WHAT ARE “PROGNOSTICATORS?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
Only once does the Authorized Version use the term “prognosticators,” in an ancient prophecy in Isaiah: “Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee” (47:13). The audience is Babylon (verses 1,5). JEHOVAH God is pronouncing His judgment on that evil city and the kingdom it heads. Historically, the prophecy was partially fulfilled in 536 B.C., when Persian King Cyrus the Great led the Medes and Persians to conquer Babylon (see Daniel 5:30-31). Prophetically, it awaits culmination at Christ’s Second Coming when the Lord Jesus destroys the Antichrist’s regime (Revelation chapters 17–18). See Babylon’s doom also described in Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51.
Babylon is personified as a goddess, boasting about how she is invincible, “the lady of kingdoms… I shall be a lady for ever” (Isaiah 47:5,7). The LORD speaks to her in quite graphic language: “ Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:  But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments.  For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.  Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.  Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.  Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee.  Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.  Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.”
Babylon has her idolatry, her religious leaders, and her “wise men” (verses 12-13). One of these groups is “monthly prognosticators,” the subject of our inquiry. These are simply fortunetellers (“prognosticator” is from the Greek “pro” [“before”] and “gnosis” [“knowledge”]). Babylon’s arrogance, her “strength,” is in her pagan belief system. Essentially, the LORD thunders out, “Let us see if your spiritual leaders, your prophets, can help you foresee what devastation I will bring upon you!”