I have been asked what the difference is between prophets and fortune tellers on more than one occasion, so I have decided to write this article as to try and explain the difference. Please remember that all views here are my own, and my interpretation of scripture, so if you disagree with me that is fine, just keep the comments positive and productive.
Let’s start with prophets, we heard about loads of them in the old testament, but are they still around today, and what is a prophet? Let me start by saying that there is a difference between having the gift of prophecy and being a prophet. I can’t go into the differences now, but there is a book by Kenneth E Hagin (I’ve heard mixed reviews about him, but I found this book helpful) called The Gift of Prophecy ( I think it is free on Kindle) which explains about it in great detail. There is also a further difference between someone who has the ‘primary’ gift of prophesy, and someone who ‘receives’ the gift on the odd occasion when they need it. Now I imagine that many Christians are now just shaking their heads in disagreement, but seeing as this is my interpretation, I’ll carry on. For the sake of this article, I will include all 3 of these groups in the category of prophet for now. This obviously excludes false prophets, which is a whole other topic altogether. Prophets hear from God, more specifically Holy Spirit (Yes I refer to Him as an individual rather that THE Holy Spirit, they are one and the same). There are criteria for these words, again which I will not go into now, but they are ALWAYS there to uplift, encourage or help you. Even the ‘bad’ ones where we get a word about someone sinning, it is not to humiliate you, but rather to offer you a better way of doing things and ultimately a more abundant life. It may be a bit unpleasant at the time, but it is ultimately for your good. Having said that, I probably get 100 positive words before getting 1 revealing one about a sin, so they are in the minority. Seeing as God is not bound by time or space, the words are always correct. Yes, we are human, and we are never 100% sure that what we have is a word from God, so they always need to be confirmed, but if we do hear it from God, He doesn’t make mistakes. We will see pictures (in our mind) or a word will pop into our heads, or we’ll have a feeling or emotion come over us which will indicate what we believe that God has to say. It is absolutely amazing when you give someone a word that means very little to you, and they burst out crying because they asked God a question that morning, and your word was the answer!
Now let’s move onto fortune tellers, which are very popular here in the UK and I assume in other countries too. The way that get words is very similar to how prophets hear, except ironically fortune tellers (I believe) often hear it clearer than prophets do, so faith in what you believe is not such a big issue. Where do the fortune tellers get their words from? They usually say that they have a spirit guide, or they have a spirit by name, which provides them with their information. Now there are various scriptures which warn us about fortune tellers, horoscopes and tarot card readers and the like, but why? Why does scripture tell us to stay away from them? I believe that it is a simple answer, spirit guides are nothing more than demons. Demons? You mean like the things that make people crab walk and turn their heads backwards? Yes, but life is not always like Hollywood. I have delivered a few people from demons, and have only seen minor manifestations like eyelids fluttering and them telling me to stop praying. Most demons are happy to be inconspicuous or mistaken for something else, that is where the saying ‘the devils greatest trick was to convince us that he doesn’t exist’ comes from. It is not all or nothing, you are not either possessed or not, there are loads of stages in between. Again, this is a topic for another day.
Does this mean that fortune tellers are evil? No, it doesn’t. I don’t blame fortune tellers for a second. Most of them have discovered that they have a gift and they are trying to use it the best that they can. They are trying to help people and they are trying to make the most of the gift that they have. I reckon that most (if not all) fortune tellers would be shocked to hear that spirit guides are demons, and that they’ll probably disagree. Do I blame people for going to fortune tellers? No, not at all. People have the need and desire to know about the future, to know what to expect and to hear from a ‘higher power’. This is exactly what God gives the gift of prophecy.
I don’t blame anyone for what is going on, but I do think that if someone has to take the blame, it should probably be Christians just like me. I have the gift of prophecy, and I could actually be a prophet based on the book I mentioned earlier ( I haven’t decided yet :-)), yet I still seem to use it sparingly. I believe that there are loads of people out there who have this as their primary gift, and even more who can call on this gift when needed, yet we don’t use it! If we’re not using the gifts (or even worse, don’t believe in them), then where else can people hear a word from a ‘higher power’ from?
If what I have said is true, the choice is yours. You can hear a word from God, the creator of the universe, or from a demon, who’s only real power is deception (another topic for discussion). The people in between the ‘higher power’ and you are both just ordinary people who have a ‘gift’ and are trying to use it as best as they can, so the source of the word is key here.
As for Christians, we need to really find out what our gifting is, but also, not neglect the others. I have the gift of prophecy and discernment, however I have commanded healing and seen it happen. I have taught, preached and been in various leadership positions and speak in tongues. Does this mean that I have all of the gifts, no. I have what I call some primary gifts which I bring to the church to help grow and encourage the body of the church, but if I am the only person there when someone needs healing, God still uses me there and then, that’s how I know the power always comes from Him. Prophesy is really just hearing from God, which we should all be able to do to a certain extent, so just because you don’t have the gift of prophecy, doesn’t mean that you‘ll never prophesy. Besides, if you don’t have the gift, there should be someone in your church that does, so ask them to prophesy over people! Also, there is no reason why you can’t give sound biblical advice to someone in need of answers.
As for people looking to fortune tellers for words. Be careful. I have tried to explain why it is a bad idea, so you need to make the call. I do apologise for Christians not being more ‘available’ to give you words, we are also learning, please bear with us. Find a Christian (you know them by their ‘Christian posts’ on facebook :-)) and ask them for the details of a prophet. Get the information from them instead, as then you know where it is coming from.
Please remember that not everyone who claims to be a prophet, or is said to be a prophet, actually is. Whenever you are told anything prophetic by anyone, make sure you pray about it and ask God to reveal it to you again. He will show you again via another prophetic word, in your daily bible reading or in a sermon or message. Most importantly, if what someone says does not fall in line with scripture, it is not right. However, you also need to bear in mind that your interpretation of scripture may not be correct, so be open to hear others interpretations, then go and pray about it and seek God’s answer. He will reveal it to you!
I hope that this has been helpful, I don’t want to upset anyone by this, I just want to put my view forward because I believe that people need to know, please don’t take offence. Constructive comments or questions welcome!
If you would like to know more about this, there is another post entitled, Understanding Prophets (and Fortune Tellers).