Question: Fortune tellers, tarot cards, ouija boards, palm readers, and other spiritists offer to inform people of the future. Is this possible, that such devices or mediums (aka modern-day false prophets) could actually provide accurate information or predictions about future events? Doesn’t the Bible teach that everything spoken by a false prophet would not come to pass? Do false prophets ever accurately predict future events?
Archie England answers: The Bible clearly recognizes the existence of this “other realm of spirituality.” In fact, it explicitly condemns both the practitioners and their clients (Leviticus 19:31; 20:6,27; Deuteronomy 18:11; 1 Samuel 28:3,7,9; 2 Kings 21:6; 23:24; 1 Chronicles 10:13; 2 Chronicles 33:6; and Isaiah 8:19; 19:3) and places both under the penalty of death. Engaging in these black arts or the occult, in any way, incurs the judgment and wrath of God. But what if someone of that forbidden realm (say, Nostradamus) made some accurate, credible predictions? Read on….
Deuteronomy 18:18 established the task of a true prophet of God, and it certainly entailed more than just predicting the future accurately.
True prophets could only speak God’s words – and all of God’s words had to be spoken. Neither were prophets allowed editing privileges for God’s revelation. To speak otherwise would bring the severest penalty – death (Deuteronomy 18:20).
Moreover, whatever was spoken had to be prophesied in the name of the LORD. To speak in the name of other gods was just as forbidden as to speak something other than God’s specific words. At this point, Deuteronomy 18:22 addresses our question: “If the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken.” This is the “truth” test. What God tells a prophet to speak will always come to pass: God is never wrong. Accurate prediction – in the name of the LORD – then equals a true prophet. Consequently, we assume that inaccurate prediction or prophesying in the name of other gods equals a false prophet. That assumption, however, just isn’t right.
In Deuteronomy 13, Moses presents three case studies, the first of which (13:1ff) details the coming to pass of predictions (hence, passing the “truth” test) by those who prophesy in the names of other gods (failing the “name of the LORD” test).
So there it is: False prophets may accurately forecast the future! Here Moses advances a serious, stern warning: Never assume that an accurate prophecy, alone, indicates that God approves it. In fact, Moses concludes that every hearer must evaluate what is heard, “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” (13:3).
Christians, beware – Satan is still seeking to deceive. It’s not the miracle nor the prophecy that should stir us; it’s the living Word of God that matters. Hear and heed His Word!