Nixon will not be disgraced by the Watergate scandal. Howard Hughes will become involved in medical and psychological works. The Soviet Union will beat the United States to the moon. World War III will come in 1958. A cure for cancer will come in 1967. A holocaust will come in the 1980s. Rome will rise after the 1980s holocaust and become the foremost center of world culture, learning, and religion.
What do all these statements have in common? They were all predictions made by famed psychic, Jeane Dixon. The tabloids spattered her face and yearly predictions all over their front covers. People flocked to buy them, apparently failing to recall her lack of accuracy from the year before. Beyond having the same psychic in common, all the aforementioned predictions were also all false predictions.
Even though most church leaders and members don’t make predictions this intense, I have heard similar predictions, all made for different years, similar to these. Jeane Dixon knew making big, flashy predictions would get attention and get people talking, whether or not she was correct. People in the church today know the same thing: if they make big promises, people will show up. Predictions in today’s church are commonplace. “God’s going to do a great thing!” Nobody ever predicts divine judgment, which is funny, because if they believe in the last days, that’s what they should be predicting. Today’s church predictions are nothing more than an attempt to lure people in to watch the sideshow of non-specific, often incorrect words spoken about the year to come. “Come one, come all, watch what’s going to happen at the greatest show of all!” It doesn’t seem to be enough anymore for God to just be God, whether He’s silent for a time, whether He shows up subtlety, in a way that demands we are quiet and focus, or whether He shows up in a big way that is noted by all.
Don’t get me wrong – I do believe God does reveal purposes, times, seasons, and coming events to people prophetically. I fully believe in the gift of prophecy. I have read certain things online that people have spoken in recent days that I do believe were received from the Lord. I don’t, however, think God does things by prediction, and I don’t think God’s powers lie subject to our decisions about what this year or that year will bring. Somewhere in the church, we’ve forgotten there is a difference between predictions and prophecy. I believe in prophecy. What I do not believe in is prediction bearing.
Before I get thirty posts on how “negative” this message is and how this or that one doesn’t “receive” it (Apostle Dr. Lee Ann rolls her eyes), let me say this: all those so-called encouraging and positive messages aren’t getting anyone anywhere. We just keep running in aimless circles, missing God because we fail to hear God’s call, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. I can’t turn my head and pretend leaders aren’t misleading their followers, so-called prophets are acting more like psychics, the general church body is selfish and self-interested, and that all those nice, encouraging, vague prophetic words aren’t coming true. To me, it’s a negative thing to rally people behind a false word so you can dig deep into their pockets or keep your membership attendance high. I think it’s a negative thing to keep the church from maturing.
I keep having people tell me 2011 is the “year of new beginnings.” Let me break down what that means to all my readers: we’ll hear the term “new beginnings” a lot. People who are supposedly prophets will come into church and tell the church and the leaders that it’s a “new beginning” for them, that God is going to open “new” doors and usher in a “new” era. “New beginnings” will be spoken over people. They will be told they will get “new stuff.” We’ll hear the words “new” and “beginnings” a lot. Because that’s what’s been assigned through divination for the upcoming year, everyone wants to know what I am doing that’s “new” or to prepare for a “new beginning.” I tell people I don’t believe that just because a year ends in a “1” that that signifies a new beginning for me. God’s Word tells me that God’s mercies are new everyday – therefore every day is a “new beginning in God.” Funny how people said the same thing to me in 2001, and probably would have told me the same thing in 1991, had I been a Christian all those years ago. Every year for the past eleven, almost twelve years, I have noted a trend in yearly predictions pertaining to the corresponding number each year ended with. A year that ends in a 1 means new beginnings, a year that ends in a 9 indicates order and the end of a cycle, and so on. What many Christians don’t realize as they get caught up in the excitement and hype of these predictions is that these predictions are based on numerology. While there are different schools of numerology with different purposes and symbolisms, numerology seeks to divine or foretell the future or a personality based on a numbering system, assigning different meanings and characteristics to numbers. Numerology was an ancient belief practice and, in many ways, does have certain relevance when trying to interpret prophecy. For example, we understand the meaning of 666 based on ancient understandings of numerical significance. The use of numerology to foretell what God was going to do in a year, however, has no Biblical basis and stands as a form of divining or fortune-telling. To begin with, the current calendar we use today had no relevance in Biblical times and is not, in reality, a record of God’s doing or yearly order. To limit God’s power by the last digit of a year, and especially, our current yearly dating system, is, quite honestly, a blasphemy.
My own personal head-shaking moment, however, comes as this current numerological system employed by Christians is incorrectly applied. It’s not even real numerology. Numerological predictions and calculations are figured by a singular number figured by adding all the digits of a system together, not assessing the last digit of a number. For the year 2011, the calculation would be made 2+0+1+1, therefore adding up to 4, not 1. In numerology, that would make 2011 a teaching year according to numerology – so the church people of today can’t even get their divination right. What a sorry state.
No matter what year it has been since I first became a Christian, the majority of the church and church services flow on in the same cycle they have since 1999. Different doctrinal trends have come and gone, we’ve gone through almost twelve years of numerological cycles and people in the church remain as immature, selfish, and self-centered as ever. The only priority of the majority of churchgoers is getting what they want, seeking things through the Kingdom of God, expecting cars, money, houses, a bigger ministry, a job promotion, a husband, a physical healing, a wife, a baby…and expecting God to bring it all unto them, their way right away, this second, this minute, right now.
Then we have the reality of leadership today. No matter what year it may be, nothing removes my grave concerns and disappointment with the church. I am so angered by leaders who control and dominate, and then we stretch to the extreme of leaders who just don’t care and let people do whatever they want. Then there is the allure of money – leaders who turn their heads because of the flash of money or the concern of its disappearance. There are no standards as too many leaders run around randomly picking titles and ministry terminology to assign to themselves, when they, in actuality, have no idea what an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, or teacher is, does, or should be. Despite a continual springing up of online programs, church schools, and other ministerial appointments that supposedly train people for ministry, the vast majority of today’s leaders show no aptitude or ability for ministry in their own locale – let alone ever showing the possibility of holding mega-ministry capability. Despite this fact, the majority of people I meet believe they are on the “fast track” to fame and fortune through the Kingdom.
And, of course, what would this post be without a commentary on the spirit of manipulation running rampant in leaders? I am so tired of people trying to manipulate and conform me to their image. Let’s get something straight: leader of manipulation, whoever you may be, you didn’t call me. You don’t get to fix my future. I am not particularly moved by your opinions of me, nor am I amused by the line of questioning by which you try to measure me to your standards of an apostle, and I am not including you in my conferences, I am not recommending you to my publisher because you want to write an imaginary book at some point in the future, and I am not changing what I am doing because God has told me to do it. If you never talk to me again, you won’t be the first and I am sure you won’t be the last. What I do will go on.
I used to be a nice apostle. There was a time when I might have had these musings, but I never would have dared to post them where others could read it. Once upon a time, I was so pristine when I preached. You could take my picture before or after and I looked just as nice. Now don’t come near me with a camera after I preach a message if you want to keep your camera. I used to love to speak over people’s lives. Now it is a responsibility I take with grave severity and do not speak anything without the appointment of God. I used to love to get involved in prophetic words and longed to receive them. Now I accept no word except from leaders who the Lord reveals are where they should be in Him. I hate it when people who I have never spoken to randomly pick me out to give a word, like I can’t figure out they are hoping I will “discover them.” I used to love church; now the majority of services make me want to throw up. I don’t even want to participate in them anymore because the Spirit isn’t present there. I don’t care if everyone else in the room jumps up and down and thinks how awesome the service is – I know if God is not there. While I venture that statement may keep people from inviting me to preach at their churches or events, I’ll take the risk for the sake of truth. I am so sick of leaders predicting husbands, money, lottery windfalls, cars, healings that never happen, and general, nonspecific words that don’t mean much and are so vague, they can be applied in multiple ways – and yet they still don’t happen.
I think what happens to the church in 2011 largely depends upon the church. Too many of us want to figure out just how much of hell they can embrace and still get into heaven. We have made eternal life all about the end of the road, what happens after death, and forget that eternal life is just as much about right now as it is about after we die. We want God to make us grand and glorious promises, but we don’t want to have to be inheritors of that promise. If we want to see a new day in the church, we need to stop divining and playing games with numbers. We need to stop letting what number a year ends with determine what we seek and do in the church. We need to want more of God than mere games and we need to want more from our leaders than empty words and emotional promises. We need to want substance, not seeking the elementary things of God (which does, in one form or another, seem to be all we hear about) and truly seek a deeper understanding of God’s Word and the spiritual life. Being a Christian isn’t about being promised everything we want; it’s about standing and believing in God, walking in faith, and trusting Him even when we don’t get what we want. We can’t live as word junkies, walking between each predictive fix, living dependent and draining our resources on people who just say what we want to hear. The main message we don’t hear in today’s church is this: God rewards those who hold fast. The rewards may not always be material, but are just as much of a blessing as if they were. And standing fast, as we grow and transform in Him truly is a blessing in and of itself as we watch former issues be of no consequence any further. It’s a blessing to be able to stand up for something beyond ourselves and know we are participants in eternity. That is something no yearly assignment or prediction can ever give us.
I am the first one to testify it isn’t always easy walking day in and day out with various issues. Standing in the meantime between where God will take us and where we are isn’t always a really fun process. Whether the issues come through our intimate or familial relationships, through physical illness or pain, through the haunts of past hurts or memories, through the frustration of longing or unfulfilled promises, through the waiting periods of our lives, or through the times when God is silent, it can be a “dark night of the soul,” as John of the Cross called it. I believe that the church needs more of this period of time: a period of silence, of waiting and watching, of vigil, to await the coming of the Lord and His Spirit in their lives. We are so used to emotionalism, we assume that is how God’s Spirit comes and mistake that emotionalism for the Spirit’s presence. We need to learn, to be taught, to delve into the Word, and to delve deeper in God, through prayer and discipline, both silence and joy, and quiet as well as enthusiasm. If we went in this direction, I believe the church would mature to a point where we stopped seeking constant gimmicks and started seeking God.
I see shades of change. I am blessed to know people who are truly in step with God and what He is doing, seeking Him in a powerful way. I truly long to see more of that change in the church and the maturing of His saints in 2011. It is my very heart to see people aflame with God’s love and truth, and want to do His will, no matter what the cost is, without whining or complaining the whole way. It is my prayer that good leaders will not remain silent; that good Christians will stand up, instead of sitting back; that those under errant leaders will leave such leadership; and that God will bless His people with His Spirit in these days and all the signs that follow.
Until God tells me otherwise, I am going to continue on the path He has revealed to me. I will keep seeking God and keep following His Word, wherever that takes me. Now it’s time to reveal God’s plan to the church, because we still don’t have it as it is lost in emotionalisms and nonsense. That’s my plan for 2011. Where the church goes, is another matter entirely – but I’ll wait with vigilance to see what God reveals to each one of us who is waiting for Him.
(C) 2010 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.