What lies beneath Divination?

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“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 times, or an enchanter … For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord.” (Deut.18:10-12)

In an earlier post, I discussed what passing children through fire means. Here, I will be discussing divination.

The Webster Dictionary defines divination as an art that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge. This occult practice has been popularized and made more appealing in our time. Diviners are now called psychics.

Countless adverts feature psychics claiming to have powers to uncover people’s hidden lives and predict their futures – for a price, of course. And don’t tell me they are not getting a huge patronage.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, about 70% of Hollywood moguls, executives, producers, directors and celebrities who are facing waxing and waning popularity and career insecurities, consult psychics and mediums for advice.

Here in Africa, consulting fetish priests to find a missing object, expose the culprit behind a crime, find a life partner, know a child’s future or discover the enemy behind a specific problem, is still prevalent, even among some professing Christians.

The line of reasoning often employed to justify such practices is that “they are part of our cultural heritage.”

Divination is like a hydra-headed monster. It takes many forms. There is augury – predicting the future by studying omens, portents or forces of nature like wind, storms or fire. Some predict the future from lines in the hand (palmistry).

There is also divination by observing the entrails of animals (haruspication), while some study the movement of arrows (belomancy). Another is numerology – the use of numbers to make a prediction.

Divination is also practiced with the use of divining rod, crystal balls and pendulums. Others observe the planetary bodies, pattern of tea leaves and behaviour of creatures (howling of dogs, flight of birds).

Some psychics see and hear directly from the spirit realm; some cast lots or observe water (water witching) to obtain their information.

The use of Tarot cards is a very common practice. This is a deck of cards designed 500 years ago in northern Italy.

Each card has an occult symbolic picture on it which when picked at random by a client, is decoded by the expert to supposedly predict a future event.

Another form of divination is oracle consultation. In the Yoruba traditional religion for example, the Ifa oracle is often sought for this.

When a client consults an Ifa priest, a round, wooden tray (opon Ifa) carved with figures representing a divination deity named Orunmila, is used as a table. The priest sprinkles a powder (Iyepe Ifa) on the tray and draws series of vertical lines in the powder with a deer horn (irofa), and interprets the future according to the patterns of the vertical lines (odu).

Divination is not a new art. Archaeologists have unearthed some tablets from ancient Babylon that purports to interpret all the peculiarities observed in the heavens and on earth, as well as the incidental and accidental occurrences of everyday life.

The Bible makes a reference to Nebuchadnezzar divining with arrows and looking into the liver (Ez. 21:21-22). The Bible in fact, calls Babylon the mother of divination (Isa. 3:1-3). Haman also consulted diviners in his plot against the Jews (Esther 3:7-9).

The Lure of Divination

Why does divination attract many people? First, the desire for knowledge is one of the strongest cravings of the human nature.

Man has been able to satisfy this craving from natural sources and natural means to an extent. But when man is not fully satisfied by natural knowledge, he turns to seeking supernatural knowledge and that is where he begins to flirt with divination and other areas of the occult.

There are only two sources of supernatural knowledge – God and Satan. Every form of supernatural knowledge that doesn’t proceed from God, definitely proceeds from Satan. Knowledge from God is legitimate but knowledge sought from Satan is illegitimate.

Second, divination attracts those who have lost their sense of direction and purpose in life. The questions common to man are: Why am I here? Why did this happen to me and where am I going?

When a person has not found satisfying answers to these questions – even in the church – he will dabble in whatever he can and seek answers through divination.

Everyone needs a sense of direction, and many, unfortunately, are seeking it in the wrong places, not knowing where the road leads. This is called spiritual darkness and the only antidote to that is finding answers in God’s Word which is “a light unto [our] path” (Ps. 119:105).

Third, divination traps those who have no relationship with God. This goes beyond a head knowledge of the Bible or having a degree in theology.

A relationship with God means having a history with God, experiencing Him and having a secured confidence in how He works in your life.

When a person has a sound relationship with God, He leads him in the way he should go. And God who is “the Father of lights in whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning” does not mislead (Jas. 1:17).

Unfortunately, many Christians don’t cultivate a close relationship with God, so when a calamity hits them, they start looking for “quick” alternative insights into the spirit realm.

The Bible condemns divination (Lev. 19:26, 31, Jer. 23:32, Is. 3:1-3, 8:19). When a person seeks supernatural knowledge from any other source other than God, he is in fact, acknowledging Satan as a god besides the true God and is breaking the first of the 10 commandments. This is why the sin of divination is like treason; rejecting God’s rule.

What Lies Beneath it?

Contrary to what some people say, divination is not “a gift.” Psychics are either charlatans or demonized folks.

Come to think of it, if these psychics really know the future, why don’t they play some lottery instead? After all, they would know all the right numbers and win every time.

Why are they sitting in a place and asking for your money to tell you your future? Many of them actually “fish” for information from their clients to make their predictions.

In the Bible, when Nebuchadnezzar had a dream from God and called the psychics of his day, they tried to “fish” for some information from him to interpret his dream. They couldn’t do it without a little bit of data, so they quickly sealed the possibility:

“There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter” (Dan 2:10). But God revealed it all to Daniel.

Some divination methods are also dubious. In numerology, for example, it’s said that the number of one’s name and date of birth can be used to predict the future. The problem is this, different cultures use different calendars.

Take the date June 5, 2014 in the Gregorian calendar as an example. In the Chinese calendar, it’s JiSi 8, 4712. In the Hebrew calendar it’s Sivan 5, 5772. In the Muslim calendar it’s Sha’ban 7, 1435.

This means what a numerologist in China would read for you will be different from what will be read in Israel and Kuwait.

Languages also have different name spellings. For example, the letters in the name John has a value of 2 while the same name in Spanish, Juan, has a value of 1. How can numerology predict your future?

Furthermore, demons are behind divination. The Bible speaks of a demonized girl in Philippi who made money for her owners by predicting the future (Acts 16:16).

The passage says: “And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us…”

The Greek words translated as “spirit of divination” are pneuma Puthonos literally means “spirit of Python.” This lady was actually called a “Pythoness.”

According to Webster’s New World Dictionary (1966, p. 1187), a Pythoness was a priestess of Apollo at Delphi, though it’s broadly used to refer to any woman soothsayer or prophetess.

Historically, the oracle of Delphi, Greece, was the most celebrated citadel of prophecy in the pagan world where kings and rulers sought counsel.

A large python image was kept at this oracle temple which according to Greek myths was said to guide the temple. Through the image, the pythoness would invoke the python spirit to possess her and speak the oracles.

When Paul cast the demon out of the girl, she totally lost her ability to tell the future. Note: the information she gave was true (“these men are the servants of the most high God”), but it came from a demon.

Psychics can actually give accurate predictions, but they are still from demons. Demons have knowledge of what happens on earth or what has happened in the lives of everyone.

I watched a crime investigation case in which a woman was missing and a psychic was consulted. She described the location where the dead body of the victim was and the police traced her descriptions and found it exactly there.

Demons have access to other demons and what they plan to do through the lives of specific people so they can tell a person before it happens.

In Satan’s kingdom, they operate a spiritual database and information retrieval system better than the ones on earth. There they have records of all those who have ever sought their help or had any transaction with the kingdom of Satan.

They also have in their archives, atrocities and incidents along generational lines. So a demon can “check up the records” concerning a client and then feed the information to a psychic.

Demons also attempt to manipulate the future through their supernatural powers. For example, if a psychic predicts that a woman will  experience a marriage break up, demons will proceed to manipulate and destroy her marriage.

She will conclude that the psychic was right and become hooked on seeking messages from demons.

In his book, They Shall Expel Demons, Derek Prince narrated his experience when he was ministering deliverance to a woman who had been an occult medium.

He paused during the ministration to seek the face of the Lord and the woman said, “I see you in a car and it’s wrecked against a tree!” Immediately, he rebuked that demon and nullified that prophecy and it never happened.

This is how psychics work. Once they make evil pronouncements disguised as predictions, certain demons are released to make them fulfilled.

In 2010, during the world cup, many people turned to an octopus psychic they named Paul, which accurately predicted the teams that won. Unfortunately, the octopus didn’t foresee its own death.

Some weeks before princess Diana of Wales’ death, she was said to have consulted her personal psychic, but he couldn’t foresee her impending death. The truth is, only God knows the future (Dan. 2:28).

There is no human or angelic created being that has the power of omniscience to know all things possible or all things future.

Some people also use the python spirit to give false prophecies in the church. There are 3 major ways you can differentiate:

1. Divination is used to generate wealth and fame. When you are being asked to pay some money for a “prophecy,” rest assured that it’s not coming from God.

This was what the Moabites sought from prophet Balaam with gifts (Num. 22:7). Most diviners claim to have seen tragic world events after it happens in order to gain fame.

2. Diviners use the client’s hidden secrets, negative experiences or past sins to build their own credibility or enslave a person using fear. They make the person depend on rituals or the diviner rather than on Christ (Acts 8:9-10).

3. Divination follows a fixed set of routine and it is often operated whenever or wherever the diviner wants.

I consider it unbiblical for people to queue up before a prophet, to give each of them “words from the Lord.” That is charismatic fortune telling.

The Lord may indeed speak to some of them, but what the people are likely to get are words from the soul (or selfish desire) of the prophet or from a demon of divination.

God sovereignly reveals things in His own time and for His purpose (Jer. 23:32). Every specific act of divination one has dabbled in needs to be confessed to God and renounced.

The Muslim’s Dilemma

The following is a debate I had with a Muslim named Zahid when I posted the blog link Faulty Stories in the Quran, in a Facebook debate group. I have edited his replies to remove his swear words and off point remarks.

Zahid: Lololol … He is comparing Quran with [the Bible which] was written over 300 years after the death of Jesus…with Emperor Constantine adding a little bit and taking a little bit out.”

Victor: The joke is on you because your Quran says:

And when there came to them a messenger from Allah VERIFYING that which they have (the Bible), a party of those who were given the Book threw the Book of Allah behind their backs as if they knew nothing” (2:101)

And this is a book [Quran] we have revealed, blessed, VERIFYING that which is before it [i.e the Bible]…” (6:92).

And they say: Why does he [Muhammad] not bring to us a sign from his Lord? Has there not come to them clear evidence of what is in THE PREVIOUS BOOKS [Bible]” (20:133)

And believe in what I reveal CONFIRMING the revelation which is with you [the Bible] and be not the first or reject the truth.” (2:41)

Since your Quran doesn’t confirm or verify the Vedas, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayana, Adi Granth or any other scripture but the Bible, we are to compare the Quran with the Bible and everywhere the Quran contradicts it, the Quran must be discarded.

By implication, the more you attack the Bible, the more you attack the veracity of your Quran. So get it on.

Zahid: Quran never uses the word Bible and of course the Quran verify much Torah and Gospel and corrects man made mistakes in it.

Victor: Unfortunately for you, the word “Bible” means “Book” and the Quran makes reference to it many times as “the Book,” “the previous scripture” or differentiates it into the “Torah (Law), Zabur (Psalm) and Injil (Gospel).”

It even calls Jews and Christians “people of the Book” (ahl ul-kitab) as opposed to Arab pagans who relied on tribal religions. Your argument lacks substance.

Zahid: We believe in original scripture sent to Prophets not the Bible, a man-made collection. And Quran is guardian over previous scriptures. It is criteria to judge truth from falsehood and will separate true word of God from corruption.

Victor: If the Bible is not that “original scripture,” here is the deal: present that “original scripture” and its contents to us right now or don’t say it again.

The assertion that the “Quran is guardian over previous scripture”  is self-refuting.

If the Scripture which the Quran is supposed to guide is lost or corrupted (according to you), then it’s either the Quran is useless or it has entirely failed in its primary duty, and you can as well toss it into the flames.

Zahid: Definitely, Torah and Gospel were sent to Prophets so we believe they were sent.

Victor: “so we believe they were sent.” I get it. You are here to rant about your beliefs. I am asking for proofs, not your beliefs. Anybody can choose to believe anything and close their minds to facts.

Until you present that “original scripture” (which you have never even read!) to us, don’t bore me by rehashing your beliefs.

Zahid: The Christians who say Quran [is] a hate book now shamelessly want to prove their Scripture from holy Quran. I’m reminding you, Quran is talking about the original scripture.

Victor: So let’s make this clear. Do you believe the Torah and Gospel referred to in the Quran is the Bible? If your answer is yes, it’s a problem for you, because you will have to reject your Quran since it contradicts the Bible.

If your answer is no, then it’s still a problem for you because the Quran appeals to the Bible as the Book of God in a desperate bid to authenticate itself.

If one of your guardians of comparison is lost (or corrupted), then you are being misled, not guided, and the Quran is shown to be a book of lies.

Either answer lands you in a logical problem, but I can assure you that the first answer is still an easier path for you to take.

We don’t need to prove the Bible from the Quran because the Bible proves itself without appealing to another book. The shame lies with Muslims like you who attack the same Bible endorsed by your Quran. We can only gleefully point out the logical inconsistencies when you resort to such tactics.

Zahid: Do you believe Quran is the Word of God?

Victor: Now you’re backtracking like a thief who suddenly discovers he stole a traceable object. The answer to that question is the purpose of the [above] link, so read it and get back to me.

Zahid: We believe Moses and Jesus were Prophets, so God sent them the Scripture. Now [the Bible] Christians have contain truth and falsehoods. Is it difficult for you to understand or you are just pretending to be ignorant?

Victor: There you go again with your “we believe” robotic chant. I’m not interested in your “beliefs.” If you insist that the Bible contains truth and falsehood, then present that “original scripture” or swallow that claim for good.

It’s sad to see how you have been too brainwashed to distinguish between fact and fiction.

***

Zahid: One of the most fantastically absurd myth ever repeated is that the Quran plagiarized the Bible. Compare the nobility of Prophethood of king David pbuh in holy Quran (Q 27:15, 38:20) and corrupted Bible where David lusted after a naked married woman, had sex with her, killed her husband and had an illegitimate child!

Don’t ever say that the Quran copied the Bible. It came from the Lord of the worlds!

Victor: (1) Allah directs Muhammad to “copy the guidance they [OT prophets and Jesus Christ] received” from God (6:90).

This is confirmed by a place in the hadith where Ibn Abbas reported: “The Prophet used to copy the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) in matters which there was no order from Allah…” (Bukhari 7:72:799)

We have no grudge against the writer of the Quran for copying from our holy book, but why are modern Muslims being programmed to accuse the Bible of being “pornographic?”

You amateur little Deedats must have more brains than the author of the Quran who borrowed from the Bible.

(2) Allah directs Muhammad, and by extension his followers: “And if thou art in doubt concerning that which We have revealed unto thee, then ASK those who have read the Scriptures (or the Book i.e the Bible) before thee…” (10:94)

But the modern Muslim is told that the Bible is so hopelessly “corrupt” that he should detest it.

When exactly did the Bible become corrupt? Was it before Muhammad or after his time? If it was “corrupted” before Muhammad’s time, then why did Allah direct Muhammad and his folk to a corrupted (or lost) Book?

And if was corrupted after his time, then who did it, where and how? And how can Muslims explain the thousands of Bible manuscripts dating back centuries before Muhammad which harmonizes with the Bible today? The Muslim charge is devoid of logic.

3. Addressing the Jews and Christians, Allah says:

“O people of the Book! Ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord” (Q 5:68).

If Christians and Jews don’t need the Quran to have God’s approval, why are Muslims trying to shove their book down our throats?

Why are you judging our Book with your inferior book? And where does Allah ever say that the Quran has replaced the Bible?

Zahid: Prophet Muhammad was not learned, so how could he manage to compose a simple, perfect book being memorized by millions of people for centuries with such a perfect coherence?

Victor: It wasn’t necessary for Muhammad to be literate in order to borrow stories from previous Scriptures. He only needed to hear the stories orally, revise them to suit his theological presuppositions and give it out to his ignorant followers as “revelations” from God.

It is also clear from the hadiths that Muhammad had people writing things for him. In Muslim 37:6623, one of them was mentioned: “Hazala Usayyidi who was among the scribes of Allah’s messengers…”

Another hadith even says: “There was a Christian man who embraced Islam and read surat al-Baqara [sura 2] and al-Imran [sura 3] and he used to write (the revelations) for the prophet. Later on he returned to Christianity again and he used to say ‘Muhammad knows nothing but what I have written for him” (Bukhari 4:56:814 Narrated Anas).

When one examines the Quran itself, it is found to be full of Biblical blunders which lends credence to the fact that its author must have heard many of the stories (rather than reading) and mixed them up. That proves the handiwork of an illiterate rather than a perfect God.

Apart from the fact that the Quran is an incoherent book, that a mass of people can recite it flawlessly doesn’t make it divine. This is as silly as claiming “Animal Farm” is divine because millions of people can recite it flawlessly over the years.

Zahid: There is no mention of copying [the Bible] in sura 6:90. It says Muhammad should follow Abraham Haneef (pure monotheism without any impurity of polytheism).

Victor: There are in fact, several examples of outright plagiarism of Bible passages in the Quran.

(a) Sura 5:49 “And We (Allah) wrote concerning them in it (the Torah) that life for life, and eye for eye, and nose for nose, and ear for ear, and tooth for tooth.”

The part quoted there is Exodus 21:23-25 “And if any mischief follow, then thou shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”

(b) Sura 21:105 “And We [Allah] have written in the Psalm after the reminder that ‘as for the earth, My servants the righteous shall inherit it.

The passage quoted there is Psalm 37:29: “The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell therein forever.”

(c) Sura 7:38 “Verily those who have declared our signs to be lies have been too proud for them, unto them the gates of heaven shall not be opened nor shall they enter paradise until the camel shall pass in at the eye of the needle.”

This expression was copied from Matthew 19:24 “And again I say unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

(d) Sura 16:10-11 “It is He who sends down rain from the sky from it ye drink, and out of it (grows) the vegetation on which ye feed your cattle. Therewith He causeth the crops to grow for you, and the olive and the date palm and grapes and all kinds of fruits

This was borrowed from Psalm 104:10, 14: “He sendeth the springs into the valleys which run among the hills. He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man; that he may bring forth food out of the earth.”

(e) Sura 22:47 “Yet they ask thee to hasten on the punishment! But God will not fail in His promise. Verily a Day in the sight of the Lord is like a thousand years of your reckoning.

This was copied from 2 Peter 3:8-9: “…that one day with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness…”

(f) Sura 7:50 “The companions of the fire will call to the companions of the garden ‘pour out to us water or anything that Allah doth provide for your sustenance.’ They will say ‘Both these hath Allah forbidden to those who rejected him.”

This is a plagiarism of the story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16:22-26. Since the Quran claims to confirm the Bible – and no other book – it’s understandable why it plagiarised it.

This is why it sounds so ludicrous when some modern Muslim “scholars” claim the Torah, Psalm or Gospel we have in the Bible today is not the one their Quran was referring to. Such arguments are self-defeating.

***

Zahid: It is written in holy Quran that Abraham debated with his nation regarding the worship of celestial bodies- sun, moon and Venus (6:75-79). From where did prophet Muhammad get this info?

Victor: He derived this from the Bible mixed with the pagan ideology prevalent in 7th century Arabia – the worship of celestial bodies. Muhammad was an expert at concocting stories about past heroes to suit his own fancies.

The interesting part of that passage in the obvious contradiction: Ibrahim committed the “unforgivable sin” of shirk (by worshipping the sun, moon and stars), yet Allah forgave him! Does this mean if a Muslim today worships the heavenly bodies like Ibrahim did, he’s not doing anything too unislamic?

***

Zahid: Torah, Gospel and Revelation mean Holy Quran! These Books were sent by the same Lord. The Holy Quran is guardian over [them].

Victor: Your desperation has finally raised its head. The Torah, Zabur and Gospel are in the Bible, not the Quran. The Quran clearly distinguishes between “the previous Scriptures” and itself. If these books are sent by the same Lord, every time you claim the Bible has been corrupted, the implications are:

1. Allah is a weak god. He couldn’t protect his previous revelations from being corrupted by weak humans, or he must have gained power through time, such that he is “now able” to protect his last book which he couldn’t do for the previous books. Such a god is not worthy of our worship.

2. Allah is unjust. He didn’t care about people being misled by corrupt or false revelations, yet he wants to punish individuals who follow them – knowing full well that his negligence caused the books to be corrupted (or lost).

Now where is the guarantee that the Quran too will not be corrupted since “the same Lord” has allowed the Torah, Injil and Zabur to be corrupted?

How can you trust Allah to protect the Quran if he was too weak to protect the others? It makes no sense.

Who knows, maybe Allah has even sent a 5th revelation to correct the Quran? Could that be the gospel of Barnabas? Or Bahau’llah’s book?

Zahid: Your argument is pigbrained. Whatever of the Bible contradicting the Quran is corruption! If you don’t want to understand it, I’m not here to waste my time.

Victor: What I understand is your frustration and close mindedness.

This is a predictable pattern of most Muslims. When they post some newly learnt lines from their handbook of myths, they beat their chests and imagine us cowering in fear. But when we refute their errors and burst their pink bubbles, they insult, curse, threaten and run into the caves of Mecca permanently.