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Casting Lots and Prayer

Jibrail Almuhajir

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Hey Y'all,

In the book of Acts 1:26 (I believe), we read where the Apostles needed to choose a replacement for Judas.  The first thing they did is what most of us would do, which is to pray.  The second thing they did is sort of puzzling to me, as they cast lots for their answers.  I have always thought (maybe wrongly) casting lots was a form of gambling, or chance that Christians are to avoid.  What are we to think of this?  Is casting lots an acceptable way to seek an answer from God (after praying)?

Gabriel   
 

elephant

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Dear Gabriel,

I think there is more than one meaning of "casting lots".  This term may be used both for a method of random selection as well as for a kind of divination.  In one you are seeking an impartial result, in the other special power. 

Love, elephant
 

LenInSebastopol

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Old Jewish custom, both prayer (first) and then cast lots. Study Bible has 22 instances of casting lots...no biggie.
They didn't do it for money in the O.T. as in gambling.
So don't gamble or practice any form of greed.
 

Jibrail Almuhajir

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elephant said:
Dear Gabriel,

I think there is more than one meaning of "casting lots".  This term may be used both for a method of random selection as well as for a kind of divination.  In one you are seeking an impartial result, in the other special power. 

Love, elephant
Dear elephant,

I think you're right, as upon further searching I found Cleromancy, which is a sort of divinization, or seeking the will of God, and Sortition, which is similar but without seeking God's will.  In the book of Acts, it seems clear to me that the Apostles were engaging in Cleromancy so as to seek the will of God in choosing the new Apostle.  
 

mabsoota

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sorry, could not find much on it.
Bible references here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=lots&qs_version=NIV

coptic orthodox church uses lots:
http://lacopts.org/story/diocese-rejoices-at-choice-of-abba-tawadrous-as-118th-pope/

from what i know of the orthodox usage, it is traditionally only after much prayer and fasting
and then it is performed by the church together, rather than by individuals (so that we don't get misled).
 
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