Evaluating the ‘Positive’ Prophets of the 2020 Election
Seaborn Hall, 1/23/21
There is a lot of disappointment and disillusionment out there as a result of the 2020 election results. This is particularly true over the apparently missed prophetic words of so many who confidently predicted a Trump re-election.
If we believe in God’s prophetic ministry we should make a defense of our beliefs. According to 1 Peter 3:15, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
In that light it is good to remember that there were at least three of what we call ‘higher-level’ prophets that did not emphatically predict a Trump win (for more on them, see here). As for those who did, there are several different responses we can have.
The first and most obvious is to lump all of these prophecies and prophets into the ‘false-prophet-prophecy’ category. The second possible response is to look at the conditional nature of prophecy according to Jeremiah 18. The third possible response is to look at what we call a mountain-valley-time-lapse trajectory. A fourth possible response, is to, regardless of whether the prophecies will eventually come true or not, view the lack of immediate fulfillment as a judgment of sorts on the ‘positive-prophetic.’
A Review of the ‘Positive’ Prophets
Kat Kerr, Dutch Sheets, Hank Kunneman, Jeremiah Johnson, Chris Reed, Dr. Francis Myles, Mark Taylor, Shawn Bolz, Kim Clement, Kevin Zadai, and Tracy Cooke either all declared that Trump would be elected – as in re-elected for a second term – or strongly implied that he would win the election. Early on Chuck Pierce appeared to prophesy a Trump win by January 18 – but this was a projection by some in the body of Christ. He actually never said that Trump would win – that we can find, at least.
Here is what we said in a commentary on Pierce’s latest comments following the election:
“Pierce never says that Trump will win. In fact, early on here he implies Biden will be [inaugurated]…Contrary to Pierce or anyone else, it seems possible at this point that this election is God’s judgment on the ‘positive prophetic’ and the culture of ‘divination’ that has developed in the prophetic stream over the last thirty years.”
We will talk about this last statement in a minute. Tracy Cooke said that the Lord had showed him after November 3 that the election would be turned around within two weeks. Plenty of others such as Charlie Shamp and international prophets like Albert Milton or Australian Pastor John Hemans prophesied a Trump win.
According to Shamp, he was shown in 2019: “Trump will triumph in 2020.” But, the church needs to pray. He said that corruption will be revealed in Pennsylvania – it is the key. A rainbow will manifest over the White House as a sign. To his credit, he seems to place the repentance and prayer of God’s people in America as a condition over the prophetic words.
CS also misinterpreted several Dana Coverstone dreams that we still believe were divine prophetic dreams about the election and the future of America. We are addressing our misinterpretations separately in individual evaluations now and over the next several weeks.
First Response Option: False Prophets and False Prophecies
We have addressed this option more fully before in several articles or briefs, including Evaluating Prophets and Prophecy. This option is Grace Community Church Pastor John MacArthur’s ‘go-to’ theological response. He bases it primarily on a misinterpretation of Deuteronomy 18:18-20,
“I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you [Moses], and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him. But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.” [emphasis CS] (NASB)
MacArthur interprets this to mean that any words from any prophetic figure that do not come true (within his determined time-frame, apparently) prove that person to be a false prophet. But, that is not what the passage says.
First, the context of the passage is about Israel looking to God, not to diviners or sorcerers like other nations. Second – and this is key – the passage specifically speaks to “a prophet…like [Moses].” Third, God says that He will ‘put My words in his mouth.’ This refers to a literal ‘mouth-to-mouth’ or ‘face-to-face’ relationship where the Lord speaks, not symbolically, but literally to the prophet, as delineated in Numbers 12:1-8. Fourth, the passage does not describe the time-frame for appraisal. Fifth, the prophet’s ‘death’ is for speaking a genuine word too quickly or for speaking from a source other than God, a ‘false’ word.
The bottom line from this quick analysis is that the passage does not apply to most ‘positive-prophets’ because none of them are ‘prophets like Moses.’ New Testament type prophets are not ‘prophets like Moses.’ Moses spoke to God ‘face-to-face’ or ‘mouth-to-mouth’. New Testament level prophets, which we call ‘Miriam-level’ prophets elsewhere (see Numbers 12:1-8 and Evaluating Prophets and Prophecy, for more) do not. They speak interpretively off of the symbolic communication of dreams, visions, and ‘dark speech.’
Just because New Testament type prophets are wrong does not mean they are false prophets or that their prophecies are false. We could also note that time-frame of prophecies makes false prophets difficult to identify by the accuracy of their predictions because many prophecies outlive their prophet – that is, they are fulfilled after the prophet dies.
Are there higher level prophets in the New Testament era that might be judged by the ‘Moses’ criteria? In our opinion, yes. For our argument see, Evaluating Prophets and Prophecy.
Second Response Option – The Conditional Nature of Prophecy
A lot of you will feel that this second response option is a cop-out. Jeremiah 18: 5-12 makes clear the conditional nature of much of prophecy. The bottom line is that regardless of what God says, He can do whatever He wants depending on how He views His people’s response and the condition of their hearts.
2 Chronicles 7:13-20 reiterates the conditional nature of God’s actions towards His people based on their responses and behavior, conditions that go back to the covenant He made with Israel in Deuteronomy 28. There is a blessing for obedience and a curse for disobedience.
Many think that the ‘curse’ has been lifted in the New Testament era because of Christ. In theory, it has (Col. 2:13-4). But the Holy Spirit has been given to enable and to lead believers into obedience. Where there continues willful disobedience, there is a ‘terrifying expectation of judgment (Heb. 10:26-31)’ and a ‘fire that will consume the adversaries (Heb. 12:25-29).’
Prophecy is an invitation. God holds His people responsible to respond to His ways and His promises. When they don’t He is free to change His will and intentions towards them. Like it or not, this is a big reason why we don’t see a lot of prophetic words fulfilled in our time.
Third Response Option – The Mountain-Valley-Time-Lapse Trajectory
What we call the mountain-valley-time-lapse trajectory is the mountain-valley nature of most prophecies and their fulfillment.
Many Biblical interpreters have noted a feature of prophecy called ‘telescoping’ in which a prophecy may have multiple fulfillments over generations. Each fulfillment may be ‘fuller’ than the previous one until there is an ultimate End Times fulfillment. But we only see the ‘mountain peaks’ – we don’t see the valleys and the length of time or events between the peaks.
This is a modification of that principle. A prophecy may speak to what we expect to be a near-term event, only to be ‘re-set’ towards a longer time frame, either due to God’s will and our initial misinterpretation or due to a ‘re-set’ based on the conditional nature of prophecy. For example, Jonah preached to Nineveh and because of their repentance their impending ‘judgment’ was re-set for the future.
In the case of the 2020 election it is possible that many of the ‘positive’ prophecies will still come true at a later date. In other words, perhaps Trump will be President again – just in a different manner and different time-frame than we projected. We have to go through the ‘valley’ of unfulfillment, before we get to the ‘peak’ of prophetic fulfillment.
We will have to wait and see what the electoral landscape looks like three to five years down the road before we know for sure.
Fourth Response Option – Judgment on the Prophetic?
All of this said, it is still possible that the 2020 election is some kind of judgment on the prophetic stream of the church and all of the ‘positive’ prophets.
Is there mixture of soul and flesh in much of the church’s prophecies and interpretations? Is the church at large syncretized? Have the problems of the ‘Father of the prophetic’ of thirty years ago bled into much of the prophetic church without anyone confronting or addressing them? R. Loren Sanford’s 2005 book Purifying the Prophetic, largely ignored when it was published, spoke about some of these issues and would suggest that there is something here.
We believe that these are fair questions to ask and that the answers are generally, ‘yes.’ Though most ‘positive’ prophets are not false prophets, per se, because of these issues and others there appears to be some mixture of flesh and soul in the modern-day prophetic stream.
The results of the 2020 election should therefore be seen, at least in part, as a judgment on the prophetic stream in the American church and a call for that part of the church to repent and reevaluate. To his credit, Jeremiah Johnson has beat others to the punch in this area.
That said, all of the options addressed above are valid reasons to consider why what was prophesied did not come to pass the way many in the church expected. As the church as a whole repents and changes its posture towards God to reflect these truths we can expect change and a brighter future ahead.