Do Nathan Leal and the growing number of internet prophets really speak for God?
“Jesus said there will come men who will speak claiming their authority is from me……..There will come men who will speak in my Name. They are going to come and say I’m speaking to you in my Name……..they will prophesy and preach. …….But when I meet them I will say ‘leave me I never knew you workers of iniquity.’ Why? Because they use His authority and His name, because the power was in Jesus’ name, or Jesus’ authority, not in them………And they’re gonna fragment and divide the Church because you won’t test them….. Well, it’s about time we test them ……..You test them by Scripture. Then if your fidelity is the Scripture, and your allegiance is the Scripture, you reject them! ……When you take your eyes off Scripture as the criterion for authority and you place it on experience and on people, and on revelations, and on messages that allegedly come from God, you are set up for deception, you’re made for it…………
Dr. Walter Martin, from his 1988 Warning To the Church……..
In some Christian circles today it seems that the only authority needed to be a prophet of God is your own desire to be one. You just proclaim yourself a prophet, start a website with a prophetic-sounding name, and begin issuing messages said to be from God. Claims are made by the modern day prophets that God favors them with prophetic ability because they are “close” to the Lord, and have cleaned up the sin in their lives. Their repentance, along with spending a great deal of time in their prayer closets, has, according to them, opened up a special conduit of communication in which God reveals the future to them, and endorses them as His special messengers. Thus, in contrast to the teaching of Paul in the New Testament on salvation, which comes through grace alone and not through works, it seems that the prophets believe their prophetic gifting comes through their works. By studious effort, and lifting themselves up by the bootstraps, they have elevated themselves to the post of God’s chosen prophet. They seem to not know, or not care, that they are speaking for God without the authority to do so.
Thus the term “self-appointed prophet” is actually very accurate, since the prophet confers the office of prophecy upon himself. I am not aware of any particular hierarchy in the prophetic office, as there is, for example, in the office of apostleship, with the hierarchical structure of the New Apostolic Reformation. There does, however, seem to be a process of committeeship in evaluation of one another’s prophetic utterances, as we shall see later on.
Many Christian Prophetic websites have long been practicing a form of deception that would make even carnival barkers feel self-conscious. The deck is stacked so much in favor of the “prophet”, it has become a situation where he can’t lose, and has everything to gain by releasing as many prophecies as he likes. When you accept no accountability for failed prophecies, which none of them ever do, then it becomes like a game of cards where your money is refunded on all losing hands, but you get to keep the pot when you show a winning hand. In a poker game no one would ever get away with bending the rules in their favor like this, of course, but in the bizarre world of prophecy on the internet, so many people seem to have no problem with it. These people are given free pass after free pass to keep issuing prophecies, no matter how dismal their batting average is.
These people know all about the law of averages. They know if they shoot enough darts at the prophetic dartboard, its just a matter of time until some of them land in the general vicinity of the bullseye. Then they can shout “look over here, folks, God told me that would happen, and it happened!” Anyone who says, “yes, but what about the four dozen prophecies you made that didn’t come close?” is quickly shouted down, and accused of “quelling the spirit” and “attacking a great man of God.”
Its time for Christians everywhere to stop putting the dreams and visions of men in front of God’s word on the stage of truth. We will all be judged one day, and we will not be judged by whether we governed our lives according to the prophetic warnings of the tiresome prophets of doom flourishing on the internet these days. We will be put to one simple test: how well did we do the will of the Father in heaven?
I have decided to have a close up look at an internet prophet named Nathan Leal of the Watchman’s Cry ministry, as a case in point. I find he is fast becoming one of the most adept at understanding the new rules of the prophecy game in today’s world. He has quickly become the prophet of choice for many on the internet today, rising to near celebrity status with his messages he delivers to his followers after having dreams or visions, which he states are sent to him from God. His prophetic star is certainly on the rise, as he also recently secured his own radio show with a permanent time slot on a very popular survivalist radio network. Everywhere you look on Christian internet forums, his name pops up and is generally greeted with much fawning and admiration. Anyone who dares venture on one of these forums to comment that a certain message he delivered does not seem to be from God is shouted down by a mob of fanactical devotees, and thoroughly ridiculed. I know, because I have tested the waters in Christian forums, and it is incredible how strident and unswerving in dedication his followers are.
Let’s start by having a look at what kind of prophetic utterances have been issued in previous years by this ministry, and from this we can build a kind of yardstick to use to measure whether this is truly Godly information emerging from this website, or if these are merely the visions and dreams of a man with ambition. We will then examine his most recent prophecy, and some interesting aspects of this latest “message from God.”
Prophetic Dream/Vision Revelation number 1 (Floods In South Florida, 2008):
June 23, 2008, the Watchman issued a prophetic dream in which he saw flooding coming to the southern part of the state of Florida. Here are excerpts from his dream:
In my dream I saw the state of Florida appear suddenly in front of me. Suddenly, the shape of Florida dropped straight down into a bucket of water that was below it. The bucket was full of water so the bottom of Florida was under water.
Now, if this dream means that Florida will suffer a storm, it looks like the flooding will be in the southern part of the state. So Southern Florida, be warned. The Northern parts will receive an amount of water also, but not as bad as the south. *(1)
On August 20, 2008, the Watchman posted an update on his website claiming that the prophetic dream had been fulfilled by the passing of tropical storm Fay. Other than the obvious questions that arise from this claim, i.e., that prophesying a storm to occur in Florida during hurricane season hardly requires divine revelation, all news reports related that the storm spent most of its time in central and northern counties of the state. Brevard, Duval, and Volusia were among the hardest hit counties, along with other northern regions along the Panhandle. In the vision he claimed he got from God, he said he clearly saw the bottom part of Florida under water.
Prophetic dream/vision/revelation number 2: Houston Neighborhood Devastated and Covered in Black Soot, (June 3, 2008):
In this dream* (2), Mr. Leal found himself driving through a part of Houston which had been leveled and completely destroyed. Covering everything was a layer of black soot, and the streets were covered with a deep layer of mud one to two feet deep created from the black soot.
On September 30, 2008, he posted an article called “Was Hurricane Ike the Fulfillment of My Houston Dream?” Showing some photos of small parts of Houston near the waterfront that had sustained heavy wind and water damage, he mused that although he could not be certain, it could be that this was what he had seen in his dream.
The black soot and deep sooty mud in his dream would indicate to most people I think that something in line with a fire or explosion had occurred. You cannot have soot without fire. There would have to be a tremendous amount of heat and fire to create the amount of soot seen in the dream. To use a hurricane to fill in the blanks of his prophetic dream about dark soot in this case seems to be quite a stretch.
Prophetic dream/vision/revelation number 3 (Gulf Oil Spill, 2010):
The watchman of Watchman’s Cry had this to say last spring at the darkest moment of the Gulf crisis when it looked like there would be no end to the oil spill:
from article by Nathan Leal June 8, 2010
What we are now witnessing is the judgment of God upon America and upon the earth. When I say, “The Judgment of God” I am not referring to an afternoon thunderstorm that is over in a few hours. This judgment will include the very foundations of the earth quaking and trembling. It is going to play out through a sequence of events. These events are going to strike a death blow to the economy and food supply of America. We are going to witness famine, bread lines and soup kitchens! We are also going to witness a breakdown in society! Think Katrina times 100!! The peaceful towns of America are going to erupt into chaos as these things play out.
Here are some other random comments he made in his message about the Gulf Oil Spill given on May 27, 2010; *(3)
Folks this story is huge. It is gargantuan and I really don’t think most people understand the magnitude of it. How can I be so sure? Because I have been doing some seeking. And the Holy Spirit has made it very clear that what is happening in the Gulf of Mexico is going to have very grave and serious consequences for millions of people. This oil event is going to impact the lives of very many people for years.
I know that this oil event is going to shatter historical records. Your life may depend on what you hear on this program. This event in the Gulf of Mexico is going to be a huge event in history. Again my friends, please make no mistake, the judgment of God is here. This thing is going to be mighty. It is going to be harsh. It is going to sting this country. I say this in deep deep grief. I don’t say it in enjoyment. I don’t say it in celebration, I say it in deep sorrow folks. Because if people really really knew the severity of this thing, they would be on their faces right now. Famine is going to reach the shores of America.
When I was preparing for this message, I said “God, what is going on?” God said “judgment”. And I said “God, give me a word about it”. And God said “I already did”. And he did two years ago folks. That’s a true story. And I said “when God when did you give it?” He said, “go look, look for the word famine and, look for the word shores” I had forgotten about those words, so I went to my computer and looked up this prophecy. I couldn’t believe what I saw folks.”Famine will reach the shores of America”. I actually forgot about these words. I said “God, is this really happening?”And the Holy Spirit said, “it is arriving”. And I was praying to God, “God, how bad is this going to be? Can you have mercy and stop it please?” And His answer to me, folks, was “This event is going to play out, and this judgment is going to be very very harsh. And I said “Harsh? Why harsh, God?” And His answer was, “this is going to sting America.”
Here he is calling the Gulf Oil Spill the fulfillment of a prophecy he made 2 years earlier, when God told him that famine was coming to the shores of America. The Gulf Spill, according to Leal, was the instrument God was now using to set off a wave of famine across America., spoken about earlier. He confirms that it was God’s judgment by actually quoting word-for-word a conversation he claims he had with God, with God reminding him of a word He gave about the future oil spill back in 2008, and that the oil spill judgment was going to “play out” with famine, and be very, very, harsh.
Now this is an example of a prophecy that went so horribly askew, that one would think it would have been enough to elicit at least an apology. When he went so far as to say that our lives could depend on what he had to say in that MP3 broadcast, many people posting on the various Christian forums began passing the word to friends and acquaintances that a serious threat to all our lives existed. When someone announces that our lives are in danger because of a certain threat, and subsequently that threat turns out to be either not life-threatening or nonexistent, isn’t that a bit like yelling “fire” in a crowded theater?
Prophetic dream/vision/revelation number 4: (The Swine Flu Epidemic Prophecy, May 1, 2009)
In a broadcast on May 1, 2009, Nathan Leal issued what he called a message of great urgency. He explained that God had told Him to warn the people that they were about to receive the judgment of pestilence. God would send a great epidemic of swine flu upon the land for its transgressions. He claimed this was a part of the fourfold judgments mentioned in the Bible.
In a lengthy sermon he delivered on May 1, 2009 *(4), the watchman spoke about depopulation of the world as the agenda for the New World Order, and that the swine flu was one of the instruments of this agenda to wipe out hundreds of millions of people. He said that although it would be carried out by people, God was behind it in as much as He was allowing it as part of His fourfold judgment upon the land.
As we know now, this epidemic never gained any momentum at all. According to Wikipedia, the swine flu pandemic began to taper off in November 2009. In an article written in the Journal of the American Medical Association in September 2010, it was stated that”the 2009 H1N1 (swine) flu was no more severe than the seasonal flu.” The report went on to state: “children infected in the 2009 swine flu pandemic were no more likely to be hospitalized with complications or get pneumonia than those who catch seasonal strains.”
Does this sound like any of the judgments we read about in the Bible? We have to decide: was the prophet right in saying that God told him the swine flu was His judgment, or was the prophet in error, because he is mistaken about having the prophetic gifting? Would God send a weak strain of mild flu-like symptoms, that completely dies out in a few months, as one of the great, fourfold judgments spoken of in the Bible?
Prophetic dream/vision/revelation number 5: “War” With Iran: June 5, 2008
This dream was short but very vivid.
I had this dream in June of 2007 In my dream, I was watching CNN News on my TV . The female newsperson was making an announcement about Iran. She said, ” Well folks today is the 21st and Iran has just reached their deadline and they have not complied. Therefore, the U.S. is now going to take “it” to the next level.”
I don’t know what “IT” meant, but by the tone of the news anchor, it sounded serious! “For we only know in part and prophesy in part.” Nathan Leal June 5, 2008 *(5)
Well, we should all write this down in our journals. “It” is going to happen. Does this sound like a prophecy God would pass on to His appointed messenger? Later on, in August of 2010, Leal mused that perhaps a story about Iran loading fuel at its Bushehr nuclear reactor was the fulfillment of this prophecy. Is he not reading his own prophecy? It said the U.S. would take “it” to the next level. Even if he had the country right, which he didn’t, could a prophecy be any more vague than this?
The Latest Prophetic Dream/Vision Revelation: Nuclear Attack On Hawaii and Missile Attack On Spokane (August 4, 2011)
“America’s New Pearl Harbor”*(6) is the title of watchman Leal’s latest excursion into prophetic release, and one of the most interesting for a number of reasons.
Here we have Mr. Leal relating that he found himself hovering in the air above the big island of Hawaii. He saw a missle leaving a vapor trail streak by and explode directly over the city of Honolulu. The explosion flash of white heat covered the islands of Hawaii and Maui. He saw the number 1,100,000 in glowing yellow/orange over the explosion. He said this number represented the number of people who would be killed. Suddenly he was transported to a new location, again hovering in the air, this time over the state of Washington. He saw a missle dropping directly on the city of Spokane. He saw a cloud that was orange / gray in color, rising to about 50,000 feet, but the buildings remained intact.
A few aspects of this message warrant looking at. First, he initially announced some of the details one week earlier, and said he could not say everthing that had been revealed to him prophetically. He said he sought counsel from friends as to whether or not to release the entire message. Aren’t all prophecies by their very nature commanded by God to be released? Or are some prophetic words just intended for the edification of the prophets themselves, and not intended for public release? The friends apparently advised him to release everything he had seen, or else blood might be on his hands for failure to give the full details. In response to his friends’ advice, the next week Mr. Leal recorded a hour-long audio detailing what he has seen prophetically. He also made up a written version in the form of an article, and put both audio and written transcript up on his website.
Now I just don’t know of any Biblical precedent for God to release prophetic information in such a way that it would not be immediately clear what to do with the information. I simply cannot stretch my imagination enough to get my head around the idea that revelation from God would come with so much uncertainty that a committee would need to be formed to get input and advice as to how to deal with it. Is there some kind of prophets association, where you get certification to judge other people’s prophecies, and the decision of the committee is final and binding on God? It seems that according to this new breed of internet seers, the prophecies of the Almighty God now have to pass through the filter of a human panel discussion before being released.
This reminds me of a failed prophecy by a friend of his in the prophetic circles last year, where Mr. Leal participated in a panel discussion after the prophecy had failed, and evaluated the prophecy. The concensus opinion, including that of Mr. Leal, was that the prophet had truly been hearing from the Holy Spirit! God’s word is pretty clear that we are not to judge any word through the lense of other people. We are to judge through Scripture alone. It is troubling how anyone who professes to be a Christian can not see the error of placing human opinion on the same level or even a higher level of truth as they place Scripture.
Another troubling aspect of this is that he has said that he does not have a date for the prophecy. Of course there is Biblical precedent for not having a date, but at the same time it leaves the prophet in a comfortable position where he can never be proven wrong. A handy “heads I win, tails you lose” position. Stacking the deck, if you will. Details are always hazy. Generalizations are used, without specifics. It seems prophets, too, learn from their mistakes.
But the most telling thing about this prophetic word will now play out as we watch to see if Mr. Leal moves himself and his family out of his home town of Priest River, Idaho. This location is about an hour’s drive from Spokane, certainly by no means a safe distance from a city that will be hit by a missile and experience an orange-grey cloud rising to 50,000 feet in the air. Does the prophet believe in his own prophecy? As of the time of this writing, I have not heard of any plans on his part to relocate to a safer part of the country, but you would think any real faith that it was God speaking to him would have him hastily moving eastward. I think it will speak volumes about his ministry if he doesn’t himself personally heed the warning God supposedly gave him to pass on to the rest of us.
Summarizing the State of Prophecy in 2011:
In this ministry we see in full bloom the maturing of the false prophetic style in the 21st century. Lots of publicity, lots of haughtiness, lots of bravado, but so little in terms of fulfillment. Fulfillment is claimed on things so general in nature that it becomes no more than a word game.
Dates and also specifics, sometimes such things as the exact nature of each event, are omitted. They are vague, saying God’s message to them is shadowy and incomplete. They plead that verse which is often misunderstood and misapplied, 1Corin. 13:9 “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” This verse is twisted and presented to mean that God is not clear when He reveals prophetic revelation to His prophets. It is used to imply that true prophecy is received from God much like in the old movies where you see the fortune teller looking through a hazy, smoky, crystal ball, trying to make out vague shapes and symbols. Nothing could be further from the truth, and nothing could be further from God’s word. Many prophets today think their job is to try to read the mind of God and interpret what they see. Reading minds is divination, which is forbidden by God. Prophecy is not an exercise in developing extrasensory perception. No human could ever succeed in attempting to read God’s mind. His ways are not our ways.
In Scripture, we know that the Lord is always clear and unambiguous, with never any hint of confusion. It is a device of the false prophets to claim that they don’t get specifics because God holds back the information to be mysterious. Either a prophet is getting his information from God, in which case it would be full and complete, or it is his own teaching, or information that comes from the desires of his own heart. “I am handicapped by limited prophetic information”, declares Mr. Leal. * (7)
Just listen to a brief excerpt from a vision he had:
……an event of catastrophic proportions is approaching. I believe that this event will occur in America. I do not know if this will be a terrorist attack or through war. I also do not know if it will be caused by something else like natural forces or an accident! ……..many people will die when it occurs! *(8)
If there are any true prophets in the world today, God’s word itself gives us the assurance that they would not play guessing games, rather they would be extremely clear, leaving no room for doubt as to what God was revealing. In Acts 9:10 Ananias gets a vision from God that tells him exactly what house to go to, on exactly which street, and the name and condition of the person who would be there. When we see the kind of generalizations used by today’s prophets we can know immediately they are not getting their information from God. They are false workers, and do not have the Gift of Knowledge in them.
Mr. Leal has now announced that he plans to have a place on his website where people can email their own prophetic dreams and visions to him for posting on the site. This kind of thing has already been taking place for some time now in the forum attached to his website. There is no discernment here at all. The same guy who says he himself is handicapped in receiving prophetic information is now opening the doors to any of his listeners to send prophecies in. Its a prophetic free-for-all. Everyone gets in on the act. They pay no attention to the third commandment that says we are never to take the name of the Lord in vain. This commandment is not about cussing or swearing, as some think. It is an admonishment to never speak falsely in His name. Much of the book of Jeremiah speaks about the danger of misquoting God. Jesus spoke about it as well, saying many will claim to speak with His authority, and speak lies. Paul spoke often about how many would come to falsely speak in the Lord’s name, leading many astray.
A major problem with Nathan Leal, and his ministry, is that nothing he ever extrapolates and magnifies from the headlines ever goes on to be a judgment from God like he claims. Everything just fizzles out, and he promptly just dusts himself off, and moves on to the next scare. What happened to the comet Elenin story? You know, the “Endtime Destroyer” as he called it in his interview with Augusto Perez? He dropped that one like a hot potato after one broadcast, mentioning it only briefly on several occasions since then. That one had a date on it, (Sept. 29, 2011) and having a date on something makes him edgy.
You can already see the writing on the wall: nothing released in the future is likely to come with a date. Why take a chance at slipping up when you can keep your prophecies open-ended and risk-free? I found this one lone Leal prophecy, from November 29, 2009, that actually had a date on it, and notice how carefully it is worded:
I also need to be very clear; my prophetic dream did not say that in Mid-August of 2010 the dollar would collapse. What it did say, was that in Mid-August of 2010, the wheels would be put into motion to begin abandoning the dollar. After that, everything was going to change!
This week, and I say that with tongue in cheek, because it literally changes from week to week, the big scare is from a pending EMP attack. This stands for Electro Magnetic Pulse, which when triggered would disable all electronic devices in the entire country. Mr. Leal has been hastily researching EMP events and their devestating effects, since he believes his recent prophetic vision of a missile dropping on Spokane was possibly part of an EMP attack. With his scenario of an EMP explosion, 70 to 90 per cent of the population of America would die within the first year.
In the three years or so this ministry has been up and running, the pattern has been almost hypnotic in its repetition: reading a story from the news headlines, and saying this story is the “big one” that’s going to be monumental and change the entire playing field. And the reason we need to educate ourselves on all these various doomsday scenarios is that, according to Mr. Leal, “people need to be prepared.” What kind of preparation does he recommend?
“Take the time to educate yourself on preserving your wealth……Hedge the value of your money now, by converting it to gold or silver bullion or other currency.”
How does one physically prepare for the kind of doom that he talks about? Build bomb shelters? Is stocking up on dried food, buying gold, or planting vegetable gardens going to save us from an event that will kill 90 per cent of the population? What will our gold buy if this is in our future? Where do we find physical shelter that will do us any good if any of these headlines really do represent the judgment of God? Only a foolish man would think that people can outrun, outrace, or outsmart a judgment from God. But he hammers it into his listeners heads that we need to listen to this drumbeat of terror because we need the information he dispenses to be prepared and ready to react.
In true survivalist fashion, he wants to direct our energies inward to ourselves. Our resourcefulness, our ingenuity, and our keeping ourselves informed on news events are what he believes are going to make the difference between surviving the next disaster or becoming its victim. What does the Bible have to say about our survival? It tells us that nothing short of placing our trust entirely in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ will have any lasting effect.
As a Christian you might be tempted to say “the man is merely calling out to those who will listen the need for repentance!” The underlying premise of all the doom and gloom prophets is the staunch belief they have that God is using them to warn of impending disaster and thus bring as many souls as possible to repentance to avoid having the terrible event come crashing down upon them. Does not the word of God itself deal with the need for repentance, and tell us the kind of repentance we should have??
Is the needed repentance the kind where we repent because we want to be spared from suffering the effects of the next disaster, as the watchman says? Or does true repentance look more like this: we humbly repent because we are truly sorry for having offended the Lord, and submit fully to His will, whether the storm hits us head on and destroys everything we have, or passes by harmlessly? When fear is our motivation for doing something, our hearts are tainted by that emotion. We cannot give freely and purely when our motivation is fear-based. When we offer our repentance to the Lord, it should not be because we are trying to strike a deal with God to be spared from suffering in this world. It must be a pure, unconditional offering to the Lord, whatever the physical outcome or the cost in material terms. We say “I am yours, Lord. Do with me as you will. Whatever the outcome, I will still place my trust entirely in you.”
Do ministries that simply preach the gospel and minister to the spiritually broken, somehow fall short of inspiring repentance because they don’t load up on and inject enough fear into the equation? Is it a given that increasing the amount of fear in the hearts of Christians today will result in an equal increase in the amount of true repentance? We have to look at this for what it implies. The implication is that any ministry that does not incite fear and trepidation in its flock is falling short of its purpose, and failing God in the performance of its duties. This is entirely untrue.
Somehow I can’t help but feel that if every Christian in America today got together and decided to reject fear completely, turn off the doomsday broadcasts, and put their entire trust in the Lord Almighty, this man would be disappointed instead of rejoicing. He would claim that we are all blissfully ignorant, blind to the great dangers that face us all.
Ministries like this are a one-trick act. With Nathan Leal, the only trick he’s got is fear. There’s nothing else in his arsenal. Take away the fear, and this ministry would implode upon itself. Its actually quite sad, because maybe his intentions are good. Maybe somewhere early on in his walk he actually wanted to do God’s will. But this certainly isn’t it. How do I know? Because being obsessed with fear, and passing that obsession on to thousands of Christians in the church is not God’s will for anyone’s life.
We need to understand that we as Christians have to be aware and be able to discern when people are speaking without the proper authority. Discernment is key to navigating in troubled waters. In John 7:18 we read:
The one who speaks on his own authority seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and in him there is no falsehood.
Vague generalizations, inaccuracies, wording or phrasing that deliberately opens a statement up to a wide range of interpretations, visions and dreams that are said to be from God that do not become fulfilled in every detail, are all falsehoods. We should have nothing to do with them because they are not of God. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, and all prophecies that are truly from Him have clarity and are without ambiguity.
To Nathan Leal and all the doomsday ministries out there, I have but one message: Yes, we understand that we live in troublesome and precarious times. We get that, in spite of your belief that most of us are unaware and ignorant. The peril of our times underscores the reason why people need to turn to the Scriptures more than ever these days. People need the solid rock of God’s word to cling to in times like this, not the shifting sands of dream interpretation or forming committees to decipher your visions. There will be a great accounting one day for all those who speak without the authority to do so.
All blessings in Christ,
(3) Message 152 WC archives
(4) Message #130 Watchmans Cry archives
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