"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up."

Arthur Koestler 

Entries in False Prophets (19)


90% Failure Rate

If a Biblical preacher makes 10 predictions, and one of them comes true, is that a reason to shout from the housetops? I have talked about how the prophecy biz works before. The successes are trumpeted, and the failures ignored.

One particular theory of prophecy has the EU becoming the beast of Revelation. Since us English speaking types could never be a part of the beast power, as we are the true Israel, Great Britain had to leave the EU. But these same prophetic wannabes had some absolute epic failures over the years. In the 50's and 60's the Worldwide Church of God expected Hitler to return to Germany from his secret U-boat bases in Antartica . As it became more and more obvious that this was absurd, the meme changed to a Hitler-like figure would emerge. Names were suggested. Of course all of these suggestions have died now, so new suggestions must be made. Like the famous scene in 1984 where IngSoc switches allegiance from one competing "rival" superpower to another. History has to be changed retroactively. "We were never at war with EastAsia." In the same way, prophetic failures are conveniently swept under the rug.

I first ran across this when I started to collect religious colporteur literature, books and pamphlets sold door to door at the beginning of the last century. One in particular went on and on about the prophetic importance of the Ottoman Empire, which self-destructed, with help from the West, just a few years after the book was published.

Since Jesus said that even he didn't know the timing of his return, the underlying assumption that Jesus will return soon may be flawed. Don't get me wrong--it will happen. We just can't know when. But to point this out reduces book sales. The reason we have so much odd prophetic speculation is that is what people want.

So no, Great Britain leaving the EU does not have anything to do with Bible prophecy. Rather than strengthen the EU, it may end it. It may also be the end of Great Britain as it splits into three parts. Instead of a coming Superpower, the EU is more likely to experience civil war and race riots.

It is a mistake to look at current events and twist them to fit Bible prophecy. It will almost always eventually be proven wrong, as was the 19th/early 20th century claim of the prophetic significance of the Ottoman Empire


Fake and Facebook Go Together

It really does not matter whether a conservative or liberal shares one of these posters on Facebook. The percentage of them that are fake is quite high. Here is the Facebook Putin, not the real one.

"To forgive the terrorists is up to God, to send them to him is up to me.” 

Such a nice quote, it sounds so Putin, or as I put it, it sounds like the Facebook Putin. This Putin must live with the Facebook Obama, the Obama born in Kenya. No doubt the Rothchilds own the home they live in. 

This is actually Denzel Washington in the movie Man on Fire

I would be thankful, as is proper today and does go along with another Facebook meme, if everyone just researched these posters, or not share them at all because Facebook is often a fact-free zone. Since Facebook is crowd-sourced, it is only as good as we make it. At least cat pictures are cute.  


A Lesson from the Twilight Zone

If you are anything like me, various episodes of the Twilight Zone, in addition to entering pop culture, provide food for thought. No, the episode where William Shatner overacts is not the one I have in mind. Shatner is even a parody of himself, but at least he embraces it!

The episode I have in mind is focused on a mild-mannered accountant. As is typical in such stories he is not happy. He receives a mysterious letter from a psychic who claims to be able to predict the outcome of The Big Fight. The psychic was right. Our hero receives another letter with another prediction, again correct. By the third letter the psychic explains his problem: he can not profit directly from his power, so he asks that he receive a portion of any winnings the accountant receives. 

The man is hooked, places a small bet, and wins. As a result of the psychic's next letter, he embezzles a large sum from his employer and makes stock market investments.  In the next-to-final scene, our hero is sitting on his yacht in a smoking jacket, drinking an adult beverage. He won!

The final scene has his coworkers discussing the psychic fraud they had read about. The "psychic" sent out thousands of letters, half of which predicted one outcome of the original boxing match, and the other half the opposite prediction. The conman would then write more letters, but only to those to whom he had made the correct "prediction." The con man knew that if he wrote a large enough number of initial letters, and kept writing to those to whom he had been correct,  the pool of correct predictions would also be large. This would give him people on whom to pull his psychic scam.

This relates to two different sub-themes here at the Prophecy Podcast.

Would-be prophets in the religious world might actually be able to string together a number of successful predictions, just by chance. Since there are a surprising number of such prognosticators, some of them are bound to be right. Of course the "prophet" will combine the technique of vagueness with not mentioning their prophetic failures. Thus a prophet is born.

Would-be economic advisers in the financial world might actually be able to string together a number of successful predictions, just by chance. Since there are a surprising number of such prognosticators, some of them are bound to be right. Of course they will combine the technique of vagueness with not mentioning their predictive failures. Thus a economic guru is born.

Do I need to name names? I think each of us can think of some examples. Sometimes the con is not even that sophisticated. Thus we have the joke about the economic adviser who predicted 5 of the last 3 recessions. 

People also forget about the colossal bonehead mistakes that these "prophets" make. One particular adviser I read over 20 years ago--who out of politeness shall remain nameless--was constantly predicting that the dotcom mania of the late 90's was just that--a mania. He was right. But I guess he got tired of the money that those who ignored his advice received. Right at the top of the mania, he urged his newsletter subscribers to buy Internet stocks. This was one of the worst calls in modern times. He had to resign. But guess what--a decade later he is back as editor of the same newsletter. (Note that I am not saying one can not have a financial advisor.) 

Do not be fooled by the magical thinking of religious or economic gurus. They don't know any more than you do--probably less.

Another False Prophet

Here is another false prophet trying to defend his falseness.

What I found interesting is that the psychological approach is to attack those who were right as a way to defend yourself when you are wrong. The technique is to combine those who disagree with date setting with those who think that things are going fine. One can be against date setting and at the same time be concerned about future of the US. I am. This is a smoke screen designed to confuse. 

The issue was, did anything happen on Sept 23. The answer is no. So someone who said that something would happen, even covered by mealy-mouthed words like "I am just speculating," is a false prophet.

The appeal to Matthew 24 was typical, and standard operating procedure for this type of person. Are things bad economically? Sure. Are there wars? Sure. Is there religious persecution? Sure. But are the wars as bad as WWII? No. Are they even as bad as WWI. No. Are the health issues of today as bad as the Black Death, where 1/3 of Europe died? No. To even mentioning people eating sugar in the same prophetic context as plagues shows a very odd mindset. Is there a problem today with bad diet. Sure. Does this have any relation with the return of Christ? No.

Could this be the beginning of the return of Christ? Sure. Does it have to be? No.

Yes, I think that we as individuals should get our houses in order. This is just common sense prudence, but this has nothing to do with the ultimate return of Christ. The use of the scriptures that warn of false defend a false rather amusing. 

But he does have a great beard.


The Original Way Back MachineWhat do you do when you make a false religious predication?

Some people who do this retire from public religious life and apologize. This seldom happens. Some rewrite history, but in the modern Internet era this is more difficult, as the Internet seldom forgets with tools like the "Way Back Machine."

In my one and only podcast (yeah, podcasting is hard) I discuss such a prediction. It failed. In the podcast I talk about this failed prophecy and such date setting in general. The beloved editor of this blog, Pam Dewey, also wrote about this episode, focusing on the devastated people deceived by such silliness: When Prophecy Fails

In the church I attend an elder predicted that Jesus would return in AD 2027, 2000 years after the beginning of Jesus' ministry. (I will talk about this later.) Why? He gave an elaborate scenario about the prophet Daniel that I doubt anyone in the audience actually understood. This was combined with the idea that we humans have had 6000 years to prove ourselves, or as the theory usually states it, prove we can't do anything right. The main problem with such a prophecy is that we humans have already been here far longer than 6000 years.

The message had the usual disclaimers. "I could be wrong," and so on. The technical term for this is CYA. ("Cover your ***") Often, the speaker is indeed sincere about his uncertainty, as this man was. But sometimes it is just a ploy. The false prophet is thinking, "I can say all these things, increase my donations, sell more books, and I will not be held accountable."

I recently talked about the hubbub about the Shemitah, which is the Biblical seven year debt release cycle, which was then connected with fall festival lunar eclipse or the blood moons, and their supposed prophetic significance. Those that advocated such things were wrong. Oops. I was accused by one reader of just "having a bad day" because I was griping about this on my blog. Maybe so. But another explanation might be that I am tired of such false prophets and the lack of accountability that the public demands of them.

Here is one fake rabbi's explanation on how he was not really wrong. (He does have a great beard, however.)

Yes, I am sure he covered his original prophetic pronouncements with the appropriate caveats and disclaimers like pharmaceutical ads that warn, "This drug may cause blindness."  Since false prophets usually know in advance that nothing is going to happen, such disclaimers are a normal part of the false prophet biz. Too bad these prophetic heroes do not give real disclaimers: "Warning: listening to my message may lead to spiritual blindness."

In conclusion let me clarify what I mean by "fake rabbi." Almost all prognosticating fellows who call themselves "rabbi" are not actually Jewish, in spite of using the Jewish term "rabbi" instead of the English term "teacher." Often, but not always, they wear what they think to be Bible-times-looking robes, so they can look "authentically prophetic." Actual Jewish rabbis in the 21st century seldom wear Bible era-style robes. Real orthodox rabbis of modern times look more like the image on the left.
Of course growing a good "Jewish-looking" beard is a plus. Do they think that God tells them to dress this way? Or do they assume, probably correctly, that many naive Christians will be under the impression that a Jewish person is somehow more in tune with Bible prophecy than a gentile? And a Jewish person who looks like a Bible-times prophet from a Hollywood  movie will seem even more "qualified"!

One telltale sign self-appointed rabbis are fake is the lack of any discussion about their rabbinical credentials. In Judaism, a person becomes a rabbi by studying at a traditional rabbinical seminary for many years. Fake rabbis can just skip that step, do a little personal Bible study, and hang out a Rabbi shingle on their door. (If a local congregation declares that someone is a rabbi, does that make them one? Maybe it does, for that congregation, but I am not a member of that congregation.)

A few years ago some of these fake rabbis realized their credibility problem. So several of them got together and formed a fake seminary for fake rabbis. Most people will not do as I did and research the supposed school. When you hear "Rabbi So And So" pontificating on a Youtube video, it is totally fair to be suspicious about his supposed rabbinical degree, just like you can legitimately question how a "Christian" teacher got to be a "Doctor of Divinity." Like "Dr." Jack Van Impe. (Yes, there are fake "Christian" divinity schools too.

So did I get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning? No, I am just warning you that when you support the ministries of fake rabbis, buy their books, or recommend their YouTube videos, you are empowering them to deceive others.

Grow up.