Posted by: bshelley | August 27, 2008

Presumptuous Prophesy

Today’s Verse: Deuteronomy 18:22 “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” NASB

I was chatting with a friend this week talking about a variety of things. I cannot remember why or how, but the subject of George Orwell’s book 1984 came up. Admittedly, when he and I read it in school, 1984 seemed like forever away in the future. OK, so I date myself. I commented about how I always get a kick out of watching old science fiction movies that show flying cars and interstellar travel in 1999!!! Well, General Motors and NASA let us down again I guess. It is of interest to me as I look at the histories of some different cult groups how there was quite often a charismatic leader that made some really earth shaking prophesy typically concerning the end. Several picked specific dates and followers would quit jobs, sell everything and wait. When the date passed, “new math” would be applied and a speedy compensation seemingly held the groups together. I often wondered if they had read this verse in Deuteronomy. If God sends the prophesy it comes true. Pretty simple test really. The opposite is also true. If the prophesy does not come true it is not of God and the prophet should be dismissed in the future. Yet it doesn’t seem to work that way. People want to believe so much at that point that they are willing to give these “prophets” several more “guesses”. That is not what the scripture says to do for sure. It certainly seems presumptuous of any man to predict the end. Given that Jesus says that not even He knows, only the Father knows the appointed time (Mark 13:32), who would presume to figure out what Jesus says He does not know? Yet they persist. Some of the latest were those who predicted that it had something to do with Hitler or the European Union reaching ten members. Oops. The best advice for us is to dismiss false prophets and don’t give them our time and certainly not our money. Our best guide is always His word.

“What I say to you I say to all, ‘Be on the alert.”  Mark 13:37

We are to be about the Father’s business every day and thus keep our lamps filled and ready. If Jesus comes today, praise God. If Jesus comes in another two thousand years, praise God. It is probably an appropriate question however to ask yourself, “What would you be doing different if you knew?” Ponder that answer.

Lord, forgive us for trying to do your job or know that which You choose to keep secret. Give us strength this day to do the work You have called your church to be about. Please place people in our path that we can tell of Your amazing grace and boundless love. Amen

Audio Version: seeking-gods-heart-duteronomy-18_22



  1. Wasn’t there a group of people called, The Millerites” who waited on a rock for the “last day?” What an intersting, deep post today. As always Bryan, I learn from and am encouraged by you. Have a blessed day!

  2. Yes, William Miller started a group who were led by him to believe that the end would come October 22, 1844. The group did not altogether fall apart. Led by their new prophetess Ellen G. White they became known ultimately as the Seventh Day Adventists. Which is in itsself a bit odd since observation of the Sabbath is the only of the commandments not reiterated in the New Testament.

  3. I love the fact that you BLOG Gods word without the personal theo-junk. We can all learn from that.

    Thank you!

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