Friday, September 15, 2023

Monthly Prognosticators

We are in the annual “prophetic” silly season when the “Monthly Prognosticators” in the Church issue their pronouncements about the next Hebrew year and what God will do in it, usually derived from their interpretation of the year number, in this case, 5784. Such predictions are made at the start of every Hebrew year and month since it seems we are constantly entering one new “season” or another when God does something new that, apparently, He did not do in the previous month or year.

Tarot Cards - Photo by Viva Luna Studios on Unsplash
[Photo by Viva Luna Studios on Unsplash]

Are we not commanded to understand and discern the “times and seasons”? Unless we know what God intends in the coming year, month, week, or day we will fail to live in “alignment” with His latest plans. Apparently, the Almighty Creator of all things works on the clock. Or so the logic goes.

But where does the New Testament instruct the Church to divine the future from the Hebrew calendar, letters, or numbers, or from completely natural and predictable lunar cycles? Is there a passage that describes Jesus or Paul gaining spiritual insights from year numbers or month names? Is there any evidence in the Hebrew Bible that the likes of Moses, Samuel, or Elijah used the calendar or the annual feasts of Israel as a tool of divination?

The prophet Isaiah did comment on this very practice, and quite sarcastically so when he pronounced the downfall of Babylon and chided her for relying on the Dark Arts:

  • (Isaiah 47:1-13) - “Down and sit in the dust, O virgin Daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground, throneless Daughter of the Chaldeans; for you will no more be called Tender and Dainty… Take your stand, I pray you, with your spells, and with the throng of your incantations wherein you have wearied yourself from your youth. Peradventure you may be able to profit, peradventure you may strike me with terror. You have worn yourself out with the mass of your consultations. Let them take their stand that they may save you, the dividers of the heavens, the gazers at the stars, the MONTHLY PROGNOSTICATORS, some of the things which shall come upon you.

ANTIBIBILICAL PRACTICES


The clause rendered “monthly prognosticator” in Isaiah more correctly reads, “make known by new moons.” It translates the Hebrew words for “moon” and “know.” It refers to SOOTHSAYERS and mystics who claimed future insights based on the appearance and timing of the new moon at the start of each month.

The Apostle Paul certainly did address questions about calendrical observations when he warned the Galatians that to revert to such things is to return to enslavement under the “elemental spirits” of the present fallen age - “You narrowly observe days and months and seasons and years. I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labor upon you in vain.”

As for the constantly changing prophetic “seasons,” in the same passage, the Apostle declared that God sent His Son in the “fullness of time.” With his death and resurrection, History’s final phase commenced. Ever since all the forms of this age have been “PASSING AWAY.” The “ends of the ages” have come upon the church, the assembly of the saints. This leaves little room for new and greater “seasons” to emerge every month and year.

As for knowing “times and seasons,” when Paul used that phrase in 1 Thessalonians, he stated that he had NO need to write the Thessalonians concerning “times and seasonsBECAUSE they “knew accurately that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.” Its timing was (and is) unknowable, a fact with which his immediate audience understood though, it seems, many contemporary Christians have yet to grasp this basic principle of New Testament eschatology.

When the disciples asked Jesus about the timing of the Kingdom, he cut them short and declared, “It is NOT for you to know TIMES AND SEASONS, which the Father has in His own authority.” No, instead of worrying about prophetic timetables, which is far above their paygrade, his followers must receive the Holy Spirit and then take the Gospel to the four corners of the earth. THAT is their priority and mission.

Not only does this popular practice have no basis in Scripture, it is a form of DIVINATION, an occult practice appropriate for gypsy fortune tellers and any would-be Kabbalist, but not for the disciple of Jesus who, theoretically, is no longer under bondage to the “elementary spirits” of this world (unless he or she resubmits to their overlordship!).

There is nothing prophetic or biblical in divining the future or attempting to gain insights into God’s mysteries and plans from the calendar or solar and lunar cycles. Doing so is a pagan and demonic substitute for the genuine gift of prophecy, and it certainly is no replacement for the study of and reliance on the Scriptures, the written Word of God.