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24 July 2010

False Prophet in the News

Even though much of "Christendom" has at least nominally accepted that the end of God's revelation occurred by the end of the first century CE, there has never been a lack of people who would claim that God has spoken to them. The twenty-first century is no exception to this. Recently, Pat Robertson, world-famous for his Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and his failed 1988 presidential campaign, has yet again claimed that God has spoken to him. Let us consider his message according to the Scriptures and how God has spoken to the prophets of old.

The main "message from God" that Robertson supposedly received is that the United States would suffer another terrorist attack, most likely in late 2007 ("Pat Robertson predicts 'mass killing'", AP, 01/03/07). Should we have any reason to believe him?

First of all, let us say that it is entirely possible for us to be attacked by terrorists at any time and that God has still not spoken to Pat Robertson. We do not know nor claim to know what will or will not happen in 2007, but as we shall see, it is highly unlikely that any such event will occur because God told Pat Robertson that it would be done.

In the Scriptures, God does not predict calamity for calamity's sake. God does not desire to have evil come upon anyone, especially for their sins; God sends calamity so that men will change their ways, as it is written in Jeremiah 18:7-8:
At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy it; if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

This truth is powerfully illustrated in the example of Nineveh in the time of Jonah. God spoke through Jonah that He would destroy the city in forty days (Jonah 3:4). The king and all the people, however, repented of their evil (Jonah 3:5-9), and on account of it, God relented of the disaster (Jonah 3:10).

Where is this message in what God has supposedly spoken to Pat Robertson? Is there any hope for America if there is repentance, according to what Robertson has said?

Robertson also claims that God has communicated to him that U.S. foreign policy is actually causing Israel to commit "national suicide" and that the U.S. only feigns friendship with Israel (cf. article ibid.). We should not be surprised that Robertson, a premillennialist, would be highly concerned with the nation of Israel, but where in the Scriptures do we see that God is more concerned with physical Israel than with any other nation under Heaven? The Scriptures are clear that God's people are now the spiritual descendants of Abraham (Galatians 4:28), those who are Christians, part of His spiritual Kingdom (John 18:36, Colossians 1:13).

Furthermore, as is pointed out, last year Robertson claimed that the US would suffer from great storms and perhaps a tsunami in 2006, which in large did not happen; in previous years, Robertson has repeatedly made grand predictions of President Bush's successes in the name of God that have simply not come to fruition (see article ibid.). Should we believe that Pat Robertson hears from God?

Robertson's own words, however, condemn him as being in truth a false prophet, one who does not hear from God. He is quoted as saying the following in the above cited article:
"I have a relatively good track record," [Pat Robertson] said. "Sometimes I miss."
Sometimes he misses? When he "misses", who is at fault? Was God not clear in His message? Did Robertson not hear it correctly? Did mankind somehow foil God's plan? Shall we believe any of this? Perhaps in this slip of the tongue, if indeed it were a slip, we see the reality of the matter: Pat Robertson is speaking for Pat Robertson, not God. The LORD has not, in truth, spoken to him to convey a message to us.

In the days of Jeremiah, there was a prophet named Hananiah who prophesied to the contrary of the message that God gave to Jeremiah (Jeremiah 28:1-4). Jeremiah challenged him, establishing that the prophets of old had predicted doom for idolatrous Judah, and that his words would only be established as true if the events he predicted indeed came to pass (Jeremiah 28:7-9). Because of Hananiah's impiety, daring to speak in the name of the LORD when the LORD had not spoken, he died according to the word of Jeremiah from the LORD (Jeremiah 28:16-17). As it is written in Jeremiah 28:15:
Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, "Hear now, Hananiah: the LORD hath not sent thee; but thou makest this people to trust in a lie."
Many people consider Pat Robertson and his predictions to be a little matter, one of no consequence, just an interesting sideshow to which we ought not pay much attention. In reality, any false prophet gives reason for unbelievers to blaspheme (cf. 1 Peter 3:16), and, as Hananiah, would make the people trust in a lie, perhaps leading to their destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:6-9)! How does God feel about such persons? Let us hear His word again through Jeremiah in Jeremiah 23:30-32:
"Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets", saith the LORD, "that steal my words every one from his neighbor. Behold, I am against the prophets," saith the LORD, "that use their tongues, and say, 'He saith'. Behold, I am against them that prophesy lying dreams", saith the LORD, and "do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their vain boasting: yet I sent them not, nor commanded them; neither do they profit this people at all," saith the LORD.
Pat Robertson and his words are not innocent; he represents one who claims to have heard from the LORD and yet it is made manifest in fact that the LORD has not spoken through him. We have no reason to believe that the LORD is any less against him than He was against those who were before, who would lead Israel astray for their own purposes.

Let us continue to hold to the Word of God, trust that God is still in control, and continue to be diligent to test every spirit and everyone who would claim to speak for God (1 John 4:1). Let us speak out and prove the truth of God against the errors of men!

Postscript: the error of this "prophecy" is now evident three years later; 2007 went by without any significant terrorist attack in the United States. May God be true, and those who would arrogate to themselves the claim of being His mouthpiece be made liars!

Ethan R. Longhenry
January 2007

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