Stone the Prophets – Which Ones
by Rev Michael Bresciani
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On Tuesday January 2, 2007 Pat Robertson of the CBN 700 Club warned that America may suffer an attack on one of its cities that could cost the lives of millions. Many have scoffed at Robertson’s prediction noting that previous predictions have not been true in every instance.
Evangelicals have already distanced themselves from Robertson in times past indicating that they do not think he speaks for them. Others have labeled him everything from a kook to a liar.
Those who decide on the truthfulness of a prophetic utterance and the prophet’s particular qualifications usually do so by means of tracking the fulfillment of the prophecies and observing the lives of the prophets past and present. Setting yourself up to be the judge of the prophets’ carries with it more responsibility than one might imagine.
The greatest of Gods servants were prone to errors throughout their lives. The Apostle Paul who may be Gods single greatest witness in history was once a murderer of Christians.
Peter who denied Christ prior to his crucifixion and was later restored also had to be rebuked by the Apostle Paul some thirty years after, for refusing to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.
David who’s Psalms accurately predicted the first coming of Christ and to this day offer guidance to millions of believers, started off as an adulterer and a murderer. Does this mean bad guys make better prophets?
The sins and obvious human frailties of Gods servants don’t qualify them but it does qualify God’s grace. God is still using earthen vessels to hold and dispense his divine message. It could be said that apart from direct intervention that this is all he has got. It could also be said that this is all he needs.
Holding the prophets lives under the microscope is a poor start to verify their qualifications. We will never like what we see; we will always see ourselves. We will then have to move over to the record. How accurate are the prophecies?
Those who criticize Pat Robertson and others are quick to point out that God had given instructions in the Old Testament to stone those who proved to be false prophets. We can be thankful that in the present covenant or agreement between God and man known as the New Testament we are never called upon to stone anyone. We are rather asked to stay all judgment, preach the gospel and leave the outcome to the Lord. That doesn’t mean we are to suspend our best judgment as it pertains to discerning who is or is not a true prophet.
Perhaps one of the reasons Jesus refused to call upon men to stone even false prophets is because more often than not they only stoned the true prophets. Throughout the ages God’s true prophets were beaten, tortured and killed for telling people what they did not want to hear. Conversely false prophets were often given remuneration and gifts to tickle the ears of their hearers. It is no surprise that Christ rebuked the people and the religious leaders of his day for this perverse and hypocritical behavior.
Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: Mt 23:34
Practically no Christian church or denomination has ever endorsed the late Jeanne Dixon as a true prophetess. But a very serious lesson can be learned from her life and her approach to predictions and prophecies. Dixon was a devout catholic and she went almost every morning of her entire life to the church to pray. It was her practices not her prayers that caused her to be refuted so often.
She made predictions about and for the Hollywood stars and other notables yearly. Some were true and just as many were not. It was her use of the crystal ball and her astrology columns that brought the most criticism. Anyone who has read the bible even one time through could not miss the fact that it outlaws and completely prohibits the practice of astrology or seeking out astrologists for guidance.
Dixon was noted for saying that some of her prognostications were open to the will of man and that’s why they may or may not happen. Other matters she said were given to her by direct revelation from God and were not subject to change these she said were prophecies.
This writer cannot endorse Dixon as a prophetess but I wouldn’t condemn her either. One thing I can do is reveal that after nearly three decades of observing Jeanne Dixons life and prophecies one shocking fact stands out. She was one hundred percent right! Many of her general predictions were wrong but not one of her prophecies was ever wrong.
The lesson we can learn from Jeanne’s life is not so much whether her prophecies were true or false but that God allows certain interactions between himself and man to be altered by mans responses. This is nothing new; the bible reveals several events that say exactly the same thing.
In the twentieth chapter of Second Kings the prophet Isaiah was told to tell King Hezekiah to put his house in order because he was going to die. Isaiah hadn’t even gotten out of the palace when God told him to turn back and tell Hezekiah that he would be granted fifteen more years to live. Is God fickle, not at all because while Isaiah had spoken Gods intentions exactly, Hezekiah was weeping and asking God for mercy.
Isaiah was a major prophet and well respected in his day. If his critics had gotten wind of that story they would have raked him over the coals. Undoubtedly anyone hearing of this matter would have begun to doubt Isaiah’s prophetic calling and prophecies in general.
The prophet Jonah got angry with God for not severely judging the city of Nineveh as he said he would. When the citizens of that city repented God changed his mind. Forget the prophet’s critics this prophet accused God himself for not doing what he said. We can only thank God that he didn’t carry out his judgments because changing his mind is not cause for us to presume but rather cause for us not to despair. We have a part in what God does. He will let us alter his plan if we heed what he says.
In the New Testament the Lord warns the seven churches in Asia that he will judge them and remove their standing and place if they don’t repent of the practices and doctrines that had nothing to do with what they had originally been told. The most amazing thing about those prophetic warnings is that they were appendaged with a way out. Christ actually told them how to avoid the very worst scenario.
This is the true purpose of prophecy. It has never been a game of determining which prophecies are true and which are false. It is only a means for God to jog the hearts of people to seek another way and to repent of behavior that leaves him with no other choice but to chastise.
That Pat Robertson’s prophecies are perfectly accurate or not may not be the question. The real question is whether we should think that God will always endure our backsliding as a nation. But for those who insist upon rushing to judgment against Robertson they should be warned again that “… with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” Mt 7:2. One old preacher told me once that this literally means that you shouldn’t try to play the role of sheriff in the kingdom of God.
Rev Bresciani is the author of two Christian books. His articles on the second coming of Christ, faith, politics and the American way of life are read in every country throughout the world. Come visit http://www.americanprophet.org
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