Every January prognosticators and forecasters in the world, the church, and the occult publish their predictions for the coming year. When we look back at their track record, we're not very impressed. Some are hit & miss; others are downright off target; none are 100% accurate.
Recently the economic experts have most people's attention. They base their predictions on their understanding of the financial market. Meteorologists forecast weather patterns to expect in the coming year. Astrologers supposedly see into the future via the study of the constellations and superstitious beliefs in their influences. And self-appointed prophets in the visible church prophesy according to a supposed dream, vision, or audible voice from God.
All these voices have a common appeal: worldliness. They attract people who are afraid of the future and want to know that their comfort in this life is secure for another year. Yet that focus is contrary to the Bible. Jesus told us not to concern ourselves with those needs but to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and leave the rest to Him.
Yet every year we are bombarded with so-called prophecies of how we need to do certain things in order to prosper and get through the year. CBN founder/president Pat Robertson hears from God, he says, every year. God just happens to keep the same calendar as the former presidential candidate. But his record for accuracy is abysmal.
Back in 1999, for instance, he said that God told him that those who do not double their giving that year would not survive the year 2000. Benny Hinn quoted him on TBN's Praise-a-Thon in order to twist people's arms to give more than they could afford. When 2000 came and went, there was no apology from the 700 Club or TBN.
According to the Bible, that makes Pat Robertson a false prophet. And we certainly should not listen to him.
"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." - Deut 18:22
This year, according to Robertson, God is again worried about His people's bank accounts. Pat prefaced his prophecy he gave to the 700 Club audience with a warning: "this is what I'm writing and what I'm saying this is what the Lord said." Then he pontificated about his favorite subject: the economy.
"Your country is in grave peril. The leaders have hearkened to the demands of interest groups and have led your nation into bankruptcy. In two years will come a time of reckoning - it's not now, but it's gonna be two years from now. Your creditors will demand payment and there will not be enough to satisfy their claims. Your currency will shrink in value, your bonds will lose value, people on fixed incomes will suffer, unemployment will escalate, and there will be turmoil."
The economic forecasters could have said as much and they didn't require some audible voice from God. Since Robertson has already demonstrated his propensity to say "thus saith the Lord" when the Lord hasn't spoken to him, why should we listen to him now? And besides, he didn't say anything important at all anyway.
Elijah List, the umbrella group of false prophets, published a transcript of Pat Robertson's latest prophecy for 2011 and put in a ridiculous disclaimer to protect Pat and other false prophets for being labeled for what they are. The publisher Steve Shultz wrote:
"Some are confused because there are so many differing pieces of the puzzle as we have posted words for 2011. That is because there would not be a need for thousands of prophets unless this was a large puzzle...Keep in mind that prayer can change any negative prophecy."
Yet Pat Robertson did not deliver his word from God with any conditions. Shultz got this unbiblical idea from the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders [ACPE], headed up by C. Peter Wagner and Cindy Jacobs. They put together a collective prophecy from all their false prophet underlings every year and because of their horrible record they had to change the Bible's requirement for 100% accuracy.
Last year the ACPE prefaced their prophecies with this disclaimer:
"This is the word given through a compilation of the prophetic releases and consensus of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders. There are differing variables that can affect the timing and/or coming to pass of theses words:
- All prophecy not contained in scripture is conditional.
- The timing of when the prophecy comes to pass may occur over a longer period of time than one calendar year. Some take many years to fulfill.
- It is possible that prophetic warnings will cause either the person or nation to repent and so turn away the judgment prophesied. Biblically, this happened when Jonah prophesied to Nineveh and the city repented, causing God to relent."
This gives a whole new definition of a prophet. There hasn't been a single failed prophecy given by any of the Elijah List or ACPE "prophets" that could be interpreted to have failed due to repentance as in Nineveh. And when they specify a time-frame to their prophecy and it does not come to pass, they have no right to say it can happen later. To say that all prophecy is conditional when no conditions were put on them is an insult to everyone's intelligence.
The true prophet Jeremiah told us what our attitude toward false prophets should be and we need to apply that to these "thousands of prophets" that have crept into our churches:
"Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you. They make you worthless; They speak a vision of their own heart, Not from the mouth of the LORD.'" -Jer. 23:16