Recently in a group Bible study, a question was raised regarding how to deal with enemies, those we have confirmed through accurate prophecy are working against us and want our downfall. Another discussion with someone on the same topic also got me answering these questions:
- Is it right to pray for the death of our enemies?
- Can we specifically name a person and demand their death within a given period?
The most quoted scripture to back this method of prayer is in Exodus 22:18 which says, "Suffer not a witch to live."
Note that I am not referring to spiritual warfare of binding and casting of spirits and taking spiritual authority by our words. I am only referring to the practice of planning and projecting the physical death (through spiritual warfare) of human beings whom have been considered "witches" or enemies of progress.
Here are my thoughts.
With regards to the above scripture, let's look at the context. The two verses after that are as follows:
Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must certainly be put to death (v19). Anyone who sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed (v20).
I will like to put forward that in the old covenant, certain sins called for the death penalty. As seen in the above scriptures, they put to death not just witches but also anyone caught in idolatry and bestiality. Also, other sins like adultery (Leviticus 20:10) and homosexuality (Leviticus 20:13), etc were punished by death.
Now under the dispensation of grace, Jesus introduced mercy and forgiveness. They were going to stone the adulterous woman, but he intervened and asked her to go and sin no more (John 8:11). Paul and Silas cast out evil spirits from the demon-possessed slave girl (Acts 16:16-24). They did not kill her. So if we no longer kill adulterers but lead them to repentance, why should we still kill people who practice witchcraft?
This leads to the question - what should we do to these wicked human beings? Remember witches are simply evil spirits working with human bodies. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers (Ephesians 6:12). When the human body dies, they will simply find another body to operate through, hence your problem does not die when the enemy dies. It only takes another face.
We should love them.
Jesus says love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44). God does not wish that any man should die but that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). Sending someone to hell earlier than they would have gone by praying for their death does not glorify God. What glorifies God is delivering them from the shackles of the enemy, changing their eternal course from hell to heaven (Ezekiel 18:23). If you understand the reality of hell, you will not wish hell on your worst enemy. God can save even the most vile of men. Even Jesus being crucified on the cross, prayed for his crucifiers. He said, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34).
When Jesus' disciples wanted to call down fire because some people did not receive him, Jesus rebuked them and told them that they did not know the kind of spirit they had (Luke 9:54-55).
Furthermore, Bible tells us not to gloat when God is punishing our enemy or he would be displeased with us and turn his anger away from that enemy (Proverbs 24:18). What does rejoicing over the death of an enemy mean then? We have to be careful.
Lastly, let's borrow a leaf from the Old Testament. The 2 prophets Elijah and Elisha had different approaches to dealing with their enemies. While Elijah would call down fire from heaven to consume them (2 Kings 1:10), Elisha would give them food and drink and send them home (2 Kings 6:22).
What was the result? Elijah's enemies kept coming back (2 Kings 1:11-13). Elisha's enemies never came back (2 Kings 6:23). Note that earlier in his ministry, Elisha, like his mentor, cursed the boys who taunted him and they were mauled by bears. But that was the last time he did so.
So we see that in deed, love is the most excellent way. God has given us a spirit of love (2 Timothy 1:7).
I know this is a controversial topic but the above is the understanding that by God's grace I have to share. Please leave any comments below and be kind to one another.
Radiant ~ August 2020
When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7