Restoring the Lord's Life and Power to our Congregations
RZ Survey: the “War on Israel, December 2012 ” Prophecies
Survey Results, edited by Hannah Weiss
Following are the responses of the Restorers of Zion survey that was conducted between 15-30/nov/2012. To review the email that prompted this survey, go here.
This report is “edited” in two ways:
(1) Editorial comments – The results are woven together with some observations of patterns in the answers. They are subjective but hopefully offer food for thought. In a couple of places, the responses showed misunderstanding of the question, due to a poor choice of words on my part; in a couple more, the survey results don’t add up, so explanations were in order.
In short, I have attempted to dialog with those who answered the survey. If enough people feel moved to add further responses in the spirit of a “forum discussion”, I will be happy to add these comments to a future updated version.
(2) Editorial decisions – I reworded some of the write-in responses for better clarity, substituted obscure vocabulary with more familiar words, and shortened comments to remove excess detail or repetitive statements. Sometimes I relocated parts of responses from one question to another, in order to separate out the multiple issues being addressed or to keep relevant comments in the same place. In a few cases, I was faced with a contradictory answer and so I took the stronger statement as the real response.
These were all attempts to help respondents communicate better and be understood by a wider audience. I apologize ahead of time for any changes I might have unintentionally made to what any author meant to say.
If I have distorted a statement made by someone who asked to be identified, please do contact me and I will be glad to correct it – I know from experience how frustrating it is to be misquoted with no way to set the record straight.
I did my best to keep my personal views out of this report. Instead they are expressed in several follow-up articles. There I relate to the original prophecies and the prophets who were involved, some implications that might be drawn from the survey results, and my own thoughts on the scriptural command to test prophecies and their authors. See the list and links at the end of this file.
Number of Survey Invitations sent: roughly 280-300
Number of Responses: 36
Location of respondents:
[ 15 ] Israel
[ 16 ] North America
[ 3 ] Europe
[ 1 ] New Zealand
[ 2 ] Australia
First choice of language for Bible study:
[ 31 ] English
[ 7 ] Hebrew
[ 1 ] Indonesian
[ 1 ] NT Greek
[ 1 ] German
[ 1 ] No answer
[Clarification: There are more than 36 because some marked more than one language.]
Bible education: (mark all that apply)
(Christian Higher Education)
[ 5 ] Theological seminary
[ 13 ] Christian college
(Jewish Higher Education)
[ 4 ] Rabbinic yeshiva or Jewish college
[ 10 ] Messianic institution
[ 3 ] Jewish day school
[ 3 ] Christian high school
[ 1 ] Synagogue study
(No Formal Education)
[ 25 ] Group Bible studies
[ 29 ] Private (alone) Bible study
[ 1 ] No answer
Involvement in Body leadership: (mark all that apply)
[ 12 ] Congregational pastor or teacher
[ 11 ] Congregational elder or other service position
[ 7 ] Ministry leader
Other [written in]
Christian college professor – 2
Home group leader – 1
Missionary – 2
Consultant on Israel topics – 1
Youth leader – 1
Worship leader – 1
Choir – 1
Discipleship – 1
Children’s ministry – 1
Church board - 1
[ 3 ] 20-30
[ 5 ] 31-40
[ 1 ] 41-50
[ 9 ] 51-60
[ 16 ] over 60
[ 2 ] No answer
[ 6 ] single
[ 27 ] married
[ 7 ] a parent
[ 14 ] a grandparent
[ 2 ] No answer
Number of years as a believer in Yeshua the Messiah:
[ 1 ] between 5 and 10 years
[ 2 ] between 10 and 20 years
[ 8 ] between 20 and 30 years
[ 24 ] more than 30 years
[ 1 ] No answer
[Observation: A huge percentage of the responses (95%) came from people who have been in the faith for 20 years or more. Likewise a large majority (nearly 3 out of 4) were over the age of 50, the traditional stage of life for taking up eldership positions in the extended family of children and grandchildren. Finally, more than half identified themselves as holding senior leadership positions in the Body: pastors, shepherds, teachers and/or ministry leaders.
In short, although this small sample doesn’t cover the full range of Body leadership, it can be said to represent the thinking of mature believers rather than newbies or youth. These categories are regarded as the spiritual elders: having a firm grasp of the written Word, capable of teaching others and generally looked up to for spiritual guidance.]
SURVEY RESPONSES on General Prophecy Issues
1. Do you believe that predictive Prophecy (as a supernatural gift) is operating today?
[ 7 ] Yes, absolutely – it’s a common occurrence among believers today.
[1 added comment:]
-- “Yes, absolutely, but not common. I believe the reason it is rare is because the glory of the Lord is far from us, like in the days of Eli.”
[ 28 ] Yes, in theory, but it’s rare to see the real gift in action.
[1 added comment:]
-- “Yes I believe that predictive prophecy operates and is valid today – but it is not common.”
[Acknowledgement: It was probably too restrictive to link “theory” with “rare” and “absolutely” with “common”. The second choice was meant to be something closer to, “Yes, in principle…” My apology for the confusion.]
[ 1 ] No, that gift ended with the first-century believers.
[Observation: The one who marked this choice also chose: “no way to validate a prophecy except waiting to see if it comes to pass,” and: “to be valid, a prophecy must come to pass exactly as described.” Taken together, this implies an expectation that all modern prophecy will be invalidated by not coming to pass.]
2. Do you feel that the above definition of predictive Prophecy is too narrow?
[ 5 ] Yes, it should include all of the examples mentioned, and even more.
[ 2 ] Yes, it should include what was labeled “reminders”.
[ 1 ] Yes, it should include what was labeled “weather-vane words”.
[ 22 ] No, the definition was okay.
[ 3 ] No, actually the definition was too wide.
[2 added comments after marking this choice:]
-- “I Cor. 14:3: [Predictive prophecy should be restricted to the purpose] for strengthening, encouragement and comfort.”
-- “Yes, it should include SOME of the examples mentioned, and even more.”
[ 3 ] No choices marked.
[2 added comments instead of marking choices:]
-- “I like your definitions and your concern – but I feel limited by them.”
-- “The working definition defined mostly what predictive prophecy wasn’t, I felt the need for more precision with what was there.”
[Clarification: Throughout the survey there was scattered objection to Prophecy being called “predictive”, pointing out that not all Prophecy has to predict something. I focused on a distinct category of “predictive” Prophecy because it can be validated by believers at all levels of discernment – even without developed spiritual senses, mental processing and common sense can determine that a prediction either happened or didn’t.
I agree that a Prophecy offering comfort, guidance or rebuke also needs to be validated, but that requires more sophisticated testing and is beyond the scope of this survey.]
3. Should a prophecy be validated as coming from God before it is given publicity?
[ 24 ] Yes, always – to do otherwise is irresponsible.
[2 added comments after marking this choice:]
-- “Although I doubt everyone will ever agree on any one perspective.”
-- “ Validated by whom? If the prophet does not validate the source of the spirit, woe to him. If one person is passing on a prophecy to another, and neither of them originated the prophecy, then before it is passed on it must be confirmed personally in the heart of the one passing it, and preferably with their spiritual authority as well.”
[ 6 ] Sometimes, when the message is likely to have an influence on someone.
[ 1 ] There’s no need, unless concrete action is expected from those who accept it.
[ 4 ] No, it should be publicized regardless, based on the prophet’s conviction that it’s valid.
[2 added comments:]
-- “If the prophet feels he has to say it, that's his conscience, and then you check to see if it happens or not (for a first-time prophet). Maybe it can be validated by people close by.”
-- “[Even so,] we are each responsible before God for seeking discernment/knowledge regarding prophecies in order to know whether it is from God or not.”
[ 1 ] No choices marked.
4. How can a prophetic prediction be validated ahead of time?(mark all that apply)
[ 29 ] Check the track record of the prophet for fulfilled words in the past.
[1 added comment after marking this choice:]
-- “This is helpful, but it shouldn’t be the only measurement for correctness of a particular prophecy; however we are growing spiritually, and so is our spiritual visual ability (hopefully).”
[ 17 ] Find out if respected leaders in the Body accept it as valid.
[1 added comment:]
-- “I am not marking this because our leaders are too often deceived.”
[ 30 ] Check the prediction to make sure it doesn’t contradict Scripture.
[ 20 ] Check it for similarity to prophecies already in Scripture.
[ 14 ] Look for other modern prophets who are making the same prediction.
[1 added comment instead of marking this choice:]
-- “This was never a scriptural standard – it may even mean the opposite, as with Micaiah [1 Kings 22].”
[ 28 ] Ask the Lord to confirm it in your spirit as a word from Him.
[Clarification: These methods are what I would call “mental discernment tools” – all except the last option, which relies on “spiritual sensory tools” (i.e. the ability to hear the Lord directly). However, it was not my intention to draw a hard line between the two approaches. Even the results of mental investigation can and should have a spiritual layer which can be assessed by spiritual discernment. See my comments in this followup file.]
[ 10 ] Other ways to validate (comments written in):
-- “Fruit in the prophet’s life. It is good to know the prophet, have a relationship with him, have spent time with him or her.”
-- “Character test for the prophet, including willingness to listen to deserved discipline.”
-- “Evaluate the moral and psychological impact of the word for its audience (based on Torah principles). Even without obvious scriptural contradiction, such as “Let us go after other gods”, it may engender fear and faithlessness, or rash decisions, rather than courage and trust.”
-- “You check to see if it happens or not (for a first-time prophet).”
-- “Not one method on its own is good enough- one should always check with the Lord.”
-- “Check out the reputation and lifestyle of the one giving the prophecy.”
-- “The prophet's name should be listed to add some validation to the prophecy.”
-- “I can think of scriptural promises or commands that seemingly conflicted with God’s revealed desires. Essentially checking the track record boils down to judging with the eyes of our flesh. Jonah was still a prophet regardless of his “failure.” In the end, a prophecy can be verified. Indeed, often they must be verified one way or the other, but the only way to know for sure is to consult the Author.”
-- “Investigate also the prophet’s doctrine and methods of getting prophecies. If he is receiving “messages” in a manner inconsistent with sound doctrine, his source must be suspect.”
-- “We also need to account for language limitations or a poor conception of heavenly images; those are shortcomings that can undermine his accuracy [in explaining what he sees].”
[Observation: These comments sum up 3 additional ways of testing the validity of a prophecy: becoming familiar with the prophet’s personal faithfulness to God’s standards (7), recognizing the relative weakness of human evaluation compared to relying on the Lord’s input (2), and trying to eliminate possible communication barriers (1). As with the methods listed above, these tests can also be performed using mental or spiritual tools (or both).]
[ 9 ] It can’t be validated ahead of time – you can only wait and see if it’s fulfilled.
[Observation: Out of these 9 respondents, 7 nevertheless did mark ways of validating a prophecy ahead of time; and each of those 7 had a different combination: 4 marked “check the track record”, 2 marked “check with leaders”, 4 marked “check for scriptural contradictions”, 4 marked “check for similarity to scripture”, 5 marked “check for other modern prophets”, and 3 marked “ask the Lord”.]
[3 comments added by those who marked this choice:]
-- “It is very specific, and I hope it has truly been tested accordingly. I believe any prophecy that is very specific has to be heavily tested.”
-- “It can’t be FULLY validated ahead of time.”
-- “Sometimes it can’t be validated ahead of time.”
[2 comments added by those who didn’t mark this choice:]
-- “It can’t ALWAYS be validated ahead of time – fulfillment alone is the final confirmation.”
-- “This might be true, but a number of scriptural examples would have required advance preparation “just in case”, in order to benefit when the events did occur.”
[Observation: These reflected mixed feelings in both directions: i.e. the need to test the validity of a prophecy beforehand, together with uncertainty about the effectiveness of that testing.]
5. What is the deciding test of a fulfilled prophecy?
[ 23 ] It has to come to pass exactly as foretold.
[1 added comment instead of marking it:]
-- “This is idealistic.”
[ 11 ] Most of it has to happen, although some details can be wrong.
[3 added comments after marking this choice:]
-- “Because we are also human, not spirits.”
-- “For example, if there's a part that can be prevented/changed through prayer, e.g. Jonah's prophecy to the Ninevites.”
-- “Events in a prophecy can be identified in order that prayer may arise that will limit or entirely stop the event from taking place.”
[Observation: The first comment is apparently an explanation for why the first option wasn’t chosen (as opposed to just marking this option without comment). However, the other 2 comments suggest that an entire prophecy can fail and still be valid, which would seem to contradict this choice and favor one of the next three.]
[ 0 ] The main prediction needs to be fulfilled, although most details can be wrong.
[ 0 ] The test is to keep believing and praying until it IS fulfilled.
[2 added comments instead of marking it:]
-- “Wishful thinking.”
-- “I agree in one way, and I disagree in another. “This is a “test” that puts the burden [of proof] on those who believe and pray, not on God [who spoke]. And what would people be praying – for the promised event to happen, or not to happen? But another way of looking at this is a sifting: “Will you hold fast to My promises despite the apparent breaking of them?” It is the position of the heart in relation to the Father that would make this an act of faith or presumptive foolishness.”
[ 0 ] There is no test for deciding whether a prophecy has been fulfilled.
[ 2 ] Didn’t mark any choices.
[1 added comment instead of marking choices:]
-- “Our gifts are filtered through imperfect human vessels. If the prophet interprets what he has heard from God purely, that word will come to pass, although I do believe that some words are conditional based on what we do with them.”
[3 added comments after marking choices:]
-- “Predictions happen that are too unlikely to just be chance, although some or most details may not be understood.”
-- “It has to come to pass as foretold, with the limits of acceptable spiritual interpretation.”
-- “The definition of “exactly” may need interpretation, since some scriptural examples that are considered valid although they aren’t yet completely fulfilled.”
6. What should be done about a Prophecy that has clearly failed? (mark all that apply)
[ 0 ] Assume that it was fulfilled somehow without our seeing it.
[ 3 ] Forgive the prophet and keep receiving prophecies from this person.
[ 17 ] Ignore the prophet from that point on.
[1 added comment after marking it:]
-- “This would seem to be the Torah’s minimal prescription.”
[ 19 ] Ask the prophet privately to explain the failure.
[1 added comment after marking it:]
-- “This is step 1.”
[ 13 ] Demand publicly that the prophet apologize.
[1 added comment after marking it:]
-- “Although one can’t demand that the prophet apologise, if the failure of the prophecy had public consequences then an apology from the prophet would be the expected outcome.”
[ 14 ] Denounce and/or disfellowship the person as a false prophet.
[4 added comments after marking it:]
-- “Denounce yes, not disfellowship; let God be the judge.”
-- “Seek the Father’s guidance. Never assume.”
-- “Depends on your personal relationship with the prophet and how the Lord leads you.”
[ 3 ] Didn’t mark any choices.
[All 3 added comments instead of marking choices:]
-- “We’re still learning.”
-- “The Body of Messiah needs to stop paying attention to men and women claiming to be predictive prophetic.”
-- “Judge each word on an individual basis, keeping in mind failed words in weighing what you hear from them going forward.”
[1 comment added after marking all except the first choice:]
-- “These answers should all be sort of a dependent progression, while listening to the Lord.”
[Observation: As can be seen from the large numbers of responses, quite a few of the 36 respondents marked more than one option for dealing with a failed prophecy. But only 3 referred to their choices as a multi-step process that implies patience in relating to the prophet. Maybe in the other responses this “second-chance” process was assumed to be self-evident.
What no one explained (and what I didn’t think to ask) was the reason for a progressive confrontation with the prophet: to allow him time to find the cause of the failed prophecy, or to allow him to continue prophesying to improve his track record?]
SURVEY RESPONSES on Prophecies about Israel
7. Most messages labeled as Prophecies about Israel are…
[ 4 ] Worthwhile and inspiring.
[ 6 ] Helpful for me in my prayers for Israel.
[ 14 ] Well-meaning but lacking in substance.
[ 13 ] A waste of time to wade through.
[ 8 ] Disturbing and/or harmful.
[1 added comment after marking it:]
-- “If the “market” is flooded with faux prophecies that are sensational and well spread, then when He truly gives a word of warning, or even encouragement, the hearers have become dull of hearing.”
 “Optional comments” [used instead of choosing from the above]:
-- “Undecided – I have only come across a few actual prophecies regarding Israel.”
-- “We don’t hear them – not on the right blogs/boards or fellowshipping in the right churches to hear these… But we very seldom hear prophecy about anything.”
-- “I am not aware that there have been very many, and compared to the abundance of clear Biblical Prophecies about Israel one doesn’t feel the need for more. Specific Prophecies, if genuine, are always helpful for prayer focus.”
-- “I need to hear more words about Israel to comment on this.”
-- “The political situation between Israel and whoever is leading the Palestinians these days informs too many prophecies. I pray (not enough) for Israel in general, but not in response to prophecies.”
-- “I have no data that would allow me to categorize “most” such so-called “prophecies”. I would say that any messages presented as “prophecy” which is “well-meaning but lacking in substance” is both “a waste of time to wade through” and “disturbing and/or harmful”. One such harm is the devaluation of the prophetic enterprise and concept.”
-- “Surely the ones that are true are worthwhile, but [they are] generally not inspiring, generally disturbing.”
-- “Some are worthwhile, some lack substance, some are a waste of time, some are disturbing… True prophecies are worthwhile and inspiring.”
-- “Some are valuable; some are not. Need discernment.”
--“All of the above!”
-- “God's word already tells me what will happen.”
-- “I have read many of them….saw a great deal of contradiction between them and find it all very confusing. I don’t see any 95% accuracy in the scriptures when it comes to Prophets. They were either true prophets of God or they were not. I find this all so very troubling.”
-- “Don’t like the word “Most” – some messages are (1) some are (2) some are (3), etc.”
-- “Our gifts are filtered through imperfect human vessels. We see a lot of that imperfection in contemporary prophecy, especially in the big picture realm like what is coming for Israel. I believe in the prophetic, but I’m not open to many of the prophetic words that I hear declared about Israel.”
[Observation: Most of the responses to this question reflected two efforts: to not generalize in either the positive or the negative direction, and to not give an opinion based on too little information. Besides the above comments, several respondents marked both positive and negative choices, which may or may not have had the same idea in mind.]
[ 1 ] No answer and no comment.
8. Why is Israel prophesied about so often these days?
[ 2 ] I have no idea why.
[ 19 ] We’re in the Last Days and God has a lot to say about her.
[ 22 ] Believers are influenced by promises to Israel in Scripture.
[ 10 ] Believers are influenced by the media’s obsession with Israel.
[ 12 ] It’s a “herd mentality” – prophets are influenced by one another.
[1 added comment:]
-- “I would say false prophets are influenced by one another. A true prophet would only listen to the Father.”
[ 18 ] It’s good for generating ministry support and funding.
[ 6 ] Other reasons (good or bad):
-- “ Israel is a metaphor for different things for different people. In some ways, talking about Israel evokes the creative, emotional, “right-brain” aspects of believers that are rarely encouraged correctly.”
-- “It makes them appear to be dynamic or current and connected to God.”
-- “Lying spirits use unsuspecting believers to spread fear and lies.”
-- “ God is speaking to believers at all levels of understanding about Israel.”
-- “It’s a fad.”
-- “They distract from heart issues, the dross that God would be working to remove. If everybody is excited about Israel, it’s so much easier to ignore that nudging from His Spirit to turn their hearts toward Him in repentance and intimacy.”
[4 more general comments added here:]
-- “It seems the ancient prophets had some way to distinguish between impulsive babbling and revelation. King Saul’s brief time with the prophets did not turn him into one, and did not even improve his character enough to obey Samuel’s explicit instructions from God. Modern believers would benefit greatly from learning the difference between being inspired to express impressions about God’s desires, expressing one’s personal hopes for events that He might fulfill, and discerning accurately what He is actually about to do.”
-- “God can inspire words from many sources (scripture, newspapers, other people) and can take many forms in order to fulfill many different purposes - BUT the means of validation listed in question 4 should definitely be applied.”
-- “Actually I see very few prophecies about Israel – most are about the US.”
-- “In our opinion this [prophesying about Israel] is one of today’s tragedies in the Body of Messiah.”
[ 2 ] No choices marked and no comments.
SURVEY RESPONSES on This Predictive Prophecy about Israel
(go here to review the prophecy itself)
9. Have you seen it before?
[ 3 ] Yes, a few times already.
[ 1 ] Yes, once before.
[ 30 ] No, this is the first time.
[Clarification: The 3 who had seen it multiple times were 2 Israelis and 1 American; the person who had seen it once before was a Canadian. The vast majority had not seen it before. Since the RZ survey invitation included a great many who were familiar with this prophecy, it seems that those who had seen it were either reluctant to share their views or considered it too low in priority to enter the discussion.]
10. If you’ve seen it before, have you forwarded it to others? Or if this is the first time you’ve seen it, do you intend to forward it to others?
[ 10 ] Yes
[Explain why: 8 responses]
--“The prophecy reflects my own understanding. I do believe Zechariah 12:7-10 is part of this event.”
-- “I don’t generally make a habit of forwarding things, unless they are of specific concern to an individual or group whom I know personally. I may forward this entire email to a couple of Jewish believer acquaintances in the U.S.”
-- “I send on anything concerning Israel to other like-minded believers, i.e. those appreciating Israel’s pivotal place in Scripture, for mutual evaluation.”
-- “I have asked others to consider its impact on Israelis, and (although I am skeptical) to consider whether we ought to be making cautious preparations.”
-- “We sent it only to two trusted mature believers.”
-- “We forwarded it to others in the Land and asked them to pray about it. One would think that if this was from God, He would be telling us here [in Israel] what is coming. These prophecies are coming from outside the Land. I have met two of these “prophets” and am familiar with their teachings and am troubled by some of what I’ve heard and seen.”
-- “We know Jill Shannon and count her as a personal friend. We value her teaching. Jill was not the source of the word; she compiled words from 4 people that she trusts and with whom she is in relationship – personally and in active ministry. We trust Jill .”
-- “I will send one copy to a friend whom I know will pray about it, and who will not send it out to others unless she feels it is from God.’
[Observation: People forwarded it to others for very different reasons: Only 2 believed it to be valid; 3 sent it on for feedback, implying that they weren’t sure what to think; 3 didn’t actually explain why they forwarded it.]
[ 2 ] Said yes but didn’t explain why.
[ 21 ] No
[Explain why not: 12 responses]
-- “It doesn’t sound genuinely authored by God.”
-- “I have been exposed to several false prophets and prophecies that coincide with December 2012. I believe it to be supernaturally inspired, but not by God; to stir up fear and distrust in people. It seems like an undercurrent that even God’s elect are being deceived in and tapping into.”
-- “I don’t know who gave it, their credibility, etc. It’s clear we need to pray for Israel at this time, and I’m not sure this would add more to the prayer effort.”
-- “I don’t feel led.”
-- “It doesn’t fit with the impressions I have had of what the Lord is doing here.”
-- “If it does not come true, people will be discouraged.”
-- “I simply do not believe it.”
-- “It is already [as of 20/nov] wrong – the “war” started a month too early.”
-- “I came across the content of it several times before.”
-- “There’s no validation of where it originated.”
-- “I don't know enough about it to forward it.”
-- “I do not discern it as accurate.”
[Observation: People declined to forward it for 3 main reasons: 6 because of personal conviction that it was false, 1 because of potential negative impact on others, and 3 because they weren’t sure what to think. Two other answers were personal reasons unrelated to their opinion of its validity.]
[ 9 ] Said no and didn’t explain why.
[ 5 ] Didn’t answer.
[1 added comment instead of marking a choice:]
-- “I only just read it for the first time last week and so wanted time to weigh and test it. I might now consider forwarding it.”
11. Do you believe this prophecy will be fulfilled?
[ 4 ] Yes
[Explain why yes: 3 responses, 1 didn’t respond]
-- “Looking at the events unfolding even today, and one missile actually reaching Tel Aviv, it is possible that the prophecy is correct.”
-- “Yes, but the timing and countries involved maybe different or premature.”
-- “I believe a lot of this prophecy will come to pass because it has been revealed in God's WORD. Regarding a nuclear war, that too will come to pass but I am not certain exactly when.”
[Observation: Of those who believed the prophecy would be fulfilled, all the explanations spoke in terms of possibilities and partial fulfillment only, rather than a clear conviction. Moreover, all appeared to rely on mental evaluation (matching the prediction against circumstances and the content of Biblical prophecy), rather than spiritual evaluation (matching it against God’s characteristic ways of fulfilling prophecy and an inner sense of what He is doing).]
[ 19 ] No
[1 added comment instead after marking this:]
-- “At least not in the time frame given. The Scriptural parts - of course.”
[Explain why not: 17 responses, 2 didn’t respond. Note: the numbers before each answer represent the type(s) of discernment tools that seem to direct the answer. See the observation afterwards.]
3-- “It seems sensationalist, extreme compared to current probabilities, and seems detached from the spiritual realities of what it seems that God has been doing in this country.”
1-- “It contains a contradiction, saying the war will last approx. 3 months but that it begins in Dec 2012 and a cease fire is imposed by the UN by end of 2012. It contains a mixture of possible and impossible scenarios and a mixture of end-time events that don’t seem to be in Biblical sequence. There are also elements of this prophecy - such as the imminent prospect of war with Israel’s neighbours - that are so self-evident as to not need a prophecy.”
1-- “I don’t see any prophets having good track records these days. Also I don’t think any compromise will have the Palestinians allow a Temple on the Temple Mount.”
3-- “First of all, it’s a no-brainer to talk about missiles in Israel. We have had barrages of missiles for years, so this person is simply taking something already happening, and then inflating it out of proportion. Secondly, a prophecy (as we see in the Bible) should have a spiritual aspect: repent, return to God, and so on. This prediction is only about terrible, scary events that are ‘going to happen’ and ‘it’s not God’s judgment, He doesn’t want it to happen…’ Is God sovereign or not? Can anything happen that He has not decreed will happen? And third – this so-called prophecy is simply an interpretation of current events, trying to fit them in to what is known from scripture, saying, here it is, this is what is going to happen!”
1-- “This scenario contains too many contradictions and ludicrous elements to be taken seriously. Specifically, Iran does not yet have a deployable nuclear weapon. If/when they test it, it will mean they have mastered one step in a process which then requires a great deal more time and effort before a country is ready to nuke someone. Also, the UN would never be able to enforce a peace treaty on the Moslem nations which allowed Israel to build a Third Temple up on the Mount. That’ll happen, but it’ll take a MUCH more powerful agency than the UN to make it happen.”
0-- “I have no confidence that it is reliable.”
1-- “That's not what scripture says [in Zechariah 12].”
3-- “This is supposed to happen over the next 3-4 months, but I do not think that Iran has a Nuke in place to bomb Tel Aviv. It does not mean that I do not think that it might happen sometime later. But this qualifies as a false prophecy because of the time line. Also this is a scenario of “if we pray then it will not happen,” not a “Thus says the Lord” statement.”
1-- “The parts commenting on Bible verses relating to the end times are wrong. The Bible says most of the damage will occur on the mountains of Israel, but the prophecy says the target is Tel Aviv. In the end-time scenario, there are no Arab nations listed, but rather other nations to the north of Israel, to the south of Egypt and North Africa. This prophecy has mixed up a lot of other prophecies and Bible verses (Psalm 83). It’s probably sent by someone who cares for Israel but is not much of a Bible scholar.”
0-- “There is not enough room here for me to list all the reservations I have about this prophecy!”
1-- “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put in His own power - Acts 1:7.”
1-- “I do not believe the Muslims would ever let the Jews build their Temple next to their mosques, not until the antichrist is being unveiled.”
1-- “The prophecy says the war will begin in Dec. 2012, will last no more than three months, but that “the UN will force a ceasefire near the end of 2012.” How can the UN force a ceasefire near the end of 2012, if the war lasts for three months or even two months? Maybe this is one of the details that don’t have to be exactly right.”
2-- “This prophecy is not calling Israelis to repentance. It is telling everyone to pray that Iran will not use nuclear bombs, to pray that Israel will “survive and win the war”, and that we should “repent” on the behalf of the evil deeds and idolatrous practices of the people. This prophecy doesn’t seem to follow the blueprint of the Old Testament, where the people were to repent of their own evil deeds and return to God.”
3-- “This December is too early for these things to happen. God said it is not to be a concern.”
2-- “This, like so many other exhortations to Jewish believers in Yeshua, especially those of us in the Land, is completely silent on the real issues facing us: Covenant Unfaithfulness .”
1-- “There are many aspects that will be fulfilled [someday], but I’m not sure about the timing – it seems too soon!”
[Observation: Reasoning here was based on two kinds of evaluation: "1" stands for earthly circumstances in light of scripture and/or human logic (9 answers), while "2" is for a perception of how God works (2 answers). In 4 other cases, both kinds were used (identified by "3"), and in 2 cases no specific reason was offered (shown by "0"). However, many people included both kinds of reasons in the Voluntary End-Comments.]
[ 13 ] Didn’t answer yes or no.
[10 wrote in comments instead:]
-- “It’s possible.”
-- “I honestly don’t know how to answer this question…based on my limited knowledge of politics in the Middle East.”
-- “Not sure.”
-- “I don’t know.”
-- “Don't know. Current events in Israel are close to what was predicted. Don't know enough about the track record of the prophets, and it seems we may never know if there have been accurate predictions before.”
-- “We will see.”
-- “I don’t know.”
-- “I am watching and waiting to see what will happen. I have prayed for mercy, because if it is true, we’re in big trouble. It is my prayer that these are false prophecies.”
-- “Not sure.”
-- “Possibly – I believe that God has set times for fulfillment of particular prophecies – some may be partially fulfilled several times before the final fulfillment. Often people have a sense of praying for certain events not to happen yet, because it is not God’s timing.”
[Observation: Although nearly all of the respondents embraced various ways to test prophecy, the above shows that more than 1/3 were unable to apply their tests to this particular prophecy in order to get an answer.
It would seem that the main reason for the strong uncertainty (based on the few who gave a reason) was the events happening in Gaza at the time of the survey, which resembled the prediction in a superficial way but differed in almost every detail.]
(Names are included only where specifically requested)
“Some of your categories [referring to questions no. 2, 3 and 11] were too confining for me to answer, so I left the item blank.”
(pastor and ministry leader, Europe)
“There are so many false prophecies around at the moment, which our enemy has instigated, that it is hard to discern the true from the false. Bur Scripture has to be our watchword in every way, and I believe prophecy is a pattern, and any prophecy that is very specific has to be heavily tested.
We have many well meaning people out there who speak from their own spirit (see Jer. 23). But be encouraged that the Lord has His watchmen on the walls, and they will stand with the remnant first and foremost….”
-- Mike McDonagh, UK
“I would be more inclined to pay attention to this so-called prophecy if it had a spiritual element to it: repent, turn to God (the believers first, and then the unbelievers). Also, the Messiah Himself said: “When you see these things happening, look up….” This attitude that our Lord taught us is nowhere reflected in this ‘prophecy’. It is not in the least edifying or exhorting.”
“I believe that this prophecy is misdirecting the believers. There is no question that serious wars are coming to Israel, and that a temple is going to be built, and believers are to be praying and watching, trusting the Lord Yeshua/Jesus for what actions we should take as we follow Him. But the timing of the war in Zechariah 12, and the details within that prophecy, do not fit the prophecies being sent around now….
Putting out a presumptuous and untimely red alert like this will not give confidence to those who want to hear the true Word of the Lord, but it will become like crying 'wolf' too often before the wolf actually comes. The Body does need to be in prayer and watchful. We also need to be sure that we are not playing loose with the whole counsel of God.”
-- Howard Bass, Beersheva, Israel
“Because some of the events it expects are already likely or even similar to actual current events, even the timing of it will be hard to invalidate (particularly considering the rocket-attacks from Gaza on targets in southern Israel). But, so far, there is a disconnect between the prediction of external [Arab nation] sources of missile attacks and the current (Palestinian) source.”
(Israeli believer, Jerusalem)
“The Bible says we are to examine prophecy to see if it’s reliable, and the Bible also lays out some pretty simple guidelines, starting with “does it line up with Scripture” and the character of God. If a “prophecy” fails this simple test, which the overwhelming majority of email prophecies do, than you don’t need to dig any deeper….
If the prophecy is “confirmed” by a bunch of unnamed “senior prophets”, I want to hear names before I go any further. If I get a name, I want to hear it from that person, not from someone else who says they heard it. For stuff this important, second person accounts aren’t good enough.”
-- Aaron Hecht, Jerusalem, Israel
“It cannot be the Zechariah 12 prophecy…. I do believe that this could be a foreshadow of that prophecy in Zechariah, and that it could be a warning of things to come. If it leads to more people coming into the Kingdom, then God's name will be glorified.”
(RZ newsletter recipient)
“We too are troubled by the "prophets" who foretell destruction against us -- I take this quite personally. OTOH, Zech. 12 will come about some day. So your concerns for accuracy in claims of a prophetic nature are certainly more than valid.”
“I think this prophecy gives Christians a wrong focus, namely on the rebuilding of the Temple. I think this is one of the greatest diversions of Christian attention from the real work of the Holy Spirit in Israel: building the Body of the LORD.”
-- Donna Diorio, USA
“We [in our home group] all agreed that prophecy should not conflict with scripture and should draw people to God and not to man. But one sticking point we had was when you asked if we thought this prophecy would be fulfilled. Everyone told us there was no way to know until after December.
We talked about taking it to the Lord and asking Him if this was a true prophecy. Everyone agreed this was important, but no one thought you could get an answer before the event - to know in your spirit whether it was from the Lord or not. That surprised me.
We talked about the importance of training our spiritual muscles to get answers before the event - not just wait until afterwards to see if it was true. We talked about the importance of that training for future times - that there would be times we could not just wait and see if it was true or not. This should be our first step even before checking with spiritual leaders or other options.”
(RZ partner, USA)
“The Body of Messiah needs to put its energy and attention on what written in the Scriptures that we are ignoring! Abba tells us exactly why the rains won’t come and the armies will come. So let’s start living The Word as it is Written in our relationships.”
-- D’vorah Berkowitz, Israel
“This has been a topic of discussion with us for some time now. I am so very disturbed by so much of what I hear, and so much of it is contradictory. There are people that I have come to trust in this world and I always check with them, and they have not felt that this particular prophecy is true.
I had to take it seriously when it came to us since it involves us so directly. I don't want to ignore something that God is saying – if He is saying it. We sent it around in the Land also and no one felt it was of God. All I can say is: I hope and pray NOT!”
(Israeli leader, Jerusalem)
“I'm interested to see how others in the Land answer these questions. Some of them were difficult – I felt the answer was somewhere in between.”
(Israeli leader, Jerusalem)
“I find some of the [survey] questions to be too restrictive. People’s attitudes toward prophetic words are often determined by their familiarity with prophecy. Since much of the church doesn’t believe in spiritual gifts operating today, many are unfamiliar with current prophetic voices. At the same time, some in the Charismatic wing are too loose and too willing to accept almost anything as prophecy.
We need more teaching and modeling of the use of prophetic or revelatory gifting. Scripture certainly says “Desire Prophecy!”
(ministry leader, Canada)
“Everything we could possibly need the Father has said to us, and it is written within the Scriptures. There is no need for more when we are not paying attention to that which is already written! IF someone is calling us to remembrance of what is written, then THAT is very valuable.”
“My sister, who is deep in new age philosophy, told me many years ago that someone had prophesied earlier that year that something terrible would happen by the end of that year, unless those who believed prayed very hard. The similarities between the “prophecy” you’ve included and my sister’s story is unsettling.
Jonah 3:10: ‘When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.’ God is interested in heart changes. Nineveh changed their hearts and He relented. I don’t see that requirement in the current “prophecy.” His response to saving Israel seems be depicted as based on the intensity of prayers rather than repentance of hearts.”
(RZ partner, USA)
“I believe that people could benefit personally if the source of this prophetic message were to be thoroughly invalidated and disqualified.”
(Israeli believer, Jerusalem)
Other articles in this series
Implications of the Survey Results
I offer some interesting correlations based on the sample of Body eldership that responded. Did different backgrounds – Bible education, physical age, number of years in the faith, leadership experience – make believers more confident (or more to the point, more competent) in testing prophecy? How did Israeli responses compare with those from abroad? As you might expect, we end up with more questions than answers. But if we are going to meet the end-time prophets in a scriptural way, we need to understand the issues and find solutions compatible with God's word.
The Original “War on Israel” Prophecies
Over the past months, I invested significant time in tracking down the original prophecies that prompted the above announcement. After the survey was sent out, RZ also received a follow-on prophecy which built on the first prediction – and an explanatory letter which built on both of those, explaining why the predictions weren't checking out... followed by yet another longer explanatory letter, attempting to defend the failure using scripture. These source documents are compared with the realities in December 2012 through February 2013. Special attention is given to the popular assumption that God routinely cancels His words given by prophets in response to intercession.
Who Are These Prophets?
In keeping with our first suggested method in the survey for validating a prophecy, RZ checked the track records of the 5 people who were behind this joint prediction. I explored their ministry websites, checked up on some of their past prophecies, viewed some of their teachings, and contacted them directly with relevant questions. What do these people have in common with one another? Why are they so focused on Israel? And what in the world is "Metagoshin"?? My conclusions are based on the documentation and relevant scriptures. (Warning: This is a documented expose that is both fascinating and scary. Not for the fainthearted!)
How We Test Prophecy... and What It's Costing Us
Many were curious about how I personally dealt with this prophecy as an Israeli. In order to minimize influencing the survey responses, I tried to keep my own views out of sight. And now that December 2012 is long over, my convictions about this particular prophecy have the unfair advantage of hindsight. But these issues remain relevant and will only get more crucial as time goes on. So in this article, I ponder what I learned while gathering all the above information, how we in the Body relate to prophecies and their authors (compared what scripture says), and starting points for restoring a balanced approach to the prophetic.
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