Claiming to Know the Mind of God – Rick Wiles and Trunews

Rick Wiles Continues To Lead His Flock Down the Pathway of Dreams

“I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name, saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ How long? Is there anything in the hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the deception of their own heart, who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal?  Jer. 23 26-27 NASB

The amount of fraud, deception, and manipulation which takes place in the church today under the pretence that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, is truly staggering. The gifts of the spirit are being counterfeited. Outright lies are peddled from internet ministries in their broadcasts and dressed up as special revelation from God. The gift of prophecy, a thing of excellence in its uncorrupted state, is being degraded into a morass of dream interpretation. The gospel and the risen Christ take a back seat to showmanship in this circus of vanity and puffery, as the ministers responsible seek the prophetic glory for themselves and their ministries.

The Bible is quite clear in stating that we cannot ever know the mind of God. God’s ways are not our ways. Scripture is also clear that human dream interpretation, when used by us as an attempt to discover what the future holds, is an occultic practice akin to divination, and thus is an abomination to the Lord. Why then is there such a large movement thriving in Christian ministries today, especially on the internet, telling us that we can use our dreams and visions to accurately determine what God’s plan is for a city or a country or a people? And further than this, that we can use the dreams and visions of others who we do not know and will never meet, to come to this determination, and complete the abomination by putting God’s name on all of it? Why are dreams being given out to the body of believers in churches and ministries as spiritual direction and advice?

This  movement in the church today is leading Christians to believe that the thoughts inside their own heads are not only revelation from the Father Himself, but also represent His personal directions to each of us. People change jobs, move to different locations, even different countries, because of what someone else’s dream revealed, believing it to be a revelation from God. While the Holy Spirit is certainly capable of revealing something to us, and God can and does give us direction in our personal life situations, great caution needs to be used before just indiscriminately passing on to the whole body of believers the dreams of people as special revelation from God. This is one of the most telling signs of apostasy in the church today, and is antichrist in nature. For what is the spirit of antichrist? It is the elevation of humans to a position to receive the glory that is only due to the Father.

The ministers who tell us they know the future are usurping something that only belongs to God. They want themselves and their ministries to be the focus of attention. They love it when the internet chat rooms and forums are abuzz with talk about what was revealed on their programs about the future. They want you to believe the power lies in them to tell you what you must do. They want to be your survivalist counsellors in helping you to plan your escape from what they tell you is coming. Fellowshipping with our brothers in sisters in Christ and spreading the good news of the gospel don’t factor very highly with the prophets of doom. They know they can get alot more attention by telling us when the calamity is coming and how to escape it than by preaching the risen Christ..

Selling Dreams Can Be Very Good For The Bottom Line

The people who run these internet ministries also have a great deal of financial expertise. They know that to keep a steady flow of donations coming in to their ministries they need to dangle the carrot to the listeners that their shows reveal the future. In all of history, nothing has held more sway over the emotions of man than the idea that some of us can know the future, and if we just listen to the right people, we too can acquire this knowledge. Careful listening to their programs is required, they say, as God unfolds this drama to them on a weekly basis. Their ministries are built in the thorny soil of human visions and dreams, and yet they portray themselves as staunch defenders of the faith and purveyors of wisdom to today’s Christians.

They understand what is written in 2Timothy 4:3:

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions.

Ministries like this know this rule: that the vast majority of people want to hear something that suits their own passions rather than sound biblical teaching. The shephards  are more interested in elevating and exalting themselves and their ministries than in just delivering the gospel to a broken world. They have a better, newer, more modern plan for what the church should be doing in the endtimes. Lets all log and evaluate and compare our dreams, they say. This, they think, will be a good way to know God’s mind. Placing our hearts and our values on these things of the human mind is not a way to know the Lord. Instead of looking at our lives with eternity in mind, they would have us all just plot ways to save ourselves from suffering in this world and escape God’s judgement in these hard times ahead. These people have something to sell you, and its not the Gospel.

Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. Jude 1:8 ESV

Rick Wiles Presents a New Showcase of Dreams

A case in point that serves as an example of just how fruitless this practice can be is Rick Wiles of the Trunews ministry. Rick Wiles has a 14 year history of claiming that God reveals to him, along with certain guests and listeners of his radio program Trunews,  intimate details of His judgements and plans for future judgement on divinely specified areas of the world.  This revelation is supposedly granted to Mr. Wiles and friends for the most part through dreams and visions. He often speaks about spending time in fasting and prayer, and this, he tells us, allows greater communication with God about future events.

Some may be familiar with his claim that the Holy Spirit came to him in a time of fasting and reflection in early 2010, and revealed to him that America would be devastated by a nuclear explosion in the last three months of 2010. We can only wonder how many of his listeners took his words at face value and fled from the country, deeply scarring and uprooting their families, all because of a man’s vision being represented as revelation from God. No apology ever came for that fiasco, and Mr. Wiles is back at it again, hoping people have short memories.

On May 24th 2012 Mr. Wiles released a group of what he labels “prophetic dreams”, http://www.trunews.com/may2012.htm , but this time he has been quite deliberate about stating these are the dreams of people he has been in contact with, not his own dreams. He is seemingly not getting prophetic dreams himself, or if so, is not releasing them to us, but is able with great conviction to state that this group of dreams from others is revelation from God. Carefully he sets the bait, and then makes sure he has an out. The “out” here being, of course, that when none of this comes to pass, he can defiantly announce to his audience: “listen, folks, I told you clearly at the time that these were not my dreams.”

Prophecy by Majority Rule

Wiles is like many on the internet these days in making great presumptions and unbiblical leaps in logic. Listen to this excerpt from the recent Trunews “revelation” dated May 24th, 2012:

God commissioned me that day in April 1998 to warn the American people that time was running out for this nation to repent and return to obey God’s commandments and ways. I have spent the last 14 years in full-time ministry proclaiming that message.

Since the beginning of 2012, I have detected a marked intensity in the warnings from God. They are coming to me from various sources and ways. Many people are experiencing disturbing dreams. Others are seeing visions. In recent weeks the warnings have taken on an alarming new level of urgency. Reports of prophetic dreams and visions are flooding into our offices daily in recent weeks. Without a doubt, I am convinced that one or more catastrophic events will strike the USA before the end of 2012.

“Reports of prophetic dreams and visions are flooding into our offices daily in recent weeks.” Is that what true prophecy is about today? Is it prophecy by concensus? Where in the Bible do we find any kind of link between what the majority of a group of people are dreaming, and true revelation from God? If we are claiming any dreams to be divine revelation, on what basis are we to assume that themes that recur frequently among groups of people are likely to be more “accurate” than a single prophetic dream given to one sole person would be? Does God do more preparation before sending a prophetic dream to a group of people than when he sends a dream to only one? Is the Lord less careful paying attention to detail when sending prophecy to a smaller audience then when He releases something to a wider number of recipients?

The Unbiblical Assumption That Bad Things Happen To Bad People

The assumption that underpins all of the doomsday preaching and “prophetic warnings” today is that bad things happen to bad people. (And inversely, that good things happen to good people.) If we repent, we may stay the course of God’s judgement, they tell us. America is certainly being judged, according to these ministers, because, well, just look at how wicked it is. For these people, it is written in stone that God always brings hardship to wicked people, and makes smooth the pathway for the “righteous.” Lets look at how well this holds up to what Scripture teaches.

In the book of Job, we see a wonderful story of faith that endures through good times and bad. When Job was afflicted with so many setbacks, three of his friends came to him and pronounced that surely God must be displeased with him. Previously, when things went well with Job, these same people thought surely he must be a righteous man because of his great wealth. These human judgements that the three friends made were clearly wrong. Why do we think today we can determine any better than in the time of Job what is God’s judgement, and what is not? Too many today are quick to point out the sins of others, or even the governments of the world, and rush to say that they are so wicked God must be sending judgement upon them. We cannot know this. For anyone to state categorically that any particular event is judgement from God is tenuous and unbiblical enough, but to label events that have not even occurred yet as His judgement is an even further leap.

When Jesus passed a man who had been blind from birth, his disciples asked Him “who sinned, this man or his parents?” Jesus responded that it was not either him or his parents who had sinned. It was so that the works of God may be displayed. God has a way of making things that we think are so horrible work out for His glory, and for our good.

Likewise in the gospel of Luke we read about the tower in Siloam that fell and killed eighteen. Jesus left no doubt that this calamity did not fall on them because their sin was any worse than that of others. These doomsayers who think all calamity is about to come crashing down because of the sin of the nation would do well to learn the lesson Jesus was teaching here.

Scripture tells us that God is kind even to evil people. (Luke 6:35) Many of the people afflicted in the worse ways by calamity like storms, earthquakes, economic downturns, political upheaval and bloodshed are the God-fearing and kind among the population. These are the ones you see praising God after the storm hits. To think that the Christian life is an assurance of easy times is not Scriptural.

Romans 3:10 tells us:

There is no one righteous, not even one.

In God’s eyes, we are only righteous because of the completed work of Christ on Calvary. It is not because we have struggled to be good that God has given us His blessing. Likewise, it is not because we have struggled with sin that we find ourselves facing hardship. We receive blessings and face hardship for the same reasons: because we are believers who live in a fallen world, and God is working on a plan for us that is far grander than anything we can conceive with our minds. Hardship can come to us for any number of reasons, but we can be assured that God is in total control. In the same manner, when blessing comes our way, it does not necessarily come in the form of an earthly material reward. It comes in the form of eternal life, and all of God’s assurances that He will never foresake us.

……..the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong. ……..time and chance happen to them all.” Ecclesiastes 9:11

The point is, we must all repent, or we will surely die. That repentance doesn’t come on our own terms, that we dictate to God, asking for assurances that evil things will not come our way. Our repentance cannot be based in any way on ourselves or our wants, or it is ineffectual and worthless.

The Ruse Of “Unless God Intervenes”

Here is another excerpt from the “warning dreams” released May 24th 2012 by Rick Wiles’ ministry:

Several days ago I received three more prophetic dreams from two people who listen to the Trunews radio program. They arrived in my email box simultaneously. I was stunned by the dire warnings of imminent judgment, bloodshed, and captivity. Unless God intervenes, I do not believe the USA will be a free nation beyond November 2012.

Well, lets look at this closely. The thing that stands out right away is the phrase “unless God intervenes.” This obviously is inserted in here in case nothing that can be tied to the dreams happens. It can be pronounced with great authority that God changed His mind, because enough people repented to stay His hand of judgement. This is a convenient escape clause which allows modern day prophets to deny any responsibility for their false prophecies. If it doesn’t happen then we, through our great efforts and righteous works, convinced God to change His plan. Wouldn’t the Lord have known the people would repent, and at least have issued the prophecy as being conditional?  I don’t see anything in any of the dreams that would indicate that was the case with these prophetic dreams. In the Old Testament the prophecy given to Jonah concerning Nineveh was clearly issued from God as a conditional prophecy. Is there a way of telling if any of these dreams are conditional prophecies? But I guess if the dreamers and their representatives tell us they are conditional, then it must be so.

Is the part that says  “beyond November 2012”  a phrase that God used or that man inserted in an interpretation inspired by the human mind? God gave a maximum time frame limit of November? Where was that in any of the dreams? Is this from God or is this a hodgepodge mixture of divine revelation with the human mind jumping in to provide details?

The next thing to note is this statement that these dreams arrived in his inbox from listeners to his show. He takes these dreams from people he doesn’t even know, other than that they listen to his show, and without a moment’s hesitation, he elevates this information  to stand alongside scripture in terms of authority. Since he is presenting it to be from the Lord, then it would have the same legitimacy as the Bible itself. Since he is suggesting leaving the country as a possible option for many, surely there must be a solid grounding behind these dreams or this would be a highly irresponsible act. But does the Bible itself encourage this kind of thing? This in my view is akin to those heretical churches around these days which allow anyone in the church  to step forward in front of the congregation, and relate as genuine revelation from God, whatever happens to be on their minds.

Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. Jer 29:8

When Wiles says “I do not believe the USA will be a free nation beyond November 2012”, he is clearly setting a timeline for these events. Further, to make it perfectly clear that this is prophecy with a date, he goes on to say:

Christian men and women are privately telling me that God is strongly telling them to have everything in place in July or August. Many of them are selling everything and fleeing the USA.

The second date is fall 2012. Many of the dreams and visions indicate that great woe is coming to the USA in November – notably shortly after the presidential election. In particular, many of the prophetic dreams hint at trouble during the Thanksgiving holiday season.

For a ministry to be setting timelines for the occurrance of events depicted in dreams is so far removed from what we as believers in the church today should be doing. If there was actually a divinely dictated timeframe for these events, I find it highly unlikely the Lord would deliver prophecy using vague periods of time like “July or August” or “the fall of 2012” or “shortly after the presidential election.” You see here how the human feels free to jump right in on the prophecy and inject his own details. Wouldn’t a real dream sent by the Lord Himself be something to be honored and left in its original, uncorrupted state?

This is an example of the great apostasy that is occurring today in our churches and ministries, which was spoken of by the apostles in the New Testament.  This  is pure poison to the hearts of all Christians who cannot discern the truth. And sadly, such little discernment that would be required to see through this, is lacking in many in the church today. The spirit of antichrist is in those who would have us pay more heed to these passions and matters of the flesh than to the calling that Christ commissioned us all for.

Different Dreams, Same Old Story Line:

Once again, just as in the “nuclear devestation of the USA in 2010” prophecy of two years back, Trunews and Rick Wiles strongly hint that we should consider leaving the country because of these dreams.

“Many of them are selling everything and fleeing the USA.”

How many believers will now foresake their fellowship and  the calling of God in their lives and renounce everything for the sake of the dreams of listeners to a radio show? Their plan is to attempt to outrun what is being presented as a judgement from God. And we are not talking about their own dreams, where God may have indeed spoken to them in some way concerning their personal situation, but we are talking about the dreams of anonymous people.

We went through this in 2010, with Mr. Wiles telling us that “those who are healthy enough should consider leaving the country.” Wiles also told us back then that God told him he would be leaving the country by the end of 2010. He didn’t leave the country then, and he probably won’t leave it now. In fact I don’t think any of the internet prophetic ministers calling for this kind of destruction in the U.S. are actually leaving the country. Frequent Trunews guest Nathan Leal, of Watchman’s Cry fame, prophesied in a vision a mushroom cloud rising 50,000 feet above the city of Spokane. He continues to live with his family less than an hour’s drive away from that city.

The golden calf of all these false prophets is donations from listeners, primarily in North America. In other words, listeners who have become addicted to the doomsday utterances they have come to believe are from God and are therefore vital to hear. They are not about to leave that behind. Don’t expect them to be following the same advice they are suggesting as options to their flocks. Get Rick Wiles or Nathan Leal to leave just because of some revelation from God about a mushroom cloud or the end of freedom in the country by November? No. Not on your life.

Lets all be aware of several points at this time:

Point one: If the dreams are not fulfilled, the representative of the dreamers, Mr. Wiles, will tell us that nothing happened because God changed His mind; Again, nothing in these dreams would indicate a conditional nature to them, except the disclaimer tacked onto the dreams by Mr. Wiles himself. If God was sending us a prophecy which was conditional, I think He would make that clear.

Point two: Mr. Wiles also has the potential to escape responsibility by telling us that we shouldn’t complain to him, because he didn’t have the dreams.

Point three: Any unusual event, no matter what it is, will be claimed as the fulfillment of the prophetic dreams. In the aftermath of the failed 2010 prophecy, one year later on the anniversary program aired on January 8th, 2011, he stated that the introduction of invasive body searches and body scanners at the nation’s airports could have been the fulfillment of his prophetic vision of the devestation of the country. The body scanners caused the devastation of the U.S.? This is the kind of logic that will be put into play to claim fulfillment. So there you see the writing on the wall: the prophetic dreams will be claimed to have been fulfilled no matter what happens.

Point four: While not hesitating to imply to his listeners that the coming events might warrant leaving the country , don’t expect Mr. Wiles to go anywhere soon.

Where Is the Holy Spirit In All This?

The mention of the “pouring out of the spirit”  in Joel Chapter 2 is what causes many in the church today to assume that they can rely solely on their dreams for direction and guidance from God. This passage refers to the day of Pentecost, and the gifts may continue today, but not in this way. The gifts do not rain down on us as they did in the time of the apostles after Pentecost. We do not walk as the apostles did, performing miracles as we travel from town to town. We are not apostles. The last apostle died about 1900 years ago. We should stop trying to counterfeit what they did. The foundation of the church has been laid down. No structure has two foundations. We have our own calling in the church today. Lets cut through all the confusion that people like this put in our path, and get about the business of the Kingdom.   

The Holy Spirit is actually very far removed from this kind of prophetic free-for-all circus. The Lord is a God of order, and there is nothing orderly about this. Their story changes constantly, to keep the audience hooked on listening to the broadcasts. Watch how this story morphs into something else when the time frame for all this comes and goes.

Where Are The Details? 

When people tell you that God spoke to them, whether in dreams or visions or any other manner, but they do not give any details or specifics, or they just present to you symbolism as contained in dreams, then be wary. Always subject everything you hear which is  presented as being from God to scriptural testing. God is not vague. He is able to make Himself perfectly clear to anyone. The vagueness of so much of what is passed on through the internet should raise the alarm to any discerning Christian. Some prophecy is so general in nature that just about any prophetic word could be claimed to have been fulfilled.

Biblical prophecy, which is obviously the only model we have for true prophecy, indicates clearly that true prophecy is not short on details and specifics. God would have no trouble whatsoever making Himself clear. Is not one of the most fascinating things about God’s word the staggering number of prophecies which have been fulfilled right down to the last detail? Don’t listen to those who claim God just doesn’t provide much detail these days. They don’t have any details to give you, because they are not hearing from God.

Sooner or Later Chance Will Give Them A Near-Fulfillment, And Then, Look Out!

The Lord in His wisdom gave us the science of mathematics when He created the world. Contained within this framework is something called the Law of Probability. In simple terms, this law tells us that the more times we swing the bat, the higher the likelihood we will eventually hit the ball. To put it into prophetic terms, the more times certain things are predicted, the greater chance something akin to what is being foretold will actually occur.

This is why I look on with great concern when I see that people who have time and time again proven themselves to be false prophets are granted free license by their followers to keep issuing information they claim is from God. In true prophecy, there is a zero error rule. In addition to the biblical rule about the lack of vagueness in prophecy we discussed above, is the principal that nothing that is from God is in error in any way, or incomplete or lacking. God’s timing is never off. These are false teachers that tell you “ooops, I just got the dates wrong. I wasn’t receiving God’s message clearly.” Or they take a snippet of scripture and tell us “we only know in part, and prophesy in part.” God is without error, and so is His prophecy. God would be full and complete in passing on any message to His prophets.

When God wanted someone to do something, He told them and they heard and understood. Period. They didn’t always like it, and they didn’t always obey, but they heard. How could they not? Were they more powerful than God? Are you? Is there anything within your power or imagination that can keep God from getting a message to you?  Who do we think we are? ……….Bill Mackinnon

When the inevitable happens, and one day something actually does happen that even remotely calls to mind anything these internet dreams speak of, to the ends of the earth people like Mr. Wiles will be trumpeting to all how prophetic their ministries are. The last decade of misses will be quickly forgotten by the masses of followers who so desperately want their hero to be declared a modern day prophet.

Anyone who has ever in their life issued a prophecy that they declared to be from God, and that prophecy was not fulfilled, is a false prophet. There are no exceptions. Unless such a person had really undergone a hardening of the heart in the interval since the failed prophecy, he would never have anything to do with prophecies again. If he was a minister, he would immediately pledge before God that he would never use his ministry in this way again. He claims his ministry is one that teaches repentance, but does it practice what it preaches?

Rick Wiles told us all two years ago that he would humbly bow out of the business of prophecy if the 2010 nuclear bomb prophecy proved false. In the time since, he has continued to barrage the internet with prophecies, dreams, and visions of all kinds in interviews he conducts on his show. In fact, this has been his bread and butter for the 14 years of his ministry. The odd thing is, if he  had just stuck to being a secular newsman from the very beginning, he would probably have been a very good one. Instead, he has tried to blur the distinction between reporter and Christain minister. The result is he is no more than a fair newsman, and a disaster as a minister. 

It is impossible to truly count the damage done, in terms of taking the Christian focus away from Christ, and onto the things of this world. Away from the word of God, and onto the words of man. This represents the main focus of what Jesus warned us against in His earthly ministry.

“I do not believe the USA will be a free nation beyond November 2012.” ……..Rick Wiles

I do believe the USA will be a free nation beyond November 2012. Time will tell. Whatever happens, we will still not know what is God’s judgement and what is not, notwithstanding the dreams of Rick Wiles’ friends. And please, Mr. Wiles, lets not count Obamacare or the body scanners at the airports as your proof that we have lost our freedom. Nobody will buy it anymore. 

I love the words of Bill Mackinnon, writing in an article called “No Voices In My Head”, on the topic of whether we receive new revelation from God from the voices, dreams, and visions inside our heads:

If you email me and tell me I’m putting God in a box I swear I will hunt you down and kick you in the shin.  This isn’t about what God can do.  This is about what we can teach.  And (hopefully) we can agree that our teaching authority and doctrine comes from the Bible, not the voices in our heads.  God can do whatever He wants.  But we can’t teach whatever we want.

 What we should do is read our Bibles. You want to hear God speak? If you have a Bible, you have thousands of years of God-inspired instructions, messages, exhortations, rebukes and praises right at your fingertips. Why do we think we need more than that? God’s will for your life is written there. God’s instructions for living are there. To want them piped directly into your brain is just foolishness and laziness. Worse, it opens you up to the worst kind of doctrinal errors.

 

All blessings in Christ,

JD Ellis

Posted in False Prophecy | Tagged , | 179 Comments

Speaking Without the Authority – The Watchman’s Cry: Nathan Leal and the state of internet prophecy

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,

JD Ellis

(1) http://watchmanscry.com/prophecy_florida.html

(2) http://www.watchmanscry.com/prophecy_houston.html

 (3) Message 152 WC archives

(4) Message #130 Watchmans Cry archives

(5) http://www.watchmanscry.com/prophecy_war_iran.html

(6)  http://watchmanscry.com/article_Americas_New_Pearl_Harbor.html

(7)  http://www.watchmanscry.com/article_lamentations.html

(8) http://watchmanscry.com/article_A%20Coming%20Woe%20of%20Destruction.html

****Any copyrighted material contained here is used under the “Fair Use of Copyrighted Material” laws, for the purpose of review and criticism.

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Testing the Ego For Discernment

Ever since his resounding victory over man in the Garden of Eden, the enemy has recognized that the best place to attack is at the weak point in human nature – man’s sense of pride and ego. The more Satan can inflate man’s sense of pride and attack his sense of humility, the more victories will be won in his name.

With the many confusing and conflicting doctrines and interpretations of Scripture being served up in sermons, books, and through the internet, all under the general umbrella of what is called Christianity, how can we learn to develop discernment? While we know the Bible is our source of truth, churches and ministries are run by men, and we must always be alert when listening to the words and interpretations of men. We need to be aware whether the spirit of a speaker is truly of God or is fueled by man’s baser instincts. 

Often valuable clues are given that a teacher or a teaching is wrong when a false sense of pride or human ego enters into the spirit of the teaching you are hearing, or even into the manner in which something is being presented. This is how we can recognize that someone obvious like Benny Hinn is a false teacher – one merely needs to listen to a couple of sentences to sense his blatant lack of humility. But a simple ego test can also be used to detect false doctrines and teachings that are much more subtle and harder to recognize.

Jesus was the most humble of all teachers, born in a stable, and choosing a donkey to ride into Jerusalem and greet His followers. A person who is not grounded in humility cannot be preaching what the Master taught. One can be assured that any minister or preacher found exhibiting egotistic traits in his personal character or the way he conducts his ministry will not be a reliable expositor of the teachings of the Lord.

I John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Scripture says we are to test the spirit of everything, To test the spirit of something, we need to look at the whether it displays a humble or haughty heart.  

Prov 21:4 …..haughty eyes and a proud heart are the lamp of the wicked…… Prov. 18:12 ……before destruction a man’s heart is haughty. ………….Prov. 16:18………pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. ……….Prov. 11:2 …….pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Thus we would especially need to test the spirit of those ministers and ministries from whom we seek to receive our spiritual edification and nourishment.  

The ego test can be used like a form of radar to detect errant teachers, even if at first look their words seem to line up pretty well with what Scripture says. For example, is a preacher teaching humility while wearing a $2000 suit? The radar goes off. Why listen any further to someone who feels the truth doesn’t apply to him?

Test the Ego in the Minister’s Character

Much can be observed in simply the way a minister addresses his followers. Is much of the message about himself and his ministry? Does he spend much time repeatedly going over the past history of missions that have been completed? There is an internet minister based in Florida who never fails at least once every few weeks to list all the past accomplishments his ministry has been a part of for the twelve years he has been broadcasting. He wants what he has accomplished to remain front and center in the hearts and minds of his listeners, forgetting completely that nothing was done by him or of him, and that all we can ever accomplish in this world will come only through the grace of God.

In contrast to this egotistical attitude, the pastor of the small church I joined a few months ago never speaks of what has been done, except when something is ongoing and needs to be updated for the congregation. I had to research on my own what this small but spirit-led church had accomplished in the past, and I was staggered by the number of amazing projects it had founded and supported. bringing about postitive change in the lives of thousands, and never blowing its own horn. 

Look at how a minister leads. Does a minister humbly accept his position as servant to the Lord, or does he often play up his position in the church and emphasize all those things he has authority over? Does he engage in or allow power struggles to go on unchecked within the leadership of the ministry? The true minister of God never forgets that true evangelical leadership is servanthood.

Does the minister make a point of saying in public things that should be left between him and God? Many preachers, particularily those who broadcast on the internet, go to great lengths to announce in public intimate details about how much time they spend in prayer and fasting, and how they go about this Godly activity. They make a display of these things, much like the Pharisees in the time of Jesus. They desire for people to notice, because their strongest relationship is with the world, not God. It suits them to have others think they must be very close to God and receive favor and information from Him if they have such a favored relationship with Him. The listener is left to feel that there is no way that they, too, could ever be as close to the Lord themselves.

Thus the minister establishes an elevated position for himself above his followers, which in turn creates a dependancy and a neediness in the follower. He now senses he needs the minister as an intermediary between him and the Lord, and becomes reluctant to break away and walk with Christ on his own, with confidence that God’s promises apply to him as well as any other Christian.

Test the Ego In How Warnings Are Issued

It has become almost a fad with some ministers to warn about the various calamities that are a part of this fallen world. They warn about everything from the weather to the economy. They weigh in with what they think is Bible-based commentary on everything from food shortages to politics, and everything in between. Dollar devaluations, radiation exposure, New World Order,  tornados, earthquakes, droughts, floods, famine, civil unrest, heat waves, global warming, and the list goes on and on and grows every week. All of these topics make for colorful sermons and popular MP3 downloads, and do much to attract public attention to themselves. None of it has much to do with preaching the gospel. The Bible tells us plainly that there is but one thing we should warn about: we should alert our brothers and sisters in Christ to be ready for the coming of the Lord, for we know not the hour when He returns. We should be warned about anything that threatens our readiness, including false teaching. Everything except our own state of readiness is in God’s hands.

The kind of readiness we need our ministers to warn us about is our spiritual readiness. We need to be ready for the Master to return at any time. Despite how sure some preachers are about where we are on the endtimes timeline, the Bible tells us He will come at an hour when we do not expect Him. If everyone is expecting Him soon, then perhaps His coming is not as imminent as many are teaching. We want to be like the five wise virgins in Matthew 25 who had oil for their lamps and were ready throughout the night, for they did not know at what hour the bridegroom would return.

The role of the minister is not to impart warnings about the disasters of this world, but to warn about the disaster that awaits anyone who does not spiritually prepare for the coming Kingdom. A minister who becomes obsessed with news headlines and devotes more time to these things than Scripture is a man who follows the world, not the Lord. Better to choose a ministry that follows the Lord.

Test the Ego In Financial Matters

Ego and pride in ministries is often revealed through its handling of financial issues. Throughout the New Testament we read how it is the love of money that is the root of all evil. Jesus never said money itself was either good or bad. It is the relationship we have with money that determines if it is our master. We cannot serve two masters. (Luke 16:13). Being poor deosn’t make a preacher any more discerning than being well-off. But a lot can be learned by observing his relationship with money.

Recently I watched a video showing Creflo Dollar and an associate jumping and romping like schoolkids in big piles of money laid out as offerings and tithes from their congregation on the steps of their church sanctuary. And still people were coming forward, and putting more of their hard-earned wages in the piles, without the slightest ability to test if what they were seeing was based on pride or humility. What chance will people like these have when the apostasy becomes really intense and hard to discern?

Look at how your church or internet ministry spends its money and you can learn a lot about whether you are dealing with a prideful, ego-based ministry or one that is humbly obedient to the will of the Lord. Often a ministry will tend to invest an inordinate amount of money into its building or purchasing new premises. This can slide into pride when the physical appearance and possessions of the ministry become a focal point. If you give to a church, whether it be a brick and mortar church or an internet ministry, see how much of the contributions they receive go to buildings, physical appearance and equipment. Is a new building really needed, or does the purchase of new property seem to be mostly for the comfort and ease of the ministers? Is a brand new broadcast studio really necessary to get the gospel out, or does the pastor just like keeping up with all the latest technological toys on the market?

Is a lot of ministry funding going to travel expenses? Is the travel really needed to accomplish some important work, or is it mostly for show –  to show everyone how involved and dedicated and hands-on he must be, taking the time to travel to all these far-off locales. Watch out for the travel bugs in some ministries. It can be a trap of the ego for the minister to fly off unnecessarily for the slightest reason. Travel can become an addiction. It is not completely unheard of for ministers to rack up huge frequent flyer points from air travel funded by their ministry, that they then use for personal travel.

Test the Ego In Prophetic Ministry

In many Christian ministries today they empathize the dreams and prophecies of man as truth to their congregations and over the internet to their listeners. Some allow anyone to just come forward and tell their dream in front of the congregation. Prophetic internet sites broadcast bizarre rants about God revealing details about earthquakes and natural disasters. With social networking sites and Christian forums, these doctrines are spread even further about, and one man`s dream can end up being presented to thousands of the flock as God`s truth.

This is one of the crowning achievements of the human ego within the church today: the false prophets who become obsessed with the idea that they, because of prayer and intercessation before God, have won favor over all the rest of us and have been chosen to receive new revelation from the heavens. This false sense of personal power is then used to gain leverage over others in the body of the church, to hold captive the minds and sometimes the wallets of those who are fooled into thinking they need to listen with baited breath to every word the prophet speaks, or else risk missing out on an important message from God. We must reject those ministries who base their teachings on the dreams of men.

Jer. 23:23…But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people……25 I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy lies in my name, saying “I have dreamed, I have dreamed!’ 26 How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, 27 who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? 28 Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What does straw have in common with wheat? declares the Lord. ….32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them…………ESV

People who think they are modern day prophets try to sell you on the idea that they are receiving new revelation from God that He tells them to pass on to you. This is a twisting of Scripture. It is clear to those who are faithful to the word of God that Scripture is a finished work. The foundation of the church was laid down by Christ and His apostles. There cannot be two foundations to a structure. There is no new scripture, and the offices of the prophet and the apostle are closed. There would only need to be new prophets if there was new revelation to give. God has spoken.

Heb. 1:1-2: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.

 They claim an ability to go “deeper” in prayer than the rest of us, and this opens up a channel of communicated revelation from God, which is completely unsupported by the Bible. The sheep are supposed to recognize the voice of the shepherd, but many in the flock are far too willing to listen to any voice that invokes the name of the Lord. 

Test the Ego In Worship Music

While music can play an important role in the church service, it should never upstage what its own purpose is. It can end up being an object of worhip rather than an agent of worship. Are people too comfortable sitting in their places listening to the members of the music ministry exhibit their talents, and then becoming restless during the remainder of the service? Do people choose their churches because of preference for certain music styles? We should never lose sight of the true place and meaning of music in our worship.

Greg Gilbert writes in a blog:

I wonder if the whole “excellence in praise and worship music” phenomenon we’ve seen over the past few years–for all the good it’s done–hasn’t also had some less-than-desirable effects on young Christians. I wonder if it hasn’t created a generation of functional mystics who gauge their relationship with God by emotional experience rather than the objective reality of redemption.”

Test the Ego In Your Ministry’s Politics

What does an affiliation with or an affinity for Christian political movements indicate in a ministry? I would be sure to learn the affiliations or partnerships a ministry has and put these spirits to the test. Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven movement and the NAR are both examples of how the gospel itself is taking a backseat to political organization. These movements fall short in the humility department because they attempt to use the will and might of man to set the world right. They turn Godly affairs into the affairs of men. They expouse the philosophy that through humanitarian efforts and peace initiatives and political organization God’s Kingdom can become a reality here, or the groundwork can be set in place for it. 

To do good works by trying to meet the needs of people is laudable, but no man can change what is declared in Scripture. The word tells us the Kingdom will be set up when Christ returns, and it is the pride of men at work to think it can change the timing of this. It is also prideful that men actually think God requires their work in setting things up. 

The apostles lived in a very corrupt society. Yet no political action was advocated. Paul wrote that Christians were to submit to government.

Rom. 13 1-2 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”…ESV

 It is always a work of God and God alone when true change comes. All will be done according to His will, and in His time. Our work is to go about the business of the Great Commission. It is not a work confined to the worldly affairs of men and the resolution of worldly struggles.

John 18:36 “If my Kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I would not be delivered over to the Jews.”

Knowing the Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error

As we go about in our Christian walk testing the spirits of that which is taught, we can see that the spirit of truth closely lines up with those things that manifest humility, and that the spirit of error is revealed through those things that express pride. Satan knows Scripture vey well, and knows how to quote it. (Luke 4:9-11) (Matt. 4:5-6). I believe this is why we are instructed to test the spirit of everything spoken or written. Words can be spoken by deceivers as part of an overall plan to entrap us, just as Satan tried to tempt Jesus.  But we know that humility was predominant in the character of Jesus, and if we make it part of our character and insist on it in those we listen to, we can be protected from error. There is no more direct way to align oneself to the truth of the will of God as revealed to us in Scripture than for each of us to develop a deep sense of genuine humility.

Andrew Murray had this to say about humility:

“Nothing can be our redemption, but the restoration of the lost humility, the original and only true relation of the creature to its God. And so Jesus came to bring humility back to earth, to make us partakers of it, and by it to save us. In heaven He humbled Himself to become man. The humility we see in Him possessed Him in heaven; it brought Him, He brought it, from there. Here on earth “He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death”; His humility gave His death its value, and so became our redemption. And now the salvation He imparts is nothing less and nothing else than a communication of His own life and death, His own disposition and spirit, His own humility, as the ground and root of His relation to God and His redeeming work. Jesus Christ took the place and fulfilled the destiny of man, as a creature, by His life of perfect humility. His humility is our salvation. His salvation is our humility.”

Meekness and lowliness of heart should be the distinguishing characteristics of true disciples of the Lord, as they were features of the Master. These things do not come of themselves, but must be nurtured through prayer, faith, practice, and service. My prayer is that every church and ministry place humility at the supreme place of importance that belongs to it. I think this is the best way for the church of Christ to prepare for His coming.

…..all blessings in Christ,

JD Ellis

Posted in False Prophecy | 10 Comments

Disaster as judgment for sin: Christian or Hindu belief?

There is a growing trend in the church and especially on the Christian websites today for people to stand up and pronounce each new disaster that appears in the headlines as punishment for the sins of the people who live in that area. Self-styled prophets everywhere are popping up out of the woodwork to proclaim that God has told them that He is waving His hands and directing tsunami, earthquake, and tornado to sinful parts of the world. They also say He tells them which disasters are judgment and which are not. We need to examine whether this holds true to Scripture and applies to the Christian living in today’s world, or if it is a dark doctrine and an unbiblical creed that needs to be rejected.

My Journey of Awakening

A long time ago as a child I was attending Catholic school and dutifully attended church every Sunday. As I grew into my teens, I gradually opened my eyes to the error of what I was being taught, and decided to do whatever it took to find out the true nature of God. Surely what the nuns taught us in grade school wasn’t the whole story about God. When I enrolled in university, after taking some commerce courses and quickly realizing this was not the path I wanted, I chose to major in Asian Studies. This would give me a grounding in what many ancient civilizations had to say about God, and I thought perhaps the truth could be found there. After all, Alan Watts had popularized Zen Buddhism in the Sixties. The Woodstock generation and the Maharishi had made experimentation with conciousness expansion very trendy, so I thought this might be my path to learning about God.

I was taught that Hinduism and Buddhism, two of the large religions in Asia, were based on the law of karma. This law, simply stated, says that wholesome actions result in eventual happiness and security for oneself and others, while unwholesome actions have the opposite result, they result in suffering and loss for oneself and others. Everything was essentially illusion, and the path to God was a path inward, a journey of self-discovery. Hinduism taught that the Creator and the creation were one and the same. During deep trances in Yoga practice, as well as with hallucinogenic drugs, people seemed to be actually feeling this sense of the oneness of the universe. How exhilarating to be taught that I and God were one and the same! This was certainly an interesting concept, and it was understandable why many found it appealing. It meant one was free from any debt to a creator, and that a person was master and commander of his own fate. If one did good works, his  happiness and safety were assured, and if one chose to  sin, surely disaster would strike them.  This was how the universe worked in Hindu theology.

I remember asking my professors about the law of karma. How was it that some of the most gentle and peace-loving people of the world were often the ones hit by major disaster? If there was truly a direct cause and effect relationship between the righteousness of our works and our degree of worldly comfort, success, and safety, why would countries like India and other Asian nations be so poverty stricken and prone to disastrous events, when it was such a large center of Hinduism and Buddhism? They would just smile and shrug their shoulders, but they never really had an answer for me.

I continued with these beliefs for many years, but always with a nagging doubt just beneath the surface. If all was one, then there was no distinction between good and evil. This was unsettling to me. If all karma was the same, good was the same as evil. Then life was reduced to an absurdity. If all was illusion, then how could I trust any concept, including the concept that all was illusion? Surely God could not be trusted, if He was evil as well as good. Adding to my confusion was this whole karma issue. I saw so many corrupt people succeed in life, and so many good people fail and suffer loss, that it was hard to construe how the karmic laws held any real truth, when it was so clear that our degree of virtue did not dictate our station, rank, or physical security in the material world. I continued in this conflict for a great deal of time, always wondering how reality could be so conflicted with itself.

Many years later I finally had a breakthrough moment when the Holy Spirit spoke to me in the heart region, and I awakened to the truth of Jesus Christ and the work done on the cross. Of course! The Creator and the creation are distinct from each other! God is truly good, and evil is a condition of man and the world that must be overcome before abiding with God in heaven. It was not cycles of reincarnation to develop better karma that erased this sin, but the Lord Jesus Christ! One could not escape disaster on this earth by being good and spreading “good vibes” all about. Disaster ocurred to all, sinner and saint, because all were bound by the same physical laws while on earth. A great shroud of darkness was lifted from me. I began to devote much time to the Bible, and threw away my library of New Age books.

One of the first passages I remember reading was from Matthew Chap.7, where it says “Ask, and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”At last I knew, that because I had diligently sought after Him all my life, He was answering my knocking at the door by revealing Himself to me. Even though we sometimes look in all the wrong places, God keeps His word and answers us, simply because we ask to know Him.

I began to understand what Matthew 5:45 meant.“For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” It was not only the “good” people who enjoyed safety and security in this world, and it was not the only the “bad” people who suffered loss and pain. Calamitous events and hardships were natural conditions of the decaying world we live in, and all who live in this world are subject to these conditions. The goal of life was not to conquer difficulty and hardship, but to glorify God and allow Him to use these experiences in our life to shape and mold us to be ready to spend all eternity with Him. I understood immediately that God’s ways were not our ways. What seemed on the surface to be unjust was part of a greater plan, a plan for redemption and eternal life with the Lord, and it was more just and fair than anything we could imagine with our human minds. The apostle Paul put it so well in his letters to the churches that these hardships were nothing compared to the glory to come! Indeed, suffering could be for the glory of God, not something to be escaped by acting “good.”

As the internet became a popular outlet for Christian ministries and broadcasts I found many that were very uplifting and helpful in increasing my knowledge of the Bible and God’s ways. Surely this was a powerful way to fulfill the great commission of sending the good news of the gospel to all corners of the world. But I kept running across some websites that seemed to run contrary to what I thought God had just revealed to me, and the lessons taught in Scripture by Jesus and the apostles. I noticed a common theme that ran throughout some of these Christian internet websites that dismayed me. This was to the effect that those who sin are sent terrible sufferings and hardships in this world by God in retribution for their sins, and that this judgment was played out through the big disasters that struck some nations. I was starting to feel the same sense of conflict I had felt in my study of the Hindu and Buddhist faiths. They were preaching that when we do good, things went smoothly and the seas were always calm, with safety and success assured, even under calamitous situations. But commit sinful acts, and catastrophe would strike.

It seemed that these people believed God was extracting retribution from His flock over the sin issue, even after the monumental sacrifice of His Son on the cross. Since it was pretty clear to me that disasters hit Christians as well as non-Christians, and only a charlatan would try to say there were no believers affected by a large-scale disaster, this made no sense to me. This was passed on as Biblical doctrine, and some even called it “prophetic revelation”, but it clearly didn’t reflect the teachings of Christ. Christ taught that disaster victims were no more sinful than anyone else. (Luke 13:1-5) As I investigated further into this conflict, I began to see the true nature of these beliefs: it was their own human desire that the wicked should come to a terrible end here on earth, and that good people should be spared suffering because of their virtue and right-standing with the Lord. They were teaching that justification of ourselves before God was a process we undertook and completed ourselves, and we were strongly warned to get this process under way before the next disaster came to our town, or we would be swept away along with all the other victims. This was so clearly their will they were stating, not the will of God. I heard the preachers say we needed to clean our slate with God, so we could continue to enjoy a safe, secure life free from calamity and disaster here on earth. They didn’t tell us it was a future glory that we needed to prepare for, and clean our slate for.

These people who called themselves Christian prophets were telling their audience that we can act as judge and jury for God, by declaring this nation or that nation to be suffering because of its sin, when the truth is that it is actually so far out of our sphere of influence to make this determination. I began to ask myself, what is the difference between this teaching and what I was being taught at university about the law of karma? Is this not essentially the same doctrine, that when we are good, we are spared suffering, and when we are sinful, the tornado or tsunami will strike our house? Was this not the same karmic teaching that we are the masters and commanders of our own fate? By “getting right” with God, and somehow washing our own lives of sin, which most Christians know can only be accomplished by the blood of Christ, are we going to open up some kind of portal that will enclose us and our families in a cocoon of safety? But by now I was a whole lot older, and a little bit wiser, and I was determined not to be fooled again by this false creed that had the created usurping the role of the Creator.

Flash forward to today’s world. Disasters striking all about, suffering throughout the world. The thunderous drumbeat of “judgment, judgment, judgment” is echoing louder and louder. For much of the church today, and especially with the internet ministries that seem to be accountable to no one, it is considered incontrovertible fact that those who are hit by disaster have received judgment for their sins. Japan, New Zealand, China, Haiti, New Orleans, in one nation after the other, we are told these people sinned against God, and are receiving their payback for that sin.  Of course, according to their verdicts, the U.S. is the worst sinner, and every twister and storm that appears on the horizon is God lashing out. There is no recognition of geological or meteorlogical occurrances in their world. All is divine retribution, and woe to anyone who questions this. We are seeing the crossover of this same karmic doctrine of the Hindu religion into the church today, all dressed up in Christian terminology, with the word “judgment” substituted for “karma”. 

In 2008, after the China earthquake that killed over 60,000 people, actress Sharon Stone made a statement to the press that the Chinese had it coming to them, for the way they had treated the Tibetans. This was their karma. Of course, there was a great outcry, and she was condemned by leaders from all walks of life, and rightly so. Pointing a finger of human judgment at the actions of a nation right after a huge loss of life can easily be seen for the despicable thing that it is, even by those who are not Christian. Why is it that these internet ministers are given a free pass to do the exact same thing after each new disaster, and everyone shouts “hallelujah, brother” and proclaims them to be such great prophets and men of God? In an attempt to further gain the respect and credibility of their listening audience, they claim God speaks to them after each disaster and confirms that it was His judgment! Even Sharon Stone never went so far as to say God told her those things, and to her credit she apologized later.

The church becomes a news bureau

It is astonishing in today’s Christianity how stridently people defend their prophets. When anyone stands up to say “wait a minute, that’s not what I’m reading in the Bible”, they are quickly shouted down by defenders of the internet oracles, usually with some verse from Old Testament scripture that tells about a judgment God sent against a nation. This is supposed to quash any further discussion of the matter, and stifle any more doubt that these people are really getting their divine judgment bulletins straight from the Lord’s newsdesk. It seems many of these people are wannabe journalists. They missed their real calling, and instead are trying to combine ministering the word of God with news reporting. Indeed, an internet prophet/judgment watchman who has long been based out of Florida has for some time now been receiving donations from listeners to close a deal on a shiny new office complex to house, among other things, a state of the art studio to be used as a 24-hour Christian news broadcast center.* Surely a humble, spirit-led way to invest Christian tithes and offerings. That way we will learn what’s on God’s mind immediately as each new disaster unfolds! Perhaps they can run a scrolling news text at the bottom of the screen to list the sins committed by the victims. ………James 4:6 God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

What the Bible says

Romans 8:1-2:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. ….ESV

The completed work of Christ on the cross has washed away sin and its effects for all believers. The cost on our part is simply to have faith. This work is complete and finished. It is not an ongoing process. No part of this work remains to be done in the future. We who believe in the Son and His work, have been absolved of all condemnation for sin. It does not mean that we are freed from the death of our physical bodies, or suffering in this world. It also does not mean that we don’t still sometimes struggle with sin, or that we don’t need repentance in our lives, and the forgiveness that comes from repentance. We still live under all the rules that apply to a fallen world. What it does mean is that no matter how saintly we become, we will have tribulation in this world. Jesus told this to the apostles, who themselves cheerfully accepted much suffering in their lives.(John 16:33). Did He say that if we righted the sin debt to the Father we would be spared from suffering?

The tsunamis and earthquakes will come, and will strike the homes of Christian believers as well as the homes of non-believers. But the Lord has promised us we are free from condemnation for sin, so we know by simply putting our trust in the word of the Lord, that whatever happens is for our greater good. If we are struck by disaster, or some other accident, that it is not our karma hitting back at us. We can rest assured that it is a part of a greater plan that we cannot at this time fully understand, because God’s ways are far above our ways. We can know that it is something God is working out for our greater good. Romans 8:28 assures us: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good.”

If God really wanted to send death and destruction to all who sin in today’s world, how many people would wake up tomorrow? Because this idea of disaster as payback for the sin of true believers is so problematic when weighed against Scripture, I have felt for a long time that the next logical step for the “judgment prophets” to take, to avoid having to rethink their theology, is to try and convince their listeners that these disasters won’t strike your house if you are right with God. Guess what? This is exactly what some of them are beginning to suggest.

These days many false teachers have a vested interest in keeping in play this idea that every earthquake crushes and every tsunami drowns because God perceives the sin in that region to be more intolerable than the sin in other areas. And what about the thousands of true believers who get caught up in the destruction? Is the same God who once parted the Red Sea to allow safe passage for the Israelites, and then closed it on the pursuing Egyptian soldiers, now unable to step forward and protect His own from the disasters he supposedly sends as judgment today? Is God not just as powerful today as He was in the past? Or are the seers and oracles of the internet not getting the story straight?

Since they have been shouting “judgment” to their listening audience for years, it is unthinkable for them to change course now. They are fully committed to the doctrine that either all or nearly all disaster is sent by the direct hand of God as punishment for sin. Think about it for a moment – when was the last time a major disaster ocurred when these people said it wasn’t judgment, it was just a natural event? They don’t even wait for the cleanup effort to begin before pronouncing each new disaster the work of God. Thankfully more and more Christians are reading their Bibles and questioning how this can be so, or at least asking how anyone could know God’s mind so well as to state for certain it is so with any particular disaster. In fact these soothsayers are getting so worried that their judgment proclaimations are untenable, that they are now embellishing the story. The newest wrinkle in their storyline is to infer that the tornados and tsunamis leave the homes of good, repentant Christians untouched.

On a recent internet broadcast, given by a self-professed internet “watchman” who is not reluctant to refer to himself as a modern-day prophet, I was astounded to hear this:

“Tears are coming to families you may know, tears may visit your household. The judgment is going to go up and down the streets of America; the judgment is going to go up the sidewalks of America, and past the houses. Its going to walk past your house. And when it goes past your house, will it stop and make a visitation at your house? Or will it continue and go on to the next house because you are dwelling in the secret place of God? Because you are totally submitted to God, and you have answered the heart’s cry of God from the Holy Spirit to get your house in order. You have submitted your heart to God. You have cleaned up your house. You have cleaned up your act.” **

Sure, repentance is essential, but teaching repentance from sin with the goal of saving yourself or your life savings from a hurricane or tornado is not part of Christian theology. Repentance is feeling sorry for disobedience to the heavenly Father, and any others who may have been harmed, and making things right when possible. It is a process where we truly feel an abhorrance for our sin. It has nothing to do with being a bargaining chip in a deal with God to get Him to protect our worldly goods or even our physical health.. To state that if you clean up your act and get your house in order the next tornado will change course and leave your house untouched is a false doctrine.

Then the internet preacher went on to mention a person whose house in Alabama was left intact by the tornado that tore through his neighborhood, and quoted him as saying that the only thing that mattered as the tornado passed by, was his hope and faith in God. This is all part of God’s plan that disasters can be used to bring awareness of His mercy to the victims and near-victims. The clash with Biblical truth comes when the prophets strongly imply that these disasters won’t touch you or your family if you simply listen to their broadcasted advice and square up your sin situation with the Lord beforehand, and because of this, you will come out of the next storm unscathed. There is yet another clash with Biblical truth when the prophets claim to have the inside scoop on which disasters were judgment and which were not.

It is atonishing how many Christians today don’t see the error. They say, ” These people are good men of God, they speak the harsh truth that needs to be spoken.” They defend the teaching that Christ’s work is incomplete, and that we still need to clear up the matter of this sin problem, not because we are truly sorry, and are truly repentant and desiring forgiveness, but to be spared from the next disaster. They accept the teaching that, through the strength of their will, along with aligning themselves with the correct prophet or watchman, and “cleaning up their act”, they have the power within themselves to survive worldly calamity and not suffer loss. The “master and commander of our own fate” theory raises its ugly head again, this time all worded nicely for the Christian audience. Contrary to any need to hear this falsity, are we not all called to warn about false teachings so that our brothers in Christ may not stumble?

How can teaching repentance in this manner cause one to stumble? Because it completely turns the concept of repentance upside down, making the goal of repenting a self-serving exercise designed to keep a tighter grip on our sense of safety and security in the physical world. In other words, they imply, if we sin less than our neighbor, our house will be the one still standing, while theirs gets destroyed. Another problem with this distorted teaching is that it instills a corrupt fear of the Lord in our hearts – the wrong kind of fear. The kind of fear that the Bible speaks of is a healthy respect for the Creator of the heavens and earth, not cowering in our closets hoping that through our goodness we have earned enough merit badges in God`s eyes that He will steer the approaching disaster away from our house. 

Helping bring souls to a saving knowledge of the Savior is what God desires, not putting our personal safety and the preservation of our worldly belongings above all other considerations. For me, the road of Christianity is a path that leads us constantly to become more like Jesus, and more obedient to His instructions. I am not aware of any occasion when Jesus taught survival techniques to the disciples, or told them to pray for the safeguarding of their personal property. He taught His followers to sell everything and follow Him, and that the Father in heaven would see to all their worldly needs.

Of course many people think of God after a disaster. This is how even the events we consider so horrible are used for good in God’s overall plan for mankind. Many may even come to accept the Lord after facing a near death situation, or even through losing a loved one. But this is not a license for preachers to state unequivically that every disaster is punishment for sin. If we want this to be an honest look at the evidence, we should not just look at one piece of evidence that appears to support our theory, like the one guy whose house was spared, and thanked God for his deliverance. We need to look at all the evidence. Why should we just interview the ones who escaped the impact of the disaster, and try to play up their escape as an example of how their “cleaning up their act” made the twister veer away from their house? How many homes of true, believing Christians are destroyed in each new disaster? Lets talk to all these actual victims of the disaster and console them, feed them, house them, and try to remind them of the great hope that we as Christians have of a glorious future to come. Victims of these traumatic events don’t need pseudo-prophetic types telling them  “you got what you deserved, because you didn’t clean up your act,” any more than they need Sharon Stone and her kooky karma comments.

I believe it is one of the most insidious heresies of our time that somehow God is overturning the pact made on the cross, and is so incensed at sin in the world that He is reigning disaster down on believers and non-believers alike, in a kind of wanton fury that punishes guilty and innocent alike.  Is God unable to control collateral damage and thus He is unable to protect His own from getting swept away along with the unbelievers? Why should we join in agreement when we hear these things? Should we not recognize this for what it is, a very belittling and diminished view of the sovereign Lord? Do we just shout in approval when we hear God deminished in this way, portrayed as limited in power and helplesss to protect His own?

Earthquakes tsunamis, tornados, hurricanes, all of these are part of this world. Jesus Himself said in John 16:33 “In this world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world.” This meant that while in this world, we are all subject to its laws, but God has prepared a kingdom for us where disaster doesn’t strike, and we will live forever. In no way was Christ telling us we can expect an exemption from the effects of disaster in this world, because we have sinned less than our neighbor, or we have struck a bargain with the Lord to be immunized against the effects of a fallen world. Jesus said to not fear that which can kill only the body, but to fear He who has authority to cast into hell. It is a complete corruption of God’s word to say that if we get our house in order, and straighten out our act, we will be in the house that is still standing after the tornado hits our neighborhood.

Not only do these judgment prophets say these things, they claim to get the information from God Himself, compounding the error. They tell us to flee, while there is still time. But where does one flee to escape God? You will not buy yourself an insurance policy by running to higher ground when the false prophets tell you to. These prophets should consider themselves blessed that the law of karma is not in effect, or they would have quite the karmic debt to pay for all the families they have uprooted with their messages to run from God’s judgment.

Its time to cut the survivalist mentality and get back to the Bible. There may be little time left, and knowing our Scripture in the endtimes is one of our keys to opening heaven’s gate, and helping as many as we can to know the great news of salvation being offered to all. God is delaying the final judgment, so that as many as possible can come to salvation. He is grieved if even one soul is lost. We have work to do ahead. Turn away from those who would steer you off the path. Ask God Himself what He would have you do, and where He would have you go. He invites us to knock on the door. He will answer. He always does.

…………….all blessings in Christ,

JD Ellis

footnotes…………………

*…….Trunews.com

**……Nathan Leal  http://www.watchmanscry.com/audio/Nathan_050311.mp3   @ 43:25 minutes

Posted in False Prophecy | 30 Comments

Is It Judgment or Headline Hunting?

As news broke of a series of terrible tornadoes in and around Alabama on April 27th, I was mentally calculating how long it would take for one of the self-appointed prophets of the internet to announce that this was the handiwork of the Lord. I didn’t have to wait long. By May 3 a “prophetic” podcast* had been posted claiming the disaster to be God’s judgment for the sins of the nation. Fresh off of claiming God sent the Japanese earthquake, in retaliation for the sins of that nation, now they say the Lord has struck again, leaving 337 dead across seven states. Is there any major disaster in modern times that they have not attributed to God? Are there no natural ocurrances that happen anymore in our imperfect and fallen world? Should we just throw all geological and meteorological data out the window, and chalk it all up as judgment for sin?

The oracles of the prophetic internet websites claim to know God’s mind so well that they can read His thoughts. They scan the daily headlines, and within a day or two of disaster they can issue a proclaimation that it is part of His judgment against an “unrighteous” nation, as if there are some “righteous” nations in existence today. In Scripture we are exhorted to “examine everything carefully, and hold fast to that which is good.” We need to consider what Scripture and Jesus Himself said about judgment. We should all take notice and have a close look when someone in the body claims to know the mind of God. We will see how much Scripture has to be discarded to make their claims true.

Is it the mind of God they are actually reading or just newspapers? Is it possible to read the mind of God so accurately that people can just scan a headline and then proceed to post on a Christian website before the body of the church that the tragedy was directed by the Lord as part of His judgment program? This amounts to a claim of receiving special divine revelation, since there is no other way to know what God has done, other than Scripture itself. It is fairly well-established scripturally, although still disputed by some to accomodate their personal agenda, that Scripture is closed, as well as the offices of prophet and apostle, after the laying of the foundation of the church. These roles were necessary for bringing forth the revelation of God and his ultimate revelation in Christ by putting it into the words that God wished to issue. The finished canon represents in all sufficiency the completion of what God has to say to the body of the church. This is not to say that we don’t hear from God today on an individual basis through the Holy Spirit. This is quite different from receiving revelation intended to be passed on to the entire body. We should not rule out that a few in the church today may have what might be loosely called the spirit of prophecy, but we need to greet any claim from someone that he or she is receiving new revelation about God’s judgment with great caution. Even more should we be cautious when that supposed new revelation appears to arrive just after each new tragedy is reported in the headlines.

No one today speaks with the authority of the biblical prophets; no one can say with certainty that a tsunami or tornado or any other disaster is an example of God’s judgment. They want you to believe they know, because it makes for a great, ongoing story line. Death and disaster have always been hot topics, ensuring a regular flow of traffic to their websites. Expenses are minimal, since all they need is a newspaper subscription to ensure a steady supply of events to blame on God.

To say that any of the disasters in the headlines today are specific judgments by God on specific people for specific sins directly contradicts what Jesus said when asked about the disasters of that day. A crowd gathered before Him, and asked Him about the tower collapse that had killed 18 in Siloam, and the deaths of the Galileans, which were big news items at the time. Jesus made a very clear statement that the tragedies did not befall them because their sin was greater than that of anyone else. He reminded them that all who do not repent shall likewise perish. (Lk. 13:4-5) Could it be any clearer that suffering is not proportional to sin? If Jesus Himself said the tragic events were not judgment on the victims, why do these modern day prophets insist on giving their own interpretations of current events? Disasters are not to be construed automatically as judgment from God, for as Jesus said they are often warnings of a future judgment coming to all. The Great Tribulation spoken of in Revelation tells of a time coming in the future when God’s judgment will be upon all the land, and it will be punishment for the sin of humanity. A disaster can be a great call to all of us to get our house in order and be ready to face eternity.

The earthquakes we are seeing now are not new. They have been happening for a long time. We have just gotten better technology for recording these events than ever before. These are not necessarily the earthquakes associated with the coming tribulation, when we know with certainty that it will be judgment for sin. The current earthquakes are nothing compared to the earthquakes that will rock Jerusalem in the last days. (Rev. 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19; 16:18). We are told there “will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Mt. 24:7b-8). Whether you believe we are entering the Endtimes now, or that they are still well off in the future, we need to live as if today was our last day. We need to keep our lamps filled with oil, not because a tornado might strike our home, but because the Lord is coming. We must be watching at all times, for we know not the day or the hour.

As long as we live under the curse of sin caused by the fall of Adam, we will have disasters.  God devised a plan to rescue us by sending the Son to die for our sins. Those who accept the rescue plan can enter into God’s new creation where there will be no disasters because there will be no sin. The curse will have been lifted. Only the second coming of Christ will restore earth to the “good” condition that existed before the fall, spoken of in the Genesis 1 account of the creation of the earth. This will all be set in motion when Jesus sets foot on the Mount of Olives on that glorious day we all await.

Instead of calling each new disaster a judgment against the sin of the people who live there, which is negative and presumptuous on our part, we can look at them for what they really are: opportunities for expanding the Kingdom of God. Even through they bring death and distruction, people often turn to God in troubled times. They are a time during which many souls can be won for Christ by teaching the Gospel. So we see that as well as being a result of the curse of the sin of humanity, disasters also express God’s patience, as he delays the final judgment for as many as possible to turn to Him and accept the rescue plan.

Disasters also provide a chance for us to practice true Christianity by helping those who need food, shelter, and the necessities of life in their distress. The Christian response should be so much more than what we see from the internet prophetic ministers. They think their calling in the church is just to sit at their desks and warn about the horrific plans God is executing on countries they claim are “wicked”, and deserving of God’s punishment. Those who really reflect the love of Christ are unconcerned about pointing the finger of blame or judging any nation’s sin, and are actively helping the relief efforts, donating supplies. opening their homes, and sharing their faith with others.

Far from following the pattern of the Biblical prophets, the so-called modern day prophets are a different breed entirely. One thing we see about biblical prophecy is that disasters were foretold by the prophet of the day, because it was always God’s intention that the people would turn from their sin and thus avoid the destruction. The Great Flood was foretold 120 years in advance. Jonah was sent to warn the people of Nineveh to repent or be destroyed. There are many other examples of the prophet being sent by God to warn before the event took place. Has God changed His position on giving warnings in advance? Were the internet prophets issuing warnings before these disasters occurred? Or instead are they only invoking God’s name after the fact? A prophet has to speak from the past into the future, not from the present into the past.

God wants to make all believers like Jesus Christ, and share His character. Everything that happens, including disasters, has this purpose. Romans 8:28 says: “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him.” By coming to see that God has planned all things in His divine wisdom, and that every part of His plan works for good and not evil, we can raise ourselves far above the petty, angry God portrayed by those who rush to judge every tragedy as direct judgment against the victims.  We can take the blinders of delusion off, and see God for how great He truly is. These people and their haughty proclaimations are a stumbling block to those who have not yet made the decision for Christ, because their false prophetic utterances paint such a dark portrait of our faith and they make our God seem untrustworthy.

Yes, God is ultimately in control, but He does not take away freedom of choice. For a short time on this earth He is allowing Satan’s sin experiment to play out. The great deceiver wants us to think that God is revengeful and vindictive. Satan hopes that all disaster and tragedy that has been brought to the world since he tricked Adam in the Garden will be blamed on God. People like these false teachers of the internet further this agenda, and the end result is that people get a very distorted view of the nature of God.

The false teachers actually have a purpose, as they fulfill 2Thess.2:10-11 which speaks of the delusion God sends because people are not lovers of the truth. We are still called to point out who the false prophets are and help others to avoid their clutches. This would mean it is incumbent on all of us to know, uphold, proclaim and live the truth. It is not for man to grade and rank the sin of the nations of the world and decide which ones are being judged by God. When we know God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we need not fear disaster or distress. We can free ourselves from the cycle of worry and tension over each new tragedy in the news. If every Christian just trusted God and refused to be fearful, nobody would listen to the false teachers and they would go out of business. Does it matter if we die in a disaster, or any other cause, when we know the Lord is on the throne of the universe, lovingly preparing us for all eternity?

blessings in Christ……………..JD Ellis

footnotes…….*http://survive2thrive.gsradio.net:8080/050311.mp3

Posted in False Prophecy | 3 Comments

Disaster and the False Teachers

There’s nothing that whets the appetite of an internet prophet/watchman more than natural disaster. The catastrophic events in Japan are providing the self-appointed watchmen with more fodder to pass on to their listeners as “proof” that God’s hand of judgment is upon the land because of unrepentance for sin. What began as a problem for Japan will become judgment for us, they say, as the “radiation clouds” pass over the U.S. and fall as rain on our crops, contaminating our food supply. We will import cars and car parts from Japan that are “radiated.” The list goes on of these completely unscientific, or at least very worst-case scenarios.

You can hear the obvious excitement in their voices when they discuss it. Each new disaster will be the “Big One”, that will prove beyond doubt they are truly modern-day prophets of God, and for the good of our selves and our families, we should listen to and support their ministries, so they’ll keep us informed about how to escape the effects of the “judgment.” Reliance on God’s word alone is not something they actively encourage.

A popular U.S.-based prophetic web site Watchman’s Cry had this advice for Americans in the days after the Japan quake, as he spoke about the possibility of radiation clouds passing over our country:

Get duct tape and polyplastic at least 6 mil. thick, and line your windows with the duct tape and plastic so that drafts cannot get in. ………………Folks, there’s some “prophetic teeth” to this program. This is not just some crazy person ranting. I spend a lot of time in prayer with God.”*

Whether the Japan quake is God’s judgment or not only the Lord knows for certain, but we can be assured that either way, no amount of duct tape and plastic is going to be anyone’s salvation, no matter how much time our favorite watchman spends in prayer. The internet prophets have now branched out into the field of “survivalist counsellors.” They teach us that our skills in physical survival in the material world is what God is going to really grade us on. Sure, we should all know first aid, and have food and provisions and water stored away for disasters, that is just common sense, but should we replace the Bibles on our night tables with survival manuals? Jesus says in Matt. 10:28-29 :

“Do not fear those who kill the body and cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father.” …ESV

Jesus was telling us about the big picture. Where we spend eternity is much more important than whether we can find a bunker or a cave in the mountains to hide out in. If God is truly sending his judgment upon us in the form of weather related events, which is actually impossible to determine without divine revelation, then what small minds these people have to tell us we can outwit the judgment by using the clever methods they recommend. Because we have moved our family to an “earthquake safe” zone, or we have sold our shoreline property and relocated to the plains or mountains, or we have taken our potassium iodine pills, or we have sealed our house with duct tape and plastic, should we haughtily think we have outwitted or outraced true judgment from God and escaped by our own wiles and devices?

Paul had a lot to say about sin and judgment in the book of Romans. When we are tempted to think we have escaped judgment because we are more righteous or more clever than those poor souls who died in the disaster, heed the words of Chapter 2 verses 1-3 where he states:

You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself,  for you who judge others do these very same things. And we know that God, in His justice, will punish anyone who does such things. Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God’s judgment when you do the same things? Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that His kindness is intended to turn you away from your sin?……..Romans 2: 1-3 (NLV)

Do not think that because the disaster fell on our neighbor, and passed by us, that it is an endorsement from the heavens that our sins are less egregious in God’s eyes, and that we survived by listening to the clever watchman and his wisdom. The Bible tells us of a time coming when all deeds will be judged, and everything will be brought out in the light of day. No one can escape that day of judgment. The wicked shall be punished, but in God’s due time, not when we make a list of who we think should be judged, and pronounce that the judgment is happening now, because we declare it to be so.  God must judge; as a God of justice, it is an essential characteristic. However, there is a kind of “holy reluctance” on the part of the Father and the Son to judge. Acts 17:31 tells us about how God has placed final judgment in Jesus’ hands, for a day that is fixed in the future, to give every person a chance to turn from evil and accept the Word of the Son of man:

 “because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

It is stated again in John 5:22-23:

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Verse 24 : Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my Word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is here now, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” Verses 26 and 27 : For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son to also have life in himself. And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man.”  

Acts 10:42 affirms again that Jesus will be the judge:

“And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.”

Romans 2:16

“On that day when, according to my  gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ.

And in Romans 14:9-10

 “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.”

 And yet another direct admonishment against our presuming a physical event to be punishment from God:

It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.” 1 Cor. 4:5

The God of love, grace, mercy and wisdom has relegated His final judgment to Jesus, after His second coming, and that judgment will be according to His Word, no matter how much the prophets of the internet insist every hurricane, earthquake, and oil spill is judgment for sin.  

 The idea that all disaster is sent directly from the hand of God because of sin was very much in play during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The devastation was promptly determined by the all-knowing watchmen and prophets to be God’s judgment against the people of that area. Among the reasons given was rampant homosexuality in New Orleans. If you recall, there was a large homosexual convention and celebration scheduled to begin August 31 in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and the “watchmen” were telling us the hurricane was a move of God in judgment against the homosexuals because of their planned celebration. But the French Quarter was one of the few areas that was spared from any damage. All the bars in that area remained open for business. And most of the people who were coming to celebrate the event had not yet arrived in the city when the hurricane hit. Did God not foresee these things? Did God not know that most of the suffering would be among the poor, the frail and infirm, and those with children? The middle and upper class citizens had the means to evacuate. The people that were most affected by the disaster were the poorest, most marginalized people in the region who live in the 9th ward. Clearly the internet prophets need to seriously rethink their theology of judgment.

Likewise in the tragedy in Haiti last year the “computer prophets” were rushing to their microphones to declare the disaster to be punishment for the island nation’s traditional practice of voodoo. Voodoo was actually brought to the island from Africa hundreds of years ago, but that technicality doesn’t stop the prophets from spinning their yarns. 

A pattern they always follow is to feed off the emotions of the early newsfeeds coming out of an event, and extrapolating the worst possible scenarios from the early reports. We saw this last year, with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf. When things were at the darkest point, around mid June 2010, before the successful capping of the well, they were talking about God unleashing all kinds of environmental plagues on the hapless citizens of the Gulf Coast. One self-styled internet “watchman” Nathan Leal emotionally issued the following statements at the height of the Gulf Oil spill crisis last year:

Over the past several weeks, America has been visited by an event that will be one of the most destructive ecological catastrophes in modern history. It is going to shatter records! Over the last few weeks as I have researched and prepared for the message, I have found myself trembling. As I sought God in prayer, I asked Him for insight about this oil catastrophe. I have cried out to Him and asked Him to have mercy on the participants of this disaster.

The chain of events that led to this catastrophe go much further (than a failure in technology)…..they go into a different realm; A spiritual realm where a Holy God exists and is now unhappy with the works of men.

What we are now witnessing (in the Gulf) 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 (because of the Gulf spill)! Think Katrina times 100!!**

God told him He is now unhappy with the works of men.  He speaks as if God has just recently started to get upset with the actions of men, and He is choosing parts of the world to strike out against, while sparing other regions (presumably because they are less displeasing to Him?) He claimed God told him there would be famine in the land, riots, and the collapse of the economy because of the Gulf oil spill. Not only was he presumptuous about it being judgment from God, but most of the events he spoke about never even took place!

If we want to go beyond this belittling view of the nature of God, we need to understand a little about our fallen nature. Paul, the apostle, reminds us of this fallen nature in Romans :8:20-22 (NIV):      

 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
        21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.
        22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

The Bible tells us that since the original sin in the Garden of Eden, this earth has been in “bondage to decay.” All of creation has been “groaning as in the pains of childbirth.” This decay was not part of the original plan for the human race, but became our destiny as a result of the fall. The fall of Adam is the fall of the human race. Rather than being a new phenomenon, disasters have always been with us. It is clear from the Bible that our nature is fallen, and we live in a fallen world. The birthpains the world goes through were ordained after the fall of man.  All of these events we are witnessing and will be witnessing as we go through the endtimes are detailed in the Scriptures, from Genesis to Daniel in the O.T., and the gospels and the letters of Paul, and the book of Revelation in the N.T. Scripture is now closed. We need only to follow the path laid out for us in God’s word. We are not receiving any new divine revelation from the watchmen, in spite of how they insist we need their interpretations of God’s will and intent for us in order to survive. 

The gospel implores us to go far beyond the “hunker down and survive” mentality that these prophets/survivalists are dishing out. The cornerstone of Christianity is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, which paid in full the sin penalty we have incurred. What this means to the Christian is that we no longer have to fear death. Why should we plod through life with a survival mentality? We have to decide what is more important to us: to play our role in fulfilling the Great Commission God gave us, with all the glorious promises that come with it, or listen to the gloomy messages that tell us the work of Christ on the cross is incomplete and insufficient, and that we have many works to perform before we are justified before God. We can choose to cower in fear from the next storm to hit, or boldly go forth and proclaim that the Son has set us free and we can claim that freedom now, no matter which way the wind blows. Our Savior is coming soon. The survival of our physical bodies is not the focus for those who understand that we will soon be receiving our new eternal bodies. The word we should be spreading is glorious news. Any non-Christian listening to the watchmen broadcasts would think our faith is based on fear, and our God is not to be trusted.

Far from the God of infinite justice that we know Him to be, we let these false prophets portray the Creator as petty and small, leaving guilty and innocent in a wake of death and destruction. Do the internet fear-mongers out there think that their hateful and prejudiced and biased accusations about God sending horrific disasters indiscriminately across the earth, will make it more likely people will turn to God and accept Jesus? On the contrary, many will see what hypocrites they are, and turn from the Lord. Their ministries are not saving ministries. They end up with a deficit account in the business of winning souls for Christ.

Certainly God has sent disaster as punishment for sin in the past. In Amos 4:6-13, the story is told of how God sent successive disasters and plagues to Israel to get them to repent of their sins. The Great Flood, and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, are classic examples where the people received judgment for their sin. There are examples in the New Testament as well, of sin resulting in punishment being issued. In Acts 5: 1-11, we see the story of Ananias and Saphira who met death for lying about the amount of money they gave to the communal offering. We know these were judgments because we hold Scripture to be the inerrant word of the Lord. In no way is it our preogative to stray from Scripture and arbitrarily decide for ourselves which events are from the direct hand of God. Only direct revelation from God Himself can conclusively link a set of sins to a disaster. Without divine revelation from the Lord to tell us, we are just imposing our own will upon God. We are telling God who we think should be punished, and how that punishment should be executed. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were friends of Job who were convinced that disaster had befallen Job because of unconfessed sin. The Lord severely rebuked the three of them for speaking wrongly and presumptuously claiming it to be punishment for sin.  (Job 42:7-9) We would do well to learn from their mistake.

In John 9:1-3, the disciples walking with Jesus passed by a man who was blind from birth. The disciples assumed that his blindness was a punishment for sin, and asked Jesus: “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus responded “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  Jesus was teaching that God, in His mysterious and wise providence, sometimes allows His children to go through suffering and hardship so that they can experience God’s mercy and power in delivering them. Often after tragedy strikes and results in widespread death and destruction, many people turn to God for answers, whereas in times of peace, God tends to be given only a passing notice by many who are completely engrossed with the affairs of the world.

In Luke 13, Jesus was asked if the fate of the Galileans, who were killed by Pilate and had their blood mixed with the sacrificial offerings. was a result of their sin. Jesus responded:

“Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” 

Jesus reminds the crowd, who confidently believed they were “not judged”, and still under “God’s covering of protection”, that the victims were truly victims, and no more guilty than anyone else. He thus dismantles their own false sense of security. Jesus goes on to tell a parable of a fig tree that has not borne fruit for three years. Instead of being cut down, it is given another year to bear fruit. Thus he challenged directly their assumption that there is automatically an instant and immediate correlation between sin and punishment. Jesus had to shut down the belief that their own health and long life meant God’s approval, and that a tragic untimely death meant God’s disapproval. The point is that it is dangerous thinking to equate a disastrous event with a city or region being in a state of sin. What about all the cities and countries that have not been hit by disaster? Are they sinning less, or is their sin of a lesser nature in God’s eyes? The Bible tells us all sin is equal in God’s eyes. God does not grade on the curve. The sin of one nation or city is not more acceptable to God than the sin of Japan, or New Zealand, or New Orleans, or any other place the watchman insists is under God’s judgment.

Judgmental “gloom and doomers” think that God wants to kill off certain people in certain areas because their sin is more obvious to you, and to them, than their very own sins. They come across with this “I told you those people were going to get it” attitude in judging the deaths in disasters to be punishment for sin. They try to gloss over the fact that many disaster deaths involve the elderly, children, and the disadvantaged in society. Also we must consider that disaster kills believers and non-believers alike in one swoop. The tidal waves we see these days do not part to allow safe passage for the Christians in its wake, like the Red Sea parted in the time of Moses. It is hard to reconcile why the Christian who is living under grace for believing in the work of the Son on the cross at Calvary would suddenly be killed as punishment for sin. God’s ways are not our ways, and we must accept that there are mysteries we cannot fully explain with our logical minds. What is clear from Scripture, is that it is a serious mistake to claim that every disaster is sent by God to strike out against sinners.  Matt. 5:45 tells us:

“for He makes His sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” 

God does not steer weather-related events in the path of those we judge as having “greater sin” than ourselves and others. Natural upheavals in the earth’s crust, and storms have always been taking place on this earth. There are now more people in the path of these events, so death tolls are higher.

Much of the death toll in natural disasters is human related. Poor planning, and cutbacks in expenditure on infrastructure were very evident in the aftermath of Katrina. Warnings went unheeded for years that the levees in New Orleans would not hold up to a big storm. Large concentrations of population live in areas vulnerable to weather and geological events. Lack of appropriate levels of government spending on disaster preparedness contributes to the death toll in such events as these. The huge oil spill in the Gulf last year was the result of technicological failures and misapplication of oil well technology, but don’t tell any of this to the watchman. He will insist that God is directly at the controls of every earthquake, tsunami, and oil spill. They do not accept that any disaster could be the direct result of human failure, or the geological and spiritual nature of the earth itself. While it is certainly true that God remains in total control at all times, we must accept the consequences of our own actions and inactions. If we populate cities along major earthquake fault lines, eventually plate tectonics will come into play, and a seismic event that could have killed very few will result in widespread disaster.

The Biblical role of the Watchman was that he was a prophet who was sent out to an area or region to bring a warning from God that unless the people there repented and turned away from their evil ways, there would be a great destruction sent their way. Jonah was a watchman ordered by God to go to Nineveh and warn the people that they had 40 days to turn away from their evil, or the city would be destroyed. The Ninevites did repent, and the city was spared from disaster. True watchmen of God were always sent out to warn about an event before it happened, because God’s intent was for the people to repent and thus be saved. Their message was from God Himself; it was never a personal message from the workings of their own minds.

If the watchmen are right when they tell us they know with divine certainty that disasters such as the ones in New Zealand and Japan, and before those, in Haiti, New Orleans, and numerous other areas, were indeed directed by the hand of God as punishment for the sins of the people in these areas, then as true watchmen of the Lord they should have been issuing specific warnings to the residents of these areas well in advance of each event so that lives could have been spared. Failure to issue the warnings to the residents, the Bible tells us in Ezekiel 3:16-19, would mean the blood of all the victims is on their hands.

“But wait a minute”, you say,” how could they have known in advance? They are just humans!” They are humans claiming to have exclusive access to the throne room of God, when clearly this is not the case. They set themselves up as spokesmen for God, and tell you that you need them in order to truly hear what God is saying. On top they collect your money for doing it. This apostasy will greatly increase as we go further into the endtimes, and to have any chance of enduring the race to the end, as Paul said, we will have to disconnect from false teachers and put our eyes solely on the Lord.

Almost lost in all the murk and gloom of their judgmental pronouncements is the fact that true, biblical watchman were also assigned to proclaim the good news about salvation.  In Isaiah we learn about the joyous message watchmen have been assigned to deliver:

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ Your watchmen shall lift up their voices, with their voices they shall sing together; for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord brings back Zion.

“Break forth into joy, sing together, you waste places of Jerusalem! For the Lord has comforted His people, He has redeemed Jerusalem. The Lord has made bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God” (Isaiah 52:7-10).

The Biblical watchman would bring “good news, glad tidings of good things, singing, breaking forth into joy!” Does this sound like the merchants of doom that pass as watchmen today? True prophets and watchmen, if there are any among us today, would be able to see the big picture of the Kingdom of God and its application to us in the world today. They are godly people who are given unique vision. Rather than break our spirit, they would lift us up in joy with the thought of how soon will be the coming of His Kingdom, and how salvation will be offered not just to Israel, but also to all nations.

And when their supposedly Holy Spirit-led pronouncements about this new disaster to hit Japan, like the ones concerning the Gulf, and the many ones before that, do not prove to be founded on truth, will we get a full apology and retraction from them? Will they agree to stop speaking on behalf of the Lord? Don’t count on it. They are convinced we all have poor memories, and also that we desperately need to hear their pronouncements on each new event as it unfolds. Stay tuned for the next disaster. My guess is they won’t be telling us to rest in the assurances of an all-loving God and His promises to us.

Genesis 6:5-6 tells us : “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that he had made man on the earth.” The next time someone asks us how as Christians we can reconcile the fact that God allows terrible disaster to strike parts of the world, perhaps we should ask them to rephrase the question. Shouldn’t the question really be how a righteous and totally sovereign God, knowing the wickedness and evil in the hearts of men, has the mercy and forbearance to refrain from delivering the full force of His wrath upon the entire world all at once? Should we not really be asking: “Why, oh why, Lord, does your judgment tarry?” Instead, we judge God based upon our agenda of how well He carries out our plans for the world.

Don’t give in to fear and trepidation. Christians will die in future catastrophes that will come upon this earth, we are not exempted. But we are called to serve, and to be ambassadors of Christ while here, until we become citizens in another realm. We need to hold fast to the word of God. Disregard all the jabber and distraction that arises after each new event. What the victims need is prayer and a helping hand, not the condemnation of their fellow men.

all blessings in Christ…………………………….JD Ellis

All Bible quotes from ESV unless otherwise noted.

footnotes………..

http://watchmanscry.com/audio/broadcast_161.mp3

** http://watchmanscry.com/article_Oil_Spill_in_the_Gulf%20.html

Posted in False Prophecy | 15 Comments

The endtime cult of Fear

Some of the most ardent and strident merchants of fear in society these days are not who you would expect. They are the “watchmen” of the internet, those prophetic types who fancy themselves in the Biblical role of the watchman on the wall.  They constantly beat the drums about how God’s judgment is upon the land, and catastrophe is always just around the corner. They fuse their own doctrines with scripture to captivate and hold hostage the attention of undiscerning Christians. They imply that the only way to respond to the unfolding global crises is to stay tuned to their broadcasts because they alone have the ‘revelation’ about what’s next to come. They alone have opened up this channel of communication with the Holy Spirit, through acts of their own righteousness, and that channel is not available to the rest of us mere fleshly mortals. Some seem to have this running conversation going on with the Holy Spirit, who always seems to give the next piece of revelation to them just in time to fit their broadcast schedules, and always it seems to relate to something in the current news. In their world it seems that the Holy Spirit is entirely focused on current affairs.

It is fear of the unknown that some of these endtime preachers capitalize on. They tell you they have the source of information you require for survival. They prey on man’s desire to know the future. Pretty soon you have one man, and his teachings, leading many followers down his particular path of political and survival ethics. These groups are fueled by paranoia, not faith in the Lord.

They use current affairs to project future events. Sensationalism is always added to the mix of today’s headlines, and the result is a potent brew of fear. During last year’s Gulf Oil Spill crisis, there were the following headlines on a prominent watchman’s website:……”Gulf Spill Syndrome – The New Plague!” ……..”Prepare to see the Poisoning of the Water!……Gulf Oil Spill is God’s judgment!……Their broadcasts were trumpeting the danger of the “huge methane gas bubble” that they claimed the Holy Spirit told them had formed under the surface and was liable to explode at any moment and take out much of the Gulf shoreline. I think what we know now indicates that it was probably human error that caused the Gulf spill, but of course they turn everything that happens into an example of God’s judgment on America. They use whatever crisis is in the news at the time to stir up the fear. Of course, when that crisis eases, they simply move on to the next one. They piggyback on the news of the day to show how fearful we should all be. They call it “righteous fear of the Lord“.  The watchman at this website proudly declares he is a fear-monger, and says it is doing God’s work to spread the fear, but is this true?

Many of the events happening around the world clearly point to the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are told about this in Matthew 24. Of course as Christians we need to be aware of these events. It is not a matter of putting our heads in the sand and being blissfully unaware, but it is a matter of responding to crisis in the way the Lord taught us. Looking carefully at the Bible, we see that the Lord is very much against fear-mongering. When the great storm came when Jesus and the apostles were on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus first dealt with the issue of fear:  (Matt. 14:27)  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.  Then Peter walked upon the water to meet Jesus on faith, but sank when the fear of the reality of the situation overcame him. Jesus strongly rebuked him for his fear and doubt. The fear of the reality of today’s troubles is what will cause us to sink, when that fear becomes stronger than our faith in Jesus to overcome all danger. 

The fears we have of coming events can only be overcome through placing all of our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Nothing is too great for the Lord to help us through. No amount of listening to watchmen proclaim the doom can give us peace. They put stumbling blocks in our path so that we do not fully trust in who He is. We know from Scripture that worse economic times are on the way, with global wars, earthquakes, etc. All these things increase in intensity as the coming of our Lord nears. This does not mean that the Lord does not care about these things that we have to endure, but it is with grace and faith that we must endure. We will endure with a living hope in Jesus Christ that regardless of what we have to go through He will see us to the shore safely.

Giving ourselves over to the spirit of fear means we do not trust that the Lord is enough to see us through. People who proclaim that fear should be in our hearts are conditioning all of us to doubt God’s sovereignty. Rather than holding our heads and becoming paralyzed in fear and hopeless in despair, we should feel an urgent call to cheerfully fulfill our assignment to go and spread the good news of the gospel everywhere, as we await the glorious return of the Savior of mankind. Why should we bow to fear as our master? Why should we put our time and resources in something that has no reward, here or in heaven, like these doom and gloom ministries?

Revelation 21:8
 “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Here we see from the Bible how harmful it is to live our lives in fear. The fearful will be cast into the lake of fire. That’s how serious it is, for us to say “God is not enough. I need to listen to these people, they will tell me what to do.”  God is in control, and He is more than enough, without the fearsome words of men. The type of fear of the Lord that the Bible talks about is a reverent humility before our Maker and Redeemer.  Prov. 1:7 – “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”;……..This is not the same thing as fearing that God is causing an oil spill, or destroying our economy. That is twisting Scripture to meet the needs of the prophet.

Matthew 10:28
 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Hebrews 13:6
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

We must not be afraid to die for our faith. Do not fear the NWO, and the orchestrated world economic crisis, these are the works of men. Do not believe the lie that everything that happens is because God’s hand of judgment is on the land. We reap the crop that we have sowed. Much that is unfolding is the result of not sowing righteously. And how should we respond? Turning away from God’s protection and heeding the words of man is the worst response we can give.  Christ’s teaching about events in the last days in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 2 is about hope, redemption, and victory. Does this sound like the message we are hearing from these internet ministers?

 1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Isaiah 12:2

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust, and not be afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

 

May God bless and keep you……………………………JD Ellis

Posted in False Prophecy | 36 Comments