Prophecy and Paranoia

by Dr. Ken Matto

(2 Pet 1:19-21 KJV) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: {20} Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. {21} For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

The word for "prophecy" in the New Testament is the Greek word "profhteia" (propheteia) which carries with it the meaning of "a speaking forth, exhortations, warnings, (which refer to the past, present, or future). These prophecies in Scripture were uttered forth by Prophets under the revelation or influence of God.

As we look at the Scriptures and the prophecies uttered in them, we see the majority of them have to do with judgment or impending doom, such as:

(Zep 1:1-3 KJV) The word of the LORD which came unto Zephaniah the son of Cushi, the son of Gedaliah, the son of Amariah, the son of Hizkiah, in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah. {2} I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD. {3} I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD.

In the above Scriptural warning we see that God is prophesying through Zephaniah that He is going to consume or judge Judah, and their judgment will be a removal from their present location to Babylon. Their time in Babylon would be 70 years as prophesied in other areas of Scripture. We are seeing that prophecy fits into a certain course in Scripture and mainly deals with "something impending," whether it be judgment or good. One of the most beautiful prophecies of Scripture for the believer is found in 2 Corinthians 5:8

(2 Cor 5:8 KJV) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

This verse is a great comfort at a funeral for a TRUE believer. No one wants to die, but for the true Christian, once we do, we will be glad we did. (He who has ears to hear)

However, the subject of this study is not the real biblical prophecy which is contained in Scripture, it is what has been done to the end time biblical prophecies by the self-appointed prophecy pundits. These prophecy moguls have butchered the meanings of Scriptures and have caused many Christians to walk around in a state of paranoia. When I was a young Christian in 1980-81 I began my Christian walk listening to Jack Van Impe and his prophecy ministry. I sent for materials and I heard all about:

• The 10 Nation Common Market
• The physical Antichrist
• The Mark of the Beast
• 666
• The invasion of Israel by Russia
• The physical persecution of the Christians
• The restoration of the Jews
• 2/3 of all Jews being killed
• Armageddon in the Plains of Megiddo
• The 1,000 year Reign of Christ
• 7 year Tribulation Period
• The judgment of the Believers
• Pre-Trib Rapture
• Dispensationalism
• The Rebuilding of the Temple
• Animal Sacrifices reinstated

The prophecy moguls are just sensationalists and this is why they get to preach 250 times a year and are in demand because the prophetic illiterate love to hear their "doomsday prophecies" for the express reason that these same "experts" claim that good ole' American Christians are going to escape it because of the "secret rapture" which will zoom them to Heaven while everybody else will be suffering on earth. Convenient isn't it? If you think about it, if their prophecies are true (which they aren't) then millions of deceived Christians are actually rejoicing in the pain and suffering and death of others while they bask on the shore lines of Heaven. Here are some other embellishments which have been added to biblical prophecy by the prophecy pundits to make sure their books sell. These things have absolutely nothing to do with true biblical prophecy.

• Black Helicopters over America

• Noise barriers on major highways so UN troops can shoot at the motorists

• (From Prophecy, Eschatology, and Discoveries Web Site) The United Nations security council unanimously endorsed an agreement with Iraq that would allow U.N. weapons inspectors access to presidential palaces early on the morning of March 3, 1998, (Mideast time). This date is 29304 days into the New Age. 29304 is 44 times 666. These prophetic intervals are particularly interesting since the 1991 Gulf War was fought during Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's 666th (Hebrew/Jewish) month of life. However, before rushing to the conclusion that this means Hussein is the "beast" of Revelation, remember that 666 has also been found in association with Mikhail Gorbachev and with efforts to secure a homeland for the Palestinians within the borders of Israel. It does, however, strengthen the argument that this date and this event hold significance in prophetic fulfillment.

• Jack Van Impe Web site - THE MARK OF THE BEAST TECHNOLOGY DATA WAREHOUSING AND DATA MINING BRINGS VISIONS OF BIG BROTHER The Washington Post reported recently on the growing information service market where companies legally gather and sort electronic data 24 hours a day about 196 million Americans. These data warehousing or datamining businesses assemble an array of facts from scattered sources from credit card transactions and magazine subscriptions to telephone numbers and real estate records to car registrations and fishing licenses to consumer surveys and demographic details. In a moment of time, such services can provide electronic dossiers that give marketers information into an American's needs, lifestyle, and spending habits. Meanwhile, individuals have almost no control over facts that are assembled and disseminated about them. The report went on to say that "traditional American notions of personal privacy have become obsolete, outstripped by technology's ability to peer into personal lives." Jim Settle, formerly with the FBI said, "The whole thing is scary. It's not the government you need to worry about. It's private industry." (Rev. 13:16-18)

• (From Texe Marrs Web Site) PROJECT L.U.C.I.D. BOOK OFFER - It's frightening, and it's real. In this stunning book, noted author Texe Marrs unravels the secrets of Project L.U.C.I.D., the covert government operation destined to devour the whole world. Soon, every person on Earth -- even newborn babies -- will be issued the universal biometrics I.D. card. Resisters will have a mind control biochip surgically implanted in their brains. The ISO 9000 program requires that all manufactured goods be controlled with the number of the beast, 666. Project L.U.C.I.D. empowers America's hidden SS establishment to use its massively powerful, computer databases to control your bank accounts and purchases, and to monitor intimate details of your life. Spy satellites; hidden, miniature video cameras; and interactive TV sets will be watching your every move. Your telephone calls will be wiretapped and recorded by remote computers.  All data on you is linked, networked, and processed by a Central Gestapo, where faceless bureaucrats give orders to police, military, and intelligence agencies. This is the new, global police state, made up of the FBI, KGB, CIA, DEA, DIA, NSA, IRS, EPA, NCIC, USDA, FDA, NRO, BATF, FINCEN, INS, DOJ, WTO, Europol, Interpol, Mossad, and the MAB.

 

If you notice I took 3 articles off the Internet from various Prophecy Ministries which all focus in on the number 666. They all claim the number of the beast or Antichrist is 666. Let us look at what the Bible teaches to see if they are correct. In Revelation 13:18 we read:

(Rev 13:18 KJV) Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

All the Prophecy pundits have built their 666 theology and sensations around these 2 words "a man." First of all, in the Koine Greek Language of the New Testament there is no such thing as an "indefinite article" as there is in English. There is only a "definite article" which is identified by "O" with a hard breathing sound over it making it sound like "ho." In Revelation 13:18, " a man" is the Greek word "anqrwpou" (anthropou) which is a Genitive Case which specifically defines. Anthropou is used throughout the New Testament and the same case is used to describe Jesus as the Son of Man. For example in Matthew 26:24:

(Mat 26:24 KJV) The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

Do you see the specific nature of the writing? He is the Son of Man, now what would that make Him if we added the indefinite article "a" to the sentence. "The Son of a Man." Wouldn't that make the Lord Jesus the son of a man on earth? Quite a difference isn't it? The Virgin Birth doctrine would be annulled. Maybe this is why God picked the Greek language with it's "specifying attributes." The term "anthropos" may be used to describe the entire human race. The same principle applies to Revelation 13:18. Since there is no indefinite article in the Greek, we cannot add one in English because instead of clarifying the passage, it clouds the true meaning. It should not be translated "number of a man" rather the correct way is "number of man." 666 is the number that God has applied to the unsaved people in all the world and "anthropos" is describing man in general as the entire human race. So the idea that Revelation 13:18 is speaking of a single man is erroneous and to be rejected. As I quoted from 3 ministries concerning 666 and how, on false teaching, they have built ministries which lead people astray.

Let's look at it from a different perspective and see if everyone is going to get an identifying mark. When you became a Christian, did you receive a physical mark on your forehead? The following verses say that God has set a seal in the foreheads of His children.

(Rev 7:3 KJV) Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

(Rev 9:4 KJV) And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

(Rev 14:1 KJV) And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.

(Rev 22:4 KJV) And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.

(Ezek 9:4-6 KJV) And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. {5} And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: {6} Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house.

Here is a very interesting passage which talks about a mark given to those who have cried and wept over the sins of Jerusalem. Who cries and weeps over sins, the unregenerate or the regenerate? Of course, the only ones concerned with sin are those who are saved, the world continues on in sinful perpetuity until the last day. Isn't it interesting that God used the very same language approximately 600 BC when giving the command to Ezekiel to set a mark on the heads of the saved. Did Ezekiel walk around with a quill and put a mark on all the repentant? Here is a picture of the last day. Those who have the mark of God in their foreheads will not be touched by the final judgment but those who have the mark of the beast (666) a.k.a. the unsaved, shall be judged and cast into eternal hell, which here is symbolized by the physical slaughter of the disobedient in Jerusalem.

It is also interesting to note that a separation is in view which harmonizes with Revelation 9:4 above and Matthew 25:31-34 and John 5:25-29. God here is separating the believers from the unbelievers as He will on Judgment day after the resurrection of all mankind. If you also notice one thing in the Ezekiel passage, God begins judgment at His Sanctuary which harmonizes with 1 Peter 4:17 where God states that Judgments begins at the house of God. God will purge every unholy element from His true church as we see being done today. The rise of the Charismatic movement in almost every church shows the unholy and rebellious attitudes toward God right in plain sight but only the true Christian with open spiritual eyes will see this movement for what it truly is.

Let's wrap this study up with a quick look at some of the other elements which are taught by these prophecy moguls and some of the Scriptures which refute their Fantasy Island theology:

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Rebuilding of the Temple - Ezekiel 40-48 is used to justify this but a physical temple is not what is in view:

(1 Cor 3:16-17 KJV) Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? {17} If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

The Believers are the Temple

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Animal Sacrifices Reinstated - OT Sacrifices used to justify this

(Heb 10:12 KJV) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

I think it is reprehensible that Christians think that reinstatement of Animal Sacrifices is wonderful. That is an affront to the cross of Christ and a denial that He came and finished the sacrifice once and for all. Too many Christians have been so indoctrinated into Judaism by their clergy that they begin to think in terms of that Christ rejecting false religion. Judaism is not Old Testament rather it is a maintained rejection of Christ. If it was Old Testament based, they would recognize Christ immediately

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10 Nation Common Market - Daniel 7:7, 20, 24 used to justify this

I remember when the European Common Market went to 11, then 12, then 13 and some prophecy expert made a statement (I forgot who but not what) that God was just setting everything up for the final number of 10. Well, of course God had to redo everything, He made a mistake because it didn't fit into paranoia prophecy.

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Armageddon in the Plains of Megiddo - Revelation 16:16 used to justify this

(Rev 16:13-16 KJV) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. {14} For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. {15} Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. {16} And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

Notice the sequence of events concerning Armageddon:

1. Unclean Spirits go out over the whole world
2. They gather them to battle (Armageddon not mentioned yet)
3. The Return of Christ
4. Gathers them to Armageddon

What is the event that happens right after Christ's return? It is judgment day. Armageddon is a synonym for judgment day. Satan's kingdom has always been at war with God's kingdom, and they will be at war until the last battle, where Satan and his host of demons will be cast eternally into hell.

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Pre-Tribulational Rapture - 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18 & Revelation 4:1 used.

(John 6:39 KJV) And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

This is one of six verses which show the rapture is on the last day. See my study on "When is the Rapture?"

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Thousand year reign of Christ - Revelation 20:1-8 used to justify

(Rev 20:4 KJV) And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

Notice the wording here, it talks about seeing the "SOULS" not the physical bodies on physical thrones in Jerusalem. The thousand year reign is supposed to be a physical reign, right? See my study on the Millennium.

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The Physical Invasion of Israel by Russia - Ezekiel 38:2 is used to justify

(Ezek 38:2 KJV) Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,

This is an absolute butchering of Scripture. The words "chief prince" in this verse is the Hebrew word "Rosh" and guess how the prophecy moguls interpret it? You got it, Russia! The word "rosh" means "head or chief, whether in place, rank or time, or an individual head." What, tell me what does that have to do with Russia and how do you get Russia out of a word that simply means "Chief?" The word is used 97 times in the Old Testament. All translated with a meaning of "chief or head." So why does Ezekiel 38:2 mean Russia and the other 96 something different?

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Well I think you are getting my point that prophecy has gone out of control and the underlying factors for it is greed and fame. Let me give you my assessment of false prophecy teachers:

1. Liars - They consistently misinterpret the Bible to make their case. If someone disseminates false information on a consistent basis, I deem this an act of lying.

2. Cheaters - When you buy one of their books, you could have used that money for something necessary or worthwhile.

3. Sensationalists - Always inventing new ways to captivate their ignorant disciples.

4. Sinful approach to Scripture - The Bible says we are to compare Scripture with Scripture not newspapers and other worldly publications.

5. Prideful - When their prophecies do not come to pass, they never retract their statements instead they write another million best seller like the false prophet Hal Lindsey et al.

6. Deceivers - They cause people to look outside the Scriptures for understanding of Scriptures. This is deceptive hermeneutics and causes people to misinterpret the Word of God and are left with the wrong understanding which eventually they will defend.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

Prophecy preachers are one of the most dangerous elements in Christianity because they are consistently wrong yet are the most admired and sought after. These specialists go from church to church peddling their political assumptions and call it biblical prophecy. I am not saying that groups like the Trilateral Commission or Council on Foreign Relations do not exist nor do I deny the existence of Black Helicopters over the USA. I have seen them fly over my area but as for the sake of the gospel, they have nothing whatsoever to do with it. If we are to understand prophecy, it must be understood by means of interpreting Scripture with Scripture. That is God's method! When I tossed all my prophecy books and stopped reading that trash, my understanding of Scripture began to elevate and the Holy Spirit now had a clear mind to teach. That is what you need to do.

Probably the worst thing that it does is it turns Christians into paranoid androids in that everything that happens in life is now linked to some prophecy book. How do I know this? In 1981 I received a credit card statement from a bank and the statement number had 666 on it. I showed it to everybody and even sent a copy to the Southwest Radio Church. The next statement didn't have it on there so I guess they got off the Antichrist system. That was nothing more than paranoia on my part. As Christians we need to be people of the Book not people of the prophecy books. Lord, save us from prophecy preachers.

 

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