Before I went into the studio to do the Bible Answer Man broadcast the other day, I picked up the most recent issue of Charisma Magazine. Sometimes I wonder if these “Christian” magazines are for real. The cover story has a picture of America and the Statue of Liberty drowning in the ocean waves. It says on the front-cover, “Some Christians say the world is coming to an end. Others reject that fear. What can we know for sure about the end times?”
So I opened it to the center spread and here is an article by a leading voice in dispensational thought—Dr. Benny Hinn, and he writes an article titled, “The Fig Tree is in Bloom: What God has Through the Modern Creation of Israel is Nothing Short of a Miracle of Bible Prophecy.” So through his special insight, usual unbridled speculation, and subjective flights of fancy, Hinn looks at the Bible and interprets it for us in the article. He notes that there are three specific prophecies with respect to 1948. He says, “I have been told that for centuries Jewish rabbis have been waiting for the fulfillment of three Old Testament passes they believe point to the Messiah’s coming. The first two have already occurred, and the third is taking place right before our eyes.” So you have Jewish Rabbis looking at three passages and—in agreement with Benny Hinn—they think that the passages say what Benny Hinn thinks they say.
Benny then lays out these prophecies for us. Number one, according to Hinn
Traffic in the streets of Jerusalem. Nahum wrote of a time after Israel would be scattered and persecuted, when “the emptiers have emptied them out and ruined their vine branches.” (Nah. 2:2). He saw a day when “the chariots come with flaming torches in the day of His preparation…they jostle one another in the broad roads; they seem like torches, the run like lightening” (vv. 3-4).
The prophet saw cars in Jerusalem and did not know how to properly describe them––vehicles speeding in the streets of the city he called “broad roads.” These wide roads didn’t exist in the prophet’s day, but they certainly do now!
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this. Now, obviously, all Nahum is taking about is broad places, and I suppose broad places existed in Old Testament times just as they today.
When you read something like this in a Christian magazine or by a Christian teacher, I think the first thing you better do is put on your bologna detector. What can you know for sure? That Benny Hinn does not know how to interpret the Word of God and there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who are following him into a ditch, so we have to learn discernment skills and test what these people are saying with scripture really says.
The second thing to do is look at the context. This passage in context is a prophecy concerning the destruction of Nineveh. It has nothing to do with cars in the streets of Jerusalem in the twenty-first century. Nahum didn’t see cars in Jerusalem as Hinn claims. He saw chariots in Nineveh.
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We need to look through the subterfuge and deceptive reasoning of men like Benny Hinn, go back to the passage, and realize that Old Testament prophets were not using poor analogies, like saying chariots with flaming torches because they didn’t know how to say cars were fast and had headlights. This is nonsense. This is dealing with prophetic language and hyperbole with what is going to happen to Nineveh.
All one needs to do is pick up the book of Nahum and see that’s what Nahum is writing about. However, people don’t do that. They read this and say, “Oh my goodness, the most significant of the prophecies that Jewish rabbis believe. We should believe this as well.”
After all the anointed man of God, Benny Hinn, has spoken. Of course this is the same guy who is telling us that faith is a force and words the containers of the force. He’s the same guy who is distorting the nature of God and talking about thousands and thousands of miracles in his venues, but yet cannot produce a single authentic miracle.
The point is simply this, test all things in light of Scripture, hold fast to that which is good. (1 Thess. 5:21). Don’t fall for last days fever and don’t read Charisma magazine to get your end times fix. It’s sensationalism, sophistry, sloppy journalism, and it’s seducing people. Quite frankly, it’s like a freak show and it drags Christ’s name through the mud.
For further information on how to interpret the Bible regarding the end times and the Word of Faith Movement check out my books, The Apocalypse Code and Christianity in Crisis 21st Century at our website www.equip.org