Virginia earthquake: Wilkerson’s prophecy fulfilled?

David Wilkerson’s earthquake prophecy seems to fit well with worldwide events this year, or at least it has offered a convenient grid for some people to fit their interpretations of events into. There has been a major earthquake in Japan, a minor one in England, and earthquake panic in Rome. But despite the Tea Party’s best efforts last month, the prophesied economic meltdown has not yet happened.

The latest candidate for a fulfilment of Wilkerson’s prophecy is of course Tuesday’s earthquake in the “Old Dominion” state of Virginia. This caused damage, but thankfully no known casualties, in Washington DC. In New York, 300 miles away, it was felt strongly enough to cause panic. Meanwhile Hurricane Irene is heading straight for the capital city and the Big Apple, and is expected to hit them at the weekend.

So could this be what Wilkerson prophesied? Well, it certainly fits one of his predictions for the earthquake:

I believe it is going to take place where it is least expected.

But while there have been riots, fires and looting in the UK this month (I have not commented on them before as I am still on vacation), the panic in New York doesn’t seem to have led to looting in Times Square – although who knows what might happen in the aftermath of a hurricane? More seriously, there is no way that this minor quake can be understood as

the biggest most disastrous earthquake in history.

Washington National CathedralIn this week’s quake the most seriously damaged building, it seems, was the Washington National Cathedral, according to Wikipedia “the seat of … the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori” and thus the spiritual centre of the largely apostate Episcopal Church. I use the word “apostate” here not so much concerning its abandonment of the true gospel or its promotion of homosexual practice as in relation to its policy, in direct contravention of apostolic teaching (1 Corinthians 6:1-6), of persecuting orthodox congregations through the secular courts. Now I am not claiming that this damage to the cathedral (minor of course compared to the damage to Christchurch cathedral in New Zealand just six months earlier) was the result of divine judgment. But from an orthodox Christian perspective it certainly seems to be poetic justice.

So as Christians what lessons can we learn from this week’s event? It doesn’t seem to have been the fulfilment of David Wilkerson’s prophecy. But perhaps it can be understood as a reminder and a warning that the USA, and indeed the whole world, has earned God’s judgment, and it is only by his grace that we are spared the total destruction which we deserve:

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

2 Peter 3:9-10 (NIV 2011)

There is nothing in this world which cannot be shaken, even if it is not supposed to be in an earthquake zone, even the centres of world political and economic power. “Dominion” may have become a dirty word in politics, but this quake can teach us that true kingship belongs not to the “Old Dominion” but to God. So let us all take a lesson from the letter to the Hebrews:

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Hebrews 12:25-29 (NIV 2011)

Tea Party fulfils Wilkerson economic meltdown prophecy

David WilkersonIn March I wrote here about some of David Wilkerson’s prophecies, including this one from 2009:

AN EARTH-SHATTERING CALAMITY IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN. IT IS GOING TO BE SO FRIGHTENING, WE ARE ALL GOING TO TREMBLE – EVEN THE GODLIEST AMONG US. …

There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting—including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath. …

In comments on that post I was pointed to another prophetic message by Wilkerson, for which I do not have a date but it seems to be quite recent (but before Wilkerson’s death in April): Here is part of that message:

It’s about to happen—very soon, one nation, and I’m speaking prophetically–if I’ve ever heard anything from God in my life, I heard it … Very soon a European or North African or Eastern nation is going to default on its international loan and when that happens, within two weeks, Mexico is going to default. …

And when the banks open the next day at 9 in the morning, $15 billion an hour is going to be withdrawn from our American banks -they’re going to be running our banks—the Arabs—all the Latin American countries, they’re going to be running our banks–and before the day is over, the USA is going to have to declare a “bank holiday.”

SIX MONTHS OF HORROR:

And we’re going into six months of the worst hell America has ever seen—there’s going to be chaos—not even the National Guard’s going to be able to quiet it down—we’re going to have to call out the whole U.S. Army. …

There’s going to be fear like we’ve never known—judgment at the door. When I was at Macy’s Dept. store in a vision and I watched people walking around stunned, they didn’t know what to do, they didn’t know what was happening; then a bunch of people walked into Macy’s and suddenly went wild and began to steal and within an hour everybody—I saw the spirit of everybody in the store—they were robbing and stealing—they raped Macy’s and destroyed five floors—Macy’s was raped and ruined in a period of an hour or two.

That’s just the beginning. Folks it’s all in this book (the bible) —we’ve been warned and warned and warned—you can’t tell me God hasn’t warned us. …

As I wrote in a comment about this message, much of this looks like an economic prediction rather than a prophecy. Indeed it looks remarkably like the completely non-prophetic message from Will Hutton in today’s issue of UK newspaper The Observer, also published on The Guardian’s website (The Observer is in effect the Sunday edition of The Guardian). Hutton even puts a specific date on his prediction: this Friday, 22nd July:

For months, Republicans have used their new majority in the House of Representatives to block any move to lift the artificial cap on the amount the US government can borrow. If by this Friday they still refuse – insisting on up to $4trillion of spending cuts, excluding defence, and no tax increases as the price of their support – then the US will be unable to service its public debts. The biggest economy on Earth will default.

The results will be catastrophic, argues JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon – a warning repeated by Obama. The US government will have to start to wind down: soldiers’ wages and public pensions alike will be suspended. But in the financial markets there will be mayhem. Interest rates will shoot up and there will be a flight from the dollar. Banks, uncertain about their expected income from their holdings of US Treasury bonds and bills, will call in their loans, creating a second credit crunch. Some may collapse. …

The main difference here is that Hutton names the USA as the first nation to default on its debts. His language is not quite as apocalyptic as Wilkerson’s, but this kind of economic meltdown will surely lead to widespread looting.

Hutton puts the blame for this partly on Rupert Murdoch, currently a convenient whipping boy for rival newspapers, and partly on the intransigence of the right-wing Republicans of the Tea Party, who he describes as follows:

These are politicians who in some respects have more in common with Islamic religious fundamentalists than the Enlightenment tradition which gave birth to western democracy. The Tea Party sees neither virtue nor integrity in any position but their own. … They have been sent by God and their electors to bring down Washington.

Yes, Scott, even in the USA there are people, elected politicians, who reject the Enlightenment tradition. But I wouldn’t disagree if you called this lot “delusional”.

Do some of these Tea Party fundamentalists actually want to provoke the kind of economic meltdown which Wilkerson prophesied and Hutton predicts? Do they think that by doing so they can provoke Jesus into coming again? But if so, have they considered the human cost of this? Have they even realised the effect it would have on their own prized prosperity? Whatever their rhetoric might be, few of them are really ready to live off the land.

Politicians of the USA, if you know what love is, back down from your threats and agree a reasonable budget. And if you don’t know what love is, whichever side of this dispute you may be on, you should drop the claims so many of you make to be Christians.

Thanks to Shoq as retweeted by Joel Watts for the link to Hutton’s article.

English earthquakes caused by “fracking”?

Blackpool TowerOn 1st April I reported here that Blackpool, not far from me in north west England, had been shaken by an earthquake. I made rather more of it than was warranted because of the date, and my suggestion that it might be a fulfilment of Mark Stibbe’s prophecy was intended as an April Fool.

Slightly to my surprise this rather small earthquake is back in the news again today, with a suggestion that it was an act not of God but of human beings. The BBC reports that another small earthquake in almost the same place has led to the suspension of test drilling for shale gas in the area. It turns out that the quakes were happening in the same place as the drilling.

This drilling was a pilot project for what is known as “fracking”:

Shale gas drilling, known as “fracking” involves creating tiny explosions to shatter hard shale rocks and release gas underground.

It has proved a controversial process in the US with environmentalists alleging that shale gas leaking into their drinking supply causes tap water to ignite.

I guess it is hardly surprising that setting off small explosions underground can trigger the larger releases of energy known as earthquakes. Presumably they can also set off unpredictable releases of natural gas, like the ones that are said to have contaminated water supplies in the USA. It would certainly be unfortunate if methane were released and ignited on Blackpool beach. And in the town the results could be disastrous.

Clearly the drilling company didn’t really know what they were doing here. It is good that they have stopped drilling until they get proper geological advice.

Rapture this Saturday? I don’t care!

Not 2012Harold Camping, as reported by Wikipedia, has predicted that

the Rapture … will take place on May 21, 2011 and that the end of the world as we know it will take place five months later on October 21, 2011.

Fuller details are given in a tract from Camping’s fellowship, and elsewhere. I note that this is not so much a prophecy, based on claimed divine revelation, as a prediction, based on Camping’s idiosyncratic study of the Bible. There seem to be quite a few of Camping’s followers who believe him. Not surprisingly, most other Christians, and probably all atheists, don’t.

One version of the prediction involves earthquakes, on a scale way beyond what David Wilkerson and others have prophesied:

An earthquake strong enough to shake the entire planet. … This will be a rolling earthquake that will begin with all the country around the international dateline and follow the sun around the earth on May 21, Each country in the successive date line experiencing the earthquake and the beginning of judgment around 6pm in each time zone.

Will the Rapture take place this Saturday? Possibly. Probably not. But I don’t care. If a few of Camping’s followers are no longer among us, the world will hardly notice the difference. But I might wonder if they have really been raptured, or if they have decided to disappear to avoid recriminations, or perhaps to re-enact the Jonestown suicide plot. As for the earthquakes, I have no reason to think Camping is any better at predicting them than Raffaele Bendandi.

I won’t worry if I am left behind. Indeed that is what I would prefer. I want to be around to continue to actualise the kingdom of God on earth, as Tony Campolo has today described the Christian calling. And if, as Camping predicts,

The inhabitants who survive this terrible earthquake will exist in a world of horror and chaos beyond description

then there will be all the more need for Christians to be around to minister to those who are suffering and looking for God in their distress.

Will the end of the world take place this October? Possibly. Probably not. But I want to be ready and doing God’s work whenever it does happen.

Rome earthquake prophecy causes panic

A Rome earthquake could destroy the city's famous landmarksI have written here about prophesied, or predicted, earthquakes in California, elsewhere in the USA, and in the UK. But this one is new to me: a prophecy of an earthquake in Rome, with a specific date given: 11th May 2011, today! And it has been taken seriously enough that the BBC has reported it, including the following:

special programmes have run on state TV calling for calm. … There are reports of an 18% increase in the number of city employees planning to stay away from work.

I’m not sure whether these planned absences are really enough to justify the word “panic” used in the article. Indeed I’m not sure if this even implies more extra people taking the day off than the 35,759 who have so far viewed my post about the David Wilkerson prophecy. Nevertheless it is interesting that a good number of Italians are taking the prediction seriously. A similar report in the Guardian notes that

Education officials were said to be expecting school attendances to be down by a fifth as parents decide it is better to be on the safe side.

That would certainly involve a lot of children, and parents.

The source of this prophecy is unclear. It is said that the seismologist Raffaele Bendandi, who died in 1979, predicted that 11th May 2011 would be “the day Rome would be totally destroyed” by an earthquake, the end of the so-called Eternal City. But there is no record of him having made any such earthquake prediction. No reputable scientist would be so specific so long in advance. But it seems that Bendandi was a not reputable scientist; Wikipedia, in Italian, calls him “uno pseudoscienziato italiano”, an Italian pseudo-scientist. He did predict earthquakes, with some success, but never many years in advance. The Daily Mail suggests that he made the prediction of an earthquake today as long ago as 1915, when he was 22. But actually this specific prediction seems to have originated only a few months ago.

Although the news media have used the word “prophecy” for this prediction, that doesn’t really seem appropriate. There is no indication that anyone has suggested that it has a divine or other supernatural origin. The claim is rather that someone has predicted an earthquake by scientific or pseudo-scientific methods. It is really more like a weather forecast. And as, from past experience, predicting earthquakes is even more difficult than predicting the weather, if I were in Rome I would not be unduly worried today. But then I might be careful what I did “to be on the safe side”.

Bill Hamon’s California earthquake prophetic word

There has been a lot of interest here in my posts about prophecies of earthquakes in the USA. I reported that David Wilkerson prophesied one probably not in California – now easily my most popular post ever. I embedded a video of Rick Joyner discussing a prophecy by Bob Jones of an earthquake on the west coast, and quoted some similar text by Joyner. Meanwhile, as I reported, Mark Stibbe was prophesying earthquakes here in Britain.

Dr Bill HamonSo it was perhaps no surprise to find today that Dr Bill Hamon has also published a prophecy concerning a California earthquake. Hamon is well known for his prophetic ministry. But it was very interesting to read what Hamon had to say, including his principles of prophecy which start with:

We must understand that all prophecies of judgment or blessing can be postponed, lessened or cancelled even if they were God inspired.

Thus he agrees with me that Christians should not flee from California in response to the earthquake prophecies. Rather,

God wants to bring great spiritual awakening and revival to California.  If the churches and intercessors of California will pray and intercede the big earthquake will not take place in 2011.  The Church in California must get serious with God.

Hamon does predict an earthquake in California, but not as a word from God:

The Science Daily News stated in their paper April 16, 2008.  “California has more than a 99% chance of having a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake within the next 30 years.  The likelihood of a major quake of magnitude 7.5 or greater in the next 30 years is 46% and such a quake is most likely to occur in the southern half of the state.”  Only the prayers of the Saints can prevent it from happening.

So Hamon concludes:

My prophetic admonition to California Christians is for you to take no action based on fear, but only move by divine revelation and faith.  Jesus is your only protection and provision regardless where you are in America or anywhere in the world.  I pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation to rest upon all Christians in California. Amen.

Amen! Also for the same spirit to rest on all Christians anywhere in the world who are in fear because of earthquake prophecies. If these words are genuine they are intended as warnings for the church to take action, not by running away but in prayer. David’s fearful wish in Psalm 55:4-8, for the wings of a dove to fly away to safety, was not right, as he realised later in the psalm:

As for me, I call to God,
and the LORD saves me. …
18 He rescues me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.

Psalm 55:16,18 (NIV 2011)

Similarly God will protect his church in this and every spiritual battle, not by rapturing it or calling it to flee, but by making Jesus its “only protection and provision”.

In memory of David Wilkerson

David WilkersonI was sad to read this morning of the death of David Wilkerson, founder of Times Square Church in New York, although I can also rejoice that he is in a better place. He was killed in a road accident in Texas, aged 79. His wife Gwen was with him and was critically injured. For more details see the articles by Charisma News and CBN. See also the thoughtful post by UK Methodist minister David Faulkner, who writes:

His life and ministry impacted millions. No appeals to his supporters for the money to buy a Lear Jet, just a guy who risked his life in the violent Projects of New York to show the love of Christ to gangs led by the likes of Nicky Cruz.

Wilkerson was best known to the Christian world in general for his 1963 book The Cross and the Switchblade, the story of his work with those New York gangs. He is best known to readers of Gentle Wisdom for my post last month David Wilkerson prophecy: earthquakes in Japan and USA, which has been the most read on this blog nearly every day since it was written, and is already well on its way to being my most read post ever. Perhaps it is a blessing for David that he has been spared seeing the fulfilment of his 2009 prophecy:

There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting—including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath. …

Wilkerson was blogging daily devotions right up to his death, which can be found here and here. Here, from the end of his last devotion with the title When All Means Fail, are his last published words:

Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail—his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.

Amen!

Is the Smith Wigglesworth revival prophecy genuine?

Smith Wigglesworth preachingAt the end of my post yesterday about Smith Wigglesworth delivering people from smoking in the name of Jesus, I mentioned Wigglesworth’s 1947 prophecy of revival in the UK, which I had discussed at more length in a 2007 post. But today a reader of Gentle Wisdom suggested to me that this prophecy might not be genuine. And it turns out that he may well be correct.

Here, for easy reference, is the text of the prophecy, as published by Adrian Warnock:

THE GREAT REVIVAL

“During the next few decades there will be two distinct moves of the Holy Spirit across the Church in Great Britain. The first move will affect every church that is open to receive it and will be characterised by a restoration of the baptism and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The second move of the Holy Spirit will result in people leaving historic churches and planting new churches.

In the duration of each of these moves, the people who are involved will say, ‘This is the great revival.’ But the Lord says, ‘No, neither is this the great revival, but both are steps towards it.’

When the new church phase is on the wane, there will be evidenced in the churches something that has not been seen before: a coming together of those with an emphasis on the Word and those with an emphasis on the Spirit. When the Word and the Spirit come together, there will be the biggest movement of the Holy Spirit that the nation, and indeed, the world, has ever seen. It will mark the beginning of a revival that will eclipse anything that has been witnessed within these shores, even the Wesleyan and the Welsh revivals of former years. The outpouring of God’s Spirit will flow over from the United Kingdom to the mainland of Europe, and from there, will begin a missionary move to the ends of the earth.”

— Smith Wigglesworth, 1947

As I previously posted in a comment, I have found out, at this site among others, that “This prophecy was given at the annual Elim conference in 1947″, so it is said. This was presumably the conference of the Elim Pentecostal Church, but I can’t find anything more about it, including its exact date. The date is important because Wigglesworth died on 12th March 1947, age 87, but he was active until the end and so could have given this prophecy in his final weeks. Indeed an article found in several places on the Internet (this is apparently the earliest version) suggests that he gave it a week before his death, but this needs confirmation.

A few years earlier Wigglesworth had given a somewhat similar but personal prophecy to David du Plessis. But there is no mention of the 1947 prophecy at the Smith Wigglesworth website, and according to an Amazon review by Phil Stanton this word is not included in Smith Wigglesworth: The Complete Collection of His Life Teachings compiled by Roberts Liardon. This evidence indeed casts some doubt on its authenticity.

I must say I wonder if the prophecy is a genuine one from 1947 but not actually given through Wigglesworth. The prophecy has certainly been around for quite a number of years. With the help of Google Books I can trace references to it back to 1999. But personally I can remember hearing about it many years before that, probably in the 1980s.

Does anyone reading this have any more information about the origin of this prophecy or its first publication?

Bob Jones: Flee California! But should Christians run?

A few weeks ago I wrote of how Rick Joyner was reminding the world of a prophecy by Bob Jones, that a major earthquake in Japan would be followed by one on the west coast of the USA. This prophecy has been getting a lot of attention in certain circles – and bringing a lot of traffic to this blog.

On this subject, a Facebook friend sent me a link to a Note by Shawn Bolz: MORE PERSPECTIVE ON EARTHQUAKES AND PROPHECIES ON WEST COAST the words of Bob Jones & Rick Joyner. This link may work only for Facebook members, but more or less the same material appears as a post on Bolz’s blog. According to his endorsement at Rick Joyner’s MorningStar website,

Shawn Bolz has ministered with a catalytic prophetic anointing for over a decade. … He is currently working on television and movie projects and resides in Hollywood, California.

Jan. 17, 1994: the covered body of Los Angeles motorcycle officer Clarence W. Dean lays near his motorcycle which plunged off Highway 14 overpass that collapsed onto Interstate 5 (AP Photo/Doug Pizac)In the Facebook note Bolz writes that

the prophecies about California and the west coast having an Earthquake and nuclear melt down are all the buzz right now … I have never heard Bob [Jones] so adamant about words before,he has actually told people to move away from California and the west coast.

However,

I love Rick Joyner and I adore Bob Jones, but I want to give a different perspective. …

About the Earthquake and Nuclear fallout: God has not been speaking to anyone I know in California about this theme for now. No one IN California or the west coast is getting these words on a level to suggest to people to actually move away.

Actually, according to Joyner, Jones prophesied an economic meltdown, not a nuclear one, but given recent nuclear events in Japan I’m not surprised the two ideas have become confused.

Bolz makes some good points about prophecy and how it works, including:

God always has an army in the hardest places: Those of you who know you are supposed to be here, you are the army of the Kingdom who can help if something terrible does happen.

He wisely concludes:

I am not scared and I don’t feel I need to heed their warnings to move except to pray my guts out but I love them. Everyone has to decide for themselves. Again these are not promises from God they are potentials. We are Christians and we have to exercise power over the storms.

These are important principles. As I argued before, God is not going to take Christians away from difficult times on this earth in a Rapture. In the same way, Christians should not flee from impending disasters, unless specifically and personally told to do so, but should stay put, to pray that God will relent, to take authority over the threat in Jesus’ name, and to be available to help if the worst does happen.

Earthquake shakes England!

Blackpool TowerThe BBC reports that an earthquake hit Blackpool in north west England at 3.30 this morning. So far there are no reports of damage or casualties, but it is still early. The iconic Blackpool Tower is believed to be still standing. But as this is a low lying coastal area we can only hope that there will not also be a tsunami. We are safe 40 miles away in Warrington.

So has Mark Stibbe’s prophecy been fulfilled?

Or is this an April Fool?

Probably neither. I’m sure the BBC report is genuine, and I have added nothing but speculation. But “the 2.2 magnitude tremor” was very slight, and the real reason for no reports of damage is that very likely there wasn’t any. Also Wikipedia lists several earthquakes more powerful than this in the UK each year, including two already this year. So there is no prophetic significance to this morning’s event.