IMPRECISE PROPHETS AND ILL-DEFINED PROPHECIES: WHAT ABOUT THE NEW COVENANT MODEL?

 

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        They rarely get specific. Their forecasts are open-ended. An uttered word here or there or a noteworthy phrase may qualify as fulfillment and might be used for that purpose. Sound familiar?     

MAKING THE GRADE

        Have you ever wondered why certain prophetic ministers have such high credibility ratings regardless of dubious track records? One may think it’s because they are right often enough or were right when it mattered, in that they made an impact at a key time or key event. One may think it’s a matter of perception, in that they have the mere appearance of being right. Or it could be that they reported the future before it happened but something intervened afterwards and changed the outcome. Sometimes some of these ministers actually do get it right but not without explanations of how and why or why certain words and phrases actually denoted this or that. “See? Don’t you understand?” But when perusing the “prophecy” again one notices that some of the things claimed as prophecy were quite a stretch. Oh, so THAT’S what you meant. Okay…

         The main reason these ministers are accepted as such and honored appropriately is largely for the same reason most ministers gain credibility: (1) They have managed to successfully establish a brand in that they have convinced enough people that they are what they say they are and also have the backing of other ministers or ministerial groups to enforce that supposition. (2) They are perceived as perfectly genuine due to the outer trappings of “legitimate ministry” such as utilizing a church building or “ministry center” from which they minister, belonging to a certified minister group, preacher union, or denominational hierarchy, and also have an ongoing ministry income (oftentimes quite large) which supposedly proves God’s blessing and endorsement. (3) Few people ever bother to grade their pronouncements or keep track of them to see if what they said actually came to pass.

         Regardless, once a prophetic minister establishes perceived credibility, it’s just a matter of staying in the public eye and continue doing whatever one may be doing and put forth as good an appearance as possible. The followers they capture become convinced such ministers are for real but most often for other reasons. They may like their outward appearance and “ministerial manner” but fail to recognize the impact of the surface level of such. They may notice an upscale wardrobe but have no idea how much money and work went into it. They like what appears to be a genial quality but do not understand that some of it is a mere put-on utilized for the sake of connecting with an audience. Remember, image is everything. And besides, how can so many followers be wrong?

HOW TO TELL THE REAL FROM THE UNREAL

         Though it has been overly used and has lost much of its effectiveness, the phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” remains an effective question in sorting out legitimacy because it puts the spotlight on Him where it should be. It forces a comparison between His manner of doing things and those of Christian ministers who claim to be sent by Him. Are they teaching what the Lord Jesus taught? Are they doing what He did? Do their prophecies actually dovetail with the Word of God? Since most people who identify as Christians have never read the New Testament (much less studied it), it will be difficult to apply the preceding questions. This means they have no frame of reference when attempting to discover legitimacy. Due to their ignorance they are easily fooled. Due to personal pride they hate being told they lack the means for making correct identifications or properly differentiating the real from the counterfeit.

        But know this: Those ministers who depend on outward adornments to prove legitimacy are deceptive. Some use fairly innocuous means that go beyond simply being well-groomed, which, concerning the latter, everyone should engage in or strive for within one’s means. But as ministers they must appear as somehow better, you see? Other ministers go beyond this, however, and dress themselves up in clergy clothing to the degree that everyone knows they are clergy. They must have the whole lot because their lack of spiritual credentials is such that looking the part must override actually doing the part. They are much better at appearing to function spiritually than actually functioning spiritually. And then, beyond these people, you have those ultra-clergyites who wrap themselves up in the most ostentatious and ridiculous sheep’s clothing imaginable. They transition from clergy clothing to a clergy costume. They traipse around like the religious actors they are, largely letting their masquerading outfits and all-encompassing symbology do the talking for them. (What Would Jesus Do?) Well, for starters, He wouldn’t dress like THAT.

         We can see then, that the more one puts on the act, the more one has something to hide. The more one tries to convince others of one’s legitimacy, the more one is most likely illegitimate.

        Regarding actual New Covenant ministerial credentials, here’s what the apostle Paul wrote:

         And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God. [1Corinthians 2:1-5] [1]

         Returning to our subject then, do prophetic ministers ever admit it when they’re wrong? Do they ever admit that the overall context of their messages, often filled with unspecific renderings or assertions which could be applied somewhat universally, actually proves they don’t really get it very clear very often, or that “what they see” is largely inapplicable regarding meaningful particulars? Are their messages so open-ended that timing does not apply?

         As I wrote in a previous post, the entire overall “last days” prophecy theme of the 1960s and 70s prophecy teachers and book authors was WRONG. See if you can find a record of any single one of them ever admitting it. Some of them continued with the same spiel beyond that time and even into the present, but have been forced to change major aspects of their content because what they had originally prophesied failed and could never happen. They had to keep making a living, you see. They had to keep donations coming in and sell books. They had to keep up appearances. For that they needed their fake exterior and faux content. And by the way, where are the real prophets exposing the fake ones? What happened to them?

THEY WERE REAL BECAUSE THEY WERE RIGHT

         Again, the Lord Jesus is our perfect example. Most Christians do not understand that He was also a prophet. He was and remains the greatest Prophet. Read His prophecies and see what happened later on. You can also look to John the Immerser. He was also a great prophet. He told it exactly as he was shown and got it perfectly correct. There were also prophets in the early Community of the Lord throughout the New Testament period. 

         For example, there was a prophet named Agabus who is mentioned twice in the Book of Acts. The historical record states that he made two brief, direct, and unambiguous prophecies on separate occasions about specific future events, both of which came to pass just as he said:

          Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. [Acts 11:27-28]

       As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” [Acts 21:10-11]

         Beyond these, there were the powerfully anointed OT prophets whose dedication and accuracy was legendary. You will notice by their lifestyle and outward appearance that they were all essentially the same. They had to make it on their own. They could not get by through simply gaining the endorsement of a ministry school or preacher group, or possessing a denominational stamp of approval. The enemy was a constant threat and often included their own rulers and fellow citizens. To the world at large their name was mud. They suffered. They did without. They were REJECTED and often hated. The Word of God burned within their hearts and they had to prophesy no matter the cost. They never gave up or gave in.

         And rather than cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance, the real prophets would have otherwise required actual surgery to repair their appearance. Thus, it was never carefully crafted outer images or ill-defined prophecies that exemplified their authenticity.

          It was battle scars and truth.

          © 2020 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on February 25, 2020, in Current Events and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. RJ, growing up as a preacher’s kid, I met many pastors over the years. Most of them were humble, godly men who were not seeking any kind of fame, but instead were trying to reach the souls of those who did not believe. They ministered to their own congregations, available 24/7, and never sought personal fame or fortune.

    I also met one or two of the other kind. Even as a teenager, I knew they were not the genuine article. If a man is more concerned about the quality of his haircut and his suit fabric than he is about souls, he’s “in the ministry” for all the wrong reasons.

    Like

    • Thank you Linda. I value your life and ministry experience and your opinion.

      I’ve also seen both. I’ve seen some of the most caring and self-effacing, those ministers who understand everything any real Christian attempts to do is in answer to the Lord, in doing their best to be good disciples and, in gaining spiritual maturity, to disciple others.

      But I have also seen the other side, as I describe in the article. I remember when I was in college, or it might have been high school, in a philosophy class, when I learned about “making appeals to authority.” In other words, why do we believe what we believe? Who taught that principle? Who came up with that theory, idea, belief? There were any number of philosophers throughout history one may name or appeal to as the author or authority.

      As believers in and followers of the Lord Jesus, our appeal to authority is always—100%—the Lord Jesus and His original teachings as put forth in the NT Scriptures. He is the Alpha and Omega and the final authority. We live because of Him and we live for Him. It is why my entire spiritual life of forty plus years has been to base everything on Him.

      In this light, there is never any excuse for any minister of the Gospel of any persuasion to not model himself or herself on the Lord’s life and teachings. Some things that ministers do are so obviously wrong and incompatible with Scripture it tells a believer that some serious deception is going on. They do it because they get away with it. No one calls them on it. They are accountable to no one, or those to whom they are accountable are also guilty. Most churches and denominations have become bless me clubs with the emphasis on blessing the ministers there by seeing them as above everyone else and therefore above scrutiny. Once such is established the people there develop a fear of challenging what they know is wrong. They know it is wrong because the Lord says it is wrong. They read it in Scripture.

      This is why the Lord is not welcome in most churches. If He was He would begin cleaning house and the people in charge would no longer be in charge.

      I’m glad you have had a generally good experience in your life but many have suffered at the hands of unscrupulous ministers. It would be great if they would repent and subject themselves to the Lord but the greater likelihood is that they will lose their souls. Again, the Lord Jesus is our example. He only expects that we do our best to obey Him and also learn from those in the beginning who got it right.

      Blessings to you. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

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