Now, as you might expect my interest in eschatology and prophecy has not escaped the notice of close friends, family and others in my orbit. This leads to my getting emails containing prophetic words in oral or written form penned or spoken by various (mostly) evangelical preachers and self-proclaimed prophets. I typically retain those prophecies that bear a specific timeframe and later compare the predicted catastrophe, upheaval or what-have-you with what actually unfolded (The misses outnumber the hits by an almost astronomical margin).
On occasion, I will have someone pass along an email “imminent warning prophetic word” more often than not given by a well-known evangelist or teacher whose prophetic track record is not just abysmal but a literally train (of accuracy) wreck. Last night (9-4-2017) I got one such email in which great credence was given to a prophecy Jim Bakker reportedly shared concerning the recent flooding in Houston (and this well before Hurricane Harvey hit). Here are a few of the salient sentences from this email concerning Bakker’s prophetic predictions:
That prophecy was right about the flood here. Jim Bakker remarked a prophecy after that was for California. He predicted an earthquake. Since he was correct about the flood in Houston, I hope you take him serious for earthquake preparedness. Those products Bakker cover everything to get one through disaster.
I have done some digital archeology field work (aka digging around search engine results) in an effort to try and locate this prophetic word (which must be specific and accurate – testable – to have any validity, BTW), but have yet to locate it. Perhaps a reader has seen it or will prove better at ferreting it out than I have been so far (If so, kindly email it to me at founderabbot at gmail.com).
Whether Bakker managed to hit one nail on the head or not, I sent this cautionary reply to my well-intentioned Houston contact:
You might want to think twice about spending too much time listening to Jim Bakker as well as most of his purported prophet guests. IMO, he has spun more prophecy misses than just about anyone I know and his Morningside venue comes across as a revenue generating engine for his seemingly endless string of building projects (The very pattern that characterized his PTL empire). Here are but 2 posted videos that lay bare this man's “challenges” as a God-sent oracle:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY_shD-fUGw – 1m18s – J.D. Hall sitting in the audience of a Jim Bakker show taping calls him out for false prophecies.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvd7UlesWbk – 19m14s – Former Morningside (Bakker organization) staffer kept a list of Jim Bakker’s prophecies during a specific period and to say most were wrong or worse is an understatement.
In addition, many of his regular guests such as Rabbi Johnathan Cahn have made plenty of money hawking “End Times prophecy” books that are riddled with logical fallacies and other problems. I spoke of Cahn’s prophecy-based works in a September 2014 blog entry which includes links to an analytical expose of the intellectual and prophetic bankruptcy of his bestselling book "The Harbinger" http://summerclouds.weebly.com/summer-clouds-blog/prophecy-is-primarily-about-israel-the-jewish-people-not-america
Many dire prophecies concerning the Blood Moons and Shemitah showcased on the Jim Bakker Show and many other Christian media outlets also bombed out (Something many analytical thinkers including "yours truly" saw through from the get go).
As for prophecies of earthquakes and California, this is like saying there will be mudslide in China in the future. Seismologists at Caltech and USGS have been predicting quakes in northern and southern California for some time based on all kinds of data crunching and mathematical models. Anyone who is remotely in touch with past and current events knows quakes occur in this region and will continue to do so. What I have not seen among those who claim to have a word of prophecy on California is accuracy. They bat no better than those who those coins in the air (which means their pronouncements are next to worthless. And I have heard hundreds of them since the 1960s, some dire and "imminent"). Eventually there will be a major quake in northern or southern California, especially in light of the tectonic activity along the Pacific Rim. It doesn't take a prophetic gift to know this and those who claim such words of prophecy have yet to finger an exact timeframe and place that has held up (Indeed, they to a man/woman have missed the major ones since 1970. Now if I missed a genuinely spot on accurate one, send it and your source to me at founderabbot at gmail.com).
And, as I mentioned long ago, I have had basic survival gear and a small stockpile of high energy, high calorie food bars since the mid-2000s (The later replenished after expiration dates pass of, course). Not because of any prophetic word, but because earthquakes happen here and history and the science alone is sufficient to buttress such data based predictions/expectations.
As for Houston, it amazes me that so many evangelists and so-called prophets do not acknowledge the very thing that made this scientifically predictable: global warming. Climate scientists were warning about more aggressive hurricanes and typhoons in the Atlantic and Pacific (including the Gulf of Mexico) long before any preacher or prophet began talking about with any specificity (The so-called prophets vague and imprecise impressions do not meet the biblical standard for prophecies which must be 100% accurate or else did not come from God. Period. Go read Deuteronomy 18:21-22). If there has been a timespan/date specific and wholly accurate prophecy concerning Houston and Hurricane Harvey, I have yet to see it but do not discount the possibility it exists. But overall, and especially when it comes to Jim Bakker and the parade of doomsday thinkers he routinely interviews in almost assembly line fashion (all of whom invariably help him sell survivalist products which appear to support a never-ending succession of building projects), I am appalled that believers are latching on to doom & gloom words of prophecy they and others dispense -- tens of thousands of them if you include prophecies given in other media venues -- all the while forgetting the biblical requirement of true prophecies (100% accuracy) -- and then promptly forgetting the scores of failed prophecies. What is even more odd but very biblical, is that the very people who hear these prophecies, see them fail and then forget this and go on to the next sure-to-fail prophecy - worry about "End Times deceptions and delusions" -- and are actually caught up in this very thing!
Yes, the “birth pangs” (biblically prophesied calamites both natural and human made) will come closer and closer together over time and God will likely tap genuine prophets to warn of specific events prior to their happening and move others to establish communities to weather this and continue the evangelization efforts and mitzvahs (good works) commanded by Messiah Yeshua. But whenever someone says they speak for God especially when it comes to prophecy, they must 100% accurate. If not, they did not hear from God but their own fears, subconscious convictions or mental projections, wishful (sometimes perverse or morbid) thinking, et cetera. What is truly sad is that these failed prophets ignore the many biblical warnings about the fate of those who speak in the Lord's name and then are shown to be wrong (It carries some heavy duty penalties and consequences, which surely means God did not and does not shrug off false prophetic words attributed to him in any way, shape or form).
And since Bakker clearly has issued failed prophecies -- and showcased so many others who did likewise -- I again would caution you to treat them with no undue skepticism and immediately stop giving credence to anyone whose prophetic statements amount to guesses and cold reading tactics. To do otherwise is to buy into false prophecies and the people who concoct them, which is the same as buying into deception and deceivers.
Stick with Daniel, Zechariah, Revelations and other prophetic books and use reason and discernment to evaluate interpretations of them but be especially cautious and critical when it comes to extrabiblical prophecies. And when a source of prophecy bombs, do not cut the “prophet” any slack. People who give inaccurate prophecies are deceived and are misleading others with their deception; something God warned would happen as history moved closer to Messiah's return. Such false prophets should be paid no heed by believers least they be pulled into fear that paralyzes and dead ends that divert them from doing what God commanded and expects (individually and corporately).
Let us move ever forward but with our eyes wide open!
© 2017 by Dr. Anthony G. Payne. All rights reserved.