HISTORY and TIMES of THE KINGDOM
From the Editor's Page, September, 2000
Editor's Page: Editorial Commentary
On Prophesy and Batting Averages
The other day I found myself revisiting the whole Frank Sandford prophesy issue again because someone brought to my attention a particular Sandford prophesy that either I had forgotten or had never read. As it turned out this was one of his prophesies that still had some life in it. I was sure they had all run their course, but after a close look at this one I found I was wrong. But before getting to that particular prophesy it might be useful to briefly explore Sandfords prophesy situation to see how meaningful those prophesies really were and are. I will say right up front that I believe they are so meaningful that they are paramount as far as belief in Sandfordism is concerned. Why? Because they are behind what makes people afraid of him and still adhere to his teachings no matter what affect those teachings have on our lives or those around us or whether or not they are even Scriptural. When he said that we would go to hell if we did not follow his teachings that only had punch to it if we thought he actually had the authority to say that and it was God speaking through him. And that was only the case if he had the prophet power behind him. And he claimed to have that. So was he a prophet? Well, as I have heard over and over, you will know a prophet by his fruits, right?
Good question. There are at least three ways to approach that question. To explore those ways lets agree to some extent on what "fruits" means. I would define fruits to mean that the people under the teaching of a Christian prophet would be growing in Christ, his teachings would be Scriptural, and his prophesies would be accurate in their outcome. So lets look at Sandfords fruits.
In Sandfords case, we find that many people grew in Christ (of course that happens in Christian churches all over the world every day where the leaders make no claim to prophetic status) and there were many people who left his teachings. Statistically it would appear that more people left him than stayed.
Were his teachings Scriptural? Most were, but even some of Sandfords most ardent supporters agree that not all his teachings were Scriptural. But they justify that because he was a prophet which gave his teachings as much authority as Scripture. However, if we use Scripture to claim he is a prophet we cannot use his position as a prophet to say it was okay for him to be unscriptural.
And lastly lets look at the accuracy of his prophesies. Not surprisingly most of Sandfords supporters leave out this prophesy part of fruits probably because, like the Wizard of Oz, it is too scary to look behind the curtain. But is it not a legitimate test of a prophet? A former leader in The Kingdom has written more than once how he did not feel qualified to analyze Sandfords past. Not only is that the chicken way out, it is unscriptural. In 1 Thess. 5:20-21 Paul says we are not to treat prophesies with contempt, and we are to test everything. And what does Scripture say about putting the test to prophesies?
"If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him." Deut. 18:22.
"...I am the Lord, who has made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself, who foils the signs of false prophets ... who carries out the words of his servants and fulfills the predictions of his messangers," Isaiah 44:24-26.
"But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true." Jer. 28:9.
"When all this comes true - and it surely will - then they will know that a prophet has been among them." Ezek. 33:33.
Micaiah the prophet declared, "If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me." (Speaking to Ahab heading to battle.) 1 Kings 22:28.
"The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord." 1 Sam 3:19.
Scripture does not give us the luxury of ignoring the tests that keep us accurate. That is especially so where it comes to leaders whose teachings will affect many lives.
Diving right in. How about Sandfords prophesies. Lets list five that came true. Well okay, how about one. I guess I should at this point give my definition of an accurate prophesy. First I am not talking about a prophesy like claiming that Christ is coming again. Merely repeating what someone has already prophesied does not make us a prophet. An accurate prophesy is predicting a future event that no one would logically predict and finding that event to come true. In other words it would not be something we could come up with by reading the newspaper and following events to their logical conclusion. So, how about Sandfords one accurate prophesy. Well lets look at some of his prophesies found in our research.
1) "You mark what I say, before I am through there will be the "ten men" from every nationality, saying, "I want to go with you, for I see God is in this movement." p466TEG July 4, 1902. Didnt happen.
2) The Almighty proposes to clean out this globe, and I will promise you that His fan is now in His hand and He will throughly cleanse His threshing floor, and He will gather His wheat into the garner, but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable. I will promise you that in your lifetime. p265TEG Sept. 25, 1901. Didnt happen.
3) "God help the people to fear and tremble before those tremendous statements made by God concerning the power of the two witnesses. ...Those things are absolutely true and absolutely certain, and those things will be fulfilled in a very short time." p332TEG Nov. 25, 1901 This is about 100 years after he said that statement. Not very short.
4) "Elisha was sixty years in his career. I do not know how long it will take, but I do not have any idea it will take more than a few years, because God has sworn He will hasten His word to perform it." p409TEG Nov. 26, 1901. Didnt happen.
5) "The declaration of war was momentarily expected between Japan and Russia ... Accordingly January 14, (1904) was a day of mighty supplication before the Lord of Hosts. The reality of the fact that the great tribulation was about to break over us ..." P4GTK Oct, 1903 - Mar31 1904. Didnt happen (unless the tribulation is being kept a secret)
6) "God gave us definitely an ocean liner, to carry missionaries to foreign lands. ...I am as certain of that steamer as of my own existence, for God said it." p138TF Aug. 15,1897. Didnt happen.
7) "Six gospel tents have been given to the work, and faith sees ninety-four others coming as fast as we can use them." p137TF Aug. 15, 1897. Didnt happen.
8) Sandford claimed that he and C.E. Holland are the two witnesses who will die in Jerusalem. P329SF 1903. Didnt happen.
Now with regard to the opening remark herein, it is at this point I must confess that there is a possibility of a Sandford prophesy coming true and it was a prophesy he made in 1900. On December 31, 1900, he told his students that they will see in "the coming century the final days of the gospel age, with all its violence, miracles, signs and the final arrival of Christ." So there you have it. Since the century is not truly over until December 31, 2000, we still have about three months left to test this prophesy. I really do hope he is right on this one, but don't hold your breath. As a prophet, his batting average is not all that good.
Dick Sweet, Ed.