations; they set up their ensigns for signs. 7 They have cast fire into thy sanctuary, they have defiled by casting down the dwelling place of thy name to the ground."

These verses prove that it is possible for the enemies of the gospel to come into God's house and set up their operations. According to this passage, the operations are wicked in nature, "the enemy hath done wickedly in thine sanctuary." That alone confirms the point I am trying to make. The enemy could not be said to do wicked acts in the sanctuary if he is not in it. They come into God's house with strange fire, burning and destroying anything in their path.

Jeremiah also intimates us of the possibility of practitioners of witchcraft as being in the church. In Jer 5:26, we read: "For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men."

Among God's people, where the Bible is read and the word is taught. Where they worship God in Spirit and in truth, where they sing his praise and do his work. Jeremiah wrote that among them are found those who worked wickedness. They join God's people as if they also belong to God but they are not. They may talk the language of God's people but the Bible brands them as wicked, not righteous people.

It is worthy of note that in the King James, Version, the word "men" is in italics, meaning that it was not in the original manuscripts. It then means that the word inserted could very well be replaced with women. Witchcraft in the church is perpetrated by both men and women.>

What is the mission of these people in God's house? Jeremiah tells us:
"…they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men."

I pray that your church will be so much on fire for the Lord that your place of worship will be too hot for agents of witchcraft to hide. I also pray that you will be so much on fire for God that no manipulation of witchcraft will be able to touch you.

From the book of Job, we also learn that it is possible for those who practice witchcraft to mingle with God's people.
In Job 1:6 we read:
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them."

It should not be looked upon as a thing unheard of when Satan and his agents gather together with God's people. It is a practice that has been in place for a long time. They read Bible with them, they sing the same songs with them, join the choir, join the working team and even become the pastor's personal assistant, if possible. They are not God's people, they are representatives of Satan.

That verse can be rightly re-written today to read:
"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan and his witchcraft practitioners came also among them."

Satan goes to church and his agents do too.

Still talking about the possibility of the presence of witchcraft in the church, Jesus said in John 6:7,
"Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?"

Even among the people that he chose, one turned out to be an agent of the devil.
In Matthew 13:24-28(a) we read:
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:
25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.
26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.
27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?
28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this.

The enemy specializes in sending these diabolical agents into the church, especially if it is a church that has a future. If it is a church where people are sold out to God. If it's a church that people believe in prayers and their prayers are wreaking havoc to the powers of darkness. They send these tares into the middle of the wheat. He infiltrates the church with his agents who go in with witchcraft powers to steal, kill and destroy.

Acts 16:16-18
16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
17 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.
18 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.

Witches go to prayer meetings too. The young lady I mentioned earlier in my seventh story was very regular at our prayer meetings. It was during one of those prayer meetings that the Holy Spirit arrested and exposed her.

This story in Acts contains a lot of lessons:
Firstly, the one involved was not an old woman; rather she was a young lady. Many mistakenly believe that only elderly people practice witchcraft. I have encountered teenagers and even boys and girls as young as five years old running errands for the devil.

Secondly, the young lady was said to posses the spirit of divination. Divination is another form of witchcraft. This young lady was possessed by a spirit. It is called the spirit of the python. We have encountered him in many deliverance sessions conducted for several church people. They manifest just like snakes, pulling out their tongues, sounding like snakes and sometimes crawling all over the floor like snakes. Many of them are fascinated with clothes and shoes patterned after snake skins.

Thirdly, they sometimes possess supernatural abilities to see and know what cannot be seen and known in the natural. They possess the "gift" of prophecy, discerning of spirits and word of knowledge.

What the young lady said was true but it was not by the Spirit of the Lord. Look at verse 17: "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.

Unsuspecting church leaders today would give her an important position in the church because of her "gift." However, Paul was not deceived: "…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." We need such an anointing today that will discern false spirits and deal with them in the name of the Lord.

From these scriptures it is apparent that witches and wizards do not operate only outside the church, where permitted, they operate inside too.

Let us now look at another point.

The Poisonous program of witchcraft in the church
Practitioners of witchcraft don't go to church without a purpose. They come to church with several agendas in mind some of which I will now enumerate.

Firstly, they are in church to introduce immorality into God's house.
They begin with the Pastor of the church and then work their way through the elders to the workers and ordinary members. They begin with the head of the church because they know fully well that once you "smite the shepherd, the sheep shall be scattered: Zech 13:7

Many ministries have been destroyed by the sexual indiscretions of their pastors. In many cases, the enemy is behind these unfortunate occurrences. Once sin is introduced, the whole body is defiled, the Holy Spirit is grieved and God's power and presence are removed.

The Philistines were worshippers of Dagon, a strong water spirit. It is when we get to heaven that we will fully understand the spirit that operated in the life of Delilah, the agent that finally brought Samson down. Her name literally means, "to bring low and to bring down."
Watch yourself brother, watch yourself sister. The enemy does not like the exploits you are doing for God and may have plans to bring you down and reduce you to zero level, neutralizing you through the opposite sex.

Relate with the opposite sex in your church with love but with the bed undefiled. The same power that got Samson with their witchcraft may be out to get you too.
In the book of Revelation, we find a passage of the scriptures that touches this subject;

Rev 2:14
"But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."

That is what witches do; they spiritually manipulate people to commit fornication.

Balaam was a backslidden prophet hired by Balac for a fee to curse the Israelites. The Lord did not allow him to curse them hence he counseled Balac to send his girls across the border to commit fornication with the Israelites. They succeeded and the Israelites fell under the Lord's indignation.

The strategy is still used today. If the enemy tries to curse a person unsuccessfully, the next strategy is to get the individual to commit fornication. Every diabolical method will be used to affect that.

If you have an uncontrollable lustful desire, you might be under a witchcraft spell aimed at defiling and destroying you. Take authority over it in the name of the Lord. You might be surprised to find out who is behind it.

The practitioners of witchcraft take great delight in introducing immorality into God's house. The following scripture confirms that truth:

Rev 2:20
" Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols."

She was a prophetess in the church, yet she was a witch. She was a teacher in the church, yet she was filled with the spirit of seduction. She seduced God's servants to commit fornication.

My seminary professor once told our class a personal experience that surprised everyone. I do not remember how we got into the subject of witchcraft in the church, since the class had nothing to do with witchcraft.

This minister, a man in his sixties, left our mouths opened wide as he told us about an encounter he had with a witch in his church in the state of Pennsylvania.

A married woman in his church called for him to come and visit her and her husband to help them resolve a family dispute. Not knowing she was the only one at home, he went there without his wife or any of the elders. When he rang the door bell, the lady came to the door with no clothes on. She said, "Come in Pastor." He quickly ran back to the car and headed back home to tell his wife what had befallen him.

As if that was not enough, the next Sunday, the woman came to church without her husband and sat on the front row. She had a short skirt on and wore no underwear. As he stood up to preach, she spread her legs wide and sat in a way to reveal what should be covered. He got tired of her and had the ushers to carry her out. That was another Jezebel trying to seduce a servant of God to commit immorality.

Allow me to tell you one more story to prove to you again that one major agenda that witches have is to introduce immorality into the church.

An evangelist and his wife once opened up of their home for guest ministers who come to preach in their church. Unknown to church authorities and the visiting ministers, the wife of the evangelist was a witchcraft practitioner. Through witchcraft manipulations and serious seductions, she succeeded in making every man that stayed in her home commit immorality with her. Her husband was aware of this but was threatened by the woman with serious reprisals if he talked.

If he offended her during the day, at night she would turn into half wolf, half woman and terrify the poor man. He was a miserable, sick man who was too fearful to tell his ordeal to anyone.

The woman was well loved and respected by her unsuspecting church members. Known for her ability to pray and sing, she played prominent roles in those ministries in the church.

In addition to making servants of God fall into sin, she committed atrocities, too many to mention. For example, if she helped you carry your baby in church, if you didn't know how to pray, the child was likely to die the next day. If she stepped on a pregnant woman, she would lose her pregnancy.

One day an evangelist came to minister in the church and was housed by this couple. He was a man of faith and power who gave himself to much praying and fasting. One day, wearing a transparent night gown, she tried to seduce the evangelist. He fell flat on his face crying, "Jesus deliver me, Jesus deliver me."

In the morning, he went to the mountain to pray. She sent two demons in the form of lions to go and kill him on the mountain. The fire of God around him prevented these demons from carrying out their enterprise.

When the evangelist came back home, she enquired, "I hope you didn't see bad animals on the mountain?" He innocently replied, "I saw two lions there but they did not bother me." Little did he know that they came from her witchcraft manipulations.

That night again, she came to the room of the evangelist half naked. When he saw her, he fell on his face calling on the Lord to intervene. She was overpowered by the Spirit of God and began to confess to the atrocities she had done.

She was brought to the church where she brought many of her curious arts and witchcraft charms. She brought a demonic revolver, which she confessed to using to shoot people in the spirit. At the sight of the revolver, there was pandemonium in the church as everyone scattered in different directions.

Just like in the books of Acts, all the things she brought were burned and she was completely set free.

This story may be hard to believe but it really took place in West Africa.

These stories are not being narrated to glorify witchcraft or create a fear of it in the heart of the reader. If you are a child of God, greater is He that lives in you than he that lives in the world. These are being written to graphically create an awareness that will make you stand up against this evil.

Another agenda of witchcraft in any church is to cause evil occurrences to take place from time to time.

I know of a church where they boast of being strong on sound doctrine. They teach all the cardinal doctrines of the Bible without fear of favor. Although I did not take up full membership in the church, I attended their services long enough to notice some baffling evil occurrences that took place there.

Suddenly, ministers in the church began dying one after the other. Some died through mysterious sicknesses and others through automobile accidents. Women would get pregnant and loose their pregnancies under puzzling circumstances. Little did we know it was the work of witchcraft, heavily entrenched in the church.

It got so bad one time that a Sunday school teacher was publicly threatened by a member of the church who was not happy with the teaching. Not that anything was doctrinally wrong with the teaching; he just felt that the teacher was too direct and personal. He told him, "I will teach you a lesson for what you said during the teaching." That week did not run out before a mysterious evil occurrence befell him.

Not only does the presence of witchcraft in the church bring evil occurrences, it also leads to the voluntary and involuntary initiation of church members into witchcraft. The most common method of initiation is through food. According to Rev 2:20 Jezebel used it against unsuspecting church members in Thyatira:

"Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols." The Bible records that Balac did the same: Rev 2:14

"But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."

I know of several cases of church members who were initiated by innocently eating demonically infested food given to them by those who practice witchcraft.

There was a particular church where thirty children were initiated by eating candy given to them by another child who was into witchcraft.

I am by no means advocating that brethren should stop eating food given by other brethren. I however strongly admonish that you make sure you are led by the Spirit of God in everything you do and that you sanctify every meal with prayer and thanksgiving. 1 Tim. 4:5

Another common agenda of witchcraft in the church is the sowing of discord among brethren.

A church is supposed to be a place of peace, joy and harmony. Witchcraft practitioners are experts at sowing seeds of discord and disunity. They call one member on the phone and plant something in his or her heart against another member. Then they call the one they just talked about and say something about the one they first talked to. I have seen this happen so many times and in most of the cases, the people behind them are practitioners of witchcraft.

Worst Agenda
What I consider to be the worst agenda of witchcraft against any church is the destruction of the prayer life of the church.

Once the prayer is taken out of the life of any church, the ministry of that church is going to collapse.

I once heard a story that perfectly illustrates this point. A rich Satanist once joined a church with the intention of destroying the ministry of the church. He professed to be born again and joined the choir. Before long he was made a deacon and later became one of the trustees of the church. The church was known for its fervency in prayer and this Satanist knew he had to destroy the prayer base of the church in order to destroy the church.

He told the church of his burden for America and wondered why as a church they were not praying for the country as they should. The entire church bought the idea and the emphasis of the church prayer meetings was changed. Instead of taking authority over the territorial spirits in the area, instead of binding spirits that hindered church growth, instead of praying for the peace and prosperity of the church, they now prayed for America. No one saw the strategy of this man; after all nothing is wrong in praying for the nation.

That was how the emphasis was no more on praying for the ministry and everything started going down. One problem after the other began to surface in the church. Many members left the ministry. The pastor became discouraged and left the church and everything disintegrated.

The enemy ambushed the church successfully. It all started by the destruction of the prayer life of the ministry.

How is the prayer life of your church? If you have lost it, arise and revive it for that is where the power of the church is.

This article has been extracted from Dr. Itiola's book: WITCHCRAFT IN THE CHURCH. To purchase a copy, click here.

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