Should A Christian Embrace Fortune Telling?
The desire to look into the future and or to seek the counsel of those who claim to have the ability to do so, dates back far into the very ancient world.
God places the concept of the ultimate future (eternity) in the heart of every soul that He creates (Eccl. 3: 11). In response to that knowledge, what the ultimate future has in store for any one of us will cross the mind of any thinking individual.
Human beings, to their own hurt, are naturally inclined to be focused on what is tangible and what pertains to the here and now. In doing so, concern (if any) for the eternal blessings or consequences that are the result of the choices made during the here and now is often placed on the back burner.
Human viewpoint teaches that everything has a starting point. While some people are open to the idea that eternity future will never end, the idea that eternity never had a beginning is far beyond human comprehension.
The “beginnings” referenced in Genesis 1: 1 and John 1: 1 are not making reference to the start of eternity, but refer to a sequence of events that, in God’s timing, would have a connection with the human race.
It is difficult for self-centered Fallen Man to think of there being a time when Man hadn’t yet come into existence, or what part the human race will play in eternity future.
Scripture concedes that, without divine intervention (John 14: 26/John 15: 5), such things are beyond human understanding (1Cor. 2: 14) and appear to be foolish.
The 1Cor. 2: 14 principle applies to both the saving Gospel Message and edifying Bible Doctrine.
1Corinthians 2:14 NASB:
“But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are FOOLISHNESS to him; and he CANNOT understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
Many things in the natural and physical realm did or will have an end, appearing to give some credibility to human viewpoint that teaches that everything had or has a beginning and an end. But this is not the case with God, eternity, and specific types of creatures that God creates for His ETERNAL purpose.
For the born-again members of the human race, there are good things that, “…eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him (1Cor. 2: 9 NASB)."
On the other hand, there is a lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15) awaiting the unbelieving members of the human race. In neither scenario does the existence of the human soul ever come to an end!
All things in their original form were created to bring glory to God. However, the beings that were given free will to make moral choices can bring upon themselves a very different outcome.
The devil, fallen angels, demons, and unbelieving human souls are destined to spend all of eternity in what the Bible calls the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20: 15).
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God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, in Their DEITY have always been in existence. Therefore, God did not have a beginning, and never will have an end.
As of the First Advent (Christmas), the eternal God the Son took on human form in order to atone for the sin debt of Fallen Man. Unless called for in the plan of God, He did not function in the power of His deity. Never the less, He never ceased to be God the Son in His deity.
After atoning for sins of Man while shedding His blood, His humanity (physical body) died on the cross and was placed in the tomb. His spirit descended to the Paradise section of Hades. Three days later His spirit was reunited with His body that was raised up in resurrection form. After making several appearances and leaving instructions (Matt. 28: 19, 20), He ascended to Heaven.
By divine design, the past and present existence of God is not to be definitively confirmed or denied through such things as the ever-changing database of natural science.
Yes! Generally speaking, God desires that Man comes to Him through faith. Only a selected group have had the privilege of experiencing an undeniable theophany or epiphany during the course of their lifetime here on Earth, but more blessed (worthy to be praised), “… are they who did not see, and yet believed (John 20: 29 NASB)."
Those who see believe by observation. Those who have not observed, but choose to believe, do so by faith.
“…without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb. 11: 6 NASB).”
Although God provides Man with a degree of evidence concerning His existence and His creative power and control over the physical universe (Eccl. 3: 11/Romans 1: 19, 20), there will always be a (Deut. 29: 29) gap between what can be scientifically verified and what we are called to believe in an act of faith.
The Doctrine of Divine Attributes teach that along with His eternal omnipresence (God is everywhere), there is His omniscience (God knows all) and His omnipotence (unlimited power).
The Doctrine of Divine Sovereignty teaches that God is in charge and that nothing has ever, is not taking place now, or will ever take place without first having passed through the filters of whatever God sends or allows to take place.
While some choose to live in the comfort of their ignorance, others seek to obtain as much knowledge as they can, so that they can secure the best guidance and make the best choices.
Others are willing to make choices based on what information is presently available, leaving the final outcome in the hands of God.
Scripture (e.g., Prov. 13: 16/Rom. 8: 28) can be found to support both positions.
Accordingly, unless Scripture requires or forbids any given action, we should not be quick to criticize the choices that other people make. Keep in mind that when we do speak out, it is the activity and not the people involved in the activity that we are to address.
Jesus hates sin, but loves the sinner (John 3: 16/Romans 5: 8).
Choosing to remain ignorant is never wise, but listening to the wrong source(s) of guidance can be just as dangerous.
Making decisions that will impact our future in eternity and or here on Earth gets even more complicated when respected authorities in the same field of expertise offer conflicting information and guidance.
Adding to the confusion is the conflicting reports given by people who experienced both good and bad outcomes after following the such advice and guidance.
Even among some whose concern for their eternal future has been dismissed or placed on the back burner, there is a desire to know about future events that pertain to the here and now.
This is where such things as fortune-tellers come into the picture. It is not so much the validity of the activity that is the issue, but rather or not such activity should be the guiding light in the life of a Christian.
Scripture (1Sam. 15: 23) equates the “sin” of divination (fortune-telling) with the sin of rebellion. Deut. 18: 10, 11 lists divination among several other prohibited activities in the spiritual realm.
Some will argue that there were many Old Testament prohibitions that, having fulfilled their purpose (Matt. 5: 18), are no longer in force here in the Church Age. To this I would say that anything that competes with or takes the place of God and or the things of God should not be embraced.
Satan endorses anything, real or imagined, that takes the focus of attention, credit, and or glory away from God. This includes some of the traditions of men (Mark 7: 7) WITHIN the Cristian Community at large, as evil activities (e.g., fortune telling) found out in the devil’s world.
Man has a long history of devising different means in an attempt to foretell future events here on earth. Some have (or at least had at the time) the validation of Scripture (Matt. 2: 1, 2); others did (and do) not (Deut. 18: 14).
Many people cite instances where fortune tellers made predictions that did in fact come true. My mother, in her teens was told by a fortune teller at an amusement park that she would marry, have three sons, but that she would experience a relatively early earthly departure. She did marry, she did have three sons, and did go home to be with the Lord at the age of 48. There are many such occurrences that can be cited.
Again, the issue is NOT always rather or not such things are real, but rather or not we, as believers in the Church Age should involve themselves in such activities.
Consider Isaiah 8:19-20 NASB (parentheses mine):
“When they (worldly people) say to you, "Consult the mediums (fortune tellers) and the spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead (departed ancestors and saints) on behalf of the living? (They should go) To the law and to the testimony (The Bible)! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn (godly enlightenment).”
In Acts 16: 16 – 18, we read where Paul commanded a “spirit of divination” to leave the body of a female fortune teller that had previously been the source of a great income. Being relieved of this “spirit,” her fortune-telling was done.
There has always been those who have no such ability, but deceitfully promote themselves as those do in order to make financial gain. There are others, according to Acts 16: 16, 18 who did have a spirit of divination. Again, it’s not the reality of fortune telling that is the primary issue, but rather or not it is an activity that a Christian should promote or embrace.
Leviticus 19: 31 speaks of becoming defiled as a result of turning to fortune tellers for advice.
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In more than one English translation we find the phrase familiar spirit.
There are two major interpretations of this phrase. One interpretation is that a familiar spirit Is a spirit or demon. The other is that a familiar spirit is the spirit of a human being that has passed away. In either case, the fortune teller allegedly has interaction with the familiar spirit in order to seek guidance in behalf of someone else. See 1Sam.28: 3 – 25.
Satan would use any means possible to pass along convincing details of past individuals or incidents in order for the spiritist to gain the confidence of would-be followers.
Satan is more than willing to provide you with convincing information today if he can capture or make use of you tomorrow.
Rather or not it was a familiar spirit impersonating the departed prophet Samuel, or Samuel himself in a spiritual body that appeared and spoke at En-dor remains to be a controversial issue.
Again, it is not the reality of such things that is the main issue, but rather or not a Christian should embrace it. Lev. 19: 31 warns of becoming defiled (soiled in the eyes of God).
Now take a look at Deut.13: 1 – 4 NASB [brackets mine)
“If a prophet or dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes TRUE, concerning what he spoke to you, saying. “Let us go after other gods [personalities or powers outside of the Trinity] who you have not known) and let us serve them,” you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is Testing YOU to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments; listen to HIS voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.”
In this Deut. 13: 1-4 scenario, a trap is set by making a prediction(s) that comes true. But after establishing a degree of credibility, the fortune teller offers negative guidance. This is a method of operation that Satan will use. Fortune-telling fits into this scenario like a tailor-made suit.
God allows such scenarios for the testing of YOUR faith (Deut. 13: 3). As soon as ANYONE advises you to do anything that you know would violate the Word of God, his, her, or its guidance is to be rejected.
One plays with the fire of spiritual adultery (Rev. 2:4) when some one or some thing other than God or the Word of God becomes one source of guidance concerning spiritual matters.
Edified believers will learn to discern the Lord’s voice, and build an edified soul structure based on the Word of God (Matt. 7: 24 – 27).
John 10:27 NASB:
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Discipleship is not all about YOU. Take care not to become a stumbling block in the lives of others by promoting another voice in the life of other people (Matt 18: 6).
In Acts 19: 18 – 19 NASB (parenthesis mine), we read of another incident in which, “Many also of those who had believed (the Gospel Message) coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”
If such an event were to take place today, the bonfire would be fueled by horoscopes, Tarot cards, crystal balls, and a host of many omen-producing devices that facilitate divination.
Passages addressing divination were not made a part of Scripture to scare or to entertain us like a ghost story. They are there for our edification. Clearly, there are activities within the spiritual realm from which edified believers will steer clear.
Leviticus 19:31 NASB:
Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.”
Claiming to be speaking for God concerning future events during the Old Testament dispensation was a risky business. Just ONE false prediction could result in capital punishment (Lev. 20:27).
Never lose sight of the fact that to the extent that God allows, convincing supernatural activity can be produced through human beings by both divine and evil power sources
Exodus 7:10-11 NASB:
“So Moses and Aaron came to Pharaoh, and thus they did just as the Lord had commanded; and Aaron threw his staff down before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, and DID THE SAME with their secret arts.”
Matthew 24:24 NASB:
“For false Christs and false prophets WILL arise and WILL show GREAT signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.”
In the realm of spiritual combat, BOTH divine and evil forces will use supernatural activity to attract attention, and provide signs and activity to promote credibility to those who do their bidding. Sometimes it will used to discredit the integrity of the opposition. To the extent that God allows, it is not beyond the Eph.6: 12 forces of evil to generate outcomes that recruit followers (Luke 4: 6).
This raises the question of how is one to know if the signs and activity is coming from God or the devil. The answer is not to be found so much by verifying the reports or examining the activity, but by examining the accompanying messages and motivation.
When it is divine activity in view, the accompanying message and guidance will be consistent with the principles of the Word of God. When it is divine activity in view, it is God that receives the praise and glory.
In conclusion, seeking guidance from sources outside of the Trinity or the Word of God places one on a slippery slope. As we have seen, one could easily slip into the sins of idolatry and spiritual adultery. Scripture, by design, does not tell us everything that we might want to know, but does tell us everything we need to know.
So, should a Christian embrace fortune telling?
The Biblical Answer is No!
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