Tag: beliefs

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 for 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:

  • Diviners. Deuteronomy 18:14
  • False prophets. Jeremiah 14:14; Ezekiel 13:3,6
  • Enchanters. Deuteronomy 18:10; Jeremiah 27:9
  • Witches. Exodus 22:18; Deuteronomy 18:10
  • Charmers. Deuteronomy 18:11
  • Wizards. Deuteronomy 18:11; 1 Samuel 28:3
  • Consulters of familiar spirits. Deuteronomy 18:11
  • Magicians. Genesis 41:8; Daniel 4:7
  • Astrologers. Isaiah 47:13; Daniel 4:7
  • Sorcerers. Jeremiah 27:9; Acts 13:6,8
  • Necromancers. Deuteronomy 18:11
  • Soothsayers. Isaiah 2:6; Daniel 2:27

 

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, Daniel 4:6-7, 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 the false prophet instead of 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 for through our own effort. Deliverance and salvation comes ONLY from God through His Son Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). 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 Thessalonians 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 God’s 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 spiritual bondage and a 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 God’s word.
  • True prophecy is always 100% correct unlike the predictions of psychics or false prophets.
  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.”

 

 

 

Characteristics of a Hardened Heart

What are the characteristics of a hardened heart? Have you ever wondered why the Pharisees and Sadducees had so much unbelief? The Pharisees would witness Jesus perform miracles such as opening the eyes of the blind, but yet they would still have their doubts about Christ. In fact they would plan how they might kill Jesus. Why would they plan to kill such a Person who was doing so much good?

Hebrews 3:12 NKJV
Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God

A heart that is not after God or the things of God can be a very dangerous thing. Such a heart becomes stubborn, hardened and filled with unbelief. We always need to guard our hearts to ensure that we are teachable in relation to the things of the Lord.
One of the primary ways of telling if somebody’s heart is hardened is through the following:
1. Are they open and teachable in relation to the TRUTH of God’s word
2. Are they ONLY focused on their OWN opinion which is NOT founded on God’s word
3. Are they REPENTANT; do they seek God’s love and forgiveness
4. Do they desire to rely only on themselves or anything that is not God related
5. Do they change their thinking even when God performs a miracle
6. Are they deceived by sin; Do they continue to pursue the SAME wrong choices

The Pharisees were so set in their way of thinking that they were not open to the teachings of Christ. The Pharisees were so stubborn and they had hardened their heart so much that their false belief about Christ did not change even when they witnessed Jesus perform miracles before their eyes. They were imprisoned by unbelief.

God has given us FREE WILL. God has given us the free gift of CHOICE. We have the CHOICE to believe whatever we want to believe.
However, just because we are free to believe, it does NOT mean that what we choose to believe is always correct, because there are many people in the world who believe the wrong things. God wants us to ONLY choose to believe Him and His Word.

So if somebody has a HARDENED HEART, how do they get out of the imprisonment of unbelief? The truth is they have to get out of that imprisonment of unbelief by themselves. But also they must ACKNOWLEDGE that GOD CAN HELP THEM with their unbelief.

Mark 9:23-24 NKJV
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

The father whose child was demon possessed clearly had his doubts, but he was willing to be taught and helped by Jesus regarding his personal doubts. He CHOSE to believe. This father had made a choice to want to get out of any imprisonment of unbelief that he had in order to see his son become free of the demon. This father’s faith was as small as a mustard seed, but it was enough for Jesus to act for him because he CHOSE to believe JESUS and NOT remain with an unbelieving, hardened heart.

Hebrews 3:15 NKJV
“Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

Consequences of Unbelief

Matthew 13:58 NKJV
Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Unbelief regarding the things of God is a very sad and dangerous thing. When we do not believe in the things of God, we are kept from enjoying a relationship with God. Unbelief also keeps us from experiencing the promises of God in our lives. Most importantly when you do not believe, you are kept from receiving the salvation of the Lord to keep you from perishing.

Unbelief can be defined as: doubt; lack of faith; or to presume something to be untrue or fictitious

James 1:6-8 NKJV
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

James likens a person who doubts or has unbelief, as somebody who is “UNSTABLE in ALL his ways”. James also says that a doubting person will NOT receive “anything from the Lord”.
This is exactly what happened to the people in Jesus’ own hometown in Matthew 13:53-58. In the hometown were Jesus grew up for most of His life, the people there would not accept or believe His word or teachings in the synagogue. In fact, they were OFFENDED at Him. Therefore because of their unbelief Jesus did not do many mighty works.

The people in His hometown therefore missed out on several opportunities because of their unbelief.

The unbelief blinded them from the following:
1) They were blinded from having a relationship & fellowship with Jesus
2) They were blinded from knowing the truth of God’s word
3) They were blinded from experiencing the power of God in their lives
4) They were blinded from being delivered from their personal problems

Unbelief in God or the things of God therefore has terrible consequences in the life of a person. It can lead to misery, lack of direction, lack of spiritual discernment and even eternal punishment.
Atheists for example, lack a belief in God. Also people who follow other religions or cults lack a belief in the fact that Jesus is the only way to Heaven (John 14:6).
In Matthew 13:57, the unbelief of the people in Christ and what He spoke led the people to become offended at Him. Matthew 13:57 says “So they were offended at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own country and in his own house.””

Therefore many people who have unbelief in God or Christianity are offended and resistant to Christ or the truth of God’s word.
Where do you stand in your life? Do you resist Jesus Christ? Do you have unbelief towards Jesus and the things of God?

What is of interest about Jesus through-out His ministry is that He did not FORCE the gospel on people; He did not try to FORCE people to believe. God STILL gives you the option to CHOOSE between right and wrong or good and evil.

Deuteronomy 30:19 NKJV
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

Everyone has a CHOICE. Is it Faith or Unbelief? Is it Light or Darkness? Is it the Word of God or the word of the World? Is it God or the devil?
WHAT and WHO do you CHOOSE to BELIEVE?

 

DO YOU WANT TO BE A CHRISTIAN or A FOLLOWER OF JESUS CHRIST???

1. ACKNOWLEDGE: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13).
You must acknowledge that you are a sinner and that you therefore need Jesus in your life.

2. REPENT: “Unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3), “Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19)
Repenting means: to change your mind; a sincere turning away, in heart, mind and action;
Therefore God wants you to repent of sinful values and of sinful living. God wants you to decide to
follow Him and to make Jesus the Lord of your life.

3. CONFESSION: “If we confess our sins. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9)
God is a forgiving God. God will forgive any sin that you have done because Jesus died for ALL your sins and to set you free from the bondage of all types of sin in your life.

4. BELIEVE: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
You must believe that ONLY Jesus can save you and restore your relationship with God. You must believe that Jesus is the ONLY way by which you can have everlasting life and escape from eternal separation from God. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for you and resurrected from the grave.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive him, But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:11-12)
By faith, You must receive Jesus as Your Lord & Savior and therefore; you become a child of God; you become born again; you become a Christian; you restore your broken relationship with God

 

Why Not Make Your Eternal Decision NOW?

We become born again Christians by GRACE through FAITH or TOTAL TRUST in Jesus Christ as our Lord & Savior (Galatians 3:26) & (Ephesians 2:8,9). Salvation is a FREE gift received through FAITH in Christ.

This prayer is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by GRACE through FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.

“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
I repent of all of my sins and I ask You to cleanse me Jesus.
Thank You for forgiving my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”

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