Prophecy Bullshit comes Alive

Everywhere we turn in today’s world it seems we are beset by self-proclaimed “prophets” trying to make a profit by predicting the future for us. We can read our daily horoscope in the local newspaper, consult a palm reader in our area, read what the ten leading psychics predict will befall whoever, or tune in to radio evangelists proclaiming what the Bible foretells for the future. Most of these prognosticators do well to have a prophetic batting average as high as .200. Looked at another way, these seers are wrong more than 80% of the time!

 

Various cult leaders attempt to unlock bible prophecies using words such as ‘may,’ ‘could,’ or ‘might.’… The truth of the matter is that they dare not be specific about the future because like the rest of us, none of us has a clue as to what will unfold in the future!

In the past, so easily forgotten, we used to read “There is no other church or work on the face of this earth that either understands or dares to proclaim these vital warnings!… This is the very Work of God!… You are now being warned!” (The Plain Truth, Roderick Meredith, Aug. 1957, p. 6.)

This is quite a claim and, in the interest of truth, further investigation is warranted. So let’s look at the track record of these old time prophets of armstrongism.

“Where are God’s true prophets today? … This work has been warning America of definite and tremendous events to come for many years!”
“…on THE WORLD TOMORROW broadcast and in this magazine we have dared to unlock the Bible prophecies and apply them to specific nations and events that are now being affected. Do you grasp the significance of this’?”
– PLAIN TRUTH, August 1957, pages 3, 6, R. C. Meredith

“As nearly as we can calculate from the dates of ancient history, the year 1936 will see the END of the Times of the Gentiles…. We may expect the present worldwide depression, time of trouble and fear of war to CONTINUE until the year 1936! …quickly after that time, we may expect to see the heavenly signs of the sun and moon becoming dark, the stars falling … which shall be followed by the ‘Day of the Lord'”
– PLAIN TRUTH, June-July 1934, page 5, H. W. Armstrong

“Mussolini and the Pope will hatch up an idea between them of setting up a world headquarters at JERUSALEM-and so Mussolini’s armies will enter into Palestine (Daniel 11:41), and eventually will capture just half of the city of Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:2).”
– PLAIN TRUTH, March 1938, page 8, H. W. Armstrong

MUSSOLINI WILL FIGHT CHRIST!”
– PLAIN TRUTH, January 1939, Page 4, H. W. Armstrong

“Once world war is resumed, it must continue on through the Great Tribulation, the heavenly signs, the plagues of the Day of the Lord, and to the Second Coming of Christ, at the last battle, at ARMAGEDDON!…But this you MAY KNOW! This war will be ended by CHRIST’S RETURN! And war MAY start within six weeks! We are just THAT NEAR Christ’s coming!”
– PLAIN TRUTH, August 1939, page 6, H. W. Armstrong

“The Italians will capture both Palestine and Egypt.”
– PLAIN TRUTH, August-September 1940. H. W. Armstrong

“Turkey will cause British defeat. But God will rescue and restore the British and cause Turkey utterly to be wiped out.”
– PLAIN TRUTH, May-June 1941, page 6, H. W. Armstrong

“PLAIN TRUTH readers know world events, before they occur!…Bible prophecy does indicate that Hitler MUST BE THE VICTOR, in his present Russian invasion!…Hitler will emerge from his Russian campaign stronger than ever, free to turn the entire might of his forces against Britain-and AMERICA!”
– PLAIN TRUTH, September- October 1941, page 7, H. W. Armstrong

“But Hitler (or his successor if there is one), and the False Prophet shall FIGHT against Christ!”
– PLAIN TRUTH, March-April 1943, page 6, H. W. Armstrong

“Yes, it seems that God is allowing us another 19-year cycle to COMPLETE THE CARRYING OUT OF HIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM TO THIS SICK AND DYING WORLD…. There is a tremendous job to be done in the very short period that lies ahead of us.”
– PLAIN TRUTH, June 1953, “Man’s Greatest Battle” by R. C. Meredith


“Mussolini will fight Christ!” (The Plain Truth, Herbert Armstrong, Jan. 1939, p. 4.) 

“But Hitler (or his successor if there is one), and the False Prophet shall fight against Christ!” (The Plain Truth, Herbert Armstrong, March-April 1943, p. 6.)


“Once world war is resumed, it must continue on thru the great Tribulation, the heavenly signs, the plagues of the Day of the Lord, and to the Second Coming of Christ, at the last battle, at Armageddon!… But this you may know! This war will be ended by Christ’s return! And war may start within six weeks! We are just that near Christ’s coming!” (The Plain Truth, Herbert Armstrong, Aug. 1939, p. 6.)

“The Italians will capture both Palestine and Egypt.” (The Plain Truth, Herbert Armstrong, Aug.-Sept. 1940.)

“God has decreed that Joseph-Great Britain and the United States-are to utterly consume and annihilate the Turks from off the earth!” (The Plain Truth, Herbert Armstrong, Nov.-Dec. 1940, p. 7.)

“It is part of God’s prophesied plan that Britain shall be invaded and conquered ….” (The Plain Truth, Herbert Armstrong, Nov.-Dec. 1940.)

“Bible prophecy does indicate that Hitler must be the victor in his present Russian invasion!… Hitler will emerge from this Russian campaign stronger than ever, free to turn the entire might of his forces against Britain-and America!” (The Plain Truth, Herbert Armstrong, Sept.-Oct. 1941, p. 7.)


To God, prophesying falsely is not a light matter. The Bible carries dozens of warnings from God for Christians to watch out for false prophets who “through covetousness” with “feigned words” shall “make merchandise” of them (II Peter 2:3, KJV). (The RSV renders it: “In their greed they will exploit you with false words.”)


So far, as is obvious, Herbert Armstrong struck out every time he came up to bat in the 1930s and early 1940s, but his prophetic batting average for the 30s and 40s was not quite zero as he correctly predicted that Germany would “rise again,” as did other news analysts. But Herbert’s failures in the first 19 years of his ministry didn’t bother Herman Hoeh who, like Herbert, felt that God had changed his mind about sending Christ back to earth in the 1940s, thus giving Herbert’s church more time to warn the world:

“Yes, it seems that God is allowing us another 19-year cycle to complete the carrying of his gospel of the kingdom to this sick and dying world…. There is a tremendous job to be done in the very short period that lies ahead of us.” (The Plain Truth, Herman Hoeh, June 1953, p. 13.)

In the 1950s Roderick Meredith, Herman Hoeh, and Garner Ted Armstrong began to assist Herbert in proclaiming his prophetic witness to the world. Believing the Great Tribulation would start in 1972, instead of around 1936 as Herbert had previously prophesied, they busied themselves with the task of writing new and terrifying doomsday prophecies based on Herbert’s somewhat shaky understanding of Bible prophecy:

“God Almighty has spoken through His (1)servants the prophets that He will punish our people for their sins. He will let our own lust cause such droughts, floods, pestilences and famines that we will be totally consumed and carried away captive to other nations as slaves within twenty years.” (The Plain Truth, Herman Hoeh, Oct. 1955, p. 16.)

“Plagues are coming-and, according to this prophetic warning, in about two years from now! Our cattle have already suffered from the drought. Soon we shall find that the hoof-and-mouth disease will spread out of control! Rabid foxes, squirrels, muskrats will attack our children. For seven long and frightful years, we are going to suffer as never before-until we be left ‘few in number.’…

“This seven years of national trouble takes us-if the dates which appear so definitely indicated by these prophecies are correct-from 1965 to 1972!” (The Plain Truth, Herman Hoeh, April 1956, p. 22.)

“Two years ago, Mr. Herman Hoeh showed in this magazine how God’s word prophesied disease epidemics would strike the United States in two short years! Those epidemics are beginning now! And they will grow much worse! God prophesies that finally, within the next fifteen years, fully one third of our whole population will die of disease and famine!” (The Plain Truth, Garner Ted Armstrong, Dec. 1957, p. 23.)

In 1959, Rod Meredith once again humbly assured Plain Truth readers that his church alone was accurately predicting the future:

“We have been daring, as no other church on earth, to proclaim definite, specific prophetic events to occur-and they have been happening!… For the specific prophesied events which this Church alone proclaims will soon be demonstrated as a physical reality! There will be no reasoning or argument about this. You will see and feel these things happen!” (The Plain Truth, Rod Meredith, June 1959, p. 32.)

(Reminder, the wcg fell apart and failed its so called mission.)

As the years ticked by, Herbert and his followers sensed Christ’s return was nigh, and they redoubled their efforts to shout their prophetic message to the whole world with more power and conviction than ever:

“All of these internal troubles, combined with the rapid rise to power of a frightening huge combine in Europe, are going to spell out great disaster for the United States and Britain in the ’60’s.… It is going to happen! No amount of reasoning, ‘spiritualizing away,’ arguing, doubting, scoffing, or disbelieving is going to change it! Almighty God, in His inviolate Word, thunders from His great throne in the universe that these very prophecies are going to come to pass!” (The Plain Truth, Ted Armstrong, Mar. 1960, p. 10.)

“In Joel 1, in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21 and John 13-in Revelation 6, and in other prophecies, a revolution in the weather-leading to unprecedented famine by around 1970-72 is prophesied. In its wake is prophesied frightful disease epidemics! A third of the people of the U.S. and British Commonwealth nations will die of this scourge.” (The Plain Truth. Herbert Armstrong, Feb. 1962, pp. 5, 7.)

“Bible prophecy indicates that the final attack on the U.S. and Britain by this coming ‘Beast’ power could easily be launched perhaps as early as the spring of 1972-or earlier ….” (The Plain Truth, Rod Meredith, May 1965, p. 45. )

 

“The ‘Day of the Eternal’-a time foretold in more than thirty prophecies-is going to strike between 5 and 10 years from now!… I am not writing foolishly, but very soberly,
on authority of the living Christ!”
(The Plain Truth, Herbert Armstrong, Feb. 1967, p. 47.)

Everything in 1967 seemed to Herbert Armstrong to be on schedule, prophetically speaking, except that God hadn’t allowed him to warn the nation of Israel. Suddenly that opportunity appeared:

“Right now, just prior by not more than five to seven years, to the coming terrible Day of the Lord, the living Christ has moved swiftly to open the all-important door that has been closed since the days of the original apostles!

“...Almighty God has opened to The World Tomorrow [broadcast], exclusively, the gigantic door of superpower radio from Jerusalem!... We have signed with the Hashemite Government of Jordan, a five year binding contract….” (Co-worker letter, Herbert Armstrong, April 17, 1967, pp. 3-4.)

To Herbert this was a sign from God that God was truly working through him and no other church:

“And when this time came, to whom did God open up these precious radio facilities? Not to Roman Catholics… nor the Protestants! Nor the Coptics…. No, He has opened it exclusively, by binding contract with the Government of Jordan, to His Work…. This proves which voice on earth today is God’s own voice…. If you ever had any doubts whatever about where the real Work of God is, you ought to be sure now!” (Ibid., p. 6.)

Just as Herbert was making ready to do his first broadcast over Radio Jerusalem, the Six-Day War broke out and the Israelis captured the radio station, making Herbert’s contract to broadcast on the station worthless. It seemed strange that the living Christ would lead his apostle to sign a contract with the Jordanian government to send his message out from Jerusalem, Jordan, when Christ knew that East Jerusalem would soon fall to the Israelis.

But the WCG leaders were so busy preaching their prophetic message that they never paused to consider whether or not God had just delivered a stunning rebuke to their apostle. Soon afterward Garner Ted Armstrong was proclaiming over the airwaves that a temple would be built in the next few years in Jerusalem and Britain would not join the Common Market. The Plain Truth carried these predictions:

 

“We do not set dates!… Yet in our human zeal and enthusiasm for getting this greatest mission on earth done, we have a few times come close to it or appeared to-and that we deeply regret…if we…appear to set a date, I feel I do not need to apologize!” (Tomorrow’s World, Herbert Armstrong, Feb. 1972, p. 31.)

The WCG’s prophetic blunders ought to generate certain questions in a perceptive mind: How could Herbert Armstrong and his ministers be God’s only true ministers and yet be incorrect in their predictions more often than Jeane Dixon or other famous psychics? Why has almost everything that Herbert and his church have predicted since 1934 been way off base? A Plain Truth writer was inspired to record the answer years ago:

“But who today understands what the prophets foretold? Why, only the ministers today whose word comes to pass!-those who are appointed and guided by God to preach the truth! Those whose utterances do not come to pass have not spoken the prophecies truly. We give you here the record of what we have been proclaiming for the past 2 years-a message which no other voices, to our knowledge, have been proclaiming…. But what we have been warning you about is happening!-precisely as we have stated…. This is how you can know that our work is not of men but of God!” (Dec. 1956, p. 3.)

How could one recognize a false prophet? “You will know them by their fruits,” Christ answers. Continuing the analogy Christ explains, “A good tree is incapable of producing bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit” 

Except the average ACOG member discounts the words of Jesus, and falls away in order to follow after those fallible men, those who continue to practice Herbert W. Armstrong’s heresy’s.


(1) For those who claim Herbie never claimed to be a prophet, why did he allowed this to be published? He was  editor and chief of the Plain Truth magazine.

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