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How We Test Prophecy… and What It’s Costing Us

Personal musings by Hannah Weiss


These observations are a result of my personal encounters with the modern “prophetic mantle” movement.
I hope it will serve as a starting point for others, and maybe stimulate dialog
on how prophecy and prophets are dealt with by the Body of Messiah. -- 02/2013

Questions Raised by My Latest Encounter  

I’ve written a lot of pages in response to the “War on Israel in December 2012” incident. People might wonder: why should anyone go to all this trouble of researching, analyzing, explaining and publishing a post-mortem on a prophecy that everyone knows didn’t happen? (Actually, not everyone is willing to admit that... go here for more details.)

Back in the summer, when I asked the Lord about this prophecy that focused so strongly on my country, He seemed to say there was no substance to it. Looking more closely at the content, I also saw that no matter which testing method was used – either the direct way of discerning His will through the Spirit, or one of several indirect ways using mental powers of deduction – it would quickly show itself as a vain prophecy. The whole story might have ended there, if the Lord hadn’t pushed me to look beyond my own complacency to the needs of others.

Some of those who had sent the prediction to me were really unable to decide if it should be taken seriously or not. Its strong emotional tone showed that “J” felt absolutely certain of its fulfillment, and few things are more compelling than a messenger personally convinced by her message. To make things worse, unlike most disaster prophecies, the loophole of praying to change things would not prevent the war, which was presented as needing to come to pass. It would only avert the “nuclear horror” and let Israel “survive”. That, plus the well-publicized potential of exactly this sort of attack from Iran, added a sense of reality to this message that most modern predictions lack.

It wasn’t only Israelis who were uneasy and unsure. Within a week, I received the letter written by the mysterious “J” from friends in five different countries, who had each received it from a separate source in a mass mailing. I realized that a service could be performed for those in the Body being shaken by this word, so I volunteered for the job.

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I asked those who had forwarded it if they knew the identity of “J” and the “trustworthy prophets” being endorsed. None even had an answer for who “J” was. One tried to guess (and got it wrong); another tried to find out by turning to the person who had sent the mail to them (apparently not getting a reply). Most implied or stated that because they had received it from someone “trustworthy”, they were counting on its reliability.

That was the first of my “hmmm” moments, when I pondered the phenomenon of believers enthusiastically spreading a prophecy of doom to multiple recipients around the world, with no idea who had given it.

(1) How do we justify this behavior? What causes it?

We all know that scripture requires us to test prophecy: “Do not despise prophetic utterances. Examine everything carefully.” (1 Thess.5:20) So we are doubly disobedient: we either despise (throw out) prophetic words, or we accept them without examining them. And lots of believers seem to be okay with either one or the other.

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Several months before sending out the survey, I located the above-mentioned “J” on a hunch. It was Jill Shannon, an Israeli believer who I happen to know personally. I later discovered copies online that still carried Jill’s name, so any survey recipients who did a search would have been able to identify her and contact her just as I eventually did. But I decided that this popular version would be more appropriate for the survey.

In fairness to Jill, she had sent out the prophetic announcement with her full name; the change had been made by people who knew her and had received the signed version, but who for some reason had decided to distribute the prophecy with her name withheld. Why? The only thing I could imagine was a variation on a strange conviction that has taken hold in the Body: “To identify any believer involved in a wrongdoing is to ‘give a bad report’ or to ‘slander’ them.” Here the rule seemingly was extended to: “It’s wrong to identify any believer passing on unwelcome information.”

(2) How did we come to equate public warnings about sinners with “slander”?

Tanach is filled with names of wrongdoers among God’s people. In the New Covenant, the apostles didn’t hesitate to “give bad reports” about brothers in unrepentant sin (2 Tim.4:10,14; 3 Jn.9-10), and even about brothers who stumbled and then repented (Acts 15:37- 39, Gal.2:11-13). Paul instructed Timothy to confront sinning elders “in the presence of all” (1 Tim.5:20). Yeshua Himself publicly rebuked seven different churches, giving their locations and listing their sins for all to see (Rev.2-3). Yet today most leaders strongly denounce and discourage any of these actions.

Untold harm has been and is being done in the Body of Messiah because we refuse to warn brothers of people who are in unrepentant sin. We diligently expose those in doctrinal error, while abusers walk among us unnamed and unchallenged. Their doctrines do not offend us, so their behavior is tolerated and their privacy protected.

This widespread observance of the “no-talk” rule that protects the abusers is actually harming them, and with every case of abuse we admonish the victim to “not spread slander” (harming them too). In both cases our motivation for silence is not love of the brethren.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

As December approached, I wondered about those who were spreading the dramatic prediction of doom for Israel. There was no wiggle-room in this prophecy for those who resolve such issues by remaining neutral. But for those who had nothing to lose either way, maybe it didn’t dawn on them that weak believers in Israel could be potentially derailed by the possibilities.

From the viewpoint of any Israeli, it was a genuine dilemma. If this were a genuine warning from God, no one in the Tel Aviv or Jerusalem area should be dumb enough to risk their lives by playing the usual “wait and see” card. (There was even a dark hint in Jill’s personal comment about those who didn’t heed Yeshua’s warning to flee Jerusalem in 70 AD.) On the other hand, for Israelis who took action based on a false prediction and evacuated these areas, the consequences could be almost as bad: uprooting family, business or congregation for weeks or months; accumulating debts and doubts; inviting ridicule of the Lord’s Name in general and of the gift of prophecy in particular.

In spite of the internal contradictions and mismatched scriptures that should tip off competent students of scripture, there was good reason to issue a united response from Israel to this “urgent warning”, for the sake of the more vulnerable brothers.

(3) Where were the Israeli shepherds?

Israeli leaders have not hesitated in the past to invest many hours of discussion and to publish joint statements on issues or teachings they considered to be potentially upsetting to the Body. An authoritative statement by the Body leadership on this issue would have been valuable during the months preceding December – if only to show that there are watchmen on the walls of Israel who are paying attention to prophetic rumors that could potentially upset those in their care. The apostles did this when faced with a similar situation (2 Thess.2:1-2).

Yet as far as I could tell, no leaders were addressing the dire prediction on the local Messianic network, or in any ministry prayer letters coming from the expected ‘Ground Zero’. I would assume that most leaders didn’t see this prophecy as potentially upsetting the Israeli Body, because they themselves weren’t personally upset by it.

The feedback reaching me from Israeli friends said otherwise. The gap was troubling. If we think that we are responsible only to relate to issues that disturb ourselves, our doctrines or our ministry efforts, and that we are not our brothers’ keepers as well, then we are not discerning the Body of Messiah properly.

For whatever reason, the opportunity was lost to perform a service to the Body at large and issue a unified Israeli statement on the controversy. Still, there is value in one individual offering a “debunking tutorial” after the fact, to show how such prophetic claims might be handled better next time. (Do not doubt for a minute that there will be a next time… and as we approach the end, the prophecies will be much harder to test!)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

It’s not right to assume things from appearances, and especially from silence. There were any number of possible answers about why this dramatic prediction was passed around without being tested, and why there was no discussion among those who would be most affected by it. Was it lack of interest, lack of competence, lack of courage… or maybe lack of opportunity? How many had even seen it?

Thus the survey was conceived: a modest attempt to get a snapshot of the Body in the act of testing a prophetic word that was relevant, relatively easy to test, and still future. I tried to allow for as many different responses as possible, keeping the questions neutral. I kept my opinions to myself, so as not to influence the outcome. Then I sent it in as many different directions as possible, trying to include starry-eyed fans of “Elijah List”, cynical critics of “charismaniacs”, and that vast silent majority in between.

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We know from scripture that lots of pronouncements can be called “prophecy” besides the kind that predicts an event. Prophets in Tanach also delivered encouragement, commands, reminders of past prophecies, and teachings, all in God’s name. New Covenant prophecy was even more general – anything that was valuable in strengthening the believers (1 Cor.14). Yet even this broad category was subject to testing (v.29). And we are told by Yeshua (Matt.7:15-16) and the apostles (1 Jn.4:1) that “false” prophets will be more numerous in our day.

In short, prophecies can be – and must be – tested.

(4) Why do so many prophecies and prophets today go untested?

There was no situation in scripture resembling the modern statements which are labeled “prophecy” on sites like “Elijah List”. So many of these “words” are either impossible to argue with (“God wants to heal your broken heart”) or impossible to verify (“It’s time for the birth of new things” with no specifics); in other words, there is nothing in them that can be tested. Maybe it’s because these are not really prophecies; they are devotional / inspirational thoughts and motivational pep-talks.

The problem with testing the modern prophets is different. The “fruits” being checked are superficial and irrelevant. The real fruit is not shown by calling on the Lord’s name (Matt.7:20-21), or by teaching scripture correctly (1 Cor.9:27), or even by performing verifiable works of power (Matt.24:24); it’s shown in faithfulness to obey Him and express His character.

And yet even unproven rumors of “power” and “deep teaching”, with the credit given to God, are enough for us! We award teachers a “prophetic mantle” based on warm endorsements from others just like them, which draw crowds (and funding). Ironically, Yeshua warned us that the more endorsements a prophet has, the more closely we need to be wary of him (Luke 6:26).

The Discernment Debate: “Just Ask God”? Or “Just Use Your Head”?

The ideal goal of this survey was to help those who interact with the questions to recognize their level of discernment – how well you hear or see God confirming or disowning some revelation attributed to Him – and if you don’t hear so well, to motivate you to improve your communication lines with Him.

For those who were unable or unwilling to relate to the prophecy with spiritual senses, a more modest goal was to coach believers in “common sense” discernment – the mental tools of logic, critical thinking and investigation to ferret out the truth. This is second-best for several reasons:

Although it seems like the more secure channel, it’s actually harder and takes longer to conduct an investigation than to just ask the Lord what’s going on. Not only is the investigator limited by his access to needed information, but a full checkup can’t always be done in the time available before a decision must be made.

More important, this method is prone to miss vital but intangible signs, which escape a mental evaluation of deeds and doctrines but show up clearly on the spiritual radar (pride, envy, love of the world, fear of man). Not all the things needing evaluation can be detected by simply checking the facts.

However, common sense is better than no sense at all. In this case, common sense would have been enough to discern the error in all the prophets who were involved.

“JUST USE YOUR HEAD”? A challenge to those who rely on mental perception

Yeshua said, “My sheep hear My voice.” (Jn.10:27) Well, do they, or don’t they?

If we are going to do more than just pay lip-service to this unqualified statement by the Lord, we need to grow in our ability to distinguish between His Voice and other voices. Moreover, we need to do it personally and not be constantly dependent on someone else to hear Him for us. If, on the other hand, we are tempted to conclude that because the concept of “hearing His voice” is so abused, it’s not a realistic discernment tool, or such an ability doesn’t exist in our day at all, then we must also conclude that the Lord and all His apostles have misled us.

“Spiritual” discernment is by definition tuned to a frequency different from “physical” or “mental” discernment. We easily accept that a wide range of sound and light waves can be sensed by machinery or animals, while people hear and see nothing at those frequencies. Yet somehow we have the idea that sensory information from the spirit realm will be detected by our bodies and minds – equipment tuned to a correspondingly narrow range. If nothing registers on our earthly senses, there’s nothing there.

And yet if there IS something to detect through our earthly senses, the danger is even greater! By such an outward display of power the false prophets and false teachers will hope to deceive us (Matt.24:24). Where they can’t deceive us is in those spiritual frequencies, where only God speaks and only those who are His can hear (1 Jn.4:5-6).

For those who “can’t hear or see anything” that indicates God speaking and leading, there is no way to “teach” spiritual senses, any more than we can teach the blind how to find a rainbow. But unlike the physically blind, who usually have no choice but to cope with their disability, no one who belongs to the Lord has to live with spiritual blindness. So if you are in this category, the highest goal of this survey is to motivate you to carry out the needed transaction with the Lord, who personally invites His people to do just that and be cured (Rev.3:18).

For those in Israel who struggled with this “war” prediction and suffered from the stress of indecision while sitting at Ground Zero, the paralysis you experienced (and expressed to me off the record) hopefully provided enough motivation to be better equipped for the next real-life discernment test.

For others who hid behind low statistical probability or physical distance from the predicted event, and just happened to guess right… there will come a day when those props will be taken from you. Once you are faced with true predictions given by false prophets who demand real action, you won’t stand a chance. Don’t wait until then!

“JUST HEAR GOD”? A challenge to those who rely on spiritual discernment

So are those who can discern by direct contact with the Lord better off than those who can’t? Not if they think that getting direct answers from God excuses us from the responsibility to use our brains! In fact, that idea is a spiritual deception in itself, one of the most successful ever foisted on the Body and the root cause of a hundred spiritual problems plaguing us today.

The Lord flatly said (Matt.7:15-20) that we can identify false prophets by their “fruits,” and to make His point He appealed to the firm logic of natural plant life. “ Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?” In other words, Yeshua commands us to use our heads when we encounter prophets.

The fruit on a tree shows its true character over time, and at first fig trees and thistles won’t have any fruit at all. But from the time they sprout they are impossible to confuse: one is a stalky weed with thorny leaves, while the other is a woody tree with broad flat leaves. (They are both common in Israel.) Even when the fruits are small and inedible, everyone knows that the small green knobs on the tree will become figs and not thistles (which start as spiky pink flowers on long stems). Moreover, both the thistle and the fig tree will consistently make their own fruit, season after season. No matter how many fine new branches thistles put out, or how close to a fig tree they grow, or how much faster than a fig tree they grow, no one will come looking for figs on them.

The “fruit” of a prophet also develops gradually. It may take time for the pronouncements move from theory to action, or for the new exotic traditions to become oppressive. But from the earliest stages there are signs of a different nature: fleshly priorities, a habit of using people, unwillingness to admit mistakes, deliberate cover-ups of the truth. Once the character fully emerges, anyone who was paying attention won’t be surprised. Likewise, you can know what to expect in the future. No matter how well the ministry grows, or who that prophet adds to his team, his fruit will be as predictable as any plant in nature.

Every prophet is a teacher as well, either explicitly or in subtle ways. The teachings might start out as marginally odd, unsupported by scripture but not enough to raise an alarm. Sooner or later the doctrines mature into declarations of faith and calls to action, at which point you can go back and identify those early claims of “new revelation” as the forerunners of destructive heresy.

All of this implies that a prophet’s words and deeds must be patiently observed, classified and remembered in order for his fruit to be known – efforts that require an alert mind, careful record-keeping and a long memory.

The scarcity of these disciplines in today’s prophetic movement amounts to willful neglect, because there is no lack of intelligent, capable people involved in prophetic ministries. Our disobedience to the Lord has the effect of dulling our spiritual senses, which guarantees that when He sends His true prophets, they are likely to be shown the exit (2 Tim.3:1-13, 4:3-4).

In fact, we are told that in the last days, this very thing will happen to “many” believers (Matt.24:11-12, 2 Pet.2:1-3), and particularly to those who think that they can see just fine (Rev.3:17).

(5) Why are we the Body so weak in testing prophets?

There are many answers, and perhaps each believer would discover a different set of reasons. Here are some possibilities:

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And while on the subject of testing standards, we also need to examine the common assumption in charismatic circles that prophets can be trained and coached by men. Because of this, failed words are just attributed to lack of experience.

(6) Where did we get the idea that ‘prophets need practice’ to become accurate?

To be honest, I shared this assumption… until I decided to find its source in scripture. I was surprised to discover that the concept of a “making allowances for a beginner prophet” is found nowhere in either the Tanach or New Covenant.

Neither could I find the term “school of prophets” – that supervised training place where one supposedly learns how to prophesy. While it can be assumed that prophets taught others, only once in Tanach were they referred to as “disciples” (Heb: limudim, literally “taught ones” - Isa.8:16), and the context indicates that such people followed a prophet to learn about God and to care for the prophet’s physical needs, not to imitate his prophetic activity. The incident where Elisha was anointed by Elijah to take his place (1 Kings 19:16-21) was initiated by God, not Elisha or Elijah; yet the phrase “receiving the prophetic mantle” was plucked from this isolated case to build a career path, complete with courses of study, levels of competency and hierarchical ranks.

The actual Hebrew terms for a group of prophets are hevel (literally “string” or “line”, used twice in 1 Sam.10), lehakah (used once – 1 Sam.19:20 – and translated as “company”), and elsewhere bnei or “sons of” the prophets (following the Biblical concept of teachers becoming spiritual fathers). The Septuagint uses the Greek words for “band” twice, “assembly” once, and the other times just “sons”.

A search of all available English translations yielded only two sources for “school of prophets”, both of them questionable. The first is a single verse in the Amplied Bible (pub. 1964-65), where prophetic “school” is not even part of the verse, but is inserted as an interpretation:

1 Samuel 10:11

And when all who knew Saul before saw that he spoke by inspiration among the [schooled] prophets, the people said one to another, What has come over [him, who is nobody but]the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?

The only place where “school of the prophets” actually appears is twice in the Ronald Knox Version (pub.1944), a Catholic translation from the Latin Vulgate that arbitrarily mistranslates filiis prophetarum in 1 Kings 20:35 and filii prophetarum in 2 Kings 2:3, which should really be “sons of the prophets”. (The Latin word for “school” is scola – see Acts 19:9 in the Vulgate.) In short, it would appear that a “school for prophets” is a 20th century idea originating in the Catholic Church by way of a defective translation.

(7) What have charismatics done with the gift of prophecy?

I have yet to discover who popularized the notion of a “school of prophets”, but an online search yields over 340,000 different “prophetic schools”, and none of the names sound Catholic!

There are offers to “mentor” or “train” or “anoint” you to “reach the prophetic office”, or “activate the prophetic spirit”, or “move in the prophetic ministry”. There are “manuals” for those who like technique, “online courses” for those who don’t like personal accountability, and “fast track” methods for those short on time or patience.

While it’s possible that one can learn to hear the Lord better by practicing in a coached environment, that is an ability all His disciples are supposed to have, and so we should call it “discipleship school”. Being a prophet is not for everyone (1 Cor.12:29). And while we are to desire that most useful gift (1 Cor.14:1), Paul is clear that the ability to prophesy IS a gift (1 Cor.12:10), not a learned skill. It’s received from the Spirit “distributing to each one individually as He wills” (v.11), not from a course.

(8) Whatever happened to prophetic standards?

One of the more famous “schools for prophets”, Kansas City IHOP, has fixed acceptable “percentages of error” for predictive prophecy, attributed to Bob Jones (designated as a “senior prophet” there). Not surprisingly (given his own track record), Bob announced that the average accuracy God will allow modern prophets is 65 percent.

That last source is Mike Bickle, head of Kansas City IHOP (Growing in the Prophetic), who confirms Bob's teaching that as little as "10 percent God’s word and 90 percent man’s word" is still acceptable, because the New Testament doesn’t require the same standards of accuracy as the Old (p.35-37, 41, 52-57).

Mike also believes that prophets do not need to express godly character or have biblically sound doctrine in order to have a following; “some of them do end up committing scandalous sins” and have other serious “spiritual deficiencies”, but they are still received as prophets at one of four levels of competency in his “prophetic school” (p.101ff).

Although it sounds loving and patient to give “growing prophets” this kind of latitude, not one of these notions is supported by God’s word. Scripture is refreshingly simple about how a prophet is made and confirmed. In Tanach, God meets him, gives him a message, and sends him. There is no account in scripture where a newly sent prophet gave a failed word. In the New Covenant, the Holy Spirit gives the gift “as He wills”, and Spirit-filled observers test all pronouncements – be they predictions or just words of encouragement. The only limitation to a prophet's performance is his "measure of faith [or, faithfulness]"

Compare this with the standards among the “senior prophets” in this movement: the long line of failed words (which can’t be attributed to lack of experience after 20 or 30 years of a claimed “mantle”) are always attributed to something else – anything but to the prophet himself. We do God an injustice by expecting less accountability from His prophets than we require from the world. (How many of us would fly with an airline that boasts of “65 percent accuracy” in reaching its destination?!)

What about Jonah, whose prophecy against Nineveh did not take place in the predicted 40 days? Nearly every modern prophet whose word fails to materialize brings up this exceptional case. I deal with this (and other defenses of prophetic mistakes) in my evaluation of the “scriptural position” written by Jill Shannon after the failed “war” word.

What about “bad fruit” in a prophet whose words come true? One of the least understood truths in scripture is that prophecies and prophets must be tested separately. Balaam prophesied accurately about the Messiah (Num.24:17), yet his name is synonymous with false prophets (2 Pet.2:15, Jude 11, Rev.2:14). Even those whom Yeshua will reject when He comes will have prophesied in His name (Matt.7:22-23), a claim He does not dispute. Despite their prophecies being true, ungodly prophets are discredited as teachers, elders or any kind of role model for God’s people. In fact, any believer – prophet or not – who commits certain sins (2 Tim.3:2-5, Titus 3:10-11, 2 Thess.3:6-14) is to be put out of fellowship altogether until he repents.

Some leaders in the prophetic movement have made a mockery of this accountability process, and their followers are paying the spiritual price as they swallow increasingly corrupt “words from God” mixed in with some right words. 

WHERE FROM HERE? How to restore prophetic purity

To paraphrase Paul (I Cor.14:15-20): “What then? I shall discern with the spirit and I shall discern with the mind also. …Brethren, do not be children in your thinking.” Ultimately, both spiritual and mental tools are needed to provide solid ground for identifying God’s truth. But that’s only the beginning of the challenge.

Are you involved in prophetic ministry, or do you endorse a modern prophet? The only way you can escape from the coming deception (2 Thess.2:10-11) is to receive “the love of the truth so as to be saved.” Love means obedience (Jn.14:15,21,23,24). You must repent of any failure to test prophecy and to stand on the results. You can begin by learning to love the following truths:

It’s an insult to God’s character to claim that His word is less dependable than that of a decent man. “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Num.23:19) He who pronounced judgment on prophets for speaking their own words and attributing them to Him (Jer.23) does not change from one age to the next.

When a prophet denies or retrofits his faulty prophecy to avoid this truth, do not close your mind to the emerging fruit. When a prophet’s supporters forbid any scrutiny of their man as “touching God’s anointed”, do not fall for the guilt trip. “Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written: ‘ That You may be justified in Your words, and prevail when You are judged.’” (Rom.3:4, quoting Ps.51:4) When a prophet speaks from his own mind in God's name, God calls it "falsehood" (Jer.14:14), while man calls it "acceptable". Side with God rather than man.

I conducted my own test of this sensational prophecy and its authors, using the mental and spiritual tools I know how to use. I present my findings in a different file. But what I think should not be a substitute for carrying out your own evaluation.

The clear instructions handed down from the apostles (1 Thess.5:20-22) include several steps, which are not generally recognized as part of the same process:

Do not despise prophetic utterances.
Examine everything carefully.
Hold fast to that which is good.
Abstain from every form of evil.

This implies that (a) prophecy is not to be automatically thrown out; (b) all “prophetic utterances” can be tested, including those that are not necessarily predictions; and (c) the test results distinguish between good and evil.

After examining prophetic utterances, we are to either hold on to them as “good” or distance ourselves from them as some “form of evil”. A neutral position on a prophecy is appropriate only until we have finished the examination.

After observing the fruit of a prophet, we are expected to know what kind of “tree” he is. Although “all things are possible with God,” and we can hope that – against the spiritual odds (Matt.7:18) – the tree will change his nature through a radical repentance, a neutral position on a “bad tree” is as wrong as the neutrality of the church in Thyatira toward their destructive prophetess (Rev.2:18-22).

We are also commanded (1 Jn.4:1):

Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

This tells us that (a) all prophets speak from a certain spirit, (b) it is possible to distinguish what kind of spirit is at work, and (c) there will be “many” whose claim to speak for God should not be believed.

We might even say that far from “grieving the Holy Spirit,” a skeptical approach to prophets and apostles in the last days is His will. The church that had “ put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and… found them to be false” was commended by the Lord.

This is one of the hardest truths to absorb. If the example of Balaam is not enough, remember the Lord’s own warning: “ Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you’….” (Matt.7:22-23).

Other articles in this series

The RZ Survey: Responses to the survey, with observations

The survey was conducted during November 2012, shorting before this prediction was due to take place. The responses came in from several countries around the world, and were as wide-ranging as you could imagine. Yet they had some interesting things in common: nearly all were mature in terms of physical age, would be considered elders based on their years in the faith, and held some type of leadership position in the Body. As the trainers of the next generation, how well did they do in testing prophecy?

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!)

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