Prophets being wrong about their predictions is not new, but at no time in history have more prophets been so dramatically wrong about the same thing. The same prophets who all prophesied that 2020 was going to be a great and wonderful year, and who did not see Covid-19 coming, predicted that Donald Trump would be reelected and would have been installed for the second term. Not only was he not reelected, he was not installed and on the contrary, he has been impeached and may even be barred from public office for the rest of his life. Also, one of the most infamous events in the 245 year history of the United States has to be the 6th of January 2021. Not one of these prophets predicted the events of that notorious day, even though they all contributed towards its shame.
So how do we deal with the endless string of prophets who were not only wrong four times in a row (100% failure rate) but through their false prophecies contributed directly to the insurrection of the 6th of January 2021? And what of the hundreds of thousands who believe their prophecies and empower the prophets by subscribing to their lies with their pocket books?
At least 40 charismatic Christian leaders predicted Trump’s reelection starting around 2018, according to J. Gordon Melton, the compiler of the Encyclopedia of American Religions and an American religious studies professor at Baylor University. They range from Franklin Graham, who said at Trump’s inauguration that the rain was a sign of God’s blessing to Paula White who resorted to summoning demons from Africa to cause Trump to prevail. Some of them speak as though they are God’s direct mouthpiece: “thus saith the Lord” while others under the banner of “prophecy updates” take a more cerebral approach and analyze Scriptures and world events onto which they project their political fantasies.
Quite a few Evangelical leaders, like Dr Michael Brown, are rushing to the defense of these prophets saying that they’re not false prophets but were simply “mistaken” (remember that they had a 50/50 chance of being right!). Much of their defense is based on the work of Wayne Grudem The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today, a work that has merit and that I have also quoted from in the past. The argument is that a New Testament prophet may be mistaken without being branded a false prophet. I agree with that premise – to a point. But the warnings concerning false prophets in the New Testament make it clear that there is such a thing as a false prophet (Mark 13:22; Revelation 2:20 etc.) and there is a difference between a true and a false prophet. So, at what point is someone a false prophet?
The Old Testament sets two tests for prophets:
1. “when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:22)
2. “…and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’ – which you have not known –‘and let us serve them, you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:3-4).
So the argument is that since there are differences between Old Testament prophets and New Testament prophets (and I agree that there are differences), prophets of today should not be judged by the tests of Deuteronomy. But, there are two problems with that argument:
First the principles contained in Deuteronomy never change. Therefore if a prophet is constantly wrong, as most modern prophets are, they are clearly false prophets. And, if they divert you from following, worshiping and serving the Lord, they are false, even if their prophecies come true.
Second, these modern prophets do not style themselves on the New Testament prophets like Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32), but rather style themselves after the Old Testament prophets. I can give you many reasons for this statement but in the interests of brevity will confine myself to a couple:
OT prophets were part of the government of Israel. The Lord mostly spoke to the king through them, and they frequently acted as counselors to the king. Even Daniel fulfilled this role to a Gentile king. We do not see the same relationship in the NT. Not one of the NT prophets (or other ministers), including Jesus and Paul, were attached to the court. The only time they spoke to the authorities was when they had been brought before them to be judged. All NT prophets and preachers stood clearly detached from earthly rulers. Not only were they detached from them, they stood opposed to them.
But, these modern prophets have one and all attached themselves to the court of Donald Trump. Some have physically laid hands on him (and become partakers of his sins – 1Timothy 5:22), others have prophesied to him, and over him, and others have promoted him from their pulpits. This places such prophets clearly in the OT and not the New and therefore they must be judged by the standards of Deuteronomy. It is really quite simple: They have predicted that Trump would serve a second consecutive term and Biden has been inaugurated. They were wrong in a spectacular way. So that makes them wrong about 2020, Covid-19, January 6th, and wrong about Trump. Therefore they are false prophets.
The reason given why NT prophets may be mistaken is that the prophecy comes as a vision, a dream, a thought or a “burden” which the prophet then has to interpret and it is in the interpretation that mistakes could happen. There is just one small problem with that argument. These prophets have spoken in the first person “Thus saith the Lord…” Several others claimed that God, or Jesus, appeared to them personally and told them that Trump would be inaugurated for a second term. There is no interpretation – God told them Trump would reign again. This is neither how New Testament prophets operate, nor is it the truth. They have lied. God did not tell them and He did not appear to them. End of story.
They have also committed the second sin which describes them as false prophets: They have encouraged millions to follow another god! I know they (and possibly you as well) will deny this, but they have made Trump into a god. Yes, they say they still worship Yahweh and do not worship Trump, but please stay with me for one more paragraph.
The Children of Israel made a golden calf and declared “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” (Exodus 32:4). I have lost count of how many (probably hundreds of times) I have heard and read that Trump is the man who will deliver the church from the bondage of liberalism and will set America free. For example, John MacArthur has said that choosing Biden is effectively choosing Satan and choosing Trump is choosing God. Trump has been upheld as the savior of the American church. His son declared that his father “literally saved Christianity”. The worship of this man went so far that many conferred honorary born-again status on him in spite of clear evidence that he is less saved than my shoes. Oh, we do not worship Trump, we worship the Lord they say. That is what Israel also said. The celebration around the calf was a “feast to the Lord (Yahweh) (Exodus 32:4).
These prophets have preached another gospel, the gospel of American nationalism, they live by another Bible – the Constitution and they have another kingdom – America. They have literally seduced the American church to follow another god and they are therefore false prophets. (Deuteronomy 13:3).
So was Trump not “the chosen one” as he himself claimed (after being so convinced by the prophets)? Yes, I believe Trump was indeed chosen by God: “… you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 13:3-4). Yes, God allowed Trump’s ascendancy, not to save the church, since only Christ can save it, but to test it. And the church failed the test miserably!
Since it has become clear that Trump will not serve a second term, these prophets are responding in one of three different ways: Some are doubling down and against reality and truth insist that he will still serve the second term. Such foolishness does not warrant a response. The second group are adjusting their prophecies to extend to 2024 or by saying that Trump was elected and is therefore the president but the election was stolen. This is no different to the Millerites, and other cults, who had set dates for the Lord’s return and when it did not happen, spun it to say He came in the spirit. They are all false prophets and should be isolated and deprived of their following and money. The third group are admitting they were wrong and are publishing their apologies. I am sorry, but they do not have my sympathy either. How are they going to undo the damage they have done in the lives of their followers, in churches and to the Gospel? I have not seen one of those apologies, as sincere as they appear, offering to return the money they made out of their false prophecies! I also do not see any of them publishing a caveat with every future prophecy, warning that they were very wrong concerning Covid-19, the storming of the Capitol, and the election of Trump. Neither am I hearing any of them say that they will cease the foolishness of trying to read the tea leaves and stick to preaching the Scriptures. In fact, several of them have already pivoted to promise the destruction of America and the church under Biden.
The fact that Trump did not serve a second term means only one of two things: Either God is weak and the Democrats were able to defeat God’s purpose or the prophets have prophesied falsely. Since the first is blasphemy, the second must be true. There are no other options.
Working hand-in-hand with the false prophets are those who operate so-called “prophecy updates”. This has become the quickest path to building a massive following and bank balance. The only difference between the false prophets and the prophecy updates is that one adopts a more “spiritual” approach while the other is more cerebral – watching Fox news and reading Qanon and squeezing what they see into the mold of twisted Scripture. Amir Tsarfati is a prime example. On December 15th he declared that Trump would be confirmed as the president on January 6th and then proceeded to explain how Congress would reject the legitimate electors and overthrow the results of the election in order to elect Trump (https://youtu.be/_R4kUuJtqdQ). The problem was that he was totally wrong about how the process works and blatantly misled the 280,000 viewers who watched that video. Now, here’s the problem: How do you trust a man about future things when he will blatantly lie about facts (what the Constitution says) that can be verified in a ten minute search of the internet? Sadly his subscribers and viewers are still supporting him! All I can say is if you are willing to be led by, and support, a man who will lie to your face, you deserve what you get!
But Tsarafti is not alone. Many others ply their filthy trade of twisting current events and Scripture to suit their political, or private, agenda, and suckers flock to their sites by the hundreds of thousands. Indeed the real prophet has been proven right: “An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule by their own power; And My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?” (Jeremiah 5:30-31)
I know that the thousands that are being misled by these prophets claim they are innocent victims of these deceivers and therefore not responsible. What does Scripture say? Well, in the church of Thyatira there was just such a false prophet. This is what the Lord Jesus Himself says about those who followed her: “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. “I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:22-23). Those who believe and follow false prophets are guilty and will suffer the same judgment as the false prophets because they have the Bible but choose to believe, and follow, men, rather than God.
But this is all part of a bigger picture. The book of Revelation tells of a false prophet (in fact, The False Prophet) who will persuade millions to follow the Antichrist and to take the mark of the Beast. (Revelation 13). What has happened in the past five years is a mini-fulfillment of this prophecy. The false prophets have convinced millions to follow a lawless man and a man of sin and to take his mark(s). This has been a conditioning process to train people, churches and preachers, to not follow Scripture but to follow men. My fear is if you have been deceived by the current crop of false prophets, you will most likely be deceived by the The False Prophet who will be much more convincing and actually perform signs and wonders to verify his “authenticity” (Revelation 13:13).
It is time for you to take stock of who you are listening to and who you believe. He who has an ear – let him hear.
“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isaiah 8:19-20)
Anton Bosch – 22 January 2021