Michael J. Brooks Guest Columnist

Some prophetic messages are fake news

I thought about it lately when I perused a list of political memorabilia for sale by a dealer in our hobby. She offered a beautifully framed edition of “The Chicago Tribune” from Nov. 3. 1948. The infamous headline read, “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

Thomas Dewey, the sitting governor of New York, was dashing and handsome, but his hopes for the presidency were dashed that year.

The newspaper “jumped the gun” in order to publish this exclusive, but later vote tallies found Truman won with 303 electoral votes.

The price for this piece of history was almost $3,500. Though I’d like to mount it on my office wall, I decided to forego purchase!

The accusation of “fake news” isn’t really new. Sometimes the print media gets it wrong, and sometimes the broadcast media gets it wrong. It even happened a few days ago when weathercasters predicted freezing rain. We canceled our midweek services, only to find the weather clear and reasonably warm that evening.

One of the great stories in the Old Testament is about Jeremiah and his competitor, Hananiah. At the time, Judah cowered under threat from the rogue king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, who like Alexander, Napoleon and Hitler, dreamt of world domination.

Hananiah had a patriotic message. He said, in effect, “Don’t be afraid! God is with us. We can defeat Babylon and we’ll be safe.”

In contrast, Jeremiah had a more sobering message. “Submit to Babylon and God will spare us,” he said.

The Lord told Jeremiah to illustrate his message by wearing a wooden yoke around his neck. The yoke paired oxen to a plow, and symbolized submission. But Hananiah took the yoke and broke it in contempt, labeling Jeremiah a false prophet. But God spoke the final word when Hananiah died as a false prophet.

As Dr. Marvin Tate observed, if Hananiah had been correct, we’d be reading the book of Hananiah, not the book of Jeremiah.

The church yet deals with prophetic messages. Some are valid and some aren’t.

I heard an Israeli ambassador on the radio lately who’s writing a book about modern Israel’s first 100 years. It struck me that Israel is almost 76 years old. I’ve heard prophets for years suggest 40 years from Israel’s founding would mark the end of the age. That 40-year mark was 1988, 36 years ago.

The Apostle Paul advised the Corinthians to listen to multiple prophets who would verify the message, not just to one prophet who may be speaking error (1 Corinthians 14: 32).

And in those areas of nonessentials and uncertainty, prophets should make it clear, as Paul did, “I speak my own opinion, not necessarily having a word directly from the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:10)Reflections is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster, Alabama. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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