Is God’s Prophetic Voice Named Harvey?

Justin Johnson

Astronomers calculated the two minute window of the total solar eclipse years before it happened. Meteorologists saw Hurricane Harvey coming miles away with the use of modern technology to read the weather patterns.

God has given us a literal book to read what he is doing, and yet this generation can’t seem to get it right no matter how many smartphone apps it has.

Knowing Jesus was a minister to the circumcision, I can’t help but remember what he said about another religious generation:

“O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign…” – Matthew 16:3

The Messiah was in their midst and they were asking for signs. That was a sign of their ignorance and unbelief.

Likewise, God’s grace and peace has been revealed for two thousand years, and our generation is looking for signs of God’s judgment or love in natural circumstances.

Below is an example. You make the call about what sort of generation we live in.

A Recent Example

Is the total eclipse a sign from God? Is God speaking to us through hurricanes? These should be easy questions to answer for the Bible believing dispensationalist: God wrote a book. Read and rightly divide it.

They are not so easy for Dr. Michael Brown, nationally syndicated charismatic Christian broadcaster and a member of President Trump’s evangelical advisory board.

In a recent article of admonition, Dr. Brown warns those who say God is speaking to us through circumstances to be careful to get more evidence first. The problem: he does not point them to the Bible, and so undermines God’s message for the church today.

Dr. Brown does not think Houston deserves judgment because of their good works.

“Houston is one of the few cities that has stood bravely against the rising tide of LGBT activism. Why would God single out Houston for judgment?”

Dr. Brown says the tornadoes in Minneapolis in 2009 are an example of disasters that fit the bill for evidence of God’s judgment. Those tornadoes were God’s judgment on the Lutherans because of their bad works. Dr. John Piper explained. (This site has spoken before about Dr. Piper’s failure to discern the times.)

Does the evangelical advisor to the president have a clear answer as to whether the recent eclipse and hurricane are God trying to tell us something? Not exactly. In fact, he leaves it open for possibility.

“I’m not saying that the solar eclipse was not a divine warning sign. I’m simply saying that we need a lot more evidence.”

This sounds like the politicians have taught him more about doublespeak than he can teach them about the voice of God.

Charismatic Evidences of God’s Voice

What kind of evidence is striking to Dr. Brown? (If you are waiting for a Bible verse, don’t hold your breathe.)

Striking evidence, according to Dr. Brown: the next time a total solar eclipse will hit America, its path will make an X on America when overlaid with the path of this year’s eclipse. (Insert face-palm meme.)

Apparently, God can’t write words any more (Dan 5:25). He only makes his X on the country he targets, and that over a span of 7 years with something as fleeting as a moon shadow.

More evidence: an Orthodox rabbi reports that the Talmud says solar eclipses are signs of judgment.

An Orthodox who? I know a verse about rabbis that could tell the face of the sky and not the signs of the times… did I already mention that (Matt 16:13)? Then, here is a bonus verse about teachings like those found in the Talmud: Mark 7:7.

Tell us plainly! Are we getting signs? Could it be that God was speaking to us through this eclipse? Dr. Brown’s answer: “Perhaps”.

He continues with a word of caution that seems out of place in a discussion fraught with tinges of consulting the bones.

“We need to tread carefully here, since it’s just as wrong to speak for God when He’s not speaking as it is to miss His voice when He does speak.”

Amen! Let’s leave the realm of astronomical circumstance and unbelieving rabbis and crack open the Bible and see how God speaks, to whom, and at what time. We call that dispensational Bible study, but it doesn’t look like that will be possible. He continues:

“When it comes to the eclipse, those who witnessed it around the country had a sense of awe and wonder, not a sense of dread and fear. And, for the most part, those who believe God created the universe sensed the majesty of the Creator in the eclipse more than a sign of impending judgment.”

According to Brown, the criteria for identifying God speaking to us is what people around the country “sense”. This is nonsense.

“Are you 100 percent sure that the eclipse and hurricane are acts of divine judgment? On the other hand, are you 100 percent sure that they are not acts of judgment?”

Seems like Dr. Brown is facing a doctrinal whirlwind of his own.

No wonder Christians get knocked over by every wind of tragedy when their leadership is sitting on the fence about whether God is speaking to them through natural tragedies and circumstance or not.

Our certainty about what God is doing does not come from our evaluation of trivial circumstantial evidences, but from the word of God rightly divided.

Is God Speaking to us Through Harvey?

Was God speaking to us through the storms and eclipse of the past month? The Biblical answer is “no”. Were they God’s judgment upon a sinful nation? The Biblical answer is again, “no”.

How am I so sure? You don’t need a prophet named Harvey if you have a Bible that has been perfectly preserved.

We live in what is called the dispensation of God’s grace, where God explicitly states he is offering salvation to all and desires all to be saved (Titus 2:13; 1 Tim 2:4).

If he is offering grace and peace to a world of sinners, then why would he kill and destroy them in judgment at the same time? Wouldn’t those messages conflict?

God is offering salvation to the world through the finished work of Christ by grace through faith (not our works, our political history, nor national heritage).

If God were to intervene with judgment through eclipses and hurricanes, it would undermine his message of grace and peace for salvation through Christ.

Did you hear that? If it is possible for God to speak to us about judgment of our works through the circumstances today, then it is impossible to preach the gospel of the grace of God!

If you hold to one, you must reject the other.

The Right Response

Natural disasters are tragedies, and they need the response of compassion, care, and good works, but Christians need to be clear that God is not speaking to us in these disasters.

He speaks to us through the Bible with the gospel of grace, peace, and faith in Christ for the strength to get through these afflictions.

If you are his grace ambassador, then don’t minister doubt and confusion about what God is saying. Tell people God is not speaking to us through Harvey, but through the cross of Christ where we can find grace, peace, comfort, and hope (Rom 5:1; 2 Cor 1:3-6).

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Published: September 2, 2017
Last Modified: September 27, 2019
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