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
****Any copyrighted material contained here is used under the “Fair Use of Copyrighted Material” laws, for the purpose of review and criticism.
Tsimitpo – everything you say about Nathan Leal would be perfectly appropriate IF he was not a self-appointed Christian minister. In the secular world, I have no quarrel with secular people warning of pending doom. The problem arises when a Christian minister makes warnings of tragedy and upheaval and disaster into his own form of gospel.
Read the recent comment posted by Steven on the article about the Cambridge Declaration. He is right on the money when he states that when all this stuff about warnings is made the focal point of a Christian ministry, it becomes a replacement for the gospel. There is only one gospel – the one that Jesus taught. There is not a gospel of doom, a gospel of government conspiracy, a gospel of prophetic dreams, a gospel of impending evil coming upon the land. None of this is the gospel. Steve Quayle invented the “warning and preparedness” gospel long ago when Nathan was still a young man. Nathan Leal has always been a Steve Quayle wannabe.
If Nathan is a real Christian minister, which he makes clear claims to be, where is the gospel of Jesus Christ in all of these warnings? Where is the true gospel in anything Nathan Leal does or says? Warnings about specific events which may or may not happen in the future in the fallen world are not gospel. In fact Jesus taught that each day had sufficient troubles of its own without worrying about what tomorrow holds. If the government has evil leaders, then so be it. God’s sovereign will put our leaders into power, so I’m pretty sure he knows what he’s doing. God doesn’t need our help, or Nathan’s help, to make sure everything stays on track according to his plans.
We know that the world is on a pathway to destruction. We know this because its in the Bible, tsimitpo, not because a Christian minister puts out an internet broadcast and says something like this:
I can tell you honestly from the bottom of my heart, tsimitpo, that NOTHING is more important than the gospel. NOTHING. Evil and false Christian leaders convince their followers that things of this world are the truly important things. It is our commission to bring the gospel to all nations of the world, not physical warnings about presumed future developments in the secular world. It is the Lord Jesus Christ who said this, not me. Obedience to the Great Commission is what true preparation is all about, not preparing for all the physical problems we know are coming. Who cares about the temporal sufferings of this finite existence? The incredible eternal rewards of keeping focused on God constantly throughout our lives will one day become clear to us, and we will wonder how we could have been so selfish as to let our own self interests about our physical well-being take us away from God’s truth. Keep your eyes on God. Don’t let Nathan or anyone else take your focus off of God, and onto things of this finite world that are of no eternal consequence.
I am truly sorry for people like you who get caught up in false ministries like Watchmans Cry. I know how it can happen, because it happened to me for a brief time when I started listening to the doomers. Every day I pray that people will break free from this false teaching that tells us the gospel is whatever we get a “gut feeling” about, and that God really wants us all to focus on the doomsday stuff. God left us with his word specifically because he knew the evil in men’s hearts would inevitably lead them to preach false gospels and look to themselves and their “feelings” and “sensationalism” and “conspiracy theories” for their revelation. This is the golden calf of the present-day internet brand of Christianity. God is never pleased when people build a golden calf, and the outcome of doing so is always destruction, weeping, and the gnashing of teeth..
I know you are a serious seeker of truth, and I pray that you and others trapped by ministries like this can break free one day, and come to know the truth that is contained only in the revelation God left us with, and can never be found in a man’s dream, no matter how Godly and contrite and well-meaning that man can seem to be on the surface.
All blessings in Christ
JD, I appreciate the well-placed passion in this last reply. It reassures me that you have the right intentions in being “judgmental” about such matters and that your motivation is to truly exhort others to focus only on the true and only door, Jesus Christ.
I wish to caution you on how you express some of your assumptions, as the matter has caused some dissension between us where it didn’t need to be. It’s a big mistake to assume and represent my position as though I was “caught up” in the gospel of doom and gloom. I am aware of it and its dangers, and I defend the right of a minister of the gospel to use it – but only as far as it draws more people to Christ. When it serves as a distraction from Christ in the form of “worrying” about what the future may bring, one only needs to turn to scripture and to the role of the Holy Spirit to know and understand that God does not give us a spirit of fear (2 Tim 1:7) but one of power, and love and of a sound mind.
I share your concern that some “ministries” seem to cater to the natural temptation to want to know the future – which God warns us against – but when it’s given to exhort the brethren to NOT rely on carnal security but to rely on God and what God provides for them to share with others, I’m not going to stand in the way.
I trust that we’re looking to the same source of truth – God’s (original) word – I just think we have a different way of seeing and characterizing all the things that are working together to fulfill His plan. God will separate the tares from the wheat when He is ready to do so, and we may be surprised to see that some of what we believed to be tares will stand and some of what we believed to be wheat will be burned.
I guess it comes down to the difference that I believe we don’t need to spend a lot of our time pointing out the “tares” to everyone who’ll listen, while you feel it’s of great importance. I believe once the Holy Spirit has a hold on our lives we will be able to withstand the grandest of otherwise potential illusions while it seems you depend a lot on intellectual prowess and “discernment”. I don’t think either of us are “wrong”. In any case, our desire is that people are drawn to Christ – the ONLY way to the Father – and not to what any one of us mortals believes or has to say.
Thanks for your observations, tsimitpo.
About pointing out the tares, I see now the source of some of our disagreements in the past. You think I am judging the people, and pointing out what they say as if to tell my audience: “that man is evil, and he’s going to hell for his evil.” I don’t take that approach with my discernment ministry. I don’t point out tares. What I do is say: “that man is saying he is a Christian minister, but he preaches not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Beware of looking to that man for spiritual guidance lest he lead you on a path away from God’s word. For true spiritual guidance can only come from preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
You see one of the many differences between us is our takes on the importance and inerrancy and relevance of scripture and its place in our Christian lives. I look at scripture very differently than you. I believe that the Bible is the SUM TOTAL of all revelation God requires us to know, and that any utterance from God today would be in the direct context of scripture, or lets say, in direct relationship with scripture. I don’t believe there is revelation today that stands on its own feet without a DIRECT, not INDIRECT, coupling with what God has already spoken to us in his word. This is what the great reformers spoke about in the 1600’s when the doctrine of sola scriptura was written into the Westminster and London Baptist Confessions.
I am talking about revelation to the Church, understand. I am not ruling out that God can warn me or my family to look out for a coming personal tragedy. He can and frequently does bring his guiding hand into our personal lives. I refer instead to revelation that God has for all his children collectively to guide us safely home to our eternal rest. But the false teachers carry their erroneous ideas about modern-day revelation way out of its intended context by assuming that they can stand in a pulpit (or behind an internet microphone) and give out new revelation from God to the body or congregation of God’s elect. God has already spoken to us, through the Son. (Hebrews 1:1) He has no new revelation to tell his elect. Its all already in the Bible, and the Canon is closed until the end of time. Its an individual choice we all make as Christians how much attention we want to focus on God’s word, and how much attention we want to focus on a human being who says he is passing on information from God.
There is an eternal reason behind everything God does. He left us with scripture for very important reasons, not just to be a book “of some interest” to us. Imagine if we didn’t have scripture. How would we know if its Rick Wiles, or Nathan Leal, or Steve Quayle who is REALLY hearing from God? There would be chaos. The minister who would end up with the biggest congregation would be the one with the biggest ego. (Sadly, much like we see today with the internet ministries.) God knew this all along. He knows the wickedness of the human heart, and that without the bedrock of scripture to ground us in truth everyone and his brother would claim to be getting the straight scoop direct from the Almighty One. That’s why from the beginning of time God decreed there would be only ONE source of truth, his word.
Our Commission is clear, and its not to give out warnings based on news headlines. If Christian ministers are not commissioned by God to do this, why do they do it? How much time do you spend each week in telling others about the gospel of Jesus Christ, or in just reading or learning about the gospel? Write down your honest answer to this on a sheet of paper. Now honestly write down on the same sheet of paper how much time you spend each week listening to and reading about warnings that are based on news headlines and that “might be”, or “supposedly are”, or “could be” from God. Compare the numbers you come up with.
The “maybe” time greatly overshadows the “sure thing’ time spent with the gospel, doesn’t it? I have just graphically presented you with the reason I have a discernment ministry and why I am so passionate about it. If every Christian stopped listening to the “dream ministers”, or they somehow went out of business, do you think God’s Kingdom would be expanded or lessened? I think the answer to that question is obvious. The amount of man-hours spent devouring the nuggets of God’s wisdom contained in the Bible would soar geometrically overnight. Only those people with a blatant disregard for scripture would suggest that this would not be a great boost for the spreading of the gospel.
You state about the danger of wanting to know the future:
If we tune into a watchman’s broadcast to hear a dream related that the dreamer assures us is from God Almighty, and we then proceed to govern our Christian lives, in even the slightest way, in accordance to what was revealed in the dream, we are relying on carnal security and we are not relying only on God. There is a direct and clear contradiction in what you said. God never told us that he will guide us and protect us, but only if we turn to the right people for our truth. If we slip up and believe the wrong people, because they are clever and convincing, then what? That would seem to me to be a very fickle God who would force us to seek out human sources of truth and leave us vulnerable to all kinds of wicked teachings which we both clearly know are in abundance out in the world. Understand that I don’t mean this about you in particular, but it is directed to all the followers of Watchmans Cry, Rick Wiles, Steve Quayle, etc., etc.
I can, and do, place my entire security on God, and I rest assured that I will still retain the same level of security even if I never use the internet again, and never listen to another man’s dreams ever again in my life. This is what SOLA SCRIPTURA is all about. Not needing any man, but resting firmly on the solid ground of God’s word, sufficient for all of what future tests will come my way.
As to the point you make about exhortation, the future is not given to any man to exhort the brethren. That is unbiblical. Only the gospel is the foundation for any kind of exhortation of the brethren. You cannot have a dream, and then say “I will exhort my fellow brethren with what was contained in my dream.” If a preacher or teacher tells you he is getting dreams from God for the purpose of exhorting the brethren, then he can be ruled a false teacher immediately. Why? Because, as we both have agreed, (at least I think we have) that there is no standard of authenticating whether a certain person’s dream is from God or not. Exhorting the brethren with outright falsehood, or even just a regular human dream that was mistakenly thought by the dreamer to be from God, is totally apostate, heretical, and damaging to the elect of God. In fact the Antichrist is portrayed in the Bible as someone who exhorts the brethren with falsehood. How then can a person’s dreams be the foundation of exhortation to the brethren?
At this point I will venture into extrapolating my thoughts about your views. This has been a great bone of contention for you in our discussion, as you feel I misrespresent your views, so I will venture carefully. You state the following:
If the Holy Spirit truly has a hold on our lives, we would clearly recognize the biblical warnings against accepting as divine guidance in any way, shape, or form, the dreams of a man. That would include you, tsimitpo. You cannot say I am misquoting you here because all you need to do is look at the comments you have made so far and its clear you are taking an accepting stance of the spiritual appropriateness of human dreams being a source of revelation from God for his elect in the church today.
With the true power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we would also easily recognize that when a Christian minister can routinely present a gospel, whether its a gloom and doom gospel or something else, for one hour or more straight, on a weekly or semi-weekly basis, and consistently not quote a single verse of scripture, it is a false gospel being preached. I strongly suggest to you that virtually all the doom ministers do this. If they mention a verse of scripture at all, it is usually just tacked on at the end during the sign-off segment of the broadcast, having no integral role in the message itself. The odd time they actually discuss a bible passage in depth, it is usually in a misguided attempt to make it seem indisputable and beyond reasonable doubt that the passage is referring to the United States of America. Do you want me to make a list of all of the sermons of Nathan Leal where he mentions not a single verse of scripture, or only mentions scripture in the context of American politics? I would be happy to do that for you. (And please, lets not quibble about the term “sermons” and argue that they are just “messages” or “dialogues.” Any time a Christian minister addresses his congregation it is a “sermon.”)
Seriously, tsimitpo, I would really like to hear your position on how it is that a sincere, Christ-centered minister of the Christian faith, totally dedicated to the spread of the gospel for the furtherance of the Kingdom of God, could routinely show this kind of disregard for God’s written word? Or would you attempt to mount a view that the Wiles-Leal-Quayle types actually do show great regard and respect for scripture? I hope not, as that would make it as easy as shooting fish in a barrel for me to quickly dismantle that position.
My Christian walk is not so much about intellectual prowess, as you relate it to, but it is indeed all about discernment. (Notice how I don’t get all hot under the collar by your misrepresentation of my position and assumption that it is based on being “intellectual”?)
The Holy Spirit inspires us to exercise discernment, and I would suggest that it is for a very important reason that the Holy Spirit does this. The Bible clearly spells out how important having this discernment is, and provides the guidelines to us in how to use it. Discernment is far from being the type of merely intellectual exercise that can be just shrugged off as if it was just an unneeded accessory item in our Christian walk, as I suggest to you that you are implying through your words. One reason I am drawing this conclusion is that you put the word discernment in quotation marks. That is a punctuation mark usually indicating a written equivalent of “rolling ones eyes in derision”, is it not? The power of the Holy Spirit in one’s life, and having discernment, are mutually inclusive things. It is impossible to be truly Spirit-filled in our Christian walk and relegate discernment to second-tier status.
In your comments you state:
Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can lead one to Christ. The ‘gloom and doom” of internet ministers is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. Nathan Leal doesn’t even claim that it is the gospel of Jesus Christ he is preaching – he claims it is new extra-biblical revelation which he is receiving from God today which he is passing on to his listeners. He claims to get his new revelation when he goes into his prayer closet and “seeks the Lord for his word.” You must be very new to Watchmans Cry if you’ve never heard him say that.
Since you are certain you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you must know that no alternate gospel other than the gospel of Jesus Christ contained in the scriptures can lead one to Christ. No amount of information about Barack Obama or the New World Order will ever result in anyone coming to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is refuting the entire New Testament to claim there is a way that one can be drawn to the saving grace of Jesus Christ by a man issuing warnings of possible future developments in the physical world.
Is all this worldy information they dispense in their broadcasts leading their thousands of followers to spend more time with the gospel? You can claim that it does, but I sincerely doubt it. I sincerely believe it has the opposite effect. I think if you honestly did that self assessment quiz I gave you a few paragraphs back, you would see the numbers don’t lie – listening to doom seriously erodes time spent in the scriptures. I know about many Christians who used to spend a lot of time reading their Bibles in the “old days” before the internet, but now spend all their spare time listening to shows like Wiles, Hagmann, Leal, Quayle. etc.
Since you have been quite free with your suggestions on corrections you think I should make in my life, let me offer you this suggestion: You need to really start looking at some of these big discrepancies in your Christian thinking, discrepancies between what the gospel of Jesus Christ says, and the gospel preached by the internet ministers you follow.
In an earlier comment you state:
So obviously you haven’t read this very article you are commenting on very closely. It is full of missed time frames that were an integral part of the information that Nathan claimed he got from God. The Gulf Oil Spill had a definite time frame, which has come and passed without the famine and riots he said God told him would definitely occur. Only a deluded person would think he was getting information from God about a future “second” Gulf Oil Spill, and even if there is a future second Gulf oil spill that results in famine and riots, God would have known not to give him the famine and riot information during the 2010 incident. In the May 2010 article he wrote about the Gulf Spill, published at the very height of the crisis when things looked very dismal and dark, and the consensus opinion was that there might be no end to it anytime soon, Nathan even quoted word-for-word an alleged long conversation he had with God that very dramatically laid out the famine and riot scenario. Some people are just born with showbiz in their hearts.
The Swine Flu epidemic of the 2009, the year when Nathan claimed God told him that specific outbreak would kill millions, died out with a wimper. It doesn’t matter if any future outbreak of flu kills millions. God’s timing is always perfect and he is never confusing.
Just go to his website – the list is endless of prophetic words that by logical implication had a time frame attached – that have been missed. Just because he is more careful now to not give dates doesn’t mean he should be excused for false prophetic messages from the past. This is especially true in light of the fact that he continues to speak on behalf of God. In the past, he would have been stoned to death to ensure he never falsely spoke for God ever again. While I obviously wouldn’t condone stoning today, I also don’t condone that in today’s liberal form of Christianity, he is welcomed to give new prophetic words by his fawning Christian admirers. (No, I am not talking about you. He has many fawning Christian admirers, and I’m talking about them.)
So there. Now you can point out where I have misrepresented your position.
Maybe we’ll never know for sure what motivates a man like Nathan Leal, but my educated guess is that he knows all of this very well, but chooses to lead his ministry based on dreams, and other forms of false messages said to be from God, because these dreams and visions get more attention, and are without doubt more colorful, and thus would tend to result in more donations to his ministry than just doing the calling of a Christian minister, i.e., preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. I call it an “educated guess” that he is doing all this intentionally and purposely because Nathan himself is currently as we speak stalking my family and friends on Facebook, pretending to be a friend of mine and asking to tag their personal photos. I’m not a user of Facebook, but I’m pretty sure that’s an attempt to invade privacy and gather information under false pretenses. Please correct me if I’m wrong, and show me the Kingdom purpose of a Christian minister doing that.
You don’t have to take my word for this, you can see for yourself what comments Watchmans Cry supporter Anne is leaving at the Cambridge Declaration article, comments where she smugly threatens me about “posting photos of your family” and “posting your address so you can get the mail you deserve.” Just look at one of the comments above right here at this article and you see longtime Nathan Leal supporter “M.A.” posting what he thinks is the name of my wife and the town where I live which he got from Facebook. The strident, long term, hardcore fans of Nathan Leal tend to be really, really creepy.
I could actually write volumes on the horror stories I get almost on a weekly basis for the past two years from former forum members relating their treatment at the hands of Leal and the Watchmans Cry ministry. Without going into detail, suffice it to say this treatment has fallen far short of being what we should be able to expect from a Christian minister, and that would be putting it very mildly. Maybe I should come forward with some of this information some day, but I always prefer the sword of scripture to wage my battles. You can see clearly that that is the approach I have taken with you, so I trust that in the Spirit you can perceive my sincerity. I could easily just publish the many negative testimonies I have received about his ministry and forego spending literally days and weeks responding scripturally at length to comments posted to my discernment blog.
You can see how the man doesn’t have a handle on scripture at all because he would never become involved with scriptural debates like the kind I have on my blog. Nathan Leal’s approach is to go after your family when you point out what he is doing is unbiblical. And ironically, his supporters routinely pop up here at my blog to call me a coward.
In the one-in-a-million chance that its just a case of his being merely misguided and honestly trying to exhort the brethren, then he shows such a dangerous degree of ignorance of or indifference toward what the Bible says that he should be avoided for that reason alone.
We all need to understand this as the days of time come to a close and the deception spreads across the world as the curtain falls. Many men will proclaim “behold, here is the Christ” (Matt. 24:23), (i.e., in other words, “behold, listen to my prophetic voice, for I am the one truly speaking for the Lord through my dreams!!“), but it will not be so. We need to choose who we follow, God or man. That choice will be crucial. Jesus said his kingdom is not of this world. Why do so many Christians listen to a gospel that is of this world?
Pretending dreams are revelation from God draws His Almighty wrath and condemnation……….. from Jeremiah 23:
All blessings in Christ,