Tom: This week, we’re in part 2 of a conversation that deals with false prophecy. My guest for this discussion is Dave James, who is the author of The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction? and Biblical Guide to the Shemitah and the Blood Moons. His ministry is the Alliance for Biblical Integrity, and we have been talking about false prophecy, false prophets, the consequences of people buying into things that are out there without checking it out with Scripture – without being Bereans. It’s a great concern of ours. So, Dave, welcome back to Search the Scriptures 24/7.
Dave: Thanks, Tom. It was great to be with you last week, and I’m looking forward to today’s discussion as well.
Tom: Yeah, now we set up last week the situation related to…particularly Jonathan Cahn and his books. You gave summaries of what you had written critically about those books, but we’re really working our way toward Jonathan Cahn’s latest book, which is called The Paradigm. And, Dave, could you just give us a summary of what that book’s about and why we’re concerned about it?
Dave: Sure. Well, in contrast to The Harbinger, which was a novel, a work of fiction, The Paradigm lays itself out as a work of nonfiction. And in contrast to The Harbinger, which was about focusing in on Isaiah:9:10, which was a warning of judgment against the Northern Kingdom of Israel in the face of the impending attack by the Assyrian army, The Paradigm goes to a different point in the Northern Kingdom’s history focusing on several aspects: 1) The part that took up the most time in The Paradigm has to do with the Northern king, Ahab, and his wife and queen, Jezebel. And the premise of The Paradigm is that Ahab’s counterpart in modern history was Bill Clinton, and his wife, Jezebel – her modern counterpart is Hillary Clinton, with the idea being that these were two of the most wicked rulers in the North, a king and a queen, Ahab and Jezebel, and they actually were parallel – not just parallel, but we’re talking about straight-line connections between Bill and Hillary Clinton, and the idea was that if you had (in fact, Jonathan Cahn has said this)—had you recognized this paradigm that he calls a template, an almost 3,000-year-old template, you could have actually noted the very years, in some cases the very day, and in one instance the very hour of when things would transpire in modern history on American soil, with Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. Then he moves on to other kings, other rulers, and other people involved in the history of ancient Israel, including Osama bin Laden, the capture and the killing of Osama bin Laden, the appearance of Barak Obama on the scene, and even the election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States.
So he makes all of these direct line connections, saying that they were so predictive and so precise, as I said, that you could see the characters and see the days, even the months, the months and the days, and in some cases even the hours when things would happen in modern history.
Tom: So, thinking about the promotions of the book – and you’ve been through some of the interviews – but just looking at how this book is advertised and promoted: “This is incredible stuff! You can know this! You can know that!...” Dave, as we talked about last week, and we need to reiterate it today, the Bible does not address the USA. Certainly not in detail. There are some vague references to a nation, which we talked about last week - or “the nations,” the Gentiles. But certainly there is no way any kind of details can be found in the Tanakh in the Old Testament.
Dave: Well, that’s exactly right…you know, it’s kind of funny. I tend to watch FoxNews a lot, and I watch the Fox business channel as well, and it kind of falls into the same category. If the stock market goes up 500 points in a day, they always have a canned reason why it went up 500 points; or if it goes down 500 points, they have a canned reason. It doesn’t matter which way it goes, they always have an explanation for it. And you have the same thing happening with Jonathan Cahn. No matter what happens in American history now, now that he is this “revealer of mysteries,” and he has been lauded by many people – dozens of people – as America’s Jewish prophet in the modern world, it doesn’t matter what happens, he can find a biblical connection, and when he thinks he can find something that fits exactly, they’ll draw that line. But when there’s a breakdown and there’s a vast departure from what the Scriptures – what happened in Scripture, what’s recorded in Scripture and ancient history 2,500, 3,000 years ago, it’s simply ignored! So it’s the most radical case of cherry picking that you could possibly imagine. If something fits, he grabs it. If it doesn’t fit, he ignores it. And it’s just really a shame that so many people are buying into this.
Tom: Yeah! Now, last week we talked about prophecy – the value of prophecy – how important it is, and so on, and we talked about false prophecy and false prophets, and one of the points that we made last week was that if you abuse Scripture, with regard to prophecy, the way you use it, and it’s wrong – it’s not consistent with the prophecy in the Scripture, the way it’s laid out – then you are a false prophet. I don’t know how you can get around it. And, as we’ve been saying, if these are all…all these things are not in the Scripture but are in the mind of Jonathan Cahn, he should be held accountable for that because these things are not true to the Scriptures.
Now, it’s like me…as you called it “cherry picking,” the point being is that if I pick something and I say, “Well, Hillary Clinton (he might say) reminds me of the character of Jezebel because of this and that…” Well, that’s an opinion. That’s a perspective. If I say that Ahab, you know, maybe in character is like “this” American leader, and so on – well, that’s my opinion. It has nothing to do with exact biblical prophecy, and prophecy, according to Scripture, is God’s telling forth what will take place, and we know all the things that God lays out in that way – they come about with 100 percent accuracy. That’s why we trust prophecy as the best apologetic for proving that God’s Word is just that. But if I have these opinions of men and all of these different ideas, and I’m putting stock in them, I’ve just undermined the accuracy of the Bible, and it is incredibly, perfectly accurate. Right?
Dave: Well, yes, that’s exactly right! And if you look at the Old Testament standards for someone who is a prophet of God versus a false prophet, there are several tests that God put into place, and one of them had to do with handling the Word of God correctly. If they tell you things that…in other words, if somebody says that God has said something He hasn’t said, or that God hasn’t said something that He has said, then you mark them as a false prophet – even somebody who is able to do signs and wonders! In Deuteronomy, God makes it very clear that the signs and wonders – the ability to do miracles – is not the ultimate test! The ultimate test is handling, teaching, or relaying the Word of God accurately.
If somebody in the Old Testament – let’s say that 999 times out of 1,000 they got it right, simply because they were good guessers, or they knew human nature, whatever; Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” There are things that repeat, and you and I can say to one of our kids, for example, “If you do this, I can promise you that this is going to happen,” that doesn’t make us a prophet. But the point is this: if somebody got it right 999 times out of 1,000, but one time – even one time – they got it wrong, you would end up dead, according to the law of Moses, because there was no room for somebody to miss even one prophecy! And yet, we have guys today, like Jonathan Cahn and those who are actually helping and promoting him, who get things wrong consistently. In fact, you can even find it in writing where people like John Wimber would say, “If somebody today – a prophet today – gets it right 50 percent of the time, he’s a good prophet.” Well, in the Scriptures, that would cost you your life! So this is serious business.
Tom: Right! And why is it serious? Because a false prophet turns God into a liar! That is, if you believe the false prophet. You know, it’s going to go past that guy back to God. And, as I said, prophecy – the value of prophecy – is so critically important, it is the best apologetic we have to prove that God’s Word is God’s Word. In Isaiah, over and over again, He says, “Test me in this. I’m the only one who knows the future.” You know, there are people that make guesses at it, and so on, and try to make things come about. Only God knows the future, and that future is laid out in His communication to us, His foretelling us what events are going to take place.
So, you know, it’s not a small problem, folks. And we talked about – you mentioned last week, Dave, some of the consequences when people buy into false prophecy to the point of suicide, to the point of losing everything, selling everything – I mean, all of these consequences, the destructive consequences, of false prophecy, yet we have seen with Jonathan Cahn’s books, whether it be The Harbinger, The Shemitah, and these things, where things are…ok…predicted. You can’t get away from that. Where things are going… you know, you might say, “I think this is going to take place.” No, the promotions of his book and the advertisements behind it make it something that people buy into, and the consequences can be destructive and really tragic.
Now, Dave, the details, which we find given in The Paradigm, Jonathan Cahn’s latest book, in those details, it talks about…dates are given of the rise and fall of leaders and governments and so on. People are just kind of nodding their head… “Yeah, that’s exciting! That’s what’s going on.”
What’s the problem with that?
Dave: Well, for one thing, I think that they have figured out a formula. This would include Jonathan Cahn; this would include his publisher, Charisma Media, which is, by the way, the largest purveyor of heretical material of our generation, I would say…
Tom: Without a doubt.
Dave: …those who have him on their program, whether it be Sid Roth, or Jim Bakker, they’re promoting this, and they have figured out a formula that I call, and maybe you’ve called it this as well, the “Wow” factor. You can dazzle people with the “Wow” factor, and when you hit on a couple of things where people go “Wow! That has to be beyond coincidence. God must involved,” you’ve caught them. And in fact, in my book, when I responded to The Harbinger in my book, The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction?, I used two illustrations from history. There was a book that came out prior to the sinking of The Titanic, and the parallels in this novel were stunningly close to what actually happened many years later – a number of years later (a couple decades, I think) – with the sinking of The Titanic.
And then people have also pointed out, too, the parallels between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. And if you read these things, you’d think, “Wow! This is amazing!” But they don’t tell you the things where there was no match, and so this “Wow” factor causes people to, honestly…they check their brains at the door. And the other thing that I think is so important in this whole issue is: when I teach my students, it’s not just that I’m teaching you the material. I’m teaching you both how to teach the material – the biblical material – and I’m also teaching you a method of biblical interpretation. So, when Jonathan Cahn and others start drawing these parallels and saying, “This is the way you handle and interpret the Word of God,” they’re teaching a method of interpretation, and so this actually multiplied this false-prophecy and false-teacher factor, because you’re actually engaging a whole generation of people to change the way they’re actually understanding the Word of God.
Tom: And some – they’re not even thinking that way, Dave. They’re just saying, “Oh, wait a minute! Wow! That’s gonna happen! I’d better do something about it!”
I want to go back to Jonathan Cahn’s book dealing with the Shemitah, and then his alignment with Mark Biltz with the Blood Moons. There was supposed to be a catastrophic event economically that was going to take place. I mean, you can’t get away from their implying that. WorldNetDaily jumped on it. Joseph Farrah. I mean there were many people. And the outcome was fearmongering. People reacted, even though, again, Jonathan Cahn may have said, “Oh, no, I didn’t say that exactly. I didn’t predict that!” No, no, the implication from all the advertising from all of these different media places, it was fear mongering. You know, selling freeze-dried food, selling lands, doing all these kinds of things that turned out to be absolutely tragic, right?
Dave: Well, that’s absolutely right. And the person who has facilitated this the most would be Jim Bakker, with his Morningside Ministry there in Missouri, which is really just a Heritage USA 2.0, where he’s bilking people out of money, selling…. Here’s the way I put it. Because he believes in a post-tribulation rapture, meaning that he believes that the church now (his theology actually changed), he believes now that the church is going to go through the Tribulation, God’s tremendous, horrific judgments upon the earth such that by the end, 50 percent of the world’s population is going to be dead, the world’s going to be uninhabitable, essentially. All the water, fresh and salt, is going to turn into blood; the green plants are going to be burned up. There will be a complete breakdown of the food chain, from the microscopic to the macroscopic level.
And he – sitting on his desk as he’s interviewing men like Jonathan Cahn and others – these guys ultimately (this may sound harsh) but they end up becoming useful idiots and props that he’s using to sell these products to people who think somehow they’re going to survive the Tribulation. So you’ve got people who are buying these things for hundreds and hundreds of dollars – I don’t know about you, but if I were to try to go through the Tribulation, I’d just as soon die. Why would anybody want to try to survive what’s coming?
And so, again, we’re concerned about the “what” – but these things are a serious problem.
Tom: And, Dave, let me back up a little on that. Because number one, if the Tribulation, as we read it in Revelation, is as horrendous, as it’s going to be – God pouring out His wrath – so…freeze-dried food is going to help me get through it? Or… in other words, they’re really bilking believers, or those who believe in what they’re saying, and not checking it out by the Scriptures, they’re taking their money left and right. And selling this product, which… and even if it was the case (and talk about a bad joke!) it would be so short term – it’s going to last seven years…so again, this is fear mongering. This is greed. This is taking advantage of people. And, it also, for those who he’s interviewing, whether it be Jim Bakker interviewing Jonathan Cahn or Mark Biltz, what’s going on here is that he’s selling their books! So there’s, definitely, on the part of the authors, they’re allowing these things to… you know, even if they have a right heart and being sincere about this, it’s still all about “filthy lucre.” It’s all about money. So, that’s a great concern. And our heart is we want our listeners – we want everybody – to be Bereans, to check these things out. Caveat emptor! Buyer, beware! That’s what they need to do.
Now, Dave, we’ve just got about five minutes left. What I want you to do – you’re not just on radio with Jimmy DeYoung, but you have an international teaching program, whether it be Hungary, whether it be…I think you’re heading up to Canada soon, as we’re recording this; you’re in the Philippines. What do you tell people regarding how to protect themselves? You know, Jesus said, characterizing our time – I believe it’s our time – “Take heed that no man deceive you,” and we’re seeing deception promoted like, well, I’ve been a believer for forty years, and the deception is exponential compared to when I became a believer. So what do you tell people? How do they keep themselves from being deceived by false prophecy and false prophets?
Dave: Well, I think the most important thing that we do is we learn a biblical – a consistently biblical method of interpretation. And we keep using the term literal, grammatical, historical – meaning that…“literal” meaning that the text has an objective meaning. It’s not subjective. It’s not subject to change. And the text of the Bible has a singular meaning, and we look to figure out, first of all, what the original author intended to say; secondly, how it was understood by the original audience, and then we try to bridge the gap between our mind in our day and the mind of the original author. And, you know, one of the big mistakes in Bible interpretation today – and I guess it’s probably always been a problem – but frequently you’ll hear people say, “Well, what does this text mean to you? What does this passage mean to you?” And, actually, the bottom line is it doesn’t matter what I think it means. What I try to find out is what it means to God! And once I figure out what it means to God, then I can apply it correctly in my life. So I do that by looking at the grammatical context – the context of the text itself – and see what the passages before and after say, and I don’t just pull a single verse out of context and try to apply it to a particular situation. I understand it the way the original author wrote it.
And then I look and understand that there’s a historical context, and if I can put all those things together, I could understand exactly what that author meant and what God is communicating through that.
And then, as I teach around the world, as you mentioned, I try to model this. And every class I teach, as I said before, I’m not just teaching the material; I’m teaching people how to teach the material and how to interpret the material. I think one of my biggest challenges but also my biggest opportunity is to equip young people, the next generation of leaders until the Lord returns, my biggest opportunity and challenge is to teach them and show them and model how to handle the Word of God correctly. We don’t peddle the Word of God for profit. We don’t engage in sensationalism. The Bible is sensational enough if we understand it correctly. And so, this is what I try to teach around the world everywhere I go.
Tom: Dave, that is so important. I’ve had opportunities, and our listeners know that I have such a heart for this upcoming generation, and I know that we’ve not dealt with them correctly. Entertainment has overridden discipleship and Bible study and so on. But Scripture says, “Where evil abounds, grace doth more abound.” So that’s what we’re trying to do now. We’re trying to inform and encourage young people who don’t have a sense of eschatology – [what] the Bible says [about] God’s timeline, how things are going to develop prior to the return of the King of kings, Lord of lords, Jesus Christ. The Bible gives lots of information with regard to what will happen and what is going to happen. That’s prophecy. And it will happen accurately! But we need to understand it, so, as we’ve been saying throughout this broadcast, unless we’re Bereans, Acts:17:11, unless we search the Scriptures daily, to see if what we’re hearing from “out there,” whether it be by Jonathan Cahn or any ministries that are promoting an idea, you know, we’re accountable, we’re responsible. We will stand before the Lord with regard to how we received or understood the very things that He has laid out in His Word, which is prophecy. Which is prophecy!
So, Dave, have you got anything to add to that? We’ve got less than a minute left.
Dave: Right. Well, you know, I would say, it’s not just talking about Jonathan Cahn or Jim Bakker or any of the other guys who may be involved with this. They have to be Bereans with regard to what you and I say, as well. What Jimmy DeYoung says. What any teacher or pastor says. Everybody… you know, we’ll never be held accountable for what somebody else says, but we will be held accountable for what we believe and what we teach others ourselves. So we need to come to the right conclusions and we need to take Bible study seriously. You know, a lot of people read the Word of God, but I have to wonder how many Christians today are actually studying the Word of God to understand it correctly for themselves, and that’s what I’m trying to do with what’s left of my time here on this earth – to equip, like you said, this next generation.
Tom: The only thing I can add to that is not only studying the Word but doing what it says. “Not by might nor by power” but by the enablement of God by His Holy Spirit. So, Dave, again, this is … my guest has been Dave James. His ministry is the Alliance for Biblical Integrity, and, Dave, it’s been a pleasure. Certainly highly informative, and I hope our listeners come to that conclusion.
So, Dave, thank you for being with us.
Dave: Thanks, Tom. It’s always a joy and pleasure to be with you.