Q. I have a question that I hope you can answer. Why does the Bible say it is wrong to consort with those who predict the future, when in fact it was prophecy – prediction – that told us of the coming of Jesus Christ? How can it be wrong? It feels like such a contradiction to me. Why are some called prophecy and others predictions anyway?
A. In Isaiah 42:8-9 God said, “I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you.” And in Isaiah 46:9-10 He said, “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.”
God has claimed the ability to know the future with certainty as his alone. Right from the beginning, the enemy has deceived mankind by claiming to have these powers as well. In response God made fortune telling, soothsaying, astrology, etc, sins to protect His people from deception.
Today most of the people claiming these abilities are just charlatans preying on peoples’ gullibility. But as in the old days, some are demonic. You and I can’t tell which is which, but both are contrary to God’s word.
As for the difference between prophecy and prediction, prophecy came from prophets who were ordained by God to speak His word. Predictions can come from anyone claiming to know the future. Old Testament Prophets had to be right every time, on pain of death (Deut. 18:20) Predictions from others don’t always come true.