Prophet or Loss?
by Alan Allegra
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In Deuteronomy 11:29, Moses said, “I wish that all the LORD’s people were prophets and that the LORD would put his Spirit on them!” I wonder what Moses would have thought if he were able to look ahead to the past 3400 years since he said that. The world has had its share of prophets since then, some true, some false. When we hear the word “prophet,” perhaps we picture a scraggly, bearded, robed and sandled drifter carrying a sign that says, “Repent! The end is near!” Indeed, the favored topic of many prophets is impending disaster. The Religious Tolerance web site (www.religioustolerance.org) documents over 250 “failed end-of-the-world predictions” encompassing the centuries from 30 A.D. to the present.
Pat Robertson’s recent prediction that a terrorist attack will cause a “mass killing” after September of this year has brought ridicule to the religious community, most notably Evangelical Christians. Robertson is perhaps the most prominent of the modern prophets, but certainly not the only one. And, many of his predictions fail to come true. For example, he predicted that George Bush would win in a “blowout” election in 2004 (Bush won 51% of the vote). He warned that the coasts of America would be lashed by storms, with a possible tsunami in the Pacific Northwest, in 2006. Many of his other predictions are documented on sites such as www.mediamatters.org. Then there is Nostradamus, who is famous for his quatrains that, when interpreted in light of past events, seem to predict the future. However, they are so vague and ambiguous that they can be interpreted many different ways to suit the reader.
Prophets have abounded for centuries, and some of them have been powerful enough to start their own religious movements. None of them seem to agree with each other, and most of them are wrong at least a percentage of the time. With such a proliferation of prophecies, how can one tell whom to believe?
For the Jew and the Christian, the book of Deuteronomy has the answers: “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously” (18:22). “If the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, ‘Let us follow other gods . . . and let us worship them, you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer” (13:2, 3). Isaiah adds, “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn” (8:20). In other words, a true prophet must be 100% accurate, must not endorse other gods, and must agree with the Bible.
Many predictions by Nostradamus, Jean Dixon, The Watchtower Society, Harold Camping, Pat Robertson, and others have either proven to be false or so vague as to be shoehorned into a variety of possible events. Bible predictions, however, are often very precise and so far removed from the time of fulfillment that they could not have been foreseen based on current events. The life of Christ alone fulfilled over 300 Old Testament prophecies.
Robertson defends his poor record by saying, “I have a relatively good track record. Sometimes I miss” (http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/01/02/robertson.predictions.ap/index.html). His vagueness and “misses” brand his prophecies as unreliable and cast a shadow on his integrity and, by association, Christians in general.
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U did not highlite the two references U gave as to how to spot a true prophet or a false one, but it showed that you have indeed read the Bible and done your home work If the prophecy din't come true U died. And most people know of this fact, but the second one (prophecy commimg true by a false prophet) is not as quoted. liked the article.