Prognostication. Divination. Prophecy
Many take prophecy to mean ‘making predictions.’ The understanding here is that God speaks to a prophet who simply quotes Him. But this is only half the story. For those who know, predicting the future is not a way to describe what a prophet does. Just a predictive ability does not make a prophet, nor is prophecy simply a regurgitation of what has been made known to a prophet. The prophet is first and foremost called to God’s righteousness; to live a righteous life and to model it, showing to everyone else how God wants us to live in the world. This is the only setting that gives prophecy meaning; for the prophet not only to tell us but to show us. In other words, a prophet’s life will model absolute obedience, even when he or she is feeling stupid about it. The reason is that God’s wisdom which the prophet operates in actually neutralizes his or her own wisdom. Following the line of this thought, because other things may behave and act like prophecy, a distinction has been made here.
Prognostication is the ability to predict future events based on present signs and symptoms in the environment. An economist for example, will be able to predict a recession by simply observing trends in the economy. Divination on the other hand looks to the unseen or the supernatural–gods, spirits, powers of the unseen world–in order to interpret what is happening in the world, or in order to predict future events.
Prophecy is God’s divine will and purpose, revealed to a prophet, and keeps human beings informed of what God’s intentions are regarding His created earthly space–the world–and how He wants people who live in the space to relate to Him and to one another. It may also identify specific issues in the world or in our local environment and what God plans to do about them. Above all, this will let us know that human life is to be lived to please God in any circumstance. So what is the relationship between these three?
There is a little bit of a prophet in every human being but the ability to make prognostications may also involve specialized training, an economist for example. People are able to make predictions based on anything; real life experience, training, knowledge of the environment among others. Prognostication and divination could behave like prophecy but they are not. In these instances, people by their own effort try to draw information to fulfill a need but with prophecy, the prophet’s role is to receive. He plays no role in when God releases His information or what He uses it for, but the prophet must handle the messages according to the revelation–living, working, and moving only by obedience. If it is not Holy Spirit inspired, it is not prophecy, it is divination.