Monday, January 30, 2023

In the Year 2023

Not only are Christians resorting to occult practices, but many are turning the Bible into a tool of divinationIn the 1970s, numerous church leaders warned that occult ideas were infiltrating the church from the so-called ‘New Age Movement.’ While I took these warnings seriously, little did I expect to see Christians openly practicing divination within the church, and with nary a peep of protest from church leaders.

Calendar Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash
[Calendar Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash]

Over the last month, we have experienced what has become an annual routine. As the end of each calendar year approaches, Christian mystics and “prophets” release their latest prognostications based on the prophetic significance they attach to the year number on the Gregorian calendar.

This is an expansion of the older practice of making predictions based on Hebrew year numbers. It seems, the opportunity to engage in numeric calculations and projections twice every twelve months is too good to ignore.

Never mind that NOWHERE in scripture do we find a single instance of, say, Moses or Paul using the Hebrew calendar to divine the will of God. Never mind that Isaiah took the Babylonians to task for their “monthly prognostications” based on the lunar calendar, or that Paul classified the “narrow observation of days and months and years” as regression to “bondage under the elemental spirits” - (Isaiah 47:13, Galatians 4:9-11).


When we entered the Hebrew year “5783” last autumn, the same “prophetic” voices made predictions based on this number. But there are fundamental problems with this practice.

First, assigning year numbers by the number of years since the day of creation is post-Biblical.

In Scripture, we find Israelites counting the number of years since the Exodus, or later, from the year of a king’s accession to the throne. What we do not find are devout Israelites determining the year number by counting the years since the creation. That practice did not come into wide use until after the tenth century A.D., and the present consensus that today designates the Hebrew year number as 5783 was not adopted until the twelfth century.

Second, when the present system was developed, there was no consensus among the rabbis about how many years have passed since the creation, and opinions on the matter ranged over at least eleven hundred years.

Moreover, Genesis provides insufficient information for determining the date of the creation with anything approaching certainty. And this means that the odds of the rabbinical authorities reaching the correct number are effectively zero.

So, if this is not the year 5783, but you make a prediction based on it, then even if your numerological system is God-approved, almost certainly, your projection is based on the wrong number.

But the growing use of the Gregorian calendar for this practice is far more problematic. I mean, what does that calendar have to do with the Bible?

Well, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. And in what scriptural passage or from which example in the life of Jesus or Paul do we conclude that this practice is legitimate or even remotely Christian?

In fact, what many Christians are doing is nothing more than practicing numerology, the belief that certain numbers have mystical or prophetic significance, and it is one of the arts of divination practiced by shamans, witchdoctors, sorcerers, and charlatans since time immemorial.

Whether you label this practice mystical or prophetic depends on your self-designation. If you belong to the New Age movement or follow Wicca, it is the former. But if you call yourself ‘Christian’ and fancy yourself a prophet, it is the latter. Regardless, the method employed and its result are the same.

But in fairness to traditional crystal ball readers and conjurers, the “Christian” forms of the dark arts just get sillier with each passing year. When it comes to either obeying the Bible or emulating the occult, today’s “prophets” are no traditionalists. Addiction to whims and fads demands innovation.


And so, wannabe prophets link the year number, either the Hebrew or Gregorian, to the chapter and verse numbers of scriptural passages. They then predict things based on that passage’s contents.

For example, the year “2022” led many to 2 Chronicles 20:22 where Yahweh set “ambushes against the children of Ammon and Moab, and they were smitten.” Apparently, that meant God would set traps in 2022 for demons or “liberals” or whoever the enemy du jour happened to be last year.

But this is all very arbitrary and subjective. How did the “prophets” know to find last year’s prophetic text in the book of 2 Chronicles rather than, say, Deuteronomy or Ezekiel? And what about 2023?

Perhaps we should consult Leviticus 20:23 where God commanded Israel “not to walk in the customs of the nations, which I cast out before you: for they did all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.” This passage seems to be quite relevant since that is exactly what today’s “prophets” and “seers” are doing!

But that whole approach is based on ignorance. While the chapter divisions and verse numbers in our Bibles are extremely beneficial, none of them were ever part of the original text. They were added centuries after the fact, and the present chapter and verse numbers used in modern translations were designed by Archbishop Stephen Langton in the early thirteenth century A.D.

None of the chapter or verse numbers we use today were part of the original inspired text. I mean, the Holy Spirit was not hovering around Moses or Paul, tapping him on the shoulder every now and then to tell him where to insert a chapter division or assign a verse number.

But a more recent innovation highlights just how ridiculous and desperate some “prophets” have become. They are finding prophetic significance in the numbers assigned to individual Hebrew and Greek numbers in Strong’s Concordance.

For example, the year “2022” takes them to Strong’s number G2022, the Greek word epicheô, meaning to “pour out.” And so, they assumed, in the year 2022 God would “pour out” His Spirit in some new way. But why not conclude instead that He would “pour out” His wrath? Considering how 2022 turned out for the church and the world in general, the latter would have been the better bet.

Certainly, Strong’s Concordance is very valuable when studying the Bible. But employing its word numbers to divine the future is beyond silly. Effectively, these “prophets” have made the Bible and related study aids into tools of divination.

I believe in the gifts of the Spirit and their continuance. Pastors and theologians who argue that God intended the gifts to cease at midnight on the 31st of December in 99 A.D. have an extremely weak argument. I find contemporary claims that the earth is flat more convincing.

Nevertheless, resorting to occult practices is not only a poor substitute for the genuine gift of prophecy and the diligent study of and obedience to Scripture, but doing so violates clear scriptural warnings against soothsaying, astrology, necromancy, and many of the other so-called dark arts.