End-time Prophets. Should we believe them?
We are not new to end-time prophecies and the claims made by the present-day prophets — that the world is going to end, Christ is going to return and the rise of the antichrist is imminent. Should we or should we NOT be concerned about these claims?
End time prophesies! They have always existed not only through the centuries but through the millennia. It started as early as the first century AD when John of Patmos records what an Angel of the Lord told him. Revelation 22:7 — “Look I am coming soon”. It’s been almost 2 millennia since.
So the burning question is what should we as Christians believe and hope for? How can we validate the claims that are presented in front of us? I am not going to dictate whether you should believe or not, but my intention is to present some facts so you could consider them before making a decision.
Here are 3 facts for your consideration
Christ himself declared that “No one except the Father knows the day of His return”
Matthew 24:36 — But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Even Christ does not know the day of His return, except the Father. This is probably the most straightforward answer to all the end-time prophesies circulating the internet. If the Father God had purposefully kept this secret from His son, how can we all believe that God secretly revealed it to a few on earth? That cannot be true!
Saying this Jesus warned his disciples about false prophets who would claim they know things beforehand. Verse 24, For false messiahs and false prophets, will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
There cannot be any more candid evidence to understand how we should react to people claiming the end is near. I would recommend you read the entire chapter of Matthew 24 and ask God for wisdom and clarity if you need more.
Look at the historical evidence for the accuracy
Machine learning and Data science — as complex and intricate they sound — in layman terms, they are scientific methods to draw insights based on historical data. The algorithms look for patterns in data to arrive at a particular conclusion. For example, if a grocery store planning team feeds 10 years of data of customers buying turkeys during Thanksgiving and then ask the algorithm to suggest the number of turkeys to order for the coming year, the algorithm would scan for patterns, apply scientific equations and finally output a number, which may not be accurate but will be an approximate number that the grocery store can bank upon. Now if you feed the historical data of end-time prophesies, I am sure the algorithm would output a 0 because all of the prophecies so far have failed. All of them! Why? Because the world has not ended as prophesied and Christ has not returned yet.
Starting as early as 365 AD, Hilary of Poitiers and Martin of Tours — two French Christian saints almost declared that the end of the world is near and antichrist has already been born. Almost every century after this, there was some claim that Christ’s return would be during their times and the dates kept extending. In 1346, similar to our present times, there was a pandemic called the “Black Death” that spread throughout Europe, Africa, and Asia. Guess what, many cited that this was a sign of end times and started spreading conspiracy theories. The pandemic ended in 1353 and life rolled back to normalcy and all those prophecies slowly died alongside.
Then Martin Luther, proclaimed to be the starter of the Protestant Reformation, declared that the world could cease to exist after 1600. Even Christopher Columbus did some calculations to establish that the world was created in the year 5343 BC and would be destroyed 7000 years later. Based on his calculations, 1658 was the year of doom. Again nothing significant happened in 1658, except for a few bloody wars and a handful of natural disasters.
Fast forward to the 20th and 21st centuries, an American Evangelist by the name Herbert W. Armstrong told that the rapture was going to happen in 1936. Well, that prediction went kaput and he had the audacity to change the dates three times more in the future after each of them failed to happen. All these did not deter people from following these false prophets. Recently another person in this lineage — Ronald Weinland, who was sure that the world would end exactly on 27 May 2012 when his previous prediction of 29 Sep 2011 failed to fulfill.
Do you see the trend? It’s been 2 millenniums — that a good 2000 years and this theory still sells like hotcakes. Open Youtube and search for end-time prophesies and you will be surprised to find 100s of thousands of them still playing tricks with ignorant people. Read the comments section and you will see people fighting tooth and nail about who is right and wrong. It’s a pathetic situation and this drives me to my next fact.
The human psychology of fear of things they do not have control over
Humans are strong and weak at the same time. We display strength on things we are confident about and easily get anxious about things we do not have control over. For example, if you ask someone to eat a plate full of food in front of them, they do it without any problem. Why? Because eating is a habit we have excelled all our lives. But image bungee jumping? Unless you are trained or a serious adventurer with gushing adrenaline, it will give you the chills. Why? Because falling down a cliff and hanging uncontrollably on air is not what we have been used to. If flying could cause anxiety, imagine things like death, after-life, etc.
This is a place that no human wants to tread. The very thought rocks us. There is no scientific evidence to prove what death is, exactly. It is stuff like this that brings fear and makes people psychologically weak. The human mind can do anything to calm itself from the fear of death. And that’s why religion is a solace for many because it promises prosperity and eternal happiness after death.
So now consider the intensified activity of these so-called end-time prophets especially during calamities or unsure situations. In the year 1999 when the Y2K problem was discovered, people panicked because the nuclear arsenal could kickoff because of convoluted date formats. We did witness so many prophets taking advantage of this fear and claiming that end of the world is near. Post the 911 attacks, there were floods of prophecies that this is a sign of end times. Many even went to their previous year’s prophecies and tried to see if they could somehow manipulate that to look like the 911 attacks were foretold. Then we end up once again with this new wretched situation called “pandemic” in 2019 and when the world is now grappling in its clutches, here we are once again, targeted by these end-time prophets.
Please do not mistake me as someone who is against the gift of Prophesy. I am not contesting that at all, but the authenticity of the prophets and their claims seem very questionable. There has not been a single prophesy about the occurrence of a Pandemic by any prophet in 2019. My question is — what is the point of Prophesy if it does not benefit the people and save lives. If the so-called Prophets had foretold this earlier in 2019, the medical world could’ve been well prepared. We could’ve worn masks and washed our hands for 20 seconds even before the pandemic struck. I am personally not aware of any prophecy in recent times, that had helped people save themselves from earthquakes, storms, floods, famine etc. Most of the prophesies that I hear are very generic and “safe”. I recently heard someone prophesy that 2021 will be a year of restoration, there will major political changes in the world, there will be an earthquake in Asia etc — which as you know does not benefit us at all.
Now, what should we then do going forward? Here are 3 suggestions, that I follow and would urge you to give some earnest consideration.
Verify facts before believing and spreading
We have the gift of the word of God in our hands. Its translated in every known language and written in easy to understand language. What is keeping us from validating it on the word of God? If your Pastor, TV Evangelist, Prophet, Youtube prophet or some random Bible commentator, preach something — you always have the option to go back to your Bible and verify the facts. If you are still unclear, you have the gift of the internet. There is enough stuff online to compare and contrast your thoughts. Still unconvinced, pray and ask God for clarity.
The problem today is we have this psychological weakness on fear of death and we tend to believe whatever is thrown at us. So first suggestion is to verify and validate everything and gain an understanding of your own.
Stop listening to fearmongers
These are people who intentionally hide facts and unnecessarily exaggerate things to eventually make you scared. Yes, I am talking about these end-time prophets who claim to be voicing the will of God.
Matthew 24:4 — Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. It’s high time you take a look at your Youtube, email, Facebook subscriptions and unsubscribe those that do not spiritually encourage you.
2 Thessalonians 2:1–3
Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way.
Hope this word of encouragement helps you stay strong.
Be genuine and prepared
In one of the organizations where I headed a team, one day I took the entire team for a lunch. While we were having lunch, my boss, who never calls me on the phone, by the way, called me to inform me that one of the VPs wanted to visit the team and talk about the product we were developing then. He also said the VP has given a slot later in the evening around 4 PM. I told him it’s just 1 PM and why the hurry for which he said, he just wanted to give me advance notice so that we are prepared like making things work if they are broken. While I appreciated his forethought I told him that we are prepared to present even if the VP wants to visit us by 2. There is nothing out of order — like things not working, messy desks, etc that we need to quickly fix before we welcome our guests.
See what I mean? If my team was messy and indisciplined, we would have needed time to fix it lest someone sees our real state. But we were already prepared. We had our software in order, demos prepped for sudden visits like these, our engineers were on top of everything and ready to answer questions that may arise. Well in the Bible Jesus talks of a similar situation in Matthew 25 about the 10 virgins. 5 of them had judiciously taken oil along with their lamps while the other 5 callously did not. When the party was over and the groom showed up suddenly, the unprepared ones went scouting for oil and before they could find it, the groom had left and the door was shut.
The message is simple. If we are genuine in our thoughts and attitudes, living a holy life in front of God, then end-time events should apparently not bother us at all. If Jesus returns today, we’ll go with him. If he doesn’t and we die, where do you think we land? Again with Jesus. So what is the big fuss in knowing, the future based on the past, interpreted by end-time prophets? This is a test of our conscience — if we do not get rattled by end times, it by itself is the sign of a great Child of God. So evaluate your reaction to end time prophesies and introspect your standing with God.
I would like to end with these words of Christ in Luke 21:34–36 — Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.
Continue sending me your questions on www.BibilicalLeadershipInsititute.org/contact and I will do my best effort to answer them as quickly as possible.