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Archive for March 27th, 2012

Back in July 2011, I wrote a post here on Veritas Domain on a “prophecy” that Asian preacher and prophet Jaeson Ma wrote back in 2006 ,that has been receiving a lot of attention and comments.  Most of the comments on that page has been offering up defenses for Jaeson Ma, and some of these objections are frequently brought up again and again.  The most recent one was by a brother in Christ name Kells, and I thought his concern was typical of the comments I have been getting and for the purpose of this post I  reproduce it in full here:

Doesn’t the Bible (in the NEW testament) also say you will know a false prophet by his fruit (Matthew 7:15-23)? I think Jaeson Ma genuinely believed he received a dire message from God. Perhaps he simply misinterpreted- it happens. If this is a singular, isolated occurrence, I don’t think it’s fair to put that label on him. One mistake versus years of work in the ministry, leading countless people to peace, fulfillment, and happiness in the salvation of Jesus Christ? Do you really think in GOD’S eyes he is a false prophet for this? A false prophet is a liar and a deceiver. Would you agree he is these things too? You are certainly allowed your opinion and I don’t know the guy but to jump to such a conclusion sets an unhealthy precedent for less mature believers and sets the unattainable standard that Christians must always be right about everything or they are “false prophets.” Furthermore, isn’t the whole point of this type of “prophecy” to get the people in that community to repent of their sins so that the proclaimed judgment could be avoided? Jonah proclaimed judgment on Nineveh. A judgment that never came to pass (because the people REPENTED). By your standard, that makes him a false prophet. Nobody can make anything happen, all we can do is try to be obedient to God to the best of our ability. You almost sound angry that it DIDN’T happen. For whatever reason, Jaeson was wrong (unless it’s yet to happen) and I for one am glad he was!

Now what follows is not a personal attack Kells, but rather I wish to address the issues that he has brought up and my concern for them that they are unbiblical in nature or even self-refuting, etc.  I thought I make this post as an easy way to offer a link for the frequently brought up objections defending Ma, so that I don’t have to keep on writing them again and again, using Kells’ comment in particular.

I hope that people will read this with consideration of the Word of God and not just subjective feelings masked under the guise, “The Spirit tells me otherwise…”  I think the general attitude of some who goes by their feelings and confusing that with the Word of the Lord is what has gotten Jaeson Ma in trouble in the first place!  As Christians, we are to tests things with the Bible as the Word of God and go by the what the Scriptures say rather than a preacher or someone who claims to be a prophet.  To be honest I am somewhat sadden the extent people will go in defending the reputation of a man rather than the reputation of God who have been suggested by Ma as saying something when He did not.

I do hope that supporters of Jaeson Ma read what I have to say in a better light rather than question my motive and say that I am mean spirited, that I wish for Ma to fail or something like that.

Objection #1: Jaeson Ma is not a  false prophet in light of Matthew 7:15-23.

Stated:Doesn’t the Bible (in the NEW testament) also say you will know a false prophet by his fruit (Matthew 7:15-23)? “

Response: The Bible in Matthew 7:15-23 does talk about a false prophet being known by their fruit.  For context, I think it’s appropriate to quote Matthew 7:15-23 in it’s entirety:

    15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will [a]know them by their fruits. [b]Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will [c]know them by their fruits.

   21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [d]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Note that this passage also makes it clear that false prophets might not be as obvious as some people think, for some are even pretending to be a believer of God (“sheep”) when really they are not, per Matthew 7:15.

Readers must also realize that Matthew 7 is not the only place God’s Word talks about false prophet; we must consider other passages as well.  How do we distinguish between false and true prophets?  What are the “fruits” that one can identify so as to know whether or not someone is a false prophet?  I think Deuteronomy 18:21-22 addresses the epistemological concern more directly with the first question of how we will know a prophet has spoken the Word of the LORD:

You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’  When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the things does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken.  The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.” (Deuteronomy 18:21-22)

Thus, one of the fruits of a false prophet is this: If a prophet makes a prophecy that did not come about, Deuteronomy 18:21-22 makes it clear that such a person is not speaking on behalf of the Lord.

Objection #2: Jaeson Ma “only just” misinterpreted his prophecy from God.

Stated:I think Jaeson Ma genuinely believed he received a dire message from God. Perhaps he simply misinterpreted- it happens.”

Response: First off, concerning the first sentence, just because someone thinks they received a message from God does not mean it’s really a message from God.  Secondly, even if we were to grant that Jaeson Ma genuinely believed he received a prophecy from the Lord, he could also be genuinely mistaken since unfortunately sincerity is not the standard for truth.  Thirdly, a biblical perspective concerning God’s true prophets (as opposed to someone who claims to speak on behalf of God but isn’t) is that a true prophet will not misinterpret his own prophecy; to say that misinterpretation of true prophecy from God by true prophets of God is to bend the meaning of “true” in true prophets, and what is “false” about false prophets.  In addition, to say that a true prophet of God can misinterpret the true prophecy God has given Him is impossible, and is slanderous against the Holy Spirit, since a true prophet will have a true and accurate interpretation of the prophetic materials he has recieved since the Holy Spirit will ensure this to be the case as 2 Peter 1:20-21 demonstrates:

20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

Note what has been stated above.  I wonder if Christians would accept this kind of argument, that a false prediction “is not really false but just mistaken” if someone like Harold Camping (who predicted May 21st 2011 was the end of the world) would have said it, etc.  The practice of saying a prophet of God can make a mistake in interpreting it’s meaning does not have any biblical support.

Objection #3: Jaeson Ma only made one false prophecy, therefore it’s not fair to call him a false prophet.

Stated:If this is a singular, isolated occurrence, I don’t think it’s fair to put that label on him.”

Response: Even if Jaeson Ma made one false prophecy, I think it does qualify him as a false prophet, just as someone is a murderer even if that person only murder one, or a rapist if he raped one person, etc.  If one were to say that making one false prophecy is not in the same heinous bad category as rape and murder where one is warranted being labeled as a doer of those things even if it happened once, I think that individual needs to revisit the Word of God and see how seriously the LORD takes the sin of falsely presuming the LORD has spoken when HE has not, for such an offense at one point in redemptive history even carry the weight of capital punishment.  I think the greater issue should not be that I “put a label” on Jaeson Ma as a false prophet, but whether or not Jaeson Ma’s prophecy really is from the Lord, and if it’s not then…the one issuing those words is not a true prophet of God, but a false one.

Moreover, I think if one were to do a search here on this blog on Veritas Domain, one would realize that it’s not true that Jaeson Ma and his friends have just made one prophecy…he and those whom he associate with seem to have a habit of being interested in “prophecies” that does not come from Scripture, “prophecies” that are either downright false or highly questionable as coming from the LORD.

Objection #4: Jaeson Ma is not a  false prophet in light of Matthew 7:15-23 PART II.

Stated:Doesn’t the Bible (in the NEW testament) also say you will know a false prophet by his fruit (Matthew 7:15-23)? …One mistake versus years of work in the ministry, leading countless people to peace, fulfillment, and happiness in the salvation of Jesus Christ? Do you really think in GOD’S eyes he is a false prophet for this?  A false prophet is a liar and a deceiver. Would you agree he is these things too?”

Response: Again, let’s look at Matthew 7:15-23 in it’s entirety:

15 “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will [a]know them by their fruits. [b]Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? 17 So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 So then, you will [c]know them by their fruits.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [d]miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Kells here admits that Jaeson Ma has made a “mistake,” but I think that when the LORD speaks it is clear and there is no doubt about it, which is the precedence taught in Scripture.  One must ask the awkward question then of how would anyone mistaken the Lord speaking something when He did not, especially when it was not from Scripture.  That is quite an arrogant and a lying thing to do, to claim that God is saying something to you when He did not.  So I do not have a problem with calling Jaeson Ma a liar when it comes to his prophecy (of course,  Jaeson Ma can and  has told things that are true outside the realm of prophecy).  Our brother Kells asks the rhetorical question that Jaeson Ma cannot be a false prophet, since  how can one mistake go against Jaeson Ma’s“years of work in the ministry, leading countless people to peace, fulfillment, and happiness in the salvation of Jesus Christ?”  And the scary thing is that Matthew 7 directly tells us that false prophets can do those things that Jaeson Ma does.  Look at verse 22: “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many [d]miracles?”  And the most frightening passage in all of Scripture follows in verse 23.  The implication from Matthew 7 turns out not to be a defense for Jaeson, but one that should make us truly frightened for any one who claims to do great miraculous things for God and speak presumptuously as a false prophet; Matthew 7 should make us concern of whether or not one who makes false prophecy about the LORD is self-deceiving themselves in regards to whether or not they truly are believers.

Objection #5: Exposing Jaeson Ma sets unhealthy precedence for less mature believers.

Stated:You are certainly allowed your opinion and I don’t know the guy but to jump to such a conclusion sets an unhealthy precedent for less mature believers and sets the unattainable standard that Christians must always be right about everything or they are “false prophets.”

Response: First off, I think there’s a caricature that I believe “Christians must always be right about everything or they are “false prophets.”  Nowhere did I ever suggests that if a Christian errs on something, they are then false prophets!  Rather, a person is a false prophet only if they claim to speak for the Lord something outside of the Bible and it’s not from the Lord, and it does not come to pass.  Also, nowhere did I  claim that Christians per se must be always right about everything.  However, that does not mean people claiming prophecies are then off the hook.  I hope it’s evident from the Scriptures cited earlier that Bible demands that those who make prophetic utterances to be 100 percent accurate, and that’s what I’m concern with in my original post.  I do not think I am jumping to conclusion prematurely about Jaeson Ma’s prediction, for even Kells agree with me that Ma is in error.

Secondly, I also think this objection also suffer from the additional problem that while Christian can and do err, that does not mean it’s wrong to point out error.  That is, it’s not altogether wrong either for Christians to point them out to one another.  Even the Apostle Paul dared to point out the hypocritical behavior that does not match up to the preaching of the Apostle Peter, as readers of Galatians 2:11-21 will recall.  And Peter was an Apostle, how much less will the rest of us claim a status of being immune from criticism!  Lest someone misapply Galatians 2:11-21 to defend that a prophet can err in their prophecies, Galatians 2:11 was about the Apostle Peter’s hypocritical action, not his utterances of the Word of God since it’s more about Peter not living up to what He knows and revelation of the Lord to him such as recorded in Acts 10.

Thirdly, in regards to the issue that what have been written exposing Jaeson might set an unhealthy precedence for less mature believers, I think the greatest threat with the whole discussion about Jaeson Ma is not the practice of Christian discernment and the exposure of error (for the epistles in the New Testament does that all the time), but Jaeson Ma’s false prophecy itself, which would stumble young believers when they see that they are not fulfilled and being seeds of doubt of whether or not God’s Word is true.  The true dangerous precedence that’s unhealthy for less mature believers is to think that dreams in today’s world in our current dispensation are prophecies from God.

Objection #6: Jaeson Ma and Jonah’s Prophecy

Stated:Furthermore, isn’t the whole point of this type of “prophecy” to get the people in that community to repent of their sins so that the proclaimed judgment could be avoided? Jonah proclaimed judgment on Nineveh. A judgment that never came to pass (because the people REPENTED). By your standard, that makes him a false prophet. Nobody can make anything happen, all we can do is try to be obedient to God to the best of our ability.

Response:  It does not seem the parallel with Jaeson Ma and Jonah is really that strong.  I agree that the Bible does show that one of the function of prophecies has been to get a community to repent of their sins and avoid judgment, Jonah being a good example of that.  However, to say that my standard would make Jonah a false prophet is not being totally fair.  I would grant that if a people repent, God may choose not to bring the prophecy of judgment to pass, being part of His plan.  However, this is the exact point where the parallel between Jonah and Jaeson Ma is most needed, fails to materialize: For Jonah, Nineveh repents, even up to the level of her leaders, and as a city collectively; when it comes to Jaeson Ma, could we really say that Los Angeles has repented and turn to the LORD corporately and that is the reason why God held back his prophecy from being fulfilled???
Though I mentioned about the discontinuity of the parallel between Jaeson and Jonah, space does not permit us to look at the messages Jaeson preaches in contrast to that of the Prophets’ delivery found in the Bible.

Objection #7: You are angry that a false prophecy did not happen.

Stated:You almost sound angry that it DIDN’T happen. For whatever reason, Jaeson was wrong (unless it’s yet to happen) and I for one am glad he was!

Response: If this is to imply that I’m angry that the Tsunami did not happen, and that I am some how sick and not compassionate because of it, I think this is not a fair representation of what I believe.  Of course I do not wish to see such a tragedy.  I’m not angry that the Tsunami did not come to pass, for my family would suffer too since they are in the area!  But I think that if I sound angry, it’s more of the passion for the Lord’s reputation.  I think that should be everyone’s primary concern as well.  Of course, I am glad that the Tsunami did not occur!  I suppose I do see it as kind of strange that someone would look at Jaeson Ma’s prophecy not being fulfilled with gladness and perhaps this illustration capture why I think so: Say you notice a doctor in the hospital telling everyone they have cancer when they did not, even though he did not come to know that by medical established means.  In one sense, you are relieved all the patients did not have cancer, but you would also be more upset that the doctor engage in such a speculation apart from the medical method, and you cannot even see how and why he would speculate with his dreams as being medical.  In the same way, I’m shocked at Jaeson Ma not going by the Bible as the Word of God, but his own dreams to say that it’s the Word of God when it was not.  I’m sad that people believed him.

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