In Joshua 18:6 (NASB)

And you shall write a description of the land in seven divisions, and bring the description here to me. Then I will cast lots for you here before the Lord our God.

or in Jonah 1:7 (NASB) (could've referenced even more passages on casting lots)

And each man said to his mate, “Come, let’s cast lots so that we may find out on whose account this catastrophe has struck us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.

was wondering... Is "cast lots" considered prophecy (opposite of divination)?

Glossary of terms

  • divination - the art of obtaining secret knowledge, especially of the future by demonic power

  • prophecy - the art of obtaining secret knowledge, especially of the future by the Spirit of God

For context

I've asked two questions before regarding divination

and answered this one

Also, I've asked this question about casting lots


Is casting lots considered prophecy?

Not any more.

Even though we read in Proverbs 16:33

The lot is cast into the lap,

But its every decision is from the Lord.

The last casting of lots in the Bible happened in Acts 1:26, NLT

Then they cast lots, and Matthias was selected to become an apostle with the other eleven.

As a result, Matthias replaced Judas the betrayer. Immediately after that, the Holy Spirit appeared at Pentecost in Acts 2:

1 When the day of Pentecosta came, they were all together in one place. 2Suddenly a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Believers were filled with the Spirit.

Jesus promised the Paraclete in John 14:26

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Casting lots are no longer necessary.

Acts 13:2

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."

  • "Not any more" nice one. I've decided to delete my answer and include that passage from Proverbs in yours. Mar 13 at 14:56
  • 1
    Thanks. Great :)
    – Tony Chan
    Mar 13 at 15:13

The noun גּוֹרָל (goral) = "lot" (for casting) occurs 77 times in the OT. It was often used to determine the will of God; but such could only be construed when actually seeking the will of God by Godly people.

Thus, lots were used ti divide the promised land (Num 26, 33, 34, 36, Josh 14:2, etc) and to decide the sacrificial animal, (Lev 16:8-10), etc.

However, the casting of lots by pagans is spoken about in a negative sense but still fulfilled the purpose of God (eg, Jonah 1:7); see also Isa 34:17 where the LORD casts the lot.

In Joel 3:3 we have evil people using lots to decide how to sin which victim to take for prostitution. See also Obad 1:11 and Nah 3:10.

Lots were also used in Acts 1:26.

I do not recommend the practice as it can be too easy to abuse. I note that when an important decision was required the apostles asked the LORD for guidance and the answer was revealed by the Holy Spirit in Acts 15.

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