What is an omen?

Omens are signs that tell of an event to come, whether good or bad. For example, the superstitious see finding a penny heads up as an omen of good luck to come, or having a black cat cross your path as an omen of bad luck to come.

Omens are most often connected to superstition and are related to fortune-telling and divination. Simple superstitions are easily explained, such as breaking a mirror supposedly resulting in seven years' bad luck. But those who believe strongly in omens might see a diviner to explain the omen or receive instruction on how to avoid the back luck on the way.

Watching for omens, fortune-telling, and divination have been around throughout history in many different cultures. In ancient Assyria, a bad omen would force the king into hiding. A false king would take the throne to absorb whatever evil happened.

Superstition is not biblical and the Bible has serious warnings about everything related to the occult, such as fortune-telling and divination. For example, Deuteronomy 18:10–12: "There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you."

The Bible does recount "omens" of a sort in that God sometimes gave signs along with prophecy. In Isaiah 20:3, the prophet walks naked in front of Egyptians and Cushites to foretell their destruction. Again in Isaiah, a sundial's shadow moves backwards to confirm prophesy (Isaiah 38:7–8). When God began the series of events to free the people from Pharaoh, he had Moses and Aaron perform signs to show His power, then sent the plagues (Exodus 4:1–5). Several names in the Bible were also descriptive of the future, such as Isaiah's children (see Isaiah 8) or those whose name God changed like Abram/Abraham and Jacob/Israel. Revelation also describes signs that will accompany the end times. Biblical signs are always clearly from God and explained by Him.

Christians do not believe in superstition or search for omens. Christians are granted the Holy Spirit to instruct and guide them (John 14:16–17, 25–26) and the presence of Jesus Christ to show God's goodness, grace, and love (1 John 4:9). God's Word itself, the Bible, is our source of spiritual insight (2 Peter 1:19–21).


Related Truth:

Superstitions – What does the Bible say?

What does the Bible teach about luck?

Does the Bible say anything about anxiety?

How does the Bible address fear?

Is there such a thing as Christian dream interpretation? Are dreams from God?


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