When Dreams Overtake Scripture In Authority : Neo-Pentecostalism and Its Dangerous Effects

This week I saw the lamentable new article posted by Nathan Leal of Watchmans Cry, called “Alert Warning Number 6 – A Prophetic Dream” dated March 8, 2013. http://watchmanscry.com/article_alert_6.html

It brings to the fore a very sad state of affairs in the church today. It marks out new territory in the rapid expansion and spread of apostasy, especially in online Christian ministries.

Vast numbers of Christians are rushing to accept this form of so-called “revelation from God” which is spreading like wildfire through Christian internet ministries and forums. It is nothing more than human dreams, elevated through false scriptural interpretation to be authoritative words from God.

Lets look at the newest “revelation” from the veteran self-styled  “watchman” of the internet, Nathan Leal. We will look at how the whole foundation for human dreams as revelation is erroneous at its very core, and expose the real reason why people like Leal do what they do. And as we shall see, their motive falls far short from being an altruistic desire for the upmost spiritual good in the lives of their followers. We shall also look at how the rise of neo-Pentecostalism since 1950 has severly damaged scriptural authority and put the focus in many ministries on human experience as the guiding light in their sense of spirituality.

In “Alert Warning Number 6” we hear something that sounds very familiar. It seems on February 19 of this year Nathan had a dream of the destruction of an American city. (Wasn’t it just mid-2011 when he released his dream about the destruction of Spokane? ) He goes on to tell of seeing missles in the air near Seattle, and then explosions, and provides maps pinpointing locations.

The first thing he makes clear is the following, written in bold letters near the beginning of the dream account: The Timing of The Following Dream Is Unknown. OK, so he has built in the traditional modern day prophet’s escape clause – if it doesn’t happen, nobody can call him on it, because not enough time has passed. Then the supporters will cite something from the Old Testament that shows a prophecy that took 400 years to come to pass as an example. But if God called it an “alert warning”, wouldn’t that indicate something on the reasonably-near time horizon? Or would God reveal something in a confusing way, calling Nathan to issue an immediate “alert” and even bringing up the spectre of relocating Christian families to safer locations in the country, for something that was years, decades or centuries from occuring?

In the lead-up to his dream, Nathan explains how he had been “seeking God about matters at hand.” He writes “I had been asking Him to show me the things to come.” Now its important if we are to accept this dream as revelation from God that we look at how the information came to him. We must know if the methodology employed conforms to Scripture. We know from God’s Word itself that the spirit of everything must be tested for conformity to the will of God. Anything not confirmed by scripture must be rejected.  If Nathan Leal is a true teacher, he will have no objections to the people testing the spirit of his prophetic dream.

Is there anything in the Bible about prophecy being a gift that is granted to those who ask for it? I guess one could cite that Jesus said to ask for anything from the Father in his name, and it shall be granted, but would this apply to new revelation from the Father? I think that it is very demeaning to Christianity to pass on this idea that our faith is comprised of such a shallow foundation that it is nothing more substantial or structured than simply random individuals asking God in their prayer closets for some new revelation that can then be held up alongside scripture as authoritative.

Is there any example of a biblical prophet being given a prophecy simply because he asked for one?

2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Doesn’t this clearly spell out that prophecy comes from a movement of the Holy Spirit, not by pulling a string on God like a puppeteer manipulates a marionette? The true prophets of God always wrote as they were moved, or carried along, by the Holy Spirit. Thus the modern day prophets put the cart before the horse, by declaring that they initiate the prophetic process by tugging on God’s prophetic dream string, and obediently God plays along by moving in the requested direction.

The second book of Peter has even more to say about how prophetic revelation comes to the prophet:

2 Peter 1:19(a)  We have also a more sure word of prophecy;……

2 Peter 1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

So its clear that no prophecy can have any kind of human interpretation. Just as a little leaven spoils the whole loaf, no human thoughts can be interspersed or injected into the revelation. Do we find any kind of human interpretation in the Watchman’s “Dream Alert Number 6”? This is what the prophet Leal has to say about how God gives him the information:

After a moment of waiting, I again looked out of the window and saw the flash dissipating. As it started fading I said, “That was an EMP!”

Notice God didn’t tell him. He, Nathan, determined intellectually that it was an E.M.P. type of explosion.

After I had this dream, I wondered if the flying objects were nuclear missiles or meteors…….

Was the first one a meteor? And was the second one that exploded in the air a “Tactical EMP Missile” of some sort?

If they were meteors, why would they attack two military bases? And could a meteor cause an EMP?

I saw the anti-missiles try to respond but miss. I do not understand why they missed!

One thing I have learned about prophetic dreams. They are just glimpses, partial images. They are never a complete picture. We only “know in part” and “prophesy in part.”

But folks, I do know this, God did tell me to share this dream.

So here he’s telling us that God is putting him in a situation where he was told to “share” this dream with brethren in the church but is forced by God to add his own speculations and musings as to what the imagery means. Did God ever give prophecy in this manner in the past? Real prophecy is always one hundred percent accurate, and one hundred percent clear. To imply less, is to deny the sovereignty and power of God himself. God is not going to “tease” someone with blurry, out-of-focus images and force the prophet to fill in the gaps. We are told it is sin to mix in human interpretation to divine revelation, so why would God encourage this?

Here we have that man-centered focus of false prophecy today that tells us God wants so much to deliver a clear message but struggles without success to get his words and images through to the man. This is the pride of man on display to teach this. The biblical precedent is much different. When Ananias was prophetically told to go find Paul he was given clearly the street name, the particular house, and that he should ask for Saul of Tarsis. In fact there are no biblical prophecies where the man was left to fill in the details because they had been lacking in God’s message. When God delivers a message, he is not dependant on the receptive abilities of man in any way.    

And to quote “we only know in part, and prophesy in part” (1 Cor. 13:9) as his biblical reference to support the notion that God gives hazy, unclear revelation? This verse needs to be read with the next verse, 1 Cor.:13:10, which states: but when the perfect comes, the imperfect disappears. This is not telling us that prophecy is imperfect. How could something from God be imperfect? These passages are stating that when the “perfect” comes prophecy will not be needed anymore. And the error of the focus on modern day prophecy as a gift of seeing into the future is also exposed, rather than supported, by these verses.

Bible study website Gotquestions.org explains it this way:

Prophecy does not mean forecasting or telling the future. The gift of prophecy in its true biblical definition means simply “speaking forth,” or “proclaiming publicly” to which the connotation of prediction was added sometime in the Middle Ages. Since the completion of Scripture, prophecy has not been a means of new revelation, but is limited to proclaiming what has already been revealed in the written Word. 
 
In Cor. 13:11 Paul states:
 “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” 
 
Paul is describing that when the full revelation comes, the partial revelations of the childish state will be done away with. The word translated as “perfect” is used again in Cor. 14:20 where it is translated “men”. The idea again is maturity contrasted with childish ways: 
“Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature”

 

Notwithstanding that 1 Cor. 13:9-11 says nothing about prophecy being hazy, hard to interpret, or incomplete, Mr. Leal can provide stunningly detailed maps pinpointing exact or nearly exact impact points of the explosions.

The Mission of Naval Base Kitsap is to serve as the home base for the Navy’s fleet throughout West Puget Sound and to provide base operating services, including support for both surface ships and Fleet Ballistic.

In my dream the explosion in the air occurred over this base!!!

And this……….

In my dream, in the other area North of Bremerton, I saw an explosion in the air.

The area in the image below was under the explosion! It turns out that it is also a military base, a substantial one!

So which is it, Mr. Leal? Were your images blurry on some things, and razor sharp on others? Why such clarity with pinpoint locations of the targets on the maps you drew for us, but hazy about such things as the general nature of the coming attacks?

Confirmation For the Prophecy?

Internet prophetic types like to provide”confirmation” for their messages, to put it beyond doubt that the information is sent from heaven. What is the most common kind of confirmation? Believe it or not, if someone else has a similar dream, they count this as confirmation. Below his “Alert Warning” article on the Watchmans Cry website, is the following:

Comment from an email that brings confirmation to Nathan’s Dream:

Received Friday – March 9, 2013

Nathan,

I just received an email regarding your dream, Alert Warning #6 – “I Saw an American City Attacked! – Destruction from the Sky!” and I was floored considering I had a very similar dream back on 5 September 2012. (184 days ago)

The email received by Nathan Leal goes on to describe a similar dream of missles over the Puget Sound area. So the idea here is that the more people dream the same kind of thing, the more likely it is from God. I’d like to know the chapters and verses which support that assumption. The human element of “committeeship” in evaluation of each other’s prophecies is doomed to failure. We have already noted in 2 Peter 2:21 that no prophecy is of private interpretation.

Confirmation seems to come from further misinterpretation of scripture as well.  Looking at the watchman’s forum, prophecy discussion groups supporting this prophecy as well as the dreams and visions of other people are punctuated with references to Joel 2:28 and its reference found in Acts 2. I have had Joel 2:28 presented to me as proof of the validity of all kinds of charismatic high jinks over the years, but lets have a closer look.

Joel 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.

In this verse of the Old Testament, Joel is prophesying of a future date when the Holy Spirit shall descend on a group of people, and all signs and wonders shall break forth. This was fulfilled on Pentecost, when the apostles gathered with Peter and the others in the upper room. This was the first day of the church of Jesus Christ. To signify to all the world the power and significance of this day the Holy Spirit descended in tongues of fire, and those present began to speak in tongues and prophesy. One can imagine the glory of this moment! To demonstrate this was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy, Peter quoted the words of Joel from scripture and this was recorded in Acts 2:16-18.  This movement of the Spirit was so powerful that 3,000 souls came to salvation that very day!

But nothing in this passage in Acts 2 speaks of a continued outpouring of the Spirit in this form of signs and wonders throughout the current church age. The signs and wonders served a particular purpose on the day of Pentecost: to declare to all observers that this truly was a movement of God and this was truly the inauguration of the church of Jesus Christ.

Because God did something in a certain way in the past, we cannot force his hand to repeat the act in future. God in past spoke through a donkey and a burning bush, but are we to look to these things today for revelation? Pentecost was not meant to be a repeatable event. It was a one time only, glorious event which commemorated the beginning of the church of Jesus Christ. We in the church today would do well to stop trying to counterfeit the signs and wonders given to the apostles alone as authentication of their ground-breaking work in laying down the foundations of the early church.

The neo-Pentecostal  movement is largely responsible for so many in the modern day church taking this passage to mean that we can recreate the wonders of Pentecost anytime we want, even as we dream! The human experience is what is valued most highly in the Pentecostal experience. It is almost as if we can rise above the need for scripture, replacing doctrine with the heady rush of personal experience. The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”, a kind of higher, second Holy spirit event in the life of a Christian, is taught as something not only to be desired but actually required to be complete as a Christian. This is doctrinal error, as the Holy Spirit comes to help us through the entire process of regeneration and leads us in the progressing and growing of our sanctification. There is never an issue of having to receive the Holy Spirit at another time in a different way.

The Pentecostal doctrines concerning speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy today are taught as the norms of the Christian experience, and those lacking in the daily exhibition of these gifts are looked upon as unfulfilled in their Christian walk. A complete discussion of the errors of modern Pentecostalism are beyond the purview of this discussion. I recommend “A Theology of the Holy Spirit” by Frederick Dale Bruner as the classic text for understanding the numerous biblical errors the church has been led into since the great surge in the worldwide Pentecostal movement of the last 60 to 70 years.

The Damage Done By the False Prophet

Now what will be the tangible effects of the release of this prophecy? Just as with the 2011 prophecy of the devestation of the city of Spokane, the collateral damage upon God-fearing Christians will be tremendous. In both Spokane and Seattle, believers who don’t have a stong biblical foundation and who follow this ministry will be wondering whether to relocate. Indeed, relocation is brought up in the prophecy itself:

For those of you who might live in the Seattle area, you may be wondering, “What to do?”

I asked God about that. He said, “Those that need to move away, are being shown what to do.”

In other words, if you are asking Him, He will tell you what to do.

So Mr.Leal passes on these messages with great detail from God about the coming destruction of your cities, but when the topic of whether you should move comes up, he shrugs his shoulders and more or less says “Don’t ask me. That’s between you and God.”

And what would relocation mean for the average Christian family? For starters, the breadwinners in each family would almost certainly be required to quit their jobs, unless a miraculous job transfer opportunity opened up. All children of school age would be pulled from their schools and out of the lives of their friends, possibly forever. Houses would need to be sold, often in bad sellers markets. A thousand details would need attention to, such as finding new doctors and medical care in the new locations, new homes to live in, enrolment in new schools, moving expenses, etc., not to even mention finding a suitable new church, not always an easy task.

To make an informed decision, maybe you should look to the prophet himself, and see what he’s doing with his newly acquired information. Nathan Leal continues to live in Priest River, Idaho. On the map this looks like less than an hour’s drive from Spokane. Has he relocated? Ummmmm………. no. Well then, perhaps that’s your cue. Maybe residents of Spokane and Seattle should consider holding off on moving until you see the prophet pull up stakes.

I think the smart money is on him staying put, so I’m pretty sure we’ll hear him courageously announce himself to be under the shield of God’s divine protection, and how he will bravely carry on at his current location. We lesser mortals, we get a shrug of the shoulders and are told to “ask God.” While I’m one hundred percent behind the idea of leaning on God’s protection in all situations, if God tells me “I will destroy a city near where you live”, I don’t think I would have the gall to test God in a show of defiance and make him move missles out of my path to demonstrate his mercy. I would consider my plate full in the mercy shown to me through the warning in the first place, and it would never occur to me put God to the test to see if the information is true, especially with the lives of my family at stake.

The Prophet’s Motivation

All of this brings me to the thought that possibly Mr. Leal remains  to a substantial degree unconvinced of the authenticity of his own prophetic dreams. The only two other possibilities are both nearly unthinkable: (1) the purpose of his release of this dream being to make a name for himself for personal gain. (2) that he is not thinking clearly with full use of his mental faculties.

Is there any reason to think he does this kind of thing for notoriety? In the interest of investigative journalism, I mention the following note near the bottom of the Alert Warning dream, right next to a ‘DONATE’ link:

In the very near future we will be renting a larger facility to accommodate more people. Stay tuned. Our goal is to record the live messages from our meetings and post them online so that we can share the sermons with you.

We are in the process of trying to acquire the sound, recording and visual equipment to accomplish this. If you would like to donate to help make this happen, we appreciate any and all gifts.

In the Old Testament God supernaturally provided for his true prophets and messengers. But I guess he feels that part of the prophetic working doesn’t carry on to the present day. Are we to believe that God continues to provide prophetic revelation today, but he just doesn’t support his prophets anymore?

How Some Christians Respond To the Prophet

To get an idea what response he is getting from his revelation, here are a few random comments being posted about the Alert Warning dream on his forum: http://www.watchmanscry.com/forum/index.php

Nathan, He is using you to awaken those that belong to Him.

(My note: No, God uses the Holy Spirit to do that, not modern day prophets.)

Thank you for your message and your time, Nathan. As I was reading your message. The bright light that went away. At first I thought it was the moon. Now I am thinking of a dream I had a few months ago.

……not exactly like you Nathan but I had been seeing (the white color type filmy scene) “flashes” but as visions…not dreams. It is possible it is related to this. And there are times that I have seen flashes of red/orange/yellow like fire but they are only flashes.

(My note: Modern day prophecy is certainly addictive. Everyone wants to get in on the excitement. Again, the human thirst for experience stands out, to the detriment of doctrine and understanding.)

Wow Nathan. You really went above and beyond with the description, the pictures, and the immense detail.

(My note: But I thought Nathan was citing scripture to show how modern day prophecy is hindered by inaccurate visions and lack of detail?)

Seattle was also one of the cities Henry Gruver saw attacked by a missle in his vision.

(My note: Here we have vision meeting dream to provide confirmation.)

In the final analysis, what should matter most to those believers who are on a true biblical Christian walk is what praises and glorifies God, and how to get rid of the baggage that is carried that does not glorify him, or worse, brings dishonor to his name.

As the Christian forums buzz with chatter about what Nathan has dreamed, the church edges closer and closer to a dangerous precipice, and the widely and wildly misunderstood “charismatic” gifts overtake scripture in popularity if not outright authority. If we in the church don’t quickly shed our Reality TV mentality, and tame our fascination with attempting to unfold the future for God, experience will continue to trump doctrine to the peril of many souls.

Is competing in a incessant contest of one-upmanship with other brethren in the church about the different degrees and varieties of prophetic dreaming and visionary experiences an individual has had, and comparing those experiences to those of others in the body, really the best show of glory and praise the church today has to offer our Lord and gracious Savior? Then it would appear that rumors of the great decline of the church in the interval since the glorious luminescence of the Protestant Reformation are sadly true.

All blessings in Christ,

JD Ellis

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42 Responses to When Dreams Overtake Scripture In Authority : Neo-Pentecostalism and Its Dangerous Effects

  1. A very insightful look at this very bizarre and deceptive phenomenon. This same phenomenon also occurs in people’s out of body experiences. A good example is in the experience of Kevin Zadai. He was a guest on Sid Roth’s show called “It’s Supernatural.

    While what the person is experiencing may be a real experience, the entities encountered can often be legitimately considered suspect based on the unscriptural words spoken to the person having the experience. They are deceiving spirits. This is not to say that everyone’s out of body experience isn’t legit, but when the entities encountered contradict scripture, it should be dismissed. Kevin Zadai’s encounter with Jesus in the above mentioned video throws up a red flag for me. He said that Jesus told him that every idol word that you will speak you will give an account of in “the day of judgment.” Wait a minute. Which judgment is Jesus talking about here? Wait another minute … Wasn’t Jesus talking to the unbelieving Pharisees? Yes, he was. The Pharisees in that particular conversation did not accept Christ but were constantly looking to entrap and condemn him. So, when Jesus spoke of man giving account of every idle word, he was speaking about the Judgment of the lost found in Revelation 21: 11-15 which is called the “Great White Throne Judgment where the lost are judged based on their works. Believers are not judged based on their works. The lost are the ones that Jesus was talking about in Matthew 12 regarding every idle word. The other judgment is the Judgment Seat of Christ found in 2 Corinthians 5:10 … “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” The bad spoken of here likely cannot be a believer’s sins being dredged up and paraded before him again because they have been forgiven and forgotten. Jesus said that our sins our cast from us as far as the east is from the west. This verse of scripture can only be talking about our works performed in service to him. Whether they were performed with his leading and many other factors. Whether or not we did what he asked us or lead us to do while down here. This is the “good or bad” spoken of.

    Bottom line is that when it comes to people seeing visions and meeting Jesus outside of their bodies, we must exercise our discernment with scripture. The bible cautions us and reminds us to “test the spirits.” “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). These spirits we’re warned about can come in many deceptive forms. I know that people can and do have real encounters with the supernatural, but some are and can masquerade as “angels of light.” If what that person is saying contradicts or does not line up with scripture, then one should dismiss it. I’m thinking that this may have been a deceptive spirit working in this man’s vision or experience. The Jesus he saw contradicted the Jesus in Matthew 12 regarding “every idle word.” I suspect that scripture is talking of a completely different judgment… a judgment not for believers. Yet, the Jesus the man

  2. I do believe that we are judged in such a way that all of our deeds are reviewed on the last day. We are washed clean by the blood of Christ, but I believe we do have all our deeds reviewed in some way. Our defense is that Christ justified us, and by that we are forgiven and our sins are forgotten and cleared from the slate.

    As far as people who claim to have encountered Jesus, I steer very far away from these types. Jesus is not coming back until the final day. Even if some accounts are true, it is doubtful whether the person is biblically justified in speaking about the experience publically. Paul said he was lifted to heaven, and he went 18 years without telling anyone about it, and he would have gone another 18 years in silence about it except that he felt compelled to mention it to counter some false teachings coming from the “super apostles.” 2 Corinthians 12.

    Blessings,
    JD Ellis

  3. Peter on the day of Pentecost in the upper room declared the prophecy of Joel Chapter 2 to be fulfilled at that moment. He said ” THIS is what was spoken of by the prophet Joel”. To look for a continued fulfillment in times thousands of years future to the time of Pentecost is to read something into the text which is not there.

    Blessings,
    JD Ellis

  4. Ken Roman says:

    Has Satan or his ministers/magicians stopped working today? What makes you think God has then through His ministers?

  5. Hello Ken. God is through with using prophets because he says so in his word. Hebrews 1:1-2 “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”

    God doesn’t need prophets because his entire revelation is available to us in the bible. He doesn’t need to feed us “updated” information, because the final revelation was the Son. When Jesus breathed out his final words on the cross “it is finished” it meant that our reconciliation with God was accomplished. All prophecy up to that moment was concerned with revealing the coming of the Messiah. If we seek prophecy now it means we do not understand the full import and significance of God’s justification which makes us righteous in his eyes. It means we are seeking something on top of that, and there simply is no more to add to that.

    If you really want to go in depth on this subject you can’t go wrong by reading The Charismatic Gift of Prophecy by Kenneth L. Gentry Jr. Dr. Gentry’s book is a really comprehensive look at the issue.

    All blessings in Christ,
    JD Ellis

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