What is a bad omenAnswer:
It might be helpful to first explain what an omen is. An omen is considered to be an event that portends the future, whether good or bad. In ancient Rome, “augurs” were those who could interpret these omens. Augury is a term to indicate the interpretation of omens and also to indicate practicing divination, which is closely related to reading omens.
In ancient Rome, bad omens included spilling wine or water, a black cat entering the house, the splitting of a roof beam, or a cock crowing during a party. Omens were also discerned in the patterns and directions of flights of birds. Today, omens would be classified under superstition or the occult. Examples include believing that something bad will happen if you step on a crack in the sidewalk, break a mirror, walk under a ladder, open an umbrella indoors, hear a certain kind of bird at night, and others.
The Bible specifically forbids paying attention to or looking for omens in Deuteronomy 18:10: “Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft” (the King James uses “an observer of times” for “one who interprets omens”).
Another related reference is in Jeremiah 10:2: “This is what the LORD says: ‘Do not learn the ways of the nations or be terrified by signs in the sky, though the nations are terrified by them.’” Here God is referring to the pagan practice of looking for meaning from signs in the skies or stars as indicators of what was to happen. This is closely related to the practice of astrology. God forbids this because interpreting omens and such “signs” in the sky was part of the worship of false gods and an attempt to get information about the future apart from God.
Interpreting omens or believing in them is based either on a belief in false gods or a belief in fate or luck, which is contrary to what God tells us in his word. First of all, we cannot tell the future from omens; what omens supposedly mean is based on the ideas of men, not God. Secondly, believing in omens means that a person is not believing God nor trusting in him for the future. Thirdly, belief in omens is part of the occult system, a system which is not only denounced by God but is demonic. Such practices draw a person away from God and toward evil. One cannot trust in God and look to omens at the same time; these two actions are contradictory.
We are told to look to God instead of omens: “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4); “But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him” (Jeremiah 17:7); and “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).