We’ve allowed many to play fast and loose with the term “prophetic” whenever we see folks proclaim “prophetic insights” based on calendars (Hebrew and Modern). Is this Prophetic or merely divination by other spiritual means (numerology, astrology, omen reading).
Let us begin with what will undoubtedly be a season of supposed “prophetic words” that will capitalize on the upcoming Hebrew New Year (Rosh Hashana). It seems every year there is a “prophetic word for 20XX” that never gets reviewed or tested. A prophet of God must be 100% accurate or they are false and need to repent for their blasphemy. There is no in-between.
The Seventh Month
On our western calendar, Rosh Hashana falls on the evening of September 25. While it is called the “Hebrew New Year”, it doesn’t mark the first day of the calendar year as we westerners have come to think of “New Year”. It is in-fact the first day of the seventh month of the year. This is an important month in the Mosaic Covenant, so let us brush up a bit on what Scripture says regarding this month.
Leviticus 23:23-25 (ESV) | The Feast of Trumpets
23 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation. 25 You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall present a food offering to the Lord.”
Okay, so this is to be a Sabbath day in addition to the weekly Sabbath (since this calendar is based on both solar and lunar cycles to keep the seasons) the day on which Rosh Hashana falls varies from year to year. Keeping track of Sabbaths the months, the lunar cycles and the holy days was a priestly duty, but all of the people of Israel had to abide by them in order to keep the Law.
Leviticus 23:26-32 (ESV) | The Day of Atonement
26 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 27 “Now on the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. It shall be for you a time of holy convocation, and you shall afflict yourselves and present a food offering to the Lord. 28 And you shall not do any work on that very day, for it is a Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. 29 For whoever is not afflicted on that very day shall be cut off from his people.30 And whoever does any work on that very day, that person I will destroy from among his people. 31 You shall not do any work. It is a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 32 It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath.”
Now in Numbers we see what sacrifices were to be brought for the Day of Atonement:
Numbers 29:7-11 (ESV) | Offerings for the Day of Atonement
7 “On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation and afflict yourselves. You shall do no work, 8 but you shall offer a burnt offering to the Lord, a pleasing aroma: one bull from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old: see that they are without blemish. 9 And their grain offering shall be of fine flour mixed with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the one ram, 10 a tenth for each of the seven lambs: 11 also one male goat for a sin offering, besides the sin offering of atonement, and the regular burnt offering and its grain offering, and their drink offerings.
The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) is arguably the most important day on the Hebrew calendar. Lots of sacrifices made to atone for the sins of the people of Israel. It marks the end of the High Holy days that begin on the first day of the seventh month. Let’s look at the historical significance of the Day of Atonement within the Mosaic Covenant.
Leviticus 16:1-10 (ESV) | The Day of Atonement
1 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord and died, 2 and the Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat that is on the ark, so that he may not die. For I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. 3 But in this way Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with a bull from the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He shall put on the holy linen coat and shall have the linen undergarment on his body, and he shall tie the linen sash around his waist, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy garments. He shall bathe his body in water and then put them on. 5 And he shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. 6 “Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. 7 Then he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 8 And Aaron shall cast lots over the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel. 9 And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord and use it as a sin offering, 10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.
Okay, so we have now a full picture of what was required as far as sacrifices on the Day of Atonement. It was quite the bloody affair, and it was the only day when the High Priest could enter the Holy Place. The High Priest must first offer a sacrifice to atone for himself and his house, then he had to follow God’s commands to make atonement for the Holy Place because of the sins of the people, and then the tent of meeting and the altar. Then he would lay his hands on the live goat and confess over it all of the sins of the people (this is where the term “scapegoat” derives its meaning) so that it will carry away the sins of the people.
Everything we have discussed in the Law is a foreshadowing of the final sacrifice, the final Day of Atonement, the day that Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for our sin forever.
Hebrews 9:19-28 (ESV) 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
This is the significance of the Day of Atonement for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. Plainly taught in Scripture. We now have the great High Priest at the right hand of God the Father interceding on our behalf. No more animal sacrifices, no more waiting for the seventh month of the year, much less the 10th day of the seventh month.
Prophetic Insight or Divination?
There is an unquenchable drive within the community of self-appointed apostles and prophets to always have a “fresh” or “new” word of prophecy. There is very little Biblical teaching in that community. In fact, there is a sense that what is old is no longer relevant, so there is no point of going back to what the Scriptures teach. Oddly enough, when these individuals do go back to the Scriptures, they tend to dive into odd portions of the Old Testament to rip verses or promises out of context. Finally, what is often times presented as a “prophetic word” or “prophetic insight” is really no different from divination.
Numerology and Astrology presented as Prophecy
Why do accept the idea that God is in any way bound to a Calendar (Hebrew or Modern)? Were the feasts and the Sabbaths to be observed by God or by men? Was God bound to certain days on which He could speak to His prophets? No. God spoke when He chose to speak, through whom He chose to speak to whomever He chose to speak. The Lord God is Sovereign. If God is not bound by certain days of the Calendar while the Mosaic Covenant is in effect, He is definitely not bound by those days now that the Truth of Jesus Christ as the Messiah, the Son of the Living God has been revealed. Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, and Paul taught that we, Christians, are now the temple of the Holy Spirit of God. If He dwells within us, then we needn’t wait for the Day of Atonement to approach the mercy-seat, or to confess our sins and be forgiven. So, why… WHY have we adopted the pagan practices of astrology and numerology in an attempt to divine the Will of God for “the New Year”?
We’ve already been dealing with false-prophesy in the form of astrology regarding John Hagee’s “4 Blood Moons” nonsense. The supposed tetrad of lunar eclipses that (depending on how you are trying to sell this ‘prophesy’) spell either doom or an opportunity for unlocking some secret blessing from God. Astrology.
Now, thanks in-part to the Hebrew-roots movement, we get 2 seasons of “annual prophetic words”, one for our modern New Year and another for the Hebrew Calendar New Year. We’ve already seen the Biblical significance of this month and how it points to Jesus, but the Hebrew year is also 5775. We’ll undoubtedly see ‘prophetic’ insights tied to some sort of divine significance of the numbers 5 and 7, and the fact that both numbers are doubled. (Rod Parsley and Chuck Pierce have apparently already done so). Numerology.
Neither of these forms of divination are Biblical nor are they Prophetic. While it is true that God repeats patterns of significance in His Word when He chose to work Creation in 6 days and rest on the 7th, it is God who sets the pattern, not the pattern that sets God. The pattern must point to God, or it is meaningless. For example, if I commit a sin (you pick one), there is no power in the number “7” or “10” that I can invoke to get God to forgive me, but if I remember that the Day of atonement (10th day of the 7th month) points to Christ on the Cross, then I can be reminded that Christ already made atonement for my sin, and that all that is required of me is to confess and repent from my sin. Nothing prophetic about your watch showing 7/7/77 as the date, or 7:55:07 as the time… there is no power of prophesy in the number, nor is God obligated to give a prophetic word just because the Calendar has a certain number or letter on it. Divination points to omens, not to the Living God, and not to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Divination is not Powerless
The real problem here is not only that God is not bound by any calendar to give a word of prophesy, but that divination is prohibited. Remember the test of a prophet isn’t limited to whether or not the sign or wonder comes to pass. Both the Law and Jesus tell us that false prophets will also produce signs and wonders. We are NOT to listen to every spirit, but only God the Holy Spirit.
Deuteronomy 18:9-12 (ESV) | Abominable Practices
9 “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.
Acts 16:16-19 (ESV) 16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.
So here we reviewed what was in the Law and then jumped ahead to Acts 16. Notice here there is a slave girl who had an unclean spirit, a spirit of divination. Her owners made money off her divination. She followed Paul and Silas for days and what does the scripture record her crying out? That they were servants of the Most High God proclaiming the way of salvation. Was she telling the truth? Yes. Was she prophesying? No. She was calling attention to herself and to Paul and Silas, but was not seeking to honor the Most High God. For we know that it was a foul spirit. A demon. It was not of God, and that is a problem. I believe this example is recorded in scripture to demonstrate that even if the proclamation sounds right (and this one does seem right in written form) the spirit behind it was wrong. It did not bring glory to God, nor did it edify the Church.
Stop reading omens. Stop searching out others to read omens. Don’t accept divination as a counterfeit for prophesy. Seek first the Kingdom of God by reading His Word, revealed in the Bible. Scripture defines scripture. All scripture is God-breathed. God is unchanging. He will not speak now in a way that runs contrary to Scripture. We are awaiting the Return of Jesus Christ our King, and we have our marching orders, the foundation laid by the Apostles with Jesus Christ as the cornerstone. He is also the Head of His Church. Remember, that the Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy (Revelation 19:10). Test the spirits to know if they are of God or of error. The only test we have is Scripture.
One final thought… anyone who claims to speak Prophetically in the Name of the Lord and demands a fee from you in order for you to be blessed by God has flipped the Gospel upside down. Jesus didn’t give His life on the cross for you to earn forgiveness, much less blessing. The sacrifices in the Law don’t translate into “seed offerings” of money commensurate with your faith to believe for miracles from God. The offerings we reviewed for the Day of Atonement didn’t become the wealth of the priests, they were sacrificed to the Lord to atone for their sin. The High Priest faced certain death if he displeased the Lord God on this day. The false teachers of today who seek to sell you false-hope and take advantage of your desperation by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not teach (Titus 1:9-11).
Jude 1:24-25 (ESV)24 Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, 25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
In Christ Jesus,