Promises and Secrets
A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.
Yes, and most of them, fortunately for us, had it wrong.
People have been trying to predict events for thousands of years.
What do you think?
"The end is near!" (street corner sign) "The world will end in 2012!" (Mayans) "Jesus will come in October of 1844!" (Adventists) "Those jobs are gone and will never come back!" (Barak Obama) "Gas will hit $5 a gallon by Tuesday!" (Big oil haters, OK, that one did happen, a little later...)
Everyone has a prediction. The trouble is, when another new prophecy comes out, many, many people jump on board and treat it like the Final, Absolute, Astounding New Truth. If you don't immediately jump on board with them as a believer, you are considered an idiot, at least until it doesn't happen. Of course, there are always some scoffers, like me in most unfounded cases, but some ideas are so attractive that it seems few can resist investigating. At least until they find, or make up, enough facts to "confirm" the prediction for themselves.
Unless they have it within their control to make something happen on a schedule, or at least understand a particular repeating cycle, few people will be able to predict anything with any accuracy. Look at the number of those who have tried.
An all-seeing chicken?
Just a few examples can be seen at Britannica at a page called 10 Failed Doomsday Predictions. Some of them are pretty big, including the end of the world.
When they did not occur at the predicted time, more investigation (or speculation) revealed some error in interpretation of the "facts". This usually caused the date to be pushed back to another time. In one case described in the article at Britannica, the facts turned out to be the deceptive actions of a fanatic who was evidently performing physical abuse on an unlucky barnyard fowl. He was writing on eggs and inserting them back into the chicken.
Prophecy is real, those who spoke it are called prophets
Don't get me wrong, here. I do believe that prophecy is real and extremely accurate when it originates with Someone who knows. There is a Book that many read that is full of prophecy that has already come true. For the prophecies in that Book that are yet to happen, there are also scoffers (2 Peter 3:3
3Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires.
), but that is a different story. Those scoffers don't believe in the Book or its Originator.
Everyone wants in on the act
In today's world, many claim to be prophets. They predict events based on their so-called studied knowledge of the meaning of events in the world. Some of these ideas are based on interpretations of the prophecy of the Bible and some are not. The end of the world in 2012 predicted by the Mayans was based of close observation of facts that were either interpreted or extrapolated incorrectly.
Bad prediction is also caused by many who do believe, but try to add "logical" events based on their understanding of the words describing predictions of future events. That's when things get ugly. This is what happened to the Adventists in 1844. The trouble with their prediction was not that they were wrong, Jesus will eventually return, but they tried to tie their understanding of timing to a particular date - something that the very Book they used said not to do.
They are trying, even today
The most prevalent modern example of a state of ecstatic mood is the prediction of a pre-Tribulation Rapture - an event described nowhere in the Bible. Learning from the experience of previous failed prophets, today's adherents to this early "being caught up" do not tie the idea to a specific date. However, they do link it to a time seven years before the second coming of Jesus. Since no human knows the hour of His coming, they don't have to establish a date.
So, they "can't" be proved wrong until the Second Coming happens
The problem is that the "prophets" of today have removed the need to interpret the signs of predicted events that must occur before Jesus' coming by making the pre-Trib Rapture happen before those events. Also, they don't have to prove anything because no one will know anything until it either happens or seven years after it doesn't. By that time, Jesus will have returned and perform the real Rapture at His second coming. This is actually pretty clever, but not Biblical. Or, as Arte Johnson used to say on Laugh-In, "Veeerry interesting, but stupid."
This is not prophecy, but manipulation of emotions by offering hope without substance, hence the reference above to "ecstatic mood". Getting people to believe in something as an alternative to facing the tribulation of the end times predicted in the Bible is deceptive. The Bible says persecution will happen, and it will happen to the real saints of God, so why try to make the words of Scripture into lies by saying that it will not happen?
One of the big questions we have been addressing is whether or not there are prophets around today. According to the Bible, they will come in the last days:
I will pour out my Spirit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
your old men will dream dreams,
your young men will see visions." (Joel 2:28)
And in the New Testament, Peter quoted Joel:
17"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams." (Acts 2:17)
But, stay awake, and verify with facts
If there are prophets today, how do we find the ones who are real? With the results of the ones we know about, not many are real prophets. A Google search for "modern day prophets" results in a lot of sites that are labeled as advertisements, and a few that are for specific denominations, but Jesus warned us not to pay attention to most of those who claim to be prophets (Matthew 24:11
11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
Contrary to popular definition, prophets do not only predict future events. They explain the true meaning of the word of God. For that to happen, they must first understand the word of God. Now, that does not keep people from following someone that they feel is a prophet. All that says of them is that they do not know the Bible well enough to discern a real prophet. A fairly good description of what defines a prophet can be seen at crosswalk.com.
A modern day prophet?
While I am still on the fence but leaning toward her side, my wife is a current fan of Jonathan Cahn, a Messianic Jewish Rabbi and author of several popular books on the meaning of certain events and mysteries in the Bible that pertain to end times. He knows the Bible very well, and is very adept at explaining the contexts of the Old Testament and how it applies to modern times. His prophecy seems to be more on the explanatory side rather than predictive of future events. However, he reveals the cyclical events of the past in a way that implies a very possible similar recurring effect on the future. He seems to be a prophet, but not the predictive kind.
The end-times "prophet" who will claim to be God...
As is quoted in the box above from Joel in the Old Testament and reported by Luke in the New, we are to expect prophets in the end times - both good and bad. Jesus told us that some would even claim to be Him (Matthew 24:4-5
4Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many."
). With so many of the churches already ignoring the fourth commandment, mixing paganism with their worship of God, and eating things that God calls junk, most of them will be deceived by the beast of Revelation 13:3
3One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast.
. Since they all think they are in God's will now, when this Antichrist comes, he will assure them that they are fully approved in their actions.
vs the real prophets - how will you know?
The real prophets of the time will be speaking the real truth of what the Bible says. And, it will be so contrary to today's "once saved always saved" church message, that these true prophets will be scorned, ridiculed, and persecuted. What is in this "blasphemous" message that will be so contrary to the teaching of today's churches? Simply the addition of that single ingredient that must be combined with faith - the law (Hebrews 4:2
2For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.
) - the extremely unpopular will of the Father (Matthew 7:21
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
). But only the ones who hear what the Spirit says to the churches, and persevere through all this (Romans 2:13
13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.
), will reign with Christ over the nations in the Millennium (Revelation 2:26-29
26To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations - 27that one 'will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery' - just as I have received authority from my Father. 28I will also give that one the morning star. 29Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
). The rest will be making excuses (Matthew 7:22
22Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?'
) after it is too late (Matthew 7:23
23And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (NKJV)
Wait and see
The only way to verify is to watch the success rate of so-called prophets. If they hit the target every time, or tell the truth about what God says, and follow that truth, then they might be prophets. Those pastors who speak the truth, but do not follow it, like John MacArthur and most of the other well-known pastors in this country, are false prophets who are leading their congregations astray. But, don't take my word for it - check them out for yourself (1 John 4:1
1Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
). If the churches today are so close to God, why would Jesus have been worried about finding any real faith when He returns (Luke 18:8
8"I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
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