False prophets will always be with us. In fact they are a dime a dozen. It is always easy to say such and such a thing will happen, and throw in a “the Lord told me” as well. But a key biblical test of a true prophet is whether or not what they predict in fact does really happen.
Thus if someone comes along and says the Lord told them that the world will end on Tuesday, by Wednesday you will know that you got yourself a false prophet. But this keeps happening time and time again. You would think after thousands of years of failed prophecies folks would become a bit more circumspect here.
But they keep coming up with so-called prophetic words which never in fact materialise. And even more remarkable, they will likely keep at it, and keep on fooling some of the people some of the time. It becomes almost addictive to make such predictions – especially those of gloom and doom.
We just had a clear cut example of this. Recently folks have been posting some supposed words about mega-quakes destroying America’s west coast. And the dates were quite specific: Thursday, October 3, 2013 to be exact. As one piece on this said:
“Three independent sources have recently claimed the Lord told them a large earthquake is going to hit the west coast of the United States on Thursday, October 3, 2013. Two of these sources identified the earthquake will measure 9.7 on the Richter scale. That would make it the largest earthquake in recorded history.
“Since 1900 when earthquake records began, the largest earthquake was 53 years ago, a 9.5 in Chile in 1960. That earthquake was also accompanied by a 38 foot tsunami, which caused most of the casualties. The devastating earthquake and tsunami that destroyed northeastern Japan in 2011 was a 9.0 on the Richter scale. It caused a 133 foot tsunami. A 9.7 earthquake would be seven times stronger than the one that hit Japan. There have only been five earthquakes in history measuring 9.0 or higher, so it is very rare.
“It is also rare for the Lord to give people specific dates and Richter scale measurements for these events. Usually people only see scenes from what is coming, but no dates. So to hear three independent sources all hearing the same date makes this all very unusual.
“According to these sources, the Golden Gate Bridge will be broken in half by the tsunami. The remains of the bridge will be moved into a vertical position. The San Francisco valley will be flooded with water. The following provides testimonies from each of these three sources.”
Well, it is now the morning of Oct 4 in California. Unless I missed something, there has not been a whole lot of shaking going on, and the west coast still stands. So what do we have here? It is clearly a case of false prophecy. It just did not happen, and those who said it – presumably in public fashion – need to repent in an equally public fashion.
And what about all those gullible folks who fell for this? What about those who may have quit their jobs, believing the end was nigh? What about those who left home – and even sold their homes – to head for the hills? There would be plenty of people who now have been left hanging high and dry.
However a few caveats are in order here. Can God speak prophetically to his people today, and give them real words of foreknowledge? Yes I believe so. But we must always be very careful here. It is too easy to be presumptuous here, and not learn from past mistakes.
And can God threaten a judgment, and then not perform it because the people repented? You bet – just read the book of Jonah for starters. But as far as I can tell, there was no mass repentance in California or Oregon or anywhere else in America – just business as usual.
And is America overripe for God’s just judgment? Absolutely. God could rightly strike it at any time. It would be long overdue in fact. The moral and spiritual condition of America today is abysmal. And I include the church in that as well. This is a deeply sinful and rebellious people who certainly deserve the judgment of a holy God.
But you know the problem here: it is the ol’ ‘crying wolf’ syndrome: so many false prophecies have been uttered that people become calloused and resistant to any such words. And so what happens if God does tell some of his people of real judgment coming? Why, no one will believe them then of course.
So the devil is having a field day here. The sad truth is this: there are far too many prophecy watchers out there in the Christian church. There are far too many folks who spend all their time speculating about the future, setting dates, and working on intricate prophetic calendars. They need to ease up on all this and start doing something constructive for the Kingdom.
Jesus said we should ‘occupy till he comes’. We have a job to do, and sitting around on our prophetic rear ends waiting for imminent disaster to strike is frankly a waste of time. The devil loves such folks: they are doing nothing to extend the Kingdom, win souls for Christ, and be salt and light. So he loves all the prophecy mania.
Indeed, I know of far too many of such believers: they live for the latest bad news and gloom and doom. Each and every new earthquake, war, tsunami, or whatever disaster they greet with glee, rubbing their hands together with great gusto and relish.
Not only is all this a real waste of time, but it is also a callous and unChristian response to these tragedies. Instead of smirking over each new disaster, how about doing something constructive for the Kingdom? Those who just sit around waiting for the end are not only being quite unbiblical here, but when the end does in fact come, they may find themselves on the wrong side of the divine ledger.
Something to think about anyway.