What is the Differences
between a Prophet and a Psychic?
I wrote this article some four years ago and find that there is a need for some to understand these important distinctions now perhaps more than ever. I believe that we are living in a time frame when many are seeking spiritual guidance from all types of sources, and many of these sources are clouded in sources that are anything but safe.
While many perhaps know and understand the subtle differences between a psychic and a prophet, perhaps few can discern when someone is seeking to hear from God and they actually are channeling a familiar spirit and not the Holy Spirit. Having said this, I believe that there are “some” well-known prophetic ministers who are actually tapping into this dangerous spiritual arena.
The Sin of Nadab and Abihu
I believe that there is a “strange fire” that is evident in the lives of some of those who claim to be hearing from God. Some give mention to hearing from angels, and that their voice is the one that they continue to seek and hear from.
Angels are certainly all around us and they are God’s messengers, but it is wrong to seek them rather than God himself.
We are told in Leviticus 10 about the danger of offering up a strange fire before the Lord:
“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took their respective firepans, and after putting fire in them, placed incense on it and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He had not commanded them,” Leviticus 10:1.
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed,” Galatians 1:8.
Christian Seers and prophets are similar in some ways to psychics, but there are some great differences. Christian seers seek God’s voice and follow after Him, in hearing and speaking His words to nations, people, and individuals.
Christian seers also use no form of divination. Instead, they rely on information given to them by God either through visions, dreams or images or a voice.
Psychics however, may use a form of divination such as tarot cards, crystal ball, astrology, are any tool that allows them to open up. But in Leviticus 19:26 the Bible states;
“Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. Do not practice divination or sorcery.”
A psychic (/ˈsaɪkɪk/; from the Greek ψυχικός psychikos — “of the mind, mental”, also called sensitive) is a person who professes an ability to perceive information hidden from the normal senses through extrasensory perception (ESP), or is said by others to have such abilities.
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning “foreteller”, is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people. The message that the prophet conveys is called a prophecy.
Christian Prophets seek after God. They pray, listen for God’s message and live a life devoted to following after him. Psychics usually don’t function like this. Their gifts are undeniable, their gifts are given to them by the Grace of God, but, it’s the manner in which most Psychics choose to use their gifts that’s important.
Yes, the psychic may provide a service, but, who receives the credit? Do they use a form of divination and follow after New Age practices, or do they pray and listen for God’s voice?
I truly believe that the “VOICE” and the “KNOWLEDGE” that psychics find, is NOT from the source of God. I see that their source comes from another realm. They don’t seek the spirit of God, but rather they seek a familiar spirit.
This other spirit will indeed give them knowledge, but it’s tainted, it’s impure, and false. Yes, they may well be able to tell others certain secrets about their lives. They even also give them knowledge from those who have died.
Saul and the Witch – 1 Samuel 28.
We have the Biblical account of Saul seeking an answer from the witch at Endor:
“Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a woman who is a medium at En-dor.” 1 Samuel 28:7 NASU.
King Saul was in trouble. Israel had been fighting the Philistines for many years, and now they were invading again. The prophet Samuel was dead (1 Samuel 25:1) and it seems there was no replacement.
“Now it came about in those days that the Philistines gathered their armed camps for war, to fight against Israel…… Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him and buried him in Ramah, his own city. So the Philistines gathered together and came and camped in Shunem; and Saul gathered all Israel together and they camped in Gilboa. When Saul saw the camp of the Philistines, he was afraid and his heart trembled greatly,” 1 Samuel 28:1,3,4,5.
Under the anointing of the spirit of God, Saul had been a fearless king. But when God “rejected him from being king” (1 Samuel 15:26), the spirit of God departed (1 Samuel 16:14) and Saul’s courage also departed. The two armies were camping only a few miles from each other, and the Philistines looked formidable.
Saul needed assurance that he would not face defeat in the forthcoming battle. He first attempted to talk to the Lord.
“When Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by prophets,” 1 Samuel 28:6 NASU.
The Lord, however, was not responding. He had rejected Saul and already chosen David to be his successor, (1 Samuel 16:13). It seems Saul did not try very hard to inquire of the Lord, because in another account of the same story, the scriptures state that He “did not inquire of the Lord,” (1 Chronicles 10:14).
After his typical attempt to inquire of the Lord was unsuccessful, he immediately began looking for spiritual help from another direction.
He had to ask his servants for help, because he himself had cleansed Israel from this sin, probably under the prophet Samuel’s direction. Saul had decreed that all mediums were to be put to death, (1 Samuel 28:9).
“And Saul had removed from the land those who were mediums and spiritists,” 1 Samuel 28:3 NASU
His servants knew of a witch at End-dor. En-dor was several miles into Philistine territory, so to get there, Saul had to make a dangerous journey in disguise past the enemy camp into the land of his enemies.
“Then Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night; and he said, “Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall name to you.” 1 Samuel 28:8 NASU.
Apparently mediums were those who consulted the spirits of the dead, whether through occultic practices or through deception. The NIV has Saul saying, “Consult a spirit for me” and the NKJV says “Conduct a seance for me.”
The woman was concerned for her safety, knowing King Saul’s decree, even though she was in Philistine territory.
“But the woman said to him, “Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who are mediums and spiritists from the land. Why are you then laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?” Saul vowed to her by the Lord, saying, “As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing,” 1 Samuel 28:9-10 NASU.
After receiving a personal guarantee of safety, the woman was obliging.
“Then the woman said, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” And he said, “Bring up Samuel for me.” 1 Samuel 28:11 NASU.
Saul wanted to speak to Samuel. He desperately wanted some assurance that the forthcoming battle would go well for him.
“Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has departed from you and has become your adversary? The Lord has done accordingly as He spoke through me; for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, to David. As you did not obey the Lord and did not execute His fierce wrath on Amalek, so the Lord has done this thing to you this day. Moreover the Lord will also give over Israel along with you into the hands of the Philistines, therefore tomorrow you and your sons will be with me. Indeed the Lord will give over the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines!” 1 Samuel 28:16-19 NASU.
Samuel’s prediction was precisely fulfilled: his sons were killed in the battle, Saul himself was gravely wounded, and afraid of torture he committed suicide, (1 Samuel 31:1-6).
It’s very interesting to note that even in death, the true prophet of God Samuel, gave the king a true prophetic word, for it came to pass just as he had prophesied.
~ Stephen Hanson
Stephen Hanson of In His Truth Ministries came to the LORD is a special way in 1975 and has been prophesying regularly since. In these end-time birthing pangs we are to be reminded that judgment must first begin with the household of God. Will we be prepared and ready?