Divination or Divine ?
Discerning the false from the true in prophecy.

Ever since I was saved 30 years ago, I’ve experienced many times where I was confused over prophecies given me.  I’ve also once or twice experienced that divination coming onto me and confusing my own thinking. So for some time I’ve wanted to write on it but this morning’s admonition from Cyndee sparked some thoughts to share.

What is it that annoyed Paul so about the girl who followed them and he finally cast out the demon from her of divination ?

Acts 16:16-19   NKJV  Paul and Silas Imprisoned 
Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation." 
18 And this she did for many days.  But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her."  And he came out that very hour. 19   But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. 

After all this girl was speaking the truth was she not…so why was Paul annoyed ?
First of all he did what he did without laud, without announcements, or gratuities.
She brought attention to them, not to the Lord, even though what she was saying was true.  This is true with many prophets today. They bring attention to man, or themselves, or there is an unnatural display of pomposity that seems foreign to true prophetic, which in and of itself is quite powerful.  But not to cause laud to men, but rather to proclaim the power of the Risen Christ.  Prophecy is to always reflect the heart of Jesus.

Rev 19:10 NKJV   And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "See that you do not do that!  I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus.  Worship God!  For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." 
Prophecy is not about us, it is about Jesus, the All Consuming Fire and the King of Kings, and it is not to bring attention to us, though it is natural for man to wonder at man’s ability to hear…it is to cause them to be jealous for relationship with HIM.  What I found with showing a prophecy of mine to a youth was that he then asked me “ How do I hear God like this ?”  That should be the wonder.  That is the thing…to make men hungry for God.

Another thing that Paul saw was the people making money off this girl because of her divination. When Paul prophesied, and I’m sure he did this because He heard from God and wrote much of the New Testament from what he HEARD from God, he didn’t do it to gain money.  He was careful not to allow that to happen.  If only prophets today were so concerned !  I see the most extraordinary prices for discipleship of prophetic gifting I’ve seen in the church today. And it is not done at all in most churches, so that people have to travel to conferences just to get some tidbits from someone more experienced, because it is not available.  Many feel all alone in what they are experiencing, because there is no shepherd to teach them who knows more than they do, or who is interested in hearing from God, or who is not discriminatory against women having gifts or something.  So people travel great distances just to be around someone with greater anointing or gifting.  If the church in each city were actually in unity…that problem might be solved…for they would pray together, and worship together, and people would get to know each other by the Spirit so they would have someone to talk to, recognizing the spirit of prophecy in each other.

There is another major problem here and it is related to money…and that is JEZEBEL in the church.  That spirit of jezebel is related to idolatry to SELF, as Steve Sampson so well describes in his book, “I was always on my mind”.   Divination is a major part of jezebel and divination is a major part of religious spirits.  That is why religious people hear the Word spoken to them that may be totally out of context, or used to bludgeon someone. It is coming from a spirit of divination.  That same spirit that came to Edgar Cayce as a beautiful woman.  This is a very sneaky and insidious spirit that makes itself sound like the Holy Spirit, and once accepted…it has a root to lie some more. It will prey on selfish ambition and a need to hear in order to be accepted by man.  That is how it enters.

I will tell you a vision a young friend of mine had when he was in 6th grade.
He was in my class and asked me this question, “ What does it mean when you see two angels and one is telling you to obey your mom and quoting scripture, and the other is telling you not to obey her and quoting scripture ?”  He wanted to know which one was right ?  What he saw was a religious spirit [ misusing scripture through divination ].  Scripturally a child should always obey their parents in things that are right…so that one was a no brainer.  But the problem becomes more complex when we are in a religious system, that exalts self, and then you try to hear from God.  You may get prayed over by those with a religious spirit and end up with divination on your shoulder…causing confusion to your thoughts and direction.

You need to be careful who you allow to lay hands on you.  This is not to be paranoid.  But like Cyndee’s article said, you don’t take in everything said to you.  You take that thing said to you back to the LORD and weigh it against scripture.
You reflect on how it made you feel.  Yes I said feel !  Peace, joy & love, come from the Holy Spirit. Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit, but HE seldom airs your dirty laundry for someone to tear you apart piece by piece and know all your sins…think on it !  Divination knows THINGS about you because the devil has a system of information, but not REVELATION.  So often the person with jezebel will just know all these things about your sin life…why ?  Because they are getting them from demons who have shared information-  Not from GOD.  I have found that God seldom shares my dirty laundry with anyone for them to expose, but rather to PRAY.  And if they boast in all they’ve been shown about you…something is wrong. God does not uncover our nakedness to hurt us.  And if He does, it is usually in private with you, by Himself or by a loving other, that will pray you through the problem to the solution. The Holy Spirit in prophecy does not make us feel condemned and worthless.  God knows each person and speaks to them individually in a way they will best receive it.

I once got prayer up front in church and suddenly a strong feeling to commit suicide came over me and I felt to rush out of there, and on the way home, I felt like ramming the car into a pole !!  I had not opened my eyes to see who was praying for me !  And somehow that spirit of suicide attacked me and I literally felt to RUN !  It was coming I believe from someone with a spirit of jezebel as that is what Elijah did when she threatened him.

I once had this young girl I started to trust speak a word to me after my divorce and it was said kind of harshly without feeling and it sent me reeling.  She said the Lord says, “ I pity you not !”  I went outside and cried and cried, and unless I had gone back to confront her, I might have been under that spirit for some time longer.  She then told me that it was not meant that way, but that He thinks highly of me…yet she saw my reaction and didn’t budge.  Compassion in a person is a real sign to look for of truth and I don't mean unsancrified mercy. That is a whole other thing. The discompassionate are seldom the kind you’d want to hear a prophetic word from.  Compassion is the heart of Jesus. He is the all compassionate One and the all JUST ONE as well.  

The heart of Jesus is to encourage you and to love you into repentance.  He does not stand in front of me yelling at me - Not that He’s never spoken loudly or strongly to me personally.  But He seldom has anyone else do that !  HE seldom if ever will give you directions through others also.  Directions are high level prophecy and don’t usually come from others in the church except if the Lord has spoken to you first about something, and you’ve asked for confirmation.  God will call you out to speak callings and giftings on your life.
      God will bless you and speak love to you in front of others. He will speak tenderly especially to those who are merciful.  It is only with outright hard rebellion that such tactics might be used by God. Like in the case of Ananias and Sapphira.  And that was done by an apostle. Apostleship only comes with apostolic holiness !  So fruitfulness is another thing to look for.  Compassion is certainly a part of the fruit of a person’s life. So are love, kindness, truthfulness, integrity, generosity, thankfulness, humility, etc.

Col 3:12-14  NKJV   Character of the New Man 
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

God seldom motivates anyone by pummeling them with scripture. For the hard hearted He might just do that…but it is His nature to woo.  It is His nature to love us into righteousness.  It is His nature to speak kindly and tenderly unless we are so totally rebellious that He MUST catch our attention another way, or if we haven’t been obedient and listening to Him.


The spirit of Divination will want your money !  Just as in the case of the slave girl and Paul, there are many today who love money and want to get all they can for their own purposes, but under the guise or pretense of doing right things.  Those men who owned the slave girl wanted Paul prosecuted.   I once went with a friend into a theatre in Santa Ana because I heard someone preaching and though I didn’t speak much Spanish, I thought I felt the Spirit of God in the outskirts of that theatre…so we sat and listened and the guy was talking about money…also having people give testimonies of healings, then much of the sermon was on giving money for their ministry.  I was moved and went up to see after if they had a benevolence ministry that I could plug people in my neighborhood into but he didn’t have any.  He only took money, he wasn’t into giving.  And he was not kind to me for the asking.  Later  I shared with a neighbor and he told me that is a Brazilian guy who’d been exposed on Spanish speaking television for bilking the masses.  And I realized what FELT like the Holy Spirit was NOT the Holy Spirit.  WE CAN BE FOOLED BY FEELINGS. And yet because he was preaching the Word, God healed people as He is true to His Word and to mankind that sincerely want to know Him.  This is how lying signs and wonders can happen though also so it takes some real wisdom to know and discern what is true from the false.

If you want discernment, you need to be in the WORD of God and the PRESENCE OF GOD daily.  Discernment comes from knowing the love of God for yourself and others. That is how you get trained in it, and you ask for it. He will show you.  Don’t just accept every word that comes at you from others.  You have to weigh it on fruitfulness of those who gave it…and on the TRUTH of the Word and asking GOD whether it is true or not, praying over it.

I was once invited to a special meeting at the church I was attending by a friend who’d met this person who was a Hebrew scholar she said.  So went and the sermon seemed ok and in the middle, I’d asked her a question, which she didn’t seem much to like.  Then at the end she prophesied over the women who’d come.  { only ladies meeting }  She gave all these wonderful and kind words till she got to me, then she suddenly screamed “ GET BACK in the DESERT !  GET BACK IN THE DESERT ! “  I was in shock but almost started laughing.  It didn’t touch me like I thought it might.

But she was angry when yelling it, and so after she finished I confronted her about it and she made some comments, and I made mine and I left…but it did not alight.  Other times I have been so weighed down over the subtle oppression of those giving words out of their own spirits, that it crushed my own.  So don’t take to heart everything you hear as it says in proverbs.

Eccl 7:20-24 AMP
20 Surely there is not a righteous man upon earth who does good and never sins. [Isa 53:6; Rom 3:23.]   21 Do not give heed to everything that is said, lest you hear your servant cursing you--22 For often your own heart knows that you have likewise cursed others.
23 All this have I tried and proved by wisdom. I said, I will be wise [independently of God]--but it was far from me. 24 That which is is far off, and that which is deep is very deep--who can find it out [true wisdom independent of the fear of God]? [Job 28:12-28; 1 Cor 2:9-16.]

You see we can speak out of our own heart and what did Jesus say;  Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Part of discernment is listening closely to what people say, as it detects where their heart is at the moment. ie; is it in faith or doubt ?  If a person speaks other than from God, most often it is out of their own thinking or heart.

So going to comment on a few verses about the heart:

     OT:3820   leb (labe); a form of OT:3824; the heartalso used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect; likewise for the centre of anything:   KJV -  care for, comfortably, consent, considered, courag [-eous], friend [-ly], ([broken-], [hard-], [merry-], [stiff-], [stout-], double) heart ([-ed]), heed, I, kindly, midst, mind (-ed), regard ([-ed)], themselves, unawares, understanding, well, willingly, wisdom.

Prov 3:3-5 NKJV  Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart,  4 And so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 

Prophetic gifting is also commensurate with knowledge of the Word.  If you want more to hear from God then you must also LISTEN by reading the Word, listening to the Word on tape, getting it into you, like Ezekial was told to EAT THE SCROLL.  We need to eat the Word of God.  It doesn’t mean you have to be a walking dictionary.  But be wary of misuse of scripture by those proclaiming to be prophetic.

In India once, this man walked up to me after ministering to hundred or more people in prayer for healing, and said he had a Word from the Lord for me. Later I went and looked at it and it was definitely bizarre and off the wall and I asked Ben, about it, and it turned out this guy was an imposter and spys on the meetings.  The enemy was trying to use him to discourage me and try to stop the anointing and get me into discouragement.

Prov 4:20-24 NKJV   My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. 21 Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart;  22 For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.  23 Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. 24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. 

As I reread this I felt that the perverse lips are lips not only speaking sexual perversion, but untruths about God or His faithfulness to us.  We all must become better to speak only what is the truth of His Word, and not doubt - Don't just speak your feelings. We don’t have to give into feelings, and those feelings can get us into a bad place where we speak out of our heart instead of being dependent on God for what to speak…and that is presumption.

Prov 10:9 NKJV   He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known. 
In other words, your sins will find you out if you are being dishonest, you will in the end be exposed. It behooves all of us to walk in humility when the Lord is speaking through us, and that we don’t try to gain attention for ourselves.

Prov 10:20a NKJV   The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
We are to use our tongues to bless and not curse…we want our words to be like apples of gold in settings of silver.  Our hearts need healing yet if they are not, and I think that includes many of us.

Prov 11:20 NKJV Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their ways are His delight. 

Those who twist the word to pummel their brother or sister, to speak against them or to prophecy to them out of a wrong heart are an abomination to the Lord.  Those are strong words, and I don’t want to be one of them. God does not like anyone misrepresenting His heart. We do it all the time when we curse others through using negative words.  How do we speak to our children for example ?  Do we encourage and speak out of our spirit man, or out of our frustration ?

Prov 12:25 NKJV  Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. 

Wrong attitudes of heart can stop up prophecy from being released to us.  When we are oppressed, those demons can interfere with our receptors ! So if I am in a place of healing and there is much on my heart, I don’t attempt to minister.  I keep in a receiving rather than giving mode unless the Lord is leading, I don’t want to say anything out of presumption, or my own emotions.

Prov 15:13 NKJV   A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. 

Prophecy should encourage, comfort or edify for the most part.  You should not come away from it feeling broken and in tears, unless they are tears of joy.  God speaks to set aright. God speaks to encourage and comfort.  He will speak to the wicked in a direct and painful manner sometimes, but it is RARE for Him to speak harshly to one of His own unless provoked greatly by disobedience.

Prov 15:28 NKJV   The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil. 

This is important.  Maybe you’re praying for someone and you get the word “rebellion”. That doesn’t mean you go telling them that !!!  You first WAIT ON GOD for what HE wants to say about what He showed you. He may say. “Tell them I love them and will help change their pain into joy” or something totally different from what you thought.  God may be testing your own heart when you hear such things.  He may want to do an inner healing for the pain that is behind the rebellion.  So LISTEN A LOT, and ask a lot of questions of the Holy Spirit as He is our Teacher.

Prov 15:30 NKJV  The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, And a good report makes the bones healthy.   
More free, and healthy is the way we should walk away from being prophesied over – not depressed and confused !  WE should feel lighter and more in love with Jesus, not heavy and discouraged.

Prov 16:2 NKJV    All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits. 

Now even though you may have been prophesied over incorrectly…the Lord may sometimes allow such things to test your heart or to teach you.  So always be quick to forgive even those whose hearts are bound and not right.

Prov 16:5 NKJV  Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished. 

Here is another good signal that the prophetic spoken over you may not be accurate…when there is much pride in the speaker.  Jesus is not prideful. He is not in heaven going Hallelu-me like James Ryle once said.  Jesus is the example of true HUMILITY in Isaiah 53. He was self-less, not selfish. HUMILITY is the fruit you want to look for.

Prov 17:22 NKJV A merry heart does good,  like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. 
God said, “a bruised reed He will not break” referring to Jesus.  He is not one to kick a man or woman when they are down already. He is one to uplift and love and HE is KIND.  In Your presence is fullness of JOY it says.

Prov 19:22-23 NKJV    What is desired in a man is kindness, and a poor man is better than a liar. 23 The fear of the LORD leads to life, And he who has it will abide in satisfaction; He will not be visited with evil. 

Prov 20:30 NKJV   Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, As do stripes the inner depths of the heart.   
Again, here is a lesson in suffering.  Even at someone else’s words.  For the suffering leads to perserverance and patience and wisdom.  So even what happens outside the realm of kindness and goodness, is used to perfect us. And for this we should also praise Him. So if you've been prophesied over falsely, forgive and don't hold on to defensiveness.  Release that person and lay the hurt at the cross.  LET GO of unforgiveness and anger.

Prov 23:7 NKJV For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.

This admonishes us that we need to clean up our thought life, for here heart is not the physical heart, but the mental, and emotions.  We need to agree with how God sees us, and how precious we are to Him.  If we think of ourselves as higher or lower than what His Word says, then that is pride !  Yes, even lowliness, thinking we are just a worm for Jesus, is PRIDE – defensive pride and false humility.  Because it is seeing ourselves different from the way God sees us.  It is saying, NO, I’m not the head, I’m the tail. Thereby disputing with God Himself who sees us as the head and not the tail.

Prov 27:19 NKJV  As in water face reflects face, So a man's heart reveals the man. 

Prov 28:25-26 NKJV   He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be prospered. 

I just ask for You to pour out discernment, as in this hour we really need to know the true from the false.  We need to be discerning and wise and to depend on Your wisdom rather than our own.  You see all things and you know all things.  We are SO thankful Lord for Your wisdom, for Your grace, and for the gift of prophecy that You have given us.  We are grateful for the ways You have taught us and shared Your very heart with us.  Help us to grow MORE Lord in the ability to love one another as You have loved us, that we will be able to prophesy out of a pure heart, and not from any wounds.  Heal the woundedness inside of us for the times people spoke to us out of their hearts, and not from You.  Create in us a clean heart Oh Lord, that we may love the way You love and think the way You think.  IN JESUS’ name  AMEN !

Priscilla Van Sutphin