Youtube prophets are the pinnacle of expository and accurate prophecy. The kind of fresh word that only a truly anointed person of God could reveal. Their robes of righteousness are so white that even glimpsing them blinds their followers. Oh, that we could be so anointed as these holy figures. That we simpletons could come close to their holiness. We must thank them by receiving their word every week and every month. We must subscribe to their channel to receive fresh revelation. We must do anything but open God’s Word.
My comments drip with sarcasm.
One prophet says this and another that. Never matching Never coming into agreement. Always some vague encouragement clouded in Christianese flummery. Empty prophecies with inevitable conclusions. My favorite is the over-spiritualization of Numbers 13:
“The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people that we saw in it are of great height. And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.” Numbers 13:32-33
Consider this scenario: an itinerant preacher comes to town and makes a vague prophecy over you. This same preacher says encountering opposition is evidence of God’s working. Now you’re not only chasing the prophecy, but the evidence is self-fulfilling. A friend tells you it’s beyond your abilities to play Flight of the Bumblebee in every key. “Hold on,” you say, “I can do all things through God who strengthens me. Get behind me Satan.” You’ve just encountered a giant! The prophecy was real! The preacher said there would be opposition and now you’ve found it.
Let’s not confuse circumstance with wise counsel. Or worse, call wise counsel discouragement and respond with vitriolic frenzy. A friend offering advice is not equivalent to Angel/human hybrids. Look at Job, his friends offered bad theology, but they at least didn’t tell him to curse God and die.
Was prophecy intended to be vague and unclear? Was Jeremiah unclear when he said the Jews would be in captivity for 70 years? Was he vague when he stated that even wounded men would burn the city? Jeremiah didn’t focus on saying positive things the people wanted to hear. He focused on telling them the truth. The same prophet who gave the key prosperity verse in 29:11 tells the people to stop fighting in Jeremiah 37. But wait? Where are the plans to make us prosper and to give us a future? It doesn’t have anything to do with us. It’s all about God. That’s where our focus often falls short.
Jeremiah’s faithfulness to proclaim God’s word resulted in his imprisonment in a cistern.
“Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people: Thus says the Lord: He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence, but he who goes out to the Chaldeans shall live. He shall have his life as a prize of war and live. Thus says the Lord: This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken…so they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchiah, the king’s son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mud and Jeremiah sank in the mud.” Jeremiah 38: 1-3,6
It doesn’t get better for Jeremiah. He’s later kidnapped and taken to Egypt when Jerusalem is sacked. That’s not positive. That’s not prosperity. That’s following God no matter the cost. Jeremiah watched his people taken into captivity. He was called a traitor, beaten and jailed. That doesn’t sound like a man who is living in the promises of God. Afterall, he wrote Jeremiah 29:11. He is the one who talked about God’s plans to prosper us. Why would he suffer so severely? If God has plans for prosperity in perpetuity, why did Jeremiah experience suffering almost immediately after writing about God’s wonderful plans? Because he’s not talking about himself nor is he talking about Gentiles. Jeremiah is writing to the Israelites in captivity. And he is specific: God has plans for prosperity for the captive Israel. He implores them to continue living their lives. God will bring them back after 70 years.
It’s all about perception. What do we see as God’s promises? If it’s always abundance and prosperity, theology is wrecked at the slightest hint of suffering. Paul writes that our suffering produces hope that does not put us to shame because of God’s love (Romans 5:2-5). God views suffering as essential in creating character. If a preacher claims we should not suffer then a different gospel is being preached. Not a gospel of repentance, but of self-importance. A gospel that sees ourselves as the center rather than the redemptive work of Jesus. We become the redeemer, and God becomes a point of view.
YouTube prophets are a symptom of our own idolatry. We want to hear positive things spoken over us, so we listen to our favorite preacher or self-appointed prophet. They can tell us how great we are and how much God loves everything we do. In our silent moments, we fill our minds with violence and lust and expect God to give us our heart’s desire. Our hearts don’t break at our sinful condition. We have no fullness of joy in Jesus who saves us by his free gift of grace. Scripture, on the rare occasions that we read it, is taken out of context, misapplied, and treated like dirt. The grace of God is replaced by a genie who grants wishes. We want God to be our slave.
Do not allow the symptom to become your theology. While our sinful nature creates opportunities for these wolves to come in, we should not stand idle. These false prophets want to puff you up to fill their pockets. A prophet who speaks and it doesn’t come to pass even once is no prophet. We have the sword of the spirit. Use it. Test everything they say and give no room for the enemy. No glory school or cloud should ever take precedence over Jesus. Jude did not give them ground and neither should we. He says exactly what they are:
“…clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead. They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” Jude 12-13