Study Notes

Zechariah 10:2-2


Last Thursday night, we took the time to examine in detail the promise of verse one in Zechariah 10.

Zech. 10:1 Ask rain from the LORD at the time of the spring rain - The LORD who makes the storm clouds; And He will give them showers of rain, vegetation in the field to {each} man.

We discussed at length the need for asking the Lord in prayer for our needs when we need them. Now, we pick up in verse two as the thought progresses...

10:2 For

The idea in verse one was to ask rain from the Lord. Although we mostly focused on asking for rain, the emphasis is on asking from the Lord specifically. He would seem like the only one you could ask, since He's the only one who could do anything about it. But the nation of Israel had an extensive history of turning to anything but God for their blessings, provision, and direction.

They turned to idols, to false prophets, to anyone and anything except the Lord. And so the Lord tells them yet again, "Turn to Me for rain, not to the idols." This isn't the first time He's instructed them about this. He'd inspired Jeremiah to tell them that it is God who...

Jer. 51:16-18 ...causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, and brings forth the wind from His storehouses. All mankind is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his molten images are deceitful, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless...

God alone can bring the rain, and although idols might appear convincing at times, they are deceitful.

The Teraphim

Idols like the teraphim speak iniquity - they bring only trouble and sorrow when you put your trust in them.

Although the NAS only has the word "teraphim" in it twice, the Hebrew word actually appears in Scripture 15 times. But the translators usually render it as "household idols."

Not much is known about the teraphim. From the few times they are mentioned in the Bible, we know that they varied in size: some were small enough for Rachel to put them in her camel's saddle and sat on them (Gen 31:34). Others were the size of people, as David's wife Me-KAWL put one in her bed to fool King Saul's messengers into thinking that David was sick in bed (1Sam 19:13).

We also know that they were used for divination, to give supernatural direction from the afterlife, although the actual method has been lost in history. It is just as well, for the teraphim were just as abominable and worthless as the other methods of divination that people turned to. Ezekiel tells us that the king of Babylon used divination with this and other methods...

Ezek. 21:21 "For the king of Babylon stands at the parting of the way, at the head of the two ways, to use divination; he shakes the arrows, he consults the household idols (teraphim), he looks at the liver."

The teraphim may have been used with the expectation of healing as well, for "ter-aw-FEME" is the plural of "raw-FAW," which means "to heal." So these common idols were expected to bring much, but delivered only iniquity.

The Diviners

While the teraphim were the method of divination for the household, you could also pay for professional divination (Mic. 3:11). The diviners had many methods, usually more spectacular and convincing than the household teraphim variety. But you also paid the higher price for your divination.

I see a parallel in the occultic and superstitious influence permeating our own society. You can trust your teraphim, which is to follow your horoscope in the newspaper, or rely on your "lucky" numbers or routine, or trust in your good luck charms, crystals, or rabbit's foot (not that it was lucky for him at all!).

These things are all like the teraphim - you don't pay anything once you have them, but being convinced that they are working is all up to you.

Then you have the diviners. These are the "professional" psychics, fortunetellers, and palm readers. In the large cities I have lived, there are always storefront businesses advertising palm reading, psychics, tarot reading, seances, and fortune-telling. One of the funniest things I have ever seen was last year in San Diego, there was a fortune teller's shop that had a sign saying, "Out of Business, Building for Lease." Too bad the fortune teller didn't see that coming when they started up the business!

Verse two here says,

Zech. 10:2 ...the diviners see lying visions, and tell false dreams; They comfort in vain...

This is the topic I'd like to stay on for the rest of our study this evening, because it has had such an impact on our society, our friends and family, and even on Christians who haven't been biblically educated.

Psychic hotlines raking in billions of dollars a year are evidence that people are looking for comfort, for vision, for reassurance about the afterlife.

The Bible has much to say about these people - the real, the fake, and the sin of it all.

"Real" Psychics

First of all, you should know that there are those referred to as psychics and fortune-tellers that do actually have supernatural abilities. But you should also know that these abilities are not from themselves. We learned in Daniel 8 regarding Antiochus Epiphanes, that...

Dan. 8:24 "...his power will be mighty, but not by his {own} power..."

So too, psychics and fortune-tellers with genuine supernatural ability are not the source of their own power. In reality, it is demonic, likely indicating that these people are demon-possessed.

In the book of Acts, God called the apostle Paul to go to Macedonia and preach the gospel. When he and his companions arrived in Philippi, they could not follow their regular routine, which was to go to the synagogue on the sabbath day. You see, there was no synagogue in Philippi. Knowing that in towns without a synagogue, the few Jews would normally meet at a riverside for prayer on the Sabbath, they headed down to the river. This proved to be a fruitful ministry, and became their regular meeting place in Philippi.

Luke writes,

Acts 16:16-19 And it happened that as we were going to the place of prayer, a certain slave-girl having a spirit of divination met us, who was bringing her masters much profit by fortunetelling. Following after Paul and us, she kept crying out, saying, "These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation." And she continued doing this for many days. But Paul was greatly annoyed, and turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!" And it came out at that very moment. But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the authorities

Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in prison. Once the spirit of divination had been cast out of her, the slave-girl could no longer tell fortunes.

What we see here is that this girl's supernatural abilities were demonic.


For the most part, however, the facts overwhelmingly prove that most diviners are fakes - and they know it. Like salesmen and con-artists, they have simply become students of human nature, and have learned to manipulate people.

Through some enlightening research, I have recently learned just how easy it is to utilize simple psychological principles to simulate psychic power and divination.

People's eagerness to believe that their deceased loved ones want to communicate with them makes them gullible and willing to believe almost anything.

Combining these things with some skillful educated-guessing makes it fairly easy to convince someone that you have the power of divination.

I want to explain to you how this is done so that you will not be duped personally, and to equip you to minister to those that have been deceived.

Eph. 5:11 And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them

Cold Readings

Thanks to TV, the biggest thing in the world of psychics and divination has become the seemingly inarguable accuracy of putting a "certified psychic" on stage in front one person or a roomful of people, and have him listen for communication with their dead loved ones.

The craft is called the art of cold reading, and it has been mastered by thousands of so-called "psychics."

The other morning, knowing that I would be covering this topic, I made a point of catching a couple of minutes of the show "Crossing Over" with John Edward.

This is a man who has a studio audience full of people that are eager to communicate with deceased friends and relatives. You couldn't ask for a better group of people to manipulate. During the part of the show I saw, he directed his comments to a woman in front of him, saying, "Someone who has passed is coming to the forefront. It seems to be a male figure. Could be a father, grandfather, husband, brother, friend, or neighbor..." As soon as the woman looked astonished and said, "My father," he was off and running.

So-called psychics of this type are masters at making very general statements, which, once confirmed and specified by the "sitter," sound like undeniably accurate paranormal knowledge.

When they make specific guesses that turn out to be wrong, they cover it with re-interpretation or bringing in additional characters. When John took a guess at the name of the woman's deceased father, he said, "I'm hearing an 'R' name... Rob, Robert, Ron, Roy." Even when this got no response from the woman, he insisted he was hearing Robert or Bob... and then got the additional piece of information that there was a Rob, Robert, or Bob there with him. That got the woman to say, "Well, his best friend in college was named Robbie." John latched onto that, confirming that Robbie was there with her father.

Unverifiable statements are also really big in the cold reading. After all, how could anyone deny that Dad and Robbie were hanging out together in the afterlife?

Knowledge of human tendency, society, and statistics can help these diviners to make uncannily accurate educated guesses.

For example, I could take a woman from the audience and say, "I'm seeing a female figure - older, possibly a mother, grandmother, aunt, or friend?"

As soon as I hear confirmation that my subject's grandmother has recently "passed," I say, "She's bringing to my mind a diary, or a book that was written in."

Now, statistically, I know that about 90% of American women kept a diary when they were young. While my sitter is personalizing her experience, I've actually made a guess that would apply to nearly every woman in the room.

But, if I strike out, I know that most grandmothers give books as gifts, often writing on the inside of the cover. So, with my seemingly specific statement, I've just made a connection that would apply to almost any American woman.

Now, diaries and books inscribed with a sentiment are almost 100% of the time given as gifts. So I then lead in with, "I'm seeing a party or festive occasion - maybe a birthday, could be Christmas..."

At this point, my sitter will probably blurt out something, "My mother gave me a diary when I turned 8, and my grandmother was there at the party!" I can then comfort her, saying, "Your grandmother loves you and is with you always, watching you grow up, just like she was watching over you at your 8th birthday party."

If by some stroke of misfortune there was still no connection, I could say, "Your grandmother kept a diary when she was young. She has so much of herself that you never learned about, so she's encouraging you to find it and read it." I've just made the woman believe her grandmother is communicating with her. She has no ability to disprove the claim that grandma kept a diary when she was young, and if she never finds it, that's not my problem. I've already been paid for my psychic service!

When I feel like I've run out of manipulations, or I'm pressing my luck, I will simply say, "She's stepping back now, withdrawing her spirit from me." Everyone will have a good cry about how wonderful Grandma was, and all of her friends will be referred to me to communicate with their lost loved ones.

This technique is not hard to learn, and is very convincing to the gullible, which is any person in a time of desperation, who thinks that there is nowhere else to turn.

Comforting In Vain

Now, as a diviner, psychic, or medium, I can convince myself that although I'm deceiving this poor woman, I'm really doing her a favor. She was looking for comfort and hope, and I gave it to her. What's wrong with that?

What's wrong is that the diviners who see lying visions comfort in vain. I have not only lied to the woman and given her false hope regarding her grandmother, but I have just convinced her that everything the Bible says about death is a lie! The Bible says,

Hebr. 9:27 is appointed for men to die once and after this {comes} judgment

"Well, Grandma wasn't a Christian, but she's okay. She's with me, watching over me." She was a great woman, and I will follow in her footsteps.


Although I probably shouldn't find this funny, there are times when these charlatans get surprised.

You may recall that King Saul found himself in a place where all his life, he'd only heard from God through the prophet Samuel. But Samuel had died and God wasn't talking.

Saul's solution was to go to a diviner, a medium, a witch, hoping to hear from Samuel from beyond the grave.

Since Saul had made these practices illegal in his kingdom, he donned a disguise when he met with the medium.

1Sam. 28:11-12 Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" And he said, "Bring up Samuel for me." When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman spoke to Saul, saying, "Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul."

As this woman pretended to practice her powers, she freaked out. She screamed because she really saw something. Throughout the countless times she'd performed her trickery and manipulation, she'd never actually seen anything supernatural. But this time was different.

1Sam. 28:13-14 And the king said to her, "Do not be afraid; but what do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a divine being coming up out of the earth." And he said to her, "What is his form?" And she said, "An old man is coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel...

I would love to see an episode of "Crossing Over" when John Edward actually sees a dead person, and hears them talking to him. I think he'd probably freak out and scream as well!

The Sin Of Psychics

We have seen tonight that two problems with divination are that it is either demonic or fraudulent, it is also expressly forbidden in the Bible.

Lev. 19:31 ‘Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.'

Lev. 20:6 ‘As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.'

Not only are you being comforted in vain, but you are setting yourself up as an enemy of God, and He will set His face against those who turn to divination.

I want to make sure you know this in no uncertain terms: calling the psychic hotline, going to Zen's to have your tarot cards read, or even reading your horoscope in the newspaper is a grievous, abominable sin.

If you're looking for entertainment, you're looking in the wrong place. If you're looking for comfort, you'll be getting a lie.

If you have a friend who thinks they are a Christian but are engaging in these practices, I pray that you are now better equipped to minister the Truth to them.

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