Difference Between Prophecy and Divination

Deuteronomy 18:14
For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.

What is the difference between prophecy and divination? What is the difference between a true prophet and a false prophet? In Mathew 24:11, Jesus Himself warned that “MANY false prophets will rise up and (they will) deceive MANY” and true to God’s word – today, many people claiming to be prophets of God have arisen all over the world and they have been performing various signs and wonders before masses of followers. However such signs and wonders have been met with skepticism and the source of these signs and wonders is unknown as to whether such wonders come from God or from somewhere else.

Below are some scriptural teachings in relation to the difference between prophecy and divination and how a person may be able to discern a wolf in sheep’s clothing:


Matthew 24:24-25 NKJV

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.

Jesus forewarned over 2000 years ago, that false prophets and false christs will rise and become many and that these false prophets and false christs will perform “GREAT signs and wonders to deceive…”.
So the obvious question is: How do you tell the difference between a true prophet and a false prophet? What kind of signs and wonders would a false prophet perform? How do I ensure that I do not get deceived by false prophets?

Jeremiah 14:14-15 NKJV
And the Lord said to me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I have not sent them, commanded them, nor spoken to them; they prophesy to you a false vision, divination, a worthless thing, and the deceit of their heart.

  • Not everyone who prophecies and gives a sign that comes to pass is a prophet of God. Not everyone who performs signs and wonders is operating under the Spirit of God. Pharaoh’s magicians in Exodus 7 & Exodus 8 performed similar miracles to God but these magicians operated under demonic power.
  • As a prophet of God can wear a suit and tie to preach in the pulpit, so can a magician, a sorcerer, a diviner, a witchdoctor, a false prophet also put on a suit and tie and transform himself into a “man of God” yet he is not. (Acts 8:9-11)
  • Jesus said that false prophets will disguise themselves as sheep, but yet they are wolves (Matthew 5:15,16). The word of God also says that the devil is able to transform himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14)

2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

  • Today in certain parts of the world there are false prophets who are performing signs and wonders that indeed amaze their followers. However many who follow them do not question the SOURCE of these signs and wonders in order to discern whether it is God’s power or the devil’s power at hand.
  • The devil himself and those under satan also have the ability to counterfeit the miracles of God. Such signs and wonders that satan performs are reflected through witchcraft, sorcery, divination and all sorts of occult practices.
  • In Jeremiah 14:14 God clearly says that there are people who prophesy lies in His name, and that these false prophets use divination (and not prophesy) to deceive the people.

Deuteronomy 18:14
For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you.

God forbids divination. However you will find that in the Bible many people used divination in order to try foretelling future events.

 

MEANING OF DIVINATION

  • Divination is a demonic counterfeit ability that the devil uses in order to foretell the future. It is the ability to access hidden knowledge or secrets pertaining to a person or a people or an event through demonic sources such as familiar spirits etc.
  • The Greek word of divination comes from the root word PYTHON. The Spirit of Python counterfeits the Spirit of Prophecy. Divination is a form of witchcraft that possess psychics, witchdoctors, false prophets, spiritual advisors, medicine men, new age gurus, voodoo priests & priestess, mediums, etc. We are told in Deuteronomy 18: 14 that we are not permitted to practice divination, sorcery or any witchcraft, for it is an abomination to God.
  • The act of divining; a foretelling future events, or discovering things secret or obscure, by the aid of superior beings, or by other than human means.

Therefore when Jesus said that false prophets would perform signs and wonders, He did not lie, because false prophets use divination in order to foretell future events.

 

DIVINATION IS PRACTICED BY THE FOLLOWING TYPES OF PEOPLE:

 

THOSE WHO PRACTICED DIVINATION WERE:

  1. Regarded as wise & knowledgeable men. Daniel 2:12,27 
  2. They earned a lot of money for their “prophecies”. Acts 16:16
  3. They were admired; they were followed and thought to be “men of God” yet they were false prophets / diviners. Acts 8:9,11
  4. They were consulted in desperate or difficult times Daniel 2:2; 4:6,7 and Exodus 7, Exodus 8

 

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF DIVINATION & DIVINERS
In the natural observation, diviners and prophets may appear the same, but they are actually very different and the spiritual effects on the people are very different. Jesus said that you will know false prophets by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-20)

  1. Diviners, false prophets, fortune tellers etc, walk with and receive their information from familiar spirits and other demonic entities. Their foretelling of the future indeed at times does come true. However their source of information is from the demonic and ultimately the information that they speak actually subtly deters you from God. What they foretell does not glorify God in any particular way. Rather it subtly brings more focus, more praise and more glory on the diviner or false prophet instead of on God.
  2. Diviners, false prophets, fortune tellers etc, ultimately perform signs and wonders and preach in order for you to give them money. They exploit people and manipulate them for money. Their messages mostly focus on materialism, money, self-glory rather than on character, relationship with God or anything Christ-centred. They are part of the devil’s plan to subtly and systematically lead people away from God through deception and false doctrine (2 Peter 2:1-22)
  3. They teach that you will receive salvation and deliverance from your problems when you give money to them or their institution. However salvation and deliverance does not come because you have given money. True salvation and deliverance is FREE and it comes from the Lord Jesus who died for us on the cross. Jesus paid a debt that we could not pay through His blood and by His death. Deliverance and salvation from challenges and problems cannot be paid. Deliverance and salvation comes ONLY from God through His Son Jesus Christ. The gift of God cannot be purchased with money. A sorcerer by the name of Simon thought that he could acquire God’s gifts by giving money or paying for them (Acts 8:9-23)
  4. The false prophet is never questioned or tested by his followers. The voice of the false prophet is compared without question by his followers as being the voice of God. (1 John 4:1 – Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world). 1 Thessolonians 5:21 instructs us to test all things & hold fast what is good. God has given us permission to test the supernatural, because Satan is a supernatural being also. In the future don’t Reject all prophecies, but Test all prophecies! However a false prophet will manipulate followers not to question his prophecies and not to question him because he is “anointed” and he is a “man of God”.  Believers should know however, that the reason why God allows us through His word to test the spirits and to test everything, is because of the false prophets who are out to deceive people. Therefore it is important for believers to know the word of God and to uphold his word in every situation and above the personal word of other people.
  5. Diviners, false prophets, fortune tellers etc, mostly speak or foretell of events that pertain to fear, disaster, discouragement, death and their foretelling of the future ultimately leads their faithful followers to have a spiritual attitude and condition of fear, hatred, anxiety, anger and dependency on the word of the false prophet, rather than to depend on the word of God through His scriptures.
  6. Diviners, false prophets, fortune tellers etc, will mostly create an attitude of dependency within their followers. Their followers begin to depend more upon them because their followers will have an insatiable need to see more of their signs and wonders and to hear more of their foretelling of future events. This dependency on the false prophets automatically removes dependency on God.

 

TRUE PROPHECY FROM GOD
Biblical Prophecy can be defined as – A spoken or written message from God through a person.

  • Biblical prophecy ultimately comes from God and focuses on God and His plans.
  • Biblical prophecy will always line up and agree with God’s scripture and true prophecy does not contradict with scripture.
  • True prophecy does not tell as psychics or false prophets predict.
  1. True prophecy comes from God. God is the source. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 12:4-11
  2. True prophecy must build up the Body of Christ, ie the Church. It must encourage not discourage; It does not cause anxiety, fear or confusion. – 1 Corinthians 14:4
  3. True prophecy must agree with Scripture. It does not contradict with His word according to the Bible. – Deuteronomy 13:1-5, 2 Timothy 3:16
  4. True prophecy must exalt & glorify Jesus. It does not glorify the “prophet”, nor does it put the prophet on a pedestal – Revelations 19:10, 1 John 4:1-3, John 16:13-14
  5. True prophecy must lead to obedience to God. When God allows prophecy in the church, it is meant to lead people to a right relationship with Him – Deuteronomy 13:1-5
  6. True prophecy must produce life & liberty. Because it comes from the Holy Spirit, it should not lead to bondage, captivity, hatred, fear, condemnation or confusion – Romans 8:15, 2 Corinthians 3:6
  7. True prophecy is 100% correct and it must come to pass – Deuteronomy 18:22

 

Conclusion
It is therefore imperative to be able to discern the difference between real Biblical prophecy where God is the source and divination where the devil is the source.
Start by knowing God. I mean really knowing Him and having a genuine relationship with God. Jesus is our Good Shepherd and He says that His sheep know His voice.

  • Therefore having a sound relationship with Jesus is imperative.
  • Pray for discernment concerning issues that may confuse you.
  • Read God’s word and allow the Spirit of the Lord to enable you to understand and obey.
  • Test what you listen to, what you read and what you hear to see if it aligns with the scripture.

John 10:25-30 NKJV
Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me. But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

 

 

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