"But isn't Divination evil?"
When it comes to card readings or other Divination tools, this question sometimes comes up. It depends, of course, on your belief system.
I consider doing intuitive readings as a part of the prophetic gifting that is mentioned in the Old and New Testament of the Bible, which is often known as word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and prophecy. The New Testament lists the office of Prophet as one of the 5 fold ministry gifts given to the church for "the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry" (Ephesians 4:11-12).
Up until a few years ago, I hadn't used the tool of cards. It's more for clients than it is for me. For whatever reason, many people seem comfortable having a physical touchstone in relation to their reading. I noticed this phenomenon while still ministering within traditional Christianity. Ministers who bellowed forth in loud voices or who "prophesied" in King James type language were considered "anointed". Surely God wouldn't speak in a conversational, no frills way...would He/She? Other ministers would anoint "prayer cloths" and send them to the sick, reminiscent of what Paul did in the book of Acts. (Acts 19:12) Or, some would put out a proverbial "fleece", believing God would speak to them by doing certain things in an either/or fashion established by the questioner...much like Gideon did in the book of Judges.
In the Old Testament, the priests used what is called Urim and Thummim. In the Hebrew, Urim means "light", and Thummim means "perfection; completeness; innocence". Some translators believe the words mean "revelation and truth" or "lights and perfections." It was an oracle used by the priesthood, and was known among the prophets among all Semitic nations. The Urim and Thummim were located in the vicinity of the sacred breastplate (known as the "breast plate of decision" or "breast plate of judgment") of the priests. It is not known whether the 12 stones that represented the 12 tribes of Israel "lit up" when a question was asked, or whether it was sacred dice carried in a pouch near the breastplate that answered yes or no questions as a form of lot casting.
According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: "Through their (Urim and Thummim) use, the nature of which is a matter of conjecture, the divine will was sought in national crises, and apparently the future foretold, guilt or innocence established, and, according to one theory, land divided."
In Numbers 27:21, Joshua was going to go before Eleazar to find out what the Urim predicted: "Moreover, he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his command they shall go out and at his command they shall come in, both he and the sons of Israel with him, even all the congregation." It appears that Joshua also used this tool when deciding a matter concerning Achan in Joshua 7:14: "In the morning then you shall come near by your tribes. And it shall be that the tribe which the LORD takes by lot shall come near by families, and the family which the LORD takes shall come near by households, and the household which the LORD takes shall come near man by man."
It is interesting to note that the High Priest would have a rope tied around his ankle when he made his yearly trip inside the Holy of Holies in case he was struck dead by being "impure". If divination and the use of the Urim and Thummim were so "evil", why did God speak through that tool? And, more importantly, how did the Priests who used this divination tool end up alive and well?
The Prophet Samuel apparently used the Urim and Thummim to choose the next King of Israel: "Thus Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot." (I Samuel 10:20). It is believed that David used the Urim and Thummim frequently during his wanderings (I Samuel 23). There are many additional references to lots in the Old Testament.
In II Samuel 5: 23-25, King David asks God about an upcoming battle with the Philistines. God answers: “‘And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the Lord will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines.' And David did so, as the Lord commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer." David is engaging in a form of divination known as Botanomancy, which is receiving answers through plant life. Some theologians speculate that David was listening for angelic marching, a sign that the angels were going before the Israelites in battle.
The practice of casting lots was also used in the New Testament when the disciples were deciding a replacement for Judas--either Barsabas Justus or Matthias. Acts 1:24-26 says "And they prayed and said, 'You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.' And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles."
I find it fascinating that Jesus' disciples chose to cast lots to replace Judas, who hanged himself after betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. I mean, Jesus was just with them, showing them miracles, promising the coming of the Holy Spirit who will lead and guide them...and yet they cast lots to replace one of the 12 original disciples. Why couldn't they hear from God without the aid of a physical tool? Was it for their benefit...or the benefit of others? These are interesting questions to ponder.
Ironically, some individuals--especially Christians--open up the Bible randomly, eyes closed, and then point at a line or passage, believing that God will speak to them from the first verse/chapter/book that they see. This is known as Bibliomancy, a form of divination that uses sacred texts.
As far as role of a Prophet...well, this calling can manifest a little oddly anyway. Perhaps this is why many prophets have live in "caves" just like in the Old Testament, or hang around their own in a "School of Prophets". Prophets like Jeremiah, for example, were directed to do unusual, symbolic acts that prophesied future occurrences. Unfortunately, most prophets were not, and are not, welcomed, especially among religious groups and establishments. (These ones are usually who Prophets are called to, anyway.) Jeremiah himself was excluded from the Temple, scourged, mistreated, and put into stocks by a Priest named Pashur.
In the New Testament, Hebrews 11:32; 36-38 speaks about the experiences of the OT Prophets: "And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets...and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground."
Some people also ask about "other spirits" and how do you know if you're hearing "right"? Well, you don't. This is why you "test the spirits to see if they are of God", as the Bible says. When you read a book, receive a "word", listen to a teacher, or even pray, you may receive information. Whether you listen to it and ponder it is up to you. Peace is the greatest umpire, I've found. However, it can be tempting to reject something you don't understand, especially if information comes in a package you're not used to or challenges you in some way. We all have a choice whether to "have ears to hear what the Spirit is saying", to weigh whether something sits right with us or not, to listen and act upon what we hear, or to close ourselves off to Guidance if it doesn't meet our criteria or if it offends our beliefs. It's all comes down to choice and faith, and where we are at in our individual path.
As far as the "evil" question, theologians and philosophers have debated evil for many years. It is interesting to note, however, that Jesus was accused by the religious leaders and Pharisees of having a devil, being possessed, and committing blasphemy because of His words, actions, and miracles. They even killed Him for it. The leaders were convinced that Jesus and his revolutionary teachings and gifts were "evil", especially when compared against their tradition, doctrine, and teachings. It gives one pause to wonder just what those leaders were so afraid of, anyway...
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