The lot is cast into the lap,Proverbs 16:33
but its every decision is from the Lord.
When I started my Daniel fast two weeks ago, one of the main goals for this fast was to gain clarity about what the casting of lots is, how it differs from divination, and also how it ties in with the gift of seership. After praying for guidance and researching the matter, I feel that I have received Spirit wisdom on the matter enough to be able to share some of what I’ve learned at this point.
Technically, the most apparent difference between the casting of lots and divination is that the casting of lots seems to be used, both in the Old and the New Testament, for when a limited number of options were available to choose from and there was no clear guidance in Scripture about God having a preference for one or the other. Thus, the casting of lots seems to have been primarily used to settle disputes and did not involve the gift of seership. Literally anybody could cast lots.
Divination Approved by God?
That’s not to say that divination was never when there was a limited number of options available. For instance, in Genesis, chapter 44, we read in the story of Joseph and his brothers that Joseph could have used divination to tell which of his brothers had his silver cup in his sack, and also that he had a special silver cup designated for the practice of divination.
Joseph said to them, “What is this deed that you have done? Do you not know that such a man as I can indeed practice divination?”Genesis 44:15
I read in one commentary on this chapter that this is unlikely to mean that Joseph actually practiced divination. If that is true, both Joseph and his servant must have lied about it. The reason I don’t believe they lied (apart from the Bibel not stating it) is that Joseph also had dreams from God. The type of divination mentioned in Genesis 44, i.e. scrying, is akin to dream visions. It makes more sense to assume that he had a natural gift for both of these forms of divination than that he was lying to his brothers.
The Gift of Seership
It has been suggested to me that all forms of seership must be either from the Holy Spirit or caused by demonic influences. Sadly, even many seasoned believers have been indoctrinated with this belief which, as it turns out, is unbiblical. It surprises me that those familiar with the Bible don’t pause long enough to question it. Have you ever heard of Balaam? If you’re not familiar with the story of Balaam, please read Numbers, chapters 22 and 23.
As we see in the Book of Numbers, Balaam, a seer who was not part of the children of Israel, was used by God to deliver messages from the Lord to King Balak, as well as to bless the nation of Israel.
To me, two things stand out about this story. The first is that the Lord had to admonish Balaam several times to only speak that which the Lord Himself put in his mind to speak. This tells us that Balaam might have had an affinity for embellishing his visions, in order to please his customers or to receive additional payment for his services.
The second thing that stands out to me is that Balaam, for all his boasting of being gifted (yes, he bragged), was not able to see the angel of the Lord that even his donkey could see. This tells me that use of the gift of seership outside God’s will does cause at least partial blindness. Event among seers who do not believe in the God of the Bible, it is common knowledge that greed blinds and gradually destroys the gift of seership.
Seers and Prophets
Seership and prophecy are two different gifts and we can see that there is a distinction made between the two in 2 Chronicles:
He stationed the Levites in the temple of the Lord with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king’s seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the Lord through his prophets.2 Chronicles 29:25
Here we see that Gad’s seership also has a prophetic dimension, as it is part of the instruction David receives through his prophets. You could say that all seers have the ability to function as prophets, provided they do the Lord’s bidding, but that not all prophets are also seers. Seership is a unique gift in that sense but not exclusive to only God’s chosen people, as we saw in the story about Balaam.
Seership is a highly acclaimed gift or King David wouldn’t have taken prophetic guidance from a seer. Joseph was a seer with the ability to interpret dreams, which means that he had an interpretive, prophetic gift attached to the more receptive gift of seership.
Notably, there is no mention of any demonic influence in the stories about Balaam or Joseph, nor is there a mentioning of the opening of a ‘third eye.’ I firmly believe that the gift of seership is one that you are either born with or not, whereas prophecy is a gift that can be imparted, either temporarily or for life.
Divination Without the Gift of Seership
Besides the casting of lots, of which the Urim and Thummim are the most famous examples, we have a couple of other instances of divination through signs that seem condoned by the Bible authors. Gideon’s fleece (Judges 6:36-40) and Jonathan deciding to attack the Philistines based on the words he hears (1 Samuel 14:8-13) are other examples of divination that appear to be approved of by God.
The casting of lots is by far the most common method though. It is mentioned several times in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament. In the Book of Acts, we learn that the apostles cast lots to determine who should replace Judas Iskariot. The lot fell on Matthias and he became the the twelfth apostle.
Cessation of Lots and the Gifts of the Spirit?
According to this article, the casting of lots ceased with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. However, it seems the author is also a cessationist, i.e. believes that the sign gifts (prophecy, healing, speaking in tongues etc) of the Spirit ceased upon the completion of the Bible.
Thus, the author claims that rather than depending on the casting of lots or the gifts of the Spirit, we should simply rely on God’s Word and seek the counsel of our church elders if we are not sure about something.
Consider this: If the gifts of the Spirit ceased, and if we are no longer able to seek direct guidance from God for ourselves through the casting of lots, then are we any better off than the people of Israel during the time of Moses? At least the people of Israel had prophets and were able to cast lots when they lacked wisdom and answers.
Did Jesus come to just deliver the Bible, or did He bring… well, more of the LIFE of the Spirit? What do you think? Drop a comment below!
My Personal Beliefs
What is this watered-down, no-miracles faith that cessationists are trying to sell us? No wonder people are leaving the church for the New Age! Could it be that these people want us to rely on them instead of going straight to God, so that they can receive more remuneration for their services or more respect and honor in the community? If so, does this not remind us of how the Pharisees handled things?
I believe in the Word of God, the Logos, but I also believe that the sign gifts of the Holy Spirit are still operational, and I definitely believe in miracles! Rhema, the now-word, imparts God’s guidance in the form of a word of knowledge, a word of wisdom, or a prophecy. I believe in miracle healings and most definitely in the gift of tongues as I have experienced all of the above for myself.
I believe that God gives us dreams. One of the most recent dreams I had from the Lord was a dream of the death of my cat a couple of weeks ago. Though very old, he had been doing all right and had showed no signs of dying the next day. Not only did he die the very next day but exactly in the way God showed me in the dream.
But What About Deuteronomy 18:10?
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,Deuteronomy 18:10
Deuteronomy 18:10 is often cited as a general prohibition against all forms of divination. In verse 11, we read on: “or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.”
It is quite clear that all practices described in both verses relate to death cult practices and should not be taken out of that context of asking Moloch (to whom children were sacrificed) for signs and omens. On biblestudytools.com, we read the following about these two verses:
“The context makes it almost certain that the words translated ‘that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire’ refer to a mode of obtaining an oracle (compare 2 Kings 3:27). The Phoenicians and Carthaginians sacrificed their children to Kronos in times of grave national danger or calamity.”
What Tools Are Okay to Use?
Kronos and Moloch are other names for Satan/Saturn and the Tarot is a tool that became dedicated to Satan through occult workings by the French and British Freemasonic occultists. This is the reason why, though I have not ruled out the casting of lots, I have most definitely ruled out the post-occultist decks as a tool that I would ever use for that purpose.
Would I ever use a Marseille style Tarot deck? Probably not, as the Marseille decks have a mix of Pagan and Christian imagery. Would I ever pick up any deck of cards with only Christ-aligned imagery for revelatory guidance? Possibly. I do know that the tool used for casting of lots seems less important than the intent.
Prayer for an answer from God should always precede the casting of lots and the question should never be asked flippantly. I also believe that if we do ask for guidance through the casting of lots, and then fail to act on the guidance that comes through, our ability to receive an answer that way will be taken from us.
Tools that Are Not Okay to Use
As for what tools and means of divination to definitely steer clear of, the Bible is actually quite forthcoming (list copied from biblestudytools.com, text in the public domain):
- Astromancy/Astrology. (At least in the context of worshipping the stars)
- Rhabdomancy, or the use of the divining rod, referred to apparently in Hosea 4:12 (which may be paraphrased): “My people ask counsel of a bit of wood, and the rod made thereof answers their questions”); Ezekiel 8:17 (“They put a rod (EV “the branch”) to their nose”).
- By an examination of the liver of animals; see Ezekiel 21:21. (…) We have no evidence that it was practiced among the Israelites, for in the above passage it is the king of Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar) who is said to have “looked in the liver.”
- By teraphim (consulting idols); see 1 Samuel 15:23; Ezekiel 21:21; Zechariah 10:2.
- Necromancy, or consulting the dead; see Leviticus 19:31; 20:6; Deuteronomy 18:11; Isaiah 8:19; 19:3; see above.
- Divination through the sacrifice of children by burning (see Deuteronomy 18:10).
The Sin of Divination
In another post, I reference a verse from 1 Samuel. It is out of context and half the verse is missing. I used those words because they resonated with what I feared might have been a misuse of the gift of seership. The full verse reads like this:
For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.1 Samuel 15:23
It is important to not take the words out of context but to understand that the condemnation is based on rejecting the Lord’s command. King Saul had disobeyed an explicit command by the Lord to completely destroy the Amalekites and all that they owned, but instead, he had listened to his men and brought back plunder from the battlefield. The words above are spoken by the prophet Samuel in rebuke of Sauls’s disobedience.
So Is Divination a Sin?
While we can clearly see in the Bible that divination in and of itself is not a sin, many forms of divination are clearly forbidden in the Bible. Divination used to seek an answer from the Lord is, however, occasionally condoned and this includes the casting of lots which is a signs-based form of divination.
This is why I believe seers also need the gift of discernment, which will allow the seer to know whether or not there is an actual need to use divination, whether that be in the form of the casting of lots or some other method.
Using divination instead of seeking God’s guidance and wisdom is most certainly a sin and it’s not difficult to see how it is used as an analogy for rebellion since this is exactly what it is; it is the complete lack of trust in God’s wisdom, guidance, and providence.
The Mystery of Casting of Lots
I have seen some videos by
people men who all seem cocksure about exactly how the casting of lot was performed. The truth is that we don’t know, not even concerning the only oracle of lots that is named in the Bible, i.e. the Urim and the Thummim. It remains a mystery and the fact that it is a mystery tells us that we need not concern ourselves so much with the method as we do with from whom we are seeking an answer.
Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.Acts 16:16
Some Christians believe that all people who practice divination are either charlatans (cold readers) or possessed or under the influence of a ‘spirit of divination’ (Gr. pneuma Pythonos). If this were true, were Joseph, Gideon, and Jonathan under the influence of such a spirit? I think we can rule that out rather swiftly!
The word Pythonos is a clue that the demon had entered the girl because of idolatry, since this is the spirit worshipped at the Temple of Apollo that people visited for an oracle from the Pythia who was a Priestess of Apollo and the Pythonos.
Interestingly, the spirit inside the girl was telling the truth as far as Paul and Silas were concerned, shouting loudly that they were proclaiming the way of salvation. This is nothing new though, in the Gospels we see that the spirits (or demons) recognise Christ in person, as well. The problem with demons is, of course, that they mix truth and lies.
The passage from the Book of Acts about the spirit of Python serves as a stark reminder that occult practices can cause demonic possession.
Sadly, because of the stigma of the spirit of Python and every seer being tarred with the same brush, pretty much since the early days of the church, there has been a great falling away of people who could have otherwise served as mouthpieces for God.
IF you are one of those people, then please know that I wrote this article with you in mind. You are precious and your gift is from God. He loves you so much that he gave you the freedom to choose whether to use your gift for your own personal gain or for His glory.
Perhaps you have even suffered persecution for your gift and that persecution turned you away from life in Christ. Please understand that it was never He who drove you away but the ignorance of those who should have known better.
An aside: It is interesting to draw parallels between the mistreatment of natural-born seers (often females) and women in general within the church. Interpretation really is everything, especially when it comes to the writings of Paul. I used to think he was a bit of a misogynist. Turns out I was wrong.
Unless you know the context of the people he wrote to and understand the culture surrounding the events described, you will misunderstand some key passages concerning the role of women in the church. I’m gaining insights into this during my Daniel Fast thanks to the exceptional scholarship by Kate Adams in her book Equal.
Questions to Ponder
Why do you think there is such a strong blanket condemnation of all divinatory practices from many church leaders? What is divination without the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit? When do you feel it would be okay to use casting of lots (if at all)? In what context might it be okay to use other forms of divination? Are cards inherently evil?
Would it ever be okay to charge for the casting of lots or divination? Why or why not? Have you received any of the sign gifts of the Spirit? How are your gifts complementary to or enhanced by divinatory practices? Are you a mouthpiece of the Lord (a prophet)? Is the gift of seership bestowed only on members of the church? Do you have to have a ‘spirit of divination’ to practice divination?