My wish is simple, and it would make me so very happy. I’m going to campaign for it until the proper authorities take notice and step in.
(1) I want us to identify all preachers who have mistakenly announced that it was the end of the world because of some newspaper headline, or who predicted who would win an election (looking at you, Jeremiah Johnson et al.!). (2) I want their unfulfilled predictions to be logged in some sort of database so that any interested party might access it. In addition, and this is the gist of my plan, (3) I want these prophets to have to wear some visible sign, so that other believers will know to take heed of any future theories.
I was flipping through Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter yesterday to look up an odd fact, and my grand idea came to me: anyone who has made a prediction of the end times which has not come true must be required to wear a red letter to mark them as a bogus prophet. I was going to pick out F for false, and then P for prophet. Then FP, but that wouldn’t make a single scarlet letter. The New Testament itself solved my dilemma and also will make the scarlet letter instantly recognizable. You see, the Greek word for false prophet in Matthew 24:11 is one word: pseudoprofetes. The first letter is PSI (Ψ), which has a PS sound.
Here is a design, albeit rudimentary, of what unsuccessful prophets will be given to wear. It is a sturdy cotton tee, sizes S-XXXL, washable. The logo will signify “I’ve been wrong in the past, and I probably will be in the future.” It’s guaranteed to not fade; I want these things to last until, well, until kingdom come.
Is this being a little harsh, labeling as a false prophet a person who is simply trying to make a connection between Bible prophecy in our day? Not at all. After all Jesus said that this age would be filled with people who would make wrongheaded pronouncements, claiming to reveal truth which belongs to God alone. He called them false prophets, not simply fallible and mistaken people.
The very first Christian book I read was the megahit, Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth in the early 70s. He predicted, among other things, that the world would end by the 1980s. He made a false prediction, and it makes no difference that Lindsey didn’t claim to possess the gift of prophecy. He’s been giving dates ever since. Neither did Harold Camping claim a prophetic gift, nor Jack Van Impe. John Hagee sort of does. What does it matter? If someone says “Lo! There is Christ!” (Matt 24:23) and Christ is not there, then he or she falls into the category of “false prophet” (see v. 24). On the other hand, Jim Bramlett does claim to be a prophet and that “no one knows the day or the hour” doesn’t apply today: people should keep predicting dates, since eventually “someone will nail it” (it’s the idea that a broken clock is right twice a day). They have all made and keep making false predictions and that’s enough to get them a T-shirt. Multiple T-shirts in fact; I may have to design jackets and caps as well. Tote bags, anyone? Perrennial date-setter Marilyn Agee earned a whole closet full of shirts.
Forty-five years after Late Great Planet Earth and it’s gotten tiresome. There’s Harold Camping, of course, with his mystical logorithm tables (click HERE), but mainstream people play the same game. On October 5, 2010, TV preacher David Jeremiah’s published his thoughts in his new book, The Coming Economic Armageddon: What Bible Prophecy Warns about the New Global Economy. It is advertised: “New York Times bestselling author Dr. David Jeremiah uncovers the Bible’s prophetic clues to the world’s shocking financial future – prophecies that just might indicate that we are living in the final days of Earth’s history.” Note the escape clause, found in many such predictions: “that just might indicate.” If the current recession does not lead directly to the end of the world, he wants to maintain plausible deniability. [Addendum – the Great Recession of 2008 in fact did not lead to global meltdown nor a One-World Government].
My guess is that he’ll be getting a T-shirt, escape clause or no.
Addendum, Feb 2011: to the list of those who have identified the antichrist, we should add Joel Richardson and his book “The Islamic Antichrist.”
“Bible experts” typically identify the antichrist with our current enemy in the world, so throughout history he’s been predicted to be catholic; or an atheist; or Muslim; or a Nazi, Fascist or Marxist (views which are now out of favor); others a Jew or an Anglican; or gay. I guess we were due for another round of “Muslim antichrist”.
This is the same sort of methodology of which Jack van Impe is the master, that whatever newspaper headlings say, Richardson views it as a fulfillment of Bible prophecy. For example, when Mubarak was president of Egypt, that fulfilled Bible prophecy; when the Egyptians threw him out of power, that too fit into the Bible. Folks, if there’s a person who sees everything as a sign of the end, then to him or her NOTHING clearly signals the end.
Read your Bibles, stay alert, live in the light, walk with the Lord.
PS – Here’s a pretty sweet example of a false prophet of today (CLICK HERE). His site is probably one I wouldn’t even bother with, except that he has had 50 thousand visitors to it. He claimed to be able to prove that the rapture of the church “will take place on September 20, 2017.”
This prediction came from the 2016 version of his prophecy book, which you’ll need a calculator and a calendar to wade through. However, after having had a discussion with the author, I looked at his website and discovered that in the original, 2008, version of his book, he predicted that “the ‘Rapture’ would be on the “Feast of Trumpets” in September, 2011.” (When I pointed this out to him, btw, he tore into me as a liar and distorter of the Word.) In the 2015 edition, he predicted a Sept 15, 2015 rapture! And when the 2015 date fell through, he took a month or two to catch his breath, pull himself togethet, and sally forth again with a new prediction, “Ah, I meant to say September of 2017!!!” And then September 2020. I guess he forgot to carry the 1. His site is now “under construction,” and my guess is that it will be up soon with a new date. (Update: yes! September 2021!) O! that all false prophets were so easy to disprove. Heeeeeere’s your T-shirt!
“Let’s Put a Warning Label on False Prophets,” by Gary Shogren, PhD in New Testament Exegesis, Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica