False Prophets, False Prophesies, Again

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.


[1035 words]

16 Replies to “False Prophets, False Prophesies, Again”

  1. Whoever you were quoting does not understand the Richter scale. Whereas it is true that a (hyopthetical) earthquake of Richter scale 10.0 releases 10 times more energy than one of scale 9.0, it does not follow that an earthquake of Richter scale 9.7 releases 7 times more energy than an earthquake of 9.0.

    The mathematics are … (^ = “to the power of”)

    10^9.7 / 10^9.0 = 10^0.7 = 5.01

    i.e. an earthquake of 9.7 releases 5 (or 5.01…) times the energy of an earthquake 9.0.

    Yes, I know it’s a pedantic scientific point.

    Graeme Cumming

  2. Just a bit of Maths Bill: 10 ^9.7 is roughly 5.012 times 10^9. The function is exponential and not linear. I realize its barely relevant to what you are really saying and I agree with the rest. More and more I am learning I need to walk everyday with Jesus.
    Rob Merrells

  3. Very relevant and pertinent comments. I wonder if anyone has counted the number of these false predictions of the end. Not long ago there was a “prophet” who predicted a similar tsunami that would destroy Sydney and an Indonesian invasion of Australia. I’m who believes in modern prophetic gifts but we have to be pretty sceptical most of the time.

    Jon Newton

  4. There are some true prophetic voices out there and if you do your homework you can sometimes find out which are real and which are not. Catch the fire for example predicted the Victorian bush fires were going to happen due to a dream about the abortion laws. Joel Rosenberg wrote a book about a plane crash and a subsequent war with Iraq.

    I would not trust Joel Osteen with a prophetic word especially with his recent comments about homosexuality in the Huffington post. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/02/joel-osteen-pope_n_4031530.html?ref=topbar) You have to be careful and look for the real Ezechiel’s Jeremiah’s calling people to repent.

    I do believe America is due to face a judgement soon but I think we still have to wait a few years at least. There are some amazing messages out there and amazing signs but chasing them is like hunting UFO’s. Most UFO stories are unreliable but there are a few air traffic controllers, pilot etc who could be relied upon as a solid witness.

    The process of finding good ones is to keep a record of predictions and fulfillment and keep a log and to look at what they are saying outside the predictions. Read Deuteronomy 13 and 18 as a guide, except don’t deal out the punishment mentioned.

    John Mcallister

  5. False prophecies not only tell us who the false prophets are, but are a great measure of gullibility as well. We have only to remember the ridiculous tomes of one Edgar Weisenant who wrote the book “88 Reasons Why Jesus is Coming in 1988”. Gullible Christians bought this thing by the boxload. 1988 passed without the Parousia. Did Weisenant repent of his false prophecy? Nope, he went right out and wrote the sequel claiming that Jesus would return in 1989…and gullible Christians bought it by the boxload. The false prophet Harold Camping did basically the same thing making a prophecy that the world would end a few short years ago. Not long after that, he had a stroke.

    If JESUS doesn’t know when the Father will send Him, NEITHER DO WE. We sometimes see events that make us think “soon”, but the fact is we don’t know. We would do well to remember that the penalty for uttering a false prophecy is death.

    Oh, and one other thing: Someone who makes a TRUTHFUL prophecy is not necessarily a prophet of God. If a prophecy comes true, but it leads you away from God, it’s false too.

    Ed Sumner

  6. False prophets, natural disasters and wars are really a reminder to us that we are living in the last times as described in Matthew 24:4-14, and that Jesus will return.  May we pray with the Apostles Paul and John ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ (1 Corinthians 16:22 & Revelation 22:20)

    Sid Avery

  7. It is not just in terms of supposed ‘prophets’ making failed predictions regarding natural disasters that the church needs to be cautious about, but ‘prophets’ making predictions relating to supposed events in peoples lives, and their supposed health and healing that warrants special attention, and real discernment. Particularly at times when the church is endlessly caught up in fads that influence congregations, such that everyone is a potential prophet, with the ‘gift’ of prophecy handed out like candy. On all such matters the body of Christ needs to be vigilant and discerning, for such a time as this.

    Yes, there have been specific prophets anointed by God, and God does endow certain individuals with the gift of prophecy, but in times of widespread deception such as this we need to be doubly cautious. And rigorously “test” ALL the predictions these ‘prophets’ make, particularly when these supposed ‘prophets’ are influencing the broader Christian community. Let the buyer beware!

    John Heininger

  8. “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” [Revelation19:10c]. The proclamation of the Good News that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that He rose again on the the third day according to the Scriptures [1 Corinthians 15:3,4] is a far more important prophetic testimony to the world than those unfulfilled doomsday “the world is ending in x days” predictions, which usually serve only to inspire unbelief and merriment amongst worldlings. The Gospel itself is the most vital of all prophetic messages for the world since Peter’s at Pentecost announced that the last days are upon us…

    John Wigg

  9. Can we include global warmists among the group of false prophets?

    Dunstan Hartley

  10. The signs in Scripture are clear and while we don’t know the day, if we watch, we will observe the signs not be surprised when

    Indeed we know that the reign of the anti-christ is 3 and a half years and I expect from reading Scripture that Jesus will return at the end of that time. I do not believe that the anti-christ has appeared yet and so I believe the return of Jesus is at least 3 and a half years away.

    I have deep concerns about predictions that Jesus will come back before the Big Trouble. If he has let the Church go through persecution in various places for 2000 years, why would he spare the church from going through it at the end? What would be the point of Revelation if that were the case. Much of it would be a complete waste of time. Why would we need to learn in so many chapters of the book about suffering to come if the Church won’t have to go through it?

    Moreover once Jesus comes he will have a 1000 year reign on earth so the end of the world is over 1000 years away.

    In the teaching of Jesus we read in parables that it was those who had remained faithful, who kept on believing and doing what they were meant to be doing who would be ready when he returns, and that when he comes it will be too late to get ready. Acting in a panic because you think he’s coming tomorrow is not what he is looking for.

    If God said to one of us, tomorrow your days are up, how one was living before being told that would likely be a better indication of one’s faithfulness than how one lives in the remaining day after that.

    Something that probably isn’t that important is that whilst Jesus did not know the day or the hour while he was on earth he may well have been told by the Father after the ascension.

    Matt Vinay

  11. The Bible does NOT (contrary to popular belief) teach the coming of an antichrist dictator figure. Nero was 666; his name adds up to 666 in the gemetria of the time (Ksr Nrwn) and in Latin to 616 (some Bibles contain a notation to that effect, referring to Latin manuscript)

    John defines what an antichrist is and who THEY are. There were not one, but rather many and they were all Gnostic teachers who left the Church to teach lies. This is just one more reason why Christians are NOT acting as salt and light, sitting around trying to figure that which is plainly given. Get your heads out of your (Left) Behinds (chuckle) and get some truth in your mind. The term antichrist (Gr: antichristos) is used a total of 5 times in the ENTIRE New Testament.

    The 3.5 years is a reference to the siege of Jerusalem which lasted 67-70 AD, and was the tribulation which Jesus referred to. The vast majority of Christians are stuck over 2000 years in the past playing pin the tail on the antichrist, whilst Gog and Magog are surrounding the Holy City (the Church). It’s high time Christians learned the truth. Just because your pastor tells you something, or some so-called prophecy teacher wrote a book (based off false information) doesn’t make them right. STUDY FOR YOURSELVES!

    Ed Sumner

  12. Let me first state that I agree with Bill’s assessment that one incorrect prophecy means a false prophet. End of story.

    However, given the body of similar but more general warnings from various places regarding San Francisco, it does not mean that the prophecies from these other sources are not true… I for one, would take them seriously and would not live in San Fransisco henceforth.

    But I will say, if one reads the source page regarding this warning, it seemed to me that a number of people were setting themselves up for a fall, not just the writer of this piece. He erred in referring to a specific date which was added *in the comments* of the video – though he says it was not part of the prophecy, though it seems that the Oct 3 date was stated (as he found out later) to this Pastor Joel person also from the same source…


    The general feeling seems to be that the quake will happen *after* this time.

    I wonder how much the church (body of Christ) in the U.S. praying for San Fransisco. Has there risen up a prophet who has gone into ‘sisco’ with the appeal to repent before judgement? That, for me, would send more of a message than anything that Almighty God was preparing judgement.

    Garth Penglase

  13. Thanks guys

    My article was about 2 things of course: all those false prophets and prophecies out there, and all those who waste all their time setting dates instead of doing the work of the Kingdom.

    As to the prophetic in Scripture, a few things can be said: We certainly all should look forward to his coming, and we should be interested in current events and world affairs. But biblical prophecy is mostly about telling forth rather than foretelling. As to the predictive bits, much of it has already been fulfilled (after all, we have been living in the ‘last days’ or ‘end times’ now for the past 2000 years according to Scripture).

    But Christians can and do disagree on details here. I believe eschatology is ultimately a secondary doctrine, one in which there is some room to move. All Christians must agree on the primary doctrines (the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, etc). But on all things eschatological, there will be differences of opinion, and that is OK. If you prefer, say, the amil version of events to a pre-trib, pre-mil position, that is fine, and that does not make you a heretic.

    So on these sorts of debates we need to show a bit of grace here, and allow for some differences of opinion. But I deal with these matters more fully elsewhere, eg:


    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  14. Thanks Garth

    Yes we certainly should be praying for both San Francisco and America in general. As to the so-called predictive prophecies here, to say it will happen ‘sometime in the future’ is of course really to say nothing. Earthquakes happen in California all the time. So even your daily horoscope page can offer up generic predictions of a ‘big one’ hitting the West Coast one day. We all can say that much.

    So my point I think is still valid: if you make a prediction with specific dates, and it does not happen, then that was clearly a false prophecy. But if you make it much more general, then you are not really prophesying, but simply stating the obvious. So I am afraid these folks have not helped the cause of Christ much here.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: