What difference does it make if Christians claim to be prophecy experts? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Last Friday I wrote about how to be a prophecy expert, which was rather tongue in cheek in its approach. Now why do such a thing? Granted, I don’t care for dispensationalist thinking a bit, but is there something more to it? Is there some actual danger that is at work with this?
Yes there is. For one thing, when a preacher like John Hagee makes these claims, people take it seriously. Some of these claims have been so serious that people have sold their homes and such, particularly with people like Harold Camping. People then broadcast all of this everywhere and guess what the media sees as representative of Christianity?
Let me state this right upfront also. There are plenty of good dispensationalists who love Jesus and don’t at all buy into this kind of behavior and condemn it. They don’t go out making active predictions about when the rapture will take place and don’t try to find fulfillments of the Bible in the news everyday. I even had a dispensationalist come on my show to critique The Harbinger.
Now let’s get back to the media. This idea is something then that really damages our witness to the world. If we can be shown to be wrong on something that people can verify easily, such as a simple realization that the end of the world didn’t come on such and such a date, why should they take us seriously on what they can’t verify so quickly, such as the resurrection of Jesus?
If a pastor does this, the pastor needs to be held to account. John Hagee should not have the public ministry he does after his blood moons error. When we have a pastor who has an affair or something of that sort, we call him to account, and rightfully so. Shouldn’t we do the same with a pastor who shares false teaching at this level?
Note also that these people never seem to recant of their errors. Hagee has never said anything in repentance about the blood moons that I know of. I know a lady who blocked me from her channel on YouTube because she made predictions based on the solar eclipse a couple of years ago in August and I kept asking if she would repent. Nope. Never happened.
Second, prophecy experts can tend to distract us from our real mission. There are Christians with all the charts and graphs that can tell when the rapture is to take place and who the antichrist is, but they don’t have a clue on the doctrine of the atonement, or the Trinity, or the resurrection of Jesus.
This is not to say that one could never study the former, but if you know more about that than you do about the essentials, you have a problem. We have a tendency to go for this knowledge that seems more esoteric. After all, you are in the know if you know that stuff.
This gets to another concern. Many people study this so much that they try to figure out everything about who the antichrist is. They spend less time thinking about who Jesus is. Shouldn’t He be our main focus?
Finally, these ideas also have very large political ramifications. How do we treat the nation of Israel and peace treaties and such? Many people are hesitant to see any peace treaty signed because they are convinced that’s the antichrist. (As if if that was the case, we could somehow stop a prophecy from being fulfilled.) How much energy has been spent trying to make a red heifer (You know, God needs the help). What we think about prophecy could affect people all over the world we don’t know about.
I encourage Christians to really study end times ideas on their own. I say that as someone who grew up with the dispensationlist movement. Now I have found my eschatological home in orthodox Preterism. This viewpoint makes the most sense of all of the Scriptures, but if I abandoned it tomorrow, I would still have the same problem with prophecy experts.