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By

Jimmy Lathan

 

 

   Divination is the attempt to foretell the future or discover occult knowledge by interpreting omens, or by using paranormal or supernatural powers. The practice was widely known in the ancient Middle East, especially among the Babylonians who developed it into a highly respected discipline. The Babylonians and the Assyrians employed several methods. The Babylonians commonly used hepatoscopy; the divination by the liver. The liver of a sacrificial animal by virtue of being considered the seat of life could be observed carefully by specially trained priests to determine the future activities of the gods. There is also the use of augury which is the practice of foretelling to future by omens and natural signs especially the direction of birds in flight. There was also the practice of what is called, hydromancy, the practice of mixing liquids. The casting of lots was a common practice and is another form of divination. Astrology: The interpretation of the heavenly bodies as it relates to foretelling of the future. It is amazing that there are those Christians who observe their horoscope from the daily news paper. Another form of Divination is Necromancy; Necromancy is the attempt to contact the dead and receive counsel from them concerning events yet to happen. Divination is condemned in the Holy Scriptures as an abomination unto the Lord. The use of magic and the casting of spells are also under the umbrella of divination. In the ancient Greco-Roman period, there was the oracle of Delphi. The priestess of Apollo known as the Pythia of Delphi gave out oracles and prophesies in respond to questioners while in a trance. As believers we know that the end of all those who practice Divination will be the lake of fire and brimstone.

   Here are some other forms of Divination that would be of interest. There is aeluromancy: the divination of dropping wheat cakes into water and interpreting the results. Aeromancy: the divination by examining the effect of air on certain things. Alectoromancy or Alectryomancy: divination by the rooster: grains of wheat would be placed on letters and the rooster “spells” the message by selecting grains. Alphitomancy: the divination of dropping barley cakes into water and interpreting the results. Anthropomancy: divination by examination of the organs of newly sacrificed humans. Astragalomancy or Astragyromancy: using knucklebones marked with letters of the alphabet. Axinomancy: divination by the hatchet: interpreting the quiver when whacked into a table. Belomancy: divination nation by arrows. Bronchiomancy: divination by the examination of the lungs of sacrificed White Llamas. Capnomancy: the divination of smoke from alters or from sacrificial incense. Cartomancy: the divination by the use of cards such as the tarot. Cantoptromancy: using mirrors, lenses, shiny stones, or crystal balls. Cephalomancy: divination of a donkey’s head. Chiromancy; the reading of the palm (palmistry) and many other forms of Divination not mentioned here, but are found in, “The Skeptic’s Dictionary.”        

 

Hebrew noun: Qecem- divination, witchcraft, fortune-tellers, sorcerers.

Hebrew verb: Qacam- to practice divination or witchcraft.

 

Deut. 18:9-14 “When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, 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 time, 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.”

 

    It is clear from this reference that from the very beginning God warned us to avoid such practices. These are the avenues of demonic powers to deceive men into seeking hidden knowledge apart from God. We have a natural curiosity for the unknown and the hidden. This is why there are so many so-called secret societies promising its adherences the knowledge of hidden. It is our natural curiosity along with our pride that is the driving force behind why there are so many people involved with the cults, and secret societies. Our President is among the ranks of those who are members of a secret society. He is a member of the Skull and Bones, and claims to be a “Christian” at the same time. I have heard of Pastors who are devout members of the Masonic lodge. To be involved with the secret societies or to practice divination is not a neutral position. Those who are involved with these things are in direct opposition to God, and that’s a serious position to be in. False prophets were condemned in Israel for there involvement in the practice of divination, and thereby misleading the people. So the question must come: How is it that God’s people can get involved with divination? How it is that Satan can successfully bring into the Church such practices that are clearly condemned by God, and why can it enter unnoticed? We know without a doubt that there are those in the world who practice divination, but can the same be said of some who call themselves, “Spirit-filled” or, “Charismatic” or, “Pentecostal”? I believe the unfortunate answer to this question is, yes.                                                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

I.  Beware of “Thus saith the Lord…”

 

    If we know of any history concerning the nation of Israel we know that there were false prophets among the people. Satan has always opposed the people of God with the counterfeit, and I believe that evil spirits just as in the history of Israel are operating in the Church-world. There are many deceivers who are under the influence of seducing spirits that desire to control the lives of God’s people with the phrase, “Thus saith the Lord…” The Old Testament examples are worthy of note on this subject. We can readily see that Israel had the same problem of being plagued by false prophets. In the book of the prophet Ezekiel chapter thirteen, we see the rise of the false prophets and God’s opposition to them. The false prophets and backslidden priesthood were the main contributors as to why Israel was judged by God and carried away as captives. In the book of Deuteronomy we read how the Israelites were forbidden from practicing divination like all the nations around them. They were told that they who practice such things were an abomination to the Lord. So how could something so obvious and so openly condemned by God find its way into the lives of God’s people? There is only one way, deception. One thing we can say without any fear of contradiction; Satan did not attempt at the first to bring in false teachers from without. Later as Israel went into apostasy, it was easy for evil spirits to come in because they were welcoming the practices of the heathen around them, but at first I am sure that it was subtle.

   Satan would succeed by using false prophets who appeared as true prophets of Jehovah. They looked like true prophets; they seem to be anointed and were so passionate about their messages. They even had the right lingo, “Thus saith the Lord” so it would seem that they were speaking for the true God of Abraham. But these were prophets out of their own hearts and not of Jehovah. In Ezekiel 13:2-3 we read, “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the Lord: Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing.” Then in the sixth and seventh verses it says, “They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord saith it: albeit I have not spoken? Satan successfully used these pseudo-prophets to seduce the people of God away from the truth. They were cleverly cloaked as true prophets using the same language as any true prophet would while all the time deceiving the people. Jeremiah also tells us of the deceptive nature of these false prophets when he write in chapter fourteen of his book; “Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of naught, and the deceit of their heart.” The false prophets never had any trouble with a following. They always had the majority of the people supporting their evil efforts because they always told the people what they wanted to hear. Their messages were always light and pleasant to the ears, and their messages never convicted the people of sin and of God’s judgment. Instead their messages appealed to the sinful nature and fleshly appetites. This is why the Lord through the prophet Ezekiel said to Israel, “O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts.” (13:4) their preaching was smooth and soothing with great swelling words of vanity, they were as sly as a fox in their ability to deceive while their inward condition was that of ravenous wolves.

    Today in the 21st. century nothing has changed; we have our pulpits filled with soothsayers and hype-masters that have no other message but what is gratifying to man. The prophet Micah speaks of such when he writes, “If a man walking in the spirit and falsehood do lie, saying, I will prophesy unto thee of wine and of strong drink; he shall even be the prophet of this people.” Micah 2:11. Nothing has really changed but only has gotten worse, and will get worse as we are inundated with more pseudo-prophets and soothsayers. There is a seductive spirit of divination sweeping across the church-world seeking to control the lives, and the destinies of God’s people. The apostle Paul warned of the kind of spirit in the church that we as believers are to beware of. In the book of II Corinthians eleven verses 13-15, we read, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ, and no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed into the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Let us return back to the book of Ezekiel and see what else we need to know as believers that will keep us safe from being brought under the control of divination. In chapter thirteen of the book of Ezekiel verse seven, we have essentially what is meant when a person is practicing divination in the name of the Lord. In verse two it says of these false prophets that they “prophesy out of their own hearts. . .” in verse three the Lord says of these that they are “. . . foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!” and in verse seven the Lord says, “Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord saith it: albeit I have not spoken.”  To speak presumptuously in the name of the Lord when he has not spoken is the same as divination according to these verses of scripture.

     Only God almighty knows how many in the church-world who claim to be speaking by the Spirit, or by the oracles of God, who are in reality practicing divination. Those who continue to follow their own spirits and not the Holy Spirit when they proclaim, “Thus saith the Lord” or something similar as,“the Lord show me. . .”, “the Lord spoke to me etc. will soon cross over into a spirit of divination. This is the judgment of God for those who refuse to take heed not to follow their own spirits, or some strong impulse, or impression of the mind that may seem to be from the Lord, but may in fact be something of their own spirit. “And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.” This is not only true of those who claim to be prophets, but this can apply to any of us who continues to speak presumptuously in the name of the Lord. While Ezekiel dealt with the situation in Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah wrestled with the same at Jerusalem before the Lord destroyed it. In the book of Jeremiah chapter fourteen, the prophet complains of the contradictory message these other “prophets” were bringing to the people. But the Lord says of these pseudo-prophets, “. . The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.” (Jeremiah 14:14) Once again we can readily see from the Holy Scriptures that prophesying from one’s own spirit will ultimately lead to being overcome by a spirit of divination.

    Another factor that comes into play as we study the subject of divination are those who say, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed” The Lord can speak to us in a dream, but we need to seek the leading of the Lord to see if the dream is from him, or not. We should never assume that just because a dream is palatable to our liking that it must be from the Lord. It would seem that any dream or so-called vision that is grandiose with a wonderful and glorious future is accepted without question. This is especially true when it comes to dreams, and visions about the ministry. It seems that to many, ministry is conducive to money, power, and fame. This is one of the reasons I grieve for many of my Pentecostal and Charismatic brethren: many in our ranks are being lead more by feelings, deep impressions of the mind, and some times strong impulses of emotion that are not always from the Lord. The Lord God speaks to the prophet Jeremiah concerning this in the twenty-third chapter we he says, “I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed.” (vs.25) As I have stated earlier; the Lord can speak to us by dreams, but we must not be lead by dreams, we must be lead by the written word of God. In verses 26-29 of this same chapter the Lord continues, “How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbor, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? Saith the Lord. I not my word like as a fire? Saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” A man that says, “The bible says. . ” is far better than the man that says, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed” .The man that says, “The bible says. . .” can judge the man that can only say, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed” Why? The bible is the inerrant, infallible, unchangeable, inspired word of Almighty God. The Spirit and the word agree, not the Spirit and our dreams agree, or the Spirit and our visions agree, but rather the Spirit and the word of God agree. (I John 5:7) This teaches us that the word of God is to take precedence over any dream, vision, prophesy, or “word from the Lord” that we may experience. We are to judge by the word of God and the inward witness of the Holy Spirit by the word to see if a thing be from the Lord, or not. We should never base our judgment of a dream or a vision on feelings, or astaticism but solely on the word of God. The Lord says in verse 31, “Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the Lord, that steal my words every one from his neighbor.” God says that his word is as a fire and therefore it is the word of God that is to try in the fire all doctrine; all dreams; all visions, and all prophesies. When prophets or anyone of us for that matter replace the word of God with a false dream, or some so-called vision; we are stealing the word of God from the people. This is the spirit of divination that seeks to control God’s holy people instead of being lead by the Holy Spirit from the word of God.

 

 

II. Warning signs

 

    There are warning signs that we should look for when it comes to the spirit of divination. Any power or influence that seeks to control our lives and our future should be judged by the word of God to see if it is the precious Holy Spirit seeking to lead, or an unholy spirit seeking to deceive, control and ultimately destroy. As a foundation scripture, I would like to quote the epistle of  James 3:17-18, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” In conjunction to this, I would also remind you that Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” With the coming of the Lord drawing nigh, I believe this warning is more pertinent now than ever.

 

1. A controlling spirit

 

   I believe that this is one of the greatest signs to look for when it come to the spirit of divination. Do you know that it is possible to control people with, “Thus saith the Lord”? There are many who are being controlled by those who may call themselves prophets, or even apostles who may have spoken unto them in the name of the Lord. Many of these individuals are being controlled by a spirit of divination and are seeking to control the lives of others. Even the apostles of the New Testament (upon whose foundation the true church is built) did not seek to control the lives of the people. In II Corinthians 1:23-24 Paul said to the Corinthians, “Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.” Notice the apostle realized that they did not have dominion over the faith and lives of the Corinthians to control them, but rather they were to lead and admonish the flock of God. The apostles and all ministers are to lead by their example. Even if called upon to rebuke or to reprove, it is not to control the people, but rather to call the people to conform to the will of God. This means that the people should follow their Pastors and church Elders so long as they are following Jesus Christ. That means that it is the responsibility of the individual Christian to follow the Lord, and if he or she is lead astray, they only have themselves to blame.

 

2. Guilt and Condemnation

 

    I believe that this is also a characteristic of a spirit of divination. Not only an attempt to control you, but to make one feel guilty and condemned if they question, instead of blindly follow what is spoken to you in the name of the Lord. First, I would like to say that God does use individuals to speak into our lives at times. The Pastor of the local assembly if he is lead by the Spirit of God will speak into our lives every Sunday. But there are those times when God can send someone to you with a true word of exhortation. However, the word spoken to you will not be some strange thing to you; it will be familiar to you and will confirm what God has already said to you personally. For example, when Saul who later became Paul was converted, he was told by the Lord Jesus himself that he would send him to the gentles. In the book of Acts 9:15 we read, “. . . Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel.” This is what the Lord told Ananias when he sent him to Paul to pray for him, but the Lord had already spoke to Paul concerning his calling to take the gospel to the gentiles when he saw him on the road to Damascus. So when Ananias arrived to the house where Paul was praying, Paul already knew what Ananias told him from the Lord: it confirmed what Paul knew already. In the thirteenth chapter of Acts, we have another instance where both Paul and Barnabas were told by the Holy Ghost in a prayer meeting, “. . . Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” Once again Paul and Barnabas already knew by the Spirit of God that they were called to the gentiles. They were not being told something new that they had not heard from the Lord. Unfortunately, people are often lead by a so-called “word from the Lord” into a ministry of some kind that God had not distinctly commanded them. Instead, they allow themselves to be brought under the control of divination. We can not simply follow some prophesy someone gives us; we must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit in our hearts by the word of God. For example: if God wants you in the ministry, he will tell you first and foremost himself; others may come along and confirm what God has already spoken to you, but one thing is certain, it will not be something altogether new to your ears. Another example worthy of note is when the apostle Paul in the twentieth chapter of Acts sent for the Ephesians’ elders. One of the things he told them in reference to his arrival in Jerusalem is that, “. . I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.” Paul did not know all the particulars, but he knows there would be trouble for him in every city he visited, and that would include the city of Jerusalem. Later, as they journeyed towards the city of Jerusalem, they met some disciples in Tyre in the twenty-first chapter of Acts. While in fellowship with these precious believers they told Paul through the Spirit that he should not go up to Jerusalem, because there would be trouble. The point is clear; Paul already knew that what they were saying was true because the Holy Ghost had already witnessed in his own heart concerning these things. This trouble that Paul would experience in Jerusalem would be confirmed again by a true prophet named, Agabus. God will always disclose to you concerning his will for your life, and at times he will confirm his will by others that he chooses to use to encourage you. If someone comes to you and tells you, “Thus saith the Lord” or, “The Lord showed me this is what you should do. . .” or any such thing and you know that God himself hasn’t spoken to you on that particular thing no matter what that “prophesy” or “word from the Lord” may be, don’t do it, and do even entertain the thought of pursuing it; you have every right to question it, and pray that God would lead and guide you in the right direction. If the person or persons who gave you this so-called “word” try and pressure you with guilt and condemnation, something is obviously wrong and I would suggest you separate yourself and pray for the individual(s) they are under a spirit of divination.    

    I have even heard of cases where people were told by so-called “prophets” that, “you should marry so and so” This is ridiculous and it should also be obvious that God will tell you who you are to marry if you are to marry at all. Often times the people who are told such foolishness don’t even know each other. Only God knows how many marriages ended in divorce over such frivolity.

 

3. Unquestionable

 

   One of the reasons that so many people are deceived today is no one wants to ask questions. We must be at liberty to question the things we hear. Jesus said that we should be careful how we hear, and when it comes to prophesy, visions, dreams, this most certainly applies. Anyone who says they have a “word from the Lord” or, “I have dreamed, I have dreamed” should have no problem with being questioned if they are speaking by the Spirit of the Lord. In fact they will encourage those to whom they minister to be Berean Christians and search the scriptures and pray to see if those things are so. No real minister of the gospel want the people to blindly follow him, but to become discerning and thinking Christians. Nothing would make a godly preacher happier than to know that his flock are people of the word and their not going to believe something just because he says it, they are going to go the scriptures for themselves, and not allow their lives to be directed only by what the preacher says, but according to what God says to them out of his holy and precious word.

    The problem with some of these so-called “prophets” is that they dislike being questioned when they have uttered a thing. This should send up red flags immediately, because obviously there is something wrong with this attitude. There are those who would “prophesy” a thing and almost demand total and immediate submission to what they say is, “Thus saith the Lord” Some of them get very upset when they are questioned about their “word from the Lord.” There is not a minister of any kind or preacher that is above questioning. Only the Lord should be trusted 100% for it is impossible for God to lie, or to be mistaken. Some of these people will try to make you think that you are in disobedience to God if you do not readily and immediately accept what they say is from the Lord. This spirit is a spirit of divination, a Jezebel spirit seeking to control the lives of God’s people. Some have gone as far as convincing some that they would be cursed if they did not submit to the word from the Lord” over their lives. Never be afraid to question a word from the Lord or some prophesy or dream or vision. This is what the Lord himself expects from responsible Christians who really want to follow him. “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. (Proverbs 14:15). Remember ask questions, probe the scriptures, and pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. If the so-called “word of the Lord” or dream; or vision are not from the Lord, reject it, it might be a matter of life or death.

 

4. “Rabbi, Rabbi” self-exaltation, and the infatuation with titles.

 

   In Philippians 2:3-4 Paul writing to that wonderful Church said, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” According to Paul here in Philippians, he instructs the believers not to do anything out of a spirit of contention, and not to do things out of selfish ambition. In the succeeding verses (5-11) Paul gives us the perfect example that we are to follow, the Lord Jesus Christ. The apostle speaks of the humility of the Master, who humbled himself to the point of death, even the death of the cross. This is the example we should follow and not the pride, and arrogance we see today in many Churches. Unfortunately, for those who are under the spell of a spirit of divination, they love the recognition of a title. It is nothing wrong with acknowledging a call on someone to a particular office of ministry, but the person themselves should never encourage, and especially demand that others call them by their supposed title (e.g. Prophet, Apostle, Evangelist, etc.) This is spiritual pride and self-exaltation. The Lord Jesus said of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:6-7, “And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” Jesus is saying here that they (the Pharisees) love to draw attention to themselves, and love to be outstanding among men. They of the Pharisees also love to be greeted with bows of reverence and respect in public places so that others may see that they are some great one. The Pharisees also loved to be recognized by titles of honor and distinction. It is the same today with many of those who have a controlling spirit of divination; they desire to be in admiration in the eyes of the people to control them. They love to draw attention to themselves at Sunday worship when the focus should be the Lord Jesus Christ.

    In some cases as a result of selfish ambition, these who are under a spirit of divination can never commit to one body of believers for too long. They cannot be just “one of God’s little sheep” they desire the preeminence. Because of this self-exaltation, they will “hop” from Church to Church seeking a platform of ministry and recognition, and wherever they find some poor preacher that will let them come in, and do whatsoever their heart’s desire, there will they abide. Another sign of the spirit of divination is when the precious individual who is under this kind of spirit places themselves above in position to others in the Church. I am reminded of a song I heard long ago that goes like this: “It will always be Jesus, it will always be Jesus. Let no man exalt himself in the presence of my King.” And to that I say, Amen. Maranatha. 

 

 

 

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