Mar 13, 2009

A Thousand Fires to Engulf New York

PDFBy Chris Perver

A have received a number of emails from friends about several recent articles published by evangelist David Wilkerson on his weblog. The story was picked up by a number of Christian news sites including WorldNetDaily and World Challenge, and a few prophecy scholars have already passed comment on it. On Saturday the 7th of March, David Wilkerson said he was "compelled by the Holy Spirit" to warn people all over the world of an "Earth-shattering calamity" that is soon to engulf New York city. Wilkerson states...
"For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires — such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago. There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting — including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God's wrath. In Psalm 11 it is written, "If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (v. 3). God is judging the raging sins of America and the nations. He is destroying the secular foundations.
Wilkerson then states that he "received a word" that he should stockpile a month's supply of food to prepare for the impending disaster, and advises other Christians to do the same. He then concludes his message by stating that he does not know when this catastrophe will occur, but that he knows it is not far off. Whether that's soon as in another ten years, or within the next ten days, the reader is left to make up their own mind.

While I would not question David Wilkerson's sincerity, and there is no doubt that God has and will continue to judge among the nations, I believe we need to be extremely cautious when it comes to these sorts of predictions. I have commented before on the utter nonsense that is being passed off as prophecy by those involved in the Apostolic-Prophetic movement. The movement aims to usurp authority over the Body of Christ by 'restoring' the office of the prophet in the Church. Men such as Todd Bentley, Bob Jones, Paul Cain, Rick Joyner and many other influential people are heavily involved in it. They place supernatural experience above the authority of the Bible and twist Scripture in order to justify their false teaching. Leaders in the Apostolic-Prophetic movement claim to have been granted supernatural gifts such as healing and prophecy, but they openly admit that these gifts have to be 'developed' before they are of any use. Host of the Extreme Prophetic television series Patricia King stated that Todd Bentley had to develop his gift of healing, working his way up from sore fingers before he had enough faith to tackle more serious ailments such as cancer. So-called Kansas City 'prophets' have also been forced to admit to making false predictions, and have stated that their gift of prophecy has a margin of error which they are striving to improve. Most of the time predictions made by modern day 'prophets', such as Wendy Alec and others, consist of vague ramblings which could be interpreted to mean absolutely anything. There is no way their prophecies can possibly be verified, and so they cannot be held to account when their predictions fail to materialize.

I'm not saying that we should lump David Wilkerson together with the Kansas City Prophets. But his statements do deserve the same level of scrutiny as anyone who claims to be speaking on behalf of God. There are several criterion that a person must meet before they could be considered to be a prophet. God must first make Himself known to them in a vision or dream (Numbers 12:6). This can be seen in the calling of Samuel (1st Samuel 3:4). A true prophet will never make a false prophecy (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). Like Daniel, they may not fully understand what they are prophesying, but it will always be 100% accurate (Daniel 8:27). A true prophet will always agree with what God has already revealed in the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). Daniel referred to the prophecy of Jeremiah in his studies (Daniel 9:2), and Jesus Christ referred to the prophecy of Daniel (Matthew 24:15). And the prophecy must be confirmed by other prophets (1st Corinthians 14:29-33). Throughout the Old and New Testament, prophecies were always confirmed by two or three others, for example Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:22, 36), Agabus and Philip's daughters (Acts 21:9-10).

We personally have no way of telling whether the Lord has spoken to David Wilkerson in a vision or not. But as Jacob Prasch of Moriel Ministries points out, we do have good reason to believe that he has made failed predictions in the past. Wilkerson's first prediction of 1000 fires engulfing New York was made over 17 years ago...
"I have had recurring visions of over 1,000 fires burning at one time here in New York city. I am convinced race riots will soon explode! New York City is right now a powder keg-ready to blow!... federal and State Welfare cutbacks will be the spark that ignites the fuse. Next year, New York City could have over 100,000 angry men on the streets, enraged because they have been cut off from benefits... Federal troops will have to move in to restore order. New York City will have tanks running down its avenues... Churches will be closed for a season because it will be too dangerous to travel about. Fires will rage everywhere.
Wilkerson says he does not know when his prediction will come to pass, but that he believes it will happen soon. How soon is soon is left up to the readers to decide. Clearly 'soon' in 1992 was not soon at all in most people's expectation of things. Wilkerson's message of impending judgement on the United States of America does tie in with Scripture in that God still judges among the nations as the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation indicate. Wilkerson claims that his "warning is just one voice among many who are saying the same thing". But who are these people? Are they government officials? Are they Christians? Are they 'prophets'? Wilkerson does not elaborate.

While I do believe that God still speaks to people through His Holy Spirit, I do not believe in extra-Biblical revelation. I am not a prophet. I don't claim to be a prophet. Sometimes I do make predictions based on my understanding of the Scriptures and current events. Sometimes they come to pass and sometimes they don't. I don't claim to have any special knowledge from God on these things. But there are people who claim to speak on behalf of God about future events, and in doing so denigrate the authority of the Word of God and Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus said that the period of the law and the prophets continued until the coming of John the Baptist (Luke 16:16). He was the last of the prophets when it came to revelation of the will of God. Hebrews 1:1-2 then states that, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son". These verses show us that God purposely set aside the role of the prophet, as His Son Jesus Christ was able to fully reveal to us God and His plans and purposes for mankind. Paul also states that gifts such as tongues and prophecy, which were given to help the Church grow in its infant days when there was no New Testament, would eventually cease when that which is complete had come (1st Corinthians 13:8-10). Today our Bible is complete. We have the fully revealed will of God in the form of the Scriptures. If we try to add anything to them we are denigrating their authority and the Person of Jesus Christ. In fact the Lord gives us a stern warning not to add to or take away anything from God's Word (Revelation 22:18-19). The Scriptures do warn us that in the last days there will be many false prophets who will rise up and lead many people astray (Matthew 24:11, 24, 2nd Peter 2:1, 1st John 4:1). That is one reason why we must be extremely careful when it comes to any sort of human prediction or prophecy, no matter how plausible it may sound. Another reason is, when our predictions fail to come to pass, we could inadvertently overthrow the faith of others (2nd Timothy 2:17-18).

It is entirely possible that what David Wilkerson says could come to pass. But I feel that his predictions are based on his own reasoning and not some revelation by the Holy Spirit. And in light of his past predictions, and the other failed predictions of those who claim to have special knowledge on these things, I feel that it is probably more likely that what he says will not come to pass.

Source Links

AN URGENT MESSAGE - David Wilkerson Today
Famed pastor predicts imminent catastrophe - WorldNetDaily
An Urgent Message - World Challenge
Latest David Wilkerson Prophetic Prediction - Is It New? - Moriel Ministries