Do Mosaic Old Testament Laws of Fortune-Telling Apply to Christians?

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Christians have been told New Testament laws override Mosaic laws of the Old Testament. Does that mean that engaging in astrology and fortune-telling is okay today? Find out what the New Testament reveals.

Are Old Testament Mosaic laws obsolete for Christians?

“A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.”

–Leviticus 20:27

The death penalty for reading fortunes? That verse sounds pretty harsh. This is an example of civil law from ancient Israel where they did not want this practice in their community and levied the strongest penalty.

3 kinds of Old Testament law

Christians have been told that there are three kinds of law in the Old Testament: Moral, civil, and ceremonial. Scholars consider moral laws, such as the Ten Commandments, as timeless for all believers, Jews, and Gentiles. However, they declare that Old Testament civil and ceremonial laws only apply to ancient Israel.

According to biblicalstudies.org: “Mosaic Law, a critical component of the Old Covenant, is not valid as law over believers in the church age.”

Therefore, would that mean that laws mostly found in the Old Testament, which prohibit divination arts – such as astrology and fortune-telling – have no validity for Christians today? Are these practices okay? Read on.

Divination arts: Fortune-telling, astrology, magic and more

“And when they say to you, ‘Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,’ should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?”

–Isaiah 8:19

The Oxford languages dictionary defines divination as: “The practice of seeking knowledge of the future or the unknown by supernatural means.”

In the Bible, the word pharmakeia has multiple meanings, and is used to describe things such as magic, spells, sorcery, witchcraft, as well as drugs, poisoning, enchantment, seductions, and idolatry. Pharmakeia, (pronounced “Far” + “Ma” + “Kay” + “uh.”) is a Greek word we derive our modern word pharmacy from.

For the most part, all of these can be listed under the term divination. With that understanding, let’s look into the New Testament where the word pharmakeia is used in the original Greek, and see if there are any prohibitions against it.

What does the New Testament say about divination arts?

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. As I warned you before, I warn you that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

– Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

The above verses are a perfect example of why it is essential to understand original Greek and Hebrew words in the Bible. Their meaning gets diluted or can be unclear when translated into modern English.

You might see the word “sorcery” there and think it refers to casting spells. Therefore, you might assume that the Bible doesn’t specifically say you can’t read horoscopes or have a medium to tell your fortune. In other words, it may lead you to believe the New Testament doesn’t prohibit divination arts. But, actually, it does.

Is astrology and fortune-telling okay for Christians today?

In Galatians 5:20, in the original Greek, the word pharmakeia is used to refer to sorcery, some translations substitute the English word witchcraft (NIV, KJV, ISV, and others).

But since we know the Greek word pharmakeia refers to more than sorcery or witchcraft; it also refers to seeking information by supernatural means. It becomes clear that things like astrology and fortune-telling still remain prohibited practices for Christians under the New Covenant in the Church Age.

The apostle Paul not only makes this clear in Galatians, but he also spoke against it again in Acts 19:19, when he tells of people who practice magic arts, bringing their books and burning them in a show of faith as the word of the Lord spread. Paul also talked about casting a demon out of a fortune-teller in Acts 16:16.

The danger of seeking supernatural information

“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

In the above verse, Jesus himself warned believers about people using deceptive means to lead people astray.

Two of the main reasons God does not want his children following seeking information by supernatural means is that we can be easily deceived. We do not know who or what we are communicating within the supernatural realm. Secondly, it is an insult to God, who should always be put first, when we seek to go around him for information. When you need answers, pray.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

– James 1:5