Wednesday, March 30, 2011

David Wilkerson's Prophecies of Destruction

Question: I have a high respect for David Wilkerson, founder of Teen Challenge, but now I'm hearing his prophecy of calamity for America and he says cities will burn and lose electricity, so we should save up a 30 day supply to survive!? Supposedly he was right about 9/11 and times square church even prepared sandwiches the day before.  Does that make his latest prophecy credible?

Let me begin by saying I share your respect for David Wilkerson and his ministry, though I must qualify that to be his ministry for the youth of America, particularly in the inner cities.  His book The Cross and the Switchblade was a powerful book that has helped many people.  He also has stirring sermons that remind us that we should ensure we are right with God, individually and as a society.

However, I am not able to endorse his prophecies about the coming calamities and it would appear that Mr. Wilkerson has made some false prophecies in the past, which I'll detail a little further below.  During my research I found a copy of the prophecy David Wilkerson made on March 7, 2009 at this link.

To sum it up, he says:

  • “Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires...”
  • “We are under God’s wrath.”
  • “If possible lay in store a thirty-day supply of non-perishable food, toiletries and other essentials.”

Let me back up just a little and address the part of your question about David Wilkerson's alleged prophecy for 9/11, wherein his church made sandwiches the day before it actually happened.  While it was initially reported to be true, later the World Net Daily reporter that reported that story corrected it and explained it was not true.  (The church did make sandwiches the day the event happened, but only in response to what happened.  Thus, it was a wonderful gesture, but not a prophetic gesture.)

Now, we must be careful not to attribute the 9/11 misunderstanding as a false prophecy, as we can not directly link David Wilkerson with the false report that it happened.  Yet we need to understand that we should not lean on that event as evidence that he is a prophet being given some special insight from God like the prophets in the Old Testament such as Jeremiah, Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and so on. Indeed if that had been a true story, it would lend substantial credibility to any future prophecies that David Wilkerson gives to us because of how precise that would have occurred.

As we turn to the "prophecies" wherein it is said that major cities across America will be ablaze, and that there will be mass economic turmoil for which we should store up food, I am immediately reminded that the true test of a prophet is that 100% of what they say is correct.  My research, however, found that David Wilkerson may have a history of not being correct, at least according to Tom Riggle who posted about that it this link.

In summary, if Mr. Riggle is correct, David Wilkerson prophesied in sermons that there would be no more gospel on TV by 1999, that there would be 1,000 fires in New York City in 1993 due to race riots, and a financial crash would happen in 2000.  As we look back, we can see that none of those happened.

Even if David Wilkerson did not make those prophecies, we must look at his prophecies with a critical, discerning spirit...

First, we should note that the current prophecies about fires and riots in cities across America are very general in nature.  Quite frankly, they remind me of the prophecies we read from Nostradamus, wherein they are so vague that when something happens, we find people pointing to them and claiming they have been fulfilled or otherwise saying, "it is all starting just as so and so said it would."  Also, due to their general nature (not naming any specific city or time in which it will happen), it makes debunking them much more difficult, as one can simply say "they haven't happened yet."

If I were to sum up my response in any way, it would be that I believe God has left us substantial information via His Word about what will happen in the end days.  Consequently, we should study the Bible diligently to learn more about that very important topic.  

If God does plan to raise up a prophet in the end days to warn us, I believe He will do so in such a way that the prophet's credentials are impeccable and we can turn to past prophecies and see that they came true in a precise, unequivocal manner.  Yet I can't help believe that God simply did not "forget" to put anything in His Word that He wanted us to know, and therein is where we should focus our studies.  If there is some nuggets of truth to be learned, I believe the Bible is where we will learn them.

Also, while it is wise to prepared for a natural disaster, we must note that nowhere in the Bible did God instruct His people to store up food to prepare for calamities in relation to end times Bible prophecy.   Rather, Jesus warns us to keep watch (Matthew 24:42; Matthew 25:13) and be ready (Matthew 24:44) as we await His return.  As he discussed the end times, the Apostle Paul said to be alert and self-controlled (1 Thessalonians 5:4-9). 

For Christians, the idea that the Rapture can happen at any moment is both comforting and exciting.  It's described as our “blessed hope” in Titus 2:11-14, where we're taught to deny ourselves of ungodly and worldly passions, "and to live upright and godly lives while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ."  I always remind people that Jesus specifically told us to "Pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen" (Luke 21:36).

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