Fortune Telling Acts 16:16

by Steven Chan

At Philippi, Paul cast out a spirit of divination from a from a slave girl. One would have thought that the casting out of the spirit from the slave girl would have been prompted the people to seek the truth about the power possessed by Paul. Instead, the masters of the slave girl were upset. Their money making business had disappeared because the slave girl had made much profit for them by fortune telling. They seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. They succeeded in having Paul and Silas’s clothes torn off, beaten with rods and then thrown into prison.

Fortune telling or soothsaying was big business then. It is still big business today. People are curious about their future. They are also interested in receiving guidance from fortune tellers so that they can avoid misfortune and gain great fortune. Today not many people consult soothsayers or seers or wizards. In modern days, the fortune tellers have been displaced by “Fengshui” masters who serve the same function, except that they do not rely on the “spirit of divination” but on their so-called ability to read the natural elements so that one’s home or office is aligned with the positive influence of the elements.

Reading from Wikipedia, fengshui refers to a “Chinese philosophical system of harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment. The term feng shui literally translates as “wind-water” in English.”

One sceptic commented: “What could be more absurd than their imagining that the safety of a family, honors, and their entire existence must depend upon such trifles as a door being opened from one side or another, as rain falling into a courtyard from the right or from the left, a window opened here or there, or one roof being higher than another?”

What does the Bible have to say about this?

Deut 18:9-15: “When thou art come into the land which Jehovah thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. 10 There shall not be found with thee any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, one that practiseth augury (tells fortunes), or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, 11 or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer. 12 For whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto Jehovah: and because of these abominations Jehovah thy God doth drive them out from before thee. 13 Thou shalt be perfect with Jehovah thy God. 14 For these nations, that thou shalt dispossess, hearken unto them that practise augury (fortune telling), and unto diviners; but as for thee, Jehovah thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. 15 Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken

Turn ye not unto them that have familiar spirits (mediums), nor unto the wizards (necromancers); seek them not out, to be defiled by them: I am Jehovah your God. (Lev 19:31)

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits and unto the wizards, that chirp and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? on behalf of the living should they seek unto the dead? (Isa 8:19)

Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels: let now the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from the things that shall come upon thee. (Isa 47:13)

The Bible condemns any attempt by man to seek counsel about the future other than through His prophets or His divine Word as revealed in the Scriptures. God wants us to trust Him and His word.

In Deut 18:15, Moses told the Israelites that they should not walk like the heathens whom they were to displace in the land of Canaan. Instead they were to listen to the prophet that God will provide for them: “Jehovah thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken

In the New Testament, God said the same thing on the mountain where Jesus was transfigured: “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” (Matt 17:5) We are to hear or listen to Jesus His Son.

We have also been given the scriptures to guide us: “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:14-17)

Let’s not put our faith in “fengshui” or any fortune tellers. Let’s listen to God and trust Him to bless us and guide us in our lives. Let’s seek Him (and only Him – for no man can serve two masters – Matt 6:24) and all these things shall be added unto us (Matt 6:33).