Wednesday, October 28, 2015

End Times Prophets? Or PROFITeers? A Halloween Blog On Witchcraft

As Halloween is fast approaching, I can't help but think how sad it is that a person is likely to find more of what the Bible calls "Witchcraft," on the pages of books written by End-Time Prophet-teers (PROFIT--teers), than on the pages of a Harry Potter book. In Christian bookstores and on Wal-Mart shelves, many books marketed to Christians contain everything from predictions based on the interpretation of omens and harbingers to prognostications based on moon cycles and astrology and numerology. All of these methods are called divination by Scripture and are not legitimate means of prophecy, but are clearly defined as false prophecy and explicity forbidden. As Hermione says: "Divination is a very wooly discipline." It's bad enough that the fleecers of the flock take Scripture out of context in order to manipulate and mislead believers, but they blatantly defy God's word and engage in practices that are clearly condemned. Here is what the Bible says:

You shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or engages in witchcraft or one who casts a spell, or is a medium, or consults with familiar spirits or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to disposses, listen to fortune tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.  -Deuteronomy 18:9-13

I hoped that when last September passed and all of the Blood Moon prognosticators and omen interpreters predicting disaster and economic collapse were made fools out of, that the church would learn its lesson and stay away from End-Time PROFITeers, to stop paying attention to man-made signs and wonders, but rather to the word of God and to prayer and to giving God glory for His redemptive actions and healing in our lives. Unfortunately, with this election, we are instead seeing another side of false prophecy. In the ancient world, diviners, magicians, astrologers and soothsayers served as advisors to rulers. They used their craftiness to manipulate kings and influence the destinies of nations as they gave advice about important decisions, even whether or not to go to war. It has been incredibly disheartening to see so-called Christian pastors, authors and celebrity figures take Old Testament passages wildly out of context to claim that Trump was prophesied or that he is the new Cyrus or to take passages of scripture about Israel and twist them to make them seem like they are about America. There are serious Biblical truths and issues at stake and many Christian leaders seem willing to sacrifice the Gospel for the sake of a political victory. I do not understand how any responsible pastor, teacher or theologian could bend and manipulate Scripture for the sake of getting attention or winning an election. The stakes are much too high. The one lesson we can learn from this is that one of the most commonly used techniques of Satan and his minions is to present people with two bad choices or two wrong choices, just as we are being presented with. We are experiencing this particular type of witchcraft, in terms of psychological manipulation, that happened in the ancient world as people were swayed to support untrustworthy leaders.

I am not suggesting that we go out and start burning these End Time PROFITeers at the stake as witches. That idea likely comes from a misunderstanding of the following text which shows how such people will not escape God's judgement and the lake of fire. spite of your many sorceries and your many spells. You felt secure in your wickedness, You said "No one sees me." Your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray...But calamity will come upon you. You won't know how to charm it away. Disaster will fall on you for which you cannot atone. Catastrophe you CANNOT forsee will suddenly come upon you. Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, which you have toiled over since your youth. Perhaps you will succeed? Perhaps you will cause terror? You are weary of your many consulations (they had consulted everyone and everything in creation except for God) So let the astrologers, star-gazers, predicitng by new moons stand up and save you from what will come upon you. Behold, they shall be as stubble. Fire will consume them. They cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame! It is not a coal for warming by or a fire to sit before! So much have they become to you, with whom you have toiled, trafficking with you from your youth, each wandering about his own way (going astray)  No one will save you. -Isaiah 47:9-15

Here is the lesson. A person prophesying falsely is someone who directly contradicts and ignores the clear teaching of Scripture or who makes predictions by using methods the Bible forbids. Such predictions are often based on human observance of natural or general revelation--observing nature or human behavior to predict unknowable future events. In the Bible, when God speaks prophetically it is through special, or supernatural revelation such as His word, visions, prophetic words and dreams. While God does reveal something of Himself through nature, because of sin, nature can be misunderstood, misinterpreted and manipulated, often for financial benefit and the glory of the individual. The Bible calls this dishonest gain. True Prophecy is when God reveals Himself supernaturally. False profit-teering, or divination is where man tries to make predictions based on other means.

I encourage believers to exercise discernment and oversight and to carry on, following the advice Paul wrote to overseers:

Be hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast to the faithful word as taught, so that he (you) will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict it. For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of dishonest gain. -Titus 1:9-11

(updated 10-18-2016)

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