As we approach the end of a millenium
Distinguishing false prophets from true prophets of God (Jul 99)
1. A number of well known religious leaders have been "making a lot of hay" lately with their predictions of "the coming of an Antichrist", a very bloody war erupting in the Middle East, a supernatural intervention by Jesus Christ to vanquish that Antichrist, and what some even refer to as "the end of the world" followed by a mystical existence where "true believers" will "be with Christ in the air" in their "glorified bodies." Actually, there is nothing new about such predictions. Many religious leaders in the past have spouted similar supernatural predictions, and as far as I know, none of their supernatural predictions has ever come true. Nevertheless, they seem to be able to attract considerable financial support by peddling such predictions and promises. The fact that we are approaching the end of a millenium has intensified that effect.
2. For the most part, such people teach the Levite doctrine that the criterion for distinguishing between a false prophet and true prophet of God is to examine whether or not their prophecies or predictions came true (Deuteronomy 18:22) Jesus Christ, on the other hand, taught that the way to make such distinctions is to observe whether or not they are following God's will [i.e. following God's two must fundamental commandments as summarized by Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40] and to examine the "fruits" of their teachings accordingly (Matthew 7:20-21). It'll be interesting to compare those religious leaders' prophetic predictions with what actually happens over the next two or three years. I suspect that by then, many of them will have proven themselves to be false prophets, even according to that Levite criterion which they claim to believe in. Their prophetic predictions have been amply documented in their literature, videos, TV broadcasts, web sites, etc.
3. According to astronomers, we have some natural events coming up which should bring joy to the hearts of our nation's purveyors of supernatural prophecy. On the evening of 11 Aug 99 (especially after midnight during the early hours of 12 Aug 99) our world will experience a "meteor shower" (1 to 3 meteors per minute). Later this year, sometime around 17 Nov 99, our world will experience a "meteor storm" (up to 60 meteors per minute) that will appear to radiate in all directions from a single point in the sky. We can also expect to see several instances of Aurora Borealis ("Northern Lights"), because the sun is approaching a time in its eleven-year cycle of sun spot activity that is likely to produce such effects. Of course in this age we don't normally view astronomers as being "prophets of God", because we know that there is nothing "supernatural" about such events or about the ability of astronomers to predict when they will occur. But in ancient times, such events were often viewed as being "supernatural acts of God" and those who figured out how to predict such events were often viewed as being "prophets."
4. Perhaps the point in history that came the closest to resembling the apocalyptic prophecies in the Old and New Testaments was the situation in Judea from 66 to 70 AD. That was when a group of "zealots" in Judea decided to rebel against Roman rule in order to attain Jewish "national sovereignty." It was around that time that Mt. Vesuvius erupted which not only buried Pompeii, it also blew so much dust into the upper atmosphere that in Europe and the Middle East the sun itself appeared darkened and the moon appeared to be red like blood (Isaiah 13:10, Ezekiel 32:7, Joel 2:31, Revelation 6:12). That rebellion by the zealots led directly to the sacking of Jerusalem and the leveling of Herod's Temple. That in turn triggered the demise of the Hebrew age of religious animal sacrificing and forced the Jews who survived to redefine what it meant to be a Jew.
5. Another point in history that came pretty close to resembling the apocalyptic prophecies of the Old and New Testaments was World War II. Adolph Hitler certainly fulfilled the role an "Antichrist" (while claiming to represent God), and the Allies' use of fire storms and atomic bombs appeared to fulfill some other biblical prophecies (Zechariah 14:12, II Peter 3:10). Furthermore, perhaps of even greater prophetic significance, America rejected the "one-world Wilkie" movement and opted instead to create a global pseudo-government (the United Nations) which in reality was designed more to enshrine and glorify the national sovereignty system (as in Revelation 16:10) than to actually control its ravages on mankind. Though well intentioned, the United Nations was never given the powers or authority needed to successfully fulfill its stated purposes; so in effect, it was founded on assumptions and predictions that have proven to be false prophesies (according to the Levites' criterion) Even so, in spite of their limited authority and relatively small budgets, over the past 50 years the staff and volunteers who work for the United Nations have helped to save at least a hundred millions human lives and done many other Godly things as well. So their efforts can hardly be considered wasteful or inherently evil as some of our religious leaders have mistakenly alleged. The UN's shortcomings are a result of its design, not of its will.
6. Along with the establishment of a the state of Israel in 1947, some very real (not supernatural) events have also taken place which have been fulfilling various Old and New Testament prophecies. The establishment of the state of Israel was in many respects the result of some self-fulfilling prophecies, but the establishment of an organization like the United Nations was predictable in ancient times because it represented a logical step in the progression of human civilization toward the establishment of a true world government. The ability of those ancient authors to predict such developments was not necessarily based on "supernatural revelations." They may have been simply following God's Holy Spirit and thereby gaining insights regarding the kinds of things that would need to occur in order enable mankind to better fulfill God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves.
7. One of those ancient authors actually poked fun at the Levites' criterion for distinguishing between true and false prophets. In chapter 28 of 1st Samuel, he (or she) describes how the Israelite King Saul disguised himself and went out to seek advice about an upcoming battle from the recently deceased Samuel through the services of a woman known as the Witch of En Dor. That so-called "witch" saw right through King Saul's attempted disguise and somehow convinced him that she should could see Samuel's spirit rise out of the earth and respond to his questions. Right away this raises some interesting questions:
a. Why didn't King Saul go to his Levite priests to inquire about the outcome of the upcoming battle? Was it because the had no confidence in their prophetic abilities? Was it because the only one he trusted was Samuel who had died, and because the Levite priests would have refused to raise a spirit from the dead?
b. And if Samuel was a true prophet of God, then why did his spirit rise up from the earth rather than descend from Heaven? Ouch! This kind of shows what that author thought of Samuel. This was one of those authors who recognized the allegorical scheme established by the authors of Genesis in which the "earth" symbolizes mankind's perceptions of popular truths (rather than the will of God).
8. So when King Saul asked the spirit of Samuel about the outcome of the upcoming battle, the spirit (through the mouth of Ms En Dor?) told him that because he had failed to carry out Samuel's order to totally eradicate the Amalekites [which helps explain why Samuel's spirit didn't descend from Heaven in this story], Saul's forces would be utterly defeated by the Philistines, he and his sons would be killed, and David would replace him as King (which is precisely what happened). Notwithstanding the fact that under those particular circumstances, King Saul's impending defeat may have been readily apparent to just about everyone and the fact that David was the "front-runner" to replace him, did the fact that these predictions came true mean that the Witch of En Dor was a true prophet of God? Keep in mind that the Levite priests been teaching that "you shall not permit a witch to live" (Exodus 22:18), evidently because they viewed witches as a form of religious competition. Moreover, King Saul had been actively enforcing that edict. And yet here we are told about a forbidden person who performed a forbidden service that produced an answer that King Saul was quite unhappy to hear which nevertheless came true. What does this say about the Levite criterion for distinguishing between true prophets and false prophets?
9. Then to "add frosting to the cake", so to speak, the author describes how, on her own initiative, Ms En Dor slaughtered one of her fatted calves to feed the exhausted and doomed King Saul, a gesture which indicated more than her prophecy did that she was indeed a servant of God (Matthew 25:32-46).
10. So in a rather subtle way, the author of this portion of 1st Samuel was making essentially the same point that Jesus repeatedly made concerning how to distinguish between false prophets and true prophets of God. There is no need to wait until some future time (years? decades?, centuries?) in order to make such distinctions. As Jesus Christ taught, God's criteria for making such distinctions are His two most fundamental commandments as he summarized in:
Matthew 22:37-40 (NKJ)
" 'You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
11. Do the teachings of America's purveyors of supernatural prophecy conform with these two commandments or not? In many cases, one can see immediately that the answer to that question is NO!
Check it out for yourself!
a. Are they promoting the worship of national flags (the deadliest form of idolatry ever created by mankind)? [Or allegorically speaking, are they tagging along for a ride on the national sovereignty beast?]
b. Are they teaching their listeners that PEOPLE rather than ungodly concepts should be defined as one's "enemies"?
c. Are they teaching their listeners to place national, racial, ethnic, religious, or gender restrictions of their definition of "neighbor"?
d. Are they claiming to represent God or Jesus while conspicuously avoiding any mention of God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves (without restrictions)?
e. Are they in other ways teaching their listeners to violate or ignore God's commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves?
12. Perhaps one of the greatest ironies of our present time is the fact that with today's communication technologies, these very same religious leaders who have been telling people to look for a supernatural "Second Coming of Christ" have it within their power to actually bring about the REAL world-wide SPIRITUAL event predicted by Jesus in the gospels and in St John's Book of Revelation. All they have to do is to start taking God's two most fundamental commandments SERIOUSLY and to start TELLING THE TRUTH (especially with regards to the idolatrous worship of "national sovereignty") But so far at least, they have refused to do so-even to save the lives of MILLIONS of men, women, and children EACH YEAR! In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell." (Matthew 5:29) If you consider how many people have been killed, maimed, diseased or starved to death in this past year alone as a result of the lies that have been frequently told and are still being told in order to preserve our present national sovereignty system, you will better appreciate why Jesus would make such a statement.
Where do you go from here? Well, if you seek God's will by following His two most fundamental commandments, you will find it. If you pray for guidance from God, you will get it. He will show you what you can do to help implement His will "on earth as it is in Heaven."
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Last modified on Friday, May 03, 2002