Is Fortune Telling Real?

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Title: Is Fortune Telling Real?

 

Text: Acts 16:16-18

 

Time: October 17th, 2013

 

 

We’re getting close to the secular holiday of Halloween for this year, so I thought I’d address a few topics related to the world of the occult. Every year or so I try to use the season of Halloween as an excuse to remind people just how dangerous the occult world really is, contrary to our culture’s attitude towards it that makes it out to be fun and games.  It’s disturbing to see how many homes are being decorated in elaborate and morbid ways in celebration of Halloween. In never used to be that way. Years ago there might be a pumpkin on the front porch, but not much more than that. Now days, it’s normal to see tombstones in the front yard, demons dangling from the front porch, witches and ghosts and all kinds of things hanging from windows, and so forth. Unfortunately, people have really taken a liking to what the occult world considers the most important day of the year – Halloween. Now why does the world of the occult see Halloween as so important? They say it’s the one day of the year when there’s the most of spiritual energy flowing, and when people believe the strongest in the secret occult world. It’s also a platform for recruitment into the world of the occult by various groups, which as a fact should be disturbing to any parent. Even though most people see Halloween as harmless fun, as nothing serious, and as merely something different mostly for kids, there’s real power and real danger in treating occultism so lightly. Just because we live in a secular, materialistic modern society doesn’t mean that demonic spirits don’t exist. In fact, there is a lot that demons can do when and while people don’t believe in them. For example, imagine how much damage terrorists could do if governmental authorities didn’t believe in terrorism. The enemies of the United States, for example, could silently, secretly enter the country and strike without any notice, and quietly exit without detection. Then they could repeat the same destructive process again and again. That’s exactly what demons or evil spirits do, especially now, today, when most people don’t believe in them. It may comfort most people to not believe in the world of the spirit, but it doesn’t save them from the danger of demons, or the destruction demons cause. Look at marriage and family break-up. Look at rising suicides among teenagers. Can you explain all these merely on the basis of social problems? Hardly. Something far deeper and darker is occurring behind the scenes. Today, I’d like to talk specifically about Fortune Telling because millions and millions of people seek out information about their future through this means. Little do they realize that it’s part of the world of the occult. I’d like to warn everyone against using any form of fortune telling. There’s just too much spiritual danger in it to risk playing around with it. Please turn to Acts 16:16-18 (read).

 

 

First, is any Fortune Telling for real? Acts 16:16, Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.” So the Apostle Paul and other Christians were evangelizing and teaching God’s Word among the people when they encountered a young girl who supposedly could tell the future. She was a slave, but that wasn’t particularly unusual because back in the first century a large part of the population of the Roman Empire were slaves. Slaves could be brought in from all over the world, so it’s no telling where this slave girl came from. She could have come from a very pagan and very superstitious culture, like Africa for example, or from one of the many mystery pagan religions that practiced the occult. We don’t know. All we know is that she had a gift for telling a person’s future. Was this the real thing? Could she actually read someone’s future like the verse says? From all indications, she was in fact the real deal. One, the Bible says that she predicted the future, so we must trust that if God’s Word says it, it’s accurate and true. Two, it says that she made her owner a lot of money in fortune telling, so again, here’s indication that her powers were somewhat considerable or else she probably wouldn’t have been able to stay in business for long if she hadn’t had some degree of accuracy. Finally, three, it says a spirit possessed the girl, which all but explains how she was able to make her accurate predictions of the future – by spiritual power. So it’s safe to say she was a real Fortune Tellers. But all so-called Fortune Tellers are not real, as we can imagine. I’m thinking of these cheap storefront Fortune Telling businesses you see in big cities that advertise using homemade signs. Are these people for real? Probably not. Why not? Because it doesn’t take much to hang out a sign and claim to read the future. They may use Tarot cards or crystal balls or tea leaves or some other means, but the end result is always the same – they claim to see the future for a fee. And some people are desperate enough to visit these fake Fortune Tellers, and if people are dumb enough to visit them, they are smart enough to take their money. They usually don’t charge too large a fee, so even the poorest of poor people can afford them. And they usually do prey on the poor and take their money. The Fortune Tellers might even be poor herself. But the point is, there probably are a lot of fakes, probably most so-called Fortune Tellers are fakes, because they aren’t operating with any power except their ability to guess what might happen in a person’s life. But like in the verse we looked at, not all Fortune Tellers are fakes. Some are the real deal.

 

 

Second, might Fortune Telling be compatible with Christianity? Acts 16:17, “This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, ‘These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.’” Many or even most so-called Fortune Tellers, fakes and those that are real, usually claim that they possess a gift from God, or that they get their powers to read the future from God. Hardly any would ever claim that their power comes from the devil. Maybe that’s what this slave girl was trying to communicate by following the Apostle Paul around and telling people that the Apostle was a servant of God. Maybe she was trying to pass herself off as a fellow servant of God in her occupation. It’s hard to really know what was going on because we are far removed from the context. On the surface, it doesn’t seem to be that bad of thing what she was doing; in fact, at first, it might even seem like a good thing – that is, speaking to the people and explaining what Paul was doing in his ministry. She was telling people that Paul “was a servant of the most high God” – which was true. She was saying that Paul was “telling the way of salvation” – which was also true. So what was the problem? There was something strange about her and her activity. She was following Paul and his companions around, probably uninvited. And she was shouting out loud describing Paul’s ministry mission. Now how did these Christians react to having someone follow them around and shouting out what they were doing? They saw it as demonic possession, as something bad. They didn’t see her Fortune Telling as a gift from God. They didn’t see her activity as something good or godly. They could tell something wasn’t right. So here we see that Fortune Telling isn’t compatible with Christianity, even though people will claim that it is from time to time. A true prophet of God speaks in the name of God in a completely different context. One of the sad things about almost all Fortune Telling is that it’s conducted in an atmosphere of superficial Christian piety. The Fortune Teller him or herself almost always claims to be Christian and feels he or she is doing the Lord’s work, yet it’s almost always self-delusion. They are trafficking in the world of the occult, listening to any spirit that might be communicating any information at all. And evil spirits do have access to information about the future, mostly because they can cause things to happen that haven’t yet happened! When they communicate this information to a Fortune Teller who’s listening, then he or she passes on the information to the client, and when it happens the customer is amazed! But that’s why it’s so dangerous, because it’s trafficking with the devil by means of demon spirits.

 

 

Third, couldn’t the spirits be good spirits not bad spirits? Acts 16:18, “She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, ‘In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!’ At that moment the spirit left her.” Now it’s a testimony to the patience of the Apostle Paul that it took a number of days until he finally felt enough was enough and put an end to the girl following and shouting after them. He turned around and essentially performed an exorcism, which is basically casting out the demon or demons out of her. This is proof positive that the spirits that are passing along information to Fortune Tellers are not good spirits, in other words, not angels, but rather bad spirits or demons. The Old Testament of the Bible already teaches against consulting Fortune Tellers. It was a common practice in ancient times to seek out readings of the future through occult practices. The Jews recognized early that God did not allow this. When God spoke he spoke through the prophets, not Fortune Tellers. But it only makes sense that Fortune Tellers would be trafficking with demon spirits and not angelic spirits. Let’s just consider the context for most Fortune Telling activity. It’s usually, like I mention before, conducted in a cheap storefront surrounding. It’s usually shoddy money-making business run by a pretty slimy operator. In other words, when you consider the context it’s hard to imagine God sponsoring anything like it. The Apostle Paul didn’t have any doubts as to the origination of the Fortune Telling powers; he clearly saw it was from the devil, that it was demonic in nature. So he proceeded to cast out the demon spirit and it left. This is a pretty accurate paradigm for dealing with an authentic case of Fortune Telling. Of course, if the Fortune Teller is a fake, then casting out any demons present won’t work, because there are none. And there is no real power to see the future either. But in dealing with a real, authentic Fortune Teller, it’s possible to cast out the demon behind the power to see the future, leaving the person powerless afterwards. Which is what Paul did, and what got him into trouble with the girl’s owner, seeing now that the she possessed no knowledge of the future. His source of income from Fortune Telling was now gone. If the girl had been a fake all along, then it wouldn’t have made any difference, and she could have continued on with the deception. But it was a real spirit that possessed her and the Apostle Paul really cast it out, thus ending her ability to read the future.

 

 

Now I’m not advocating that we run around to different Fortune Tellers and try to cast out the evil spirit that’s giving them information, because that’s not what we are called to do. That would be looking for trouble. What I’m saying, and what the Bible is teaching, is that when we encounter a so-called Fortune Teller who for whatever reason wants to give us a reading or bother us in any way, we have the power to not only decline the invitation, we have the power to close the person down for good through the command of Christ. We also need to tell people to not involve themselves with Fortune Telling in any form. The occult world is filled with different means and methods for telling the future. Why? Because it’s a basic human curiosity to want to know what’s going to happen tomorrow and the next day. We all have a natural wonder if anybody really knows what’s going to happen. Some people give into the urge or desire to know the future, so they seek out a Fortune Teller. But as Christians we need to warn people against it because of the many reasons that I’ve outlined today. Fortune telling isn’t some innocent little harmful parlor game that is interesting and entertaining. It’s dangerous because it involves a person with the devil or demons. People may not think of it as trafficking with the devil, but that’s exactly what it is in fact. There is absolutely no reason why a person must deal with the devil to get information about the future. There’s no necessity that requires that we go to demons to get information. Anything we need God will give to us through healthy means. The Bible is our main source of information about God and the future, so we should turn to it first. Then, there is always pray. Why go to the devil or demons under the guise of Fortune Telling when we can consult with God in prayer? If we ask for wisdom and knowledge in prayer, then we can trust that God will give these to us when we need them. If we don’t know something and we’ve repeatedly asked God for it, then we must conclude that we really don’t need to know. People who visit Fortune Tellers are really showing that they don’t fully trust God in all things. They are basically saying that God isn’t enough so they need something more, like knowledge from some other source about the future. But that’s a bad choice because they are obtaining information from an unreliable source, in fact, a deceptive source. Nothing that a Fortune Teller says should be taken seriously, even if it’s accurate. Just as this girl who told fortunes was a slave, so too will people who consult Fortune Tellers become slaves to the occult world. They are setting themselves up for great harm. That’s why God says “No” to Fortune Telling.

 

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