Prophecy and Presidential Politics
If God has decreed that Donald Trump shall be our next President, as some assure us, then two things are immediately obvious: First, that no one needs to vote for Mr. Trump, as God’s will cannot be thwarted; and second, that all the Sturm und Drang about Democrats rigging the election is hypocritical. It is God who has rigged the election, for Trump.
Is this really how God uses prophecy under the New Covenant?
We have a few clues. One prophet is mentioned a couple of times in the book of Acts: “One of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius.” (Acts 11:28, NAS95) And:
As we were staying there for some days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. And coming to us, he took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.’” When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” And since he would not be persuaded, we fell silent, remarking, “The will of the Lord be done!” (Acts 21:10-14, NAS95)
Note a couple of similarities in these two prophecies: They both foretold calamities, and neither was an instruction. Famine was coming – to which the faithful responded by preparing and praying and giving. And Paul would be arrested and martyred if he went to Jerusalem – to which he responded by going to Jerusalem. Now, we can be certain that God gave other, happier messages through prophets. “But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.” (1 Corinthians 14:3) Hey, two out of three ain’t bad. Yet the watermark effect of authentic prophecy is to bring awe and repentance:
But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an ungifted man enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all; the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you. (1 Corinthians 14:24, 25)
But let me get back to my second observation about the prophecies of Agabus, which is that they were not commands to do something. Paul was warned over and over that chains and worse awaited him in Jerusalem, and yet he went. Was he disobedient to the prophecy, disobedient to God? No, because the prophecies were (apparently) meant to steel him for the trials ahead, not to tell him to avoid them.
We can’t say that these are hard-and-fast rules about prophecy, but they should be hints to help us discern the true stuff.
We’ll soon know whether the modern-day Agabuses predicting a Trump victory are God’s prophets or false prophets. But in the meantime their hearers seem uninformed about what prophecy is, and they’re not using very high standards of spiritual discernment.
It is said that Trump will be the 45th President, which corresponds with Isaiah, Chapter 45. Well, that’s interesting. Because, you see, God didn’t divide up His Word into chapters and verses – we did that. And if Isaiah 45 relates to POTUS 45 (which smells of British Israelism, a cult doctrine) then Isaiah 44 must be about Barack Obama, right? Verses 3 and 4 read: “‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring and My blessing on your descendants; and they will spring up among the grass like poplars by streams of water.’” Would anyone in America besides Barack Obama say that those verses describe his term in office?
The Trump prophecy reminds me of the 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will be in 1988.
Finally, we should be wary of all contemporary prophets and prophecies because Jesus and His Apostles warned us about “many” false prophets. A true prophet will speak by the Holy Spirit. That’s the Spirit whom Jesus sent to “convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” (John 16:8b) We also know that the Holy Spirit testifies of Jesus, and that “the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.” (Revelation 19:10b) Any prophecy that lacks that conviction and that testimony should be very suspect indeed.
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