Saturday, December 15, 2012


The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord (Prov 16:33).

1 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, set your face toward Jerusalem and preach against the sanctuaries. Prophesy against the land of Israel 3 and say to the land of Israel, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I am against you and will draw my sword from its sheath and will cut off from you both righteous and wicked. 4 Because I will cut off from you both righteous and wicked, therefore my sword shall be drawn from its sheath against all flesh from south to north. 5 And all flesh shall know that I am the Lord. I have drawn my sword from its sheath; it shall not be sheathed again.

18 The word of the Lord came to me again: 19 “As for you, son of man, mark two ways for the sword of the king of Babylon to come. Both of them shall come from the same land. And make a signpost; make it at the head of the way to a city. 20 Mark a way for the sword to come to Rabbah of the Ammonites and to Judah, into Jerusalem the fortified. 21 For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination. He shakes the arrows; he consults the teraphim; he looks at the liver. 22 Into his right hand comes the divination for Jerusalem, to set battering rams, to open the mouth with murder, to lift up the voice with shouting, to set battering rams against the gates, to cast up mounds, to build siege towers. 23 But to them it will seem like a false divination. They have sworn solemn oaths, but he brings their guilt to remembrance, that they may be taken.

28 “And you, son of man, prophesy, and say, Thus says the Lord God concerning the Ammonites and concerning their reproach; say, A sword, a sword is drawn for the slaughter. It is polished to consume and to flash like lightning— 29 while they see for you false visions, while they divine lies for you—to place you on the necks of the profane wicked, whose day has come, the time of their final punishment (Ezk 21:1-5,18-23,28-29).

Divination has always been popular. It’s just as popular in the scientific age as it was in the prescientific age–much to the consternation of Carl Sagan et al.

As a rule, the Bible condemns divination. An exception is the mysterious Urim and Thummim.

Another possible exception is casting lots. That is not inherently divinatory. It can simply be used as a randomizing device, like flipping a coin. However, it was undoubtedly used for divinatory purposes by some people sometimes.

On the face of it, most divination appears to be pure bunk. Take astrology. How could the apparent position of the stars in relation to earth have any predictive value? That simply reflects the parochial viewpoint of an earthbound observer. It’s not a privileged frame of reference. How the stars appear to us on earth is a relative frame of reference. If we could see them from the moon or Mars or Venus, they would have a different apparent position. For that matter, the apparent position of the stars is different in the southern hemisphere than the northern hemisphere–as ancient explorers noted.

And yet there’s prima facie evidence that astrology is sometimes accurate. Cf. S. Braude, The Gold Leaf Lady, chap. 8; D. Berlinski, The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky, chap. 10.

There is a theological explanation. What we might call judicial providence. God sometimes curses divination with success to wreak judgment on the godless. Poetic justice. 

Ezekiel 22 is a case in point. As commentators explain:

The Babylonians are merely a tool to do his will (Ezk 21). God’s control over the entire situation is such that he can even determine the outcome of the Babylonian king’s efforts to consult his gods through examining the liver of an animal (Ezk 21:21).

Ezekiel pictures the king utilizing all the pagans means of decision-making…The irony is that this use of pagan means of discerning the will of the gods is here an accurate discernment of the will of the true God. The “lying divinations” that found such favor with God’s people (Ezk 13:7) now become the very means through which judgment comes on them (21:23).

I. Duguid, Ezekiel (Zondervan 1999), 36, 276-277.

Of course, Jerusalem’s citizens, like Ezekiel’s hearers, would not be disposed to take seriously Nebuchadnezzar’s divinatory games. Yet ironically this non-Yahwist was taking a path marked out for him by Yahweh.

L. Allen, Ezekiel 20-48 (Word 1990), 27.

This sign-act has been precipitated by a critical juncture in Nebuchadrezzar’s campaigns. Poised to advance southward into the Levant, he must decide whether to direct his attack against the Judeans or the Ammonites…According to Ezekiel’s interpretation, Nebuchadrezzar hesitated at Damascus, uncertain whether to attack Rabbah or Jerusalem first. In customary ancient Near Eastern style, he resolves the issue by divination, a series of procedures designed to determine the mind of the gods.

The manner in which this oracle is presented is filled with irony. A pagan king employs strictly forbidden techniques of divination and discovers the will of Yahweh, a fact confirmed by the precise correspondence of the results to earlier oracles. The “people of Yahweh” adopt an orthodox stance in rejecting the omens as false, but in so doing seal their own fate. In the pagan oracle Ezekiel hears the judgment of God.

D. Block, The Book of Ezekiel: Chapters 1-24 (Eerdmans 1997), 685,688.

Dabbling in the occult is sometimes effective, but it comes at a terrible cost.


  1. It is quite evident occult divination exists and as Scripture records for our understanding this we can learn something of this false power, a false power, as you say and I agree, God uses to advance His eternal purpose in the world.

    Moses was asked to throw down a staff that became a snake. Pharaoh's men were able to replicate that event throwing theirs down, too, which also became snakes. We know the outcome.

    What is amazing to me in this intrigue is this verse about the attribution made by Joseph (who knew the truth about what his brothers had done to him) to his brothers about false powers and signs and wonders evident to him in Egypt:

    Gen 44:15 Joseph said to them, "What deed is this that you have done? Do you not know that a man like me can indeed practice divination?"

    Egypt we know is set as the nation of the god of this world, a liar, where divinations are regularly done.

    The Church we know is set as that nation of the God of all gods and King of all kings who with Truth Himself will bring an end to not only the works of the devil but the devil himself!

    For me one only has to remember the truth and the facts known to Joseph and to his brothers before that encounter where he admits there is divinations at work in the world then as there certainly are divinations at work in our days, too. False prophets do exist and they now are continuing to do signs and wonders today as they have throughout history from the days of Cain until they no longer practice them at their end!

    Their lie (the brothers of Joseph) held to by them long enough caused them to say this to Joesph at that encounter:

    Gen 42:13 And they said, "We, your servants, are twelve brothers, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan, and behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is no more."

    Reuben is the one duped the most in this Godly scheme to when we learn he in fact did believe his brothers' lies, that Joseph might possibly be dead:

    Gen 37:29 When Reuben returned to the pit and saw that Joseph was not in the pit, he tore his clothes
    Gen 37:30 and returned to his brothers and said, "The boy is gone, and I, where shall I go?"
    Gen 37:31 Then they took Joseph's robe and slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood.


    Gen 42:22 And Reuben answered them, "Did I not tell you not to sin against the boy? But you did not listen. So now there comes a reckoning for his blood."

    False signs and wonders are very powerful upon our minds and emotions when experienced.

    When held onto long enough they come alive in a sense that whole realities are born out of them persuading many and so we have this warning about it, here:

    1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
    1Ti 4:2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, ...".

    Clearly Reuben's conscienced was seared to some degree by the lies held onto by his brothers about Joseph all those years?

  2. It is this Faith once delivered to the Saints, that we have received, elected by God, God known from before the foundation of the world that overcomes the world.

    We see that whatever is false is no match for Truth who had this written too showing us that all things work for our good who are called according to His purpose:

    Gen 50:14 After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
    Gen 50:15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, "It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him."
    Gen 50:16 So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, "Your father gave this command before he died,
    Gen 50:17 'Say to Joseph, Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.' And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him.
    Gen 50:18 His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, "Behold, we are your servants."
    Gen 50:19 But Joseph said to them, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God?
    Gen 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
    Gen 50:21 So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones." Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

    Is divination evil? Yes, of course. Are false Prophets who can do things that might tempt the Elect, evil and alive and functioning in the world today? Yes, of course.

    Great is the Lord who knows all things though as one said of God if He learned anything He would not be God. It is His work to save His people from their sins and from the sins of the whole world!

    And as you have aptly said a few times false prophets and their schemes are no match for the God of the spirits of the True Prophets, Who uses all their evil schemes for His own good ends and eternal purpose:

    "... 1Co 14:32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.


    Rev 22:6 And he said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place."
    Rev 22:7 "And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book." ...".