I can’t count the number of times in the past 20 years when people asked the question, “How can I tell if it’s me, the Lord, or the enemy when I’m moving in prophecy?” This is, of course, a legitimate question. We are human beings, subject to pain, disillusionment, hurts, dreams, aspirations, longings and desires. All of these can conspire against us and color the prophetic word in a different way than God intended. It is possible for a frustrated person to speak their own thoughts and opinions, which mix with the words that God is really speaking to the situation.
We are capable of hearing words from other people, angels, demons, God, or self. – Kris Vallotton
1 Thess. 5: 19-20 – Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good
1 John 4:1 – Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God
We know when a prophecy is from God, because the words He speaks will line up with scripture, and His character as outlined in scripture. God’s Holy Spirit will only reveal His good plans for you–plans that bring an abundant life.
This is one of the biggest differences between prophecy through the Holy Spirit and working with tarot cards, ouija boards, or other dark arts. All the dark arts are driven by demonic spirits which can only speak death over you, or direct you toward the enemies plan for your life. Some have received words from fortune-tellers that have come true, but this wasn’t God’s good, pleasing, and perfect plan for their lives; instead it was a settling for a less abundant life than God had for them. The Bible is clear that the dark arts have power, and advises us not to seek after them.
Deuteronomy 18:9-15 – When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, don’t learn to do the hateful things the other nations do. Don’t let anyone among you offer a son or daughter as a sacrifice in the fire. Don’t let anyone use magic or witchcraft, or try to explain the meaning of signs. Don’t let anyone try to control others with magic, and don’t let them be mediums or try to talk with the spirits of dead people… The nations you will force out listen to people who use magic and witchcraft, but the Lord your God will not let you do those things. The Lord your God will give you a prophet like me (Moses), who is one of your own people. Listen to him.
The Bible calls this divination. This is not what the Bible would consider a False Prophet, which will be another topic of discussion in an upcoming blog. Notice that although God tells us not to use diviners, He also tells us that He wants us to consult Him through prophets:
Isaiah 8:19 – When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?
God is more powerful than anything else though. Christ drove out demons with merely the finger of God and He gave us the ability to do the same. If you’ve been to a fortune-teller and are afraid of what was spoken over you, you don’t have to be. You have the choice to cooperate with God’s plan for you instead, and watch His power overcome the enemy. Your first step should be to ask Jesus to come into your life and guide you.
1 John 4:4 – You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because the One in you is greater than the one in the world.
Below is one instance where the Bible talks about the power of the dark arts. Notice that the Spirit that rises from the dead only speaks death over Saul, and leaves him with no strength; whereas the Bible says prophecy through God’s Holy Spirit will strengthen, encourage, and comfort us (1Cor.14:3):
1 Sam. 28:7-20 – Saul then said to his attendants, “Find me a woman who is a medium, so I may go and inquire of her… “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.”… “Bring up Samuel,” he said. When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.”… (David said:) “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.” Samuel said, “Why do you consult me, now that the Lord has departed from you and become your enemy? The Lord has done what he predicted through me. The Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hands and given it to one of your neighbors—to David. Because you did not obey the Lord or carry out his fierce wrath against the Amalekites, the Lord has done this to you today. The Lord will deliver both Israel and you into the hands of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. The Lord will also give the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines.” Immediately Saul fell full length on the ground, filled with fear because of Samuel’s words. His strength was gone…
This scripture is meaty. If you go read the full passage you’ll notice that Saul says, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’, meaning knew God was alive, but still chose to consult the dead instead of the living God. Saul also mentions, ‘God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams’. Since God hadn’t spoken through a live prophet, Saul now sought a dead prophet. Saul had become so disobedient to God that he could no longer hear His voice. God had nothing extra to say to him since Saul had ignored His previous messages.
Samuel was a true prophet while alive. However, demons watch us on earth. It’s not hard for demons to portray what they’ve seen and know about us. They are not all-knowing like God, but they can observe the present and remember the past. They knew what Samuel looked like, what he wore, and what he’d said while on earth, so they disguised themselves to look like Samuel. In this way, they were able to deceive Saul. The spirit, disguised as Samuel, told Saul that the Lord was his enemy and would kill him tomorrow. While this could be true of the Lord’s plans, it only spoke death over Saul. This word did not empower him, strengthen him, or comfort him that he was still able to change because of the Lord’s compassion. In this passage Saul wants to fast and pray for the Lord’s forgiveness, and if he had indeed done that and turned away from his sin, the Lord would’ve saved him from dieing in battle. Saul could’ve crowned David as king to cooperate with the Lord’s will, instead of continuing in his position as an enemy of the Lord, thwarting His plans. Saul was an enemy of the Lord, not because of the Lord, but because of his own choices to disobey God. Had he turned from his wickedness, instead of turning toward even more sin, God would have saved him from the Philistines and death, and spoken to Him again through prophets and dreams.
In short, yes, demons have power, but God’s power is greater. God is love and life and will speak love and life over you. The power God wants to give you is released through the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Demonic powers bring death or will try to get you to settle for less than God’s best for you, so don’t go seeking them out through fortune telling, ouija boards, automatic writings, readings (tarot cards, palms, rocks), etc.