We frequently get emails and letters in response to the Langstaff Letter. One recent letter read: “I’ve been shaken as to how wrong the prophetic has been with regard to this election.” It seems as though many people echo those words. Some are still not able to accept Trump losing the election. Some suffer from the grief of the loss or live in unbelief. In this letter, I will seek to shed some light on why election prophecies did not come to fruition. But first, here are some foundational words about prophets and prophetic ministry that we need to heed when we look at this question.
FOUNDATIONS FOR PROPHECY
- Prophets and Prophecies in the Word. Prophets and prophecy are genuine biblical ministries and need to be respected as such. They were an essential part of the Old Testament, and they were a ministry in the New Testament. Prophets are included in the list of ministries in Ephesians 4:11.
- Prophecies need to be tested. 1 John 4:1 (NKJV) tells us to “test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” How do we test prophecy? Here are a few of the many ways:
- Is the prophecy consistent with scripture? God will not contradict, thru prophecy, what He has already declared in the Word.
- Are we interpreting the prophecy correctly? We can often have a true word and a wrong understanding of what it means.
- Are there conditions to the prophecy? For example, the often-quoted prophecy in 2 Chronicles 7:14 starts with “if my people.” Revival would come if certain conditions were fulfilled.
- What about the prophecy’s timing? This is often the most difficult aspect of prophecy to get right. For example, in 1973, I was at a Presbytery meeting in a Charismatic church. While I was there, I received a prophetic word in which a prophet saw me writing letters, lots of letters. It is only recently that I realized that the word really applied to me writing the Langstaff Letters, which did not start until nearly 50 years after I received the prophetic word.
There are other ways to test prophecy, but this will do for now.
- Don’t expect prophets and prophecies to be perfect. No prophet gets it right all the time. To use a baseball term: they don’t bat 1,000. An error in prophecy does not produce a false prophet any more than someone who makes an error in teaching is a false teacher. No matter what our ministry calling is, we are all on a journey of growing in maturity in our giftings. If one makes a mistake, one should admit it. I once asked a nationally known prophet if he ever missed it. He replied, “When I miss it, I miss it by a million miles.” His willingness to admit he was wrong at times increased my confidence in his ministry, which blessed my life over many years.
- Be wary of prophets who feel they could never be wrong. Recognize that prophecy is “in part.” As it says in 1 Corinthians 13:9 (NKJV), “For we know in part and we prophesy in part.” No one knows it all. One of the prophets who spoke strongly about Trump being re-elected was Jeremiah Johnson. He is to be applauded in that after the election, he wrote a wonderful letter acknowledging his error. It takes a “big” man to do something like that. I have included a link to the letter below.
THE ELECTION PROPHECIES
Many people, including well known national and international leaders in ministry, prophesied or predicted that Trump would win the 2020 election. What does one make of so many of them being wrong? What happened?
I am going to suggest a possibility which some will find difficult to agree with. The key to understanding what happened is to understand that many prophecies are conditional. Prophecies show forth God’s intent and plan for a situation. However, that plan may change based on the way people respond. The idea that God could say something and later do something different is disturbing for some people. Yet, let us realize there are many examples of this in scripture.
Craig Keener is a professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is a Charismatic Christian but is not a Trump supporter. He has written a very fine article entitled “When Political Prophecies Don’t Come to Pass.” I recommend you read it and have included the link below.
In his article, Keener writes, “In contrast to prophecies about God’s long-range purposes, most prophecies in the Bible about his short-range purposes are conditional, whether stated as such or not. Thus Jonah’s “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4) was not fulfilled in Jonah’s generation because Nineveh repented.
Jeremiah explains this process plainly: “If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation, I warned, repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it” (Jer. 18:7-10). Perspectives on how conditional prophecy works vary. My own opinion is that God foreknows human choices or final outcomes, but he also accommodates time-bound people within time” (www.christianitytoday.com).
TRUMP AND THE ELECTION
Now, I believe it was God’s original plan and intent for Trump to have a second term in office. However, things changed, and it was not to be. If the prophecy was conditional, what were the changes? Why might God’s plan have changed?
Trump Himself. Trump has always been a proud man concerning his accomplishments. There is no question that he accomplished much during his four years as president, much more that he is credited for, and much more than any other president before him did. But increasingly, he spouted how good he had been, declaring he was the greatest one-term president since Abraham Lincoln and other statements praising himself. Proverbs 27:2 (NKJV) says, “Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth.” Maybe, Trump did not give sufficient credit to God for his election in 2016, and for all he accomplished during his term. God will not share His glory with another, and I suspect God took His hand off Trump during this election for this and other reasons.
Let me give you a Biblical example of God making a change. Take the case of King Saul. God told Samuel He was sending Saul to be anointed as commander over His people Israel. (1 Samuel 9:16) Later God told Samuel, “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments” (1 Samuel 15:11, also see 1 Samuel 16:1, NKJV). God would tell Samuel He had now chosen David to be commander over His people. So God had a change of plans along the way.
Now this causes problems, especially theological problems. Some people’s response is that God doesn’t know the future (Open Theism). However, I believe that God is omniscient. He knows everything, including the future. I like how Craig Keener puts it concerning conditional prophecy, “God foreknows human choices or final outcomes, but he also accommodates time-bound people within time” (www.christianitytoday.com).
Trump Followers. Ron Cantor, a Messianic leader based in Israel, said he twice heard from God that Biden would win because of the church’s idolization of Trump (messiahsmandate.org). Increasingly throughout the four years of Trump’s presidency, many (not all) people began to exalt him and idolize him, believing that he needed a second term as president for America to survive. Politically speaking, to some, he was the nation’s savior. The Trump rallies were undoubtedly inspirational and rallied the troops. Nonetheless, they were almost the religious equivalent of a rock concert. Trump was their hero, Trump was their hope, and I am not sure God was pleased with that. As Chuck Colson said, “Salvation will not arrive on Air Force One” (breakpoint.org).
I believe that it could be that for these two reasons, God changed His plans, and Trump lost the 2020 election; this could be the reason that I believe God lifted His hand from Trump during this election season.
MY OWN EXPERIENCE
I voted for Trump, and I supported his campaign. In a previous Langstaff Letter, I gave my reasons for supporting him, and I made reference to how on September 29th, 2016, God gave me three words about the 2016 election: First, that Hilliary won the first debate, but Trump would win the election. Second, it may not turn out the way people think it will. Third, it would be a mixed blessing. There would be good things, but there would also be chaos and confusion.
I can dare to say that word came true. Then in 2019, well over 12-18 months before the 2020 election, I felt I received another word, “Trump will win the election in 2020, but he will not complete the four years.”
That word was wrong. It is my belief that things changed, and God’s plan was altered, as conditions, previously mentioned, did not take place.
To Trump Supporters – Don’t lose heart. God may not be finished with Trump, particularly if he humbles himself (See James 4:10). Winston Churchill was seen, by some, as a washed-up politician in the years before World War II. Then, at the right time, he stepped onto the pages of history as Britain’s wartime Prime Minister.
Richard Nixon was defeated by John F. Kennedy in 1960, and it looked like his political future was over, but he came back to win the presidency in 1968. Don’t rule out what God may yet do with Donald Trump. (See also ‘Langstaff Letter:Is There a Future for Trump,’ about Trump and King Nebuchadnezzar).
To all – Don’t despise prophecy. Fifty years ago, when I first came into the Charismatic Renewal and began to lead Charismatic meetings, there was a prophetic man in our midst. He would often come out with a prophecy, always about the same thing. I must confess it irked me. I began to despise prophecy, until one day, at a pastor’s meeting, an Assemblies of God pastor shared a passage out of Thessalonians 5 (NKJV), in which it says, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” The pastor spoke about prophecy being like feeding on chicken. Eat the meat and throw away the bones. Ever since that day, I determined not to despise prophecy. As a result, I have been greatly blessed in receiving prophetic ministry many, many times. It is one of God’s gifts in ministry, so respect and receive when it comes.
I look forward to your responses on this critical topic.
Check out Jeremiah Johnson’s letter here: https://cf.jeremiahjohnson.tv/jjm-apology-01-07-eub
Check out Craig Keener’s article here: https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/november-web-only/political-prophecy-false-bible-scholar-trump-election.html
Alan, I have always appreciated the way you think things through before writing. I first saw that
when you wrote a a piece in Charisma Magazine re: Dave Hunt a few decades ago before we even
moved here from Hawaii. Blessings
Let me start by saying that President Trump did in fact win the election. Evidence of voter fraud is rampant, including at the levels of hundreds of thousands of votes. More than enough to overturn the election. So I believe that your prophecy was accurate in that respect. But is it possible that when you believed God said that Trump would not complete four years, that it was because of this situation? Meaning, Biden wins fraudulently, is inaugurated, and some weeks later is removed from office because the fraud is proven? That would mean that Trump serves less than 4 years in his 2nd term.
I have often thought about whether people were making an idol of Trump. But I think it comes down to the definition of idols. In the Bible, God said, “Do not create an image of anything in Heaven or on earth and worship it” when talking about idols. In my opinion, this is a message for believers. In looking at the rallies and such, I see no evidence that believers viewed Trump as a “Savior”, by the definition as ascribed to Jesus. If a person saves me from drowning, by definition, they are my savior in the moment, but that does not make them my Savior (big S for unto salvation). What I do see are believers thanking God for Trump, which I personally see nothing wrong with. The Bible tells us that the Israelites were thankful for King Cyrus at the time, but that did not mean they made an idol of him. As another example, I can praise my sons when they do good, but that does not mean they take the place of God in my heart. It is when we choose/allow something to replace God in our hearts that we are following idols.
You are correct that Trump is a proud man. But I also saw him giving due credit to God. His pride did not rise to the level of being above God. I did not see his rallies/speeches as “bragging” about himself, so much as an attempt to get the information out there because he was fighting an overtly aggressive system (political, MSM). To this day, there are still people who are unaware of many of the accomplishments of his administration. By the same token, there are many, who after finding out about the Hunter Biden laptop now, that have vocally said they would not have voted for Biden had they known before the election. The point being, they did not know, because the MSM was not doing their job in reporting it.
I fully admit to feeling a little down that things did not work out as I had hoped. However, I also find this to be a time where perhaps we should hold these things in our heart and think about them. We see only a very small bit of the totality of what is going on in this world, and even that is colored by our own perception. I will trust God. I will believe that God has allowed this because His plan is perfect and what He will accomplish for the love He has for us, His people, will be even better than we can hope or dream. I do believe that we are in for a time of chaos. Some people have said that God chose Trump for this time. That is a limited viewpoint, in my opinion. I would rather say that God chose these generations of believers for this time. Remember that many generations of Hebrews did not see salvation from Egypt through Moses. I believe that not only did God choose Moses for that time, but that He also chose that generation for that time. Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, etc. etc. While Moses was central to God’s plan, they all had their parts. I think the same is probably true even now.
Personally, I do not believe this is over. And I have found, both in the Bible, and in life, that it is when we come to the end of ourselves and what we can accomplish (when it seems all hope is lost)… that is when God shows up. And that is when He gets the glory, because it is so obvious that it is God doing it. So, I will continue to watch, and think about what I see, and wait for God to reveal His plan. And when He directs my feet, I will listen and obey.
I greatly appreciate you and the time you have given to me over the years. I am thankful to God for putting you in my life. Blessings to you, Dorothy, and the family.
Yes he did win and the first part of the 4 years will be shortened, time will tell
Amen Phillip..I was prepared to say the same thing about Pastor Alan’s word being correct that he did win and you took the words right out of my mouth and heart. I didn’t quite know what the 2nd part about not fulfilling the 4 yrs. There was no peace that God had taken His hand off and totally agree with the Biden interpretation fits..as well as a temporary Military act to preserve the constitution and their duty to
Alan, well written. I also posted a short piece on FB. As a prophet I am very sensitive to what other prophets are saying. For months and months before the election people all over the country asked me what god was saying about Trump. The LORD would NOT allow me to speak…He told me “Trump is done but We (the people) are not” It wasn’t until a few before the election i posted a bit about this. Most prophets fight the very difficult tendency to prophesy what they WANT vs what God is telling them. Even mature prophets. There is a strong demonic temptation to prophesy from our soul and give popular words. Mature prophets can give “hard words” and receive hard words, I am proud of Jeremiah for him addressing his error.
Last night I spent 5 hours prophesying over a team of YWAM young people; it was powerful and some words were amazing and others were somewhat “pedestrian” if one might say. There is a temptation to make every word amazing and powerful…but time and much pain in my life has taught me to keep a “disciplined tongue”. Sadly Alan, there are few if any people training prophets, so guess what? They learn by trial and ERROR….yes error. I wish had time in life to train prophets that are younger yet gifted. Perhaps the Lord will release me to do so sometime soon.
Thanks for your words and if you get time check out my post on the election on Facebook.
Blessings and honor to you and Dorothy.
Alan, Thanks for having a go at this difficult question. Here are a few brief responses, the last of which may well be the most sifnificant. .
1. Your questions are helpful. Here are the ones I teach (as in my book on Gifts of the Spirit), Tabor, 2015. See my website, http://www.barrychant.com ) . a. Is it biblical B. Is it bona fide i.e. is it true?) c. Is it beneficial? d. Is it benevolent? i.e. is it consistent with the fruit of the Spirit? e. Is it balanced? i.e. subject to testing..
2. Re your reference to 2 Cor 7:14. Apart from the fact tht this is a word to a nation, that needs to be seen in a spiritual sense to the Church, this is not a prophecy. It is simply a statement of divine, moral prinicples that apply universally. Sin always hinders God’s blessings and repentance is a precursor to them.
3. False prophecies and false teachings are not the same. Prophecies claim to be messages from God and are either right or wrong.
4. To prophesy in part does not mean that they can be only partly right: it simply means incomplete; that one prophecy may not contain the whole picture. What is spoken must necessarily still be correct (how can a word from God be wrong?) Of course, there is also a reference here to human frailty and our inability to accept/grasp/ discern all that God is saying.
5. Re short-range as against long-range prophecies. Prophecies are still prophecies.
6. To say that God foreknows human choices and accommodates his actions accordingly is to make us the source of the divine will, which is unacceptable.
7. Even if prophecies about Trump being re-elected were conditional (if they were?) , they could only be conditonal on Trump himself and his behaviour. In this I generally agree with you. In any case a prophecy about one person can hardly be overturned by the failings of someone else e.g. other Americans. And I doubt that this generation of Americans is more sinful overall then previous generations.
8. Re King Saul. The prophecies concerning him were fulfilled and he remained king to the day of his death.
9. Re eating the meat and discarding the bones. This sounds good, but how can it apply to prophesying? If prophesying is by definition speaking God’s Word, then how can we spit any of it out? To take 1 Thess 5:21 at fact value, Paul is asking us to accept true prophecies and to reject false ones, not to dissect them pick and choose the bits we like.
10. Finally, the most relevant point: the danger of subjectivity. One should never prophesy about someone or something about which one feels passionate or has a personal connection. It is too easy for us to confuse what we would love to see happen with what God wants to see happen. e.g. prophesying to/about a loved one; whethere your footy team will win etc. (The same applies to physicians refraining from treating members of their family. It is too difficult to be objective in such matters.) I suggest that those who prophesied Trump’s re-election were expressing their own hopes, not a word from God.
Sorry to rattle on so long, but hopefully these comments might be helpful. Barry.