Friday, September 04, 2015

SEPTEMBER SCARE: The Latest Doomsday Pentecostal Prophecy

I got emailed the Latest Crazy Pop-Culture Pentecostal Prophecy by several friends. The so-called prophets predicting mass end-of-the-world judgment on America in the next couple weeks before "Shemitah," earthquakes, floods, tsunamis as God's wrath for Supreme Court decision, and Apocalypse comes before Obama leaves office, etc... As a result, some of my religious friends with paranoid tendencies toward conspiracy theories are in a state of high anxiety at the moment.

Doomsday false prophets hijack current events and give them a biblical spin to give validity to their teachings. In this interconnected Internet age, its always easy to hear about something bad, like the stock market crash, a shooting, a disease somewhere, which they point to as proof.  They're convinced it's true because "the Stock Market Crash happened near Shemitah, and because Pope Francis is meeting with Obama."  My friends asked my opinion, knowing I used to be enmeshed in this strange subculture as a young man, and I've gotten away from the craziness. Here's what I wrote back to several people:

"The evangelical/pentecostal/charismatic/fundamentalist culture is gripped by a spirit of fear. Most folks in this movement, though they would deny it, are very fearful. Fearful of being left behind, apocalypse, the devil, etc... Fear sells. Fear is primal and gets attention. Psychologically, it's damaging long-term to be immersed in fear, but effective to get attention and motivate. There are always calamities that can be used to reinforce fear. Preachers have always used it be it the atrocities of Civil War in 1800's, Hitler's rise in WW2 (most Pentecostals said he was antichrist at the time), the Cuban Missile crisis in the early 1960's was the guaranteed end of the world to Pentecostals then, Y2K, etc....

I've found as people get away from fear-based church stuff, they get healthier spiritually, mentally, psychologically. But I understand why people are in that place of fear. There are different levels of spiritual growth. Lower levels are very fear based. Much of pentecostals/evangelicals are there and may never grow beyond that. Although it's toxic, fundamentalist fear-based beliefs are occasionally a positive thing for some people for a limited time when it may be a step up from something worse, such as drug addicts getting clean through Teen Challenge, criminals vowing to go straight after hearing a hell-fire preacher, etc.

I was there at one time, but have come to a much healthier place of greater peace. I am very grateful to be free. However, if I ingested this type of teaching consistently and constantly I could have the fear come back moreso. The Bible says "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee."  Focus on these false prophesies brings you fear, not peace.  God has not given you this spirit of fear.  It's amazing how healthy and clear-headed we become with some distance from the fear-based fundamentalism. The longer we're exposed to it, the more serious damage it does. It takes some serious distance to do some serious healing!

Much of this originated with  a guy named Jonathan Con, woops, I misspelled his name, it's actually Cahn.  But he's selling a con, peddling fear based on an agrarian cycle of seven years found in the Pentateuch that he distorts in his books "Harbinger" and "Mystery of the Shemitah."  Pat Robertson endorses him. Cahn uses a fictional story to communicate his fear-inducing false teachings. His irrational presupposition comes from Isaiah chapter 9 which has nothing whatsoever to do with coming judgment on America. It has to do with events in the Northern Kingdom of Israel that happened in the past as Isaiah prognosticated. The Shemitah was specific and involved only the
nation  of Israel.  Since no Gentile nations were ever obligated to keep the Shemitah, there is no scriptural basis for suggesting that any other nation would ever experience a Shemitah judgment. Yet, this is what Jonathan Cahn says that America has experienced.  Although Israel was on a seven-year economic cycle, no biblical passages support Cahn’s idea that economic cycles of seven years exist for America.  The words of Jeremiah are apropos here for Cahn and the others behind the "September Scare": "Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying...they speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD." --Jeremiah 23:16

The self-proclaimed prophet guy on the viral video is full of so many misrepresentations and distortions i'd have to go thru the video a piece at a time to deal with his errors. He's off on his interpretation of scripture, the Pope's position, etc... those talking, boost their credibility by calling themselves "Doctors" or "Prophets" "top shelf prophets" people will listen to them. But the doctorates are from diploma mills or unaccredited schools, their lack of study shows by their misunderstanding of the Bible, history, etc... Less than 3% of charismatic/pentecostal Christians who follow them have even read the entire Bible cover to cover.

My prediction is that Obama will be out of office in 2016 and when this doesn't happen the way they say, they will either move on as if they never said it, or say their false prophecy was fulfilled spiritually not literally in some way, or people repented so God relented, or say they didn't say the date was certain, they meant "maybe" it would happen, ad infinitum..." And one final prophecy: Those obsessed with the end times will have an end time relatively soon for "life is a vapor that appeareth for a moment and then vanisheth away.." (James 4:14) Don't be so obsessed with the end times you miss living life before your end time.


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