Monday, February 24, 2014

Predictions ............................ Parables 084

“Top Ten Predictions for 1988"

It won’t be long before headlines like that march across magazine stands and through the racks beside grocery store checkouts. The current stable of soothsayers will be telling the readers their predictions for the coming year and those readers will hang on to every word. Some will maybe even plan their lives around such prophesies for 1988.

I suppose someone goes back to check the track-record of those who filled the same pages the year before. They would need to if they honestly wanted to publish the “top ten”, but I wonder about their evaluation system, if there is one. Would it stack up with the one God used for Old Testament prophets? Or would they even dare try God’s method for determining the “top ten” prophets for 1988?

Out of Deuteronomy 18:20-22 comes this: “You may say to yourselves, ‘How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?’”... and the response: “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. Do not be afraid of him.”

That doesn’t seem too difficult a test. Everyone makes mistakes. One might think that to proclaim something in the name of the LORD or just in your own name and then have it fall through would not be a big deal... but here is the kicker: “... A prophet who presumes to speak in my name anything I have not commanded him to say, or a prophet who speaks in the name of other gods, must be put to death.”

That is not your average test. If the prophecy came true, the one who made it was allowed to live. If not, he was stoned to death. Pretty drastic isn’t it? That is why the prophetic books of the Old Testament have such impact. They were written by God’s top men, men who were 100% accurate. They only wrote what God actually did tell them to write.

God has His reasons for insisting on such accuracy. To say something is a message from God will grab a listener’s attention. His Words are not to be taken lightly. What He says is true, accurate, and reliable. When a false prophet claims “God told me...”, thousands of undiscerning people cannot tell the difference between those lies and God’s truth. Worse yet, most of them are as unconcerned about being led astray as the people who write and publish such nonsense are about doing it. It happened in the days of Isaiah and Jeremiah and it still happens today.

When I see those magazines, and anything else that is a perversion of genuine prophesy, I am angry and grieved. God has recorded events that are yet to come and these can be trusted as certainties, but He also can be trusted even when we don’t know the future. We are not to put our faith in the words of some self-proclaimed experts. God said to Jeremiah, “The prophets prophesy lies... and my people love it this way... But what will you do in the end?”

What indeed will anyone do? Christians sometimes think that because we are a minority, we are helpless, forgetting that God plus one equals a majority. Instead we often ignore the perversions, retreat into our spired buildings, and hope for the some judgmental fire from heaven.

What a sad commentary on the value systems of the people of God when the greatest measure of integrity we can muster is to look the other way rather than do something positive to counter false prophesies with truth and the good news of the gospel. Jesus Christ, the greatest prophet of all, didn’t come to give us a detailed list of what will happen in 1988 or any other year, but He did come to give us is hope for eternity. We may not know what tomorrow will bring but we ought to know what will happen to us after we die and then tell others so they can have the same assurance.

Personally, I know enough about the future to make me realize how important it is to concentrate on the right now. God has given me plenty to think about, plenty to talk about, and plenty to do - TODAY.

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