A premonition is a “gut feeling” that something is about to happen, usually something negative or even dangerous. This feeling presents itself with no connection to rational thinking—in other words, there is no reasonable basis for a premonition. A premonition can range from a nebulous feeling that “something is wrong” to an intense, persistent impression that someone is going to die.
Premonitions are not to be confused with divinations, which are purposeful acts of foretelling the future. Since divination seeks to interpret omens and draws on supernatural power, it is strictly warned against in the Bible (see Deuteronomy 18:10–13; Leviticus 20:27). Premonitions, on the other hand, are simply feelings that come unbidden and may or may not have any basis in reality.
Premonitions are also different from prophecy. Prophecy was the way in which God revealed His will in Old Testament and apostolic times. God at times spoke to specially chosen men, or prophets, giving them divine, authoritative messages to share with other people. Unlike premonitions, prophecy was a specific message for a specific time. When Zechariah met the angel in the temple, the angel gave him a prophecy of the birth of John (Luke 1:8–17). Zechariah did not have a “premonition,” and he had no “precognitive” skills; he received a direct word from God.
Generally speaking, premonitions are associated with psychic abilities such as ESP and telepathy. Some people accept premonitions as a type of precognition that should be heeded, especially if the premonition is repeated or seems very “real.” Some believe that premonitions are proof that an individual’s consciousness is “transcending” to a new level.
While the Bible does not explicitly address premonitions, there is still some guidance we can glean from Scripture. First, our wisdom is found in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30), and so the child of God should have nothing to do with parapsychology and should not seek to “develop” an ability to have premonitions. Also, we must always be circumspect when it comes to our feelings. Feelings and emotions are subjective and susceptible to radical change. God’s Word instructs, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Our feelings may deceive us, and only God’s Word is firm and unchanging.
What if a believer has a premonition? First, the believer should respond to the premonition for what it is—a feeling. Under no circumstances should the believer heed the world’s suggestion that he might have “psychic powers.” If the feeling that “something is wrong” persists, then the believer should take it to the Lord in prayer. Is this feeling the prompting of the Holy Spirit to make a change? Or is this feeling a temptation of the enemy to fear? We are to cast all our cares upon the Lord, for He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). We are not to fear (2 Timothy 1:7). To know God’s will, we must study the Word, pray, and pursue a deep and personal relationship with the Lord of Love.