Fortune Telling vs. Casting Lots

There are 1326 different two card combinations in a deck of playing cards and more ways to arrange all 52 cards than there are atoms on earth. The odds of the cards falling the same way twice are essentially one in a gazillion bazillion. Given those facts, it is no wonder that many believe tarot can bring personalized messages. Of course, whether or not information can be revealed is often not the concern. The real question for most who object to divination is: where does this information come from?

For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

Matthew 24:24

There are many references to sorcery, divination, and fortune telling in the Bible. In general, they all say it is wrong… yet there are also instances where leaders “cast lots” to determine God’s will. Joshua used this method to divide Canaan amongst the 12 tribes of Israel (Joshua 18:10). God commanded Moses to instruct Aaron to “cast lots” to determine which goat should be sacrificed and which should be sent into the wilderness to atone for his sin (Leviticus 16:8). The apostles even cast lots to determine who should take Judas’ place after he betrayed Jesus (Acts 1:21-26). In fact, the words “clerk”, “clergy”, and “cleric” come from the same Greek word (kleros) as the word “cleromancy”. Kleros is the word for lot or inheritance. Cleromancy is a random method of determining an outcome and, in ancient times, positions in the church were often chosen by casting lots (1 Chronicles 24:5,31; 25:8-9; 26:13-14).

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

Proverbs 16:33

Casting lots was a method of tossing different length sticks, marked stones, or possibly dice and making decisions based on how and where they land. The closest equivalents in modern times would be to draw straws or flip a coin. Playing cards and tarot did not exist at the time the Bible was written, but the randomness offered by them is far greater than any tool that was used to cast lots. Although the New Testament does not instruct Christians to use any of the above methods to make decisions, it does show the disciples using them. Despite the fact they experienced Christ directly and wrote the Bible (which supposedly contains all the information we need), they cast lots to determine God’s will shortly after Jesus died.

If prayer and pure intentions are the things that make this practice not evil for the disciples, why can’t the same be done today? What if sorcery, fortune telling, and divination as described in the Bible are tied to belief in multiple gods and other evil practices though that is not always true today? Furthermore, is it possible for any person of faith to never practice divination? If defined as seeking to determining God’s will, then all those who seek divine guidance – whether praying, reading the Bible, or using cards – are practicing divination.

How do you “know” your spiritual practices are good (not evil)? How do you “know” that everything in the Bible is true and accurately interpreted? Do you think the fact that the Bible was written by humans (who sin like we do) 40 years after Jesus lived could cause inaccurate messages to creep in? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section. I’ll share more of mine soon.


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