|The Serious Abuse of Prophecy (Part 2)|
Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a ministry of The Berean Call featuring T.A. McMahon. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in. In today’s program, Tom wraps up a two-part series with guest Dave James. Here’s TBC executive director, Tom McMahon.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. Welcome back to part two of dealing with an issue that’s been on our hearts and minds, concerns, The Berean Call, that we’ve had Dave James, author of two books dealing with, first of all, Jonathan Cahn’s book The Harbinger, and now his latest book The Mystery of the Shemitah. And Dave James, who I’ve been having these discussion with, he’s, again, the author of The Harbinger: Fact of Fiction? and Biblical Guide to the Shemitah and the Blood Moons. Dave, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Dave: Well, thanks, Tom. I’m looking forward to this second part of our discussion.
Tom: As we mentioned last week, folks, if you’re not familiar with either Jonathan Cahn or Mark Biltz, their books, or our books, the books that we’ve produced, The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? and Biblical Guide to the Shemitah and the Blood Moons, authored by Dave James. Well, these are problems, and they’re problems that we’re going to deal with in this session: the aftermath. Why? What do you mean “the aftermath”? Well, there have been predictions that were made. They’ve been implied or softly implied or specifically stated by these individuals, whether in their books themselves or whether they’ve been on interview programs with people that we’ve mentioned: Jim Bakker, Sid Roth, Pat Robertson, and so on. There were dates that were set, in which the Shemitah, the Mystery of Shemitah, was supposed to have combined with, or interacted with, the blood moons. Dave, could you just briefly give us some kind of understanding of how Shemitah and blood moons go together?
Dave: Sure! Well, the “Mystery of the Shemitah” is built on the idea that there is a seven-year cycle somehow built into the fabric of the creation and history, rather than just being for the nation of Israel, as God gave it to them in the Mosaic Law, Jonathan Cahn’s theory is that it has been operating in America for at least the last century. And according to the modern Hebrew calendar, the end of this current…this last Shemitah, or Sabbath year cycle, ended with sundown on September 13 of this year, with the Feast of Trumpets beginning at that same time. So that fell in September of this year.
Now, also, concerning the blood moons, the “blood moons” is the idea that there have been four lunar eclipses with no intervening eclipses beginning with Passover of 2014, then on Tabernacles of 2014, and then Passover and Tabernacles of this year. So the last full lunar eclipse – I don’t even like to call it a “blood moon,” because it’s not a scientific term. It’s caused by… he came up with that by merging scientific information concerning lunar eclipses and what he believes is a prophecy, but this fourth lunar eclipse on the night of the 27th and early morning of the 28th of this month, so people were looking at the two together because both of them happened in this month, and we know that the seventh month in the Jewish religious calendar includes the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles, and so people saw these things as merging.
And actually, the two men, Jonathan Cahn and Mark Biltz, they’ve been…Mark Biltz has been in Jonathan Cahn’s church, and I’m not sure if Cahn has been to Biltz’s church, but they’ve done things both together on the Jim Bakker program; they both have been regular fixtures, at least until recently, on his program. So there’s definitely been a merging of this. And Jonathan Cahn has a chapter in his book on the blood moons, and Mark Biltz has referred to Jonathan Cahn’s work repeatedly.
Tom: Now, “blood moons.” You’ve described it, but first I want to go back to something that you said in terms of dates. We’re talking about a date – this is 2015, if you’ve heard this program down the line somewhere – 2015, and the first dates that were pointed to were in September, last month. This is October 14, right now as I speak. So was that date correct? Weren’t they pointing to September … dates in September?
Dave: Well, that’s really quite disputable. There is a fair amount of evidence out there that the modern Hebrew calendar is off by one to three years (the Hebrew calendar, as well as the Gregorian calendar that the world goes by), but the Hebrew calendar went through a lot of turmoil as well, and so there’s a lot of “guesstimating” by rabbis in trying to establish, actually, the very year of creation and various events in Jewish history. And so, the fact is, a lot of the timing of the calendar that the Jewish people were on got lost in the midst of the invasions – the Assyrians in 722 [BC] and the Babylonians in 606 [BC], and the subsequent Babylonian captivity, then the second temple era, records were lost; they didn’t observe the Jewish feast days, so things became very chaotic and confused, and it was actually well after the first century AD, after the end of the New Testament, when they tried to reestablish, and basically, they just, almost arbitrarily, determined the seven-year cycles again.
So, there’s no reason to think that we’re on…that the Jewish people are on the right calendar at all.
Tom: Right. Let’s go back to last month. What of significance took place, based on not just these individuals, these authors, but supportive organizations like WorldNetDaily and others? What took place last month of significance?
Dave: Well, that’s just it. Nothing of significance, tied to those dates. Now, if you go on the Internet, you’ll find a list of a dozen things that people have said that were of significance – for example, the pope visiting the US, addressing Congress, addressing the UN; the end of the Jade Helm thing in southwestern United States. Just a number of things. But the fact is none of them were cataclysmic, and none of them were significantly different than things that happen on a regular basis. So, really, nothing happened.
They tried to point to the thousand-points stock market crash, Black Monday, back in August. Even Jonathan Cahn was saying, “See, this happened in the time frame.”
Well, God doesn’t do things…you know, it’s not like horseshoes and hand grenades, that if you’re close, it counts. When God does a thing, He does it precisely. And in fact, the stock market has recovered almost completely from that. So, none of it fits.
Tom: Right. But wasn’t there some “aftermath” of those who bought into the idea, whether they bought gas masks from WorldNetDaily or water supplies or purchased one of Jim Bakker’s homes that would “get you through the Great Tribulation”? I mean, on the one hand, it’s absurd. On the other hand, it’s tragic, because people bought into this, whether it be sold their homes, moved to the country, you know, this has happened before. Harold Camping – his date setting. We could go back to the Y2K issues and how that impacted people. But aside from the tragedy of people buying into these false ideas, these false teachings, nothing’s happened.
Dave: Well, that’s true. I’ve been…nothing happened in terms of a cataclysmic event, but it definitely happened in terms of people’s lives.
And a couple of things have happened. One, I’ve been keeping my finger on the pulse of this, just to see what’s going on. I tell you, there has been a huge backlash against Jonathan Cahn and Mark Biltz over the last four weeks. I mean, if you go, for example, to WND’s website, and you read articles that they’re putting out, whereas before these things passed with nothing happening, there were many supporters on articles concerning The Harbinger and Jonathan Cahn, but now, I’m telling you, I read through the comments, and they’re 99 percent extremely negative. There’s been a huge backlash that has happened.
Another thing, I received an email back in the summer from a young man who was really…it was almost a letter of desperation – his in-laws had actually spent life savings on these products that Jim Bakker is selling, or things like those. And it’s just really shameful when Jonathan Cahn and Mark Biltz have appeared on Jim Bakker’s program, he’s… I’m just going to put it this way: he’s a snake oil salesman, and he has his products sitting on the desk in front of these men, so whatever their motives might be, they have become…you can’t even say they’re unwitting accomplices any longer. They’re witting accomplices to him selling these products. And even though Biltz and Bakker seem to refuse to put a date on the Rapture, as far as whether it’s before or after the tribulation, Jim Bakker moved from being pre-Trib in the nineties to being post-trib now, and so he’s selling these products, like you said, to try to get people through the Tribulation. I’ve also read somewhere where his products are about twice what you can actually get them for on the regular open market.
Tom: Well, again, this is fear-mongering to the max. But let’s go back to the Scriptures and how they’re abusing the Scriptures. Dave, “blood moon.” And I use it singular. What does the Bible talk about with regard to a “blood moon” and when will it take place, according to the Scriptures?
Dave: Right.Great question. When Mark Biltz saw a lunar eclipse over Jerusalem in 2008, he went to the Scriptures afterward and looked to see if there were anything that he would think that would line up. So, Joel 2 talks about that “the sun will be darkened, the moon will be turned to blood before the great and terrible Day of the Lord.” And Jesus, in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24 is answering his disciples’ question about the signs of the end…of His coming at the end of the age, and He – once again, He makes the comment that “the sun will be darkened and the moon will be turned to blood” in connection with His coming. And then in Revelation 6, we again see that it’s in the middle of the tribulation period. And a couple things to be noted: Even…not just Mark Biltz and Jonathan Cahn, but John Hagee also says that these – the sun being dark and the moon turning to blood – are eclipses. Well, no, they’re not eclipses. The eclipses are natural events. But in Joel 2, Matthew 24, and Revelation 6, it’s clear that they’re supernatural events, because in Revelation 6 and in Matthew 24, it also talks about the other signs in heaven: that there’ll be earthquakes, that there’ll be meteors, that there’ll be lots of things happening – they’re not simply natural events.
Also, because of the 30-day (the 29 ½ day) lunar cycles, solar and lunar eclipses can only occur fourteen days apart, but they are clearly simultaneous events in those passages that we talked about.
And, finally, as you mentioned, in the singular – it says nothing about a “tetrad.” It talks about [how] these are singular events, and they’re supernatural events, and they’re accompanied by other signs in nature. They’re in the Tribulation period, and they’re near the coming of the Lord.
Tom: So, that is so important to underscore. You know, again, folks, we’re not just trying to be rowdy about our concerns of something that’s a book and it’ll go away. No. These men are not only abusing Scripture, they are introducing information that’s become tragic in the lives of many. But we want you to be Bereans.
Now, get this perspective: if the blood moon, as Dave just described, is a one-time event, and it happens near the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, it happens through the Great Tribulation. We’re talking about cataclysmic events that no survival food that WND or Jim Bakker – no housing… Bakker even has a house that you can live in that supposedly gets you through the seven years of tribulation. The question is, have these guys ever read the Book of Revelation? I mean, this is not rocket theology, folks! This is…we just need to open our eyes to what the Word of God says and apply it, or use it as our reference with regard to what these guys are promoting. And it is – not just tragic. I think it’s…it borders on fraud, if it’s not that already.
Dave: Well, that’s true, you know. I need to bring up the past, and I certainly want to give room for somebody to repent and change his ways, but Jim Bakker – what he’s doing now is not that much different, if not worse, than what he went to prison for in the nineties. You know, he wrote a book and said, “I was wrong.” But now, he’s doing the same thing – he’s using these guys…you could say he’s using them as shills in order to promote his stuff; he’s got to be making money off this. How do you survive the seas and the fresh water all turning to blood? Hundred-pound hailstones. The two witnesses bringing all sorts of calamity upon the earth, with these prophets of God bringing judgments like Moses and Elijah. How would you begin to survive this?
So apart from the terribly bad theology and handling of the Scriptures, just the practical aspect of it makes no sense whatsoever.
Tom: Dave, what does it do to our belief in the Blessed Hope, the imminent return of Christ? Where does that fit in, in all of this?
Dave: Well, it’s absolutely true. The thing that really bothers me about this – you talk about the blessed hope. That is the hope that the church will not go through this period of time. And it’s not a matter of us having an escapist mentality. We see Christians throughout the last two thousand years have been persecuted dramatically, and it’s not like we think somehow we’re better than they are. It’s just simply this: it’s one thing to experience the wrath of man and even the wrath of Satan, and certainly that can get bad, even as we see what’s going on in the Middle East with ISIS.
But what the Blessed Hope involves – and the church not going through the Tribulation – is that we are promised that we are not going to experience the wrath of God. In the past two thousand years, Christians, as bad as things have gotten, have not experienced the wrath of God, which will be unleashed with the breaking of the first seal in Revelation 6 as Jesus begins opening those seals, and you have the four horsemen of the Tribulation – the first four judgments, the sealed judgments. By the end of the fourth sealed judgment, one-fourth of the world’s population will be dead, and that’s because God’s wrath is being poured out, and we are “not appointed to wrath,” as Paul says when he writes to the Thessalonians.
Tom: Dave, as you know, since Cahn and Charisma’s attorney – well, they threatened a legal action against us for critiquing Cahn’s book – well, we have to choose our words very carefully, even though we’re trying to get to the biblical truth in evaluating what Cahn and Biltz are presenting. But here’s my question: Are they false prophets? We know that their promotional backers refer to them continually as “prophets” – I mean, in print, even orally. Even conservative Christian Dave Reagan had Cahn on the cover of his ministry magazine with the title, “Prophet for America.” So, here’s what I’m getting at: We know that they have distorted – Biltz and Cahn have distorted biblical prophecy to fit their own agenda. And although they claim that they’re not date-setters, they’ve gone at times way beyond implying that certain things are going to happen at a certain date. So, do any of these things – whether it be just the abuse of prophecy, or implied and more-than-implied date setting – does that qualify them as false prophets?
Dave: Well, let’s put it this way: 1) In the new movie that has just come out about Cahn’s life, The Harbinger Man, if you can believe that title, The Harbinger Man, in the trailer for it, it quotes from Leviticus, talking about God calling a prophet. So they’re even continuing that moniker and applying it to Jonathan Cahn even today. The movie’s going to be released in just a few days.
There were three tests for a false prophet or a true prophet in the Old Testament: 1) Could they do signs and wonders? 2) Fulfilled prophecy, and 3) Are they accurately handling the Word of God? Are they accurately communicating what God said?
And I would say, with the combination of the date setting, whether it be soft or specific date setting, and the fact that they’re drastically twisting the Word of God, they would fall under the condemnation of the Old Testament in that regard.
Tom: You know, somebody called me last night and said that they heard Jonathan Cahn on…I can’t remember the name of the program. I think it was the old Art Bell program on late at night. They said that he continually said “no,” that he denied that he was a prophet. He denied it over and over again.
Now, wait a minute! When you have on the cover of the promotions by WND, that he’s a prophet. I even heard – I think this has been documented – that Cahn just missed…and I’m thankful that he wasn’t hurt in a near-accident… but WND came back and said that America almost lost its prophet for today. So, when you hear that over and over again – when you hear Jim Bakker directing it right to Cahn’s face that he’s a prophet, or to Biltz, and these guys don’t say, “Oh no! Stop! Wait a minute! No, I’m not.” No, it’s like they turn and look away and draw these accolades, if you want to call them that, although we’re not using it that way. But how can they live with themselves, and then deny that they’re not prophets? Though much if not most of what do is in that realm, as you’ve described.
Dave: Well, you know, I would like to hear that program, and when we get done with our discussion, I’ll probably go back and listen to it. I think you’re referring to what is now George Noory’s Coast to Coast. I would like to hear that, because what I have noticed over the past four years is I’ve never heard him say, “I’m not a prophet.” What I’ve only heard him say, and consistently heard him say, is “I’ve never said I’m a prophet.” Now that may seem like splitting hairs, but that’s a significant difference, because, like you point out, he does allow others to call him a prophet. And even though he denies date setting, and he’s always…you know, it’s interesting that since the missed date of September 14, he has found it necessary – apparently, it’s a big enough deal to him, that he’s actually produced two videos, short videos, since then, trying to explain the fact that “I never said it had to be.” Well, the fact is, there are millions of people who think that that’s exactly what he was saying. Whether he said it explicitly or not, the implication was there. And what happens is, he tends to blame others for accusing him of false date setting and calling himself a prophet when he says he hasn’t, but the fact is, he’s done it in such a way that he’s given himself this way out, and now he’s back pedaling, he’s moving the goal post, he’s now saying we have an entire year – 2016 – for something to happen, because this is a Jubilee year. Well, it’s not a Jubilee year. Nobody…even he admits that nobody knows when the Jubilee year is, and yet he’s continuing to maintain that we have a year because we’re in the Jubilee year. He constantly tries to have it both ways.
Tom: You know, Dave, we saw this after Y2K: many Christians jumped on board that that was going to be the end-all, be-all. The world celebrated while some Christians were hunkered down because they had misinformation and they bought it. We also had it with Harold Camping. And you don’t find those people who jump on board with these things – you don’t find them repenting. Especially how it’s affected lives.
Now put this in perspective. Or maybe capsulate it with what we’ve been talking about: folks, we have the distortion and misapplying of scriptures. We have false prophecy; historical errors; false economic facts; and the thing that concerns me, that grieves me the most, is the damage – both physically and spiritually in the lives of many people who have bought into their false teachings. And then they say, well, “may,” “could,” “possibly,” they try to dance around these things, but really, they’re bringing physical and spiritual disaster in the lives of many. And that’s why we did this program – that’s why we want it out there. Folks…and I know many of our listeners – they’re Bereans, and that’s what we want. Whether it’s what we say, what Dave says, what I say, whoever you hear on this program – you need to be a Berean; you need to search the Scriptures to see if these things are so. That’s all we can ask!
Dave: Yes. Just real quickly, actually Mark Biltz can no longer claim “no date setting,” because he’s now doing it in reverse. A year ago, he said on Jim Bakkerthat we “have a year to prepare for the Tribulation.” Now, there’s been an article – at least a couple articles – come out on WND and being reproduced elsewhere where he’s saying that since the Tribulation did not start in September, it cannot start for seven years. That means that if the Tribulation can’t start, according to his theology, that the Rapture can’t occur either, and so this is going to leave people caught unawares. So you have two reactions: one, people turning away because of the false prophecies, and others who are procrastinating, saying “we have time.” Neither are true biblically.
Tom: Well, my guest has been Dave James. He’s the author of The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? and Biblical Guide to the Shemitah and the Blood Moons.Dave, your information’s very important, and I thank you for being with me today on this program.
Dave: Thanks, Tom, it’s always great to be with you.
Gary: You’ve been listening to Search the Scriptures 24/7, featuring T. A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter, contact us at PO Box 7019, Bend, OR, 97708; call us at 800-937-6638; or visit our website at thebereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in. And you’re invited back again next week. Until then, we encourage you to search the Scriptures 24/7.